Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Sunday, 16 October 2016

434 The Hand of Fear: Part Three

EPISODE: The Hand of Fear: Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 434
STORY NUMBER: 087
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 16 October 1976
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Lennie Mayne
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Hand Of Fear

"Eldrad LIVES!"

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.

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Decent episode here. We get some fab interaction between the Doctor and Sarah as Watson's plan to blow up the power complex fails to come off:

WATSON: They fired the missiles. What happened?
SARAH: Yeah, what happened? We saw them fired.
DOCTOR: They've been neutralised in some way.
WATSON: How?
DOCTOR: Professor Watson, any being that can live, let alone thrive, inside a nuclear pile, is hardly likely to be deterred by a few primitive missiles.
WATSON: But they're the most powerful missiles we have.
DOCTOR: On your standards, perhaps. I think we should try much older weapons.
SARAH: Like?
DOCTOR: Speech. Diplomacy?
WATSON: What?
DOCTOR: Conversation? Come on, driver, let's go.

DOCTOR: Right, you stay here. I'll go on. Shouldn't take long, one way or the other.
SARAH: Good. Let's go then.
DOCTOR: Not you. You stay with Professor Watson.
(Watson grabs Sarah as she starts to follow the Doctor.)
WATSON: I think you'd better do as he says this time.
SARAH: Yeah. Yeah, you're right. I should. But I'm not going to!

SARAH: I worry about you. Look, anyway, who found that thing?
DOCTOR: You did.
(They walk on.)
SARAH: Right. So, I'm involved. It could have been me, not Driscoll, and besides, I'm from Earth and you're not.
DOCTOR: That's true.
SARAH: Exactly.
DOCTOR: Yes, but
SARAH: Oh, but what?
DOCTOR: I worry about you.
SARAH: So, be careful.
DOCTOR: We'll both be careful.
SARAH: Fine.

Good thing too: the consequence of a Nuclear missile striking a nuclear power plant are too horrible to think of. You do wonder about them cowering behind a jeep about a mile or so away: like that's going to offer any protection!

Then there's the superb Eldrad, finally putting in an appearance, played by Judith Paris who puts in a top performance here. She's helped by a fabulous costume/make up design. This is the first glimpse of what a Kastrian might look like: the ones we saw in episode one were all shrouded in thermal gear. However there is a hint that this isn't what all Kastrians look like when Eldrad catches sight of herself in the mirrored walls of the reactor room:

ELDRAD: What is this place? Where have I come to? Can this be the form of the creatures who have found me and who now seek to destroy me? No matter. They shall fail, as the obliteration has failed. Strange form or not, Eldrad lives, and shall again rule Kastria!
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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.

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The Power Complex here is named Nunton but that's pretty close to the name Nuton used for the power complex 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.

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The location for the Nunton complex is Oldbury Power Station near Thornbury, close to where Bob Baker & Dave Martin lived.

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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 for more on it's appearances there.

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Oldbury is 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 in which the Tardis arrived in this episode too, albeit briefly, and that's not too far away either, filmed at Slickstone Quarry in Gloucestershire.

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