Invasion of the Dinosaurs

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071 – Invasion of the Dinosaurs
Doctor Who serial
Invasion of the Dinosaurs.PNG
The T-Rex appears in London. The special effects of the dinosaurs received negative reception, with some critics feeling that they detracted from the plot.
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Malcolm Hulke
Director Paddy Russell
Script editor Terrance Dicks
(and Robert Holmes, uncredited)
Producer Barry Letts
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Dudley Simpson
Production code WWW
Series Season 11
Length 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 12 January – 16 February 1974
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Time Warrior Death to the Daleks

Invasion of the Dinosaurs is the second serial of the 11th season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from 12 January to 16 February 1974.

The Doctor and Sarah arrive in 1970s London to find that the city has been evacuated, due to the mysterious appearance of dinosaurs. The monsters are being brought to the present by a disaffected scientist, using a time machine nicknamed the Timescoop, as part of a plan to revert London to a utopian pre-technological age. The plan calls for Central London to be depopulated prior to being moved back through time, so that only an elite group (who will re-found the human race in the remote past, along more ethical lines) will make the trip. This plan, known as Operation Golden Age, is secretly being supported by key personnel within the British Government - and even within the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, which is ostensibly combatting the menace.

This is the second serial to feature the journalist Sarah Jane Smith as the Doctor's travelling companion, and the penultimate appearance by UNIT regular Capt Mike Yates.

Synopsis[edit]

The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith arrive in a deserted London, where UNIT is assisting in maintaining martial law. The regular army, headed by General Finch, has evacuated the city and issued a command that all looters will be shot. The Doctor and Sarah are arrested on suspicion of looting, but are rescued by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart who is heading the UNIT operation. The Doctor learns that dinosaurs are appearing all over the city, causing havoc, but no one can account for their sudden appearances and disappearances.

The Doctor recognises these events as a time-space phenomenon known as a "Time Eddy", and begins to suspect that someone is deliberately tampering with time. They are introduced to Sir Charles Grover, an MP who is the Minister with Special Responsibilities, the only member of the government still in London. As the Doctor and Sarah settle in, Captain Mike Yates returns from a leave of absence following his traumatic ordeal at Global Chemicals (depicted in The Green Death). In a hidden laboratory, Professor Whitaker is operating secret Timescoop technology. The dinosaurs are being used to compel the authorities to evacuate the city. It turns out that Whitaker is being aided by a disillusioned Captain Yates. Yates feels the Doctor would help them, but Whitaker has him sabotage the device the Doctor is building to capture a dinosaur. When Whitaker replaces the peaceful Stegosaurus with a Tyrannosaurus rex, Yates intervenes and uses the Doctor's device to knock out the dinosaur.

Sarah meets with Sir Charles, hoping to find a lead on who might be operating the Timescoop, only to end up being captured by Grover, who is in league with Whitaker. She awakens and is astounded to find herself on a vast spaceship. The crew explain that the ship is one of a fleet, each carrying hundred of people, en route to a distant Earth-like planet. The passengers and crew are all celebrities and leading figures in various fields – athletes, authors, doctors – who support the ecology movement and want to start new lives based on the movement's political agenda. Mankind can begin again on "New Earth", closer to nature and without the overpopulation and pollution of Earth. When Sarah tries to explain that they're still on Earth, they condemn Sarah to be re-educated into thinking the way they do.

The Doctor searches London for the energy emissions of the Timescoop, in his new vehicle, the "Whomobile". Beneath Trafalgar Square tube station he discovers Whitaker's base, but is forced away when a pterodactyl is set upon him. He returns with the Brigadier, but there are no signs of the base. Operation Golden Age is revealed to be a broad conspiracy including Whitaker, Yates, Grover and Finch as its coordinators. They have emptied London, so that the chosen people on the "spacecraft" (a dummy ship hidden in a bunker under London) will be the only people within range of the Timescoop when it's activated. Whitaker has discovered how to reverse time, so that only the chosen elite will ever have existed.

Finch frames the Doctor as the person behind the appearance of the dinosaurs, and has the Brigadier arrest him. The Doctor realises that Yates is the traitor within UNIT. Sergeant Benton lets the Doctor escape. He is recaptured, though the Brigadier asserts his authority to take the Doctor into UNIT custody. Meanwhile, Sarah escapes from the bunker, but is apprehended by Finch. Her escape alerts some of the passengers to the deception. Yates reveals their plans to the Doctor, Benton and the Brigadier. Yates is overpowered, and when Finch tries to stop the Doctor and the Brigadier's efforts, Benton incapacitates him in a struggle.

