Most unusually of all we enter the story after its already started for the Doctor which almost never happened in original Doctor Who. Normally, you’d have a scene setter (nowadays called a cold open) then the Doctor would arrive so although the wheels were already turning when we join the story we witness all of the Doctor’s actions. In this story, episode 1 starts with the Doctor already deep in discussion with unknown aliens, Leela locked in the Tardis wondering where he is. There is a stray line as the Doctor converses with these sibilantly voiced beings in which he mentions they’ve promised him complete power over the Time Lords which does undercut the mystery but as I’d never noticed it before perhaps viewers at the time never did either. Otherwise we’re left in the dark as to what the Doctor is up to.
We’re also introduced to a fantastic array of Time Lords. John Arnatt is my favourite Borusa (come on, I’m sure you’ve had arguments in the pub about the best Borusa?) giving a performance so arch and dry he makes every word a delight. His verbal sparring with the Doctor takes place on two levels and the viewer is left to guess where they’re at. For all the flak Graham Williams gets about dumbing down the programme his era is actually home to some of the most intelligent, interesting dialogue and these Doctor / Borusa conversations rank up there with anything Robert Holmes wrote.
John Arnatt was born in Russia and in the 1950s spent a period as a sports reporter for ITV using the pseudonym Howard Peters.
Milton Johns was a regular on Coronation Street from 1991-3 playing Brendan Scott.
Derek Deadman appeared in 33 episodes of Never The Twain playing a character called Ringo.
Chris Tranchell's real name is Christopher Small and he’s best known for being a regular in Terry Nation’s post apocalyptic series Survivors. He’s also appeared at the Globe Theatre.
Hilary Ryan made her television debut in `Invasion of Time`.
Anthony Read wrote a number of non fiction historical books in addition to his long TV career and was also chair of the Writers Guild from 1981-82.
Graham Williams later left the tv industry to run a hotel.
So what did fans think of `The Invasion of Time` back in 1978.....?