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Ten Downing Street, and the Minister is anxiously waiting the arrival of Doctor Quist who is late for an important meeting with the Prime Minister. Duncan blames the traffic, Quist is being driven by car from the airport. The Prime Minister's secretary is also alarmed. Quist suddenly bursts in, he is unsteady on his feet, confused, slurring his speech and looks exhausted. He blames the driver for getting lost. He asks to be briefed on the meeting and is taken into the meeting leaving the Minister in no doubt what is wrong with the man. 'He's drunk! Doctor Quist is drunk...'


As a plane passes noisily overhead, the Doomwatch team are just as shocked by the news from Downing Street. Barbara Mason, looking 'as washed up as a heap of sea weed,' according to Ridge, denies Quist had been drinking. She had accompanied him back from Los Angeles, She remembers that the car was waiting for them at the airport and Quist was driven off at once. Barbara went home and came back into work. 'Whatever you say I had a jolly good sleep on the plane,' she retorts. Quist spent most of his time talking to Mr. Jim Ainslie, she says, grinning. He was the man who looked after them in California and came back to London with them. Bradley is concerned for Quist but Ridge explains that he was sent home in a taxi and he has sent Fay to see him. Brad thinks that if they think Quist was 'tight', that would be enough... The phone rings and Barbara, still acting as if she was not there, puts it through to the wrong office, Geoff suggests she goes home and catch up on her sleep. Ridge takes the call – it is Miss Wills, the Minister's secretary who makes an appointment for him to see the Minister. She tells him that Mr. Duncan suggests a drink in his Pall Mall club first. Duncan takes over the call, watched by the Minister and suggests five thirty. Ridge puts the 'phone down: 'It may be my morbid imagination but somewhere I can distinctly hear the sound of knives sharpening.'

Quist is talking to Fay in his flat. He is using an electric shaver and is speaking very fast, in a state of hyperactivity. He doesn't understand why he went all that way to America to address the conservationist congress and was given so much VIP treatment that he didn't have a chance to work on his speech. At least here he can finish it in peace and quiet but is not looking forward to the journey back. Fay is getting some coffee ready and asks him what happened at Downing Street. He carries on with his misadventures in the states. He talks about trying to get a tape recorder to dictate his speech to and it turned up at two in the morning and even then it didn't work. 'Ainslie was awfully embarrassed!' Fay asks who is this Ainslie? 'A garrulous Scotsman that dug up to look after me... Nice enough bloke but hopelessly inefficient.' He took Quist to the wrong hotel, sent a stenographer at midnight when he gets in, and then, fed up, Quist called in Barbara. He was recalled by the Minister for 'urgent consultation at Downing Street.' And then when he gets there and opens his mouth, it is suggested they talk tomorrow! Quist is annoyed at having been called back after three hours notice! 'They thought you were drunk, didn't you know?' Fay tells him gently. Quist thinks at first this is quite funny but then he takes it seriously and asks Fay if she thinks he was drunk. She suggests he comes back to the office for some tests, holding out his drink...

At the Pall Mall club, Duncan is briefing Ridge on the purpose of the meeting. Quist has been suspect for sometime since the Byfield bomb affair. 'Oh, no not that,' groans Ridge. The tribunal may have cleared Quist but not in the Minister's eyes. 'Because of Quist, there are now people after the Minister's (blood).' To whom does Quist owe his first loyalty? Science, society, mankind, or the British tax payer? 'Behind the scene at this congress in the states, they are laying plans for an American Doomwatch.' They want to know what Quist was going to tell the congress but they can't – he walked in drunk. 'Or so exhausted he couldn't talk clearly... A man in his position makes the whole cabinet nervous anyway, well, it doesn't take much.'

When Quist returns to the Doomwatch office, he finds Barbara is testing some new monitoring equipment which is testing her reactions. And they are not good today. Bradley was suspicious when Barbara had switched a call to the wrong extension. She has not been herself since she came back from the airport. Fay is impressed Bradley has caught on quickly. Barbara defends herself: who would be alright after a fourteen hour flight? They explain to her about the biological disturbances of crossing time zones and they did it twice. Quist thinks once Downing Street realises the truth things will be OK and refuses to take the test. Fay thinks he should if only to convince the Minister. 'He can believe what he likes,' dismisses Quist. He asks where Ridge is? He is being briefed by Duncan for a meeting with the Minister. 'What's that all about?' 'Your job?' suggests Fay.

