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SEASON 1 EPISODE 9 SPECTRE AT THE FEAST by Terence Dudley



At the exclusive Hotel Jayson’s diner’s are eyeing up Lobsters in a giant fish tank before entering the restaurant. Quist is attending an Anti-Pollution Conference in London and sits with four men; Benjamin Fielding (Chairman of Newington Chemicals Ltd), Dr. Robert Whitehead (Chief Scientific Advisor to Newington Chemicals), Professor Miklos Egri (Hungarian Biologist) and Dr. Heinz Bau (German Ecologists). A waiter hands out cigars whilst another serves Brandy. The Head waiter checks that Mr Fielding is happy, which he is as he requests that Kenri knows his soufflé was superb! Quist refuses a Cigar and Fielding jumps on this exclaiming that he knew he would be a non-smoker and probably thinks it is pollution as well. Quist diplomatically agrees. Mr Fielding continues to bait Quist making a joke about his alarmist nature to which the other men laugh. Quist as ever gives a brilliant repost “ You choking yourself to death’s not relevant to the conference and it doesn’t alarm me in the least. What does concern me is you choking everybody else by spewing peroxides into the air and pumping organic silicones into the rivers”. Fielding reminds him that he is at the conference to provide evidence. Whitehead notices Cockroaches in the bowl of fruit in front of him and creates a stir. Egri helps him gather up the tablecloth. The Head waiter appears and refutes Whitehead’s claims. When the cloth is opened there are no cockroaches in sight just a mess of broken glasses, china and fruit.

At Doomwatch, Quist, Bradley, Ridge and Egri are in Quist’s office examining evidence of five hundred and thirty cases of hallucinations, deafness and loss of balance across the country. Bradley’s is obviously trying to feed the information into the Doomwatch computer but it is playing up and he asks to be excused. Dr. Ridge suggests that it’s substance misuse or alcohol abuse. Quist would agree if most cases were teenagers but Whitehead is in his mid fifties. Egri admits he saw something too even though he doesn’t drink before Whitehead’s outburst but he didn’t let on.
Regarding the conference Dr. Quist quips “Is there any doubt we’re up to the dandruff in dung?” Quist interrogates Egri but draws a blank. Bradley comes back into the office with the news that there were five other cases at the hotel. Dr. Ridge suggests the conference is being sabotaged. Quist asks Bradley to check with B.M.A for information on the hallucinations. Quist tells Dr. Ridge that sabotaging the conference is the last thing that Fielding would want to do as he’d only be putting off the inevitable. Quist thinks he actually wants to discredit it. He wants to answer the pollution accusations then justify them whilst delaying any political action.

At Jayson’s Fielding is dictating to his Sue, his secretary whilst drinking coffee in the luxurious penthouse suite. Whitehead enters and pours himself a coffee. Fielding continues his dictation touching upon the fact that anti pollution measures have to be considered with the needs of the National Economy. When he finishes his dictation he asks Sue to distribute it to Sir George Robson and Lord Holland. Sue then leaves the two men. Fielding asks Whitehead if he is feeling better noting that he thinks that Whitehead drinks to much and asks him to restrain himself whilst at the conference. Whitehead retorts with “Power is an appetite I don’t indulge” Fielding tells him that he doesn’t know what he is missing and no cirrhosis of the liver to go with it”. Fielding laughs when Whitehead says “No, merely paranoia” Fielding asks him if Whitehead actually enjoys anything. Cambridge is his answer. Fielding wonders what bothers Quist. Whitehead tells him that he helped to make the atom bomb and radiation killed his wife. Fielding feels he has the measure of Quist as he says “Ah! That’s better. Revenge! The blindest passion of them all” Whitehead thinks that Quist isn’t the real concern as five more cases of hallucinations have been reported with Jonkheere the Dutchman confined to his bed. Fielding is concerned that he will be blamed for this and wants to know what is going on. White head makes a joke about Cesare Borgia being renowned for his hospitality. Fielding is amused by this.

