TV by James Thomas
I don't think I would have chosen 'Doomwatch' as a title likely to gladden the hearts of Monday viewers.
And, however seriously the BBC may pretend to take its message, for me it was just a new kind of romp which is probably going to be a secure successor to 'Quatermass.'
'Doomwatch' is the code name of a department set up to stop the population coming to harm from the activities of the scientists (it seems a little late off the mark), an idea born from the conversations of the original script editor of 'Dr. Who' (Gerry Davis (sic)) and anatomist Dr. Kit Pedler.
Between them they decided that the very progress man was making in research was in danger of rebounding. And so was created Dr. Quist (John Paul) and his off-beat team.
Their first episode spent so much time setting up the characters that the story seemed to get rather waylaid.
Its theme was about Variant 14, a top secret formula designed to destroy plastic waste.
But nobody realises its massive danger potential until it is accidentally carried out of the plant and plastics begin to melt in such unfortunate places as air planes which end up in disaster.
A highly improbable story despite the eager performances, and one which veered towards the ridiculous.
Last night, one of the senior officers of the department actually had to break into the government laboratories to find out what was going on – and there seems no point in Whitehall taking the trouble to keep a curb on the scientists if the very investigators they employ are denied access to secret information.
For myself, I like science fiction kept strictly in its place as fun and fantasy. 'Doomwatch' tends to preach too much about the danger of man's inquiring mind. As an idea I feel it will take a lot of sustaining.
It is only fair to let the series develop its motives. But on this showing it looks as though we shall not have the excitement of being either frightened or informed.
Article from THE DAILY EXPRESS 10th of February 1970
With thanks to Michael Seely