Doctor Who: Season 20, Episode 20

Enlightenment: Part Four (9 Mar. 1983)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Horror
8.2
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Tegan isn't aware she been outfitted with a devise to destroy Captain Striker's ship. While the detonation will merely slip the indestructible Eternals back into the realm of eternity, ... See full summary »

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Title: Enlightenment: Part Four (09 Mar 1983)

Enlightenment: Part Four (09 Mar 1983) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Keith Barron ...
Lynda Baron ...
Captain Wrack
Valentine Dyall ...
Cyril Luckham ...
Christopher Brown ...
Marriner
Leee John ...
Mansell
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Storyline

Tegan isn't aware she been outfitted with a devise to destroy Captain Striker's ship. While the detonation will merely slip the indestructible Eternals back into the realm of eternity, nothing nearly so elegant or as tidy awaits the Ephemerals aboard the ship. Written by statmanjeff

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9 March 1983 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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This episode was watched by 7.3 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

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The Doctor: You're missing the point. Enlightenment was not the diamond. Enlightenment was the choice.
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Doesn't quite end as strongly as it started but a good story non the less.

Doctor Who: Enlightenment: Part Four starts as Tegan (Janet Fielding) & the Doctor (Peter Davison) are banished from The Buccaneer on Captain Wrack's (Lynda Baron) request while Turlough (Mark Strickson) stays behind. With her last competitor in sight the SS Shadow Captain Wrack summons her source of power only for it to turn out to be the Black Guardian (Valentine Dyall) who has been helping Wrack fix the race from the start. With the prize of Enlightenment to the winner which will give them all knowledge of the Universe from the beginning to the end of time & thus unlimited power still up for grabs the Doctor must prevent it from falling into the wrong hands...

Episode 20 from season 20 this originally aired here in the UK during March 1983, directed by Fiona Cumming I have to confess a strong fondness for Enlightenment. The script by Barbara Clegg has moved along at a good pace throughout, has kept developing across it's four episodes & has been good fun. A sort of Wacky Races (1968 - 1970) in space with period Earth sailing ships including a fully crewed pirate ship with a larger than life Dick Dastardly villain I now consider Enlightenment one of the better Doctor Who stories from the 80's. The concluding episode of the final story from the Guardian Trilogy which started with Mawdryn Undead (1983) followed by Terminus (1983) & finishing with Enlightenment the whole Turlough subplot is resolved here but not to much satisfaction & he is kept on as a regular companion. If the Black Guardian held the prize to create chaos & destruction throughout the Universe why didn't he just use it himself? Was the whole thing set-up just to test Turlough? If so why? Why Turlough in particular? If not then what would the Eternals have won? In the end it is revealed that Enlightenment is a choice rather than an actual object or specific power so again what was the point of the race exactly? Then there's the worst piece of scripting in the entire serial where the two people are supposedly blasted out into space & at first it is thought it was the Doctor & Turlough but later on it turns out it was Captain Wrack & her first officer yet there's no explanation of how the Doctor & Turlough even prevented themselves from being thrown into space let alone how they managed to overcome, overpower & throw two heavily armed pirates into space instead. Also one is left with the burning question what happened to the human crew of the SS Shadow? A lot of significance was given to them during Part One yet by Part Three they had completely disappeared from the story seemingly forgotten about by everyone including the Doctor. I would have liked a cleaner slightly more satisfying end to what has otherwise been a terrific story but nothings perfect I suppose.

There's a really surreal moment in this episode when Captain Wrack steps into some darkness & becomes a disembodied floating head which then multiplies & each separate head starts floating around! Weird. There's an amusing little sequence where the pirate crew on Captain Wrack's ship make someone walk the plank & into oblivion in outer space! The model work has been pretty good as have most of the optical effects, Enlightenment looks better than a lot of the stories around it in my opinion thanks to good period sets & some good direction. There's a very poorly conceived scene where the Doctor smashes the red jewel Captain Wrack planted on Tegan yet instead of just picking the rug up on which the broken bits had fallen they try to pick each little individual fragment up one at a time! The acting has been fine, Mark Strickson as Turlough has been really intense in this & some of the faces he pulls are priceless. Enlightenment marked the last appearance of both the Black & White Guardians & also dispels the idea raised during season sixteens Key to Time stories that they were different aspects of the same being. Those dead birds on top of their heads do look silly though.

Enlightenment: Part Four is a slightly unsatisfactory end to what had been a a terrific story, the lack of explanation revolving around how the Doctor & Turlough defeated Captain Wrack & a confusing climax in which we never really find out what Enlightenment is do tend to irritate. Overall across it's four episodes I swill give Enlightenment a well above average 7 stars out of 10 & say it's one of my favourite 80's Doctor Who stories.


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