The episode features alien time traveller the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) accompanied by Rory's father, Brian (Mark Williams), Queen Nefertiti (Riann Steele), and John Riddell, a British big-game hunter (Rupert Graves). The group lands on a large spaceship that contains dinosaurs and discover that it is a Silurian ark, though the Silurians have been murdered by Solomon (David Bradley), a black market trader who is intent on finding something of value.
\"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship\" was conceived to be a fun episode, based on a suggestion from the special effects teams about incorporating dinosaurs into Doctor Who. The storyline and characters were developed between Chibnall and head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat. Due to budget limitations, a wider plot had to be developed because the dinosaurs could not be the centrepiece. The dinosaurs were a mix of props and computer-generated imagery. Along with the third episode, \"A Town Called Mercy\", \"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship\" was in the first production block of the seventh series, with production commencing in early 2012 in the studio and on Southerndown beach in the Vale of Glamorgan. The episode was watched by 7.57 million viewers in the UK and received generally positive reviews from critics.
The Eleventh Doctor receives a call from the Indian Space Agency in 2367 about a vast spaceship which will crash into Earth in six hours. The ISA plans to destroy it with missiles unless the Doctor stops it first. He takes Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, Edwardian game hunter John Riddell, companions Amy and Rory, and, inadvertently, Rory's father Brian. Amy discovers the ship is a Silurian ark designed to carry the reptilian humanoids to a new planet along with flora and fauna from their time period to escape a destructive impact. The ship, however, registers no Silurian life forms left on board. After escaping from a group of pterosaurs in the engine room, the Doctor, Rory and Brian are escorted by two robots to a brutal man called Solomon who has been injured in a raptor attack and requires medical help. Solomon reveals himself to be a lawless exotic black market trader who has raided the spaceship in order to steal the dinosaurs. Having had the robots murder all of the Silurians, Solomon was unable to take control of the ship himself and the computer defaulted to its point of origin, causing it to return to Earth. Discovering Queen Nefertiti's identity and value, he decides to kidnap her and leave in his own ship. Though the Doctor refuses, Nefertiti agrees to go with him to save the others. Meanwhile, the ISA proceeds to fire their missiles at the ark, against the Doctor's wishes.
While Amy and Riddell shoot hostile dinosaurs with \"anaesthetic\" guns, the Doctor disables Solomon's robots and rescues Nefertiti, then tricks the ISA missiles into targeting Solomon's ship rather than the ark: it is destroyed, taking him with it. Rory and Brian pilot the ark away from the Earth, as the ship can only be piloted by two people of the same gene chain. The Doctor then takes Amy, Rory and Brian back home where Brian, having overcome his fear of travelling, starts a world tour (with one of his postcards showing the dinosaurs on their new home of Siluria). Nefertiti, who has been flirting and clashing with Riddell, opts to go with him rather than return to her own time.
\"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship\" received generally positive reviews from critics, with a few detractors. Dan Martin of The Guardian described it as \"fun\", with praise to the expensive-looking sets and dinosaurs, the usefulness of Amy and Rory, and the concept of the gang. While he admitted it was \"flimsy\" and \"pretty much a story built around a title\", he thought it was \"the finest episode two from Doctor Who in some time\". However, he was unsettled by the underscore of darkness that was \"almost disturbing enough to ruin everything\". Similarly, Charlie Anders of io9 called it \"the most fun I can remember Doctor Who being in years\", while also noting gradual distancing between the Doctor and the Ponds and identifying a recurrent theme in this season: the Doctor \"not being recognized\". Radio Times reviewer Patrick Mulkern was pleased that the \"flawlessly realised\" CGI dinosaurs redeemed the ones seen in Invasion of the Dinosaurs. He also praised Bradley's Solomon and the \"fresh slant\" of having the ark built by Silurians, rather than humans as previously seen in the programme. The A.V. Club's Keith Phipps gave it a B, finding that it was formulaic but executed well. Unlike Martin, he enjoyed the dark turns. Will Barber-Taylor of The Consulting Detective wrote that \"[a] mixture between good CGI and a rather nicely paced story means that 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship' keeps you hooked to the end.\"
Digital Spy's Morgan Jeffery was more mixed, giving it three stars out of five. He described it as \"rather over-stuffed\", with Riddell and Nefertiti one-dimensional and under-used. He also criticised the robots and felt that the Doctor leaving Solomon to die might have been \"a step too far\". However, he praised the three leads and Brian, as well as the foreshadowing with Amy and Rory. Gavin Fuller of The Daily Telegraph was even more negative, only rating it two stars out of five. He described it as \"ultimately a bit of a mess\", calling the contrast between the \"uneasy mix of the humorous and downright daft\" gang and the \"sinister\" Solomon story \"jarring\". Fuller also noted that the dinosaurs were \"a sideshow to the main plot\". Like Morgan, he also felt that the Doctor's actions at the end would \"sit uneasily within the viewers\".
This episode marks the first appearances of dinosaurs since the 1974 story Invasion of the Dinosaurs. (Pterodactyls had featured in the previous season (TV: The Wedding of River Song) and multiple episodes of Torchwood, but are not actual dinosaurs.)
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 \"Nefi\" with him, as she has 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.
In the meantime, the presence of Nefi and Riddell has led 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 and Amy is left annoyed.
Elsewhere, Amy, Nefertiti and Riddell explore the ship, with Nefertiti questioning Amy about the Doctor, saying she found her husband boring; Amy subtly hints the Doctor is married, but Nefi doesn't seem to catch on. The lack of a crew confuses them all, with Nefi 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 Nefi and Riddell continue arguing; when Riddell threatens to strike Nefi, she responds with the same bravado. Riddell is impressed with the \"spitfires\" like Nefi 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 a 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 that Rory keeps a medical supply pack with him; Rory responds that it's a habit of their family to keep \"tools\" with them. 59ce067264