Sunday, November 23, 2008

 

Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1970 Brilliant?

A bold relaunch for the series, in colour, consistently impressive, but with the Doctor exiled to modern-day-after-tomorrow Earth. UNIT, the Brigadier and fabulous scientist Dr Liz Shaw join new Doctor Jon Pertwee in investigating such strange occurrences as Auton shop-window dummies bursting to life in Spearhead From Space, missing astronauts in The Ambassadors of Death, lycanthropic slime in Inferno and breakdowns at a research station in…

Doctor Who and the Silurians
“Three people have seen them. They do exist. And we’ve got to attack them first.”
“Just because they’re an alien species, that doesn’t mean we have to kill them.”
Green scaly rubber people are people too. A great cast clash over the discovery of a race of reptile people waking after millions of years to reclaim the Earth from ape-descended upstarts, leading to terrifyingly apocalyptic scenes and one of the series’ most tragic endings.


Though you might be able to find a second-hand copy of the VHS, buy the DVD box set Beneath the Surface instead – not only is the picture restoration an enormous improvement, but the extras include a superb video essay on the politics of Doctor Who that you could easily imagine on BBC4 (oh, and there are two other stories in the box as well – Richard adds that you can listen to the isolated music tracks on all three and enjoy the terrifying race memory in the comfort of your own home!). Malcolm Hulke’s novelisation, Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters, is just as stunning: it expands the characters, sees much of the story from the reptile people’s viewpoint, and has splendid illustrations. It’s probably more responsible for making me a Liberal than any other book, and if you can’t find a copy, you can now buy it as a talking book on CD.

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