Doctor Who-The Invisible Enemy (1977)

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Released 4-Sep-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio
Main Menu Introduction
Alternative Version
Featurette-Making Of
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Easter Egg
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 93:13 (Case: 164)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Derrick Goodwin

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Tom Baker
Louise Jameson
Michael Sheard
Brian Grellis
Edmund Pegge
Jay Neill
Anthony Rowlands
John Leeson
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Dudley Simpson
Barry Newbery
Raymond Hughes

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Information
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     It is quite incredible to think that this particular serial, The Invisible Enemy, was made over 30 years ago in 1977 and that at the time Doctor Who was in its 15th season on the BBC. The longevity of this series and character is quite incredible. This particular serial is notable for one main reason; it is the first serial to feature one of the Doctor's most famous and best loved companions, K-9 (voiced by John Leeson). It is from the Tom Baker era, being part of his fourth season wearing the long scarf. His companion is Leela (Louise Jameson), the huntress from the future. This disc is only available as part of a two disc set called K-9 Tales. It also includes a disc called K-9 & Company which was an early 1980s attempted spinoff series. This will be reviewed separately.

     The story here involves a shuttle flying through space in the year 5000 on its way to the station on Titan. Along the way they are attacked by an enemy they cannot see who infects the crews’ minds with a virus. This virus makes them think that they must fulfil 'the purpose' by preparing a place for 'the nucleus' to breed. At the same time, the TARDIS stops in mid flight and the same virus attacks The Doctor and Leela, although only The Doctor is infected. He is implanted with 'the nucleus' and despite fighting the effects of the virus becomes involved in the plans of the crew to create The Swarm. To attempt to treat the virus they take The Doctor to a local clinic run by Professor Marius. He has a pet Robot dog, K-9, who he created himself as he couldn't bring a real dog to space. K-9 helps the Doctor and Leela in their fight against The Swarm.

     This particular set of 4 episodes is a good story inspired quite a lot by the movie Fantastic Voyage as part of the solution to The Swarm is to inject tiny clones of The Doctor and Leela into The Doctor's brain. The Doctor is quite cranky and more than a little derisive of Leela in these episodes, which may be partially related to the difficult working relationship between Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. K-9 makes a great debut in these episodes getting into the thick of the action both verbally and with his 'offensive capability'. Obviously, this serial was made in 1977 so the visual effects and sets look pretty dodgy by modern standards. One extra on the disc is the ability to watch the show with redone special effects. I used this serial to introduce my two young boys to Doctor Who and they loved every minute of it and were keen to watch it again. For those who are counting, these are episodes 5-8 of the 15th Season of the show.

    Thoroughly enjoyable.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is excellent considering the source is a 1970s television show. There has obviously been a bit of work done to restore this.

     The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio, non 16x9 enhanced which would be the original aspect ratio. The picture was surprisingly sharp and clear considering the source. Shadow detail is good but most scenes are brightly lit. There is also some occasional very light grain. The colour was very good for the age. There was some flaring of colour during motion.

     Other artefacts included some edge enhancement but no specks or dirt.

     There are subtitles in English which are accurate but a little small and thin for my liking. Another subtitle track provides trivia and is covered in the extras below.

     The layer change is not noticeable during playback and is probably between episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is good considering the source.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. There is also a commentary track with the same specs.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.

    The music by Dudley Simpson was quite good providing drama and excitement but occasionally lapsed into slightly strange electronica. Sound quality wise it comes across well although there was some occasional distortion.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Lots of extras. Subtitles are available.


     The menu features music, action and an intro.

Inner Sleeve

     The sleeve includes an essay plus information about the extras and the people involved.

Trivia Track

     As mentioned above, an optional trivia subtitle track is available which relays lots of interesting information about the production, casting and the props and sets. Excellent for fans.

CGI Effects

     Using Multi-angle the disc allows for the episode to be played either with the original effects or with recent but sympathetic CGI effects instead. Nice extra feature.

Dreams & Fantasy (20:37)

     16x9 enhanced. This is a recently made making of featurette covering this serial's place in the series, the desire to do story in different places than earth, why K-9 came to be, issues with building and using K-9 and other interesting topics. Includes modern interviews with various cast and crew members.

Audio Commentary - Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (Voice of K-9), Bob Baker (Writer) & Mat Irvine (Visual Effects Designer)

     An excellent combination of interesting people were brought together for this commentary on all episodes. They enjoy themselves and provide lots of interesting information about the cast, visual effects and problems during shooting. There are also funny anecdotes and interesting trivia. Well worth a listen.

Studio Sweepings (20:34)

     Worth having but probably only for Doctor geeks. This is extra footage from the shooting which shows some of the way effects were shot but doesn't really amount to much. Alternate shots rather than deleted scenes.

Visual Effect (16:27)

     Featurette hosted by Visual Effects Designer, Mat Irvine. He meets up with one of his old colleagues and they discuss the use of models on the show and have some of the original models to discuss. Interesting stuff.

Blue Peter (4:33)

     K-9 appearing on the kid's show, Blue Peter and freaking out their on set dog.

Trailers and Continuity (3:48)

    Various bits and pieces of promo material.

Photo Gallery (5:07)

     Various shots from the production set to music from the score.


Coming Soon (1:01)

     Trailer for DVD release of Brain of Morbius.

Easter Egg (1:16)

     (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Go left from Visual Effect on the main special features menu to find a short piece of K-9 appearing on a BBC Dog Judging show and scaring the competitors.

DVD-ROM Extras

     A pdf of the original Radio Times television guide listings can be found on the disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 (and other) releases seem to be exactly the same. Draw


    A 1977 Doctor Who serial that is notable for being the first appearance of K-9.

    The video quality is excellent considering the age of the source.

    The audio quality is good.

    Lots of quality extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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