'Jet lag?' The Minister isn't convinced by the explanation and dismisses Fay's tests. 'Says much about her loyalty but little of her objectivity as a scientist.' He also isn't too impressed by Ridge's over the top modern clothes when he comes in! They talk about Fay's theory and the Minister again dismisses it. It couldn't happen to just anybody. Quist has been under a strain since he started Doomwatch, but could it happen to Ridge, asks the Minister? He suggests Ridge should talk to the Americans. It's Doomwatch they want to hear about. And it should be from someone they should totally rely on.

Quist is not doing terribly well on the tests and loses his patience. He has done about as well as Barbara and Fay points out that if was going to a business conference and someone was out to pull a fast one on him, he wouldn't have noticed that... When he returns to his office he finds Barbara has opened a letter for him by mistake... He has been ordered to take two weeks sick leave. Ridge to be left in charge.

'Sick leave?!' exclaims Ridge. The Minister maintains that he manages to fly around the world with no impairment to his faculties. Only last month he flew out to Tokyo to negotiate specifications on the million tonne Japanese oil tanker and nobody thought he was drunk. 'Of course, I don't have Doctor Quist's divided loyalties to bother me, do you?' Would Ridge stand up in front of the congress and blame all the major environmental problems at the door of governments? They think that's what Quist was going to say. 'Of course, he's right,' admits the Minister to Ridge's surprise, but not in public... 'Even when governments are not actively engaged, it could always call a halt if it chose.' Ridge defends Quist that he hadn't written or even finished his speech. How did the Minister know what he was going to say? The Minister wants Ridge to tell the Americans that Doomwatch is essentially an arm of the state but without bite, it's so much punditry. 'Do it well and you have a promising career in public service ahead of you.' Ridge is amused. But the Minister thinks that after the last time they met, he detected ambition in the man, a lust for power he can't get as an ordinary scientist. 'You're a conformist at heart, Ridge, or you would be dressed like that. You're scared of being instantly recognised as a man after power that you go in disguise. But you have to get a hair cut one day. You're too ambitious to play Peter Pan forever.' Ridge gets annoyed and refuses to wear a pinstripe suit in front of a group of eminent scientists and groans when the Minister starts to quote Churchill. 'There comes a time in the affairs of man...' The Minister stops: 'You don't want to miss it.'

With Quist on sick leave, Ridge is now dressed in a sensible suit, giving out instructions to Barbara after arranging a meeting at the House of Commons. Geoff is amazed. He wants to take Fay Chantry to Los Angeles with him. He also has a bit of tape arriving later on. He is now going to see Quist at the flat, then home, then to see the Minister. He pauses at the door and asks them how does he look? 'Unbelievable,' says Bradley. Geoff knows that Ridge won't be affected by the time zone changes like Quist was and he will be able to deliver his speech two hours after touch down. That's what it's all about. As he tells Fay, 'If Ridge can go straight into that conference two hours after flying in from London and carry it off without any ill effects at all, then who is going to do anything but smile on that report of yours?' He thinks Ridge knows this and is after Quist's job.

The Minister is very satisfied with his speech, informative, stimulating and diplomatic. He is surprised when it turns out to be Quist's! 'If he intended to take a swipe at governments he certainly changed his mind.' Ridge doesn't want to go, he is not diplomatic. The Minister thinks he still should and agrees to his request taking Dr. Chantry. He also warns Ridge not to displease his employers by trying to blackmail them into letting Quist go. Ridge says that Quist doesn't want to go. He's had a bellyful of the Americans! Ridge suggests that perhaps the Minister should go out there and 'chat them up about' the American Doomwatch. Ridge and Fay could be there for the purely scientific side of it but the Minister could provide the political dimension. The Minister stares at Ridge as the challenge sinks in... Duncan arrives with a parliamentary question, and noticed that he saw Ridge at the Houses of Parliament this afternoon. The Minister reads the question and understands Ridge completely. After Ridge leaves, the Minister talks about Ridge's suggestion to Duncan. The idea of an American Doomwatch that could effect the economy of Britain, by being linked with theirs... The Minister thinks Ridge is right: it should be him. He asks Miss Wills to make the arrangements. His other engagements can be cancelled and he can be back at his desk after the flight. Duncan is worried and earns the Minister's wrath. 'Don;t tell me you don't think I'd be in no state to cope!' That is what Ridge thinks in order to exonerate Quist. Miss Wills asks him why he doesn't do just that, having read Dr. Chantry's report. The Minister explains that sometimes a politician has to make long journeys across time zones and make vital decisions, perhaps to prevent a war. The Parliamentary Question about jet lag was obviously set up by Ridge, as a challenge and the Minister aims to prove that what happened to Quist won't happen to anyone in high office. 'We're not all as unstable as Doctor Quist.'

