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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last of the gothic greats?
There are many candidates for the last truly great DOCTOR WHO story in its original run. Some might say the show never had any greatness at all, others might believe that they every single episode is a masterpiece, but for me, IMAGE OF THE FENDAHL might be one of the last of the true greats, the last hiccup of gothic horror carried over from the previous year that had...
Published on 19 April 2009 by Emanon

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Ancient Skull, A Secret Cult, Mad Scientists, A Creepy Mansion & Slimy Monsters!!!!
Yet another Gothic style Baker story - this perhaps does not reach the same heights as Horror Of Fang Rock, Talons Of Weng Chiang and certainly not Pyramids Of Mars but is still easily the best of the current releases.
There's good atmosphere, effective sets and in terms of available resources some reasonable FX. Tom Baker is walking on water here with great use of...
Published on 2 May 2009 by Adam Jackson


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Gothic Fourth Doctor Classic Adventure, 19 April 2014
By 
Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Dvd Info.
Running time 100 minutes approx, Region 2, Digitally Remastered picture & sound.

Extras.
Commentary by Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Wanda Ventham & Edward Arthur, After Image making of documentary, Deleted scenes, Photo gallery, Coming soon trailer & much more.

Trivia.
1)Wanda Ventham appeared in Doctor Who twice before The Faceless Ones & Time & The Rani & is the mother of Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
2)Derek Martin(Eastenders Charlie Slater) appears as a security guard in this story & was once a member of the Havoc stunt team for Doctor Who.
3)Geoffrey Hinsliff also appeared in Fourth Doctor story Nightmare Of Eden but was better known as Don Brennan in Coronation Street.
4)Louise Jamesons hair is tied up throughout most of this adventure due to her hairdresser cutting off more hair than the actress would've liked.
5)This story came under scrutiny via the BBC due to a suicide scene in the story although it happens off camera.
6)Originally transmitted 29th October-19th November 1977.
7)The Doctor declares his love of Fruitcake.

Synopsis.
Arriving in the preent day in Fetchbrough, England the Fourth Doctor & Leela become embroiled in the event's of Professor Fendelman whos about to experiment on a ancient fossilized skull that shouldn't even exsist.

The skull is part of the Fendahl a Godlike being who absorbs the lifelorce of others which has now been awakened & is starting to kill.

The Doctor & Leela must prevent the Fendal power from taking over as it will destroy the entire universe but others wish to exploit & use the Fendahls dreaded power.

A person who's closer than you might think!

Timelord Thoughts.
This is a classic Doctor Who adventure with Tom Baker who delivers eccentric brilliance & dominates the entire story with another outstanding performance as the Fourth Doctor.

Writer Chris Boucher has tapped into Who's Gothic era & written a chilling story here that has a touch of the Robert Holmes about it in this story.

The alien creature of the story is called the Fendahl which although looks a little naff in places is a good scary villian & the scenes with the skull are particularly effective & showcase just how chilling Doctor Who can be when it's written well.

Louise Jameson seems a little sidelined in this story but still gives a good performance as Leela while Daphne Heard as Mrs Tyler gives a wonderful understated performance & her scenes with Tom Baker are a joy to behold.

Praise must also go to Wanda Ventham as Thea Ransome especially towards the climax when she is possessed by the Fendahl is a excellent chilling moment in the story.

This delivers everything fans of Doctor Who enjoy & is one of the best Fourth Doctor adventures in the Tom Baker era & one of the last to deliver gothic horror.

Timelord Rating 9/10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fruitcake, 17 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Phillip Hinchcliffe was out, Graham Williams was in, and Robert Holmes retained, for a while, and with stories like this - edited by Holmes and penned by his padawan learner, Chris Boucher, you'd hardly notice the difference.

There are four scientists in this house, and by the end of the story, only one will be left alive, just one - and it's the immensely likable Adam Colby, beautifully played by Edward Arthur - I wonder what happened to him.

