Doctor Who-The Green Death (1973)

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Released 5-Aug-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Katy Manning (Actor), Barry Letts(Prod.) &Terrance Dicks(Ed)
Interviews-Crew-Robert Sloman (Writer)
Interviews-Cast-Stewart Bevan
Informational Subtitles
Featurette-Global Conspiracy?
Featurette-Visual Effects
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 154:31 (Case: 202)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Christopher Barry
Morris Barry
Rodney Bennett
Paul Bernard
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring William Hartnell
Patrick Troughton
Jon Pertwee
Tom Baker
Peter Davison
Colin Baker
Sylvester McCoy
Christopher Eccleston
Carole Ann Ford
William Russell
Jacqueline Hill
Maureen O'Brien
Peter Purves
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Mark Ayres
Richard Rodney Bennett
Carey Blyton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In The Green Death, The Doctor and sidekick Jo go to Llanfairfach in Wales with the Brigadier to investigate a death involving a mine worker who is covered in a green slime. Upon their arrival, Jo becomes involved with Professor Cliff Jones, a hippy who is against the use of fossil fuels, fighting against a corporate conglomerate who is taking control of the world's fuel sources.

    When another mine worker dies because of this mysterious green death, The Doctor enters the mine to find a race of giant worms making this green excrement which is deadly to all who come in contact with it. Finding that these giant maggots are an unnatural by-product of a local industry, Global Chemicals, whose toxic waste is dumped into the mine, he discovers plans to eradicate the creatures to cover up the toxic waste dumping. When explosives drive the maggots up to the surface, the army is called in to stop the maggots, to no avail.

    The Doctor finds out that there is more to Global Chemicals, with a mastermind behind the cover-ups. However, it is not a person, but rather a computer with plans for world domination.

    The Green Death is one of the longer stories of the Doctor Who series. While most run for 4 episodes, this one ran for 6. This is a 4 episode story fleshed out to add more character interaction, not for plotline.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1, close enough to the original 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    While the show looks more impressive than I remember it looked when being broadcast on the ABC, the image is far from perfect.

    The show has been digitally restored, which I am sure saved it from looking disastrous on DVD. A large amount of film grain has been removed, however it has not been removed totally, as several scenes were simply too far gone to completely eliminate this artefact. A few outdoor scenes have these problems, but this is due to the infamous BBC cameras and film that they used for outside filming. There is a huge difference between the scenes filmed outside and the indoor studio footage.

    The image is quite soft in some instances. Perhaps another by-product of the era in which this was filmed is the fact that there are several occasions, especially earlier on, where characters and objects have little defining shape. A bonus is that on several occasions you cannot see the wrinkles on the doctor because of the blur.

    Another problem inherent with the era of filming is the camera's inability to properly film lighting directed at the camera. Light sources are "burnt in" to the image, bringing comet trails when the camera pans, leaving a mark on screen for a brief time afterwards. This cannot be blamed on anyone but the creators of the cameras.

    Blue screening is a major cringe factor. On several occasions, blue screening was required for special effects purposes, such as at 2:00, when a mine worker rises from the mines on an elevator. A very blurred image is shown, with the foreground including the mineworker being pixelated, as well as not colour matched to the background. Another instance is at 55:20, with an obvious blue border surrounding The Doctor and Jo while they are rowing a boat along the maggot river. This is not a ghostly Obi-Wan emerging from the mist, but a poor attempt at putting these characters in front of a miniature background blown up. The border is sometimes a problem for high speed movement in front of the screen, but in this show, they are barely even moving. The characters definitely look out of place, not being colour matched to the background.

    The disc is dual layered.

    Subtitles are provided in English. Whilst not entirely agreeing with the dialogue on screen, they are reasonably close. The commentary is also subtitled.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    In regards to soundtracks, we have a choice of an English 2.0 mono channel track encoded at 192kbps, as well as a full length 2.0 audio commentary, also at 192kbps.

    The soundtrack is quite clear, with a slight hissing noise that can be heard at several points throughout the show, however you won't notice this unless you have the volume turned up quite high. For this show, it is not really necessary to do that. There are no popping sounds or dropouts.

    The dialogue is quite clear and audible. Understanding it is another thing, due to the Welsh accents. After so many American and Australian movies and shows, I find it difficult to adjust to the accents of the Welsh.

    The surrounds are not used at all, even with Pro Logic II enabled. This is essentially a monaural track, with all sounds emanating from the front speakers, mainly from the centre speaker.

    The subwoofer is unused, yet is not missed in any way.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Audio Commentary - Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Barry Letts (Producer) and Terrance Dicks (Script Editor)

    The group is quite comfortable with each other, talking of their experiences creating the show, however a lot of inside jokes left me baffled. A lot of the conversation consisted of the team discussing their experiences of the show, but ultimately providing nothing overly informative for the viewer.

Interview - With Robert Sloman 6:52

    The writer of The Green Death talks about his inspirations for creating the script for this episode.

Interview - With Stewart Bevan 7:43

    Professor Jones returns in front of the camera 30 years later, explaining how his wife Katy Manning (Jo) convinced him to audition for the role, then on to the experience of filming the show. Standard interview material here.

Informational Subtitles

    A subtitle stream which is becoming more common on special edition DVDs. This provides some useful information that was not presented in the commentary and featurettes, imparting facts about the Doctor Who universe from those who helped create it.

Featurette - Global Conspiracy 10:53

    This is a mockumentary of the story based 30 years later after the events of the maggot invasion. Hosted by Tony Adams, one of the cast members from The Green Death, he interviews several actors reprising their roles 3 decades later on the events of past, seeing how the town has now recovered, with most not even remembering what happened. This is quite an interesting featurette, poking fun at the show itself. It is brief, leaving a feeling that it could have been extended out for a full 30 minutes, or even longer. This is the one feature on this disc to be presented in a 16x9 aspect ratio.

Featurette - Visual Effects 11:41

    Colin Mapson, who designed some of the special effects for The Green Death, re-creates maggots 30 years after his first creations. He goes through step by step describing how he crafted these models. I would have found this featurette interesting if the worms themselves looked like something more than paper mache. Also briefly mentioned are some of the other special effects.

Gallery-Photo 8:12

    As the title suggests, this is an 8 minute featurette that displays still behind-the-scenes shots, publicity stills, and production work. The audio track provides background for the events on screen, including the Doctor's car, maggots and ambient noise.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Doctor Who has not made as much of an impact in the U.S. as it did in the U.K. and Australia. Only a small handful of DVDs have been released in Region 1, not including The Green Death. This leaves us with only a comparison between the Region 2 and the Region 4 releases, which are identical.

Summary

    With more and more Doctor Who episodes being released on DVD each year, it allows all of us who are old enough to remember to reminisce, reliving childhoods long past. Getting past the corny effects and script, this is one of the better episodes. The audio is good, the video is probably the best they could have done with remastering, and the special features are quite adequate. Well worth the watch in the end.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aiden O'Brien (Here are the results from my biopsy.)
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSONY DVP-NS575P, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-76PW60. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR500E
SpeakersJensen SPX-9 Front, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 Rear, Jensen SPX-17 Sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
US releases... -
Cast Listing for this DVD.... -
R1 better off than you think - Amanda P
Global Conspiracy -
Re: R1 is better off than you think - zooty