Some Thoughts on “Doctor Who and the Silurians”

After becoming acquainted with Homo Reptilia in Series 5’s two part episode “The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood”, I was interested to see this serial from 1970 that first introduced the Silurians into the Whoniverse. Starring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, Caroline John as Liz Shaw, and Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, this story was probably quite an astounding one when it first aired. What grabbed my attention the most in this episode was the marked difference between these Silurians and the ones from the modern show. These looked a bit like the Creature from the Black Lagoon (due to a limited costume/makeup budget) but featured a third eye in the middle of their foreheads. This third eye had a reddish hue and seemed used not so much for seeing as for channeling their mental powers–again, something we have not seen with the modern Silurians. The modern Silurians seem pretty straightforward, but the ones from 1970 often used a form of telekinesis for a variety of purposes, from attacking humans to operating machinery. It would certainly be interesting to see this introduced into the modern show–although I believe the Doctor mentioned that the Silurians he encountered in “The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood” were from a different tribe than the ones from “The Silurians”, which would explain the more noticeable differences.

All in all, I really enjoyed this episode despite its budget limitations. Had it had access to the budget and special effects of the modern show, it probably would have been quite spectacular. As it stands, though, “The Silurians” remains one of the most memorable stories of the early days of Doctor Who.


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