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Doomwatch (1972) Review

Doomwatch is a 1972 British science fiction film directed by Peter Yates and starring John Thaw and Nigel Davenport. The film is based on the BBC television series of the same name which ran from 1970 to 1972.

The film follows the activities of the Doomwatch, a government organisation set up to investigate and combat environmental pollution. The team’s leader, Dr. Quist (Thaw), is called in to investigate a series of mysterious deaths in a small town. It soon becomes apparent that the deaths are linked to a local chemical factory, and that the factory’s owner is using illegal methods to dispose of its waste.

Quist and his team race against time to stop the factory owner before he can cause any more harm. Along the way, they must deal with the town’s hostile residents, who are all too willing to blame the Doomwatch for the problems they’re facing.

Despite being a totally different genre, the whole thing is somewhat reminiscent of Christoper Lee’s City of the Dead, with wanky locals harbouring a sinister secret, and an intrepid investigator – here in the form of Ian Bannen – seeking out the truth at great risk to self.

It’s not malicious as such here though, just innocent inbred yokels falling victim to the idiocy of yet more yokels who decided to save a few quid and dump toxic crap in the ocean. Nothing changes it seems.

There’s some great lines, paraphrasing for dramatic effect – with the intrepid Dr Del Shaw (Bannen) announcing to the locals that their current state of fuckery is not down to the fact that their mommy was also their sister and second cousin once removed.

Remember kids, incest and close relative marriage causes deformity, but toxic chemicals do it quicker!

In a quaint way the whole affair manages to capture a fair bit of suspense and push the right buttons. There’s enough shenanigans going on and plenty of clunky dialogue to guarantee you a fun ride of chuckles and eco themed intrigue.

And, yes, you can’t help feeling sorry for the isolated community who never hurt anyone – except perhaps for committing outrages against the gene pool – who suddenly find themselves victims to greed and the lunacy of mankind at large.

Judy Geeson is on hand as the blonde outsider, screaming in all the right places, and generally looking flustered. Bet all the inbred yokels queued up at that door hoping for some action.

All in all a good film, one which you’ll see traces of in many later movies. Eco disaster never gets old, yesterday it was an isolated village being poisoned, today it’s the entire planet.

Well worth a watch, just don’t eat the fish and don’t go marrying your first cousin. Both are a bad idea, consider that a lesson learned by the locals here.

Doomwatch is a gripping science fiction thriller that highlights the dangers of environmental pollution. The film’s tense and exciting plot will keep viewers on the edge of their seats, and its message is still relevant today. John Thaw and Nigel Davenport give strong performances, and the film’s visual effects are impressive for its time.

Overall, Doomwatch is a well-made and thought-provoking film that is well worth seeking out.


Doomwatch is a 1972 British science fiction film directed by Peter Sasdy and starring John Paul, Simon Oates, and Caroline Mortimer. The film is based on the BBC television series of the same name which ran from 1970 to 1972.

Doomwatch is set in the near future and follows the work of the Doomwatch, a government organization set up to monitor and investigate environmental and technological hazards. The film opens with the Doomwatch team investigating a series of mysterious deaths in a small town. The team’s investigation leads them to a chemical plant where they discover that the plant’s owner is using illegal chemicals.

The team’s investigation leads to a confrontation with the plant owner and his henchmen. During the confrontation, one of the henchmen sets fire to the chemical plant. The resulting explosion kills the plant owner and his henchmen. The Doomwatch team is able to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading.

After the fire, the team investigates the cause of the deaths. They discover that the chemicals used at the plant were responsible for the deaths. The team’s investigation leads them to the plant’s owner, who is revealed to be a mad scientist. The scientist is arrested and the plant is shut down.

The film ends with the team’s leader, Quist, resigning from the Doomwatch team. Quist believes that the team’s work is no longer relevant in a world where the environment is no longer threatened by man-made disasters.

Movie Details

Director: Peter Sasdy
Writers: Clive Exton, Gerry Davis, Kit Pedler
Actors: Ian Bannen, Judy Geeson, Joseph O’Conor, John Paul
Release Year: 1972