Enlightenment (Doctor Who)

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127 – Enlightenment
Doctor Who serial
Enlightenment (Doctor Who).jpg
Docking at the home of the Enlighteners
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Barbara Clegg
Director Fiona Cumming
Script editor Eric Saward
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Malcolm Clarke
Production code 6H
Series Season 20
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 1 March 1983 – 9 March 1983
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
Terminus The King's Demons

Enlightenment is the fifth serial of the 20th season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which aired on BBC1 in four twice-weekly parts from 1 March 1983 to 9 March 1983. The 127th serial of the series,[note 1] Enlightenment was the third of three loosely connected serials known as the Black Guardian Trilogy. It was written by Barbara Clegg and directed by Fiona Cumming.

In the serial, alien time traveller the Doctor (Peter Davison) and his companions Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding) and Vislor Turlough (Mark Strickson) encounter a group of god-like immortals who are racing historical Earth sailing vessels through space, crewed by humans they had plucked out of time, in an attempt to win the prize of the titular enlightenment. Turlough is under the control of the Black Guardian (Valentine Dyall), but struggles with the Guardian's orders to kill the Doctor.

The serial's production was beset by problems caused by industrial action taken by electricians at the BBC during filming. It was eventually finished three months behind schedule, but the unavailability of several actors for new filming dates forced the production team to recast their parts at short notice. Enlightenment averaged of 6.8 million viewers per episode on its first transmission and received generally positive reviews from critics. The story was novelised by its writer, Barbara Clegg, as part of the ongoing Target Books range in 1984 and was released on video and DVD in 1993 and 2009 respectively.

Plot[edit]

Following interference from the White (Cyril Luckham) and Black (Valentine Dyall) Guardians, the TARDIS materialises in what appears to be the hold of a ship. The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) leaves companion Tegan (Janet Fielding) in the TARDIS while he and Turlough (Mark Strickson) leave to explore.

The Doctor discovers the crew remember nothing of coming aboard, have been below decks the whole time, and that the ship they are on has been entered in some sort of race. Tegan leaves the TARDIS and encounters the ship's first mate, Marriner (Christopher Brown), who offers to take her to her friends, while the Doctor and Turlough encounter Captain Striker (Keith Barron). In the ship's wheelhouse, the Doctor sees a map of the racecourse, complete with "marker buoys" which he recognises as the planets of Earth's solar system. Marriner then operates anachronistic electronic controls and a viewscreen activates to show the other contestants — a Greek trireme, a 17th Century pirate ship, and other vessels from other times, all floating in deep space and using solar wind propulsion.

The Doctor discovers that the ship's officers are Eternals, beings who live in the "trackless wastes of eternity," as opposed to the Doctor and his companions, who are "Ephemerals." When one of the other ships explodes the Doctor begins to suspect sabotage. Tegan feels ill, so Marriner escorts her to a room, which contains items from the TARDIS and her rooms in Brisbane and realises Marriner has been reading her mind.

The Doctor discovers that Eternals use Ephemerals for their thoughts and ideas. The Eternals have lived for so long that they are unable to think for themselves and need human minds to give them existence. The prize for winning the race is Enlightenment, the wisdom to know everything. The TARDIS is discovered by the Eternals, who make it vanish. Trapped on board the Edwardian ship for the moment, the Doctor and his companions go on board deck in space suits. Turlough hears the voice of the Black Guardian taunting him and unable to take the strain, he leaps overboard into space.

Turlough is rescued by the Buccaneer, the pirate ship commanded by Captain Wrack (Lynda Baron). Wrack sends her first mate to present one of the other competitors with a jewelled sword, and to deliver party invitations to the other captains. Marriner offers to escort Tegan and the Doctor to the party as one of the ships draws level with the Buccaneer. Wrack shows Turlough a locked chamber with a vacuum shield, and he hears the voice of the Black Guardian through the door as the rival ship explodes, apparently hit by an asteroid. The Doctor again suspects foul play as the ship was also challenging the Buccaneer.

