Number : Season 17, episode 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 parts.
Plot : The Doctor and Romana land the Tardis on a space cruiser, called the Empress. Which has collided with a small transport vessel – called the Hecate whilst both attempted to dematerialize from hyperspace. The resulting time distortion brings weird clawed monsters aboard. Meanwhile, Empress crew members are showing symptoms of Vraxoin [drug] abuse
Whats good : Strong concept. Drug abusing and trafficking in space.
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 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 his job.
If the two collided ships weren’t enough of a headache for the Doctor, deadly alien creatures begin emanating from time distortions aboard the Empress.
It’s all the fault of Professor Tryst and his unstable Dr Parnassus’s – Imaginarium – traveling animal circus, or Continual Event Transmuter (CET). Similar to the miniscope device – that the Third Doctor got trapped in, in Carnival Of Monsters.
Which is leaking the monsters 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 rampaging around the Empress – when killed, dissolve into a certain white addictive substance – Vraxoin.
The Mandrels themselves, have that man-in-a-suit look about them and kind of wouldn’t look 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 to meet huge demand on the outer colonies.
Nightmare Of Eden has a surprisingly strong moral message aimed at drug abuse – and – for when it was written; was no doubt aimed at the problems in society, as much then, as now.
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