'A bunch of Indians squatting in a tent in St James’s Park . . . one of them’with malaria? What’s it all about?’
Amongst the hustle and bustle of London, as Big Ben chimes the hour and a band strikes up Rule Britannia, a civil servant crossing St James Park is intrigued by a tent and within sees, to his horror, a group of Indians, starving and ill, staring back at him...
'A bunch of Indians squatting in a tent in St James's Park, one of them with malaria? What's it all about?' asks the Minister. According to Duncan, only the woman can talk and that's not English. The children are suffering from kwashiorkor, a symptom of extreme malnutrition. The family has been hospitalised. Quist is here to see the Minister to be briefed upon the visit of Senator Connell from America. The Minister asks Quist's view of this business, but hasn't heard much about it. Duncan thinks it is a publicity stunt since the tent was not there last night. Someone must have brought them, put up the tent and left pots, rice bowls, a bit of an old plough. The Minister talks to Miss Wills on the phone, wanting to be kept informed by Commander Stafford who is working with the police. Another child has been found. In the bushes, behind the tent. A dead one.
Stafford is talking to a westernised Pakistani called Hanif Khan in the hospital corridor who claims he does not know every single Asiatic language. There are many languages in India and a thousand different dialects. Stafford says they don't know if the family is from India. All they need is a place name. A trolley is pushed past, with the baby underneath a blanket.
Quist wonders if it really matters where these starving people actually came from. For the Minister, it's not the concern of their department. 'Oh I don't know. A refugee family in a squalid tent not 600 yards from the palace? Environmentally speaking it is at least a blot on the landscape.' The Minister is as disturbed as Quist is – you can see the park from his office window. A stone throw from the seat of Government, the Hilton hotel, continues Quist. Which brings them round to Senator Connell. Duncan leaves to meet the man at the airport.
Barbara thinks the dead baby is meant to bring home the point of starvation to England. Bradley thinks it is obscene. Who is behind it?
The Indian woman is in a state of shock, just sitting in a chair and staring, ignoring Khan's questions in Hindi. A nurse comes in to speak to Stafford.
The Minister tells Quist that one of the children in the hospital has died. Quist is surprised. Apparently she did not respond to treatment and not knowing her medical history there wasn't much chance. He decides to leave it to the police and briefs Quist on Connell who wants him to attend his press conference on pesticides. The Minister – indeed the government want Quist there as their official representative. 'Don't commit us, but you can say we support the Senator's proposal in principle, and if other European governments are prepared to take a stand as well...' To enforce a world ban on D.D.T. Quist wonders if there is some connection between the Park and the conference? The Hilton overlooks the Park too.
Looked after by Miss Brandon, a secretary from the U.S. Embassy, Senator Connell is talking to Duncan about how much he like his suite at the Hilton, a kind of home from home. 'Whatever overcrowding problems you have in London, you've still got plenty of green.' Duncan feels that the Royal Parks will be the last to be occupied when the world population reaches five people for every square yard. Miss Brandon tells Connell that Quist is here. The press conference is for three o'clock, an informal affair in his suite. Connell hopes for some good coverage, but Duncan isn't so sure.
Barbara is reading a report of the Indian family and the dead baby in the newspaper, with the foundling family still untraced. STARVATION TENT, LONDON W.1' Susan is there too and Bradley and Stafford. The article reflects on the millions of people that western medicine cannot reach. Stafford doubts that the press conference will get as much space with this story going on. 'Perhaps that's the idea,' remarks Colin. 'Senator Connell is here to drum up support for a world wide ban on D.D.T. A tour of all the European capitals.... Every intelligent man would like to see a ban on D.D.T. These chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides could poison the whole planet one day. But nothing better than spraying with D.D.T. has yet to be found to combat malaria.'
Connell and Quist are arguing over the banning of D.D.T. Quist gives an example of how in Ceylon in 1962 there were two million cases of malaria each year. D.D.T. reduced it to a mere seventeen by 1965. and when spraying stopped due to lack of funds, they were back up to two million cases four years later. Connell protests that mosquitoes are now becoming immune to D.D.T. And in time, it won't be just in some areas... Quist thunders that if you've got malaria now, and undernourished children can't even catch measles and survive, it's the malaria that really killed them off. 'Mosquitoes developing resistance? So no more D.D.T? Tell that in a mud hut village in Ceylon.' Connell wants Quist to agree to lead a delegation to the underdeveloped countries. Quist is surprised. He asks Connell if he hasn't seen a paper yet. 'If it was anything big, I'd have been told.' Quist shows him. It happens everyday. 'Children dying from malnutrition.'
Susan takes a call but the caller won't leave a name. She tells Barbara that whoever it is, is coming at three. 'Just said he knows who's responsible for putting those squatters, as he called them, in the Park.
