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Sylvester McCoy
The Curse of Fenric
Seventh Doctor Logo


Synopsis


The Haemovores
The Haemovores
 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.

 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...

 It’s good standing against evil with only The Doctor to play the final moves...

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Twenty Six
Production Code: 7M
Story Number: 154
Episode Numbers:689 - 692
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"Wolf-Time" and "The Wolves of Fenric"
Production Dates: April 1989
Broadcast Started: 25 October 1989
Broadcast Finished: 15 November 1989
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: None
Location: Kent: Bedgebury Lower School (Hastings Road, Lillesden, Hawkhurst), St Lawrence's Church (The Moor, Hawkhurst), Roses Farm (Gills Green, Hawkhurst) and Yew Tree Farm (Slipway Hill, Cranbrook).
Others: Crowborough Training Camp (Uckfield Road, Crowborough, East Sussex) and Lulworth Cove (Dorset).
Writer:Ian Briggs
Director:Nicholas Mallett
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Script Editor:Andrew Cartmel
Production Assistant:Winifred Hopkins
Production Associate:June Collins
Assistant Floor Manager:Judy Corry
Designer:David Laskey
Costume Designer:Ken Trew
Make-Up Designer:Denise Baron
Cameramen:Alan Jessop (Outside Broadcast) and Paul Harding (Outside Broadcast)
Incidental Music:Mark Ayres
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Visual Effects:Graham Brown
Title Sequence:Oliver Elmes
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Keff McCulloch
Stunt Arranger: Tip Tipping
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Sylvester McCoy (The Seventh Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Sophie Aldred (Ace) Guest Cast: Dinsdale Landen (Dr. Judson), Nicholas Parsons (Reverend Wainwright), Anne Reid (Nurse Crane) Additional Cast: Alfred Lynch (Commander Millington), Tomek Bork (Captain Sorin), Janet Henfrey (Miss Hardaker), Peter Czajkowski (Sgt. Prozorov), Marek Anton (Vershinin), Mark Conrad (Petrossian), Joann Kenny (Jean), Joanne Bell (Phyllis), Cory Pulman (Kathleen Dudman), Aaron Hanley (Baby), Stevan Rimkus (Captain Bates), Marcus Hutton (Sgt. Leigh), Christien Anholt (Perkins), Raymond Trickett (Ancient Haemovore)Setting: Maiden's Point, Whitby, Yorkshire (1943) Villains:Captain Sorin, Commander Millington, Fenric and The Ancient One

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
689Part 125 October 198924'23"4.3PAL 1" colour videotape
690Part 201 November 198924'09"4.0PAL 1" colour videotape
691Part 308 November 198924'11"4.0PAL 1" colour videotape
692Part 415 November 198924'16"4.2PAL 1" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 37 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 4.1
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)82.75%  (Position = 12 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2003)904 Points (Position = 6 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)82.09% Lower (Position = 30 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)84.03% Higher (Position = 26 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 1” colour videotapes. A 71-edit scratch print of all episodes also exists.



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Notes


"The Curse of Fenric" is the final 'historical' story of the original run of the show and sees The Doctor and Ace arriving in England during World War II.

This story made use of period costuming and situations.

This story features guest appearances from Dinsdale Landen, as Dr Judson, and Nicholas Parsons as Reverend Wainwright - the vicar of St Judes.

Nicholas Parsons is better known as the host of Anglia TV's game show The Sale of the Century.

Anne Reid, who played Nurse Crane, returned to the show as Florence Finnegan in the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "Smith and Jones".

Marek Anton, who occupied the Destroyer costume in "Battlefield", is seen here in person as the Russian soldier Vershinin.

The baby - revealed to be Ace's mother - was played by Aaron Hanley - the son of the landlord and landlady of The Bush Hotel on Shepherd's Bush Green, a few minutes walk from The Doctor Who office and frequently visited by the production team. Aaron Hanley also appeared in the second episode, but uncredited.

Two of the Haemovores are played by Sylvester McCoy's sons: Sam and Joe Kent-Smith.

Actress Janet Henfrey was a school friend of Sophie Aldred's mother. Her character of Miss Hardaker in this story was modelled on the part she played, again as a school teacher, in two Dennis Potter dramas: "Stand Up, Nigel Barton" (1965) and The "Singing Detective" (1986). Sylvia Syms, who played the character Mrs Pritchard in "Ghost Light", was originally offered the part of Miss Hardaker.

