87) THE HAND OF FEAR

2 - 23 October 1976

Average Viewing Figure: 11M

Plot

76) THE ARK IN SPACE

Sarah is taken over by a ruthless Kastrian who was sentenced to death 150,000,000 years previously

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Rex Robinson (Dr Carter), Renu Setna (Intern), David Purcell (Abbott)

Roy Pattison (Zazzka), Roy Skelton (King Rokon), Robin Hargrave (Guard), Glyn Houston (Professor Watson), Roy Boyd (Driscoll)

Frances Pidgeon (Miss Jackson), John Cannon (Elgin), Judith Paris (Eldrad), Stephen Thorne (Kastrian Eldrad)

Uncredited Cast

Peter Roy (Technik Obarl), Derek Ritchie, John Deleiu (Path Lab Technicians), Barry Summerford, Michael de Wild, Robert Tucker

Robert Lee, Paul Nicholson (Security Guards), David Cleeve, Keith Simmons (Radiation Suited Men), Kenneth Thomas, Bruce Guest

Mark Holmes, Julia Bennett, Rosemary Jollisse (Control Room Technicians), Sonia Stratton, Margaret PilleauRoger Slater

Douglas Auchterlonie, Lionel Sansby (Complex Personnel)

Crew

Bob Baker, Dave Martin (Writers), Max Faulkner (Fight Arranger), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Ron Grainer (Title Music)

Bernard Lodge (Title Sequence), Christopher D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Marion McDougall (Production Assistant)

Derek Slee (Lighting), Brian Hiles (Sound), Dick Mills (Special Sound), Max Samett (Film Cameraman), Graham Bedwell (Film Recordist)

Christopher Rowlands (Film Editor), Barbara Lane (Costume Designer), Judy Neame (Make-Up Artist), Colin Mapson (Visual Effects Designer)

Robert Holmes (Script Editor), Christine Ruscoe (Designer), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), Lennie Mayne (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Steven Drewett, Charlie Lumm (Visual Effects Assistants), Martin Ridout, Andy Stacey (Grams Operator), John Pritchard (Film Sound Assistant)

Dennis Johnson (Lighting Chargehand), Laurie Bush (Film Camera Assistant), Jennie Betts (Film Locations)

Mervin Bezar, Gail Clarkson (Dressers), Fred Wright (Technical Manager), Ken Ayres (Studio Engineer), Judith Lang (Design Assistant)

Joy Sinclair (Director's Assistant), Ronnie Peverall (Senior Cameraman), Johnny Norris (Show Working Supervisor), Nick Lake (Vision Mixer)

Dave Chapman (Inlay Operator), Ian Brindle (Film Operations Manager), Stan Swetman (Grips)

Broadcast

Number of Production Days: 5

Filming Locations

  • ARC Quarry, Cromhall, Glos

  • Lay-by, Oldbury-on-Severn, Glos

  • Oldbury Power Station, Oldbury Naite Glos

  • Stokefield Close, Thornbury, Glos

  • Television Centre: Studio 8

Deaths

  • Dr Carter [falls several storeys to his death]

  • Driscoll [vaporised by radiation]

  • Kastrian Eldred [falls into a chasm]​

Production Days

  • 10 Days between Monday 14 June - Tuesday 20 July 1976

Production Errors

  1. A shadow of a boom microphone can be seen on the wall behind Sarah when Eldred tells The Doctor about the Kastrians race banks  

  2. During part four, a camera can be seen behind Sarah when Elrad rants and raves after King Rokon's message

  3. When The Doctor and Sarah set up a trap for Eldred, The Doctor bumps into a rock, causing it to wobble 

  4. The Doctor and Sarah seem unable to understand that they are in danger. Surely they would hear the countless siren going off, and would understand the hand gesture of the Quarry workers

  5. Eldred doesn't actually trip on The Doctor's scarf at that the end, he walks over it, and performs a pratfall 

  6. There are some bad physics on the show; surely an airstrike against the Nuclear Complex is a big no-no and is hiding behind a jeep really a good idea?

Working Titles

  • The Hand of Death

  • The Hand of Time 

Verdict

The Hand of Fear is not entirely memorable nor is it one of the Renaissance’s finest moments . Things start off on the direction introducing a barren, torn planet, and a premature execution in space and then the disappointment starts. The plot and structure are lazy which results in repetitive lines, actors shouting their lines, a series of characters coming under the influence of a fossilised hand through the power of possession, a lot of running back and forth between the same locations and a whole twenty-five minutes which do not further the plot. The continual tagline ‘Eldred Must Live’ really makes one wonder why it was not the title. The supposed ‘Hand of Fear’, whilst effectively realised  does nothing menacing at all, and crawls about one room until the plot requires Eldred to arrive to further thing along. There is some decent camera work and practical effects and Eldred herself or himself is decent, Judith Paris is the only actor who seems to be interested in what is going on. However terrible writing in episode three makes Eldred look like a fool even though the character is supposed to be a genius. Eldred practically exposed himself a traitor and murderer as (s)he explains his backstory to The Doctor and Sarah. The fourth episode feels like a repeat of Pyramids of Mars where The Doctor and Sarah guide Eldred through a series of booby traps. We have never seen The Doctor being as dense before and the personality traits do not fit him at all. The Hand of Fear may not be entirely terrible and should not be boycotted but considering when Sarah Jane, one of the most beloved companions acts likes a spoiled brat before leaving The Doctor it does make one wonder – why on Earth should I care about this?. **