'If it's meant to be a joke, it sure is a sick joke.' Quist says it's not just the joke that is sick. Connell dismisses the stunt as the work of lefties, trying to cause discontent. Quist thinks this will hurt Connell's campaign. 'In the face of this, you won't find it easy to persuade the press we must try to stop the Indians using D.D.T.' It's using it as a pesticide on crops they have to put a stop to, says Connell. And who first told them to use it on crops, asks Quist. Who introduced them to western technology anyway? Connell concedes that if they made some mistakes they must be big enough to admit them. 'From the penthouse suite of a luxury hotel?' Quist points out that a third of the world's population has a living standard not known to man since the Garden of Eden and the others would like some of it too. Connell is concerned about the price the west has to pay in terms of the pollutants. Quist agrees, D.D.T. must be banned – 'But not by telling India and Africa, as we have for generations, that we know what's good for them... when really what we mean is it's good for us.'
Stafford is waiting the arrival of the mystery caller now that it is past three o'clock. The police think it is a hoax. Susan says it was an English voice, not one that she knew. 'We'll have to try and rectify that then, won't we darling?' It is Dr. John Ridge. He is sorry he is late since the new premises took a bit of finding. He is quite impressed by Quist's new office. The others are speechless.
Connell addresses the press conference about the stunt, and that malaria may well be a problem but D.D.T. will be resistant in the future. 'It is not just a wisecrack that what the initials D.D.T. really stand for is Deadly Dangerous Tomorrow.
Ridge does not answer Stafford's questions over the origins of the tent people, he wants to see Quist. Stafford threatens to call the police. 'Choose a nicer cell for me this time, will you? Old times' sake?' Bradley is worried for him. Ridge says he has booked a place on the TV tonight and issued a statement to the Press Association. 'The media knows what it's all about by now. A random sample of the starving millions – unclaimed, unowned, unrecognised.' Ridge wants to keep it a mystery for as long as possible to satisfy the public's love of a good mystery. He wants to make everyone see that even if this family survive, there are plenty more where they came from, and they can't all be flown over here. Bradley says that D.D.T. can't help them much but has no answer for the alternative to fight malaria. He also continues that there are a number of agronomists who consider the green revolution a fraud. Ridge gets angry. 'Wheat production in Pakistan has almost doubled since the Mexican varieties were introduced.' India is on the verge of becoming self-sufficient and they need D.D.T. to keep off the pests. 'If it helps fill empty bellies, who cares if one or two birds and fishes die out? ... Is hunger really less important than preserving the American eagle?'
Quist is noticing how impatient some of the journalists are getting at the press conference. Connell is explaining how traces of the pesticide has been found in seals from Scotland and penguins from Antarctica. 'It's even been found in Eskimos.' Connell sense the restlessness in his crowd as a paper is passed around. 'It's effect on the oceans could lead to the end of all marine life...'
Ridge is trying to tell Bradley what he has been up to since his release from 'the nut house.' He got himself a job as a chemist for an overseas relief organisation. 'Even a defrocked scientist can play god among the natives with the white next “expert” if he's got enough letters after his name.' Pollution, ecology and the environment mean damn little to a starving child. 'A ban on D.D.T. to save the world from tomorrow? Expect that woman to care about tomorrow?' Bradley argues that doses will have to be increased for it to be effective. Ridge sees Connell as the city dwelling businessman who sees the beauties of nature as a playground for townsfolk. He sees the world ban as bad for Wall Street just when India is setting up their own factories. Connell is being hired by the pesticide companies, and 'persuade lofty dedicated innocents like our own Doctor Quist to safeguard their profits in the name of world ecology.' Bradley dismisses this as nonsense. But Ridge thinks he is a luxury they cannot afford. 'There are far greater priorities – as those Indians in the park have made everyone see already.'
The reporters ask Connell whether a ban on D.D.T. would impede on India and Pakistan's cereal production. Connell admits so but thinks that monocultures are in his view not a good concept for India and tries to get Doctor Quist to agree. A woman reporter says that the new wheat varieties give two harvests instead of one and D.D.T. makes that possible. It also requires expensive machinery to replace what dozens of peasants do by hand, says Connell. The woman reporter asks if he is saying that they're not entitled to machinery? Connell replies that it doesn't help their unemployment problem. 'For all the wheat that is being produced by the green revolution they can't afford to buy what their own land produces.' The second reporter says that production goes on rising, and once the governments of these countries can ensure a more equal distribution – Connell cuts in that there are other ways to keep up production than blanket spraying them with chemicals. The woman reporter gets support from the other journalists when she asks if they have the right to ask anything at all from people living in poverty? Connell feels angry and humiliated when the dead child of the park is mentioned.
Bradley tells Quist that Ridge has gone to Scotland Yard with Stafford. Quist wonders if they're trying to keep him quiet for Connell's sake, but the Senator had a very rough ride this afternoon. America only gave up D.D.T. because they had used it so much it was no longer effective. India has used it sparingly. The Americans have to use a more expensive pesticide. And if the Indians are forced to follow suit, there is no chance then of India stealing a march in world markets. 'On John's side? All I know is that if ideals are ever to be realised, there has to be something in hard cash for it for someone.'