Ian Briggs had contributed the 1987 story "Dragonfire", and wanted to try his hand at something more atmospheric, preferably with a period setting. Along with Script Editor Andrew Cartmel it was agreed that this story would be set during the Second World War on the coast of Britain. Ian Briggs wanted his interest in the dawn of the computer age, as well as vampire legends (particularly as popularised in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula) and Norse mythology. From the latter, he found his most notable influence in the wolf-monster Fenrir (also called Fenris or Fenrisulfr), who was mystically bound to a rock by the gods until the Ragnarok (literally, ‘the twilight of the gods’).

His initial storyline, titled "Wolf-Time" was commissioned in November 1988, and was retitled "The Wolves of Fenric" shortly afterwards.

Because the explanation of the term ‘wolves’ did not come until the fourth episode, and so the story’s title might therefore confuse viewers, it was decided to change it to "The Curse of Fenric", although some publicity material would continue to bear the earlier title.

This story was originally going to be titled The Wolves of Fenric (and before that, Wolf-Time). Fenric does refer to his servants as his "wolves" (and wolves have a strong link to Norse mythology). However, John Nathan-Turner felt that as the "wolves" connection was not revealed until quite late in the story, the title would not initially make sense to the audience.

This story was originally to be recorded second, after "Battlefield", and directed by Michael Kerrigan. However, actor Nicholas Courtney, who appeared in "Battlefield" as The Brigadier, would not be available until after the planned recording dates. Consequently, the two stories exchanged production slots and directors, with Nicholas Mallett - who had last worked on "Paradise Towers" two years earlier - taking over this story.

Unfortunately, this left Ian Briggs with a month less time to write his scripts than he originally believed, forcing him to complete work on the final two episodes far more quickly than normal. Minor but noteworthy changes at this stage were the elimination of any reference to Ragnarok, from Viking folk-lore. (at Andrew Cartmel's request, in order to avoid possible confusion with the Gods of Ragnarok that had appeared in Season Twenty Five's "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy") and a line of dialogue in part one indicating that Ace was not a virgin. (The latter was actually specified in the character outline Ian Briggs had written for Ace - whom he had created for "Dragonfire" - which specified that she had lost her virginity with the space pirate Sabalom Glitz). Also, The Doctor was originally to recite the names of his past companions (beginning with Susan) as the focus for his faith in the third episode.

This story was originally to be made, as with most Doctor Who stories, with a mixture of location and studio work. The scenes for the naval base exterior, the graveyard and the shore would be done on location followed by three days in the studio beginning in April 1989. However, after reading the script, director Nicholas Mallett believed that the entire story could be recorded during a single location shoot without any need for studio time at all – so making it more effective and realistic. It would also save money because the cast would not have to be booked for as long. Producer John Nathan-Turner agreed, and Ian Briggs performed some minor rewriting to take this into account.

Unfortunately, the weather played havoc with the production throughout the shoot. To compensate, Ian Briggs rewrote some sections, such as giving Ace lines of dialogue to verbally indicate the heat. The bad weather also put cast and crew well behind schedule, and John Nathan-Turner once again stepped in to direct a second camera unit to alleviate some of the pressure from Nicholas Mallett.

For the scene of the Haemovores rising up out of the water it was found that the costumes proved prone to trapping air, and thus became difficult to submerge. Ultimately, the actors were given rocks to hold onto to keep themselves underwater.

Amongst the extras playing Haemovores were Sylvester McCoy’s sons Sam and Joe Kent-Smith.

One major mishap occurred just prior to editing, when a videotape containing various close-up and insert shots was accidentally wiped. At that point, there was no way Nicholas Mallett could go back and re-record the material, and so he was forced to work without it. Amongst the losses were shots establishing that Haemovores leave behind a green blob when they are destroyed. Only a lone such remnant would have been seen in the gas chamber after the Ancient Haemovore attacks Fenric, implying that although the former had died, Fenric had found a way to escape.

After the first edits were compiled, "The Curse of Fenric" was found to exceed its allotted time spectacularly, especially in the fourth episode. At one point it was thought that the story could be re-edited into five episodes, but the total overrun of about twelve minutes was not really sufficient to warrant another instalment, and Ian Briggs was concerned that this would destroy the dramatic pacing of the story. In the end, several important scenes had to be removed or drastically trimmed, including the information about the British troops’ code from the first episode (explaining the extant reference to ‘the House Guests’ in the third episode), a scene of soldiers staking Haemovores on the church roof from episode three, and more of the confrontation between The Doctor and the Ancient Haemovore from episode four.

