Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Sunday, 19 November 2017

465 Image of the Fendahl: Part Four

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 19 November 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"The Fendahl is death. How do you kill death?"

The Doctor blasts the Fendahleen monster with John Tyler's shotgun filled with rock salt enabling them to escape. Thea is transformed into a glowing gold being. She consumes the cult, turning them into small Fendahleen monsters. The Doctor & Leela free Colby but are unable to save Stael who is beginning to transform but he kills himself with his gun, preventing Thea's complete transformation. The Doctor deactivates the scanner. Mrs Tyler seeks out salt for the Doctor, with Jack loading some into his cartridges. The Doctor tells Colby of how the Time Lords destroyed the fifth planet to kill the Fendahl but it had already travelled to Earth, possibly via Mars, and had effected mankind's evolution. Leela & Jack destroy a Fendahleen that approaches the lab. The Doctor sends Jack & Ma Tyler away. The Doctor has Colby run the scanner for two minutes and leave, having set it to self destruct three minutes later. He & Leela venture into the cellar, armed with salt to protect them from the Fendahleen. They seize the skull, placing it in a radiation proof box, and flee the house, subjected to psychic assault by the Fendahl core. A huge explosion consumes the house, the Fendahl core and the remaining Fendahleen. The Doctor takes the skull and dumps it into a star going supernova.

Huzzah, that was a bit more like it. Things finally get going with a bit of action, some humour between Colby & the Tylers (I can see young Rusty D sitting at home and thinking "oooh, that's a good surname!") and it just worked.

Stael's death, at his own hand to prevent him becoming part of the Fendahl, stuck with me as a child reading the book:

DOCTOR: Come on. Come on. It's too late. You've seen her eyes.
STAEL: The gun.
STAEL: Give me the gun.
DOCTOR: It won't have any effect on her.
STAEL: It's on the altar. It's not for her. It's for me.
DOCTOR: I'm sorry.
STAEL: Thank you.
Stael in many ways brought his death on himself by tampering with forces he did not understand. Thea Ransome on the other hand is very much an innocent victim here:
DOCTOR: What's in the cellar is the Fendahl, the gestalt.
TYLER: The what?
COLBY: A gestalt is a group creature. It's made up of separate parts, but when they join together they make a new and much more powerful creature.
TYLER: He reads a lot, you know.
DOCTOR: Shush. Got it. According to the legends of Gallifrey, and the superstitions of this planet, it's fairly certain that the Fendahl is made up of twelve Fendahleen and a core.
COLBY: Thea.

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DOCTOR: Well, yes, what was Thea. It's no longer Thea no more than. I killed one, and Stael shot himself. There are only ten left.
LEELA: Are you saying the Fendahl is not yet complete?
DOCTOR: Yes, we've still got a chance

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Further explanations follow:

COLBY: Did you say that about twelve million years ago, on a nameless planet which no longer exists, evolution went up a blind alley?
COLBY: Natural selection turned back on itself and a creature evolved which prospered by absorbing the energy wavelengths of life itself?
COLBY: It ate life? All life, including that of its own kind?
DOCTOR: Yes. In other words, the Fendahl. And then the Time Lords decided to destroy the entire planet, and hid the fact from posterity. They're not supposed to do that sort of thing, you know.
COLBY: So when the Time Lords acted, it was too late. The Fendahl had already come here.
DOCTOR: Yes, probably taking in Mars on it's way through.
COLBY: Then it got itself buried, but not killed.
DOCTOR: The Fendahl is death. How do you kill death? No, what happened was this. The energy amassed by the Fendahl was stored in the skull and dissipated slowly as a biological transmutation field. Now, any appropriate lifeform that came within the field was altered so that it ultimately evolved into something suitable for the Fendahl to use.
COLBY: Are you saying that skull created man?
DOCTOR: No, I'm saying it may have effected his evolution.

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DOCTOR: That would explain the dark side of man's nature. But it's just a theory.
COLBY: A pretty wild one.
DOCTOR: It's more fun that way.

DOCTOR: Almost there. Oh, if you want an alternative explanation, the Fendahl fed into the RNA of certain individuals the instincts and compulsions necessary to recreate. These were fed through the generations till they reached Fendelman and people like him.
COLBY: Well, that's possibly more plausible.
DOCTOR: Or on the other hand, it could all be just a coincidence. Finished.

Unfortunately we get another alien race possibly affecting human evolution like the Daemons. Did the Chronovore Kronos, in The Time Monster, do it too? They'll be another along shortly in the form of Scaroth in City of Death!

Remember the countdown provided by the power usage and then abandoned last episode? We get a proper countdown here!

DOCTOR: Perfect. Right, now this is what I want you to do. Give Leela and me time to get down to the cellar, and then switch on the scanner beam. With luck it should confuse things down there long enough for us to grab the skull and get away.
COLBY: Well then what?
DOCTOR: Listen. This is important. Be sure to operate the scanner beam for only two minutes, then switch if off and you go.
COLBY: But why?
DOCTOR: Because I've rigged that to set off a controlled implosion three minutes after you switch off the scanner. We need three minutes to get clear.
COLBY: A big bang?
DOCTOR: Pretty big. Big enough to blow this place to atoms.
LEELA: Then why don't we leave the skull here?
DOCTOR: Oh no, too dangerous. It could pop up anywhere and start the whole thing over again. Come on.
LEELA: Good luck.
DOCTOR: Psst. Remember, three minutes.
And a nice big bang at the end of it too!

