IF YOU CAN GET PAST THE fashions (cravat city) and the out-of-date attitudes (Simon Oates’s womanising Ridge pinches the secretary’s bum in the first episode’s opening minutes), there is still much that is relevant to Doomwatch.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this peak-time 1970 show was created by scientist Kit Pedler and writer Gerry Davis – the men whose imaginations also spawned Doctor Who’s Cybermen. By the end of the ’60s, after five adventures the Cybermen were on hiatus, freeing Pedler and Davis to develop Doomwatch. The show explored all manner of environmental catastrophes, capitalising on the early–’70s high profile of the nascent Green movement. The stories came from the headlines of the day, and in several cases even anticipated real-world events.

Unofficially dubbed “Doomwatch”, the series’ small team of scientists were officially working for the Department for the Observation and Measurement of Scientific Work. The team was led by Dr Spencer Quist (John Paul), who was haunted by his role in creating the wasn’t set in the distant future. It’s next Tuesday, if you like. [It’s] a team who, when they saw something happening in the environment, took action to stop it before it got to disaster proportions.”

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