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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Black Guardian Trilogy - The 5th Doctor's greatest hits!
This trilogy falls in the middle of Peter Davison's penultimate season as the Doctor. By now he has fully settled into the role and puts in a corker of a performance here.

The three stories here are a loose story arc linked by the involvement of the Black Guardian, portrayed by Valentine Dyall in villainous form, and his attempts to get the Doctor killed. As...
Published on 19 Aug. 2009 by Victor

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "A Lord of Time? Are there Lords in such a small domain?"
Common knowledge and perceived wisdom has it that the Peter Davison era was when things started to go wrong for Doctor Who, but while he never made as much of an impression in the role as his predecessor Tom Baker and was saddled for most of his tenure with the deeply obnoxious `mouth on legs' Tegan, many of his stories were no worse - and some were considerably better -...
Published on 19 May 2010 by Trevor Willsmer


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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bunch of "classic" era stories, 28 Aug. 2009
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The Soft Machine Operator (COVENTRY, WARWICKSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
Three stories linked by the presence of the Black Guardian and his quest to kill off the Doctor. The first story sees the return of Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and the arrival of Turlough, who wears trousers that are too short. The story is set in two time zones and involves undead creatures orbiting the Earth in perpetuity. It's an entertaining story with plenty going on, and Turlough is a suitably creepy character who is mainly notable for being a coward. The return of the Brigadier will please the fans.

Terminus is set on a plague station in the centre of the universe populated by men dressed up as knights and a large dog-like creature who cures people with the disease and dispatches them. This is perhaps the weakest story of them, featuring too much wandering around corridors and a hopeless sub plot involving Tegan and Turlough. Nyssa strips off as the story proceeds. There're some good ideas, but it needed pruning and the acting is diabolically bad. Weakest of the lot.

Enlightment is the strongest story. Unusual, atmosopheric and original. I won't give much away, but this is "Classic Who" at its best.

I am not overly keen on the "Black Guardian" linking story, to be honest - the stories would survive without it.

Three very different stories, but well worth watching for fans of the old series.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Story reviews, 21 July 2009
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
A rather loosley linked 'trilogy', it's linking theme being the return of the Black Guardian who mainly lurks in the background of the stories trying to influence new companion Turlough to kill the Doctor. This theme gets increasingly silly with Turlough constantly failing in this mission and the Black Guardian repeatedly telling him not to fail him again (which he does) and that he has 'one more chance to kill the Doctor!'. The Black Guardian is played with menace by the velvety-voiced Valentine Dyall, but looks rather daft wearing, as he does, a dead bird on his head.
Anyway, the stories themselves: Mawdryn Undead is the best of the three, with a complex, intriguing plot set in two different time zones and featuring the welcome return of the Brigadier. Nicholas Courtney does well at playing two different versions of the Brig, although I still find it highly unlikely that he would end up teaching maths at a public school. The conundrums thrown up the mix ups in time are well done and clever, the main villain is well portrayed and a refreshing change from the usual sterotypical villain, and new companion, the shifty Turlough, is one of the best companions to date. Overall, Mawrdryn Undead is a clever, atmospheric, exciting and very satisfying story.
Terminus, on the other hand, is pretty dire. It's got a rather clever and imaginative plot and is refreshingly adult and serious but the whole production is so drably made, and the tone is so downbeat that it results in a rather depressing viewing experience. The Black Guardian sub-plot is starting to get silly, the companions get nothing to do, and it has a silly monster that looks like a giant dog with glowing light bulb eyes.
Enlightenment: Things perk up again with this unusual story about Edwardian sailing ships racing through space. The visuals of the aforementioned ships are memorably striking and the story has a strange, unreal atmosphere. Unfortunately this story does contain some pretty dodgy performances that range from wooden to over-the top and this detracts quite a lot from the quality of the story. The Turlough/Black Guardian sub-plot is also by this stage pretty ludicrous, and the final climax is something of a let down.
Overall, the Black Guardian trilogy are three very clever and unusual stories that are worth watching (well 2 of them certainly) but would probably have worked better without the overall story arc that seems to have been forced into them.
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10 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "In the name of all that is evil...!", 11 Aug. 2009
By 
Hector Lerbioz (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
There is only one good reason to buy this set of 3 Davison stories from 1983 (unless you're a completist and have to have everything whether good, bad or indifferent) and that is the beautiful ENLIGHTENMENT special edition. I'd like to give a 5 star review on the strength of that alone, but since MAWDRYN UNDEAD is so muddled and TERMINUS so dreary I would have awarded a mere 2 stars otherwise. Therefore I'm compromising and giving 3 stars.