I'm trying to work out why I don't like this story so much and I'm pretty certain it's down to the occult trappings involved which just don't sit well with me. In past viewings I just didn't engage with the first three episodes that well. I'm also not 100% sure it was a good idea to remove K-9 just after introducing him, setting a rather bad precedent: Power of Kroll, Destiny of the Daleks, City of Death and the Leisure Hive !!!!!

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Image of the Fendahl is the first Doctor Who directing job for George Spenton-Foster but it's the last script for the series from Chris Boucher who would go on to script edit Blake's 7 and create Star Cops. It's also the last serial script edited by Robert Holmes although the following story The Sunmakers, which was written by Holmes himself, was made before this one. He'll continue to contribute scripts to the show right up until his death in 1986.

Image of the Fendahl was novelised by Terrance Dicks and I have distinct memories buying it on a holiday to Littlehampton when I was younger. It was released on video in March 1993 and on DVD in April 2009.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

464 Image of the Fendahl: Part Three

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 12 November 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"I think it's the Fendahl. It grows and exists by death!"

Leela finds the Doctor knocking him away from the skull and severing it's influence. The Doctor thinks the skull is a creature called a Fendahl that feeds on life energy. The Doctor believes they have 100 hours of the scanners operations before it starts causing real problems but Fendelman explains to Colby that they've used nearly 99 hours of scan time already. Stael has bought a bound Thea to a chamber under the house. He intends to use her to control the ancient power he worships. The Doctor goes to see Mrs Tyler and speaks to her about her experiences. Stael tells Fendelman to turn the scanner off, holding them at gunpoint but Colby co-operates. They are taken to the room bellow the house where Thea is chained to a pentagram on the floor and chained up as the other cult members arrive at the house. The Doctor & Leela travel in the Tardis to the fifth planet of the solar system, the Fendahl's home, but find it's been time looped. Fendelman realises his name is a result of the Fendahl's manipulation and that he, and all mankind, have been used. John & Mrs Tyler enter the house hearing the gunshot as Stael kills Fendelman. The Doctor & Leela join them as an eerie noise echoes down the corridor. They find themselves immobilised as a Fendahleen monster approaches them.....

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Hmmm. Quite a lot of information dumping this episode.

First up the Doctor realises what the Skull is doing:

DOCTOR: You're becoming a metracion generator, aren't you.
LEELA: Is it alive?
DOCTOR: Yes. It's using appropriate genetic material to recreate itself.
LEELA: What is it?
DOCTOR: Shush. I think it's the Fendahl. It grows and exists by death.
LEELA: Most creatures do. That is what you told me.
DOCTOR: The Fendahl absorbs the full spectrum of energy, what some people call a life force or soul. It eats life itself.
LEELA: That must be what the old woman saw.
LEELA: Huge and dark, she said. Hungry for her soul.
DOCTOR: And she's still alive?
DOCTOR: Take me to her.
LEELA: What about that?
DOCTOR: It's indestructible.
LEELA: Well, what about the sonic time scan?
DOCTOR: No, no, first thing's first. Fendelman can operate that before the implosion for about a hundred hours, give or take a few minutes.
LEELA: But he might already have used his hundred hours.
DOCTOR: That's a risk I'll have to take. Come on, let's go.
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This episode plays an old trick by introducing a countdown to try to give things a sense of urgency.

COLBY: What's that for?
FENDELMAN: That is a running log. Some of the scanner components have a limited life.
COLBY: Ninety eight hours fifty six minutes forty three point seven seconds. You've been busy with this equipment.
FENDELMAN: It has been a joy.
Unfortunately the machine the count down relates to spends a large proportion of the episode switched off! Maybe mentioning that Earth could stand around 100 hours of the time distortion effect earlier in the story might have been a better idea?
TYLER: Is this him? Is this your man? Oi, do you know what's going on? My Gran in hell of a state.
DOCTOR: Come on, Mrs Tyler, wake up.
LEELA: Come on, old woman, wake up. Wake up now.
TYLER: Oi, what do you think you're doing? Leave her alone.
DOCTOR: Do you know what's wrong with her?
TYLER: Well, no, but
DOCTOR: I do. Make some tea.
DOCTOR: Tea. She does drink tea?
TYLER: Well, yeah.
DOCTOR: Off you go and make some. Use the best china. Four cups laid out on a tray. Off you go. Oh, and some fruitcake.
TYLER: Anything else?
DOCTOR: I love fruitcake. Come on, Mrs Tyler. This is no way to behave when you've got visitors. We've come for tea.
LEELA: And fruitcake.
DOCTOR: And fruitcake.
Liz joined me during this episode and remarked that Ma Tyler (Daphne Heard) and Jack Tyler (Geoffrey Hinsliff, who she failed to recognise despite many years of her Mum & sister watching Corrie) are probably the best Yokels seen in Doctor Who so far. And she's right, they are. They get the country feel down to a tee without edging too far into comedy. We also spotted the "Jack/John" interchangeability going on in this episode. When we named our son Jonathan my Mother would not have it that Jack was an acceptable diminutive form of the name!

