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GOING UNDERGROUND

Timothy Combe continues his account of the challenges he faced 50 years ago while directing Doctor Who and the Silurians.
Jon Pertwee (as the Doctor) and Nicholas Courtney (as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) on the Television Centre set of Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970).

I managed to squeeze the money for a helicopter out of Barry Letts,” Timothy Combe declares. “That’s something!” In 1970, Tim and Barry Letts, Doctor Who’s new producer, didn’t always see eye to eye - particularly on budget. Though they didn’t come cheap, the helicopter scenes in Doctor Who and the Silurians added enormously to the serial’s taut, adult feel.

“They look good, don’t they?” Tim leans forward enthusiastically. “I was really pleased. There weren’t helicopters in the script. It just said something like, ‘The soldiers search the area…’ So it was my idea to take to the air. I got my production assistant to line up the soldiers and Fulton Mackay [playing Dr Quinn], and over we flew. Of course, you’re praying like hell you got it all and there’s no hair in the gate that’s going to make it useless.”

Filming on The Silurians had begun at London’s Marylebone Station on 12 November 1969 - when things were rather more relaxed. The scene? The doomed Masters (Geoffrey Palmer) falling victim to the Silurian plague. But Barry Letts, flexing his muscles as newly appointed producer, wanted more inserts of supporting artists being struck down with plague, necessitating a remount on Monday the 24th.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: JO MARTIN IS THE DOCTOR! The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine has an exclusive interview with Jo Martin, who guest-starred as the Doctor in Fugitive of the Judoon and The Timeless Children. Other highlights include: • Ray Holman reveals how he created the costume worn by Jo Martin’s Doctor. • A celebration of ten years of the Eleventh Doctor with new insights from former showrunner Steven Moffat. • An exclusive preview of the new, animated version of The Faceless Ones. • A disc-by-disc guide to the new Season 14 Blu-ray box set. • The second part of an interview with Timothy Combe, director of Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Mind of Evil. • Plot Devices revisits some of the real historical figures the Doctor has met over the years. • The Fact of Fiction continues its epic exploration of The Daleks’ Master Plan. • How to recreate the Fifth Doctor’s costume. • A new series of articles begins with a look back at The Fishmen of Kandalinga. • Updates on Doctor Who luminaries, past and present, with Time and Space Visualiser. • Public Image looks at how Doctor Who is doing in the TV ratings. • Share your views about the latest series of Doctor Who in the annual season survey. • Part One of The Piggybackers, a new comic-strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • Big Finish previews and reviews, news, prize-winning competitions, The Blogs of Doom and much more!