The Seeds of Doom (1976)

The final story of Tom Baker’s second series isn’t quite the adventure that I think was the best way to end the series. Six part adventures to end a season would become norm for the Tom Baker era over the next couple of years but this story doest have enough going on for four episodes let along six. It’s an ecological story which is unusual for a non-Barry Letts story. Written by Robert Stewart Banks who had opened the series with Terror of the Zygons.

The story starts off in the Antarctic where they discover a pod that soon turns one of the crew into a green axon. That’s the funny thing, they have got an axon costume from the 1971 Jon Pertwee adventure and painted it green. Whilst the story is in the Antarctic, the story is quite good. It has a claustrophobic atmosphere about it. But the it started to go downhill after the Doctor and Sarah are driven to the middle of nowhere

The story features one of the worst villains in Doctor Who history. Harrison Chase is a very rich individual who lives in a ruddy big mansion but has a thing for plants. The problem with the character is that its very 2 dimensional character who is about as interesting as a bucket of ditch water. I think that when you compare the character to that of Tobias Vaughn in the superbly effective ‘The Invasion’ (1968), Chase is woefully inadequate and that the thing I can’t get over this fact.

This story is noticeable because of the huge green leafy monster which is laughable as at the cliffhanger for Episode 4 when it is waddling towards the camera. I fail to see how even in 1976, this would have scared the kids. I must admit that when it was clamouring over the house it did look impressive and some of the shots of it walking against live action was well done but unfortunately I didn’t like it when it was a live action blob that was waddling around. It’s really hard to find that sort of thing scary.

Elisabeth Sladen gets a lovely speech where she gets to have a go at Scorby. Sladen gets some good things to do in this story and the Baker/Sladen partnership is as strong as ever but for me the sight of the Doctor jumping through a roof window to try and save Sarah was one of my favourite moments in this story. Tom Baker does the best he can in what is a rather light story for him. Apart from the window thing I cant recall what Tom Baker actually does. I’m sure he does something but its not that interesting. The story does feature some UNIT personnel however none of them sadly Nicholas Courtney or Richard Franklin or Ian Lavine. The most noticeable face apart from the regulars was that of John Chalis who played the aforementioned Scorby. He would go on to play Boyce in Only Fools and Horses and for that reason I love the character even more. Compared to the rather lifeless Chase, Scorby was lie an over active child.

The Seeds of Doom is a part fun part boring adventure that isn’t helped by a lifeless villain and a alien threat that can only move with the help of special recording equipment. When the story is in the Antarctic then it’s a nice closed off story but the moment moves to Chase’s house then it becomes a dull story. Not the best T Baker stories ever.


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