Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was the second episode of series 7 of Doctor Who. It was written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Saul Metzstein and featured Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams.
Uniquely, this adventure played host to a gang of TARDIS travellers rather than just the Ponds, with Queen Nefertiti and John Riddell from off-screen adventures of the Eleventh Doctor joining. Brian Williams was introduced as Rory's father.
In 2367, the Indian Space Agency is on high alert as an unidentified spaceship hurtles towards the Earth. The Eleventh Doctor assembles a team to investigate, including the legendary Queen Nefertiti, a big game hunter named Riddell, Amy, Rory... and Rory's father, Brian. Materialising aboard the mystery ship, they're surprised to find it populated by dinosaurs. With time running out before the ship is blasted out of the sky, the Doctor must confront a vicious criminal named Solomon, as the lives of his companions and the dinosaurs hang in the balance...
The Doctor has saved Egypt from giant alien locusts and is trying to return to his TARDIS. However, Queen Nefertiti, attracted to the Doctor, stops him and tries to get his attention. The Doctor receives a message on his psychic paper. Telling her that it is unimportant, he learns that the Indian Space Agency needs his help; he's forced to take "Neffy" with him, as she forced her way onto the TARDIS despite the Doctor's protests. Arriving in the 24th century, the Doctor is informed of a spaceship coming closer to Earth that has failed to respond to any of ISA's attempts to communicate; if it gets within ten thousand kilometres of Earth, they will send up missiles to destroy it. The ship is basically the size of Canada.
The Doctor decides he should investigate the ship before the ISA attempt to destroy it, just in case their are aliens that cannot communicate either due to primitive technology or not understanding Earth's languages. Realising this would be too much for just him and Neffy, the Doctor decides to head to Africa in the early 20th century. He meets his old friend John Riddell, a game hunter he left behind after saying he was leaving to get some sweets. Riddell initially refuses to join the Doctor on another trip, but gives in when he learns its a mystery to even him.
In 21st century London, Rory has his father, Brian Williams, over to help fix a light bulb. After saying the fixture may be the problem, Brian reminds Rory he is lucky to have Amy; Amy finds this amusing. As Brian continues working on the light, the sound of the TARDIS materialisation is heard. Amy and Rory quietly say that the Doctor picks the worst times to show up and she wants to "kill him"; Brian thinks perhaps they left the door open. The TARDIS materialises around them, shocking Brian in place while the Doctor (not looking at them) greets Amy and Rory. They all travel in the TARDIS to the mystery spacecraft. The Doctor tells everyone to grab a torch as they head outside.
As they head out, Amy questions the Doctor about what he's up to this time; the Doctor explains that he decided that he needed a group this time. However, the Doctor calms her by explaining he needed a group; "They're not Ponds."Brian exits the TARDIS and the Doctor, finally noticing him, questions him with hostility. Rory explains that Brian is his father, whom the Doctor inadvertently brought on board when he materialised the TARDIS around them. This calms the Doctor, whom Brian seems not to have met. The Doctor greets Brian and walks off with Amy, Nefertiti and Riddell; he and Amy tell Rory that the job of tell Brian what's going on is his due to be being the later addition to their TARDIS team. Annoyed that it's always his turn, Rory explains to his confused father that he and Amy honeymooned throughout time and space aboard the TARDIS, not in Thailand as they had previously told him.In the meantime, the presence of Neffy and Riddell has lead Amy to believe that the Doctor has replaced her and Rory as his travelling companions during the gap between his last visit. The Doctor tells Amy that it's not the case, "they're not Ponds"; he cherishes the bond between them, plus they're family. Rory and Brian catch up to the group as the doors in front of them begin opening. Seeing what's coming out of the other side, the Doctor tells everyone to run. However, he has to be pulled away by Amy because he is gleefully surprised to find "Dinosaurs, on a spaceship!"
Hiding as the dinosaurs go past, the Doctor keeps Riddell from trying to harm them as they need to be preserved; Riddell sourly jokes in return "who's gonna preserve us?". They run into a Triceratops that sniffs Brian, forcing him to toss away one of the golf balls he keeps in his pocket to make it leave. The Doctor then examines the ship, discovering an interactive monitor. The Doctor asks to be shown where the engines are on the map, saying they need to get to them; he, Brian and Rory vanish in flash of light. Amy is left annoyed; they always get separated at some point during an adventure.
