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Doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom
September 1, 2012 5:41 AM   Subscribe

There are only seven weeks until we run out of Doctor Who until Christmas! So, what should you do? Well, it's 2012, so what better way than to look at the end of the world, as visualised in the 1970s, and watch some Doomwatch? Doomwatch was was created by Gerry Davies and Kit Pedler, who originated Doctor Who's Cybermen, and were the show's early scientific advisors.

Doomwatch ran for three seasons between 1970 and 1973.

The show was the spiritual successor of Quatermass (Previously) and is an ancestor to shows such as The X-Files and Fringe.
The show was about the Department for the Observation and Measurement of Scientific Work, set up to investigate any scientific research, public or private, which could possibly be harmful to humanity.
While the intent was to form a body with little power meant to stifle protests and secure green votes. However the incorruptible Dr Spenser Quist and companions soon gave the agency some real power and people had to listen.

It was popular enough for a theatrical movie (trailer, full movie) in 1972 and an attempted reboot in 1999: Winter Angel.

Davies and Pedler's approach on Doomwatch was to take 'scientifically accurate' scenarios of potential world ending doom and examine the issues which in the '70s were accused of scare-mongering.

Unfortunately, like other BBC shows of the era, many of the Doomwatch tapes were wiped, and five of the 13 series one episodes have been lost, while just three episodes of series three remain.
Fortunately, thanks to Canada, the entire of series two was saved from the dustbin.

Those who wrote for the series include Terence Dudley (Doctor Who, Blake's 7), Brian Hayles (creator of the Ice Warriors), Louis Marks, Dennis Spooner and Robert Holmes.

It appears the series has never really been released to the modern era, but several episodes are on YouTube including the first story The Plastic Eaters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

Also online are the series one stories:
4. Tomorrow, the Rat (1,2, 3, 4)
5. Project Sahara (1, 2, 3, 4)
6. Re-entry Forbidden (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
7. The Devil's Sweets
8. The Red Sky
10. Train And De-Train
11. The Battery People
posted by Mezentian (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I must say, The Plastic Eaters is probably the best of the Doomwatch episode I have seen, and well worth watching if you can handle the pace of stuffy, 1970s TV.

Somewhere on the Blue is a story on an actual plastic-eating bacteria discovered earlier this year, but I could not find it. I recommend, like me, you read it before watching the first episode for that extra OMG kick.
posted by Mezentian at 5:44 AM on September 1, 2012


Somewhere on the Blue is a story on an actual plastic-eating bacteria discovered earlier this year, but I could not find it. I recommend, like me, you eat read it before watching the first episode for that extra OMG kick.

I swear to god that I read it THIS way.
posted by Fizz at 6:34 AM on September 1, 2012


DO NOT EAT
posted by Artw at 7:00 AM on September 1, 2012


Oh, my, I definitely need to check this out. I hope it gets a DVD release (which Sapphire & Steel did and I hear B7 is going to/just has?). Thanks for posting this.
posted by immlass at 7:03 AM on September 1, 2012


I just don't get how studios could lose or outright destroy the only copies of things like this. I was reading the other day about Captain USA, and how ALL of the original recordings were destroyed, on purpose. WTF
posted by Brocktoon at 7:39 AM on September 1, 2012


Blake's 7 has been on DVDn for years. You just need to multi-region it (if you are in the US).

Although there is a SyFy network reboot from the guys behind Heroes in the offering.
posted by Mezentian at 7:49 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although there is a SyFy network reboot from the guys behind Heroes in the offering.

Blake's 70 that never actually met.
posted by Sparx at 8:02 AM on September 1, 2012


You just need to multi-region it (if you are in the US).

Yeah, that's the problem. Not sure how I feel about the reboot other than "wary".
posted by immlass at 8:30 AM on September 1, 2012


Thanks for this. I remember this as the first grown-up programme I was allowed watch. I'm rather staggered now at how young Robert Powell looks as Toby Wren in those clips.
posted by Azara at 12:11 PM on September 1, 2012


Ijust don't get how studios could lose or outright destroy the only copies of things like this.

I feel the same way, but just how the beancounters at BBC Worldwide must feel given how many Doctor Who episodes that were wiped given that the audience for the show just keeps continuing to grow. That's got to be frustrating as he'll (though not nearly as frustrating as it is from a fan's perspective) As often as it doesn't seem like television executives think long term, they have nothing on their predecessors.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:10 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think at the time there was no real understanding of the market for TV nostalgia, if even the inkling of the home video market was a light in someone's eye.

These people were raised on ephemera: films were shown for limited runs, and plays and radio shows just vanished after their runs ended.

Hell, it wasn't until the mid 1980s that Doctor Who even came to video.
posted by Mezentian at 2:52 AM on September 2, 2012


Up on YT for a bit: an unaired prequel bit to Asylum of the Daleks (not Pond Life)
posted by jaduncan at 6:10 PM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh! Yay! But it raises more questions.
Was that Lungbarrow (or the TV version thereof)?

I must know!

And why wasn't this shown before?
posted by Mezentian at 7:00 PM on September 2, 2012


No clue. I present you all that I know when I show the clip link.

Maybe it's meant to be an eventual DVD extra or something.
posted by jaduncan at 9:31 PM on September 2, 2012


Also, made me grin:

Hood: "Name the planet"

Doctor: "No"

Hood: "Name the planet"

Doctor: "No"

Hood: "Name the planet"

Doctor: "Oy vey, oy vey, always with the planet. You've worn me down. OK."

Now I kind of want to watch Jewish Doctor Who.

"Whaaaaat? Of course you should go with him, Rose. Single...and already a doctor!"

posted by jaduncan at 9:49 PM on September 2, 2012


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