17 August 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 229: The Invasion, Episode Three

Dear diary,

The Doctor and Jamie as they appear in this story are, for me, the 'definitive' versions. Whenever I think of the pair, it's as they are here: right down to the way that Troughton's hair falls. I'm not sure why it's like this as opposed to any other episode, but it's always been the version that's stuck in my mind. The scenes as the pair climb the lift shaft together and emerge onto the rooftop just looks absolutely right to me, as does their time sneaking along the sides of the trains and peeking inside to take a closer look at the supposedly 'empty' crates.

I think the fact that so much of Season Six is still available to watch as opposed to stuff from earlier in the Second Doctor's era (there's almost twice as many surviving episodes in Season Six than there are in Seasons Four and Five combined!) means that this has rather become the default version of Troughton's incarnation for many people. Take, for example, three recent releases of Second Doctor merchandise: The Wheel of Ice, an original novel released last year, and two 50th anniversary releases in the form of the second Destiny of the Doctor CD and the second issue of the IDW Prisoners of Time comic. All three of these feature the TARDIS team of the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe as opposed to the earlier set ups of this era.

I wonder if that might be why this version of the Doctor is so ingrained in my mind? Until undertaking this marathon, The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Moonbase were the only pre-Season-Six stories that I had any real knowledge of (though I'd seen bits and bobs from other tales, usually orphaned episodes), whereas I've seen a lot of Season Six before - merely by existing in the archive, it becomes far more accessible than his earlier stuff.

It's a shame, really, because I've noticed just how much Troughton's Doctor has evolved across his time on the programme. The Second Doctor - though still quite a fun character - gets to show off his darker side far more often these days than he did to begin with. He used to be a bit of a clown who secretly knew what was going on, but now he's maturing a lot. Even his look has moved on over time - compare the way his hair sits now compared to the way it was during the earliest stages of Season Four and there's a distinct difference. It's possibly something I'm projecting onto the character, but I think he looks older now far more than the three years that we've seen pass would allow.

It's another reason that I'd love to see him in a few more Jamie-less adventures, so we could get a real sense of time passing for this incarnation. I'd dearly love to have more to watch from his earliest adventures, so that this phase of the programme didn't feel so weighted to the late 1960s.

It's another one of those days where I could just wax lyrical about how brilliant Troughton and Hines are together, and a great instance of them really drawing my attention - I hadn't noticed that we were missing Zoe and Isobel until the pair clambered aboard the train carriage to take a look for them: I'm too busy caught up with them and their interactions with Tobias Vaughn.

Vaughn has always been hailed as one of Doctor Who's very best villains, and it's not hard to see why. Kevin Stoney turns in a performance that's pitch-perfect (he slightly over-plays it with the 'niceness' when face to face with the Doctor and Jamie, but this becomes a plot point when even the Doctor draws attention to it), and he's well suited to the part. He was just as good playing Mavic Chen back in The Daleks' Master Plan, but giving him a far more real character and placing him in a very real setting makes his performance all the more brilliant - we can really connect to the idea of this person existing behind the fake smiles of big business.

Perhaps worryingly, all my memories of his character come from this first half of the story, before the Cybermen actually make their appearance. Once they arrive on the scene, I can't really recall what happens to Vaughn. I'm hoping that it's more down to my own bad memory than the character being sidelined as the story goes on, as he's one of the greatest things to turn up in the programme…

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