At Doomwatch Quist introduces Egri to Toby and Egri tells him that he is delighted to meet him. Quist tells him that he’s a renegade physicist working in biology. Egri is impressed. Pat enters the room and Egri asks Pat, for a dinner and he won’t take no for an answer. He had met her at the airport and was impressed by her kindness. Ridge and Wren are also quite impressed with his charming technique!

A 'ravishing Pat' is taken to Jayston's where she is 'enjoying her pudding...' There is something wrong with Egri, his eyes are bothering him but he disguises it as Pat asks him about the issue of pollution, and that it's already too late to do anything about it. Egri disagrees, not if their governments listen to them. A little mild flirtation ensues, Pat isn't bothered that Egri is old enough to be her father but is quite happy to talk 'shop.' After all, that is what Quist would do if he was here! During all this banter, we see from Egri's point of view his hallucination. The image of Pat 'has been deteriorating and transmogrifying into a frightening grotesquerie... something quite hideous.... to which Pat's image returns intermittently.' Egri is trying to explain that regarding pollution, Spencer's biggest fight will be with ordinary men and women who will have to pay more... The industrialists can't be expected to pay for it all. He begins to falter – he sees Pat now as a repulsive mouthing crone – a gorgon! He suddenly collapses over the table. Pat stands up horrified, and the waiter comes to his aid.

Quist and Wren have been working late and so are there to talk to Pat about what had happened. Egri was not alone to have seen 'things' that night. A woman saw ballet dancers, coming out of the wall. Egri has been taken to the Seymour Clinic who 'phone through and tell Quist that Egri had a mild heart attack, and there have been five more cases – three of them delegates to his conference – Manelli, Cooper and Frankheimer. Quist is going to try and get the conference extended. He looks for a note from a man called Rogers from the British Medical Association. 'All these similar cases since last September.' He reads the note: '...acute pyscho-organic syndrome... difficulty in hearing, maintaining balance... inability to dismiss irrelevant sensory experience and visual illusion. Could be caused by any number of exotoxins.' Wren remembers the way slimming pills reacted with something else. Quist asks Pat what did he eat and she said the lobsters. Quist dismisses it, beyond reproach. They are kept fresh and alive in tanks in the dining room. They go through the rest of his menu. Vinaigrette raises concern as that, according to Wren, covers a multitude of sins, gastronomically speaking. Quist asks Pat to find out what the others had to ear. 'Flaunt your considerable sexual assets.'

Fielding is brought up to date about the food poisoning effect on the delegates by Whitehead. There's now a total of nine sick cases. Four of them were delegates 'in my pocket...' Whitehead feels the conference ought to be abandoned. 'What is it, with you, Whitey? Conscience? Or don't you feel up to it? ... I've over-estimated you. You're screwed up into a ball about something. Is it just self loathing or are you afraid of the opposition?' Whitehead says he takes a lot from Fielding. 'Fifteen thousand a year,' comes the reply. ' Quist is wanting to see Fielding, and is invited up to the penthouse suite.

Quist and Pat are speaking to Royston, the hotel manager who is prepared to co-operate with Miss Hunnisett, and asks a uniformed page to take Quist up to the suite. Royston has a list of the food eaten by the victims which he had prepared for the Medical Officer of Health who has given the Hotel a clean bill. 'No food poisoning. At least,not from food consumed here.'

