I know I’ve seen this before. I have fleeting glimpses of memories of it, but that’s really about it, so I’m curious to see what it’s like.

Episode 1:

We open with a lighthouse (and I recall a lighthouse being part of the story, perhaps even essential?) The rush of the waves can be heard, when suddenly, a purple light flies through the sky, hitting nearby in the water.

Two men, manning the light are atop; the younger of the two spies through a spyglass, and calls the other over, telling him about the light. The older man takes the spyglass and looks but says there’s nothing there.

A third man arrives to give them a hard time, says it’s nowhere in sight and says if it doesn’t have anything to do with navigational concerns, it’s nothing for them to worry about. The two men go downstairs, leaving the young man to peer out to sea, consternation on his brow.

From the sea, we see, through the eyes of… something.. the lighthouse. There’s alien music playing.

The two men are down below, having supper, arguing the safety versus the hazards of oil. Vince (the younger man) calls down and Reuben (the eldest) answers the call (on those tubes that you talk into and listen through on the same piece, an early phone system of sorts, I forget what they’re called.) Vince says there’s a fog coming in, though there were no signs when the three were upstairs.

The TARDIS materialises nearby in the fog as the two others go upstairs to see for themselves. The men remark that they’ve never seen a fog come in so fast, so thick, accompany by such cold. Vince says it’s coming from the direction that the light in the sky fell.

The two older men continue their argument – electricity vs oil; Ben (the third man, seems to be of median age) says that electricity is more reliable, just as the lights go out, leaving Reuben (who is a proponent of using oil) to laugh.

Leela, dressed in period clothing, stands by the TARDIS, complaining that she does not like Brighton. The Doctor, standing some twenty feet away in the fog, points out that this is not Brighton. He blames the fog for the TARDIS being lost. When he says it’d be easy enough to pop back in the TARDIS, he stops, noticing the lighthouse’s light is out.

In the power room, Ben is checking the motors. When the lights come back on, he seems to be surprised, but heads upstairs. Below, a door opens and there’s a green glow and a strange crackling.

Ben returns to tell Vince that he didn’t repair it, the generator restored working on its own.

The Doctor and Leela see the light start up, but she is startled by the foghorn. The Doctor says they’ll go knock at the door and get directions before they pop off. Leela lingers behind, saying she senses something is amiss.

Vince and Reuben chuckle over the power and Ben’s lack of understanding, having another laugh when the lights go out again.

Back in the generator room, Ben returns, but the generator seems to be working fine. The door opens again and once more, green glow and strange crackling can be heard.

We see Ben through the eye of whatever it is, and he backs away, afraid. It gets closer and he screams, but Vince is sounding the foghorn at the same time.

Reuben tells Vince that he’s been working lighthouses for thirty years, and he can tell in advance when there’s going to be fog – this fog wasn’t supposed to be, and he’s rather worried.

The Doctor and Leela enter the generator room, calling out for the keeper. The Doctor remarks that the generator is working, which makes him wonder why the light is still out. In a delightful nod to her introductory story, Leela replies, “I’m not a TESHnician.”

They head up to find the crew, running into Vince, who was coming down looking for Ben. They tell him they’re “misplaced mariners”. There’s some cute banter about their ship being “small in some ways, big in others”. Vince takes them to the crew room to offer them vittles.

Vince runs his mouth, too eager to have someone to talk to, perhaps. In moments, they know every crew member and their purpose (had The Doctor and Leela been hostiles, well, Vince would be in deep trouble at this point.) The Doctor asks why the engineer isn’t working on the generator and lights, but Vince says they must have seen him below.

The Doctor heads down, asking Vince to “look after the little lady”. Vince confesses that he’s grateful for someone besides Ben and Reuben to talk to; Leela tells him he is stupid for talking to the seals – he should talk to the old ones of his tribe, “that is the only way to learn.”

Leela starts stripping out of her garb, which embarrasses Vince incredibly and he dashes off to find her some dry clothing.

The Doctor pokes about the generator room, even looking outside, searching for Ben. As he returns to the generator room, the lights come back on. Vince arrives, followed by Leela (who is dressed in clothing more suitable for action, some men’s clothing, though they seem to fit her figure rather flatteringly.) He praises The Doctor, saying Ben will be happy, but The Doctor, who found Ben just before they came down, says he won’t.

Vince is shocked to learn that Ben is dead and rushes to his body. The Doctor says it seems to be a massive electrical shock that killed him, and Vince assumes it was the generator, but The Doctor isn’t so sure. He sends Vince to go inform Reuben what has happened, while Leela and The Doctor poke around some more, trying to determine what happened.

