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Under the failing influence of the White Guardian, the TARDIS materialises on what appears to be an Edwardian racing yacht. It is soon revealed to be a cleverly disguised spacecraft, competing in an interplanetary race. The competitors are Eternals, immortal beings incapable of imagination or creative thought, while the crew are mortals, upon whose minds the Eternals draw for inspiration. The prize in the race is Enlightenment, offered up by the Black and White Guardians. One of the Eternals, the vicious Captain Wrack, is in league with the Black Guardian, however, and will stop at nothing to win.
Producer John Nathan-Turner and script editor Eric Saward were both eager to bring new writers onto Doctor Who. To this end, in mid-1981 Saward approached Barbara Clegg, a colleague he had met through his work in radio drama. Clegg had started in the industry as an actress, appearing as a regular in Emergency Ward 10, after which she found herself typecast and largely out of work. This period of unemployment led to her providing scripts for programmes such as Coronation Street and Crossroads. She was also a regular viewer of Doctor Who, which she watched with her children.
Clegg's extended family spanned several social strata, and Clegg noted with interest the way that her wealthier relations interacted with their poorer kin. Clegg was reminded of gods toying with lesser mortals, and this led to her creation of the Eternals. She also sought inspiration in the Bible, deriving the prize of Enlightenment from the Tree of Knowledge in the Book Of Genesis. Finally, Clegg seized upon the image of solar winds -- actually streams of charged particles ejected from the Sun -- to develop the premise of the Eternals racing through the solar system. These ideas appealed to Nathan-Turner and Saward, who enjoyed their originality, and Clegg was commissioned to write a storyline called “The Enlighteners” on September 22nd.
With work on Clegg's serial proceeding to Saward's satisfaction, the script for part one was requested on October 22nd, followed by the remaining three installments on January 5th, 1982. By now, it was intended that “The Enlighteners” would conclude a three-story arc involving the Black and White Guardians, and so Clegg duly wrote these characters into her storyline. In May, however, the adventure planned to begin the trilogy, Pat Mills' “The Song Of The Space Whale”, ran into problems. It was briefly thought that “The Enlighteners” might be brought forward to take its place, but shortly thereafter Peter Grimwade was commissioned to write Mawdryn Undead to fill the void instead. As such, “The Enlighteners” was restored to its original place in the schedule, as Serial 6H.
In September, Saward amended the title to Enlightenment, which he felt was more enigmatic. By this point, Fiona Cumming had been assigned to direct Serial 6H; she had recently completed work on Snakedance, the first story of the current production block. It was Cumming's idea that the Eternals would not blink, and she strove to cast actors who could adopt a suitably aloof demeanour. Also appearing in Enlightenment would be Cyril Luckham, reprising the role of the White Guardian he had originally played in Season Sixteen's The Ribos Operation. This would be the only serial to feature appearances by both Luckham and Valentine Dyall as the Black Guardian.
Production on Enlightenment began with three days at the Ealing Television Film Studios from November 3rd to 5th, encompassing the material on the decks of the Shadow and the Buccaneer, as well as in space. Unfortunately, the shot of Turlough jumping overboard did not go as planned, as the harness supporting Mark Strickson malfunctioned. The actor did not escape the incident unharmed, and could walk only with discomfort for the next few weeks. Model filming then took place at Ealing from November 8th to 12th. Also on the 8th, Peter Davison was contracted for all twenty-six episodes of Season Twenty-One. However, Davison was now considering making this his last year on Doctor Who, and so no option was included for the twenty-second season.
During the autumn of 1982, the BBC was labouring under the threat of industrial action by its electricians' union. Terminus, the story made immediately before Enlightenment, had lost one of its studio days as a result, and as the weeks passed, it became clear that subsequent serials were in even greater peril. Enlightenment was scheduled to be made in two blocks, the first to take place on November 16th and 17th, and the second spanning November 30th to December 2nd. Unfortunately, in early November the electricians did indeed go on strike. Cumming found all of her studio days postponed, and it appeared that Enlightenment -- along with the final two stories of Season Twenty, The King's Demons and “The Return” -- might all have to be abandoned.
