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Doctor Who - The Curse of Fenric

episode 155

UK 1989
produced by
John Nathan-Turner for BBC
directed by Nicholas Mallett
starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Dinsdale Landen, Alfred Lynch, Tomek Bork, Nicholas Pearsons, Janet Henfrey, Joann Kenny, Joanne Bell
written by Ian Briggs, script editor: Andrew Cartmel, music by Mark Ayres

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Sylvester McCoy), Doctor Who (classic series)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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With their time-machine TARDIS, Doctor Who (Sylvester McCoy) & companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) arrive in 1943-London, at a top security naval base where British intelligence tests their Ultima machine, an early day computer developed by Professor Judson (Dinsdale Landen) to decipher German codes. But unfortunatley the Russians want to steal the machine. & if that wasn't the worst, Fenric, an evil viking god, plans to overtake the earth with the help of the vampiric  Haemovores. But that might still not be the worst, for the commander of the base, Millington (Alfred Lynch) wants to use the whole viking affair to his own ends, being readily supplied by Fenric with poisonous gasses for chemical warfare. & Millington plans to not only gas the Germans but also to let the Ultima machine being stolen by the Russians with an in-built gas-bomb as to whipe the commies out once World War 2 would be over. The Haemovores meanwhile go on to decimate soldiers & townfolks alike, only to be stopped by strong faith, which is not all that good since the parish's reverend has lost his (in a humourous turn of events, a Russian soldier can resist the Haemovores due to his strong beliefs into communism). And then Fenric finally returns in physical form using the body of professor Judson, and he, an old foe of the Doctor, challenges him to a final duel - a duel which Fenric wins on the chessboard but loses in real life, since the Doctor has already turned his strongest ally against him.

 

By & large, the Sylvester McCoy-Doctor Who-stories are among the best of the 80's (and John Nathan Turner's run as a producer) & this one is no exception, a welcome return to all-out horror-stories that the series was so succdessful at in the 70's, done with sufficient style, atmosphere, wild concepts and unusually strong criticism of British military of World War 2 (when they were fighting on "the right side") to keep one happy & (even though the script is a bit muddled) entertained. A few points of criticism though: The frequent references to Ace hating her mother do make little sense (& do little to move the story forwards), as does her romance with a Russian general, a story thread that is for some reason abandoned towards the end, & the blue pastic masks of the Haemovores are just bad.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

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