5 January 1984
Tom Adams (Vorshak), Ingrid Pitt (Solow), Ian McCulloch (Nilson), Nigel Humphreys (Bulic), Martin Neil (Maddox), Tara Ward (Preston), Norman Comer (Ichtar), Nitza Saul (Lt Karina), Stuart Blake (Scibus), Vincent Brimble (Tarpok), Christopher Farries (Sauvix), James Coombes (Paroli).
|Written by||Johnny Byrne|
|Directed by||Pennant Roberts|
|Produced by||John Nathan Turner|
The year is 2084, and two power-blocs are poised on the brink of war. Using a series of undersea complexes and deep-space satellites, each bloc carefully monitors the other’s movements, slowly edging towards the moment when one will launch an all-out nuclear attack on the other.
Arriving on Sea Base Four, the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are rapidly drawn into the web of intrigue which enmeshes this era’s paranoid political manoeuvrings. Not everyone on board the base is working for the same team, and the officer directly responsible for implemementing the base’s nuclear capability has died in mysterious circumstances. Amid this already tenses atmosphere, the crew of Sea Base Four faces an even greater threat to mankind.
The Silurians and Sea Devils, prehistoric reptiles who went into hibernation millions of years before, have reawoken and intend to launch another attempt to reclaim the Earth from humanity.
The Doctor must tackle enemy sabotage and face the Myrka, a giant marine monster – but can he prevent the Silurians from implementing their ‘final solution’ – launching the missiles to start a war that threatens to wipe out the human race?
- During the production of this story, Janet Fielding and Peter Davison both announced their decision to leave later in the year.
- This story was beset with numerous production problems and even political considerations (Margaret Thatcher had called an election when production began, and the reference to two superpowers in the story would be seen as a reference to the Cold War).
- There were a number of continuity problems concerning the Silurians and Sea Devils in the original script. Editing removed many, but some remained in production. The story is generally acknowledged as one of the most badly produced Doctor Who stories.
- In the third episode there is a comical scene where Solow attempts to fight the Myrka by dealing it a karate kick. She is electrocuted as a result. It was this footage, amongst others, that was later to be presented by BBC executives who wanted to axe Doctor Who.
- Writer Johnny Byrne has stated that several elements of this story were not in his original script including: the deaths of Icthar and Vorshak at the story’s end, the “drop kicking ‘ German female scientist and “Nowhere did I describe it (the Myrka) as a four-legged beast on loan from Panto-Horses-Are-Us”. Byrne has also stated that the base looked nothing as he envisioned it “I was very specific in my description of the base – rusting, leaking virtually forgotten by all except those on board – the atmosphere and look was something like Alien with the Myrka essentially a lurking deadly pressence waiting to reveal itself.”
- It was decided that the sets should be brightly lit. This had the effect of downplaying the elements of intrigue, horror and suspense in the story.
- The original Sea Devil costumes were all lost or destroyed at the time of production. All that remained was a head, which was on display in the BBC museum.
- The head was used to make a mould for the new Sea Devil costumes, with the side fins removed in order to incorparate their helmets. It was decided that the lights on the Silurian heads should flash as they were speaking. This was because the mouths of the costumes could not move, and there was otherwise no way of knowing which Silurian was speaking.
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