Bradley is appalled by Ridge's plan involving the Minister, Quist prefers to fight his own battles but Ridge says he needs him because he fights dirty! A meeting is called for those going to Los Angeles at two o' clock. Bradley is worried that if this backfires and the Minister is fine after the journey but Ridge has had the tape set up – an interview with the Minister after his flight to Tokyo... He sounds slurred and tired and achieved nothing in his mission to revise the specifications over the oil tanker. Barbara, who is back to her normal self remembers that then Minister was under a lot of strain during that time. It was the time of the Devon Floods, a cabinet reshuffle on the cards, and he barely made the talks in Japan. 'So if he does crack up in Los Angeles, well it may not be the first time.'

Thompson, the Minister's press officer is introduced to Fay Chantry by Duncan in the Minister's office. Duncan is disturbed by the whole affair. Fay's explains that you cannot tell what affect time zone changes have on you. And as Fay says, the Minister might not have noticed the affect on him too. Nobody would dare mention it to him. She mentions Tokyo but Duncan butts in and says the Minister accepted the specifications on the oil tanker fully compus mentis. She agrees they have to say that now or he would have to resign. 'Stop him going, Mr. Duncan.' He feels that the conference should be delayed by twenty four hours. There is a lot of good sense in her report. Ridge arrives.

Barbara manages to confuse the time zones again by telephoning Los Angeles at six thirty in their morning! Ridge returns to the office and finds Quist waiting for him... Fay is surprised. Bradley explains he told him what was happening. Ridge did not have the right. Quist tells Ridge to make sure the Minister gives the speech in his full faculties. 'Then it's exit Quist.' Quist impatiently tells him to stop playing personalities. He wants the conference postponed if the Minister is affected. 'If you don't, then it's exit Ridge. I'm holding you personally responsible for the success of the Minister's trip.'

The flight to Los Angeles takes off. Ridge, who is sulking, according to Fay, is sitting behind the Minister with Miss Wills and Thompson in an adjacent row of seats. Ridge has not been to sleep yet, not shaved. Suddenly, a man from the back comes over to introduce himself – Jim Ainslie. The Minister is pleased to meet him. Ainslie expresses how honoured the Americans are to have the Minister come to address them especially those setting up the other Doomwatch. 'The man who makes it work.' The Minister is a little embarrassed, aware of who is sitting behind him.

Duncan has called into the Doomwatch office. Security discovered that Ainslie is on the flight and wants to be reassured by Quist as to his credentials. He is a genuine public relations man employed by a firm called Wyatt Morley. Anyone in the arts of persuasion has a file made on him. Barbara talking about his Scottish accent surprises Duncan. It was always a Scottish voice that told Duncan Quist was unavailable for calls. In the end, they cabled Quist to come home. No one had told Quist or Barbara that Duncan had tried to ring them in Los Angeles. Alarmed, Quist gets Geoff to investigate Wyatt Morley and Jim Ainslie.

First class dinner is a rather rich affair, roast duckling, steak, crown roast of lamb... Despite Fay's advice on cutting down the alcohol and light meals, the Minister decides to have a large dinner and dismisses Fay! He settles down to talk with Ainslie. Fay expresses her concerns about the Minister's workload to Miss Wills. The worst thing he can do after a midnight speech to Parliament followed by a plane journey of this length is to eat, smoke, drink and work – and there he is doing all four at the same time!