Arriving on board the Buccaneer, the Doctor and Tegan mingle while Turlough sneaks off to examine the locked chamber. Following Turlough, the Doctor discovers a device he believes that Wrack uses to transmit power to destroy the other ships, using some sort of focus. The pair recall that the captains of both destroyed ships had received red crystals as gifts from Wrack, leading the Doctor to believe that the crystals are the focus. Before they can act on it, however, they are captured by Wrack's first mate. Meanwhile, Wrack has managed to lure Tegan away from the party to her wheelhouse and freezes her in time while she plants a crystal in her tiara.

Confronted by Wrack, Turlough accuses the Doctor of being a spy and claims he was trying to capture the Doctor. The Doctor, Tegan and Marriner return to their ship but Wrack reads Turlough's mind, discovering he is lying, and is about to kill him, only for Turlough to tell her that he, too, serves the Black Guardian. As the ships near the crystalline space station of the Enlighteners, the Buccaneer pulls level with the Edwardian Ship, and Wrack takes Turlough into her chamber, this time letting him witness her summoning the power of the Black Guardian. The Doctor, seeing the Buccaneer pull close, discovers the crystal in Tegan's tiara. The Doctor smashes it, but only manages to multiply its power by the number of fragments.

The Doctor hurls the pieces overboard as they explode. Suddenly, the wind dies, and Wrack pulls ahead of the Edwardian ship. The Eternals return the TARDIS to the Doctor and he travels to the Buccaneer. He tries to reason with Wrack, but her first mate shows up with Turlough, and she orders that the Doctor be thrown into space. As Tegan watches from the Edwardian ship, two bodies are ejected into space, and the Buccaneer reaches the finish. The human crews of the ships vanish.

The Enlighteners are the Black and White Guardians, and the winner is the Doctor, who brought the ship in with Turlough's help when Wrack and her first mate met with an "accident." The Doctor, however, refuses the diamond crystal containing Enlightenment, and the White Guardian dismisses Striker and Marriner, who vanish back into eternity. As Turlough helped the Doctor, he is entitled to a portion of the prize. The Black Guardian reminds Turlough of their bargain, and says that he can give up the diamond, or sacrifice the Doctor to gain both Enlightenment and the TARDIS. Turlough hurls the diamond at the Black Guardian, who vanishes in screams and flames. The Doctor points out that Enlightenment was not the diamond, but the choice itself.

Continuity[edit]

To commemorate the show's anniversary, every story during Season 20 included the return of an enemy from The Doctor's past. During this trilogy (begun in the serial Mawdryn Undead, and concluding with Enlightenment), the enemy was the Black Guardian, who was last encountered by the fourth incarnation of the Doctor at the conclusion of The Key to Time saga in the 1979 serial The Armageddon Factor.[1] The story also saw the return of the White Guardian, who had also not been seen since 1979. To date, neither character, nor the Eternals, have appeared in the show again.[1][2]

Production[edit]

Conception and writing[edit]

