Number : Season 12, Episode 6 of 6.
Which One : Just like Carpenter’s; The Thing.
Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Sarah-Jane : Elizabeth Sladen
Harrison Chase : Tony Beckley
Dunbar : Kenneth Gilbert
Sir Colin Thackeray : Michael Barrington
Amelia Ducat : Sylvia Coleridge
Scorby : John Challis
Keeler/Krynoid Voice : Mark Jones
Hargreaves : Seymour Green
Moberley : Michael McStay
John Stevenson : Hubert Rees
Charles Winlett : John Gleeson
Dr Chester : Ian Fairbairn
Major Beresford : John Acheson
Sgt. Henderson : Ray Barron
Chaffeur : Alan Chuntz
Written By : Robert Banks Stewart
Produced By : Philip Hinchcliffe
First Broadcast : 31 Jan – 7 Mar 1976.
Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor and Sarah-Jane arrive at an Antarctic scientific base, where two mysterious seed pods have just been dug up. The Doctor recognises the pod, as an alien plantlife; known as a Krynoid. After one of the pods germinates, a Scientist is accidentally infected and goes on the rampage around the base. The other pod is transported back to England.
Whats good : Just like John Carpenter’s; The Thing – 6 years prior. Harrison Chase. Scorby. The Doc shows some nifty fisticuffs on Chase’s Limo driver. The Krynoid design and look.
Whats bad : Nothing springs to mind.
Review With Spoilers : Seeds Of Doom is the 6th and final episode of season 12. It would be fair to say that; Seeds Of Doom could infact, be a forerunner of John Carpenter’s : The Thing.
Just as you could also say, that Seeds Of Doom could have been influenced by the The Thing forerunner; The Thing From Another World; the Howard Hawks 50’s coldwar-influenced film.
We have an isolated and lonely Antarctic base. The deadly alien lifeform dug out of the ice and its subsequent infection of the base-personnel.
The Krynoid is an interesting baddie. In that, for a change; the humans knowingly bring this end-of-the-world scenario on themselves. Despite warnings from the Doctor, who has run into the Krynoids before.
The scenes set in the Arctic base. Invoke the slow, suspenseful build-up of a Thing movie – as the Krynoid hunts down and kills the personnel; one-by-one.
If that wasn’t enough, the introduction in the later parts of unhinged millionaire Botanist; Harrison Chase (creepily played by Tony Beckley) – as the secondary baddie in this piece, is a masterstroke. Chase is after the Krynoid pod and wants to add it to his rare collection of plants.
The man is clearly insane. As he plays creepy electronica music to them and sits cross-legged between his collection, whilst meditating; which he grows back at his estate in England.
Once Chase gets his hands on the Krynoid seed, he thinks nothing of allowing it to infect his lead scientist Keeler and to then clincally study the change process; despite the poor man’s screams – for medical attention.
Scorby: “How big is it going to get?”
The Doctor : “About the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral. After that, it will multiply itself a thousand fold – until it takes over your entire planet!”
Of course, Chase is also remembered for his horrific use of his giant composter; which he uses to ruthlessly dispose of his enemies, by grinding them up and using them as fertilizer – on his garden.
It’s horrific stuff, when you stop to think about something that was on British TV – in the mid-70’s but that is part of the reason this period of Who is so fondly remembered; for taking these bold risks.
Tom Baker is on form here, with his line of quips and retorts. Even when his life is in danger, such as when Chase tries to compost him. He also gets to flex his action muscle aswell by jumping through a plate glass skylight and smacking Chase’s cronies about.
The Doctor’s allegory of human’s – using, abusing and consuming plantlife for its own ends, is cleverly turned on its head here when the Krynoid gets loose and begins to do much the same.
In the end, The Seeds Of Doom can be summed up as a really daring gothic horror-piece, which was made in an era when the show was at the height of its powers.
It wasn’t to everyone’s satisfaction though, with then TV moralist Mary Whitehouse leading the tide of complaints against it. But 40 years later, it still mostly stands up as an exercise in being bold and unflinching.
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