The precise date that this story is set in is never specified but it appears to be 1943, near the end of the Second World War. Also the Russian soldiers carry Simonov SKS rifles, which were developed during 1942.

Sylvester McCoy was given a new costume for Season Twenty Six, with a darker jacket, hatband, tie and handkerchief to reflect the gradual development of the Seventh Doctor’s personality. To surprise viewers with the revised outfit, it was decided The Doctor would begin the story wearing a duffel coat over his regular clothes - the belief at this time being that this story would be the first broadcast. Later however, it was pushed back to third in transmission order, meaning that his revised costume had already been seen in the first two stories.

The Doctor types his own letter of authorisation, and forges the signatures of the Head of the Secret Services and the P.M. He is ambidextrous, using two pens at the same time.

This story is the second in what some have called the "Ace Trilogy", a three-story arc that explores elements of Ace's past before she met The Doctor. This was not an intentional trilogy, since "The Curse of Fenric" was originally intended to start the season and be followed by "Battlefield", "Survival" and then "Ghost Light".

This story is notable for tying together elements mentioned in passing in previous stories. Specifically the story of Ace's journey to Iceworld and much of her origins, are solved in this story. The Doctor is heard stating that he knew of Fenric’s manipulation of Ace when he saw the chessboard in Lady Peinforte's house (see the 1988 story "Silver Nemesis"). Fenric responds ‘Before Cybermen, since Iceworld’. It was Fenric who created the time storm that took Ace to Iceworld (see the 1987 story "Dragonfire"). This tying together of plot threads was uncommon for the original run of the show, but became a recurring element when the show was revived in 2005, particularly with regards to season finales.

It is revealed that Ace’s relationship with her mother was poor. She also refers to her terror of the house in "Ghost Light". She secures her future by sending Kathleen and Audrey to London, to be looked after by her Nan at 17 Old Street, Streatham (Ace's paternal rather than maternal grandmother).

Like Ace, Luke Smith travels back in time in The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith" and meets his infant mother and young maternal grandmother. Their respective grandmothers dash off in automobiles to save their daughters, and both grandfathers’ deaths are revealed.

Ace is heard mentioning an old house in Perivale. This was originally intended as a foreshadowing of "Ghost Light" but the rearranging of the broadcast schedule for this season, however, altered it into an apparent reference to a past story.

When Ace dismisses Captain Sorin's admiration that she wears a Soviet star patch on her jacket, by telling him that it is a cheap copy she bought, he gives her a pin-on Red Army insignia from his own uniform to wear. That badge is still pinned to the her jacket in "Survival".

Fenric is the name given by Vikings to an ancient evil created at the dawn of time.

Fenric's flask was carried to England by the Vikings in the Ninth Century where a survivor of their expedition, Sundvik, settled and spawned generations of 'wolves' who carried Fenric's taint (genetic instructions).

As part of Fenric's plan, the Ancient One was ‘carried back tens of thousands of years in a time storm to Transylvania’. The Ancient One followed the flask in his search for Fenric to return him home. Thus making Earth's vampire legends due (in part) to the Ancient One.

Fenric met The Doctor in third century Constantinople and, defeated at chess, was banished to 'a shadow dimension' while its earthly essence was imprisoned in a flask for 17 centuries. The Doctor met the Ancient One in the far future.

The Doctor describes the haemovores as the species that mankind will evolve into, when the Earth is ‘rotting in chemical slime’ after ‘half a million years of industrial progress’. The Ancient Haemomovore’s sacrifice, stopping the gas seeping into the sea, prevents this time line from occurring. The Doctor, a traveller in alternative realities, has, however, seen this future.

The Doctor is heard to state that he does not know if he has any family. However, in the 1967 Second Doctor story "The Tomb of the Cybermen" he stated they slept within his mind.

The Haemovores can only be destroyed by faith and cannot be harmed by objects alone. The Doctor uses his faith in his past companions to repel the Haemovores’ attack on the church, reciting their names under his breath. Most of the names he chants are inaudible, but a few can be made out, including Susan, Barbara Wright, Vicki and Steven Taylor.