With a feeling of de ja vu, Ridge is being questioned by Stafford in an interrogation room at Scotland Yard. Ridge's fingerprints have been found on the inside of the tent – which Ridge doesn't deny – he may have helped them set up the tent whilst passing through. The Good Samaritan. Is that how he sees himself, asks Stafford. They still don't know how the family arrived in the country. A private plane did land illegally in Norfolk last night and left a few minutes later. 'I can't fly a kite,' says Ridge. Stafford hasn't got much to go on, Ridge sees. They don't want publicity either. What Ridge wants is 'An end to all the well fed, well publicised Jeremiahs, with their eyes so firmly fixed on tomorrow's Armageddon they can't see that for nearly half the world it's with us today.' He was one of those well paid prophets once himself, said Stafford. 'And a lot of good that did me, didn't it?' Stafford thinks that Ridge has taken up the cause of the innocents and martyrs because he thinks he is one himself. 'That's what it's really about – poor, hard done by Ridge, whom nobody loves, getting his own back.' Ridge does not deny this...
Connell is angry that his TV appearance tonight has been cancelled. Duncan tries to placate him – it is only the recorded interview they've scrapped, but a live appearance - Connell stops him there. He doesn't want a repeat of this afternoon. 'Is there to be no room anywhere for the voice of sanity?'
Stafford reports to the Minister about the Ridge business and that there is nothing he can be charged with. The statement does not incriminate him either. It just underlines the moral points and provides a compendium of facts and figures. The baby could have been smuggled in in a handbag for all they know. The Minister thinks this is a revolting idea and Stratford agrees. The family may have been flown in, possibly from Amsterdam. Stafford does not want to lean on Ridge too hard, not after last time. He doesn't appear to have done any harm. The Minister disagrees: 'Exploiting sickness and hunger? It's like an 18th century beggar putting mutilated children on the streets.' Stafford thinks the Great British public wouldn't see these ones starve. The Minister reads Ridge's press release. 'World hunger is not a fear. It is a fact. Half the world is without adequate food now. The disaster has happened.' Stafford tells the Minister that he has spent time in what used to be called the colonies. So has the Minister. They are both on Ridge's side at heart.
Hanif Khan is in the Doomwatch office, chatting up a reluctant Barbara Mason. He talks to Stafford when he arrives. The woman is still in shock, very malnourished and has probably never been out of her village before. Tomorrow he may be allowed to speak to her. He then chases after Barbara, offering her a lift home. Bradley thinks Ridge should meet Khan, might shake up his ideas a bit. 'If Ridge had his way, he'd have them all dolled up like that. Gunga Din in a slimline shirt. ridge must be out of his mind... Give the Indians a coke and a glimpse of a tractor and before you can say 'aid' they want colour TV sets. Stafford asks should they stick to their spinning wheels and be happy? Bradley agrees. 'I never thought to hear such reactionary views in this temple of liberalism. Good old Brad!' Bradley is concerned that if one of those low flying aircraft covering fields, it's not just D.D.T. that gets in their eyes but the whole American fairytale. They'll equate progress with western technology, and the West will see to it they never get ahead of us. And id Ridge has his way, they'll have the same problems we have.
Stafford goes to see Quist who asks about Ridge and how long the police will hold him. It seems that Quist is on leave tomorrow, going down to Cornwall with Anne in a rented cottage miles from anywhere. 'Just wondered,' asked Stafford, 'if you'd room for John Ridge?'
The Minister agrees! It's in the national interest. Charge it up on expenses. 'Even offer Dr Tarrant a fee.' The Minister wants to keep Ridge out of the spotlight. And for Quist and Anne to persuade him. Stafford pipes up: 'There's only one person to my mind who's not really sold on it and that's John Ridge.' He just wants a cause. 'An unhorsed crusader always feels a fool. It's not D.D.T. or world famine on Ridge's mind. It's a shining white charger and a fine new banner to fly from his lance head. And you wouldn't be listening so closely to that bit of rhetoric, if you didn't feel I could very well be right.'
