Doctor Who Reactions: "Doctor Who and the Silurians" (SPOILERS)

1)This was one of the first Doctor Who stories I ever saw, way back in the dim and distant era known as the 1970's - and I still find it quite watchable today, nearly forty years later.  Apparently it stemmed from Malcolm Hulke saying that the new "Earthbound" format for the show limited them to two kinds of stories - "Mad scientist" and "Alien invasion".   Terrance Dicks suggested that they could get around this by using the theme "They have always been here" and Hulke ran with the idea. The story itself is said to be heavily-influenced by something called Quatermass and the Pit, which, unfortunately, I have never seen.

 

2)I find that for all they were re-invented for the Fifth and later the Eleventh Doctors, I find I still like these original Silurians the best, even if the costumes are a bit primitive. Of course, I liked the Sea Devils better than any of the Silurians. I liked the "triple lens" effect they did to show the Silurians' point of view, that was an interesting idea. As for their "pet" - well, 1970's Doctor Who just should not have tried to do dinosaurs. Much has been made of the fact that the "Silurian" era was the wrong era for intelligent dinosaurs, I still kind of like the name.

 

3)Lots of good guest cast in this - especially Nyder as Dr Lawrence. (Yes, I know he's really Peter Miles, but when I see him, I always immediately think "It's Nyder!") No one does a control freak losing control like Nyder does.

 

4)Quinn - yet another "Human who thinks he can use the alien menace for his own purposes" - is played by Fulton Mackay, who apparently was considered as a possible Fourth Doctor, but wasn't available at the time.

 

5)Masters was played by Geoffrey Palmer, who would later return in "The Mutants" and "Voyage of the Damned".  I always think of him as "that guy who was in that one Britcom my Old Man used to like". He always seems to get killed when he comes on this show, doesn't he?

 

6)Bessie debuts in this story. I always liked that kind of car.  I gather Barry Letts wasn't happy with the license plate being "WHO1" - apparently he thought a was a little too "inside baseball".

 

7)Liz is quite good in this - very smart and helpful.  Shame they weren't able to keep her aorund longer.

 

8)The Brigadier was pretty hardcore in this - pulling a gun on the guy at the hospital and blowing up the Silurians the minute the Doctor was safely out the door.

 

9)I particularly liked how the Doctor went all "Columbo" on Quinn at the cottage, always one step ahead of him.

 

10)I thought the music for this was very good - worked very well for this story.

 

11)I hadn't thought about it, but one of the extras pointed out that you don't see many young people in these early Pertwee stories - especially in contrast to the Troughton era, where they often ran into young people for Jamie and Zoe to hang out with.

 

12)Considering how fast-acting this plague is, it's a wonder the Brigadier and Liz don't come down with it, antibiotics or not. I will say the scenes of the plague spreading in the city are quite effective.  In the new series, they just don't have time to build stories this way.

 

13)Some fun quotes:

  • "Hullo. Are you a Silurian?"  "Could I interest you in a really fine set of encyclopedias?"
  • "Unless you Silurians tell us what you want, the humans will destroy you!"  Of course, they'll   destroy you even if you do tell.
  • "I'm beginning to lose confidence for the first time in my life - and that covers several thousand years."  He was older when he was younger, apparently.
  • "I'll try fusing the control of the neutron flow."  Almost there...

 

14)Cliffhangers:

  • Episode 1: An unconvincingosaurus menaces the Doctor!
  • Episode 2: A Silurian menaces Liz!
  • Episode 3: A Silurian approaches the Doctor!
  • Episode 4: The Young Silurian attacks the Doctor!
  • Episode 5: The Doctor and the Brigadier find the first victim of the plague!
  • Episode 6: The Silurians attack the Doctor!
  • Episode 7: Not really a cliffhanger, but - "They were an intelligent alien race, and he's just wiped them out."  It's a wonder he went on working for UNIT after that.

 

Overall:

This is quite good - a little padded, perhaps, but one can see why people began taking a new interest in the show around this time.

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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Sad to hear of the passing of Geoffrey Palmer.
Doctor Hmmm? said:

5)Masters was played by Geoffrey Palmer, who would later return in "The Mutants" and "Voyage of the Damned".  I always think of him as "that guy who was in that one Britcom my Old Man used to like".

But that sitcom makes me think of him as "that guy I'm going to be in 20 years."  Also, it makes it hard to keep a straight face when I see him on screen with Judi Dench in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Damn!
...What Britcom was that, Doctor?

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