Duncan has been telling Quist the reasons for his recall – the attack on governments! Quist is appalled! Geoff finds out that Wyatt Morley is only eight weeks old. He tries an advertising friend who might have a line on them. Quist asks Duncan to find out where the Minister got this wild idea from... 'Because if it was Ainslie who fed this libel to Whitehall, then whoever he works for, I have a feeling is not going to be any congress of American scientist.' Duncan leaves. It seems clear to Bradley that Ainslie was trying to brainwash Quist... All those mistakes in Los Angeles, confusing him whilst suffering from jet lag.

Ainslie suggests that Quist's speech ought to be revised by the Minister The man with his feet on the ground, not his head in the clouds... The Minister offers to show the man Quist's speech. Now Miss Wills tries to persuade the Minister to get some sleep but he insists on working. Ainslie laughs at the idea that the state gives Doomwatch its bite. The Minister agrees. 'Big brother, Minister? Prying into the research laboratories of industry?' He reminds the Minister that America is the land of freedom. But if Doomwatch isn't tied to the state all it can do is pontificate, explains the Minister. 'Bite, says Quist. Does it bite the hand that feeds it?' mocks Ainslie. This bothers the Minister. Ainslie begins to poison the speech, and worries the Minister about searching questions from the keenest minds in America. He brings up the subject of Tokyo and how it seemed to observers that the Minister was so punch drunk with fatigue that he caved in... Ainslie soothes the upset Minister, and that his friend who saw the Tokyo business approved that the man had the guts to say it's high time we came to terms with the twentieth century. He will get a standing ovation if he says that in Los Angeles. The conservationists don't want the world put back two hundred years either... Ainslie tries to get the Minister to view Doomwatch as a watchdog with no bite, just a bark, a way of absorbing public guilt over enjoying and using the things that are harmful... The Minister begins to rewrite the speech. Ridge now decides to have a shave and speaks to Ainslie. 'Doctor Quist said he had such a great time out there that he didn't know himself.'

The plane stops over at New York. Duncan tries to speak to the Minister during the stop over from his office. But no one can find him! Duncan tells Quist that he has managed to warn the others about Ainslie. Quist tells Bradley and Barbara that when the Minister got through to the VIP lounge Ainslie told him that there was a relative of his wife wanting to see him. They both left with Miss Wills and haven't been seen since!

The three do return to the flight. The Minister doesn't think that the lady in question even knew his wife. Miss Wills breathlessly relates to Dr Chantry that this woman pushed open a door and there was the Ladies branch of the Anglo-American Friendship Society and they had laid on a buffet in his honour! Ainslie thought it would be unwise to refuse in view of the press, something that annoys Thompson. Fay tells them about Duncan's warning over Ainslie. But the Minister refuses to be parted from him. He feels the briefing he had received should have come from her. The speech doesn't need rewriting, they protest. Actually, it is Ainslie who puts the speech back into the Minister's brief case. He feels the Minister can extemporise on the platform! 'We don't want you dead on your feet, do we?' chuckles the Scot. He returns to his feet as the plane begins its seven hour journey to Los Angeles. Ridge has his breakfast...

Barbara and Geoff visits Quist at his flat. They have a list of Wyatt Morley's clients, none of whom would take kindly to an American Doomwatch. There are a few British names too. Geoff thinks that Ainslie's brief is not only to stop an American Doomwatch but also get rid of theirs as well.

The dosing Minister is awoken by an air stewardess who wants his order for dinner as they try to bring in the passengers towards local time. 'That'll be the third lunch I've had today.' Ridge is delighted by lunch. The Minister wants a cigar and a scotch. Fay groans. 'A touch of the hard stuff never did anyone any harm, eh, Dr. Chantry?' comments a smiling Ainslie.

Geoff wonders how many Ainslie types are there out in the world? He and Quist list the things the man does to cause maximum biological upset. That is what happened to Quist. 'Even though I'm reluctant to admit it. You see, a man being brainwashed comes to love his tormentor because he is so ashamed at being taken for a ride he'd rather swear blind that's where he wanted to go anyway.' Barbara gets off the phone. They've arrived in Los Angeles thirty five minutes early and are already on their way to the hotel.