Happily, the strike was resolved in early December, in time for The King's Demons to be recorded as scheduled. This left Nathan-Turner with the difficult decision of what to do with Enlightenment. Since it was a crucial adventure for the season -- resolving the Black Guardian trilogy and establishing Turlough's permanent place in the TARDIS -- the producer decided that it would have to be made on the studio dates originally allocated to “The Return”. This meant that Season Twenty would now be one serial shorter than originally planned. At twenty-two episodes, it was the second-briefest season of Doctor Who to this point, second only to Season Twelve, which had been truncated to twenty episodes to facilitate a scheduling change. All was not lost for “The Return”, however. A revised version of the story would be made the next year as Resurrection Of The Daleks.
With the recording of Enlightenment having been postponed for two months, Cumming took the opportunity to enjoy a vacation in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. Upon her return, she found herself having to make several crew changes and recast two roles in response to availability issues. Peter Sallis and David Rhule had originally been contracted to play Striker and Mansell, respectively. They were now replaced by Keith Barron and Leee John; John was the lead singer of pop band Imagination, whose hit Just An Illusion had peaked at number two in the UK charts in March.
As production on Enlightenment resumed, Nathan-Turner found himself confronted with discontent from his three regulars. Davison, Fielding and Strickson all disliked the dynamic that had developed between the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough, with Davison wondering why the Doctor would want to travel with a pair that was often portrayed in such a disagreeable light. Nathan-Turner accepted their criticism, and encouraged them to work together to improve the characterisation. Meanwhile, visual effects designer Mike Kelt approached the producer about the dilapidated state of the TARDIS console. Nathan-Turner informed Kelt that there was no money to refurbish or redesign the prop for Enlightenment, but would respond to the designer's concerns as soon as he was able.
Recording for Enlightenment in BBC Television Centre Studio 1 finally got under way with a two-day block on January 17th and 18th, 1983. The first day concentrated on scenes in the TARDIS before beginning work on material set aboard Wrack's ship; the remainder of the sequences on the Buccaneer were then completed the following day. The second studio session took place from January 30th to February 1st. The majority of this block dealt with scenes on the Shadow, with some additional footage of the Buccaneer completed on the 31st. The sumptuous ball gown worn by Janet Fielding proved challenging for the actress, given its plunging neckline. At one point, Davison concluded a line with the ad-lib, “Oh, and Tegan, put your boobs back in!” whereupon Fielding realised that she had accidentally exposed herself. This was, in fact, the second story of the season in which Fielding had had to contend with such a wardrobe malfunction: during the making of Terminus, a clumsy extra had provoked a similar incident.
The end of recording for Enlightenment on February 1st brought Doctor Who's twentieth production block to an end. Davison, Fielding and Strickson would soon find themselves back in front of the cameras, however, as the twentieth-anniversary special The Five Doctors entered production in March. Enlightenment was the only Doctor Who adventure written by Barbara Clegg, although she submitted a number of additional ideas to the production office. Shortly after completing Enlightenment, she offered storylines including “The Elite”, “The Rogue TARDIS” and “The Underworld” for Season Twenty-One. Later, “Point Of Entry” was a submission for the twenty-third season, while Clegg also contacted script editor Andrew Cartmel about writing for the Seventh Doctor in 1987. Her career in radio continued to flourish, however, and she also wrote for the television drama Gems. During the making of Enlightenment, Clegg collaborated with Saward on a science-fiction proposal called Gateway which Saward hoped might be his next project after Doctor Who. This was rejected by the BBC in April, however.
Meanwhile, Davison advised Nathan-Turner that Season Twenty-One would indeed be his last. He had been unimpressed with the writing on Season Twenty, and was dismayed by the lack of budget and resources afforded Doctor Who by the BBC. In addition, Davison was mindful of the counsel of Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor, who had encouraged him to remain in the role no longer than three years.
Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson also informed Nathan-Turner that they wanted to leave Doctor Who during the next slate of episodes. With such a complete cast overhaul looming, it was decided that the various departures should be spread throughout the season. As such, when Strickson was issued his new contract, it was for only twenty of twenty-six episodes. Much as had happened during Tom Baker's final season in 1980-81, it was clear that Season Twenty-One would see Doctor Who completely reinvented once again...
|Updated 13th March 2010|
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