One of the better Jon Pertwee stories and a great
six-parter, The Green Death has a bit of everything.
There's some spot-on humor, a menace that's
actually creepy and scary, some solid sci-fi action, and the departure
companion that's actually bitter-sweet.
What's more, this six episode story doesn't drag in the middle
padded the way a lot of them do. This
new Special Edition of the show offers a lot of great extras as well as
Having returned from Skaro after their last adventure, The
Doctor is busy working on the TARDIS.
He's determined to finally get to Metebelis Three, the Blue
he's been talking about for a while. He
finally thinks he's gotten things sorted out, but when he invites Jo
(Katy Manning) for a ride she turns him down.
Jo has been watching a news show that's been highlighting
the work that Dr. Jones (Manning's real-life boyfriend at the time,
Bevan) has been doing protesting against the Global Chemicals oil plant
alternative sources of food. Jo wants to
travel to Wales
and meet Professor Jones and hopefully join his commune, Wholeweal,
referred to as 'the Nut Hutch' by the locals.
As events would have it, there's been a mysterious death in the
Global Chemical coal mine, could it have something to do with Global's
refining process that yield's more gas with no pollutants? The
down to investigate and takes Jo with him, while the Doctor jumps in
and heads off to the Blue Plant, which isn't quite as relaxing as he
there's definitely something going on.
The Brig is getting stonewalled by Global's executives so Jo
do some investigating herself and zips down into the mine with a local
Bert, only to get stuck down beneath the surface when the elevator is
sabotaged. While searching for an unused
shaft that leads to the surface the pair make an important discovery: there are giant poisonous maggots living in
the mine shaft, feeding off of the byproducts of Global's new process. It won't be long until the deadly grubs make
it to the surface... and it'll be up to The Doctor (freshly returned from his
to Metebelis Three) and UNIT to stop the nearly indestructible menace
overrunning the Earth.
While this wasn't the very best Pertwee adventure, it ranks
high on the list. The maggots are an
effective and rather horrific foe for The Doctor to face, and they are
scarier than a guy in a rubber suit.
Yes, some of the Chroma Key special effects look pretty
especially when seen today, but just the idea of Jo and The Doctor
make shift boat across a lake to toxic waste filled with giant maggots
chilling. The villain behind everything
is a nice SF baddie, and while that type of antagonist has been done
(and often better) it still works well in the context of the show.
This is also the last series with Jo Grant as The Doctor's
companion. There had been several times when it felt like Jo was going
traveling with the Time Lord (in the previous story, Planet
of the Daleks, it seemed like they were going to write her
out too) but this time she does and it's a melancholy ending to the
adventure. Unlike the usual departure of
companions in the classic series, The Doctor seems sad and the last
shot in the
final episode is rather poignant. After
slipping away from Jo's engagement party with a glum look on his face,
Doctor drives his car Bessie off into the sunset. It's
one of my all-time favorite scenes from
the original series. Usually the Doctor
would wave goodbye with a shrug, or it would be turned into a joke
when Sarah Jane Smith left) but this is much more appropriate. After spending seasons with a companion
viewers grow attached to them and morn their departure too.
Speaking of humor, there's a good amount in this story too,
something that wasn't usually emphasized in Pertwee stories. The depiction of Metebelis Three, a planet
that The Doctor had been describing as a tranquil paradise, is
especially when you think of how many resources (and how much money)
in getting those few shots. The scenes
of The Doctor trying to get Professor Jones away from Jo are very
This release is a two-disc affair. The six-episode story is on disc one
the second one is reserved for the bulk of the special features.
This show comes with the original mono soundtrack that fits the show
fine. The dynamic range is nothing to write home about, but the
generally crisp and clear and there is no background noise, tape hiss,
distortion or dropouts. There are optional subtitles in English.
I was pleased with the full frame color image. The Restoration
their usual top-notch job, though it is not leaps and bounds better
original release back from 2003, there is some improvement. I have seen the 2003 release and while I
didn't do a side-by-side comparison, this version seems to be a bit
more refined. The episodes look nice with
tight lines, and nice detail.
This two-disc SE has the extras from the original release and adds a
items that makes this worth a purchase. First
there is the commentary track with Terrance Dicks (script editor),
(producer and co-writer), and Katy Manning (Jo Grant).
There's also a bonus commentary track on
episodes 3-5 with Richard Franklin (Capt. Yates), Mitzi McKenzie
Colin Mapson (visual effects designer) as well as Katy Manning and
Davies teaming up for a track on episode 6.
Video extras include the aptly titled making-of special, The
One with the Maggots, a nearly
half-hour look at the creation of this show with various members of the
and crew. Global Conspiracy
is a pretty horrible spoof on the story where a
reporter travels to the location where this adventure was recorded and
locals about the giant maggot infestation that occurred years ago. It's a cute concept, but that's pretty much
the only joke and since it runs 11 minutes in length it quickly gets
boring. Much more interesting are the
interviews with Robert Sloman and Colin Mapson who worked on the
effects. There's also a clip from the
news program Wales Today where Jon
Pertwee returns to Wales
to open a tourist center years after the filming (2 minutes) and
installment of Doctor Forever where
Russell T Davies relates how difficult it was getting Doctor Who back
air. After leaving Doctor Who, Katy
Manning hosted an arts-and-crafts show and there are 5-minutes worth of
edited together in What Katy Did Next.
On top of all that, there's a two-part Sarah Jane Adventures from 2010,
of the Doctor where Katy Manning makes an appearance as Jo Grant.
In addition there is a pop-up informational text option
which is very informative as always. It does give some dry
statistics, like how many people viewed each episode, but there are
interesting notes such as script changes that were made and background
information on the supporting characters. The extras are rounded
storyboard comparison, a trailer for the story, a photo gallery, and
listing from the Radio Times in .pdf format.
This series is a wonderful mix of humor, adventure, and even
a touch of melancholy. The story
at a quick pace and never gets bogged down the way most six-part
do. Fans of the show who have the
original release will have to decide if the superb extras are worth the
of admission but if you don't have this adventure yet picking this up
no-brainer. Highly Recommended.