‘The Hand of Fear’ (TV)

the hand of fear dvd


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Sarah Jane’s Last Adventure in the TARDIS with the Fourth Doctor

Eldrad must live! You must understand! Eldrad must live! He must! He must! HE MUST!!!! (stops; clears throat) Sorry, I got carried away there. But still, a great catchphrase from a good ‘Doctor Who’ story! Anyway, we’ve now come to Sarah Jane’s last appearance (for now) in ‘Doctor Who’. So sad! 😦

It was quite moving how Sarah Jane’s adventures with the Fourth Doctor ended in ‘The Hand of Fear’, starring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. I know it’s not the greatest story to focus on Sarah Jane’s exit, but it’s nice the way it was handled in the final scene between Tom Baker and Lis Sladen.

‘The Hand of Fear’ is a four-part adventure by Bob Baker and Dave Martin. Once again, they’re no strangers to ‘Doctor Who’, having written quite a number of adventures together during the 1970s. This includes ‘The Claws of Axos’, ‘The Mutants’, ‘The Three Doctors’ and ‘The Sontaran Experiment’.

This four-part adventure was also directed by Lennie Mayne. Lennie Mayne directed three ‘Doctor Who’ stories before this, which included ‘The Curse of Peladon’, ‘The Three Doctors’ and ‘The Monster of Peladon’. ‘The Hand of Fear’ was to be Lennie Mayne’s final ‘Doctor Who’ TV adventure to direct.

In the story, the Doctor and Sarah Jane return to Earth in the modern day – whether that’s the 1970s or 1980s, I don’t know. The two time travellers get caught up in an explosion in a quarry where explosives have been rigged. I’m surprised the Doctor and Sarah Jane didn’t realise that with the sirens going off.

After the explosion, a fossilised stone hand gets discovered. Sarah Jane, under a lot of rubble, grips it in her hand before she goes unconscious. Once in hospital, the menace of Eldrad takes over Sarah Jane. She takes the hand to the Nunton nuclear power station to regenerate and she keeps saying “Eldrad must live!”

The Doctor tries to save Sarah Jane and thankfully he does before Eldrad is fully formed into a walking, talking crystalline biped. Can the Doctor and Sarah Jane sort out Eldrad as they take her back to Kastria? Can our heroes rescue the planet Earth in time before Sarah Jane leaves the TARDIS?

Sarah Jane Smith was (and still is) a very popular ‘Doctor Who’ companion of the 1970s. This was due to Elisabeth Sladen’s lovely performances as the character and the chemistry that she had in her relationship with Tom Baker’s Doctor. But with good things, Sarah Jane’s travels soon came to an end.

Lis Sladen made her first appearance as Sarah Jane in the story called ‘The Time Warrior’ with Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. Since then, Sarah Jane has travelled with two Doctors that included Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. She’s mostly travelled with Tom Baker and the two formed a sparkling duo. 🙂

It’s clear from the stories they did together that Tom Baker and Lis Sladen enjoyed each other’s company and that they were well-loved by the fans. I can imagine how electrifying Tom Baker and Lis Sladen were back in the day. They continue to be so by many fans that see them on DVD and Blu-ray.

The first time I encountered Lis Sladen as an actress was in an episode of ‘Some Mother Do ‘Ave Them’ with Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer. I didn’t register who Lis Sladen was at the time when I watched that ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Them’ episode since I hadn’t seen ‘Doctor Who’ by then.

It was when I saw her return as Sarah Jane Smith in ‘Doctor Who’ with David Tennant’s Doctor in the episode ‘School Reunion’ that I realised who Lis Sladen was. I was happy to see her in that episode and I’ve loved seeing Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith ever since. I also watched her on TV from 2006 to 2011. 🙂

It was after doing ‘School Reunion’ that Lis Sladen went on to play Sarah Jane in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, which I loved watching on CBBC. I’m saddened that I never got to meet Lis Sladen at a ‘Doctor Who’ convention. I began going to conventions in 2010 and she sadly passed away in 2011.

