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.
Region 1

Region 2

NEW for
2020 Sept. 14
CD Audio
(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 decision....

DVD Features include:

  • New animated recreations of all six episodes (#1-6), synchronized to the original television sound. (Colour & BW options)
  • Alternate "telesnap" version - using still photos and the story soundtrack.
  • Plus extra features:
    • Audio commentary featuring cast and crew.
    • "The Cruel Sea - Surviving Fury From the Deep" making-of featurette (~40 min.) including Frazer Hines (Jamie). Shot at the story's original location.
    • "Animating Fury from the Deep" making-of the new version (~20 min.)
    • The Visual Effects - Interview with Peter Day (~9 min.)
    • Interview with writer Victor Pemberton (~5 min.)
    • Surviving footage (BW)
    • Behind-the-scenes studio footage (colour)
    • Raw film trims (BW)
    • Info Text / Pop-up Production Note Subtitles
    • Photo Gallery
    • "The Slide" Audio Drama by Victor Pemberton, featuring Roger Delgado.
    • DVD-Rom PDF Material includes Scripts and Radio Times Listings

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 here.)

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 move forward.

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 has been reconstructed in an animated form for 2020.
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DVD NTSC Region 1
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
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DVD PAL Region 2
for the U.K.
NEW for
2020 Sept. 14

Doctor Who: Lost in Time - Patrick Troughton
2 DVD discs

(also included in Lost in Time Boxed Sets)

Coverage on Fury From the Deep includes:
More details & buying options for "Lost in Time" DVD's

Audio CD - Doctor Who - Fury From the Deep.

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. This version is playable in any normal audio CD player.

Audio Cassette - Fury From the Deep (2 tapes).

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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Read the Buyers' Guide Review for the next story: "The Wheel in Space"

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