|Originally Broadcast 12th November 1977|
Written by: Chris Boucher
The guest cast for this serial is fantastic; I really like all the characters. Some of them perhaps not for who they are, just how the actor has portrayed them, this story really is more of a character piece than narrative and, in a bold move, it’s not afraid to have some of our characters rested from the story for ages on end.
I found myself surprised and not actually worried that I’m three parts through and the Doctor has barely interacted with 80% of this guest cast, I’m not sure if that’s actually happened before (one to think about!).
Tom Baker’s performance and the script surrounding him is pretty marvellous too, as we find out a few things on how the Time Lords live, as well as the Fendahl being a threat to the Doctor’s childhood dreams, it reminds me a bit of 2006’s The Runaway Bride with the Racnoss.
Baker gets to do both his wacky version of the Doctor with lines such as “I love fruit cake” as well as contrasting with his dark side, when he snaps at Leela in the TARDIS due to the level of the danger the pair have found themselves in.
To me, this is how Doctor Who and the character of the Doctor should be, perhaps because I’ve found myself being immortalised in the ways of the new show where the Doctor has to be funny most of the time as well as contrasting with his darker side once in a while. This really shows that off, so if you’re a fan of new, then maybe take a look at this one, albeit a much slower pace than some of the latter serials.
There are some dodgy moments, such as Dennis Lill having one of the most poorly recognised death scenes in the show, and I’m not sure how I feel about the Fendahl itself. The very first shot we see of part of it looks pretty poor (and a bit weird), the sound effects are obviously there to help do the job but they just don’t match up to the camera shot at all. When we see the monster (in all it’s glory) at the very climax of the episode, I think it looks pretty impressive, not the finest monster, but not a disappointment by any means. I’m not actually sure on fan reaction to the monster, or the episode at all in fact, but I think it’s going very well so far.
Note: Since writing this article I have looked up Image in The Mighty 200. This was a list conducted by DWM in 2009, where fans rated stories out of ten. The results compiled, the stories were entered into a list from 1-200, 1 being the best and 200 being the least well liked. This story came out at 73, so I’m guessing people are mostly in agreement with my acceptance of the story so far…