Fury From the Deep
This story is not known to exist in its original format
(6 black-and-white 25-minute TV episodes)
in its entirety.
|(Doctor Who Story No. 42, starring Patrick Troughton)
- written by Victor Pemberton
- directed by Hugh David
- produced by Peter Bryant
- music by Dudley Simpson
- 6 episodes @ 25 minutes each
Story: Jamie discovers the properties of
the sonic screwdriver
as the Doctor investigates a mysterious pulsing sound in a
pipe on a seaside natural gas rig,
before he and his companions are accused of tampering
by the rig's crew. Have their recent emergencies been caused
by some form of marine life getting into the machinery?
Will the rig's commander Robson be able to maintain his
perfect gas flow record? What has happened to the oddly-behaving
crews of similar rigs in the area? As the number of horrific
events increases, Victoria reluctantly faces a life-changing
Buyers' Guide Review
by Martin Izsak
(A more in-depth analysis, containing "SPOILERS" and intended
for those who have already seen the program, can be accessed
This story is perhaps the most stereotypical of all of season five's
monster-threat base-defense formula-written adventures. The formula
is good enough to produce another winner in the end, but it is not
initially the most interesting by any means.
The TARDIS lands, the three travellers find something mildly
interesting to investigate, the base-members suspect the newcomers
of causing their troubles until proven otherwise, the monster-threat
then takes over the plot. Ho-hum, it's been scripted much more
enticingly before, and since. Technically speaking, this is
the first appearance of the sonic screwdriver. Its entrance is not
particularly grand or memorable, and if you've been reading some
of the novelisations, Terrance Dicks has retro-actively slipped it
into previous stories as well.
Characterizations are particularly bland this time around.
No attempt is made to really introduce the time travellers, or to
demonstrate the TARDIS properly - the fan's funny bone is aimed for
once again, and the results look positively silly this time with
the police box dangling down towards the sea on a string like a
thirsty spider climbing down on his own web-tether. Much too far
out of materialization-character for the time-machine.
Of the guest characters, Robson is scripted as perhaps the most
one-dimensional of antagonistic base-leaders. Where Clent of
"The Ice Warriors" (story no. 39)
would explore his own issues, Robson merely blasts others
down and pushes single-mindedly to maintain his gas-flow record. You'd
think his safety-record would be of comparable importance as well.
At any rate, despite whatever talents touted actor Victor Maddern
brought to the role, his character is not really interesting.
Thankfully, other things take center-stage later on,
saving us from more of this.
Second-in-command Harris and his wife Maggie are equally bland.
Harris at least is polite enough to be given dialogue that actually
works during the introduction of the base personnel to the Doctor and
his friends, but Harris goes wife-happy in a very single-minded way
soon after, incapable of balancing his character with the other
concerns he is responsible for. Maggie, when not totally, sleepily
spaced-out, is such a perfect typical house-wife that one must wonder
if she has any character at all. This lot is just begging for something
nasty to barge in to give their lives a stir - which is not a healthy
way to write quality science fiction. It all too easily breeds an
attitude in fans that beastliness is the only source of excitement
in life, or at least, in a good sci-fi story.
We get some better characters in Megan Jones, Hubert Rees' Chief
Engineer, and especially Van Lutyens, whom John Abineri brought to life
with a little help from a passable Dutch accent. Van Lutyens is the one
with the ability to get hot under the collar, and yet still pull back,
notice his own character issues, make progress, and allow the plot to
The story's main monster is
only half of the troubles at the sea base. Also on hand are the
Laurel and Hardy of horror, turning innocent situations into horrific
ones like the clowns of
"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" (story no. 155)
or any other
good candy-horror villains. As the numbers of the base-personnel
decrease, the number of creatures increases - an excellent tactic
for monster-story scripts. Growing threats are much more suspenseful.
Although painfully run-of-the-mill at first, "Fury From the Deep"
gains momentum by the third episode, when things really start happening.
Tensions among the rig crews come to a boil and lead somewhere, while
the Doctor and his friends have many great scenes confronting and
investigating the monster and its mysteries, not least of which includes
a return to the well-equipped laboratories inside the TARDIS. An
excellent logical move too often overlooked by other Who writers.
Also of note is the very emotional story element of Victoria's growing
discomfort with the Doctor and Jamie's lifestyle. The guest characters
may not be able to look at their own issues objectively, but through
Victoria the "Fury From the Deep" story manages to confront its own
issue of "formulaic-ness", and that of the monster-season, objectively
on its own. Terrific stuff. Victoria hits the nail on the head,
and drives the point further home with each episode. With continuity
links being so tight between stories all through the season, no room
has been left for off-screen stories of the Doctor taking his friends
to more enlightening, peaceful places. Too much steady terror for
Victoria's taste, and with no end in sight, it has taken its toll.
Musically speaking, Dudley Simpson turns out a mostly electronic
organ-sounding score, very much in the style of his season eight work.
A few phrases of Victoria's theme are slipped in, remaining practically
unnoticeable unless you really listen for them. This is not anywhere
near as high-profile as Victoria's theme should be in this story.
"The Ice Warriors" gave us much more with
less cause. The Quill and Oak duo have a theme of their own, a
combination of nursery rhyme and suspenseful styles which works all
right even if the choice of instruments and sounds is a bit on the
cheesy side. There are also some exceptionally good bits during the
investigation of the base of the Impeller shaft in episode four. The
bulk of the music is a bit on the lacklustre side however, and perhaps
thankfully is used rather minimally. Thus the errors of
"The Underwater Menace" (story no. 32) and
"The Macra Terror" (story no. 34)
are sidestepped, while Simpson's
material is put together with a greater degree of care.
Music by Dudley Simpson
"Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill"
is available on:
Audio CD -
Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
- Volume 1: The Early Years 1963-1969
Find out more here.
Episodes four and five continue to work well, with many effective,
suspenseful story-beats typical of a good horror/terror story. Kudos
must go to episode six's structure, but to avoid any spoilers,
of course I'll have to save my massive discussion of the details for the
in-depth analysis version of this review.
Read that one after you've listened to the whole story on
CD or cassette, and/or read the whole novelization.
I'll just say here that screen-time is used VERY wisely to
highlight the elements that make this story unique
and emotionally powerful.
"Fury From the Deep" is a bit of an oddball among classics,
wallowing dangerously deep in formula and cliché until collapsing
in on itself and succeeding as a sort of spoof that is dramatic
instead of humorous. If you can stay interested past the
all-too-predictable opening, it is very worthwhile indeed.
This story is not known to exist in its original format
(6 black-and-white 25-minute TV episodes) in its entirety.
Coverage on Fury From the Deep includes:
||Doctor Who: Lost in Time - Patrick Troughton
2 DVD discs
(also included in Lost in Time Boxed Sets)
More details & buying options for "Lost in Time" DVD's
- Surviving footage (4 min. total) including:
- TARDIS landing clip from episode 1 (re-used in
story No. 50 "The War Games")
- censor clips from episodes 2, 4, 5 with sound
- reconstructed climax sequence from episode 6 with sound
- behind-the-scenes studio footage (colour, no sound, 3 min.)
- raw film trims (BW, no sound, 4 min.)
This audio CD set features the complete audio tracks of all
6 television episodes of this story, narrated by
actor Frazer Hines (who also played Jamie McCrimmon)
to help listeners follow what used to be visual aspects
of the story.
is playable in any normal audio CD player.
||Audio Cassette -
Fury From the Deep
This earlier release of the audio
from the television episodes
features actor Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor)
reading narration produced by
early 1980's script editor Eric Saward.
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