on 31 March 2012
The first release of 2012 is the long-awaited UNIT Files boxed set, and whilst it would have been nice to have the ropey 70's Dino effects CGI'ed like the Day of the Daleks release late last year, it still manages to impress. First off, my main reason behind being so eager to get my hands on this box set is the recoloured episode one on the Invasion of the Dinosaurs serial. And whilst the restoration team in co-operation with the Colour Recovery Working Group have done an amazing job in trying to restore this classic episode, it does not feature the level of colour detail that the team has boasted in the past. Still, you can't take anything away from their efforts, the episode is still very much watchable, I just think that this story was rush released and should have been delayed in it's release so that more effort and time could be applied to obtaining a more satisfactory result on recolouring the print.
Now that I have got that off my chest, I would like to concentrate on the main attractions. The stories themselves. 1974's Invasion of the Dinosaurs is a very Pertwee styled serial. The effects might not be up to the standard of modern Who or Jurassic Park but hey, for 1974, they don't look too bad. I think the only reason that fans stress so much about the Dino's is because they feature so largely in the whole story, whereas the Loch Ness monster from "Terror of the Zygons" is equally appalling, but features for no more than 2 minutes on screen. This is common in Doctor Who, other examples of this are featured in the serials "The Silurians", "Colony in Space", "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" and "The Caves of Androzani". In my opinion though, I am not too bothered by Doctor Who's humorous visual effects and take them as part of the charm and overall appeal of the show.
Malcolm Hulke's script of Invasion of the Dinosaurs is definitely one of his strongest, in terms of political and ecological meddling. So strong is this under-lying theme that it nearly envelops the story and ruins it. The plot concerning some scientists that create a device that can transport ships filled with "chosen" human beings back millions of years to the age of the dinosaurs is ludicrous. What the hell were the humans going to do when they lived in a world that was dominated by 30-foot tall mouths on legs? Furthermore, the concept that General's, politicians and celebrities can be indoctrinated into fleeing the earth and traveling to a new planet far from our own is preposterous. I love Mac's writing and don't deny his imaginative ability but come on, this is the Jon Pertwee era, not the Tom Baker era, we are still in a mainly earth based storytelling format here.
Well, having viewed the story several times in the past and now in full colour, I can tell you that this story does succeed in entertaining the viewer and keeping things simple. The overall plot is nice and easy to follow, unlike the latest Moffat series that is and the acting is as ever sublime from Jon Pertwee and the regulars, with additional greatness coming from some of Doctor Who's past familiar faces. The story is well presented and is most definitely a success in terms of sheer entertainment. Highly recommended.
Terry Nation, at this point had his feet well and truly under the table when he submitted his script for Doctor Who's 13th season. 1975's The Android Invasion is a story that has never featured highly in fans opinions and for the life of me, I can't see why. The first time I grabbed hold of this tale was via the now defunct BBC Video and I can tell you that I fell in love with it straight away, for a number of reasons. Firstly, nearly the whole story is set in the village, and what a charming and heartwarming village it is. The story is almost entirely filmed, and as noted in previous reviews, Doctor Who should have been made on film from the start, film adds dramatic tension and a lot of moody atmosphere. You end up losing all this when you go into the studio. Furthermore, we would then be able to have all the classic series serials on 1080p Blu-Ray.
The whole story has a brilliantly simple but entertaining plot. And one which has been expertly written by Nation. For me, this is probably my second favourite serial from the 13th year. It truly boasts some of the best scenes Doctor Who ever shot and is one of the best stories for Tom Baker's Doctor and Liz Sladen's Sarah. The Kraals are well realised for the time, I know Philip Hinchcliffe was none-too-happy about their appearance but hey, they look quite remarkable for the time. Other positive aspects about this story are its cast, Milton John's as Guy Crayford is a fascinating character and one that I was slightly disappointed to find out dies. Ian Marter's Harry Sullivan puts in his last Doctor Who appearance as an android and as Harry. On top of this we have John Levene returning as the ever reliable SGT Benton. Everybody else throw in some great performances and enjoy the experience of working on the program.
