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Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment [DVD]
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The third, fourth and fifth stories of the twentieth season were conceived by John Nathan-Turner and Eric Saward as a trilogy reintroducing the Black Guardian.
Mawdryn Undead The Black Guardian recruits a young man named Turlough to assassinate the Doctor. Although outwardly an ordinary pupil at a boys' private boarding school, Turlough is in fact an alien who believes that the Guardian will return him home if he succeeds.
Terminus The TARDIS attaches itself to a space liner after Turlough, still under the Black Guardian's influence, damages its controls. The Doctor and Nyssa meet two space pirates, Kari and Olvir, who have come on board the liner in search of plunder, while Tegan and Turlough get lost in the infrastructure.
Enlightenment The White Guardian warns of impending danger and directs the TARDIS to what appears to be an Edwardian sailing yacht, the SS Shadow, but is actually one of a number of spaceships taking part in a race through the solar system, the prize being Enlightenment.
Extras: Commentary with cast and crew Who Wants to Live Forever? - cast and crew look back at the making of the story. Deleted and Extended Scenes Out-takes CGI Effects Photo Gallery Isolated Score - option to watch the story with the isolated music score. Coming Soon trail for a forthcoming DVD release. Easter Eggs Programme Subtitles
Three interlinked stories from the Peter Davison era of Doctor Who, the Black Guardian Trilogy brings together Mawdryn Undead, Terminus and Enlightenment, as the Doctor finds himself under threat from an old foe.
The enemy in question, of course, is the Black Guardian of the title, who first appeared at the end of the Tom Baker Key To Time season. Across the three stories of the Black Guardian Trilogy, he’s a constant background figure, instead introducing and recruiting Turlough to kill the Doctor on his behalf. The three stories introduce Turlough as a companion eventually, but also marks a farewell for Nysaa.
Each of the three stories has its merits, although Mawdryn Undead is hard to beat. It helps that it marks the return, after some time, of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to Doctor Who, although by now we discover that he’s a maths teacher. Not for long, though, as he’s soon back into action, in a story that’s one the Peter Davison era’s finest.
Terminus and Enlightenment are less successful, but both are still interesting in their own right. The former sees the Tardis landing on a seemingly deserted and out-of-action space station, while the latter, intriguingly, is set against the backdrop of a big race through space.
The Black Guardian never really steps to the forefront across the three adventures, it should be noted, and at times his involvement does feel a little forced. But this is, nonetheless, a fine collection of stories, with one major standout among them. --Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
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 well as the welcome return of Dyall, these stories are notable for the return of the Brigadier and the introduction of Vislor Turlough, one of my favourite companions.
Davison's era was poorly served by his companions, I always found Adric and Tegan to be really annoying, and while Nyssa was a watchable and likeable character, the scriptwriters made her so bland she never really made an impression. Turlough, the wily, untrustworthy sneak, was just right. Character flaws aplenty so he made an impression, but still likeable. And never better than here, struggleing with some rather large moral problems.
Mawdryn Undead is a decent bit of hard-core Sci Fi. There are several story strands which come together nicely into one complete whole. First there's the Black Guardian's scheme to coerce seeming schoolboy Turlough into killing the Doctor. There's the reintroduction of the Brigadier from two time periods (the older and younger Brig both played to perfection by the ever dependable Nicholas Courtney) running around and who must never meet. Then there's the story of the attempts of Mawdryn (played by David Collings, another star turn as one of Who's more sympathetic aliens) to finally find release, which may well cost the Doctor all his lives. There's a lot going on here, but some excellent script writing, attention to detail (time paradox plots are often full of holes, but not here!Read more ›
Peter Davison is on top form throughout, Mark Strickson shines as the tormented Turlough and Valentine Dyall is wonderfully malevolent as the Black Guardian.
In the first story of the trilogy, 'Mawdryn Undead', Peter Grimwade proves that he is a decent writer after all, redeeming himself after the catastrophic 'Time Flight' from the previous series. 'Mawdryn Undead' is a good script although it is a bit technobabble heavy in places which is frustrating.
Nicholas Courtney's performance is outstanding, he does a fantastic job of playing two Brigadiers from different times and the make up and costume departments really help to make the two look different.
David Collings is superb as the villain Mawdryn. Mawdryn is a very interesting villain since, refreshingly, his motivation is purely that he wants to be allowed to die and he is not interested in killing or conquest. On the downside Mawdryn and the other mutants' appearance with part of their brains exposed is a bit comical and their bright multi-coloured outfits don't exactly help.
There's a lovely scene where the Brigadier regains his memories of UNIT and the Doctor, aided by some stock footage.
There is also the infamous 'UNIT dating controversy', the Brigadier is stated as having started work at the school in 1977 when, according to previous stories, he was still a member of UNIT.Read more ›
Anywho, we got the Black Guardian, who, whilst not the greatest, is played with great aplomb by stalwart actor Valentine Dyall. This is an old-school actor who has been given 12 ham scripts and told to have a good old go at it. Which he does, with charm. Had he played the Black Guardian totally straight, I think we all would have grown tired of the character by the 2nd episode. So, with a trilogy of stories to play about with, what did the team at BBC TV centre decide to lavish us with;
The trilogy begins in style with Peter Grimwade's timey-wimey tale of Mawdryn and his undead crew seeking death at the hands of our Time Lord. Obviously, the main thrust of this tale is the return of the Brigadier, who, as played by the truly superb Nic Courtney, is given the lions share of this tale. Thankfully. Its one thing to bring back an established icon like Nic, but really, respect must be given to Grimwade for incorporating the character so well into his story. The Brig doesn't just pop-up and wave and then disappear, no, he is the plot.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These BBC productions never fail to please. Bought to replace the VHS versions, the Dr Who chronology is a glimpse into the growth and development of the BBC broadcast.Published 3 months ago by cool as cats in shades
Pristine packaging. Bought as a gift and was pleased with itPublished 6 months ago by adrienne bailey
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got this to pass the rainy days of the summer holidays, the boys are really enjoying watching the older episodes, this one has a good story line, and is not 'too predictable' for... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Nicki