Customer Review

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two out of three ain't bad, 19 Feb 2008
This review is from: Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians [1970] / The Sea Devils [1972] / Warriors of the Deep [1984]) [DVD] (DVD)
Another Who boxset so here we go...

The Silurians. Classic Pertwee and possibly one of the darkest stories of that era. The real strength of this story lies in the beautiful parallels between Mankind and the Silurians. The Doctor and the elder Silurian leader have the wisdom & know that the two races can happily co-exist, but unfortunately they are backed up by headstrong idiots who kill first, ask questions later. This is one of Pertwee's finest performances & he is ably backed up by a strong supporting cast, especially the joy that is Fulton MacKay (who of course so nearly became the Doctor himself). The Silurian costumes are a bit clunky but do the job, their presence strengthened by their hyped-uped somewhat demented voices. To top it all off, no-one can say Silurian like Pertwee.

Sea Devils. Amazing. It is right up there with Spearhead for best Pertwee storyline. The most striking aspect is the Sea Devils themselves. Blimey, they could SHIFT. How often has a Who monster been turned into a laughing stock because it drags itself along slower than a one legged tortoise? Not these guys! They are a genuine threat and look fantastic, especially when rising out of the sea & raiding the naval base. The co-operation of the navy and the huge amount of location filming really help add an air of authenticity to the story, whilst the doorless 2CVs & oddly uniformed soldiers just give that bizzarre & uncomfortable slant. Again, the cast is flawless, but Roger Delgado still manages to stand out with a captivating performance. And then there's the soundtrack. Yes, insane power electronics that out-weird half the Warp back catalogue! Just the complete Who package.

Warriors of the Deep. Yes, the Davison story lets the side down YET again. Davison himself is fine, but the script is weak & uninspiring and the whole batch of episodes are just, well, BEIGE! There are huge continuity errors for starters. The big offender runs as follows... In the first Pertwee story, the Silurians don't call themselves Silurians, it is merely the name of the period they are believed to orignate from. Indeed, in Sea Devils the Doctor informs Jo that Silurians was probably the wrong name to give them. So why are they waddling around in Warriors declaring themselves Silurians? Ditto the Sea Devils. Again, this is merely the nickname given to them by unsuspecting nautical casualties. The costume update is rubbish, the Seas Devils especially now lumber uninspiringly around the place, and the Silurians are too rubbery. Then there's the "legendary" Myrka. Yes, it really is a pantomime horse manned by the men who were Dobbin in Rentaghost. The cast is pretty uninspired, but as with many Davison stories they've not got the material to work with. Furniture advertising legend Tom Adams does do a solid job as Vorshack, but he's the only one that sticks in the memory past the end titles. BOO!

Extras maintain the usual Who standards, laods of in depth insightful documentaries & little oddities. Well worth investing in for The Silurians, Sea Devils and a free doorstop.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Aug 2008 11:22:32 BDT
I like the free doorstep comment - very funny!! I find i must agree with you i always liked the Sea Devils - and really enjoyed watching it and the silurians - but warriors of the deep was just a waste of 100 minutes of my life - and surely in the top 3 worst ever Who stories......

Posted on 14 Apr 2009 13:37:59 BDT
horrace says:
"doorstop" ! - Funniest comment I've read ! Wish I hadn't read it while eating my lunch !

Posted on 17 Oct 2013 11:04:39 BDT
O. Derwood says:
It would really help if you'd describe the extras in greater detail, since they're largely why I'd buy this DVD set.

Posted on 1 Apr 2014 16:58:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Apr 2014 16:56:00 BDT
Joey says:
The Myrka is a pantomime horse...yet the Sea Devils are Amazing...?

er...what CGI addition do you have ?

on my DVD the Sea Devils are large flesh/green paper mache headed creatures with fixed staring eyes, and funniest of all, wear string vests (to prove how 'Nautical' they are presumably) who run about with faces like those angry deranged fishmen from Gerry Anderson's 'Stingray' !!

to think 'Sea Devils' is a classic makes me fall about...it's a routine fun Pertwee romp with Jon & Rog both 'hamming it up' beautifully and each of the good pals trying hard not to make the other laugh at the very basic storyline ...

right down to The Doctor stopping for a sandwich during the sword fight ('akkia !!)

Jon Pertwee does deserve an award tho'...for keeping a straight face when the lumbering Sea Devil addresses him !

Island Secure unit prison warden Colonel Trenchard (Clive Morton) must be the biggest 'blithering idiot' on the planet falling for The Master's hogwash....(having him depicted as clearly acting under The Master's hypnotic powers from the start would have been a far more credible idea...)

while Trenchard's moustached band of supposedly Top Secure prison guards are so laughably inept that even The Keystone cops would have rejected them outright ! (Diminutive Jo Grant easily overpowers three of 'em - one who is so dense he even fails to spot her creeping up behind him & hiding behind The Doctor's cell door !) while The Master's mere tap on the back knocks another clueless bewhiskered twit out...!

while in a supposedly TOP secure prison would you really have a couple of sets of swords hanging up on the wall outside a prisoner's room ?

indeed after their sword fight The Doctor most obligingly 'turns his back' on The Master...who throws a knife at him (Cliffhanger ending)....and - next week - MISSES at point blank range ! (LOL)

thus, when you stop and think about it 'Sea Devils' is really FAR sillier in many respects than 'Warriors of The Deep' ever is...

Re 'Warriors' poor (fandom) reputation, I do suspect that much of the later fans 'blanket derision' always thrown at 'Warriors' stems from a certain over opinionated very vocal er 'fan' who had then got involved with the show who fell out with the writer - who I believed ignored his 'advice' - and said 'fan' bad mouthed both writer & story thereafter, causing sections of fandom to blindly adopt the same view - to be fair the underwater base sets in 'Warriors' are very good while Tom Adams & Ian McCulloch each gave fine guest performances, while the tale ends with all, excepting the Tardis crew, dead (shades of 'The Dalek Master Plan' & 'Horror of Fang Rock' conclusions etc)
- none of that absurd 'eveyone lives' piffle back then...

funny how some people choose to see some things as far better than they are, yet mercilessly slag off something else as being far worse than it really is...

all three of these stories are in the same league overall really - I'd say suspend belief and just enjoy the thing for what it is...
....good old fashioned escapist entertainment !

as for making a big thing of continuity errors in 'Warriors' - well the very story title; 'DOCTOR WHO and The Silurians' is a big howler - the lead character was credited as 'Doctor Who' but (with an exception in 'The War Machines') the character was actually 'The Doctor' throughout the show's history,and not named 'Doctor Who' (the show's title - based on a question Ian Chesterton asks re his identity...'who is he ? Doctor Who ?')
- so that seventies Pertwee story itself made a big continuity blunder in it's very title ! (the only story ever wrongly titled as such...)

- and let's stop and remember that it IS 'Doctor Who' for goodness sake - how many times did Atlantis get destroyed & how many times did The Doctor play a role in starting the Great Fire of London ? (at least three times each I think - was he a serial arsonist ?) so I wouldn't ever try to use claims re strong 'continuity' - or the lack of it - as a stick to beat an unfavoured Dr.Who tale when so many so called 'classics' are equally flawed...

these are ALL enjoyable romps , very entertaining yarns with some nice performances (I'd argue the close up of Katy Manning's bum as she climbs through the window in 'Sea Devils' ep 3 is the real highpoint !) but let's not get carried away re supposed 'classics' and 'weak links' etc - it's all pretty standard BBC 'Dr.Who'

as for 'letting the side down...' how absurd !
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