Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Silurians and Sea Devils
A Silurian
A Silurian

HOMO REPTILIA

 Of all the alien species to have been in Doctor Who, few, if any, can have been so pathetic and down-trodden as the Silurians and the Sea Devils. Their ultimate de-mise at the hands of considered inferiors is a true trag-edy and for me at least is what makes them one of the more interesting of monsters in Doctor Who.

 The Silurians were created by Malcom Hulk and they made their debut in the Third Doctor story "Doctor Who and the Silurians" in 1970. Their aquatic cousins appeared two years later in "The Sea Devils" and then, in 1984, both races returned for a final time on television in the Fifth Doctor story "Warriors of the Deep". However, the Silurians made a comeback, albeit only on audio, in the Big Finish Productions audio adventure "Bloodtide" in 2001.

 The Silurians and the Sea Devils are different from the many monsters to attempt to 'invade' the Earth because they are infact the original inhabitants long before humans evolved and so are reclaiming what they see as their home.

 Their creator, Malcolm Hulke, introduced them in the Target book novelisation of the television story as:

When all the reptile people were safely hibernating in their deep shelters, the little planet swept low across the surface of Earth. The force of its gravity pulled the seas into huge tidal waves that swept over the continents. Volcanoes erupted and earthquakes brought mountain ranges crashing down. Cyclones raged across the boiling seas and the tortured land masses.

But the atmosphere was never completely pulled away from the surface of Earth. Within a day the greater gravity of Earth had trapped the little wondering planet, turning the course of its flight into an orbit that encircled Earth.

Millions of the little furry animals were drowned, or swept to death against rocks by the force of the great winds. But some survived. Since there was no time of complete airless vacuum on Earth, the devices to dehibernate the reptiles were never triggered.

With the reptile masters of Earth safely hibernating in their deep shelters, the little furry animals - the mammals - were able to live in peace and multiply. As millions of years rolled by. and as Earth's cli-mate changed and became cooler, the mammals increased both in numbers and in their variety of species. Most of them continued to walk and run on all four limbs. But some began to stand upright on their hind legs, lost most of their body hair, and learnt to use their upper limbs to handle tools. Of all the mammalian species it was this one that learned how to talk. When this animal looked up into the night sky and saw the little planet orbiting his Earth, he gave it a special name. He called it the Moon.

The surface of Earth changed and changed again. Whole continents moved their position. Earth's crust fold-ed over on itself, not once but many times. The underground shelters of the sleeping reptile people sank deeper and deeper below the surface. In many places rocks and mountains formed over the shelters. The reptile people remained in their state of hibernation, knowing nothing of the world they had lost. They were to remain like that until Man, homo sapiens, started to probe beneath the crust of what he now considered was his planet.

Adapted from "Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters" by Malcolm Hulke and published by Virgin Books.
A Silurian
A Silurian


THEIR HISTORY

 Since their debut, the Silurians have remained one of The Doctor’s most popular adversaries, primarily because, unlike other alien foes bent on Earth’s conquest, it is actually possible to sympathise with the Silurian’s goals, due to their origins being fundamentally tied to Earth rather than another planet. A reptilian species with a third eye in the centre of their foreheads - through which they were capable of projecting deadly rays of mental energy, the Silurians and their underwater 'cousins', the so-called 'Sea Devils', flourished in the Eocene period about 45 million years ago.

 When they foresaw the arrival of what mankind would later christen the Moon, and believed that its passing would temporarily draw the planet's atmosphere away, destroying all life on the surface, they fled to specially prepared underground shelters. However, while they prepared these shelters, leading Silurian scientist Tulok found himself being excluded from the hibernation chambers, due to him having created genetically engineered life forms, seen by the council to be such a serious crime against nature that he was banished to the surface and to certain death.

 With the whole Silurian race in hibernation in giant chambers deep within the crust of the planet, they intended to be awoken when their world was safe to live upon again. However, for some initially unknown reason the devices that would re-awaken them failed to work, resulting in the Silurians sleeping on, completely unaware of the changes occurring on the surface and the creation of another civilisation who were themselves completely unaware of the sleeping reptiles beneath their feet.