The Doctor finds Ben’s lantern, which seems half crushed, half melted.

Reuben, after hearing what’s happened, suspects that The Doctor and Leela might be spies. Reuben goes down to see to things, saying that if Ben was killed by the machine, his soul won’t be resting easily.

In the crew room, Leela is eating while The Doctor checks out the Marconi wireless telegraph. Reuben arrives, brusquely asking that he not mess with the equipment and informing The Doctor that he’ll use semaphore in the morning to report Ben’s death to the mainland. Reuben, old school that he is, doesn’t have much like for the new advancements, it seems.

He all but accuses them of malfeasance and acts as if he distinctly believes them to be foreigners. Reuben leaves to put a shroud on Ben’s body, leaving Leela to suggest to The Doctor that they should hunt whatever the creature is that killed Ben. The Doctor says he’d rather not do so in the fog with something that could “do that,” tapping the lantern.

The Doctor leaves to talk to Vince; Leela takes a knife and heads downstairs. Reuben is tending to Ben, while she slips past, heading towards the door outside.

Vince tells The Doctor about the “fireball”. The Doctor is very curious about this, asking many questions, praising Vince.

Leela moves outside, in the fog, knife at the ready. The foghorn blows echoes in the fog. In a pond, she sees dead fish floating; as she pauses to investigate, she hears the strange crackling we’ve heard before.

Reuben comes up, interrupting Vince and his conversation, sending Vince down below to eat. As Vince heads down below, he hears a noise (a brief moment of the crackling we’ve heard multiple times.)

Leela continues skulking about the island, unaware that the creature is watching her.

Vince enters the generator room, seeing Ben’s body is gone. He rushes to the communication tube and informs Reuben that Ben is gone. Leela rushes in from outside, startling him.

The Doctor points out to Reuben there’s a light out at sea.

Leela says there’s no way the dead can walk. Vince says he heard a dragging sound and she says there was something outside. Reuben calls down to say there’s a ship off the rocks, in danger of striking. They rush upstairs, where The Doctor and Reuben watch, sounding the foghorn constantly. Vince and Leela arrive and everyone tries to warn them off, firing flares, yelling… but it’s no good – the boat strikes the rocky island… and the credits roll.

Interesting choice for a cliffhanger.

So far, a fun episode. Looks to be limited scope and setting, which may or may not reflect positively on the end result.


Episode 2:

Leela is left to keep the siren going as Reuben, The Doctor and Vince head out to search for any survivors. Reuben orders The Doctor to bring some rope, and when he goes to retrieve it, there’s some electrical feedback over his head; it doesn’t harm him but he looks around, confused.

Leela plays with the foghorn like it’s a toy, laughing. She quickly gets bored and stops, and then is surprised as the light comes back on. Looking out into the sea, she sees some strange bulbous creature in the water.

Several people are brought in from the ship – two men and a lady. One of them, quite wet (seems he jumped out of the ship in a hurry and got soaked) is quite the ass. The other gentleman, a white haired fellow, is Colonel Skinsale, played by Alan Rowe (who we’ve seen twice before, in the Patrick Troughton serial THE MOONBASE, where he played Dr. Evans, and in the Jon Pertwee story THE TIME WARRIOR, where he played Edward of Wessex.)

Leela describes the creature she saw to The Doctor, who tells her to keep it quiet, he doesn’t want to alarm the others. Reuben overhears it and says it wouldn’t be wise, that it’s the Beast of Fang Rock.

In the crew chambers, the wet and irate Lord Palmerdale continues to fuss, though Vince is giving priority to attending to the young woman first. The Doctor shows up, demanding to know where Harker, the bosun is, though Skinsale says he remained behind to secure the ship.

Palmerdale demands to know if The Doctor is in charge, but he says that he’s not, “but I’m full of ideas!” Vince leaves to stoke the boiler; The Doctor suggests that Leela accompany him. The others make their introductions. Palmerdale seems in a bit of a hurry – he has to get to London before the market opens. It seems he’s rather insistent about this, though The Doctor says there’s no chance of that happening in this fog.

In the boiler room, Vince shovels some coal into the boiler. Leela hears someone or something being dragged outside and sends Vince for The Doctor. The door opens and Harker is dragging in a body; Leela threatens him, but The Doctor arrives to tell her he’s a friend. Harker has dragged in the remains of Ben, found floating in the water.

