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Doctor Who - The Hand of Fear [DVD] 
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The TARDIS materialises in an English quarry where Sarah is involved in a rock fall. When she is rescued, she is clutching a stone hand, which takes control of her and forces her to take it into the core of a nuclear reactor. The Doctor (Tom Baker) arrives too late to stop the hand from regenerating into an alien lifeform known as Eldrad, who demands to be returned to her home planet of Kastria. The Doctor obliges, but all is not as it seems with Eldrad. This was Sarh Jane Smith's last adventure with the Doctor, although she later returned in 'K-9 and Company', 'The Five Doctors' and 'Downtime'.
Doctor Who fans must take the bittersweet with the suspenseful in this four-part story arc from 1976, which pits the Doctor (Tom Baker) and companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) against the fossilized hand of an alien criminal which possesses a hideous will to live again. Discovered by the Doctor and Sarah during a trip to Earth that puts them in the middle of a mining blast, the hand belongs to Eldrad, a fugitive criminal from the planet Kastria who desires to regain his bodily form and return to his home. To do so, he possesses Sarah and the staff of a nearby nuclear reactor in order to use its power to regenerate, which leads to several eerie scenes with the reanimated hand that nicely evoke British horror features from the '60s and '70s. Well-liked by Baker-era fans, The Hand of Fear is best remembered as Sladen's final turn as Sarah (though she has frequently returned to the role on both radio and TV), and her final scenes with Baker (largely written by the two actors) have an endearing sort of wistfulness.
As with all Doctor Who DVD releases, The Hand of Fear features a number of well-produced extras that flesh out the production history of the episodes. The commentary by Baker, Sladen, co-star Judith Paris (who plays the reconfigured Eldrad in an early female form), co-author Bob Baker, and producer Phillip Hinchcliffe is an excellent place to start for first-time viewers and longtime fans; all except Paris are also featured in an informative 50-minute featurette titled "Changing Time," which illuminates the warm working relationship between Baker and Sladen, as well as her reasons for departing the series. An 11-minute videotape clip from the U.K. children's show Swap Shop featuring Baker and Sladen before the broadcast of The Hand of Fear is also included, as well as the now-standard photo gallery, text-only commentary, and PDF of the 1977 Doctor Who Annual and Radio Times. --Paul Gaita
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is not outstanding, but contains a popular template still retained by the series, namely setting the initial story on Earth in recognisable surroundings (yes, it's THAT quarry again), before shifting the action to outer space. One interesting fact is that Sarah is given a chance to be mean as she is possessed by the power of Eldrad's ring. The highlight is of course her leaving scene, made all the more poignant by being underplayed by both actors.
Elisabeth Sladen is the best actor or actress ever to have played the Doctor's companion, and struck just the right degree of balance between vulnerability and independence, while all the while creating a likeable and entirely believable character. There has not been a companion like her since (although I have to say I was very impressed with Billie Piper). This was her swansong.
Sadly the extra features don't quite live up to their potential and prove something of a disappointment.Read more ›
This is written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin who also penned the excellent 'The Sontaran Experiment'. It is set on modern day Earth, where the Tardis lands in a quarry where a controlled explosion is just about to take place. The Doctor and Sarah get caught in it, but it is Sarah who gets trapped underneath the rubble, where she comes across a fossilised hand. Sarah then gets pulled out by the Doctor and taken to the local hospital for observation where she becomes more and more hypnotised by the hand. Sarah, clutching the hand, travels to the nuclear research and development complex where the hand soaks up the radiation from the reactor core to then evolve into a female Alien lifeforce etc.
The extras on this DVD include: a commentary featuring Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Judith Paris (Eldrad), Bob Baker (co-writer) and Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), plus a 50 minute documentary about the changing relationship of the Doctor and Sarah.
This is good solid entertainment that is gripping and full of tension. Thoroughly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Completed my dr who dvd collection with this one. Love itPublished 6 months ago by stuart patterson
Better than I remembered it and more focus on Sarah Jane, whose abrupt departure is a pity.Published 7 months ago by JGB
Wow. What a story to end Sarah Jane. This is an amazing story and I loved it!!!Published 16 months ago by DoggyClap44