I wonder what it would’ve been like to meet Lis Sladen at conventions. She seemed a lovely person when being interviewed for ‘Doctor Who’ DVDs in the stories she was in. I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed chatting to Lis Sladen at conventions, telling her how much I’ve enjoyed her being Sarah Jane Smith.

Like I said, ‘The Hand of Fear’, as a story, doesn’t necessarily focus upon Sarah Jane’s departure from the TARDIS. Instead, it focuses on the Doctor and Sarah Jane tackling an alien that comes to Earth. But Sarah Jane does drive this story forward and it allows Lis Sladen to deliver a lovely performance.

As stated, the alien threat first comes in the form of a ‘dead hand’ which Sarah Jane touches under rubble and goes unconscious. She’s taken over since “Eldrad must live!” and begins zapping people out with a ring. Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane under Eldrad’s control is mesmerising to watch in this story.

It was quite disturbing when Sarah Jane kept on repeating and insisting that “Eldrad must live!” The way she knocked out and stunned people e.g. security guards with a blue beam of light is shocking. Eventually, in a radiation chamber, Sarah Jane puts the hand in there with her and it comes to life. 😮

It was quite disturbing to see the ‘dead hand’ come to life and move by itself, ending ‘Part One’ with a cliffhanger. Even for 1976, it was impressive effects work for its time. I’m amazed they managed to do that with the small budget they had for ‘Doctor Who’. It has to be one of the best special effects ever.

Tom Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this adventure. I liked it when he rescued Sarah Jane from underneath that rubble, although he doesn’t seem worried about her until she leaves the hospital suddenly. I liked how he got curious about Eldrad when Sarah Jane repeated the name.

The Doctor becomes willing to help Eldrad both in female and male form in order to find out what she/he’s up to. I liked that scene between Tom Baker’s Doctor and Lis Sladen’s Sarah Jane when they were concerned about each other before going back into the Nunton power station to face Eldrad.

The story’s guest cast features Glyn Houston as Professor Watson. I’ve seen Glyn Houston before in an episode of ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Them’ and he played Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s butler with Ian Carmichael. He later did ‘The Awakening’ with Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor. He’s also a Welsh actor. 😀

I enjoyed Glyn Houston’s performance as Professor Watson in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. At first, he gets easily frustrated when a crisis occurs at the Nunton power station. There are times when he’s soft-hearted and I liked his phone conversation with his wife, asking her to ‘kiss the children’ for him.

The story also features Rex Robinson as Dr. Carter. Rex Robinson played Dr. Tyler in ‘The Three Doctors’. In this story, Dr. Carter is a pathologist who examines the dead hand found by the Doctor and Sarah Jane. Carter gets knocked out by Sarah Jane when she’s under Eldrad’s control in the story.

Carter sadly also gets under Eldrad’s control in the story. I say ‘sadly’ because he soon meets a sticky end once trying to thwack the Doctor with a very large spanner, saying “Eldrad must live!” I do think his demise was pretty undignified in the TV story and I’m sure it’s better in the Target novelization. 🙂

The guest cast also includes Frances Pidgeon (director Lennie Mayne’s wife) as Miss Jackson, Professor Watson’s assistant at the Nunton power station. There’s also John Cannon as Elgin and Roy Boyd as Driscoll, who gets taken over by ‘the hand of fear’ before he gets vaporised by radiation. 😮

The villain of the story is of course Eldrad – who must live! Eldrad is a crystalline-like, silicon-based life-form from Kastria. Eldrad managed to survive on Earth through Sarah Jane and he depends upon a massive amount of radiation that he absorbs. Eldrad even stops a bombing missile raid in the tale. 😐

Eldrad is played by two actors here. There’s Judith Paris as the female form of Eldrad. I enjoyed Judith’s performance as female Eldrad. She appears elegant when the Doctor and Sarah Jane meet her. She can also be dangerous and requests that the Doctor and Sarah Jane take her back to Kastria.