To be fair, Peter Davison and Janet Fielding give excellent performances and indeed there are a few actors worthy of praise throughout the 3 serials especially Nicholas Courtney, David Collings, Tony Caunter, Christopher Brown and Keith Barron. Davison shines given half a chance and there are some outstanding moments in ENLIGHTENMENT especially when he challenges Captainh Striker. Newcomer Mark Strickson is variable - most of the time he's a believably understated mix of deviousness and insecurity; however when allowed to play hysteria his performance can sometimes come uncomfortably close to silliness. Nevertheless on paper it must have looked like a great idea to have a companion aboard the TARDIS who has entered into a Faustian pact with the Black Guardian and is actively seeking to kill the Doctor. It's a shame the execution of this potentially dramatic situation is mostly so underwhelming although there is admittedly a slight frisson when Valentine Dyall appears at first. But by the time he's said "kill the Doctor or you die" 6 or 7 times and fails to make good on his word, any hint of menace is gone.

MAWDRYN UNDEAD is full of potentially good ideas but they are simply not thought through. The spaceship based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman is a great spooky concept. However Paddy Kingsland's incidental music is often inappropriate and silly, the sets are over-lit and unconvincing, the crew of the ship are po-faced mutants with absurd costumes and despite David Collings' best efforts to inject some tragedy into the character of Mawdryn the potentially creepy atmosphere is as glaringly absent as the Brigadier's memories of the Doctor. Speaking of whom it's always a pleasure to have the Brigadier in any story and Nicholas Courtney gives one of the best performances of his DOCTOR WHO career - even if the extras show an actor struggling to understand (or appreciate) the script. You can't really blame him as the plot is riddled with holes. For instance: we see the Brigadier regain his memory when the Doctor reminds him of his old UNIT colleagues. Would the Brigadier really not have had any contact with, or reminders of the likes of Sarah Jane for 6 years? It's also blatantly absurd to ask the audience to swallow that Tegan and Nyssa would believe that the burnt Mawdryn is the Doctor when they find him in the capsule. Did writer Peter Grimwade really believe that the under-budgeted resources of the BBC makeup department were enough to make David Collings that unrecognisable?

TERMINUS is a dull, monotonous affair. The first episode isn't bad with Turlough sabotaging the TARDIS and the crew separated and lost aboard an apparently deserted spacecraft. The early scenes are ominous and atmospheric. This soon evaporates when Liza Goddard turns up in a costume and hair-do as ludicrous as only the 1980's could manage. The spacecraft then docks at Terminus run by the faceless and heartless Terminus Inc. It's a space station at the centre of the known universe which offers the possibility of treating Lazar's disease. Turlough and Tegan then proceed to crawl around the ducting for what feels like 14 episodes whilst Nyssa contracts the disease and for no better reason than it's her last story her clothes start dropping off! Meanwhile the Doctor nearly causes the end of the universe and a bunch of men in impractical looking radiation armour argue a lot and fight a bit. If this sounds even remotely exciting or interesting then I've failed to convey to you just how tedious is the experience of sitting through TERMINUS. Directed without due care and attention, the dialogue flat and clichéd, even the unconvincing appearance of the story's token monster (the Garm) which might usually at least be the cause of a cheap laugh fails to raise interest levels. Nyssa's goodbye scene is tearful and well acted, but since her decision to stay on TERMINUS seems so random it's hard to feel very sad especially as the character had been so under-used.

The original uncut ENLIGHTENMENT is easily the best of the trilogy. The concept of ancient sailing ships flying through space in a race between amoral and immortal beings bored of their endless existences is deliciously surreal and one of the best of the Davison period. The first 3 episodes are really engrossing, mostly well-acted and containing some rather beautiful incidental music by Malcolm Clarke. Lynda Baron's villainous Captain Wrack is camp and theatrical, but even if her performance is stagey it is at least good fun. Would that the same could be said of her lieutenant: Mansell, played by pop performer Leee John. The extras tell us that this was his first and only foray into the world of TV acting. This is something most right-minded people would consider fortuitous since one tends to cringe with embarrassment every time he delivers another line in the style of a man who looks like he fancies himself just that little bit too much. Valentine Dyall too seems to have given up any pretence at serious acting. It's as if he's suddenly realised that he's a man wearing a bird on his head and his "sinister" laughing ("N-yah-ha-ha!") is an attempt to show us that he's aware of how silly he looks. The last episode fails to deliver on the promise of the earlier parts and ends wholly unconvincingly with a scene that tries too hard to be mythic and enigmatic.

The re-cut Special Edition of this story is a completely different entity. Re-edited to add pace with all cliffhangers removed plus about 20-25 minutes of the original snipped off the story really zips along. Add to that the fact that many of the worst moments involving Leee John have been discarded, the soundtrack has been enhanced and some rather beautiful CGI effects replace the dated model work and you have a story that is twice as good as the original even if that ending still fails to convince.

