A slow boil for me. Scary like several earlier ones, but somehow, much harder to understand. I had to see this at least twice, maybe three times, before I had a real grasp on what the HELL was really going on. Watching it again tonight, I noted a lot of very awkward cutting from one scene to another, long, long stretches with no music whatsoever (good thing when the music did come in, otherwise I was beginning to suspect my copy of this might be a defective print). And as mentioned, The Doctor keeps going up and down in his mood swings.

But then, so does Leela. Half the story she's violence personified. But a very warm, caring, downright nurturing side of her comes out in this story as never before. "Do not worry, Doctor, I will protect you." (Isn't that usually HIS line to all the girls?) "He has great knowledge, and also, gentleness." (Quick cut to Baker KICKING a box in the locked room. Great comic timing.) Later in the TARDIS, she tries to comfort him when he realizes he's had trouble realizing something. And then of course, she spends more time away from him than perhaps in any other story to this point (except maybe "TALONS"). In a strange way, they begin to feel like equals in this one. Each having skills the other doesn't.

But what is there to say about her "new dress"? She must have gone into the wardrobe closet and grabbed what seemed appropriate, not realizing she was just wearing undergarments. She looks like a HOOKER in this story! And her hair-- plus her pale skin tone-- she looks ghastly for 4 whole episodes, even while she's getting some decent lines to say. By comparison, she's so PRETTY at the very end... pity there's not really anyone around to appreciate it. (He starts to, then stops himself. Can't do that...!)

This was probably not my first exposure to Wanda Ventham, but it was the first time I really took note of her. She seems somehow a lot older here than she did only a few years earlier in UFO. But still beautiful. I could not believe when the story just let her DIE the way it did, not all at once, but by becoming part of the horror.

This will never be a favorite of mine. But I still enjoy watching it more than that ghastly "GENESIS". or 75% of Peter Davison's run.

Oh, by the way, "Fendahlman" later turned up as one of the Police Inspectors on Jeremy Brett's SHERLOCK HOLMES! In several episodes, if memory serves.

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Unbelieveable.  One of the only times Leela wore the white dress, and they did an action figure set based on it.
    But who would want a freakin' FENDAHL figure?  AAAAAAUGH!!!

Perhaps some would pass it off as Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors.

Chris Boucher's story was influenced by Kneale's 'Quatermass and the Pit' which used the theme of alien beings interfering with Humanity's Evolution. The plot was tricky, but was using a similar concept of developing Humanity being utilised as a Host animal, through the biological transmutation field of the Fendahl skull. Thus, the gestalt alien was latent within Man, until its eventual recreation through the activation of the Skull in 1977. It was implied that Human anatomy had been created in the Image of the Fendahl, in that the Skull must have been on Earth first.

Watched this last night - a few thoughts:

1)I gather the reason Jameson wore her hair up through most of this was to disguise an overzealous haircut. By the end of filming it had grown out enough to let her wear her hair down again.


2)You'd think that people on Earth-Who would've learned that going hiking alone at night in the fog is basically asking to die horribly.  It's like wlaking form Collinwood to the Old House at night.


3)I liked Daphne Heard as the "loony old trout."


4)The concept of the "time fissure" is sort of like that of the "time rift" in the new show.


5)You know, between Fendelman's murder and the Doctor giving Stael a gun so he can kills himself, there's some pretty intense stuff in this.


6)I like the expression on Leela's face when the Doctor drops her!  And then she kisses Colby, for no apparent reason. Not that he was complaining.


7)They were lucky that the Fendahl doesn't seem to do all that much to stop them.


8)Some fun quotes:

  • "Leela, I understand the TARDIS perfectly."
  • "There's a corpse by the wood." "What sort of corpse?"  "A dead one - what other sort is there?"
  • "You know, I don't think these cows know anything about the time scanner."
  • "You must have been sent by Providence." ""No, I was sent by the Council to cut the verges."
  • "Now I can see why they burnt witches."  "Cheaper than oil."
  • "A creature from my own mythology."  I wanna read a book of Gallifreyan myths!
  • "I'll see you later." "Get some practice first."
  • "You must think my head zips up the back."
  • "Would you like a jelly baby? No, I don't suppose you would."
  • "Hey, have I saved your life?"  Nice moment there from Jameson.
  • "Doctor Fendelman, I think you have an industrial relations problem."
  • "I look forward to your terror, Colby." Also, lunch.
  • "It's a good thing your tribe never developed guns. They'd have woken with a start one morning and wiped themselves out."
  • "Never trust a man as wears a hat."
  • "I'll plunge you into chaos and death if you don't shut up."
  • "Mankind has been used!"
  • "There's going to come a time when I'll be too old for this sort of thing."
  • "I'm sorry."
  • "Listen, you nearly got us all killed down there - now, be quiet or you'll get yourself killed up here!"
  • "You almost got us killed down there."  "It has been mentioned."
  • "How do you kill death?"
  • "Vanishing priories take alot of explaining."



  • Part One: Something closes in on the Doctor!
  • Part Two: The skull zaps the Doctor!
  • Part Three: Baker and company try not to laugh themselves silly at the sight of the Fendahleen!
  • Part Four: K-9 nods his head!   And the BBC gets out of paying John Leeson for a story.



Another good story, with only a mildly goofy-looking monster.  Lots of good dialogue in this.

, "Fendahlman" later turned up as one of the Police Inspectors on Jeremy Brett's SHERLOCK HOLMES! In several episodes, if memory serves.


Another Sherlock Holmes link  that I only just found out about - shortly before appearing in this story, Wanda Ventham had just given birth to Benedict Cumberbatch.  Interesting, I'd never known she was his mom.

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