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4.7 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who - The Green Death [DVD] [1973]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2011
I always order classic Doctor Who titles with some trepidation. Will they be as good as I remember them? In the case of "The Green Death", definitely, yes. There were some mad forgotten moments. The Doctor dressed as an impossibly elderly cleaning lady and even being mildly flirted with! He also reappeared as a steroidal Welsh milkman! Some very nice performances from everyone involved. Except maybe from Global Chemical's security department, it did seem ludicrously easy to gain illicit access to their complex.

The faceless and corruptive globalization message is put across very effectively by the writer Robert Sloman. The devil may care approach to pollution where Global Chemicals were simply tipping their waste products down the dis-used coal mines. Thought provoking, as we consider the consequences, in the context of what we're doing to our planet in real life.

The scene in the mine shaft where the mutation process takes place, is for me, the best part of the story. It kick starts the strong atmosphere and also takes your mind off the less impressive parts of the screenplay. I have been able to imagine a written version of this story and it strongly suggests to me that this really is a cracking good story. The BBC was aware of this and cleverly knew that the viewer's enjoyment would not be too dented by the disappointing flying insects segment. The conclusion was good and the parting of the ways for Jo Grant and the Doctor was handled very deftly. Very moving. I did shed a tear!

All of the above, even with the good and the bad, makes this a story well worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Being one of the very few Doctor Who stories I have never actually seen all the way through, I sat down to watch this in delicious anticipation. I had read the Target novelisation many times over as a lad and knew it was `the one with the giant maggots'. The tale opens in classic Doctor Who fashion with a clearly fated miner trying to escape from an (admittedly clumsy blue-screen) abandoned mine. The miner turns to the camera and his entire face is suffused with a green glow - cut to the mine head where the oily executive in charge of the company is trying to persuade a mob of angry miners that their jobs are safe.
One of the hallmarks of this particular story is its somewhat frustrated ambition. As a novel, the amazing scenes of The Doctor being beset on all sides on the blue planet Metebelis 3 are simply fantastic. On the small screen in 1973 they are almost laughable, but as a Doctor Who fan I remain steadfastly loyal and can recognise this as a brave attempt to bring a magnificent idea to life with very limited resources. The opening episode ends with Jo and a miner hurtling down the mineshaft in a cage that can't be stopped; is this the end for our plucky heroine..? Of course it isn't and episode two sees The Doctor saving the day once more.
The remainder of episode two focuses on the mysterious Global Chemicals and its sinister BOSS - Bimorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor - a computer with a will of its own that is brainwashing those who attempt to investigate, and controlling events through the aforementioned director of the company - Jerome Willis' calculating Stevens. The infamous maggots are introduced in episode three as the body-count rises, and The Doctor, UNIT and dashing young professor, Clifford Jones, seek to combat the growing menace that is BOSS. This is in many ways The Brigadier's episode. He battles with Stevens and is defeated when the Global man brings his powerful government connections to bear. The Brig then defends Jo and rather incongruously joins Dr Jones at the `Nut Hatch' for a dinner of funghi and bizarre entertainment! There is also a ghoulish scene where the brainwashed Global employee Fell is ordered by the computer to kill himself, and Jo and The Doctor watch horrified as he hurls himself from the roof.
A more light-hearted scene sees The Doctor become a little jealous, as Jo's blossoming romance with Professor Jones becomes more obvious to the Timelord. In a poignant scene he tells her that he finally made it to Metebelis 3 and proudly shows her the blue crystal he brought back. Her mind clearly on other things, she dismisses him dreamily, and you see the pained realisation that he has lost yet another companion.
The fourth episode sees the grotesque grubs come into their own, multiplying a thousand-fold and attacking Global strong-arm man Elgin as he sneaks up on Jo - injecting the eponymous gene-altering infection into his arm. The episode is still more memorable for The Doctor's comedy turns as a milkman and then a charlady; disguises he adopts in order to infiltrate the Global Chemicals compound. Pertwee is clearly in his element here, and it is easy to see how he could have made The Third Doctor an overtly comedic figure (thank goodness the producer reined him in!)
Episodes five and six see Professor Jones become infected, much to Jo's distress, and the maggots begin to pupate...
Aside from some dodgy CSO when The Doctor is driving Bessie and a poorly realised giant fly, The Green Death deserves its place as a fan-favourite; it is rare that `classic' Who gives any insight into character and relationships but there is real pathos when The Doctor slips away as Jo and the Professor plan their new life, without him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2007
Jon Pertwee is the ultimate Doctor for me, and this clearly shows with the quality of the infamous 'The Green Death'.
The Green Death deserves a place in the Doctor Who Hall of Fame for bringing together the excellent combination of Jon Pertwee's Doctor and companion Jo Grant for one last time. The Green Death takes concepts even still known of today and tackles them head on, making the viewer ever more aware of the worldly predicament.
And, after all, The Green Death is still one of the best examples of 'The Doctor and UNIT' working together, even after The Doctor's exile has been lifted.
The extras here contain some good sources of information and some acting within documentary. It's all very excellent!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Story: 5/5 - Extras: 4/5

