Doctor Who: Warriors’ Gate, Part 4

Doctor WhoThe 545th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1. This story brings the E-space trilogy to a close and is written by science fiction novelist Stephen Gallagher. Clifford Rose and Kenneth Cope guest star. This episode is the final appearance of Lalla Ward as Romana. K-9 also permanently leaves the series as of this episode, but due to the character’s popularity, steps are already being taken to create a spinoff for him.

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Revenge Of The Jedi

Star WarsGeorge Lucas completes his handwritten first-draft screenplay for the third Star Wars film, titled Revenge Of The Jedi at this early stage. Revisions to the script will continue throughout 1981, with The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders Of The Lost Ark co-writer Lawrence Kasdan once again contributing to the story and dialogue; a revision to the movie’s title will also be made, though merchandising with the early title will already be in circulation by that time.

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Soyuz T-4

Soyuz T-4The Soyuz T-4 mission lifts off from the Soviet Union, carrying a two-man crew to space station Salyut 6. Cosmonauts Vladimir Kovalyonok and Viktor Savinykh remain about the station for 75 days, and are the last long-duration crew to occupy Salyut 6. Since they are still in orbit in April, they become the first Soviet crew to orbit the Earth at the same time as an American manned space vehicle since 1975, though the two never interact with each other at any point. The Soyuz T-4 capsule remains at the station as the escape vehicle until this crew departs in May.


ScrambleAmerican pinball manufacturer Stern Electronics releases a video game licensed from Japanese game maker Konami Industries, Scramble. Though it earns a small but loyal following among arcade gamers, Scramble‘s true claim to history will be in setting a legal precedent: it later becomes the first video game whose code is copyrighted as a literary work in its own right as Stern seeks to take down bootleggers who copy the game’s program and brazenly market it under the same name.

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Pioneer Venus completes its map… for now

VenusNASA’s unmanned Pioneer Venus Orbiter completes its radar mapping survey of the planet Venus, having used radar to create the first-ever topographical map of that world, which is usually hidden behind a thick, toxic cloud deck. Launched in 1978, Pioneer Venus Orbiter is the only surviving component of the two-vehicle Pioneer Venus mission, but with its solar arrays still gathering adequate power and all of its instruments still functioning well, the orbiter is not deactivated or deorbited at this time; future tasks will be found for it in the years ahead.

Star Wars Radio: A Wind To Shake The Stars

Star Wars RadioThe first episode of Brian Daley’s radio drama adaptation of the science fiction blockbuster Star Wars airs on National Public Radio stations in the U.S. The series is produced by the NPR affiliate at the University of Southern California, where George Lucas attended film school (and to whom he sold the radio adaptation rights for the princely sum of one dollar). Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels are the only actors to reprise their movie roles, with the rest of the characters being recast.

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Soyuz 39

Soyuz 39Soyuz 39 lifts off from the Soviet Union, carrying its two-man crew on a week-long spaceflight including a visit to space station Salyut 6. The crew consists of cosmonauts Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Jugderdemidiin Gurragchaa, the first Mongolian in space. In conjunction with the resident Salyut 6/Soyuz T-4 crew, they conduct scientific and engineering experiments, some of them studying the state of Salyut 6 after several years in orbit. The Soyuz 39 crew returns to Earth on March 30th.

Gareth David-Lloyd, Torchwood actor, born

Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto JonesFuture Torchwood series regular Gareth David-Lloyd is born in Wales. Showing an early aptitutde for acting, he will also make appearances on Warehouse 13, Holby City, and Doctor Who. Incidentally, the first time he plays a character named Ianto Jones – completely unrelated from the character who will later appear on Torchwood and Doctor Who – is in an episode of the drama Mine All Mine written by future Torchwood creator Russell T. Davies.

Split Enz: Corroboree/Waiata

Split EnzA Split Enz album with identity issues, the group’s sixth studio album is released as Corroboree in Australia and New Zealand, and as Waiata in all other territories. Again produced by David Tickle, this album continues with the punchier True Colours sound and yields the international hit “History Never Repeats”, whose video becomes one of the very first ever played by a new American music video channel, MTV.

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