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DOOMWATCH DEFICIENCIES

A letter from the pages of New Scientist dated 20th July 1972 from a Mr Shane G.T. Fahy in Sussex complaining about Doomwatch Season 3 and the loss of Kit Pedler ends up with one viewer unfortunately getting exactly what he asks for!

"Sir,–As a member of the "next generation" of scientists, at present still in the maternal womb of the sixth-form I feel that I must prematurely enter the scientific world to announce my intense dissatisfaction, disappointment, and annoyance at the current series of Doomwatch. Having read your magazine avidly, for three years, I feel that I am reasonably well informed on current ecological developments, and the more critical points of science-politics. Therefore, I feel I must ask: "What has happened to Doomwatch?" After an apocryphal first episode involving the good old "Frankenstein Complex", as Asimov once called it, the fictional government, and the not-quite-fictional BBC have decided to pull out the teeth of this programme and leave it a toothless, senile idiot that would do credit to the media of Huxley's Brave New World, or, equally, to the propaganda of Orwell's Big Brother. Properly handled, by Dr. Pedler, Doomwatch could have been a very valuable vehicle for members of both the establishment and the anti-establishment  who would like to see people take a serious interest in affairs which could critically affect not only our civilisation but also our species. I sympathise heartily with Mr Dryden (Letters, 13 July, p107) and his feelings about the "it can't happen here" attitude. Naturally this sort of programme, especially after the "no punches pulled" first series, must affect a great section of the viewers, by lulling them into a false sense of complacency, the results of which do not bear thinking about. Undoubtedly, if the viewing public are bombarded by eco-nuts" screaming prophecies of doom and Armageddon the result (after some initial stimulation) would be utter boredom. Thus the two extremes of meekness and ferocity must be avoided which means steering a careful middle course, which so far only Dr Pedler has managed to do. Therefore, in conclusion, I implore the BBC to bring back Dr Pedler or forget Doomwatch."

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