The acting really carries this; the neat little ensemble cast really do shoulder the tale and run with it. It's hard to see what could have gone wrong - Dennis Lill, Scott Fredericks, Wanda Ventham as the other three scientists, and Geof Hinsliff as a little man with a hat and a shotgun. The scene where he makes friends with Leela is a delight to watch - in the midst of all this sinister madness about a prehistoric skull and a hole in time, two humans born worlds and centuries apart, just click. It's lovely.

And as if it couldn't get any better, Daphne Heard (just check her out as the senile nanny in Upstairs Downstairs - I know... but do it anyway) rises head and shoulders over the rest. As Louise Jameson says in The Making Of, 'An actress who really knew how to serve a text'. No mean praise from someone of Miss Jameson's standing.

It's as if (and I hope Mr Boucher will pardon the suggestion) the writer had watched Dr Who do Dennis Wheatley in The Daemons, and decided now to do HP Lovecraft, and instead of Damaris Hayman's brilliant and birdlike Miss Hawthorne, we get Daphne Heard as the dumpy, grumpy Granny Tyler.

Give the script its due; it's hard not to look at an old woman after someone's just threatened to set a dog on her, but by gum Granny hits back with 'Ain't a dog born that'd go for me, boy. They've got more sense than most people'. It's worth buying the DVD just to see this pitch-perfect performance. 'One day John, I'm going to be getting too old for all this'.

The plot is hokum, but so well constructed and delivered that it's quite palatable, with disbelief quite happily suspended - these are normal people, they argue about dinner, ride bicycles, own (vanishing) dogs named 'Leakey', so of course the skull must be real.

The VFX aren't great; the implosion fits where it touches, and the two baby Fendahleen are quite dodgy, though the full size version looks very good, and it doesn't seem to matter that there really is only one of them, because the fourth episode runs at such a clip that it's easy to believe that there's getting on for a dozen, and in any case it's the transformed Thea that's the really scary thing by then.

The Fifth Planet thing in Episode 3 is fairly flagrant padding, but that's forgivable as the rest of the story works so well, and the omission of K-9 (because they didn't know if they were keeping him or not) is a bit obvious, but the story is a triumph.

'The corpse; it's decomposing almost as you look at it'.

Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jelly Baby, 31 Mar 2012
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
For me this is in the 2nd tier of Dr Who episodes. Its good, in fact very good in places, but its not up there with The Daemons, Talons of WC, or Genesis of the Daleks, hence I haven't given it 5 stars.

That said its captures Tom Baker in fine form in what was probably the last of the gothic Dr Who stories from his time. The lovely Leela is his assistant and K9 makes a brief cameo appearance as well.

The story is interesting, the special effects inevitably look a little silly/dated now but it has a magic that is missing from quite a few of the modern Dr Who stories.

Like a lot of the Tom Baker DVDs its available at a very good price now, and I'm glad I bought it. I feel a 2nd viewing coming up....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Image of the Fendahl, 9 Sep 2010
By 
R. Thomas "unreadable" (S Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Coming at the tail end of Who's horror/gothic period this story ends the period in style. Previous stories had the odd scary monster or alien but this story goes furthest into horror as its pretty much a ghost story. A ghostly skull, mad scientist, cultist local and a spooky mansion add to an atmospheric and very quotable story. Staring Tom Baker as The Doctor and Louise Jameson as the savage Leela make a wonderful central pairing as they playfully bounce off each other.

The extra's are all strong, a look back at the making of the story. A commentary which is a tad rambly featuring Tom, Louise, Wanda Ventham and Edward Arther (who puts in one of my favourite performances). Increased sound & picture quality and deleted scenes round this DVD off nicely. A must purchase for Who and Horror fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended, 20 May 2010
By 
Mr. Geoffrey Bloomfield (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
this was always one of my favourites. and seeing it again confirms to me just how good it is. Monster in it a bit dodgey ,but thats the fun of it
For me the fact that Daphne Heard gives a fab.performance as granny makes it a must have if you like the old Dr. Who.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor is in, 18 May 2009
By 
C. B. Curtis (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
This story is just another example of how well a Doctor Who story should and could be made. I can enjoy watching these older stories repeatedly. More so than many of the newer ones. If you like classic Doctor Who, you can't go wrong with buying this dvd.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasingly Scary, 21 April 2009
By 
JA Fairhurst "johnfair" (Edgeley, Stockport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
This is an adventure starring Tom Baker and Louise Jameson as the Doctor and Leela on current Earth and falls into the arc of stories that take Doctor Who into the horror story genre.

