THE DOCTOR WHO RATINGS GUIDE: BY FANS, FOR FANS

The Dark Path
Twilight of the Gods
BBC
Fury from the Deep

Episodes 6 A goodbye to Victoria
Story No# 42
Production Code RR
Season 5
Dates Mar. 16, 1968 -
Apr. 20, 1968

With Patrick Troughton, Frazier Hines, Deborah Watling.
Written by Victor Pemberton. Script-edited by Derrick Sherwin.
Directed by Hugh David. Produced by Peter Bryant.

Synopsis: When the TARDIS lands on Earth, the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria are catapulted into the mysterious events taking place at a North Sea gas refinery. With noises emanating from the pipeline, crews disappearing, and its commander refusing to turn off the gas, the Doctor finds himself accused of sabotage. And as the plot thickens only he guesses a more sinister reason for the disturbances: the deadly, parasitic Weed creatures...

Note: An audio release narrated by Tom Baker is available from the BBC Audio Collection. Audio recordings and telesnap reconstructions of this story are available at Missing Doctor Who Reconstructions & Audios.


Reviews

A Review by Mark Parmerter 6/10/97

Serving as the penultimate story in near-perfect Season Five, Fury From the Deep is often overlooked and underappreciated due to its lack of Yeti, Ice Warriors, or Cybermen -- the popular monsters which dominated television screens during 1967 and 1968. However, Fury From the Deep is in fact a brilliantly scripted, acted, and produced example of Doctor Who.

Fury manages to obtain great dramatic heights, despite the fact that the main antagonist is telepathic, killer seaweed! Writer Victor Pemberton focuses on the monster's effect on its victims rather than the monster itself; this allows the viewer to vividly experience the same fear and paranoia which the characters trapped within the North Sea Refinery feel when they realize they are under attack from the creature and its "possessed" victims.

Fury also succeeds thanks to many memorable scenes: the possessed Mr. Quill and Mr. Oak attacking Maggie Harris in her quarters by exhaling poisonous gas; the then-possessed Maggie Harris walking into and disappearing under the waves of the North Sea, on her way to join the seaweed creature; the Second Doctor's chilling announcement, as the killer seaweed begins to invade the refinery, that "It's begun...the battle of the giants!"; and Victoria's parting scene with Jamie at the conclusion, a parting as touching as any in the history of the series. From start to finish, Fury is gripping, frightening, and intensely memorable. Unfortunately, no episodes currently remain in the BBC archives, yet "Fury" can be enjoyed via the excellent Telesnap Video and the terrific novelisation written by Victor Pemberton.


Classic stuff by Tom May 26/3/98

"It's down there in the pipeline. In the darkness. Waiting...."

This is the first telesnap reconstruction I've had the pleasure to view, and I'm not disappointed. It's truly a classic story filled with memorable scenes-- the best, and particularly chilling scene is thankfully there, in clip format. The one I mean is a must-see for all Doctor Who fans-- the two unsettling maintenance men Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill approach Maggie Harris and overcome her by exhalling poisonous gas in her face- the facial expressions by these two are sinister in the extreme. I'd go as far to say it's probably the scariest moment ever in Doctor Who.

There are about six or seven other shorter clips that nonetheless add much to the production. The menace at the centre of this story is the sentient seaweed, a ridiculous concept that is put across well in the sense that it's appearance isn't dwelled on as such. The mental effects exacted on the humans possessed by the weed are more important than the weed's manifestation. While a great Doctor Who horror tale, this is really quite odd, at least when viewed against post-Troughton Who. There are no deaths incredibly, as the humans possessed are, at the end, free of the weed's malevolence. This quiet ending is at odds with such scenes as Part 3's cliffhanger, when the possessed Maggie walks in the depths of the north sea.

The music is superbly effective, empathising the weed's presence by the sound of a constant heartbeat. A mechanical sounding "tune" is evident throughout, and along with the music for Inferno and Tomb of the Cybermen, it adds considerably to the story's impact as a whole. The acting is spot-on. The Harrises are believable, Robson is superbly brought to life by Victor Maddren and, most of all, Oak and Quill are magnificently and chillingly portrayed.

