a real world point of view
|The Sea Devils|
|Novelised as:||Doctor Who and the Sea-Devils|
|Main enemy:||The Master|
Chief Sea Devil
|Main setting:||England, the 1970s|
|Number of episodes:||6|
|Premiere broadcast:||26 February - 1 April 1972|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Curse of Peladon||The Mutants|
- You may wish to consult
Sea Devil (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks had decided they wanted a sea-based story and asked Malcolm Hulke to write it. Instead of bringing back the Silurians, Hulke invented an aquatic version called the Sea Silurians. Unlike their counterparts, the Sea Devils were given clothing designed by Maggie Fletcher.
To answer the insistence by fans that the Silurian era could not have spawned man-sized life, Hulke introduced a line in which the Doctor says they should correctly be called Eocenes. However, some considered it also unlikely that the Eocene period could produce such life.
After appearing in all five stories of season 8, Letts had decided to restrict the Master to a few appearances each year. This story joins him where The Dæmons left off, with his imprisonment. The dialogue implied that the Doctor and the Master were once friends.
Letts had secured the involvement of the Royal Air Force for The Mind of Evil and decided to try to do the same with the Royal Navy. He found the Ministry of Defence eager to take part. Shortly after broadcast, the BBC was visited by officials from the MOD who believed their top-secret submarine had been used in the show. It was in fact a model, adapted to show the features they were secretly testing.
This story saw the only use of "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow", during the Pertwee era. The phrase became associated with the Third Doctor, so he used it again in The Five Doctors, some eleven years later. Pertwee did use a shortened version of the phrase, "reverse the polarity", several times.
Like many of Hulke's stories, it included a moral dimension. The Sea Devils are caught between the Master, the Doctor and the humans. Ultimately, they are betrayed by all three; like their land-based cousins, it is the humans who hurt them the most.
The Doctor and Jo visit the Master in his high-security prison on an island off the south coast of England. The governor, Colonel Trenchard, says ships have been disappearing mysteriously at sea.
Episode one Edit
The Master is being held indefinitely and is the only prisoner. He is watched by CCTV and the island is patrolled by armed guards – trained to resist the Master's hypnotic powers – and even protected by minefields. He claims to have reformed – but refuses to reveal the location of his TARDIS. As they depart, the old-school, patriotic governor, Colonel Trenchard, tells them that some ships have been disappearing mysteriously.
The Doctor cannot resist investigating, so they visit the nearby naval base, HMS Seaspite, run by the efficient Captain John Hart; despite the Doctor's eccentric behaviour - he claims to have known Nelson personally - an alliance forms. Hart is in charge of the adaptation of the sea fort to a SONAR testing station. The Doctor and Jo make their way to the sea fort. Jo and he are soon attacked by a Silurian lookalike.
Episode two Edit
This man-sized, bipedal lizard is called a "Sea Devil" by a half mad crew member. The Doctor finds the Master, assisted by Trenchard, is stealing electrical equipment from the naval base to build a machine to control the Sea Devils. The Doctor and the Master duel with swords, ending with the Master throwing a dagger at the Doctor's back.
Episode three Edit
The Doctor survives. He hears the evil Time Lord intends to use the reptiles as an army to conquer the planet. He begins by using the machine to summon some of them from the sea – forcing the Doctor to employ his sonic screwdriver to repel them by exploding mines on the beach.
Episode four Edit
The Master returns to his cell to begin work on a new device. He activates it and it calls the Sea Devils to him. They attack the prison, killing the guards and Trenchard. A battle for the prison rages. Trenchard, who believed he was aiding his country against enemy agents, is killed. The Doctor and Jo flee to HMS Seaspite, where Hart tells them a naval submarine has disappeared. The Doctor investigates in a submarine bell and is seized by the Sea Devils. Jo realises the bell is empty.