The Doctor and the Brigadier confront Grover and Whitaker, just as the duped environmentalists from the fake ship arrive and demand an explanation. The Timescoop is activated, but the Doctor (a Time Lord) is unaffected, allowing him to sabotage the device. Grover tries to use it again, but the Doctor reverses the machine's field, sending only Whitaker into the past.

Back at UNIT HQ, there are still matters to deal with. The Brigadier explains that Finch will be court-martialled, and Yates will be sent on extended sick leave and allowed to resign quietly (lamenting it was the best he could do for him). The Doctor reflects that Grover's motivations in wanting to fight pollution and environmental degradation were noble, but that he took the scheme too far in endangering all of mankind. The Doctor decides it's time for a holiday, and eagerly begins telling a reluctant Sarah about the planet Florana as the episode ends.

Production[edit]

Working titles for this story included Bridgehead from Space and Timescoop. The story title of the first episode was contracted to Invasion in the opening title sequence, in an attempt to conceal the central plot device of dinosaurs. However, this was undermined by the BBC listings magazine Radio Times, which carried a picture of a dinosaur in the listing for episode one.[1] Confusion of this episode with the 1968 serial The Invasion, in BBC documentation, was long thought to have led to the 1974 episode being wiped in error. Malcolm Hulke protested against the use of the title Invasion of the Dinosaurs, preferring the original working title of Timescoop, and felt the contraction for the first episode was silly, especially because the Radio Times gave the game away. In a response letter after transmission script editor Terrance Dicks pointed out that all the titles used for the project had originated in the Doctor Who production office. He agreed that the contraction to Invasion was a decision he now regretted but noted that "Radio Times are a law unto themselves".[1]

In the novelisation, adapted by Malcolm Hulke from his own scripts, no reference is made to the "Whomobile" (which was a prop contributed to the production at a late stage by actor Jon Pertwee). In the novel, the Doctor uses a military motorbike with electronic scanning equipment attached, as in the original scripts.

Locations used in London included: Westminster Bridge, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Haymarket, Covent Garden, Southall and Wimbledon Common.[citation needed] Location filming took place in September 1973, with studio recording commencing in October and November.[1]

Missing Episodes & Archive[edit]

All episodes of this story except Part One exist on their original PAL colour master tapes, with the first episode only existing as a monochrome 16mm film print. There is a longstanding fan myth that the tape of Part One was erased by mistake, having been confused with an episode of the Patrick Troughton serial The Invasion. In fact, BBC Enterprises issued specific instructions to wipe all six episodes of Invasion of the Dinosaurs, named as such, in August 1974, just six months after the story's transmission; for reasons unknown, however, only Part One was actually junked. As far as the BBC was concerned, the story had been wiped in its entirety; researchers for the 1976 documentary Whose Doctor Who found that none of the episodes were listed as existing in the BBC library.[2]

A black-and-white film print exists of the filmed sequences for Part One. This includes one scene of a scared scavenger stealing money from a dead milkman's satchel that was omitted from the broadcast version; this would have formed part of the deserted London montage. Black-and-white prints were used for practice by BBC film editors, in deciding where to make cuts, before cutting the master colour negatives. The surviving film recording of Episode 1 is the only telerecording of a Season 11 episode known to exist; this is probably due to the long-standing practice within BBC Enterprises of making a film print for overseas sales purposes prior to wiping any master tape. Colour 35mm film sequences from Episode 5 also exist. The first edit of Part Three, without sound effects or incidental music on the soundtrack (known within the BBC as a "71 edit"), also exists.

