TERMINUS

Part One

Sue: Terminus? I hope this story doesn’t take place in a bus station.

Sue loathes bus stations. And burnt toast. And pointless arguments concerning UNIT dating. But I digress.

The story begins with Turlough fiddling with the TARDIS.

Sue: It can’t be a good idea to put important electronics in a corridor, can it? What happens if the Doctor jettisons that corridor by accident one day? Shouldn’t anything important be in the control room? You don’t want to be running down a corridor to change a fuse when everything goes tits up, do you?

Tegan and Turlough end up bickering with one another.

Sue: Oh, just get a room.

When Turlough scowls at Tegan behind her back, Sue picks up on the soapy vibe.

Sue: I’m just waiting for the EastEnders drums to kick in.

Tegan leads Turlough to a bedroom. No, not like that.

TerminusTurlough: Looks like a kid’s room.
Tegan: It was Adric’s.
Turlough: Who?
Sue: Oh just some boy who got killed. You should probably clean the sheets before you get into bed.

Turlough wants to throw Adric’s belongings out.

Turlough: All this can go for a start.
Sue: (As Turlough) But I’ll keep his porno mags under the mattress. Just in case.

Tegan leaves Turlough to it, and Sue asks a very good question:

Sue: Why has the TARDIS only got two bedrooms? I thought it was supposed to be huge. Why can’t Turlough have his own room? It doesn’t make any sense.

The Black Guardian instructs Turlough to remove the space-time element from the TARDIS console (having retrieved it from Longleat first). And then Sue becomes acquainted with Mary Ridge’s unmistakable directing style.

Sue: …and cut! They left that shot on-screen for ages. Did I miss something important or was it sloppy editing?

Turlough’s tinkering results in the TARDIS interfacing with another structure, and this results in Nyssa staring blankly at a pixelated wall.

Sue: Oh no, not hypnotism again!

Me: That’s Sarah Sutton acting, love.

The Doctor uses the scanner to monitor Nyssa’s predicament.

Sue: So the Doctor can look into Nyssa’s bedroom whenever he likes, eh? That’s interesting. And a bit sick.

A skull appears on the wall behind Nyssa.

Sue: Have they landed on a pirate ship? Or is it a tattoo parlour?

TerminusA door opens. The Doctor tells Nyssa to walk though it. He races to her bedroom just as the door is closing, but he manages to wedge it open by throwing a chair at it.

Sue: That was impressive.

The Doctor follows Nyssa into a spacecraft’s corridor. Back on the TARDIS, Tegan tells Turlough that she can hear her friend screaming.

Sue: That didn’t sound anything like Nyssa. Unless she’s turned into a werewolf.

The Doctor finds his companion cowering on the floor. She is very happy to see him.

Sue: That was sweet. Companions should cuddle the Doctor more often.
Me: Even Turlough?
Sue: Is Turlough a companion? Can you be a companion if you want to kill the Doctor all the time? He’s more like a squatter.

Suddenly, a massive explosion takes out half a corridor. And when I say massive, I mean massive.

Sue: Nice explosion.
Me: I should hope so. It was so big, the bang was heard on the Six O’Clock News. They were recording it live in the studio next door.

Sue is too distracted by what is emerging from the billowing smoke to care about that.

Sue: Is that Barbarella?

It takes her a while, but she eventually realises that Liza Goddard is playing Kari the space pirate.

TerminusSue: I remember her from that comedy. What was it called? Yes, Dear. Something like that.
Me: You’re mixing Yes, Honestly with Yus, My Dear. A horrific combination.
Sue: I remember her on Give Us A Clue, too.
Me: She’s also Colin Baker’s first wife.
Sue: Wow.
Me: And that’s all the Goddard facts we have.
Sue: One last thing – is that her hair or is it a hat?

The Doctor identifies the spacecraft as an old passenger liner.

Sue: What kind of passenger liner stencils skulls on the wall? Are you sure this isn’t a tour bus for a Heavy Metal band? Maybe these two are the roadies.

She’s pointing at Kari and her partner Olvir (who, according to Sue, is played by “the member of Duran Duran who no one ever remembers”).

Turlough tries to contact the Black Guardian but he isn’t picking up.

Sue: Is that a crystal in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me? No wonder Tegan has the hots for Turlough. Look at the bulge in his trousers!

Tegan attempts to open a locked door, but when she does, she is attacked by grabbing hands that grab all they can.

Sue: She’s doing her best to stop that hand from going any lower. This is a very uncomfortable scene to watch.

