DOOMWATCH
   1. UK tv series (1970-72). BBC TV. Prod Terence Dudley. Series devised by Kit PEDLER, Gerry DAVIS. Starring John Paul, Simon Oates, Robert Powell, Wendy Hall, Joby Blanchard. Writers included Dudley, Pedler, Davis, Dennis Spooner, Don Shaw, Martin Worth, Brian Hayles, John Gould. Dirs included Dudley, Jonathan Alwyn, David Proudfoot, Lennie Mayne, Eric Hills, Darrol Blake. 3 seasons, 57 50min episodes. Colour.
   In this drama series, the first about dangers to Earth's ECOLOGY, a group of scientists - aggressively ready to take on the Establishment and headed by caustic Dr Quist (John Paul) - is set up as a watchdog over the rest of the scientific community. Stronger safeguards in the use of everything from chemical weapons and pesticides to new drugs and in vitro fertilization are urged, while some lines of research should be abandoned altogether; the not too deeply hidden subtext appeared to be that scientific research is dangerous per se. Pedler and Davis departed before the 3rd season, repudiating what they claimed was D's increasing lack of seriousness, but in fact from the beginning the hoariest sf CLICHES had appeared beneath the display of social conscience; apart from its overbearingly moralizing tone there was little difference between D and the mad- SCIENTIST movies of the 1930s and 1940s.
   2. Film (1972). Tigon. Dir Peter Sasdy, starring Ian Bannen, Judy Geeson, John Paul, Simon Oates, George Sanders. Screenplay Clive Exton, based on the BBC TV series. 92 mins. Colour.
   A familiar horror-film plot is given a fashionable rationale, in what is effectively a feature-film episode of the tv series. Visitors to a fishing village on a remote offshore island are met with hostility; grossly malformed people are being hidden away. The distortions - in fact, acromegaly - have resulted not from the workings of Hell but from the dumping of pituitary growth hormone (intended as an additive to animal feed) in the sea nearby, although the horror stereotypes suggest the two possible causes are topologically identical. Sasdy directed with style but was handicapped by a banal script.
   JB/PN

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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