"A Date With Doctor Ridge" is a feature on Simon Oates from "Love Affair" Magazine, published 13th May 1972 - priced 8p. As a treat we purchased this magazine, just for your reading pleasure!
Colette O'Hare meets Simon Oates, the dish from ‘Doomwatch'…
SIMON OATES, the man from 'Doomwatch', is an affable, easy-going guy. And like Dr. John Ridge, the television character he plays in the series, due to return soon, he has a preference for broderie Anglaise shirts and brightly coloured neck scarfs-in his case, made human by the addition of a suede waistcoat which looked, frankly, niffy.
With a nice eye for detail, though, he was intrigued by the man, sitting near the lady whose perfume was making his left eye sting, who was wearing a shirt with a very strange collar, at least six or seven inches deep. “Too much the collar,” he said, shaking his head, "much too much the collar."
The man was making copious notes about something, and Mr. Oates was concerned that he might be copying his jokes down.
But, despite the funnies, he seemed a little down-cast, perhaps as a result of having just returned to
where he lives, after three months in a country retreat.
“I wonder if the idea that
London is the only place to be, is really a
myth. I suppose it is the centre of
all that's happening, but on the other hand you do get a bit fed-up with
tearing about all over the place. For instance, I eat out a lot. There are
about four restaurants I'm really fond of and I tend to stick to them. I could
probably find four decent restaurants in an average small town-without all the
hustle of London.
“I really enjoyed being in the country. I had a small cottage loaned to me by a friend. There was no television or telephone. If anyone wanted to contact me they had to send a runner across the fields with a message in a cleft stick.
“But as soon as you get back to
actor can resist answering the telephone, I ask you?"
Ordering a drink, and co-incidentally making the barmaid's day, he said, almost sadly, "There you are, I can’t even order a drink without turning it into a five minute cabaret spot." As it happened, he was due to do a cabaret show that evening.
He told a few more jokes by way of a demonstration.
“Now you can say Simon Oates did nothing but tell rude stories."
“I remember interviewing you once before," I told him, "and you did nothing but tell rude stories then, too.”
“Did I?'' he said. "Oh well, you probably started it."
I probably did.
When he is not Doomwatching, or doing cabaret, (he sings too, folks), he has an interest in a agency for dancers.
I like the theatre,” he said, but it's hardly ever worth doing financially, unless it's a very long run-and that means you're very tied. It's the same with a long running television series like 'Doomwatch'. That's why in the new series I'm not in every episode.”
He hadn't seen the completed ‘Doomwatch' film-he just did his bit and departed.
Divorced, he has a twelve-year-old daughter, Beverley.
I think my attitude to womenhas become rather cynical, which is a pity, because basically I'm a hopeless romantic. In my heart I still think that somewhere, maybe in the jungles of Equador, there's the right woman for me. When we meet, bells will start ringing, etc. I keep hoping it will happen, but of course it never does, and, let's face it, it probably never will. I don't have affairs, I'd like to think they were affairs, but they aren't really, more like incidents. They never end badly, they just end. I mean, I don't beat women up, I don't ever lose my temper really-it's just that I can't honestly say that I've ever known a woman who I'd really mind too much if I never saw her again-except maybe my daughter-I think I'd do myself in if anything happened to her.
The trouble is, I'm quite happy as I am, but I have this horrible nagging suspicion that maybe I shouldn't be-that maybe it all ought to be a little more-I don’t know-difficult."
An ex-plumber's mate from
"anywhere's got to be an improvement after that," his real name, he
confides, is Arthur. "But it wasn't quite the image I was after.” (I still
don't know whether to believe him.) He doesn't think his pride would allow him
to return to plumbing now. Camden Town
But if, for some reason, I had to give up acting, I wouldn't mind going into P.R. or something like that. I think I'd probably do quite well in P.R., don't you?"
I said that I did, too.
I think that maybe he could even be bottled and sold at nine guineas an ounce. Agreed, girls?
A complete, fan produced full cast audio soundtrack has been created for the missing Season 1 DOOMWATCH story "Survival Code" and we are looking to recreate the episode using Flash Animation. If you or anyone you know can help us out with this project. Please email here for more details. Thank you.
