Tuesday 4 October 2011

316 The Sea Devils: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Sea Devils: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 25 March 1972
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Michael Briant
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: 625 video

The Doctor has been taken prisoner by the Sea Devils and taken to their base. Parliamentary Private Secretary Walker arrives at the naval base to see Captain Hart come to investigate the ship sinkings. The Doctor speaks with the Sea Devil leader trying to form a peaceful solution between them and the humans. Walker has summoned ships to destroy the Sea Devil base. The Master tries to disrupt the Doctor's negotiations with the Sea Devils. The navy attacks the Sea Devils base and an enraged Sea Devil leader sentences the Doctor to death. The Doctor escapes into the damaged base as Walker calls off the attack when debris & Sea Devil bodies surface. The Master is set to work reviving the Sea Devils and organises an attack on the naval base to secure the components he needs. The Doctor frees the submarine crew allowing them to escape together in the submarine. The submarine is held in a forcefield. The Doctor has torpedoes fire to blast their way out allowing them to escape. The Doctor is reunited with Jo at the Naval base and immediately takes a dislike to Walker hose attack has only angered the Sea Devils who start an attack on the base. The Doctor announces he intends to go back to the Sea Devil base to negotiate again but as he leaves to board the diving vessel he's surrounded by Sea Devils.

Oh dear another annoying Civil Servant. But where Chinn was useless and incompetent, Walker is sexist & bloodthirsty, instantly dislikeable. He's not on the screen for that many minutes before he ruins the Doctor's negotiations, intent on killing those he sees as the enemy. Walker is played byMartin Boddey who was a founder member of the Lord's Taverners charity which organises celebrity fund raising cricket matches. Norman Atkyns, the Rear Admiral, was a Guardian in Colony in Space was which directed by this story's director Michael Briant. Also in the same story, as a Time Lord was Peter Forbes-Robertson who is the Chief Sea Devil here and was also a Guard in The Power of the Daleks. Colin Bell, who is C.P.O. Summers will return as Private Bryson in Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

The archive holdings for this story are basically a game of two halves: The best quality copies of the first three episodes are US 525 line broadcast tapes while the last three episodes exist on their original 625 line transmission tapes. However when the Sea Devils was repeated, as the Third Doctor's initial entry in the 1992 repeat season, the tape for episode five was found to be badly scratched and it was transmitted off of a 525 line video tape that also exists. In 1997 Steve Roberts, BBC Engineer and member of the Doctor Who restoration team, developed a scratch repair technique which was applied to the tape to fix it which allowed it to be used for the DVD release that I am watching.

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