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    The Invasion from Space (AV17)

Doctor Who and the Invasion from Space was a World Distributor story published in a single volume in 1966. It has often been referred to as the first Missing Adventure, and sees the First Doctor accompanied unwillingly on his travels in TARDIS by the Mortimers, a peasant family from the time of the Great Fire of London.

Our version of this unusual story, narrated by Jonathan Redwood in character as the First Doctor, was released in 2008.

DVD and CD-style covers and disc labels for the production can be found here.

    Invasion from Space: Gallery
The Aalas welcome you. Possibly...Kids! Gotta love 'em, haven't you?
The wretched MortimersMore unwelcome guests
Grabbed by the Aalas. Now that has to sting a bit...George Mortimer
A still from Marco Polo gets turned into an illustration and then into a CGI image. Odd!
Doctor Who aboard TARDIS. Bet that annoys the purists...
The Doctor and his new companions.Helen and George and a shiny floor
    Invasion from Space: Reviews

Jonathan Redwood (narrator) writes:

This release does exactly what it says on the tin - brings the book to stunning life!

The visuals are sumptuous, with some nice nods to the design in the original but greatly increased and augmented. The panning and zooming (and sheer amount of pictures) keeps things ticking along nicely and the extra little animations here and there really bring more life to proceedings. I loved the rotating light effect on the One, and the moving lift capsules.

The audio effects I also enjoyed, with Tristram Cary's music being the perfect underscore, and the sibilant echo on the One's voice being just right for a mad supercomputer.

I must confess that I'd always found this book rather heavy going, and the only time I'd actually manged to read it all through was when I recorded the narration! However, although in places the text occasionally becomes a little wordy, it managed to grab my attention for its amazing hour plus length.

The extra footage with the clean pictures from the book was also welcome, serving as a reminder of the original inspiration.

An excellent release, a real labour of love on your part, Stuart, to marry all those pictures up with the words and tie it up together in such an attractive package and bring life to a neglected, but important piece of Doctor Who history.

Tom Tyrrell writes:

I'd never even heard of this story, despite many years wandering around second-hand bookshops in search of target novelisations, so I was interested to see how it played.

What I found odd was how low budget the story is. You'd think, given the possibilities of the written word, the writer might have created and epic of alien worlds and cultures, but the fact is this story is more claustrophobic and economical than anything in the First Doctors era. The Great Fire of London takes place off screen, there are long conversations with computers in small rooms, cheap Thal-like blond henchmen and the story is rather mystifyingly resolved by a flung bowl of jelly. It's not even antimatter jelly!

The writer does deserve plaudits for astronomical knowledge - in an era where the words 'galaxy' 'solar system' and 'universe' were considered interchangeable (particularly glaring in Edge of Destruction) the writer not only consistently credits Andromeda as a galaxy, but gives us the correct Messier number as well!

The CGI is unchallenging, but nonetheless excellent. There isn't much potential for visuals in the story, but the outer space background was very effective, and the talking computer screen just about held my attention - hard to know what to do with that. It was a wonderful touch when the First Doctor lip synced the last few lines, drawing the story to an effective conclusion.

Jonathan Redwood's First Doctor impersonation is so brilliant he deserves to be up there with Richard Hurndall's attempt, though he does run to vocal stereotypes with the refugees from the Great Fire of London. Even if they are from 1666, they should have picked up some sort of London accent, not some cliched Peasant speak.

All in all another fine and engaging production, particularly considering the limitations of the source material.

Roger Smith (AKA Black Dalek) writes:

What can you say about this wonderful surprise production?

After the brilliant Desert Island Discs on The Curse of the Daleks, which Jonathan excelled himself on, Invasion from Space is a just reward for all his efforts.

What we get is one of the rarest of the 60's books, a copy now will set you back a fair bit on ebay, that's if you can find one.

His impersonation is unreal, close your eyes and you will think Billy's reading you a bed time story and, combined with the images, it is a stunning piece of work and a great addition to my collection.

If we cannot have a comic strip of the first Doctor, then this will do nicely.

Many thanks to all.

Alan McKenzie writes:

Invasion from Space was different again [from both The Dalek Chronicles and The Curse of the Daleks]. This is another work I'd never seen in its original form, though that may be attributable to the fact that as it did not involve the Daleks, I probably wasn't interested.

A new departure for AV, the story-telling style was nonetheless effective and enjoyable. Jonathan Redwood's uncanny vocal resemblance to William Hartnell is amazing and if one closed one's eyes it would be quite easy to believe Hartnell had returned and was reading the story.

The odd bits of animation were enjoyable, as were the graphics. Wish I'd seen the renders of the Aalas earlier - given a bit more facial expression they'd have made perfect models for the Dalek-Humans in my own stories!

RetroRobot writes:

Prog. 2 review:  'Original Artwork'  (2:42)

Combined with the rather Funky Geoff Love version of the Doctor Who theme a pleasant tour through the (uncredited)artpix for the original storybook of this adventure.  Short & simple and just-right with the music.