After penning a number of radio and TV scripts, including episodes of Crossroads and Waggoner's Walk, Barbara Clegg submitted a story idea to Doctor Who script editor Eric Saward, an acquaintance from the BBC drama department.[1] Interested in writing for the series, Clegg had been inspired when distant relatives had stayed with her and demanded constant entertainment during their visit, basing the character of the Eternals upon them. Initially titled The Enlighteners, her submission involved ships racing through space that, with the addition of the Black Guardian sub-plot, eventually evolved into the story as screened. Saward and series producer John Nathan-Turner liked Clegg's ideas, and they commissioned the script in September 1981. The first episode was delivered by Clegg in October and the three following episodes arriving in January 1982.[3] The serial was now scheduled to conclude a three-story trilogy featuring the Black Guardian, and Clegg duly wrote the recurring characters into her scripts.[3] By May 1982 there were problems with a script by Pat Mills, Song of the Space Whale, which had been intended to open the Black Guardian trilogy. Mills' script was eventually dropped and the production team considered moving The Enlighteners forward in the season to replace it, necessitating considerable re-wites. Peter Grimwade was eventually commissioned to write Mawdryn Undead to replace The Song of the Space Whale, and The Enlighteners was confirmed as the fifth serial of the season.[4] The first draft of Part One did not contain any of the material concerning the Guardians, and Turlough was a peripheral figure, with the script focussing on the relationship between Marriner and Tegan.[5] With pre-production underway, Saward changed the story title to Enlightenment in September 1982, a title he felt was more enigmatic.[3] Saward also rewrote portions of the script pertaining to the story-arc, particularly the final confrontation scenes at the end of Part Four.[6] Peter Moffatt had been originally scheduled as the serials director, but following the problems with the Space Whale script he was asked to helm its replacement due to his experience, and so Fiona Cumming was asked to take over Enlightenment.[7]

Once production began it became apparent that Part One and Part Two were under-running so more dialogue was written to fill in the time.[4] It was originally intended that the character of Jackson would not reappear after the second episode, but during filming Saward became concerned that it appeared that he had been executed and so he and Clegg rewrote Part Three to include him.[2] Part Three also looked to be under running so scenes from Part Four were brought forward and the final scenes with the Guardians were extended to compensate.[4]

Casting[edit]

Cumming came up with the idea that the Eternals would not blink and cast actors who she believed could provide detached performances.[4] Cumming recalled Peter Sallis had played a similarly detached character in the 1974 BBC drama The Pallisers, and cast him in the role of Striker. Sallis was present during the rehearsals for the serial but when production was delayed he was unavailable for the new filming dates, being committed to filming Last of the Summer Wine and was forced to drop out of the production, being replaced by Keith Barron.[7] Lynda Baron was cast as Captain Wrack, having previously participated in Doctor Who in the 1966 serial The Gunfighters, as the voice that sings the "Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" heard throughout that story.[8] Tony Caunter, who had previously played Thatcher in The Crusade and Morgan in Colony in Space was given the role of Jackson, with Christopher Brown and David Rhule being cast as Marriner and Wrack's sidekick Mansell respectively.[5] Similarly to Sallis, David Rhule was unavailable for the revised filming dates in January, so singer Leee John replaced him at short notice, despite having no previous acting experience.[6]

Valentine Dyall had originally played the Black Guardian in the 1979 serial The Armageddon Factor, the character's first appearance in the series, and reprised the role for season 20, appearing in Mawdryn Undead, Terminus and Enlightenment.[1] Similarly Cyril Luckham reprised the role of the White Guardian, that he had previously played in the 1979 serial The Ribos Operation.[1]

Design[edit]

The interior sets of the boats were not built specifically for the programme, but were pulled together from stock items from various prop warehouses.[9] Cumming had originally hoped to simulate the rocking of the ships by mounting the sets on rollers but the idea was dropped due to costs, with the effect achieved by moving the cameras instead.[1] The photo of Tegan's Aunt Vanessa, one of the items created by Marriner from the contents of her mind, was shot specifically for the filming, requiring Dolore Whiteman (who had played the character in Logopolis) to be contracted for a one-day photoshoot.[4] The models of the boats, used in the racing sequences, were props sourced by visual effects designer Mike Kelt following extensive research at the National Maritime Museum.[4] The ships were mounted on rods for filming, while the oars were battery operated. The model of Davey's ship remained intact, with explosion being a filmed effect that was edited into the sequence.[4] Kelt was shocked by the dilapidated state of the TARDIS console prop, and was worried about damaging it while filming the explosion from Part One, and asked producer John Nathan-Turner if he could replace it but was told there was no money available.[4]

