Which One : The ‘Dinosaur’ Invasion Of Earth.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Sarah-Jane : Liz Sladen
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Captain Mike Yates : Richard Franklin
Sergeant Benton : John Levene
Sir Charles Grover : Noel Johnson
Professor Whittaker : Peter Miles
Butler : Martin Jarvis
General Finch : John Bennett
Mark : Terence Wilton
Ruth : Carmen Silvera
Adam : Brian Badcoe
Lieutenant Shears : Ben Aris
Sgt Duffy : Dave Carter
Corp. Norton : Martin Taylor
Pvt. Ogden : George Bryson
R/T Soldier : John Caesar
UNIT Corporal : Pat Gorman
Pvt. Bryson : Colin Bell
Robinson : Timothy Craven
Lodge : Trevor Lawrence
Looter : Terry Walsh
Philips : Gordon Reid
Peasant : James Marcus
Written By : Malcolm Hulke
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 12 January – 16 February 1974.
Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor returns Sarah-Jane to London but the streets are deserted and everyone seems to have fled – except the looters and the Army, who have placed London under martial law. They find out why, when they are attacked by dinosaurs; which randomly appear and disappear through a time anomoly.
Whats good : Hugely ambitious episode of Who. The Dinosaur SFX. The eerie effect of deserted London streets.
Whats bad : Too ambitious. The Dinosaur SFX. The pterodactyl.
Review With Spoilers : Invasion Of The Dinosaurs is the 2nd episode of season 11 and something of a harkback to Hartnell’s; The Dalek Invasion Of Earth.
The Doctor returns Sarah-Jane to London a few weeks after they left in The Time Warrior only to find the streets deserted and under martial law. The pair are initially mistaken for looters and arrested but released when the Brigadier intervenes.
Due to a time anomoly, dinosaurs have been randomly popping in and out of time. The Doctor suspects someone of a perpertrating a massive time experiment and using the dinosaurs as cover – to clear London.
Invasion Of The Dinosaurs has always been a particular derided episode of Who due to the dinosaur SFX.
This is a little unfair, although there’s no doubt that the dinosaurs SFX doesn’t convince – now, when casting a modern eye over proceedings. The SFX is no better or worse – than any other dinosaur feature films of the mid-70’s. The SFX could easily be considered on a par with say The Land That Time Forgot.
“Yes! I believe these dinosaurs are being used purely as a terror weapon in order to clear central London! Well…..presumably, so that some vast project can be carried out. Something for which people will get in the way!” The Doctor
The Who production also clearly didn’t scrimp on the Dinosaur SFX either (the charge of low-budget usually being laid at Who’s door when it cones to the SFX) and (apart from the odd-looking T-Rex’s and plastic looking Pterodactyls) – should be commended for having a go at such ambitious material, for a Who episode.
Of course, as the production is Invasion Of The Dinosaurs then for some, it will live and die on how the dinosaurs look. That’s fine – but some context to this is needed.
There is also the inclusion of deserted London streets – as a backdrop to the Dinosaurs and this is by far the cleverest part of Invasion Of The Dinosaurs. Using camera placement and clever editing techniques (and the odd still photograph) to cleverly invoke London – as a ghost town (just like Hartnell’s – The Dalek Invasion Of Earth).
The earlier scenes of The Doctor and Sarah-Jane negoiating these quiet streets, attempting to work out what is going down and follow a looter – is the most effective part of this episode.
Also guest appearing in this as Scientists are; Martin Jarvis, who was also in Vengeance On Varos and Peter Miles who was so sneakily effective as Nyder in Genesis Of The Daleks.
Invasion Of The Dinosaurs can be taken as a love-it-or-hate-it episode. For some, the Dino effects will make it laughable but for others who can see past this and appreciate the standard of SFX, available in the era.
Most will see an effective dino B-movie style tale involving nice set pieces on the deserted streets of London with Dinosaurs. If it is to be derided, then it should also be commended at the same time – for its ambitiousness.