The Hungry Earth was the eighth episode of the fifth series of BBC Wales Doctor Who. It was the first part of a two-part story that featured the first televised re-appearance of the Silurians since 1984's Warriors of the Deep. It also introduced a new branch of the Silurian species, who are different both in appearance and in culture.
It's 2020, and the most ambitious drilling project in history has reached deeper beneath the Earth's crust than man has ever gone before — but now the ground itself is fighting back. The Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive in a tiny mining village, and find themselves plunged into a battle against a deadly danger from a bygone age.
In 2020, in the small Welsh village of Cwmtaff, a team led by Dr Nasreen Chaudhry is attempting the deepest drilling project in history to investigate minerals that have appeared locally, but otherwise have not been seen on Earth's surface for over twenty million years. Mo Northover, a night watchman on the project, is helping his dyslexic son Elliot read the book The Gruffalo, without his headphones for the audio option. His wife Ambrose gives him his lunch, and sends him off to work.
At the site, Ambrose's father, Tony Mack, is celebrating their latest drill with Nasreen. They have reached their latest goal of 21 kilometres! Mo arrives, and sends them off so he can start his shift, happy to a have a peaceful night to himself. By night time, a strange earthquake strikes. Investigating, he finds a smoking hole in a storeroom floor. He plunges his hand in and finds nothing beneath it but air. After his torch is dropped onto the dirt, though, he watches as it sinks. He manages to pull himself away, but bumbles, getting his feet stuck in the dirt. He is promptly dragged down.
Shortly thereafter, the Eleventh Doctor arrives in Cwmtaff with Amy Pond and Rory Williams, having promised them a vacation in Rio de Janeiro, missing by several thousand miles; the TARDIS has brought them to the wrong place yet again, much to the annoyance of the companions. As they look across the valley, Amy spots two figures waving at them from the opposite hillside. It is Amy and Rory from ten years in their future, coming back to revisit past glories. Though she finds this "interaction" with her future self thrilling, Amy still wants to go to their intended destination. However, the Doctor is intrigued by blue grass in the cemetery where the TARDIS has parked, as well as the drilling operation in the valley below; it's the reason the ground "doesn't feel right". He insists they investigate, much to Amy's annoyance and expectation.
While the Doctor and Amy head off to explore, Rory returns Amy's engagement ring to the TARDIS for safekeeping, promising to catch up to them. As he leaves the police box, he is stopped by Ambrose Northover, who mistakes him for an investigator she called down for. Seeing that he cannot get away, Rory decides to play along until he gets an opportunity to run. Along with her son Elliot, Ambrose explains that her aunt Gladys' grave has been dug up without the round being disturbed. The body, the coffin — it all just disappeared! While Ambrose leaves to get tea, Elliot talks to a baffled Rory, telling him his conclusion is that the bodies are eaten by the graves. He learned to think this way from his Sherlock Holmes audiobooks: "When you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Travelling with the Doctor, Rory knows Elliot may just be right.
At the mine, the Doctor and Amy meet Nasreen and Tony, who are investigating the hole in the store room. Checking the readings on Nasreen's computer, the Doctor announces the earth is shifting when it shouldn't be; specifically, the shifting is only and directly under this room. Abruptly, another earthquake strikes and more holes appear. As the group rushes to escape, Tony is caught in one of the holes. Despite the Doctor's orders that she keep moving, Amy stops and tries to help Tony, only to be caught in one of the holes herself. Nasreen and the Doctor double back to help the two. Nasreen helps Tony to safety, and the Doctor orders them to shut the drill down while he holds onto Amy. Though he promises not to let go of her, he can't stop her from being pulled under.
When Nasreen and Tony return — having shut off the drill too late to save Amy — the trio continues inspecting the earth. The Doctor deduces the earth was bio-programmed to attack whenever it perceived a threat. Nasreen's drill, which has breached a network of tunnels twenty-one kilometres down, was such a threat.
Transport pods are heading for the surface, and will arrive in twelve minutes. The Doctor, Nasreen and Tony gather the equipment and make for the local church, where they encounter Rory, Ambrose and Elliot; the Doctor dismisses Rory's concerns about the graves. The attackers create an energy barrier around the town to prevent escape. Ambrose and Rory are furious their loved ones have been lost, but the Doctor promises to get them back, though he requires their cooperation. The group sets up a network of cameras and security alarms around the church, and continues monitoring the pods' ascent via Nasreen's computers. Elliot, meanwhile, draws a map of the entire village, marking the locations of the cameras placed. The Doctor, distracted by the impending threat, allows Elliot to leave the safety of the church so he can return home and collect his headphones.
