The Sea Devils is the third serial of the ninth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from 26 February to 1 April 1972. It was written by Malcolm Hulke and directed by Michael E. Briant.
In the serial, the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and his assistant Jo Grant (Katy Manning) visit the Doctor’s nemesis the Master (Roger Delgado) in his island prison and encounter the Sea Devils, the aquatic cousins of the Silurians.
The Doctor and Jo visit the Master, now held in captivity on a small island prison, after being captured by UNIT (at the conclusion of The Dæmons). 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 governor, Colonel Trenchard, tells them that some ships have been mysteriously disappearing. The Doctor cannot resist investigating and he and Jo are soon attacked, while examining a Sea Fort, by an underwater Silurian. This man-sized bipedal lizard is called a ‘Sea Devil’ by a crew member who’s been driven half mad. They escape to the nearby naval base, HMS Seaspite run by the efficient Captain John Hart; despite the Doctor’s eccentric behaviour, an alliance forms. Hart is in charge of the adaptation of the sea fort for use as a SONAR testing station.
The Doctor meanwhile discovers that the Master, assisted by a misguided Trenchard, is stealing electrical equipment from the naval base to build a machine that will control the Sea Devils. The evil Time Lord intends to use the reptiles as an army to enable him to conquer the planet, and he begins by using the machine to summon some of them from the sea. Soon, however, a battle for the prison ensues, during which Trenchard, who had believed he was aiding his country against enemy agents, is killed. The Doctor and Jo are forced to flee to HMS Seaspite, where Hart tells them a naval submarine has disappeared. The crew prepare to battle the sea devils. The Doctor investigates in a submarine bell and is seized by the Sea Devils, who take him to their leader…
A novelisation of this serial, written by Malcolm Hulke, was published by Target Books in October 1974 and was originally to be titledThe Sea Monsters. There are, as usual with Hulke, many added sections – including an ironic death for Trenchard as he makes a last stand against the Sea Devils and forgets to take the safety catch off his pistol.
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