...this really makes me feel my age. And don't I wish I were back in the early 70s again....
"Plastic-eating bugs [...] could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis," was the Guardian's rather chirpy take on this story, triggering the recollection of a childhood nightmare. I inhaled my mouthful of coffee. The office youngsters couldn't understand my panic. "It's the Doomwatch scenario!", I coughed. "The skies …
Bug behaviour in the wild
Stob "Plastic-eating bugs [...] could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis," was the Guardian's rather chirpy take on this story, triggering the recollection of a childhood nightmare.
Doomwatch was an early-1970s BBC TV sci-fi series that differentiated itself by dramatising plausible scenarios.
We find ourselves aboard a passenger jet that in rapid succession suffers various electrical faults, has its joystick go horrible and squidgy in the hands of the pilot, and descends to earth into a vast and ghastly explosion of stock footage.
This spot-on description is quoted by Powell himself in the disc 3 documentary The Cult of Doomwatch, a rich source of reviewers' factoids).
The extant team comprises: team leader Doctor Spencer Quist (John Paul), a fashion victim called John Ridge (Simon Oates), a token girly tea-maker, a man with thick eyebrows whose name I missed, plus two blokes who stand in the background discussing things in silence.
I don't remember Doomwatch, I suspect I was a bit too young to watch it at the time, but it sounds right up my street for some nostalgic 70s viewing. This is the sort of thing the BBC should be making available on iPlayer not Eastenders, Masterchef and the rest of the tripe they have on there.
There does come a point where the the historical "the way we were"-ness about TV series has some, dare I say it, cultural value and it should be made available on-line. When you've flogged 2000 DVDs of some 70s series, you're not going to flog any more.
I think there's two whole episodes of Micro Live on iPlayer. Why not put the whole lot online? Have BBC marketing decided there's some as yet some unidentified section of the public that wants to buy a box set of one-screen long BBC Basic programs?
News programmes, the whole lot, just put it all up. Perhaps then we might find out that the past isn't as rose-tinted as some would have us believe and it might not be a good idea try and get back to something that doesn't exist.
They reused the tapes to save a pittance. I was working in the Beeb then (mid 1970s) and we all protested at the short sighted vandalism.
What we didn't know was that they were scrapping film to save some storage space.
Do have accountants tell you the budget, profit, loss, costs. Do NOT have administrators or accountants decide policy or decide what the money is spent on.
The BBC digitization and archives and iplayer is a shambles. They had a good project & killed it.
Apart from the issues of destroyed stuff. They periodically call for help with missing or lost episodes/programs. Euphemism for wilfully destroyed by order of management!
The elements of plastic/rubber-eating and virus growth/spread analysis contributed to both plots.
But in "The Andromeda Strain", this "feature" of the "virus" came later: it mutated to eat certain kinds of rubber, like the hermetic seals of the Wildfire lab studying it.
At the same time, the original landing site of the ill-fated Scoop satellite was about to be atomic bombed to destroy Andromeda, but the Wildfire group realized it would spread worse instead, thanks to some reused military chemical weapons studies (wind effects and all that). Then the lab's seals gave way and their own a-bomb self-armed to (supposedly) destroy it, setting up the climax.
Yes, I remember watching that too ... it wasn't as scary then as it is now - it's a clear lesson that we learn nothing from history. Make that series these days and we'd have all sorts of protests from the affected industries of scare-mongering and a demand for an investigation - people would be resigning.
"I'm going to torrent the Shiite out of this."
Good luck, but bear in mind there's very little of it left, and almost nothing in the form of high quality torrents*. Maybe the DVD release will improve the situation (or you could just buy the boxset)
* or <ahem> so I'm told. Here in Australia the government's team of highly skilled technical experts have made it totally impossible for anyone to download any unauthorised torrent, ever. Although, since their interception page has an invalid certificate, I understand that a scurrilous group of miscreants report it as dodgy every time the warning pops up.
That episode was based on a book called "Mutant 39: The Plastic Eaters" by Kit Pedler. Actually, from the description, I suspect the plot was lifted wholesale and only edited for length and technical limitations. (I don't remember the misogyny. Could be selective memory. Could be they felt it was a delightful addition.)
It's been years since I last read it and I have never seen the show, but I suspect the book holds up better.
I myself have fond memories which are associated with dating my high school sweetheart, who was working at the local public library at the time, and recommended the book. (She's now happily married and the proud grandmother of a small clan. We keep in touch via Facebook. -ish.)
Back to the book. Like Ms. Stob, any time I hear of a plastic-eating bug, that cautionary tale immediately comes to mind.
I think you'll find it's the other way round.
IIRC there were several novels done by Read & Pedlar, using roughly the plot of an episode but losing the Dept of O & M connection.
When oil had just quadrupled in price (I looked it up. to $12/barrel) and people thought the human race would wise up (and a big mainframe had a whole 512KB of core store).
What should really scare people is that 4 decades later the human race has not wised up.
In Thunderbirds "The Hood" was an occasional hazard for International Rescue.
IRL he's the new British Home Secretary :-(.
The world did not get Space:1999. It got Captain Scarlet and the even more sinister UFO.
But don't worry. A short visit to "Dr Jackson" and you'll forget about such inconvenient memories.
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