Video - Doctor Who and the Silurians
Video Cover
 As the Earth's geography altered over millions of years, so the Silurian bases sunk further and further below the surface and with it all evidence of their lifestyle gone man slowly eclipsed their supremacy over the Earth. Some bases were destroyed over the passage of time, but others survived. When these Silurians returned to the surface, they found that the planet that they once knew had changed beyond all recognition, being particularly enraged at their perceived ‘usurpation’ by what they saw as unintelligent apes.

 From The Doctor’s point of view, his first encounter with the Silurians - although chronologically it was his second one, with the Silurians having previously fought a later Doctor in the nineteenth century - took place in his third incarnation, when a dormant Silurian colony was revived from suspended animation due to the power leaks from a neighbouring underground twentieth century atomic research centre at Wenley Moor. Having discovered the presence of the Silurians while investigating strange power losses and a traumatised scientist at the research centre - the scientist having been driven near-catatonic from terror after seeing his colleague torn apart by a Silurian tyrannosaurus -, The Doctor tried to convince the Silurians and Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, the Commanding Officer of the British branch of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT), that the Silurians could share Earth peacefully with mankind.

 Despite the old Silurian leader supporting The Doctor's efforts to negotiate peace between the two races - initially successfully managing to open talks with the Silurian leader -, a more fanatical element, led by an aggressive young Silurian who had killed the original leader, tried to wipe out mankind with a virus that was deadly to humans, thus thwarting The Doctor's attempt of a peaceful coexistence. In a race against time, The Doctor succeeded in finding an antidote that he was able to pass on to his assistant Liz Shaw, but by then the Silurians had stormed the research centre with plans to revive the rest of their race and destroy mankind by amplifying the station’s power to generate microwave energy that would destroy the Van Allen Belt, a natural barrier shielding the Earth from solar radiation which is harmful to humans but beneficial to reptiles.

Book - The Scales of Injustice
The Scales of Injustice
(Gary Russell)
As it became clear that the Silurians were prepared to destroy every man, woman and child on the Earth until it became their home once more, The Doctor was forced to trick them into returning to their caves when he overloaded the research centre's nuclear reactor, threatening to cause a nuclear explosion. As the Silurians were forced back into hibernation, The Doctor hoped that peace could be achieved by the Silurians being unthawed one at a time and spoken to directly, but The Brigadier, under orders from his superiors, instead took this opportunity to blow up the underground chambers much to The Doctor's disgust.

 Although The Doctor and The Brigadier eventually reconciled about his decision, The Doctor remained angry about The Brigadier’s actions, to the extent that, when he heard rumours of another Siluran colony that had recently awoken ("The Scales of Injustice"), he left to investigate the situation himself rather than report his actions to UNIT and risk a repeat of last time. Having located the colony, The Doctor was subsequently led to the Silurian Triad, impressing them with his intellect and his passion for peace, but his attempts were ruined when Liz Shaw unintentionally led an assassin working for C-19 - a rogue government group who sought to use alien technology salvaged from UNIT operations to rule the world - into the council chamber, the assassin killing the only member of the Triad who might have listened to The Doctor and nearly ruining his efforts for peace. Fortunately, as the new Triad leader led an assault against a UNIT group looking for The Doctor, Liz was able to help the Silurian scientist Baal with his experiments, helping him realise that humans and Silurians could work together, culminating in The Brigadier arranging for their colony to be left in peace (Although reference has been made to a second attempt by the Silurian Triad to make contact with humanity that ended badly, the circumstances of this encounter are unknown).

A Sea Devil
A Sea Devil
 On a later occasion, while the Third Doctor and new companion Jo Grant visited The Doctor's arch enemy, The Master, in his high-security prison on an island off the south coast of England they heard that ships have been mysteriously disappearing at sea. His curiosity piqued by this information, The Doctor learned from the commander of a nearby naval base that the sinkings had centred around an abandoned sea fort. While visiting the fort The Doctor and Jo were attacked by what one of the workmen there terms 'a Sea Devil', but which The Doctor identified as an amphibious breed of the prehistoric creatures that he encountered on Wenley Moor. With this information, The Doctor was able to deduce that nearby drilling operations has awoken a colony of Sea Devils who, armed with deadly hand guns, set about reclaiming their planet from humanity.

