Doctor Who: Season 7, Episode 11

Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode 7 (14 Mar. 1970)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 152 users  
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While Liz distributes the cure to the virus, the Doctor discovers the Silurians now plan to wipe out humanity by destroying the Van Allen Belt.

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Title: Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode 7 (14 Mar 1970)

Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode 7 (14 Mar 1970) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Paul Darrow ...
Alan Mason ...
Nigel John ...
Young Silurian (as Nigel Johns)
Pat Gorman ...
Peter Halliday ...
Silurians (voice)
Paul Barton ...
Simon Cain ...
Dave Carter ...
John Churchill ...
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While Liz distributes the cure to the virus, the Doctor discovers the Silurians now plan to wipe out humanity by destroying the Van Allen Belt.

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14 March 1970 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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This episode was watched by 7.5 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

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Featured in The Lively Arts: Whose Dr. Who (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

S7: The Silurians: There is plenty here even if it is a bit long, a bit rubbery and has a god-awful score
30 March 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An experimental nuclear facility being constructed in a complex of caves is experiencing some minor problems such as delays in deliverables but also staff mauled to death by some sort of giant clawed creature and staff who suffer mental breakdowns to the point of regressing to caveman levels – no biggie but still UNIT and the Doctor get called in to investigate. Initially keen to understand the technology and why it isn't working, the Doctor starts to suspect much greater forces in play from deep below the ground.

The second serial from the John Pertwee era is a pretty strong one and benefits from not being constrained by the need to introduce the new Doctor and a new set of characters; this time UNIT is the plot device to get the Doctor involved and off we go from there. The plot is quite dialogue heavy (even with the creatures) but it works well because there is a lot of ideas and nice plotting around the various cliffhangers and plot twists. It isn't perhaps perfect but as a story it holds together well, with varying motivations on both sides of the fence and reasonably well drawn character as opposed to goodies/baddies/fodder. The role of the Doctor is good although I am still trying to work out Pertwee – so far I still prefer Troughton's Doctor but still it is solid here. This serial is 7 episodes long and to be fair it probably could have stripped it down a little because there is room here to lose one episode and be tighter and slicker for it, but generally it works well and engages even if I felt some of the cliffhangers were done for the sake of having one rather than them really fitting.

While the plotting and script makes it work well, it must be said that other aspects work against it. The rubbery costumes and effects are part of the show dating perhaps, but the rubbery Silurians are working against their costumes a lot and the people inside do physically exaggerate when dialogue is being delivered. This side of it didn't bother me too much because it is a show from the 1970's so you accept the work of the time, but the thing that I found unforgivable was the terrible score. Through we have this awful series of sounds and music which sounds for all the world like a series of people being winded while holding kazoos in their mouths – it doesn't set an atmosphere and it doesn't work; at times it was hard to watch the scenes in the caves due to how bad the music was. The audio effects sort of match this and they started to grate too.

In terms of performances Pertwee is a good presence although his "under attack cross-eyed" look was more comical than I think it was meant to be. Courtney-Stewart is a bit dry in my view but is a reliable role and fills it well, but Caroline John seems all at sea. She started out as a skeptical scientist in the first serial and now we have her in a red miniskirt, running round with the Doctor, I don't think the writers know what to do with her (they just know that the Doctor needs a companion) and it is clear in her performance that she isn't sure if she is an able scientist, a skeptic, a bit of totty for the viewers or what – she doesn't have much to do but doesn't do it well. Supporting turns from Mackay, Palmer and others are all good, even the voicework of the Silurians is good, with decent characters in their ranks too.

The Silurians is a strong serial in the plotting and writing, with only the dated effects and an awful soundtrack working against it.


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