Most often and fondly remembered as "the one with the maggots", Robert Sloman's "The Green Death" is actually notable for a number of reasons, not least of which are a prescient and almost militant anti-globalisation message and, of course, the departure of long-time companion Jo Grant, as played by Katy Manning.

Whatever your political leanings, "The Green Death" is also six episodes of maggot-infested fun, featuring a large number of chronically entertaining Welsh stereotypes, a sinister but whimsical computer, a healthy dose of mind control and also a scientific research station / commune that has set out to end world hunger by developing a new form of high-protein fungus. In charge of this "nuthutch" is the long-haired Professor Clifford Jones, played by Katy Manning's then off-screen partner Stewart Bevan. There is real chemistry between the two characters as a result which, as it turns out, sets events up well for the story's remarkably bittersweet ending.

Back to the important stuff - the effects! As is often the case with 1970s Who, they vary from the sublime to the ridiculous, with some very well realised (and entirely repulsive) giant maggots combined with the all-to-frequent and entirely unconvincing use of CSO technology (also known as Chromakey) that so blights this particular season of the programme. There are some very nice explosions, but watch out for the giant fly in episode six.

Jon Pertwee is on excellent form here, and helps to redeem the show after the slightly dismal outings that were "The Three Doctors" and "Carnival of Monsters". Pertwee's lead, an intelligent script by Sloman and excellent performances from all the key players (particularly Jerome Willis as the sinister Stevens, director of Global Chemicals) combine to deliver the classic slice of Who that season ten so badly needed.

The special features on the DVD are more limited than usual, but an enjoyable commentary is led by a raucous Katy Manning along with producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks, whilst the highlight among the featurettes is "Global Conspiracy" - an investigative report into the sinister goings-on in Llanfairfach, starring "The League of Gentlemen"'s Mark Gatiss as Terry Scanlon. Stick around and you'll even learn how to build your very own giant maggot.
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on 28 April 2015
The Green Death

I am not sure why this is acclaimed as a classic. I'd give the good episodes a 7, the others a 6, and average it 6.5 rounded up to 7/10

The initial episodes are good, the Welsh mining feel, UNIT, the Nut Hutch and the enigmatic Global Chemicals personnel.

But the latter episodes have some tremendously poor elements. The maggots are unconvincing, the helicopter with handheld bomblets, Bessie with Benton throwing fungus out, and most especially the so-called computer with its weird tendencies and singing. I don't know if this seemed somehow groundbreaking or clever at the time, but it seems crazy now.

Yes, Jo's character evolves and she falls in love with Cliff, but neither that nor Yates' impersonation lifts it above the average, whilst Pertwee's impersonations are cringeworthy at best, camp strangeness at worst.

Six episodes or more can work well (Keys of Marinus, Inferno etc) but in this story, the first episodes are much better, the second half are worst. It would not necessarily be better at four episodes, just some better plotting, action, effects and in the case of the computer dialogue.

The death of BOSS is the most effective scene involving the computer, but it goes to show how much better all the other scenes featuring it could have been.

The ending IS good, with Jo and the Doctor, the pathos, the end of an era, and UNIT personnel congratulating the happy couple.

I do rate this story as above average, but I don't see it as a classic. It could have been, it started off as if it might have been, and even ended like it was, but it wasn't.
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on 19 August 2013
Another gem from the Jon Pertwee era of the classic series, fondly remembered by fans for not only being the swansong for one of the Doctors' best-loved companions but also because it heralds the beginning of the end for this particular period of the show.

