Horror of Fang Rock

That was Doctor Who as a 70s bank holiday movie, and it was bloody great. Making it run pretty much in real time made it feel like one ninety-ish minute story chopped up in to chunks, but not in a bad way. It did lead to some pretty naff cliffhangers, but it felt like one of the few stories that would actually benefit from watching all in one go, or as an anthology.

Leela was on absolute top form, and she’s already become a great companion. Just having someone around whose first instinct is to fight, and who’s pretty good at it, is a brand new dynamic for the show, and it makes the TARDIS crew a pretty formidable team. Louise Jameson is great, and I hope her increased happiness without the contact lenses was worth that rather odd coda.

The guest cast were mostly brilliant, with the possible exception of the woman whose only job it was to scream any time anything happened. I couldn’t take my eyes of Skinsale and his hair, while Vince and Reuben are wonderful creations, so enthralling to watch and easy to get invested in. Up to the point where The Doctor realises it’s a Rutan, it feels like he’s is a guest in their story – before it’s a battle with an alien, it’s all about keeping that lighthouse working. Plus, their tales of the mythical beast really reminded me of Father Ted. They say it’s as big as four cats…

It’s a pretty dark story, in every sense – the design and lighting have been so dark and dingy lately that I’m starting to pine for a nice brightly lit studio. Most notably though, the tone is deeply grim; everyone bar The Doctor and Leela are dead by the end. This is most definitely a Hinchcliffe thing, so I’m wondering whether things will start to lighten up when Graham Williams starts to do things his way. Say, for example, with the introduction of a little robot dog…

RATING: 9

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