Doctor Who – Ghost Light

17 Nov

ghostlightFinally we come to the last Doctor of the classic era and also coincidentally my Doctor, the first one I watched and will defend with an axe, if anyone says anything against him.

Not surprisingly I had many McCoy adventures to choose from, The Curse of Fenric and the Greatest Show in the Galaxy were strong choices before I rewatched Ghost Light.

London, 1983: an old house mysteriously burns to the ground. One hundred years earlier, the Doctor and Ace arrive at a sinister mansion in the rural hamlet of Perivale. Horrors old and new await the Doctor amongst the peculiar residents of Gabriel Chase, but it is Ace who must confront her own worst nightmares when she discovers that her past and the house’s future are inextricably linked.

McCoy’s era showcases stories that have a nice mixture of the dreamlike and the mysterious about them and this story is no different with its mix of science and religion, aliens and madness set in the Victorian age.

The Eerie and Gothic feeling of the setting and accompanying soundtrack, along with the whimsical and surreal characters makes for an enjoyably dark romp. It’s a bit barmy to be honest with a non linear storyline which slowly unfolds over three episodes, piecing together what’s going on is half the fun.

It’s got the feel of a horror story but is far to mad for that, so much so that I am having trouble nailing down what it is..schizophrenic is the best word that I can come up with.  The characters can be at one point sinister and at another totally bonkers…its great, it’s weird, it’s atmospheric and it’s just fun with a difference.

The interplay between Ace and the Doctor is really good and the story revolves around their own relationship as much as the events taking place in the house. McCoy’s Doctor got progressively darker and more mysterious after his first season in the role.  His manipulation of Ace here can be seen as either helping her or working to his own ends, it really does bring my feelings about the Doctor full circle to his first ever story The Unearthly Child.

This darker more serious edgy story keeps one glued to the screen and as this was the last story filmed (although Survival was aired after), it shows the new direction the show was taking and retrospectively foreshadows the theme taken on by the new series, of the companions who would evolve into something more than just a foil for the Doctor.  I’m not one to speculate unless I smell gold but it would have been interesting to see what just one more season of Classic Who would have brought us.

A fitting end to the first era of Who but there is still more to come though as I attempt to cram ten more Who related posts in before the 23rd.  Including the movie, new series, a book review and a look into the mind of the biggest fan I know.  The movie review shall follow later today, as I’m going to have to double up on Who posts to fit them all in before the the big day…still more Who goodness for you guys….enjoy.


Posted by on 17/11/2013 in Doctor Who


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11 responses to “Doctor Who – Ghost Light

  1. colemining

    17/11/2013 at 10:27

    Space- one of our sci-fi channels over here in Canada- is having a marathon of episodes leading up to next weekend. Torn between revisiting the old faves and watching our home team beat their rivals in our version of football…
    ‘Ghost Light’ was a wonderfully atmospheric episode. I have no idea how you’re whittling down the list and choosing which to write about, but I’m loving the trips down memory lane.


    • Ste J

      17/11/2013 at 10:31

      My choices are based on my favourites mainly…I pick a bunch I love and then work out which may make a good review and go from there…It’s not as easy as it looks though with the range of choice. Glad you are enjoying the disappointingly (for a show about time travel) linear progression of things hehe.

      Tape the Who’s….by which I mean record them…I miss VHS taps though, they were chunky magic. At least them you can always relive old Who without need for the DVDs, although some of the extras on those are cracking.


  2. Al

    17/11/2013 at 10:37

    From the little I saw of Ace and (sorry gotta do it) Dr McCoy, I think that maybe they should have had their own movie before the movie.


    • Ste J

      17/11/2013 at 10:40

      That would have been…ace! Haha…dammit man he’s a time traveller not a pun target! These days a movie would probably be mandatory for such a series…it had way to short a run on my view.


  3. RoSy

    18/11/2013 at 14:49

    I say nothing against him as I haven’t seen the show. But – good to know that you’d defend him with an axe. Sometimes when I get a migraine I feel like having someone behead me. So- this bit o’ fact may come in handy one day.


    • Ste J

      20/11/2013 at 09:22

      I shall bear that in mind my friend, although I charge for my axe wielding services…I can do you a competitive rate though.


  4. evermoreevil

    19/11/2013 at 04:38

    The beauty, and perhaps only saving grace, of Doctor Who having so few viewing figures in 1989 meant that the team could get away with doing utterly bonkers stories like this.

    So layered, so beautiful. The Target Novel fills the gaps left by the story’s narrative structure, but it remains a very special serial.

    And another brilliant review sir!

    Also…isn’t Sylvester McCoy so bloody good? He ad-libbed that final line. He was supposed to say “That’s my girl!”, but McCoy chose to use one of Ace’s favourite sayings instead…”Wicked!”


    • Ste J

      20/11/2013 at 09:37

      I do love a good mental story and this one as a child did flummox me and still does my mum. Experimental stuff is always great for Who as anything can happen in this mad universe, so it’s great to see the writers flex their creative muscles. I look forward to rereading the book, which I did read years ago but I do need to be reminded…had I been at home I would have written the review in tandem with both book and DVD.

      I did not know that he had ad-libbed that. That is…ace! Haha, I couldn’t resist because my humour is that predictable.


  5. LuAnn

    21/11/2013 at 10:48

    I feel like I must have been locked in a closet for most of my youth as I am just learning about this Doctor Who phenomenon. Where the heck have I been? 😉


    • Ste J

      23/11/2013 at 08:57

      You have been biding your time until the fifty year mark had passed so you had enough to catch up on to keep you amused for years…or at least that is what I like to think!


      • LuAnn

        23/11/2013 at 21:15

        Believe what you will but I was clueless until you came along. 🙂



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