There’s also Stephen Thorne who plays the true male form of Eldrad on Kastria after he gets put through a regeneration chamber. Stephen Thorne previously played Azal in ‘The Dæmons’; Omega in ‘The Three Doctors’ and an Ogron in ‘Frontier In Space’. He also played Treebeard in ‘LOTR’ for radio.

Stephen delivers a rich, booming performance as Eldrad in this adventure. I don’t think his costume and make-up is convincing as Judith Paris’ female version of Eldrad. It end up being disappointing. But Stephen Thorne can still deliver a brilliant menacing, villainous performance despite disappointments. 🙂

I enjoyed it when the Doctor and Sarah Jane tripped Eldrad up with the Doctor’s scarf before he fell into a deep dark abyss. I don’t think throwing Eldrad’s ring into the abyss after he fell in was a good idea, Doctor. After all, you could end up having another confrontation with Eldrad in ‘Eldrad Must Die’! 😀

The final scene where Sarah Jane and the Doctor parted company was very touching. I liked how the scene was built up with Sarah Jane being frustrated and unhappy aboard the TARDIS. She threatens to go home, but the Doctor doesn’t hear her. This gets Sarah Jane angry, going off to pack her ‘goodies’.

Once Sarah Jane has gone, the Doctor receives a telepathic summons from Gallifrey. It seems serious and the Doctor says that he can’t take Sarah Jane to Gallifrey since humans aren’t allowed there. He sets the TARDIS for Sarah Jane’s home in South Croydon on Earth first before she returns to the console room. 😐

It was quite heart-breaking when the Doctor revealed to Sarah Jane that he’d been summoned back to Gallifrey and he can’t take her with him. Sarah Jane becomes apologetic about her recent harsh words to him, but the Doctor is serious in that he can’t take her with him. It was pretty sad to see. 😦

As I understand it, the final scene between the Doctor and Sarah Jane was rewritten by Tom Baker and Lis Sladen themselves when they felt the original version of that scene didn’t work. And quite right they rewrote it because it was important to emphasise the friendship that these two had here.

The goodbye between the Doctor and Sarah Jane was moving to watch. She asks him not to forget her and the Doctor will never forget her as long as Sarah Jane never forgets him. It was sad to see Sarah Jane leave, but as we all know, the Doctor will meet Sarah Jane again soon in future stories. 😀

It was funny when Sarah Jane said the Doctor ‘blew it’ in not taking her back to South Croydon. Aberdeen was where she ended up, I believe. Yeah, not far to travel to Croydon from Aberdeen by train, is it? 😀 I found it funny when the dog ran off after Sarah Jane chatted to him. The dog must’ve thought Sarah Jane was crazy. 😀

The original DVD special features were as follows. There was the making-of documentary called ‘Changing Times’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews and it looks into the special relationship between the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith as well as ‘The Hand of Fear’. There were BBC continuity announcements of the story; a ‘Swap Shop’ interview with Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen by Noel Edmonds; and a photo gallery of the story. There was a mono sound audio mix option for the story and a DVD audio commentary with Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Judith Paris, producer Philip Hinchcliffe and co-writer Bob Baker. There was an info-text commentary option to enjoy; the ‘Doctor Who Annual 1977’ PDF and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story. There was also an Easter Egg to look out for on the DVD which was the ‘Nationwide’ interview with Elisabeth Sladen that can now be found on ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ Blu-ray disc.

On Disc 2 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 14’ Blu-ray, the ‘Changing Time’ making-of documentary; the ‘Swap Shop’ interview; the mono sound audio mix option for the story, the DVD audio commentary and the ‘Radio Times Listing’ PDF can be found on there. The BBC continuity announcements for ‘The Hand of Fear’ have been updated into BBC trailers and continuity announcements for 2020 on the Blu-ray. The photo gallery and the info-text commentary option for ‘The Hand of Fear’ have been updated for 2020 on the Blu-ray. The ‘Doctor Who Annual 1977’ PDF is sadly not included on ‘The Hand of Fear’ Blu-ray disc.

