Friday 13 July 2012

598 Terminus Part One

EPISODE: Terminus Part One
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 15 February 1983
WRITER: Stephen Gallagher
DIRECTOR: Mary Ridge
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

The Black Guardian has Turlough damages the Tardis, causing Nyssa to be trapped in the lab by a dimensional instability. The Tardis locks onto the nearest spacecraft and a door forms which the Doctor urges her to go through it to escape. He follows her, followed by Tegan & Turlough but the door closes behind them. The Doctor finds Nyssa hiding in the ship. As they wander the ship two space pirates, Kari & Olvir board it and attempt to take control deck discovering it's on automatic. When the Doctor & Nyssa enter the bridge they are captured. Tegan & Turlough hear a cry for help and investigate. Kari & Olvir are abandoned by their crewmates as the ship's systems come online and it starts moving. While looking for a crowbar to open a door Turlough discovers the exit to the Tardis. Behind Tegan the door starts to open and she is grabbed by a number of arms before Turlough rescues her. The spaceship docks with something and the public address system announces that they have arrived at Terminus and all passengers should disembark. All over the ship doors open and large numbers of ill and diseased people slowly emerge. Olvir panics, realising they have come to Terminus where all the Lazars come to die.

A mysterious deserted ship, covered in skulls, revealed in the last few minutes to be carrying the victims of a dreadful plague, you can't got wrong really? Well they did but it wasn't the fault of writer Stephen Gallagher (Warrior's Gate). Those identical clean white space pirate costumes with their little capes and silly bubble space helmets are ridiculous! The Tardis wiki credits one Dee Robson with being costume designer (Also Arc of Infinity, Blake's 7 & The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - is she the woman that put Arthur Dent in a dressing gown?)

So what is Nyssa doing in the lab at the start of the episode? Synthesizing an enzyme? (Hang the gun on the wall in part one.........) She's had to do it before, and Adric's helped her with some calculations. But why? Is there something in her Traken metabolism that's giving her problems that means she needs to take something for it? If they'd been thinking in advance they'd have tied this into her collapse in Four to Doomsday/Kinda and have the "synthesizing the enzyme" as the long term solution.

This episode got the production team into trouble on two counts: the use of the word leper towards the end of the episode was complained about and the Tannoy company complained about the use of their registered trademark in the end credits.

This episode features a very early TV appearance from Kathy Burke playing, uncredited, one of the lazars. She'll spend the next few years making bit part appearances in various productions, including one in A Very Peculiar Practice, before finding fame working with Harry Enfield

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