Troughton's not as manipulative as in other season five tales, but the weed is unmanipulatible! Frazer Hines is good as Jamie, and Victoria is played poignantly by Debbie Watling- witness the emotive final scene of her departure.

I strongly urge everyone to quickly order the reconstruction. I may have to revise my top ten soon-- this is a strong contender. 9.5/10


A Review by Richard Radcliffe 23/9/01

This is the first review I have ever done, having not heard or seen the original. But after reading the excellent TARGET novelization again, and being entranced throughout the BBC's Doctor Who Web-Page Telesnaps – I felt it had to be reviewed.

First a gold star for the Telesnaps. They are the only surviving visual record we have of many early Doctor stories – and Doctor Who was first a tele-VISUAL success. They piece together the story better than I could ever have imagined, to produce the original story, with its original atmosphere. I have read a few of these Telesnap stories before, but never has one gripped me quite this much. The bigger pictures that the site produces are so much better than the little snapshots featured in DWM and DWB. I will follow with great interest as the BBC site puts more of these classics on the Web.

Patrick Troughton’s Doctor has suffered terribly from lost episodes – hence for me he is the Doctor I have spent least time with. The original novels have failed thus far to produce a classic with the 2nd Doctor in it, and there is no extra stuff like Big Finish, like we have with the later Doctors. It is to the missing TV episodes therefore I turned. Delving into the BBC telesnaps of Troughton show this to be a marvelous adventure, and show just how great a good many of these missing episodes are.

Fury from the Deep is first and foremost a rattling good yarn. The base under siege story was a staple ingredient of Troughton’s middle season, and it is a very effective backcloth on which to weave a story. Base under siege stories only succeed though when the trapped players of the drama are interesting and watchable. Close confines make for some classic character moments and fascinating insights into individual personalities. Fury succeeds because of its characters aswell as its setting and story.

The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria make an effective team. There’s genuine affection for each other there. They are always watching out for one another. Troughton’s portrayal was always a touch clownish, but here he is deadly serious when the situation calls for it – a side of the 2nd Doctor hopefully I will see more of. Victoria’s departure is genuinely moving aswell, it makes me want to see more of this TARDIS team.

Of the extra characters there is plenty of interest. Robson is the driven leader of the gas refinery, and the one who has to be right all the time. His employees each have a History, making the story seem real. Harris lives there with his wife – both are fine additions to the cast. From the stills of the Telesnaps and evocative descriptions of the book, Quill and Oak are the stars of this story though. Their horrific personalities leap from the screen/page. Classic villains indeed.

The alien menace was wonderfully subtle in its menace. None of the giant squids, or strange sea-creatures here. Instead we have seaweed and sea-foam, alive, unremitting in its pursuit – nowhere was safe.

Fury from the Deep is a Classic Troughton story. It’s sad we can’t watch it on video/DVD, but the existing material we do have shows us plenty – and shows everyone just what an excellent story this is. 9/10


A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 15/11/01

Fury From The Deep remains as the uncrowned jewel in season five. Okay, so it does what almost every story from the season does and uses the base under siege plot; but it does this to great effect resulting in one of, if not the best Patrick Troughton tales.

Fury From The Deep is definitely behind the sofa stuff, there are strong female characters (Megan Jones), great cliffhangers; part two's is especially telling and unusually this story has no deaths. Despite it being missing from the archives, Fury From The Deep works better on audio, and a CD rerelease would be very welcome. Add to this strong performances from the regulars and guest cast, step forward Victor Maddern, sinister characters (Mr Oak and Mr Quill), and a decent send-off for Victoria and you have a strong contender for the best tale from the Sixties era of Doctor Who.


Problem From the Length by Tim Roll-Pickering 14/1/02

Based on the Joint Venture reconstruction.

Like many stories in Season 5, Fury From the Deep suffers from being stretched out to six episodes, with the result that the story is at times plodding and slow. This is particularly the case in the first and last episodes, with the result that Victoria's departure is noticeably dragged out before the final shot of her on the beach. The story also suffers as the menace comes from a non humanoid source and so there is little scope for strong confrontations between the Doctor and the sea weed itself since the possessed humans come across as stilted in the dialogue.