From the start of the first episode we get a sense that this will be a very special story, and in a sense it is in that it sees Doctor Who tackle something that it had never done before - the delicate subject of environmental issues and pollution, plus its' potentially devastating consequences. And where else to set the story than in the valleys of Wales, where ultimately the outcome of such problems will be seen to reach their peak and cause havoc for all concerned. Enter the young, determined environmentalist Professor Clifford Jones and his group of followers who are keen to keep and help preserve the countryside as they know it, whilst doing their utmost to foil the schemes being planned by the nearby Global Chemicals plant and its' ruthless director, Stevens. But little do they realise that the man at the top is merely a pawn being manipulated by an altogether higher authority - a power-crazed super computer named B.O.S.S....

That's basically the plot, and yet somehow it manages to turn itself into six episodes of near compelling viewing. If you can ignore some of perhaps the dodgiest CSO ever seen in the show - that plus the frankly absurd, comical nature of some of the giant maggots - then there is much to enjoy in The Green Death. Stewart Bevan excels in his role as Jones, and Jerome Willis is near faultless as Stevens, and even the actors playing the welsh locals - whether they be miners or civilians - seem to fit into the story really quite nicely, even if they are heavily stereotypical. It's good also to see the ever-loyal Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in civies for once, even if it's only for a few scenes, and to see him having dinner and a drink with the Doctor and the Nuthutch scientists is an added bonus.

For many people this story is all about Katy Manning and her departure from Doctor Who. There have been few companions whose leaving scenes still stick in the mind to this day, but this is probably THE one in that it's one of the most poignant and moving goodbyes ever. It's not easy to not feel moved, but even the most hard-hearted viewer might struggle to hold their emotions in check, even if you're watching the story for possibly the hundredth time.

Onto the special features - most of them are the same as those that appeared on the original 2004 DVD release, although there are also a couple of new ones. Most prominent is the newly-shot documentary The One With The Maggots (so-called because that's how people tend to remember this story), plus a series of clips from Serendipity, a 1970s art and crafts show Katy Manning presented following her leaving the show. This goes under the title of What Katy Did Next, and also features-wise there is Doctor Forever - The Unquiet Dead, which focuses on the events that ultimately led up to the return of Doctor Who in 2005, and includes interviews with Russell T.Davies, Julie Gardner and Lorraine Heggessey. Lastly there is the two-part Sarah Jane Adventures story The Death Of The Doctor, which sees Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant meeting for the first time to attend the Doctors' funeral. Or is it...? When Matt Smith appears on screen we know that the Doctor is anything but dead.

So to sum up... another great example of a story that, 40 years after it was originally broadcast, still stands up to repeated viewing today. And don't be surprised that when you reach the last few minutes of the final episode, you find you've got a little something in your eye.
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All six episodes of the final story in Jon Pertwee's fourth year as Doctor Who are presented here complete on one dvd.

This is one story that is well remembered by people years on, because as many of them would call it 'it's the one with the giant maggots.'

The Doctor and his friends in UNIT get involved with a chemical company in Wales. Strange things are going on in the area. The local mine recently closed down but the company promises jobs and prosperity for all. A group of scientists who live in the area and are pursuing independent and different and ecologially sound alternatives to the company way are not so convinced. Then people who visit the mine start dying horrible deaths. And the man in charge of the company is rather secretive about things. Not least his mysterious boss....

As monsters emerge from the ground can the Doctor stop them? And find what deadly threat lurks inside the company?

Impressively grounded in realistic settings this one also considers many issues that are still pertinent today, decades after it was made. But it never gets preachy and forces the viewer to think for themselves. Which is the right way to do it. The monsters are very well created and realised on screen and it has one of the most memorable endings a story from the old version of the show ever managed as the Doctor and his assistant Jo come to a parting of the ways in one of the best companion departures ever.

The visuals can be a bit dated - people superimposed in front of backdrops - but if you can suspend your disbelief they work fine. Onetime crossroads star Tony Adams makes a good impression as Elgin, a company man with a conscience. But he vanishes from the story before the end due to the fact that the actor had to have emergency surgery. There's also some comedy involving the doctor in disguise that some may find unfunny but others may enjoy.