The vampires in this story are very different from the ones seen in the 1980 Fourth Doctor story "State of Decay": it is never stated that the Great Vampires came to Earth in their war with the Time Lords.

It has been revealed that Ian Briggs based the character of Dr Judson on Alan Turing. (The " Ultima machine" of this story is based on the real Enigma machine.) In an interview for the DVD release of this story, Ian Briggs states that since at that time it was not considered appropriate to depict a character's struggle with homosexuality in a family programme, he transformed Alan Turing's frustration at being unable to express his true sexual identity into Dr Judson's frustration at being crippled.

This story contains a number of errors. Namely: The Russians speak nothing but English after the first sequence, even to the point of death. It is also never explained how do the Russians expect to get away with the huge Ultima machine in their little dinghy; There wouldn't be any road signs like the one indicating the way to Maiden's Point as all such signposts were removed, especially in coastal areas, during the war, to hinder the enemy in the event of an invasion; Reverend Wainwright is heard quoting from the NIV (New International Version) of the Bible when, as an Anglican, he should be reading the AV (Authorised Version); The stack of bombs against the wall in the bomb factory is obviously just one giant moulded piece of set, as opposed to hundreds of individual bombs; Ace fights a pair of Haemovores on the roof of the church, during which the mask of one of the actors becomes dislodged from the neck of his costume. The Haemovores also drop out of character during the fight, emitting very human sounds of mask-muffled grunting as they are attacked (in contrast to the inhuman, post-production sounds of pain they otherwise make in this story); The baby, Audrey, holds a Super Ted doll throughout the story, a character who wouldn't exist until the 1980’s; The explosion that destroys Commander Millington's office hurls debris into the camera, bouncing off the lens and causing it to shake; Commander Millington's moustache is incorrect as Royal Navy officers were required to have either: a full beard and moustache or else to be clean shaven; The Doctor cleans his muddy hand very quickly in the fourth episode four; The English captain is surprisingly ready to join forces with the Russians he was trying to execute only hours before.

In addition to the broadcasted story, two further versions of this story exist: About six minutes of extended footage is seen on the 1991 VHS video release, as several episodes were found to overrun prior to transmission, and the 2003 DVD (released as part of the show’s Fortieth Anniversary Celebration) included a ‘Special Edition’ edited into a single movie-length feature with twelve minutes of unbroadcasted footage. This version has reworked special effects and music arranged by Mark Ayres based on notes written up by himself and the late Nicholas Mallett. It also has several scenes re-edited to produce a more coherent narrative.

This story was one of the first stories to be awarded its own individual soundtrack album, as Mark Ayres' score was released by Silva Screen Records in 1991. This album also included a new arrangement of The Doctor Who theme. Excerpts from the soundtrack also appeared on the 1994 release The Worlds of Doctor Who, also by Silva Screen.

Alister Pearson's artwork, which first appeared on the cover of the Target novelisation, was reused for the cover of the Silva Screen soundtrack CD. It shows Sylvester McCoy as the seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace and the Ancient Haemovore along with various artefacts symbolic to the tale (Captain Sorin's red star badge, the Nazi flag, a logic diagram, the carved runes from the crypt, the poison gas marking and the green glow of the deadly gas, and, of course, the chess board). For the CD, there were several subtle alterations - a new colour portrait of Ace, the red star has gained a hammer and sickle, the church and the sign post for Maiden's point are additions, the runes aren't glowing and the green glow on The Doctor has disappeared.

An edition of the BBC children’s show Take Two featured an item on the making of this story. It was presented by Philip Schofield and examined the question of what frightens children.

"The Curse of Fenric" was the final Doctor Who work for both Nicholas Mallett and Ian Briggs. Nicholas Mallett continued to direct, having contributed to programmes including EastEnders, Lovejoy and The Bill. Ian Briggs has spent time both acting and writing, the latter for series such as Casualty and The Bill. Ian Briggs was also originally asked to write the fourth and concluding novel in the Timewyrm story arc which began Virgin Books’ The New Adventures range of original Doctor Who fiction in 1991. Ultimately, however, this did not come to pass.

The novelisation of this story, written by Ian Briggs that was published by Target Books in November 1990, features additional character information absent from the broadcasted story. In particular when Fenric kills Nurse Crane, it is revealed that she was a Russian agent and had led the soldiers to the installation. This may explain how Commander Millington knew that the Russians were going to steal the ULTIMA machine. ancestors.

