Production Code: BBB
1 - 31/01/1970 17:15
2 - 07/02/1970 17:15
3 - 14/02/1970 17:15
4 - 21/02/1970 17:15
5 - 28/02/1970 17:15
6 - 07/03/1970 17:15
7 - 14/03/1970 17:15
Summoned by the Brigadier to an underground research centre at Wenley Moor, the Doctor and Liz Shaw learn from its director, Dr Lawrence, that work on a new type of nuclear reactor is being hampered by inexplicable power losses and by an unusually high incidence of stress-related illness amongst staff.
Investigating a nearby cave system, the Doctor discovers it is the base of a group of intelligent reptiles, termed Silurians, who went into hibernation millions of years ago but have now been revived by power from the research centre.
The Doctor strives for peace between reptiles and humans and manages to gain the trust of the old Silurian leader, but then a rebellious young Silurian seizes power and releases a deadly virus that threatens to wipe out humanity.
The Doctor finds an antidote, but the Silurians retaliate by taking over the research centre and preparing to destroy the Van Allen Belt, a natural barrier shielding the Earth from solar radiation harmful to humans but beneficial to reptiles. The creatures are tricked into returning to their caves when the Doctor overloads the reactor, threatening to cause a nuclear explosion. The Brigadier, to the Time Lord's disgust, then has the Silurian base blown up.
The Doctor is exploring the cave system when he hears a roaring noise. He continues, and encounters the terrifying form of a supposedly extinct dinosaur.
Liz is examining the barn where an injured Silurian earlier attacked a farmer, Squire, and terrorised his wife. She turns and screams as the Silurian comes up behind her and knocks her to the ground.
The Doctor visits the cottage of research centre scientist Dr Quinn, whom he correctly suspects has made contact with the Silurians, and finds him dead. In the man's hand he discovers a device that, when activated, emits a bleeping signal. Suddenly the injured Silurian enters the room.
In the Silurians' base, the young Silurian returns to the cage in which the Doctor is being held prisoner. It tells him that it has destroyed the soldiers in the cave system and will now destroy him too. The creature's third eye glows and the Doctor's face contorts in agony.
The Doctor and the Brigadier arrive at the local hospital and find the research centre's security officer, Major Baker, lying dead outside - the first victim of the Silurian virus.
The Doctor is in the laboratory at the research centre, desperately trying to isolate an antidote to the Silurian virus. Suddenly the wall behind him scorches and melts and two Silurians break through. One of the creatures turns its third eye on the Doctor, causing him to collapse.
The Doctor and Liz are leaving Wenley Moor in the Doctor's vintage car, Bessie. The car breaks down, but the Doctor manages to get it started again. Suddenly they see a huge explosion in the distance. The Doctor realises with horror that the Brigadier has had the cave system blown up and thereby destroyed an entire race of intelligent beings. He rejoins Liz in the car and drives away.
Nigel Kneale, particularly the plight of the plague carrier (The Quatermass Experiment), the research establishment setting (Quatermass II) and the humans' terrifying race memory of the reptiles (Quatermass and the Pit).
Daphne du Maurier's 'The Breakthrough'.
The Midwich Cuckoos.
The Avengers episode 'The White Dwarf'.
Whilst mending Bessie the Doctor sings the first few lines of Lewis Carroll's 'Jaberwocky' (Through the Looking Glass), and there is a reference to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Dr. Quinn : The knowledge I shall gain is worth any risk!
Dr. Lawrence : This is the Permanent Under Secretary.
The Doctor : "Yes, well, I've got no time to talk to under secretaries - permanent or otherwise."
Masters : "May I ask who you are?"
The Doctor : "You may ask!"
The Doctor : "I'm beginning to lose confidence for the first time in my life - and that covers several thousand years."
"She was found in the barn, paralysed with fear. She may have seen something."
The lizard men are not named as a species or as individuals (One is a scientist, but the leaders are unnamed, 'Old Silurian' and 'Young Silurian' only featuring in the credits). The Doctor calls them Silurians, after reading some of Dr. Quinn's notes [Quinn is a hopeless palaeontologist, as this would make the creatures between 438 and 410 million years old, contemporaries of the early fish. Quinn's globe, showing the world as it was 200 million years ago, is only a step in the right direction.
Miss Dawson calls them Silurians, too. [Small wonder the Doctor makes an implied criticism of Quinn in The Sea Devils. If the Doctor is right to call them Eocenes in that story then the creatures are between 53 and 43 million years old and contemporaries of the first hoofed animals. However, the first hominids did not appear until around 8 million years ago. Certainly, when the Eocenes ruled the Earth, the apes were primitive creatures.
