Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WWW1 - Invasion 1

The Doctor and Sarah land back in London fresh off their adventure in the Middle Ages, but not before they either stopped off at a hairdressers (obviously the first place you want to take a girl when trying to impress her early on, Doc), as Sarah's lovely, flowing mane from The Time Warrior has been reined in to a tight, little, slightly less attractive, bob, and The Doctor is now sporting a gigantic bouffant pompadour that must surely be housing a safety helmet to protect the increasingly fragile Jon Pertwee's cranium. Such are the dangers of setting stories back to back despite the fact that they are recorded months apart.

Episode One of this story actually starts off as a moody masterpiece set in a deserted London, expertly shot in black and white (or so I'm led to believe...) by Paddy Russell, making her return to the series for the first time since 1966's The Massacre. Throwing The Doctor and Sarah in the middle of what should be a normal situation is a genius stroke, although one can't help but think that not only has this episode been constructed as a gigantic ruse leading to what was hoped to be a dramatic reveal of a dinosaur at the end of the episode, but that it serves as superfluous padding preventing The Doctor from getting involved in the story until, it looks like, well into Episode Two.

My main memories of this episode, actually, are among some of my earliest memories of Doctor Who in general, but not from the televised adventure. I had read the first few pages of the novelization, Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion, having only ever seen Tom Baker episodes on TV at that point. When the book described The Doctor as having white hair, I though to myself, "That's a pretty poor description of Tom Baker". Years later, when I became curious enough to know which novelizations I had read were based on which televised stories, this one always baffled me because my local PBS station chose to omit the first episode (existing only in black and white, as it did, and, until the Doctor Who Restoration Team can convince me otherwise, still is) and air a compilation of episodes Two to Six. Having only read the contents of Episode One, I was confused for years as to what story I had just watched/read...


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