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DOCTOR: Throw in the apple cores very hard, put the lot in a shallow tin and bake in a high oven for two weeks. It's too late. She's slipping away. Come on.
MARTHA: Here, just a minute.
DOCTOR: What is it?
MARTHA: That ain't the way to make a fruitcake.
DOCTOR: Mrs Tyler!
MARTHA: Here, well, if you'm going to stay, you may as well sit yourselves down. I'll have the tea ready in a jiffy.
TYLER: It's here, Gran.
MARTHA: But that ain't the best china, John. And there's fresh cake in the other tin. Why, I'm sorry. When did I ask you to tea? I ain't never seen you afore in my life.
DOCTOR: You were slipping away, Mrs Tyler.
MARTHA: Slipping away?
DOCTOR: Yes, psychic shock. I needed something normal to bring you back to reality. How long have you lived here, Mrs Tyler?
MARTHA: Why should I tell 'ee ought?
DOCTOR: Tell her I'm trying to help.
TYLER: He's only trying to help, Gran.
MARTHA: You mind your place, John.
TYLER: Oh, now, no, we won't have none of those games. Now, Ted Moss and his cronies is up to something. It's something bad, and you're involved. Now, you tell him what he want to know.
MARTHA: I ain't involved in anything. I were consulted. A lot of people consult me. You know I've got the second sight.
DOCTOR: Yes. So you've lived in this cottage all your life, haven't you, Mrs Tyler.
MARTHA: Why should I tell 'ee ought?
DOCTOR: Well, telepathy and precognition are normal in anyone whose childhood was spent near a time fissure, like the one in the wood.
TYLER: He's as bad as she is. Here, what's a time fissure?
DOCTOR: It's a weakness in the fabric of space and time. Every haunted place has one, doesn't it? That's why they're haunted. It's a time distortion. This one must be very large. Large enough to have affected the place names round here. Like Fetchborough. Fetch. An apparition, hmm?
MARTHA: How do 'ee know so much?
DOCTOR: I read a lot. What did you see in the wood, Mrs Tyler?
MARTHA: I didn't see ought with my eyes.
DOCTOR: Then with your mind. Did it have a human shape?
DOCTOR: Mrs Tyler, I must know. Did it have a human shape?
MARTHA: No, it didn't.
DOCTOR: Mrs. Jack, do something for me.
TYLER: If I can.
DOCTOR: It could be dangerous.
DOCTOR: I want you to keep an eye on the Priory. I must know who comes and goes. We'll be back tomorrow sundown.
TYLER: Right.
MARTHA: Here, girl.
MARTHA: Take this. 'Tis a charm will protect 'ee. I cast it for Ted Moss, but 'tis too late for him.
LEELA: Thank you.
TYLER: Yes, Gran?
MARTHA: I seed that figure he spoke of in a dream. 'Twere a woman.
And there's only one other woman in the show and that's Thea Ransome and she's being held in a cellar by Stael who has taken a dive off the deep end:
STAEL: Thea.
THEA: Max.
STAEL: I'm glad you are awake, Thea. I want you to understand why I brought you here. You are the medium through which the ancient power of this place is focused.
THEA: What are you doing?
STAEL: The scanner awoke the power. You know about the scanner, of course. I've been watching you for some time, you see. Through you, I shall conjure and control the supreme power of the ancients.
THEA: Oh, Max, don't be so ridiculous.
STAEL: You will sleep now, while we prepare.
THEA: Max! Max, you're a fool.
STAEL: I shall be a god!
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FENDELMAN: There, Colby, do you see it?
STAEL: Turn it off!
FENDELMAN: Where have you been, Stael. I needed you here.
STAEL: Turn off the scanner!
COLBY: Doctor Fendelman, I think you have an industrial relations problem.
FENDELMAN: What are you talking?
FENDELMAN: Have you lost your mind?
STAEL: The scanner.
COLBY: Relax, Max. I'll do it.
FENDELMAN: Why, Stael?
STAEL: I am not yet ready. My followers are not yet here.
COLBY: Followers? Well, that's impressive.
STAEL: Shut up, Colby, or I will kill you now. Outside, both of you.
FENDELMAN: Is this some sort of joke, Max?
COLBY: Oh no, Max isn't famous for his sense of humour, are you, Maxie?
STAEL: I shall not warn you again, Colby.
COLBY: You're going to kill us anyway, aren't you?
STAEL: That depends on whether I enjoy having you worship me.
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The Doctor Meanwhile unexpectedly discovers the Time Lords involvement in their events:

DOCTOR: The fifth planet's a hundred and seven million miles out and twelve million years back, so we've no time to lose.
LEELA: Do you think this thing, the Fendahl, comes from the fifth planet?
DOCTOR: Well, it came from it a long time ago, before your species evolved on Earth.

LEELA: There was something chasing me. I, I couldn't move. Just a dream, I suppose.
LEELA: Hey, what's wrong?
DOCTOR: I've been checking the old data banks. There's no record at all of a fifth planet.
LEELA: Does that matter?
DOCTOR: Well of course it matters! We Time Lords are a very meticulous people. You have to be when you live as long as we do. All information is recorded.
LEELA: Perhaps there wasn't any.
LEELA: Information.
DOCTOR: Of course. That's why there's no record of the planet.
DOCTOR: That impression's produced by a time loop.
LEELA: Time loop?
DOCTOR: Yes, a time loop. All memory of a planet's been erased by a circle of time, making data and its records invisible. Only a Time Lord could do that.
LEELA: That's very clever.
DOCTOR: That's criminal! We've been on a wild goose chase. We'd better get back. Let's hope we're not too far round that time loop.
LEELA: Is there anything I can do?
DOCTOR: Yes. No, no. I'll just set the coordinates and we're on our way.