But this is classic doctor who and, dated visuals aside, it lives up to it's reputation.

The dvd has the following audio options:

languages: english

subtitles: english

Information subtitles

A photo gallery of images from the story and it's production

An eight minute long interview with the writer.

A seven minute long interview with cast member Stewart Bevan, who played one of the group of scientists.

A twelve minute long feature on how the visual effects were done.

And a spoof documentary in the style of investigative journalism shows of the time that has a reporter looking into the events sometime after they happened. A clever parody/pastiche it's fun, but possibly only for those who recognise the style it's copying.

There's a commentary from Katy Manning [Jo] plus the producer and the script editor.

And for an easter egg watch the disc on a computer, move the pointer over the main menu screen till it lights up a hidden doctor who logo and click on it to see the original bbc continuity announcements for the story and for a 1990's repeat of it.

Classic Doctor Who. Great dvd.
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on 17 March 2009
The Real Deal!

This is a perfect example of how the classic series wipes the floor with the New shiny & bland series that is a misnomer; Dr Who.

The story is intelligent, serious, ahead of it's time & most of all: Believable.
The episodes are packed with either Action, Tension or contretemps between characters. And because the Doctor is a student or even a teenager in the new series, you can't have the Doctor say "I'm quite Spry for my age actually" before he floors a bunch of guards!

If you haven't watched this then you haven't chilled out enough on sunday afternoon's with a Roast Dinner!

Jon Pertwee (if you read his biography you would realise that he) was a gentleman of rare breed & is probably the best role model out of all the Doctors. He was active, Sportive, Very sensitive, loving, honest, funny & just flawless as Dr Who. Yes, there are people that hate him, but very few!

Tom baker was Dr who for so long that he turned it from Dr Who, into the "Tom Baker" Show & started it's demise in a subtle sense. Tom used comedy which lacked much real acting to draw people to the show; everyone loves to laugh.

But Bill, Pat & Jon were the REAL DOCTORS.
Don't mess with Jon! He will Kung Fu you man!

Anyway, back to the DVD! Jon always worked well well UNIT & you get a sense of family from this story. More than others because Kate was leaving. This is the last story that shows the love everyone had for each other. After this Jon's mood & hair turns white & he quits as Dr Who. And it's ready for the family to end & then for JNT to come in & have everyone at each others throats given 6 years or so.

I myself met Jon on several occasions & can confirm that the world is missing his contribution to entertainment.

Watch it, Enjoy it & Honour the man that really was... Dcotor Who.

Dear Jon, you are truly missed...

"If I were to tell you, that the first thing I were to say to you was the truth, & the last thing I were to say to you; was a Lie... Would you believe me?" - Jon Pertwee
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on 3 January 2008
I bought the original release but seeing a new copy of this for a fiver tempted me and it's a much better package.
I noticed nothing bad at all with the remastering but then I rarely do.
The death of a miner who turned bright green brings UNIT to Llanfairfach where they find dumping of chemical waste may have caused this and resulted in maggots growing to giant proportions. Also, the Doctor notices his companion Jo Grant seems to be moving away from him and is very interested in environmental crusader Professor Cliff Jones.

The environmental message is heavy handed occasionally but in the main just as relevant today and handled well. A good example is as Cliff warns the villagers of the danger of Global Chemicals' actions and a man retorts; "It's all right for you, you can afford to live the way you want to but we need jobs!"
The script's written on more than one level e.g. Global Chem's supremo Stevens telling villagers how Global will improve things declares "I have in my hand a piece of paper" echoing Chamberlaine's 1938 post Munich address.