Ridge is chatting up Susan in Quist's office and seems to be getting somewhere when Barbara comes in. Ridge has been brought here by the police. He has no idea why. Outside, Khan is asking for Stafford. He has found out where these people have come from. But Stafford is still with the Minister. Ridge is furious and confronts him. 'If you've any feeling for your compatriots at all you'll tell Stafford nothing... If we're to keep this front page news, no one must be given a scapegoat.... A stray of any kind gets under people's skin – lost dog or abandoned child. People feel guilty and want to help. But once it's known they have an address, that there's someone to own to it, however ill-fitted, they go back to sleep. This family was partly picked for the remoteness of the language they speak.' Khan explains that he is an expert linguist. As far as Khan is concerned, he is a Londoner from Hampstead. Ridge grabs him violently, calling him an arse licking nit! Quist enters and is shocked by what he sees. Ridge continues: 'Think you can make it all lovely for yourself by crawling to the big man's boots? What do you want from him? A lump of sugar?' Quist tells him to go into his office as Ridge shouts to Khan that no wonder Clive of India was impeached if types like Khan were going to be the end result. Stafford asks Khan where the tent people came from as Ridge tells Quist how Khan's type makes him sick – he regards people like him as traitors to their own kind. 'I expect Mr Khan will get an M.B.E. for this. Meet the Queen at Buck House. What a glory story to send home! to his well to do civil servant father sipping gin and tonic on the very same verandah once occupied by the British Raj.' Quist warns him that the way Ridge is going he will have them all aspire to that. But only a few will make it. The rest will be driven off the land by the factory farming and industrialisation. Ridge is discomforted by that.
The Minister assures Connell that now they know where the Indians came from and will soon be sent back to, the fuss will die down. The Boat Show opens next week and it's holiday time. He suggests raising the D.D.T. issue again but without the stick of a ban. 'How about a carrot ton?' Connell is worried about Ridge but the Minister assures him that he is being taken care of.
Ridge asks Quist if he thinks he is round the twist again, getting Anne to sort him out a second time? Quist assures him the invitation is only to spend a day or two with them. Stafford is with them and Ridge looks at him. 'All tied up neat and tidy. Just the odds and ends like me to see to. Country of origin traced, and their man in London called before the relevant Ministers to explain how he dared let his country's dung be left in the Queen's front garden. And he'll lick the minister's boots too. Hanif Khans, the lot of them.' Quist says that is rubbish. Stafford tells Ridge his release is conditional that he doesn't talk to the press or the television. If Quist can't stop him, Ridge will be locked up again on charges of conspiracy to bring in illegal immigrants. And his day in court may be a long time away... Quist says if he can't persuade Ridge in twenty four hours, he will drive him to the TV studios himself. Stafford protests. There are limits how far Quist will co-operate in the national interest. 'There's a lot more to ride into battle for, John, than trying to stop a ban on D.D.T.'
In the garden of the Cornish cottage on a hot mid-summer afternoon, a local character called Ernest is slowly digging up some rough ground with a spade. Ridge is watching from the window whilst Anne Tarrant washes up at a primitive kitchen sink in the tiny kitchen and tries to get him to wipe the plates dry. Quist comes in with a crate of beer and asks if there is anywhere to keep it cool? Anne likes warm beer. Ridge suggests the rainwater butt. Ridge doesn't understand why Ernest isn't using a Rotavator to dig up the garden, he could get it done in twenty minutes. 'Where would he get a Rotavator from down here?' asks Quist. 'Foreign aid?' says Ridge. Anne says there is one in the garden shed and ridge, taking this as a challenge, goes outside. Quist and Anne laugh.
The Minister receives His Excellency, an intelligent Hindu dressed “in whatever he'd be wearing back home,' says the script. The Minister's air conditioned office has no open window here. His Excellency finds this odd. He walked here this afternoon, through Trafalgar square, watching so much water run away. The pigeons seem so over-fed with bread. He is wearing these clothes because of the weather and because he was due to be lectured by at least two Ministers of the British Crown, he felt the need to be as much himself as possible. The Minister just wants to talk to him about Connell's mission rather than his country's part in smuggling in the Malaria victim. His Excellency concedes they are nationals from his country but that is all. The Minister knows that they were flown to Amsterdam from Istanbul on a commercial flight with a special compartment reserved for unknown passengers of his nationality who claimed diplomatic immunity. Ridge could not have done it on his own, to embarrass Senator Connell. His Excellency notes there is little mention of the Senator in their papers- or even in Bonn where the story has been picked up upon. The Minister knows the Senator will pick up the matter when the fuss has died down. 'Old news is stale news is no news,' comments His Excellency. 'We could easily stop D.D.T. being used – anywhere in the under developed world,' warns the Minister. 'By banning all imports sprayed with it?' asks His Excellency. The Minister agrees, there are voices in congress saying just that. 'You would have us over a barrel.' The Minister agrees. American aid could also be made conditional on recipients undertaking their part in fighting world pollution. 'And they say colonialism is dead.' The Minister is lost for words when His Excellency says that his government is very willing indeed to ban D.D.T. He laughs when the Minister asks in return for what?
