Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric is one of the best of Sylvester McCoys Seventh Doctor adventures, a complex tale set around a naval installation on the North Yorkshire coast during WWII. The busy plot involves a Russian commando unit, a code-breaking computer, opening gambits in the Cold War, ancient Norse inscriptions concerning even more ancient evil, a new twist on vampirism, chess, global pollution and a creature from the end of human history. Key to all this is the theme of faith and a time paradox centred on Ace (Sophie Aldred), which ultimately turns out to... be the resolution to mysteries that have haunted the Doctors companion all her life (they were first touched upon in 1987's Dragonfire, also written by Ian Briggs). The show was shot entirely on location and has above average production values, generating tension and exciting set-pieces even when the plot threatens to get lost in its own tangles. Nicholas Parsons complements McCoy and Aldred by turning in a strong performance as the local minister and the tale pays homage to such horrors as Plague of the Zombies (1966), Night of the Living Dead (1968), and John Carpenters The Fog (1980) and Prince of Darkness (1987) with aplomb. Sadly there would only be one more story, the disappointing Survival (1989), before the BBC put the Doctor into suspended animation. On the DVD: Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric is presented in two versions on a truly remarkable two-disc set. Disc 1 contains the four original 25-minute episodes exactly as originally broadcast with stereo sound. Disc 2 offers a completely updated version of the Special Edition originally released on video in 1991. This 103-minute version is supervised by composer Mark Ayres and follows director Nicholas Malletts original cut. The episodes are edited like a feature film and incorporate approximately 10 minutes of extra story material. The picture has been regraded and the sound remixed into full Dolby Digital 5.1 by Mark Ayres using the original stereo sound elements and his music files. The result is a massive improvement over the original series' episodes. Disc 1 also includes an informative commentary with McCoy, Aldred and Parsons and an isolated score. There is the usual information text, scored photo gallery and subtitles for the episodes and the commentary. "Modelling the Dead" shows Sue Moore and Stephen Mansfield making the Haemovore masks; "Claws and Effect" shows the BBC Special Effects unit on location; also included are 20 minutes of highlights from the 1990 Nebula 90 SF convention with Aldred, Ayres, Briggs, Tomek Bork, Joann Kenny, Mansfield and Moore, while "Take Two" is a four-minute piece on the story presented by Phillip Schofield. Disc 2 also features "Shattering the Chains" (an excellent analysis of the show by writer Ian Briggs), "Recutting the Runes" (a fascinating interview with Mark Ayres on preparing the Special Edition) and a good interview with costume designer Ken Trew. --Gary S Dalkin [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. The Doctor and Ace are put to the ultimate test when the TARDIS dematerializes in Second World War England at a top - secret naval base. The army church, built on Viking graves, bears inscriptions calling for the wolves of Fenric to return for their treasure. Thereafter evil will reign... Even as the Doctor translates the words hideous corpses rise up from the sea, the evil Fenric now free to summon his wolves to a killing rampage. With a new slant on Dr Judson, and a more substantial confrontation between the Ancient Haemovore and the Doctor, this special extended production of The Curse of Fenric brings additional excitement to the story originally broadcast - good standing against evil with only the Doctor to play the final moves... Actors Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Dinsdale Landen, Alfred Lynch, Nicholas Parsons, Tomek Bork, Janet Henfrey, Peter Czajkowski, Marek Anton, Mark Conrad, Joanne Bell & Anne Reid Director Nicholas Mallet Certificate PG Year 1989 Screen Fullscreen 4:3 Languages English - Dolby Digital (2.0) Stereo Duration 1 hour and 43 minutes (approx)
The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace arrive in England towards the end of the Second World War. At a secret naval base, Dr Judson has built a machine capable of breaking German cyphers, but the machine is in fact used to translate ancient runes and summon up Fenric, an evil creature from the dawn of time. Includes material not shown on the original broadcast.