In their time machine, the TARDIS, Doctor Who (Sylvester McCoy) & his
companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) land in a haunted house in Victorian England
(actually the house that Ace has burned down a hundred years later out of sheer
terror), to investigate what's really behind the horrors of the house ...
& they do find an assortment of rather strange characters: explorers from
ranging from the nutty Fenn-Cooper (Michael Cochrane) to the borderline
megalomaniac Josiah Smith (Ian Hogg), Smith's decidedly odd life-partner Miss
Pritchard (Sylvia Sims) & ward Gwendoline (Katharine Schlesinger), his
Neanderthal servant Nimrod (Carl Forgione), a group of gun-toting chambermaids
& reverend Matthews (John Nettleton), who hates all things Darwinian (why
he is there though is never properly explained).
Available on DVD !
To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat
Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
& as if that wasn't enough, the Doctor & Ace also find a stone
spaceship hidden away in the mansion's cellar ... & for some reason,
Josiah, who soon proves to be the main villain of the story, has a terrible
fear of it (more precisely the creatures incarcerated in it).
Fortunately though, Josiah is incapable to operate by daylight, so the
Doctor spends the day pulling a police inspector (Frank Windsor) out of the
drawer (quite literally, really) & investigating the spaceship, so when
night returns, the Doctor has a bitter surprise for Josiah, Light (John hallam)
& Control (Sharon Duce), the creatuzres from the spaceship.
As it turns out, the 2 of them and Josiah (then called Survey) are
aliens who were sent to Earth on an exploratory mission, but at some point
Josiah became obsessed with the idea of ruling Britain & incarcerated the
other 2 in order to pursue his goals ... & his goals also necessitated him
to get hold of explorer/big game hunter Fenn-Cooper, whom he somehow persuaded
to hunt the biggest game of them all - Queen Victoria (!) ...
If you think that the Doctor has now put an end to Josiah's evil schemes you
are mistaken, as Josiah plays his cards right to antagonize the Doctor &
Light - an explorer who can't stand any kind of change by evolution &
decides to turn all life on earth back to primordeal soup. in the end though
the doctor gets the better of Josiah when he turns everyone against him,
ruining all his plans to overthrow the British empire, ultimately destroying
him, he & convinces Light that he himself is a result of (evolutionary)
change as well - ultimately destroying him too.
Only Control can leave with her spaceship now ... & Fenn-Cooper with
her, who sees the great opportunities of space travel for an explorer.
Ghost Light's main claim to fame nowadays is that it was the last
story ever shot for the original Doctor Who-series (not the last
one shown, The Curse of Fenric
& Survival aired after it).
Seen on its own merits the show has its qualities - convincing period sets
(one of BBC's strengths), an interesting blend of Victorian ambience
& sci-fi-gobbledigook, one of the best casts ever assembled for the series
- which are unfortunately badly outweighed by its shortcomings, which lie
mainly in storytelling: The story just doesn't make much sense (& believe
me, in my synopsis I have tried to be way more comprehensible than the show
itself), story elements are just thrown into the proceedings or pulled out at
random, several leads lead nowhere, characters make no sense & at many a
point none of the characters motives seem clear ... which is all rather a pity
given the great looks of the story.