Ridge uses the Rotavator watched by an unimpressed Ernest. Ridge gives up and returns to the cottage leaving Ernest to his spade work. Anne and Quist are amused. What does Ernest gain by using the machine? Ridge thinks he could get the job done in a tenth of the time. And then what does he do? 'Watch television? Read an interesting book?' 'Whatever he likes to do,' says Ridge. 'He likes digging.' Ridge wonders if this is part of his treatment? Quist hoped John Ridge would meet Ernest, he is a fabulous character. Ridge watches him through the window and remarks on the noble peasant, happy in his humble task... 'Am I supposed to think thousands of Indians and Africans should do the same?' Quist argues that if they flood them with western technology, there will be no work for the peasants at all. 'Are you saying they should pick off the crop pests by hand?' Quist shrugs. There is no shortage of labour out there. Anne remembers how an American engineer once told her that he had seen a hillside in the Philippines that was growing cucumbers, and how crawling amongst the plants were women and children, each wrapping a single cucumber in newspaper. The American was shocked. One crop spraying aeroplane could do the whole job in half an hour. 'Ruining the local ecology,' says Quist, and putting out of work the women and children. As for education, that can wait until they are sixteen where they can learn more in a year than a child can in five. The money saved on teachers can be spent on other necessities. Like tools. 'Machinery,' argues Ridge. 'No, tools,' responds Quist. 'Workshops, not factories... Rotavators... combine harvesters. That sort of thing is so expensive not even big time farmers can really afford it. As for D.D.T., the massive doses needed out there nowadays costs a fortune.' And as for giving them aid, there is always strings attached. Anne argues that aid makes a country more and more dependent on us. 'The countries which are really beginning to prosper are the ones who've said no to aid. Instead of getting what they're given, they work for what they need.' Quist chimes in, 'Buses, not cars; water, not airlines, village self-sufficiency, not industrial conurbations.' and since Ridge has been out there, Quist feels Ridge knows he is right. Ridge agrees that the farmers often knew much more about the local ecology of their own bits of land and gives an example. Anne says that they don't need us. 'In fact, their best hope is to do without us altogether.' But that's tomorrow, says Ridge. What about today? 'Hard cash?' asks Quist. 'Unconditional financial assistance?' Ridge can't see that phoney Senator asking for that in his report to Congress. Quist can. 'You shook everyone's complacency by bringing that family in, John. Even Connell's. It was worth it.'
The Minister tells His Excellency that at Connell has realised his country is entitled to something in return for a ban on D.D.T. His Excellency would like to meet Ridge. The Minister continues that they'll get plenty of U.S. aid. 'How about a dam? Nothing like a good dam to give a shaky government prestige. So solid, so graceful, so redolent of power and prosperity... Look at Egypt. The Aswan dam may have wrecked the land for generations, but it did wonders for Nasser.' He continues his polite sarcasm in this way. What do you want, asks the Minister. 'Apart from hard cash? Nothing. Not even advisers.' They don't want western educated bright young men returning to ruin their homeland with western ideas because they think it is progress, They wanted to ban D.D.T. years ago but then they had the malaria problem. Their own home educated scientists have found a way of genetically altering the mosquitoes so that they'll grow an extra leg instead of a mouth. 'I'm sure your Doomwatch would be very shocked by that. What do we want? your traffic exhausts? Your supersonic aircraft? your sewage? Leave us alone, Minister and in fifty years, the way things look over here, you'll come to us for aid.'
Quist tells Stafford about the minister's meeting. They weren't interested in what Ridge was trying to do at all. Anne thinks Ridge may have done this all on his own. Stafford doesn't think the Department for Public Prosecutions will charge Ridge. It'll soon blow over. Quist is waiting for Ridge to turn up. Quist has a job lined up for him, but not here at Doomwatch, much to Stafford's relief. Anne points out that Ridge does not want charity. He wants to be needed. 'I don't think he means to show up.' Barbara comes in. The number Quist asked her to ring for John Ridge – it's the Royal Society of Gardeners.
That evening, as Bradley is preparing to go home, Susan, also about to leave, tells him what she has read in the papers. Now that the child is out of danger, they're going to take him on a shopping trip round the West end, a tour round a famous London toy shop, with visits to the Tower of London and the Royal Mews. 'Isn't that lovely?' Bradley reacts...
The Indian woman and her child are being led along the pavement towards Buckingham palace surrounded by the media and bystanders. Big Ben is ringing and the last thing we see the the Queen Victoria memorial...
Synopsis by Michael Seely
Doomwatch in pro-pesticide shock horror! But the view here is not so much pro-D.D.T. but against its blanket use which harmed America so much, causing books like Silent Spring to be written in the 1950s and for the growing urge in the country to ban or restrict its use. As Quist points out, India used it selectively. It is essential against fighting malaria. Train and de-Train, from the first series looked at a pesticide manufacturer polluting Somerset. This story takes a very different path. This episode, like Without The Bomb, is really a series of debates set within a dramatic framework. Whereas Joyne was a contraceptive designed to help reduce the over-population problem, here it is about how best to tackle starvation in the Third World. In particular, India.
