Doctor Who

Season 2 Episode 11

Fear Her

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Jun 24, 2006 on BBC America
out of 10
User Rating
487 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Location: Earth Date: 2012 Enemy: Chloe Webber/Isolas

When the TARDIS lands in 2012, the Doctor plans to show Rose the London Olympics. But ordinary children are vanishing, seemingly into thin air, whilst a mother living in a seemingly ordinary British household is trying to hide her daughter's unnatural powers from the world. Can the Doctor defeat the evil nestled in the heart of London?moreless

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  • Oh dear lord - it burns!

    Is there any chance that I could spontaneously combust or fall into a coma? I'm not particular about the details I just want something to save me from having to watch this episode again. No one is going to take up the invitation to hit me over the head with a shovel? Drat! Guess I have to go through with it. Okay take a deep breath and have your tranquillisers ready. After seeing this episode you'll either need them to restrain yourself from murdering the writers or you'll be dead to the world from boredom.

    Feeling better? I know I am. In interest of my keeping my sanity I'm going to structure this review a bit differently than usual just so I don't have to spend too much time thinking about this travesty of an episode. First I am going to list all of the good things that happened within the story. Really I am going to try hard to find something good about this episode since it is my experience that there is rarely an episode that doesn't have at least one cute or funny or strong moment hidden somewhere amidst all of the crap. It often takes some digging but I can usually find something. Even within awful episodes like The Long Game or The Idiot's Lantern there is usually a scene (like Adam's head hatch or The Doctor messing with the minds of the police) that attempts to help make up for the rest of the episode. Whether or not is succeeds is what makes the difference between a mediocre episode and a total bomb.

    So happy thoughts, happy thoughts

    1. We get to see The Doctor emulate Spock.

    2. The Doctor also absently helps himself to some marmalade like a naughty little boy. This scene is rather adorable whenever you are first watching it - along the lines of his spying on Madame de Pompadour.

    3. The Doctor carries the Olympic Torch. While admittedly forcibly over-emotional and cheesy, not to mention highly improbable, somehow this particular scene makes me absurdly happy. It is also responsible for crushing my dreams and shaking my faith whenever 2012 came and David Tennant was not there in full Doctor costume carrying the torch

    4. Rose actually does something of merit this episode! One of the biggest problems I have with Rose is that she rarely does anything to help (while being lauded as the best companion) and whenever she does it is usually so small that we almost miss it. Most of the time The Doctor will spell something out for her, she will react, and then he will praise her like she just invented four-dimensional physics. None of her character flaws are ever addressed and she is given undue praise that manipulates the audience into liking an unlikeable character. But in this episode Rose actually earned a few stripes. This is the one move I think Matthew Graham made in the writing that actually benefited the 'plot': he took The Doctor out of the action, removed the TARDIS from the equation, and left Rose to figure out the mystery and solve it herself. Thank you, Graham! Your episode stinks and I never want to see it again but at least you did right by Rose.

    5. The Doctor diagnosing the little girl is another scene that has a wee bit of merit. Seeing The Doctor interact with children is always interesting (that's one of the things I love about Eccleston in The Doctor Dances) and it was nice if a bit oddly placed to hear him clue Rose in to the fact that he had children before. The Doctor is very giddy and silly this episode. In some parts it worked (like the tingly grass scene) and in others not so much (like the fingers on lips nonsense). But it is always nice to see the writers man up, even if just for a few moments, and give The Doctor a few mature lines. There's only so much of the over-caffeinated Tigger I can take before it just becomes tedious and dull.

    And that's all of the happy thoughts I can possibly dredge up without serious pain or mental ruination because no amount of pixiedust or goodwill can save this train wreck of an episode from the horror of bad that it is. So let's take a look at the bad before my nerve fails me.

    1. The plot is missing. This episode is such a mess! First it is about children disappearing, then about a huge graphite bouncy ball, then about a little girl who is possessed by a lonely alien child, then about that admittedly original idea going clichd and trying to consume the world, and then it is about the little girl having to overcome the spirit of her abusive father. It would be one thing if all of those things were merely plot elements that tied the whole thing together; but while watching it I was never sure what exactly was going on and why I should even care.

