OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 519
STORY NUMBER: 107
TRANSMITTED: 01 December 1979
WRITER: Bob Baker
DIRECTOR: Alan Bromly
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.6 million viewers
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - Nightmare of Eden but the DVD should be out now
K-9 drives the monster back and reseals the hole. Rigg scans the ships for Vraxoin but finds none. Romana is found by Della. She gets a drink for her, but it gets spiked with Vraxoin and then consumed by Rigg. Romana tells the Doctor she thinks the creature escaped from the machine, which he considers to be unstable. Rigg starts to show the influence of the drug he has accidentally taken. The Doctor & Romana use the Tardis to try to separate the ships, but the Hecate cannot take the stress. The Doctor sees a masked figure flee from one of the matter interfaces and pursues him. The drugged Rigg accuses the Doctor & Romana of first drugs smuggling and then being a narcotics agent as Tryst plies him with drinks. Romana searches for the Doctor but finds on of the creatures and is saved by a mystery man who shoots it who the Doctor thinks is the man he was chasing. The Doctor removed a radiation device from the man linking him to the ship Tryst used. Tryst discusses with Della the possibility that their slain expedition member was the drug smuggler. Tryst then accuses Della of drug smuggling to the Doctor. In the Power Unit, K-9 encounters the monster. Azure custom officers Fisk & Costa come aboard and try to arrest the Doctor, who they detect minute traces of Vraxoin on. They flee to Tryst's room, activate the CET machine and enter the Eden projection.....
Again this episode moves at a nice pace, advancing the plot. There are clues there as to who the culprit is if you've not seen the show before. If you have it'll lodge in your brain and be absolutely obvious, removing much of the point of the serial. Essentially this is just an Agatha Christie style mystery just dressed up with spaceships & monsters.
The director Alan Bromly, who'd previously helmed 1974's The Time Warrior, gets some clever reuse of stair, lift lobby and passenger compartment sets in during this episode to suggest that there's more to the Empress than we think. Unfortunately it is absolutely obvious that it's the same set reused again and again, especially when the same trick is pulled with three different sets one after the other during the Doctor's pursuit of the mystery man. But the scenes shot in the matter interface use some nice video trickery to suggest what's going on, the first time I think this sort of effect has been used on Doctor Who.