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  • Doctor Who: The Green Death (Story 69)
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Doctor Who: The Green Death (Story 69)

45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) joins the Brigadier and Jo Grant in South Wales to investigate the death of a miner whose fatal disease has left his skin bright green.

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 globalization 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. --Paul Eisinger

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • Interviews
  • Other
  • Photo gallery
  • Production Notes

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Jon Pertwee, John Levene, Katie Manning, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin
    • Directors: Michael E Briant
    • Writers: Robert Sloman
    • Producers: Barry Letts
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
    • Language: English (Stereo)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2005
    • Run Time: 153 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0006J28O6
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,677 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on August 10, 2002
    Format: VHS Tape
    Global Chemicals have a process that results in 25% more petrol from crude. While that may mean "more money, more jobs" it also means "more muck, more devastation, more death," as well as a doubling in atmospheric pollution. When a miner is found dead in the mine in Llanfairfach, South Wales, covered by a green phosphorescent glow akin to putrefaction, UNIT is alerted. The Doctor, however, wants to go to Metebelis Three to get one of their blue sapphires and Jo wants to help Nobel Prize-winning ecologist Professor Jones and his hippie group of scientists against Global Chemicals.
    Soon, two more deaths follow, and Jo and the Doctor discover the cause down the mine--a green petrochemical slime that causes death on contact. Worse, the slime has irradiated maggots to two feet in length who also kill on contact.
    The Brigadier, and the Doctor (after a perilous but successful expedition at M3) work against Global Chemicals and the director, Jocelyn Stevens. However, in Episode 1, Stevens is seen talking to (himself?), as if he's under control by someone else.
    Professor Jones reminds Jo of a younger version of the Doctor. He believes in using alternative energy sources, such as solar power, movements of the wind, tides, and rivers. No waste means no pollution. Stewart Bevan, then Katy Manning's beau, is a most welcome guest performer as the progressive but ecologically conscious Jones.
    This is Jo's show all the way. She did well as the Doctor's assistant, but here, she's more than just a pretty face. Her concern and compassion whenever the Doctor is near death is shown to its best when she hears of the death of Bert, a "funny little Welshman" she only met for a few hours down the mine, but whom she felt was very special. Jones' comforting words to her are magic here.
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    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on April 2, 2005
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    I've been a "Doctor Who" fan for over 20 years. I'm at least a foot taller than I was in 1984, and I've even made a slight improvement on the hairstyle I had when I was eleven. The only constant for most of those years is that I've been supremely indifferent to "The Green Death", even though in all other respects I'm a ravenous Pertwee fan. I mean, my Windows desktop theme is all about the Jon Pertwee Doctor, and the startup music is Pertwee's nightmarish disco rendition of "I Am The Docctor". I just haven't had much time for this story, that's all.

    So here's a story that's massively improved by the amount of goodwill that the Restoration Team poured into this disc.

    The cast & crew audio commentary is for once surprisingly on point and relevant. Crew (producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks) outnumbers the cast (actress Katy manning) two to one, so the pointless actors' anecdotes that we got on prior DVD releases ("My goodness, Fraser, wasn't he tall?") are limited here. Katy Manning does announce at the end of Episode One that it all held together really well, which is obviously part of the script, someone says that on the commentary at the end of every Episode One on every "Doctor Who" DVD release to date. But, by the end of the story, she's actually been reduced to tears at watching Jo Grant's extended departure sequence. That's surprisingly moving stuff.

    The text commentary, by the usually stuffy Richard Molesworth, turns in the same performance you'd expect. There's a list of all the TV shows that Fourth Extra on the Left appeared in on the Beeb in the 1960s.
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    Format: DVD
    At the HQ of Global Chemicals Research Centre in Wales, head honcho Jocelyn Stevens arrives to talk to the laid-off miners gathered at the gate. Good news, he tells them. The coal mine is shut down, but the company has government approval to restart as an oil company.

    Not everyone is happy about that. Also gathered is a smaller group, lead by biology Professor Jones, protesting the drilling due to environmental concerns. But before Stevens can address Jones' questions, the mine's warning whistle interrupts. We already know why, because we saw a terrified miner desperately trying to escape the mine, one of his hands glowing green. By the time he's found, his dead hand on the whistle lever, the green glow has spread to his face.

    In the meanwhile, back at UNIT, the Doctor is happy to tell Jo Grant that he's fixed the TARDIS dematerialization circuit. "I can now take the TARDIS where ever and whenever I like. I've got absolute control over her." The first place they'll go, he continues, is Metebelis Three, which has a blue sun and grows enormous blue crystals.

    But Jo isn't paying attention. She's seen a newspaper article about Jones' attempts to stop Global Chemicals and she's determined to go and help. Coincidentally, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is heading the same way. UNIT is worried that the death at Global Chemicals could be the result of international sabotage. The Brigadier tries, unsuccessfully, to get the Doctor to join him and Jo, with a plea, "But Doctor, it's exactly your cup of tea. The fellow's bright green, apparently, and dead!"

    Fortunately, the Doctor eventually makes it to Wales. Is this strictly an environmental problem, or is there another agent involved?
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