    2. The premise is badly executed. To be quite honest, when I was reading the description of this episode I thought it sounded interesting, if a bit childish. The idea of a little girl using some sort of telepower to trap people in her drawings could have been a decent episode. The plot of an alien child lost and alone and just wanted friends to help warm their cold life could also have been interesting, and it would have been nice to have a villain that wasn't interested in subduing the entire world. Even the plot about the girl (for the life of me I can't remember her name even while watching the episode) having to overcome the spectre of her dead abusive father could have been done right. Hey they managed to pull off a story about Satan, didn't they? The problem here is the way they did it. Not only is the focus all over the place but we have 'the power of love' again save the day. Sometimes that works, given the right combination of explanation and acting, but here it really doesn't.

    3. The guest stars' acting are deplorable especially the little girl. Granted this can't be an easy part to play, and she clearly didn't have the best direction, but every time she was on screen I just wanted to shake her and give out a few pointers of what not to do. The scribbling looks completely fake (there's no way sweeping a pink crayon back and forth in a zigzag could produce the TARDIS) and that whisper thing she does, while slightly effective the first time, quickly went the way of "FEED MEEEE!" and just became an annoyance. The mother was a bit betterbut had absolutely no chemistry with her 'daughter', which is a shame because it could have saved that scene at the end with the demon dad.

    This episode is easily the worst out of the Tenth Doctor's run beating out The Idiot's Lantern because at least that episode had a plot. There is little to like about this episode, the fun moments being brief and quite sufficiently buried under all of the mediocre, lazy awfulness. I would like to call this episode forgettable, but I can't. It's actively bad. Episodes such as Fear Her are the ones that make me question just why I ever started watching Doctor Who in the first place. They also make me wish that some of the fanfic authors would be offered a place on the writing team as some of their works run circles around this dismal effort. Because of the marmalade scene, I'm going to conservatively give this episode a .1/10. There in the immortal words of Frodo Baggins: It's done, it's gone.

  • Fear Her

    Fear Her was a superb episode of Doctor Who. The story was interesting and it was awesome to learn about the Isolas and what it wanted. There was a lot of drama and intrigue as kids and other mysteriously disappeared into thin air. It was great watching The Doctor and Rose investigate and to help Chloe and the Isolas. It was awesome watching The Doctor run with the Olympic Torch. I liked how every thing played out and though this episode wasn't too fast paced or captivating it was still entertaining. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!moreless
  • This was not my favourite storyline simply because of the London 2012 Olympics. Let me explain...

    I don't understand why this episode was set in 2012, in London, during the 2012 London Olympics. It basically ruined the storyline, in my opinion.

    I mean, when it comes to 2012 and the Olympics happen, this mysterious man won't grab the torch and take it up to the firey thingy. It's just unrealistic. It makes the episode, as I've said before, unpure. And naother reason it won't fit with history, is 'cause we all know they won't have finished building the stadiums by 2012! The storyline was one for children I feel. Younger viewers, which makes sense because Matthew Graham, the writer, has kids and I think he got the ideas from them. Not good at all...

    This is a forgetable episode. Just like last year's episode eleven, Boom Town. They were both trying to build up to something big, the finale. But the episodes themselves never built up anything. My reviews aren't the most complimentary, but wait for Army of Ghosts and Doomsday...

    Do it. Wait...moreless
  • Very interesting

    This episode was very insteresting as it included the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    I guess it would have been better if it included the actual games and not just the opening ceremony. The storyline was very clever with the threatening but not too dangerous Isolus. The real danger in this episode is Chole's dad drawing.

    It isn't scary and there is a lot of talking in it. It is one of the best episode of series 2, although series 2 is the 2nd best series of Dr Who. It doesn't matter though.

    All in all a clever episode with twists, very very good.moreless
  • Probably the worst new Doctor Who episode...But its not that bad.

    The preview the week before reeked of promise. I sat in excitment for loads of groovy retro-style cartoon scribble- drawing effects, we got very little. To say we were going to lose Rose 2 episodes after this episode feels like a desvistating waste of time. The enemy in this episode felt quite underdeveloped for the amount of time that was spent exploring it. Thier no doubt that this episode was acted well add the cast chosen well. On the production side things were neat and stylish, but sloppy and far from adventerous for the possibilieties they gave thier self. Remastered with more groovy effects would really perk this episode up, but ultimatly the story was not original or exciting enough. This is the bottom of the list of the new Doctor Who episodesmoreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • When the Doctor sticks his finger in the jam jar, he only uses one finger and puts it in his mouth. After Rose clears her throat, the next shot of the Doctor shows him with two fingers in his mouth.

