Christmas, 2009: retired UNIT Captain Mike Yates spots a classified ad seeking a retired Army captain with experience in dealing with alien threats. With an uneasy feeling that the ad was written specifically to catch his attention, Mike responds, visiting an isolated country cottage called the Nest. Here he finds a stern housekeeper, Mrs. Wibbsey, and the Doctor. The house is filled to the brim with examples of the art of taxidermy, but Mike is startled to learn that the dead animals return to life at night, ready to kill. Demanding an explanation from the Doctor, he learns that some force has reanimated the creatures to use them as pawns for a sinister plan. The Doctor, at great personal risk, has isolated all of the dead creatures in his cottage, using the TARDIS’ dimensional stabilizer to surround the house with a force field and using his own psychic abilities to keep the undead animals docile. But this has also trapped the mind behind the evil plan – a hive-mind swarm of alien hornets – near the house with him. And now Yates is trapped there as well…
Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Daniel Hill (Percy Noggins)
Notes: Early plans for the Hornets’ Nest stories apparently called for the team of the fourth Doctor and the retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, a part that Nicholas Courtney had reprised just a year prior to this story’s release in The Sarah Jane Adventures and in a short bonus featurette, “Liberty Hall”, filmed for the 2009 DVD release of Mawdryn Undead. Before production began, however, Courtney suffered a mild stroke in early 2009, and though he made a recovery, he was unavailable to reprise the role of the Brigadier for either Hornets’ Nest or for Sarah Jane Adventures (in which there were plans for him to become a recurring guest character). He died in February 2011.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]