The Hand Of Fear: Doctor Who Season 14
The Hand Of Fear SYNOPSIS:
A fossilized stone hand is found gripped by the unconscious Sarah, after she and the Doctor are nearly killed by an explosion is a rock quarry on Earth where the Tardis materialises.
She is taken to hospital to recover and the Doctor takes the fossil to the hospital lab for examination convinced it's alien. Sarah leaves the hospital now possessed by the will of Eldrad and wearing the alien ring that was on the fossil. She steals back it and takes it to Nunton nuclear complex where the hand comes back to life absorbing the radiation.
The Doctor and path lab operator Dr. Carter pursue her and try to convince the director of the complex Professor Watson she's possessed by an alien hand. The Doctor manages to get Sarah out of the reactor untouched, however a worker named Driscoll finds the dropped alien ring and, once possessed, takes the hand into the heart of the reactor.
Eldrad uses the radiation to regenerate it's hand into that of an Kastrian Woman. The Doctor accepts Eldrad's offer to take her back to her planet instead of letting her rampage on Earth. Once there they have to make it to the regenerator when Eldrad is wounded by Kastrian booby traps. Eldrad regeneartes back to his original self and finds the Kastrian race is now dead. The Doctor is summoned to Gallifrey and must leave Sarah behind on Earth.
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The Hand Of Fear SERIAL DETAILS:
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The Hand Of Fear CAST & CREW
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)
Judith Paris, Stephen Thorne — Eldrad
Glyn Houston — Professor Watson
Rex Robinson — Dr Carter
Frances Pidgeon — Miss Jackson
John Cannon — Elgin
Roy Boyd — Driscoll
David Purcell — Abbott
Roy Skelton — King Rokon
Renu Setna — Intern
Roy Pattison — Zazzka
Robin Hargrave — Guard
Production Staff for Serial 4N:
Writers - Bob Baker, Dave Martin
Director - Lennie Mayne
Script editor - Robert Holmes
Producer - Philip Hinchcliffe
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The Hand Of Fear REVIEWS
The Shoe Of Fear or rather the Hand Of Fear…sorry Long, beat you to it.
Another little gem brought to you by the team of Hinchcliffe Holmes. Sounds like a real estate business doesn't it? Anyway the Doctor and Sarah land in a quarry and guess what? This time it actually IS a quarry. That's never been tried before in Who and also they end up there during a time when they are actually blowing up part of it. Yes the heroes survive of course but when Sarah is dug out of the rockfall she's holding a stone hand.
Thus begins her last great adventure. The Hand Of Fear is another homage to old horror films such as the Beast with Five fingers and the Hand. Sarah is put is just about every sort of peril in this one, she's possessed by the alien hand, nearly crushed in a rock fall, nearly shot by guards ironically because she's the bad guy in the first half, nearly fried by radiation, frozen by Kastria and almost plummets to her death. It's good they highlight Sarah so much in her last outing. This one has a weird atmosphere and all the supporting players are again so strong you never lose any impact in the story. Dr Tyler / The Peladon miner is in his best role as another Dr. that is one of the many people who come into contact with Eldrad's ring and get taken over. Like the weird fish eye lens shots whenever anyone uses Eldrad's ring.
Anyway time to stop bandying Eldrad's ring about, sure he wouldn't like that. Judith Paris is great as the female Eldrad, not only tall, imposing and sexy but wavers between righteous alien and nasty lady very well. Would anyone go for her? She's pretty good looking for an alien. And Stephen Thorne as the male Eldrad when they finally get to Kastria is his imposing, threatening best. An interesting note is we learn for the first time we see weapons won't work in the Tardis, just as the previous story where we learn the Tardis helps the traveller translate any foreign language.
Then what ups the story for me is Sarah's departure scene - it's so spot on for her cheery character and the brooding Dr. that you can't help getting misty eyed when she realises she really does have to leave her best friend forever. Tom's reaction after she leaves the ship is priceless and the freeze frame as she's walking down the street at the end is a great farewell to the longest serving companion of all. Hand Of Fear gets upped to 9.2/10
Not to mention it had a ripper of a line that I remember kids using around the playground at school. "Tim Long Must Live", sorry..."Eldrad Must Live!"
A Hand Of fear exclusive phone call:"Hi. This is Professor Watkins from the Nunton Nuclear Research Complex. Yeah, fine thanks. You? Great. Ummm, we've got a bit of an emergency over here. We're being attacked by a disembodied hand. yeah a hand of fear. Seriously. Can you send over a nuclear strike? Twenty minutes? Lovely!"
