Image Of The Fendahl: Doctor Who: Season 15








Image Of The Fendahl SYNOPSIS:

At Fetch Priory a scientific team are using a sonic time scanner to attempt to see into the past. It's use causes a twelve million year old human scull they have excavated to glow and mesmerizes, Thea Ransome, one of their team. At the same time in nearby woods something evil is awoken, killing a hitch hiker.

When the Tardis is disrupted in flight the Doctor lands nearby to find the people using the time scanner and have it dismantled. The image of the fendahl kills another at the priory and the Doctor is branded the culprit by Dr. Fendelman and locked up but not before he sees Fendahleen images appearing near the body of the collapsed Ms. Ransome.

Leela has encounters Mother Tyler, local white witch who has seen the horror in the woods. The Doctor escapes and finds the skull and believes Fendahl, a creature from Time Lord mythology, will return. Fendlemen's number two man Max Stael is revealed as the leader of a black magic coven. He plans to use the time scanner to resurrect the Fendahl and take it's power, completing the transformation of possessed Thea into the Fendahl core.

The remaining members of the scientific team, Fendelman and Colby are captured and are awaiting sacrifice. As the Fendahl begins to manifest Mother Tyler and son Jack are powerless to stop it until the Doctor and Leela return from the Fendahl's home planet. Although this time the Doctor has no solution.

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Image Of The Fendahl SERIAL DETAILS:

Episode Broadcast Run Time Viewership (In Millions)
Part One 29-Oct-77 24:38 6.7
Part Two 5-Nov-77 24:44 7.5
Part Three 12-Nov-77 24:22 7.9
Part Four 19-Nov-77 20:32 9.1

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Image Of The Fendahl CAST & CREW

The Doctor:
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Louise Jameson (Leela)

Guest Stars:
Denis Lill — Dr. Fendelman
Scott Fredericks — Max Stael
Wanda Ventham — Thea Ransome
Edward Arthur — Adam Colby
Daphne Heard — Martha Tyler
Geoff Hinsliff — Jack Tyler
Edward Evans — Ted Moss
Derek Martin— David Mitchell
Graham Simpson — Hiker

Production Staff for serial 4X:
Writer - Chris Boucher
Director - George Spenton-Foster
Script editor - Robert Holmes
Producer - Graham Williams

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Image Of The Fendahl REVIEWS


Yes, Image Of The Fendahl is the last regular Gothic horror story and also the last one Robert Holmes script edited and finally the last one Chris Boucher wrote for the show before he went off to become the script editor of Blakes 7. Hinchcliffe has gone but his legacy of homages continues this time with Ghost / Poltergeist horror films complete with haunted forrest, old priory and a local fortune teller (Mother Tyler) acting in the witch role.
It's well acted, the Doctor has become all broody again, Leela is her savage best and the guest cast are all totally believable, from Dr Colby, upper class cowardly comic to tortured Thea Ransome (apparently Tom Baker lusted after Wanda Ventham throughout the entire production) even though she obviously likes painting big eyes on her eyelids. Dr. "I'm rich AND German" Fendleman and Max Stael who's line "that depends on how much I will enjoy you worshipping me" is said in such a believable chill you think this guy is truly insane.
Yeah the plot is about an alien being that was apparently the start of the Death figure in Earth mythology. It evolved by getting stronger as it ate up all the energy of life itself. So the Time Lords destroyed and time looped it's home planet but it escaped and, spent of energy, landed on Earth and hibernated until someone was stupid enough to provide the right conditions for it to re-activate which, yet again, is 20th century man. The dark atmosphere being created in this one being helped along by filming at night (there's a surprise!) darkened sets and hardly any background music. The slugs weren't that bad either and could kill you only if you looked at them.
Image of the Fendahl is not a classic by any means but very good and watchable. 8.2/10

...and not quite the end of Gothic stuff completely in Who we still have a couple more stories in the next season.


