Dinosaurs are invading London in this 6 part adventure for The Doctor (Pertwee) and Sarah-Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) that was written by Malcolm Hulke and ran from 12 January to 16 February, 1974.
The TARDIS arrives back in town after their previous adventure to find the bustling city deserted, but for a few roving survivors. UNIT, under the command of Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) is trying to maintain control and organize the evacuation as pterodactyls, tyrannosaurs, stegosaurus and brontosaurus are appearing about town and running amuck (though sadly most of the effects are more fun and goofy than terrifying, doesn’t mean that they aren’t enjoyable though).
As Doctor and companion investigate we learn that there is a big experiment and plan at work in the center of London, organized by General Finch (John Bennett), Professor Whitaker (Peter Miles) and Sir Charles Grover (Noel Johnson). Also sadly at their side is UNIT’s own Yates (Richard Franklin), still recovering from the events of The Green Death. The group has decided that humanity is on the brink, that it is about to destroy itself, and have selected a chosen few to reseed humanity.
Sarah-Jane ends up amongst this group, who believe that they are aboard a colony ship in the far future travelling towards a new home. The journalist quickly susses out that they aren’t in the future, that they are being brainwashed and controlled and the planet they are to repopulate is in fact Earth, which, through the time experiments being conducted, will be regressed to an earlier time, so that these select few can start anew.
Working separately, both The Doctor and Sarah-Jane do their best at stopping this dastardly plan, though more than once the Time Lord finds himself in trouble as he squares off against the giant animals with a weapon that should work, but Yates’ tampering causes malfunctions.
Despite going about it the wrong way, the villains motivations in this piece are completely understandable, even The Doctor sympathizes with their plight, but he also reminds them that the real challenge is to move forward, and try to get civilization to a place where we aren’t a threat to one another and our planet.
While the dinosaurs may be a little goofy looking they are nothing when compared to the awesomeness that is the new flashy Who-mobile, I don’t know how often it will show up, seeing as Pertwee’s tenure is almost done, and I don’t ever recall seeing Tom Baker in it, but it is pretty cool looking…
Overall, a fun story, even with the goofy effects, I loved watching the dinos tromp around town, and I like the way Yates character is playing out as he recovers from his brainwashing that happened to him in The Green Death…
Next week, those dastardly pepperpots return in Death To The Daleks!!!!