The Hand of Fear isn’t really Sarah Jane’s last story at all, it’s merely the last one she and the Doctor had before old skullface intervened and separated them with the bogus “Call To Gallifrey”. So really, fictionally, it’s the Master who’s responsible for breaking up what is, for those of us of a certain age, the best Doctor & Companion combo ever. Ten and Donna came close in the Best Mates In Space stakes but there’s still nobody can beat Tom’n’Lis…
I’d already relocated the goodbye scene to the start of The Deadly Assassin as a pre-credits sequence, so that takes some of the sting out of this story. And Judith Paris is on top form as Lady Eldrad, what a pity she didn’t stay that way instead of turning into Panto King Stephen Thorne, who proceeds to shout the house down as if he’s in an “Are you as loud as Brian Blessed?” competition.
The opening scenes become a shortened pre-credits sequence. We don’t need quite so much of the Kastrians and we really need to skip over the Dr and Sarah having an attack of thickitis and not realising where they are. The quarry scene was augmented by a couple of cues from “The Sunmakers” track on disc 4 of the 11-disc Silva Screen set and the End Scream is there as well to give us a nice join to the credits. Then it’s a case of getting Sarah to the hospital as quick as we can so she can zap the Nunton security guard after about seven minutes.
There’s a nice little scene in part two where Prof Watson has a Pertwee-ish “moment of charm” as he phones his missus, thinking he’s going to die when the reactor goes up. It’s unusual for secondary characters to get moments like this and there was no way I was going to cut it. Something I wanted to cut but couldn’t was the obvious loop where Eldrad has to be taken to the reactor twice before Judith Paris turns up, so I had to settle for cutting that right back instead.
This was one of those frustrating edits where you couldn’t make a lot of the cuts you wanted to, but I think it’s about as tight as you can make it. Things really take a downward turn when Eldrad reappears as Stephen Thorne, or, to give him his proper title, Omega mk2. The scene where Eldrad finds out he’s the king of a dead world is even played the same as Omega’s “there is nothing left of you” moment. Not entirely surprising though, given that both this and The Three Doctors have not only the same writers but the same director too, he’s even brought back Dr Tyler!