‘FURY FROM THE DEEP’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Seaweed Monster and Goodbye Victoria
For Deborah Watling
I’m sad I never got to listen to ‘Fury From The Deep’ before Deborah Watling passed away in 2017.
I regret not hearing this story, even when I purchased the TV soundtrack on audio CD in October 2012. I even had a free gift of the ‘Doctor Who Adventures’ magazine version of ‘The Mutant Phase’ with it from a supplier on Amazon.co.uk. For whatever reason, I did not get the time to listen to this.
This ‘Doctor Who’ story is Deborah Watling’s favourite from the TV series. It’s interesting how this one is her favourite, especially since it’s the last one to feature Victoria in the TV series. I also don’t think that this sees Victoria at her best as a companion. I’ll get into that as I review the tale in detail.
I was so busy with other things that I shelved ‘Fury From The Deep’ to one side before I could get a chance to listen to it in the time that it deserved. Another factor for not listening to it is because this is another ‘Doctor Who’ tale from the 1960s that is completely missing. Yeah! No episodes exist of it.
This is a six-part adventure by Victor Pemberton, who was script editor on a number of ‘Doctor Who’ stories including ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’. All six episodes of this story are missing from the BBC archives. The only material in existence of this tale is 8mm colour film; film trims and surviving clips.
This colour film, film trims and surviving clips can be found on the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD. The best way to listen to this story in full is via its TV soundtrack on audio which you can purchase from ‘The Lost TV Episodes: Collection Five’ either on CD or as a download. The TV soundtrack for ‘Fury From The Deep’ has linking narration provided by Frazer Hines. I’m pretty lucky to hear this story on audio CD.
The fact I never got to listen to it when I did after I purchased it on CD was because its absence from the BBC archives didn’t hold my interest. If this story was complete in its six episodes on TV form, then I would be interested. I can’t rely on surviving clips and footage to quip my interest so instantly.
That is unless they have Daleks and Cybermen in it, but whatever. Anyway, now that I’ve heard ‘Fury From The Deep’, I can safely I enjoyed this story very much. It’s pretty exciting in places and I can see why this would be one of Debbie Watling’s favourites. I wish I can tell her this at a convention today.
‘Fury From The Deep’ is a unique story about how the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe battled against the threat of sea gas power in the form of deadly seaweed. The concept of human possession isn’t unoriginal, but the fact that seaweed is alive to conduct this is so mesmerizing and terrifying to hear.
The story has the TARDIS landing in the sea off the eastern coast of England. Even for a black-and-white ‘Doctor Who’ story from the 1960s, that visual effect of the TARDIS landing in the sea is impressive. Thank goodness that got used again for Patrick Troughton’s swansong, ‘The War Games’.
Anyway, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria investigate a nearby beach after coming over from the TARDIS in a dingy. That scene where the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe play about in some sea foam was fun to hear. This demonstrates the actors working behind the scenes having a good time in the TV show.
The story also introduces us to the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. Now the sonic screwdriver is a common thing nowadays especially in the new series. But back then, it was brand new and would get popular later on in the series. It’s intriguing how primitive the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver is here.
Eventually, our heroes get captured and are taken to a Euro Sea Gas Control Rig that has a pumping operation going on there. The Doctor and his friends are accused for being saboteurs before they get involved with saving the control rig’s crew from a horrific seaweed creature that wants to take over.
I’m not sure about what this seaweed creature is and where it came from, but the Doctor says it came from the legends of ancient mariners (whatever that means). It’s clearly terrifying and produces a lot of foam that is deadly and can instantly take you over under the creature’s influence.
The humans that get taken over by this seaweed creature can exhale a poisonous gas on people to knock them out. An example of this is when Bill Burridge as Quill and John Gill as Oak come into June Murphy as Maggie Harris’ room and attack by letting out a noiseless scream of poisonous gas at her.
That scene is terrifying to watch, especially as Maggie has no idea who these two men are after they claim to carry out an inspection on her and her husband’s married quarters. It’s also unclear how these two men are under the seaweed creature’s influence, as I do not think we see a scene of that.
Victor Maddern guest stars as Robson, the head of the Euro Sea Gas Control Rig. He’s unstable especially after accusing the Doctor and friends as saboteurs. Unfortunately, Robson gets infected by the seaweed creature and comes under its influence. He kidnaps Victoria, taking her in a helicopter.
Roy Spencer guest stars as Frank Harris, who is Robson’s second-in-command at the Euro Sea Gas Control Rig. He gets concerned for his wife who becomes ill after touching some seaweed. He gets increasingly worried about her as he tries to cope and keep a cool head during the heart of the crisis.
