Enlightenment – 1983 – S20 – E5/7

imageNumber : Season 20, episode 5 of 6.

Which One : Boat race in space.

Cast : The Doctor : Peter Davison
Tegan : Janet Fielding
Turlough : Mark Strickson
White Guardian : Cyril Luckham
Black Guardian : Valentine Dyall
Striker : Keith Barron
Marriner : Christopher Brown
Wrack : Lynda Baron
Mansell : Leee John
1st Officer : James McClure
Jackson : Tony Caunter
Collier : Clive Kneller

Written By : Barbara Clegg

Produced By : JNT

First UK Broadcast : 1 – 9 March 1983.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Tardis is forced by the Guardians onto a schooner ship in a space race to the prize of “enlightenment”.

Whats good : Old style sailing ships racing in space. Best episode of the Black Guardian Trilogy.

Whats bad : The pirates are a bit camp and cliched.

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Review With Spoilers : Enlightenment is the 3rd and final part of the Black Guardian trilogy, following; Mawdryn Undead and Terminus.

Enlightenment is easily the best of the three Guardian stories, with its old sailing ships flying in space. It’s a memorable and stylish episode and confirms Who’s biggest strength; mixing old world and new tech – into one big glorious anachronism.

The crew of the Schooner are a race of beings, known as “The Eternals”. Who have unlimited powers but require the input of “Ephemerals” (flesh and blood humanoids) to give the Eternals form and substance – and entertainment.

Each part of Enlightenment works effectively. The Crew of the Schooner – especially Captain Striker (Keith Barron) play their roles with real creepy alien-esque detachment. The bleakness of the space race and the sparse electronic musical arrangement. It feels more like a mid-80’s Terry Gilliam film – than an episode of Who.

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“It seems this race is getting serious. Someone is prepared to kill in order to win!” The Doctor

The only part of Enlightenment which lets down proceedings, is the introduction of the pirates. All “arrr me hearties” and “shiver me timbers” cliches. They are too camp and detract a little bit from the sparse and distant serious tone of the episode.

The prize of Enlightenment is worth killing for – seemingly, as some of the other ships in the race are destroyed in explosions.

The prize itself turns out to be time in the company of the Black and White Guardians and a crystal that will give all-seeing knowledge to the owner.

The Black Guardian is still gunning for the Doctor, with Turlough finally coming to his senses and escaping his torment by throwing the crystal at the Black Guardian, who explodes and disappears.

Enlightenment is a great sparse concept piece and the definite highlight of season 20.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who


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