So this is the story where Sarah leaves the Doctor. Well, we knew it was coming and its set up very nicely in the first episode where she and the Doctor are caught in the bomb blast at the quarry but its a cracking little story for her to leave in. So much has been written about the whole Tom Baker/Liz Sladen/Doctor/Sarah relationship so I'm not going to retread that ground but it IS a great combination of great Doctor and great companion. No wonder so many people remember her and its testament to Lis Sladen that over thirty years later she gets to come back in the New Series and then has her own spin-off show. They really are in sync with one another and it'll be a long while before we see that again. Lennie Mayne does a sterling job here as director with his creepy fish eye lens when Sarah is approaching the power station - which once inside he really makes the most out of the location. Also, the tension he creates at the quarry when Sarah and the Doctor are blown up(more or less) and then when the Doctor is searching for her amongst the rubble.
Judith Paris is just fantastic as Eldrad (and a total hornbag too). She sounds fantastic with her husky voice and she moves great and her costume is a real innovation. Plus she really uses her eyes as well so you never are too sure whether to trust her or not. Its a real pity when she gets crushed to death under a slab of polystyrene. Stephen Thorne on the other hand as the male version of Eldrad (or the "bitch" depending on your point of view) is less successful and just sounds like he's channelling Omega. Also, his costume just isn't helping matters. Glyn Housten is also good as Professor Watson and his scene when he calls home cos there is a chance he's going to die is very touching. Rex Robinson is quite funny as the possessed Dr Carter and he has a funny look that makes him seem constipated. Oh, and there's an Indian actor in there as well. There's a first for Who! Well done for at least giving multi-racial casting a go.
And so its to the end of the story. Sarah's leaving scene is perhaps the best one of the classic series cos it sums up perfectly the relationship between companion and Doctor - or at least THIS companion and THIS Doctor by what it DOESN'T say. Its not sentimental or overly emotional but a great (unsaid) bond between two friends. Tom and Liz pretty much rewrote the original ending themselves and that in itself says so much about their relationship. Oh and that "Oh Sarah, don't YOU forget ME!" is very nice and says so much about the wandering Bohemian Time Lord. And finally, that freeze frame at the end of the story is perfect - its suits Sarah's departure perfectly and offers a nice closure to her adventures as she looks skyward9/10
The Hand Of Fear:
Onward to Sarah's Swansong the handy but hideous hand of fear. Originally Grob's mate Douglas Camfield had penned Sarah's swansong, having her killed off in a battle between two alien forces... maybe if that had have gone ahead we would never have had the horrible "School Reunion"... or maybe if it that had gone ahead, School Reunion may have been with Adric! On the other hand, we could have gotten "The Perpegiliam Brown Adventures" to look forward to!
Lis was keen for Sarah to not be killed off (or married off) - and (I guess) thankfully she didn't. Hand of Fear isn't a bad story - but there's something about it that just seems a little out of place for some reason. I'm not sure what it is though.The story itself is great. And Elisabeth Sladen puts in probably her best performance, drawing on everything that's happened to her over the last 3 years. I guess the radiation acceleration stuff is similar to Martin/Baker's Axon story, but it works well - and the creepiness of the growth of a stone hand into a full human is extremely effective.
I guess where it falls down a little is when we get to Kastria. It's just a little bit "who cares". We don't really have a reason to care for the Kastrian's plight. We can feel a little mis-placed sympathy for Eldrad (maybe cos she's hot as a woman!), and when we learn the real story (which I guess wasn't a massive shock), we can think that yes, Eldrad is a big nasty monster... but somehow it doesn't quite gel. That could be, like I said before, we know nothing of Rokon or the Kastrians so why care, but it could also be because Kastria looks a bit pissy too.
Then we get an awesome farewell scene - the best of the original series, and probably now the second best of all time. We really see the Doctor's "alienness" in this scene, as well as seeing the real Sarah... "This isn't Croydon" really made me feel like the Doctor would be back to get her at some stage... which I guess fits in with how she feels in School Reunion... except for the fact that she had ample opportunity to bring it up in The Five Doctors plus he did get back to her to give her a K9.
But luckily this isn't School Reunion - Hand Of Fear is a good sensible story... even if the (pre departure) ending is a little rushed or not all the well thought out. 8.3/10
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