STAEL: The waiting is over. Prepare yourselves.
FENDELMAN: Don't do it, Stael!
CORBY: Shut up, you fool. Let him electrocute himself.
FENDELMAN: He will kill us all. Listen to me, all of you! He is a madman!
FENDELMAN: You must stop him! Stop him now, before he plunges everything into chaos and death!
COLBY: I'll plunge you into chaos and death if you don't shut up.
FENDELMAN: You don't understand. I see now what will happen.
STAEL: You do?
FENDELMAN: Max, listen. The Doctor asked if my name was real. Fendelman. Man of the Fendahl. Don't you see? Only for this have the generations of my fathers lived. I have been used! You are being used! Mankind has been used!
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At this point Stael decides he's had enough of Fendelman and shoots him, before kicking off the ceremony which end up summoning the creature The Doctor and company encounter

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More stuff resembling the Daemons: a female sacrifice and an older woman involved in witchcraft to go with the occult symbolism and the cult in a basement!

So who do have we got in the coven?

Ray Knight was a Soldier in Robot and a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil. He'll be back as a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, Lexa's Deon in Meglos, the Policeman with Bike in the first episode of Logopolis, a Trion in Planet of Fire and a Member of Glitz's Crew in Dragonfire part one. He's been in Blake's 7 as a Federation Trooper in Countdown, a Rebel in Rumours of Death and a Federation Trooper in Warlord. Douglas Stark was also a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil and later plays a Cricketer in Black Orchid. Jay McGrath's Doctor Who career stretches back further appearing as a Worker in The War Machines and a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians. He's back as a Dead Androgum in The Two Doctors part one.

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Inside the Fendahleen costume is Visual Effects man Peter Wragg. His first IMDB credit is in 1966 working on the film Thunderbirds Are Go followed by Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. This is his first Doctor Who, as the visual effects assistant, uncredited, but he's later credited as the visual effects designer on The Visitation, Resurrection of the Daleks and The Trial of a Time Lord parts five to eight, Mindwarp.What he's best known for is being the Visual Effects Designer for Red Dwarf for which he built Red Dwarf itself and many smaller models including Blue Midget and Starbug.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

463 Image of the Fendahl: Part Two

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 05 November 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"There are four thousand million people here on your planet, and if I'm right, within a year there'll be just one left alive. Just one."

The Doctor escapes the power holding him. Leela was shot at by Ted Moss, she wrestles the gun from him but both are caught by Jack Tyler wanting to know what they are doing in Gran's cottage on the estate. Colby find Ransome in an entranced state and entering the kitchen they find security team leader Mitchell dead, also with a blister on his neck. The Doctor enters as Thea collapses to the floor glowing with snake like creatures materialising near her before vanishing. The Doctor identifies them as embryo Fendahleen from the destroyed fifth planet in the solar system. Doctor Fendelman has the Doctor locked up. Leela tells her story to Jack Tyler who sends Ted Moss, who'd come for something from Mrs Tyler, on his way. Colby decides to call the police but finds the phone line cut. Fendelman tells them he believe the skull is extra terrestrial in origin. The Doctor escapes and overheard Stael & Moss talking: they are both members of a local coven. Ted Moss' Gran returns, scared out of her wits. Fendelman has found a pentagram in the structure of the skull by X-raying it. Thea finds herself drawn towards the X-Ray image, but is found by Stael who chloroforms her saying she is the chosen one. The Doctor finds the skull which starts to glow in his presence and draws his hand towards it....

In an odd way this episode is feeling a little "bitty" and didn't flowing that well for me so far. Sorry. It's not got a lot of The Doctor in it and not a lot of Leela in the episode, and they spend no time together.

COLBY: It's Mitchell. That expression, it's the same as the other one.
THEA: There's a blister on the back of the neck. Could be a birth mark, I suppose.
COLBY: How can you be so dispassionate? The man's dead, Thea.
THEA: Adam. Adam.
COLBY: Thea?
DOCTOR: Don't touch her. I said don't touch her! How many deaths have there been?
COLBY: Deaths?
DOCTOR: Like this.
COLBY: Two. Now, look
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, no, you look

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COLBY: What was it?
DOCTOR: They look like embryo Fendahleen to me.
DOCTOR: Come and sit down. You'll be all right.
COLBY: Embryo what?
DOCTOR: Embryo Fendahleen. A creature from my own mythology. Supposed to have perished when the fifth planet broke up. At least, so they said.
COLBY: A creature from mythology? Do you know what you're talking about?
DOCTOR: Well, you saw it. If it survived twelve million years, it's energy reserves must be enormous.
COLBY: Twelve million? Why did you say twelve million?
DOCTOR: What? Well, about twelve million. That's when the fifth planet broke up. There are four thousand million people here on your planet, and if I'm right, within a year there'll be just one left alive. Just one.
COLBY: What are you, exactly? Some sort of wandering Armageddon peddler, hmm?

This is the point it goes wrong for The Doctor:
DOCTOR: Who's in charge round here?
DOCTOR: Ah, Doctor Fendelman, I presume. Is that really your name, Fendelman? Now listen, Fendelman, I want you to do two things. Dismantle the scanner and run some tests on Miss Thea. Start with an x-ray of her skull. Now
FENDELMAN: I will give the orders around here. Take him away. Lock him up somewhere.
DOCTOR: Is this the way you treat all your house guests?
FENDELMAN: Only the uninvited ones whom I suspect of murder.
DOCTOR: But she needs help!
FENDELMAN: Take him away!
STAEL: It is just the same as before.
FENDELMAN: This is a terrible thing. Terrible.
COLBY: This time I will call the police. Come along, Thea.
FENDELMAN: As you wish, Adam. But how will you explain to them that you did not call them before?
We've not had the Doctor locked up for a bit have we? Robots of Death?

Leela meanwhile has met local Jack Tyler, who has seen off Ted Moss, the man from the council in the first episode who shot at Leela at the end of episode 1.

TYLER: Nasty piece of work. Him and some others from the village, they er. Well, I'm not sure exactly, but the thing is that I think my Gran's involved in whatever it is. Now, she's a good old girl but, well, she was brought up in the old ways, you see.
LEELA: The old ways?
TYLER: Yeah, the old superstitions and that. See, he called her Mother Tyler. Now that ain't 'cos he likes her. That's, that's the old religion. Look, there's something nasty going on. Do you know what it is? Have you been sent with this Doctor bloke to sort it out?
LEELA: Well, the Doctor came to stop the sonic time scan.
TYLER: Oh. What's one of them?
LEELA: He said it would cause a, a direct continuum ex, implosion.
TYLER: Damn, girl, you don't half tell some whoppers, don't you.
LEELA: Whoppers?
TYLER: Aye. Don't matter.
LEELA: Listen. I'm sure the Doctor can help you. Oh, he's very difficult sometimes, but he has great knowledge and gentleness.
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Cue shot of the Doctor being anything but gentle and kicking the **** out of some boxes in frustration at not being able to escape!

This actually helps highlight something that happens a little later: The Doctor does escape, following a click at the door. Someone has let him out! But who?

Meanwhile things have gone from bad to worse for the sensible pair of scientists

THEA: Adam, can't you be serious just for a minute?
COLBY: I am serious. The place is surrounded by guards, we're beset by a wandering lunatic and we have a pair of corpses on our hands. And on top of all that, the telephone seems to be very dead. Thea, we're trapped.
THEA: It was planned.
COLBY: By Fendelman.
THEA: No. No, not by Fendelman. He's just part of it, doing what was planned for him. Don't you see? For him. That would fit. That would explain it.
COLBY: Explain what?
THEA: Adam, you haven't asked me whose plan it is. Why don't you ask me? Go on, ask me who planned it.
COLBY: Stop it. Stop it!
THEA: I did. Do you understand? I did.
COLBY: Now be reasonable, Thea. How could you have? You're as sane as anyone here. Except. Come on. Come on.
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Fortunately their employer seems in the mood for explanations, albeit seemingly unlikely ones:

FENDELMAN: This skull that you found is, I believe, extraterrestrial in origin.
COLBY: An alien space traveller? Hence the guards. Next of kin come for the remains? You're expecting an attack by little green men from, er, Venus?
FENDELMAN: Don't talk like a fool, Colby! You're not a fool!
COLBY: No, I'm not. That skull is human. It's a skull like yours and mine. Modern man. Homo sapiens!
FENDELMAN: Exactly. It is also twelve million years old. Millions of years older than the earliest of man's known ancestors.
COLBY: You think we're all aliens?

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COLBY: Circumstantial. It's all circumstantial.
FENDELMAN: It is the only logical explanation, Adam. Man did not evolve on Earth, of this I am sure. There is something else that I have not told you. With the scanner, I have traced what I now believe to be the moment of death of this alien traveller. At that moment, there is an enormous surge of power the like of which I have not seen before. It was this that first attracted my attention. It is an inpouring of energy. A concentration of power as though to store. Now I ask myself, where would this power be stored? And why? These questions I could not answer until I had x-rayed the skull.
COLBY: You x-rayed the skull? When?
FENDELMAN: Stael and I have been doing experiments in secret for some time.
COLBY: Thank you.
FENDELMAN: No, no, no, you are right. But from the beginning I had the feeling that this was so important that it must be kept secret. And now we have these murders and this mysterious intruder.
COLBY: He said something about x-rays.
THEA: Will you excuse me?
COLBY: Oh, I'm sorry, Thea. Are you still feeling ill?
THEA: No, it's all right. I'm just a little tired. I think I'll go and lie down.
FENDELMAN: You are looking very pale, my dear. Perhaps you have been working too hard. I will ask Stael to look in on you later...... There is no doubt that this intruder has been spying on us.
COLBY: Yes. Well, after the x-rays, what did you find?
FENDELMAN: I will show you. Come.

