Friday, July 26, 2013

DVD REVIEW: The Green Death: Special Edition



THE GREEN DEATH: SPECIAL EDITION
Starring Jon Pertwee

2-disc DVD - details HERE

UK: Aug 5
AUSTRALASIA: Aug 7
NORTH AMERICA: Aug 13

I shan't bore you with my thoughts on this classic tale, having already been released on DVD (so I'm sure you've got it already), but The Green Death is one of the most iconic adventures not only of the Jon Pertwee era, but also of all Doctor Who serials. Frequently (and fondly) remembered as “the one with the maggots”, this tale of ecological doom strongly evokes the growing awareness of our impending environment crisis, when it first came to public attention in the 1970s.

However, the story also marked the departure of the Katy Manning's Jo Grant and heralded the start of the slow break-up of the UNIT family – indeed, the farewell of Jo has often been cited as a rare example of classic Who embracing a more emotional tone we find now in "new" Who, with the finale offering a dramatic template on which the revived series draws on. As such, this release celebrates the influence of The Green Death on the revival and rightly offers the most for fans of both old and new Who.

Also included as an extra is Death Of The Doctor, a The Sarah Jane Adventures two-parter that featured both Matt Smith's Time Lord and Katy Manning's last appearance (to date) as Jo on-screen. This is a lovely addition that not only really showcases SJA at its best, but also a rare, lone example of Russell T Davies writing for The Eleventh Doctor. (You can read Blogtor's review of Death of the Doctor HERE.)

EXTRAS
The Green Death contains a wonderful collection of riches for fans of the series, no matter their age. Aside from the usual Who DVD goodies (the well-established PDFs, fascinating Production Subtitles and Photo Galleries), there are some incredibly fun and well-produced featurettes - most notably The One With The Maggots, a documentary on the making of this production. Also included is a fascinating extended look at the FX creation of the iconic maggot monsters themselves, extended interviews with Robert Sloman and Stuart Bevan, some nostalgic clips from Wales Today with Jon Pertwee (which tell you what happened to the location later in the 1990s) and a look at Katy Manning's post-Who pottery series (yes, you read that correctly), amusingly titled Serendipity.

Given that Russell T Davies often talks about the emotional impact of this serial on both him as a child and on his approach on how he handled Who's revival, then it isn't surprising to find the extras offering much from the man himself, without unbalancing the extras in favour of the post-2005 series.

Episode Six features a charming and touching bonus commentary with RTD and Manning discussing the impact of the final episode, her relationship with Jon Pertwee and how SJA brought her new fame, and an array of wonderful Welsh accents. This rapport continues through into an unmissable and sweet commentary between them on the Death Of Doctor.

Finally, of most interest for new series fans, is a mini-documentary that discusses the the gradual plans that fell into place to bring the show back, and how much luck has been on "new" Who's side, even as far back as the late 1980s, revealing – possibly for the first time - a bizarre connection between John Nathan-Turner and Jane Tranter (pictured below) that lead to her life-long love of the original show.

Tranter's passion is clear to all here, showing that even as the show began to die, she saw what the show could offer if it was loved again, its potential place at the BBC and what a successful Doctor Who it could mean for British television; all of this turning her into its greatest champion many years later. One hopes this will be explored and expanded for a future New Series DVD or bluray release.

"Easter Eggs" to hunt out include the original 1973 and 1994 repeat continuity announcements - which will give certain fans of both the Seventies and the Nineties a nostalgia rush, and an out-take from Global Conspiracy, another DVD extra featured on this set (starring Mark Gatiss).

Overall, given the iconic nature of this serial, it was only fitting that BBC Worldwide delivered a celebration on DVD that showcases its influence which continues today, and this release delivers.

BLOGTOR RATING 8/10
Thanks to BBC Worldwide

1 comment:

Ozzy Baxter said...

All hail Jane Tranter! The 21st century Verity Lambert! Or would that be Julie Gardner? Either way, two of the greatest women of Doctor Who!