Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The UNIT Files:The Android Invasion. Review by James Hadwen


“The Android Invasion” never features highly on the list of classic Who stories. It has a plot that barely hangs together, aliens who are in less than perfectly fitting rubber masks and it’s often seen as UNIT’s last whimper. Yet most of the accusations aimed at this story apply to so many others that it seems highly unfair to single this one out to take the brunt of them. The only reason I can think of for people really not liking it is that it’s simply not fashionable to.

What people often overlook is that this has the fourth Doctor on absolute top form. It has Sarah-Jane Smith actually showing signs that she’s a journalist rather than generic female companion. It has Mother from “The Avengers” on loan to highlight the almost Avengerish feel of the opening episodes.

Yes, the plot to invade the world is pretty loopy but, if you actually stop and think about it, pretty much any plot to take over this planet is rather insane (no Doctor Who story has ever explained why this rather less than special ball of rock that’s in the middle of nowhere is invaded so much) and given the heavy use of radiation, well you can just blame the lunacy of the scheme on “radiation induced craziness”. Masks that don’t quite fit correctly, well that’s just “radiation induced skin fatigue”. Men in white space suits with loaded fingers roaming a deserted English countryside with indestructible members of UNIT and space travel in what look like giant seed pods? That’s just a great opening episode and, if you’re honest with yourself, three more insane episodes that know they’re daft but don’t try and po-face their way out of it. It’s fun and you know it, you just won’t allow yourself to admit it.

A review of the extras will be posted tomorrow...

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