was devised by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, who had previously worked together on the science-fiction programme ‘Doctor
Who’, and who were responsible for creating the part-human, part-machine race known as the Cybermen. The series can
probably be said to be the first television drama to seriously deal with 'green' issues, long before they were a major public
concern. Stories were thought-provoking and intelligently written, touching on controversial subjects such genetic engineering,
euthanasia, and governmental research projects going out of control. Ironically, on several occasions topics covered in the
programme occurred for real shortly after the episodes aired, making the issues being addressed particularly pertinent.
Nigel Kneale was offered
to write for the series, but declined the offer.
Some episodes no longer
exist having been wiped or destroyed during the BBC's infamous archive purge of 1972-8. From Season 1, eight episodes out
of thirteen survive; from Season 3, only three episodes out of twelve exist (which includes the un-broadcast episode, "Sex
and Violence"); whilst every episode from Season 2 survives. No footage from any of the lost episodes is known to exist except
for the three minutes and thirty seconds (approximately) from "Survival Code", which was used in the reprise of "You Killed
Toby Wren" - this footage covers the explosive climax of the Season 1 finale in which Toby Wren is killed when a bomb he is
trying to diffuse explodes.
In 1972, a ninety-minute
feature film was made simply entitled Doomwatch. While it did feature the original cast members, they only played a minimal
part and a new character was created for the lead role.
By the third season,
several implausible themes had featured in the series - the focus of Season 3's "The Killer Dolphins", for example, was dolphins
that had been trained to work with explosives. The decision to incorporate these implausible themes was allegedly to attract
Sex and Violence",
the twelfth episode of Season 3, although made, wasn't broadcast in the UK. A long-standing myth claims that the episode was banned
because it incorporated footage of a real military execution. However, this was just a cover story and simply isn't true -
the footage in question has been featured in other programmes since. The real reason why the episode wasn't broadcast is because
it spoofed real-life personalities such as Mary Whitehouse, Lord Longford and Cliff Richard and would have been too libelous
to broadcast and almost certainly would have resulted in legal action being taken against the BBC. More than three decades
later (September 2005), the episode still hasn't been broadcast in the UK
or even released commercially.
Whilst "Sex and Violence"
has never been broadcast in the UK, some reports suggest that
it was broadcast in 1995 on UKGold. This is not true - although the episode was listed in the schedules, it was ultimately
not broadcast and a repeat of "The Logicians" went out in its place.
On the end of the
original BBC transmission spool of "Sex and Violence", less than three minutes of unused material exists.
Following the controversy
regarding "Sex and Violence", spoofing real-life personalities, the series was cancelled during production. Production on
"The Devil's Demolition", the final episode of Season 3, was never completed.
In 1999, a pilot episode
for a proposed new series was made for Channel 5 (now called Five). The pilot was entitled Winter Angel and although it proved
to be popular, the series was never picked up.