Enlightenment (1983)

Whereas ‘Terminus’ was boring and I didn’t care about this story which was essentially a holding pattern, I found ‘Enlightenment’ to be far and away a much better story. ‘Enlightenment’ is a story that has a lot riding on it as it is the culmination of 6 weeks worth of drama. This story was granted the rare honour of being given a two disc release where sees a directors cut version which is a full movie length offering with new special effects but that wasn’t the version that I watched. I chose to stick with the good old fashioned original version. This is the first story in Doctor Who history to be written by a woman. This would be Clegg’s only contribution to Doctor Who on TV but another story would be released in the Lost Stories series for Big Finish in the form of ‘Point of Entry’ (2010) and ‘The Elite’ (2011).

This story takes place in the middle of a race by a bunch of sailing ships that wouldn’t be out of place in a ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ movie except these ships are in space which is quite a different way of pitching a story. The story has a bonkers feel to it with characters on the ships that are there purely there to win ‘Enlightenment’. The people making the decisions are all eternals whereas the sailors are actually from Earth. The Eternals can read minds and this gives them an added menace as they don’t shout, don’t become violent, just menacing. Except for one who seems to fall in love with Tegan despite not actually knowing what love is. The Eternals need the humans or ephemerals as they are called in order to exist and the ephemerals don’t seem to think that there is anything wrong with their setting.

The story moves in location to the more pirate of the ships where we are introduced to more eternals who are led by Lynda Byron. This is her first appearance on the show though her voice was used in the 1966 adventure ‘The Gunfighters’ when she sung that god awful ‘Last Chance Saloon’. In this she plays Wrack and I think that the character seemed a bit to over the top for the story. I think that Byron does make the character much more bareable than she otherwise would have been. Keith Baron who is another big name for appearing in the sitcom ‘classic’ ‘Duty Free’ does better as the leader of his ship. Striker is far more sinister but less emotive than Wrack.

If I had a problem with this story then it would be the third part which is actually gutted from the special edition more or less. It just seems like padding which is a shame because the story before and after this is rather quite good. The most important scene of this trilogy is rather well done. I’m not sure why the Guardians have birds on their heads. Valentine Dyall is the better of the two as throughtout the last three stories he has been the menacing prescene and we only see the White Guardian in this story. Cyril Luckham’s performance is rather ineffective at the beginning but when it comes to the scene where Turlough has to choose whether to accept the prize, he actually delivers the goods and his purpose in the story is warranted.

Enlightenment is actually the best story of the Guardian trilogy. Yes it suffers from bagging in episode three and the characters of Wrack and the White Guardian aren’t quite what they should be to compliment the rest of the story. It’s a fine end to the trilogy.

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