As a result this story is very much about how the Doctor and the humans react to the menace of the weed and here the story comes across as mixed. The guest acting is a mixture of the brilliant such as Victor Maddern as Robson and the weak such as John Abineri as Van Lutyens. The three regulars are as good as ever, with Deborah Watling making all Victoria's scenes especially wonderful as she faces not just the menace of the weed itself but also her whole way of life. The reactions of the Doctor and Jamie reflect the viewers' feelings for Victoria, summed up in the Doctor's poignant last line "I was fond of her too Jamie."

The menace of the sentient seaweed is a novel one, making a change from the hordes of humanoid monsters in preceding stories. There is a strong sense of fear in many of the scenes as possessed humans such as Oak and Quill move about and secretly overcome another person. However the much talked about scene in Episode 2 where they attack Maggie Harris (surviving courtesy of the Australian censors) is let down by a bizarre shot that looks like Quill's eyeballs bulging outwards, though Van Lutyens' apparent death in Episode 4 and the Doctor and Jamie's subsequent search for him are strong and scary.

Fury From the Deep is a story with many good points but ultimately it is let down by its length and would have worked far better as a four parter. 6/10

This Joint Venture reconstruction is one of the team's best efforts, using not only the telesnaps and surviving clips but also a few snippets of a behind the scenes film and also some shots of the sea to give movement to some scenes. The tape also contains Richard Bignell's interesting documentary The Making of Fury From the Deep which contains more of the behind the scenes footage. This tape is heavily recommended. 9/10


"She can't scream!" by Joe Ford 8/3/04

This is my angry rant review, one of those instances when I have to get on my high horse and critisize pessimistic fans and their prejudices. You see at least two people on this site mention that it is obvious that season five is considered a classic and this story in particular Fury from the Deep because none of the episodes exists. That it is easy to praise something that you don't have to justify. This is a lazy and incomprehensible argument, it is an insult to fans that have listened to the soundtrack and watched the telesnaps. With the actors, story and music on tape and pictures for a visual reference I think it is rather easy to build up a convincing picture of exactly what this story is like. Plus the recently returned censor clips offer a tantilising glimpse of the story on film.

And it is marvellous. A Doctor Who fan's wet dream made reality and snatched away by those fools who junked the tapes in the 70's.

Possession is a popular theme in season five and it was explored in chilling style in other stories scattered about (The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear) but it never feels as intimate as it does in Fury. Time is taken to build convincing characters and then fuck with their minds with twisted perversion. It helps that the Weed Creature is such an ambiguous enemy; it clings to the minds of important people and systematically takes control of the area. We watch as innocent people struggle to defeat the growing intelligence in their heads and gasp in horror as they finally give in and start to sabotage under the thrall of the Creature.

It helps that Chief Robson is an utter bastard BEFORE he was possessed. Victor Madden is almost too good at portraying a man at the edge of sanity, scenes such as his breakdown in front of his entire staff screaming, "I'm in charge here!" are very adult for Doctor Who and make you feel uncomfortable just listening to them. Watching this violent, bitter controller losing his grip is unsettling in a totally different way to the attacking Weed or the sinister Oak and Quill, it is a real person losing the respect of his peers, undermined at every corner and lashing out in hysteria. That is scary. When Oak allows the Weed access to Robson shivers climb the spine, as he stands on the beach, hypnotised, calm, almost content as he watches Maggie Harris wade into the sea. I love a story that dares to delve into the psychology of the horror faced and quiet, haunting scenes between Robson and his old friend Megan Jones, trying to convince him he has to fight the control of the enemy, afford a depth that is rare in the show.

But the depth goes even further than that by offering as married couple in the shape of Mr and Mrs Harris, a bon fide coup for writer Victor Pemberton who manages to reveal a true marital horror as Harris has to face his wife slowly succumbing to the Weed's control. This bright, cheerful man in episode is peeled away, layer-by-layer in each succeeding episode until the point that he is as rude, arrogant and forceful as Robson in the last instalment. Through Harris I felt a deep attachment to the story, he is forced to do his job whilst his wife is going through God knows what and it is driving him out of his mind. I love all the humanity dropped into the script, the fantastical threatening to snatch it away.