Video - The sea Devils
Video Cover
Unknown to The Doctor, The Master, aided by the misguided prison governor-who had been tricked into believing that The Master was merely a patsy for UNIT’s blunders -, was stealing equipment from the naval base in order to build a machine to find even more Sea Devil bases to enable them to revive their comrades from their hibernation, the Sea Devils also utilising The Master's expertise with electronics to try and take over the naval base. Having gained the use of a navy diving-ship to gain access to the Sea Devil base after they captured a submarine, The Doctor tried to convince the chief Sea Devil to negotiate peace with mankind, but he was thwarted by The Master’s efforts to encourage the Sea Devils to provoke a conflict and a civil servant who ordered a depth charge attack just as The Doctor was making progress in making his case. In the end, The Doctor was forced to modify The Master’s device so that it would trigger an explosion when it was used, the resulting detonation destroying the Sea Devils' undersea base and so preventing more Sea Devils from awakening and triggering a war (Although The Master escaped by disguising a member of the submarine crew as him and stealing a boat).

Video - Warriors of the Deep
Video Cover
 Another Silurian assault took place in 2084, this time in the form of leading scientist Icthar, along with at least two other Silurians from the confrontation at Wenley Moor, who managed to reanimate an elite group of Sea Devil warriors. With this small army available to them, Icthar planned to launch a combined attack on Sea Base 4, a military headquarters located on the ocean floor. Having taken control of the base, Icthar, now disdaining his original belief that peace was possible, intended to launch the base’s nuclear missiles, thus provoking a global war between the two power blocs currently locked in a cold war state (Believed by some to be the United States and the Eurozone witnessed by the Eighth Doctor in "Trading Futures"), thus eradicating mankind for good and allow the reptiles to conquer the Earth. Fortunately, the Fifth Doctor, with his companions Tegan Jovanka and Turlough, arrived at the underwater Sea Base just before the Silurians and Sea Devils attacked. The Doctor once again tried to make the Silurians see reason and make peace with mankind, but he soon realised that the Silurians were far from interested, as most keenly demonstrated by their use of the vicious sea-beast known as the Myrka; indeed, Ichtar claimed that they were merely waging a ‘defensive’ war, simply using the nuclear missiles to provoke the humans into destroying themselves without the Silurians doing anything more than starting the conflict. Having defeated the Myrka by using ultra-violet light, The Doctor, forced to accept that there was no other way to stop the Silurians triggering a nuclear war, reluctantly agreed to using hexachromite gas, which is fatal to marine life, to kill the remaining invaders. Although he attempted to provide the Silurians with oxygen and keep them alive right up to the last minute, still hoping that he could reason with them, the episode concluded with The Doctor and his companions the sole survivors of the Silurian attack, humans and homo reptilia lying dead around them as The Doctor regretfully stated that 'There should have been another way'.

Audio - Bloodtide
Bloodtide
(Jonathan Morris)
 Chronologically, the Silurians’ first encounter with The Doctor occurred when the Sixth Doctor visited the Galapagos Islands in September 1835 to give his companion Evelyn Smythe a chance to meet Charles Darwin - one of Evelyn’s favourite historical figures - as he developed his theories on natural selection, the two posing as students of geologist Charles Lyell (The Doctor going by the alias of Doctor Albert Einstein). While dining in a nearby town, The Doctor was confronted by a group of Silurians while investigating the location where a young man had been driven mad by the sight of ‘devil men’; Silurians who had triggered his primitive instinctual reaction to the Silurians. Confronting the Silurians - consisting of Tulok and his exiled friend Sh’vak, although Tulok claimed that their clan was the only one to survive - The Doctor once again tried to convince them to seek peace, but Sh’vak rejected his claims, regarding man as an infestation that should be removed. As the Silurians’ human agents delivered human specimens to the Silurians to test various artificially-created bacteria on them - including Evelyn and Darwin - The Doctor infiltrated the Silurian headquarters, and learned the true reason why the Silurians hadn’t woken up earlier; the hibernation chambers had been sabotaged by Tulok in revenge for the Silurian Triad’s decision to exile him… and his ‘crime’, as it turned out, was that he had originally created humanity. Despite the shock of this revelation, Darwin, with The Doctor’s help, recognised that mankind had grown beyond their original purpose, giving him the strength to help the now-repentant Sh’vak fight off Tulok, keeping him occupied long enough for Evelyn to plant a signalling device on Tulok’s submarine when he attempted to release the cultured bacteria. As a result, Tulok’s ship was destroyed by a Myrka that he had released earlier, his base’s reactors subsequently going nuclear and ending the threat he posed.

