Doctor Who – The Green Death (Special Edition)

And on we go with the reissued, improved classic Doctor Who stories. I mentioned the original release of this one when it first came out in 2004. Now it’s back, remastered and with more extras.

The story involves some very dubious hello boyo Welsh stereotypes, which we’ll pass over on grounds of it being the 70s and nobody in London knew where Wales was at the time.[1] It also involves an oil refinery with a wonderful new process which can produce more useful products form crude oil than anything else. All perfectly safe, and with only a little bit of lethal toxic waste being dumped into a disused coal mine. And only a few giant toxic maggots to worry about.

Jo Grant declines the Doctor’s invitation to finally visit Metebelis III (which had been a running reference over the last few stories) and instrad goes to Llanfairfach to meet Professor Clifford Jones, a  brilliant young scientist working to save the world from pollution and general ecological decay. UNIT gets involved because of an unexplained death or two. Having had his fun collecting a blue crystal[2], the Doctor joins the party.

And much fun follows. Danger in the mine! A megalomaniac computer[3]! A really bad giant fly!

Of course, the Doctor and his friends sort out the problem. But Jo decides to stay with Clifford Jones, leaving the Doctor to drive off into the sunset.

So long as you can avoid cringing at the stereotypes, it’s a good bit of fun, and gives Jo a proper send-off (much better than most companions got).

Special features include the material from the original release and some new stuff. In addition to the traditional production subtitles (new version), commentary (new) and other bits and pieces, we have:

  • The one with the maggots – No, not my 2004 blog post of the same title, but a shiny new making of documetary, with the usual collection of people remembering making the story
  • Global Conspiracy? – From the original release. Mark Gatiss wrote and starred in this delightfully silly mockumentary looking back at the events in Llanfairfach.
  • Visual Effects another repeat from the original DVD. How to build a maggot…
  • Interviews – Robert Sloman (writer) and Stewart Bevan (Clifford Jones) in separate interviews
  • Wales Today – a couple of clips from the BBC Wales news programme. One is a silent piece showing the filming of the story, and one from 1994 showing Jon Pertwee opening the country park built on the former colliery site.
  • Doctor Forever – The Unquiet Dead – the last in the series looking at what happened with Doctor Who while it was off the air. This brings us right up to the making of the 2005 series, with Russell T Davies and Jane Tranter talking in some detail about how it finally happened.
  • What Katy Did Next – After leaving Doctor Who, Katy Manning presented a show called Serendipity, which seems to have been a thingy about arts and crafts. This clip gives the general idea.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures – Death of the Doctor – a special bonus feature, this is the Sarah Jane story in which Jo Jones returns! It was great fun at the time, but I haven’t watched it again. It’s on my to-do list..

So, if you don’t have the original release, you need this one. And if you do have the original release, you’re probably going to want this one for the new extras. Good stuff all round.

[1] Possible slight exaggeration, rather like the characters
[2] Which will cause trouble later
[3] And this was before Windows had even been thought of