Doctor Who
The Invisible Enemy

Starring: Tom Baker
BBC Video
RRP 12.99
Certificate: U
Available now

An intelligent space-borne virus infects the crew of a refuelling station on Titan. Travelling in the TARDIS nearby, the Doctor is also infected - by the nucleus that governs the swarm. A battle for self-control is soon being waged within the Doctor's mind...

The BBC has well and truly scraped the bottom of the barrel of Tom Baker stories with its VHS releases this year. Oh well, at least this particular tale isn't as bad as Underworld.

In fact, there's a good central premise to this four-parter, which features a sentient disease and a journey at microscopic level - clearly inspired by Fantastic Voyage - into the Doctor's brain. Top marks to writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin for recognising that the miniaturised Doctor and Leela (Louise Jameson) would have been too small to break the surface tension of the liquid in which they are conveyed. Minus several points, however, for not realising that the tiny travellers should be incapable of breathing full-size oxygen molecules. In addition - as a young viewer pointed out when he wrote in to Radio Times - the clones produced by Professor Marius (Frederick Jaeger) should have materialised naked. I guess we must assume that the Kilbraken cloning technique also involves taking a scan of the subject's attire.

The technical shortcomings of The Invisible Enemy are unfortunately all too visible. When K9 (John Leeson) - making his debut in this story - blasts a big chunk out of a wall, the fracture line is blatantly apparent before the shot has been fired. And due to the fact that the K9 prop cannot raise its head above a certain height, one unfortunate guard gets lasered in the crotch! Sloppy editing during the final episode means that we don't see how the Doctor loses his container of precious anti-virus and, towards the end of the adventure, what could have been a fairly spectacular explosion is ruined.

From a design point of view, I'm far from convinced that the use of "futuristic" phonetic spellings, such as "Isolayshun Ward" and "Shutle Airlok" was a terribly good idea.

Still, there's plenty of fun to be had watching these episodes. The giant prawn isn't as bad as some people have suggested!

Richard McGinlay

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