Why should we watch this?
What I want our sweet dorks to appreciate is that "The Curse of Fenric" is where Doctor Who can be seen to transcend the conventional ways of 'doing television', not least relevant to its time but also still prevalent in the way television is made and told today.
See, I think that it relies on a story-telling technique that is, er, associative in its logic. Its narrative is largely implicit - it's not all spelt out - and there's so much that is suggestive in not only its subtext but also in the actual text itself.
In doing just that, "The Curse of Fenric", I want to argue, is where Doctor Who does myth, and it does it in the same way that TS Eliot does in The Waste Land, probably the single greatest poem of the entire C20th, which is by retelling and re-layering familiar stories and elements all on top of each other "like a heap of broken images", to quote Eliot.
The way this story is told is by basically throwing together elements that, by simply being put alongside one another, can't help but form its story in our minds.
Think about it - we get Dracula, Norse mythology, Bletchley Park, 1001 Nights, postmodernism, war movies, and the Cold War, and so much more - put all these together; allusions and references and styles and stories and - somehow, somehow - we get it - even if we don't get all of it, we still get it. There's a strange kind of coherence about it, one that automatically builds itself in our own minds. And that style of story-telling is everywhere these days - this is how music video clips work, how abstract art works, how contemporary literature works, even how our own dreams work, to again point to the story's Freudian aspects . This is post-modern Doctor Who for the post-modern age.
It's such a shame that this is the second-last Classic Who story, because1989 and Season 26 sees Doctor Who aiming and striving to reinvent itself, and it does it not just by looking at its building blocks - stuff like depth of characterisation, clever, rewarding plots, relevant and contemporary themes, and the like (though obviously it relies on those in part). Instead, just before it disappears from our screens for 16 years, Doctor Who here reinvents itself via the form of the medium of television itself, by attempting to change the language that television has traditionally used to tell Doctor Who stories on the good ol' BBC.
"The Curse of Fenric" is where Doctor Who, in its final year, fully graduates, with first class honours, in every conceivable discipline and field. It's just about the cleverest thing we've ever seen the show do, and that's why we should watch it, and why I will always love it.