The Doctor, Rory and Brian arrive on the shore of a rocky beach. Seeing "birds" in the distance, Brian wonders if its kestrels; the Doctor quips "I certainly hope so." Having an epiphany, the Doctor orders them to dig; Brian complies, producing a trowel from his pocket. Rory is surprised, but his dad tells him to put a trowel on his Christmas list; when Rory protests he's too old to have one, the Doctor retorts that he does (and he's centuries old). The Doctor runs off to "look at rocks", with Rory calling after him. Elsewhere, someone sees them on a monitor. He becomes interested when he hears one of them referred to as "the Doctor". He orders that they be brought to him.
Brian hits metal while digging, becoming shocked; they're actually still in the ship. The Doctor reveals a monitor in a rock face, explaining the ship's engines are powered by the waves; an endless supply of power. He said they needed to go to the engine room and the ship complied with its short-ranged teleporter. Brain is left dumbfounded, with Rory trying to explain; however, the Doctor cuts them off by asking "What about the things that aren't kestrels?" They turn around to see many Pteranodon flying at them. The Doctor yells that he would be amazed if he wasn't being targeted as food. Brian suggests using the teleport, but the Doctor tells him that it fried out upon their arrival.
Upon entering the cave, they hear heavy footsteps approaching them. The Doctor panics, going back and forth, wondering which threat that they should face. Not having an idea, he asks Brian and Rory if they have any preferences. However, their fears are partially relieved when the footsteps are revealed to belong to two large robots; they seem to have some faulty personalities, as they constantly wine and complain. They demand that the trio come with themElsewhere, Amy, Nefertiti and Riddell explore the ship, with Nefertiti questioning Amy about the Doctor, saying she found her husband boring (a "human sleeping potion"); Amy subtly hints the Doctor is married, but Neffy doesn't seem to catch on. The lack of a crew confuses them all, with Neffy suggesting a plague killed them, while Riddell believes the dinosaurs were responsible; Amy tells the "Chuckle Brothers" to lighten up. Investigating a room, Amy overhears Neffy and Riddell continue arguing; when Riddell threatens to strike Neffy, she responds with the same bravado. Riddell is impressed with the "spitfires" like Neffy in her time. Annoyed, Amy tells the two that she will not be having flirting companions; now she knows what being the Doctor is like. Seeing a computer, Amy begins fiddling with the controls, she finds an orb and inserts it into the computer; the first rule of travelling with the Doctor: see a strange device, start pressing buttons and don't stop until you get results. Getting a fuzzy picture on the screen, Amy smacks the monitor and clears up the image. To her shock, she learns that the spaceship belongs to the Silurians. They launched it when the Moon was coming into alignment with Earth, fearing a cataclysm might result; the ship is akin to Noah's Ark.
In the meantime, the Doctor, Rory and Brian are brought to a smaller spaceship docked with this one; however, only the Doctor is allowed inside. He finds a man named Solomon laying on bed and listening to Fantasia in F minor; the Doctor brags he was the second set of hands playing the music. The Doctor is briefly startled by a flash of violet light, which Solomon passes off as a malfunction. Solomon explains his legs were badly mauled by raptors, and the robots could only do so much to treat him. Realising Solomon has mistaken him for a medical doctor, the Doctor offers assistance in exchange for being told how he came by the ship's worth of dinosaurs. In response, Brian is given a painful laser burn by one of the robots as a warning. The Doctor proceeds to work on getting Solomon mobile again while Rory tends to his father's burn. Brian is surprised Rory keeps a medical supply pack with him; Rory responds its a habit of their family to keep "tools" with them.
Back in the archive room, Amy asks the monitor to display life-signs of Silurians ("homo reptilia"), but gets nothing. Amy then compares this image with one of the day the ship launched, discovering there were numerous Silurians on board. She wonders what happened to them. She then asks the computer to zoom in at the core of the ship, discovering that it's been boarded before (by Solomon). Riddell picks up a nearby gun, explaining it's full of tranquilliser (something the Doctor would approve of using in self-defence against the dinosaurs); he tells Neffy that she needs a man of action in her life, before taking off to search for the Doctor. Neffy, now infatuated with Riddell, is told by Amy, "Human sleeping potion or walking innuendo; take your pick."
In Solomon's ship, the Doctor finishes adding braces to help with healing Solomon's injuries. He wonders why Solomon is here and learns that he's a trader that wants to sell the dinosaurs, but is heading in the wrong direction. The Doctor then realises that the flash of light was an IV System trying to figure out how much he's worth. To the Doctor's relief and Solomon's confusion, there is no record available to reveal how much he's worth. At that moment, Rory receives a call from Amy, and is told to give to the Doctor. Amy informs him the Silurians built the ship, but there are no life signs of them. The Doctor questions Solomon on what happened to them. Solomon explains they rescued his ship, but when he found out there were dinosaurs on board, he attempted to do business. When the Silurians refused, he tossed them into space along with the ones in hibernation.
