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Doctor Who - The Green Death [DVD] [1973]

4.8 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 10 May 2004
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001MIQ76
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,600 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The Doctor and UNIT are called in to investigate a series of mysterious deaths at a disused mine in South Wales, where all the victims were found with their skin glowing green … As the Doctor becomes suspicious of the nearby Global Chemicals factory and its mysterious ‘Boss’, his assistant, Jo Grant, becomes trapped underground – in an abandoned mine infested with deadly giant maggots!


Featuring the third incarnation of the Doctor--Jon Pertwee's patriarchal renaissance man--The Green Death is a solid addition to the Doctor Who canon. Originally broadcast in May 1973, it may now have dated a little, with its vegetarian hippies and "boyo" Welshmen, but it has all the elements of classic Who, the Doctor encountering green-glowing dead bodies, a shadowy mastermind, a global conspiracy, brainwashing, a megalomaniacal supercomputer and, of course, giant maggots.

This story, the final sequence of Pertwee's penultimate season, reached the TV ratings Top 10, and fittingly, met high production standards. The environmental message, while facilitating Who's ongoing individual-freedom motif, also proved prophetic in its warnings of globalisation and pollution. The special effects, though admittedly dated now, were good for their time and budget--the stop-motion photography of the maggots and the front-axial projection used for the pulsating green skin are particularly effective. The well-crafted script manages to combine monsters, punch-ups and cliffhanger endings with cerebral concepts, human drama and erudite references to Beethoven and Oscar Wilde--the single tear of the reformed villain as he destroys his paymaster is just one of the subtle touches distinguishing this work. The Green Death's six filler-free episodes belong to the Golden Age of Doctor Who, and their denouement is one of the most poignant in the series' long history.

On the DVD: the Beeb, as always, have gone to town on the picture, with the images and colours scrubbing up nicely for their age. Sadly there are none of the usual nostalgia-inducing contemporaneous news features, but there is an amusing mockumentary starring The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss. The interviews with writer Robert Sloman and actor Stewart Bevan will also give fans some extra insights--particularly Bevan's revelation that the actors were discouraged from rehearsing the final scene so as to give it genuine emotional intensity. --Paul Eisinger

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
'The Green Death' is the finale of Doctor Who's 10th series and, thankfully, it's a vast improvement on the previous season finale, the unremittingly awful 'The Time Monster'. Over the years this story has fallen victim to what I like to call 'Friends' syndrome, meaning it has been labelled as 'The one with the maggots', there is a great deal more to the story than that.

Jon Pertwee's performance as the Doctor is excellent throughout and Katy Manning gives one of her finest showings as departing companion Jo Grant. The scenes the two share throughout the story are very touching with Jo becoming increasingly independent of the Doctor and the Doctor becoming aware that she will soon leave him. The scene at the end where they say their farewells to each other is beautifully acted by both Pertwee and Manning and the final shot of the story, with the Doctor driving off in the sunset, is stunning. While Pertwee excels at the emotional stuff, he also provides some laughs when he does a hilarious impression of an aged Welsh milkman complete with glasses, a moustache and a Welsh accent.

The script handles Jo's departure very well, building up to it in a logical manner over the six episodes rather than simply rushing it at the end. Jo's relationship with Professor Jones actually gets to (gasp!) develop in a convincing manner.

Nicholas Courtney is, as ever, on form as the Brigadier. Although this is a UNIT story, Yates and Benton don't appear until the fourth episode, nonetheless Yates gets some really good material going undercover and showing a lot of courage. Benton, on the other hand, isn't much of a presence here. Jerome Willis gives a very strong performance as the misguided yet charming villain Stevens.

The story is impressively staged throughout.
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Like the previous reviewer, I grew up on Tom Baker and for me he will always be The Doctor (although I love the new stuff). I didn't know much about Jon Pertwee but something about this adventure grabbed my attention, and I'm very glad it did!

Watching "The Green Death" now comes as something of a surprise as the issues it deals with are still so current - industrial pollution, alternative energy sources, preserving the environment. There is even a reference to a "mushroom-based protein" - the writer (Robert Sloman) has predicted the invention of Quorn! This striking of a chord with a modern audience leads you to overlook shortcomings like the stereotypical Welshmen (who do actually say "boyo" and "isn't it" after most sentences)!

The shoestring-budget special effects have dated reasonably well, and the acting and script are strong throughtout. There is a genuine poiganancy as the story comes to a close - The Doctor's relationship with Jo Grant is obviously a bit ambivalent, and this creates a bittersweet tone as Jo becomes closer to the character of Professor Jones ("he reminds me of a younger you!"). The final scene where a downcast Jon Pertwee makes his quiet and solitary exit from the party may actually choke you up a bit (it did me).

I have to admit my almost complete ignorance of the two Doctors before Pertwee, and Tom Baker fans may find Pertwee's headmasterish version of the Doctor a bit jarring at first, but stick with it - this is one of the best of the earlier Doctor Who adventures I've ever seen, and well worthy of its five stars.
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I've always been a staunch Tom Baker fan, he was the doctor that I grew up with and and for me no one else comes close.

I enjoyed the recent series with Eccleston and the current doctor is very good but the original series will always hold a special place in my heart. Yes the effects are dodgy by today's hi-tech standards but it's amazing to see how resourceful the good old BBC production team could be on such a limited budget and the stories are, for the most part, excellent.

So recently I decided to cheat on good old Tom and try a Jon Pertwee story instead (how could I) and I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I've seen Jons doctor in clips of course but never watched one of his episodes all the way through until now.

The Green Death is a fantastic and enjoyable story and on the strength of this I will be buying more Pertwee stories in the future. Jon wherever you may be - you have a new fan.
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One of the all time great Doctor Who's, and one I had to buy because I have good memories of watching this when it was first broadcast in 1973. Sadly, it was also Katy Manning's last adventure as Jo Grant; although she had a lovely replacement in Elizabeth Sladen another of my favourite Doctor Who companions. Overall, its a wonderful production with some great locations in a mine and a Chemical Plant (shades of Quatermass 2). The Doctor becomes involved in sinister goings on at a coal mine, and discovers a nearby Chemical Plant may be up to no good. Men are disappearing, some discovered later looking very green indeed! Then its up to the Doctor and the Brigadier battling along with conservationists against giant maggots. Great fun! Good to see Unit involved again with the Doctor. I always thought the best years for the Doctor were between 1970 and 1975 which of course were mainly the Jon Pertwee years until Tom Baker arrived on the scene during 1974. Special effects look primitive of course, but do bear in mind BBC didnt have megabucks to splash around in those days. Picture and sound are very good indeed. The DVD is also enhanced with some extras which I am sure will delight many Doctor Who fans.
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