The Doctor receives a very vague warning of danger from the White Guardian, but Turlough’s interference – passed off as worrying that the TARDIS console would be damaged by the White Guardian’s energy requirements – leaves the Doctor with only a shred of the information he needs. The TARDIS arrives on a vintage sailing ship, whose crew is not at all perturbed by the Doctor’s arrival, and whose officers are beings who live outside of time itself. The Doctor discovers that he is now taking part in a yacht race through the blackness of space, and the Eternals care nothing for the human sailors they’ve abducted. At the finish line lies the promise of everlasting enlightenment – or, if Turlough continues to fall under the sway of the Black Guardian, death for the Doctor.
written by Barbara Clegg
directed by Fiona Cumming
music by Malcolm Clarke
Guest Cast: Valentine Dyall (Black Guardian), Cyril Luckham (White Guardian), Keith Barron (Striker), Lynda Baron (Wrack), Christopher Brown (Marriner), Tony Caunter (Jackson), Clive Kneller (Collier), James McClure (First Officer), Leee John (Mansell), John Cannon (Helmsman), Byron Sotiris (Critas)
Notes: As a vocalist, guest star Lynda Baron had already been associated with Doctor Who, singing the background song heard throughout the William Hartnell story The Gunfighters.
Broadcast from March 1 through 9, 1983
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Enlightenment is one of the most remarkably atypical, high-concept stories ever attempted on Doctor Who, and it also holds the distinction of being one of only eight stories in the history of the series to have been written or co-written by a woman. In some respects, this brings out elements that might never have been emphasized, particularly in the scene where Tegan asks creepy officer Marriner if he’s in love with her – only to discover that he has no knowledge of that emotion.
The Doctor’s other companion isn’t shorted either; throughout this story, Turlough is seen at his most desperate, at one point even jumping overboard in a suicidal attempt to end his pact with the Black Guardian. This turns out to be an ill-timed move, since he is rescued by the Eternal captain of another ship, someone who turns out to be a servant of evil herself. Lynda Baron goes just over-the-top enough to make her mark as Captain Wrack, a menacing but also funny foil for our heroes. One question that remains is the almost naive trust with which the Doctor accepts Turlough even after learning about the boy’s alliance with the Black Guardian. The final confrontation between the two Guardians is a satisfying conclusion, and even leaves things open for a follow-up – something which will now be left to the original Doctor Who novels since both the TV series and, sadly, the two actors who played the immortal overseers of good and evil have left us.
One of the best Peter Davison stories, and very, very highly recommended.