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FENDELMAN: There. Do you see it?
COLBY: It looks like a pentagram. It's the way the fragments have been assembled.
FENDELMAN: No. It is part of the bone structure itself. I believe it to be a form of neural relay, and this is where the energy is stored. It is interesting, is it not, that for as long as man can remember, the pentagram has been a symbol for mystical energy and power.
COLBY: All right, let's assume that's the how. You're still left with why.
FENDELMAN: A beacon.
COLBY: What?
FENDELMAN: Suppose the energy is still within this neural circuit and can only be released by the intelligent application of applied advanced technology.
COLBY: You mean the release of that energy would act as a signal that there was intelligent life on this planet?
FENDELMAN: And at last, mankind would meet its
COLBY: Next of kin?
FENDELMAN: Destiny, Adam. Its destiny.

Now I always get slightly uneasy when I see things like pentagrams and other occult symbology, but Doctor Who has been there before in The Dæmons where it exposed the mystical being there as being an alien and it looks like they're taking a similar angle here too. In that story the Master was working with a local cult group and sure enough there's one here too:
STAEL: You should not have come here.
MOSS: Well, I had to warn you.
STAEL: There are security guards now.
MOSS: City boys. I know how to get past them.
STAEL: It was a stupid risk. Fendelman is already suspicious and uneasy. Why do you think he sent for the guards?
MOSS: I had to warn you about the Doctor.
STAEL: What doctor?
MOSS: Well, there's this bloke calls himself a doctor. Tall, curly hair. He's got a girl working with him. And I told him where to find this place. Well, I didn't realise. I tried to stop him after. They know all about us. 'Tis true. They're investigators. They come to investigate.
STAEL: I will deal with them. Now go, quickly. STAEL: Are all our friends prepared?
MOSS: They're waiting for the word.
STAEL: When the time comes, we must be twelve.
MOSS: We know you lead the coven now, but we know the old ways. Thirteen be the number.
STAEL: A place must be left for the one who kills.
Meanwhile Thea has gone looking for the Doctor and finds only an empty room where he was locked up:
THEA: Hello? Are you there? Please, I need help.
This bit of the story has always bothered me: could what happens to Thea after this have been avoided if the Doctor had still been there? We still don't know how he escaped but when Thea runs into Stael he drops a hint that he might have been responsible.
STAEL: Thea.
THEA: Max! You frightened me. Do you have to creep about like that?
STAEL: I apologise. What are you doing here, Thea?
THEA: I was, I was looking for the stranger. Do you know where he is?
STAEL: It is not important.
THEA: Well it is to me. I must find him. I think he can help me.
STAEL: Why should you need help, Thea? Anyway, the stranger has escaped. He can do nothing.
Stael's not searched the room that we've seen so how does he know the Doctor has escaped? If he has, why hasn't he raised the alarm? These questions suggest that Stael is the on who let the Doctor out. We already know he's up to something behind Fendelman's back with Moss and the cultists.

It's at this point things go really wrong for Thea as he cloroforms her!

STAEL: It is too late. Too late for all the meddling fools.
THEA: What are you talking about, Max? Get out of my way.
STAEL: There's no need to be afraid of me, Thea.
THEA: Please, Max!
STAEL: It is fitting that you should be the key to my power.
THEA: Max, don't be such a fool.
STAEL: The chosen one.
Meanwhile the Doctor's found the skull:
DOCTOR: Oh. Oh. Would you like a jelly baby? No, I don't suppose you would. Alas, poor skull.
The "Jelly baby" is obviously a liquorice allsort!!

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The Skull's obviously somewhat offended at this judging by what it does to him!

Dr. Fendelman is played by Denis Lill who'll return as Sir George Hutchinson in The Awakening. He's probably most famous for his role as Charles Vaughan in Survivors. He's one of the few people to have appeared in The Professionals, playing Josef Merhart in Hijack, and it's sequel CI5: The New Professionals, where he played Eliz Risha in Hostage. He's done comedy too appearing as Sir Talbot Buxomly, a member of Parliament, in Dish and Dishonesty, the opening episode of Blackadder the Third, which my history teacher wanted to show us as a text on electoral reform, and as Beadle in Blackadder's Christmas Carol. He's been in Red Dwarf playing the Simulant Captain / Death in Gunmen of the Apocalypse and has a recurring role in later series of Only Fools and Horses where he plays Alan Parry, Rodney's Father In Law. He used to live in my former home town of Kingston and one of my brothers went to school with his daughter!

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Wanda Ventham plays Thea Ransome. She'd previously appeared in The Faceless Ones as Jean Rock and returns to Doctor Who as Faroon in Time and the Rani. She'll be familiar to science fiction fans as Col. Virginia Lake in the first episode of UFO, a role which becomes a regular in the second half of the series but also appears in the mising second season Out of the Unknown episode The Eye as Josephine. She's the mother of Benedict Cumberbatch, TV's Sherlock and has, along with her husband Timothy Carlton appeared as their son's character's parents in The Empty Hearse and His Last Vow. She too has had a recurring role in Only Fools and Horses where she plays Pamela Parry, Dennis Lill's character's wife!

Probably the most famous face in this, to the general public at least, is Geoffrey Hinsliff, playing Jack Tyler. He'll be back as Fisk in Nightmare of Eden but most people will know him for the several years he spent playing Don Brennan in Coronation Street. Before his soap fame he appeared in UFO as the Hotel Clerk in Confetti Check A-OK, I, Claudius as Rufrius in Fool's Luck and The Professionals as the Sergeant in When the Heat Cools Off.

