OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 610
STORY NUMBER: 132
TRANSMITTED: Friday 06 January 1984
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors of the Deep)
Tegan & Turlough escape but are separated and Turlough is recaptured and interrogated. The Doctor survives by swimming to an underwater hatch which he open. He seizes the uniform of a guard and after making sure Tegan is safe he enters the bridge and brokers a peace with Commander Vorshak. His story that they are travellers and not spies is believed when the base crew find the Tardis and look inside. Solow & Nielson use the controlled Maddox to immobilise the base's missile systems leaving it vulnerable. The Silurians & Sea Devils attack the base and the Doctor & Tegan are trapped in an airlock with the Silurians' monstrous cyborg weapon the Myrka....
Oh it was all going so well. You can actually see the moment when this story goes wrong as the airlock doors bow under the Myrka's assault wobbling like the rubber that they're almost certainly made of. The doors continue to be a problem, especially when one of them is pinning Tegan to the floor and bending as the Doctor tries to lift and Peter Davision tries not to lift it! And then there's the Myrka.... as it batters the airlock doors and you catch glimpses of it, the Myrka looks OK, like some kind of giant mutated Sea Devil. Then when the doors are knocked down and the full horror is revealed that your giant "Sea Devil" is the front end of some huge four legged dinosauresque creature. Monstrous is the word but not in the way that was intended! What's worse is that any credibility this creature had is gone the moment you realise that inside it are William Perrie & John Asquith who responsible for Dobbin the Pantomime Horse in Rentaghost!
The Silurians here are named as Icthar, Scibus & Tarpok, with the Sea Devil leader named as Sauvix. The first time Sauvix's name is said the diction was "slightly unclear", suggesting a part of the female body. I've watched the production subtitles for this story and seen what Tarpok was originally called (the K was an N) so I'm wondering what Johnny Byrne 's naming inspiration was! Icthar is described as the surviving member of the ruling Silurian triad so I guess that makes him the unnamed Silurian Scientist who goes back into suspended animation at the end of The Silurians. None of the three Silurian leaders in the earlier story are named onscreen at the time, but Malcolm Hulke's novelization, Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters, names them as Morka (The Young Silurian), Okdel (Old Silurian) and K'to (The Silurian `Scientist). The end of the Silurians is a little unclear as to if the base has been blown up or if they've merely been sealed in: given the size of the base I'd go for the later. But if it is the Scientist how do you count for the difference in physiognomy?
I tell you what is annoying me about Ichtar though: 2 episodes in and he's said Excellent in each episode. Is he trying for a Cyberleader impersonation?
Incredibly for a story set on an undersea base on the ocean floor this episode features some location filming! The Royal Engineer's Diving Establishment at McMullen Barracks near Southampton provides the pool & hatch for the underwater scenes of the Doctor swimming to safety.