Prog. 1: 'Doctor Who And The Invasion From Space'  (72:44)

A first-time appearance of the original 'Doctor Who' tv opening-sfx on A.V. and a splendid piece of facial-artwork* for '1Doc' by Stuart.

[* which sometimes gets quite frightening in later scenes, with a steely-eyed aspect that hints more effectively at the

   Power & Alieness of The Doctor than pretty-much any other portrayal i can think of! ]

The delicious tones of Jonathan Redwood launch us on a very well told (in spoken-word terms) story which delightfully performs better out-loud than read.  It is also a surprisingly good tale – the dated elements giving that 'Historical' feel (like watching early b&w soundflix) which aids the more-than-ever necessary act of Suspension-of-Disbelief required by Fantasy&SF.  And here the 'Pantomime' level of the narrative is combined with writing of sufficient quality to qualify as a completely satisfactory children's story.

Properly taking it as such, its hour+12m playing-time passes enjoyably and, as far as the text goes, does not generate frustration or get boring.

However, the same cannot be said of Jonathan's voice-performance this time!

I don't mind the conceit (if i'm reading the intention correctly) of '4Doc' narrating the story, given that it's not written in the first-person and thus the narrator can't be '1Doc' himself, but to work it requires that the two voices be fully separate in their distinctness.  Unlike his performance of (1Doc)WilliamHartnell in 'Desert Island Discs' (AV16) which was a marvel of both tonal & expressive mimicry*, Jonathan woefully fails to keep the 4Doc-ness out of his W.H.voice from the very first dialogue!

[* successfully sustained over an even greater length than his equally impressive A.V.debut imitating 4Doc/TomBaker ]

The feat of doing a (huge)Read as multiple voices (presumably 'live' – i.e. how much Editing i don't know) is prodigious to be sure, i've done such myself* and to his great credit Jonathan has little apparent difficulty in pulling off this trick.

[* and even Peter Sellers had difficulty shifting between too many voices on those sad Sundays when Spike was too

   unwell to perform ]

But "William Hartnell" is central here, and even without the given example the problem of not fully separating the two voices remains.

If not for being able to hear something of Jonathan Redwood's natural voice in the latter stages of the reading, i might have considered that he normally sounds a bit T.B.ish and was trading on that advantage in his 4Doc-imitation(s) and that this aspect of his speech was an unavoidable intrusion in any Doctor he might venture to perform.  But it is readily apparent that he has a (professionally? – or damn near to it) developed vocal talent and a wide range of 'voices' to express it with.  And he is Not limited to sounding like Baker at all (which further credits his 4Doc act!).

This then must qualify as a Production-flaw, with insufficient Direction or Critique being given to the actor in order to fine-tune a crucial role.

Jonathan's act as 4Doc in the Abslom Daak 'Daakumentary' (AV11) only barely reached any 'listenability-strainingpoint' towards its very end.  His astounding W.H. performance on 'Desert Island Discs' remained fresh, vital and even poignant all through.  Here, sadly, the unsullied WilliamHartnell/1Doc-ness of this performance occurs only now & then, showing that it could have been consistent if worked-on or Produced differently (for example, a separate readthrough recorded as passages performed as 1Doc-only containing all his lines imbedded within the narrative flow and thus editable into the original).

Even though this is a 'quickie' work (in comparison to the general A.V.corpus) and successfully comprised of simplified elements – and Jonathan Redwood's overall performance for this is a Gem (and his talents a real A.V.s "find") – this one aspect is too important and it would possibly even have been better for the narrator to be Jonathan's own voice.

Speaking of "simplified elements", Stuart's method for this one is just right.  It is still a set of still-pictures like the book, and often repeated and Pan&CU-motion animated, but with lots of them plus occasional animated elements & sequences*.

[* rather like an 'LC-Recon'! ]

It is the detailed narrative of a shortstory (rather than comicstrip-text) that holds our attention while the pictures drift by to keep the eyes from getting bored.  Once again it is Jonathan's splendid vocal(&recording)talents that makes such a long exposition a continuous pleasure.

Assisting superbly in the background, Stuart's beautiful dramatic arrangements of Tristram Cary's original authentic DW-soundscapes gently & unobtrusively fills the "space behind the voice" providing an effective, even hypnotic, atmosphere.

No mere side-project this, regardless of its inspiration, 'Doctor Who And The Invasion From Space' is a surprise treat that would be, i suspect, an entirely successful commercial venture were it licensable.  Better still, as a freebie, it deserves a wider exposure in Whodom than any Altered Vistas Production before it!  A great gift for Youngsters.

A final note of recognition for "Redders"Redfern, one of the very greatest cgi Dalek-illustrators on the web, getting into the A.V."stable" with the contribution of his TARDIS-console model to the visuals.  At this rate Mr.Palmer is going to end up a nexus for creative-talent of many kinds coming together on various projects until something truly astounding and Major emerges from his Pen*!

[* and Mr.Palmer can be found on display in his Pen most workdays & public holidays – entrance free ]