As part of the Fourth Doctor’s (Tom Baker’s) – final season. Part of 1980/81 – season 18, was devoted to a running three-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, was looking to inject some real sounding science – into season 18.
Producer JNT stipulated three non-negotiable angles. One; Romana actress Lalla Ward’s contract was up and she had to be written out. Two; K9 had to go – as JNT felt K9 was too much of a ‘deus ex machina’. Three; 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 an alternative universe) known as “exo-space”. The Doctor then spends the next 3 adventures, 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 Fourth Doctor met) on the planet Alzarius in Full Circle. The Doctor 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 three stories; 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. It 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 into the BBC. Producers liked the script – so much, it was commissioned with a few subsequent rewrites.
Warriors’ Gate was the standout
concluding piece, of the E-Space trilogy, written by Stephen Gallagher.
Warriors’ Gatewas a sparse, conceptual – 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 well-written) character. 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 – and personal.
E-Space Trilogy, also marked the beginning of the end – for the Fourth Doctor too; who wearily sensed generational mortality; was in sight.