The Target novelisation of this story also has an epilogue featuring an older Ace after she has had left The Doctor. This formed part of the basis for Ace's departure in the Virgin Books’ The New Adventures novel "Set Piece", written by Kate Orman, where Ace (now called Dorothee) chooses to stay in Paris to monitor a time rift and at some point has a relationship with one of Captain Sorin’s ancestors.

The Seventh Doctor and Ace return to World War II in the Big Finish Productions’ audio story "Colditz".

The Doctor meets Kathleen Dudman again when Ace is a baby in the short story "Ace of Hearts" by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry (in the collection Short Trips).



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be awarded its own individual soundtrack album.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The final 'historical' story of the original run of the show.

 The last Doctor Who story to be written by Ian Briggs.

 The last Doctor Who story to be directed by Nicholas Mallett.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Doctor and Ace
The Doctor and Ace

It is towards the end of the Second World War and Russian commandos arrive, by dinghy, on a beach near a secret naval base off the coast of Northumberland. As they start to set up camp they discover one of their comrades lying injured on the rocky beach and Captain Sorin, their commander, tries to discover what happened to the sealed orders that the soldier was carrying. One of the other soldiers manages to find them but is chased and attacked by something unknown.

Nearby the TARDIS arrives just outside the secret naval base. The Doctor leads his travelling companion, Ace, to the office of the wheelchair-bound scientist Dr Judson. There The Doctor forges letters of authority for himself, completing this task just before Captain Bates arrives to investigate. The two travellers are then shown to their quarters for the night.

The next morning, The Doctor and Ace arrive at the local church looking for Dr Judson. The vicar, Reverend Wainwright, shows The Doctor to the crypt. Ace meanwhile befriends two young women, Jean and Phyllis, who are evacuees from London and who are currently staying with an elderly woman called Miss Hardaker. They arrange to meet later at Maidens’ Point. Ace then finds The Doctor in the crypt with Dr Judson who is trying to translate some Viking runes. The Doctor and Ace leave him to it. After a detour through the churchyard, where The Doctor realises that some of the graves have Viking names on them, the two travellers head out to Maidens’ Point. There The Doctor finds the sealed orders. He returns to the church, where Reverend Wainwright shows him some records made by his grandfather at the end of the last century. They contain translations of the inscriptions in the crypt. The Doctor and Reverend Wainwright take the translations to Dr Judson.

Under Arrest
Under Arrest

Back at the naval base, The Doctor and Ace find a group of Wrens translating German messages. One of the women, Kathleen Dudman, has a baby girl with her, and Ace falls in love with it. After finding Commander Millington’s office, which is an exact replica of a naval cipher room in Berlin (Commander Millington is trying to think like the enemy in order to stay one step ahead), The Doctor and Ace return to Maidens’ Point and find a dead soldier. They are captured by Captain Sorin and his men but, on hearing The Doctor’s story, Captain Sorin lets them go.

Meanwhile Dr Judson shows Commander Millington the translations given to him by The Doctor. But as he reads the words, things move under the sea and a set of new runes appears in the church crypt. Later, Commander Millington suggests that Dr Judson use the Ultima machine - a code breaker - to translate the runes. On returning to the crypt The Doctor and Ace discover the new inscriptions but are interrupted by Commander Millington who takes them through to a secret tunnel system where a natural poison, that seeps from the walls, is being collected so that it can be used to win the war.

Captain Sorin and Ace
Captain Sorin and Ace

While Ace speaks with Reverend Wainwright, and discovers that the minister is suffering a crisis of faith, The Doctor goes with Commander Millington back to the naval base and discovers that the Ultima machine has been booby trapped with a flask of the poison. The plan is that the Russians will be allowed to steal it. The machine though has been programmed to detonate the flask when it receives a particular coded word which will be included in a message sent to Russia when the political climate is right. Commander Millington then demonstrates the effects of the poison in an isolation tank. Then, much to the puzzlement of Captain Bates, Commander Millington orders that all the radio transmitters on the base be disabled and that all chess sets are to be burnt. Dr Judson then sets the Ultima machine to translate the runes and the phrase ‘let the chains of Fenric shatter’ is printed out.