Quist tells Fielding that there can be no proper debate or vote without the nine delegates. He asks for an extension for as long as necessary. Two days should be enough. It appears to be a short lived malady. He asks if Whitehead is quite recovered. 'Whitehead never recovers from anything.' Fielding also suggests a joint statement at the end of the conference, which surprises Quist. Fielding says: 'What surprises me is that you assume we're on different sides because we take different views.' Quist calmly replies: 'I never make assumptions. While you profit by pollution we're on different sides; it's as simple as that.' Who doesn't profit from pollution? Quist says that we all indirectly profit from it but that we are going to have to accept the fact that we must give up something and pay a bit more for others. What Newingtons spends on research is peanuts compared to what the oil concerns are paying to develop non-pollutant petrol. 'And what happens,' asks Fielding, 'when they succeed? We have to redesign the internal combustion engine. Who pays for that? D' you think the man in the street's going to pay more for his car because it doesn't spit lead and carbon monoxide?' Quist says he will have to if he wants to stay alive. 'Quist... you're the most dangerous man I've ever met.' You don't solve the problem of pollution by crippling the economy. Their argument rages on. Whitehead even adds: 'Man's very adaptable. We might even adapt to breathe sulphur dioxide.' Quist asks him to say that at the conference. It would look very good as a newspaper headline.

Quist returns to the office to learn that two more delegates are down with the same symptoms but the others could be fit by tomorrow. Wren declares that Pat's list is quite useless since they don't know what they are looking for and the permutations are endless. Wren had tried to follow up a cumulative effect of the food but Royston through him out. 'I might have been a Russian spy!' Lobsters seem to be a common factor but others have been eaten without ill effects. Quist remembers that Egri had eaten the lobster on two consecutive nights. Wren had tried to take one but didn't have the authority. Ridge claims they need his kind of authority. 'You're on your own,' declares Quist. 'So you always remind me.' He needs camouflage, by which he means she's expensive and Quist tells him to submit the bill! Another phone call tells him of cases in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and even one in Clapham – a car accident. And it is a waiter from Jaystons – Bonenti.

Wren finds Mrs Bonenti at the hotel, helping to clear away after a function. She panics for a moment fearing the worst but Wren reassures her and asks about what happened. He was kicking at things she couldn't see. She claims he had eaten nothing from the hotel. He likes Italian cooking.

Ridge's camouflage is Laura Lindsay 'an exquisitely beautiful Negress' to quote the script and during the dinner with Ridge and is not aware of what he has in mind – other than a bit of the usual... Ridge orders the lobster and she asks for some raw red meat... The head waiter, ignoring their flirty behaviour, recommends an underdone Chateaubriand...

The delegate Doctor Bau is taking drinks with Whitehead and Fielding. Bau has recovered from his sickness and found it so baffling that he liked to have an opportunity to track it down. Fielding wanted to ask him about his statement at the preliminary session of the conference. Fielding wants to be the first man in Europe to clear up the mess of pollution he makes, as he makes it, by fighting it with the only weapon that has a chance – hard cash. He wants the best brains in Europe to help clean up his mess, as he makes it. He offers Bau a retainer, a substantial one. Bau is hesitant. Fielding says 'This is Conservation Year, and no one can blame you for holding out for the best offer.' He sees it in terms of Britain's entry in the Common Market, and Newington's expansion into Europe... Bau is obviously interested.

Bau goes to the dining room and joins Egri and others as Ridge discusses with Laura his need for a live lobster. Egri suspects Fielding is 'vote catching' and Bau begins to feel ill. Laura suggests going back to her place unless Ridge fancies a dance here. Ridge asks her to create a distraction, preferably an erotic dance. Laura isn't keen but Bau suddenly screams and jumps up from his table, Egri and others trying to calm him before he faints. Ridge looks in the direction of the disturbance and thanks him as he, with some difficulty, snatches a Lobster from its tank and quickly leaves the scene.

Quist is appalled to learn of Bau's collapse. Something has to be done about this. Ridge has dropped off the lobster at the lab and given it to Bradley who tells Quist that Ridge is taking his camouflage home...

