OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 602
STORY NUMBER: 129
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 01 March 1983
WRITER: Barbara Clegg
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment
The Tardis experiences a power drain, caused by the White Guardian who attempts to warn the Doctor, giving him a set of co-ordinates before the Black Guardian interupts him. The Doctor takes the Tardis to the location specified and he & Turlough find themselves in the hold of a Edwardian sailing ship, and exploring they find the crew room. Tegan witnesses another appearance of the White Guardian who tells her that "Winner takes all". She sees someone outside of the Tardis and goes to investigate being captured by the ship's first mate Marriner. None of he ship's crew can remember coming aboard but all know they're in a race. Marriner reunites Tegan with the Doctor and they are taken to dinner with Captain Striker. Dinner is interrupted as wind catches the ship, and as the crew goes aloft the Doctor finds Turlough. They all go to the bridge, with Tegan finding non contemporary wetsuits hanging in the corridors. On the bridge advanced technology is revealed, showing the ship's competitors: these are sailing vessels floating in space!
Essentially this is Carnival of Monsters 1 reheated. Doctor & companions wander round an Edwardian ship and something isn't quite right with a big revelation of what in the closing minutes. In fact Carnival of Monsters 1 was repeated in mid November 1981 at around about the point this episode was written.
Then there's the ending. The idea of sailing ships in space isn't an original one by any means but unfortunately right as these episodes went out it was being prominently used in Star Fleet, the English translation of the 1980/81 Japanese puppet series X-Bomber. From the fifth episode onwards the mysterious intergalactic sailing ship the Skull was making regular appearances in the series, which would have ruined the ending for a proportion of those watching.
Still at least we have the return of the White Guardian here to occupy us. He looks considerably less agile than when we last saw him - Cyril Luckham played the same character in the opening episode of the Ribos Operation - and what's causing him, an all powerful galactic entity, to need to steal the Tardis' power to get his message across? I'm assuming he must be somehow in the clutches of the Black Guardian..... but I'm not sure late evidence supports this. Remind me to come back to this point in part 4!
I suspect some viewers may have been slightly confused by the White Guardian's message that "Winner Takes All". At the time that was the name of a popular game show on ITV!. And that's not the end of the confusion either because the Doctor Who fans watching would have been wondering where the character from Four to Doomsday was and what she's done to get a story named after her!
And with that there's exactly One Hundred episodes left to go!