It's a good to see Jon Pertwee getting to mix the Dr's traditionally heroic side with a more childish side. He sulkily refuses to help the Brigadier at 1st because Jo won't go to Metebelis 3 with him (he does get there and it's not brilliantly realised all CSO and blue light), he spoils a romantic evening with Cliff for her and his bad tempered exchanges with Stevens help no one.
He's also indulged a little; his milkman & cleaning lady disguises giving him a chance to do funny voices, witness a dame Edith Evans' (*1) type voice he puts on for Mike Yates.
the idea was to have Jo visibly grow up in her last season but nearly all of it's in this story. Katy Manning works it all brilliantly , especially her bittersweet goodbye to the Dr at the end.
Although it's slightly too long at 6 eps, it does pace better than many of the other 6 parters and there is time for character stuff e.g. UNIT sitting down to a meal, which could not be done easily now. Benton, Yates & the Brig all get a good moment or 2.
Jerome Willis is terrific as Stevens. He's ruthless, coldy charming and yet leaves a hint that there's still a real human being underneath. Believe it or not, I actually thought he was going to be a new version of the Master on 1st transmission (well I was 7!)
He gets good support from Crossroads' Tony Adams, Who Rep actor Roy Skelton and John Dearth as the voice of super computer BOSS. Computer BOSS with reel to reel tapes does date it a bit although the sets are otherwise good and the location filming great.
There's a lovely location shot to finish after the Dr takes his leave of the now engaged Jo and drives off alone silhouetted against a dark sky.

The maggots were a triumph for the time, real ones, balloons for blowing up and the puppets. The fly while better than in Planet of Giants, takes to the air via woeful CSO.

Extras originally inlcuded an enjoyable Katy commentary recalling the sadness at leaving a job she loved and now there are bonus ones too. The Moderator Toby Hadoke leads a gang through eps 3-5 listen for Richard Franklyn's opinion of new who and regrets he gave away an original maggot! Also Jerome Willis apparently proudly added Who to his credits in programmes when appearing in theatres. Ep 6 has a 2nd Katy Commentary where she's joined by Russell T Davies but as is the risk of commentaries it's too much of a mutual admiration society to be entertaining.

original release interviews with writer Robert Sloman and Cliff Jones AKA Stewart Bevan are included along with the fantastic comedy sketch spoof documentary "Global Conspiracy". Mark Gattis stars in this hilarious skit "UNIT with its crack squad of 3 men!" investigating what went on with maggots. Some original Green Death cast recreat their roles.

Also as originally featured Colin Mapson gives a masterclass in maggot making-if they ever make a comeback , he's the man!

Newly added; there's a news report about the location canging to a resort cum theme park
making of "The One with the Maggots" telsl us why the fly didn't fly and reunites Katy with Stewart Bevan for a joint interview, really entertaining

Who Forever looks at the road back to TV for the Police Box Show, good but this is well trodden ground.

strong contander for best new extra is both parts of the Sarah jane Adventures story "The Death of the Doctor" where Jo Grant/Jones joins her successor Sarah Jane Smith when the Dr is reported dead by UNIT. They get to meet teh matt Smith Dr in a fun tale involving the Shanseeth, Dark Crystal-esque aliens ( one of the voices by Adventure in Time and Space's David Bradley) and Primeval's Laila Rouass.
Plenty of weclome humour, a great backstory for Jo's time between the Green Death and now ( she had a lot of kids and adventures) and a speech telling us what became of the other classic companions (Ian & Barbara stayed together).

There's yet another Kay Commentary for both parts joined again by Lord Russell of Cardiff but both on better form than in GD6. hear how Gary Russell let the cat out of the bag without spilling any beans, how close katy and Lis Sladen had become, how Katy dubs certain mannersims "matting" and the laughs the 2 companions had about old girls back in the game etc.

I recommend this to anyone who liked Who in the 70's and have to say it's the best spent fiver for me so far this year!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2004
It took the Restoration Team a while to get into their stride but once they did look at the results. We are getting consistently fantastic Doctor Who DVD releases and Green Death is no exception.
The story is great, a true Pertwee classic. Set in a Welsh community that has had its pit shut down a new company called Global Chemicals has come to town offering cheap energy for the future (very much a theme of the early seventies when it was made). Of course all is not well and The Doctor uncovers a web of deceit and intruige that is not padded over the six beautifully restored episodes.
The extras are magnificent. The very best being Mark Gatiss' Global Conspiracy which is very much in the style of Chris Morris and is just so damned funny. Gatiss is a great writer with a great sense of humour and as the front man he gives a super performance.
There are interviews with other actors who have appeared in the show and these are all very interesting and add some insight to the finished program. Also the commentary is great, especially at the end where Katy Manning is in tears overcome with emotion. Very moving. The commentaries on the Who releases are a little hit and miss. This is a real hit.
If you are a fan of Doctor Who then buy it, if not just buy it anyway. It is great.
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