POSTED Thursday, February 28, 2013
If you'd like to bid on this unique piece of DOOMWATCH history, you can do so by following this link
POSTED Wednesday, February 13, 2013
www.csofanzine.blogspot.com for more information
POSTED Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Prophets of Doom - An Unauthorised Guide to Doomwatch
by Michael Seely
It's finally here! The DOOMWATCH book you've all been waiting for...
"In February 1970, one of the most important television drama programmes from the 1970s was broadcast on BBC1. Not only did it introduce a new word to the English language, it also brought to a mainstream audience of ten million viewers each week the new, emerging idea of the scientists' moral and ethical responsibility in society. This was Doomwatch, a visionary science fiction series which took scientific research and technological advances and imagined where they could go disastrously wrong if greed, politics or simple ambition won over caution. This was drama with a message. And it was heard. The fears of the Sixties: over-population, test-tube babies, super-sonic aircraft, DDT, the Bomb, all found expression in Doomwatch.
Launching the career of actor Robert Powell, Doomwatch entertained and thrilled its audience with concepts such as a plastic eating virus, animal hearts transplanted into children, toxic chemical dumps, cannibal rats, the surveillance state, noise that can kill, food poisoned by drugs and chemicals, and by the end of its first successful series, the ultimate horror: a nuclear bomb washed up underneath a seaside pier, its countdown ticking down to claim the life of one of the celebrated Doomwatch team.
It was conceived by a research scientist and a television dramatist, Dr. Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, who had previously devised the Cybermen for Doctor Who. With Doomwatch, they soon became famous for creating seemingly prophetic storylines in which the media eagerly found parallels in real life. Were the writers of Doomwatch prophets of doom or simply scaremongering popularists?
The programme divided the scientific and political establishment into those who thought the programme was a much needed and timely warning and tried to do something about it, and those who thought it was a naive, reactionary piece of trivial, and ignorant television. Dr. Kit Pedler actively tried to create a real-life Doomwatch, and was at the beginnings of the alternative technology movement in Britain and did his own experiments on creating ecologically sound housing and develop a new way of living in a modern society without destroying the habitat or regressing back to the stone age.
With contributions from the family of Dr. Kit Pedler, Darrol Blake, Jean Trend, Glyn Edwards, Martin Worth, Adele Winston, Eric Hills, and others, this book will tell the proper story of Doomwatch both on and off the screen, how it was made, the true story behind the stories, the controversies, the back stage bust-ups, and how the programme inspired those who looked around the world in which they had been conditioned to accept, and begin to question.
Michael Seely's love affair with the Doomwatch series is over twenty years old and he is a regular contributor to www.doomwatch.org, the only Doomwatch appreciation site on the web. In his time he has worked as an English second language teacher in Asia, attempted a degree and has worked in a variety of jobs where a real-life Doomwatch investigation would not have gone amiss. He is married with two children.
Michael is currently researching an authorised biography of the originator of Doomwatch, and author of The Quest For Gaia, Dr. Kit Pedler."
ORDER ONE TODAY BY CLICKING HERE
With thanks to MIWK.
POSTED Wednesday, October 10, 2012
BBC-TV's new scientific soap-opera, Doomwatch, has been fortunate in its first selection of topics to warn us about. The episode about leaking nerve-gas at the bottom of the sea stirred up uneasy memories of the unexplained deaths of those sea-birds; the report about a new generation of intelligent, poison-resistant rats in Wales does not help us to forget the story of the rats which discovered the law of the lever; and rebellious university students do not have to be convinced that future governments may depend for their existence on computerized dossiers on private and political lives. But the prognostications are not all melodramatic; the programme on the sinister plan to boost cigarette sales was also a salutary reminder of common dangers associated with the misuse of psychology and the casual use of certain drugs. The series, of course has been devised by Kit Pedler (with advice of one Dr. C. M. H. Pedler), which guarantees a considerable degree of scientific authenticity.
Why, then is this series so incredible? The reason is certainly no that it is mere science fiction; the best fictional material can create as deep and as genuine a chill as any fact-filled documentary. But to accept fiction of any sort one has to begin to believe in the humanity of its characters, and the scientists in Doomwatch have as much humanity as you would find in a month of Sunday supplements. They inhabit a two-dimensional world (the other dimension, more often than not, being sex) in which it is impossible to imagine personal relationships that are not constantly charged with high emotional voltage or a domesticity that has no insistent melodramatic overtones. If you ever caught Quist boiling an egg, it would probably blow up in his face.
