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Doctor Who - Update About 'Story #071: Invasion of the Dinosaurs' on DVD ***UPDATE/CORRECTION: MORE DETAILS***


Expect both the surviving black-and-white version of the first episode, and a newly-colorized version of it that tries to recreate the experience of the BBC's original color broadcast

Posted by David Lambert
9/06/2011
 
Last week we reported that both Doctor Who - Story #071: Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Doctor Who - Story #083: The Android Invasion would be coming to DVD in the USA and Canada on January 10, 2012. Our early info was followed up last Friday with package art and bonus material for both titles. But fans still had some questions, particularly about Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

You see, this Jon Pertwee/3rd Doctor adventure was broadcast over the course of 6 episodes in January and February 1974. Later that year, the BBC was issuing their then-routine instructions for wiping/junking archived videotapes of older programs, a situation that has deeply affected stories with the 1st Doctor (William Hartnell) and the 2nd Doctor (Patrick Troughton). Here the 3rd Doctor was affected, as Invasion of the Dinosaurs was ordered to be wiped/junked in its entirety. However, for some reason only the first episode of the arc was done, and the remaining 5 parts were left alone in the archives. However a 16mm black and white "engineering print" of the first episode survived. It was used to release the old VHS tape of this story.

It's natural to expect that the same black-and-white print will be used on this upcoming DVD release, too. However, the fans were wondering whether the Doctor Who Restoration Team would work their magic and colorize the print to provide the original broadcast experience (at least as close as possible). Fans also wondered if the dinosaur special effects might possibly be upgraded with an alternate CGI version, too. Well, as far as we can find out, the hoped-for CGI effects are not happening, sorry. However, we've confirmed that "Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Part 1" has indeed been colorized, and that both the black-and-white version and the color version will be included on the DVD release. But don't take our word for it; see what @ClassicDW said about it on Twitter this past Saturday:

Doctor Who - Story #071: Invasion of the Dinosaurs
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Furthermore, they quickly followed with another tweet saying that the colorized version would be previewed at a Who convention in Melbourne, Australia:

Doctor Who - Story #071: Invasion of the Dinosaurs
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Those of us stuck in North America, however, will apparently have to wait for the January 10th release. Ah, well. Both titles for that date are now up to pre-order at Amazon.com:


UPDATE/CORRECTION: We've gotten some more details about this, from an old friend of mine: Shaun Lyon. Passionate fans of Doctor Who probably know the name, as Shaun is the man behind the legendary fan website Outpost Gallifrey (which has undergone a name and format change since he left, and became DoctorWhoNews.net). Shaun and I have known each other since before the World Wide Web became accessible to households, when we chatted on the text-only CompuServe system; I'm familiar with his level of Who-related contacts, and I am always 100% confident in his information. So it is without hesitation that I pass along this just-received e-mail from Shaun (editing down to just the necessary parts, of course):

    The story about Invasion [of the Dinosaurs] isn't technically correct. Very simply: they *tried* to grab the color signature off of their print, and what happened was they had red & green but no blue track. They didn't have enough money to recolor it entirely...However, [Restoration Team member] Peter Crocker was apparently able to *approximate* some blue within it... however this is nowhere near broadcast quality, and because it's not even up to the standards of normal DVD quality, the default setting leaves episode 1 as B&W.

    What they *have* done is included the best approximation using Peter Crocker's blue adjustment as an extra on the disc, which can be played as the first episode in the sequence via seamless branching. It's an extra because, as I said, it's not what they'd normally put out.

    Figured I'd let you know, as anyone expecting a full color restoration will likely be disappointed. It is, however, the best version the Restoration Team could put out given the circumstances, and should be a really cool extra.
This information is certainly important enough to pass along to our readers, and I wanted to do that as soon as possible. Shaun also tells me that it's being discussed at the forums (message boards) of DoctorWhoNews.net, so you can see that much of the above came from there. My deepest thanks to Shaun for the fast correction!

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Doctor Who - Story #071: Invasion of the Dinosaurs
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Doctor Who - Story #083: The Android Invasion
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