    • Near the end of the episode, when the people Chloe drew are coming back, Rose is disappointed that the Doctor doesn't appear. There is no reason why he should appear there, as he disappeared elsewhere, and she seems to assume, for no apparent reason, that he is not going to come back. She doesn't even check the drawing to see if he is still there. Neither does she think to check the TARDIS.

    • Events in this episode take place in the same year as the events in Dalek. It isn't clear if the events in each episode are occurring simultaneously.

    • The poster of Shayne Ward's Greatest Hits show the same picture as his 2006 album Shayne Ward. Surely he would use a different picture.

    • Torchwood Reference:

      Huw Edwards, the news presenter, mentions Torchwood though it is not as clear as some of the other references made this series.

    • Attention to detail - The red Mini that Rose helps to push has a '09' number plate, meaning it was registered in 2009, three years prior to this episode and three years in the future for us in 2006.

    • The Tarmac Workers are from the East London Council, as printed on their hazard vests.

  • QUOTES (19)

    • Rose: So, near future, yeah?
      The Doctor: I had a passing fancy. Only it didn't pass, it stopped.

    • The Doctor: Get out of here!
      Rose: What's it say?
      The Doctor: It is. It's graphite. Basically the same material as an HB pencil.
      Rose: I was attacked by a... pencil scribble?

    • The Doctor: Hello! I'm the Doctor and this is Rose. Can we see your daughter?
      Trish: No, you can't.
      The Doctor: Okay, bye.

    • The Doctor: In those days, everyone had a Tea Party to go to! They had those little cakes, with the crunchy ball bearings on top. You know those, those things? Nobody else in the galaxy has ever bothered to make edible ball bearings! Genius!

    • Rose: (spots a cat) Aren't you a beautiful boy!
      The Doctor: (thinking Rose is talking to him) Thanks! I'm experimenting with back combing.

    • The Doctor: Fear, loneliness. They're the big ones, Rose. Some of the most terrible acts ever committed have been inspired by them. We're not dealing with something that wants to conquer or destroy. There's a lot of things you need to get across this universe. Warp drive, wormhole refractors. You know the thing you need most of all? You need a hand to hold.

    • (Rose is digging up the street looking for the Isolas pod, much to the annoyance of council worker Kel)
      Kel: You just took a council axe from a council van and now you're digging up a council road! I'm reporting you to the council!
      (Rose sifts through the tarmac and finds the pod)
      Rose: It went for the hottest thing in the street. Your tar! (laughs)
      Kel: What is it?
      Rose: It's a spaceship. Not a council spaceship, I'm afraid.

    • (The Doctor has put Chloe in a trance and speaks to the Isolas, the entity within her)
      Isolas: Our journey began in the deep realms. When we were a family. (Chloe begins to draw)
      Trish: What's that?
      The Doctor: The Isolas mother, drifting in deep space. See, she jettisons millions of fledgling spores. Her children. The Isolas are empathic beings of intense emotion. When they're cast off from their mother, their empathic link - their need for each another - is what sustains them. They need to be together. They cannot be alone.

    • Rose: Chloe has a power and, I don't know how, but she used it to take Danny Edwards. Dale Hicks. She's using it to snatch the kids.
      Trish: Get out.
      Rose: Have you seen those drawings move?
      Trish: I haven't seen anything!
      The Doctor: Yes, you have. Out the corner of your eye.
      Trish: No.
      The Doctor: And you dismissed it. Because what choice do you have, when you see something you can't possibly explain? You dismiss it, right? And if anyone mentions it, you get angry. So it's never spoken of ever again.
      Trish: She's a child.
      The Doctor: And you're terrified of her. And there's no one to turn to. Cos who's going to believe what you see out of the corner of your eye? No one. Except me.

    • Chloe: (To the drawings) I've given you friends and you still moan. Moan, moan, moan. You're lucky. You're all together. You don't know what it is to be alone. If you did, you'd be thanking me.

    • (An old woman, Maeve, walks down Dame Kelly Holmes Close and stops, as if sensing an evil presence. A young woman, Trish, sees her)
      Trish: Maeve. You OK?
      Maeve: No, love. I'm not.
      Trish: You want me to call a doctor?
      Maeve: Doctor can't help.

