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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > The Essential Doctor Who: Invasions of Earth > INVERSION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS

INVERSION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS

Writer Peter Harness drew upon controversial contemporary issues and a violent chapter of American history for one of the series’ most startling invasion stories...

While nothing new, political satire in television science-fiction is definitely in vogue.

A good example is the CBS series Brain Dead (2016), whose paranoid tone echoes Quatermass II (1955), television’s first political sci-fi drama. Written and directed in the compelling style of The West Wing (1999-2006), Brain Dead features alien parasites that infect human hosts in Washington DC, with the result that Republican and Democrat politicians and their staff start behaving in extreme ways. Similarly, E4’s 2016 comedy drama The Aliens explores the predicament of aliens secretly integrated into British society.

Professor Quatermass (John Robinson) surveys his new rocket in Quatermass II (1955).

In 2015, Peter Harness bought the same mixture of realpolitik, identity crisis and horror to Doctor Who in The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion. “It’s weird,” says Peter. “I haven’t really thought about it as an Earth invasion story because the aliens are already here. And it wasn’t really my intention to do a story about terrorism. I wanted to think about how these creatures would fight a war, given that they had some knowledge and experience of humanity but were significantly fewer in number. I think they essentially learnt a lot of their tactics from our guerrilla terrorist organisations, so in a way I was taking it from that angle – that’s how they might behave. It seemed to me to be a quite successful way for them to agitate people and agitate public opinion.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

This essential guide celebrates Doctor Who’s most renowned invasion episodes. Interviewees include Anna Barry (Day of the Daleks), Ray Brooks (Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.), Johnny Byrne (Warriors of the Deep), Michael Ferguson (The Seeds of Death), Peter Harness (The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion), Douglas Mackinnon (Flatline), Victor Pemberton (Fury from the Deep), Toby Whithouse (The Vampires of Venice) and Jon Davey (Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel). Plus, there are rare images, a tribute to Nicholas Courtney, Terry Nation’s original storyline for The Dalek Invasion of Earth, details of Jon Pertwee's unmade story The Spare-Part People and much more!
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