After being reprimanded, by Miss Hardacre, for going to Maidens’ Point, Jean and Phyllis ignore her and return there, venturing into the water for a bathe. But a mist appears and covers them, and when it lifts they have been transformed into vampires. They entice a soldier into the water, where he is grabbed by a group of monstrous Haemovores. Jean and Phyllis then return to Miss Hardacre and kill her before attempting to attack Reverend Wainwright at the church. They are forced to leave when The Doctor and Ace arrive, but threaten to return for Reverend Wainwright later. The Doctor discovers that Ace has given Dr Judson the clue that he needed to solve the mystery of the runes: they are a logic diagram for a computer program. The Doctor, Ace and Reverend Wainwright hurry to the naval base to stop Dr Judson but they are too late and Haemovores are summoned from the sea. Commander Millington realises that he has made the mistake of weakening the naval base to allow the Russians to steal the Ultima machine. While on the beach, Captain Sorin and his men retreat as the Haemovores advance. The Haemovores then try to break into the church, while The Doctor, Ace and Reverend Wainwright try to keep them out, The Doctor realises that faith will repel the attackers. He whispers the names of his past companions and this sets up a screaming noise that drives the creatures away. Captain Sorin also arrives, to rescue his men, relying on his faith in the Russian Revolution for protection. The Doctor, Ace, Reverend Wainwright and two Russian soldiers then escape through the tunnels, pursued by Jean, Phyllis and the Haemovores.

Ace contemplates making some more of her Nitro-9 explosives using an old flask that she had earlier discovered in the tunnels. The Doctor though realises that this is the oriental treasure to which the runes referred. The Doctor, Ace and Reverend Wainwright eventually emerge from the tunnels and Commander Millington orders the exit doors barred, despite protests from The Doctor and Ace that there are still two soldiers inside. Captain Sorin tries to make a truce with Commander Millington, but finds himself locked up instead. Ace then confronts The Doctor as she realised that he knows what is going on and demands that he explain. He tells her that Fenric, an evil intelligence from the dawn of time, is trapped inside the flask. They need help to defeat it, so Ace distracts a guard enabling The Doctor to release Captain Sorin. At the exit from the tunnels the Haemovores start to burn their way out. The creatures emerge and Reverend Wainwright is killed as his faith proves insufficient to hold them back.

Commander Millington
Commander Millington

The Doctor realises that Fenric needs a body to occupy and so along with Ace he hurries to the cipher room, where Dr Judson is knocked out by a discharge of power from the Ultima machine. The Doctor, Ace and Captain Sorin look on as Commander Millington recites the Viking legend. Behind them, Dr Judson, having been possessed by Fenric, rises to his feet, his eyes glowing green. Fenric/Judson states that he has been trapped in the shadow dimensions for seventeen centuries, and that now his preparations are complete. He vanishes and reappears in the tunnels, where he orders Jean and Phyllis to fetch the Ancient One. They go to Maidens’ Point and summon the creature from the sea.

The Doctor tells Ace that he needs a chess set to play his game with Fenric to its conclusion. They try to get one from Commander Millington’s office, but they discover he has mined it with explosives and they narrowly escape being killed. Ace then remembers that Kathleen also has a chess set. As The Doctor hurries to set up the chess game, the Wrens are trapped by the Haemovores and transformed into vampires, following which they attack the soldiers. Dr Judson’s nurse, Nurse Crane, is also killed and Commander Millington shoots down Captain Sorin’s second in command, Vershinin, but is then killed by Captain Bates. Ace sends Kathleen and the baby off in a car to stay with her Nan in Streatham. Ace then finds herself trapped by the pursuing Haemovores. She is saved when Fenric/Judson instructs the Ancient One to take the poison into the sea so destroying Jean, Phyllis and the other Haemovores, who crumble away to nothing. The Doctor then faces Fenric/Judson, challenging him to make the final move in the chess game that he has set up in the laboratory. He then convinces the Ancient One that to poison the seas would bring about the destruction of the world - and that the future, which the Ancient One comes from would no longer exist.