Laura's sitting room is decorated with African masks. After a little kiss, Ridge asks who needs oysters? He remembered how once gin and oysters used to be a staple diet. Now the cost of living has gone up. Laura goes to take a shower, ladies' first. Ridge starts to get a headache and asks her when she keeps the aspirin. As he fixes her a drink, he begins to have difficulty with his ears, and his eyes, focussing on the walls. A voodoo mask appears to menace him, and another and another... He starts to hear a sacrificial dance rhythm in his ears.. His hallucination begins – In a mirror, Ridge sees a Negro warrior carrying a spear fighting another Ridge, a weakened Ridge. He shouts 'Stop it!' Ridge runs to help his invisible self. The fight climaxes on the sofa as the warrior drives a spear into his stomach. Laura runs downstairs, wrapped in a towel and finds Ridge.

Quist enters the Doomwatch office and doesn't hear Pat as she asks after Ridge. Inside the lab, a lobster is being dissected by Wren and Bradley. Various parts are in flasks or test tubes, being tested and analysed. Surgical gloves are being worn. Quist tells Wren that John has the same symptoms – deafness, giddiness, hallucinations. He ate the lobster. There is nothing wrong with this fish, it's a dead end. Bradley agrees, although he doesn't fancy it himself. But what if it was a catalyst. With Pat they run through the ingredients that made up the dish. 'With all that muck no wonder strong men are laid low.' Pat tells Wren that Mrs Bonenti is here – her husband had died this morning from his crash injuries.

Pat is helping to comfort the bereaved widow as Wren questions her. It appears she had been lying to protect her husband's job. He had stolen some lobster. He passes this information over to Quist who wants more lobster. 'Beg, borrow or steal but I want more where this came from.' Wren asks Bradley what would Ridge do?

The Hotel Manager orders a new supply of lobsters from Saunders. Half a dozen should be enough.
Bradley is the one who asked him, and assures him they are not for eating. Royston is happy to co-operate. It is in his interests.

Quist is at his desk and gets Wren to shut the door; the stinks appalling. That is because the lab has been turned into a vast kitchen presided over by Pat. There are pots and pans on gas rings and a small oven. There are bottles of wine, spices, herbs and vegetables and cheeses. Bradley quite likes the smell of the cooking, Pat warns him to keep his mind on his task and finish cleaning a raw lobster. Wren still wishes they knew what they were looking for. Pat asks where they were fished, which alerts Wren to a new source of inquiry. Bradley has a list, mostly from Cornwall but some from Yorkshire. It's an old wives tale that Lobsters out of season are poisonous but dangerous because of chemical changes during the mating and breeding season. 'Changes difficult to detect because they're not consistent...' The Yorkshire Lobsters come from Whittledale fisheries... The Whittle is a river Bradley has fished in. Wren asks Pat if she could find out where the lobsters came from in all those other cases around the country. He suggests to Brad to look for something specific like phenyl siloxanes... As Brad begins, Wren goes to tell Quist who bursts into the lab. He gets Pat to order a taxi immediately, thrusts a lot of money into Colin Bradley's hands and tells him to go down to Billingsgate (the famous London fish market) and get as many lobsters as he can from Lovell and Fletcher. And to make sure they are from Whittledale Fisheries. 'And make it the fastest journey you've ever made in your life!' He looks at his watch: with luck, they may get that conference vote yet...