However, the Doctor quickly deduces that Solomon cannot control this so-called ark of the Silurians and his attempt to do so made its auto-pilot head for Earth, its launching point. The Doctor explains that the ISA will soon be launching missiles. The greedy Solomon believes the Doctor is lying and wants the dinosaurs for himself. Exiting Solomon's cockpit, the Doctor tells the two dim-witted robots that their boss wants to see them. The Doctor tells Rory and Brian to run as the two robots ask Solomon why he wanted to see them. Realising that the Doctor has tricked them, Solomon orders his lackeys to go after them.They soon encounter the same Triceratops from earlier — which the Doctor names "Tricey" — and board its back. The Doctor tries getting Tricey to go by using verbal commands used for horses, but fails. Brian quickly deduces the same method they used to get rid of Tricey before can be used again, tossing his remaining golf ball away to make it run. The robots follow after them, unable to go faster than a walking pace, shooting lasers at them until Tricey turns a corner and loses them. The robots are annoyed; they used to be faster, but all this time on the ship has rusted them.
The Doctor then wonders how they are going to stop as Tricey is closing in on a wall; they fall off and have a hard landing. The ISA contacts the ship and the Doctor answers via the monitor; he claims to be able to turn the ship around, with a precious cargo on board. However, the head of the ISA, Indira, refuses to listen to the Doctor and informs him that the missiles will be launched within a few minutes. The Doctor, Rory and Brian try finding the TARDIS so they can collect Amy, Riddell and Nefertiti before coming up with a new plan. However, Solomon finds them with the security cameras and teleports to their location with his clumsy robots. Solomon explains that his ship has detected the missiles, saying the Doctor wasn't lying.
Solomon then explains his scanner found something just as valuable as the dinosaurs; he then goes on to say how amazed he is that the Doctor was able to procure this "item". He is demands that Nefertiti be handed over to him, as he can't fit a dinosaur in his ship. When the Doctor refuses, Solomon has Tricey shot and killed to prove he's serious. Amy, Riddel, and Nefertiti (who were watching this on another monitor) arrive via the teleporter. Neffy willingly goes with Solomon to ensure the safety of everyone else. Solomon then has them teleported back to his ship, preparing to leave.
The Doctor quickly leads everyone to the control room, explaining that Solomon couldn't control the ship because the Silurians designed it to require two pilots who share similar DNA. Brian offers to pilot the ship with Rory — since they are father and son, they share similar DNA. The Doctor has them sit down in the control chairs and tells them how to work the controls; he jokes "it's so simple a monkey could do it. Oh look, they're about to. Oh come on guys! That's comedy gold. Where's a Silurian audience when you need it?" He orders Riddell to guard the room from anything that might attack them; Riddell complies.
The Doctor then opens part of the console and begins fiddling with the wiring; he asks Amy to talk to him as he works better when multitasking. Amy expresses her fear that his visits are becoming farther and farther apart; one day, he might never show up. However, the Doctor quickly comforts Amy by explaining that he'll always come to see them. He also learns Amy quit her job (again) after their last meeting, in part because she never knows when he'll show up again.
The Doctor takes a glowing green orb from inside where he's been fiddling with the controls, telling Amy he's going to teleport to Solomon's ship to conduct Phase 1, saying Phase 2 has been completed. Amy corrects him, explaining 2 comes after 1, but gets laughter in return. The Doctor says that while humans are always linear about planning, he's not.
Riddell returns, stating the task is a two-man job; Amy takes a gun, stating that she's easily worth two men, but Riddell can help as well. This is enough to make Riddell smirk as both head outside the room; the Doctor teleports away to save Neffy. Amy joins him as a group of raptors close in. They shoot the electric tranquilliser into the dinosaurs several times, knocking them out. Riddell expresses interest in taking a dinosaur tooth back with him as a souvenir from the adventure as they continue knocking out the dinosaurs.