Image Of The Fendahl is the last relic of the Holmes/Hinchcliffe goth horror era. On screen it looks great; you got an old Priory in an English countryside which becomes all dark and foggy at night. You have a hitchhiker who is unable to move when he sees something horrific. There is the creepy glowing skull. There's giant caterpillars. There's people in sacrificial robes. There's even a gun-to-the-head suicide for good measure. All good.
Its also a very well done character story; Dr Fendelman who is the scientist who has fuck-all knowledge as to what he's actually doing (and he's German so you think he'd know Germans always fuck things up in the end. Look at Poland.) We got his misguided number two (Stael), the female scientist who gets possessed (Thea Ransome) and we get the reluctant Hero / comedy relief (Colby). Added to this the tough-bastard security guard Mitchell and Jack Tyler and his mother (Mother Tyler) who can read tea leaves. So everyone is actually a good well-rounded character in their own right and everyone contributes something to the plot.
So what of the plot? I'll try and work it out and feel free to jump in at anytime. There's a skull that the Time Lords got hold of and hid in a planet that broke up which made it's way to earth via astral projection and then got woken up by Dr Fendelmans timey-wimey processor thing and cracked the shits so it started making giant slugs called Fendahleen and then started making people change their last names to Fendahl or Fendelman and if you look at them you die kind of in a way that you turn into a mini caterpillar and it sort of goes back in time to reinvent itself and the Doctor kills it by throwing salt at it. Any questions?
Chris Boucher who wrote The Face of Evil and the Robots of Death has really written something so good and complicated that it's probably better to just do what one would normally do during something Tim Long directed and just switch your brain off and enjoy the visuals. I did - and I liked Image of the fendahl a lot. I just have no fucking idea what is going on. 8/10


I used to think Image of the Fendahl was confusing too... until I read the wikipedia synopsis and it said "The Doctor has a new scarf in this story"... now it makes sense. Do you think RTD uses this episode to come up with companion names? The crazy witch lady is Martha Tyler! And her Grandson - Jack! OK, so there's no Donna in this... or is there?? There's also the line "You must think my head zips up at the back"... Slitheen anyone?
Anyway, yes, the Image of Fendahl. Well the first two parts are great. Old Churches are always effective ways of getting a "creepy" feeling to a story, and this certainly has all of that. And the skull is also an excellent plot device - any found body part is always going to have a back story to it. The time accelerator thing is the other main plot device - and I guess that works well too... convenient, but it progresses the story to tell us that we have something that pre-dates anything we've ever seen by 7 million years. It also gives us the scary images of the Fendahl feeding off the death of others - and the way it paralyzes people, including the Doctor, is very effective.
For some reason though, the second two parts aren't as memorable. It's not that they don't work, it's just that I don't remember them much at all... could be because they are very wordy, and full of heaps of plot explanation. I really don't remember the Fendahl being something that was trapped by the Time Lords 12 million years ago on a "5th Planet"... all I really remember is the strange pagan like ritual, the big caterpillar (which I quite like!), and the salt shooting!All up, it's not bad, but it probably could have been better.


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Screen Shots:

Image Of the Fendahl Titles

Image Of the Fendahl the Doctor transfixed

Image Of the Fendahl Fendahl Skull

Image Of the Fendahl Leela

Image Of the Fendahl Fendleman and Colby

Image Of the Fendahl Fendahleen close up

Image Of the Fendahl Thea and Stael

Image Of the Fendahl attacked by Fendahl skull

Image Of the Fendahl Stael threatens Colby

Image Of the Fendahl Fendahl core

Image Of the Fendahl Mrs Tyler and jack

Image Of the Fendahl the fendahlen grow

Image Of the Fendahl Stael and Fendelman

Image Of the Fendahl Dr with gun

Image Of the Fendahl Colby and Thea

Image Of the Fendahl Fendahleen

Image Of the Fendahl ted Moss and Stael

Image Of the Fendahl Thea on pentagram

Image Of the Fendahl Fendahleen and Fendahl core

Image Of the Fendahl Mrs Tyler Jack and Leela