Number : Season 10, serial 5 of 5.
Which One : Maggot-y environmental shocker.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Captain Mike Yates : Richard Franklin
Sergeant Benton : John Levene
Professor Clifford Jones : Stewart Bevan
Stevens : Jerome Willis
Nancy : Mitzi McKenzie
Hinks : Ben Howard
Fell : John Rolfe
Elgin : Tony Adams
James : Roy Skelton
Voice of BOSS : John Dearth
Minister of Ecology : Richard Beale
Dave : Talfryn Thomas
Bert : Roy Evans
Dai Evans : Mostyn Evans
Hughes : John Scott Martin
Milkman : Ray Handy
Cleaner : Jean Burgess
Written By : Robert Sloman & Barry Letts.
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 19 May – 23 June 1973.
Length : 6 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : UNIT are called in, to investigate a number of strange deaths at a Welsh mine; run by a big chemical conglomerate, called Global Chemicals (GC).
The Doctor discovers that GC have been dumping hazardous chemical waste, down the mine; tainting the local fauna.
Whats good : An early ode to environmental concerns : pollution, alternate energy and food sources. The green death. The maggots. Pertwee gets a chance to be humourous. Jo’s touching goodbye. The Brigadier.
Whats bad : The fly SFX.
Review With Spoilers : The Green Death is the season 10 finale – and marks the departure of companion Jo.
The Green Death, features an early nod to environmental concerns; mirroring a growing movement in the 1970s; that the planet was being polluted by industry.
In the way, that only Doctor Who could, it responded to this – by bringing out an ecological horror. Featuring two-foot long deadly giant maggots. A problem very much of Earth-ly making; with no hint of alien influence.
The Green Death also brings in the character of Nobel prize winning – Dr Clifford Jones; who serves as a love interest for Jo and an exposition-spouter; to clarify and detail the environmental concerns.
The Green Death, also allows Pertwee a rare opportunity to flex his comedy muscle; with undercover turns – as a fake Milkman and Doris the cleaning lady – to infiltrate GC’s headquarters.
“Giant maggots? What kind of insects are they going to turn into?” Jo
The Green Death, also sadly marks the departure of companion Jo. In a touching scene, where the Doctor finally realises; that Jo has decided to leave to help Dr Jones’ cause.
It’s handled well – with Pertwee cleverly underplaying his disappointment at Jo’s decision; to goto Wales – on an eco mission; rather than accompany the Doctor to (finally) see Metebelis 3 (Jo never does get to see it!).
The maggot SFX deserves a mention, especially the maggot puppets movement, which gives them a “real” quality. The fly SFX though, is not good and looks like a stiff kite on a string. Thankfully, there is only one fly sequence – and it is mercifully shortlived.
The Green Death, is an ecologically aware piece; which is – at least 20 years ahead of it’s time. Especially, in it’s comment – on the need to regulate big industry and produce renewable and sustainable energy/foodstocks.
The Green Death also, sets up the future events of Pertwee’s swansong; Planet Of The Spiders. With the Doctor stealing a blue crystal from Metebelis 3, for Jo.
When Doctor Who takes tentative steps, into making comments on real-life issues. Then it usually does this subtley and cleverly. The Green Death boldly trumpets this fact, with an Earth-ly bound tale.
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