‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ (TV)

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‘INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Dodgy Dinosaurs

It’s time for some ‘Doctor Who’ adventures with U.N.I.T.!

‘The U.N.I.T. Files’ DVD box set of ‘Doctor Who’ is very enjoyable to have and watch! I purchased this DVD box set when it was released in January 2012. The box set contains two stories. There’s ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ with Jon Pertwee and there’s also ‘The Android Invasion’ with Tom Baker.

Both of the two stories are action-packed adventures featuring the Doctor working alongside U.N.I.T. back in the 1970s. Both of these stories are very engaging and action-packed to watch. I’m sure that you will enjoy these two classic stories. They’re worthy to add to your ‘Doctor Who’ DVD collection!

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‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ is a six-part adventure by Malcolm Hulke on a 2-disc DVD set. Disc 1 contains the story, whilst Disc 2 contains the special features. It features Jon Pertwee as the Doctor.

There’s also Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith with Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates and John Levene as Sergeant Benton. And of course it features the dinosaurs!

This story has been very enjoyable, full of socio-political intrigue and messages running throughout. It’s such a shame that the dinosaurs didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations as they look so dodgy.

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The story has the Doctor and Sarah Jane returning to London after their previous adventure. They find London to be deserted, except for some looters, minimal army forces and ‘terrifying’ dinosaurs.

Eventually the Doctor and Sarah Jane meet up with the Brigadier and U.N.I.T. to solve this crisis. But it turns out there’s a conspiracy as scientists try to roll back time and bring forward ‘the golden age’.

I always find Malcolm Hulke’s stories very reflective of the socio-political atmosphere of the 1970s. This story is no exception, as it deals with issues that are causes harm and pollution to Earth society.

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I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with the climate of the 1970s by this period, but I enjoy watching these ‘Doctor Who’ stories that reflect it. They’re balanced with so good storytelling and action adventure.

Seeing London deserted in this story was mesmerising to watch. It was interesting to spot some famous London remarks and see the London streets that were empty with no people walking there.

Jon Pertwee delivers a brilliant performance as the dandy action-packed Third Doctor. I like Jon’s balance of suave elegance in his Doctor as he attempts to oppose those destroying the planet Earth.

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He works things out very well when solving the mystery of the dinosaurs and is very good during a chase sequence by army soldiers. I also like how he forms a good relationship with Sarah Jane Smith.

In this story, we’re introduced to the Doctor’s new car called the Whomobile. Jon Pertwee had this car made for him in the series. It does cool looking like a space-car, although I do prefer Bessie best.

Elisabeth Sladen is lovely as Sarah Jane Smith in this adventure. She and the Doctor have just started in their relationship as travelling companions and already she’s so resourceful and adventurous here.

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Sarah Jane does get herself into trouble when getting locked in a room with a Tyrannosaurus Rex and misled by people she thinks she can trust. But she’s on the right path, even on a fake spaceship.

Nicholas Courtney is great as the Brigadier in this adventure. The Brigadier is under orders from General Finch in this story and finds things pretty baffling when the dinosaurs are attacking London.

He’s very relieved when the Doctor and Sarah Jane show up to help out in this adventure. I like it that despite being ordered to treat the Doctor as a criminal, the Brigadier is as ever very loyal to him.

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Richard Franklin returns as Captain Mike Yates in this adventure. Mike Yates has recently been on a period of sick leave following his latest brainwashing by the B.O.S.S. computer in ‘The Green Death’.

But unfortunately Mike turns traitor in this story, as he’s working with the people behind the ‘Golden Age’ project. But he won’t commit acts of murder as he sabotages the Doctor’s experiments.

I have met Richard Franklin in real-life as conventions and he’s pleasant to talk to. This is a standout story for Richard Franklin as Mike Yates. I’ve now had a photo of him from that story signed by him.

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John Levene returns as Sergeant Benton in this story. Benton stands out very well here, as he’s very loyal to the Doctor and helps him out to escape by telling him to ‘get busy’ with his ‘Venusian oojah’.

There’s also a moment when Benton is threatened with a gun by General Finch when ordered by the Brigadier to bring in reinforcements. He gets to overpower the General with one punch on the nose.

