The Doomwatch team ... remind me more and more of neurotic housewives as the series continues. One would imagine that you would require a level head at least, but Dr. Quist flaps about like an old hen in any crisis (under a thin pretence of efficiency) and Dr. Ridge spends most of the time staring at every female through half-closed eyes and behaving like a big headed pop star. As for the doctor in yesterday's episode, whose daughter was struck down by incurable typhoid and who was responsible for the slip that resulted in the curative drug proving ineffective, he was squawking and squeaking like an actress who'd got bad notices on her first night.Every bit of drama was squeezed out of the character's temperamental and unreasonable personality rather than the situation itself – a story, incidentally, that could have produced enough drama on it's own.
Jean Trend, once a regular actress on the TV scene but lately a mother and housewife, has arrived back on BBC1 in the new Doomwatch series. And she's an attractive addition to a dedicated team which always seems to owe something more to Doctor Finlay and Doctor Who. Miss Trend appeared at times on colour TV last night to have green hair. But there was nothing green about her performance. she has lost nothing of her punch – yet whether this series will put her talents to the best use is not easy to say.
Doomwatch is a rather incredible outfit (run by John Paul as Doctor Quist) which deals with everything from Cabinet leakages to outbreaks of fowl pest. Its few operators have the knowledge of the gods and since they never seem to have time to read the gods alone know where the acquired it.
Last night they were involved in a typhoid epidemic, a new strain resistant to known drugs. The children were being struck down, including the daughter of the lover of Doctor Chantry (Miss Trend). Would the new relatively untried drug be used? What would be the possible side effects? In her début with the programme, poor Miss Trend was faced with proving the value of the drug which she had helped to develop.
It seemed that the whole exercise was merely a test of security for the lady before she actually joined the Doomwatch team. Would she give up her lover to go ahead with the drug? she did. With the addition of some glamour to these unique investigators, the Trend Which is going to hold on to the audience is obvious.
With thanks to Michael Seely