The Sea Devils – 1972 – S8 – E3/5

image Number : Season 8, episode 3 of 5.

Which One : Bird reptiles from the blue lagoon.

Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
The Master : Roger Delgado
Trenchard : Clive Morton
Clark : Declan Mulholland
Hickman : Hugh Futcher
Wilson : Brian Justice
Barclay : Terry Walsh
Drew : Stanley McGeagh
Robbins : Royston Tickner
Radio Operator : Neil Seiler
Walker : Martin Boddey
Captain Hart : Edwin Richfield
3rd Officer Jane Blythe : June Murphy
Rear Admiral : Norman Atkyns
Commander Ridgeway : Donald Sumpter
Lt. Cmndr Mitchell : David Griffin —
Lt. Cmndr Watts : Brian Vaughan —
Ldg. Seaman Lovell : Christopher Wray
Ldg. Telegraphist Bowman : Alec Wallis
CPO Smedley : Eric Mason
CPO Myers : John Caesar
CPO Summers : Colin Bell
A/B Girton : Rex Rowland
Chief Sea Devil : Peter Forbes-Robertson
Sea Devil : Pat Gorman

Written By : Malcolm Hulke

Produced By : Barry Letts

First UK Broadcast : 26 February – 1 April 1972.

Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Master, who is imprisoned on Earth, builds a device which awakens an ancient race of sea based Silurians – nicknamed “Sea Devils”.

Whats good : Strong story. Strong location work. Suspenseful. Sea Devils. The Master.

Whats bad : Should have been a punchier 5 parter. The rambling experimental music.

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Review With Spoilers : The Sea Devils is the 3rd episode of season 9 and features the return of the Master and an aquatic cousin of the Silurians (or Eocenes) – nicknamed “Sea Devils” – by local sailors.

The Master is under lock-and-key in a special UNIT Earth prison following the events in The Daemons. However he is really in league with his gaolers to build a device, which wakes up a nearby Sea Devil colony with the intention of leading the Devils to world domination.

In some respects, the Sea Devils are a much more effective monster than their land based Silurian cousins. Simply because of the strong Jaws – “terror from the deep” angle. Infact, the scene of a group of Devils rising out of the sea in part 6, is one of the most popularly remembered scenes – from old Who.

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“Hickman! He’s dead! They killed him! Came from the sea…… A Sea Devil! ” Clark

Delgado is also on form here, playing the under-lock-and-key Master hatching another diabolical plan. Delgado literally steals each scene he is in. You even feel slightly sorry for him, at the beginning, due to his prison predicament (this turns out to be a facade).

The Sea Devils is an enjoyable ‘under seige’ type episode, with the slow and purposeful introduction of the Devils, beginning with fleeting glimpses; and building a nice bit of drama and suspense.

However, at 6 parts – it does feel at least 1 episode – too long. Especially after the plot moves away from the Master’s prison setup. It could have been a much tighter 5 parter, which would have kept proceedings a little bit punchier.

The location work is excellent for a Who, with shooting in and around the HM Naval Base at Portsmouth. The strikingly imposing looking ‘No Man’s Land’ Fort near the Isle of Wight and on the ship – HMS Reclaim. It all helps to better better authenticate the nautical angle.

The quasi-experimental electro soundtrack, which is a bit of a change from the usual orchestral inserts and would be more at home in the JNT era; doesn’t serve to ‘frame’ the scenes. Rather it is annoyingly off-putting and noticeably loud. I’m glad they didn’t make this the norm for future Who’s.

The Sea Devils is an enjoyable sea faring yarn, clearly influenced by the old shanty tales of demons from the sea. It has a strong plot, a good turn by the Master and some inventive location work (especially the use of No Mans Land Fort) and a memorable monster to boot.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who


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