The conference is about to begin. Fifteen middle aged men including Fielding, Whitehead, Egri and Bau are standing about in groups talking. Fielding is saying to two of them that they must get the priorities right, what action is taken it will have to be taken higher up... there just isn't that much money... Quist arrives and the members sit at a large table as Quist gets his papers organised. This is the last day of the conference and a vote is to be taken to arrive at their recommendations. But first he turns to the hallucinations that many here have suffered from and indirectly caused the death of Mr Bonenti. The poisoned fish have been traced to a firm in Yorkshire which specialises in transporting live fish – Whittledale Fisheries. Egri understands that this is why it has been difficult to trace. No one would suspect fresh fish. Fielding asks if this is strictly relevant? The lobsters from this source contained considerable concentrations of phenyl siloxane. Plastic effluent is spewed into the Whittle and has infected the life in it. 'Effluent,' says Fielding, 'is allowed at a permitted level.' Whitehead backs up his boss. There's no record of toxicity from their plant there.
'It isn't the first time in our history that individual ignorance has become collective guilt.' Their plant traps the effluent with the most sophisticated traps in Europe. 'Mr. Fielding, no one's suggesting you're either a villain or a fool....' To Whitehead he says, 'You're just sheltered from the facts of life. It sometimes happens when people are too... broad-minded.' Quist, like a detective in a room full of suspects, runs through the course of the river Whittle. 'Upstream from your plant is Fenns Chemicals. They void nitric acid... I know... we've measured it... Just above your place the PH of the water is 6.2...' Bau catches on: 'Hydrolysis!' Whitehead protests that the yield would be negligible. They move downstream. Oil refineries, producing naphthalene waste – muck, as Quist puts it. Smith and Gregory produce starch residue. Whittledale Electric Power Storage makes batteries voiding inorganic salts of lead. They run through a list of other polluters but nothing that would produce the reaction needed. They have exhausted their list of polluters but Quist points out to one opposite Newingtons – the power station. Their waste is warm water. 'all the ingredients for the reaction... a high yield reaction, that is, are in the river.' Opposite Newington's effluent traps the temperature of the water is thirty four degrees – nearly blood heat. Egri is agreeing with this thesis. 'The animated form... acid hydrolysis... transfer of an amino-group.' Bau also sees: 'And the formation of a molecule closely resembling LSD 25. Concentrated in those Lobsters.' Hence the hallucinations.

Quist sums up: 'Gentlemen, we have a lot to thank Mr Fielding for. He is pioneering in silicostyrenes. Soon there will be no more cast iron car engines. Just cheap plastic cylinder blocks – and it won't just be one factory releasing effluent at the permitted level. Today he poisons the rich man's lobster, tomorrow it'll be the poor man's fish and chips. He's produced a cheaper engine. Do we want it at the price?' Fielding protests that this should have come out at the planning stage. Quist agrees. Whitehead is guilty of omission. 'There are times when men of science find it either convenient... or profitable... to justify a process of omission and Dr Whitehead will know what I mean.' Fielding asks for the right to examine the evidence and Quist adjourn the session until four o' clock to prove the evidence. Fielding abruptly leaves the room, knowing he has lost. Only Whitehead remains seated, offering Quist further help. 'I can't afford your kind of money,' comes the reply. Quist leaves with Egri and Bau.

Ridge returns to the Doomwatch offices, ignoring Pat, Bradley and Wren asking him 'Better?' He enters Quists office. Quist asks him how is he? 'Better.' He shows Quist the bill. 'After the feast comes the reckoning.' Quist is astonished – he doesn't eat that much in six months! 'Ah, but you haven't my strength to keep up. I mean look at me. Underpaid thief, agent provacatuer, guinea pig and food taster.' Quist grins in acceptance. Before leaving he says that it was a dead lucky coincidence, wasn't it? Quist disagrees. 'Not lucky nor a coincidence. Nemesis, John.' Ridge questions this. We end on a close up of Quist...

Reviews 

Another classic example of the scientific detective story Doomwatch was so good at in Doomwatch.
We can only imagine how the defocussed shots of 'gorgon masks', cockroaches in fruit bowls, and Ridge's fight with an invisible Negro looked like. It is primarily a Quist episode – and he has a lot at stake.

This story is primarily about pollution and its consequences. Can we live with it, who pays for cleaning it up, who pays for preventing it, will it kill us if we don't? The protagonists are in the form of Benjamin Fielding, who is chairman of Newington Chemicals Ltd, and his chief scientific adviser, Doctor Robert Whitehead, who the script describes is an academic who has sold out to commerce. We will meet another pair of them in Train and De-Train. The issue this time is the plastic waste the company is venting into the river Whittle in Yorkshire. This is combined with a sub-plot concerning food poisoning – what is causing the hallucinations seen by the members of a conference set up to discuss pollution – interestingly, Fielding insisted on joining the conference and help to host it in order to discredit it, and becomes it's central issue!

