OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 603
STORY NUMBER: 129
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 02 March 1983
WRITER: Barbara Clegg
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment
Captain Striker reveals all the competitors in the race are Eternals, who have organised this race as a distraction for themselves using period humans as crew on their ships. He shows the Doctor one of the other competitors, Critas the Greek, an Eternal disguised perfectly in every detail except for the 16th century Spanish ruby ring he is wearing. They are racing for the prize of Enlightenment. The ships reach the first marker buoy in their journey, the planet Venus, but as they round it the Greek's ship explodes as it tries to overtake the Buccaneer. Tegan is unwell, so is taken bellow to her quarters which contain objects from her home in Brisbane that the Eternals have modelled from her mind. Both she & Turlough wish to leave but Striker detects their desire for the Tardis and has it confiscated. They are invited on deck, wearing space suits, but when the Black Guardian taunts Turlough for his failure to kill the Doctor, telling him he will remain on the ship forever, Turlough throws himself overboard.
Remember me telling you how I missed all the even numbered episodes this season? Well this was the one that seemed to matter the least. Watching episodes 1 & 3 aged 9 I could easily fill in the gaps between them. While there's not much action there's lots of detail though that paints a better picture of what's going on.
Enlightenment very nearly didn't make it to screen. The studio filming was originally planned in two blocks: November 16th & 17th 1982 and November 30th - December 2nd 1982. Unfortunately at that point a dispute between the BBC and the Electrician's Union then blew up into full blown strike action forcing the cancellation of the studio dates. Director Fiona Cumming took advantage of the unexpected break and went on holiday to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and we'll hear more of the influence that trip has later. Once the action was resolved producer John Nathan-Turner has a problem: he needed to film Enlightenment to finish the trilogy of stories that included the Black Guardian and introduced Turlough. So he assigned Enlightenment the dates previously allocated to the final story of the season, known as The Return, written by script editor Eric Saward and directed by Peter Grimwade. Enlightenment was filmed in the studio on January 17th & 18th and then January 30th to February 1st 1983, a month before transmission, with the planned penultimate, now final, story of the season the King's Demons recorded on 5th-7th December 1982 at Bodiam Castle and in the studio on 19th & 20th December.
As a result of the change of dates there were two alterations to the cast. Captain Striker should have been played by Peter Sallis, previously Penley in The Ice Warriors, and by then famous as Norman Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine. Now he's probably best known as the voice Wallace in the Wallace & Grommit films, co-written by Doctor Who's former writer Bob Baker. The other role recast was that of the as yet unseen Mansell who would have been played by David Rhule.
Come back in four days time for more on the cancellation of The Return and it's consequences.