The Invisible Enemy
- Publication: The Times
- Date: 1977-10-10
- Author: Stanley Reynolds
- Type: review
- Description: A review of The Invisible Enemy
Dr Who, BBC 1's long-running science-fiction tale, seems season to be losing out in those ITV areas crafty enough to The Man from Atlantis against the doctor and Leela, his savage beauty oppo. While Baker's Who and Louise Jameson's Leela are fighting somewhere out in space in the AD 5000, the dolphin-skin underwater breathing chap from Atlantis has captured imagination of the children in this American television adventure series. London Weekend does not screen The Man from Atlantis until after Dr Who, but Granada and ATV have the web-fingered hero in direct opposition to the BBC's famous and highly successful space traveller.
There is another problem. Last season Dr Who switched, upgrading its appeal to the intelligent 14-year-old level. Plots became more complicated, the young trendy girls who previously accompanied the Doctor were replaced by Leela, a sex symbol. She is also a bit of a Woman's Movement sort; a militant is Leela and she kills with a knife with the ease of a Royal Marine Commando. In the current story, The Invisible Enemy, now halfway through its four-week run, a malignant virus has struck a space station. Some evil force is attempting to take the station, and undoubtedly the universe over. When one is being "taken over" those sort of miniature lightning flashes like the advert for learning how to hypnotize, travel from the eyes of the villain to the one having the fluence put upon him. One then gets rather furry of face and hand, but the appeal of Dr Who has; always been the monsters and this time out the BBC seems to have lost its touch with monsters.
There is a satiric note, however. Leela cannot be put under the influence. She is too savage. "All instinct an intuition", the Doctor explained. Perhaps she is not a bow to the Women's Movement after all; maybe the leggy Leela is there for the dads and more earthy 14-year-olds, rather like those appalling rhythmic girls who practise dancing each week on Top of the Pops. Of course the return of the Daleks is all Dr Who needs; what the Top of the Pops dancers need is something else, but that is neither here nor there.