The real theme of the episode is how the west tries to manipulate the so called under-developed countries (which means they are not like us in the west) into following the interests of the west, either economically, politically or socially and keeping them in their place. Let us leave alone, argues the script. Connell represents the wealthy Western city dweller who thinks he knows what is best for the world. Is he in the hands of the pesticide or the agricultural lobby in America that wants to keep down competition from India or make more money from their farmers? Is he trying for a worldwide ban of D.D.T. simply because since America can't use it any more, and the rest of the world should use the newer and more expensive pesticides? Ridge thinks so, Quist, at the end of the episode, does not. Connell knows that banning D.D.T. in India will affect their Green Revolution, and the reporters side with Ridge about mechanising the sub-continent.
This episode was written before globalisation became an ominous word... Before McDonalds fast food became equated with standardisation. The idea that third world countries would be left alone to develop at their own pace now seems a ludicrous idea to entertain. Governments have been toppled in Africa and south America, even Asia, to further western business interests, usually disguised as protecting freedom or removing tyrants. Especially socialist ones! 'Leave us alone,' says His Excellency to the Minister. Fat chance!
We are still in the early days of genetically modified crops where the concern was of multinational combines buying the intellectual copyright of certain Asian crops, of introducing a gene into plants that will only yield one year's worth of growth before self destructing forcing the farmer to buy seed from scratch. The argument for GM crops is that it will feed the world. But it is ironic that by feeding the world, you have to export your grain, and then import it from somewhere else to feed your people. Even more ironic if the food stuff produced is useless in the country it is grown, taking up land better employed than providing a little flourish at a middle class dinner table.
Having seen the starvation at first hand, Ridge is now prepared to abandon his previous three years of pre figurative doom watching and into taking action now to bring the under developed world up to our perceived standards. He performs a publicity stunt designed to under-mime Senator Connell's tour of Europe's capitals to lobby for the worldwide ban of D.D.T. It works. Remarkably! Ridge wants India to have the technology we have if it will help feed their populations. India did face mass famine in the early 1960s but did import grain from Mexico as Ridge states. Ridge mentions wheat in Pakistan but it was rice in India that was the success story. Apparently, this project hasn't worked so well in Africa. Corruption is blamed.
This episode does seem to treat Ridge as a bit of an idiot at times. There is sympathy with his publicity stunt, as the script implies from Stafford, Quist and the Minister. His method was questionable, and his motives were questioned. A wake up call about starvation or self serving publicity? Stafford thinks this stunt is more an act of truculence, revenge for Fire And Brimstone. But the arguments from Colin Bradley and others is that India and other under-developed countries just should not be flooded with western ideas for their own good, and let them create the mess we have. Indeed, we can see in China how rushing to compete in the world stage results in extraordinary levels of pollution in their cities, but the same is also true in parts of America. India, in the early seventies, wasn't a rural, unspoiled paradise waiting for the serpent of westernisation. It was still only a very young independent country, independent from the British Raj with enemies at its borders. That's why the episode closes on a shot of Victoria, the former Empress of India. But the main argument is that introduce technology and efficiency and high unemployment will result. We saw this in Great Britain during the Industrial and Agrarian Revolutions, as historians label the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Villagers driven out of their homes by enclosures, and labour light farming practises. The Third World does have its huge, dirty industries, employing cheap labour with very poor health and safety practises, mainly to serve us with cheap goods. It has revolutionised our lives, flooded us with cheap goods.
It is left to Quist and his wife to talk 'sense' into Ridge, by pointing out how the pesticide spraying from the air may save time but ruins the local ecology and puts women and children out of work. western values may be shocked by the children not being in full time education but that is our system, only recently developed. Education in Britain was a religious exercise in class control, getting the working class children to know their place, as well as their ABCs. Nowadays it is preparing them to join the workforce. And the workplace grumbles at how they can't spell, not as clever or as bright as they were in their day...
The episode also deals with the issue of aid. It has now become a very hot topic indeed, with the crippling debt, the strings attached to aid (You buy our warships, we'll give you aid,) the corruption it engenders, the bail outs by the IMF leading to civil strife (the IMF and the World Bank can't abide public spending and subsidised electric prices!)
It is true that the British public – especially the middle classes, like to go for orphan foreigners, sometimes, and like to feel the pain of the third world. In 1972, Indian migrants in Britain were not exactly made to feel welcome. Television was not exactly over-sensitive at times. Often in a drama or a sitcom, an attack on racism could be performed very, very clumsily indeed. In this episode we see two Asians. Khan, a Pakistani who has embraced the British way of life, and is considered a race traitor by Ridge, and His Excellency, who basically tells the Minister to piss off and leave them alone!
