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Doctor Who - Doctor Who and the Silurians

episode 52

UK 1970
produced by
Barry Letts for BBC
directed by Timothy Combe
starring Jon Pertwee, Caroline John, Nicholas Courtney, Peter Miles, Norman Jones, Fulton Mackay, Thomasine Heiner, Paul Darrow, Geoffrey Palmer, Peter Halliday (voice)
written by Malcolm Hulke, script editor: Terrance Dicks, music by Carey Blyton

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee), Doctor Who (classic series), Silurians, Liz Shaw, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It all begins rather harmless: UNIT, the UN's investigative unit for abnormal occurences, is called in to investigate a series of abnormal power outages in an experimental nuclear power plant inside of some caves - and as it is, UNIT's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) brings along scientist Liz Shaw (Caroline John) and scientific advisor Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee), who has a nack for uncovering problem's far beyond UNIT's scope. And really, soon a dinosaur is discovered deep down in the caves, as well as a primeval race of intelligent lizards, the Silurians, just ending their hibernation - which took them several million years. And now it seems the Silurians want to retake the world from the apes (as which they still see the humans).

What really makes the Silurians dangerous though is that Doctor Quinn (Fulton Mackay), the power plant's head scientist, has actually made a deal with the Silurians to transfer electricity to them (hence the outages in the plant) in exchange for wisdom - which is pretty much a deal with the devil, and one Quinn doesn't survive for too long.

Eventually, the Doctor makes it down to Silurian HQ, where he strikes a deal with the Silurian leader to negotiate peace between humans and Silurians - but the Silurian leader is soon afterwards killed by his fiercest opponent among the Silurians, who rather wants to send the humans the plague than negotiate, and so he infects his prisoner, the power plant's security chief Baker (Norman Jones) and sets him free - which means soon enough, the entire power plant is threatened by the plague, and thanks to a politician, permanent undersecretary Masters (Geoffrey Palmer), the plague arrives in London in no time.

Of course, Doctor Who wouldn't be the man that he is if he wouldn't find a cure for the plague pretty much on the spot - and just before the Silurians kidnap him too - which at least saves earth from an epidemic. But then the Silurians force the Doctor to take control of the power plant to give them a massive power transfer - an opportunity the Doctor uses to overload the reactor past critical point and chase the Silurians off (and back into their hibernation quarters) and thus save earth - though he almost doesn't live to tell the tale.

Until the very end, the Doctor believes a deal can be struck with the Silurians, maybe if they are brought out of hibernation again one at a time ... but the Brigadier opts for a more pragmatic approach: To just blow up the Silurians' hibernation quarters.

 

Doctor Who and the Silurians does not at all feature an uninteresting story, and especially the genocide at the end is a bit of a shocker, but the story is let down by several factors: Firstly, the whole thing, running for seven episodes or almost 3 hours is a bit too long, secondly the rubber suits of the Silurians look unconvincing and also a bit silly, and finally, as a whole the story does lack action and many of the more interesting plot elements (like the London plague) are not exploited to the fullest. That's now not to say that Doctor Who and the Silurians is a total failure, besides an intelligent plot it does feature fully fleshed out characters and a very capable cast - it just would have profited from a bit of tightening, storywise.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD

 

 

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