Fury from the Deep

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042 – Fury from the Deep
Doctor Who serial
Fury from the Deep.JPG
Mr Quill launches his gas attack
Writer Victor Pemberton
Director Hugh David
Script editor Derrick Sherwin
Producer Peter Bryant
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Dudley Simpson
Production code RR
Series Season 5
Length 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing All episodes
Date started 16 March 1968
Date ended 20 April 1968
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Web of Fear The Wheel in Space

Fury from the Deep is the completely missing sixth serial of the fifth season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which originally aired in six weekly parts from 16 March to 20 April 1968. This story is the last to feature Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield. It also marks the first appearance of the sonic screwdriver. Although audio recordings, still photographs, and clips of the story exist, no episodes of this serial are known to have survived.


When the TARDIS lands in the sea off the eastern coast of England, the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria investigate a nearby beach, which seems to have an improbably large amount of sea foam as well as a major gas pipe marked “Euro Sea Gas”. When the Doctor examines the pipe, he thinks he hears a heartbeat from within. The trio are captured and put in a cell by Robson, a ruthless gas refiner who heads a pumping operation with a network of rigs spanning the North Sea. His assistant is Harris. Robson is unnerved by the loss of contact with gas drilling Rig D at sea, plus an unexplained drop in the feed line from the rigs. The Doctor suggests that the supposed heartbeat could be a creature inside the pipe and suggests that the gas flow be suspended while he investigates, but Robson refuses to do so.

At the Control Centre, Robson re-establishes contact with the silent rig, but all who watch are unnerved by the eerie calm of a man named Carney on-screen, who brushes away the communication loss and explains that the emergency crew sent to the rig will be staying there temporarily. With the gas pressure continuing to fall, the emergency continues, and Robson is hostile to Harris’ suggestions, especially when a rig worker and Dutch Government employee called Van Lutyens implies the situation is out of control. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria pick the lock on their cell and make it to the Control Centre, hiding while an engineer on the control rig named Baxter tells Robson his men have detected a heartbeat noise in the pipe.

Harris sends his wife, Maggie, to retrieve a file from their quarters; when she fetches it, she finds seaweed on it, which stings when she touches it, then oozes sea foam when she is not looking. She soon feels unwell and sends for her husband. When he leaves to find a doctor, she rises from the bed in zombie fashion and starts to stalk out before regaining her composure. Shortly afterwards, two odd men visit. Only Mr Oak, the smaller man, speaks, and he identifies his companion as Mr Quill. They claim to be maintenance engineers there to repair her faulty cooker. When Maggie Harris tries to flee, they overpower her with toxic gas emitted from their mouths.

The Doctor and Jamie rescue Victoria, who has wandered off, from the Oxygen Room. Someone trapped her inside while foam poured through the vents and formed a seaweed creature. Robson dismisses this story as nonsense and maintains the travellers are saboteurs. Robson hears that the enormous impeller pump that controls the flow of gas along the pipeline network has slowed and become unreliable. He opens a release valve, which does not solve the falling rate of feed to the receiver stations. Rig C does not respond to communications calls and then the impeller stops, revealing the sound of a heartbeat.

Harris fetches the Doctor and his friends to look at his wife. The Doctor confiscates the clump of seaweed in the apartment, which he and his friends examine. The seaweed seems to emit noxious gas and is alive. The Doctor consults the TARDIS library and shows Victoria a picture of the creature she saw, which is a monster identified by mariners in the North Sea.

Without repair, the impeller starts up again and then stops. The Chief Engineer tries to calm Robson, but this sends Robson over the edge. Robson hides in his quarters, where Mr Oak pumps seaweed into his room. Harris gets him out, but Robson has been exposed to the stuff in large quantities and runs away in pain. Harris assumes control of the compound, and a search is set for Robson.

The Doctor and his friends return to the Control Centre. En route they have been to the Harris’ apartment, which is overrun by seaweed and foam. Maggie Harris has gone to the beach, where she and Robson are entranced by the heartbeat noise. She follows a compulsion to wade into the sea, while Robson walks away in a zombified state.