The anachronistic wetsuits on the Edwardian ship were actually heavy-duty overalls that had been painted black.[5] Janet Fielding struggled with the low cut ball-gown she wore during filming as it threatened to expose her breasts on a number of occasions.[8] The ball gown worn by Baron was made especially for the serial and was the most expensive costume on display.[8] The newspaper found by the Doctor in Part One was a reprint of The Times from September 1901,[4] while the food and drink served during the party scenes was all real.[8]

Filming[edit]

The serial began principal filming in early November 1982, with filming divided into two main blocks.[6] The first block was shot on film at Ealing Studios between 3–5 November and consisted of the deck scenes and a number of model shots. Actor Mark Strickson was injured while filming the scene of Turlough throwing himself overboard, when the Kirby wire he was suspended from broke, leaving him only able to walk with difficulty for several weeks.[4] The studio work was scheduled to run from 6 November until mid December and consisted of all the interior scenes and those in the TARDIS.[6] By mid-November however the electricians union the EEPTU, had begun strike action which disrupted the filming of a number of BBC productions including Enlightenment and potentially meaning the final three serials of the season would have to be abandoned.[3] The electricians dispute was settled by December, but it had badly affected the series recording schedule. The crew were able to shoot the following serial The King's Demons on schedule, meaning that there was only one recording block left for the part-completed Enlightenment and Eric Saward's season finale; The Return.[7] With some filming already completed, and its importance in concluding the Black Guardian story-arc, it was decided that Enlightenment should take precedence and so it had its second production block moved to January 1983,[6] while The Return was abandoned.[7] Due to the delays, the serial only finished filming around a month before its transmission date, meaning that composer Malcolm Clarke only received the first episode for scoring a week before broadcast,[7] having to rely on musical cues he had recorded weeks earlier without having seen any footage.[8]

Themes[edit]

Writer Barbara Clegg based the Eternals on a wealthy group of her relatives, who upon visiting her had demanded constant entertainment, treating other family members almost as "lesser beings".[4] Clegg also drew inspiration from the Bible's Book of Genesis, deriving the prize of enlightenment from The Tree of Knowledge within it, while having read about Solar winds she decided to use them as the basis of propulsion for space vessels.[4] Clegg highlighted the nature of enlightenment, showing it not to be knowledge, as the Eternals believe, but wisdom, as demonstrated by Turlough's rejection of the Black Guardian.[10]

The story echoes a recurring theme from the show; that of bored, god-like beings playing with the lives of mortals for the purpose of amusement.[11] In their book About Time, Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood liken this to a prevalent strand of children's fiction, where magical worlds are held together by the rules of the children who visit them.[12] Miles and Wood also highlight the political elements of the story, likening the portrayal of the Eternals to the view of the upper classes as "effete parasites feeding off the labour (and in this case the imagination) of the proles." The Doctor then, acts as part of the class struggle, helping the workers gain freedom while the gentry get their comeuppance.[10]

In his essay Love is a Stranger, published in the first volume of the Doctor Who Magazine — Special Edition, David Bailey highlights the central theme that "...the lives of little people are precious, special and worth fighting for... ...the Eternals may have unimaginable power at their fingertips but they lack, and are jealous of, one thing: the ability to live, and die."[13] The hollowness of immortality was a thread that ran through Season 20, with the earlier story Mawdryn Undead showing Mawdryn trapped in an endless cycle of painful regeneration, while in The Five Doctors, Borusa's prize of immortality results in little more than a living death.[13] The horror of eternal life is brought home when the Black Guardian threatens Turlough with immortality as a punishment for failure, something that drives him to try and commit suicide rather than face eternity.[13]

Broadcast[edit]

Enlightenment was first broadcast in a twice-weekly slot on BBC One during the first two weeks of March 1983. The story episodes averaged 6.8 million viewers, with the highest viewing figures being 7.3 million for the final episode.[3] The episodes averaged 67.5% on BARB's Appreciation Index, with Part Four once again achieving the highest figures.[3]

