Warriors of the Deep
The Doctor: Oh dear…
Tegan: What is it?
The Doctor: The Myrka…
Story Code: C21.1.
Production Code: 6L.
Story Number: 130.
Countdown week: 12…
A “threequel” to the two previous stories of the hibernating reptile-men of Earth, this time featuring both the “Silurians” and “Sea Devils” and adding one more reptile-creature type: “The Myrka!”
That the Doctor refers to it as “The” Myrka rather than “a” Myrka is notable – perhaps he has encountered this singular creature before? While the story does make reference to two other human/reptile-men encounters, the details of what the Silurian leader and the Doctor say don’t really sync up to the two actual onscreen DW stories, bizarrely. (“Reptile-men” rather than amphibians as the story clarifies this point.)
One plus point of this awful story is the costume design of the reptilians (or rather, all the reptilians except the Myrka). The gold and silver “reimagining” of the two different monster-men from the earlier era (recalling the gold and silver revamp of the Daleks and Cybes for Nu-Who) is superb – that is, when the Silurians remember to tuck themselves into their shells (the costume-suits visibly coming apart in some scenes.)
The rest of the production design – the super-brightly lit white sets don’t really give an impression of the dark depths of the sea, the ’80s ski-suits of the base crew adding to the crisp alpine look. (The production schedule was rushed because of behind the scene problems – so rushed that the green paint was still drying on the Myrka.)
The actual story is very dull, with dull characters: only Maddox in episode one (only) a semi-interesting character that isn’t just dully providing dialogue to advance the plot. The plot: what the two saboteurs actually need Maddox to do is unclear – that the Silurians can bypass whatever it is that has been done simply and quickly with their gadget-box is another unsatisfying element, as is the Doctor simply sitting in the chair as Maddox’s replacement (that Maddox had some sort of implant-connector to plug into the machine is ignored.)
The rest of the plot is the reptile-men and their creature dully advancing towards the bridge and the final episode. Along the way, the Myrka provides some of the most cringingly (and amusingly) bad moments in ’80s Doctor Who. The basic Myrka creature is only quite crap by itself, these moments raise it up into fan lore infamy: firstly, its entry to the base through a “metal door” which obviously isn’t any sort of metal; Ingrid Pitt’s character Solow launching a karate kick at the beast; her fellow saboteur unconvincingly falling over its green-painted form near the end.
Peter Davison delivers the final line in fine style but the preceding four episodes were like paint drying, and in the case of the Myrka, actual green paint drying.