Sunday, 12 November 2017

464 Image of the Fendahl: Part Three

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 12 November 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"I think it's the Fendahl. It grows and exists by death!"

Leela finds the Doctor knocking him away from the skull and severing it's influence. The Doctor thinks the skull is a creature called a Fendahl that feeds on life energy. The Doctor believes they have 100 hours of the scanners operations before it starts causing real problems but Fendelman explains to Colby that they've used nearly 99 hours of scan time already. Stael has bought a bound Thea to a chamber under the house. He intends to use her to control the ancient power he worships. The Doctor goes to see Mrs Tyler and speaks to her about her experiences. Stael tells Fendelman to turn the scanner off, holding them at gunpoint but Colby co-operates. They are taken to the room bellow the house where Thea is chained to a pentagram on the floor and chained up as the other cult members arrive at the house. The Doctor & Leela travel in the Tardis to the fifth planet of the solar system, the Fendahl's home, but find it's been time looped. Fendelman realises his name is a result of the Fendahl's manipulation and that he, and all mankind, have been used. John & Mrs Tyler enter the house hearing the gunshot as Stael kills Fendelman. The Doctor & Leela join them as an eerie noise echoes down the corridor. They find themselves immobilised as a Fendahleen monster approaches them.....

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Hmmm. Quite a lot of information dumping this episode.

First up the Doctor realises what the Skull is doing:

DOCTOR: You're becoming a metracion generator, aren't you.
LEELA: Is it alive?
DOCTOR: Yes. It's using appropriate genetic material to recreate itself.
LEELA: What is it?
DOCTOR: Shush. I think it's the Fendahl. It grows and exists by death.
LEELA: Most creatures do. That is what you told me.
DOCTOR: The Fendahl absorbs the full spectrum of energy, what some people call a life force or soul. It eats life itself.
LEELA: That must be what the old woman saw.
LEELA: Huge and dark, she said. Hungry for her soul.
DOCTOR: And she's still alive?
DOCTOR: Take me to her.
LEELA: What about that?
DOCTOR: It's indestructible.
LEELA: Well, what about the sonic time scan?
DOCTOR: No, no, first thing's first. Fendelman can operate that before the implosion for about a hundred hours, give or take a few minutes.
LEELA: But he might already have used his hundred hours.
DOCTOR: That's a risk I'll have to take. Come on, let's go.
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This episode plays an old trick by introducing a countdown to try to give things a sense of urgency.

COLBY: What's that for?
FENDELMAN: That is a running log. Some of the scanner components have a limited life.
COLBY: Ninety eight hours fifty six minutes forty three point seven seconds. You've been busy with this equipment.
FENDELMAN: It has been a joy.
Unfortunately the machine the count down relates to spends a large proportion of the episode switched off! Maybe mentioning that Earth could stand around 100 hours of the time distortion effect earlier in the story might have been a better idea?
TYLER: Is this him? Is this your man? Oi, do you know what's going on? My Gran in hell of a state.
DOCTOR: Come on, Mrs Tyler, wake up.
LEELA: Come on, old woman, wake up. Wake up now.
TYLER: Oi, what do you think you're doing? Leave her alone.
DOCTOR: Do you know what's wrong with her?
TYLER: Well, no, but
DOCTOR: I do. Make some tea.
DOCTOR: Tea. She does drink tea?
TYLER: Well, yeah.
DOCTOR: Off you go and make some. Use the best china. Four cups laid out on a tray. Off you go. Oh, and some fruitcake.
TYLER: Anything else?
DOCTOR: I love fruitcake. Come on, Mrs Tyler. This is no way to behave when you've got visitors. We've come for tea.
LEELA: And fruitcake.
DOCTOR: And fruitcake.
Liz joined me during this episode and remarked that Ma Tyler (Daphne Heard) and Jack Tyler (Geoffrey Hinsliff, who she failed to recognise despite many years of her Mum & sister watching Corrie) are probably the best Yokels seen in Doctor Who so far. And she's right, they are. They get the country feel down to a tee without edging too far into comedy. We also spotted the "Jack/John" interchangeability going on in this episode. When we named our son Jonathan my Mother would not have it that Jack was an acceptable diminutive form of the name!

