Thursday 10 November 2011

353 The Green Death Episode Four

EPISODE: The Green Death Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 09 June 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

Hinks breaks into the Wholeweal and is attacked by the maggot falling into a coma and manifesting signs of what killed the miners. Sergeant Benton arrives with troops & explosives to blow the pit up. The Doctor goes to see the Brigadier and gets half an hour to negotiate with Global Chemicals but Stevens refuses to listen to him and threatens to arrest him under the emergency powers act. He introduces him to "Mr Yates", newly arrived from the ecology ministry. The detonation goes ahead as planned and Stevens throws the Doctor out. Stevens confers with the BOSS. The Brigadier reveals his suspicions about Global Chemicals led him to insert Captain Yates into Global Chemicals as a spy. The cleaner at Global Chemicals finds Maggots crawling up the pipes and alerts Elgin. Benton finds Maggots on the slag heap at the colliery. Elgin argues with Stevens who locks him in his office and allows BOSS to process him. Maggots are now emerging all over the slag heap having tunnelled their way out. Jo wonders what insects they will turn into as the Doctor discovers that they're bullet proof due to the chitinous plates making up their body. Pesticides have no effect. The Doctor disguises himself as a first a Milkman, and then a cleaner to get into Global Chemicals to obtain a sample of oil waste. Jo accidentally spills some of Cliff's fungus food on their sample of maggot slime. She then leaves to prove she can do something by fetching a maggot. The disguised Doctor finds Mike telling him how to get an oil sample and telling him that Stevens is not the real Boss. Cliff realises his spilled fungus has killed the cells in the maggot slime, then realising Jo is missing. The Brigadier orders a RAF strike on the slag heap, not realising Jo is out there. Making his way to the top floor the Doctor stumbles into an advanced control room and meets BOSS, the computer controlling the company.

It's the great Pertwee "dressing up and doing funny voices" episode! Pertwee's reputation, before Doctor Who, was built on his ability to do funny voices and for the first time since Inferno, where it was cut from the UK broadcast, he gets to give the talent an airing first as the old Welsh Milkman and then as the lady cleaner, seen for real earlier in the episode. The cleaner is in a long tradition of pantomime dames and female impersonators but what "she" really reminds me of is Tim Brooke-Taylor's version of Lady Bracknell, originally from The Importance of Being Earnest, that he regularly gives air to in I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Yates' reference to the cleaner's handbag would seem to confirm the origin since Lady Bracknell's most famous line is "A handbag?". The Brigadier proves he's not a solider that simply obeys stupid orders by inserting Yates into Global Chemicals (he rang him in episode 1) but the orders are shown to be stupid when the maggots start escaping & crawling all over the hillside.

This episode sees the introduction of set elements from the TV series UFO serving as elements of BOSS' control room. Especially recognisable is the curved desk in the middle taken from the UFO Moonbase set. A curved computer bank from UFO's Moonbase, which I think is in this set, will appear in Doctor Who for years to come.

There's two actors in this episode we know from elsewhere: Terry Walsh, one of the Guards, is the series regular stunt man, while Brian Justice, the guard assigned to "Mr Yates" (and credited as Yate's Guard !) was a Guerilla in Day of the Daleks & Castle Guard Wilson in The Sea Devils.

While on location Jon Pertwee has a problem with his script: how to say the word Chitinous. Barry Letts advised him to pronounce it as Chit as in "a chit of a girl" (An immature or disrespectful young woman.) After the programme was aired Barry Letts had a letter from a PHd Student:
The reason that I'm writin'
Is how to say kitin

No comments:

Post a Comment