Monday 30 January 2012

434 The Hand of Fear Part Three

EPISODE: The Hand of Fear Part Three
TRANSMITTED: 16 October 1976
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Lennie Mayne
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Hand Of Fear

The anticipated explosion fails to occur. The Doctor works out that the hand is in the reactor absorbing all the energy. Professor Watson has the RAF conduct a nuclear strike on the plant but the missiles have no effect, dealt with by whatever is in the reactor. The Doctor and Sarah re-enter the building and meet Eldrad, a woman made from rock & gem stones. she negotiates with the Doctor who agrees to take her to Kastria. However on their arrival Eldrad is shot by an automatic defence mechanism.

Female villains are rare in Doctor Who. Liz, who loves this story, and I had a think and we could only come up with the Drahvians (Galaxy Four), Kaftan (Tomb of the Cybermen), Queen Galia (Time Monster) Miss Winters (Robot) and the Zygon Sister Lamont (Terror of the Zygons) that appeared on screen but noted that there should have been one in Colony in Space. Judith Paris puts in a top performance Eldrad making this a decent episode.... except we get yet another airing, thankfully briefly, of the "get past the traps to get to your destination" storyline!

The Power Complex here is named Nunton but that's pretty close to the Nuton used in Bob Baker & Dave Martin's earlier Doctor Who story the Claws of Axos. Indeed it seems as if during this story's troubled development it was meant to be the location seen in the earlier story. Hand of Fear was originally intended as the six part story which would close the 13th season and kill off the Brigadier. All along it featured Hands wandering about by themselves inspired by the films The Hands of Orlac and The Beast with Five Fingers. Problems with the story led to it being shelved and replaced by the Seeds of Doom. When Douglas Camfield's French Foreign Legion story fell through, which was meant to kill of Sarah, Hand of Fear was brought back into service, slimmed down to four parts and heavily modified by the authors.

The location for the Nunton complex is Oldbury Power Station near Thornbury, close to where Bob Baker & Dave Martin lived. This is it's only Doctor who appearance but it's been used three times in Blake's 7: in Time Squad as the Federation complex, in Redemption as the Spaceworld interiors and in Killer as the Q-base exterior and tunnel - see The Blake's 7 Location Guide. Oldbury is scheduled to be decommissioned somewhere around the point you read this. Oddly it's just four miles down the road from Berkeley Power Station, which we'll shortly see used in Pirate Planet. We get to see the quarry again, albeit briefly, in this episode too and that's not too far away either, filmed at Slickstone Quarry in Gloucestershire.

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