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DOCTOR: Throw in the apple cores very hard, put the lot in a shallow tin and bake in a high oven for two weeks. It's too late. She's slipping away. Come on.
MARTHA: Here, just a minute.
DOCTOR: What is it?
MARTHA: That ain't the way to make a fruitcake.
DOCTOR: Mrs Tyler!
MARTHA: Here, well, if you'm going to stay, you may as well sit yourselves down. I'll have the tea ready in a jiffy.
TYLER: It's here, Gran.
MARTHA: But that ain't the best china, John. And there's fresh cake in the other tin. Why, I'm sorry. When did I ask you to tea? I ain't never seen you afore in my life.
DOCTOR: You were slipping away, Mrs Tyler.
MARTHA: Slipping away?
DOCTOR: Yes, psychic shock. I needed something normal to bring you back to reality. How long have you lived here, Mrs Tyler?
MARTHA: Why should I tell 'ee ought?
DOCTOR: Tell her I'm trying to help.
TYLER: He's only trying to help, Gran.
MARTHA: You mind your place, John.
TYLER: Oh, now, no, we won't have none of those games. Now, Ted Moss and his cronies is up to something. It's something bad, and you're involved. Now, you tell him what he want to know.
MARTHA: I ain't involved in anything. I were consulted. A lot of people consult me. You know I've got the second sight.
DOCTOR: Yes. So you've lived in this cottage all your life, haven't you, Mrs Tyler.
MARTHA: Why should I tell 'ee ought?
DOCTOR: Well, telepathy and precognition are normal in anyone whose childhood was spent near a time fissure, like the one in the wood.
TYLER: He's as bad as she is. Here, what's a time fissure?
DOCTOR: It's a weakness in the fabric of space and time. Every haunted place has one, doesn't it? That's why they're haunted. It's a time distortion. This one must be very large. Large enough to have affected the place names round here. Like Fetchborough. Fetch. An apparition, hmm?
MARTHA: How do 'ee know so much?
DOCTOR: I read a lot. What did you see in the wood, Mrs Tyler?
MARTHA: I didn't see ought with my eyes.
DOCTOR: Then with your mind. Did it have a human shape?
DOCTOR: Mrs Tyler, I must know. Did it have a human shape?
MARTHA: No, it didn't.
DOCTOR: Mrs. Jack, do something for me.
TYLER: If I can.
DOCTOR: It could be dangerous.
DOCTOR: I want you to keep an eye on the Priory. I must know who comes and goes. We'll be back tomorrow sundown.
TYLER: Right.
MARTHA: Here, girl.
MARTHA: Take this. 'Tis a charm will protect 'ee. I cast it for Ted Moss, but 'tis too late for him.
LEELA: Thank you.
TYLER: Yes, Gran?
MARTHA: I seed that figure he spoke of in a dream. 'Twere a woman.
And there's only one other woman in the show and that's Thea Ransome and she's being held in a cellar by Stael who has taken a dive off the deep end:
STAEL: Thea.
THEA: Max.
STAEL: I'm glad you are awake, Thea. I want you to understand why I brought you here. You are the medium through which the ancient power of this place is focused.
THEA: What are you doing?
STAEL: The scanner awoke the power. You know about the scanner, of course. I've been watching you for some time, you see. Through you, I shall conjure and control the supreme power of the ancients.
THEA: Oh, Max, don't be so ridiculous.
STAEL: You will sleep now, while we prepare.
THEA: Max! Max, you're a fool.
STAEL: I shall be a god!
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FENDELMAN: There, Colby, do you see it?
STAEL: Turn it off!
FENDELMAN: Where have you been, Stael. I needed you here.
STAEL: Turn off the scanner!
COLBY: Doctor Fendelman, I think you have an industrial relations problem.
FENDELMAN: What are you talking?
FENDELMAN: Have you lost your mind?
STAEL: The scanner.
COLBY: Relax, Max. I'll do it.
FENDELMAN: Why, Stael?
STAEL: I am not yet ready. My followers are not yet here.
COLBY: Followers? Well, that's impressive.
STAEL: Shut up, Colby, or I will kill you now. Outside, both of you.
FENDELMAN: Is this some sort of joke, Max?
COLBY: Oh no, Max isn't famous for his sense of humour, are you, Maxie?
STAEL: I shall not warn you again, Colby.
COLBY: You're going to kill us anyway, aren't you?
STAEL: That depends on whether I enjoy having you worship me.
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The Doctor Meanwhile unexpectedly discovers the Time Lords involvement in their events:

