Sunday, 21 February 2016

425 The Seeds of Doom: Part Four

EPISODE: The Seeds of Doom: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 21 February 1976
WRITER: Robert Banks-Stewart
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Seeds of Doom

"What do you do for an encore, Doctor?" "I win!"

The Doctor jumps through the windows in the ceiling and, overcoming Scorby & seizing his gun, holds Chase at gunpoint. He rescues Sarah, locking them in the lab but the Krynoid pod stings Keeler. Keeler quickly begins to change to Chase's amazed interest. Hiding Sarah in the grounds the Doctor sneaks back to the house. Keeler is taken to a cottage in the grounds. The Doctor finds the opened pod in the lab but is taken prisoner again by Scorby who takes him to Chase's composting machine. Locked in the cottage & bedridden, Keeler continues to mutate. Amelia Ducat turns up at the main gate demanding to be paid for her painting. Sarah sneaks into the cottage and is horrified by what Keeler is becoming. She goes to find the Doctor for help. Chase tries to fob Miss Ducat off by paying her and has Scorby escort her from the premises. Scorby is called away by the guards allowing Sarah to speak to her and gets her to pass a message to Sir Colin Thackeray. Chase has the Doctor placed in the entrance to his composter and sets the machine to start automatically. Miss Ducat returns to her car where Sir Colin & Dunbar are waiting for her. Sir Colin decides to call UNIT while Dunbar goes into the house, admitting his error to Sir Colin. Keeler has mutated into his tentacled form and breaks his bonds, escaping from the cottage. Sarah finds the Doctor and deactivates the composter. Dunbar argues with Chase. Chase's butler Hargreaves tells them Keeler has escaped and Dunbar goes for help. The Doctor & Sarah find Keeler gone. Dunbar encounters a larger Krynoid blob in in the grounds and is consumed by it before it turns it's attentions on the Doctor & Sarah.....

More violence in this episode with the Doctor hitting Scorby in stomach and then smashing chair over his head. Sorry, that's just not the Doctor. Violence from Scorby is more acceptable but his beating the Doctor is a little over the top: this isn't the Sweeney. Then there's the horror aspect of the episode too with Keeler pleading to go to hospital as Chase watches fascinated as he quickly mutates and end up in a form far beyond what Winlett's Krynoid reached:

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Then there's the nasty composter machine that the Doctor is nearly fed to. Yes I know it's just a "saw mill blade with the damsel in distress tied to a log" but with the volume turned up a few notches but it's still very unpleasant and even if you've not seen the story before you'd be putting money on someone going into it before the story's end!

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Like the previous episode there's aspects of this one which leave a rather bad taste in the mouth which is a shame because I think there is some good stuff going on here. When you think about it you do have to wonder why Miss Ducat has Sir Colin Thackeray waiting for her in a car: there's no established link between the two previously in the story.

Right lets deal with the casting "elephant in the room" now: Yes that is Tony Beckley as Harrison Chase. Not heard the name before but think he looks a tad familiar? He was Camp Freddie in The Italian Job. He died of cancer in California in 1980. Seeds of Doom was made 6 years after the Italian Job was released and, though the film was popular, I suspect it hadn't quite reached the popularity it has today.

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At the time John Challis, playing Scorby, was best known for a recurring role in Z-Cars. From 1981 he found fame as Boycie in Only Fools & Horses. He was an actor Douglas Camfield used repeatedly in his Sweeney episode Stay Lucky Eh and then again as Cpl Dupre in his acclaimed classic serial Beau Geste for Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks. You can hear him interviewed by Toby Hadoke in Who's Round 110.

So even though they weren't as well known then you can't watch this now without thinking that the lead villains are Camp Freddie from The Italian Job & Boycie from Only Fools & Horses and that takes you right out of the production.

Kenneth Gilbert plays Richard Dunbar. It's his sole Doctor Who appearance but he was in the Camfield directed Sweeney episode Bad Apple and the first Shoestring episode Private Ear (director: D Camfield) You may recognise him as Harold Earle, one of the politicians who falls prey to Francis Urquart in House of Cards.

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Michael Barrington, playing Sir Colin Thackeray, is probably most familiar as Governor Venables in my favourite sitcom Porridge.

Mark Jones plays the ill fated Arnold Keeler as well as the voice of the Krynoid he becomes. He's yet another Imperial Officer in The Empire Strikes Back and is one of the few Who actors to appear in Red Dwarf where he plays a Canary in Pete part 1.

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Chase's butler Hargreaves is played by Seymour Green who'll be back as the Chamberlain in The Twin Dilemma.

David Masterman, the Guard Leader, was in another Camfield episode of the Sweeney Thou Shalt Not Kill.

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One of his guards, is Harry 'aitch Fielder who finally gets an onscreen credit in this episode! He spent his career as a supporting artist and once you know his face you'll be recognising him everywhere. He's got a stack of Doctor Who episodes to his name going back to 1967 almost all of them uncredited: He was in The Enemy of the World as a Central European Guard, The Wheel in Space as a Wheel Crewmember, Planet of the Spiders as a Guard and Revenge of the Cybermen as a Vogan. He returns in The Deadly Assassin as a Guard, The Face of Evil as a Second Assassin, The Invisible Enemy as a Titan Base Crewman, The Ribos Operation as a Levithian Guard, The Armageddon Factor as a Guard, Meglos as a Tigellan & Castrovalva as a Security Guard. He was numerous uncredited Federation Troopers in Blake's 7, one of which Camfield directed, and is present at the infamous shoot out scene in the final episode. Other Camfield productions he's appeared in include Target: Blow Out (which also features Camfield's wife Sheila Dunn) and four episodes of Beau Geste which we mentioned above.

If you look at his IMDB entry you'll find he has a truly impressive CV! I didn't realise until I started researching this story for the first run of the blog that he'd also appeared on Thames TV children's magazine series CBTV, which I have very fond memories of. He played Harry, the security the security guard on the gates of Teddington Studios that Jim Sweeney & Steve Steen had to get past to get their rooftop studio. Incredibly YouTube footage of this exists, uploaded by the man himself at and He's got a website at and is on facebook at Once you realise what he looks like you'll be spotting him everywhere!

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