Leela asks if the Beast ate Ben, but The Doctor says there’s no such creature; he says that Ben’s body was ravaged as part of a post-mortem. Vince arrives and begins to fret on about Ben walking again.

Palmerdale says he is set upon leaving, but Harker puts his foot down, saying he won’t go out in such conditions.

The Doctor spins some bull about Ben not being killed by the shock, but only been shocked. He must have then recovered and staggered into the sea, drowning in his confused state. Vince is reluctant to accept this, until The Doctor emphasizes that “electricity has strange effects,” and this seems to make sense to the young man.

Palmerdale rants on, trying to cast aspersions on the lighthouse as being at fault for the crash. Colonel Skinsale tries to tell him that won’t wash, but the young Lord is adamant. Adelaide, the young woman, makes some very catty remarks about Leela. She also asks Palmerdale if she will have a room of her own to sleep in, but he’s more worried about “a fortune” slipping through his fingers – having to do with getting to London before the (stock) market opens, it seems. (Which is the reason they were going so fast in the first place, it seems – the Lord had pressured the captain to go recklessly fast.)

Vince spots some lights out on the island and points it out to Reuben. He says it’s The Doctor and Leela, looking for the Beast. Vince, shockingly, doesn’t seem to believe in “that old tale.” Reuben says it’s been eighty years since the Beast was last seen – two men died on that night.

Leela and The Doctor move along the fog by lantern light. The Doctor postulates that whatever it is generates an electrical field, which would explain the dead fish, the phosphoresce, and the electrocution of Ben. He says it’s time they return to the lighthouse, and as they set off, we see a green glow where they had just been.

Palmerdale and Skinsale talk; it seems that Skinsale has given Palmerdale some information – relating to the stock market, I’m guessing insider information – in exchange for dismissing a debt. Palmerdale threatens to expose Skinsale, as the Colonel is most amused that Palmerdale may not be able to act on the information, since it doesn’t seem likely they’ll get to London in time.

The Doctor tells Leela that he suspects that Vince’s “fireball” was an alien ship crashlanding, and that the creature has contrived the fog to conceal its actions. Leela says they must arm themselves and post guards.

Palmerdale furtively writes a letter, keeping an eye on Skinsale. He wakes Harker, asking him to use the wireless. Harker and Palmerdale argue about the captain and the crash and Harker attacks him. Skinsale wakes and breaks them up as The Doctor arrives.

Gentlemen, I have news for you. This lighthouse is under attack, and by morning, we all might be dead. Anyone interested?” – The Doctor

Outside, we see through the creature’s eye as it watches the lighthouse.

Vince, worried about Reuben’s story about the Beast from the 1820s, asks him if he really believes it. Reuben goes down below to stoke the boiler, but stops by the crew quarters. There, Palmerdale is adamantly challenging The Doctor’s assertion that they’re in danger, but Reuben says it’s the Beast and the Beast always brings death.

When he continues downstairs, Palmerdale scoffs at Reuben, but Leela threatens to cut his heart out of he doesn’t do as The Doctor instructs. Leela then tells The Doctor it’s getting colder again. There’s more arguing, and then the lights begin to flicker.

Reuben stokes the boiler, then the lights begin to flicker. He crosses himself, and then steps through a door (but not the one going outside…)

In the crew quarters, Adelaide demands to know what’s going on. Palmerdale says nothing is happening, but then the lights flicker, and there’s a man’s scream… and the credits roll.

Bit more dramatic of a cliffhanger for this episode than the first.

Episode 3:

The Doctor and Leela rush down to the boiler room, looking for Reuben. They see the open door with the fog coming in. The Doctor tells Leela not to talk to any strangers as they head outside.

Adelaide is crying and being melodramatic, saying it was in her stars. Skinsale tries to get her to calm down. Harker heads down to be productive while Palmerdale and Skinsale stay with the distraught lady.

Harker steps outside, calling for The Doctor, but doesn’t see them. He comes back in and sees Reuben come staggering in from the other room he went into. He seems almost in a trance, the way he’s staggering. When Harker approaches him, he all but moans, “Leave… me… be…” as he walks on.

The lights come back on as Vince keeps sounding the foghorn periodically.

Skinsale hears Reuben staggering by and tries to talk to him, to no avail.

The Doctor and Leela come back in, postulating that the creature got Reuben, but Harker tells Leela that he just saw Reuben. The Doctor is too busy thinking to hear this, and determines that the creature was here by touching some nearby metal and shocking himself.

