Warriors of the Deep

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130[1]Warriors of the Deep
Doctor Who serial
Warriors of the Deep.jpg
The Silurian leader, Ichtar, gives the Sea Devil commander, Sauvix, battle plans to attack the humans.
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Johnny Byrne
Director Pennant Roberts
Script editor Eric Saward
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Incidental music composer Jonathan Gibbs
Production code 6L
Series Season 21
Length Four episodes, 25 minutes each
Date started 5 January 1984
Date ended 13 January 1984
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Five Doctors The Awakening

Warriors of the Deep is the first serial of the 21st season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was broadcast in four twice-weekly parts from 5 January to 13 January 1984. This story started the 21st season of the Doctor Who series and it marked the return of the Silurians and the Sea Devils.

Plot[edit]

The human world is divided into two opposing super power blocs. One of the blocs have created a secret underwater base, Sea Base 4, which is strategically positioned and has nuclear weapons aimed at the opposing bloc. As a security measure, the Seabase nuclear weapons cannot be activated unless a trained human operator can "sync" their mind with the computer and authorize their deployment.

The base's crew is led by Commander Vorshak and his senior officers, Nilson, Bulic, Security Chief Preston, and Lt. Michaels, the base's sync operator. Lt. Michaels is mysteriously killed before the start of the story, and as a result, his inexperienced apprentice, Ensign Maddox, is forced to assume Michaels' official responsibilities. The story begins on the bridge of Sea Base 4. Vorshak and Bulic noticed something strange on their long range sensors, but dismiss it as being a trivial glitch. In reality, the glitch is a Silurian battleship led by Icthar, the sole survivor of the Silurian Triad and his subordinates, Tarpok and Scibus, who are monitoring Sea Base 4.

Inside the TARDIS, Turlough has changed his mind about going home, and the Doctor plans to show Tegan something of Earth’s future. As the TARDIS materialises in space, it is attacked by Sentinel Six, a robot weapons system. In a blink of an eye, the Doctor manages to save the TARDIS by materializing on to Sea Base 4.

Sea Base 4 undergoes a practice missile run, but Maddox, the temporary sync operator, is uncertain of his skill at the job. When Maddox faints after the practice run, Vorshak begins to realize that the function of the base will continue to be compromised until either Maddox lives up to his duties or a replacement is assigned. Nilson and the Base’s chief medical officer, Doctor Solow, who are enemy agents for the opposing bloc, plan to program Maddox to destroy the computer circuitry. To do this, they ask Vorshak to release Maddox’s duplicate program disk under the pretext of helping the sync operator cope with his job. Vorshak does so, and Maddox is programmed in the Base’s psycho-surgery unit.

The Doctor’s presence on the Sea Base is detected when Turlough summons a lift. The Time Lord programs the base’s reactor to overload in an attempt to avoid capture. This fails, however, and the time travellers are all taken prisoner. Preston also finds the TARDIS.

The Silurians revive the Sea Devil warriors of Elite Group One and their brilliant commander, Sauvix. The Silurians and Sea Devils launch an attack on the base and the Doctor, recognising their ship on the monitor screen, tries to warn Vorshak not to fire on them. Vorshak ignores him, and, as a result, the Base’s defences are neutralised by the Silurians' deflection beam. The Silurians then dispatch the Myrka, a large marine monster, who attacks Airlock 1, and the Sea Devils, who assault Airlock 5 of the sea base.

During the attacks, Solow and Nilson activate Maddox, who tampers with the equipment. When Ensign Karina becomes suspicious, Nilson makes Maddox kill her.

The Myrka forces its way into the base, temporarily trapping the Doctor and Tegan until Turlough gets the inner airlock door opened to save them. The creature starts making its way towards the bridge, killing people by electrocution. Doctor Solow becomes one of the Myrka's victims on her way to an escape pod when she foolishly tries to engage the creature in physical combat. The Doctor eventually destroys the Myrka by using an ultra-violet light generator.

The Silurians prime a device called the manipulator and prepare to arrive on the base. The Sea Devils break through Airlock 5 and start the push for the bridge, killing any crew that stand in their way. Solow's accomplice, Nilson, is revealed as a traitor and he attempts to escape by taking Tegan hostage. The Doctor blinds him with the ultra-violet device, and a group of Sea Devils appear and kill him. The Doctor and Tegan are taken as prisoners to the bridge, which is now under the control of the Silurians.

The Doctor recognizes Icthar and confronts him about the massacre of the crew of Sea Base 4. Icthar reveals his group intends to get mankind to destroy itself by triggering a global war. They undo the damage caused by Maddox’s sabotage and connect the manipulator to the systems.

The Doctor escapes from the bridge and tries to find something to use against the reptiles. He discovers some cylinders of hexachromite gas, which is lethal to all reptile life. A Sea Devil discovers the Doctor's presence and attempts to shoot him. He misses the Doctor and hits one of the gas containers which sprays all over the warrior. As a result, the warrior begins to dissolve.

Preston urges the Doctor to use the gas on all of the Silurians and Sea Devils. The Doctor adamantly refuses and accuses Preston of advocating genocide. The Doctor changes his mind when Turlough reminds him of what the Silurians intend to do if they launch the missiles. When he is unable to find anything else less lethal, he begins to connect the gas containers to a central air pump. The Doctor is discovered by Sauvix before he can turn the pump on. Preston grabs a gun, but is killed by Sauvix before he is sprayed with gas and killed by Bulic. As the Silurians prepare to fire the missiles, the Doctor feeds the gas into the ventilation system. Bulic stays in the chemical store to ensure that the gas keeps flowing, while the Doctor and his companions leave for the bridge to try to stop the Silurians.

