No episode stills are currently available for this story.
Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.
26 February 1972 | 24'40" | 6.4 | PAL color conversion, 16mm B&W t/r
04 March 1972 | 24'30" | 9.7 | PAL color conversion, 16mm B&W t/r
11 March 1972 | 24'05" | 8.3 | PAL color conversion, 16mm B&W t/r
18 March 1972 | 24'21" | 7.8 | PAL 2" color videotape, 16mm B&W t/r
25 March 1972 | 24'53" | 8.3 | PAL 2" color conversion, D3 color restoration,
16mm B&W t/r
01 April 1972 | 24'24" | 8.5 | PAL 2" color videotape, 16mm B&W t/r
The Doctor and Jo are visiting the Master (Roger Delgado), who is being held prisoner in a converted castle situated on an offshore island. He seems fit and well and apparently resigned to life under lock and key. When the Doctor and Jo leave, Colonel Trenchard (Clive Morton), the governor of the prison, is revealed to be working with the Master to some unknown end.
Trenchard had mentioned some recent sinkings of ships to the Doctor, and when Robbins (Royston Tickner), the boatman who ferried him and Jo out to the island, mentions it as well, the Doctor goes to investigate a charred lifeboat which was found and taken to HMS Seaspite, a nearby naval base.
At the base, Captain John Hart (Edwin Richfield), and his secretary, 3rd Officer Jane Blythe (June Murphy), are also concerned with the sinkings, the most recent of which was the SS Pevensey Castle. Blythe sees the Doctor looking at the charred lifeboat from the window; he is arrested and taken to see Hart. Hart eventually believes he wants to help when Jo arrives with the UNIT passes.
Both the Doctor and the Master arrive at the conclusion that an abandoned sea fort, which is mid-way between the final locations of the sunk ships, may hold a clue to what is happening. The Doctor and Jo make their way there to find Hickman (Hugh Futcher), one of two caretaker workmen, dead, and the other, Clark (Declan Mulholland), insanely raving about sea monsters. Also on the fort is a humanoid lizard-like creature (Pat Gorman) and one of these creatures destroys their boat. The Doctor sees the creature and manages to scare it off with an electric shock, before using an adapted transistor radio to signal for assistance. Hart has already called for air-sea rescue when the Doctor and Jo cannot be found on the island and have not arrived on the mainland, and the Doctor and Jo are lifted from the fort.
The Doctor believes these creatures to be acquatic relatives to the ones he met under Wenley Moor in Derbyshire, which had been incorrectly called Silurians; they should have been called Eocenes. Back at Hart's office, Jo sees the Master from the window dressed as a Naval Officer. Trenchard has brought the Master to the base to obtain some electronic spares. The Doctor and Jo return to the prison where they discover that the telephones are apparently dead. Jo leaves to try to alert UNIT and to have Trenchard and the rest of the prison staff replaced while the Doctor goes to see the Master. They fight with swords and the Doctor wins. However, Trenchard has him locked up. The Master explains to the Doctor that he intends to help the reptiles to rule the Earth once more. Blythe reports that the Doctor and Jo have again gone missing and Hart visits the prison after ordering Commander Ridgeway (Donald Sumpter) to take a submarine fitted with an experimental sonar to inspect the sea bed at the base of the fort.
In the distraction caused by Hart's arrival at the prison, Jo frees the Doctor and they escape to the beach. There, the Master uses a calling device that he has built to summon a reptile from the sea. It chases after the Doctor and Jo but they escape though a minefield, the Doctor detonating some mines behind him with his sonic screwdriver to send the reptile back into the sea.
Meanwhile the submarine's engines fail, it sinks to the sea bed, is attacked and boarded. The reptiles take the submarine to their base.
The Doctor and Jo try and warn Hart about the reptiles. He won't believe them but agrees to help. The Doctor takes a diving vessel, HMS Reclaim, out to the fort and is lowered to the sea bed in a diving bell. He sees a reptile in the water. When the bell is returned to the surface, the Doctor is missing.
