DEPARTMENT FOR THE OBSERVATION AND MEASUREMENT OF SCIENTIFIC WORK
is better known by its nickname DOOMWATCH which thankfully is easier to say and fits rather nicely on a badge.
Groundbreaking classic British sci-fi series Doomwatch originally aired on the BBC from 1970 – 1972 and at its peek, attracted in excess of 13.6 million viewers and spawned two film adaptations. Although in huge demand, it has never before been available on DVD, until now… Thanks to Simply Media Doomwatch Series 1-3 makes its long awaited DVD debut.
Not all of the episodes made it but the ones that still exist come to DVD as Doomwatch Series 1-3 The Remaining Episodes. The available episodes have been released in a stunning seven-disc box set, together with the unseen episode ‘Sex and Violence’ and the BBC documentary ‘The Cult of Doomwatch’.
The cult series is the brainchild of Kid Pedler and Gerry Davis, the men responsible for Doctor Who’s iconic Cybermen, and follows government agency The Department of Measurement of Scientific Work AKA Doomwatch, as they fight to protect mankind from all manner of horrifying technology and experiments gone wrong.
The team lead by Dr. Spencer Quist (John Paul – A Countess from Hong Kong), alongside Colin Bradley (Joby Blanshard – The Brothers), Toby Wren (Robert Powell – The Detectives), and Dr. Fay Chantry (Jean Trend – Z Cars), must battle hyper intelligent rats, toxic waste, plastic eating bacteria, mind destroying sound waves and genetic mutations from day to day – all the while confronted with volatile corporations, their own unsupportive government superiors and ever changing dynamics within the team.
Set in a time of public fascination with the perils of science and technology, Doomwatch offers a glimpse of real scientific concepts, that are still relevant today and explores the moral dilemmas faced by those left to pick up the pieces when things inevitably go wrong.
A must for any discerning sci-fi and classic TV fan.
So here we have the reviews the for remaining episodes for series 3 including the never before seen ‘sex and violence’.
SERIES 3 – DISC 7
Episode 4 WAITING FOR A KNIGHTHOOD
The team investigate a case of extreme lead poisoning, linked to petrol fumes. Soon after, the son of an oil company magnate is kidnapped.
The team are called into look at a case of lead poisoning after a vicar drops down in church speaking incoherently. They find that the vicar fixes up old cars and that he comes in contact with lead quite a lot which leads them to investigate further. Meanwhile a man who works for an oil company has his son kidnapped and it is revealed that the woman involved kidnapped the boy because her son died of lead poisoning, as there is lead in fuel she blames him. An odd case for sure, with people being sympathetic towards the kidnapper over her loss. There is the pollution factor to be taken into account in this episode as well which the team also investigate.
Episode 6 HAIR TRIGGER
A radical practice in a mental home comes under Doomwatch investigation where they discover the patients are being lobotomised.
Human contact is important in anybody’s recovery but what if there was a way to control someone’s behaviour by machine. The team investigate this very case where a man who killed his whole family is being electronically controlled to behave a certain way that suits the population. Unfortunately when pushed too far even the machine can’t stop him falling back on his own instincts. A sad case of man relying too much on computers to fix problems when all that could really be done to help is have them talking to a human being.
Episode 12 – SEX AND VIOLENCE
Doomwatch are asked by the minister to investigate the rise of pornography, as he sees it as a threat to society. Dr. Quist on the other hand believes an investigation into permissiveness is Doomwatch territory. The minister disagrees and so they must investigate.
This was a banned untransmitted episode on its original run and this will be the first time most people will have a chance to see it. The basics of this episode is that the minister asks Dr. Quist and his team to look at whether the moral compass of a human being is turned by seeing sex and violence in the media. They come up against a strong bunch of people who believe that it should be banned and that is what Dr. Quist must argue against. It is ironic to think that an episode that was dealing with censorship would in fact be censored itself, but that is exactly what happened.
This disc also has a half hour documentary called ‘THE CULT OF DOOMWATCH’ which was shown on BBC four in 2006 and has interviews with some of the cast and crew involved in making the show the hit it was. It also looks at the cultural impact of the show on the general public.
Reviews by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins