Writer: John Dorney (from a story by Robert Banks Stewart)
Director: Ken Bentley
Producer: David Richardson
(Note: This is part of the Fourth Doctor Lost Stories boxed set. I will be reviewing the second story, “The Valley of Death”, at a later date)
Companion: Leela (Louise Jameson)
Summary:The TARDIS arrives in Devon 1977. When they arrive they discover that history is unravelling. There is a house haunted by a spectre that has possessed a man named Jalnik.
Review: This was a great story reminiscent of the best of Phillip Hinchcliffe’s tenure as producer. The Phantophage is a terrifying monster, as it gives all possessed by it an unquenchable hunger. Tom Baker gives a great performance as the Doctor, delivering his witty persona well. For a story this long (it’s six parts), there’s no slowdown. The story is more frightening because your imagination provides the visuals.
Leela is great comedy relief and is in her usual “action girl” mode. Paul Freeman plays Jalnik well, channeling many of his villainous roles. This story is a treat.
Overall Review: 10/10
Continuity: The Doctor once again mentions Shakespeare. Leela compares their enemy’s voice to Xoanon, the computer program that ruled over her people in “The Face of Evil”. She calls the police “blue guards”, just as she did in “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”.
Trivia: This story was originally intended for Season 14 of the classic era, but when Robert Banks Stewart was called away by Verity Lambert to help on a soap opera she was working on, the story was scrapped in favor of Robert Holmes’s classic “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”. Paul Freeman, who plays Jalnik, is best known for his role as Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark.