Kevin Stoney is one of those somewhat anonymous British character actors that you would call one of ‘those guys.’ Actors with IMDB pages eight miles long who always seem to be around, both in foreground and background, in remembered British drama. In 1960’s Doctor Who however, he had the distinction of being the main baddie in two epic stories which spanned 20 episodes.
In The Daleks Master Plan he was the Emperor of the Galaxy Mavic Chen, looming over that 12-part leviathan of a story. And in this weeks addition to Classic Capitology, The Invasion he was the Head of International Electromatics Tobias Vaughn, a charming but ruthless point man for the Cybermen invasion. It’s to Stoney’s credit that Vaughn must, by necessity for an eight-part story, carry a significant portion of the screen time.
Even with episodes 1 & 4 regrettably missing, at eight episodes The Invasion feels two episodes too long. Patrick Troughton takes a week off in the middle and Jamie basically disappears for the last two episodes.
But The Invasion is also the last step in a three step process begun as far back as The War Machines and continued in The Web of Fear turning Doctor Who from a product of the 60’s to one of the 70’s. Even incomplete, this feels like the prototypical Douglas Camfield, and by extension, embryonic UNIT story. Now Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and his company were even more essential to the story than the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe. Even the Cybermen, emerging ironically via the sewers of London at the end of episode 6, feel much less important in The Invasion than Vaughn.
As signposts for the Troughton era, this is the Cybermen’s swan song, who would only be seen once more (in 1975’s Revenge of the Cybermen, which also featured Stoney in his least remembered Doctor Who appearance) until 1982’s Earthshock.
They would be missed.
What’s not missing are all the lovely new caps for The Invasion, which are both plentiful and much improved over previous Tour content. But, new archival discoveries notwithstanding, this also ‘closes out’ the Troughton Wing of the Tour. Of course, there’s always more to be discovered, but all of the stories which could be capped have been. If ever there was a time to unearth The Space Pirates, it’s now.
Classic Capitology goes all the way to the edge, next time.