But what of poor Maggie Harris who gets to do all the fun stuff like scream, get stung by seaweed, attacked by two of the creepiest guys since Little and Large, covered in foam and weed and forced to drag her carcass out to sea and completely drown herself. Not sure why this is so damn enthralling, perhaps because it is unusual for the show to put a female non regular through such indignities or maybe because June Murphy is so good at suggesting the tortured woman beneath all that Weed conditioning. A shame that she walks out of the story halfway through but in all fairness it was high time psycho Robson was given centre stage.

This is terror Who in every way and never more efficiently realised than in the impeller scenes. Brrr...the music is perfect, a film noir-ish piano score as Van Lutyens descends the lift shaft and steps out onto the shadowy, cramped shaft. The tension is palpable, already several characters have been savaged by the Weed and as the menacing throbbing builds up it is a nail biting warning of the approaching enemy. Suddenly the Weed bursts up the shaft, gripping his body and dragging him away, his dying screams echoing up the shaft... truly terrifying television and spine tingling even on audio. I was screaming "NO! NO! NO!" as the Doctor suggests he and Jamie investigate the shaft and their own exploits, the lift refusing to return for them as the Weed seethes and foams around them are just as fun...

It helps that the cliffhangers are all gripping, I only intended to listen to episode one the other night and ended up listening to the whole bloody thing, each successive cliff-hanger driving you onwards through an effortlessly entertaining two and half hours. Victoria trapped in the oxygen storeroom with the Weed bursting through the grille is the stuff of nightmares, I love how her screams reverberate around the corridors so nobody know where she is whilst she is slowly savaged... but Maggie walking into the sea and the climatic confrontation between the Doctor and a Weed covered Robson on the rig are also quality Doctor Who endings.

It has been during my recent rediscovery of season five that I have come to realise that Victoria is in fact a rather wonderful companion and not half as useless as people might lead you to believe. Fury From the Deep is her swansong and rather than forcing her into a clumsy romance or killing her off the production team decide to capitalise on their success of horror stories in season five and have the terrified girl comment on their blisteringly scary adventures. Victoria is a child of good breeding, used to sipping her tea from fine china and deciding which dress would be suitable to capture the likes of Mr Darcy (hmm...), not running down corridors away from Daleks, Cybermen and Yeti. So it comes as no surprise when she kicks up a fuss and decides she is sick of always being so frightened. She wants stability. She wants roots. She wants leave the Doctor and Jamie... ...and yet this is one of the most difficult leaving stories to experience because of Jamie and the Doctor's reaction to her decision and Victoria's own reluctance to leave the two men who have become her family. Throughout the season we have been privy to their scrapes and japes and the chemistry has been electrifying so it is painful to see Jamie so torn at the climax to Fury, refusing to let her go. It takes the Doctor to step in and pull him back, to allow Victoria to make her own decision. His gentle final scene with Victoria is lovely, a mirror scene to the celebrated one in Tomb of the Cybermen, where you realise he is going to let her go because continuing to expose her to all the horrors would be unfair. The family is breaking up forever and it still brings a lump to the throat.

Talking of the Doctor, Troughton is on form as ever, now firmly established in the role and clearly have a laugh and half fighting the Weed, the most viscous and yet the most anonymous of monsters. The is so much to praise Troughton for in Fury, his mad giggles as he initiates a foam fight on the beach, his intelligent dissection of the Weed in the TARDIS, his manic desperation in the impeller shaft, plus the superbly timed "Oh no" as he realises that Victoria has been kidnapped by Robson which says much more than he realises. He often gave a fulsome performance and there is nothing to add to that other than the hysterical five minutes of screwball comedy as the Doctor attempts to fly a helicopter. Troughton's terrified screams as he loops the loop and almost crashes are wonderful.

This is pretty much on any fan's 'wish list' for story most like to see returned. Mine is still Evil of the Daleks but this would come a very close second. With such scenes as Oak and Quill attacking Maggie, Robson's breakdown, Victoria's scream used to superb effect and Jamie trapped on the kitchen table surrounded by mounds of Weed it is clearly an impressive and scary story that would hold up today. Looking at the telesnaps the story looks well directed too, lots of reaction close ups, impressive location long shots, real life rigs in action and a director who isn't afraid to use his set to shoot above, below and through it (during Robson's breakdown there is a rather disconcerting shot of his bed shot from a grille in the ceiling).

Three simple words: Fury is Fab. 'Nuff said.