In the meantime, Solomon has realised the Doctor magnetised the Silurian ark to prevent his ship from leaving, just as the Doctor appears behind him and short-circuits the robots to prevent them from assisting. Solomon tells the Doctor that he will not let go of such a valuable item, offending Nefertiti, who knocks him down. As Neffy pins Solomon to the ground with his crutch, the Doctor jokes not to mess with Egyptian queens. Preparing to take Neffy back to the ark, the Doctor informs Solomon that he'll receive a consolation prize: the missiles meant for the ark. He places the orb, which emits the signal the missiles are locked onto, in Solomon's ship and teleports away with Neffy.
The ship is de-magnetised. Solomon screams in terror as his ship takes off and is hit by the missiles, exploding. At the same time, Rory and Brian pilot the ship away from Earth and into the emptiness of space.
With the ship safely piloted into an empty area of space, the Doctor has the chance to take it and the dinosaurs to somewhere else in the universe where they can live on a new planet in peace. Preparing to take everyone back, the Doctor is told by Amy and Rory that they wish to return home; he accepts this.
However, Brian asks the Doctor for a favour before he takes him back home. The Doctor complies. Brian is next seen enjoying lunch, sitting on the edge of the TARDIS doors, looking down on the Earth. Amy and Rory look at him with smiles as the Doctor comes from behind and hugs them. Elsewhen, Riddell has been taken back to the time and place the Doctor took him from, only one thing is different: Nefertiti has decided to stay with him.
Back in London, Rory is checking the light-bulb Brian previously tried to fix, agreeing that his father was right — it might be the fixture. Amy enters, saying they got another bunch of postcards from Brian. She puts them on the fridge, showing that Brian (who was previously afraid to travel) has now taken to seeing the world. Amy and Rory stare at the last postcard before putting it on the fridge; it's of Siluria, the new home of the dinosaurs, which Brian and the Doctor have just visited.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Rory Williams - Arthur Darvill
- Riddell - Rupert Graves
- Brian Williams - Mark Williams
- Solomon - David Bradley
- Queen Nefertiti - Riann Steele
- Indira - Sunetra Sarker
- Robot 1 - Noel Byrne
- Robot 2 - Richard Garaghty
- Bleytal - Richard Hope
- ISA worker - Rudi Dharmalingam
- Robot 1 voice - David Mitchell
- Robot 2 voice - Robert Webb
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- Brian used to be afraid of travelling to different places.
- Amy quit her job after the events of Asylum of the Daleks.
- Rory states his age as 31.
- The Doctor keeps a Christmas list for Santa Claus.
- Brian calls the Eleventh Doctor "Arthur C. Clarke".
- When the Doctor disables Solomon's robots, they sing "Daisy Bell".
- Amy says that Riddell needs a lesson in gender politics.
- Brian enjoys golf and carries golf balls around with him. Showing his love for more hobbies, he also carries around a gardening trowel.
- The Doctor's psychic paper is set to "Temporal News Feed". Its alert noise is a horn honking.
- Solomon uses an IV System "Identify and Value: the database of everything across space and time, allocated a market value".
- Rory uses an ice patch on Brian's burn.
- Brian thinks the pterodactyls are kestrels.
- The Doctor implies that there are several species native to, or at least residing on, the Moon — although he may be joking.
- The Doctor recognises that the music being played by Solomon in his spacecraft is "Fantasia in F minor" for four hands, by Franz Schubert. When asked if he knows it, the Doctor claims that he served as hands three and four. He adds that "Schubert kept tickling me to try to put me off."
- This episode received an Appreciation Index of 87.
- The Doctor claims to be a Sagittarius, but qualifies this statement by adding, "Probably." Interestingly enough, November 23 (the first airdate of Doctor Who in 1963) falls during the time that Sagittarius is deemed by astrologers to be occupied by the sun using the tropical astrological calendar. In the sidereal astrological calendar, the sun was on the Libra/Scorpio border at the time of first airing.
- In a moment of excitement, the Doctor kisses Rory on the mouth after Rory suggests checking if the Silurian Ark has defence systems. This is the second same-sex kiss featured in the series and the first initiated by the Doctor. The first kiss was between Captain Jack Harkness and the Ninth Doctor in TV: The Parting of the Ways. Rory previously kissed the Doctor, believing him to be Amy, in COMIC: As Time Goes By. Unlike the previous on-screen same-sex kiss, this one was completely improvised by Matt Smith.
- For this episode, the Doctor Who logo's texture resembled scales, like those of a dinosaur. It was also given a green hue.
- Mark Williams (Brian Williams) previously played Maxwell Edison in AUDIO: The Eternal Summer.
- As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a "NEXT TIME" trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode.
- The CGI models of the raptors are the same as those used in the show Primeval.
