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Doctor Who The Green Death [VHS] 
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UNIT is called in after a miner from the Welsh village of Llanfairfach is found dead, his skin glowing bright green. Jo joins forces with a local environment group, led by Professor Clifford Jones, while the Doctor investigates the nearby plant of a company called Global Chemicals. They discover that the mine workings are full of giant maggots and green slime - both lethal to touch - that have been produced by chemical waste pumped from the Global plant. Stevens, the Director of Global has been taken over by the BOSS - Bimorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor - a computer with a will of its own. The BOSS plans to seize power by linking itself to every other major computer in the world, but the Doctor uses a blue crystal - a souvenir from a brief visit to the planet Metebelis 3 - to break its hold over Stevens, who then programs it to self destruct. The maggots, on the point of pupating into giant insects, are destroyed with a type of fungus. Jo falls in love with Professor Jones and decides to leave UNIT in order to accompany him on an expedition up the Amazon - and to marry him. The Doctor gives her the blue crystal as an early wedding present.
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 --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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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. There is a vast amount of impressive location filming (a trademark of the Pertwee era if ever there was one) and its nice to see the production team going beyond the confines of home counties England for a change. There are some nice action sequences including the peculiar spectacle of the Doctor making a getaway from Global chemicals in a milk float.
The episode one sequences set on Metebelis 3 are very impressive (and far better than the Metebelis 3 scenes in 'Planet of the Spiders') with very effective blue lighting. The giant maggots, with their teeth and hissing noises, are terrifying and a masterpiece of design work. By the end you don't really remember that they are rarely seen to attack anyone.
The story is some distance from perfect; it would be difficult to imagine how its portrayal of the Welsh could have been any more patronising or caricatured. The Welsh characters have cliched accents and they say 'boyo' a lot. Additionally the Doctor demonstrates his (shudder) Venusian aikido, which looks feeble. And there's also the overly ambitious giant fly, which could (and should) have been omitted; it looks terrible. It's rather convenient that the fungus just happens to be both poisonous to the maggots and a cure for the virus. The plot strand with the BOSS computer is a bit daft.
Despite its flaws 'The Green Death' is still very good and one of the best Pertwee stories.
All the extras from the original 2004 DVD release have also been included on this special edition. These include 'Global Conspiracy?' a 10 minute spoof news report, hosted by Mark Gatiss (as Terry Scanlon), about maggots and the green death in Llanfairfach. It is quite funny.
There are also interviews with writer Robert Sloman and actor Stewart Bevan (who played Professor Jones) both of which are good. 'Visual Effects' is a very interesting interview with visual effects designer Colin Mapson. Mapson talks about the maggots, model work and the Metebelis 3 sequences among other things. He also demonstrates how to make a giant maggot.
The new extras for this release are actually rather good. By far the best new extra is 'Death of the Doctor' a two part story from 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' which features Elizabeth Sladen, Katy Manning and Matt Smith together. It's great to see Jo/Manning and Sarah Jane/Sladen together sharing their memories and Matt Smith is brilliant as usual.
'The One with the Maggots' is the usual 'making of' documentary. It clocks in at 26 minutes and is informative as these things always are.
'Doctor Forever- The Unquiet Dead' is a good 23 minute feature which explains how Doctor Who came to be resurrected in 2005. It features interview footage with Russell T Davies and Jane Tranter.
If you don't own the original 2004 DVD release then I would certainly recommend this special edition, some very nice new extras make purchasing this worth considering even if you do.
The story has a great flow and does make a good point about the environment which is relevant today.
Jon Pertwee is my favorite Dr Who and I believe this series is really what Dr Who is all about.
The new series is very different and I'll leave it at that.
As with pretty much all Jon Pertwee serials, this one is one of my personal favourites, having grown up watching the Pertwee years on endless amounts of UKTV Gold repeats. I loved this story back then for the giant maggots, but now some 10 years or more on, I like to think that the story appeals more to my intellectual side. Professor Clifford Jones is one of the main characters in this story and plays the love interest of Jo Grant, this story being one of the few occasions that Who did a love storyline. You do get a feeling that there is genuine affection between Jo and Jones, although I suppose it helped that Katy Manning was Stuart Bevan's real life squeeze.
Its nice to see all the UNIT gang back together for one last outing before the eventual break-up. Nick Courtney's Brigadier is always an added treat to any Doctor Who story and here he injects some much needed humour, the Brig always manages to cheer me up. Sergeant Benton and Captain Mike Yates are also here for this finale, Yates playing an undercover government spy. His scenes with Jon later in the adventure are some truly priceless moments.
As for the villains, Stevens is extremely well portrayed by Jerome Willis, his emotionless performance was inspiring and really added to the already brilliant storyline. And then we have BOSS as played / voiced by John Dearth, beautifully I might add, BOSS is one of the better one-time villains that Doctor pulled out of the bag and I hope that "he" makes a return at some point in the future series. And finally, whilst we're on the subject of villains and monsters, the giant green maggots, unfortunately the most remembered part of this classic tale. They are not as well realised as BOSS, but still, I suppose they work on a more deep routed sense of fear.
As for the production. The design work here is fantastic, BOSS is very well realised and as for the mines and tunnels, it took me a while to realise that it was a set it was so real. The other sets and model work are equally brilliant. The location work as shot here is fantastic, some of the best for the series, not a quarry in sight. The Maggots and the Fly are less successful but do their job in entertaining and frightening the wee ones. Robert Sloman's highly left wing opinions leaked in to Doctor Who through his scripts, especially his last two contributions "Green Death" and "Planet of the Spiders". Although I know Barry Letts had a lot to do with the political and social undertones, I feel sure that both Letts and Sloman were thinking on the same wave length.
On a final note, the ending to this story brakes my heart every time I watch it so be warned. Jon Pertwee quietly slipping away from the ensuing party into the cold and dark night in Bessie is one of the most emotional television moments in history for me. So sad. Poor Jon.
On a lighter note, the BBC DVD boasts this classic serial with wonderfully remastered episodes provided by the Doctor Who Restoration Team and it looks so much better than it did on the 1996 VHS release. The only disappointing thing about the DVD release was the insufficient bonus content, 3 mini documentaries with cast and crew. Not what I would call adequate, but at least they are fascinating and quite entertaining at times. What more can I ask for?
Overall, The Green Death in my opinion marks the end of the true Jon Pertwee era, Jo Grant's departure from Doctor Who was never expected to be such an emotional affair, but at least everybody goes out in style. Highly recommended. 10/10.
Many thanks for your time, its greatly appreciated.
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