Cast notes[edit]

John Bennett would later return to Doctor Who as Li H'sen Chang in The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Peter Miles also appeared in Doctor Who in other roles in Doctor Who and the Silurians and Genesis of the Daleks, and in the radio serial Paradise of Death. Martin Jarvis had earlier appeared as Hilio in The Web Planet and would later appear as the Governor of Varos in Vengeance on Varos. Carmen Silvera had previously appeared in The Celestial Toymaker.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
Archive
"Part One (titled "Invasion")" 12 January 1974 (1974-01-12) 25:29 11.0 Chroma dot colour recovery
"Part Two" 19 January 1974 (1974-01-19) 24:43 10.1 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Part Three" 26 January 1974 (1974-01-26) 23:26 11.0 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Part Four" 2 February 1974 (1974-02-02) 23:33 9.0 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Part Five" 9 February 1974 (1974-02-09) 24:30 9.0 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Part Six" 16 February 1974 (1974-02-16) 25:34 7.5 PAL 2" colour videotape
[3][4][5]

After the episodes were broadcast, many younger viewers of the show complained that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was actually an Allosaurus.[6]

In The Discontinuity Guide (1998), Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping noted that "the special effects are woeful" and there was some padding, but the story "has many redeeming features, most notably the sombre location footage in the first episode".[7] David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker in their analysis in Doctor Who: The Television Companion, felt that unfortunately the "awfulness of the dinosaur scenes tends to overshadow the excellence of Paddy Russell's direction of the rest of the story and the high quality of the performances by the assembled cast". Though they were favourable towards the plot, they noted that "the story is poorly paced and contains a tremendous amount of padding".[8] In 2010, Mark Braxton of Radio Times described it as "a roaringly good script" and also praised the casting, but he criticised the special effects and the "grand plan" which "raises all sorts of questions about how the new, jump-suited generation of mankind was smuggled aboard the fake spaceship, or how a big, nuclear-generator-powered underground base could be built unnoticed".[1] DVD Talk's John Sinnott gave the story four out of five stars. Aside from the dinosaurs, he felt that the rest was "very good" with "a good amount of suspense, some nice twists", and also highlighted how the villains were "people who basically had the right ideas but that they took it way too far".[9] SFX reviewer Ian Berriman wrote that the serial was "crammed with unlikely plot turns ... but that just makes it all the more entertaining". He noted that it was problematic to have several cliffhangers rely on the appearance of the dinosaurs due to their poor realisation, but praised Sarah's competence and involvement with the plot.[10]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion
Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion.jpg
Author Malcolm Hulke
Cover artist Chris Achilleos
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
22
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
19 February 1976
ISBN 0-426-10874-4

A novelisation of this serial, written by Malcolm Hulke, was published by Target Books in February 1976 as Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion. In 1993 it was reprinted with the title Doctor Who - Invasion of the Dinosaurs, and different cover art. The novelisation features a prologue about the dinosaurs and ends with the Doctor consulting the Book of Ezekiel to determine the final fate of the Golden Age time travellers. An unabridged reading of the novelisation by actor Martin Jarvis was released on CD in November 2007 by BBC Audiobooks.[11]

Home media[edit]

This was the final complete story to be released by BBC Worldwide on VHS, in 2003.

The story was released on DVD in the UK on 9 January 2012 alongside the 1975 Tom Baker story The Android Invasion, together forming the U.N.I.T Files box set.[12] The DVD features a restored black-and-white version of Episode 1 as the default and also a 'best-endeavours' attempt at colour recovery of this episode as a branched-extra feature.[13] This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in Issue 121 on 21 August 2013.

In contrast to other wiped colour episodes from the Pertwee era where the missing colour information had been inadvertently recorded on the surviving black and white film copies as a sequence of visual artefacts/dots or chroma dots, in the case of Part One of this story this information was found to be incomplete, and only the red and green colour signal information was recoverable, requiring the missing blue signal information to be obtained via other means.

The new colour version of Part One featured on the DVD thus employs approximated blue colour information, and although the outcome is not up to normal DVD quality, it gives an impression of what the episode would have looked like when originally broadcast.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Braxton, Mark (7 March 2010). "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". Radio Times. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Molesworth, Richard Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes, Telos Publishing Ltd, Sept 2010
  3. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". Outpost Gallifrey. Retrieved 2008-08-30. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  6. ^ "Doctor Who in the BBC"
  7. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  8. ^ Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed. ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7. 
  9. ^ Sinnott, John (20 January 2012). "Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs". DVD Talk. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Berriman, Ian (6 January 2012). "Doctor Who: UNIT Files DVD Review". SFX. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion". Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Doctor Who: U.N.I.T Files Box Set (DVD)". Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Double Invasion due in January - Updated". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  14. ^ "Doctor Who DVD news: Update About Doctor Who - Story #071: Invasion of the Dinosaurs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 

External links[edit]

Fan reviews
Target novelisation