How did this episode look in 1972? The rehearsal script opens with the scene definitely set in London, and a civil servant (no doubt bowler hatted) discovering the horrors inside the tent. Time Screen remembered the episode opening being the other way round – the tent then reveal it is London. Since it was the only thing they remember about the episode, it was the only thing they seem to ask the people who worked on it! The cast included Cec Linder as Senator Connell, an actor who is best remembered for his superb role in Quatermass and the Pit some thirteen years earlier. One can only imagine his earnest portrayal especially in the press conference scenes. Then we have Renu Setna, playing His Excellency. Setna was often seen on British screens in the 1970s and 80s playing Indian characters. A future cast member of Survivors, actress Lorna Lewis plays a one line character as Connell's assistant. The script calls for a female reporter – but the three listed are all men. Madhav Sharma was also another regular face on British TV screens and will work for Terence Dudley again on The Regiment, and will be a regular in 1973's Moonbase Three, and appear in a Doctor Who episode Frontier In Space.
Review by Michael Seely
Because of the extensive rewrite Martin Worth had to perform on Say Knife, Fat Man, his enthusiasm for writing a third script in the season diminished, despite the fact he had asked to do another one. By 14th of November, Anna Kaliski had sent the writer materials upon the subject of D. D. T. However, by spring the following Worth had written his first draft and then on 9th April 1972 sent in a revised script, incorporating suggestions from Terence Dudley. He removed as much rhetoric as possible, and given Quist less speeches, spreading them around Colin Bradley and Anne Tarrant. Worth wasn't sure if this was his best script or not as the subject is didactic and fears the script is too. The only thing he could change was the opening where a civil servant stumbles across the tent containing the Indian family as the character clearly had to be someone from the Establishment for the shock to be strong. However, in the event, the director had a better idea.
An interview with Director Darrol Blake
Conducted by Marcus Hearn originally in Timescreen Spring 1992
One of the more memorable episodes of the third season was Martin Worth’s “Deadly Dangerous Tomorrow” the initials of which spell the name of the insectiside which was the subject of the story. Darrol recalled some of the embellishments be brought to the portrayal of the Indian slum family brought to England by Ridge. “When we were preparing it we had a marvellous PA called Phillipa Clauson. I said to her “Wouldn’t it be marvellous if during the scene when the band came round the corner they were playing ‘Rule Britannia’ or something like that we could cut the Indians sequence to.” So she said, “Yes it would be lovely, I’ll have a word with Daddy and see what I can do.” Anyway I’d forgotten all about it until we came to shoot the piece with the camera on the Victoria Memorial. The guards band came round the corner playing ‘South Pacific’ or something like that, and as they passed where the railings start outside Buckingham Palace they changed effortlessly to ‘Rule Britannia’. Obviously ‘Daddy’ had a word, with somebody who’d had a word with somebody!”
Was the shot at the beginning of that episode where the camera reveals the slum family to be living in St James’s Park, also one of his ideas? “No, that was certainly in the script. I’m one of those boring directors who does what’s on the page. 1 don’t eff about with what the writers put there. It wasn’t St. James’s Park though. It was supposed to be but the family were actually on a bit of waste ground in Surrey, there was a cut after this was established. I have very little input into scripts.
Drama series then, and certainly soaps now, were very much production lines The director is hired late in the day and you have to start finding locations, casting, etc. Obviously you have a script conference and a certain amount of input with the producer and the writer if you’re lucky. The situation in drama series at that time was that the producer and script editor had often rewritten the script between them and they often didn’t want you to talk to the writer because they hadn’t bothered to give him the rewrites. I would always ask to speak to the writer because I found that more useful than anything really.
Martin Worth interviewed in Time Screen in September 1989
For the final season, Anna Kaliski was brought in to act as script consultant. “She’d been working for Terence Dudley as a researcher and consultant, and so that he didn’t have to have a script editor foisted on him he gave her that post. She was a good researcher and often came up with fascinating scientific papers we could make good use of.
“From just such scientific papers I got the idea for “Deadly Dangerous Tomorrow” which was intended to be about the effects of DDT, but became a play about the Third World and the way we exploit it for our own interests. It opened with a small Indian family apparently living close to the soil with a little tent in the scrub. Then the camera pulled back and showed we were in the middle of St. James’ Park where bowler hatted gents were walking along and watching the scene which had been staged to draw public attention to world hunger. It was not only about our responsibility to the Third World and our exploitation of it, but about our ignorance about it. I remember, when researching, being told how shocked an American was on seeing a whole lot of children on a hillside in Malaya wrapping cucumbers in newspaper just to protect them from bugs. He thought this was terrible. All it requires is a helicopter to spray the whole lot with DDT and they won’t have any problems. To which the Third World says “Yes but what shall we do with the children?” To which the American replies, “But they shouldn’t be working, they should be at school”. This episode explored the arrogance of applying our western concepts to Eastern society as if we knew the best way to live.