The Minister is on the free-way, confused and looking for Ainslie. As he arrives at the hotel, Fay tells him the lecture will have to be postponed. 'I didn't fly six thousand miles to rest and where's my... my..' Fay tells Miss Wills to tell the congress the Minister cannot speak. To him it's one o'clock in the morning. 'Past my bed time?' He needs twenty four hours to adjust. The Minister won't listen. He gets angry and has to calm down when people notice. She tries to get him to see he is not in a fit state, like in Tokyo. He confuses Thompson for Duncan who tells him that they have instructions from London about Ainslie. He cannot have any contact with him. But the Minister ignores this when he sees the man, desperate to revise his paper. They haven't got long. Thompson tries to get rid of the man but fails. Ainslie cleverly tries to get the lecture postponed, all he has to do is answer a few questions. From the press! The pack enter and hurl questions at him, that Doomwatch is an affront to a free society, the first step towards state control. Thompson tries to control them but Ainslie, standing behind the Minister tells him to explain what Doomwatch really is, the truth as you see it. The Minister begins to speak,getting confused. Fay tries to stop him but Ainslie again blocks her. The Minister clutches his heart and collapses. He has had a heart attack. Miss Wills watches on in horror, and Ridge calmly says to Ainslie, 'Pushed him a bit too hard, didn't you?' Ridge has been going by Los Angeles time ever since they left London and has a copy of the speech to make. He goes to the Congress Hall to deliver it, leaving a rueful looking Ainslie.

In the Doomwatch office, Quist is berating Ridge for not cottoning onto a phoney like Ainslie and doing nothing about it. 'Doomwatch will never stand a chance whilst that man is in charge,' says Ridge. 'Doomwatch will never stand a chance unless he is... He is the only one capable of keeping this outfit going with one hand and fending off the rest of them with the other.' Ridge tells Quist: 'You're stark, raving mad!' 'I know,' agrees Quist. 'In this job it is the essential qualification.' 

Synopsis by Michael Seely


This excellent script was an idea from Martin Worth who took an idea, current at the time that people suffering from jet lag could be manipulated, almost brainwashed. As the author himself concedes, this was nonsense. Jet lag can and does affect people – irritability and disorientation are just two of the side effects. So this can go down as another example of 'nothing to worry about,' Doomwatch episode, like By The Pricking of my Thumbs. That episode dealt with how 'bad science' can destroy lives through the misinformed or lazy media. Flight Into Yesterday does not try to demolish the idea. It has bigger fish to fry...

This was another episode not to be commissioned by Gerry Davis nor have any input from Kit Pedler and it feeds from Terence Dudley's season opener, You Killed Toby Wren, which despite a brief look at animal experimentation, was more about the political ramifications from Survival Code and Quist's fight for survival in the political jungle.

This episode develops the internal ministerial politics surrounding Doomwatch, and comes to some interesting conclusions. The Minister, so far named George in You Killed Toby Wren, was positive about Doomwatch in that episode, less so about Quist. We now discover he agrees with Quist's sentiments but his political dislike of the man is so much that he does not credit the former Nobel prize winner with the same savvy political sense that he has. He assumes that the speech Quist was going to give a congress of scientists in America, 'leaked' to Whitehall by Doomwatch's opponents, was actually the real thing. No doubt he has heard in private Quist's views but did not realise that in public, he would be more tactful. At the end of the episode, Quist tells Ridge that our George is the only man who can keep Doomwatch running in this country and fend off the critics – no doubt the ones mentioned in By The Pricking Of My Thumb... In the Worth authored High Mountain, Quist quite clearly feels that only governments have the power to act on Doomwatch's findings. For the first time, he more or less expresses that view here. After the events of this episode, the Minister will probably show Doomwatch a greater respect as by not listening to them he nearly dies from a heart attack. In the third series, the Minister will from time to time agree with the Doomwatch view – he sympathises with Ridge over the anthrax blackmail and Ridge's later D.D.T. stunt. He uses Doomwatch to stop the potential Flood menace, and has to fight off (presumably) the Royal Navy intelligence section in The Killer Dolphins. In this episode, as he tells an astonished Ridge, the Minister quite agrees with the fake Quist speech. 'Not in public, Ridge.'

