The Doctor and Sarah return to 20th Century London to find it deserted. Initially arrested as looters, they are soon back with UNIT. The Brigadier explains that central London has been evacuated due to the unexplained and random appearance of prehistoric monsters.
The Doctor and Sarah discover that the monsters are being brought through time by two scientists, Whitaker and his henchman Butler, as part of a conspiracy to clear London of people.
- People, Power and Puppetry - Cast and crew look back on the making of this story
- Billy Smart’s Circus - featuring Jon Pertwee
- Deleted Scenes
- Now and Then Returning to the filmed locations
- Photo Gallery
- Easter Egg - Seek, locate and discover what happens when the Doctor meets the dreaded Floor Manager…
- Production Information
- Coming Soon Trailer
- Radio Times Listings Programme Subtitles
- Digitally remastered picture and sound quality with Episode 1 in monochrome, and 2-6 in colour
COMMENT - SPOILERS AHEAD
Episode 1 – Paddy Russell (Director) and Toby Hadoke (Moderator)
On the opening scenes, Paddy Russell: Four in the morning. Deserted London.
Fact: Whilst Paddy Russell states that the errant canine roaming the deserted streets was pure coincidence; the Information Test states that is was a “stunt dog” called Heidi.
On Elisabeth Sladen, Paddy Russell: Lovely girl. Wonderful actress.
Fact: The information text confirms that the new TARDIS key is based upon an “Ankh” image.
On Jon Pertwee’s relationship with fans, Paddy Russell: …was always civil. It was important for him.
On herself, Paddy Russell: I was always a good actors director. I was always listening to actors about their characters. I did my own casting and it was up to the actors to round it (‘their character’) out.
On refusing/hinting that she did not want to direct a dalek story, Paddy Russell: I used to say, “I cannot get a performance out of a dalek”.
On the Pterodactyl “puppet”, Paddy Russell: We didn’t do badly considering. That’s the best one.
On Patrick Troughton, Paddy Russell: Patrick was an actor’s actor.
Fact: Just before the Doctor and Sarah Jane are hoisted before the Court Marshall, there is a UNIT soldier reading as “nude girly magazine” according to the Information Text.
On the Tyrannosaurus Rex “puppet”, Toby Hadoke: It’s got a bit of dribble, that one.
On episode one, Paddy Russell: I thoroughly enjoyed that.
Comment: Today, I have commissioned a sterling silver trophy, in memory of Paddy Russell, to be awarded to a commentary moderator who has demonstrated the greatest fortitude in the face of adversity (i.e. the most un-chatty, cooperative commentary guest). The first recipient of this award goes to Toby Hadoke for successfully “pulling teeth” from Paddy Russell during this episode commentary. A challenge that I think he just about succeeded.
Episode Two onwards – Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Richard Franklin (Capt. Yates), Peter Miles (Whitaker), Richard Morris (Production Designer) and Toby Hadoke (Moderator).
On the special effects from 1973, Terrance Dicks: What a great idea for this (story) to be redone with real CGI. There’s a bit of a project for someone.
On his character, Peter Miles: I’m as innocent as a lamb.
The commentary of INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS was recorded in 2011 the day after the funeral of Nicholas Courtney, Terrance Dicks: Isn’t he lovely? Look at that moustache. There’s some really funny stuff between him and Jon.
Richard Franklin: A very dry, witty way.
Toby Hadoke: A self-effacing sense of humour.
Peter Miles: I’m terribly upset at his passing away. He and I almost had identical careers. It’s almost difficult for me to talk about it but thank you.
On the story context and constructions, Terrance Dicks: A plot behind the plot.
On his character, Richard Franklin: I don’t really like the word ‘traitor’. Misguided idealist.
On his filming several DOCTOR WHO stories, Peter Miles: I’ve never been in quarry in my life. 18 episodes of DOCTOR WHO and never on location.
On DOCTOR WHO regular, Peter Miles: Pat Gorman! He’s in everything.
On Jon Pertwee, Richard Franklin: Jon have me his Father’s dinner jacket and I still wear it.
On acting in DOCTOR WHO, Richard Franklin: We took it terribly seriously.
Terrance Dicks: You can’t send it up. Nick takes it seriously.
Fact: Following her first CSO sequence (in the warehouse), Sladen was tricked – by the crew - into thinking that she needs special ‘CSO underwear’ otherwise the technology could see through her clothing.
