Welcome to ‘the village that came to life’ – East Hagbourne in Oxfordshire, filming location for the episode The Android Invasion (1975). I went there as I was passing earlier this week on my way home from another adventure.
This episode is set in the village of Devesham, which East Hagbourne stands in for. The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane arrive in the village which is always Friday 6th July, a day with no future. Luckily I went in June or I might have had to stay forever.
I parked my TARDIS near the Fleur de Lys pub and went to liven up the place, (well I tried to at least). The village was deserted just like in the episode! I wonder if the androids were still there? In fact the whole time I was there the only other person that I saw was a young girl wearing a t-shirt that said ‘ Keep Calm, I’m The Doctor’. Awkward but true!
I saw the war memorial in the centre of the road and set off down the road past the Fleur de Lys. The Doctor and Sarah hid in the pub and watched people who could not move and looked like they were statues filled with cement. They came to life eventually – when I watched the episode I tried clicking my fingers at the TV but actually it was the clock striking 12 that brought them out of their trance. I tried to go in the pub myself but it was shut for the afternoon, which was a shame as I wanted a beer. Fooled you!
As I explored I saw some goats and chickens in a garden and the paths were lined with hollyhocks. The weather was sunny and everything looked so summery it was a typical English village. This village is known for The Great Fire of Hagbourne, just 7 years before the Great Fire of London. It is also famous as the place where blotting paper was invented!
In a documentary about this episode ‘The ViIlage That Came To Life’, Nicholas Briggs walks around East Hagbourne and interviews some of the local people about what they remember about the filming in July 1975. One lady remembers that hundreds of children from all over the place descended on the village to see if they could get Tom Baker’s autograph! He was still a new Doctor when he filmed the episode. One of the interviewees had his photo taken with Tom Baker for the local paper as his name was Colin Baker, but not THE Colin Baker! Another remembered his family selling beer from their front window to the crew.
The Android Invasion was the last episode that featured Benton and Harry Sullivan pops up for his last appearance. It is a fan-dabby-dosy story and everyone should watch it!
Do you have any facts about East Hagbourne? Let me know.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon! Bloop blip Bloop blip, Goodbye in Androidese.