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.