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THE DAILY MIRROR Tuesday February 17th 1970

THIS HORROR WAS NO LAUGHING MATTER

Mary Malone's view

What puts that enjoyable tingle in the spine is distance. Space to stand back and chill happily as Dracula sinks his batty fangs into the maiden's neck.

As Frankenstein's monster writhes into life or as Sweeney Todd Heh heh-hehs and tips the customers down to the pie shop cellar.

It is so unbelievable. It's lovely.

But what happens when the facts are not in fancy dress? When they are close to home and could have stepped out of the news columns?

ETHICS

Why, it is no longer entertainment. And it borders on the distressing.

Doomwatch, Episode Two (BBC-1) 'Friday's Child' last night played on a lot of contemporary raw nerves.

It involved the ethics of the heart transplant business, experiments in using animal spare parts in human beings and just to top it off, babies made in test tubes.

A dry scientific discussion on 'Tomorrow's World' dealing with these topics is just about tolerable.

But when you wrap up all the issues in a drama involving a mother and her dead child, a surgeon who has used a monkey's heart to save his own boy and is growing a brainless foetus to replace the heart in ten years time, you have a horror film for the audiences of 2000 A.D.

About then, they'll be able to sit back and say how ridiculous with all the glee that we lavish on our old favourites.

This Doomwatch quite simply mauled the emotions. In the name of entertainment or more speciously, to alert us to the dangers technologists could blunder into.

The agony was piled on without restraint even down to those early evening blurbs that showed a chubby infant and asked 'What is so special about this particular baby?' which sounds fine until later you found out it had a monkey's heart.

With thanks to Michael Seely

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