You Killed Toby Wren also lays the roots for the American version of Doomwatch which is at the centre of this episode's politics. Previously, the Minister feels it may be useful for an exchange of information – in much the same way, presumably, as our intelligence services on both sides of the Pond are supposed to do. But the American industrialists do not want a Doomwatch 'prying into the research laboratories of the country,' and with good reason! D.D.T. was being banned and environmental issues, such as Concorde in New York were becoming headlining news. The people can make a noise louder than Concorde and be listened to!

The best way companies find to combat a disaster is by the use of public relations. These days our news stories have their finger prints all over it. A glance through Flat Earth News, a book exposing the workings of modern day journalism will show you that. It was not widely reviewed by the national media... A recent case of some wealthy English businessmen being extradited to America to stand trial resulted in a PR blitz of manipulation and distortion. We were lead to believe that these men were going to be chained up and lead around wearing orange boiler suites during the trial (they never would be – they spent the time away from court in hotels). No one asked them did they actually do what they were being charged with! Their sentences were comparatively light. And the TV news crews were given access to the families providing the coverage was sympathetic, and we were to see how much they could lose in terms of seeing their children, their tearful wives, and in the case I can remember, his huge estate! No doubt BP, at the present time of writing (August 2010) is spending a small fortune on putting a positive spin on their oil 'spill' clean up operation.

Ainslie, the manipulative PR man, as well as using the disorientating effects of time zone changes brought on by a long haul transatlantic flight, also uses techniques you hear about from Cold War spy films – except the hotel room is the prison, and waking people up in the middle of the night, and sending them to the wrong location is mild by comparison. He also seeds the idea of how hostile Doomwatch would be in America and persuades the Minister that these are his ideas, not Ainslie's... But as Ridge says to him at the end, the Minister was pushed too far...

There is politics in the Doomwatch office too. With Quist suspended, even Geoff Hardcastle suspects Ridge is after Superman's job. He isn't. 'Without Quist, there would be no Doomwatch,' he said in You Killed Toby Wren and here we see Ridge in full flight against the Minister. But in the end he realises he cannot win his fight in his usual manner, and manipulates the Minister in order to save Quist. 'He needs me, I fight dirty!' says Ridge at one point. And to everyone's surprise, Quist refuses to play personalities and makes sure Ridge protects the Minister or it's exit Ridge. And then when it becomes clear that there is a malignant force at work, Quist is concerned for the Minister. A humanist to the end is our Doctor Quist. He probably knew his job was safe, but that may not have bothered him. After all he has been through in Doomwatch, he has quietened down this season. He still bares his fangs from time to time, but he really hasn't had the opposition he faced in the first series.

As a production, this one has no location filming but is so tightly written and directed, the events just flow beautifully. It is nice to see John Barron's Minister in full flight again, and there's a welcome return for Duncan, who once again sees Doomwatch's worth as they identify Ainslie's true nature, and there is Miss Wills again. The next time we shall see the actress Jennifer Wilson will be Ridge's sister in Cause of Death! There is a real sense of menace in the scenes where Robert Urquhart's mesmeric Ainslie poisons the Minister. And there is an appearance by Desmond Llewellyn, James Bond's Q, as the Minister's press officer. 

Review by Michael Seely

Writer Martin worth interviewed in September 1989 recalls Flight into Yesterday...

“Ideas for “DOOMWATCH” that we thought could make a play included one about jet-lag about which there was a lot in the press at the time. It seems almost laughable now, but at that time there was some idea that you could exploit people suffering from jetlag and that was what “Flight Into Yesterday” was about. I suggested to Terry that the Minister could be seen going to sign some important contract in America where those who wanted to discredit him could exploit his jet-lag so that by the time be got to the meeting, he’d be a complete mess. So he was given the wrong sort of food on the plane, and when he arrived in the States he was immediately whisked off to parties and given no time to relax. Every time he thought it was the middle of the night he was reminded that it was the middle of the day, and so on. It was fun to write and there were some lovely performances, notably from Robert Urquhart as the villain manipulator.” 
“We now know that Jet-lag was never really the danger we thought it might have been then.


