Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc (originally published June 2012)

The Green Death

Tonight’s soundtrack: Karen Dalton, “Katie Cruel”


“How can you watch this,” my stepfather said. “This is crap. Cheap crap. It’s not even good science fiction.”

The Green Death is a Jon Pertwee adventure, so I must have seen it in Omnibus format, so this had to have been a Saturday.

“HA!” he suddenly roared. “Did you see that? The ground bounced when he ran through there! It’s a board! It’s fake.”

Giant glistening maggots with slivered teeth writhed about the place, and he drew attention to the fact that it happened on a set.

“How can you watch this,” he repeated, now sounding genuinely curious 1 . “You have to know that makes it unbelievable. That takes you right out of it; you can’t watch that.”

And so it was, on a Saturday at around sixteen minutes and thirty-nine seconds into Episode Five of The Green Death that I killed him, your honor I invented fanwank.

I didn’t say anything at first, but my mind immediately cracked its knuckles and went, “Right…”

Because it was obvious, obvious, to me that while, yes, you could say that the ground moving was a production gaffe caused by the fact that they needed to work the maggot puppets from below and John Levene is no ballerina, the better response was to say, “Okay, that’s odd. But in the context of the story, in the Universe I’m watching, that actually happened. So why did it happen?” 

Luckily, my first one out was easy. This was mining country. They’d dug a hole for storage or whatever, then covered it with boards.

I got about as far as “No, no… you see it, so—’ before my stepfather finally got the shouting match he needed to show affection with.


1 I can’t promise this won’t be the last story about going through my secondary formative years with a live-in analog organic internet troll.

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