The Doctor lands the TARDIS near a lighthouse at the start
of the last century - a navigational error on the way to Brighton
- only to discover that the crew of the newly installed electric
beacon are being picked off, one by one, by a strange alien
presence. Things turn from bad to worse when a passenger ship
is wrecked on the rocks, providing more victims for the shape-shifting
Horror of Fang Rock uses a simple plot device - similar
to the people trapped in a lift cliché - to create a sense
of claustrophobic tension that is gradually racked up, notch
at a time, with each successive murder. The sense of foreboding
is further enhanced by the Doctor's seeming inability to grasp
the meaning of the unfolding events. Sadly, what little plot
there is, is stretch to bursting point over four episodes.
There simply isn't enough story to go around. As a result,
the whole thing plods along at a very pedestrian pace which
no amount of moody lighting can disguise.
the plus side, writer Terrence Dicks clearly understand the
relationship between the Doctor and Leela which provides much
of Fang Rock's limited charm, but even one of TV's
best realised double acts can't save the day - not even from
an alien that when finally revealed turns out to be a Rutan
- a glowing ball of luminous green snot with limited mobility.
again the picture and sound quality of the disc are as good,
if not better, than could have been expected, but like turds,
Rutans don't polish up to a deep lustre and in the end Fang
Rock is simply a nasty mess despite its restoration.
same, happily, can't be said of the extras. Both the Terrance
Dicks and Paddy Russell documentaries are good meaty faire,
albeit under a less than promising crust, and we're presented
with a nice photo gallery as we've become accustom.
what disappoints most about this disc is that so much effort
was spent on wrapping up a story that no amount of fancy packing
can save. It's a little like a Christmas present where the
box is more fun than its contents. This is doubling disappointing
when the BBC's archives are still full of quality Doctor
Who just itching to get out on DVD.
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