Doomwatch Logo

Billed as science-fact rather than science-fiction, ‘Doomwatch’ is a drama series concentrating on the dangers and threats to world ecology, both natural and man-made.

The Department of Observation and Measurement of Scientific Work - nicknamed ‘Doomwatch’ - is a section of the Ministry of National Security whose remit is to act as a watchdog group investigating current scientific work, and ensuring that the welfare of the general public and the environmental is not compromised. It is led by Doctor Spencer Quist, a gruff and no-nonsense Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, who is driven to champion the cause for ecological awareness following his work on the Manhattan Project and the death from leukaemia of his wife Helena. He is assisted by a small team of staff, including Doctor John Ridge, a chemist in his late thirties who is not only a ladies’ man, but who also has a shady past and connections to MI6 and Colin Bradley, the team’s electronics engineer, who looks after the department’s computer and undertakes any required scientific tests. Other members would come and go over the three seasons, but particularly well-known is Toby Wren, a physics postgraduate from Cambridge who meets a dramatic end in season one’s finale ‘Survival Code’.

‘Doomwatch’ was devised by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, who had previously worked together on the science-fiction programme ‘Doctor Who’, and who were responsible for creating the part-human, part-machine race known as the Cybermen. The series can probably be said to be the first television drama to seriously deal with 'green' issues, long before they were a major public concern. Stories were thought-provoking and intelligently written, touching on controversial subjects such genetic engineering, euthanasia, and governmental research projects going out of control. Ironically, on several occasions topics covered in the programme occurred for real shortly after the episodes aired, making the issues being addressed particularly pertinent. Later stories are rather less plausible, but the development of the main characters is always a strong point, particularly in the case of Ridge’s breakdown during season three.

Unfortunately, the last season was beset by problems: the episode ‘Sex and Violence’ was banned as it featured genuine footage of a military execution, and the episode ‘The Devil's Demolition’ was never made, which resulted in a rather unsatisfactory ending to the series.

A feature film starring Ian Bannen and Judy Geeson was released in 1972, which also featured John Paul and Simon Oates, although they were consigned to secondary billing. It was billed as a horror film, but actually had a storyline as ecologically aware as the series that spawned it. Then in 1992, a feature-length pilot for a proposed new series was transmitted, featuring Trevor Eve as the lead character and Philip Stone portraying an elderly Quist. The story ended with the creation of a new Doomwatch department, but sadly the series was never made - a shame, as the themes behind the show are still as relevant today as they were in the early 70s…

Doomwatch - Season 1
Doomwatch - Season 2
Doomwatch - Season 3
Doomwatch - Movie
Doomwatch - Winter Angel

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Legal Bit: 'Doomwatch' is a registered trademark of BBC Worldwide. The 'Doomwatch' logo and all images from the television series are copyright BBC unless otherwise stated; music is copyright the original composers and producers; no copyright infringement is intended. All specially created images and text are copyright © Clive Banks; please do not use these without my permission. All rights reserved. No profit is made from this website, and any revenue made from using the banner-links featured goes straight back into the costs of maintaining it, which comes out of my own pocket in the first place. No profit advertising is accepted. This website was created purely to entertain and amuse, and any references to persons living, dead, comatose, in suspended animation, not born yet, a victim of strange experiments, or a figment of someone's imagination is purely coincidental. All opinions expressed are my own, so there...

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