Warriors of the Deep

Spoilers

Season 21 of Doctor Who kicks off with a base under siege. We also have the return of both the Silurians and the Sea Devils, who are seen on-screen together for the first time.

Warriors of the Deep is for me a lacklustre Doctor Who story. It was penned by Johnny Byrne who previously wrote The Keeper of Traken for Season 18 and Arc of Infinity for Season 20. This is definitely the weakest of the three stories he wrote.

The story mostly suffered problems in the production side of things. Firstly, there was a last minute change of facilities being used by the programme in television centre. This was because Margaret Thatcher had called a snap general election in the wake of her popularity coming off the Falklands War. Oh dear!

Ironically, Johnny Byrne wrote Warriors of the Deep in wake of the Cold War which was going on between the USA and the Soviet Union. The story had the background of two power blocs in opposition.

Anyway, the story itself begins with the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough in the Tardis, the latter having gotten over wanting to return to his home-world for now. They are then attacked by a space station which deemed them hostile. They end up on an underwater sea base.

The Doctor tells Tegan that they are in the year 2084, and Tegan replies that nothing seems to have changed since her time. The trio are then accused of being enemy agents by Commander Vorshak, although the Doctor soon manages to convince him otherwise.

It turns out there are enemy agents on the station, intent on sabotage. Dr. Solow and Nilson are the two agents who brainwash workman Maddox in order to make him to their bidding. Vorshak is then confronted with another threat, in the form of the Silurians and the Sea Devils.

They are both working together in this, with the Silurians acting as first in command, and the Sea Devils as the foot soldiers. It was interesting to see them team up, especially since they are slated as being cousins.

The Silurians are designed with things on the top of their heads that glow red everytime they speak so as to identify which Silurian is speaking. I thought this was pretty interesting. Both they and the Sea Devils even get names which I liked. I have to say that their team up wasn’t fully realised in my opinion. Both species seem to lumber along all the time, even when in battle.

Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor is pretty decent in this story. He acts like a hero, although I would debate that because there is the question of whether or not he needed to go to the control centre as he didn’t know if anything was wrong initially, as well as attempting to sabotage the main reactor in order to evade capture. I was also not keen on his line “I sometimes wonder why I like the people of this miserable planet so much.” He gets pushed into a vat of water at the end of part 1, most of which was done by Gareth Milne standing in for Peter.

Tegan was alright in this story. She doesn’t get to do much unfortunately, but I liked it when she tried to rescue the Doctor from the vat of water. Turlough however was very poorly handled in this story. He seems pretty incompetent at times, as well as acting as if he is still working for the Black Guardian.

The Silurians and the Sea Devils launch their attack on the sea base. Commander Vorshak reluctantly agrees to the Doctor’s offer for help after he recognises the Silurian ship. He, Tegan, Turlough and the crew head for Airlock 1, where they are confronted by a monster known as the Myrka, which looks pathetic.

The Myrka was made to accommodate two actors inside it. It lumbers about and doesn’t look very threatening. The only way it could kill someone was if they got too close to it. Tegan gets trapped under a door which the Myrka knocked down. Weirdly she didn’t seem injured by it. Dr Solow meets her demise when she stupidly tries to karate chop the Myrka.

Vorshak reluctantly continues to trust the Doctor, who manages to construct an ultraviolet generator which kills the Myrka. Just after that however, the Sea Devils and Silurians begin to ascend on the base. It is then that Nilson reveals himself as one of the enemy agents before taking Tegan hostage.

The Doctor chases them before managing to blind Nilson with the ultraviolet generator. A group of Sea Devils than appear and kill Nilson before taking the Doctor and Tegan as their prisoners. The Silurians have now take over control of the base.

The Doctor confronts Icthar, the Silurian leader, who reveals that they intend to trigger a global war which will wipe out all mankind. So much for living alongside humanity. The Doctor and his companions then manage to escape and wonder how to defeat their enemies.

