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TME > Video > Commercial Releases

The Curse of Fenric

When the Doctor and Ace arrive at a secret military base during World War II, they discover that a centuries-old Viking curse is bringing terror to its inhabitants. As hideous vampires rise from the sea and Russian commandoes begin to close in, they are confronted not only with a mystery from the distant past, but also a terrifying vision of mankindís future...

-- from the DVD release, 2003

Episode timings on DVD: 24'27", 24'10", 24'06", 24'20" (and 103'32")
Episode timings on PasC: 24'23", 24'09", 24'11", 24'16"

VHS releases

04/02/1991: UK - BBC Enterprises - BBCV4453
01/07/1991: Aus/NZ - PolyGram - BBC44532 [Deleted January 1996, not pictured]
??/??/1991: US - CBS/Fox - 2775 [renumbered in 2000 by WHV to E1099]

Cover art by Alistair Pearson, based on a similar illustration he had provided for the Target novel, and which was later altered to provide the cover for the Silva Screen soundtrack CD.

Approximately seven minutes of footage was edited back in under the supervision of John Nathan-Turner, although director Nicholas Mallett and composer Mark Ayres had written notes to create a much more lavish version.

DVD releases

06/10/2003: UK - BBC Worldwide - BBCDVD1154
11/02/2004: Aus/NZ - Roadshow Entertainment - Cat# Unknown
01/06/2004: US - Warner Home Video - E1993

Cover art by Clayton Hickman for the UK/Aus An early cover (right) was produced hurriedly by Hickman for a product catalogue early in 2003. As standard for 2003 releases, the UK edition had a sticker added to the front.

Although Nicholas Mallett had since passed away, Mark Ayres used his original notes to oversee a complete re-edit from the ground up, with brand new special effects, a new music mix, and around 12 minutes of extra footage, bringing the story to over 103 minutes with no internal credit sequences.

DVD Bonus features

Claws and Effect (17'38")
A compilation of home video footage shot by the production team in March 1989 while on a location recce.
Thanks to Graham Brown, Mike Tucker, Andrew Pixley
Graphics: Ian Simpson
Music: Mark Ayres
Producer: Steve Roberts
BBC Worldwide (C) BBC MMIII.
Title Sequences (2'13")
Raw opening and closing credits, without titles or credits. Presented in both original mono and 5.1 Surround.

Isolated Score
The option to watch the story without production sound or sound effects.

Photo Gallery (5'44")
65 colour and b/w photos from the making of the story.
Nebula 90 (20'48")
Footage filmed at the Nebula convention on 6th October 1990, with Tomek Bork, Joann Kenny, Stephen Mansfield, Sue Moore, Mark Ayres, Ian Briggs and Sophie Aldred.
  • Briggs tells us about the genesis of the story and his love of Scandanavian legends.
  • Kenny on her feelings on being cast and her memories of Who.
  • Bork on playing the bad guy again, and hoping one day to play a nice guy.
  • Briggs informs us all that everyone from the show stays in touch.
  • Moore and Mansfield on visualising the haemavores, how they turned them into reality and the fun the actors experienced putting the masks on.
  • Bork explains how his yellow eyes were achieved.
  • Aldred on problems with her hair in the various weather and Briggs on torturing the cast.
  • Ayres on inspiration and avoiding the 40s cliches.
  • Bork, Kenny and Briggs talk about the amount that was edited for broadcast and the former's problems with the language.
  • Aldred and Briggs on the Ace seduction scene, freezing in the water and stunt performance.

Interviewer: Gary Russell
Nebula 90 Organised by Graeme Wood
Audio Visual Supervisor: Andre Willey
AV Team: Richard Molesworth, Steve Broster, Paul Vanezis
BBC Worldwide (C) MMIII.