Contact has been lost with Rigs A, C and D, but contact has been made with Megan Jones, Director of Euro Sea Gas, who is coming to investigate the compound. Van Lutyens investigates the impeller shaft but is taken by the creature in the pipe. The Doctor and Jamie venture into the impeller shaft after Van Lutyens and find his torch. In the impeller room, Oak and Quill tamper with the operation. The Doctor and Jamie climb out, having evaded the seaweed creature.

Megan Jones and her aide Perkins arrive at the compound. A helicopter report from the silent rigs reveals they have been overrun by seaweed, and Jones sees that things have gone badly awry. Robson returns to the Control Centre in a manic state, which the Doctor ascribes to mind control. Another report arrives from Baxter in Control Rig, who tells them the rig is being overrun by seaweed before the feed cuts out. All the rigs are soon incommunicado, and a colony of seaweed creatures is developing. The Doctor surmises that a rig awakened the creature, which has attacked senior people to destabilize the compound, and guesses the seaweed in the Harris’ apartment was intended not for Maggie but her husband, Frank. The Doctor deduces that the reason Victoria was attacked in the Oxygen Room was because the oxygen supplies were being sabotaged; they could be deadly to the seaweed creature and those it controls. This prompts Oak and Quill to empty the remaining oxygen cylinders. Victoria soon identifies Quill and Oak as saboteurs. The latter is knocked out by Jamie, though the former escapes.

Harris has prioritised the capture of Robson, who is found sedate in his room, and Megan Jones demands to see him. He has sunk into a depressed state but briefly rallies and begs his old friend to help him. They leave him and he rests. On awakening, the heartbeat sound returns to his head, and he heads off. Within minutes, he finds Victoria and takes her hostage. He forces her into a helicopter and flies it out to sea.

The seaweed has pumped itself up into the impeller pipe in the impeller room and is soon expanding and throbbing. It bursts the pipe and starts to fill the rooms. The Doctor commandeers a helicopter and travels with Jamie to the rig where Victoria has been taken, where they find Robson mostly transformed into a seaweed creature. He says humanity is doomed and tries to gas the Doctor with his breath. Jamie has meanwhile found Victoria, and they all escape.

The trio return to the Control Centre and discover that Mr Quill has been treated for his possession and is almost recovered, thanks to sound vibration treatment. It is clear that sound offers the best defence against the seaweed creature. The Doctor believes the nerve centre of the seaweed creature on the Control Rig can be challenged, using the gas pipeline to transmit sound. Loudspeakers are rigged up and Victoria’s screams are recorded for playback. With the seaweed creature in the compound expanding its size rapidly, the Doctor switches the apparatus on. The scheme is a success. The seaweed recedes, revealing Robson, Maggie Harris, and Van Lutyens amongst the survivors.

Victoria decides to leave the TARDIS crew, as she is tired of the constant peril. The Harrises welcome her to their home and though the Doctor accepts this, Jamie is heartbroken. The Doctor and Jamie stay another day to check that she is sure and then depart in the TARDIS after Victoria and Jamie bid farewell to each other, leaving Victoria watching them from the beach.


At the beginning of Episode 1, Jamie mentions that the TARDIS always seems to land on Earth. The previous 24 episodes, as well as the six episodes of Fury from the Deep, were all set on Earth, the longest run of consecutive Earthbound episodes prior to the Third Doctor era.[citation needed] Episode 1 marks the first appearance of the Doctor's sonic screwdriver.[1] Its initial design is a simple penlight.


Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
"Episode 1" 16 March 1968 (1968-03-16) 24:54 8.2 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode 2" 23 March 1968 (1968-03-23) 23:08 7.9 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode 3" 30 March 1968 (1968-03-30) 20:29 7.7 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode 4" 6 April 1968 (1968-04-06) 24:17 6.6 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode 5" 13 April 1968 (1968-04-13) 23:40 5.9 Only stills and/or fragments exist
"Episode 6" 20 April 1968 (1968-04-20) 24:24 6.9 Only stills and/or fragments exist

Working titles for this story included The Colony of Devils. The footage of the TARDIS landing in the sea in episode 1 is later reused in episode 10 of The War Games in the next season.[5]

This story marked the switch from 35mm film to 16mm film for its location filming.[6][7] This film stock would be used until 1985's Revelation of the Daleks, though 35mm would still be used for model and effects shots.

Episode 3 on the soundtrack starts with the original theme,[citation needed] instead of the version used for most stories since The Faceless Ones episode 2.

Missing episodes[edit]

None of the six episodes of this serial is known to exist in full (see Doctor Who missing episodes). The master videotapes for the story were the final 1960s Doctor Who episodes to be junked; they were authorised for wiping in late 1974. This is the latest chronological Doctor Who story of which all episodes are missing from the archives.[8] A few seconds of the start of episode 1 (the TARDIS descending vertically to land on the sea) survives due to it being used a year later in episode 10 of The War Games, as do the scene where Oak and Quill launch their toxic gas attack, the Weed attacking Van Lutyens and the Doctor and Jamie approaching the foam in episode 4, which survive because they were cut from Australian broadcasts by the censors, and never returned to the BBC.

Cast notes[edit]

Roy Spencer had previously played Manyak in The Ark. Hubert Rees later played Captain Ransom in The War Games and John Stevenson in The Seeds of Doom. June Murphy later played 3rd Officer Jane Blythe in The Sea Devils. John Abineri later played General Carrington in The Ambassadors of Death, Richard Railton in Death to the Daleks and Ranquin in The Power of Kroll. Margaret John later played Grandma Connolly in "The Idiot's Lantern".

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Fury from the Deep
Doctor Who Fury from the Deep.jpg
Author Victor Pemberton
Cover artist David McAllister
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
Publisher Target Books
Publication date

May 1986 (Hardback)

16 October 1986 (Paperback)
ISBN 0-491-03652-3

A novelisation of this serial, written by the series scriptwriter Victor Pemberton, was published by Target Books in May 1986. The cover advertised the volume as a special "bumper" edition, referring to its increased length in comparison to other Target novelisations and as explanation of the consequently higher retail price.

Home media[edit]

The visual material that has remained (very short clips from episodes 1, 2, 4 and 5, behind-the-scenes 8mm colour film, and raw film trims from the recording of episode 6) was released on VHS as part of the "Missing Years" documentary. They also appeared on DVD as part of the Lost in Time boxset. A fan-made documentary entitled The Making of Fury from the Deep was released in 1999 as part of a telesnap reconstruction of the story. Edited by Richard Bignell, it lasts fifty minutes and includes interviews with key members of the production team.

The audio soundtracks have been released commercially. In 1993, an abridged audio cassette version was released featuring linking narration by Tom Baker in character as the Doctor. In 2004, a newly remastered CD version was released with linking narration by Frazer Hines. The unabridged novelisation reading by David Troughton was released by AUDIOGO on 7 July 2011. The reading, complete with new music and sound effects, is presented over six discs, and is available for digital download from AUDIOGO.


  1. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "42 'Fury from the Deep'". Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 87. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  2. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (31 March 2007). "Fury from the Deep". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  3. ^ "Fury from the Deep". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (11 May 2005). "Fury from the Deep". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  5. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "The War Games: Things to watch out for...". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 173. ISBN 0-563-40588-0. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  6. ^ http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/tv/isite-downloads/doctorwho/classic/pasb/weboffear.pdf
  7. ^ http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/tv/isite-downloads/doctorwho/classic/pasb/furyfromdeep.pdf
  8. ^ Pixley, Andrew (June 2005). "No Further Interest". Nothing at the End of the Lane — The Magazine of Doctor Who Research and Restoration (2): 38–43. 

External links[edit]


Target novelisation[edit]