Doctor Who: Season 15, Episode 9

Image of the Fendahl: Part One (29 Oct. 1977)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Horror
7.8
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Archeologists near a reputedly haunted woods use a time scanner to explore the history of a sinister 12 million year old skull, creating a hole in time that attracts the Doctor's attention.

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Title: Image of the Fendahl: Part One (29 Oct 1977)

Image of the Fendahl: Part One (29 Oct 1977) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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...
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Thea Ransome
Daphne Heard ...
Martha Tyler
Denis Lill ...
Edward Evans ...
Scott Fredericks ...
Edward Arthur ...
Adam Colby
Derek Martin ...
Graham Simpson ...
Hiker
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Archeologists near a reputedly haunted woods use a time scanner to explore the history of a sinister 12 million year old skull, creating a hole in time that attracts the Doctor's attention.

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skull | cow | whistle | scan | running | See All (16) »


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29 October 1977 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Chris Boucher was inspired by Quatermass and the Pit (1958). See more »

Quotes

The Doctor: [to Leela who's signaling caution] What is it?
Leela: There's a guard. I shall kill him.
The Doctor: No.
Leela: Why not?
The Doctor: You'll upset the dog.
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User Reviews

 
Almost A Classic But Let Down By The Final Episode
31 October 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Review Of All Four Episodes

A group of ambitious scientists carry out sonic experiments on a human skull believed to be 12 million years old . After discovering a body killed by an unseen entity the scientists dismiss that the death has been caused by their experiments . As it turns out their experiment was behind the death and their experiment has a potentially mortal danger for the whole of humanity

This is it the final let's scare the sh*t out of the little ones and send them running screaming behind the sofa type horror story from 1970s DOCTOR WHO and what a story to end this theme on . Three episodes of superbly crafted horror from the pen of Chris Boucher who's obviously been inspired by Nigel Kneale and Dennis Wheatley . Something of a mad scientist tale meets the supernatural Boucher does mange to draw the characters very well , Adam Colby the naïve idealistic young scientist , the obsessed Dr Fendalman , the ruthless and amoral Max Stael and the hapless Thea Ransome . They could have been in danger in being one note cyphers but there's a slightly more multi-layered element to them than you might expect . They're also well cast and played . Boucher also manages to almost weave a convincing scenario of mysticism having a scientific explanation . It's all nonsense of course as is the subplot about pre-destination and mankind's evolution being down to alien influence but the whole idea of this is so engaging you forget how silly everything is

Director George Spenton Foster deserves great credit for the success of this story . It's difficult to believe that stuff like this was being broadcast on a Saturday early evening slot because this story is more atmospheric and creepy than you'd get in the average horror film sans gore . We have night filming that was obviously shot at night time and the scenes where the lone hiker finds himself stalked by an unseen menace still carry a big punch . Note also the editing of the scenes where Thea finds herself possessed at the power of the skull as the action intercuts with the fate of the doomed hiker . Note also the very good use of sound effects that add a lot to the story and you've got three episodes of a mini masterpiece of television

The problem is that there's a fourth episode this lets the entire story down to a slight degree . Boucher himself was very vocal himself when the production team unveiled the Fendalheen creatures which resemble a cross between giant caterpillars and a pantomime horse with pink streamers coming out of their mouths . It should be pointed out - though you don't need me to do it - that Thea's transformation in to the gestalt leaves a lot to be desired . There's something unimpressive by having an alien creature whose eyes are obviously painting the eyelids of the actress playing her . Spenton Foster shouldn't be entirely blamed for this because a serious problem throughout Graham Williams tenure is that nearly every monster he introduced were laughable . Wait till you see the Nimons and Mandrells and you'll almost believe the Fendalheen are classic monsters . Almost

It's a pity that the story ends on a sour note because for the most part this is a very effective horror story that the show often produced in its nightmare induced sleep which soon became conspicuous by its absence . When it's good it's very good indeed and for the most part it's a good story even though it doesn't appear all that high up in fan polls


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