Reviewed By: newt5996
Review Date: 7/28/15 1:15 am
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The Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 1 Box Set has a great premise with Philip Hinchcliffe sending in story outlines with Marc Platt expanding them into scripts. Yes Marc Platt is the writer working with Hinchcliffe which is a match made in heaven as both writers know what makes good gothic horror. This is no less apparent than here in the first story of the box set, The Ghosts of Gralstead.
The Ghosts of Gralstead sees the Doctor and Leela arrive in Victorian England where Gralstead Manor is being haunted by several ghosts. The most promenant ghost is Mordrega, an alien who is looking for the Coronet of Alceon, a crown which has healing powers. This is the main A plot and as a six parter, rather unusually there are B and C plots. B plot is a short plot about a freak show run by Dr. Gideon McDivett and Leela's reactions to this form of entertainment. The C Plot involves Abasi, an African prince, reclaiming his tribe from the tyrant Obingo. These three plots are all connected through the Coronet which has parts of itself passed on from person to person. You would think that this would overcrowd things, but each section of the story stays as long as it needs to, making the weird structure effective.
The A plot is the main focus of the story with the focus being on Mordrega and the denizens of Gralstead Manor. We have Sir Edward Scrivener, an explorer, his young daughter Clementine, a psychic, their butler, their servant Abasi, who Edward saved from Obingo in Africa nine years previous, and Edward's brother Cedric, a doctor who has been making deals with bodysnatchers for medical science. Each character has an interesting backstory and role. The butler plays the ex-soldier. Cedric slowly descends to madness as he cohorts with Mordrega. Edward comes to terms with the death of his wife. Abasi falls in love with Leela and redeems himself by taking his tribe back in the C plot. And Clementine, while she is there to be mysterious and a pain for the villains of the piece.
And speaking of the villains of the piece, Mordrega played by Caroline Seymour, feels like a villain out of the television show and is performed brilliantly. Our leads are also on top form with Louise Jameson's Leela getting some of her best development. The only problem with the story is that it is predictable in several places.