Friday 11 November 2011

354 The Green Death Episode Five

EPISODE: The Green Death Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 16 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

Cliff comes up on the slag heap and spots Jo. The Doctor argues with BOSS (Biomorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor) which the Doctor labels as a Megalomaniac Machine. Jo & Cliff are trapped by the RAF barrage in a cave. Boss boasts of it's infallibility but the Doctor tries to trap it with a logic problem attempting to make his escape as Stevens arrives with guards. The maggots have survived the RAF attack. The Doctor is attached to BOSS. Cliff has been knocked unconscious during the barrage but Jo finds they are now cornered by maggots. The Doctor is taken away & locked in a room to be used as a bargaining chip. Yates comes to rescue him but they are quickly detected. The Doctor escapes, driving through the main gate on the milk float he came in on, but Mike is trapped and captured. The Doctor drives to the slag heap on Bessie as a faint transmission from Jo is received. The Doctor & Benton rescue her & Cliff, taking him back to the Wholeweal where he remains unconscious, waking briefly to say the word "serendipity". Cliff shows signs of being affected by the disease. The Doctor is worried that the Maggots will pupate. Mike arrives at the Wholeweal, having come to kill the Doctor on BOSS's orders. The Doctor uses the Blue Crystal he brought back from Metebelis 3 to break BOSS's conditioning but unintentionally hypnotises the Brigadier as well. Stevens speaks with Mr James who has been programmed to obey the BOSS. Stevens and BOSS check the progress of their plans Yates returns and reports that he has killed the Doctor. Mike tries to break James' conditioning: he tells Yates that a 4 o'clock today The BOSS intends to take over and then collapses, dead, as Stevens enters the room having discovered Mike's treachery.

My wife is not a woman that recognises the final technical points of television. She wouldn't have spotted that the end titles of this episode, as per episodes two & six of this story, are shown upside down and reversed. However she walked into the room as the Doctor and Benton are driving through the slag heap and immediately agreed with my assertion that that was Horrible CSO (Colour Separation Overlay) with it being immediately obvious that background and actors have been composited together. Also look at the shots of the Brigadier & UNIT troops standing on the slag heap talking, evidently CSO again. I can't find any record of the notoriously fickle Welsh weather having critically intervened with production but ....

Real life does has a major impact on this episode though: between the second (episodes 3 & 4) & third recording (episodes 5 & 6) studio recording blocks Tony Adams, playing Elgin, went down with Appendicitis and was hospitalised. Our old friend Roy Skelton, of Dalek Voice fame, was brought in to play a new character, James, who took on Elgin's role & lines. The novelization of the story restores the lines to Elgin which makes more sense. Not knowing this information you watch the story, see Elgin disappear without trace, a new character pop up and almost immediately get bumped off !

Two days after this episode first aired Roger Delgado, the actor that played the Master, was killed in a car crash in Turkey. He was 55.

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