The Hand of Fear

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Writers: Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Director: Lennie Mayne

Producer: Phillip Hinchcliffe

Season: 14, ep. 2 (5-8)

Companion: Sarah Jane-Smith (Elizabeth Sladen)

Summary: The Doctor attempts to take Sarah home, but accidentally takes her to the Nunton Experimental Complex. In the wake of a rockslide caused by an experimental explosion, Sarah happens upon a possessed hand.  The hand is possessed by Eldrad, a tyrant from the planet Kastria. Eldrad forces the Doctor to take them to Kastria so he can reclaim it.

Review: I had actually looked forward to revisiting this serial when I planned my Remembering Sarah Jane event because it’s one of my favorite departure stories.

Eldrad is a great villain and to be honest, only needed one appearance to show how great a villain he/she is.  We don’t even get to see Eldrad until the second half, but we don’t need to because Sladen does a great job at being evil. When Eldrad finally does appear, the story doesn’t get weaker, it does practically the opposite.

Tom Baker is really at his best in this story, and it’s a shame to see Sladen go because the two of them had such great chemistry.  The final scene is still every bit as touching as it was back then, perhaps even more so now that Elizabeth Sladen is dead. I highly recommend this story.

Overall Review: 10/10

Continuity: This is the only story that features the additional console room in the TARDIS. Although Sarah Jane makes her departure in this story, she does make a guest appearance in “The Five Doctors” and we see her face among the companions calling out to the Fourth Doctor in “Logopolis” before he regenerates. She is also the only companion from the classic era to get spin-offs. “K-9 and Company” only managed to get a pilot, but in that pilot it is established that she now owns K-9 Mark 3, which we see with her in “The Five Doctors”.  Her second spin-off, “The Sarah Jane Adventures”, ran for four and half seasons, ending with her death in 2011, thanks to her appearance in “School Reunion”. Prior to her appearance in “School Reunion”, Sladen also played Sarah Jane in her  own range of Big Finish stories. Eldrad returns in the recently released Big Finish Fifth Doctor story “Eldrad Must Die”.

Trivia: Sladen and Tom Baker ad-libbed Sarah Jane’s departure. Also, prior to her death, Big Finish was actually planning to reunite Sladen and Tom Baker when they finally got him to participate in stories for them. However, because of her death, it was decided to reunite the Doctor and Leela instead.

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