Doctor Who: Enlightenment (Story #127)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

The Eternals

Would have liked more bang out of the Black Guardian Trilogy storyline


It’s kind of like Wacky Races…with ships…in space

The Doctor (Peter Davison), Tegan (Janet Fielding), and Turlough (Mark Strickson) find the TARDIS has materialized on a strange ship in space where a race of mindreading creatures called the Eternals are racing for the ultimate prize…enlightenment!  Unfortunately, there are plots against the Doctor and the White Guardian (Cyril Luckham) has warned the Doctor that the race cannot be won without destruction.  The Doctor also has a fox in the henhouse with Turlough secretly working for the Black Guardian (Valentine Dyall)…and the winner takes all!

Doctor Who:  Enlightenment aired during the twentieth season of the popular BBC series.  Airing in four parts from March 1, 1983 to March 9, 1983, the serial is considered the final part of The Black Guardian Trilogy with Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead and Doctor Who:  Terminus.  Following Doctor Who:  Terminus, the serial has been collected as part of The Peter Davison Years as Story #128 (or Story #127 depending how the unaired Tom Baker story Doctor Who:  Shada is counted).


Hi, I’m Turlough…I’m not psycho whatsoever

Doctor Who:  Enlightenment was delayed due to production problems and had some recasting during it.  The series continues to develop Turlough who joined the group in Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead and also is the first post-Nyssa episode who abruptly left at the end of Doctor Who:  Terminus.

The Eternals were interesting characters in that they were “out of time” something that the Time Lords are obsessed with.  The Doctor cannot hide secrets from them and the actors cast were told not to blink in their scenes which does as an interesting other-worldliness to them despite visually looking like normal humans.  The space race is a rather weak plot device, but it does keep moving.


You’re move!

The Black Guardian Trilogy is a rather loose trilogy in that the Black and White Guardians are very loosely tied in.  This volume has much more involvement by both players as the battle of wits comes down to the end and provides the second act of the entry.  This frees up Turlough from the Black Guardian’s control and allows him to really join the Doctor on his voyages (though he still is a little weasel).

Doctor Who:  Enlightenment and a lot of The Black Guardian Trilogy provided change for the show.  Peter Davison hasn’t always been my favorite Doctor, but I find his companions and storylines are most of the problem.  This is one of his better stories, but he is mostly a companion to Turlough who seems to be the real star of the story.  Doctor Who:  Enlightenment was followed by Doctor Who:  The King’s Demons.

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Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Terminus (Story #126)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The King’s Demons (Story #128)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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