The extras are pretty good. I love the production subtitles on ENLIGHTENMENT. They include a mini-education in nautical terms and history. I also enjoyed the extra on the TERMINUS disc where astronomer Patrick Moore discusses the origins of the Universe. Please notice that all the scientists who appear here seem to have a pathological fear of saying the word "God"! A specially made drama LIBERTY HALL sees Nicholas Courtney playing the Brigadier and discussing his career with Simon Ockenden and is a nice touch for fans. The "Making Of..." documentaries are, as usual, interesting, well constructed and are cheerfully narrated by no less a figure from my childhood than Floella Benjamin O.B.E. Whilst I welcome her contribution, the following question still stands: "and her connection with DR WHO is...?"
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Who fan since it started., 6 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
Since BBC started transmitting Dr. Who I have been a fan. Since early years I have been hooked on Sci-Fi I think from the Dan Dare cartoon on the Eagle Comic.
I have no favourite Dr. They each added their own interpretation of the character. There were obviously some stories that I missed due to holidays or perhaps working on night shift and the stories in the Black Guardian Trilogy were amongst them so it's nice to be able to finally see them.
My nephew and his wife who live in New Zealand are both fans so when I have finished with them
I post them on to them.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "You Are doomed! Doomed! Ha-ha-ha!!!, 9 May 2010
By 
Andrew Morton "Andrew At The Croft" (Lockerbie Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
This sequence of stories was first broadcast while I was at university and out of the habit of watching, so they were new to me. On the whole I enjoyed them, but the flaws that would lead the show to termination are already visible here. Peter Davidson gives an engaging performance as The Doctor in all three stories. His characterisation, in many ways so different from Tom Baker's, is very good and in places he acts his socks off. The scripts themselves work with some very interesting ideas. The dialogue is generally good - with some exceptions I'll come to in a moment. I hate to say it, but the real problem with the Black Guardian trilogy is the Black Guardian. Poor old Valentine Dyall gets to play what is no more than a pantomime villain - I kept expecting his appearances to be accompanied by a cloud of sulphurous smole and the sound of small children shouting "Boooo!! "In the name of all that is evil....." Geez.
Mawdryn Undead seems to be regarded as something of a classic in some places. I actually think it's the weakest of the three. True, it does include an absolutely magnificent performance by Nicholas Courtney, who gives us two Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewarts and manages to convey the age-gap between them quite superbly. On the other hand, far too much time is spent on Turlough's conversations with Abanazar with the result that, apart from boring us, The Hooded Claw increasingly comes across as ineffectual - you can only threaten to destroy someone so often without following through on the threat. In general pacing is an issue - it plods dreadfully in places, and did we have to have quite so many long shots of an obelisk that had no function in the story? The lighting too is overly bright and this "flattens" things. Too little time was spent on Mawdryn and his fellows - we get no real sense of the desperation of their situation and the denouement is almost nonsensical.
Terminus, for me, is a much stronger story. The pacing is much better. Much has been said of Sarah Sutton's Nyssa losing her skirt. I for one am certainly not objecting. It's a measure, though, of how badly the character of Nyssa was handled that this has become such an issue - having to act as a foil to the bolshie Tegan, the writers seem to have made Nyssa so bland that she virtually blends into the Tardis interior. Characterisations in this story are well-rounded and it's good to have a story that actually has no villains - the Vanir and the Garm are as much victims of the Company as the Lazars. OK, the Garm is another in a long line of actors in duff monster costumes, but I can live with it.
Enlightenment too is enjoyable. The ideas are inventive - I especially likes the idea that the Eternals needed the imagination of Ephemerals. Keith Barron gives a somewhat concussed performance as Striker against which Lynda Baron's Wrack is a fine contrast. Mark Strickson begins to settle into his role as Turlough here and Janet Fielding's Tegan is also sensitively and believably portrayed. Indeed, if it were not for the Guardians this would have been much better.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGNIFICENT!, 2 May 2010
By 
Barney (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
These three stories are not only brilliant value for money but stand up remarkably well, given they are now 27 years old. Great stories, imaginatively realised. Davison is a truly wonderful Doctor. Love it, love it, LOVE IT!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can you kill the Doctor?, 28 July 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
All I can say is thank goodness for Valentine Dyall as the baddie in this one. Never did like Turlough.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT PETER, 10 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
Great PETER going against the good & the bad, you have to have this even if you not a great fan of peter
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong trilogy, 5 July 2009
By 
M. Richards - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
Mawdryn Undead is a very enjoyable story featuring the return of the Brig, Enlightenment is a classic with great imagery by a female writer with a strong imagination. Terminus is a bit of a blip - quite depressing and not a big success overall but it's still pretty watchable. With special features this box set should be something very good indeed.
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3 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Davison's Finest, 27 May 2009
By 
W. Evans "Dr. Beckett" (Shropshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD] (DVD)
Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy [DVD]
This box set includes the 3 season 20 stories which introduce the character Turlogh to the franchise. The stories are:
1. Mawdryn Undead
2. Terminus
3. Enlightenment
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