Monday 7 November 2011

350 The Green Death Episode One

EPISODE: The Green Death Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 19 May 1973
WRITER: Robert Sloman (and Barry Letts - Uncredited)
DIRECTOR: Michael Briant
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - the Green Death
Episode Format: 625 video

Episode 350 !

At the closed Llanfairfach colliery an engineer, Hughes, returns to the surface with his hand glowing green as Jocelyn Stevens announces more funding & jobs at Global Chemicals. He is heckled by Professor Cliff Jones as Hughes reaches safety and sounds the alarm at the pit. At UNIT HQ The Doctor is still trying to get to Metebelis 3 to collect a blue sapphire. Jo Grant meanwhile has decided to go to Llanfairfach to protest against Global Chemicals. When Hughes is found he's dead and completely glowing green. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart tells the Doctor the story but he refuses to help leaving for Metebelis 3. The Brigadier and Jo argue about Global Chemicals but he still agrees to give her lift there as he goes to investigate the body. The Brigadier drop Jo at the Nuthutch, the community where Professor Jones lives & works. The Doctor *finally* makes it to Metebelis 3 but is attacked by wildlife. Jo meets Professor Jones wrecking one of his experiments in the process, just as she did when she met the Doctor. He's attempting to develop a high protein fungus as an alternate source of food to meat. The Brigadier is introduced to Stevens who explains their new process to generate more petrol from oil, as Cliff Jones outlines his objections to it to Jo. Jones believes it's generating thousands of gallons of waste that he thinks is being pumped into the mine. Jo insists on investigating, as does the Brigadier overriding Stevens' objections who wants it sealed. The Doctor arrives back from Metebelis 3, and is happy to help following his experiences there. Stevens, suddenly hesitant, has his security officer Hinks attempt to stop anyone going down the mine. Stevens takes a headset and plugs it into a computer console, relaxing. Jo arrives at the mine to try & persuade one of the miners, Bert, to take her into the pit, as Dai, a miner who has gone down to investigate, calls for help. The Doctor tells the Brigadier that he believes nobody should go down the mine but they arrive too late to stop Jo & Bert from going to aid Dai. However attempts to stop the lift descending fail....

That's quite a fun episode with some style with first The Doctor & Jo talking to each other without listening to what the other is saying, the Doctor's horror trip to Metebelis 3 which turns out to be a lot less relaxing than he thought and then the overlapping conversations between Jones & Jo and the Brigadier & Stevens as the arguments for and against the use of Global Chemicals process are aired. Stevens at the start of the episode does a passable impersonation of Neville Chamberlain's famous "I have in my hand ...." speech as he announces the money Global Chemicals has gained. This is the second time we've seen the Brigadier in his civvies, and the first was also in a Robert Sloman/Barry Letts story (The Daemons) where he was dressed for dinner. Here he's driving a soft top Merc which, if UNIT HQ is still in London, is going to make for a chilly drive down the M4 for him & Jo.

Stewart Bevan, who plays Professor Cliff Jones, was Katy Manning's boyfriend at the time this story was made. Jerome Willis, Jocelyn Stevens, has a long television career to his name while Tony Adams, playing Elgin, is famous for playing Adam Chance in Crossroads. Some of the rest of the cast have Doctor Who credits to their name, notably John Scott Martin, who briefly plays Hughes, who is famed as a Dalek Operator. Mostyn Evans, as Dai Evans, will return as the High Priest in Death to the Daleks, also directed by Michael E Briant. Talfryn Thomas, as another miner Dave, was Mullins in Spearhead from Space. Roy Evans, playing Bert, was Trantis in The Daleks' Master Plan and returns as an unnamed Peladonian miner in Monster of Peladon.

We like the word Death in our Doctor who story titles. It was used a lot in the early days for the individual episodes:

The Keys of Marinus 1: The Sea of Death
The Keys of Marinus 5: Sentence of Death
The Aztecs 2: The Warriors of Death
The Sensorites 4: A Race Against Death
The Chase 2: The Death of Time
The Chase 5: The Death of Doctor Who
The Myth Makers 3: Death of a Spy
The Daleks' Master Plan 9: Golden Death
The Massacre 3: Priest of Death

Four entries for Terry Nation there, using it twice in two stories.

It crops up again quite frequently as a whole story title too:

The Seeds of Death
The Ambassadors of Death
The Green Death
Death to the Daleks
The Robots of Death
City of Death

Generally the word Death in the title is an indication that the story might be quite good....

1 comment:

  1. One of my all time favourite serials. 'Death' certainly is a cliche word in DW titles.

    I see the Jo Grant and Cliff Jones storyline was retconned from the DVD Mark Gattiss mockumentary in Sarah Jane Adventures. The professor said he and Jo split up cos of a blue crystal, but in SJA she turns up at the Doctors funeral still married (with 7 kids!) and no mention of the blue crystal. :)