Invasion Of The Dinosaurs: Doctor Who: Season 11
Invasion Of The Dinosaurs SYNOPSIS:
The Doctor return to contemporary London to find it deserted. After meeting some looters and being attacked by pterodactyl the they are arrested by the regular army on suspicion of being looters themselves but the Brigadier intervenes before they can be imprisoned.
Dinosaurs are appearing and disappearing all over London. The Doctor wants to capture one and see if he can trace who is bringing them through time. Professor Whitaker and his assistant Butler are using time scoop technology in a bunker beneath London to bring the dinosaurs to the present. Assisting them in Operation Golden Age in this conspiracy is UNIT's Captain Mike Yates, Army liaison General Finch and minister Charles Grover.
Collectively they plan to reverse time and ensure humanity hasn't existed apart from the handpicked volunteers they have brainwashed into believing they are already aboard a spaceship bound for a new clean planet. General Finch has the Doctor framed as the man behind the dinosaur invasion and Sarah is captured by Grover and wakes up on a 'spaceship' in the bunker.
It's up to Sarah to convince the other ecological minded "passengers" they are part of a massive hoax, while the Doctor tries to clear his name with UNIT and find the traitor in their ranks that will lead him to the head of Operation Golden Age.
Return to top of page
Invasion Of The Dinosaurs DETAILS:
Return to top of page
Invasion Of The Dinosaurs CAST & CREW
Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor)
Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)
Nicholas Courtney — Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Richard Franklin — Captain Mike Yates
John Levene — Sergeant Benton
Noel Johnson — Sir Charles Grover
Peter Miles — Professor Whittaker
Martin Jarvis — Butler
John Bennett — General Finch
Terence Wilton — Mark
Carmen Silvera — Ruth
Brian Badcoe — Adam
Ben Aris — Lieutenant Shears
Dave Carter — Sgt Duffy
Martin Taylor — Corporal Norton
George Bryson — Provate Ogden
John Caesar — R/T Soldier
Pat Gorman — UNIT Corporal
Colin Bell — Private Bryson
Timothy Craven — Robinson
Trevor Lawrence — Lodge
Terry Walsh — Looter
Gordon Reid — Phillips
James Marcus — Peasant
Production Staff for Serial WWW:
Writer - Malcolm Hulke
Director - Paddy Russell
Script editor - Terrance Dicks
Producer - Barry Letts
Return to top of page
Invasion Of The Dinosaurs REVIEWS
Now, there's something really wrong with a major element of this Hulking 5 parter…errrrrrrr…6 parter.
Remember how Invasion Of The Dinosaurs was packaged to Australia? First episode was in B & W so they just re-edited episode titles and took out the part one reprise and cliffhanger and we got a cut down colour only version of parts 1 to 5. That made no sense. Funny, remember finally seeing part 1 on UKTV, it was a really good set up episode of deserted London and had a great genuinely creepy atmosphere…and there were no plastic dinosaurs...ok maybe a couple.
Let's face it, the cheap plastic dinosaur props are really what let Invasion Of The Dinosaurs down, all that's lacking is the hands of the two effects guys holding them. Why attempt something this ambitious if they couldn't do it? Dr Who surely had a reputation of having only 3 pounds to spend in the effects budget of each episode? So why do something that will require 3000 ponds per prop? There's no excuse this time it's plain shoddy. Especially when they fight there plastic mouths and heads bend when they try to get to grips with something and the CSO doesn't help.
The thing is it drags a reasonable story down, the support cast are all good, there's twists and turns, and UNIT get to do a lot. The Brig and his cohorts are all in good form, with Mike Yates extra added dimension of being a traitor and working with the bad guys. Who woulda thought he was a closet greenie? Funny thing is it's not black and white in this story, more grey, the bad guys like Whitaker and Finch are more misguided than bad just their methods are in question. It's also amazing on the spaceship to another world they thought to clothe everyone in the world's finest denim circa 1974. Oh and that roofless factory complex is also featured in a chase scene as it was featured in EVERY british show of the 70's. 6/10
One is the dinosaurs, (more later.)
The other is that there is actually an interesting and complex plot struggling to get out. Episode one, all the more creepy and John Wyndham-ish by being in black and white is chock full of good ol' creepy Who moments with London being deserted (again) and stores being looted and whatnot. Then it ramps up a bit with UNIT actually doing something for a change and the introduction of scientists Whitaker and Butler who want to get everyone out of London for their own purposes. But UNIT doesn't stop there. General Finch is on on the whole deal and low and behold so is Mike Yates!
Yes; Mike finally grew a character and he's a complete traitor! Plus, he is sabotaging UNIT left right and centre. Meanwhile, Sarah wakes up to find she is on a spaceship bound for another planet which turns out is really housed in the basement. Showing some courage she escapes from the spaceship and alerts UNIT who come and raid the place and the scientists are then sent back in time via their time machine. So unusually for a Pertwee six parter there is enough plotty goodness to go round in Invasion Of The Dinosaurs
Then comes the dinosaurs. Yeah, thanks Barry. Next time someone says they can make real cool and realistic style dinosaurs tell 'em to stick it up their arse. It also doesn't help that the cliffhangers for episodes one, two and five are all exactly the same. Yes; the Doctor being menaced by a T-Rex (and I don't mean the band). Okay, they are fake, fake FAKE!! And that is really sad cos they practically overshadow a story that contains some great ideas, some excellent acting and even some fine direction. Plus, the Doctor, Sarah, Yates, Benton and the Brig are given some meaty things to do. If it were a Friends episode, it would be "The One With The Really Crap Dinosaurs". Starring a whinging Ross Geller.
I read that Barry Letts went ahead with this one as a friend of his guaranteed him that realistic dinosaurs were achievable.
He was very disappointed with the result.
But you know what - this story didn't really need dinosaurs. Sure the title says otherwise - and I know that Whitaker used them to clear London... but did it need to be Dinosaurs? It could have been something much easier to realise... like maybe, I don't know, Gel guards? OK, would you believe Sea Devils? But you know what I mean - the dinosaurs aren't the crucial part to the main plot... which is actually quite interesting.
OK, with a 6 parter we've become accustomed to the padding - but the bulk of the padding with Invasion Of The Dinosaurs is in part one... and all of it is kind of creepy and works well thanks to there being an absence of... well... everything! I too saw this for the first time when UKTV showed it for the first time (I think it may have coincided with the 35th anniversary?) and found the first episode very cool... until the very end.
Yep... the Dinosaurs really do ruin this one unfortunately.
The stuff on the "spaceship", and the realisation that they're not actually on a spaceship - that all works really well... if it only it was "Invasion of the well realised enemy that is quite menacing - just as menacing as say a Dinosaur", then this would be a much better story! Well, a much more watchable story anyway!