The BBC DVD release boasts these two classic serials restored and remastered better than they ever looked before. The Doctor Who Restoration Team were on hand yet again cleaning up these stories for DVD. They could not look better. The bonus features on hand are interesting and informative, the making of features that accompany the stories are both enlightening, but more importantly, entertaining. Other features are less important but pivotal in completing the range of Doctor Who material available from BBC DVD. Highly recommended stuff. 10/10.
Many thanks for your time in reading this review, it's greatly appreciated.
Political paranoia, prehistoric puppets and peculiar ‘people’ populate these stories from Seventies ‘Who’, as two fabulous Doctors and one splendid companion struggle to save the world - and to work out exactly who their friends are, in more ways than one… 5*
Calling these adventures the ‘UNIT Files’ is a bit of a stretch, when the second one has only a loose connection to our heroes. However, the two stories do have a clear link, illustrating the very Seventies idea that “the enemy within” (Terry Nation’s excellent original title for ‘The Android Invasion’) were plotting to sabotage democracy and take over the country. Who exactly “they” might be depended on your politics, though no-one ever seriously suggested “they” were aliens – or androids – or had actual dinosaurs… but now the UNIT Files can reveal the truth!
‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ is probably the most underrated of all Pertwee-era adventures and for me makes this box set a 5* buy. I’ve loved this story ever since 1974 when ‘my’ Doctor took on another childhood favourite – the dinosaurs! Combined with a great UNIT story and a clever ‘whodunit’, plus layers of political satire for older viewers to appreciate, this is yet another classic by Malcolm Hulke. And now all back in colour again! 5*
‘The Android Invasion’ is, for me, somewhat of an off-day (most unusually) in the magnificent Hinchcliffe / Holmes seasons, with holes in the plot and less than convincing aliens. It’s not really a UNIT story in my opinion (they’re reduced almost to incidental characters), but it’s still worth seeing for excellent android elements, Barry Letts’ typically high-quality location filming and stunt work - and Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen superb as always. 3½*
(This review has grown almost as long as a Diplodocus, so thanks if you reach the end!)
‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ (6 episodes) 5*
Before I praise everything else about this adventure, I have to admit the Tyrannosaurus Rex mostly looks - rubbish. It’s a pity, because the dinosaur puppetry, CSO ‘blue screen’ work and model effects are better than their reputation would suggest – and it’s unfair to compare with modern CGI or the big-budget dinosaur puppetry from contemporary ‘70s films. And as an excited viewer in 1974, it never occurred to me that anything here was less than perfect. So please, watch with the imagination as I did back then, enjoy a great story and forgive the foam rubber ‘king’ of the dinosaurs…
NOTE: Episode One survived only as black-and-white, but has now been ingeniously re-coloured by the ‘chroma dot’ technique, merging the surviving mono film with residual colour signal that was left within the mono material. Apparently only partial colour data could be recovered for Episode One, so the result is not quite as good as, for example, ‘The Mind of Evil’, but it’s still very impressive and great to see the whole story in colour again… it’s almost as if they used a Time-scoop to raise it from the past....(!)
** To view Episode One in colour, you must select the option from the ‘Special Features’ menu, or the mono version will play. Colour Episodes 2-6 were never wiped, because VERY fortunately the order from high up wasn’t followed for some reason. (Just how appropriate that was for this of all stories, you will discover…) These surviving colour Episodes 2-6 are also newly restored and look excellent.
Arriving back in London, the Doctor and Sarah find the city almost uninhabited apart from a few looters, and the Army trying to keep order. The strange atmosphere of a great but abandoned city is very well portrayed, enhanced by the sunny weather and director Paddy Russell’s resourceful early morning filming, in a story packed with excellent location work plus very convincing sets by Richard Morris.
Jon Pertwee was in his final season in the role, but he’s still the Third Doctor at his most wonderfully flamboyant in this quintessential Third Doctor story; a mixture of brainpower, gadgets, vehicles and Venusian aikido, all combined with humour and a strong moral sense – and now with his Whomobile!, the futuristic ‘car’ of the Doctor’s own invention that really was pure Pertwee. Elisabeth Sladen’s second outing as Sarah Jane Smith shows the investigative journalist getting herself into trouble as any ‘companion’ must, but doing it by getting at the truth; an excellent performance in a really good script for the character.
‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ is a cracking UNIT story. Nicholas Courtney is excellent as always, with the Brigadier caught between loyalty to the Doctor and obedience to his commanding officer, General Finch. The quiet humour and decency he always brought to the role are perfectly shown here, and Richard Franklin and John Levene have great scenes as Captain Yates (back from sick leave after his traumatic time in ‘The Green Death’) and the ever-reliable Sergeant Benton. The actors are perfect as usual and Hulke’s script is excellent at showing the dynamics of the whole UNIT ‘family’ under some strain... Dinosaurs in London! The Doctor soon decides they are being ‘raised’ to clear London by someone tampering with Time for some deeper purpose – but who are “the enemy within” and what is their plan?
Paddy Russell assembled a really impressive guest cast for this story, showing yet again that ‘Doctor Who’ could always attract the best names in TV and theatre. John Bennett plays authoritarian General Finch, while Noel Johnson (famous as Dick Barton, Special Agent) is the urbane Minister and environmentalist, Sir Charles Grover. Martin Jarvis is the mysterious Mr. Butler and Peter Miles has another memorable ‘Doctor Who’ role as brilliant Professor Whitaker. All excellent actors and characters - but who among them can the Doctor trust?
Ex-communist Malcolm Hulke wrote a terrific plot about fanatics who begin with a noble idea, but who are so self-righteous in their quest for “The Golden Age” that they soon believe “the end justifies the means” - their excuse for atrocities on a colossal scale, as from the French Revolution to the Bolsheviks and Mao’s followers. Anyone who expresses free will (like the Doctor and Sarah) must either be “disposed of” or “re-educated” until they are ‘fit’ to belong to “The People” (the self-chosen people, of course). Can the Doctor uncover “Operation Golden Age” before it’s too late for the rest of humanity?
Giving impact to the ‘grand finale’ in a studio was never easy, but Hulke does it very well by reminding us that our hero is not only a hero, but a Time Lord, placing the Doctor firmly in the spotlight after a story rich in plot and great characters.
Sadly, this was the last time Malcolm Hulke would write for televised ‘Doctor Who’. But with all the other top writers, actors and production teams, he helped ensure that for countless fans (definitely including me), those classic seasons and Doctors of the ‘70s truly were “The Golden Age”. 5*
(Malcolm Hulke’s novelisation is highly recommended, especially Martin Jarvis’ superb Audiobook recording.)
DVD Special Features:
The commentary is rather mixed; best are the lively, very entertaining commentaries for episodes 2 and 3, with Richard Franklin, Peter Miles, Designer Richard Morris and Script Editor Terrance Dicks, also the commentary for episode 5 where Paddy Russell chats with Toby Hadoke about her long television career. (The production subtitles on this story are really very good and worth reading.)
On Disc 2:
An enjoyable extra commentary (recorded several years earlier) on ten minutes of episode 5, by John Levene.
‘People, Power and Puppetry’ (33 min) – looking at the highs and lows of making the story, with due attention to those dinosaurs, also the political context of the story. Great to see a contribution (from 1993) by Jon Pertwee, also Producer Barry Letts and most of the commentary team.
‘Doctor Who Stories – Elisabeth Sladen: Part 1 (14 min) – recorded in 2003, a superb and now poignant interview with the much-loved actress, this section covers the stories of her one Pertwee-era season. (Part 2 is on the ‘Terror of the Zygons’ DVD)
‘Deleted Scenes’ (5 min) – one cut scene (without sound) from episode 1, a few short scenes (cut for time) from episode 3.
‘Now and Then’ (14 min) – revisiting the locations and placing them around London. As usual on these features, it’s noticeable how much neater many places look now than in the 70s – if less atmospheric for film crews!
‘Billy Smart’s Circus’ (2 min) – a guest appearance by Jon Pertwee in the ‘Whomobile’.