The warriors begin to collapse from the gas and the Doctor tells Tegan and Turlough to give the Silurians oxygen to keep them alive. The Doctor, who is aided by Vorshak, tries to stop the missiles by linking himself into the equipment as the sync operator. The Doctor succeeds, but Vorshak is killed by Icthar. Then Itchar, himself, is killed by Turlough. Then it is all over. The Doctor, his companions and Bulic are the only survivors. The Doctor is left in despair and he simply says, "There should have been another way."

Continuity[edit]

Both the "Silurians" and the "Sea Devils" refer to themselves by those names for the first time; previously they were names given to them by humans; "silurians" is incorrect (they are not actually from the silurian era), and "sea devils" was a description given by a man who had been driven mad by the sight of them. Ichtar is referred to as the last survivor of the "Silurian Triad." Doctor Who and the Silurians featured three prominent Silurians (although they are never referred to as a triad in that story). Ichtar is presumably the "Silurian Scientist" in Doctor Who and the Silurians; the other two members of the triad are the Old Silurian and the Young Silurian, both of whom died in the course of the story.

No explanation is given for companion Kamelion's absence from this story. Warriors of the Deep is the last Doctor Who story to feature the Fifth Doctor wearing his original costume, which he wore since the beginning of season 19. The Doctor discards his costume in episode 2, when he disguises himself as a Sea Base 4 guard; he wears the guard's uniform for the remainder of the story. In the next story, The Awakening, the Doctor sports a second version of his cricketer's outfit costume, which he wears throughout the rest of his tenure (finally discarding it in the first episode of The Twin Dilemma, the last story of season 21 and the first Sixth Doctor story).

Production[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
"Part One" 5 January 1984 (1984-01-05) 24:48 7.6
"Part Two" 6 January 1984 (1984-01-06) 24:04 7.5
"Part Three" 12 January 1984 (1984-01-12) 24:02 7.3
"Part Four" 13 January 1984 (1984-01-13) 24:48 6.6
[2][3][4]

Early in the production of the story, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced a Parliamentary election. This created a sudden demand for BBC studio space, and as a result the production schedule for the story unexpectedly lost two weeks. Production was completed, but many signs of hurried production are evident. Many scenes had little or no rehearsal, and many scenes received only one take. Perhaps the biggest problem came with the Myrka costume. It was completed only an hour or so before it was scheduled to be used, so that the two puppeteers inside could not be fitted and had no time to rehearse in it. The costume smelled strongly of paint and adhesive, which one puppeteer said made him feel like he was sniffing glue. The paint on the costume had not dried by the time filming started, and tended to rub off on the sets and other costumes, as can be spotted in several scenes.

Many in the cast and production crew have expressed a sense of disappointment with the quality of the finished show; the DVD commentary by visual effects designer Mat Irvine, script editor Eric Saward, Peter Davison and Janet Fielding contained many criticisms of Pennant Roberts' direction of the story and John Nathan-Turner's production of the programme, as well as comments on the special effects, sets and other production problems (the Myrka specifically caused a great deal of amusement). The scenes with the Myrka in Episode Three were also later used by former BBC One controller Michael Grade during his appearance on Room 101 as an example of why he found Doctor Who pathetic and took it off the air. In an interview for the DVD's extra features, scriptwriter Johnny Byrne said that he thought that the basic story was quite solid and effective.

This story was Byrne's final televised Doctor Who story. Byrne later submitted a script entitled The Guardians Of Prophecy, which was a sequel to The Keeper of Traken (1981), featuring the Sixth Doctor battling an evil immortal with an army of Melkurs who were threatening the remainder of the Traken Union. However, nothing came of his story.[5] Johnny Byrne died in April 2008. Warriors of the Deep was shot on 1-inch Type C videotape, the first Doctor Who story to do so. Type C videotape replaced 2-inch Quadruplex videotape on Doctor Who and many other shows.

It was during production of this story that Peter Davison and Janet Fielding announced their departures from the series. Producer John Nathan-Turner had offered Davison a fourth season in his role but, reportedly advised by Patrick Troughton, actor Peter Davison chose to limit his time in the role to three seasons to avoid typecasting (the unwritten "Troughton Rule").[5]

Cast notes[edit]

Stuntman Gareth Milne, who had played George Cranleigh in Black Orchid, doubled for Peter Davison when the Doctor fell in the tank at the climax of episode one. Ingrid Pitt, who played Dr. Solow, had previously played Queen Galleia in The Time Monster (1972) alongside Jon Pertwee.

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Warriors of the Deep
Doctor Who Warriors of the Deep.jpg
Author Terrance Dicks
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
87
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
16 August 1984
ISBN 0-426-19561-2

This story, originally written by Johnny Byrne, was novelised by former Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks and published by Target Books in 1984. Dicks gives a long recap of the Doctor's past with the Silurians and confirms Ichtar is indeed the survivor of their first encounter. Dicks also specifies that the two opposing human superpowers are the East and West blocs, something that is left ambiguous in the televised story. The book was re-released in 1992 with new cover art by Alister Pearson.

In 1995 the novel was also issued by BBC Audio as an audio book, read by Peter Davison.

Home media[edit]

Warriors of the Deep was released on VHS in September 1995. The story's original soundtrack was released on CD along with Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Sea Devils as part of the 'Monsters on Earth' tin set in October 2006 and linking narration was provided by Janet Fielding.[6] The CD was re-issued individually in January 2008. The serial was released on DVD as part of a boxed set called Beneath the Surface with Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Sea Devils on 14 January 2008. This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in Issue 83 on 7 March 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 131. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The Invasion". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  3. ^ "Warriors of the Deep". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "Warriors of the Deep". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  5. ^ a b Warriors of the Deep at Doctor Who: A Brief History Of Time (Travel)
  6. ^ http://www.timelash.com/tardis/display.asp?1462

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]