The guest cast in this story are superb. There’s Noel Johnson as Sir Charles Grover, an M.P. in London. Sir Charles seems a pleasant, well-meaning person. But don’t be taken away by his charms.

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There’s also Peter Miles as Professor Whittaker, who’s been conducting time-travel experiments. Peter would later play Nyder in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and he’s great as this cold, practical scientist.

There’s also Martin Jarvis as Butler, who works with Whittaker on his experiments. Martin has appeared in ‘Doctor Who’ before and it was superb to see him in this role before he became famous.

There’s also John Bennett as General Finch. Finch is a stiff upper-lip military man who is also in with the ‘Golden Age’ project like Mike Yates. However his tactics are more ruthless and cold than Mike’s.

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On board the fake spaceship, Sarah Jane meets Terence Wilton as Mark with Carmen Silvera (who played Mrs. Gray in the ‘Dad’s Army’ episode ‘Mum’s Army’) as Ruth and Brian Badcoe as Adam.

This leads me on to sadly talk about the dinosaurs in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. Yes! The dinosaurs are pathetic in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’. I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I didn’t find them convincing in this.

The dinosaurs are static throughout many scenes of the story and didn’t look so threatening as they should. I know they tried their best with puppets, but surely they could have done better than that.

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The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s an ‘Episode 1 Colour’ option. I don’t know why they had a colour and black-and-white option for this episode, although the colour’s not great.

There’s a commentary with Richard Franklin, Peter Miles, Terence Wilton, designer Richard Morris, script editor Terrance Dicks and director Paddy Russell, moderated by Toby Hadoke. There’s also an info-text commentary option to enjoy.

There’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Sensorites’ with William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford.

On Disc 2, there’s the ‘People, Power and Puppets’ making-of documentary, deleted scenes, the ‘Now and Then’ locations featurette and the ‘Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen Part 1’ interview.

There’s also a ‘John Levene Commentary’ on ‘Episode Five’ of the story, a photo gallery of the story, ‘Billy Smart’s Circus’ and PDF materials including a ‘Radio Times Listing’ of the story. There’s also an Easter Egg to look out for on the first menu of the special features disc of ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’.

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‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ has been a great story to watch from the Jon Pertwee era of ‘Doctor Who’. Despite the dodgy dinosaurs, the story is well-written by Malcolm Hulke and the cast are pretty good. The story is also reflective of the 1970s, focusing on socio-political issues from the time.

‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ rating – 8/10


The previous story

For the Third Doctor was

For Sarah Jane was

For the Brigadier was

For Mike Yates was

  • ‘Deep Blue’ (Book)

For Benton was

  • ‘Deep Blue’ (Book)
The next story

For the Third Doctor is

  • ‘Death to the Daleks’ (TV)

For Sarah Jane is

  • ‘Death to the Daleks’ (TV)

For the Brigadier is

For Mike Yates is

  • ‘Planet of the Spiders’ (TV)

For Benton is

  • ‘Island of Death’ (Book)
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2 thoughts on “‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ (TV)

  1. I was hoping this would’ve gotten a cgi dinosaur makeover Tim as on the whole this is a brilliant story letdown by those plastic dinosaurs.

    This story is best for Mikes betrayal & kudos for Letts & Dicks on not copping out with Mikes betrayal, it shows the devastating consequences of Mikes actions & i like how he was discharged by the Brig on sick leave & that the story doesn’t do the forgive & forget everything is ok that Moffat does, Mike pays for his mistakes here & is then redeemed in Planet Of The Spiders.

    A excellent in-depth brilliant written review my friend, you nailed the tone, story & characters brilliantly my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes it would have been nice to have had CGI dinosaurs replace the dodgy plastic ones we saw in the story. It would have made the story better and more convincing with realistic looking dinosaurs. I’m surprised the BBC didn’t consider it when releasing the story for DVD.

    Oh yes, Mike’s betrayal is a standout aspect of the story that is well-remembered. I like how that aspect of the story is handled and that Mike Yates is let off quickly following his betrayal and that it doesn’t quickly resolve the matter at the end of the story.

    It is good that Mike’s story carries on in ‘Planet of the Spiders’ where we see him make his final appearance in ‘Doctor Who’ via the TV series.

    Many thanks, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my review on this story. I’m pleased you like how I sum up the characters and the tone of this story.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

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