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Published on September 19th, 2009 | by James Whittington

The Black Guardian Trilogy: Terminus

The first instalment of the Black Guardian Trilogy left many fans, including myself, feeling a bit flat. It contained so many missed chances that it didn’t really bode well for the next adventure, the wonderfully titled Terminus.

Thanks to the combined efforts of treacherous Turlough and the Black Guardian, the Doctor and his companions are in terrible danger. The TARDIS is breaking up and the outside world has began to break through. Can the TARDIS’s fail safe mechanism save them all by docking with another ship? It seems unlikely when the nearest vessel is a carrier of plague victims destined for the infamous Terminus, the time-bomb planet ticking at the centre of the universe.

The Doctor is back to the front leading the way and showing some backbone in this adventure, especially when dealing with Kari (Liza Goddard) and Olvir (Dominic Guard) two pirates who really don’t know what they are getting into. Also Olvir has the opportunity to spout the lines for one of the best cliff-hangers of the Davison run. At the end of episode one, when Olvir realises where they have landed, he shouts, “This is Terminus, where all the Lazars come to die. We’re on a leper ship. We’re all going to die!”

That sequence still sends shivers up my spine.The Black Guardian Trilogy features Mawdryn Undead, Terminus and Enlightenment

Terminus is steeped in Norse mythology with a prime example being the Garm (the beast which guards the drug which helps people fend something that I’ve not divulged) which was the name of the dog in Norse legend who defended the gates to hell etc. This adds much to the enjoyment of the story.

Extras:

Commentary: Here we go with Peter Davison, writer Stephen Gallagher, Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson. As we have come to expect Davison is on fine form and Strickson is always good value for money. Plenty of chuckles and insight this is a gag track worth listening to.

Isolated Score: The option to listen to the whole of Roger Limb’s musical soundtrack without any interruptions from the actors! A nice piece being slightly dark in tone. There’s plenty of “death march” style segments which add a lot to the doom laden atmosphere of the dramatic piece.

Breaking Point: Floella Benjamin returns as narrator for the second part of this documentary series charting the production of The Black Guardian Trilogy. As with the first one, this is an excellent piece which covers the production warts and all.

Origins Of The Universe: Sir Patrick Moore, yes the legend from The Sky At Night talks us through the term “The Big Bang”. Its actually more interesting than it sounds and a unique and very different addition to the extras package.

Original Storyboards: This very short piece guides us through how some of the original SFX shots were designed and shot. Not really worth spending time on to tell you the truth.

Unused Model Shots: Three and a half minutes of watching model ships being set and shot. Basically that’s it but a nice way of remembering the days before CGI (see below) when everything created was for real. Ahh, those were the days.

Terminus marks the departure of long running companion Nyssa (Sarah Sutton)

CGI Effects: Talking of CGI you can replace the original effects shots with some brand spanking new computer generated ones if you click on this extra. They work more often than not and do look pretty cool. But I’m an old fashioned kind of a guy and prefer the original ones.

Continuity Links: Recall those days when Terminus was originally shown with these announcements. Ceefax Page 170! I always thought it was 888.

Photo Gallery: A large selection of snaps from the production of this story all accompanied by some of the score from the story. There’s over eight minutes of material here but well worth watching.

PDF Materials: By inserting the DVD into your PC you can access Radio Times listings and CGI Storyboards.

Coming Soon: The Twin Dilemma, what else can I say?

Easter Egg: As usual I’m not telling but one for the more obsessive fans out there and there’s more than one to search for!

All-in-all Terminus is a far stronger story than you’ll probably recall. The acting and story are pretty sturdy with only the Garm letting the effects down. Unusual for adventures that form the middle part of an arc, this does raise the interest level considerably and builds up hopes for the final part, Enlightenment.

The Black Guardian Trilogy has an RRP of £39.99 but costs just £27.88 from Amazon!

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About the Author

James has been a Doctor Who fan for as long as he can recall. A child of the 70s and 80s, he weathered all the storms and controversies the show encountered, though he didn’t buy the “Doctor In Distress” single.




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