Ace finds Fenric/Judson hunched over the chess set who is unable to solve the problem of the final move. She then finds Captain Bates helping the wounded Vershinin and realises that this is the solution to the chess puzzle, she returns to the laboratory to find Captain Sorin and tells him that the solution is for the opposing pawns to join forces. Captain Sorin, however, has now been taken over by Fenric in place of Judson. The Doctor arrives just as a lightning bolt hits the chess set causing it to burst into flame. Fenric/Sorin reveals that all those involved are his pawns – including Ace, as Kathleen’s baby is her mother, whom she hates, and she has just created her own future. Fenric/Sorin orders the Ancient One to kill The Doctor and Ace. The creature is held back, however, by Ace’s total faith in The Doctor. Fenric/Sorin demands that The Doctor kneel before him, but The Doctor responds by telling him to kill Ace. He claims he knew all along that Ace was a pawn and accuses her of being an emotional cripple that he would never have allowed to travel with him if he hadn’t known the truth. Ace’s faith shatters, causing the psychic barrier to drop, but instead of attacking The Doctor, the Ancient One herds Fenric/Sorin into the isolation tank and releases the poison, killing them both. The Doctor then grabs Ace and they escape before the room explodes.

Back at Maidens’ Point, The Doctor tries to explain to a tearful Ace that he had to break her faith in him so that the Ancient One could act. Ace then takes a moment to contemplate why she hates her mother and, to absolve her irrational fear of the water, she dives into the sea, then swims ashore and rejoins The Doctor. They then walk away together back to the TARDIS.

 
Ace Meets Jean and Phyllis
Ace Meets Jean and Phyllis
Jean and Phyllis as Haemovores
Jean and Phyllis as Haemovores
The Haemovores
The Haemovores
Ace with Kathleen Dudman and her Baby
Ace with Kathleen Dudman and her Baby
 
The Wrens
The Wrens
A Game of Chess
A Game of Chess
The Ancient Haemovore and Dr Judson
The Ancient Haemovore and Dr Judson
Ace and The Doctor After the Ordeal
Ace and The Doctor After the Ordeal




Quote of the Story


 'The dawn of time, the beginning of all beginnings. Two forces, only good and evil. Then chaos. Time is born, matter, space. The universe cries out like a newborn. The forces shatter as the universe explodes outwards. Only echoes remain, yet somehow, somehow the evil force survives... an intelligence of pure evil.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
The Curse of FenricFebruary 1991BBCV 4453Alister PearsonIncludes about six minutes of extra footage not aired in original broadcast
Audio
CD
The Curse of Fenric1991FLMCD 087Photo-montageMusic score
Audio
CD
The Worlds of Doctor Who1994FLMCD 715Photo-montageMusic score
Video
DVD
The Curse of FenricOctober 2003BBCDVD 1154Clayton HickmanIncludes two complete versions: original broadcast version and a 'Special Edition' edited into one movie-length story with twelve minutes of unbroadcast material
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 (Limited Edition)December 2019BBCBD 0480Photo-montageBlu-Ray Limited Edition boxed set containing 4 specially restored stories
Video
Blu-Ray
Time Lord Victorious - Road To The Dark TimesNovember 2020BBCBD 0518Photo-montageBlu-Ray set containing 7 stories containing legends of the Dark Times, the Dalek Empire and the Time Lord Victorious.
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 (Standard Edition)January 2022BBCBD 0552Photo-montageBlu-Ray Standard Edition boxed set containing 4 specially restored stories


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
The Curse of FenricNovember 1990Target No. 151Ian BriggsAlister PearsonISBN: 0-426-20348-8
CD
CD
The Curse of FenricSeptember 2015Target No. 151Ian BriggsAlister PearsonAudio version of the Target Novel read by Terry Molloy (Davros).
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 103 (Released: August 2002)
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 152 (Released: September 1989)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArticleIssue 160 (Released: May 1990)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 225 (Released: May 1995)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 412 (Released: September 2009)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 469 (Released: February 2014)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 39 (Released: June 2010)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion

 
Sylvester McCoy
The Seventh Doctor

   

 
Sophie Aldred
Ace
 
   




On Release

VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Curse of Fenric CD Cover
Curse of Fenric CD Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO
Worlds of Doctor Who CD Cover
Worlds of Doctor Who CD Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
The Collection Season 26 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 26 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Time Lord Victorious Blu-Ray Cover
Time Lord Victorious Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The Collection Season 26 Standard Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 26 Standard Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
 
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 103
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 103

CMS
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 152
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 152

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 160
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 160

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 225
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 225

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 412
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 412

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 469
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 469

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 39
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 39

GE Fabbri


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