As part of Tom Baker’s final season, as the Fourth Doctor. Part of 1980/81 – season 18 was devoted to a running 3 episode story-arc later to be known as “the E-Space trilogy”.
Conceived by science-fact purveyor & script editor around mid-1980 ; Chris H. Bidmead – who was looking to inject some real sounding science – into season 18.
Producer JNT stupulated 3 non-negotiable angles. One – Romana actress Lalla Ward’s contract was up and she was leaving, 2 – K9 had to go, as JNT felt it was too easy to use the robotic dog to get the Doctor out of a scrape. 3 – A new companion called Adric was to be written in.
The Doctor accidentally pilots the Tardis through a “charged vaccuum embointment” (CVE), (a doorway to you and me!) in space to an alternate “exo-space” universal reality and then spends the next 3 episodes trying to get back.
The E-Space Trilogy marked a monumental shift in the Fourth Doctor’s fortunes and companional situation, as Romana and K9 decided to remain in E-Space and Adric joined.
Adric was an Alzarian boy, who the Doctor met on the planet Alzarius in Full Circle when he found a colony of humanoids living and repairing a crashed spacefreighter.
Following a meeting with some E-Space vampires, in State of Decay; the Doctor then found a door to regular N-Space, in Warriors’ Gate. It was at this point, that Romana and K9, decided to remain behind (for good); to help a race called; the Tharils.
The E-Space Trilogy had an overriding theme, throughout it’s 3 episodes – of decay and entropy. From the decaying rocket, in which the Vampires dwell in State of Decay to the Tharil’s tumbledown castle; in Warriors’ Gate.
State of Decay was a very familar gothic tale. From the pen of Terrance Dicks, which could have had a place in the classic Philip Hinchcliffe era of 1974-76 and had infact been rewritten from an earlier script from 1977.
Full Circle was more extraodinary as a twisty concept-piece, as it was originally penned by a 17-year old fan of the show; Andrew Smith and sent in. Producers liked the script so much, it was commissioned with a few rewrites.
Warriors’ Gate was the standout
concluding piece of the E-Space trilogy, written by Stephen Gallagher. A sparse concept bluescreen SFX-driven piece, overlaid with ghostly images of gardens and castles. It was a troubled production, with fighting behind the scenes but the finished piece was memorably eiree.
New companion Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) was never a particularly well conceived (or written) character in Who’s long history. Waterhouse was recruited for the part after being talent-spotted, while working as a BBC clerk.
Indeed, State of Decay featured Adric’s first open betrayal of the Doctor. In helping the Vampires, (he did more of this in later episodes!) which was hardly going to endear him to the public.
Warriors’ Gate was more poignant, as it marked the departure of companion Romana and K9 from the series. Indeed, at that very point – Tom Baker and Lalla Ward had (briefly) got married in real life too. So it made their farewell more heartfelt.
E-Space Trilogy, also marked the beginning of the end – for the Fourth Doctor too; who wearily sensed his generational mortality – was in sight.