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 theough the solar system, the prize being Enlightenment.
The yacht's Captain Striker and his fellow officers are Eternals who feed off the thoughts and emotions of their kidnapped human crew - Ephemerals - in order to fill their own empty existences.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR - Recommended by Rob Semenoff (3D Animator of the new CGI inserts for this boxset)
The steam boat was named "The Fiona" after the Director of course. It's actually the 3rd boat to be named directly after her. The last ship that Cpt. Wrack destroys was called "The Sheppard" after Brendan Sheppard. The Greek ship was named "The Aries" after Mark Aryres. There is a russian sailing troller in the distance named "The Semyonov" after Rob Semenoff. There was another ship named "The Hall" after Dan Hall.
The U-Boat that blows up during the meteor shower I named 'The Adric U-314' after Adric and the value Pi.
There are crew walking about and working on the deck of the Shadow as the ship passes by camera. Rob Semenoff wanted some iof the crew running around the deck on fire but was over ruled. There are crew on the Greek ship as well.
The angle and look of the shot when the shadow is burning up in the atmosphere of Venus was picked to look like the Titanic from VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED. As well on the shots looking out the Shadows bridge window there is a pattern at the top of the window. Its the same pattern from the Titanics bridge window. If you look at the shot of the shadow burning up you can see the main characters standing on the bridge when it gets close to camera.
A large version of Turlough's crystal adorns the top of enlightenment.
Two down and one to go.
ENLIGHTENMENT. The enigmatic. The beloved. The one with the sailing vessels in space.
More so with the release a "special edition" "Director's approved cut" feature-length version, ENLIGHTENMENT is, simply - and this preview could end right here and right now - essential viewing. Not just for those of a certain age - a certain greying & thinning, a certain paunch around the mid-drift and a certain level of mortgage debt - of forty plus but for those whose first Doctor was Eccleston. Barbara Clegg's debut DOCTOR WHO story is, quite rightly so, legendary.
Traditional WHO but with a central concept so tasty that it has deserved to be stored in a drawer labelled "Tasty" in an archive facility titled "The National Archive of Tasty Things".
The "special edition" (introdcued by Fiona Cumming) rewards viewers with a distillation so taut that you expect Jason Bourne to scarper around the deck of The Shadow. Well, maybe not but you get the idea. Being less than fifteen minutes shorter (episode theee's action is culled) than the combined four episodes, it's far more controlled and less self-indulgent than the previous "feature-length", THE CURSE OF FENRIC.
The only two issues with this presentation are (a) the "faux" cinematic letterbox format and (b) the post-production treatment of the videotape (to emulate the "grainy" 35MM film produced at Ealing Studios. The former frequently "chops off" key elements of the plot and the latter distract the eye from the Director's vision. The only other minor complaint is that a number of the remastered & new (to accompany the re-imagined CGI sequences) music cues seem to be slightly "heavy-handed", and more orchestral-styled to the NEW SERIES than to be Radiophonic Workshop respectful to the CLASSIC SERIES.
The only problem with the new CGI is that you cannot fault it!
Naturally, the main cast performances are, as ever, perennially watchable and has, in such a short time, developed into a professional character collaboration. Whether the Doctor & Tegan, Tegan & Turlough or Turlough & the Doctor, viewers can sense that 1983 will witness the start of the (yet another) halcyon era of DOCTOR WHO.
Celery recycling Davison strides effortlessly theough the drama merely punctuating his ambulation to deliver one diatribe after a succinct statement after a moralistic judgment after a devouring of spoonful of trifle.
Fielding is clearly relishing her role, both remaining truthful to the original characterisation whilst whittling down the edges of Tegan's sarcasm to a softer playfulness.
However, it is Strickson's challengingly complex yet likeable character is the unequivocal star of ENLIGHTENMENT (and, yes, probably the "trilogy). A unique contribution to DOCTOR WHO folklore.
The DVD EXTRAS are, whilst the usual combination of "talking heads" and "lateral-thinking documentary", informative & entertaining.
In WINNER TAKES ALL the contributions are overwhelmingly positive about the drams with Strickson adroitly summing ENLIGHTENMENT's production as "nothing got messed up about it" (except, as he later recalls, that following an accident at Ealing Sound Stage ".I was rather bruised"). The documentary addresses the contribution made by one-time DOCTOR WHO writer, Clegg had made with her singular story, aided and abetted by the creativity of set designer, lighting designer and camera operators (nice to hear, if briefly, from "Camera One" operator, Alec Wheal).
