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DOOMWATCH PROGRAMME REVIEW BOARDS

The original Programme Review Boards that were from meetings held at BBC Television Centre for discussing Doomwatch (and a handful of other TV shows from that week) just after their transmission have just been uncovered…
Doomwatch: The Plastic Eaters (Reviewed 11 February 1970)
D.P.Tel. had been hooked by this first of a new series. Andrew Osborn (H.Series D.Tel.) said he was quite pleased with the way the series was turning out; it would need time to get established. M.D.Tel. thought it would also need good writers. On the characterisation of this episode David Webster (Exec. Ed.C.A.G.Tel.) looked forward to seeing one day an adventure which would star a dim scientist and an efficient Civil Servant and an obviously able, straightforward Minister of the Crown. Ian Atkins (C.P.S.Tel.) noted the transformation of John Barron in the part of a Minister compared with his role as Assistant Chief Constable Gilbert in “Softly, Softly”. M.D.Tel. wondered if the casting had not been unfortunate in this context.

Doomwatch: Friday’s Child (Reviewed 18 February 1970)
Praised as a very good episode, if a little harrowing.
Doomwatch: Burial at Sea (Reviewed 25 February 1970)
This episode was warmly praised by Andrew Osborn (H.Series D.Tel.) and Ian Atkins (C.P.S.Tel.), Joanna Spicer (A.C.Tel.D.) had found it beautifully acted but a little slow. Robert Reid (H.S.P.Tel.) thought that one had guessed the plot after only 2 minutes. Stephen Hearst (H.A.P.Tel.) thought the acting rather wooden. Shaun Sutton (H.D.G.Tel.) disagreed; he believed also that the public would like the series very much. Gordon Watkins (C.A.(P.D.) P.G.Tel.) thought one great value of the series was that it was not just pure entertainment but dealt with issues which were now often in the news. It was noted that a very similar story to this adventure, arising from the dumping of cyanide drums in the ocean, had just been covered in “Nationwide”. In this context Michael Mills (H.C.L.E.Tel.) said he found the series much more frightening than “Dr. Who”.
Doomwatch: Tomorrow, the Rat (Reviewed 4 March 1970)
Gordon Watkins (C.A.(P.D.)F.G.Tel.) thought this adventure had been very well done – but terrifying/ John Culshaw (H.M.P.Tel.) agreed. Ian Atkins (C.P.S.Tel.) thought that some rather nasty moments had been held on to by the camera direction too long. C.BBC-1 considered that the inclusion of shots of the rats in the advance trailer for the programme had not helped this situation. Michael Mills (H.C.L.E.Tel.) thought that the fault lay in the same person being responsible for production and direction as well as the script. Andrew Osborn (H.Series D.Tel.) said the episode had contained many things which the Service could have done without; Mr. Mills had put his finger on where the fault lay.

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