The Master again summons the reptiles (Marc Boyle, Peter Brace, Alan Chuntz, Jack Cooper, Stuart Fell, Pat Gorman, Bill Horrigan, Mike Horsburgh, Steve Ismay, Brian Nolan, Frank Seton, Mike Stevens, Terry Walsh, Derek Ware, Geoffrey Witherick), this time to attack the prison. They kill Trenchard and rescue the Master.
In the reptiles' base, the Doctor tries to persuade their leader (Peter Forbes-Robertson) to seek peace. The Master, who is also present, warns that the humans intend death to them all and wants the Doctor to be destroyed. Just as the Doctor is winning the argument, the Navy begins dropping depth charges on the order of the Parliamentary Private Secretary, Walker (Martin Boddey), and the reptile reader has the Doctor taken to the cells. The Doctor escapes and releases the submarine crew. They all escape in the submarine.
The reptiles want the Master to revive the rest of their people, but to do so the Master needs more electronic spares from the naval base. He arranges for the reptiles to attack the base and the Doctor and Jo are recaptured, along with Hart. The Master wants the Doctor to help him revive the reptiles and the Doctor agrees to construct a sonar device, similar to a laser, to pinpoint their bases. The Doctor manages to create a diversion and Jo and Hart escape in a hovercraft. Hart returns with reinforcements to try and defeat the reptiles. The Master escapes out to sea in a small jet-boat and the Doctor follows. They are both recaptured by the reptiles and returned to the underwater base.
The Master connects his device into the reptiles' power system, but the Doctor reverses the polarity of the neutron flow which will result in a massive explosion. At the same time Walker requests a nuclear strike on the underwater base. The reptile leader has the Doctor and the Master locked up, but they escape from the cell and head for the surface where they are picked up by a hovercraft just as the reptiles' base explodes.
The Master manages to escape by feigning an illness and then hijacking the hovercraft once the Doctor has left.
Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.
Introduced as the aquatic cousins of the Silurians, the Sea Devils allied themselves with the Master in this entertaining story which featured a great deal of action courtesy both the stunt organization HAVOC as well as the British Royal Navy, which waived royalty fees on the use of stock footage and clips (instead relying on the publicity granted by the show). This was the last episode HAVOC featured prominently in. Stuart Fell doubled as Jo Grant in the climbing scene in episode 1. At one point, the Doctor claims that the name "Silurians" is incorrect, and they instead date from the Eocene period; this dialogue was included to allay earlier complaints that the Silurian era was not capable of spawning them (neither was the Eocene, actually!) The working title for the story was "The Sea Silurians". The Sea Devils (and Silurians) later returned in "Warriors of the Deep" during the 21st season.
For more in-depth information about the contents of this story, a complete episode-by-episode detailed breakdown can be found at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
Released as "The Sea Devils" in the UK [September 1995] and Australia/New Zealand [July 1996] (BBC catalog #5667), US/Canada [May 1997] (WHV catalog #E1378); episodic format, cover illustration by Colin Howard. Released as a two-tape set in UK and US/Canada, one tape in Australia/New Zealand.
A music suite, "The Sea Devils" arranged by Malcolm Clarke, has been released several times, the most recent releases of which are on "The Best of Dr. Who Volume 1" from Silva Screen (1993) and "The Worlds of Doctor Who" from Silva Screen (1994). More recently, some selections from this story (music and/or sound effects) have been released on "Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Volume Two - New Beginnings, 1970-1980" (BBC Music WMSF 6024-2). Also included on "Doctor Who - Earthshock - Classic Music From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume 1" released by Silva Screen (1992).
Novelised as "Doctor Who and the Sea Devils" by Malcolm Hulke (Target #54), first released in 1974 with cover art by Chris Achilleos and interior illustration by Alan Willow, hardcover and paperback. It was the very first cover to feature a companion (Katy Manning in this example). Rereleased in 1981 with cover art by John Geary.
For more details on the various novelizations of this story, with additional background material, artwork and details of both UK and foreign releases, visit On Target
: More detailed information on technical matters concerning scratch repairs made to "The Sea Devils" can be found at the Doctor Who Restoration Team
website under the headings "Broadcast Restoration," then "The Sea Devils".