A crowd of cloaked people shuffle into the corridor, groaning. Sue tries to figure it out.

Sue: Is it a prison ship? A zombie ship? What is it?

Olvir has the answer she seeks:

Olvir: This is Terminus, where all the lazars come to die!
Sue: Lezzers? What’s he talking about?
Olvir: We’re on a leper ship! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!
Sue: Anyone fancy a retake? No? Are we happy with that? Oh, okay.

 

Part Two

TerminusTegan and Turlough have taken cover under the flooring.

Sue: If they were real lepers, flakes of skin would be raining down on them through the grating. Just saying.

The switch from video to film resurrects an old bugbear of Sue’s:

Sue: Can’t they do something to the video to make it look as if it was all shot on film? **** VIDFire, work on something that makes it look less like video.

Tegan and Turlough are trapped under the flooring, so they search for another way out.

Sue: (As Turlough) Yeah, you go first, love. No particular reason.

As Turlough is left to stare at Tegan’s arse, Kari admits to the Doctor that she is a space pirate.

Sue: (Singing) I lost my heart to a starship trooper. Something-something-hyperspace.

The day after we watched this episode, Sarah Brightman booked a flight to the International Space Station. You couldn’t make this shit up.

Tegan finds a ladder.

Sue: (As Turlough) You go first again. No reason at all.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Nyssa is revealing a lot more than usual, too.

Sue: Don’t they have bras in outer space?
Me: Nyssa isn’t wearing a bra? I hadn’t noticed.

A cushion in the face. I haven’t had one of those for a while.

Sue: Laura Mulvey would have a field day with Terminus.

Sue isn’t very impressed with Dominic Guard’s performance as Olvir. Actually, that’s an understatement.

TerminusSue: He makes Adric look like Daniel Craig.

The Doctor realises that Terminus is slap bang in the centre of the known universe.

Sue: Either that or the ship is using Apple Maps.

Meanwhile, Turlough and Tegan are STILL trapped.

Sue: It’s a bit like Alien, only Turlough is the alien, and that’s not that scary. Apart from that, it’s very similar.

We meet the Vanir, the slaves who run Terminus.

Sue: Are they infected, too? They look like shit. In fact, everybody looks like shit in this episode. Even the ones who aren’t supposed to look like shit look like shit. It’s shit!

On the bridge of the space liner, the power suddenly goes off. The scene ends with Nyssa kneeling in front of a giant glowing phallus while her breasts threaten to spill out.

Sue: And this was directed by a woman?

A little later, Nyssa decides to remove her skirt.

TerminusSue: I can’t believe she’s gone from buttoned-up scientist to shameless floozy in two episodes. It makes no sense. Does Lezzer disease.
Me: Lazar.
Sue: Does it make you lose all your inhibitions and strip down to your pants?
Me: She took her skirt off because she was hot.
Sue: Well, she’s certainly hot now.
Me: Are you sure you haven’t come down with a bad case of the Lezzers as well?
Sue: That was borderline offensive, Neil. Stop it.

When a Vanir named Valgard straddles a stairway, Sue makes appreciative noises.

Me: What’s wrong?
Sue: I’m just staring at his sports cup. It’s massive. See, now you know how it feels.

A Vanir named Sigurd injects himself with hydromel.

Sue: Ah, I get it now. This lot are living off the life force of the lezzers, I mean lazars. Like bad Iron Men.

Nyssa is transported to the heart of Terminus.

Nyssa: What is this horrendous place?
Sue: If I’m not mistaken, it’s the Metro Centre car park in Gateshead.

And then we meet the Garm.

Sue: What the hell is that supposed to be? Is is fancy dress night on Terminus or what?

The Garm seems amicable enough.

Sue: He has a very cute waddle going on there.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Kari have reached –

TerminusThe Doctor: The centre of the universe.
Sue: It’s a teeny-weeny bit underwhelming, don’t you think? It looks like some shelving. I’m not sure if that’s funny or crap.

Turlough and Tegan are, yes you guessed it, still trapped under the floorboards.

Turlough: We’re going to get out of here even if we have to smash our way out!
Sue: You bloody love it. Any excuse to stare at Tegan’s bum. You could have escaped hours ago if you really wanted to. Look how easy that bar came off. Trapped, my arse.

The episode concludes with a badly staged fight between Valgard and the Doctor.

Sue: That was very shabby. The direction is all over the place. It’s not very good, is it?

 

Part Three

TerminusKari rescues the Doctor by deflecting a laser beam into the Valgard’s head.

Sue: Why go to that much effort? Why not just walk up behind him and then shoot him? It would have been so much easier. Mind you, she’d be a great billiards player.

