Friday 18 November 2011

361 Invasion of the Dinosaurs Part Two

EPISODE: Invasion of the Dinosaurs Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 19 January 1974
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Paddy Russell
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - Invasion Of The Dinosaurs
Episode Format: 625 video

Fleeing the battle The Doctor & Sarah hide in a garage where they confront a peasant from the middle ages who vanishes before their eyes. They are found by the Brigadier and taken to UNIT's temporary HQ where he explains how the Dinosaurs started to appear in central London. The Doctor meets General Finch who immediately dismisses the Doctor's theory that the dinosaurs are being brought from the past. The Doctor & Brigadier go to a nearby sighting of a stegosaurus which the Doctor studies. Mike Yates expresses the opinion that he likes London better deserted with cleaner air. As the Doctor approaches the stegosaurus to capture it, it vanishes in front of their eyes. The Doctor deduces someone in central London is bringing the Dinosaurs to this time. In a hidden control room Butler plans the next time transference to bring dinosaurs to London but Professor Whitaker wishes to get on with the main project. The Doctor builds a weapon to immobilise a dinosaur, explaining it to Mike. General Finch wants Sarah evacuated but Sarah gets Mike to get her a pass to stay in London. Butler & Whitaker are visited by their friend from UNIT: Captain Yates. The Doctor is visited by Charles Grover, the minister responsible for the crisis. Yates warns Butler & Whitaker that the Doctor can trace them and they fear he will jeopardise Operation Golden age and he is ordered to sabotage the Doctor's weapon. The Doctor believes the the Dinosaurs are being used to clear London in order for something to be carried out in secret. The Doctor goes to capture a platiosaurus but discovers the gun doesn't work as the platiosaur vanishes and a tyrannosaurus bears down on him!

MIKE YATES IS A DIRTY STINKING TRAITOR! Jaw Drops! Here's a character that we've seen on screen for the last 3 years serving with UNIT and helping the Doctor yet here he's conspiring with those bringing the dinosaurs to London and sabotaging the Doctor's efforts. What's happened to Mike between the end of the Green Death, where something rather nasty happened to him, and here? This is a huge thing for the series to have done and they're to be applauded for it. Real character development. We're also getting a hint of environmentalist leanings from Mike, judging by his speech to Sarah. In the Green Death the environmentalists were the good guys - are they the bad guys here? Already there's enough hints for the viewer to join up the dots and work out who else is involved. The start of this episode features the worst worst cut from film to video ever as the soldiers return to their vehicle after confronting the tyrannosaur.

How many sugars does the Doctor take in his tea? He's piling them in for a while as we watch! His dinosaur stun gun is reused prop from Frontier in Space but it's more familiar here as publicity photos taken during this story keep cropping up showing Pertwee holding it! The Doctor points out that platiosaur is more commonly known as the brontosaur: in fact the brontosaur, a popular name for the large long necked & tail four legged dinosaur doesn't actually exist.

Most of the major guest cast for this serial appear in this episode. John Bennett plays General Finch in every episode of the series. He'll be back, somewhat controversially in make up, as Li H'sen Chang in The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Sir Charles Grover is Noel Johnson was King Thous in The Underwater Menace. Peter Miles, previously Dr. Lawrence in the Silurians, is Professor Whitaker here a year before his defining Doctor Who role as Nyder in Genesis of the Daleks. We've also seen the actor playing Butler, Martin Jarvis, before as Hilio in The Web Planet, and he too will return, this time as the Governor in Vengeance on Varos. Regular extra Pat Gorman appears in this episode as a UNIT Corporal while James Marcus, the Peasant, played Rask in Underworld. Outside of Doctor Who, he played Georgie in A Clockwork Orange.

In 1976 when the archive was audited for a Doctor Who documentary and then again in 1978 when Ian Levene first came to the BBC looking to buy episodes of Doctor Who the film and video library possessed no copies of Invasion of the Dinosaurs. In 1976 BBC Enterprises had black & white film copies of the first three episodes, the last episodes of Doctor Who to be telerecorded onto black & white film, but by 1978 these had been destroyed. And yet by 1981 transmission tapes of episodes 2-6 now resided in the film & video library. The original tapes were pulled out of storage for the story's release on video and were found to be covered in British Rail transit labels. In 1974 BBC Wales had opted out of showing Doctor Who on a Saturday evening instead showing a regional music show Gwerin 74. That year Doctor Who was shown on a Monday night (Time Warrior 1), Tuesday night (Time Warrior 2 - Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1) and then Sunday afternoons (Invasion of the Dinosaurs 2 onwards) This in itself may have seen Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1 separated from it's brethren. The theory is that BBC Wales accidentally held onto the tapes for longer than necessary only returning them at a later date accounting for their 1976 absence and yet their presence in 1981.

We're back the Kent Road location in Kingston for more filming in this episode as the Doctor & Unit confront a stegosaurus. This location is now under the Seven King's car park but most of the buildings seen in the background still exist. The white edged brick building in the background is the Kingston Guildhall where the council sits. Another building, the one with four chimney stack, currently houses a Jamie Oliver restaurant and was the site of a 371 bus crash some years ago the scars of which are still visible on the walls. When I first brought my wife Liz to Kingston she parked her car on the road very close to where the Doctor & Brigadier are standing..... and then had to leave it there for a week when she discovered the keys had gone missing! Did we mention the Riverside Vegetaria restaurant round the corner from this site already? We did, oh well, another plug, it really is that good :-)