The Seeds of Doom

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is called in to help identify a vegetable pod found buried in the Antarctic tundra. But another party has already learned of the pod’s presence – the eccentric botanist Harrison Chase, who sends one of his hired guns and one of his scientists to procure the pod by any means necessary. At the south pole, the Doctor makes two dreadful discoveries: the pod is a Krynoid, an alien species of omnivore plant life which has been known to destroy all animal life on entire planets, and the overeager scientists at the Antarctic base have revived the Krynoid pod with ultraviolet light, causing it to open and take over the mind and body of one of them. Noting that Krynoid pods always arrive in pairs, the Doctor quickly finds another specimen of the deadly plant in the nearby ice just as Chase’s men arrive under false pretenses, taking the second pod and leaving the scientists, the Doctor and Sarah for dead. Help arrives, and the Doctor and Sarah track the pod down to Harrison Chase, who is delighted at the discovery of a breed of meat-devouring plant life – for he prefers plants to the company of humans. Under Chase’s obsessed care, the Krynoid soon grows to enormous proportions, ready to consume all animal life on Earth unless the Doctor can stop it.

Download this episodewritten by Robert Banks Stewart
directed by Douglas Camfield
music by Geoffrey Burgon

Guest Cast: Tony Beckley (Harrison Chase), John Challis (Scorby), John Gleeson (Charles Winlett/Krynoid humanoid), Michael McStay (Derek Moberly), Hubert Rees (John Stevenson), Kenneth Gilbert (Dunbar), Seymour Green (Hargreaves), Michael Barrington (Sir Colin Thackeray), Mark Jones (Arnold Keeler), Ian Fairbairn (Dr. Chester), Alan Chuntz (Chauffeur), Sylvia Coleridge (Amelia Ducat), David Masterman, Harry Fielder, Ian Elliott (Guards), John Achson (Major Beresford), Ray Barron (Sgt. Henderson), Mark Jones (Krynoid’s voice), Keith Ashley (Secretary)

Broadcast from January 31 through March 6, 1976

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: One of the more incongruous elements of The Seeds Of Doom is the atypically high degree to which the Doctor employs physical violence. He throws punches, he pulls a gun on Harrison Chase, and damn near breaks Scorby’s neck with his bare hands. He also gives a rare full endorsement to an RAF air strike on the Krynoid, and finally, after escaping a powerful mechanical composter, doesn’t exactly fight too hard to keep its owner from being mulched. Now, I will grant that the Doctor was fighting to save the entire human race, sometimes from the Krynoid and sometimes from itself, but rarely has he resorted to such tactics – before or since.

Harrison Chase is underrated in the annals of Doctor Who villains, in my opinion. His dangerous eccentricity and preference for plants – in one scenes, he complains that the cultivation of bonsai trees is equivalent to mutilation and torture of vegetation – is pushed over the edge into blind madness when he comes into the possession of the Krynoid pod. But in the end, his allegiance to plant life isn’t enough to keep the Krynoid from considering him nothing more than another animal to be devoured. He was very well played, and the character’s motivation is much more simple and credible than, for example, trying to take over the entire universe or even just one world from a single location.