Take Two

Shattering the Chains (24'52")
An interview with writer Ian Briggs. During the half-hour, he discusses being commissioned, his initial images, the concept of Fenric as an ancient evil, loving Viking legends, deciding whether or not to make Judson gay, having the story plotted out before putting pen to paper, the various character arcs, the quality of Parsons' acting, the double-act of the girls, sexuality in the story, Ace's story, the freedom location shooting allowed him, fears of the episodes running short being unfounded and his favourite moments in the show.
Music: Mark Ayres
Lighting Cameraman & Editor: John Kelly
Producer: Peter Finklestone
BBC Worldwide (C) BBC MMIII.
Recutting the Runes (15'06")
An interview with Mark Ayres on the making of the Special Edition, looking back on the DVD of Resurrection of the Daleks and explaining why he made the decisions he did for Fenric.
Camera: Steve Broster
Editor & Producer: John Kelly
BBC Worldwide (C) BBC MMIII.

40th Anniversary Celebration (3'00")
John Kelly's video that first appeared on the Earthshock DVD.
Easter Egg: Text Info Game
If using the 'Play All' function on the main episodes and watching with production text switched on, captions appear at the start and end of Part Three challenging you to identify the crew's nicknames for the Haemavores, and providing answers.

Easter Egg: Continuity Announcements
A compilation of the four links into each episode, found by clicking left from 'Claws and Effect' on the disc 1 Special Features menu.

Easter Egg: Title buildups
When listening to the episodes with the isolated score switched on, Part Two's opening and closing credits are missing their 'spangles' and explosions, and Part Three's music features these in isolation.
Easter Egg: Ayres Interview on the soundtrack (6'10")
An interview with Mark Ayres about the remixing to 5.1. Click left from 'Recutting the Runes' on disc 2 to find this.
BBC Worldwide (C) BBC MMIII.

Restoration Notes

Much of the restoration work in this release went into the Special Edition, which featured aggressive regrading by Dave Hawley, animations by Ian Simpson, and 5.1 surround sound by Mark Ayres. The original episodes were also given a basic cleanup.

A commentary with Ayres, Briggs, Andrew Cartmel, Graham Brown and Mike Tucker was hoped to have been recorded for use on the Special Edition but unfortunately time did not allow.

The Special Edition was actually missing one scene present in the transmitted version - Sorin and his men crossing the belfry in the third episode. Ayres explained why on the Restoration Team forum:

"That (as far I remember) is the only thing that is "missing" from the SE...and there's a good reason for it.

That scene is not in the script, and it proves that John Nathan-Turner had, fairly early on (and for reasons I still do not entirely understand) decided to cut the "staking".

Ace is in the vestry again, and looks up at the commotion on the roof. In the SE, it is obvious what this commotion is, but in the tx - having cut the "staking" - they had to have something to make her look up. Hence they did a shot of the russians in the belfry and she looks up at the sound of their feet above her.

The belfry shot was in *not* in the 71 edit. I did do a composite edit which included both the "staking" *and* the belfry shot for "completeness", but it just ruined the rhythm, so I went back to Nick's original edit and took it out again...again, it's nice that the two versions have these subtle differences."

The lines "Dangerous undercurrents, Doctor" and "Not any more, nyet" at the very end were the result of an overdub session which no longer existed. That, therefore also had to be left out.

Extra credits for the Special Edition:
Project Co-Ordinator, Editing & 5.1 Sound Design: Mark Ayres; Dubbing Mixers: Benedict Peissel, Fiona Vooght; Videotape Post-Production Supervisors: Steve Roberts, Paul Vanezis; Colourist: Dave Hawley; Digital Effects: Ian Simpson; BBC Worldwide (C) BBC MMIII.


23/01/1991 - Old Special Edition passed as 'PG' by the BBFC for the UK
09/04/1991 - Old Special Edition passed as 'PG' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ
07/05/2003 - Original episodes passed as 'PG' by the BBFC for the UK
25/07/2003 - Recutting the Runes and Easter Egg No 2 (the Ayres interview) passed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK
31/07/2003 - Other bonuses passed as 'PG' by the BBFC for the UK
09/10/2003 - New Special Edition passed as 'PG' by the BBFC for the UK
17/11/2003 - New Special Edition passed as 'PG' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ-

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