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At last! I finally had the opportunity to visit The BBC Written Archives Centre at Caversham to investigate the history of DOOMWATCH. A full and very busy day!
You will pleased to hear I found exactly what I was looking for! I got slightly carried away with photocopying, (272 copies to be precise), discovered the somewhat archaic joy of Microfilm in a darkened room for five hours, while outside was that even more rare thing, British Sunshine! I have been very privileged to read and review all of the scripts for the missing episodes of DOOMWATCH (which are mainly from Season 3) and I am pleased to say the quality of writing is just as good as that in Season 1 and 2. The third season has been much maligned in the past and I feel this is unwarranted. It's definitely more a change in style than quality of work and a few elements from Season 2 are picked up. As an example, in one case a whole story. In season 2 episode 8, The Web of Fear by Gerry Davis, DOOMWATCH are urgently pressing for an inquest into Thames Valley flood levels and low and behold Season 3 presents us with the rather wonderful episode 9, Flood by Ian Curteis.
Pictured (left) is a Canon Microfilm Scanner much like the one's used at the archive. (I've blurred the content on the screen on this particular one). Some of the Microfilm's of the DOOMWATCH scripts are in quite poor condition, with lots of missing characters and scratches across the pages but still readable. Needless to say, it's a fascinating place for any classic TV enthusiast and the staff are very friendly and helpful. The biggest shock however, was the file the BBC hold on Terence Dudley, the original producer of DOOMWATCH. Despite the massive amount of work he did for the BBC and all his work on the original SURVIVORS and DOCTOR WHO etc. his file was suspiciously wafer thin, how very odd. I think someone's been stuffing certain files up their jumper over the years! The same can be said for Simon Oates, John Paul, Louis Marks, Roger Parkes and Robert Powell's documents. However, strangely, Joby Blanshard had 2 files stuffed with paperwork documenting his agents, overtime requests and letters to producers of various TV shows. Martin Worth's file proved interesting too. I'd thoroughly recommend a visit to anyone and help support all the hard work they do to keep all this lovely stuff for us.


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