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TME > Video > Commercial Releases

The Hand of Fear

The Doctor and Sarah return to Earth, but are plunged into danger as soon as they step from the TARDIS. They arrive in a quarry rigged with explosives, and the blast leaves Sarah unconscious in the rubble, a fossilised stone hand in her grip. What strange power does the hand have over Sarah Jane?
-- from the DVD release, 2006

Already scheduled for a DVD for many months, 2Entertain were surprised to learn of Sarah-Jane's reappearance in Doctor Who, in the second series School Reunion, and promoted this release on the back of that.

Episode timings on DVD: 24'51", 24'50", 24'26", 25'04"
Episode timings on PasB: 24'50", 24'28", 24'22", 25'00"


VHS releases

05/02/1996: UK: BBC Worldwide - BBCV5789
12/05/1997: Aus/NZ - Roadshow Entertainment - B00182/Z00182 [not pictured]
11/02/1997: US - CBS/FOX - 8459 [renumbered by WHV in 2000 to E1351]
The UK VHS was the last to be released before the TV Movie, which saw a purging of classic releases from the shelves. Although this was not officially discontinued until 21st August 1998, it disappeared from most high street retailers after around a fortnight and was consequently sold on the fan network for ridiculous sums.

Cover art by Colin Howard.

DVD releases

24/06/2006: UK - BBC Worldwide - BBCDVD1833
07/09/2006: Aus/NZ - Roadshow Entertainment - Cat# Unknown
07/11/2006: US - Warner Home Video - E2731
02/07/2007: UK - 2|entertain - BBCDVD1833

Cover art by Lee Binding for UK/Aus - his first commission for 2Entertain. In Summer 2007, 2|entertain repackaged Spearhead from Space, Genesis of the Daleks, The Hand of Fear, Earthshock, The Five Doctors, Revelation of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks and The 1996 Movie in new packaging, generally based on the existing art inside a circle motif - these were, however, just cardboard slipcases over the existing releases, and at a lower price-point.

DVD Bonus features

Changing Time (50'27")
A look at the Sarah-Jane era (particularly The Hand of Fear) with those most closely linked.
  • Glyn Houston, Rex Robinson and Elisabeth Sladen recall how they became involved in acting and Bob Baker writing. Colin Mapson talks about his history with visual effects.
  • Barry Letts remembers casting Katy Manning and Sladen. Sladen talks about the audition itself. Stephen Thorne explains how he fitted into the audition process.
  • Sladen shares her first memories of Jon Pertwee and Terrance Dicks explains that Sarah-Jane was a reaction to feminism.
  • Letts and Sladen talk about Pertwee's decision to leave and how it affected them both.
  • Letts explains how he came to cast Tom Baker - Baker then talks about his pre-Who career and what a legacy he had to follow (and teasing fellow Doctors).
  • Letts, Dicks and Baker discuss the fourth Doctor's character and Hinchcliffe starting on the series. Baker remembers the new producer's start with fondness.
  • Sladen and Baker talk about their relationship behind the scenes and in the years since they worked together.
  • Discussion turns to The Hand of Fear itself. Hinchcliffe explains that the idea was Camfield's and Sladen why she chose to leave.
  • Hinchcliffe speaks of his love for Bob Baker and Dave Martin, and Bob Baker of his love for Robert Holmes. It's all one big mutual love thing.
  • Hinchcliffe claims credit for placing Sarah at the centre of her final story but admits possession is a motif of Bob Baker's. Sladen and Baker discuss their favourite moments.
  • Mapson talks of the fear of making visual effects near nuclear reactions, but Bob Baker recalls it all with glee. Hinchcliffe was surprised at how happy they were to help. Robinson, Houston and Sladen also share their memories of the excitement.
  • Baker and Sladen discuss the "decency" of Rex Robinson and Hinchcliffe the high production values.
  • Mapson debunks the rumours of destroyed cameras in the opening scene and Sladen remembers with horror the amount of "muck" involved.
  • Mapson. Sladen, Houston, Robinson and Hinchcliffe talk about the director, a "lively, fun Australian."
  • Baker and Sladen then go on to worship Houston's acting, Bob Baker takes some credit for the writing and Houston puts all the credit on the quality of the show.
  • Hinchcliffe, Bob Baker and Mapson discuss the classic cliffhanger with the hand coming to life.
  • Sladen is shocked about the Andy Pandy outfit and Baker lusts after Judith Paris and Sladen herself, who also offers her thoughts on Thorne's outfit.
  • Hinchcliffe on the plotting and he and Bob Baker on the final scene. Tom Baker and Sladen offer their thoughts too.

Camera: Une Herzer, Graham Whittaker
Sound: Angus Anderson, George Kidson
Colourist: Jonathan Wood
With thanks to Andrew Beech, Richard Bignell, Derek Handley, Richard Molesworth, Phil Newman, Tom Spilsbury, Doctor Who Magazine
Produced by Steve Broster
BBC Worldwide


Swap Shop
Archive Consultant: Ian Levine

Photo Gallery (5'06")
47 b/w and colour photos from the making of this story, along with seven images of the locations taken years later.
With thanks to Derek Handley, Dean Rose, Richard Bignell
BBC Worldwide

By Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Judith Paris, Bob Baker and Philip Hinchcliffe.
This was recorded in three sessions: Baker, Baker and Paris (eps 3 and 4), Baker, Baker and Sladen (eps 1, 2 and parts of 4) and Hinchcliffe solo, which Mark Ayres edited together, occasionally by moving comments to entirely different episodes.

Info Text
By Martin Wiggins.

Doctor Who Annual & Radio Times Billings
DVD-Rom PDF features.

Easter Egg:
Press 'left' from the Play All button on the main menu.

Restoration Notes

Jonathan Wood oversaw D3 transfer, DVNR and manual cleanup. In the case of the third episode, the copy held by the NFTVA was found to be of slightly better quality, so was used as the source. Mark Ayres had some difficulties with the audio restoration due to the large amounts of noise and hiss present, which he did his best to remove, although some can still be heard when Eldrad speaks.


26/01/1996: Passed as 'U' by the BBC for the UK.
18/10/1996: Passed as 'G' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ.
26/05/2006: Part One repassed as 'U' by the BBC for the UK.
07/06/2006: Parts Two and Three repassed as 'U', and bonuses passed as 'PG', by the BBC for the UK.
17/07/2006: Passed as 'G' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ.
17/08/2006: Part Four repassed as 'U' by the BBC for the UK. (note this was after the DVD release)

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