DOCTOR: The fifth planet's a hundred and seven million miles out and twelve million years back, so we've no time to lose.
LEELA: Do you think this thing, the Fendahl, comes from the fifth planet?
DOCTOR: Well, it came from it a long time ago, before your species evolved on Earth.

LEELA: There was something chasing me. I, I couldn't move. Just a dream, I suppose.
LEELA: Hey, what's wrong?
DOCTOR: I've been checking the old data banks. There's no record at all of a fifth planet.
LEELA: Does that matter?
DOCTOR: Well of course it matters! We Time Lords are a very meticulous people. You have to be when you live as long as we do. All information is recorded.
LEELA: Perhaps there wasn't any.
LEELA: Information.
DOCTOR: Of course. That's why there's no record of the planet.
DOCTOR: That impression's produced by a time loop.
LEELA: Time loop?
DOCTOR: Yes, a time loop. All memory of a planet's been erased by a circle of time, making data and its records invisible. Only a Time Lord could do that.
LEELA: That's very clever.
DOCTOR: That's criminal! We've been on a wild goose chase. We'd better get back. Let's hope we're not too far round that time loop.
LEELA: Is there anything I can do?
DOCTOR: Yes. No, no. I'll just set the coordinates and we're on our way.

STAEL: The waiting is over. Prepare yourselves.
FENDELMAN: Don't do it, Stael!
CORBY: Shut up, you fool. Let him electrocute himself.
FENDELMAN: He will kill us all. Listen to me, all of you! He is a madman!
FENDELMAN: You must stop him! Stop him now, before he plunges everything into chaos and death!
COLBY: I'll plunge you into chaos and death if you don't shut up.
FENDELMAN: You don't understand. I see now what will happen.
STAEL: You do?
FENDELMAN: Max, listen. The Doctor asked if my name was real. Fendelman. Man of the Fendahl. Don't you see? Only for this have the generations of my fathers lived. I have been used! You are being used! Mankind has been used!
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At this point Stael decides he's had enough of Fendelman and shoots him, before kicking off the ceremony which end up summoning the creature The Doctor and company encounter

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More stuff resembling the Daemons: a female sacrifice and an older woman involved in witchcraft to go with the occult symbolism and the cult in a basement!

So who do have we got in the coven?

Ray Knight was a Soldier in Robot and a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil. He'll be back as a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, Lexa's Deon in Meglos, the Policeman with Bike in the first episode of Logopolis, a Trion in Planet of Fire and a Member of Glitz's Crew in Dragonfire part one. He's been in Blake's 7 as a Federation Trooper in Countdown, a Rebel in Rumours of Death and a Federation Trooper in Warlord. Douglas Stark was also a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil and later plays a Cricketer in Black Orchid. Jay McGrath's Doctor Who career stretches back further appearing as a Worker in The War Machines and a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians. He's back as a Dead Androgum in The Two Doctors part one.

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Inside the Fendahleen costume is Visual Effects man Peter Wragg. His first IMDB credit is in 1966 working on the film Thunderbirds Are Go followed by Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. This is his first Doctor Who, as the visual effects assistant, uncredited, but he's later credited as the visual effects designer on The Visitation, Resurrection of the Daleks and The Trial of a Time Lord parts five to eight, Mindwarp.What he's best known for is being the Visual Effects Designer for Red Dwarf for which he built Red Dwarf itself and many smaller models including Blue Midget and Starbug.

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