(The only fault with this documentary is that the digital "CSO" seems to have been lifted from 1972 than 2009 - slightly "green hazy" around the edges).
CASTING OFF is yet another "talking heads" trip-down-memory-lane with Fielding admitting that sometimes the "guest stars get a better deal" than the regular cast, and that the White Guardian - or at least Cyril Luckman - was not as innocent as he was portrayed as he frequently pinched her bottom. Well, someone has to do it.
DVD EXTRA oddities frequently crop up that are more interesting that the purely DOCTOR WHO focussed ones. SINGLE WRITE FEMALE is a prime example of this happenstance. Following similar mini-documentary featuring Robert Holmes and Malcolm Hulke, a charming biography of Clegg that demonstrates that the author may have had some interesting stories to tell if only the DOCTOR WHO production office had returned her telephone calls.
In contrast THE STORY OF THE GUARDIANS delivers a précis that will only whet the appetite of fans in wanting more. The "war", as the Black Guardian states, "is not over". I wonder if NEW SERIES show-runner, Steven Moffat will consider that creation's "Gods" will re-inhabit the DOCTOR WHO universe.
The "special edition" (disc four of four) spills forth with yet more DVD EXTRAS that compliment superbly.
Probably the first in a new documentary series, FINDING . starts with honest & revealing profiles of Mark Strickson ("a wonderful DOCTOR WHO club to be in") and Sarah Sutton ("I should have gone to acting school").
And everyone loves the behind-the-scenes glimpses and the clapperboard punctuating FILM TRIMS will not disappoint, as will the "car-crash" spectacle of Davison & Sandra Dickinson soft-shoe-shuffling on THE RUSSELL HARTY CHRISTMAS SHOW.
The DVD COMMENTARY team represents, again, excellent value, combining the talents of Davison, Strickson, director Cumming and, albeit a tad quiet (or eclipsed by the two lead actors) author Clegg.
Strickson on ENLIGHTENMENT: This is the most painful story I ever recorded.
On the lighting of the TARDIS, Davison: This looks much more atmospheric.
Strickson: It looks like as if we live there. A home.
Davison: I think everyone looks better.
Clegg: And you look so young.
On the lighting of the TARDIS, Cumming: Fred was very amenable to have pools of darkness and pools of light. It worked very well.
On Cyril Luckman, Davison: He was a bit of devil. As Janet would say, "He's a bit of a naughty old man!" He loved the girlies. "Come here my darling; how are you this morning?"
On her future writing opportunities with DOCTOR WHO, Clegg: I sent in ideas for theee more. They said very nice but never heard.
On Turlough's facial hair, Davison: The eyebrows are spectacular.
Strickson: I don't know who glued them up.
On the set design, Cumming: Colin did marvels with the ship. Everything here was for dinkum. At one point he wanted to put it all sets on "gimbles".
Davison (on the "ship-acting"): Tilting is very authentic.
On the model shots of the "ships-in-space" for the DVD release, Cumming: The model shots have been brought up to date.
On the format of DOCTOR WHO, Strickson: I think DOCTOR WHO is very difficult to act. DOCTOR WHO, is, of course, a fantasy and a real problem to keep the action alive.
On the incidental score, Cumming: Malcolm Clarke did the music lovely. Lovely. Lovely.
Davison: The effect that music has on it is understated.
On the series' Producer, Cumming: I found JNT very very good because he gave you enough leeway to make your contribution.
On being asked to discuss her working relationship with series' Script Editor, Clegg: I find Eric Saward rather difficult to talk about.
Davison: That's exactly what we want to talk about.
(The DVD commentary team all laugh uncontrollably).
On having prohibited, by Eric Saward, to meet in person, Cumming: Today is my first meeting up with Barbara! 26 years later.
On spotting a continuity error for the first time in 26 years, Cumming: Why are you wearing a Wedding Ring?
Strickson: Well spotted! I'm wearing a Wedding Ring because I was married.
Cumming: Can I do a re-take?
Davison: I wouldn't have spotted that!
On ENLIGHTENMENT, cumming: I loved the story. I found it very exciting. It took you off to other realms.
A clarity of vision not seen, probably, since Clegg's first script draft. For that reasoning, disc four earns a respectful eyeofhorus.org.uk DVD rating of 10/10. Essential viewing.