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Hand of Fear’ with Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela) and producer Philip Hinchcliffe as well as Peter Purves (Steven) and Sophie Aldred (Ace). There’s a special tribute documentary called ‘Our Sarah Jane – The Life of Elisabeth Sladen’, featuring contributions from those who knew her. There’s the ‘Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen – Part Two’ interview (taken from the ‘Terror of the Zygons’ DVD) and the audio story ‘Exploration Earth: The Time Machine’ with Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. There’s also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Deadly Assassin’ with Tom Baker (taken from the ‘Image of the Fendahl’ DVD).

On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story, there are also production documents and scripts.

‘The Hand of Fear’ is a moving departure story for Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. I enjoyed watching the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane in this adventure together and defeating Eldrad. The farewell between the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane is one I won’t forget. It’s superbly played by the two stars.

As I said, this isn’t the end for Sarah Jane. She would return in ‘K-9 & Company’ with…K-9 of course as well as ‘The Five Doctors’ for ‘Doctor Who’s 20th anniversary before she returned in the new series via ‘School Reunion’ and have her own spin-off series – ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. Lovely! 🙂

‘The Hand of Fear’ rating – 8/10



Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Rise of Eldrad on Earth

For Terrance Dicks

Terrance Dicks does it again with a really good ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelization!

I enjoyed reading ‘Doctor Who and the Hand of Fear’ back in 2018! It’s a great novelization of the TV story by Terrance Dicks, who did well novelizing Bob Baker and Dave Martin’s scripts of the story featuring Sarah Jane’s departure from the show as well as the introduction of the mysterious Eldrad.

Lately, I’ve enjoyed revisiting the ‘The Hand of Fear’ novelization in 2021 with the audiobook read by Pamela Salem. I purchased the audiobook as a download via Audible and listened to Pamela Salem reading the story whilst reading the book in my hands at the same time. An enjoyable experience! 🙂

Originally, ‘The Hand of Fear’ Target audiobook was meant to be released sometime in 2020. But because of the Covid-19 pandemic, its release got delayed both in its CD format and its digital download format. I’m just really happy the audiobook was released sooner rather than later in 2021.

‘The Hand of Fear’ is a ‘Doctor Who’ story that means a lot to people in featuring Sarah Jane’s departure. Sarah Jane is one of the most popular ‘Doctor Who’ companions in the series. It must have been very heartbreaking for all those fans who loved Sarah Jane to watch her leave the TARDIS.

I’m pleased I read the Target novelization of ‘The Hand of Fear’ by Terrance Dicks over the Christmas period in 2018 and lately in February 2021 with the audiobook in the background. It’s intriguing how you experience a novelization a second time compared to first time with an audiobook to aid you. 😀

Terrance Dicks of course was there during the creation of Sarah Jane Smith with producer Barry Letts and writer Robert Holmes for ‘The Time Warrior’. So he’s a fitting choice to novelize ‘The Hand of Fear’. Mind you, I’m not certain he handled Sarah Jane’s departure scene well as he should have.

‘The Hand of Fear’ book was published in 1979, four years after the TV story was transmitted in 1976. The story is divided into 14 chapters with a prologue at the beginning. I’m surprised this wasn’t a traditional 12 chapter book of a ‘Doctor Who’ novelization by Terrance. He usually does it like that.

Like I said, Pamela Salem reads the novelization of ‘The Hand of Fear’ on audio. Pamela is well-known for playing Rachael Jensen in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ as well as the ‘Counter-Measures’ audio series. She also played Toos in ‘The Robots of Death’ and a Xoanon voice for ‘The Face of Evil’.

Pamela Salem is an odd choice to read ‘The Hand of Fear’ novelization for audio. I know I keep repeating myself in bringing up the issue, but BBC Audio have strange choices in their narrators for certain ‘Doctor Who’ audiobooks, especially when the person had nothing to do with a certain story.

That’s not to say Pamela Salem is a bad narrator. On the contrary, she provides a decent reading for ‘The Hand of Fear’. But she wasn’t in ‘The Hand of Fear’ when it was shown on TV. She contributed later on in Season 14 with doing a voice for ‘The Face of Evil’ and appearing in ‘The Robots of Death’.