The debates within the script between Fielding and Quist are pure Dudley – polished, sophisticated, witty. The viewpoint of industry is represented by Whitehead and Fielding, Pollution is a fact of life and to deal with it ruthlessly involves cost – and who should pay? Industry or the man in the street? Quist is the most dangerous man Fielding has ever met. His view is that you don't solve a problem by crippling the economy. Often right wing or even left wing business men regard environmentalists as dangerous. Only recently, Sarah Palin recently blamed the disaster in the Gulf on environmentalists 'forcing off shore drilling more and more off shore.' 'Get it, yet?' she cried on her blog. Missing the point by several miles. Once again, the waste product at issue here is plastic. Newingtons are developing a plastic engine for a car. Fielding believes that where there is muck, there's money. This episode dealt with issues that Public Enemy would address head on in the next season.

If the oil industries clean up the petrol, the motor engine will have to be redesigned and the motorist will have to pay for that. A fallacy of course since these costs, like in all research will be absorbed over the long term. This issue of the oil and petrol companies will be seen in Waiting For A Knighthood. Lots of cigars and brandies in that one too!

So much of what Quist says could be directly from The Quest For Gaia, written by Kit Pedler and since he wrote the basic premise for the story which Dudley then scripted in his own style. Quist/Pedler maintain that people's lifestyles have to change, and that someone will have to pay more for certain things. Sounds very familiar! This is precisely the argument that has been raging for the past ten or twenty years. Who pays and why should we? And there are men in the street who don't see why they should, and feel put upon when it comes to recycling, energy saving bulbs, leaving the car at home and so forth. The middle class man who recycles, buys 'natural, local products' and then flies abroad several times a year, owns a car and so forth. He feels not using a plastic bag is quite enough.

'Mr. Fielding, no one's suggesting you're either a villain or a fool.' That is DEFINITELY a shot over the bows for Kit Pedlar by Terence Dudley. He regarded Pedler's views of industry chiefs and politicians as just that. The chemist Whitehead has the finger of blame pointed at him. Kit would regard Fielding as a 'technological toymaker' and Whitehead as surrendering his responsibility as a scientist.

And what about Whitehead, Fielding's unloved chief chemist in the middle. He supports the party line but his conscience is bothering him as Fielding cruelly points out. At the end of the final conference scene he is left alone feeling terrible. Is it really his fault that he overlooked the warm water in the Whittle affecting his plastic effluent? Could he really have predicted the mixture of the polluter further up stream? Would fielding have pressurised him into facing 'business realities?' The script seems to point the finger of blame at the scientist advising him. But it is clear from an early scene between the two that Fielding does know that he sees Whitehead as chief defence in the conference, backing up his case about the necessity of pollutions of all types. Fielding accuses him of having a cosy sense of guilt, a common Dudley theme and indeed, a description he reuses in other episodes. Whitehead loses all credibility when he feels that man will adapt to the pollution, learning to breathe sulphur dioxide! He is a fool, after all.

The plot is structured to make the 'nobbling' of the scientists a real possibility. Bau, for example, sees Whitehead shortly before his collapse. The business man is seen trying to buy up support in a very familiar way. He has at least four scientists in his pocket, he claims and we see the actual technique on Dr. Bau. Whitehead throws offers of money at the man in a way and pretends he wants people like him to fight the pollution – but only after fielding has made it. Not to prevent it in the first place!

Pollution in rivers is an issue that won't go away. The Thames has been moderately cleaned up. Permitted levels are very interesting, but if you have many polluters working at permitted levels, it does make it a bit strong.

Looking at recent river pollution stories, there have been stories of fish changing sex due to the oestrogen in women's urine who are taking the contraceptive pill, the blame is being pointed more at us than industry. The major pollutants in rivers from industry are phosphates from detergents, warm water from power stations and chemicals such as asbestos, lead, mercury, nitrates and sulphur.