Audio - The Silurian Candidate
The Silurian Candidate
(Matthew J Elliott)
 While travelling with Ace and Melanie Bush, the Seventh Doctor was inspired to deal with some personal business with the Silurians, travelling to Earth in 2085 to track down the Silurians' former capital city in China, arriving there at the same time as Doctor Ruth Dexler, who had determined the existence of the Silurians from various clues and had gone there to try and find information about their hibernation systems with the goal of adapting those systems for use in colonisation ships. However, Dexler's plans to download information from the city's database revealed that not only had three of the existing Silurian Triad woken up over four years ago, but also uncovered video footage of the Triad operating on a figure they only identified as one of the leaders of the two human nations in existence at this time, having brainwashed him for their own purposes. Travelling to a distant island where the Eastern and Western leaders were about to have a pivotal meeting about the events on Sea Base 4, it was revealed that the Silurians had brainwashed Chairman Bart Falco of the Western power block, intending for him to seemingly blow himself up while the meeting was being recorded and trigger a new world war that would wipe out humanity. Fortunately, Ace and Ruth were able to interrupt the broadcast while The Doctor and Mel confronted the Triad, The Doctor revealing that he planned to essentially offer the Silurians a chance to reclaim Earth several thousand years in the future, after Earth was struck by solar flares ("The Ark in Space"). Based on The Doctor's knowledge of how long it would take for Earth to become habitable after such a catastrophe, he proposed that the Silurians still in hibernation simply wake up once the human race started to gradually return to Earth, The Doctor reasoning that this way both sides would gain a presence on Earth at a gradual rate and be more willing to work together to re-civilise their homeworld.

Book - Blood Heat
Blood Heat
(Jim Mortimore)
Following this, The Doctor’s next encounter with the Silurians was easily his most traumatic, if not one of his most traumatic adventures ever. As a result of an attempt by The Doctor ’s old foe the Meddling Monk - who attempted to prevent The Doctor interfering with his plans by arranging for him to die in his past - the Third Doctor was killed during his initial confrontation with the Silurians and his subsequent regeneration prevented (Blood Heat"), thus leaving humanity without a cure for the Silurian plague. Despite the best efforts of UNIT, the plague was unleashed upon the world, decimating all but a small percentage of the human race and forcing the survivors to go underground, mounting increasingly desperate offensives against the Silurians as they expanded their control over Earth, pushing The Brigadier in particular into the brinks of megolomania as he fought to ‘save’ humanity regardless of the costs. This situation continued until the creation of this alternate universe ‘caught up’ with the current Doctor - presently in his seventh incarnation accompanied by Ace and Bernice Summerfield - causing the Seventh Doctor’s TARDIS to crash-land on the Silurian Earth, forcing the Seventh Doctor to work with alternate versions of his old UNIT colleagues to try and save this world after the loss of his own TARDIS in a tar pit.

As the ever-escalating tensions between the two sides made nuclear war increasingly inevitable, the embittered Brigadier believing that humanity could only be safe if the Silurians were totally destroyed and many Silurians unwilling to halt their campaign of destruction despite the best efforts of both The Doctor and their now-mellowed leader, The Doctor , Ace and Benny narrowly managed to save the day after Ace, using the alternate Third Doctor’s TARDIS key, was able to restore his TARDIS to full working condition - the alternate TARDIS having gone into internal shutdown and reverted to a seemingly ordinary police box after its Doctor’s death - based on her memories of the Seventh Doctor’s TARDIS. As nuclear missiles were launched, The Doctor was forced to take a desperate gamble and materialise his other self’s TARDIS around Earth, thus rendering the warheads useless due to the entire planet now existing in a state of temporal grace, allowing The Doctor to delete the warheads using the TARDIS’s architectural reconfiguration. Witnessing a dead Silurian child who had been killed in the ‘earthquakes’ caused by The Doctor ’s gambit, The Brigadier was forced to recognise what he had become and finally agree to talk with the Silurian leaders at last. As The Doctor departed, however, he was forced to destroy that timeline in order to heal the damage that its creation had caused to the real universe - his old TARDIS only surviving the destruction thanks to a ‘Frotean flicker’, a temporal anomaly that pulled objects to different locations in space and time - the alternate universe only retaining enough energy for its current inhabitants to live out their natural lifespans before coming to an end, the energy released by its destruction repairing the damage its creation had caused to the ‘main’ universe.

