Alaya (Neve McIntosh) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) - Doctor Who The Hungry Earth (c) BBC
Alaya (Neve McIntosh) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) – Doctor Who The Hungry Earth (c) BBC

The Hungry Earth

First Broadcast May 22nd, 2010 @ 6.20pm (6.49m viewers)

As has become customary, a select number of monsters from the classic era of Doctor Who have been reintroduced to the audience and given a modern redesign. In Series 5 it was the Silurians chosen to have a return to the series in one of the three two-parters that year.

Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) - Doctor Who - The Hungry Earth (c) BBC
Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) – Doctor Who – The Hungry Earth (c) BBC

The story is reasonable, with parallels to 1970 Jon Pertwee story ‘Inferno’ and the Silurian’s original appearance, a team of human beings are drilling into the Earth only to disturb something deep beneath the surface. Another theme also revisited in the story include the rightful ownership of planet Earth, plus the instinct to protect one’s family, which would become more pronounced in the second part. Central to the early drama is the sequence of Amy being sucked into the Earth, a complicated stunt and effect discussed at length during the accompanying episode of Doctor Who Confidential, and very well delivered.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Alaya (Neve McIntosh) - Doctor Who - The Hungry Earth (c) BBC
Alaya (Neve McIntosh) – Doctor Who – The Hungry Earth (c) BBC

The reveal of the Silurians in this episode was highly anticipated by fans pondering how the modern show, with new technology and a better budget, would bring the classic creatures to the screen. A decision was made to use modern prosthetics to create a green and scaly mask which would attach directly to the actors face and allow for the human features to remain. This decision has the positive of allowing Neve McIntosh to deliver a proper acting performance as Alaya but it’s disappointing that there is now very little resemblance to the original design or the variation seen in ‘Warriors of the Deep’. Instead, a silver face plate was developed, a budgetary decision, that allowed for more Silurians to be seen on screen without the need of lots of expensive prosthetics. Their costumes, however have an element of string netting, a subtle reference to aqua cousins the nicknamed Sea Devils.

Alaya (Neve McIntosh) - Doctor Who - The Hungry Earth (c) BBC
Alaya (Neve McIntosh) – Doctor Who – The Hungry Earth (c) BBC

This episode is a little disappointing. As lovely as it is to have the Silurians return to Doctor Who, they do not seem to be the same monsters who debuted in 1970. Such is the departure from the originals that Malcolm Hulke is not credited as their creator in the episode credits. The best solution is perhaps to forget what has gone before and embrace the new Silurians as fresh creatures. More enjoyment can be found in that strategy which would also reveal a new potential for character development in the form of Madame Vastra, although at the detriment of the Silurians as a whole.

Cast:

The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Rory – Arthur Darvill
Alaya – Neve McIntosh
Nasreen Chaudhry – Meera Syal
Tony Mack – Robert Pugh
Ambrose – Nia Roberts
Mo – Alun Raglan
Elliot – Samuel Davies

Crew:

Writer – Chris Chibnall
Producer – Peter Bennett
Director – Ashley Way

Also First Aired On This Day…

  • The Chase : The Executioners
  • The Dæmons : Episode One
  • Doctor Who Confidential : After Effects

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