Friday, 30 May 2014

Finding the Sea Devils!

My holiday to the Isle of Wight same shortly after completing the Sea Devils in my day by day episode marathon of the Pertwee era.  The Mutants was completed in the days before I was due to set off, and the holiday provided a little break to prepare ourselves at home for the Time Monster.  Meanwhile, a few days in the Isle of Wight put my very near the filming of the Sea Devils.  There are numerous locations in the area but most I wouldn't visit or are very restricted to public access, but I did get to see one of the most memorable parts of the story which I clearly remember from the repeat of the Sea Devils in 1993. 

'I've got a ticket to Ryde...'

Travel to the Isle of Wight was by hovercraft.  It's clearly not the same as the one pictured, but seemed worth the experience of a different mode of transport, it's also the fastest means to travel from the mainland to the Isle.  The hovercraft in the story is an SRN5, one of fourteen built and used around the world.  An original SRN5 in the colours seen in the Sea Devils is preserved in the Hovercraft Museum in Lee-on-the-Solent.

The first location see is No Man's Land sea fort.  These forts can all be seen from the coast of Portsmouth, the nearest being Spitbank fort which can be seen in detail.  No Man's Land fort is best seen from the Isle of Wight and pictured below from Ryde.  Since filming it and the other forts in the area have been bought from the MOD by various companies trying to convert them into hotels and private residences with varied success.

Picture sourced from BBC News

On the Isle the location visited were those used during the Doctor and Jo's escape from the castle and the first appearance of a Sea Devil on land.  First is a section of red-brown coloured cliffs up the coast from Sandown.  The Doctor and Jo are pursued by the Master and Trenchard onto the beach.  The area is undergoing constant coastal erosion so will have changed, and the life ring isn't present even if it ever were a fixture prior to filming.

 Jo and the Doctor scale down the short cliff onto the beach.  Again the location has changed but a similar section is pictured.

Once onto the beach the Doctor and Jo turn to find themselves on the much larger beach of Whitecliff Bay, in reality a mile or so further up the coast and around some large cliffs.  Here the castle guards arrive in a Citroën Dyane with the doors removed.

The Sea Devil arrives, wading up from the ocean, and makes short work of the guards.  Meanwhile the Doctor and Jo run the opposite direction to a minefield.  Stuck between the the Mines and the Sea Devil, they press ahead.

Squint and you can just about recognise the cliff behind the minefield.  The Sea Devil pursues the Doctor and Jo into the minefield.  The coastline is recognisable, in particular that singular tree that is present in both old and new pictures.

The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to set off some land mines.  Frightening or wounding the Sea Devil into beating a hasty retreat.

 Despite all the changes the locations do resemble those of nearly 40 years ago and were interesting to see while walking and looking for fossils.  We found a couple the next day, but no sign of Sea Devils surviving today.

This is the same patch of sea the Sea Devil emerges, honest...

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