Tuesday 22 November 2011

365 Invasion of the Dinosaurs Part Six

EPISODE: Invasion of the Dinosaurs Part Six
TRANSMITTED: 16 February 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

The Doctor escapes, and runs into an army patrol where Finch tries to recapture him but he is rescued by Benton & the Brigadier. Sarah is locked up in a store cupboard but escapes through an air vent. Finding Finch has ordered his men to evacuate the Brigadier realises he's been duped and calls Geneva but is held at gunpoint by Mike Yates. He explains the plan to the Doctor who tries to talk him out of it. Distracted by a soldier bringing tea, Yates is overpowered by Benton. Sarah returns to the ship and explains to Mark they are under London. Benton arms the Doctor & Brigadier with ropes & explosives so they can raid the base under the tube station. The Elders don't believe Sarah's story and summon Sir Charles from one of the other ships. Journeying to Moorgate the Doctor & Brigadier encounter several dinosaurs. Grover admitting his story is overheard by Adam. The Doctor & Brigadier are menaced by a Triceratops on the station platform as they set their explosives. Adam releases Mark & Sarah as the Doctor blows his way into the lift shaft descending by rope while the Brigadier calls Benton on the radio and summons reinforcements. Benton is being held at gunpoint by Finch but manages to overpowers him. Sarah steps out the airlock demonstrating it's a fake. The Doctor knocks Butler out. The Elders move out the ship to stop Grover & Whitaker when the Doctor arrives with the Brigadier. Whitaker activates the machine, but the Doctor resists the time field and shuts it down. As he resets the machine Whitaker attempts to reactivate it, not realising that the Doctor has reversed the polarity sending him & Grover back to the past. The Brigadier tells them that Finch will be court martialed while the Yates will be given an opportunity to resign quietly. Benton tells the Doctor he's proud to be one of the few sergeants who have punched a general on the nose. The Doctor tries to tempt Sarah back into the Tardis with a trip to Florana......

Liz was watching the opening of this episode with and commented "Here I am a placid vegetarian dinosaur and I will run into your mouth" as it "attack" the Tyrannosaur. But after that point the episode is go go go all the way to the end that I can't fault at all and is a cracking resolution to the story. I'm pretty sure Sir Charles' spacesuit is a recycled one from Moonbase 3.

A couple of returning actors for you: Colin Bell plays Private Bryson, the soldier who distracts Captain Yates. He was C.P.O. Summers in The Sea Devils. Robinson, one of the newly awakened members of the ship's crew, is played by Timothy Craven who was a cell guard in Frontier in Space, and will be Short in Robot.

So Invasion of the Dinosaurs: The Dinosaurs aren't great. Let me rephrase that: The Tyrannosaurus Rex is really very very poor, or as my friend Karl pointed out "He is a little bit Chewits Monster isn't he?" The other Dinosaurs aren't bad especially those seen in this last episode - The "Brontosaur" ain't bad and the Triceratops, hidden in shadow, is really good. It's just we see the Tyrannosaur most often. Yes half the guest cast turn out to be in on the plan to wind back time: even the Brigadier comments "Is anyone not a traitor?" It's an interesting counterpoint to The Green Death where the environmentalists were the good guys: here they're trying to turn back time and commit mass genocide. The Doctor sympathises with their ideals, if not their methods, and that might have caused a few raised eyebrows at the time. Now that environmental concerns are much more mainstream I wonder how this story would go down and it's a bit of a shame it's not had a modern repeat. For my money it's one of the better Pertwee stories too and I thought that even before I realised how much of it was filmed in my home town! It's also Malcolm Hulke's last story for the show and is easily my favourite of the tales he wrote. He would novelise his tales, plus one of the Letts/Sloman stories, for Target Books until his death on 6th July 1979. His adaptation of the War Games was published posthumously. A lifelong atheist with communist sympathies, Hulke left instructions that his funeral should have no religious songs or reading. Terrance Dicks recalls turning up and finding himself sitting there with a bunch of his friends unsure of what to do. After a few minutes his friend and fellow writer Eric Paice got up, slapped the coffin, said "Cheerio Mac" and wandered out with the other guests following!

One last Kingston location for you: The Doctor & Brigadier drive under the "brontosaur" at Riverside Drive in Ham, close to Teddington Lock & Studios. It is also the closest location to Greycourt Court School where I had my secondary education.

The Invasion of the Dinosaurs was novelised by Malcolm Hulke as the Dinosaur Invasion and published on 19th February. It had one of the shortest availabilities of any Doctor Who book with this cover and was rejacketed in 1978, the second book to get a new cover. My local library, near to several of the filming locations, had a copy and following it's withdrawal from lending it now sits on my bookshelves.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs was the final complete story to be released by BBC Worldwide on VHS, in 2003. It is currently scheduled for a DVD release in January 2012 where it will be paired with another favourite of mine, The Android Invasion, in the UNIT Box. Attempts have been made to recolour episode one for release but because the results aren't up to broadcast standard both the best recolourisation and a black & white copy will be included. I don't yet know the identity of the commentary team, but I do know that like Inferno & Time Monster we are going to be treated to solo contributions from John Levene which I shall look forward to.

1 comment:

  1. This story was repeated on BBC Choice (BBC3's forerunner) on the evening of 15th October 1999. Episodes 1-3 were shown between 9.00pm and 10.30pm followed by episodes 4-6 between 11.00pm and 00.30am the same night as part of a dinosaur themed night that was transmitted under the title "Dino Nite Special" followed by a repeat screening a couple of weeks later between 31st October and 4th November. I know this is true because a)I remember watching it & b)I recorded the story of the tv on to a vhs video tape which I've still got.