The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood
The Eleventh Doctor found himself dealing with another Silurian attack when he landed in a small village in 2020, discovering a drilling expedition lead by Doctor Nasreen Chaudhry - including her friend and love interest Tony, his daughter Ambrose, her husband Mo and her son Elliot - investigating strange mineral readings in the area. Unfortunately, the subsequent drilling project disturbed a Silurian city underneath, prompting the Silurian ‘warrior class’ to awaken, believing the drilling to be a deliberate attack rather than an accident. Although the Silurians were able to capture three humans after containing the area behind a force field using geo-morphing technology that allowed them to manipulate the Earth itself - their ‘hostages’ including The Doctor’s companion Amy -, The Doctor and his other companion Rory were able to capture Silurian warrior Ayala - although Ayala was unfortunately able to infect Tony with a Silurian virus -, The Doctor leaving Rory and the remaining members of the drilling team to keep an eye on Ayala while he and Nasreen travelled down to the Silurian city in the TARDIS, only to be shocked at the discovery that he was dealing with an entire Silurian city rather than the small base he had initially assumed.

The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood
Despite the numbers against him, The Doctor continued with his attempt to make peaceful contact with the Silurians, making contact with Ayala’s sister Restac, the military commander of the awakened Silurians, and Malohek, a Silurian Doctor who had apparently been waking up at regular intervals over the centuries to monitor humanity’s development while his race slept. Although Restac sought war with the ‘apes’, Malohek, recognising that mankind had evolved since those days, was more willing to consider peace between the two sides, awakening the Silurian leader Eldane to begin negotiations when Restac threatened to execute Amy. With Amy and Nasreen speaking for humanity while The Doctor acted as chairman of the ‘debate’ with Eldane, Amy suggested that the Silurians inhabit the areas that humanity couldn’t use such as the Australian outback while the Silurians provided new energy resources and technology in exchange. Unfortunately, the debate was jeopardised when Restac awakened further Silurian soldiers in her determination to provoke war, matters becoming worse when Ayala was revealed to have been killed by Ambrose while she was trying to make Ayala reveal the cure for the venom that she had infected Tony with.
Book - The Shadows of Avalon
The Shadows of Avalon
(Paul Cornell)

Even worse, Ambrose, scared and desperate for her family to survive, had convinced her father to start the drill if the Silurians didn’t abandon their efforts, the humans only just managing to escape after The Doctor used the sonic screwdriver to disable the Silurian weapons and distract them while they escaped. Recognising the humans’ willingness to negotiate compared to Restac’s thirst for violence, Eldane offered to trigger the city’s fumigation systems to force the other Silurians back into stasis, The Doctor suggesting that Eldane set the Silurian ‘alarm clock’ to awaken them in a thousand years while the team passed on tales of the Silurians to help prepare the human race for the day when they would revive in the hope that the planet would be ready for them. Nasreen and Tony remained with the Silurians to treat Tony’s infection and help improve human/Silurian relations when they awoke again while Mo, Ambrose and Elliot returned to the surface as the drill was destroyed by an electrical discharge, The Doctor charging Ambrose to make sure that Elliot grew up to be a better example of humanity than she had been. A voiceover by Eldane as the episode concluded suggested that The Doctor’s plan for human/Silurian integration would prove successful, but this remains to be seen.

Even without appearing as the main characters in a full-length adventure, the Silurians have been referenced on minor occasions in various novels. Two of their most prominent appearances in this fashion have been in the Sixth Doctor novel "Spiral Scratch" (Featuring an alternate world where humans and Silurians were apparently able to co-exist, to the extent that the Sixth Doctor’s companion Mel Bush was now a human/Silurian hybrid named Melanie Baal), and the Eighth Doctor novel "The Shadows of Avalon" (Where a group of Silurians had been transferred into the mystical dreamland of Avalon centuries ago, becoming ‘reinvented’ as the mystical ‘Fair Folk’ to give them a purpose in this new realm). When Time briefly faced collapse after The Doctor’s death was averted despite it being a fixed point, an alternate version of Malohek appeared as The Doctor to Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill as all of history tried to happen at once, although this timeline was resolved when The Doctor faked his death ("The Wedding of River Song").