The story itself is generally quite generous with the horror effects - don't forget that the story was broadcast well before the nine o'clock watershed and I found the fendahl creatures acceptably strange, though possibly not quite as scary as I remember (but I was about 13 when I last saw it :-)). Leela was a great companion and this story continues to let her have a role apart from the running and screaming type of companion that had characterised a large number of others.

The real scene stealer was Daphne Heard as Martha Tyler, an old crone with 'the sight' and knowledge of the old ways that would prove pivotal. Ms Heard managed a real old-time country accent with aplomb.

The only real extra worth noting was commentary from Louise Jameson, Wanda Venthan, Edward Arthur and Anthony Head and Colin Mapson. There are a few odds and sods such as a trailer and pdf files of the Radio Times listing. Apparently the picture and sound has been digitally remastered.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Gothic Hurrah, 7 April 2009
This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Contrary to other reviews, I actually like this story and remember it fondly from it's first transmission, and repeat viewings of my old VHS copy did nothing to diminish that fondness. There are obvious similarities to Nigel Kneale's Quatermass and the Pit, but being a big fan of that story as well I find this no bad thing. Tom Baker is on fine form, even showing the Doctor having a tantrum when the sonic screwdriver won't open a locked door. Louise Jameson looks beautiful and has one of her better scripts to work with. Of the supporting cast Dennis Lill struggles with a Dutch accent, Wanda Ventham is....well... Wanda Ventham, and Edward Arthur is just a bit too smug for his own good.
The realisation of the Fendahleen and the Core is probably the weakest part of the story, however there is a general air of underlying menace that sets up a nicely creepy atmosphere.
The commentary is, thank the Lord, another Tom Baker one, but for the first time with Louise Jameson, which should be entertaining.
For the last hurrah of the Gothic classics in Doctor Who, this was a good send off. Enjoy it for what it is - a romp!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spitting Image of Nigel Kneale, 7 April 2009
This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Every long-standing Who fan knows the 'gory' details of how Graham Williams' tenure was all but strangled by budget-cruching inflation, by the rising ego and tantrums of the star, and by 'humour not horror' edicts laid down by BBC top brass. There was more to it than that of course, but it's still surprising how quickly the old Phillip Hinchcliffe ethos was swept aside; only the third story in, and Image Of The Fendahl represents the gothic-horror subgenre of Doctor Who clinging on for dear life before the inevitable end. (This was the last story to be script-edited by Robert Holmes, which is explanatory in itself; compare Fendahl here to the Holmes-written The Sunmakers, the very next story shown.)

It's also farewell to writer Chris Boucher before he takes up more permanent residence as script editor of Blake's 7. Sadly, of his three Who scripts this is unquestionably the weakest of the trio. Almost a point-for-point steal from Quatermass & The Pit; Boucher was reportedly unsatisfied with how the monsters were realised, but the problems run deeper than either of these issues. This is a script that positively relishes the concept of predestination but it repeatedly rams the point home in a rather undramatic and dull way; partly through lengthy exposition scenes that a lot of viewers will fidget through, but mainly because the Doctor never seems to try to stop the encroaching danger from coming to a head. Of particular note is the blind-alley subplot of the fifth planet, which does absolutely nothing except keep the Doctor out of the way until it's far too late to prevent the manifestation from happening (even Leela comments on it). The guest cast go several miles beyond mere overacting too, particularly the annoying Edward Arthur who does everything short of and and wink straight at the camera during Adam Colby's many 'are you trying to tell me' scenes.

Image Of The Fendahl isn't by any means a bad story (much worse was to come in the very same season), but really the most positive comment I can make is that it scared the pants off me when I was eight, which I suppose was all it was intended to actually do back in 1977.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Not a great doctor episode,but still worth watching.tom baker has to beat monsters,skull and mad scientists,great fun
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Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977]
Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD] [1977] by George Spenton-Foster (DVD - 2009)
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