As requested the lads over in Classic Capitology have taken their orders to highlight more ‘classic’ stories to heart arriving at a true classic, but perhaps one a little more controversial than one might have first thought in The Seeds of Doom.
One of the little known facts about the Seeds is that the writer, Robert Banks Stewart, while established with many credits to his name, particularly in the action-adventure field, contributed a script to The Avengers named ‘Man-Eater of Surrey Green’ which concerned an alien seed pod which came down and grew to enormous proportions and threatened the world. It’s a great episode (and about as far into SF as The Avengers, which strayed pretty far at times, got).
It should, but The Seeds of Doom is a far different story. To begin with it’s actually two-stories in one, the first part (two episodes) take place in Antarctica, whilst the rest move back to the home counties (or near enough). The Doctor in this story is as remote and alien a performance as Tom Baker would ever give, and as such he is both mean and sarcastic which in the main works for him.
But the Doctor in The Seeds of Doom is also surprisingly violent, punching henchmen, toting guns and whipping necks. This is just at edge of believability for a character who mostly eschews such practices but it may be justified in part because Seeds is a grim story in the main, and the villain Harrison Chase (played by Tony Beckley) is one truly one of the creepiest in the history of the show. It’s a fantastic performance.
The Seeds of Doom is also a story of endings. It ends the terrific Season 13. It’s the last story legendary Director Douglas Camfield made for Doctor Who. It’s also the very last echo of UNIT in the classic series with the characters Sir Colin Thackeray and Major Beresford standing in for other more familiar figures. It’s rather sad actually. Then again, did the entry of UNIT in The Web of Fear (also directed by Camfield) or The Invasion (Camfield again) portend all that much. I suspect not.