Number : Season 12, serial 6 of 6.
Which One : Forerunner of 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 episodes.
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 before. 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 sixth 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 movie.
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 cold-war-influenced film. Or indeed, the 1950’s book, the Communism allegory; that inspired the Howard Hawks movie. Joseph Campbell’s – Who goes there?
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 monster. 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 and witnessed their destructive behaviours.
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 antagonist; 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 his plants. Whilst sitting cross-legged ‘between his collection, meditating; which he grows back at his private estate – in England.
Once Chase, gets his hands on the Krynoid seed; he thinks nothing of allowing it to infect and kill – his lead scientist Keeler; and to then clincally study the change process. Despite the poor man’s screams – for medical attention; which are denied.
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 – into garden fertilizer.
It’s horrific stuff, when you stop to think about something that was on British TV – in the mid-70’s and was aimed at children. However, that is part of the reason this period of Doctor Who – is so fondly remembered; for taking these bold risks.
Tom Baker is on fine-form here , again. With his line of quips and retorts; even when his life is in danger. Such as, when Chase tries to compost him. He even gets to flex his action-muscle aswell, by jumping through a plate glass skylight and smacking Chase’s cronies about – wiyh his fists.
The Doctor’s allegory of humans – using, abusing and consuming plantlife – for its own ends. 8s cleverly turned on its head here, when the Krynoid gets loose and begins to do much the same; with the humans.
In the end, The Seeds Of Doom can be summed up as a really daring modern horror-piece, which was made in an era; when the show was (again) at the height of – it’s powers.
The Seeds Of Doom 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 stands-up, as an exercise in bold and unflinching horror.
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