The cost of pollution is seen in the poisoned lobsters. The Doomwatch team take a surprisingly long time to think about where the fish actual comes from, and whether there is a problem there. And what a surprise – it's Fielding's lot who are primarily to blame! The final scene does indeed address the minor point – coincidence! Or is it nemesis? No, it's an acceptable dramatic device!
The final conference scene, though, has a marvellous feel of an Agatha Christie denouement – get the suspects in the room, and get through the evidence and pin the blame! So we have plastic waste, combined with the warm water from the power station with something else from upstream and it concentrates into the lobsters. Fantastic stuff! A good, scientific mystery.

The final episode of Doomwatch will once again have a mystery spate of deaths, and another animal behind it, affected by river pollution.

This is probably how Dudley would see a perfect Doomwatch drama script. Lots of debate, and an off screen death. A conflict of ideas, a clash of issues and positions and no definable villain. Modern day sensibilities alert: Ridge, who may well have had an unconscious fear of savages in Africa, being a product from 1932, seeing himself being speared by one in Laura's flat. Ridge is penetrated by the spear of a huge black man – oh dear, how Freudian is that? Ridge was rather hoping to do something similar to Laura! Ridge is this week's Doomwatch victim, following on from Wren's nerve gas (a similar hallucination as well), Pat's near death chemically induced illness and Quist's brainstorm from the previous week. Colin Bradley was probably nervously looking over his shoulders...

Pat is given a fair amount to do this week – a date with Egri, wear Wendy Hall gets to wear a gorgon mask for the hallucination scenes, comfort a bereaved widow, use her sexual charms on the manager of Jaystons, cook some lobster, and so on. Wren is developing a fine line in reacting to clues that provide the solution. It will backfire next week – he'll get it wrong!

Synopsis by Michael Seely

Memories from the cast and crew

"The two main actors were quite tall, and if they needed to be downstage we tended to shoot off the set in the corners. It became a standing joke that overnight between the first and second days of camera rehearsal carpenters would have to put triangular ceiling corners in the backs of the sets. How we laughed. There was an episode about cockroaches, which weren't allowed in the studios for fear of infestation. So they brought in a big glass fish tank at the end of recording, and put some props (fruit on stands I think) in it. Then a man from Rentokil tipped a jar of live cockroaches over the fruit. We took lots of shots, and then the man produced some kind of spray roach poison. He pressed the button, poison whooshed out, and the cockroaches went everywhere out of the tank. The whole crew then had to go rushing round stamping on cockroaches."

FACT FILE

Project Number: 02249/4090
20th February 1970. To Gerry Davis. Terms have been agreed as follows:- Terence Dudley, basic fee £575 “Please let me have details of delivery and acceptance in due course.' Ben Travers.
Camera Rehearsals: 24th March (Overtime)
Telerecorded: 25th March VTC/6HT/57940/ED

THE SUN 13th April 1970


BBC1's popular Doomwatch programme draws in 10 million viewers each week. Many of these are women more interested in the actors than in the action.
Since Doomwatch began, the men who play Dr Quist and his associates, Dr John Ridge and Tobias Wren, MA, have been flooded with fan mail, from starry eyed teenagers and old age pensioners alike.
Gerry Davis, one of the men who thought up the series, says actors with 'appeal' were purposely chosen, but the reaction has been far greater than expected.
Tall, handsome Simon Oates, who plays Dr Ridge, has just spent £200 on pictures of himself to try to meet the demand from girls who want his photograph and autograph.
He said: 'I suppose we are all rather flattered and we do our best to answer all the letters. I just haven't the time. My poor secretary has to deal with the 200 to 300 letters a week.'
Simon is 6ft 4in tall, 28 years old (?) and unmarried. He is a Londoner, and at one time was heavyweight boxing champion of the Army Intelligence Corps. Most of his letters come from schoolgirls and teenagers.
Slim elegant Robert Powell takes the part of Wren. His fan mail comes mainly from young married women who want to know the colour of his eyes and whether he is married. For the record, he is not.
Robert, aged 25, said: 'I spend hours each night trying to answer all the letters and I have to admit that I have fallen behind. But everyone will get a reply.'
Dr. Spencer Quist, the main character, is played by John Paul, 46. Educated at Harrow and Cambridge, and now married with five children. John began his long and successful career as an actor in German PoW camps.
He became rather coy when I asked him about his fan mail – and refused to tell me how many letters he gets or what the women write to him about. Even his wife is in the dark – he answers all the letters himself.
'My fan mail is a personal matter between myself and my viewers,' he said.
Tonight, Doomwatch investigates pollution after nationwide reports of an outbreak of a strange, hallucinatory malady. Quist calls an emergency meeting and suspects sabotage when delegates become ill... 