    • Newsreader: (About the Olympic torch) It's much more than a torch now. It's a beacon. It's a beacon of hope and fortitude and courage. And it's a beacon of love.

    • Rose: Easy for you to say, you don't have kids.
      The Doctor: I was a dad once.
      Rose: What did you say?

    • (The Doctor examining the traces of ionic energy)
      The Doctor: Ha ... tickles
      Tom's Dad: What's your game?
      The Doctor: My um ... Snakes and Ladders ... quite good at Squash ... I'm being facetious ... there's no call for it.

    • The Doctor: (About the Olympics) It only seems like yesterday, a few naked Greek blokes were tossing a discus about, wrestling with each other in the sand and the crowd stood around... no, wait a minute, that was Club Med.

    • Rose: Feel the love.

    • Rose: You know what? They keep on trying to split us up, but they never ever will.
      The Doctor: Never say "never ever."
      Rose: Nah, we'll always be okay, you and me. Don't you reckon, Doctor?
      The Doctor: Something in the air. Something coming.
      Rose: What?
      The Doctor: A storm's approaching.

    • Chloe Webber: (said menacingly) Do you want me to draw you too, Mum?

    • The Doctor: I can't stress this enough. Ball-bearings you can eat. Masterpiece!

  • NOTES (14)

    • International Airdates:
      Turkey: September 19, 2010 on CNBC-e

    • When Doctor Who Magazine conducted a poll in 2009, this story was found to be fans 192nd favorite story of the 200 broadcast at the time.

    • With the opening ceremonies taking place on the same day, the episode can be specifically dated to 27 July 2012.

    • The Dad in the wardrobe was drawn by Richard Shaun Williams, who draws storyboards for the series.

    • Abisola was discovered in an after school acting club. A hand double drew the pictures.

    • According to Doctor Who Magazine, this episode was originally called Chloe Webber Destroys The World, but the author commented that it was too long and wouldn't fit across the screen.

    • The final viewing figure for the BBC One airing of this episode was 7.14 million.

    • During this episode the Doctor mentions that he was once a father.

      In the 2005 episode The Empty Child, Dr. Constantine states "I was a father and a grandfather, now I am neither. But I am still a doctor". The Doctor comments that he knows the feeling. So far the only member of the Doctor's family we know about is granddaughter Susan, who he traveled with at the start of the original series. The only other mentions of the Doctor's family were in the original series in Tomb of the Cybermen, and the 1996 TV Movie which made references to the Doctor's parents including the controversial statement that the Doctor's mother was human.

    • This is the first time that the 'Next Time' sequence is played without the Theme Music.

    • The place where the TARDIS landed between 2 containers, supposedly in Stratford, was actually storage yard by the Rhymney River off Newport Road, Cardiff

    • The fictional Dame Kelly Holmes Close in East London was actually a residential close in Pengam Green, Cardiff

    • Early dialog for this episode that mentioned the alien spacecraft was drawing out all the heat from the street. This was to explain why the actor's breath was visible in exterior scenes due to the episode being filmed in February. The dialog was cut from the final edit of the episode.

    • Early titles for this episode where Chloe Webber Destroys the Earth and You're a Bad Girl Chloe Webber.

    • Episode 11 was originally slated to be written by famed actor/ writer Stephen Fry, but his story was deemed too costly and had to be put back to series three, so Graham had to step in and write this episode on short notice (hence it was the last to be filmed). Latest reports suggest that due to a busy schedule he will no longer be writing for Doctor Who at all.


    • The Doctor: Keep 'em peeled.

      Shaw Taylor's catchphrase at the end of each episode on 'Police 5' and 'Junior Police 5' - asking viewers to be vigilant.

    • The Doctor: No, I'm not really a cat person. Once you've been threatened by one in a nun's wimple, it kind of takes the joy out of it.
      The Doctor is referring to episode 2.01 "New Earth" where he and Rose visited a Hospital run by Cats. He has also battled against cat people in the Classic series episode "Survival". However, in his sixth incarnation he wore a cat lapel pin.

    • Star Trek
      The double fingered 'V' sign that the Doctor and Chloe exchange is the traditional Vulcan salute from the Star Trek series.