Episode five Edit
The Sea Devils take the Doctor to their leader. The Doctor enters the Sea Devils' base and tries to encourage peaceful negotiation, recalling how he had failed to broker an agreement between mankind and the Silurians. The Master, too, ventures to the Sea Devil base, intent on inciting war, but matters are left unresolved when the base is attacked by depth charges. This attack has been ordered by a gluttonous and short-sighted politician, Robert Walker. He has arrived at HMS Seaspite to take control of the situation and is intent on repeating UNIT’s actions on Wenley Moor: blowing up the creatures, this time with nuclear weapons. Hart and Jo are opposed to the attack but at least it allows the Doctor cover to flee, even if he has failed in his suit for peace. The Sea Devil aims its gun at the three people.
Episode six Edit
The Doctor persuades Walker to allow him a final attempt at negotiation, but the Sea Devils have captured the naval base. They have been inspired to this action by the Master, who still wants a war. He forces the Doctor to help build a machine to revive Sea Devil colonies all over the world. Returning to the Sea Devil base, the Master activates the device; the Sea Devils imprison both Time Lords, now equally useless to them. However, the Doctor has sabotaged the machine. The Master and he escape the base, using equipment from the captured submarine.
As they are rescued, massive power feedback from the sabotaged machine destroys the Sea Devil colony before the military attack starts. As usual, the Master escapes capture (this time by faking a heart attack, hypnotising a man into switching places with him, and hijacking a rescue hovercraft) and flees the scene.
- The Doctor - Jon Pertwee
- Jo Grant - Katy Manning
- The Master - Roger Delgado
- John Hart - Edwin Richfield
- George Trenchard - Clive Morton
- Robbins - Royston Tickner
- Radio Operator - Neil Seiler
- Clark - Declan Mulholland
- Hickman - Hugh Futcher
- 3rd Officer Jane Blythe - June Murphy
- Ldg. Telegraphist Bowman - Alec Wallis
- Castle Guard Wilson - Brian Justice
- Castle Guard Barclay - Terry Walsh
- Sea Devil - Pat Gorman
- C.P.O. Smedley - Eric Mason
- Commander Ridgeway - Donald Sumpter
- Lt. Commander Mitchell - David Griffin
- Ldg. Seaman Lovell - Christopher Wray
- Castle Guard Drew - Stanley McGeagh
- C.P.O. Summers - Colin Bell
- Lt. Commander Watts - Brian Vaughan
- A/B Girton - Rex Rowland
- Walker - Martin Boddey
- Rear Admiral - Norman Atkyns
- Chief Sea Devil - Peter Forbes-Robertson
- C.P.O. Myers - John Caesar
- Assistant Floor Manager - John Bradburn
- Costumes - Maggie Fletcher
- Designer - Tony Snoaden
- Fight Arranger - Derek Ware and HAVOC
- Film Cameraman - Peter Sargent
- Film Editor - Martyn Day
- Incidental Music - Malcolm Clarke
- Make-Up - Sylvia James
- Producer - Barry Letts
- Production Assistant - Colin Dudley
- Script Editor - Terrance Dicks
- Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson
- Studio Lighting - Mike Jefferies
- Studio Sound - Tony Millier, Colin Dixon
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Peter Day
Foods and beverages Edit
- The Doctor consumes several sandwiches at the naval base, and whilst visiting the Master.
- Hickman is seen drinking Old Oak Light Ale.
The Doctor Edit
The Doctor's items Edit
- The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to detect mines and cause them to explode.
- Jo can operate a hovercraft.
Story notes Edit
- This story had the working title The Sea Silurians.
- The scene involving the Master watching Clangers was a last-minute addition, added because the first episode was missing ninety seconds of the standard run time.
- This is one of two stories where the Third Doctor utters the full line, "I reversed the polarity of the neutron flow". The other is in TV: The Five Doctors.
- The Sea Devils are never named as such (except the fort survivor rambling about sea devils).
- The Doctor remarks that he was a personal friend of Horatio Nelson.