- The costumes for Robot 1 and Robot 2 were remodelled from ones used on CBBC's Mission 2110.
"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 8 September 2012, and on the same date on BBC America in the United States. Overnight ratings showed that it had been watched by 5.5 million viewers live in the UK. Final consolidated ratings rose to 7.57 million viewers. The episode also received 1.8 million requests during the month of September on BBC iPlayer, placing it second on the chart behind "Asylum of the Daleks". It also received an Appreciation Index of 87, considered "excellent". In Canada, on Space, the episode was watched by an average calculation of 575,000 viewers, making it the most watched item on the channel that week.
to be added
- The Doctor's socks constantly change from stripy blue socks to his normal black socks.
- On the final postcard sent by Rory's dad, the TARDIS exterior resembles how it looked before the redesign in TV: The Eleventh Hour. However as it was an illustration, continuity wise it could just be an artist interpretation.
- When they first land the TARDIS on the spaceship, only the windows at the door are lit while the ones at the side are not given any lights.
- The flying reptiles identified by the Doctor as "pterodactyls" are actually pteranodons, a distantly related, though distinctly different genus of pterosaur, as noted by the distinctive spike-like crest on the back of their heads. ('Pterodactyl' is a more common vernacular substitute for 'Pterosaur', the class of flying reptiles to which Pteranodon belongs. So the naming is correct.)
- Shots of the TARDIS and Solomon's ship next to the Silurian ark show it is nowhere near the size of Canada (10 million square kilometres).
- When Amy is at the Silurian console, she picks up a small flat white disc, however, when she inserts it into the console, it is spherical.
- Rory's mobile phone rings on the spaceship and Brian is shocked by how it can work in space. On previous occasions the Doctor has been shown to convert a mobile phone into a "superphone". He has done this for Rose Tyler (TV: The End of the World), Martha Jones (TV: 42) and Donna Noble. (TV: The Doctor's Daughter)
- The Tenth Doctor previously took a companion's parent on a TARDIS trip by accident in TV: Army of Ghosts.
- The Doctor has travelled with Egyptian royalty before, as his fifth incarnation and Peri Brown shared many adventures with the 14th century BC Pharaoh Erimem. (AUDIO: The Eye of the Scorpion, et. al) As is implied with Nefertiti, Erimem also ultimately ended up staying behind in another time and place, namely Peladon in the 41st century. (AUDIO: The Bride of Peladon)
- A photo of Amy and Rory at their wedding appears on their fridge alongside Brian's postcards. (TV: The Big Bang)
- The Silurians were previously seen to have dinosaurs, using one to guard their base in Wenley Moor. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
- The Eleventh Doctor accuses Brian Williams of boarding the TARDIS via transmat. (TV: Bad Wolf)
- The Doctor says to Rory, when talking about Brian, that the TARDIS isn't a taxi service, like the Fifth Doctor said to Adric when he wanted to go back to Alzarius. (TV: Earthshock) The Eleventh Doctor also said this to River Song. (TV: The Time of Angels)
- The Eighth Doctor previously expressed an enthusiasm for dinosaurs. (AUDIO: The Resurrection of Mars)
- At later points in time, humans would also twice use an ark to preserve Earth life as the planet faced cataclysms. (TV: The Ark, The Ark in Space)
- When jumping on the triceratops, the Doctor yells "Geronimo!" (TV: The End of Time, The Big Bang, et. al.)
- The Doctor has previously received messages through his psychic paper. (TV: New Earth, Silence in the Library, The Eleventh Hour, Night Terrors)
- The Doctor is once again quite pleased that he gets to say "Take us to your leader." (TV: Aliens of London, Voyage of the Damned)
- The Doctor opens the TARDIS doors in space so Brian can get a good view of Earth. (TV: The Runaway Bride, The Beast Below)
- According to the IV system, the Doctor doesn't exist. We later discover in The Angels Take Manhattan that the Doctor had been erasing any evidence of his existence from databases throughout time and space in his effort to "return to the shadows."
- A country was previously used to describe the size of something in TV: Time Crash.
- With this story, Rory became the only individual known to have travelled in the TARDIS with both his own parent and own child.
- The Third Doctor took great care to avoid the harming or slaying of dinosaurs in the 1970s, a trait that remained with his successor herein. (TV: Invasion of the Dinosaurs)
- The approach of the Moon did not actually cause the extinction of life that the Silurians had anticipated, although they were previously known to have believed that it would. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
- The Fifth Doctor witnessed what actually caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. (TV: Earthshock)
Home video releases