Doctor Who: Image Of The Fendahl (1977/BBC DVD)
Sound: B- Extras: B+ Episodes: A+
Combining elements of science fiction,
mystery, and horror, Image of the
Fendahl stands out as one of the finest stories of Tom Baker's exalted run
on one of the BBC's oldest and longest running series. Officially counted as Story no. 94 in the Doctor's mythos, author Chris
Boucher weaves an intricate web of plot and character to set up the events of
the episodes. Like many Who stories of
this era, Fendahl takes its sweet
old time to get going, as each character and setting is painstakingly revealed.
This slow development
counts as both a strength and a weakness of the tale. It's sometimes slow pace can make it tough for casual viewers to get
into the story, but once this hurdle is overcome, the payoff is indeed great.
In taking the care he does, Boucher invests the audience in the life and fate
of each character. The story opens with some
dark experiments at the Fetch Priory, set in what was then contemporary (1977),
rural western England. Drawn to the time anomaly these
experiments are causing, the Doctor and his companion, Leela (Louise Jameson),
arrive to investigate just things begin to go south for all involved. Through many twists and turns the Doctor and Leela must face a horror
from the Time Lords' distant past, and in doing so are forced to make some very
difficult decisions for themselves and the human research team caught up in the
In spite of its sometimes campy visual effects, Image of the Fendahl manages to be one of the most frightening
stories of this or any Who era. It's great
candidate for Halloween viewing, and shows Tom Baker at the height of his
BBC Video does not skimp on the extras, and this disc includes commentaries
with Tom Baker, Louise Jameson and other cast members. Also included is the documentary "After Image", which covers the
making of these episodes and features interviews with Louise Jameson and other
cast members, along with some key members of the creative crew.
Fans of Doctor Who and Baker's
wonderful run on the show will not be disappointed by Image of the Fendahl.
- Scott Pyle