It is quite a shame that Survival Code which ended the first season in quite a dramatic way is among episodes that are missing. If the script is anything to go by, then the episode must have looked brilliant on-screen as Toby Wren meets his demise whilst trying to defuse a bomb. On paper, the bomb scenes were gripping. I can only imagine that Robert Powell excelled in his performance as Toby for the character’s exit from Doomwatch.
Matthew See (6th December 2009)
YOU KILLED TOBY WREN
Reviewed by Matthew See Added 7th December 2009
The second season begins with the immediate aftermath of Toby Wren's death as Quist appears before a Tribunal recounting events leading to it.
The grief over the Toby's death is certainly felt around here. Toby's death is contrasted well with the subplot of an abomination of an experiment. Toby's death shows the value of human life while the experiment represents the complete opposite.
You Killed Toby Wren introduces Vivien Sherrard as Barbara Mason who replaces Pat as the secretary and I have to pity her on the circumstances she found herself in, in taking the job.
The casting of two members of the Tribunal is interesting with that of Edward Underdown (Chairman of Tribunal) and Robert Gillespie (Dr Warren) as they both later had significant roles in Survivors also produced by Terence Dudley.
The Devil's Sweets refers to a promotional chocolate that Pat got on her way to work on Doomwatch. Chocolate is a delicacy but this chocolate in particular may prove deadly as they maybe a link with the Checker Board cigarettes.
Reviewed by Matthew See Added 15th December 2009
When two cavers disappeared, Doomwatch finds out that a nearby chemical weapons plant at an area of a village has begun leaking into the water supply.
This eventually leads to the evacuation of the villagers.
The use of the word 'invasion' for a story title is usually about the arrival of aliens on the our planet Earth. In contrast, the invasion here in Doomwatch of a chemical leak is something that can happen in the real world and it is an invasion that we should be wary of ever happening.
It is quite chilling Invasion ends with a sign from the Ministry of Defence telling people to keep out of a village now occupied by soldiers.
NO ROOM FOR ERROR
Reviewed by Matthew See Added 10th January 2010
A new wonder drug known as Stellamycin is suspected by Doctor Fay Chantry, a scientist from the company that has made the drug, of killing childen and Doomwatch investigates whether Stellamycin is indeed the cause of the children’s deaths.
It is a terrifying thought that a wonder drug can have the prospect of killing en masse when it was meant to do the complete opposite. The episode title states very clearly that in order not to jeopardise lives an error cannot be made. To allow even a tiny room of error is irresponsibility to human lives.
Jean Trend makes a very good debut as Doctor Fay Chantry as Fay becomes a new member of Doomwatch at the end of the episode. A most interesting curio with this episode is the presence of Anthony Ainley (Senior House Officer). Ainley would eventually achieved immortal status playing the Master in Doctor Who in the 1980s.
Public Enemy ended season 2 but whilst it is nowhere near the tension that Survival Code ended the previous season it is however still thought-provoking.
Public Enemy begins when both a boy and a man died as a result of having their lungs burnt out. The ultimate cause of this is that of pollution coming from the factory in the town and for the town's residents to survive they have to move somewhere else.
The problem with the move is that it costs jobs and the inhabitants are extremely reluctant to make the move. It ultimately becomes a choice of whether the residents should stay where they are and risk their lives or move somewhere else where they face an uncertain future.
The answer to this dilemma is left ambiguous at the end therefore showing the complexities of the situation.
Reviewed by Matthew See Added 3rd May 2010
A facility has claimed success with a machine that can change the personality of hardened criminals which would allow them to get back into society. Anne looks at one subject Michael Beavis. At first the treatment on Beavis would seem to have worked only while in a conversation with Anne that things went awry when he all of a sudden physically attack her, ran away and held a family hostage.
Doctor Who had tried out a similar premise in the serial The Mind of Evil shown almost a year and a half before Hair Trigger. However whereas the Doctor Who serial had the machine featured there controlled by an alien being, Hair Trigger tries to present a realistic scenario of such a machine existing and as shown with Beavis such a treatment is not 100% effective for the long term.
If it had not been banned for broadcast Sex and Violence was said to have been intended to be shown as the fifth episode of the final season. If it had not been banned for broadcast Sex and Violence would have been shown before Hair Trigger. Having seen Hair Trigger after Sex and Violence, Hair Trigger complements well Anne’s involvement of the plot in Sex and Violence. Sex and Violence has Anne coming to the latest understanding of human behaviour when it comes to violence and Hair Trigger has Anne trying to understand Beavis given his very violent past.
As with Sex and Violence, Elizabeth Weaver does very well with the material in Hair Trigger that she has been given to do as Anne.