With ‘The Keeper of Traken’ audiobook, it makes sense for Geoffrey Beevers to read the Target novelization as he played the Master/Melkur in that TV story. It doesn’t make sense when Steven Pacey reads the ‘Terminus’ and ‘Enlightenment’ audiobooks since he didn’t appear in the TV stories.

I would’ve expected someone like Tom Baker to read ‘The Hand of Fear’ novelization for audio, not Pamela Salem. I suppose Pamela Salem was chosen since she worked with Tom Baker in ‘The Robots of Death’, but it’s still a weak reason to cast her as reader when she had nothing to do with the tale.

Pamela Salem does provide decent voices for the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane when reading the story, although they’re not exact recreations. I liked it when Pamela’s voice was treated for when Eldred spoke, including Judith Paris’ form and especially Stephen Thorne’s form with booming voice.

Like most Target novelizations by Terrance Dicks, there’s not many changes made to the plot of the tale. Terrance mostly sticks to what was in the original story by Bob Baker and Dave Martin. He does make a few subtle changes to certain scenes, but they don’t affect the story’s eventual outcome. 🙂

The prologue is mainly the first scene of the story shown on TV where the Kastrians are about to obliterate Eldrad before he escapes to Earth. I must admit I found the opening scene a bit confusing to watch whilst watching the TV story. Mainly because I found a lot of the dialogue muffled at times.

In the novelization, aspects of that scene are clearer especially when King Rokon is giving instructions to his technicians on the procedure to destroy Eldrad and when he’s giving a chant about who Eldrad is. This includes Eldrad being a transgressor; a carrier of evil as well as a destroyer.

This also seems to have happened long ago. I like how ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations illustrate more about what’s going on with a planet’s history like Kastria’s history in saying how things were before we come to the present day. There isn’t enough time to absorb all that when watching the TV story.

An alteration is made in the novelization compared to the TV story. Apparently, King Rokon instructs the technician Zazzka to give him control of the capsule containing Eldrad. He also reads Eldrad’s sentence before obliteration. This apparently didn’t happen in the same manner as in the TV story.

The first chapter of the story is of course the Doctor and Sarah Jane arriving in the quarry before the blast occurs. It’s interesting to read the story from the Doctor and Sarah Jane’s point of view on how they arrive before they see the man waving at them, telling them to get out before the explosion. 😐

Incidentally, the foreman Abbott is given a first name as he’s apparently called Tom. This was something not in the TV story as we didn’t know some of the character’s first names. The same goes for Professor Watson who’s given the first name of Owen. Quite intriguing to discover in this book! 🙂

Sarah Jane’s survival of the blast in the quarry is explained better in the book compared to the TV story. Apparently, Sarah Jane found shelter under an overhang where the Doctor found her. This of course didn’t help when Sarah Jane found herself trapped under rubble and couldn’t get out herself.

I felt for Sarah Jane in that moment when reading the book whilst she was trapped underneath all that rubble. It must have been pretty claustrophobic when you have limited breathing space. Terrance Dicks managed to portray that well for Sarah Jane’s character as I read the scene in book. 🙂

The scenes where Sarah Jane is under Eldrad’s possession and walking through the Nunton nuclear power station are somewhat brief in the book compared to the TV version. I know they slowed down the story somewhat on TV, but it was intriguing that Terrance decided not to elongate it in the book.

Another interesting omission in the Target novelization compared to the TV story is that Dr. Carter doesn’t describe Sarah Jane as wearing pink stripped overalls like Andy Pandy. He just describes her wearing a striped overall dress. Maybe it wasn’t in the original TV scripts when Terrance novelized it.

A change made in the Target novelization compared to the TV story is when the Doctor shows his U.N.I.T. credentials to Abbot at the quarry site to gain his co-operation. I don’t recall the Doctor doing that in the TV story. Perhaps Terrance saw a weakness in that scene and he amended it here.

