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Fifty years on from the first broadcast of Doctor Who and the Silurians, director Timothy Combe looks back on its turbulent production.
One of the original rulers of the Earth in Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970).
Director Timothy Combe.

While Jon Pertwee’s debut serial as the Doctor, Spearhead from Space, was made entirely on film, the second –Doctor Who and the Silurians – was the first to be made with a more conventional mix of both colour film and videotape. It would set the template for Doctor Who’s production methods for the next 15 years – and tasked with getting it right was Timothy Combe, a 33-year-old BBC staff member fresh off the internal directors’ course.

“My first Who was actually The Keys of Marinus in 1964,” Tim recalls cheerily, “with John Gorrie directing.

I was an assistant floor manager – and I had so much overtime on it I was able to buy my first motor car! An MGB…” Meeting Tim at his riverside flat in Kingston 50 years on from the Silurian story, his friendly energy and enthusiasm are still in evidence – as is his fondness for the programme he worked on close to its beginnings.

He worked, too, as production assistant on The Reign of Terror in 1964 and The Evil of the Daleks in 1967.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

SACHA DHAWAN ON THE RETURN OF THE MASTER! The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine has an exclusive, in-depth interview with Sacha Dhawan. Other highlights include: • Exclusive previews of the final four episodes of Series 12. • The latest Production Notes from showrunner Chris Chibnall. • A report from the filming of Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror at the Nu Boyana Film Studios in Bulgaria. • An exclusive interview with Robert Glenister, who played Thomas Edison in Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror. • A tribute to the 1960s writer and story editor Donald Tosh. • Peter Purves shares his memories of Donald Tosh. • The director of Doctor Who and the Silurians, Timothy Combe, looks back on its production. • Remembering the late Doctor Who comic-strip artist Bill Mevin. • Updates on Doctor Who luminaries, past and present, with new feature Time and Space Visualiser. • Public Image looks at how Doctor Who is doing in the TV ratings. • The Fact of Fiction continues its epic exploration of The Daleks’ Master Plan. • The final part of Mistress of Chaos, a new comic-strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • Reviews of the Series 5 Blu-ray Steelbook and Sophie Aldred’s novel At Childhood’s End. • Big Finish previews and reviews, news, prize-winning competitions, The Blogs of Doom and much more!