Doctor Who
The Curse of Fenric

Starring: Sylvester McCoy
BBC Worldwide
RRP: £19.99

Certificate: PG
Available now

There's a mysterious Norse curse at work that threatens to be just as destructive as the rain of death falling from the skies. WWII is in full swing and the Nazi war machine is at full strength but even it pales in comparison to a far more sinister menace, the Curse of Fenric. Can the Doctor and Ace put the genie back in the bottle or will an ancient evil, resurrected from the deep, destroy the world?...

The Curse of Fenric is rare for a JNT-helmed Doctor Who story; it's a well directed and well designed drama with genuine adult pretensions that isn't beset with daft casting. Unfortunately, the plot is totally unfathomable, weighed down with layers of mystic gibberish and much portentous posturing. If only the game of chess could have been played out on a beach in black and white in a Seventh Seal style. If only someone had said early on in the production: "But what's it all about?" No one did and what we're left with is a plot that would really like to be clever but which, on closer inspection, is more Dungeons and Dragons than deep and meaningful.

The discs, however, are first rate. Nice extras and tidy image and sound quality really enhance the viewing experience, especially on disc two where an extended edit of the story is given a very impressive revamp. The six channel audio is amongst the best you'll hear, especially for a TV show, and the re-edit does add to the narrative structure although Fenric still really doesn't make much sense despite the additional scenes.

Better than The Two Doctors, which really was a poor choice of story, Curse of Fenric is still one for fans only. And more worryingly, 2004's DVD titles also appear to be playing to the minority market. Ghostlight anyone? No, thought not.

Anthony Clark

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