When he finally realises Harker said that Reuben was still alive, he and Leela rush up to talk to him, thinking he may have seen the creature. Harker remains to try to secure the door.

Palmerdale tries to get Skinsale to use the wireless device to send the message to his brokers. The Doctor and Leela enter, looking for Reuben. Skinsale says he looked groggy, which The Doctor seems to find interesting.

Palmerdale dashes off and Skinsale follows, saying he gets nervous when he can’t keep an eye on the Lord.

The Doctor knocks on a door, suspecting Reuben is inside. Inside, Reuben, standing still, glows bright green. Outside the door, The Doctor posits that Reuben is in shock. He sends Leela to tell Harker to keep the boiler pressure up.

Palmerdale offers Vince fifty pounds to use the wireless for him, with promise of fifty more when he gets back to London. Skinsale overhears this, listening from the stairwell.

Outside, the creature can be seen scaling the lighthouse wall.

Palmerdale hands over the message to Vince shortly before The Doctor arrives to talk to him about Reuben.

Leela passes on the message to Harker and then begins practicing with a sledgehammer that he was using to work on securing the door.

Vince is starting to panic, fearing the story of the Beast. Palmerdale is outside on the walk way, standing just above where the creature is hovering. He sees a green glow through the fog, and looks down, but a tentacle reaches up and grabs him and his body goes rigid.

Colonel Skinsale offends Adelaide by telling her the truth about her employer and she leaves to find Palmerdale to tell him what terrible things he is saying about him.

Leela bangs on Reuben’s door, threatening to smash it down if he doesn’t open it. He doesn’t and she begins smashing it with the sledgehammer. The Doctor rushes down and snatches the sledgehammer from her. Adelaide comes up but The Doctor orders her back to the crew room.

Vince steps outside onto the catwalk, looking for Palmerdale, but the Lord is nowhere to be found. He goes to call down, but realises that he really cannot say anything. Instead, he pulls out the message and sets it on fire.

Back at the crew room, The Doctor tells Skinsale and Adelaide that he doesn’t believe in the Beast, either, but does believe an alien from another world is threatening them. They both scoff at this. Leela, who had been sent to fetch Harker and Palmerdale, returns with Harker, saying the Lord is nowhere to be found.

Vince calls down to the crew room to inform them that he thinks Palmerdale may have fallen from up above. Adelaide screams and Leela slaps her out of her dramatics. Harker and Skinsale accompany The Doctor to go out to investigate, leaving Leela with Adelaide.

Reuben stands in the stairwell, watching the men go downstairs.

Adelaide cries, going on about her horoscope again. Leela lectures her on believing in science over magic.

The Doctor carries Palmerdale’s body over his shoulders into the crew room. Adelaide screams and then accuses Skinsale of having pushed him off. Leela shouts at her to shut up. Skinsale explains why he followed, what he heard. The Doctor discovers that the Colonel wrecked the wireless and now they have no way of calling for help.

Reuben staggers down to the generator room, where Harker is securing the door. Harker asks how he is feeling, and he gives the bosun a strange smile.

Up top, Vince pulls on the lever to sound the foghorn, but it doesn’t work.

Skinsale insists that he didn’t harm Palmerdale, and posits that perhaps Harker killed him. The Doctor says that the Lord was killed by electricity, much like the keeper had been. He doesn’t know enough to identify the species they’re dealing with, but he postulates that fire might be a weapon they can use.

Vince calls down to the crew room to inform them that the boiler pressure has fallen and the foghorn won’t sound. The Doctor and Leela, followed by Skinsale and then Adelaide, rush down to investigate, finding Harker dead.

Again, Adelaide goes into hysterics. The Doctor orders Skinsale to get her out of there. Leela and the Time Lord go into the side room, finding Reuben’s dead body. He says Reuben’s been dead for hours, but Leela argues that cannot be, as they saw him. He tells her it’s the “chameleon factor, sometimes called lycanthropy.” He goes on to deliver some very creepy lines:

Leela, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I thought I’d locked the enemy out… instead, I’ve locked it in. With us.”

…and the credits roll.

Now, THAT is a cliffhanger.

Episode 4:

Vince continues to fuss with the foghorn controls, to no avail. Reuben ascends the stairs and startles Vince. The young man tries to chat with Reuben, but he just grabs Vince and electrocutes him.

