Production Code: 7Q
1 - 04/10/1989 19:35
2 - 11/10/1989 19:35
3 - 18/10/1989 19:35
The Doctor brings Ace to Gabriel Chase, an old house that she once burnt down in her home town of Perivale. The year is 1883 and the house is presided over by Josiah Samuel Smith, who turns out to be the evolved form of an alien brought to Earth in a stone spaceship that is now in the basement. Others present include the explorer Redvers Fenn-Cooper, who has been driven mad by what he has seen there, and Nimrod, Smith's Neanderthal manservant.
Smith intends to use Fenn-Cooper's unwitting help in a plot to kill Queen Victoria and restore the British Empire to its former glory. His plans are hampered by Control, a female alien whose life-cycle is in balance with his own. Ace inadvertently causes the release of the spaceship's true owner - a powerful alien being known as Light.
Light originally came to Earth to compile a catalogue of its species but, on discovering that his catalogue has now been made obsolete by evolution, he decides to destroy all life on the planet. He disintegrates when the Doctor convinces him that evolution is irresistible and that he himself is constantly changing.
Control has meanwhile evolved into a lady and Smith has reverted to an earlier, primitive form. They leave in the spaceship, along with Nimrod and Fenn-Cooper, heading for new adventures.
Ace, panicked by her memories of the house, hurries downstairs. She sees an open lift and enters it. Mrs Pritchard, the housekeeper, sends the lift down. In the basement, Ace finds the stone spaceship. A curtain pulls back to reveal two monstrous husks, which lurch towards her. Ace backs away in alarm, while Control hisses 'Ratkin' at her from a cell.
With everyone assembled, the Doctor calls for the lift's current occupant to exit. There is a flash of blinding light and all but the Doctor and Ace shield their eyes.
Light disperses, but the Doctor comments that the house will remember. Ace has only one regret: she wishes she'd blown up the house rather than burning it down.
Its themes derive from Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
Arthur Conan Doyle (Fenn Cooper mentions the author laughing at tales of giant lizards).
Joseph Conrad ('Light... Burning bright in the heart of the interior').
George Bernard Shaw (Control wanting to be 'ladylike', and Ace being called 'Eliza' by the Doctor).
Robert Louis Stevenson ('Which is the Jekyll, and which is the Hyde?').
Bram Stoker (Ace's reference to Dracula, and Control eating a cockroach).
John Galsworthy ('I'm a man of property').
Lewis Carroll (the Doctor's speech to Light about bandersnatches and slithy toves).
The Water Babies.
Punch cartoons of apes in suits.
Perhaps even Mary Shelley ('I wanted to see how it worked, so I dismantled it,' says Light of an armless human).
The Doctor quotes the Beatles ('It's been a hard day's night') and the works of Douglas Adams ('Who was it said earthmen never invite their ancestors to dinner?').
In addition, Control's mannerisms and speech patterns are indebted to King Lear.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Coventry Patmore's The Angel in the House.
Arthur Hughes' 'The Annunciation'.
Poltergeist III (Light).
The Dark Angel.
The Tempest (Caliban/Nimrod).
Sapphire and Steel.
King Solomon's Mines.
The Turn of the Screw.
Ace : "Is this an asylum with the patients in charge?"
Gwendoline : "Sir, I think Mr Matthews is confused."
The Doctor : "Never mind. I'll have him completely bewildered by the time I'm finished."
Ace : "It's true isn't it. This is the house I told you about."
The Doctor : "You were thirteen. You climbed over the wall for a dare."
Ace : "That's your surprise isn't it? Bringing me back here."
The Doctor : "Remind me what it was that you sensed when you entered this deserted house. An aura of intense evil?"
Ace : "Don't you have things you hate?"
The Doctor : "I can't stand burnt toast. I loath bus stations. Terrible places. Full of lost luggage and lost souls."
Ace : "I told you I never wanted to come back here again."
The Doctor : "And then there's unrequited love. And tyranny. And cruelty."
Ace : "Too right."
The Doctor : "We all have a universe of our own terrors to face."
Ace : "I face mine on my own terms."
In 1983, when Ace was 13, she climbed over the wall of the ruins of Gabriel Chase, and was terrified by the aura of evil within. At first she claims that she did this for a dare, and only later does she say that this happened after the flat of her best friend, Manisha, was fire bombed by racists.
Ace burnt the house down, and seems to have been put on probation. Ghost Light is the only Doctor Who story to feature the word 'knackered'.
Gabriel Chase, Perivale village, 1883
The Doctor says that he knows a nice little Indian restaurant near the Khyber Pass.
An excellent cast assembles for this story, including distinguished stage and screen actress Sylvia Syms.
A genuine period song is utilised, the highly appropriate 'That's the Way to the Zoo'.
There is a location-recorded establishing shot of Gabriel Chase, which was committed to tape during work on Survival.
The very last Doctor Who scene to be recorded by the BBC as part of the ongoing series was one in which Mrs Pritchard and her daughter Gwendoline are turned to stone.
When the Doctor tests Redvers for radiation a cameraman's reflection can be seen in the door of the open cabinet that Redvers is looking into.
Why does Josiah think that killing the Queen will mean that he takes over the Empire?
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
Ace - Sophie Aldred
Control - Sharon Duce
Gwendoline - Katharine Schlesinger On the closing credits of Parts One and Two Katharine Schlesinger's first name is misspelt 'Katherine'. (This has been corrected on the version of the story released on BBC video)
Inspector Mackenzie - Frank Windsor
Josiah - Ian Hogg
Light - John Hallam
Mrs Grose - Brenda Kempner
Mrs Pritchard - Sylvia Syms
Nimrod - Carl Forgione
Redvers Fenn-Cooper - Michael Cochrane
Reverend Ernest Matthews - John Nettleton
Director - Alan Wareing