Martin Worth's second script for the series was originally a story called Inventor's Moon with a project number ascribed to it 02240/0615 and commissioned on the 21st of May 1970. It was to be delivered by 5th of June. Worth was paid his first half of the fee on the 8th. It was scheduled as Episode 12 in the production order. However, the story fell through by the 15th of October where it was listed as undelivered. Worth's agents were informed the following day that the story was not acceptable and all the rights reverted back to him. Interestingly, the memo had copies sent to Gerry Davis although by this late stage his involvement in Doomwatch was over. However, that same day, Worth was commissioned to write another episode, provisionally entitled “JET RAG” 2nd Series Episode 31. A new project number was assigned: 02240/0695. Terms were settled by the end of the month. The episode was designed to use the full cast and the booking department were informed of this on 9th December 1970 with the episode taking project number 02240/4422 with a planned recording date on 19th January 1971.

With thanks to Michael Seely


The episode was designed to use the full cast and the booking department were informed of this on 9th December 1970 with the episode taking project number 02240/4422 with a planned recording date on 19th January 1971.

NEW SCIENTIST - New Scientist 4 February 1971

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Inside Doomwatch

The production team of the BBC series Doomwatch are rather tickled to discover that their efforts are included among those nominated for the Mullard Award which goes to the programme doing the most to promote public understanding of science. All the other entries are solid down-to-earth documentaries. Perhaps victory in this field will ensure a third incarnation of Dr Quist and his team. The last programme of the present series is about to be recorded and there is some doubt in the upper echelons of the Television Centre about the continued flow of doomladen situations. Those involved see no prospect of a drying up, however, and can rattle off a list of so far untapped subjects-treatment of laboratory animals by students, transportation of nerve gas, nuclear engineering, massive river pollution (of the Rhine), sewage disposal at Lake Constance, booming anti-pollution business in the United States, the use of dolphins to aid navies, race and IQ, the production of quick results to satisfy fund-providers, mining the continental shelf, etc.
Terence Dudley the producer, conscious of the cardboard characterisation of which some critics have complained, wants to emphasise human reactions to catastrophe a bit more and develop conflict among his characters. He is grateful to Dr Kit Pedler, who had the idea for the programme (he also founded Dr Who), for many things, one of which is the assurance gained from a visit to Pedler’s lab at the Institute of Ophthalmology that scientists are not the white-coated stereotypes of traditional fiction. But the huge following the series has built up among the young is not put down to the trendiness of Dr Ridge’s gear. Letters, while they include many from girls obviously hooked on one or the other of the characters (the late Toby Wren led the field), do show that the concern demonstrated by the stories is shared and welcomed. This concern is also to be found in an older group of people uninvolved in science.
The rest of the mail is made up of requests for source material and the occasional GP worried lest his patients get the wrong idea. Complaints of inaccuracy, says Dudley, usually spring from mishearing or misunderstanding the dialogue.
Several of the programmes have had real-life near-counterparts following closely enough to evoke comment in the press but the producers are not out for Whitehall reaction. They did notice, however, that when Tony Crosland wore an environmental hat he referred to “Doomwatch situations” during an interview. Last Monday the Quist team faced the problem of the effects of time zone changes on jetting travellers. For this one advice was sought from Dr George Christie of Syntex Pharmaceuticals who produced a study of effects under the title, Project Pegasus. Pilots (there were two of them involved) suffered least and extrovert go-getters more than solid company men. It’s also better not to travel alone but with a colleague of roughly approximate status to give you psychological support.

With thanks to Scott Burditt



DOOMWATCH'S obsession with choosing topical – not to say telepathetic – subjects seems to be cramping its style. Tonight's far-seeing scientific saga probes the disorientation dangers caused by flying through different time zones: Dr. Quist goes into a flap after a long distance trip on an aeroplane. - GEOFFREY HOBBS


Dr. Spencer Quist

Dr. John Ridge

Geoff Hardcastle

Dr. Fay Chantry

Colin Bradley


P.M.'s Secretary

Air Hostesses


and guest stars

The Minister - Sir George Holroyd



Series devised by

Theme Music by

Film Editor

Studio Lighting

Studio Sound


Assistant to Producer


Directed by

9.20PM - 10.10PM

With thanks to John Archbold for the Radio Times listing and cover.