Enlightenment broadcast details
Episode Channel Date Time Duration Viewing figures Position AI Refs
Reception
"Part One" BBC One March 1, 1983 6.55 pm 24' 12" 6.6m 89th 67% [3][14]
"Part Two" BBC One March 2, 1983 6.46 pm 24' 23" 7.2m 76th 65% [3][14]
"Part Three" BBC One March 8, 1983 6.55 pm 24' 38" 6.2m 99th 68% [3][14]
"Part Four" BBC One March 9, 1983 6.46 pm 24' 34" 7.3m 68th 70% [3][14]

Key[edit]

  • Episode = The episode title
  • Channel = The TV channel on which the episode was first broadcast
  • Date = the date of first broadcast
  • Time = The time of day of the first broadcast
  • Duration = the length of the transmitted episode
  • Viewing figures = The number of viewers in millions
  • Position = The episodes ranking in the weekly TV viewing chart published by BARB
  • AI = Appreciation Index, viewer satisfaction score as measured by BARB

Archive[edit]

The BBC holds all four episodes on D-3 tape, recorded from the original two-inch broadcast tapes.[4]

Reception[edit]

Reviewing the story for Doctor Who Magazine's 200 Golden Moments special edition, Jeremmy Bentham described it as being epic in scale, suggesting it played to the original strengths of the series; "performance, period set design and claustrophobic mood...". He likens Enlightenment to the work of Stanley Kubrick, saying "...it felt grand, it felt lonely, and yes, it felt epic."[15] On reappraising the story for the same magazine following its release on DVD, Gary Gillatt was equally as effusive, calling it "...one of Doctor Who's finest serials." He highlights the performance of Keith Barron as Captain Striker as being "a master class of under-stated menace" and "pitch perfect", juxtaposing this with the over-the-top pantomime villainy of Lynda Baron as Captain Wrack, with the two captains balancing each other out perfectly.[16]

Writing for the Radio Times, Mark Braxton was less enamoured of some of the performances, suggesting that Baron and Valentine Dyall turn in 'hammy' interpretations of their characters, while Leee John "...makes heavy weather of the simplest activities: helming the ship seems to require the most bizarre posturing." He had mixed views on the story as a whole, saying that "Enlightenment has promising components that come together and briefly create a little magic, then vanish again, like ships that pass in the night."[17] DVD Talk's John Sinnott had similarly mixed views on the serial, although conceding that "...While it doesn't all succeed, they give it a good try and more things work than don't." Sinnott also singled out the performance of Keith Barron for particular praise, along with the relationship between Marriner and Tegan.[18]

In their book About Time, Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood have equally mixed feelings about the serial, praising the setting and the performances of Barron and Brown, and suggesting that it "...carries on the tradition of putting symbols from the world we know into disconcerting environments... ...(it) completes the grand illusion of making the history and the fantasy feel like part of the same continuum." They are less complimentary about other elements however, citing the conclusion as feeling "rushed and tacked on" with too much emphasis on the Guardians and little on the fates of the Eternals. They also dismiss the reveal of enlightenment as being the nature of Turlough's choice, as coming "perilously close to tweeness" and accuse it of being "cod-mythologic moralising".[19]

Enlightenment was placed in 72nd position in Doctor Who Magazine's Mighty 200 reader survey in 2009, which ranked every Doctor Who serial to that point in order of preference.[20]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Enlightenment
Series Target novelisations
Release number 85
Writer Barbara Clegg
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0-426-19537-X
Release date 24 May 1984

A novelisation of this serial, written by story author Barbara Clegg, was published by Target Books in May 1984, with a cover by Andrew Skilleter, and was numbered 85 in the ongoing range.[21] It was the first Doctor Who novelisation to be penned by a woman.[21] On its publication Doctor Who Magazine was underwhelmed by the book, claiming in their review that "In many ways, it falls into the familiar Terrance Dicks pitfalls, being a straight forward reworking of the script with "said" following all the speeches. For all its faults, Enlightenment remains a good read, simply because of the strength of the story..."[22] The book was repackaged as part of The Sixth Doctor Who Gift Set later in 1984, along with three other Doctor Who novels; The Dominators, Mawdryn Undead and The Five Doctors.[21]

