Invasion of the Dinosaurs

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Story Code: WWW / Season 11 UK Airdate: 12 Jan to 16 Feb 1974 Doctor: Jon Pertwee
First airings by location UK Repeats / Foreign Cable and Satellite Previous Story / Next Story
  • Black and white film recordings of various episodes were created on three different days -- 27 June 1974, 28 June 1974 and 10 July 1974.
  • The serial was offered by BBC Sydney to the ABC in Australia along with the rest of the season, and at least the first episode was requested by the ABC for audition and assessment purposes.
  • That film print was received in Australia circa early August 1974, which was between the dates for when the serials either side were assessed:
  • Although it had accepted and classified The Time Warrior in black and white, the ABC wanted to broadcast that season in colour (PAL transmissions were due to commence from March 1975). The BBC reported it was able to furnish all the serials in colour, but not Invasion of the Dinosaurs because episode one had by then already been erased (probably very soon after the telerecording had been made!). Serial WWW was therefore rejected by the ABC on account of its format before it had even been submitted to the censorship board.
  • A non-sale to Australia meant that the only other Commonwealth country still buying the series in black and white -- Gibraltar -- could not afford to purchase it. (A sale to the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and New Zealand was also not possible, as they were all broadcasting in colour at that time.)
  • BBC London, probably in direct response to the 'rejection' by Australia, issued a "No Further Interest" notice for the story in August 1974 (shortly after the ABC rejected it), overlooking the possibility of future sales outside the Commonwealth, such as to United Arab Emirates, who purchased all the existant PAL colour Pertwees in 1975.
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: It has been suggested that Invasion of the Dinosaurs part one was wiped in error due to it having a similar on-screen title as the fifth episode of the William Hartnell story The Web Planet, and the Patrick Troughton story, The Invasion, but that notion is often dismissed since the master tapes of that 6-parter and 8-parter had already been erased in 1969 and 1971 respectively. However, there is the possibility that this is in fact true. The BBC began junking the bulk of the negatives and film prints of the Hartnell and Troughton serials in 1974 (see Bicycling Chains) and Dinosaurs 1 may well have been mistaken for The Web Planet 5: "Invasion" and/or The Invasion 1 after all. The BBC junked the negatives and positives for The Invasion part one in 1974, and a clerical error may have seen the tape for "Invasion" (WWW1) incorrectly catalogued as a tape for "Invasion" (N5), and/or for "The Invasion" (VV) and it was thus assigned to the magnetic eraser... So when the request came from the ABC for colour tapes, the PAL master for part 1 had only just been wiped in error... Ooops.
  • BBC Sydney likely returned the black and white audition print to London, where it was junked -- and salvaged by a film collector. (It was subsequently returned to the BBC in 1983.)
  • By late 1976, when the documentary Whose Doctor Who was in pre-production, BBC Enterprises no longer held sales copies of the serial on film or on tape. (The other five original broadcast tapes plus a longer earlier edit of part three were, however, always held by the BBC's Engineering Department.)
  • A clip of the Brigadier from part six was used in part four of Logopolis, which aired in early 1981.


The edited five-parter finally goes to air -- in Australia; Canberra Times, 5 November 1984
  • The story was eventually released for foreign sale in 1984, when it was sold to Australia. It was also included in a package of all 24 Jon Pertwee stories sold to the United States in 1985. However, the black and white part one was not included; the story was offered as a five-parter only or in an omnibus format. The opening titles captions were also adjusted, so PART TWO was now "PART ONE", PART THREE became "PART TWO", and so on. Part Two was also edited slightly to delete all references to scenes and events that occurred in part one, such as the Doctor and Sarah's discussion about the origin of the pterodactyl that had attacked them. To maintain the episode's duration, the 'deleted' sections were replaced by the dropping-in of shots extracted from elsewhere within the same episode - for instance, a cutaway of soldiers shooting at the T-rex was duplicated and dropped in to mask the above 'discussion' scene.
  • The five-part version of the serial was sold to:
Australia Nov 84 PAL
United States from Mar 85 NTSC
New Zealand Sep 86 PAL
Canada Jun 90 NTSC


  • All six parts – including the black and white first instalment - were re-issued in the 1990s - UK Gold aired it episodically in July 1993; UKTV Australia screened all six in 1997; and Prime in New Zealand aired all six in January 2001. Prime also aired the extended first edit of part three.
  • The black and white first episode was shown for the first time (as best as we can determine) in the United States on station WXEL, on 17 December 1994. It was later shown by other stations, sometimes on its own as a "special", such as on KSPS in Spokane, which aired a single "never-before-seen-on TV 'lost'" Jon Pertwee episode on 18 March 1995.
    • We suspect the reason why part one was not available until the 1990s was, when the BBC released the serial in 1984 only stories that existed entirely in black and white or in colour were offered since many US broadcasters wanted to air omnibus versions, and colour serials with some parts in black and white were not as attractive to US stations. There were only two serials affected by this - Planet of the Daleks and Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Each was edited to "remove" their sole black and white episode. And since repeat fees had to be paid to the actors with speaking roles, with part one out of the equation, the BBC did not have to pay repeat fees to the half dozen or so actors who appeared only in part one. But after 1991, when the seven years rights period (1984-1991) had expired, the black and white first episode could finally be marketed under fresh repeats contracts, which now included the actors in Part One.

US TV Guide descriptions

More Information
Title: Invasion of the Dinosaurs

  • Episode 1: The Doctor and Sarah return from a visit to the Middle Ages only to find present-day London deserted.
  • Episode 2: In an effort to solve the mystery of the monster invasion, the Doctor decides to capture a dinosaur.
  • Episode 3: The Doctor bags his dinosaur, but loses Sarah to kidnappers.
  • Episode 4: New clues bring the Doctor closer to solving the mystery of the dinosaurs.
  • Episode 5: The Doctor makes a desperate attempt to stop Operation Golden Age.
  • Compilation: The Doctor must foil and attempt to reverse time and return the Earth to its primitive stages.