Fact: Sladen was asked to wear a padded bra to enhance her physique thus becoming more voluptuous. Why? You will have read the most revealing Information Text ever. No spoilers here.
On the acting of John Levene’s Sgt. Benton, Peter Miles: The Perry Como of acting. Very relaxed actor.
On seeing Sarah Jane Smith in the “spaceship’s brain-washing chair”, Terrance Wilton: It looks as if she’s on MASTERMIND.
On comparing Pertwee and Tom Baker, Paddy Russell: I find Jon easier to work with. The second Tom one (HORROR OF FANG ROCK) was more difficult to work with.
Fact: In episode five, Leslie Bates features as an UNIT Soldier, however the actor holds the auspicious title of being the first actor to be filmed for DOCTOR WHO. He was the “shadow” that fell across the pre-historic wasteland in AN UNEARTHLY CHILD, and this was the first scene filmed ever!
On fandom, Peter Miles: I had my last fan letter three days ago!
In PEOPLE, POWER AND PUPPETRY, the cast and crew discuss the making of INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS and, considering I have seen the all the previous “Making of…” featurettes, I have to say it’s fascinating. But, then again, I’m a child of the sixties that for four years Pertwee was, to coin a phrase, ‘my Doctor’, flouncing around in frills and velvet as if he owned the universe, so revealing the mysteries behind the drama series is always to be engaging.
So, encamped on the sofa with a Sherbet dib-dap (so very seventies), Space Dust exploding on my tongue and novelty Christmas socks ‘fal lal lal lal lal lal lal lal la’ing uncontrollably, the featurette details its origins from an idea (ill-conceived?) for ‘dinosaurs in London’ from Terrance Dicks to the casting (‘thumbs-up’ from Letts and Pertwee) of Elisabeth Sladen to the manifestation – or infestation – of dowelling-driven rubber puppets.
A bizarre aberration from this featurette is it's 'presenter/narrator' - Matthew Sweet. How on Earth his oversized, badly tailored velour jacket - you can only see his mitts when he raised his arms to emulate David Attenborough's gesticulations - got passed the BBFC 'censorship' is anyone's guess. Shambolic dress sense and just as ridiculous as a rubber puppet. Or, perhaps, he is a puppet?
The DELETED SCENES featurette is brief – like this comment – but most welcome.
With the considerable support of DOCTOR WHO fan stalwart, Chuck Foster, INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS – NOW AND THEN rediscovers the locations used on the story that, so it seems, have not changed in some forty years. Certainly, as regular commuter through the City of London’s Spitalfields it is only Moorgate that has seen the Architect’s drafting pencil in the intervening decades.
The Information Text is essential, red-flag reading – don’t skimp on this as it reveals more about the production of the story that had previously seemed to have been lost or hidden, depending on your cynical point of view. Please, view the information text.
The EASTER EGG makes a welcome return and this time is a clock. Find out for yourselves..!
The digitally remastered episodes are as crystal-clear so much so that you can clearly define the embroidered pattern on the Doctors shirt and the ‘make-up tape’ that is used to adhere the Brigadier’s lop-sided moustache to Courtney’s Philtrum. It is testament to the commissioning work of 2|entertain that the unofficial expertise of ‘the restoration team’ ensures that INVASION OF THE DINOSAURS can be seen, probably, for the first time in the highest of quality on a TV screen. Indeed, in 1974, due to the poor quality of colour television sets and signal reception (if you were not affected by electrical power shortages at the time) this will the first time that you will have seen the drama with such precision and saturation. The first episode has been ‘colourised’ and is, quite remarkable.
In 2005, John Levene recorded a short, yet enigmatic, commentary to accompany episode five, and, as you can expect, it is a pure antidote to the Christmas excess that you’ve most certainly endured. Wonderful.
In a poignant featurette, the first (of a series?) DOCTOR WHO STORIES features ELISABETH SLADEN (PART ONE) as she discusses her casting, character development and working relationship with both Pertwee and the production crew. Intriguing, witty and heartbreaking in all good measure.
And, again, read the Information Text.
CASTING SPOILER AHEAD
UPDATED 11.01.2012 - If you want find out the history of the casting for Sarah Jane Smith for yourself, we would recommend reading the information text carefully on the DVD.
If not, read on.
The first choice for the character was actress, April Walker and not Elisabeth Sladen.