'DOOMWATCH' SHOULD STUDY ITS OWN ILLS by Richard Last
NO ROOM FOR ERROR
Reviewed in The Daily Telegraph on 12th January 1971.
"'Warts and all Doomwatch (BBC1) was up to the end of its previous run, one of the most interesting and viewable of all television series; a programme I seldom failed to watch, however critically. It had a habit of overlaying a serious and responsible theme – the hazards Man is creating with scientific developments – with a sort of James Bond-ish veneer. But, generally, the solid metal was clearly discernible through the surface gloss. Now, however, I'm not so sure. since the present series started, Doomwatch has lost some of its original compulsion. The writing is less assured, the characters have become a little tired. The original purpose of the series seems to escape from the script's grasp. Last night's episode 'No Room for Error' was certainly the weakest I have seen. Ostensibly this was about an outbreak of typhoid which defied known antibiotics. But this seemed to be of less importance than a middle-aged romance between two rather dreary newcomers, one of whom, we gathered, is now to be a permanent member of the Doomwatch team. As played by Jean Trend and John Wood, they appeared to have escaped from the limbo in which 'Compact' now takes its rest rather than have any connection with a scientific laboratory. I used to think the loud mouthed trendily geared Simon Oates character was one of the series chief warts but by comparison with these two he became entirely credible. There was one useful sequence in a factory farm which I hope will have come as a salutory shock to those who believe that all cows still grazed in meadows and hens scratch in yards. I would genuinely hate to become an ex-Doomwatch fan. I hope Quist's team will carry out a crash examination into whatever ill is presently affecting them."
With thanks to Michael Seely for uncovering this classic news item.