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     Home »  The Tom Baker Era »  The Horror of Fang Rock
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    The Horror of Fang Rock Views: 1990
     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 06:53 AM EST
    I watched The Horror of Fang Rock last night and my wife kept looking at me as though I was nuts--yes, the special effects were that bad. The Rutan looked like a glowing cotton ball being pull up the side of a toy lighthouse by fishing wire. But that was the beauty of classic Doctor Who: You knew the special effects were going to suck, but you used your imagination to get into the plot of the show.

    Another thing my wife noticed: Tom Baker never blinks. She thinks he's scary. Considering he's my favorite doctor (Yes, yes, yes--I know that's a common opinion, but I still need to say it), I had never noticed that before. I always liked how his Doctor would just walk into a room and take charge.

    Considering no one ever knows who he is and what he's up to, you have to give the Doctor credit for just popping up, finding the trouble, and then sorting it all out. Smile

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     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 08:07 AM EST
    I completely agree with you. I know that the general concensus is that Tom Baker fans are newbies, or that is all they are familiar with, but there are lots of us who are well versed in all of the doctors and still choose him as a favorite because of the very reasons you mention.
    During his years, there was the noticable push to make the show more of a horror show, and Robert Holmes was cranking out classics all the time.
    Horror of Fang Rock was not as great to me as some people make it out to be. It was cool the way that Dicks made the Rutans the baddie, but I feel like the whole thing was stretched. It would have played better as a two parter.
    However, Tom Baker's glassy eyed stare (is he part fish?) is one of his main charms. That, and his toothy grin. For some of us, we like that more than Pertwee's pseudo-James Bond , or any of the others distict personalities. All Doctor Who is good Who, but it seems like Tom Baker's Who was genius in a bottle.

    Heath Holland
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     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 08:47 AM EST
    Very well put. I've been a Doctor Who fan since the early 1980s and I've seen shows from Pertwee on up. I've only seen a few shows from the first and second doctor. However, with all the shows I've seen over the years, Tom Baker if still my favorite.

    To me, arguing which is the "best" Doctor is pointless. It's a subjective decision. I'm just stating my opinion that for me Tom Baker is my favorite. I love his smile, his wit, fast takling charm, and his delivery on strange lines such as: "Lighthouses were included in the 1861 malicious act..." said right after Leela smashes a lighthouse door with a sledge hammer. You just have to love it.

    I would agree that The Horror of Fang Rock isn't one of my favorite episodes but I hadn't seen it in a long while. I'd really like to see some of the other episodes in the classic series but they're not available. I'd especially like to see "Invasion of Time." I used to have that one on VHS when I had taped it in the '80s but alas the tape was damaged in a move.

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     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 12:51 PM EST
    [Quote  by:  Mohan] I'd especially like to see "Invasion of Time."

    Many people dismiss Invasion of Time as a sub par story, but it is one of my favorites, maybe due to all its flaws. I like the stories set on Gallifrey. I also like how you think the story is over and then the real villains are revealed.


    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 01:45 PM EST
    Tarashnat, I would agree with you. Invasion of time is one long, long story. But it's interesting to see how you're not sure whose side the Doctor is one. Could he be evil? Could he be power thirsty? It's an interesting storyline. And to see the inside of the Tardis: Man, they must have filmed that same factory over and over again as they were trying to get away from the Sontarans. Good episode in my opinion.

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     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 02:27 PM EST
    Ah, Horror of Fang Rock, my all-time favorite episode. I love the claustrophobic feel, I loved the effects, yeah, even the Rutan, Loved the tie-in with Sontarans (I may be the only one who really loved The Sontaran Experiment) and just - well, just everything about this episode.

    Perhaps because I've had a romantic fascination with lighthouses since I was a child. I watched some horror film shot in and around a lighthouse (a Disney film, I think, a kids horror movie) and from that day, I always wanted to see stories set in lighthouses.

    This one complies in spades.

    My second favorite, Pyramids of Mars, deals with Egyptology a bit, which is another interest of mine. I liked that one a lot.

    I have to say early Baker episodes were pretty good in general, and I'd love to see them all released as season box-sets.

    I want to see "The Seeds of Doom" on DVD. This is one heck of an episode too. It's one with a real human villain, who you believe would kill you as soon as look at you.

    Later Baker got humorous and in some ways cheesy, like City of Death, which I did love, but had a lot of humor in it. Not too much but close to too much.

    Sigh. I wish all of Tom Baker was available on DVD. I have some on DVD, some on VHS, but I still don't have all the episodes.

    SIlly me. I recorded every episode from Robot to the end of McCoy in VHS as my PBS station aired them, and slowly, over the years, as my DOctor Who interest waned, I recycled those tapes one by one until only one remains today.

    ANd then, just as I began to regain interest in Who again, I began to regret recycling those tapes. Now I'm scrambling to buy up bargain VHS tapes, and the odd DVD here and there, just so I can watch shows I already had on tape, but threw away...

    Such is my life.


    One solid hope is worth a cartload of uncertainties.
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     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 02:51 PM EST

    The Sontaran Experiment is interesting in that it was originally to be a four parter, but Tom Baker broke his collar bone during filming, and the episode had to be cut down in scope. I just got Doctor Who: The Scripts (Tom Baker: 1974-5) to see if it contains the full four part story, or the final cut down version.


    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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     Thursday, January 05 2006 @ 02:55 PM EST
    [Quote  by:  seanhuxter]
    Perhaps because I've had a romantic fascination with lighthouses since I was a child. I watched some horror film shot in and around a lighthouse (a Disney film, I think, a kids horror movie) and from that day, I always wanted to see stories set in lighthouses.

    That said, I’m suddenly inundated with an image Helen Reddy stepping out between the Doctor and the Rutan to sing “Candle on the Water” from the banisters of the Light house as a musical interlude… Wink

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     Thursday, February 23 2006 @ 08:27 AM EST
    This is one of my fav Tom stories it does show a much Darker side to the 4th Doctor which I like. I gather things were very stressful on set, not surprizing really when you consider this story was made as a bit of a rush job with the orignal story being cancelled.

    Dr Who is back baby Yeah !!!
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     Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 10:45 PM EST
    This is one of my least favorite episodes. I could never understand why the Sontarans were at war with a large electrical jellyfish species. I was very disappointed in the Rutans (not because of the cheesy special effects because we're used to that on Doctor Who). I guess I was hoping for some other warrior race.

    I liked the fact that it was set in the early 20th Century. Period pieces are always good. I sure hated that arrogant rich Duke, or whatever he was, who was obsessed with getting back to London before the stock market closed.

    This is not one I go for when I'm watching Doctor Who. I'd prefer to watch "The Invisible Enemy," another Tom Baker disaster in my opinion (except for the arrival of K-9).

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     Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 10:48 PM EST

    The Sontarns are at war with anybody they can be, except their dupes, the Vardans...


    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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     Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 10:52 PM EST
    Jeff, You don't give the Rutans much credit. The one you saw crash-landed on Earth, more or less, and was in a new environment in a weakened condition.

    Plus, you have no idea what the power of the Rutan really is in space, of what its ships can do against the Sontarans.

    Judge not the book by its cover. If the Rutans and the Sontarans' war really is going on for as long as the Doctor indicates, these Rutans are no wimps.

    I just don't consider that a down-point for this episode, what with all I've already said about it.

    I just love the episode from start to finish. That, and Talons have the best atmosphere of any of the Baker era episodes.


    One solid hope is worth a cartload of uncertainties.
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     Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 11:16 PM EST
    At Gallifrey One this year, Louise Jameson said that Horror was originally an old script where Sarah Jane was the companion but they had to change it slightly for the Leela character. It was also the episode where Jameson stood up to Baker, stood her ground (over a scene that Baker kept changing from what they rehearsed), and then she earned his respect. I believe she also said it was one of those "save money with less sets" episodes. However, if one enjoys it, there is nothing wrong with it.

    The scene from the Invasion of Time with the interior of the Tardis that goes on and on, I believe she said, was filmed in a hospital because of some labor strike.

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     Saturday, March 11 2006 @ 11:35 PM EST
    To see what the Rutans are really capable of check out the Doctor Who spin off movie Return of the Sontarans. The Rutans kick ass in that.

    That Is Not Dead Which Can Eternal Lie, And With Strange Aeons Even Death May Die.
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     Sunday, March 12 2006 @ 09:08 AM EST
    I missed that one. I haven't heard of that spin-off. Is it available in some (legal) format?

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