Tuesday 8 November 2011

351 The Green Death Episode Two

EPISODE: The Green Death Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 26 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

The lift plummets down the shaft but the Doctor manages to stop it just before it reaches the bottom. Needing cutting gear to rescue Jo & Bert the Doctor goes to Global Chemicals. Jo & Bert find Dai, now glowing green. Stevens' employee Fell is instructed to tell the Doctor that there's no cutting gear and when he objects a computer voice, the BOSS orders him processed. When the Doctor & Brigadier arrive he denies having any. Elgin is suspicious of Fell who is behaving strangely. The Doctor finds evidence of sabotage at the mine and meets Professor Jones who has arrived to help. Dave confirms Global leant them equipment and while he & the Brigadier go to Newport, the nearest town to fetch some from there, Professor Jones stages a demonstration as a distraction allowing the Doctor to break in to Global Chemicals using a cherry picker to cross the barbed wire fence. He follows the map drawn for him to the storage centre but is detected and reported to Stevens & BOSS. BOSS orders him apprehended and he is trapped. Stevens once again denies having the cutting equipment and shows him the empty shed before releasing him. Jo & Bert look for an escape shaft as the Brigadier & Dave return quickly having found cutting equipment at a garage. Once the adjustments have been made Dave, The Doctor and some miners descend in the second lift. Jo & Bert find themselves in a chamber glowing green filled with a rotting smell. Bert touches some liquid seeping from the wall which stings his hand. The Doctor's party find the dead Dai glowing green and set off in search of Jo & Bert. Bert's hand has started to glow green and he orders Jo to leave him. The Doctor & Dave find Bert, with Dave taking him back to the surface while the Doctor pursues Jo. He finds her in a chamber filled with the glowing green substance and giant maggots as a cave in traps them there....

In later years any scene that needs to be dimly lit will result in the all out glare of the lighting rig. So applause here please for the superb sequences in the mine tunnels which are fabulously dark apart from the wonderful green glow producing an atmospheric feel for the sequences bellow ground while above ground the realistic location settings and decent sets give a real world feel to the episode. Against that three things stand out: The BOSS, with it's wonderful voice, the eerie green glow in the tunnels and the giant maggots, for which this story is famed. Ask almost anyone coming up for their fiftieth birthday which Doctor Who story they remember and the chances are they'll say "The one with the Maggots"!

This is the first Doctor Who story set in Wales, and I think the only one of two in the original series. Welsh locations in Gwent & Glamorgan are used throughout and provide a fabulous back drop to the story. Doctor Who had filmed in Wales before, but then the mountains of North Wales represent Tibet. We'll be back in Wales location filming for The Masque of Mandragora, The Pirate Planet, The Five Doctors and finally in Delta & The Bannermen where a Welsh location is once again is used to represent Wales.

There's an odd error in the end titles for this and the final two episodes of this story: they're played upside down & in reverse.

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