Customer Review

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wriggling, squiggling, slimy entertainment., 24 Aug. 2006
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Green Death [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Jul 2011 21:06:57 BDT
A fine and knowledgeable review but I find I must take issue with one element of it, and that is the comment that the Three Doctors was a poor story ( or lesser story). I cannot agree. I found many of the 6 episode stories to be dragged out in the Pertwee era, and feel that the Three Doctors 4 episode format to be well paced, and , poorly produced blob men aside, a fine episode.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2013 21:15:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2013 21:29:38 BDT
Joey says:
agreed Mr. Schofield ! - production and budget limitations should not be allowed to detract from recognition of imaginative and entertaining writing ideas etc....

Both 'The Three Doctors' and 'Carnival of Monsters' ( at core a comment on the morality keeping animals in circus or fairground attractions ?) were excellent ideas, realised as well as possible given all the limitations ( & a quick 're-write' in the case of William Hartnell's poor health for 'Three Doctors' - a tale which at the time was quite a mind boggling concept for fans of the show...which was probably the first time several quite differing versions of the SAME character portrayed so differently, yet recognisably the same person, by three Lead actors was ever done in TV history...)

I just wish we didn't have to 'defend' Classic Dr.Who left, right, and centre, all the time - often from 'so called' fans ! (while many other far less successful TV shows get over praised to the skies...)

The increasing pointless inclusion of these irritating jumped up 'mockumentaries' largely full of DERISION of a much loved and VERY long running programme by these 'smart alec' guys like Gatiss, Hadoke, etc....who re-occur like untreated acne on the 'extras' I find very tedious too....

more of the fascinating 'Then and Now' location documentaries that give the classic show a more historical perspective in Television history and interviews with relevant surviving people involved in the classic show, and none of these irritating latter day 'profile' fans who basically just promote themselves...would be most welcome !

Posted on 15 Jul 2013 20:39:51 BDT
Peter Hall says:
"Carnival Of Monsters" dismal?? One of Pertwee's best stories in my humble opinion, but for me there was never a duff story during The Pertwee years until Death To The Daleks & sadly, Planet Of The Spiders, the only 6 part story that I felt really dragged. Mind it was certainly better than a lot of the latter day Tom Baker stuff which, to my mind, was abysmal
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