Posted in films & DVD, Television

Doctor Who and the Silurians

The new series of Doctor Who does not start until autumn, so I have decided to watch classic episodes until then. The latest of which is Doctor Who and the Silurians The first episode which was broadcast 31January 1970 The Silurians are a fictional race of reptile-like humanoids and The species first appeared in Doctor Who in the 1970 serial Doctor Who and the Silurians, and were created by Malcolm Hulke. The first Silurians introduced are depicted as prehistoric and scientifically advanced sentient humanoids who predate the dawn of man; in their backstory, the Silurians went into self-induced hibernation to survive what they predicted would be a large geological upheaval caused by the Earth capturing the Moon. The 1972 serial The Sea Devils also by Hulke introduced their amphibious cousins, the so-called ‘Sea Devils’. Both Silurians and Sea Devils made an appearance in 1984’s Warriors of the Deep. After Warriors of the Deep, the Silurians did not appear in the show again before its 1989 cancellation. Heavily redesigned Silurans were reintroduced to the series in 2010, following the show’s 2005 revival, and have recurred frequently since then.Commonly called Silurians, the creatures have also been referred to by other names. The terms “Silurians” and “Eocenes” are human misnomers, as the creatures predate those times. The name Homo reptilia is first used to describe the creatures in a novelisation of Doctor Who and the Silurians by Malcolm Hulke, and is first used in the series proper in the episode “The Hungry Earth”.

The story starts at An experimental nuclear power research centre built into a network of caves in Wenley Moor which has been experiencing mysterious power drains and mental breakdowns amongst staff. UNIT is called in to investigate, and the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Liz meet Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) at the plant. While exploring the caves, one of the workers at the centre is found dead with giant claw marks on his body, and his companion’s mind has been traumatised. Lawrence, the Director, resents UNIT’s presence and feels that it will interfere with the working of the plant, which is trying a new process to generate nuclear electric power. Dr Quinn, the Deputy Director, and Major Baker, the security chief, believe there is a saboteur in the centre, and the Doctor discovers that the logs of the nuclear reactor’s operation have also been tampered with. When the Doctor makes his way into the caves, he is attacked by a dinosaur-like creature.

The Brigadier decides to explore the caves with armed men. Baker fires at a creature he spots in the caves and is attacked by another. The Doctor returns to the centre with Baker, taking samples of the blood from when he fired at the creature. Examining the blood, the Doctor finds similarities to “higher reptiles”. In the meantime, the creature reaches the surface and stumbles into a barn to hide where it is discovered by a farmer and his wife and attacks them. The farmer dies but the wife survives and identifies her attacker. While investigating the barn, Liz is knocked unconscious by the creature and it flees. She tells the Brigadier when she awakes, and he orders a manhunt across the moor just as Quinn appears. The Brigadier and the Doctor follow the creature’s tracks, then The Doctor goes to Quinn’s cottage, and notes that it is remarkably hot, like a reptile house. Quinn asks the Doctor to leave , who then finds a globe that depicts the Earth’s continents as they were 200 million years ago, and notes on the Silurian era of Earth’s history.Back at the cottage, Miss Dawson tries to persuade Quinn to tell the Doctor everything, but Quinn is adamant that he will keep the wounded Silurian captive until he is given the advanced scientific knowledge he wants. When the Doctor goes to the cottage to try to reason with Quinn, he finds him dead in his chair. The Doctor discovers the Silurian, but it escapes. Baker, goes exploring the caves and is soon captured by the Silurians and interrogated about the strength of humans. The Doctor and Liz follow his route and gain access to the Silurian base, where they discover Baker in a locked cage. He tells them that they must warn the surface. The Doctor and Liz leave undiscovered, but not before the discover the reason for the energy drains that the reactor has been experiencing.

Meanwhile, Masters, the Permanent Under-Secretary in charge of the centre, arrives for a personal inspection, and The Doctor decides to tell them all about the Silurians in the caves, urging a peaceful contact instead of the Brigadier’s proposed armed expedition. However, this falls on deaf ears . The Doctor goes to warn and reason with the Silurians, but they imprison him. He then learns that the Silurians retreated underground when they saw the Moon approaching Earth millions of years before and have been in hibernation until they were disturbed by human activity. Soon The Brigadier and his men are released, but  Baker gets infected with a virus  the Doctor, obtains a sample of the virus so he can discover a cure. The Doctor reaches the centre, and he warns everyone to stay away from Baker, who collapses with the virus. Masters, however, decides to return to London, unaware that he has also been infected. Baker is taken to a local hospital and dies there The Brigadier prevents Baker’s doctor and nurse from leaving to avoid spreading the virus while the Doctor returns to the centre. The Brigadier and Liz try to warn London, while all of the centre’s staff are inoculated with a stopgap vaccine, except for Lawrence, who refuses. Masters, meanwhile, has reached London undetected. Soon the virus begins to spread and the deaths begin. The Silurians decide to clobber the Doctor before he finds a cure so they attack him and kidnap him.But not before he manages to discover and write down the cure which is discovered by Liz, and it is soon being mass-produced and distributed.

Despite this setback The Silurians decide to use a weapon to destroy the Van Allen Belt and make the Earth’s environment hostile to humankind, and coerce the Doctor to help. UNIT troops are lured into the caves and battle with the Silurians. Meanwhile the Doctor Liz and the Brigadier are taken to the reactor control room where the Doctor, overloads the reactor and tells the Silurians that the area will be uninhabitable and irradiated for at least 25 years. The Silurians disengage from the battle with UNIT and re-enter the caves to hibernate until the danger has passed deciding to return in 50years time and exterminate humanity. The Reactor is repaired and the remaining Silurian realises he has been duped into sending his race back to sleep. on Wenley Moor, the Doctor tells Liz that he proposes to revive the Silurians one by one and try to reach a peaceful compromise between them and humanity. However, the Brigadier decides that far more extreme measures are required, much to the Doctor’s disgust

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