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Published on February 26th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

Fear Her: Time to Re-evaluate?

In their ongoing series “Isn’t it about time you gave… another chance” the SFX website has for some reason decided to cast its eyesolus over 2006′s muted Doctor Who abusive father-fest Fear Her.

Not exactly a classic, Fear Her tells the story of the day the Doctor and Rose landed in a London suburb that was plagued by missing children and a bump in the road, where the freaky-voiced Chloe Webber and her mother were terrorised by the psychic manifestation of her abusive father, crayon format inside the girl’s wardrobe.

All of this thanks to a supposedly benign entity, a lost Isolus, which was sent home thanks to the “love” in the Olympic torch, which the Doctor managed to get to the stadium in time to launch the games.

If you’re still with me, here’s a recollection from our own review of the episode, from the usually laid-back Brian A. Terranova…

While I didn’t sit there this week saying to myself “when will it end?” I did find myself saying “where’s the proper monsters?” The last time I saw a proper monster in Doctor Who would have to be this year’s Cybermen story; at least they were a real threat. Fear Her didn’t really strike me with fear.  All I saw was a little girl doing a fine exorcist impression and drawing some lovely pictures.

(You can read more about the review and our thoughts on the episode in Ultimate Regeneration, which will be out soon…)

Now in fairness, we’re fans of the episode’s writer, Matthew Graham (co-creator of Life on Mars), and suspect something was lost between script and screen. If it wasn’t then the whole “abusive father in wardrobe” thing is far too disturbing for family drama, certainly as pitched, at least.

Join in the fun and games on discussing this tale at


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

13 Responses to Fear Her: Time to Re-evaluate?

  1. avatar 23skidoo says:

    Not every episode is going to be a classic, and I think Fear Her made some interesting a brave choices. I doubt it’ll ever attain the level of respect, say, Blink has gotten. But personally I didn’t think it was that bad an episode. The sad part is, based on that one episode and ignoring all his other successes like Life on Mars, lots of people in Who fandom reacted to the news Graham was doing another episode the same way Trekkies would react to the news of Brannon Braga writing Star Trek 12. But Graham’s proven himself in many other stories – Fear Her should be allowed to count as a “bad day” and fandom should look forward to his next Doctor Who episode rather than condemning Moffat for commissioning another script from him.

  2. As much as I’m not a huge fan of Fear Her, I will boycott the Olympics if David Tennant doesn’t light the cauldron next year, in costume.

  3. avatar bluebox444 says:

    I hated this episode, but I’m willing to give Matthew Graham another chance.

  4. avatar Rick says:

    It was simply an okay episode—but regarding Tennant actually lighting the torch next year, I’ve been saying that ever since the ep aired but it’s been brought to my attention that they only have past and present athletes light the torch! Here’s hoping they make an exception…..this is just too good an opportunity to miss!

  5. avatar Rick says:

    Also, although I’m not excited about him writing another episode, I think there was some time-crunch to get the ep aired in the first place, maybe a rush job as Stephen Fry was supposed to write an ep that got delayed, etc. Even Gatiss has had ups and downs with his written episodes. “Unquiet dead” was excellent, “Idiot’s lantern” was good and “Victory of the Daleks” was crap but it just goes to show that everyone has their ups and downs.

  6. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    A truly awful episode, and my second least favourite episode since the show’s return – the worst being the dire 42. I did like the cat though.

    This was a low budget episode, and I think that the script called for far more action and special effects from the bad guy in the wardrobe, but Russell wanted to save cash on this episode. In the Writer’s Tale, he expresses relief and not a small amount of astonishment at the episode’s quite respectable ratings. I think he states there that it’s testament to the show’s format and gives credit for good writing. I still think it’s pants though.

  7. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Short answer: No, it’s not worth re-evaluation. Season 2 was a very mixed bag, and this was near the bottom, though not near as bad as “Love & Monsters”.

  8. avatar bluebox444 says:

    (in reply to TimeChaser) Oh, yeah. Nothing comes close to the sheer awfulness of Love and Monsters.

  9. avatar penfolduk01 says:

    The problem with giving Tennant the chance to light the torch is, if the current or former athlete rule is relaxed, we have the far worse prospect of Boris Johnson getting in on the act instead…

    However, I think for the Opening Ceremony, they should have David Tennant and the Double Decker Bus from “Planet of the Dead. :-)

  10. avatar Leosw4 says:

    TimeChaser-have to agree, Season 2 was a case of the very good, the very bad and the just plain ugly-I would put this one in the ‘just plain ugly’ camp.The only season 2 episodes I can watch again and enjoy are eps 2,3,8,9 12 and 13.Its the worst series since the show came back by a long margin.

  11. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    I honestly can’t see what’s not to like about Love & Monsters. OK, granted, the Abzorbaloff was a bit silly – but hey, he was designed by a Blue Peter viewer – and I love the way that the production team handed over that responsibility to viewers. And Victor Kennedy was excellent. Eks-zema, a splendid joke. Shirley Henderson and Marc Warren are both fantastic, and proper stars to boot. There’s some lovely RTD charm – “bless Bliss” comes to mind. And lots of the lovely Camille – I just adore Jackie. All that and lashing of ELO. It’s one of my favourites! So there!

  12. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    Lashings! I meant to say lashings! It’s not like Jackie is going hell for leather with her whip on Jeff Lynne or anything. Although I bet she would given half a chance!

  13. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    It seems, however, that I’m very much in the minority. Here comes the science bit…

    Fear Her – audience 7.1m – appreciation index 83%
    Love & Monsters – audience 6.7m – appreciation index 76%

    No accounting for taste!

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