When reading Chapter 4, which began the ‘Part Two’ segment of the story; it was amusing when Professor Watson shouted his head off. We have his shouts in BIG CAPITAL LETTERS! Like seriously, we didn’t need to have big capital letters for Professor Watson to shout off his head like that here! 🙂

I suppose it’s effective in order to demonstrate how annoyed and angry he is in that scene. I’m just glad Terrance didn’t have Watson shouting his head off all the time in those tense moments as the Pirate Captain would in ‘The Pirate Planet’. The emotional scenes with Watson remain very effective.

In the book, it was interesting to discover that Carter didn’t seem affected by Eldrad’s influence until he hears the name mentioned by Sarah Jane Smith speaking over the intercom. Beforehand, Carter seemed very normal when with the Doctor after Sarah Jane zapped him with Eldrad’s ring in the lab.

This of course leads to a pretty obvious difference in the book compared to the TV story with how Carter’s demise is handled. Instead of attacking the Doctor on the stairs and overbalancing, Carter tries to pull the Doctor off a horizontal ladder before he ends up falling and plummets to the ground.

I actually prefer Terrance Dicks’ version of Carter’s demise in the novelization compared to the TV story. Carter’s demise in the TV story seemed pretty undignified. It’s like he didn’t plan his attack on the Doctor properly and him falling to his demise from the stairs felt like no effort had gone into it. 😐

Another difference in the novelization from the TV story is where Sarah Jane immediately forgets about Eldrad after the Doctor ‘deprograms’ her from remembering again. She doesn’t make a joke to the Doctor like she was still in a trance in the TV story. She’s out of her trance and nothing happens.

I wish that moment where Sarah Jane play-acts she was under Eldrad’s influence to the Doctor was included in the Target novelization. It was both funny and a little bit scary when Sarah Jane joked on the Doctor. Maybe it wasn’t in the original TV scripts and Lis Sladen adlibbed it during the rehearsals.

There are small alterations made like the Doctor, Sarah Jane and Watson leaving in a jaguar rather than a landrover from the Nunton power station. It’s also established in the book that Professor Watson kept a gun in case of a terrorist attack. It’s intriguing and never established in the TV version.

The ‘Part Four’ chapters of the story are quite a challenge to get through, especially with the Doctor, Sarah Jane and Eldrad avoiding various booby traps to get to where they need to be. Even when I read the novelization with the audiobook in the background, those chapters were quite challenging.

When Eldrad gets seemingly killed and reformed into Stephen Thorne’s character, it gets interesting again. It helps with Pamela Salem’s voice being treated to match Stephen Thorne’s booming tones as Eldrad. Not certain if the same approach was applied for Omega in ‘The Three Doctors’ audiobook. 😐

I also enjoyed how the Doctor lured Sarah Jane to get across the chasm over a beam by pretending to be in trouble. I don’t recall that being in the TV story off-hand, but it was fun how the Doctor used certain means to ‘persuade’ Sarah Jane to overcome her fears like he did to her in ‘The Ark In Space’.

I also noticed the Doctor threw Eldrad’s ring into the abyss after Eldrad fell into it during the final chapter. This of course provides a nice tie-in to the Big Finish audio ‘Eldrad Must Die!’ where Eldrad resurfaced. I agree with Marc Platt. Throwing Eldrad’s ring after he fell into the abyss was silly, Doctor.

The final chapter of the story is dedicated to Sarah Jane’s departure. A certain line is missing here and there in the novelization version of that scene. I’m disappointed the line Sarah Jane said to the Doctor about travel broadening the mind isn’t included in the Target novelization. It’s such a shame.

It was hinted at earlier on in the story when the Doctor talked to Sarah Jane about travel broadening the mind, so why wasn’t it followed up in the final scene? It might not have been in the story’s original scripts and it was included when Tom Baker and Lis Sladen rewrote their last scene together.

Aside from that, the departure of Sarah Jane is well-handled in the Target novelization by Terrance Dicks. It’s intriguing how the Doctor prepared to take Sarah Jane back to South Croydon and how there was a misunderstanding between them about wanting to go home as depicted in the TV story.

