The fifteenth Season of Doctor Who was one of the most uneven in 1970’s Doctor Who. After the edict to reduce violence coming out of The Deadly Assassin the whole of the season was a process of keeping one foot in some vestige of the gothic roots which had served Tom Baker’s first three seasons so well and the lighter tone which would encompass the next season for The Key to Time stories. Horror of Fang Rock and Image of the Fendahl, the stories which surrounded this weeks cap addition for The Invisible Enemy had at least some toes in the gothic pool. Sadly The Invisible Enemy did not.
1977 was also a time of rampant inflation and this also had a very direct effect on Doctor Who. Classic fans could always brush-off the oft-cited complaint about the perceived cheap-ness of the series by pointing to the quality of stories being told. But one look at either The Sun Makers, Underworld, or The Invisible Enemy could see how production was truly being undermined by spiraling costs. There are some nice elements to The Invisible Enemy of course, the trip into the Doctors mind was interesting and the modelling and effects work was of a fairly high quality for the day, but even the presence (once again) of some Doctor Who vet guests (Frederick Jaeger and Michael Sheard) couldn’t save this story from the sillier parts, notably the nucleus of the swarm.
The Invisible Enemy is really best remembered as K-9’s first story, and here he emerges almost fully formed. No wonder he became instantly adored.
In the best traditions of Classic Capitology the new caps for The Invisible Enemy dramatically grow the breadth and quality over what the Tour had before. We move to the tail of the dog to see if it wags … next time.