Saturday 28 January 2012

432 The Hand of Fear Part One

EPISODE: The Hand of Fear Part One
TRANSMITTED: 02 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

On the dying planet Kastria the traitor Eldrad is sentenced to death and fired into space in a ship which is destroyed. Materialising in a quarry on Earth, the Doctor & Sarah are caught in an explosion and Sarah is trapped under rubble where she finds a stone hand with a ring and a missing finger which she won't let go of. She & the Doctor are taken to a local hospital. The recovered Doctor sees how Sarah is then visits Doctor Carter in the path lab who is analysing the hand. Meanwhile the ring glows and revives Sarah. The Doctor borrows virology's electron microscope to further examine the hand. He dates it by the strata of rock that it was buried in and returns to the quarry. Sarah finds her way to the pathology lab, shooting Dr Carter with an energy bolt and proclaiming that "Eldrad must live!" She places the hand in a container and absconds with it. Examining the scene the Doctor thinks the hand may have come from a prehistoric spaceship crash. When Carter revives he tells the Doctor what has happened and, under the same influence as Sarah, enquires if the Doctor has found anything. They find a sample from the machine has changed, absorbing radiation from the machine analysing it. Sarah goes to the nearby Nunton nuclear power complex, blasting a guard with energy from the ring. She walks straight into the main nuclear reactor carrying the hand which feeds on the radiation, regrowing it's missing finger and starting to move.

Ah a companion possessed by an evil entity. Have we done this before? Did Susan get sort of possessed a few times (Edge of Destruction & Sensorites?) Mind you Sarah was obviously possessed by something before this story started, nobody in their right mind would wear an outfit as silly as hers. It's even referred to in the dialogue as "pink striped overalls just like Andy Pandy" Or it could just be stupidity, after all why didn't her and the Doctor do a runner straight back to the Tardis as soon as they heard the siren?

We welcome back Rex Robinson in this episode as Dr. Carter. He's previously been Dr. Tyler in The Three Doctors and Gebek in The Monster of Peladon. All three of his appearances were directed by Lennie Mayne. Also returning are Roy Pattison, as Zazzka, the Kastrian technician, who was a Draconian Space Pilot in Frontier in Space. Making his last appearance in front of the camera in Doctor Who is Roy Skelton heavily made up as Kastrian King Rokon. You've seen him previously in Colony in Space as Norton, Planet of the Daleks as Wester, The Green Death as James and The Android Invasion as Chedaki. Meanwhile he's been heard in The Ark doing Monoid voices, The Tenth Planet & The Wheel in Space as Cybermen voices, The Ice Warriors as the Computer voice & The Krotons as the Kroton voices. He's been the voice of the Daleks in The Evil of the Daleks, Planet of the Daleks & Genesis of the Daleks and will return to this role in Destiny of the Daleks, The Five Doctors, Revelation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks missing only Resurrection of the Daleks.

The Doctor at the hospital (credited as an Intern) is played by Renu Setna. This is a very rare role for an Asian actor of Indian/Pakistani extraction in Doctor Who and I'm struggling to think of any others before this. Playing Abbott, the quarry foreman, is David Purcell. I know nothing about him but doesn't he look like the comedian Steve Coogan.

The word Fear doesn't show up that many times in the title of Doctor Who stories. It's got two appearances as a First Doctor episode title: An Unearthly Child 3: The Forest of Fear and The Reign of Terror 1: A Land of Fear. After that it's used just twice in an overall story title in The Web of Fear then finally here in The Hand of Fear.

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