Original Newspaper article by Roland Stoubridge on the day that Spectre at the Feast is transmitted. With thanks to Michael Seely and Andrew Wilson

Fact File

Project Number 2249/4090
 
TM 1
JIMMY PURDIE

TM2
JACK SHALLCROSS

Sound Supervisor
LARRY GOODSON

Grams Operator
GERALD BORROWS

Vision Mixer
FRED LAW

Floor Assistant
JOHN WILCOX

CREW
NINETEEN

Tuesday 24th March 1970 T.C.4
14.00 - 18.30 Camera Rehearsal
18.30 - 19.30 DINNER
19.30 - 22.00 Camera Rehearsal

Wednesday 25th March 1970
11.00 - 13.00 Camera Rehearsal
13.00 - 14.00 LUNCH
14.00 - 18.00 Camera Rehearsal (with TK34 from 16.00)
18.00 - 19.00 DINNER
19.00 - 19.30 Sound and Vision line-up
19.30 - 22.00 TELERECORD: DOOMWATCH: SPECTRE AT THE FEAST" VTC/6HT/57940

Editing
Tuesday 31st March 100 - 1700 TVR


Cast

Dr. Spencer Quist
JOHN PAUL

Dr. John Ridge
SIMON OATES

Tobias Wren
ROBERT POWELL

Colin Bradley
JOBY BLANSHARD

Pat Hunnisett
WENDY HALL

Fielding
WILLIAM LUCAS

Whitehead
RICHARD HURNDALL

Egri
GEORGE PRAVDA

Bau
OSCAR QUITAK

Laura Lindsay
HELEN DOWNING

Mrs Bonenti
KAREN FORD

Royston
DAVID MORRELL

Headwaiter
BRUNO BARNABE

Negro
ROY STEWART

Extras

Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th March 1970

Wine Waiter
STEWART FELL

Waiters
PETER HOLMES
BRIAN SCOTT
GABRIELLE CONFINO

Wednesday 25th March 1970

Men for Conference/Diners

GEORGE BARNES
FREDDIE WHITE
VERNE MORGAN
FREDDY WILES
BILL LODGE
ANDY DEVINE
REG CRANFIELD
ROY HATHERWAY
JOHN KIMBERLAKE

Maids/Diners

DILYS MARVIN
DOLLY COLLINS
JULIA FRY
SANDRA RICHARDS
SALLY WEST

Secretary
ANN LEE

Page
MARK PAFFINGHAM

Crew

P.A.
CHRISTINA McMILLAN

A.F.M
MARION WISHART

Production Assistant
PAULINE BULLOCK-WEBSTER

Costume Supervisor
DOROTHEA WALLACE

Makeup Supervisor
ELIZABETH ROWELL

Music composed by
MAX HARRIS

Studio Lighting
JIMMY PURDIE
(JAMES PURDIE)

Studio Sound
LARRY GOODSON

Script Editor
GERRY DAVIS

Designer
MOIRA TAIT

Assistant to Producer
GLYN EDWARDS

Producer
TERENCE DUDLEY

Directed by
ERIC HILLS

TX:
Monday 13th April 1970
9.45PM - 10.35PM

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

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