Thursday 1 March 2012

465 Image of the Fendahl Part Four

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

The Doctor blasts the Fendahleen monster with John Tyler's shotgun filled with rocksalt 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. Unfortunately we get another alien race possibly affecting human evolution like the Daemons. Did the Chronovore Kronos do it too? They'll be another along shortly in the form of Scaroth.

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. 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 !!!!!

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.

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