Doctor Who: The Hand of Fear (Story #87)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Nice design on Eldrad

Typical goofy Doctor Who sets and story


I found a weird rock, Doctor

Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) comes under the influence of Eldrad from the planet Kastria when she discovers his fossilized hand.  Eldrad uses Sarah Jane to restore himself but takes the form of a woman.  With the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane, Eldrad takes them to Kastria under false pretenses and with an intent on revenge.  A message from Gallifrey forces the Doctor to make a decision about the future of his relationship with Sarah Jane.


I’m going out clubbing…who’s coming?

Doctor Who:  The Hand of Fear aired during the fourteenth series of Doctor Who.  It was aired in four episodes from October 2, 1976 to October 23, 1976.  The serial followed Doctor Who:  The Masque of Mandragora and the collection was released as part of The Tom Baker Collection as Story #87.

This is the first Doctor Who I can vividly remember seeing.  I was pretty young and scared by the evil hand of Eldrad.  I didn’t see the significance of the end of the serial which had the Doctor leaving the girl he was with behind.  This of course was when the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith parted ways, but of course unlike many of the Doctor’s companions, Sarah Jane went on to cross paths with him again and have a significant life of her own dealing with the unknown until Elisabeth Sladen’s death in 2011.


Stand back and feel my fabulous powers!

The series has the typical Doctor Who feel (something I also didn’t understand as a kid…in addition to this weird space show being showing on PBS).  It is cheesy but in its low budget effects, it does still incite some sense of dread or fear.  The crazed Eldrad (who I have to admit in female form did have a pretty good costume design) and his/her gender-bending ways is strange enough, but the ending is really what makes this a memorable episode.

Doctor Who:  The Hand of Fear holds a special place for me in that it is where I first really encountered the Doctor (and despite the superior current Doctor Who series, it forever cemented Tom Baker as my Doctor).  Doctor Who:  The Hand of Fear was followed by Doctor Who:  The Deadly Assassin.

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Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Masque of the Mandragora (Story #86)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Deadly Assassin (Story #88)

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.

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