The intentions of the series are admirable. Alistair Cooke (also predicting doom and gloom) pointed out recently that casting directors know exactly what scientists look like-and that they are usually wrong. Doomwatch studiously avoids the stereotype of omniscience and austerity which is the delight of devotees of old movies, yet replaces it with another stereotype which is certainly trendier but just as incredible. This is all the more regrettable because of the great opportunity to break down a few barriers between science and the lay public. In its programme on Sir Bernard Spilsbury, Horizon-doubtless preaching to a converted few-explored the danger that the public may accept uncritically the findings of a scientist which it concerns or even slightly fears. The danger with Doomwatch is that the serious scientific content may be assessed on the same critical level as its cardboard characters and dismissed as enjoyable nonsense. The ironic remedy is that the series can best do service to science by improving its dramatic qualities.
Review from Issue 695 Page 3 2 April 1970
POSTED Thursday, October 04, 2012
LONDON—On March 2, the switchboard of the British Broadcasting Corporation experienced a sudden surge of worried, indignant and just plain inquisitive telephone calls from TV viewers. They were jolted by an episode in a new drama series featuring a species of superintelligent rats, originally bred to destroy their fellows, which had developed a craving for human flesh. The series is called "Doomwatch."
‘Every Monday Night. it reports the latest campaign of a fictitious government agency, the ‘Department of Observation and Measurement of Scientific‘ Work, whose job is to monitor and check all technological research and step in whenever this may prove harmful to man.
The difference in public reaction was not just due to the more Powerful emotional impact of pictorial science-fiction over printed science-fact. “Doomwatch,” originally assumed by critics to be another fantasy thriller series after the fashion of “The Avengers," is now widely recognized among knowledgeable British telly-watchers as a semi documentary drama of ideas.
The superrat episode, based on actual experiments being carried out here, was dramatizing as usual the dangers of poisoning and distorting our environment for quick profits or easy satisfactions.
Only a week later, The London Sunday Telegraph reported that representatives of the British plastics industry had been protesting to the B.B.C. about another imaginary creature in "Doomwatch"—a strain of laboratory bug. designed to consume man - made materials, that proved unable to discriminate between old polyethylene garbage and essential parts of machines such as aircraft.
Not only did these spokesmen complain “you are ‘ruining our image” but the paper went on, they also had to admit that the real-life scientists were dabbling with just such a bug as the savior of our refuse problem."
THE authenticity of the ‘problems, ethical as well as technical, stems from the first-hand experience of 42-year-old Kit Pedler, co-inventor of the fictitious government agency and author of several of the scripts. In the academic world, he is known as Dr. D.M.H.‘Pedler, Doctor of Medicine as well as of Philosophy, head of the department of anatomy. in London University's Institute of Ophthalmology.
Wearing his medical hat, his major concern is investigating the possibilities of an electronic replacement for diseased or damaged eyes.
In his capacity as a plotspotter for “Doomwatch,” he combs the professional journals for clues to tomorrow’s world - “for developments which, if they aren’t happening now, they will be shortly. Fact is in, bug-eyed monsters are out.”
The runaway cult of the series does not spring just from its scientific plausibiity. Politically, too, it is exceptionally sophisticated for a ‘mass entertainment drama, with an audience of eight million, broadcast by a state-
It is assumed that a new government has been elected on a platform of protest, against pollution, and the “Doomwatch" project has been dreamed up by the Cabinet as a sop to public opinion. But the team refuses to be a bureaucratic rubber stamp and insists on taking, action in the face of hostility from scientists, big local authorities, from business, the armed forces and the Ministry of National Security.
Nor are its members the usual innocent idealists, passing their spare time in mild flirtatious among the bubbling retorts. Dr. Quist, the head of the department, is a tough-minded skeptic who says: “I’m quite certain the concept of God is absurd, but if he did exist, he certainly wasn't a Christian.” His security report ends “We recommend that He be kept under detailed surveillance.”
Original article written by ALAN BRIEN. Newspaper story Copyright © The New York Times, Published 6th April 1970