73 – The Seeds of Death

For a long time this was only the second Patrick Troughton serial I had watched (after Tomb of the Cybermen) – and a prime contributor to my then perception that the era wasn’t particularly good. The story revolves around returning foes the Ice Warriors, who seize control of Earth’s primary transport means (named T-Mat, years before it was pointed out that ‘Transmat’ is a better name) and plot to use it to devastate earth with a deadly fungus – transported through the eponymous ‘seeds.’ Into this scenario steps the second Doctor with Jamie and Zoe – all three actors perhaps painfully aware that they were on their way out by the season’s end.

I have to say, viewing the serial on DVD made me reappraise the story more favourably. It stands up moderately well as an alien invasion story, and the Ice Warriors themselves are superb – the episode one cliffhanger is absolutely sensational in its reveal of the enemy. The main trouble is that the series looks and feels rather tired by this stage. In this regard The Invasion was good proof that the UNIT era was the right direction to take as the show moved to colour – it injected fresh life and impetus to the show. It seemed just a little too easy to disengage while watching this particular adventure, and one cannot help but wonder to what extent the decision by the main cast to leave had upon the production team. One forgets that the show was heading towards completely unchartered territory – while the cast had been refreshed many times over, there had always been some degree of continuity. Starting in Season 7, the TARDIS team would be entirely new (unless you count Nicholas Courtney becoming a regular cast member).

For all of these provisos, The Seeds of Death is still a thoroughly watchable adventure, if a shade long at six episodes. One has the distinct suspicion that a faster paced four part adventure in the colour era would have transformed a merely good adventure, into an absolutely fantastic one.



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