The attack begins with the energy barrier blocking out all light. The attackers' advanced technology knocks out all the electricity in the area including the camera network, leaving the group blind. Elliot is chased back to the church by a reptilian, humanoid creature. It catches up with him before the group can open the church door. Ambrose races into the night, calling for her son. She is attacked by one of the creatures. When Tony steps in to rescue her, the creature lashes at him with its venomous tongue. The Doctor gives chase, using special sunglasses to determine that the creatures belong to a species he's encountered before. With Rory's help, they trap it in the back of Ambrose's Meals-on-Wheels van, with the cold putting it to sleep due to its reptilian nature. The other creatures flee; both sides have hostages now.
Amy awakes beneath the surface; she is trapped in a clear container. Banging her fists against the container, Amy demands that whoever put her in the container let her go. Despite her protests, a shadowy figure with a surgical mask activates a control, flooding the container with gas that knocks her out again.
The Doctor and Rory bring the creature to the church cellar, and restrain it with chains. The Doctor deduces it is a member of an unknown, three-hundred-million-year-old branch of the Silurians, the reptilian race that inhabited Earth before the humans; he's failed numerous times before to make peace between them and humanity, mostly due to humanity being uncompromising. He confronts the prisoner, a warrior called Alaya. She says the Silurians have been hibernating below Cwmtaff for countless centuries, but their civilisation was disturbed by the drill, threatening its safety. The Doctor tries to negotiate with her, but Alaya declares war. The Silurians will wipe humanity off the surface of the planet, and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.
The Doctor returns to the church hall, and informs his companions that he will travel beneath the surface to commence negotiations, and rescue Amy, Mo and Elliot. While Tony insists they dissect Alaya to learn more about what they are facing, the Doctor refuses. If they are to get their loved ones back unharmed, Alaya must be kept alive. He entrusts the humans with this responsibility, paying particular attention to Ambrose, who has opposed his actions so far, and likely poses the most danger to his attempts to once more broker peace between Silurian and human. As the Doctor goes out to the TARDIS, Nasreen follows, asking to go down with him; he reluctantly agrees. Nasreen and Tony share a passionate kiss before she departs. Tony returns to the church and inspects his wound in a mirror, horrified to realise that the veins around the injury are turning green.
Rory, Ambrose and Tony visit Alaya, who warns them that one of them will kill her, which will ignite a huge war between the two species. And she knows which one of them did do it...
Below the surface, Amy regains consciousness again. She is strapped to a standing surgical table in a Silurian surgery. Mo is imprisoned next to her, and warns her of her impending live dissection. He reveals a long scar stretching down from his chest as evidence of this. Amy hears footsteps, and looks forward. She sees tools banging and chiming behind a masked surgeon. She begins to struggle as the surgeon approaches her with a scalpel. He closes in on her. Amy struggles, but can't break free as the surgeon enters her surgical chamber.
In the meantime, the TARDIS is dragged under by the bio-programmed soil and into a cavern deep within the Earth. The Doctor and Nasreen begin exploring the surrounding tunnels in search of the Silurian camp. The Doctor warns Nasreen to expect a small group of perhaps a dozen Silurians. However, she points him to an entire civilization living beneath the Earth, stretching for miles around.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Rory - Arthur Darvill
- Alaya - Neve McIntosh
- Nasreen Chaudhry - Meera Syal
- Tony Mack - Robert Pugh
- Ambrose - Nia Roberts
- Mo - Alun Raglan
- Elliot - Samuel Davies
Uncredited cast Edit
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
Despite the centrality of prosthetics to creating the Silurians — and indeed the inclusion of an interview with Rob Mayor on CON: After Effects — no member of Millennium FX's staff received an individual credit on this episode. Similarly, Davy Jones was fairly extensively interviewed in CON: After Effects, where he was clearly shown to be doing the job of the prosthetics make-up artist. However he wasn't credited for his work. This was the first time he was visually confirmed to be working on Doctor Who since The Parting of the Ways. Malcolm Hulke did not receive a credit for creating the Silurians, though he does later on in TV: A Good Man Goes to War.
- The Doctor (and later Ambrose) quotes "every little helps," when looking for objects in the van, a reference to the famous caption of Tesco, a large supermarket chain in the UK.
- The Doctor also refers to the Silurians as "Eocenes", "Homo Reptilia" and "Earth...lians".
Literature from the real world Edit
- The book, which Mo Northover reads to Elliot is The Gruffalo.
- Elliot quotes Sherlock Holmes: "When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
- The Doctor has a pair of sunglasses that function as infra-red thermal imaging scanners.
- The sonic screwdriver still can't "do wood."
The Doctor Edit
Story notes Edit
- The episode was incorrectly entitled Warm Planet and Cold Blood.
- The working title for this episode was The Ground Beneath Their Feet. (REF: The Brilliant Book 2011)
- Despite the press release saying that the story would take place in 2015, it actually took place in 2020. It may have been changed due to some events of the previous episode happening in 2015.
