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Published on December 11th, 2010 | by James Whittington

The Seeds Of Doom

A few years ago, when the BBC released this adventure onto VHS I couldn’t afford to buy it. Feeling a tad down I was walking with my fiancé through our local shopping centre and found two £10 HMV vouchers lying crumpled on the floor.

Doctor Who - The Seeds of Doom“Woohoo!” I thought; but guilt got the better of me and I handed them into my local HMV saying where I’d found them and hope that the person who had lost them returns to the shop. Upon leaving the nice man behind the counter stopped me and gave them to me saying that it was a nice act and that if that person returns with the receipt they would be given a new pair.

So guess what I did with the vouchers…?

Anyway, I mention this because The Seeds Of Doom is one of those adventures that has always stuck in mind as being a classic and the VHS was a favourite release of mine. Would it stand up today though?

It’s the 20th century and on Earth a research team based in the Antarctic unwittingly dig up two mysterious pods which have lain buried in the snow for twenty thousand years. Yet the identity of the pods is no mystery to the Doctor, they are Krynoid, a hostile, alien species of life. The Doctor’s fears are confirmed when one of the pods opens and attacks a scientist. Unfortunately, the Doctor is not the only one interested in the seeds – an insane millionaire, Harrison Chase, is desperate to get his hands on a pod at any cost – even murder.

But why? As the remaining pod hurtles to England, splitting open to reveal a ferocious Krynoid carnivore, can the Doctor arrest its development? As its strength grows every moment, it threatens to turn Earth’s vegetation hostile too. Its germination could jeopardize the security of mankind itself.

The Seeds Of Doom is Doctor Who gold! Time may have withered the ropey vegetation effects but the story and acting are just sublime. For starters Tom is nearing the top of his game here, delivering each line with passion, enthusiasm and heart. He is given more action style sequences here, being more dynamic than before. Tony Beckley is just sublime as the villain Harrison Chase. His sequence when playing his music is a classic moment of Who gently touching other genres. John Challis as the tough evil side-kick Scorby is terrific with a smart sense of darkness to his often humorous character. The sets are as solid looking as you’d want them to be and the whole production is steeped in a sort of Quatermass atmosphere. The location of Athelhampton adds so much to the story and keeps it all looking so authentic.

As meantioned, the effects (obviously) are slightly weak but I do recall seeing this first time around and being rather disturbed by the organic creations. The end pieces are well realised and quite funky for their time.

Disc 1 Extras:

Commentary – Tom Baker, John Challis, Kenneth Gilbert, Michael McStay, Philp Hinchcliffe, Robert Banks Stewart, Roger Murray-Leach and Joggs Camfield (son of the late director Douglas Camfield). It’s a light, jovial affair with Tom on top form and we do get an insight into his knowledge of acting as well as the fun he had playing the character.

Isolated Music – The option to watch the story with just the score playing, a nice touch and one of the strongest soundtracks from the series.

Subtitle Production Notes – Essential viewing, have these running as soon as you can.
Doctor Who - The Seeds of Doom

Disc 2 Extras:

Podshock – This is a cracking, straight-forward making of with most of the cast and crew talking heartily about the story’s production. The newly created CGI backgrounds add to it and even flakes of snow fly past the interviewees. Philip Hinchliffe, Robert Banks Stewart, Kenneth Gilbert and John Challis amongst others are on hand to voice their opinion of the production. The tale of the biting dog is one to listen out for!

Now And Then – The long running location series continues with a visit to Athelhampton House, a quarry in Reigate and BBC Television Centre. A nice piece with excellent use of script directions to see how certain sequences were shot.

Playing In The Green Cathedral – Composer Geoffrey Burgon chats about how he became involved with scoring this story and the problems that arose from it. Though this isn’t the best part as I enjoyed hearing the short piece about how he got into TV music composing.

So What Do You Do Exactly?
– Graeme Harper explains what a Production Assistant (also known as a Production Unit Manager) does. Bit of a disc filler and will only appeal to people who actually want to enter into the industry.

Stripped For Action: The Fourth Doctor
– The comic-strips have never really appealed to me but this series is pretty interesting and its good fun to see what others actually got out of them. This looks at TV Comic’s contribution to the show’s comic book legacy with contributions from Alan Barnes and Gary Russell.

Trail And Continuity – Off-air trail for the first part and continuity for the fifth all mix to make a wonderful and warm minute and a twenty seconds of nostalgia.

Photo Gallery – A collection of snaps from the production of the story which is for hardcore fans only.

Coming Soon – A trailer for the forthcoming DVD release of Meglos. Very dramatic, very atmospheric and makes it look very good.

PDF Materials – Pop the disc into your PC or Mac and you can scan over the original Radio Times listings and Douglas Camfield’s paper edit that was created for a compilation version of the story.

Easter Egg – Not telling!

So then, The Seeds Of Doom is a Doctor Who classic in every sense of the word this should be at the top of your Christmas list.

Out now with an RRP of £19.99 you can get The Seeds of Doom for just £12.99 on Amazon!

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About the Author

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James has been a Doctor Who fan for as long as he can recall. A child of the 70s and 80s, he weathered all the storms and controversies the show encountered, though he didn’t buy the “Doctor In Distress” single.



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