Monday 16 July 2012

601 Terminus Part Four

EPISODE: Terminus Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 23 February 1983
WRITER: Stephen Gallagher
DIRECTOR: Mary Ridge
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

As the activation lever clicks towards the point at which the fuel will release The Doctor & Kari find they cannot return it to it's safe position. They steal the box the Vanir use to summon the Garm and, once summoned, he deactivates the engines in turn for them destroying the summoning device. Nyssa awakes in a sealed room cured of the disease and is soon freed by Olvir and reunited with the Doctor. Turlough manages to escape the ship back to the Tardis where the Black Guardian becomes angry with him and destroys the crystal. The Doctor convinces Valgard that things could change on Terminus and with Nyssa's help they can make their own Hydromel freeing them from the company that controls them while the cure can be refined with the Garm's help turning Terminus into a real hospital. Nyssa elects to stay behind on Terminus. The Doctor is reunited with Tegan and they make their way back to the Tardis where the Black Guardian once again urges Turlough to kill the Doctor.

Hmm, a little rushed perhaps. Lots of explanation in that final episode, especially about the Hydromel and how the company use it's supply to control the Vanir. Perhaps some of it could have been moved to earlier episodes.... the structure of the story feels a little off with all the first episode being taken up on the ship: maybe arriving at Terminus a little earlier and then spreading the remaining three episodes out a little more might of worked. It could have done with another pass at the script editing stage I think and it could have been much better. As it is it still stands above the likes of Time Flight and Ark of Infinity but knowing how writer Stephen Gallagher's Warrior's Gate turned out you can't help but think this could have been so much better.....

Oddly for a story about a killer disease nobody dies which may be a first for Doctor Who! (Yes, Edge of Destruction, but there's no guest cast there!)

.... but I suppose we're lucky to have it at all. First Time Doctor Who director Mary Ridge helmed a troubled production: the loss of a studio day (due to an electrician's strike which will haunt the rest of the season) and a two hour power failure on the first day of recording threw the schedule out the window, and then a promised extension to recording failed to materialise resulting in a remount nearly two months later during the recording of the final story King's Demons (which itself was original intended to be the penultimate one).

We say goodbye to Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) here who found her contract unexpectedly terminated. Post Doctor Who she did little acting, instead concentrating on bringing up her family, but has in recent years appeared in several Big Finish Doctor Who stories.

Terminus was novelised by it's author in 1983 under the pen name of John Lydecker. It was released on video in early 1993 between Mawdryn Undead & Enlightenment. All three stories were released together on DVD as part of the Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy boxset

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