- This serial's director, Michael Briant, provided the voice of the radio DJ in episode two.
- Originally, episode one was to include the Doctor water-skiing, which was to be used as the excuse for Jo and him being late to the Master's prison. Increasingly inclement weather made the shoot impossible.
- Along with Mission to the Unknown, Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Mind of Evil, The Dæmons, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks, and Midnight, this is one of only nine televised stories in the history of Doctor Who not to feature the TARDIS (The Ambassadors of Death, Inferno and Day of the Daleks feature the central console, but not the TARDIS itself).
- The series' producer, Barry Letts, and Clive Morton (George Trenchard) had both previously appeared in the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic in which they played Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Herbert Ponting respectively.
- Donald Sumpter (Commander Ridgeway) previously played Enrico Casali in TV: The Wheel in Space and would later play Erasmus Darkening in TV: The Eternity Trap.
- Episode 1 - 6.4 million viewers
- Episode 2 - 9.7 million viewers
- Episode 3 - 8.3 million viewers
- Episode 4 - 7.8 million viewers
- Episode 5 - 8.3 million viewers
- Episode 6 - 8.5 million viewers
- Roger Delgado was afraid of the water and it took great courage for him to film the scene in which the Master and the Doctor are rescued from the sea by the Navy. (This was frequently recalled by Jon Pertwee in later interviews, but according to Delgado's widow, Kismet, it is untrue. Delgado was actually worried about getting his costume wet, as there was no spare available.) (Delgado's fear of water is also recalled during the DVD commentary of The Sea Devils by Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks.) Delgado also looks very uncomfortable during his scenes in the water.
Filming locations Edit
- The exterior of the Master's prison was in fact Norris Castle, East Cowes, Isle of Wight. The Sea Fort was an actual sea defence fort built in the 1860s in the river Solent, off the South Hampshire coast, in anticipation of a feared French invasion which never came to pass. Abandoned at the time of the story's filming, it has since been a hotel resort. In July of 2007 the fort came up for sale after the company owning the hotel collapsed and its owner was jailed.
- Fraser Gunnery Range, HMS St George, Portsmouth
- Royal Navy ship HMS Reclaim
- No Man's Land Sea Fort, Solent
- Whitecliff Bay, Isle of Wight
- Bembridge Harbour, Isle of Wight
- Norris Castle, East Cowes, Isle of Wight
- Red Cliff, Sandown, Isle of Wight
- Bembridge Sailing Club, Bembridge, Isle of Wight
- Priory Bay, Isle of Wight
- BBC Television Centre (Studio 8), Shepherd's Bush, London
- The set for the Wardens office is the same one heavily used for the Doctors laboratory in the previous season.
Production errors Edit
- The clock in the Master's prison runs backwards.
- The Master was captured in TV: The Dæmons.
- The Silurians first appeared in TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians.
- The Sea Devils are next seen in TV: Warriors of the Deep.
- Sea Devils and Silurians appear in PROSE: Blood Heat.
- The Master watches Clangers in a fashion similar to his watching Teletubbies in TV: The Sound of Drums.
- The Doctor attempts to attribute the misnomer "Silurian" to their discoverer.
- The Master mentions their encounter with the Sea Devils to the Tenth Doctor in TV: Last of the Time Lords.
- The Doctor and the Master would later engage in another sword fight in 1215. (TV: The King's Demons)
Home video and audio releases Edit
Editing for both the VHS and DVD releases was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
VHS Releases Edit
This was released on video in episodic format.
DVD releases Edit
Beneath the Surface Edit
Audio releases Edit
A soundtrack CD of the programme was released in January 2008. It was also included in the Monsters on Earth box set along with Doctor Who and the Silurians and Warriors of the Deep.
- The Sea Devils at the BBC's official site
- The Sea Devils at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of The Sea Devils at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Sea Devils at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Sea Devils at The Locations Guide