‘Photo Gallery’ (6 min) – a very good gallery, also including Jon Pertwee in the ‘Whomobile’ and some pictures of the model ‘sets’.
The ‘Radio Times’ listings are included as a PDF, with a great ‘action cartoon’ illustration for Episode 1.
One Easter Egg.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
‘The Android Invasion’ (4 episodes) 3½*
This story is partly brilliant, but partly – less so. The alien Kraals need a new home, because their planet Oseidon has become contaminated by radiation. Earth seems suitable and will be occupied using (surprise) an invasion force of androids. So there are two faces to this story – the androids and the aliens.
The android part of the story is excellent except the title spoils what should have been a fabulous ‘reveal’ later in the adventure. Terry Nation’s own choice of title kept the secret: “The Enemy Within”. The opening episodes are really good, as the Doctor and Sarah return to a peaceful English landscape in fine summer weather, very close to the village of Devesham and the space defence centre where UNIT are apparently now based. But there are energy-finger-firing ‘spacemen’ in the woods and the villagers are silent and stony-faced – then suddenly switching into action and chatting in the pub – until they see two strangers; they don’t like strangers round here…
Barry Letts directs what in this part could have been one of his own era’s classic Pertwee stories; lots of excellent location filming, familiar settings with strangely unfamiliar inhabitants and action sequences with great stunt work. Max Faulkner performs two spectacular deaths in this story, each time as the same character – which you can do if you’re playing an android. According to the Special Features, Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Barry Letts reworked many sequences and dialogue while on location, with typically good results which look great in this newly restored version, very sharp with rich colours.
Tom Baker brilliantly plays the Doctor as a full-on action hero in this story (helped by stuntman Terry Walsh, a great combination as the closing fight scene shows.) Perhaps only four or five other stories (of which ‘The Seeds of Doom’ stands out for me) gave him similar opportunities and he’s very impressive playing the Doctor in this style too.
Elisabeth Sladen never put a foot wrong playing Sarah Jane Smith, although here she has to trip and sprain her ankle, get captured… But she also rescues the Doctor (twice), has a great solo escape scene and is excellent as usual. Sarah’s episode 2 cliff-hanger was a terrific idea from Producer Philip Hinchcliffe and still looks impressive – but it would have been an absolute stunner if we hadn’t known until that point that this mystery is all about androids…
Actually, it’s not ‘all about androids’, there are the Kraals. Martin Friend performs very well under a very large mask as scientist Styggron, but I don’t find them convincing compared with, for example, the unforgettable Zygons from this same season. Also, the Kraal part of the plot has quite a few obvious holes, for example the plan to use their androids to spread a deadly virus when a much simpler method would have worked. This is especially puzzling as the androids are obviously inspired by the idea of KGB ‘sleeper’ agents and Soviet schemes to weaken the West by stealth, seen in many films and TV shows of the period. It’s a great idea for an infiltration takeover story with an excellent twist when the ‘Kraal curtain’ is lifted, but the ‘virus’ idea makes the androids seem redundant.
This adventure features the last television appearances of Ian Marter’s Harry Sullivan and John Levene’s long-serving Benton – but, sadly, they are reduced almost to minor characters and don’t get a final ‘goodbye’. Apparently, this was never considered the ‘goodbye’ story for the UNIT regulars, it just happened that way. Even so, they deserved better roles.
Finally, guest star Milton Johns is excellent as Astronaut Guy Crayford, helping the Kraals out of gratitude because they saved his life and rebuilt him after a terrible accident to his spacecraft – all but his missing left eye… Not really a traitor, he became ‘one of them’ after being deceived about their ‘new world’ on Earth. However…
*** SPOILER ***
Crayford’s ending is poor. He turns against Styggron because the Doctor reveals that the Kraals tricked him; he wasn’t saved by them, but brainwashed. And the proof is - he has a good eye under his eye-patch and never realised, even in months… How much better if he had been revealed *to himself* as an android so perfect it believed it was human, containing a copy of Crayford’s mind, but nothing more… (Probably not an original idea, but there are elements of many other android and infiltration stories in this one.)