The Silurians also played a minor but important role in "A Good Man Goes to War", where it was revealed that The Doctor had once faced Ayala and Restac’s previously-unknown third sister, Vastra, defeating her attempts to attack innocent tunnelers and sentencing her to make a new life for herself on Earth in the late eighteenth century. Despite having to wear a cloak to pass in public, Vastra appeared to make a life for herself as a ‘trouble-shooter’ of the time, claiming at one point to have caught and eaten Jack the Ripper (Although given his true origins as The Valeyard ("Matrix") she may have simply disposed of a copycat), even forming a lesbian relationship with a woman called Jenny who worked as her assistant. The Doctor eventually contacted her again when he was recruiting a strike force to rescue his companion Amy Pond from the Demon’s Run asteroid ("A Good Man Goes to War"), Vastra later helping The Doctor realise why the army at Demon’s Run had stolen Amy and her baby in the first place.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
When investigating a mysterious spaceship heading for Earth ("Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"), The Doctor, Amy and Rory - accompanied by temporary companions Queen Nefertiti, big-game hunter Riddell, and Rory's father Brian -, discovered that the ship was a Silurian ark that had been launched with various dinosaurs and plant-life on board, with the intention of repopulating Earth after the moon had crashed into it, but the ship had been attacked by space-pirate Solomon, who had killed the Silurian crew in order to sell the dinosaurs on the interstellar black market before he realised that he couldn't steer the ship. While Solomon attempted to take Nefertiti and sell her, The Doctor was able to reactivate the ship's controls while he was occupied, using Rory and Brian to steer it away from Earth - the ship would only respond to two pilots in the same gene pool - while Amy and Riddell kept the dinosaurs back with stun weapons, giving The Doctor time to rescue Nefertiti and send Solomon's ship flying into space to be destroyed by the missiles Earth had launched to stop the ship, considering Solomon's death a fitting punishment for his genocide against the dormant Silurians.

When The Doctor ‘retired’ after Amy and Rory’s loss ("The Angels Take Manhattan"), he made a new home for himself in Victorian London, with Vastra and Jenny - along with the Sontaran Strax, cloned back to life and working with them as an occasional enforcer - keeping an eye on him even if they failed to encourage him back into action. However, with the appearance of The Great Intelligence ("The Abominable Snowmen") and the mysterious Clara ("Asylum of the Daleks"), The Doctor was convinced to go back into action to stop his old foe, Vastra and Jenny approving of his return to life as he departed to search for another version of Clara ("The Snowmen").


The Television Stories

Story Doctor Writer Originally Transmitted Episodes BBC Archive Status Released on Video/Audio Average Ratings (Millions)
Doctor Who and the Silurians 3rd Malcolm Hulke 31st January - 14th March 1970 7 All Held
Video
VHS & DVD
7.7
The Sea Devils 3rd Malcolm Hulke 26th February - 1st April 1972 6 All held
Video
VHS & DVD
8.1
Warriors of the Deep 5th Johnny Byrne 5th - 13th January 1984 4 All held
Video
VHS & DVD
7.3
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood 11th Chris Chibnall 22nd - 29th May 2010 2 All held
Video
DVD
7.0
A Good Man Goes to War 11th Steven Moffat 4th June 2011 1 All held
Video
DVD
7.5


The Book and Audio Stories

Story Doctor Writer Release Date Episodes Released
Blood Heat 7th Jim Mortimore November 1993 -
Audio
Book
The Scales of Injustice 3rd Gary Russell July 1996 -
Audio
Book
Bloodtide 6th Jonathan Morris July 2001 4
Audio
CD
The Silurian Candidate 7th Matthew J Elliott September 2017 -
Audio
CD



THE BEHEMOTHS

 When homo reptilia went into their deep sleep they took with them a number of their reptilian cousins to act as guards and to provide manual labour for their return to the surface. Usually of the larger, more unintelligent species, the creatures' faithfulness and obedience made them excellent watchdogs.

 The Silurians situated under the Wenley Moor centre used a Tyrannosaurus Rex to keep unwanted visitors at bay. This creature was witnessed by, amongst others, The Doctor and a number of pot-holers, one of whom was killed by it. Controlled by a sonic calling device, the massive dinosaur would obey every command given by the gradually reviving reptiles, although it was presumably killed or buried along with its Silurian masters when their base was destroyed.