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Jack Tyler's Gran, Martha Tyler, is played by Daphne Heard who's well known for her role as Mrs. Polouvicka, Richard DeVere's mother in To the Manor Born

Council Worker and Coven Member Ted Moss is played by Edward Evans. He's got an Out of the Unknown to his name appearing as Tom Palfrey in the missing fourth season episode The Sons and Daughters of Tomorrow. He was in Doomwatch twice and both his appearances exist and can be found on The Doomwatch DVD: he was in The Battery People as Dai and The Inquest as the Coroner.

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There's two uncredited security guards in this episode. Geoffrey Witherick has previous Doctor Who form to his name appearing as a Cricketer / Reveller in Dalek Masterplan episode 8: Volcano, a Guard in The Massacre 4: Bell of Doom, a Man in Market in The War Machines episode 3, a Villager/ Coven Member in The Dæmons, a guard in Frontier in Space and a Security guard in Image of the Fendahl part two. He's been in Doomwatch as well, as a Man in Burial at Sea, but his episode is missing. The other security guard, John Emms, had also been in Doomwatch appearing as a man in Re-Entry Forbidden, and his episode survives on the above DVD.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

462 Image of the Fendahl: Part One

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 October 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 6.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"You must have been sent by Providence!"
"No, I was sent by the Council to cut the verges."

A research team works on an incredibly ancient skull, older than humanity itself. As they subject it to tests it starts to glow. In nearby woods a hiker encounters a creature in nearby woods which kills him as one of the scientists, Thea Ransome, collapses. The Tardis finds itself dragged off course by a time scan in operation and when the Doctor traces the source to Earth he decides to investigate. The hiker's body is found by the research team who's head, Dr. Fendelman, summons a security team from London and orders Stael to perform an autopsy on the rapidly decomposing body, but no cause of death can be found, bar an odd blister on the neck. Leela & The Doctor encounter local Ted Moss who fills them in on the research establishment. Adam Colby & Thea Ransome object to the security restrictions placed on them and Adam takes the matter up with Dr. Fendelman, he explains his instrumentation can allow him to see into the past. Thea goes to look at the equipment and as she adjusts in the skull begins to glow. Outside the Doctor & Leela are attempting to gain access to the house the research team is based in. They are separated in the grounds: Leela enters the house and is shot at while outside the Doctor remains rooted to the spot as something advances on him.

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Lots of dark woods and glowing skulls with people taking the law into their own hands plus a mysterious force diverting the Tardis off track. Can't really go wrong with that can you?

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The only fly in the ointment is that, for the second story in a row, we have a professor with a slightly dodgy foreign accent!

The scientists roughly divide into two camps, Adam Colby & Thea Ransome, working with the skull, and Doctor Fendelman & Maximilian Steal, doing something slightly sinister with computers.

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This becomes obvious when Colby makes a gruesome discovery in the grounds.

COLBY: There's a corpse by the wood!
FENDELMAN: What sort of corpse?
COLBY: A dead one. What other sort is there?
FENDELMAN: Male or female?
COLBY: Oh, male.
THEA: Do we know him?
COLBY: I never saw him before.
FENDELMAN: How did he die? Are there signs of violence?
COLBY: Well, not exactly. By the look of him, he didn't die easily.
STAEL: It is never easy to die.
COLBY: Well, thank you, Max. I'm going to call the police.
FENDELMAN: No, a moment, a moment. No, we must consider.
COLBY: What's to consider? There's a body out there. We can't just leave it. Or are you breeding vultures in that secret lab of yours, hmm?
FENDELMAN: This is no time for discourtesy, Adam.
COLBY: I'm sorry. It was a shock. He looks terrible. He must have been terrified when he died.
FENDELMAN: Adam, Adam, just think for a moment. These woods, they are supposed to be haunted. Now can you imagine what would happen if there were news of a mysterious death in them?
THEA: Well, there'd be a certain amount of publicity.
FENDELMAN: Publicity? It would be a circus. They attract enough lunatics already without advertising for them.
COLBY: I don't see that we've much alternative.
FENDELMAN: Adam, Adam. Our work is at a critical stage. Your discovery could be one of the most important milestones in human development. Your work will fundamentally affect how man views himself. We cannot be interrupted at this moment of destiny.
COLBY: Yes, but
FENDELMAN: And besides, we wouldn't want your Nobel Prize to be jeopardised by an unfortunate coincidence, now would we?
THEA: What are you suggesting?
FENDELMAN: I'm not suggesting anything. Adam will recover and then he can show us the body. Then we will decide, eh? We could arrange for it to be found somewhere else.
THEA: But that's illegal!
FENDELMAN: A small deception only.
THEA: Adam, you can't possibly
COLBY: It wouldn't make much difference.
FENDELMAN: There, you see? We work something out, eh? Stael. Get on to London. Tell Hartman I want a security team here within two hours. Tell him I want the best men we have and I want them armed. Then I shall want you to do a post-mortem on that body.
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So what's going on and is so important that Fendelman is willing to subvert the law of the land?

