The Blogtor Who audio commentaries continue as the “team” tackle Doctor Who Series 2. We’re looking for your comments, thoughts and questions on the 2006 episode Fear Her for inclusion on the podcast (read out after the commentary). You can comment below, Tweet us HERE, Facebook us HERE or email us HERE.

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Cameron K McEwan was the first owner and site editor of Blogtor Who since its creation in May 2008 until Dec 2015. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Cameron has also written two books, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who and Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists, and directed a film all about Doctor Who fans throughout the years, Who’s Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans. Cameron also contributes TV and film news and reviews to BBC Radio London, Metro, Digital Spy, New York Observer and Den of Geek. He lives in London with his one trousers.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Loving the show Steve!

    This is one of the episodes that has suffered the most from the universe being reset in Big Bang 2. In our new timeline, the torch looked a lot better (shiny honeycomb gold!), but sadly 10 was replaced by retired rower and all round big fella Steve Redgrave in an overly tight white tracksuit. Rowers of such prestige should not run in such figure hugging attire.

    Before my memory of Fear Her completely dissolves (post-BB2 timelines and all), I remember it as an interesting concept that was truly terrible in execution. A Who ep that looks awfully CBBC in production values, compared to the shiny awesomeness of the recent couple of series.

    I have positive happy feelings about all NuWho eps apart from 3. This is one of them, and is even worse than Love and Monsters in my opinion. It should be grateful for the Narnia Christmas shambles that rocked up a few years later…

  2. Season 2 is the low point of New Who in my opinion, and Love and Monsters and Fear Her are the low point of the low. Love and Monsters is actually worse, but they're both pretty bad.

    I've never really understood the bit at the end where the Doctor says "a storm's coming". It seems to be foreshadowing something, but nothing ever comes of it. Unless of course, he was simply talking about a thunderstorm or something, but then why did he say it all dramatic?

    This is one of those instances of Doctor Who predicting reality. Little do most people know, but David Tennant did actually light the Olympic Flame. The show didn't get it quite right though, because it was actually his genetically enhanced super-clones.

  3. It holds a dear place in my heart for being the first episode of Doctor Who I ever watched. I thought it was dumb (still do) but I kept coming back because I like the Doctor amused me.

  4. While Fear Her is by no means a great episode of Doctor Who, it is by no means the worst and is, in my opinion, quite underrated.

    It actually has legitimately good gags (10th Doctor can't open the door so he has to re-park. Brilliant. Also when 10 admits that he's being facetious. Good stuff).

    The idea of drawings coming to life and an alien-possessed girl in a suburban setting are decent, and although it's obvious that the budget was a major impetus behind the setting, having a small-scale adventure is welcome and nicely breaks up the epic Satan 2-parter and the similarly epic Army of Ghosts 2-parter. It's a calm before the storm, and it knows it, even explicitly mentioning that at the end.

    The main problem is that Fear Her, in trying to be a calm episode, aims to be too calm, too pedestrian. There's nothing technically "wrong" with the episode; it's just kind of boring and not a lot happens. This is an episode about basically nothing, decently-written nothing, of course, but nothing all the same. The actual dialogue and interactions, including the well-appreciated reference to the Doctor having been a father before, are actually quite good.

    Fear Her's issue is that it lacks punch. There's no real villain or all that much excitement or tension. It's a filler episode, which is fine, but Fear Her is a little too aware of this fact. In its aspiration to be just a low-key filler episode, it aims too low. It obviously meets its own low expectations but ends up being boring, despite actually being pretty well written with regards to the dialogue.

    Contrast this with its opposite, the Daleks in Manhattan 2-parter, which is far worse (and is my least favorite story ever) because it aims too high. It wants too much to happen and forces it, leaving dialogue behind. The characters and dialogue are stupid and even in 2-parts things are glossed over, rushed, and hammed up. Fear Her, on the other hand, is the pendulum swinging too far the other way. It's too quiet, too understated, and gives itself too much time to just sit in its own decently-written but overly simple premise and setting, without giving anyone anything exciting to do.

    In the end, Fear Her is okay. It's still kind of meh, but it has a low-key charm that it's going for. It almost feels like a good episode of a different show, maybe a Fringe or Supernatural. The trouble with Fear Her is that it works on its own terms but not on the terms of a standard Doctor Who episode. So while it's a bit pedestrian it's still good in its own way. It has flaws to be sure, but it's definitely not the sheer failure that it's often made out to be.

  5. One of two major disappointments (the other being "Love and Monsters") in what was a pretty decent season overall. I remember that Stephen Fry was originally approached to write an episode for the series, but things fell through. There was an awful lot of talk about "Fear Her" being a filler for the void left by Fry's script not being done. Although RTD and others emphatically denied this back in the day, I think "Fear Her" has the look and feel of a hastily-written filler episode. The story is the worst kind of nonsense, with humor that isn't funny and menace that isn't scary. I think of this episode as one of the roadbumps that the show had to get over back in its early days in order to achieve its current levels of greatness. That said, I still wasn't all that impressed with Graham's "Ganger" two-parter last season either. Overall, I think the lesson here is: Matthew Graham can write good TV (such as "Life on Mars"),just please keep him away from Doctor Who.

  6. It wasn't the strongest, but the scene where The Doctor is caught with his fingers in the jam jar is worth it.

    The thing about that particular cast is they could find nuggets of gold in an otherwise lackluster script.

    Miss that in the current line up.

  7. I have seen this episode at least three times and I have no memory of it at all, apart from the fact that it is boring and involves a child's drawings. I look forward to your podcast and Sandy's inevitable Crayon Facts. Please read this comment in the accent of an affable Scottish person.

    Thank you,
    Jackie from Vancouver

  8. If I'm not mistaken, Fear Her was a replacement for the aborted Stephen Fry episode. Perhaps a reason why it was not up to par (ie a last minute job?) Not that it matters of course – its silly to judge a show as entertainment based on behind the scenes vicissitudes.

  9. I have watched every available episode in the canon (in order) and Fear Her is the only episode that I couldn't watch again and might skip even if I decided to rewatch the canon from Unearthly Child again. I usually find something enjoyable about even the worst stories (Claws of Axos, for example, is atrocious and I would probably only watch it again if it was part of a particular run of stories I was watching). I couldn't find anything redeemable about Fear Her – the plot was paper-thin, the acting characterisation of the main characters took all of the worse, most cringeworthy aspects of the Doctor/Rose relationship without any of the redeeming elements and the actors themselves were wooden, and the horrendous jingoism of the Olympic theme is frankly repulsive.

  10. What a coincidence! I just saw that episode again night before last.

    Do not like the scribble monster. Do not like the silly erasure off a ball of graphite. Quite do not like the Doctor rushing in to grab the torch. Do not like Robot Leg Torch. Uncomfortable feeling of dismembered android.

    Do like the jam jar moment. Do like that Evil Scribble Dad is banished. Do like living cartoons.

    Feels a bit forced trying to portray the torch as a symbol of love. I like the concept of the Isolus but not the cartoony flower-blossom representation.

    I really hated this episode first time I saw it, but now it's tolerable. Still not one of my favorites.

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