A Sea Devil then arrives and attempts to shoot the Doctor, but he misses and instead hits a gas canister which sprays all over him and then causes him to dissolve into green ooze. Preston suggests that they use this on all of the Silurians and Sea Devils. This is where the Doctor questions why he helps Earth. I found it rather harsh of him, but then I suppose things like that have been said by other Doctors, most recently by the Thirteenth Doctor in War of the Sontarans.

Turlough reminds the Doctor of what the Silurians will do otherwise. Wow! That was persuasive. The Doctor begins to connect the gas to a central air pump before feeding it into the ventilation. The Silurians are killed by the gas, but all of the remaining crew members, apart from Bulic, are killed by them as well.

When he is done, the Doctor is worn out and slightly beaten. When he sees the amount of corpses, he is in despair and says “There should have been another way.” Couldn’t agree with you more Doctor.

Like with Terrance Dudley and The King’s Demons, Warriors of the Deep is the worst of the three stories Johnny Byrne wrote for Doctor Who. Even he was unhappy with the outcome, especially since some his scripts were edited by Eric Saward. Interestingly enough, a lot of people, including Eric, lay the blame on John Nathan-Turner and director Pennant Roberts. Pennant directed some good Doctor Who stories, including Shada, even though that was originally never completed.

Stay tuned for my review of The Awakening.

Rating: 4/10

Take care, WF92.

4 thoughts on “Warriors of the Deep

  1. Hi WF92,

    Enjoyed your review on ‘Warriors of the Deep’. Interesting thoughts you have on this story. It’s been a while since I’ve seen ‘Warriors of the Deep’. I hope to revisit it someday when it comes to checking out the story again on Blu-ray in the Season 21 Blu-ray box set whenever that comes out. Incidentally, I’ve got my copy of the latest edition of ‘Doctor Who Magazine’ today. I’m ready for updating my reviews on the stories in the Season 22 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ with Colin Baker.

    I’m not sure who’s really to blame in terms of the production standards of this story. My issue would probably have to be with the way the story was written. Whilst Johnny Byrne is not entirely to blame on that regard, Eric Saward could’ve tightened the dialogue more especially concerning the issues you raised about the Fifth Doctor wondering why he cares for humanity on their ‘pathetic planet’. I like the callback you made to the Thirteenth Doctor asking that same question in the ‘Flux’ episode ‘War of the Sontarans’.

    Great review!

    Tim 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Tim.

    I’m pleased you enjoyed my review of ‘Warriors of the Deep’. I look forward to your updated review of the story after you’ve seen in the Collection Blu-Ray box set for Season 21. I must pick up a copy of the latest edition of ‘Doctor Who Magazine’ tomorrow from WHSmith.

    Interesting you think that the way Johnny Byrne wrote the story was the issue, as opposed to the production side of things. Eric Saward could probably have tightened up the scripts in some places. I’m pleased you liked me mentioning the Thirteenth Doctor questioning humanity in ‘War of the Sontarans’.

    P.s. I plan on watching part 1 of ‘The Awakening’ today, and part 2 tomorrow, where I will share my thoughts on it.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi WF92,

      Oh I’d say it was a combination of both writing and production now I come to think about what caused this story to be so underwhelming and bad. But again, it’s something I have to re-examine when it comes to checking out ‘Warriors of the Deep’ again on Blu-ray whenever that happens.

      Hope you enjoy ‘The Awakening’!

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Tim.

        That’s cool. You did say in our ‘Keeper of Traken’ discussion that Johnny Byrne’s scripts weren’t the issue with ‘Warriors of the Deep’. I hope the Target novelisation is better. I can find out when the audiobook comes out. I also hope to revisit the original ‘Silurians’ and ‘Sea Devils’ stories to see how they should be.

        I’ve already seen part 1 of ‘The Awakening’ and enjoyed it. Will be checking out part 2 tomorrow before sharing my thoughts on your review.

        Take Care WF92.

        Liked by 1 person

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