CT530 - Jez Strickley

CT530 Information

A Time Traveller’s (Eco) Footprint

By Jez Strickley

“The inventor made the insecticide everlasting.” (Planet of Giants, 1964, Louis Marks)

In 1962, US biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, a catalyst for today’s ecology movement. The danger of pesticide use on the wider environment, as shown by Carson, is the inspiration behind Season Two’s opening story and Doctor Who’s first overtly eco-centric adventure.

“Grey cities linked by grey highways across grey deserts.” (The Mutants, 1972, Bob Baker and Dave Martin)

Environmental issues are glimpsed in later stories, too, from species conservation in The Ark and climate change in The Ice Warriors, to unchecked energy exploration in Fury from the Deep. It’s not until Jon Pertwee’s début season, however, that ecological concerns become more than an occasional focal point.

“That’s the sound of this planet screaming out its rage!” (Inferno, 1970, Don Houghton)

Season Seven’s eco-fest ranges across the ubiquity of plastics, inter-species tensions and ruthless energy prospecting. In later seasons, we find the thirst for raw power becomes both a deadly lure (The Claws of Axos) and a looming catastrophe (The Green Death). We learn of a human empire content to exploit other worlds (The Mutants) and of dangerous fanatics who are prepared to erase human civilisation altogether to avoid the horrors of rampant industrialisation (Invasion of the Dinosaurs).

“The CET machine’s just an electric zoo. For cages, read laser crystals. Either way, the animals are trapped inside.” (Nightmare of Eden, 1979, Bob Baker)

Tom Baker’s Doctor also was not without his environmental moments. UNIT’s last regular outing sees the arrival of the World Ecology Bureau (The Seeds of Doom), there’s more heedless energy seeking (The Power of Kroll) and even drug trafficking under the guise of ecological preservation (Nightmare of Eden).

“Wow. Isn’t it spectacular? What a universe. What a planet. Just when you think you’ve seen the lot, there’s something like this.” (Legend of the Sea Devils, 2022, Ella Road and Chris Chibnall)

More recently, green issues have been front and centre in stories like Praxeus and Orphan 55. The universally destructive nature of the Flux might be included here, too.

With a cascade of verdant hues on offer, plus an intriguing take on time loops and Daleks, this issue welcomes back Michael S. Collins, Nick Mellish, Fiona Moore, Ian Scales and Alan Stevens. I’m also delighted to include the byline of Hamish Crawford, with whom I had the pleasure of working on the fan magazine Whotopia. My thanks also go to Ann Worrall for her valued proofreading skills.

Special thanks are due to Nicholas Hollands for his excellent layout, Colin Brockhurst and Clayton Hickman for photo enhancement, and Andy Lambert for his outstanding Invasion of the Dinosaurs wraparound cover.

Best wishes,



In CT 522 Jan Vincent-Rudzki’s surname was misspelt with an ‘s’ rather than a ‘z’. My sincere apologies, Jan.