There are mutinous murmurings in the ranks over the story-lines of this season's Doomwatch on television. Cries of 'Bring back Pedler' are to be heard from various quarters. The trouble, I think, lies in the medium's insistence (for economic as well as other reasons) on a series, once implanted, going on and on. When Doomwatch opened up, there were enough under-aired topics to keep writers going, without having to fall back too often on the personalities of the scientists involved. But new sorts of environmental hazards, mercifully don't present themselves every week. You can knock 'em with oil spillage, or nerve gas, or plastic eating bugs only once. After that it's either the farther shores of SF (which would make it quite another programme) or settle for the in-fighting (The Power Game) among the already established personalities. A pity but inevitable, i'm afraid. Still, I thought that last week's gobbet made a fair job of airing the differences between rich and poor countries' approach to environmental problems. The sensational element which offends the faithful (and perhaps Dr. Pedler) is inescapable in show business. Great propagandists such as Gandhi, Bernard Shaw and Dr. Goebbels were aware of it. The scientist who wants to influence mass thinking must accept the rules of the game.
New Scientist (Ariadne) refers to Deadly Dangerous Tomorrow with thanks to Michael Seely
FROM SCRIPT TO SCREEN
Older readers with long term memories may remember how the wonderful magazine TIME SCREEN on its occasional articles which featured Doomwatch, remembered the striking opening to the episode DEADLY DANGEROUS TOMORROW where the camera pulls back from a struggling Indian family in a tent to the vista of St. James's Park. Martin Worth was asked to change the beginning but as he admits, couldn't think of an alternative as he wanted the contrast between a well off Civil Servant type and the starving Indians.
The rehearsal script which formed the basis of the synopsis on this site reveals that as scripted, a civil servant takes a short cut through the park and comes across a horrific scene of the dying Indian man beside a grubby tent and a woman with family watching...
The following is taken from the Running Order within the camera script:
TELECINE ONE: Changing of the Guard. Band Plays. Horseguards in Whitehall. St. James's, ducks on lake etc. DUNCAN walks through on his way to Whitehall. Suddenly sees oriental tent partly concealed by bushes. He goes to investigate. INDIAN MAN lies on ground in high fever. INDIAN WOMAN squats near him. Two INDIAN CHILDREN in back recesses of tent. Cut between the Horseguards etc. and tent. Police cordon off area, ambulance going around Hyde Park. (2' 37”)
In the rehearsal script, the titles separate the discovery by CIVIL SERVANT and the police cordoning off the area.
Darrol Blake remembers in the recently published book Zoom in when you see the Tears - 30 Adventurous years at the BBC, that the Indian family were never in St James' Park but were filmed on a common in Surrey. His PA had connections with the Queen's Guards and arranged for the band to play Rule Britannia (of which one and a half minutes in heard) as they reached Buckingham Palace, as the camera crew were on the Victoria Memorial. He described it as a miraculous moment which tied the Surrey shots to the Park, encompassing Palace and Empire.
In the camera script, the episode still ends on a film sequence of the Indian woman and her child being followed by photographers around the same landmarks.
The Indian woman was played by Mrs. Rahat Shamsi and her two children Talib and Farhat appear. The dying man appears to be Ahmad Nagi.
As a side note, Miss Brandon, a secretary from the US Embassy who is looking after Senator O' Connell is played by Lorna Lewis who will play a major role, Pet, from the second series onwards of Survivors.
From script to screen by Michael Seely
TELECINE ONE: Changing of the Guard. Band plays. Horseguards in Whitehall. St. Jame's Park, ducks on lake etc. DUNCAN walks through on his way to Whitehall. Suddenly sees oriental tent partly concealed by bushes. he goes to investigate. INDIAN MAN lies on ground in high fever. INDIAN WOMAN squats near him. Two INDIAN CHILDREN in back recesses of tent. Cut between the Horseguards etc. and tent. Police cordon off area, ambulance going around Hyde Park
Monday 22nd May 1972
Camera rehearsal: 14.00 - 19.00 (with TK from 15.00)
DINNER: 19.00 - 20.00
Camera rehearsal: 20.00 - 22.00
Tuesday 23rd May
Camera rehearsal: 11.00 - 13.00
LUNCH: 13.00 - 14.00
Camera rehearsal: 14.00 - 18.00
DINNER: 18.00 - 19.00
Sound & Vision Lineup: 19.00 - 19.30
Telerecording: 19.30 - 22.00 onto VTC/6HT/78941
25th May 1972 14.30 - 23.30
Doomwatch Outer Office
Cottage Kitchen/Sitting Room
Hospital corridor/small room
Dr. Spencer Quist
Dr. John Ridge
The Minister - Sir George Holroyd
Dr. Anne Tarrant
Commander Neil Stafford
Extras on Film
Extras in Studio
Double as nurse
JEAN ST. LOUIS
ANN GARRY LEE
MRS. RAHAT SHAMSI
Assistant to Producer
TX: 17th July, 1972
9.20pm - 10.10pm
With thanks to John Archbold for the Radio Times listing and cover