The Green Death: Doctor Who: Season 10
The Green Death SYNOPSIS:
A man is found dead and glowing green at a coal mine in South Wales. The Brigadier goes to investigate and provide security at Global Chemicals that locals believe is behind the death. Jo goes with him but to join Professor Jones and the nut hutch an ecological community opposing the expansion of Global Chemicals.
After a trip to Metebelis Three to retrieve a rare blue crystal the Doctor joins them there and has to rescue Jo who has gone ahead investigating what's at the bottom of the coal mine. There they find giant maggots mutated by the chemical oil waste being pumped into the mine by Global Chemicals that has killed miners.
Before he can analyze the creatures, Director Stevens of Global Chemicals orders the Brigadier to destroy the mine sealing the maggots in. But this results in the maggots tunnelling to the surface. Stevens is conditioning unwilling staff on behalf of his BOSS, a giant computer behind the waste disposal plan and is now planning to take over the minds of every person on Earth via it's global hook up to other computers.
With Jo's romantic interest Cliff dying from a maggot bite the Doctor must find a cure for the green virus, Stop the BOSS and find a way to help UNIT dispose of the maggots before they pupate into giant flies.
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The Green Death DETAILS:
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The Green Death CAST & CREW
Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor)
Katy Manning (Jo Grant)
Nicholas Courtney — Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Richard Franklin — Captain Mike Yates
John Levene — Sergeant Benton
Stewart Bevan — Professor Clifford Jones
Mitzi McKenzie — Nancy
Jerome Willis — Stevens
Ben Howard — Hinks
John Rolfe — Fell
Tony Adams — Elgin
Roy Skelton — James
John Dearth — Voice of BOSS
Richard Beale — Minister of Ecology
Talfryn Thomas — Dave
Roy Evans — Bert
Mostyn Evans — Dai Evans
John Scott Martin — Hughes
Ray Handy — Milkman
Jean Burgess — Cleaner
Terry Walsh, Brian Justice — Guards
Production Staff for Serial TTT:
Writer - Robert Sloman
Director - Michael E. Briant
Script editor - Terrance Dicks
Producer - Barry Letts
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The Green Death REVIEWS
So, another season draws to a close. Yep hasn't been a golden one...for me anyway...
BUT with the exception of the Green Death, agree it's a classic. The UNIT Family back together again - and it is more fun seeing them only sparingly - for the very last time.
It's great because it's another home grown threat, the ecological part of the story is very well done and very topical and of course it's "the one with the giant maggots in it". Who wasn't frightened of giant faceless, snake-like hissing maggots who could kill you with one bite? The location is great (first time Doctor Who is filmed in Wales)and finally yes we get the first ever MAD computer. Wotan didn't have a personality. Ok the regulars are very good, Pertwee makes an extra effort as he seems more heroic, all knowing and baffled by a better enemy. Plus the Doctor finally makes it to Metebelis Three to find it's not all it's cracked up to be and steals a crystal which sets in motion his own 'death' and slides a nice subplot into the story. Manning as Jo never drops the ball once. She's gone from scatter brained screamer to capable, adult screamer, she's put in more perils than the whole of the season in this one and her romance with Cliff is a high point.
The Brigadier has found a brain since the Three Doctors and shows some of his 'softer' side, Benton is very capable and even Mike Yates has an acting range in this one. Not to mention Cliff Jones who is instantly likable and apparently shagging Manning in real life so the chemistry is all there. Stevens is great as the villain, not really evil just misunderstood and the voice of BOSS is great gives the computer a character all it's own. All the minor characters play their parts with conviction too.
Ok there's some dodgy CSO where they obviously had to re-film some bits in the studio with Benton and the Doctor in Bessie driving around but apart from that the acting, design and execution of the Green Death make it all work AND it has pace. Not much not to like and as for the ending when the Doctor is obviously hurt at losing Jo to another guy who wouldn't be a bit teary as he drives off into the sunset. ALONE. Gold! 9.2/10
Its all nicely contained in the hippy environment of the Nuthutch and the contrasting industrial estate of Global Chemicals and you can almost believe they actually went to Wales to film it. Filming in London and pretending its Wales? Whatever next? Filming in Wales and making it look like London? That'd never happen! The only thing that lets it down is the inclusion of BOSS. Is he Windows based or a MAC? Or a War Machine? I think without that later plot development the Green Death would have been a perfect story all round cos (finally) you have a bunch of characters you care about and what happens to them. Even Yates is finally given a personality; yes he is a tit!
There is some dodgy CSO work in action here with the giant fly which makes me wonder about the size of the Mortein can they would have used to kill it if the Doctor decided not to come back from Metebelis Three.
Finally, Jo's leaving scene. This was set up very nicely in episode one where she ditches the Doctor to go to Wales to find Professor Mushroom. When she finally does meet Prof Mushroom she reenacts the first meeting scene she had when she first met the Doctor; spilling chemicals, being a klutz and going all doe-eyed when being dismissed. This of course means that Jo has an inferiority complex and only falls for people who treat her like shit. So in essence she has dropped one condescending arrogant git for another (but much younger!)
All the way through the Green Death you know Jo is leaving cos she doesn't give a toss about the Doctor and the more she doesn't the more he becomes jealous. So at the end he just takes his bat and ball and drives home in a huff in a way that kind of says a lot about the production at the time; Katy Manning leaves and lives happily ever after and Jon Pertwee cracks the shits and leaves not long after! Serves you right Jon; looks like someone upstaged you after all. 9/10
So is the story - on many levels. The whole economy v ecology kind of debate is still just as relevant now as it was then - if not more so... only now instead of nuthutches we have armies of protesters... and The Chaser! I guess the idea of a computer taking over the world borrows from The War Machines, but it is done a lot better here. And beyond the whole power of the profit story, the Jo subplot is really kind of nice... the way she falls for Dr Cliff (who is also Dr Jones... ok, probably not related to our new Dr Jones, but he is Welsh!) is just kind of well... nice! You feel her pain when she cocks things up for him by spilling the "herbs" all over the slides - and you really think "yeah, you go get them girl" when she decides to go and get him a maggot to test... and all this rolls up to probably one of the most touching goodbye scenes of the original series.
It's business as usual for the regular cast, and by now while others are sick to death of UNIT, I quite like coming back to visit them a couple of times a series like this... even good old Yates does OK in this one... the weak minded git!
So all up, this is another one of those childhood classics, and unlike some of the others, the Green Death has stood the test of time.