So the androids and ‘village’ themes are really good, the stars are always excellent and well-supported by the guest cast. But the Kraal part of the story is relatively weak, and it’s for that, the poor under-use of UNIT and the plot holes that I gave 3½*. For me, this story is the only ‘off-day’ in magnificent Season Thirteen, but even so, there’s still much to enjoy.
(Thanks very much for reading, and my apologies for the length of the review!)
DVD Special Features:
The commentary is really interesting, with Producer Philip Hinchcliffe, Milton Johns, Martin Friend and Marion McDougal (Assistant Director) providing a wealth of memories and information about the production. (The production subtitles on this story are again very good and worth reading.)
‘The Village That Came to Life’ (31 min) – Nicholas Briggs visits East Hagbourne (aka ‘Devesham’), still looking remarkably like it did forty years ago, and meets some locals in the pub… An excellent ‘making of’ feature with memories from locals who remember the filming, plus contributions from Barry Letts, Philip Hinchcliffe, Milton Johns and Martin Friend.
‘Life After Who’ (30 min) - Celina Hinchcliffe talks with her father Philip about his distinguished career after producing his three, now legendary seasons of ‘Doctor Who’. I especially remembered ‘Private Shultz’ and ‘Virtuoso’ among the excellent programmes discussed.
‘Photo Gallery’ (7 min) – includes very good location photos.
Easter Egg – on the second ‘Special Features’ menu. Seven minutes of sound rushes from the location filming. Regulars to these DVDs will recognise the voice of Barry Letts, directing.
Unlike most of the other boxed sets - 'Beneath the Surface', 'Peladon Tales' etc - the link between these two DVDs is more tenuous. Yes, both stories feature U.N.I.T, but whilst they play a central role in the Jon Pertwee story, their contribution seems marginal, almost superfluous in 'The Android Invasion' (this is a pity, as the latter story effectively marked the end of the U.N.I.T years and it would've been nice to see them go with a bang rather than a whimper).
The one thing that both stories have in common is that they have been unjustly underrated.
'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' has been berated for its ropey special effects and whilst it's no 'Jurassic Park', I've seen worse. It's a shame that this issue has been allowed to obscure the merits of what is, in many ways, a very effective story.
The story begins with the Doctor and his new assistant Sarah Jane Smith returning to present day Britain after their first encounter with the Sontarans, only to find that London is deserted. It transpires that the city has been plagued by dinosaurs and that the Government have evacuated the city, declaring martial law. The majority of Londoners have willingly left, but some looters remain and the army have the authority to shoot anyone on sight.
This is a very dark, dystopian tale with echoes of 'Inferno'. Like many stories from the Pertwee era, the Doctor finds himself up against corrupt politicians and mad scientists, but the atmosphere here is far more paranoid and even U.N.I.T no longer seems a completely safe haven. When the Doctor discovers that one of his most trusted associates has betrayed him, it comes as a real shock.
The dinosaurs are almost incidental. The real threat comes from human beings, whether they're trigger-happy soldiers, desperate looters or psychopathic scientists. Watching the story today, it's easy to see how the grim political and economic conditions in Britain during 1973 inspired this tale.
Like many six-parters, 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' flags a little in the middle, with too many captures, escapes and recaptures, but overall it is a very watchable story, crammed full of ideas, that gives a fascinating glimpse of British society during the Heath era.
'The Android Invasion', written by Terry Nation, is ultimately a disappointing story that never lives up to the promise of its exciting, fast-paced first episode, but it is still very enjoyable. The story begins with the fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane arriving at what appears to be an idyllic English village. Of course it isn't, and the counterpoint between this traditional setting and the growing sense of unease is reminiscent of 'The Avengers'.
Unlike many Doctor Who stories, where the illusion of rural tranquility would be gradually undermined during the course of the first episode, the action begins almost immediately. The result is gripping, but it is hard to sustain that level of tension for four whole episodes and the story loses its momentum at times. Also, as Philip Hinchcliffe acknowledges in the special features documentary, the Kraals fail to impress.