However, Spencer's race memories stretch back to the time of early Homo Sapiens. The ancestors of the Eocenes must have survived the destruction of the dinosaurs (see Earthshock), which opened up great new evolutionary opportunities for them. Within 10 million years they had a civilisation, slowing down mankind's development in the process.]
Unfortunately for the Eocenes, a new menace arose: their astronomers spotted a small planet approaching, which would miss the Earth but possibly draw off much of its atmosphere. The Eocenes placed their entire race in suspended animation, but the technology proved suspect. The rogue planet became Earth's moon, but reactivation did not take place.
The Doctor is not aware of the Eocenes. He often calls them alien [figuratively]. They are cold blooded, with their technology keeping the underground base the correct temperature, and see in monochrome. With the exception of their 'deep freeze' units, and their high tech 'keys' and dinosaur control, little of their technology is seen. However, they do have a device to destroy the Van Allen belt, and it is implied that they can turn nuclear energy directly into electricity. They developed a deadly bacteria to protect their crops from the apes.
Their 'pet' is named as a Tyrannosaurus Rex only in the novel. [The arrangement of the teeth, the powerful arms (with three claws) and size imply a mutant or perhaps some species of allosaur or megalosaur, but it seems unlikely any would have survived to the Eocenes' time. Did the Eocenes find some dinosaur DNA, and create Eocene Park?]
Wenley Moor is an underground atomic research establishment, based around a cyclotron where protons are bombarded with subatomic articles. The aim is to produce cheap, safe electricity by finding a process to convert nuclear energy directly into electrical current. The energy released inadvertently woke some of the Eocenes in their base in the nearby caves.
Bessie (numberplate WHO 1) is seen for the first time.
Wenley Moor Atomic Research Station and surrounding area, [early Summer 1969].
This is the only instance in the series' history of an on-air story title beginning 'Doctor Who and...' (although The Savages, The Highlanders, The Underwater Menace, and The Moonbase were all referred to as Doctor Who and the... in the 'next episode' caption at the end of the preceding story's closing episode, and there would later be a BBC radio serial entitled, at the beginning of each episode, Doctor Who and the Ghosts of N Space).
The Doctor's yellow-liveried vintage car, nicknamed Bessie, makes its first appearance.
There is the first use in the series of Colour Separation Overlay - an effects technique, often known as Chromakey outside the BBC, whereby all areas of a camera image that are in a particular key colour (usually blue or, a little later, yellow) are electronically replaced with the equivalent areas of another camera image, giving a composite of the two. Examples in Doctor Who and the Silurians include the creation of a cave background and the presentation of an image of Major Baker on a screen in the Silurians' base.
Paul Darrow, now better known for his role as Avon in the BBC science-fiction series Blake's 7, appears as UNIT's Captain Hawkins.
Fulton Mackay, now better known for his role as Mr Mackay in the classic BBC sitcom Porridge, plays Dr Quinn.
Well-known comedy actor Geoffrey Palmer appears as Masters.
There are non-speaking cameo appearances by members of the production team, including Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks and, most prominently, Trevor Ray (who plays a ticket collector struck down by the Silurian virus), in the location scenes shot at Marylebone Station in London.
Carey Blyton's incidental music is particularly distinctive.
The Silurians have a 'pet' tyrannosaurus rex. (The dinosaur featured in the story is unidentified but appears to be an allosaurus.)
The cyclotron stuff is passable, although marks are deducted for fusing the control of the neutron flow. Liz, on a possible antidote: 'Have you considered the addition of A37 in the presence of Z19?'
In the first episode Liz's skirt snags on her belt.
We briefly see a 'Silurian' zip in episode seven.
In addition to dire palaeontology (see Continuity), the protective properties of the ozone layer are wrongly attributed to the Van Allen belt.
Liz in an outrageous mini.
In episode seven, the Doctor sports a white T-shirt.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Jon Pertwee
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
Liz Shaw - Caroline John
Captain Hawkins - Paul Darrow
Corporal Nutting - Alan Mason
Davis - Bill Matthews
Doris Squire - Nancie Jackson
Dr. Lawrence - Peter Miles
Dr. Meredith - Ian Cunningham
Dr. Quinn - Fulton Mackay
Hospital Doctor - Brendan Barry
Major Baker - Norman Jones
Masters - Geoffrey Palmer
Miss Dawson - Thomasine Heiner
Old Silurian - Dave Carter
Private Robins - Harry Swift
Private Wright - David Pollitt
Roberts - Roy Branigan
Sergeant Hart - Richard Steele
Silurian - Pat Gorman
Silurian - Paul Barton
Silurian - Simon Cain
Silurian - John Churchill
Silurian - Dave Carter
Silurian Scientist - Pat Gorman
Silurian Voices - Peter Halliday
Spencer - John Newman
Squire - Gordon Richardson
Travis - Ian Talbot
Young Silurian - Nigel Johns
Director - Timothy Combe