The Invasion

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Story Code: VV / Season 6 UK Airdate: 2 Nov to 21 Dec 1968 Doctor: Patrick Troughton
First airings by location UK Repeats / Foreign Cable and Satellite Previous Story / Next Story

This story aired in the following countries. They are listed in chronological order according to known airdate. (Refer also to Selling Doctor Who for expanded airdates.)

The Age, Melbourne Australia, 9 July 1970
Australia Jul 70 b/w
Hong Kong Sep 70 b/w
Singapore Jan 71 b/w
Gibraltar Mar 72 b/w
  • Hong Kong presumably sent its films to Singapore soon after transmission, as that was the fate of the RTV prints of The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear.
  • The ABC in Australia returned its prints to the BBC on 4 June 1975.
  • Only six prints were apparently held by BBC Enterprises by late 1976: 1,2,3,4,7,8, with a different six prints held in the Film Library by late 1977: 2,3,5,6,7,8.
    • It's possible that some of the episodes were in the wrong cans: the list drawn up by the Lively Arts researchers for the documentary Whose Doctor Who in late 1976 was from reference to the labels on the cans, which were labelled 1,2,3,4,7,8, but the cans actually contained episodes 2,3,5,6,7,8.
    • Note: The list of what was held in 1976 might be incorrect, and the episodes held then were in fact the very same ones still held in 1977. But it is remotely possible that the BBC did actually possess episodes from two completely different sets, some of which were disposed of between 1976 and 1977, with the others newly-acquired around the same time...
      • In 1976, ep 3 was recorded as being "A+B", which indicates that the film was split into an A roll and a B roll -- a status not accorded to the existing print of part 3. Was the "A+B" print of part 3 disposed of in early 1977, with a different single roll print of part 3 turning up later that same year? Or is the 1977 print merely a composite print from the two 1976 "A+B" prints?
      • The "A+B" notation might not actually mean "A Roll / B Roll" at all, but could in fact be the initials of the two researchers - "Anne" (surname unknown) and Bridget Cave or Ben Shephard - who viewed the various film prints for Lively Arts, and who compiled the list of prints held in 1976 mentioned above.
      • Another possibility is that the overseas station that had aired the serial had cut the print in half to insert a commercial break. After removing the spliced-in commercials, they did not re-attach the two lengths of film, and they returned the films to the BBC still in two halves, a status in which the print was found in 1976; the A+B notation was merely a comment on that status.
      • Could there have been two copies of part 3 held, and "A + B" was used to signify Print A and Print B?
      • If the list from 1976 is actually 2,3,5,6,7,8 because the Lively Arts researchers didn't realise they were watching the 'wrong' episodes (i.e. they were viewing not part 1 but part 2, not part 4 but part 5, etc) then the episode marked "A+B" is actually part 5.
      • It may be that "A+B" was merely what was written on the can label and was transferred onto the Lively Arts list, despite it having no bearing on the status of the actual film print inside.
      • It's also possible that "A+B" means something else entirely!
  • The prints of eps 5,6 and 7 currently held can't have come from Australia, as those three do not display the cuts made by the censors. The generally poor condition of eps 2 and 3 suggests they had been played multiple times, which would be true in terms of the regional and repeat screenings by the ABC, whilst ep 7 was "dirty" and ep 8 was "excellent" (as described on the Restoration Team's website). That the condition of the prints was so variable could indeed suggest they came from multiple sources. (Of course, the films had been accessed numerous times over the years, and copies made - both officially and illicitly - so the poor condition may be a post-1976 symptom.) If the prints were all returns from overseas as opposed to unsold "on the shelf" copies (which the 1976 two-roll "A+B" ep 3 certainly would have been if the roll of film really was split in half), eps 2 and 3 may have come from Australia, with the others hailing from Singapore and/or Gibraltar.
  • One of the prints apparently had an "NZBC" leader attached to it, but the serial was never acquired by New Zealand. The leader may have been spliced onto it by another broadcaster, being a recycled leader taken from another film that had been bicycled in from New Zealand. (If so, the existing prints have to be either the set sent to Gibraltar or to Hong Kong/Singapore.)
  • If the films were indeed returns from overseas, why were they kept? One suggestion is that when the films came back circa mid-1972 (from Gibraltar?) they were accessed by the production team working on Carnival of Monsters looking to use clips of Cybermen (but as it transpired, newly-shot footage of a Cyberman was used instead, but framed in such a way that is similar to a shot seen in 'The Invasion' part 8), or that in early 1974, the team working on Revenge of the Cybermen used the films for reference purposes - and the prints were returned to Enterprises afterwards. Of course, if these scenarios had any merit, why has no one who worked on the Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker serial - such as the producer, the director, the set and costume designers - ever mentioned it?!
  • See also the Troughton Junkings page.


  • The two missing episodes were animated, and the story was released on DVD in 2006.
  • The serial was dubbed into Italian and released as part of a DVD box-set in the late 2000s.
  • From December 2019, the reconstruction was available on UK BritBox.