CRRRaSh! 314 Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs

By Roy Mathur, on 2020-05-31, at 17:06:34--17:26:42 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Cast and Production

Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee
Sarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen
Director: Paddy Russell
Writer: Malcolm Hulke
Producer: Barry Letts
Second serial of season eleven, following The Time Warrior covered in 308, 6 x 25 mins, first broadcast from 12 January to 16 February 1974.

On this Day in the UK

Spice Girls, Melanie/Mel C/Sporty Spice/Melanie Jayne Chisholm was born.

Also, god help me, Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody was still at no. 1.

What Happens

The Doctor returns Sarah to London of her own time, but the streets are deserted. Later they are almost run over when trying to hitch a ride from a spivvy looking man in a rush. He's off to rob a jewellery shop when the pair run into him again. He runs off and is later found by the pair in pool of blood by a wrecked car.

After confronting a medieval man, being arrested for looting, and seeing a t-rex, they find out that London has been evacuated due to an invasion of randomly appearing dinosaurs.

We find out that this is the first stage of a plot, using a time manipulation machine, to clear London, then return the earth to a cleaner, unpolluted prehistoric time, devoid of civilisation, when an elite selection of colonists (who believe they are on a spaceship heading to a new earth-like planet) can begin again.

Fairly early on there is a shock reveal that our old friend, UNIT Captain Mike Yates, has been radicalised and is part of the plot.

When the Doctor blows his way into the headquarters of the conspiracy and stops the machine, the chief plotters try to stop him, but because he has "reversed the polarity", they send themselves back into prehistory.

What I Thought

The scene when we glimpse the dead and bloody robber, even for a short period, is something we would never see on Doctor Who today.

The dinosaur models are based on the old view of dinosaurs as slow, lumbering reptilians, not the fast feathered predators we now know them to be. Such is the progress of palaeontological science, though that old look is something I appreciate because it reminds me of a Natural History Museum A3-sized poster of a t-rex I had on my childhood bedroom wall.

The filming locations in 70s London, including Regent's Park Outer Circle (my current favoured parking spot), also brought back fond memories. Although I'm one of those people who actually like the gravel pit and quarry locations favoured by the Beeb for use as alien planets in Doctor Who and Blake's Seven, it's nice to get back to the capital once in a while. Man, I miss my walks around central London. Hurry and begone evil virus!

I felt letting Mike Yates off with a hushed up resignation instead of a heavy prison sentence was a joke. He was a traitor involved in a plot to destroy most of the human race!


This is the first appearance of the Whomobile, a weird hot-rodded three-wheeler made out to look like a delta-winged hovercraft. It was custom made for, and owned by, Jon Pertwee. It had a top speed of 104 MPH.