The Doctor and Leela try to figure out a plan of action. Leela is all about the direct approach, but The Doctor shoots down her ideas. While they talk, he pokes about the generator room, finding a power relay belonging to the alien. He quickly realises there’s a distress signal device somewhere – it must be calling out to its own kind.

He sends Leela to gather everyone and get them to the lamp room. She finds Adelaide and Skinsale in the crew room. When she tells them the creature is inside with them, Adelaide faints, much to Leela’s disgust.

The Doctor is searching Reuben’s personal chamber, looking for the relay. When he hears the alien/Reuben approaching, he hides by hanging outside the window.

Leela urges Adelaide and Skinsale to hurry, but Reuben cuts them off at the door to the stairs. Leela readies her knife as the leering alien approaches.

The Doctor climbs back in, the relay in his hand.

Reuben grabs and electrocutes Adelaide. There was much rejoicing in this viewer. Leela throws her knife, but the alien glows green and the knife does no harm. Leela and Skinsale run out and up the stairs, where they encounter The Doctor, who sends them up.

The Doctor sits down and greets Reuben. The two talk, the alien says it can abandon the shape, revealing its true form, the spherical, jelly-fish-ish creature we’ve seen previously.

Leela and Skinsale ready to fight in the lamp room

The Doctor recognises the alien as a Rutan (the race locked in a continual war with the Sontarans) and mocks it. The Rutan doesn’t quite pick up on this, though. It seems the metamorphosis techniques are a new thing for the Rutans, this particular one is a scout, and thus was taught how.

The Doctor mocks the Rutans for losing the war against the Sontarans; the Rutan scout gives the party line about “strategic withdrawals”. The Rutan finally realises that it is being mocked. It reveals that Earth is going to be a staging point for a Rutan attack. The Doctor is upset that this will put the inhabitants at risk.

The Doctor informs that he has removed the relay device; the Rutan claims it is too late, the signal would have gotten through in time. The Doctor says it shouldn’t be so sure. He lures the Rutan up the stairs, where they throw an explosive at it.

When the smoke clears, the creature is gone, but The Doctor says it isn’t dead. Returning to the lamp room, they find an early form of a mortar. While they ready, The Doctor brings Leela and Skinsale up to speed. He begins to worry about the mothership, saying they’d need some form of laser to take it out.

Leela suggests converting the lamp in the lighthouse into one. The Doctor says that’s a great idea, but they’d need a large diamond to focus the beam. Skinsale says that Palmerdale kept diamonds on him at all times.

The Rutan is making its way up the stairs.

The Doctor and Skinsale go down, hoping to fetch the diamonds from Palmerdale’s body. Leela is left up top with their mortar.

At the crew room, Skinsale searches Palmerdale while The Doctor urges him to hurry. He finds the sack and hands it to The Doctor, who takes one, throwing the rest on the floor of the stairwell.

When Skinsale stops to recover the diamonds, the Rutan, who was coming up the stairs, grabs him and electrocutes the Colonel. The Doctor runs and the Rutan follows, but is blasted by Leela’s mortar.

Taking the diamond, The Doctor begins to work on the lamp. Leela goes down to check on the Rutan, seeing it injured. As it dies, it threatens that her victory will be short-lived, as the mothership will blast the island to cinders. The Doctor calls her up to chastise her for celebrating the death of an enemy.

In the distance, a glowing ball is spotted – The Doctor says it is the Rutan mothership. He says they will have less than two minutes from when he switches the beam on to get out of the lighthouse.

As the ship approaches, he switches on the lamp and they dash down the stairwell. Leela pauses at the crew room to grab her knife and follows The Doctor out. They rush out, onto a fogless island, and hide behind rocks.

Leela looks up as the ship explodes, the flash blinding her. The Doctor chastises her for looking back, which he had instructed her not to do.

Blinded, she offers The Doctor her blade, asking him to kill her. He takes the knife and laughs, saying the effects of the flash will soon pass. The Doctor is surprised to see, as her vision recovers, that her eyes have turned blue. (Louise Jameson, actress playing Leela, wore brown contacts. Her one condition to extend her role was to be able to not wear them any more, as she found them quite uncomfortable. This is how the change was instituted into the story.)

As they head back to the TARDIS, The Doctor quotes Wilfrid Wilson Gibson’s poem, “Flannan Isle”, which is about the disappearance of three lightkeepers in 1900. They slip into the TARDIS… and the final credits roll.

An enjoyable story, fun characters, nice intrigue with the Lord Palmerdale and Colonel Skinsale. I enjoyed it quite a bit.  

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