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Horror of Fang Rock [Doctor Who]

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Doctor Who - Horror of Fang Rock (1977), starring Tom Baker, Louise Jameson
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Doctor Who – Horror of Fang Rock (1977), starring Tom Baker, Louise Jameson

In Horror of Fang Rock, the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and his companion Leela (Louise Jameson) land in Victorian England. There, they find a lighthouse that may be haunted … Or worse!

Part 1

The Doctor and Leela are on Fang Rock Island where a murderous creature is at large.

The Doctor: That’s odd.
Leela: What is?
The Doctor: A lighthouse without a light.

Part 2

A thick fog surrondds Fang Rock as an alien menace stalks the island. Four survivors of a shipwreck enter the lighthouse.

The Doctor: [about the unseen alien] … it keeps out of sight while it spies out the land, hoping to mount a successful attack.
Leela: Then we are not facing an enemy who is bold.
The Doctor: No, but cunning.

Part 3

The survivors are in the lighthouse. but the Doctor is still worried about the creature. A corpse has been found — but all are accounted for. So, the alien must be a shapeshifter. And the Colonel has ruined the telegraph, to prevent the rich man from sending out a message to his broker. To save his honor. But, he’s unwittingly prevented them for sending for help.

The Doctor: Leela, I’ve made a terrible mistake! I thought I’d locked the enemy out. Instead, I’ve locked it in… with us!

Part 4

The alien Rutan casts off its’ disguise, and begins to pick off the remaining humans one by one.

Leela: The colonel?
The Doctor: Dead with honor.
Leela: Then at least we have avenged him.


  • Tom Baker (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad) … Doctor Who
  • Louise Jameson (Talons of Weng-Chiang) … Leela
  • Colin Douglas (The Creeping Eye) … Reuben. The older, superstitious man at the lighthouse. He’s eventually killed, and impersonated, by the Rutan.
  • John Abbott (Four Weddings and a Funeral) … Vince
  • Ralph WatsonBen
  • CaffreyLord Palmerdale. An unscrupulous businessman, who bought government secrets from Skinsale and was desperate to reach the stock exchange to make a killing
  • Alan RoweColonel James Skinsale MP. The desperate member of Parliament who sold government secrets. And, will be ruined when that comes to light.
  • Rio FanningHarker. Bosun of the crashed ship. Killed by the Rutan, while disguised as Reuben.
  • Annette WoollettAdelaide Lesage. One of the shipwrecked survivors. Palmerdale’s high strung secretary. Attacked by the Rutan while disguised as Reuben.

Editorial review of Doctor Who – Horror of Fang Rock courtesy of

Something is going on here. Something I don”t understand.” So states the old lighthouse keeper on the remote, fog-shrouded island of Fang Rock in this haunting story from Doctor Who”s 15th season. If you are a new visitor to the universe of this venerable British sci-fi series, no doubt you will share his sentiment.

But for this particular story, you need not know that Doctor Who is a Time Lord who travels the cosmos in a spacecraft called the TARDIS, an interplanetary time machine that looks like a police call box, or that Tom Baker, who portrays him here, is the fourth and perhaps most popular incarnation of the good Doctor.

Horror of Fang Rock is as much ghost story as science fiction. The TARDIS has deposited the vacation-bound Doctor and his companion, Leela, on Fang Rock (“You told me I would like Brighton,” an unimpressed Leela remarks about the desolate surroundings), just after a strange light was witnessed plummeting from the sky into the sea. A mysterious fog envelopes the lighthouse, and one of its inhabitants is mysteriously killed. When a ship runs aground, its passengers take refuge in the lighthouse and find themselves stalked as well. Is it the mythical Beast of Fang Rock or, as the Doctor suspects, an alien menace?

The cheesy mid-1970s-vintage special effects are part of this show”s charm. Like Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, what Doctor Who lacks in production values, it more than makes up for in verbal ingenuity. “Are you in charge?” someone asks the Doctor. “No,” he responds, “but I”m full of ideas.” –Donald Liebenson

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