The Android Invasion
Working Titles: The Enemy Within, Return To Sukannan, The Kraals.
Starring: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor), John Levene (RSM Benton), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Ian Marter (Surgeon-Lieutenant Harry Sullivan).
The TARDIS seems to have returned the Doctor and Sarah Jane to modern-day England, but it quickly becomes apparent that something is very wrong: the people behave oddly, the calendar has just one day on it, coins are all minted from the same date. The time travellers soon realise that they are not on Earth at all, but on a simulacrum created by the Kraals, who are using the replicated village to help them prepare for their imminent invasion of Earth.
After an oversight in the credits for 1972's Day Of The Daleks brought him back in contact with the Doctor Who production team, Terry Nation had contributed a Dalek serial for each of the three subsequent seasons. New producer and script editor Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes were less keen on recurring villains than their predecessors, however, so after Genesis Of The Daleks was made for Season Twelve, they asked Nation to develop something wholly original for the next season.
A storyline entitled The Enemy Within was commissioned from Nation on November 29th, 1974. This became Return To Sukannan (also spelled "Suknen" and "Sukkanen") at the outline stage and then The Kraals by the time the scripts were commissioned on February 27th, 1975. (Note that there is some debate as to whether these were all different stages of the same storyline, or in fact three different ideas proposed by Nation, amongst which only the third was taken forward.) The Kraals was in turn retitled The Android Invasion. Hinchcliffe was particularly keen on the robotic aspect of the adventure, something he felt was due for further examination in Doctor Who.
One interesting element of the story dropped before Serial 4J went into production was the idea that all the androids would be mirror images of the original (hence tipping off the Doctor as to who was real and who was an impostor). Unfortunately, the logistics of this proved unmanageable. It was also thought that Nicholas Courtney might return to reprise his role as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart for The Android Invasion. However Courtney, who had last appeared in Terror Of The Zygons at the end of the previous production block, was well aware that UNIT was being phased out of Doctor Who, and was now committed to a theatre tour. Consequently, the Brigadier's lines were given to the similar character of Colonel (originally Brigadier) Faraday.
The director chosen for The Android Invasion was Barry Letts, whom Hinchcliffe had replaced as Doctor Who's producer. Letts' last directorial outing on the show had been his penultimate story as producer, Planet Of The Spiders. Letts was supposed to be producing a series about Marie Curie, but this was being held up by red tape within the BBC, giving Letts some free time to return to Doctor Who. Also around this time, Letts had been commissioned to write a Who story called The Prisoner Of Time; this was rejected after Letts submitted the script for the first episode.
Four days of location work started on July 22nd in Oxfordshire. During this time, Tom Baker elected to perform his own stunt for a scene in which the Doctor is submerged in a river. Unfortunately, Baker swallowed too much water and had to be taken to a hospital to have his stomach pumped. Studio work began on August 11th. Unfortunately, recording overran its allotted time and some material from the end of part four had to be omitted. Consequently, the broadcast episode lacks a full explanation about how the Doctor reactivated his android duplicate, and about the final fate of the Kraal invasion armada.
The Android Invasion marked the final regular appearances of two more UNIT stalwarts, although the organisation itself would make one final return in The Seeds Of Doom at the end of the season. John Levene and Ian Marter both bowed out of Doctor Who in this serial, although neither found their exit particularly agreeable; Levene found the absence of Courtney unpleasant, while Marter had hoped his character would be killed off heroically. Levene would leave acting in 1977 and take up a number of different jobs, including cruise line entertainer, private detective, and head of his own audio-visual company. More recently, Levene has returned to acting in the United States under the name John Anthony Blake. Marter, meanwhile, continued his association with Doctor Who off-screen. He wrote nine Target novelisations as well as the original novel Harry Sullivan's War, two abortive proposals for the TV series (one in 1980 and another, called either Strange Encounter or Volovox, for the original Season Twenty-Three), and with Tom Baker co-wrote the screenplay for the unmade feature film Doctor Who Meets Scratchman. Marter also continued to act on stage and television, including credits in Bergerac and The Return Of Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, Marter died of a diabetic condition on October 30th, 1986.