IMAGE OF THE FENDAHL
October – November 1977
“What are you exactly – some sort of wandering Armageddon pedlar?”
Adam Colby to the Doctor, episode 2
The Doctor becomes concerned when TARDIS instruments detect a sonic time scanning machine operating somewhere on Earth in the 20th Century. Such a device, he tells Leela, can create a dangerous rupture in the space/time continuum.
Tom as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela in the TARDIS control room.
Picture © BBC
He and Leela land near an old priory in present day England. Inside the priory they find a wealthy scientist, Dr Fendelman (Dennis Lill) carrying out experiments on a 12 million year old human skull: 8 million years older than the earliest traces of man. Only the Doctor knows that the skull is hosting the essence of the Fendahl: an ancient monster which lives by absorbing life from anyone who comes near it. The creature had supposedly been destroyed by the Time Lords, yet some of its life-force has survived and is now stirring within this recently discovered skull. Already its energy is reaching out to a new host, technician Thea Ransome (Wanda Ventham), whose mind is subconsciously enabling it to create life-draining apparitions.
Another of Fendelman’s scientists, Max Stael (Scott Fredericks) tries to take possession of both Thea and the skull, believing it will give him access to great power. But he too is a pawn of the Fendahl’s ages old scheme to reincarnate itself. The black magic ceremony Stael presides over transforms Thea into a new incarnation of the Fendahl, and the power-hungry scientist realises too late he will be among the first of mankind to be devoured.
The Doctor’s own efforts to combat this powerful creature all fail until he is given help from an unexpected source. An old woman from the local village, renowned for her knowledge of old religions, arms the Doctor with an ancient mystical weapon – rock salt! Using it, the Doctor immobilises the Fendahl long enough for him to trigger an implosion, courtesy of the time scanner, that sucks the creature from this dimension into the void between realities.