‘Doctor Who and the Hand of Fear’ is a faithful Target novelization by Terrance Dicks, based on the story by Bob Baker and Dave Martin. I liked how the novelization stuck mostly to the original TV scripts with a few subtle changes to improve the story such as Carter’s demise and a few little things.

I’m especially pleased that this Target novelization does well in handling Sarah Jane’s departure from the ‘Doctor Who’ series. I’m saddened the ‘travel does broaden the mind’ line isn’t included between the Doctor and Sarah Jane, but I greatly enjoyed reading the book over Christmas in December 2018. 🙂

I’m also pleased to have read the Target novelization again in 2021 whilst hearing the audiobook read by Pamela Salem in the background. Pamela Salem is an odd choice to read ‘The Hand of Fear’ novelization since she wasn’t in the TV story itself, but she does provide a very decent reading for it.

‘Doctor Who and the Hand of Fear’ rating – 8/10

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6 thoughts on “‘The Hand of Fear’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Excellent detailed review Tim, this is a cracking four parter & a fitting departure for Sarah’s character, this has all the elements that make great Doctor Who, suspense, mystery, scares.

    Tom Baker was at the top of his game throughout the Hinchcliffe era & this story is sure enough a tension packed adventure.

    Pity we’ll never get to meet the lovely Lis Sladen who will always be my favourite companion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Hand of Fear’. It’s a great departure story for Sarah Jane Smith in the series and thankfully it’s not the last of her as she would return to ‘Doctor Who’ in the classic and new series later on as well as ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’.

    I enjoyed the tension throughout this adventure too and really pleased that Tom Baker and Lis Sladen shared some nice scenes together as their characters.

    I’m saddened Lis Sladen is no longer with us as I would have liked to meet her at conventions and tell her how much I’ve enjoyed seeing her in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. Hopefully I will in heaven. I’m pleased to know she was your favourite companion in ‘Doctor Who’, Simon.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Tim. 🙂


  3. Timelord 007

    Superb review of the Target Novel Tim, i always enjoy this story’s but find it a bit strange Dicks omitting Sarah’s line about travelling broadens the mind though why would he do this?

    Nice that you picked up on Eldrads ring Tim, the Doctor throwing away the ring would certainly come back to haunt the Doctor one day.

    I see this Target cover was the one they re-tweaked for Planet Of Evil DVD cover, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on the Target novelization of ‘The Hand of Fear’.

      Yeah I’m surprised Terrance Dicks omitted Sarah Jane’s line about travel broadening the mind. It must have been in the original script. Perhaps it was a word count issue as certain Target novelizations had to certain word lengths in those days.

      Well I had to add in that ‘Eldrad Must Die’ reference into the review of the Target novelization as it was clearly visible to read whilst reading the book. 😀

      Yeah that’s a good point. Interesting because it’s different clothes from that story and Sarah Jane’s wearing the Andy Pandy outfit for ‘The Hand of Fear’ book cover.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  4. Timelord 007

    Another excellent review on the Audiobook my friend, your commitment to each review & format is outstanding, i never seen such wonderful dedication to attention to detail you are truly talented & my favourite Doctor Who reviewer.

    Completely agree about BBC choice of narrator, i wish Jon Culshaw had read this one as he has a great range with voices & does a amazing impression of Tom Baker, Pamela isn’t even in the tv four parter so i find the choice of hiring her to read this audiobook odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my updated review on the Target novelization/audiobook of ‘The Hand of Fear’. It’s nice to revisit something I’ve reviewed already with new insight especially when it requires an update. Glad you like my dedication in attention to detail with these reviews I do.

      Yes, Jon Culshaw would’ve been another equally great choice to narrate ‘The Hand of Fear’, especially since he read the ‘Warriors’ Gate’ audiobook recently. Pamela Salem does do a good reading of the story, but like you and I have said, the BBC’s choice of narrators is odd. This isn’t going to end especially with the upcoming audiobooks for the new series Target novelizations in March and the upcoming Fifth Doctor audiobooks, which I’m sure I’ll be readdressing quite a bit in my reviews for them. 😀

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂



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