The Post-Mortem reveals some interesting findings:

STAEL: I have completed the post-mortem.
STAEL: I cannot find the exact cause of death. There is a small blister at the base of his skull, but that can't have killed him.
FENDELMAN: Natural causes, then.
STAEL: There is something strange.
FENDELMAN: Oh, what's that?
STAEL: The outward signs are that the man died quite recently. His watch is still working, he has a Thermos of tea in his pocket which is still hot, yesterday's newspaper. The mud on his boots is still
FENDELMAN: Yes, yes, yes, Stael, get on with it.
STAEL: The body is decomposing.
STAEL: It's falling apart as you watch.
FENDELMAN: The cause?
STAEL: I don't know, but it's as though all the energy has been removed. All the binding force has gone and all that remains is a husk.
FENDELMAN: Are the security team in place?
FENDELMAN: Good. You will dispose of the body, Stael, and nobody must know of this. Nobody at all.
Meanwhile, despite having the Tardis flight interrupted by the equipment Fendelman & Stael are using the Doctor seems in humorous mood engaging in banter with some cows....
DOCTOR: Good morning, ladies. Now, which one of you has the time scanner, hmm?
LEELA: This doesn't look like the place, Doctor.
DOCTOR: I did say more or less, though this does look rather less than more. You know, I don't think these cows know anything about the time scanner. Never mind. It's a beautiful day. The exercise will do us good. Come on.
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Criticising Leela's ancestors before distracting her....

DOCTOR: Your ancestors have a talent for self-destruction that borders on genius.
LEELA: Listen, Doctor, I do not like the way you keep talking about my ancestors.
DOCTOR: I like your new dress.
LEELA: Thank you.
DOCTOR: It's a pleasure.
.... and finally obtaining some vital information from a seemingly innocent passer by who Leela's decided to capture!
LEELA: Doctor? Doctor!
LEELA: He came armed and silent.
DOCTOR: You must have been sent by Providence.
MOSS: No, I was sent by the Council to cut the verges.
LEELA: Your Council should choose its warriors more carefully. A child of the Sevateem could have taken you.
MOSS: Escaped from somewhere, hasn't she? If you're her doctor, you shouldn't let her wander around loose. She could do someone a damage.
LEELA: He was not hunting us?
DOCTOR: No. Would you like a jelly baby?
MOSS: You've both escaped from somewhere, haven't you.
DOCTOR: Frequently. What's the nearest village?
MOSS: Fetchborough, about a mile down that way.
DOCTOR: Fetchborough. Tell me about the ghosts.
MOSS: Don't know what you mean. Ain't nothing like that around here.
LEELA: He is lying.
DOCTOR: The strangers, then.
MOSS: What, Fendelman and that lot up at the Priory?
DOCTOR: Yes, Fendelman. Tell me about him.
MOSS: Well, he's foreign, isn't he. Calls hisself a scientist. They do say he's one of the richest men in the world. You wouldn't think so to look at him, scruffy devil. They say he made his money out of electronics, but that don't seem likely 'cos he ain't Japanese.
DOCTOR: Japanese?
MOSS: No. His people dig up bodies.
DOCTOR: They do? Splendid.
LEELA: Grave robbers.
DOCTOR: Or archaeologists. Where is this Priory?
MOSS: Yon side of village.
DOCTOR: And it's haunted, of course.
MOSS: Oh aye, but it's the wood more than the
DOCTOR: Shush. Don't you worry. What's your name?
MOSS: Ted Moss.
DOCTOR: Ted Moss? Hmm. Don't you worry, Mister Moss. We won't tell a soul, living or dead. Come on, Leela.

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Leela's violent tendencies come in for some more criticism later

DOCTOR: What is it?
LEELA: There's a guard. I shall kill him.
LEELA: Why not?
DOCTOR: You'll upset the dog. Listen, Leela, you simply must stop attacking people.
DOCTOR: Because you'll get us into trouble.
LEELA: Do not worry, Doctor. I shall protect you.
DOCTOR: What? You'll protect me? Come on, we'll circle round the back. Come on!
My memory of past watches of this story is there's some stuff later on that doesn't sit too well with me but I enjoyed this episode immensely!

Even when I can't find an actor has been in Doctor Who before or since it's usually easy to find something about them. For example Security Team leader David Mitchell is played by Derek Martin who goes on to be Charlie Slater in Eastenders. He's been a Doctor Who supporting artist for many years appearing as an Extra in Inferno, a Parisian in Rue des Fosses St. Germain in The Massacre, a Soldier in The Web of Fear, Spearhead from Space, Inferno & Claws of Axos, a Thug in The Ambassadors of Death and a Prisoner in The Mind of Evil. He was in Out of the Unknown as a Guard in The Counterfeit Man which you can see in the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He's also in The Sweeney as Spooner in Messenger of the Gods and The Professionals as Renshaw in Not a Very Civil Civil Servant.

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But every so often you see an odd claim on Wikipedia that you can't be 100% sure is true. We have the hiker who appears in this episode, played by actor Graham Simpson, who's also in the Blake's 7 episode Weapon (with the same writer & director as this one). Wikipedia believes that this Graham Simpson later became a businessman and went on to chair Watford football club! I've done some research and I'm not 100% convinced the Wikipedia entry is right but neither am I convinced that it's definitely wrong.

Adam Colby is played by Edward Arthur. The most obvious thing I can see on his CV that I've seen is Morons from Outer Space where he plays a Television Interviewer.

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Maximilian Stael is played by Scott Fredericks who previously was Boaz in Day of the Daleks. Like the Hiker he also appears in the Blake's 7 episode Weapon.

Location filming for this story once again takes place at Stargrove Manor, then the home of Mick Jagger. It had been used two years previously as the locations for Pyramids of Mars.

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