Classic Rewatch: The Silurians

Doctor Who and the Silurians

As an evolved, scientifically curious species, we Terrans are woefully ignorant on a relative interplanetary scale. Honestly, it’s a wonder our brutish, barbarian tendencies haven’t caused us to be eradicated by a greater galactic power a dozen times over by now. We find another sentient species dormant beneath our planet’s surface, and immediately fall into two camps: cringing subservience; or distrusting militant response. Leave it to a dashing (if oddly dressed) hyper-brilliant alien to point out the need for a little diplomacy…but is he paid any heed? (Guess that “scientific advisor” role isn’t the same as “scientific decision maker”.)

This week, our Third Doctor dons his best spelunking gear, and gives us our first look at what might have been our reptilian overlords in “The Silurians”. We discuss the emergence of this iconic villain, the unsettling relationship developments between Doctor and Brig, the continued bad-assery of Liz Shaw, and how a weird music score can drive us absolutely nuts. Oh, and Bessie. Always Bessie.

Bonus Segment: Ten minutes spent with Captain Yates of UNIT, the charming Richard Franklin, in our interview from L.I. Who 4!

Richard Franklin at LI Who 4

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One thought on “Classic Rewatch: The Silurians

  1. A few quick notes about Doctor Who And The Silurians :

    1) I always found it odd that the only Classic Era story that used the Target novelizations title format (Doctor Who And …) wound up changing the title when it came to the actual novelization (Doctor Who And The Cave -Monsters). I also found it rather surprising in retrospect that the relationship between the Doctor and the Brig was able to recover from the end of this story.

    2) Geoffrey Palmer actually appears three times in the history of Doctor Who (he later shows up in The Mutants) and he gets killed every time. There was a period in the 70s and 80s where it seemed like it was impossible to have a British sitcom without the cast including either Geoffrey Palmer or Peter Bowles (the ultimate being Executive Stress, where one of the main characters was played by Geoffrey Palmer in the first season and Peter Bowles in the subsequent seasons).

    3) The Silurians are the first recurring Doctor Who villains/monsters to make their debut during Pertwee’s era. I once did a quick count to see which Doctors introduced the most recurring villains/monsters, defined by appearances as the primary or co-antagonist in more than one story in mainstream Doctor who having their debut in that role with that Doctor (there’s my geek credentials right there). Bit of a surprise to see that the winner in a landslide was Pertwee with 6 (Silurians, The Master, Sea Devils, Omega, Ogrons, Sontarans), twice as many as Tom Baker (Davros, Zygons, Black Guardian …. one of whom is tied in with existing villains, and another took a quarter century to make their second appearance). Another key facet of a relatively overlooked Doctor.

    4) The overlong story is something that is an unfortunate flaw throughout the 7th season. For whatever reason, they had only 4 stories that season with 3 of them being 7 part stories, which means that overall it can be a bit slow going. Rather a shame for the only Liz Shaw season.

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