The Myrka
The Myrka
 Another dangerous creature was used nearly a century later, when Sea Base Four came under attack by the surviving Silurians from Wenley Moor, aided and abetted by their undersea cousins, the Sea Devils. In an attempt to further strengthen their offence, the Sea Devils brought with them the legendary underwater reptile the Myrka, a massive, previously unknown dinosaur which conducted vast amounts of electrical current, lethal enough to kill those who came into contact with it. After several members of Sea Base Four's crew were killed, The Doctor eventually manages to destroy the massive Myrka by using a highly concentrated blast of ultra-violet light, taking advantage of the fact that it had evolved to cope in darkness.

 The Myrka was also used by the Silurians to attack those aboard HMS Beagle after its long voyage to take Charles Darwin to the Galapagos Islands, its attack only being thwarted when Greta, a young woman who was carrying the sonic device that had driven the Myrka to attack the Beagle in the first place, threw herself at the creature, sacrificing herself to stop its rampage. The Doctor though does not kill the Myrka this time but instead he manages to use the underwater creature to defeat the Silurians, planting the same emitter on a Silurian ship that would have released a fatal bacteria throughout the world. It is not known what happened to the Myrka but it can be assumed that it stayed within the vicinity of the islands to live out its remaining natural life.

 It also remains unknown whether or not the Tyrannosaurus Rex or the Myrka were the only members of their species to survive or whether vast underground or undersea colonies of these creatures may still exist awaiting to be revived.


THE UNIQUE DOCTOR WHO MONSTER

A Silurian
A Silurian
 What makes the Sea Devils work better than most creatures in Doctor Who is the attention to detail in their design. Their appearance with heads that are very similar to turtles and with fishing net like material for clothing gives them a degree of scientific plausibility. Their effect is further pronounced by distorting the human shape of the actors with an extended neck where the head should be. However, one down side is their final appearance where their effectiveness is marred somewhat by dressing them in rigid Samurai like armour which largely disguises that they are reptiles at all. The Silurians though are slightly less effective as they have more of a rubber feel about them. But despite this they too have very effective head gear which includes the impressive third eye. The new Silurian models for the present series were sleeker and more elegant than those seen before - specifically identified as a new breed by The Doctor himself -, lacking the third eye seen before while also possessing an extendable tongue that could ‘sting’ with a fatal poison, as well as sleeked ‘spikes’ on their heads that give them a more regal appearance than those previously seen.

 However, it is the history and culture of this species that has created a truly classic Doctor Who monster rather than their looks. The Silurians and Sea Devils may not be as popular as the Daleks or the Cybermen but the idea behind them is a lot more fascinating than they are given credit for.

 For possibly the only time in the show's history there is no real distinction, between mankind and the 'villains', as to who is 'right' and who is 'wrong'. There is no doubting the fact that the Silurians were on Earth well before mankind. So is it really so surprising, then, that they should be so indignant at finding their world taken over by creatures thought to be no more intelligent than primitive simians? Jonathan Morris, author of the Silurian audio “Bloodtide” has stated his own opinion about what makes the Silurians so effective;


'Doctor Who is about the monsters. Take the monsters out of Doctor Who and all you have is a lot of implausibly-costumed people with strange names arguing with each other. As a child, the reason I watched Doctor Who was because of the monsters. And the scarier they were, the better.

But the Silurians are a bit different. Not only are they scaly green reptiles, but they are scaly green reptiles who have a greater claim to the planet Earth than we do. Indeed, the whole premise of the Silurian race raises interesting moral and ethical questions about mankind's place in nature. And that was, essentially the starting point of this story.



Sea Devils
Sea Devils
 The mainstay of attacks to Earth and mankind has mainly been from within (i.e. power crazy members of our own race) or attempted invasions from alien beings and creatures. With the Silurians and Sea Devils it is we, mankind, that have become, albeit inadvertently, the invaders, but it is clear from the outset that this take-over of the Silurians world was not deliberate but an unfortunate (for the reptiles) natural set of events.

