Doctor Who: Season 26, Episode 8

The Curse of Fenric: Part 1 (25 Oct. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 185 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

The Doctor and Ace travel to a navel base off the coast of Northumberland towards the end of World War II. Where the Time Lord and his companion become entangled in an old Viking curse.

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Title: The Curse of Fenric: Part 1 (25 Oct 1989)

The Curse of Fenric: Part 1 (25 Oct 1989) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sophie Aldred ...
Ace
Dinsdale Landen ...
Alfred Lynch ...
Nicholas Parsons ...
Janet Henfrey ...
Tomasz Borkowy ...
Captain Sorin (as Tomek Bork)
Peter Czajowski ...
Sgt. Prozorov (as Peter Czajkowski)
Marek Anton ...
Vershinin
Mark Conrad ...
Petrossian
Joann Kenny ...
Jean
Joanne Bell ...
Phyllis
...
Cory Pulman ...
Kathleen Dudman
Aaron Handley ...
Baby Audrey Dudman (as Aaron Hanley)
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Storyline

The Doctor and Ace arrive at a Naval base on the cost of Northumerland towards the end of World War II. The Time lord and his young companion pretend to be from the war office. The purpose of which is that the Doctor wishes to meet the wheelchair bound Dr. Judson who's work at breaking German Cyphers is very important to the war effort. This is achieved through the use of the Ultima machine. An invention of the crippled genius's. Unknown however to the Doctor, Ace and Judson. A platoon of Russian soldiers lead by Captain Sorin have secretly arrived on the coast of Northumberland. Their goal: To steal the Ultima Machine. But unknown to the Doctor. The theft of the Ultima Machine has been partly devised by Commander Millington. The bases supreme commanding officer. A ruthless, military man who is unnaturally obsessed with Norse Mythology. For centuries ago a Viking ship moored on the very shores, next to where the base stands. Carrying with it an evil curse. The Time Lord soon realize ... Written by Robert McElwaine

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world war two | 1940s


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25 October 1989 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode was watched by 4.3 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

Goofs

The Doctor states that they are in 1943, but the Russian soldiers are equipped with semi-automatic SKS rifles, which were not developed until 1944, and did not go into testing until 1945 in Germany. The SKS was finally adopted by the Russian army in 1949. In 1943, Russian soldiers were commonly equipped with the Mosin-Nagant 1891/30 bolt-action rifle, or possibly its M44 carbine variant, which was being field tested in 1943. See more »

Quotes

Ace: [Ace has chosen to sit next to Reverend Wainwright at the Doctor's request. The old priest has been having a serious crisis of faith] Funny church, this, isn't it?
Reverand Mr. Wainwright: I was just remembering when I was a child. My father was the vicar here then. It seemed such a warm, friendly place in those days.
Ace: Things always look different when you're a child.
Reverand Mr. Wainwright: Now I stand in the church every Sunday, I see all the faces looking up at me, waiting for me to give them something to believe in.
Ace: Don't you believe in ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
The Best Story Of The McCoy Era
15 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

(Note: This is a review of all four episodes of the story.)

There is a saying about going out on top. Sylvester McCoy (and indeed Doctor Who itself) found itself coming to an unexpected end in 1989 with some of the original series best stories. Of those the best of them would be The Curse Of Fenric. The result is what I consider to be the second best Doctor Who story ever.

Any good production must have a good cast and this one has one of the best of the series. The performances start with the regulars: Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace. McCoy gives his single best Doctor Who performance in this story as he strikes just the right balance between his more comedic Doctor of season 24 and the more serious Doctor of season 25 and earlier in season 26. Just look at the final episode to see McCoy at his best. Sophie Aldred also gives one of her best performances as Ace. This was the middle story of what has become known to fans as the "Ace Trilogy" (the other two stories being Ghost Light and Survival) due to their heavy focus on Ace and giving Aldred a chance to show off her skills as an actress. Aldred doesn't disappoint with a strong disappointment with a strong performance as the companion who discovers that her past is interlinked with the events unfolding around her. Despite their excellent performances, McCoy and Aldred is just the tip of the cast.

There is also an excellent supporting cast as well. There's Dinsdale Landen as Dr. Judson, the crippled computer scientist who unleashes the title and effectively embodies it. Alfred Lynch gives an excellent performance the obsessive Commander Millington who grows more and more paranoid as the story unfolds. There are also excellent performances from Tomek Bork as Soviet Captain Sorin plus Joann Kenny and Joanne Belll as the two teenagers Jean and Phyllis. Even the smaller roles are filled with good actors and actress like Anne Reid (Nurse Crane), Steven Rimkus (Captain Bates), Janet Henfrey (Mrs. Hardaker) and Raymond Trickett (the Ancient One). The true highlight of the supporting cast is Nicholas Parsons as Reverend Wainwright. Parsons, who apparently is better known in the UK for his more comedic roles and game show hosting, gives one of the best performances of the McCoy era as the priest who lost his faith and pays for it. There is a wonderful scene in the church where he is giving a sermon to an empty church that illustrates this beautifully and gives Parsons his best moment in the story. All together they form one of the show's best casts.

The story also has some strong production values as well. From the outset we get a rather well-done recreation of a WWII era army camp complete with trappings of the era (including a well done 1940's computer). Then there's the Haemovore's: the vampire possible future evolution of humanity brought back to the past. The Haemovore's, especially the Ancient One, are amongst the best monsters ever designed for the show as they are incredibly spooky and convincing. Couple this with the underwater filming and excellent location work and the result is a story that proves that under the right conditions a low budget can be overcome.

Then there's the heart of it all: the script. This is a story with many threads and layers. It is a story about war and faith that explores the nature of evil plus the lengths one must go to fight it. On top of all that there is the obvious horror aspect in the form of the Haemovores. Ian Briggs also manages to tie together stories from the McCoy era (Silver Nemesis, Dragonfire) to explore the background and character of Ace. Above all, this story is a sort of chess game between the Doctor and is ancient enemy named here as Fenric in which all the other characters act as their pawns. This is a story where one must watch to get everything that is going on making this not only a action story but one of the show's most cerebral as well.

The Curse Of Fenric is Doctor Who at its finest or close to it. It is defiantly the best story of the McCoy era at any rate with its strong performances, good production values and a strong script. Believe what you've heard because it is true. The Curse Of Fenric is excellent.


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