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Last of the gothic greats?,
This review is from: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl [DVD]  (DVD)
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 ended with TALONS OF WENG CHIANG, and if it isn't the last great story, then surely, at least, it's first episode, is up there amongst the greatest openers.
Mad scientists working in a spooky old priory, unseen aliens from ancient history tampering with human evolution, strange ritualistic covens and an enemy that is described as "death itself" all feature in a story that is more about its characters than any sci-fi trappings. There's an acknowledged hint of Nigel Kneale in there, it has to be said, but that really is never a bad thing.
The main cast - a small, tight little unit of great character actors - are all on tremendous form and never play the script without conviction, even when faced with a "monster" that, whilst not being truly awful, does leave something to be desired, and Martha Tyler (no relation!) is a star.
The audio commentary is fun - not least because of the pairing of Tom Baker and Louise Jameson alongside Edward Arthur and Wanda Ventham, and the production subtitles are as informative and well researched as ever. There's a fun little easter egg, some (low res) deleted scenes, a trailer from those faraway BBC days, and a pretty good "making of" documentary, amongst others.
As ever, releases from this DVD range are put together with a lot of care, and IMAGE OF THE FENDAHL retains those very high standards.