Like 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs', the atmosphere becomes increasingly paranoid and the Doctor finds himself more and more isolated, unsure of who he can trust. Unlike the Pertwee story, the narrative hits a peak too early and the remaining episodes fail to fulfill the promise of the beginning.
I was also disappointed that a story which is effectively U.N.I.T's swansong (for many years, at least) doesn't really seem to know what to do with them. There are no goodbyes and after 'The Android Invasion', U.N.I.T just seem to vanish into thin air (two months later, when the Doctor is fighting to stop the Krynoids taking over 1970s Britain, he is assisted by the regular army and there is no mention of U.N.I.T).
However, for all its faults, 'The Android Invasion' is still highly enjoyable. The chemistry between Tom Baker's Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane works really well and I also enjoyed the novelty (for those days, at least) of seeing a story shot during the summer, in the beautiful village of East Hagbourne.
In the past, 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' has been derided whilst 'The Android Invasion' has been largely ignored. Neither story deserves derision or neglect and I welcome the opportunity to watch them again.
The special features are up to their usual high standard. Disc 2 of the 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' includes a first-rate documentary which reassesses the merits of this story and addresses the problem of the "dodgy dinosaurs". However, my favourite was the first of a two-part interview with Elisabeth Sladen, in which she candidly discusses her working relationship with Jon Pertwee and his reluctant departure from the show. She also mentions a moment when she and Tom Baker sneaked off to spy on a rehearsal for 'The Brothers'. Watching the actors, Baker turned to her and said "Look. All they can do is lift a glass of whisky and put it down. We get to save the universe!"
The special features of 'The Android Invasion' include another excellent documentary, filmed in original locations, plus a very touching interview with Philip Hinchcliffe by his daughter Celina, which looks at his career after Doctor Who. Although Hinchcliffe diplomatically describes Doctor Who as the highlight of his career, this interview reminds us that his CV also includes Shoestring, The Charmer, Private Schultz and many other television highlights of the 80s and 90s.
PS - Thanks to the person who corrected me. The Seeds of Doom actually DOES feature U.N.I.T, but none of the regulars are like the Brigadier and Benton are present.
on 19 March 2012
Although a box set, as others have said, it is best to think of it as 2 different, but excellent stories (Terror of The Zygons would have made a much more satisfying second story if these were truly UNIT files).
Never mind though - for me Invasion of the Dinosaurs was a revelation, and is EVERYTHING that is best about Who - The Archetypal Doctor, heroic, cerebral, but very much a man of action. UNIT representing a 'higher good' that was above petty nationalism, a solid science-fiction plot, false flag terror and a shadow government whose plan is slowly uncovered by a fearless Sarah Jane. Was not expecting this to be so good after some negative reviews, but it blew my mind and is now quite possibly my favourite Dr Who story.
The Android Invasion is a different affair, but has some very effective moments that are genuinely unnerving in The Prisoner/Avengers mold. For a variety of reasons. I'd set aside any UNIT connection, but some great performances set against 'a quaint English Village' (Daemons, anyone?) tick the box for me.
on 31 January 2016
Covering both Tom Baker and John Pertwee eras, two good serials here, the Dinosaurs may be slated for the not quite real enough looking Dinosaurs, but this was a pre-CGI era and our expectations today are wholly different than in the early 1970's.
The deserted London scenes would be difficult to achieve nowadays and the thinking outside of the box by the people who were often working to tight budgets, produced great outcomes, given the available money. In those days, the BBC did all of the program from within the organisation, so the crew all knew each other and had worked together.
Sadly today, with programs farmed out in the main, you don't get that sort of 'glue', but that said, the modern program makers are very good at what they do.
The Tom Baker story is well done, with replicant humans in a small English village, quite eerie and well written and made.
on 21 December 2011
Dr Who - The UNIT Box Set has the two of my favourite Dr Who's - Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, and the legendary companion Sarah Jane Smith played wonderfully by Elizabeth Sladen. In this Box Set we have Jon Pertwee's fourth last story the 1974 `Invasion of the Dinosaurs' and we have Tom Baker's ninth adventure and the last from his first year in the legendary role (1975),`The Android Invasion'. This Box Set sees the UNIT family start to decrease through out the last stories of the Pertwee era `The Invasion of the Dinosaurs'(1974) and `The Planet of the Spiders' (1974), and start of the early Tom Baker era starting with `Robot'(1974\1975), `The Terror of Zygons' (1975), `The Android invasion' (1975) and `The Seeds of Doom' (1976).
