Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion

Author: Malcolm Hulke
Read by: Martin Jarvis
BBC Audio
RRP: £17.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 67797 4
Available 05 November 2007

The Doctor walked slowly forward into the cul-de-sac. The giant dinosaur turned its head to focus on the midget now approaching. The Doctor aimed his gun to fire. Suddenly from behind came a great roar of anger. He spun round - blocking the exit from the narrow street towered a Tyrannosaurus rex, its savage jaws dripping with blood... The Doctor and Sarah have arrived back in the TARDIS to find London completely deserted - except for the dinosaurs. Has the return of these prehistoric creatures been deliberately planned and, if so, who can be behind it all...?

Martin Jarvis, who played Butler in the original TV serial
Invasion of the Dinosaurs, the back cover blurb informs us, as though it’s Jarvis himself who’s behind the whole evil scheme! OK, it doesn’t say that exactly, but that’s how it looks at first. The complete sentence says: Martin Jarvis, who played Butler in the original TV serial
Invasion of the Dinosaurs, reads Malcolm Hulke’s complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1976.

Hulke’s adaptation expands upon the atmospheric first episode of his six-part serial, which introduces the eerily deserted London. The material from this instalment occupies most of the first CD of this four-hour, four-disc release. New to the novelisation is the character of Shughie McPherson, who visits the city in Chapter 1 and finds himself stranded there when the place is evacuated. He becomes an early victim of a dinosaur, thus introducing the creatures sooner than in the television story. Some scenes are even conveyed from the points of view of the dinosaurs themselves. In print and on audio, of course, the creatures are not prone to the disappointing special effects seen on the television production.

The author also develops the vain (and here probably gay) character of Professor Whitaker, though the most revolutionary development remains that of Captain Mike Yates, just as it was in the original serial. The seeds of his role in the Operation Golden Age conspiracy had been sown in the previous season’s
The Green Death (which Hulke himself novelised) and reverberate into Jon Pertwee’s final story, Planet of the Spiders, long before “story arcs” became the in-thing of telefantasy.

On a more minor note, the Doctor’s Whomobile car does not appear in the novelisation. Instead, the Time Lord makes use of a motorcycle, as the author had originally intended in his television script.

Martin Jarvis is a prolific voice artist, so it comes as little surprise that he turns in a very competent reading of the book, though his voices for Butler and Whitaker are rather similar to each other and are sometimes difficult to tell apart. It’s interesting to observe how Jarvis, just like Caroline John in her reading of
Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters, gives a whining nasal quality to a character originally portrayed on screen by Peter Miles.

This is a welcome presentation of a novelisation from a true golden age.

Richard McGinlay

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