Wednesday 10 August 2011

261 Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode Four

EPISODE: Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 21 February 1970
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Timothy Combe
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors of the Deep)
Episode Format: 16mm b&w film recording recoloured using 525 off air video

The Doctor tries to befriend the Silurian, as he calls it, but it's scared off by a noise outside. Major Baker escapes from the centre sickbay, goes down into the caves and is captured by the Silurians. The Doctor conceals Silurians existence from the Brigadier. The Doctor & Liz go into the caves where they find Baker's abandoned gear. The Doctor uses the signalling device he took from Doctor Quinn to enter the Silurian base. They find where Baker is held captive. He has been interrogated and is convinced they're going to invade. They see the Silurians using research centre power to revive more of their number from hibernation and find where the Silurians keep their dinosaur pet. There's another power failure at the centre as secretary Masters arrives. He tells Lawrence that the centre's future is at stake due to the problems. Lawrence wants Unit out, believing the problem is a technical one that can be solved with more scientists. The Doctor tells the Brigadier not to take men into caves, but the Brigadier, Masters and Lawrence want to know what's going on. The Doctor explains, and wants to negotiate with Silurians, but Miss Dawson arrives and tells them that the Silurians killed Quinn. The Brigadier decides to attack the Silurians, while Miss Dawson is convinced Silurians want to destroy them. The Doctor decides to warn the Silurians, but is imprisoned with Baker. The Silurians trap the Unit troops in the caves and, having foiled the assault, a Silurian attacks Doctor.

It's a horribly messy situation being presented in this story with lots of personal interests and prejudices coming to the surface: Dawson wants to kill the Silurians because they killed Quinn, Baker's convinced there are saboteurs and Lawrence is worried about his career & wants Unit out. But in terms of action on screen.... There's a big jump early in the episode when The Doctor calls the creature a Silurian: where did he pluck that name from? Yes I know it's meant to be a prehistoric era but you've had no idea that that's where the Doctor thinks their from. It's compounded when Miss Dawson uses the same name later! We'll ignore it being completely the wrong era for reptiles to be walking around because the show itself cops to this in a later story.....and then gets it wrong *AGAIN*. This is yet another episode that ends with some quality Pertwee goggle eyes gurning!

We get to see the Silurians in force for the first time this episode. The Old Silurian (and other unidentified Silurians) are played by Dave Carter, who Katy Manning takes great pleasure in pointing out on DVD commentaries every time she spots him. He'll be back for Inferno (as a Primord), Terror of the Autons (as a Museum Attendant), The Mind of Evil (as a Prison Officer),The Time Monster (as a Roundhead Officer), Invasion of the Dinosaurs (as Sergeant Duffy) and The Android Invasion (as Grierson). Meanwhile the Silurian Scientist (and other Silurians) is Pat Gorman who is in many Doctor who stories. So many that I won't bother listing and instead point you at IMDB. One of the other background Silurians is Simon Cain who was Curly in The Enemy of the World. All of the Silurian voices are supplied by Peter Halliday who was Packer in The Invasion (as Packer) and returns in The Ambassadors of Death (as Alien Voices), Carnival of Monsters (as Pletrac), City of Death (as a Soldier) and Remembrance of the Daleks (as the Vicar).

First appearing in this episode is Under Secretary Masters who is of played by course Geoffrey Palmer. In Doctor Who he'll be back as the Administrator in The Mutants, and Hardaker in Voyage of the Damned. His son Charles Palmer is a director who's worked on many new series episodes and who's married to actress Claire Skinner.

Also seen here are Sergeant Hart, who was guarding Baker, who's played by Richard Steele who was Gorton in The War Games and will be a Guard in The Mark of the Rani. Travis, the technician controlling the power room during the cut, is played by Ian Talbot who returns as Klout in The Leisure Hive.

This is the only episode of Doctor Who in the first two years of Jon Pertwee's time as the Doctor to be completely filmed in the studio with no location work.

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