`The Invasion of the Dinosaurs' is a story of corruption involving a mad, arrogant, ignorant and self-centred scientist called Professor Whittaker (played excellentley by Peter Myles) who wants a new Golden Age. His actions are covered up by a mad ego-maniac General and self-centred Government Minister, and later on both the Third Doctor and the Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) may have traitor in their ranks. It's a pity that the DVD didn't have a CGI option where we can have more realistic dinosaurs like the CGI dinosaurs on the award-winning BBC Documentary 'Walking With Dinosaurs' than the pathetic plastics dinosaurs they had in this 1974 adventure.
Whilst, the Android Invasion is similar to the Invasion of the body snatchers, and see the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) , Sarah Jane Smith and reminder of the UNIT regulars RSM Benton (John Levene) and Dr Harry Sullivan (Ian Merter) face the evil Kraals and disillusioned Astroaught `Guy Crayford' (Milton Johns). Sadly, 'The Android Invasion' is last adventure of small time companion Dr Harry Sullivan (Ian Merter) and RSM John Benton (the great John Levene). UNIT - The Final Curtain.
on 13 April 2012
I don't know what's happening with Amazon prices on this item. When I bought it it was £17.99, now it's back up to £22.49. Anyway, what you get for your money is two stories, one; 'The Android Invasion' is in my opinion, a classic. True, the plot maybe doesn't stand up to close scrutiny, but it's got some good monsters in the Kraals, and Tom Baker is on top form. The androids themselves are also pretty cool, and the effects haven't dated badly at all.
The second story in the pack is Invasion of the Dinosaurs. I'd like to say that the special effects have dated badly in this story, but to be honest, I think they were of a pretty shoddy standard when it was made. The irony is that the actual plot isn't bad in it's own right, and has some interesting ideas (colonising spaceship) and the dinosaurs are not really required. They are really just the 'eye-candy' to give some visual impact to the story. And what a visual impact they make! Only not in a good way. Actually, they are so badly realised that they transfirm the whole story to something of a comedy. This isn't necessarily bad, my wife reckons this is one of the best stories ever, as it's great waiting to see what bad effect is going to crop up next.
The extras also refer to the bad dinosaurs quite a bit, and give some background to what happened.
All in all, this makes this release an important addition to any collection, demonstrating both the best and the worst of Dr Who, but for quite different reasons. Much better than some of the other recent box sets.
on 28 October 2015
Pure joy. Excellent episodes with Jon Perwee and Tom Baker. I still remember hiding behind the settee from the dinosaurs when I was younger, I hide there from my wife now! The special effects are dire but that's part of the charm of the old classic episodes with strong stories and great characters leading the way. The android invasion is another good story and the extras included on the discs are an added bonus.
on 5 June 2014
Okay Tom Baker was one of the great Dr Who actors and the dvd is worth buying for his story.
However, Pertwee steals the show. This is must see television. The supporting cast are great, the story brilliant and dark, but it is Pertwee who steals the the show with a sublime performance.
Pertwee is still The Greatest Dr Who and wonderful to watch.
on 26 July 2014
Brilliant dvd showing two of good classic Doctor Who series. Unfortunately the first episode of Invasion of the Dinosaurs is in black and white (although a colourized version is available). But even with the not so brilliant special effects compared to what is produced today (reminded my son that Doctor Who was a forerunner of CGI technology, before this it was just used to put pictures on weather maps on TV broadcasts) but the acting is so good that you get drawn into the adventure even though I've seen it time and time again (in the past and thanks to Gold on sky). To think that something made like this 40 years ago is still watchable and interesting is amazing. Well worth buying. My 8 year old loved it too although he did balk at the black and white episode (I remember buying a B&W portable in the 80's because it was all I could afford and thinking I was lucky to have it lol).