 To empathise better with the invidious position in which mankind and the race of reptiles find themselves in, one need only compare these stories with the 1963 novel by Frenchman Pierre Boulle that was used as the basis for the successful Planet of the Apes series of films. In his novel a human from the Earth of 2500 AD, is catapulted into a world where Homo Sapiens is nothing more than a dumb, naked animal living in primitive conditions and ruled over by articulate apes. It may seem a preposterous and unthinkable situation that could lead to such an event but it is, in essence, precisely what the Silurians were faced with upon reawakening from their prolonged hibernation.

A Silurian
A Silurian
 The Doctor in his wisdom can foresee great benefit from both species living together in harmony and so it is quite ironic that in the 1973 fifth and final Planet of the Apes film the ending has the humans and apes living together. The previous films have many similarities with the Silurians - both demonstrate how mistrust and the attempts of domination can lead to the death and destruction to both races. At least with The Doctor on hand global nuclear destruction is prevented.

 It is clear that the Silurians wish to reclaim their world which they lost through unfair default. It is also clear from the onset that the Silurians instinctually, despite their race's intelligence, could not tolerate living on equal terms with humans despite anything The Doctor is able to do, although some Silurians have demonstrated a willingness to consider co-existence after a longer study of humanity.

A Sea Devil
A Sea Devil
 Despite their justifiable claim to Earth their unwillingness to come to terms with the new situation they find themselves in, combined with an in-bred arrogance, led to their grossly under-estimating the formidable nature of mankind. This is well demonstrated by the attitude of the Young Silurian, who fiercely believed in the superiority of his race to the extent that he completely disregarded the fears that The Doctor may discover a cure to the disease which they have unleashed: 'The disease will be beyond the understanding of their science. They're only apes. They will not develop a cure.' These words more or less seal the fate of the otherwise noble reptiles, with other examples such as the warrior Ayala, willing to die simply to prove herself correct about the ‘barbaric’ apes, does not inspire much confidence for the two species ever being able to live together peacefully.

A Silurian (2010 Version)
A Silurian (2010 Version)
 Of course this is not the view of all Silurians, and those understanding his motives and objectives have helped The Doctor. But ultimately ignorance triumphs over intelligence and with the majority of the Silurians believing the humans to be dangerous and unfit to share the world with The Doctor is fighting a losing battle. Later stories have also introduced the concept of race-memory malaise to human/Silurian interactions, suggesting that humanity has evolved an almost instinctive fear of the Silurians that makes cooperation even more difficult, although an alternate version of The Doctor’s companion Liz Shaw had some success in devising a cure for this affliction.

 Despite these odds, The Doctor is never willing to give up his goal of convincing the two sides to reconcile, recognising that both races are entitled to the planet and desperately attempting to bridge the gap. Exercising simple logic, the Third Doctor came up with an easy, obvious and amicable solution to the dilemma by giving the Silurians those vast areas on Earth which are baked in heat and so are virtually useless to humans, but perfect for reptiles, where they could construct cities and a rebuild their civilisation - the Eleventh Doctor’s companion Amy Pond suggesting a similar compromise during her own negotiations with the Silurians later -, but their efforts were tragically doomed to fail as their peaceful ideals were swept aside by the more violent reactionary ones from both sides. Both are determined that the planet is their own and is not to be shared. The Young Silurian remarks: 'The species is dangerous and hostile. We should kill them all' and, for the humans, it is stated that 'We must destroy them before they destroy us'. The justification on both sides is that the other has shown hostility - neither willing to listen to The Doctor’s efforts to convince them that the hostility was either accidental or simple self-defence through misjudging the circumstances. To each side the answer is simple: eliminate the aggravators.

 What is clear though the Silurians and Sea Devils may have been defeated five times - The Doctor even establishing peace with them in an alternate timeline on another occasion - but the chances of further attacks to mankind is very high. While the Eleventh Doctor’s efforts have secured at least one Silurian colony that may be open to the possibility of peace in the future, it is unknown if other such colonies exist around the world, leaving it ever-likely that The Doctor will have to face the Silurians again as time goes on.
 
Doctor Who and the Silurians
Doctor Who and the Silurians
Doctor Who and the Silurians
Doctor Who and the Silurians
The Sea Devils
The Sea Devils
The Sea Devils
The Sea Devils

 
Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
Who's Who Who Episodes
Who's Who
KJ Software
Who Episodes


Press to go back to the previous visited page Who Me References
 
 
Doctor Who is the copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation. No infringements intended. This site is not endorsed by the BBC or any representatives thereof.