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The Invasion of Time was hastily conceived when David Weir’s Killers of the Dark, another story set on Gallifrey, had to be abandoned.

“I set out to bring some new blood in on the writing side,” Anthony Read told Doctor Who Magazine, recalling his appointment as the series’ script editor in 1977. “I began looking for very good professional writers with whom I’d worked before, or people with excellent track records who had been recommended to me.”

Lured back to the BBC by new Head of Drama Serials Graeme McDonald, Tony’s role as script editor was effectively a step down. Having joined the BBC in 1963, the former actor and journalist had script edited the thriller anthology Detective, the resultant Sherlock Holmes series and the historical drama Kipling before moving onto Mogul, a new adventure/boardroom drama launched in 1965. When Mogul was rebranded as The Troubleshooters in 1966, Read became associate producer, assembling a new writing team for the revised show.

Graham Williams devised the original story for The Invasion of Time (1978).
Photo © Paula Bentham.

One of the writers introduced by Read was the Hampsteadbased David Weir. Born in February 1934, Weir was a Londoner but described himself as “pure Celt”, his father being from Wick in Caithness. After training as an actor in the 1950s, Weir made his mark as a writer in 1963 with the ATV boardroom drama The Plane Makers. His first BBC credit came in 1965 with The Boardroom, an episode of the BBC Midlands hotel drama The Flying Swan. From 1966 to 1969 his talents fuelled memorable episodes of The Troubleshooters, which was produced by Tony Read from 1968. Reflecting on The Troubleshooters, its creator John Elliot recalled that a major turning point occurred when “David Weir began writing very sophisticated boardroom and bedroom. It became very much more complicated, with a lot of wheeling and dealing. It had a gloss on it and was… more intriguing.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The Doctor’s own people, and his home planet, were introduced in 1969 as a major chapter in the series’ history came to an end. Five decades later, the Time Lords and their devastating war with the Daleks are still essential parts of Doctor Who’s mythology. This special publication analyses every story set on Gallifrey, reveals previously unseen images from the making of the episodes and interviews key players in the Time Lords’ fascinating story.