OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 518
STORY NUMBER: 107
TRANSMITTED: 24 November 1979
WRITER: Bob Baker
DIRECTOR: Alan Bromly
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.7 million viewers
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - Nightmare of Eden but the DVD should be out now
Gasp! We're watching a video! Yup these blog entries are written in advance and true to form just as I completed Nightmare of Eden the DVD Pre Order went up!
The spaceliner Empress comes out of Hyperspace into orbit around the planet Azure but due to an error by the co-pilot Secker it collides with and ends up fused with another ship the Hecate. The Tardis arrives and, seeing the unstable matter interface between the ships, the Doctor decides to interfere and poses as an investigator from Galactic insurance & salvage. He meets captain Rigg, the commanding officer of the Empress, and Mr Dymond, the owner of the Hecate. The Doctor comes up with a plan to separate the ships. Secker is told to take the Doctor to the power room, but behaving oddly, leaves him. The Doctor & K-9 follow and discover Secker using the banned drug Vraxoin. Romana meets Tryst, and his assistant Della, engaged in a survey using his CET machine which keep matter in a crystal in the machine. The Doctor tells Rigg that he thinks Secker is using Vraxoin. The drugged up Secker wanders into an unstable matter interface. The Doctor asks Tryst about where he has visited, but Dymond is keen to get his ship separated so he has Rigg take him to the Power Unit. Tryst reveals to Romana that a member of their crew was killed on the journey. Romana examines the projections of the planets Tryst has been to and catches sight of someone inside the Eden projection. Della reveals that it was on Eden the lost their other crew member. Trying to reach the power unit the Doctor finds his path blocked by a matter interface. He hears a scream and a bloodied Secker falls out of the interface. Returning to where Secker keeps his drugs the Doctor is shot. Tryst is shown Secker, who dies, and guarantees to Rigg he has only bought recording not live specimens aboard. Romana & K-9 find the Doctor. Romana wonders if the creatures could have escaped from the machine through the unstable matter interface and is sent to examine the CET machine where she is attacked by something in the Eden projection. K-9 starts to cut his way through to the power room but once the hole is complete a rampaging monster is revealed
That's not a bad episode, plenty going on with some reasonable, if functional & unspectacular, sets. Most of the performances aren't bad but Lewis Fiander's accent as Tryst is more than slightly dubious!
There's some nice ideas floating around in Bob Baker's first and only solo story for Doctor Who (previously he'd written with Dave Martin) The fused ships coming out of Hyperspace is good but the CET Machine is startlingly reminiscent of the Scope seen in Carnival of Monsters. The drugs angle to the plot is a surprisingly adult one for Doctor Who to be tackling at this time.
Do the Backgrounds of the environment shown from the CET machine look familiar? They're from footage from model sequences created for several Space 1999 episodes: The planet Retha from Full Circle, Piri from Guardians of Piri and Terra Nova from Matter of Life & Death.