John Abineri guest stars as Van Lutyens, an engineer at the Euro Sea Gas Control Rig. This is John Abineri’s first ‘Doctor Who’ role. He would go on and appear in ‘The Ambassadors of Death’, ‘Death to the Daleks’ and ‘The Power of Kroll’. He’d also appear in ‘The Moon Stallion’ starring Sarah Sutton.
There’s also Graham Leaman as Price and Hubert Rees (who’d later appear in ‘The War Games’) as the Chief Engineer (who doesn’t have a name strangely enough). There’s also Margaret John (who would later appear in ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’) as Megan Jones, the director for the Euro Sea Gas board.
This leads me to talk about the main cast. Patrick Troughton as ever excels in his role as the Second Doctor. He delivers both balance of humour and drama to the role that makes him very engaging. I like it when he gets curious about the sea foam and works out how to defeat the seaweed creature.
Frazer Hines equally excels in his role as Jamie McCrimmon. I don’t think this story strengthens Jamie’s character much, but he remains fiercely loyal to the Doctor and stands by his side when going into danger. He’s clearly concerned about Victoria. He wonders why she’s feeling so miserable.
But the best star of all is of course Deborah Watling as Victoria. It’s rather sad that this is her last TV story, since Victoria could have given a strong outing of adventure in her time in ‘Doctor Who’. I say that because the solution to defeat this seaweed creature is through Victoria. But it’s not heroically.
The way that the seaweed creature can be defeated is through Victoria’s screams when she reacts in fear to it. (Pause) I’m rather disheartened by this notion of Victoria’s screams defeating the seaweed monster. Simply because that’s what many people will remember Victoria for! As ‘the scream queen’!
I don’t want to think of Victoria as a whimpering little girl who screams a lot. I want to think of her as someone who is brave like all the other ‘Doctor Who’ companions were before and after her. I’m pretty sure there were plenty of heroic moments Victoria did in her time with the Doctor and Jamie.
I recall moments when Victoria was very good in ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ and ‘The Enemy of the World’. I don’t think having Victoria screaming and being scared all the time is what I want to remember her for. It makes her a weaker character when she is being depicted during the TV series.
There are some nice character drama moments when Victoria reflects on her time with the Doctor and Jamie as he’s considering leaving the TARDIS. She’s fed up with being scared all the time (who can blame her) and she wants to have a peaceful life where there are no monsters of any bad things.
I liked it her scenes with Jamie and the Doctor where she shares about her feelings on this matter. Eventually, Victoria decides to stay behind with the Harrises as the Doctor and Jamie leave in the TARDIS. The Doctor understands Victoria wanting to stay, even though she is torn up in two about it.
Jamie is heartbroken about it when Victoria makes her decision to stay on Earth with the Harrises. There’s a nice scene between the two as they exchange final words of farewell together. There’s a moment when Victoria kisses Jamie. This demonstrates the love that these two have for each other.
The story closes with the Doctor and Jamie saying goodbye to Victoria as they go back to the TARDIS. They even see her on the TARDIS scanner screen as she waves farewell to them. Jamie is still greatly heartbroken with losing Victoria forever, as he ‘couldn’t care less’ about he and the Doctor go next.
That scene does get reused as reprise for ‘The Wheel In Space’. Comparing the two versions of the scene in ‘Fury From The Deep’ and ‘The Wheel of Space’, Jamie is more subdued and quiet in ‘Fury’ compared to ‘Wheel’. I thought I’d mention this from hearing those two versions of the scene.
At the end of Disc 2 for the ‘Fury From The Deep’ TV soundtrack on CD, there is a trailer for ‘The Wheel In Space’. I also heard a continuity announcement for ‘Episode 6’ of ‘Fury From The Deep’ before it had even begun.
‘Fury From The Deep’ is a lost ‘Doctor Who’ TV classic that I’m glad to have listened to on audio. I’m saddened I didn’t get to listen to this before Deborah Watling passed away. But hopefully one day I’ll meet Debbie again in heaven and be able to share what I thought and felt about the tale altogether.
This ‘Doctor Who’ adventure has been gripping to listen to and it feels tense and thrilling as the Doctor and our heroes try to defeat the seaweed monster. It also features an emotional farewell for Deborah Watling as Victoria. I’m sure that’s why Debbie liked this adventure, since it’s so emotional.
‘Fury From The Deep’ rating – 8/10
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