Home media[edit]

Enlightenment was released on VHS in February 1993.[23] It was subsequently released on DVD as part of the Black Guardian Trilogy, along with preceding stories Mawdryn Undead and Terminus on 10 August 2009.[24] The second disc of the DVD includes a "Special Edition" version of the story; a movie-style edit featuring new CGI graphics throughout, with a newly recorded introduction by director Fiona Cumming.[25] Doctor Who Magazine was not enthusiastic about the new edit suggesting, that "...what is special about it is up for debate." The reviewer disparaged the new special effects, stating that "...this is ironic as there are few Doctor Who stories less in need of replacement effects than Enlightenment. The original model work is gorgeous, while this substitute material is crude and unsophisticated in comparison."[16] Alongside the special edition, the DVD contained a number of extra features, including a Making of... documentary and extended interviews with director Fiona Cumming, writer Barbara Clegg and actor Mark Strickson, a documentary on the Guardians plus an excerpt from the Russell Harty Christmas Party TV special featuring Peter Davison.[25] This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in issue 57 on 9 March 2011.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 128. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Miles, Lawrence; Wood, Tat (2004). About Time – Volume 5: 1980–1984. Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 0-9759446-4-9. 
  • Bryher, David (March 2013). "Enlightenment". The Fact of Fiction. Doctor Who Magazine (Panini Magazines) (458). 

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Bryher 2013, p. 60.
  2. ^ a b Bryher 2013, p. 64.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Enlightenment". A Brief History of Time (Travel). Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Pixley, Andrew (May 2002). "Enlightenment: Archive Extra". Doctor Who Magazine — Special Edition (Panini Magazines) (1): 38–39. 
  5. ^ a b c Bryher 2013, p. 63.
  6. ^ a b c d e Bryher 2013, p. 61.
  7. ^ a b c d e Miles & Wood 2004, p. 226.
  8. ^ a b c d e Bryher 2013, p. 65.
  9. ^ Bryher 2013, p. 62.
  10. ^ a b Miles & Wood 2004, p. 223.
  11. ^ Miles & Wood 2004, p. 222.
  12. ^ Miles & Wood 2004, pp. 222–223.
  13. ^ a b c Bailey, David (May 2002). "Enlightenment: Love is a Stranger". Doctor Who Magazine — Special Edition (Panini Magazines) (1): 38–39. 
  14. ^ a b c d Miles & Wood 2004, p. 225.
  15. ^ Bentham, Jeremy (May 2009). "Enlightenment". Doctor Who Magazine — Special Edition: 200 Golden Moments (Panini Magazines) (22): 86. 
  16. ^ a b Gillatt, Gary (16 September 2009). "The Black Guardian Trilogy". The DWM Review. Doctor Who Magazine (Panini Magazines) (412): 57–59. 
  17. ^ "Doctor Who: Enlightenment". Radio Times. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  18. ^ Sinnott, John (10 February 2010). "Doctor Who: The Black Guardian Trilogy". DVD Talk. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Miles & Wood 2004, pp. 224–225.
  20. ^ Griffiths, Peter (14 October 2009). "The Mighty 200!". Doctor Who Magazine (Panini Magazines) (413): 20. 
  21. ^ a b c "Enlightenment". On Target. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Enlightenment". Off The Shelf. Doctor Who Monthly (Marvel) (87). April 1984. 
  23. ^ Bryher 2013, p. 67.
  24. ^ "Doctor Who: Black Guardian Trilogy (DVD)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "The Black Guardian Trilogy — DVD". Doctor Who Restoration Team. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]