Doctor Who: The Green Death Special Edition DVD review

Welsh stereotypes and the Third Doctor in drag, Doctor Who: The Green Death returns to DVD

The main documentary on this special edition is called ‘The One With The Maggots’, and they certainly are the most memorable aspect of this giddy enivornmental warning.

Actually, it’s all pretty good fun, with dodgy Welsh accents, an evil supercomputer and the Doctor dressed as a cleaning lady.

The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) finally has the TARDIS working again but, Jo Grant (Katy Manning) wants to head to the Valleys to help Professor Clifford Jones (Stewart Bevan and his band of eco-warriors stop a chemical waste-producing coal mine. The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and the Doctor decide to join her when a man is found dead and glowing bright green. Further investigation of the mine reveals giant mutant maggots, but what have they got to do with The BOSS?

There’s quite a lot packed into the six episodes that make up The Green Death. The heavy-handed message and peaceful hippies make for some dated clunkiness, as do the at times embarrassingly stereotypical Welsh characters.

That being said, although the plot has elements of Inferno (though it doesn’t quite match up to that classic), it’s an altogether lighter proposition and it’s great to see Pertwee playing up the comedic side of the Doctor. It’s also the departure of Manning’s Jo, and her final scene with the Doctor is beautifully done.

The making of explains how the script came from Terrence Dicks’ perpetually doom-laden outlook, gives a hilarious account of how the creatures were created, and explains how  Manning’s boyfriend (now husband) was cast. There are two commentaries, a spoof documentary in which Mark Gatiss plays an investigative reporter looking into Llanfairfach, and various interviews.

Russell T Davies and former BBC Controller of Drama Jane Tranter appear in the Doctor Forever – The Unquiet Dead, which is a frank and fascinating account of the battle the two had to fight to get Doctor Who back on the BBC. There’s also the two-part ‘Death Of The Doctor’ story from The Sarah Jane Adventures, in which Jo  pops up to help save the Eleventh Doctor.

The Green Death is perhaps not the Third Doctor’s best story, but it’s highly entertaining nevertheless.