Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock (Story #92)

doctor who the horror of fang rock dvd cover tom baker
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 4/10

Leela's seemingly random eye color change

Missed opportunity with the story for more scares


A lovely day to visit the lighthouse

The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) find themselves at a lighthouse on Fang Rock in England and learn they have once again found trouble.  There is a threat to the lighthouse in the form of a legend of the Beast of Fang Rock.  Determining the threat is an alien, the Doctor, the inhabitants of the lighthouse, and the survivors of a shipwreck face the danger of a Rutan with plans of its own.

Doctor Who:  Horror of Fang Rock was the first episode of the fifteenth series of Doctor Who.  It aired in four episodes from September 3, 1977 to September 24, 1977.  It followed Doctor Who:  The Talons of Weng Chiang and has been collected in The Tom Baker Years as Story #92.


I glow-in-the-dark!

The story of Doctor Who:  The Horror of Fang Rock tries to be one of the scary Doctor Who episodes, but doesn’t quite reach there.  Like many Doctor Who episodes, the Doctor miss identifies the threat for the beginning of the story which leads to more danger.  Here it is misidentified but the fact the Rutan can imitate anyone in the lighthouse doesn’t seem very scary by how it is presented.  If the Rutan did more interaction, it would be better.  If it could have taken a page from John Carpenter’s The Thing (which obviously came after this episode so it couldn’t), it would have been cool if the Rutan was slowly taking over the lighthouse with more mystery of who it really was.  Also the setting of the lighthouse could have provided a bit of It!  The Terror from Beyond Space situation where the characters become trapped because of its slender construction.


So I’m talking to a giant cabbage

The story also gets sidetracked by the whole plot involving the wrecked ship.  There is a sub-plot of Colonel James Skinsale (Alan Rowe) selling secrets to Lord Palmerdale (Sean Caffrey) and the battle between the two for Palmerdale to reach London to profit from this.  The story really goes nowhere, and the characters end up dying so there is little reason to even try to make a bigger plot.

Doctor Who:  The Horror of Fang Rock isn’t my favorite creature-of-the-week episode and seemed like it could be better.  The show did have an interesting “effect” on Leela.  Her eyes change from brown to blue due to the explosion at the lighthouse.  This was a practical one in that Louise Jameson hated the brown contacts she had to wear and the writers were able to write them out of the script.  Doctor Who:  The Horror of Fang Rock was followed by Doctor Who:  The Invisible Enemy.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Talons of Weng-Chiang (Story #91)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Invisible Enemy (Story #93)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response