- The visor's different scanning types are reminiscent of the helmets used by the aliens in the Predator film series. Also when Matt Smith moves his hand when looking through the heat scanning glasses, there is the same "swish" sound heard when the Predator changes scanning type.
- Matt Smith celebrated his twenty-seventh birthday during the filming of this episode.
- Amy and Rory see future versions of themselves in 2020 from a distance, seemingly revisiting their past adventure and watching their past (current, from a series perspective) selves. However, time is altered at the end of Cold Blood, and only Amy is seen at a distance in that episode.
- When Amy goes to say hello to their future selves the Doctor stops her, saying, "Things can get very complicated".
- The completed episode had a running time of sixty minutes, requiring over fifteen minutes of footage to be removed to fit its broadcast slot.
- This is the first on-screen Silurian story to feature a female member of the species; AUDIO: Bloodtide released before this story previously featured a female Silurian Sh'vak
- Originally, Mo and Amy were to be stripped down to their underwear before being dissected. This was removed as "too adult".
- This is the first episode which does not credit the creator of an already established species since the revival.
- In the early stages of production, the new Silurians' masks were intended to be quite similar to the originals, only with green scales. (DWA 172)
- This episode aired on the same day the K9 episode Mutant Copper was first broadcast on Disney XD in Britain. It also aired on the same day that Jaws of Orthrus was first broadcast on Network Ten in Australia.
- Though the term homo reptilia makes its television debut here, the Third Doctor introduces the term to the DWU in Doctor Who and the Cave-Monsters, the novelisation of the 1970 TV story Doctor Who and the Silurians.
- The Silurians wear armour similar to what the Sea Devils wore in TV: Warriors of the Deep.
- This Silurian tribe have the ability to flick their long, forked tongues at their enemies, injecting them with poison. The Doctor implies that he has prior knowledge of such an ability, suggesting that he had encountered another Silurian tribe with a similar trait.
- In Doctor Who and the Silurians another tribe of Silurians had gone into hibernation, intending to be revived 50 years later (before being destroyed). That episode was made in 1970 (with an unclear setting due to the UNIT dating controversy) and this episode was set exactly 50 years later in 2020.
Overnight ratings were 4.5 million (4.2 million on BBC1, 0.3 million on HD) for a 32.2% share.
The official viewing figures were 6.01 million viewers.
The Appreciation Index was 86.
Filming locations Edit
St. Gwynno's Church, Llanwonno, Rhondda Valley
Bedwelty Coal Pit, Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent
Tower Collery, Hirwaun, Glamorgan, South Wales
Production errors Edit
- When Rory is being shown the graves by Ambrose and Elliot, he has his arms by his side whenever the camera is focused on the latter, but when the camera is on him, his arms are linked in front of him.
- Throughout this episode, Amy's earrings seem to disappear and reappear.
- On Frontios, "...the earth is hungry" too. There too, people were swallowed by the ground during the Fifth Doctor's visit. (TV: Frontios)
- The Doctor has encountered other branches of the Silurians previously, including the aquatic Sea Devils. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Sea Devils, Warriors of the Deep, PROSE: The Scales of Injustice)
- In reply to the question, "Are you scared of monsters?" the Doctor says, "No, they're scared of me." This is similar to what the Tenth Doctor said to Reinette (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace), and what the Eighth Doctor said to Destrii. (COMIC: Uroboros)
- The Third Doctor encountered a similar drilling project. (TV: Inferno)
- The Master also cut off a small town from the outside world by an energy barrier. (TV: The Dæmons)
- The Third Doctor also visited a small Welsh mining village. (TV: The Green Death)
- The Eleventh Doctor promised to take Amy to a beach, but accidentally took her to a graveyard instead. This is the fourth time the Doctor has planned to go to the beach but ended up somewhere else. The Tenth Doctor had promised to take Donna Noble to a beach but took her to the Library; (TV: Silence in the Library) the Third Doctor offered to take Sarah Jane Smith to a beach but ended up on Exxilon; (TV: Death to the Daleks) and although they were supposedly random coordinates, the Tenth Doctor was supposed to take Martha Jones to Copacabana Beach but his TARDIS was intercepted by Caw and taken to Pheros. (TV: The Infinite Quest)
- The Doctor again mentions that the sonic screwdriver doesn't work on wood. (TV: Silence in the Library)
- This is the fifth time the Doctor has used a church as a refuge. (TV: The Dæmons, The Curse of Fenric, Father's Day, Amy's Choice)
- The Doctor previously referred to the Silurians as "Eocenes". (TV: The Sea Devils)
- When Amy is anaesthetised, she cries out, "No, no gas!" A Winder previously used a ring filled with knock-out gas on her. (TV: The Beast Below)
Home video releases Edit