June 26, 2012

The alternative Silurian

When Steven Moffat took over as executive producer of Doctor Who, his arrival coincided with a company-wide string of budget cuts across the BBC. As a result, many aspects of the fifth season (Matt Smith's first) were trimmed, downsized and otherwise abandoned. The one that always made me a bit sad was how these cuts affected Chris Chibnall's two-part story "The Hungry Earth"/"Cold Blood".

This story re-introduced the Silurians to the series. They had appeared twice before: in 1970 opposite Jon Pertwee and in 1984 opposite Peter Davison. I always liked the design. Sadly for their new series debut the budget cuts meant that, rather than full prosthetic masks and rubber-suited bodies, the Silurians were by necessity re-imagined with humanoid faces and clothing.

The image attached to this post comes from The Brilliant Book 2011, and shows what we could have had, if the BBC hadn't cut the series budget so savagely (I read once it was a 40% across the board cut, but don't know if that's true). Such marvellous design work. Such a dreadful shame.


  1. Worth noting that doing these masks would have entailed roughly same amount of work in preparation and application as the type they actually used, even if they went for the exact same costumes.

    Big issue was lack of funds for full body suits, and the production decision that we needed more recognisable human facial expression, specifically eyes, to get across the emotions involved.

    Which is a rubbish excuse by people who don't know what they're talking about. If it were true, there would be no drama in radio plays whatsoever.

  2. Every time they redesign an old monster I feel like the worst kind of old curmugeon because - Dalek, Cyberman, Silurian, whatever - I always seem to prefer the old designs from the 1960s-80s.

    1. I don't mind the new Cybermen, and the first version of the new Daleks I thought was pretty good. Silurians were meh, Sontarans... the masks are good, but they lost their outfits to the Judoon, and I really liked the classic Sontaran costumes.

      New Macra were shit in terms of scale and basic mechanics and physics.

      Interestingly, my fav dalek and cyber designs are from their very first appearances, but there's other aspects at work there, I think i.e. they are portrayed more like actual beings, rather than just monsters or bad guys.


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