Number : Season 17, serial 4 of 6.

Which One : Crack addicts – in space!

Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Romana : Lalla Ward
K9 MK-II : David Brierly (voice)
Professor Tryst : Lewis Fiander
Della : Jennifer Lonsdale
Dymond : Geoffrey Bateman
Captain Rigg : David Daker
Secker : Stephen Jenn
Stott : Barry Andrews
Officer Fisk : Geoffrey Hinsliff
Officer Costa : Peter Craze

Written By : Bob Baker

Produced By : Graeme Williams

First UK Broadcast : 24 November – 15 December 1979.

Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.

Plot : The Doctor and Romana, journey to a spacecruiser, called the Empress. The Empress has collided, with a small transport vessel; called the Hecate. Both ships were attempting to dematerialize, from hyperspace. The resulting time-distortion brings weird clawed monsters, aboard. Meanwhile, Empress crew members start showing symptoms of Vraxoin drug-abuse

Whats good : Strong concept. Drug abusing and trafficking in space. Moral piece.

Whats bad : Aside from the drugs message, it’s not the strongest story.The Mandrels are bit “men-in-suit” looking.

Review With Spoilers : Nightmare Of Eden, is a Doctor Who tale with a strong moral message, regarding the degradation of society – through substance abuse.

Infact, we’re not more than 10 minutes in and we witness first hand, the affect of Vraxoin on the Empress’s co-pilot Secker. Who wanders off from a ship-to-ship collision, seemingly more interested in another Vraxoin hit – than this emergency situation.

If the two collided ships, weren’t enough of a headache; for the Doctor. Deadly alien creatures, called Mandrels, begin emanating from time-distortions, onboard the Empress.

It turns out, all the fault of Professor Tryst and his unstable (Dr Parnassus’s – Imaginarium inspired) – traveling animal circus, or Continual Event Transmuter (CET). Similar to the miniscope device – that the Third Doctor got trapped in, in Carnival Of Monsters.

The CET is leaking the Mandrels out, from a live image of the planet Eden, which the Professor took and stored in the CET; as a record of a biology expedition.

“I shall be charging you with gross neglect of duty. The passengers should be your first concern, yet I find you drunkenly looking on as they are attacked and killed. Well?” Fisk
“They’re only economy class; what’s all the fuss about?” [Drugged up] Captain Rigg

Nightmare Of Eden then picks up a who-dunnit strand, when the Doctor discovers that the The Mandrels – when killed, dissolve into a certain white addictive substance; Vraxoin.

The Mandrels themselves, have that ‘man-in-a-suit’ look about them and wouldn’t have looked out of place, on Saturday morning kids TV, or the Muppet show.

This leaves somebody aboard the Empress, acting as a drug-runner and the culprit isn’t too hard to work out. Still, it adds another interesting strand; to the humans-under-siege-by-monsters plotline.

Cleverly, like Creature From The Pit, the Mandrels turn out to be the exploited party in this tale – being harvested for the drug-demand, on the outer colonies.

Nightmare Of Eden has a surprisingly strong moral
-message, aimed at drug abuse and for when it was written; it was no doubt aimed at the problems in late 70’s society, – as much then, as now.

🔵🔵🔵🔘⚪ (3.5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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