Tegan and Turlough finally escape from the underfloor grating of doom.

Sue: Halle-****ing-lujah!

Nyssa isn’t so lucky – she has been thrown into a Lazar pen. She is befriended by a fellow Lazar sufferer named Inga. She tells Nyssa that escape from the Vanir is impossible.

Inga: You can’t even bribe them.
Sue: (As Inga) I offered them sexual favours once but they turned me down. I can’t imagine why.

When the Vanir strut their stuff, Roger Limb ramps the incidental music up to 11.

Sue: The music has to be this loud to cover the sound of their uniforms clattering around. They look great, but they aren’t very practical. The sound people must have torn their hair out.

TerminusSue gets a good look at the Vanir’s leader, Eirak.

Sue: He’s a cross between Dracula and Steve Harley from Cockney Rebel.

Valgard tells Eirak about the Doctor. Eirak agrees to step down as their leader if Valgard can capture him. Valgard is suspicious of Eirak’s offer.

Eirak: You have the Vanir as your witness.
Sue: He has a slice of wood for a witness? How does that work?

The Doctor and Kari encounter a badly disfigured Vanir. Sue is blown away by the horrific make-up, if nothing else.

Bor: My name is Bor.
Sue: I’m saying nothing.

Peter Benson’s Liverpudlian twang makes him sound like the second best drummer in The Beatles.

Sue: It’s Ringo Starr!

TerminusBor tells the Doctor that the engines on Terminus are unstable. The poor man has tried to wall in the radiation, in spite of the danger to himself.

Me: It’s quite bleak this, don’t you think?
Sue: I’m sorry, you’ll have to pause it. I’m laughing too much. Maybe he should ask the Fat Controller look his engines. I’m sorry, I’ll stop it.

Ding! Ding! It’s the Doctor and Valgard Round 2.

Sue: That wasn’t a fight scene. That was bad performance art.

The Garm reappears.

Sue: He’s so cute. I just want to tickle him under his chin.

The giant dog approaches Nyssa, who has been chained to a pole.

Sue: What’s he going to do? Lick her to death?

TerminusAs the Garm carries Nyssa into the Forbidden Zone, Sue has some pet care advice for the Vanir:

Sue: That dog needs to go on a diet. And they should take him for walkies a bit more. He’s obese.

The Black Guardian chastises Turlough for his continued incompetence.

Sue: Turlough will be on his last written warning if he’s not careful.

The Doctor comes to the conclusion that Terminus travelled back in time, dumped some fuel, and accidentally kick-started Event One. Kari and Sue ask, in unison:

Sue and Kari: The Big Bang?

Castrovalva must have made a lasting impression on her. Which is nice.

Sue: Let me get this straight: pilot error created the universe? You know, I actually like that idea. It’s mental.

The episode concludes with the Doctor underplaying the threat as usual:

The Doctor: If we don’t do something quickly, the whole universe will be destroyed!
Sue: If you don’t do something quickly, the audience will fall asleep.

 

Part Four

TerminusValgard and Olvir duke it out in the engine room.

Sue: That scene was atrocious. The direction was shockingly bad. It looks like a rehearsal.

Valgard recognises Olvir as someone who has been combat trained by Colonel Pereira, the same man who trained him.

Sue: So that’s why they fight like sissies? They were both trained by a moron.

Meanwhile, Tegan is trying to stop the space liner from leaving Terminus. She bangs the console with her fist.

Sue: That was a pathetic thump. She must have been worried about punching her way through the set.

And then.

Sue: Oh look, Nyssa is lying half-naked on the floor. I bet you love Terminus.

The Doctor can’t stop Terminus from firing its engines.

TerminusThe Doctor: The technology here is phenomenal.
Sue: And yet it’s controlled by a big red lever. Not a computer or anything like high-tech that. Believable?

Bor resigns himself to his fate.

Bor: It doesn’t matter. In a couple of hours there won’t even be a Terminus or a Company or anything.
Sue: (As Ringo/Bor) And where will poor Thomas the Tank Engine go then?

And then her patience snaps.

Sue: There are too many ****ing corridors in this story. Really drab corridors, too. It’s relentless.

The Doctor realises that the Garm could be the answer to their prayers. Kari isn’t convinced.

Kari: And if he won’t cooperate?
Sue: (As the Doctor) We’ll take away his Jumbones.

Nyssa overpowers Olvir “by mistake”.

TerminusSue: She climbed on top of him after she knew it was him. His cloak was supposed to come off later, I think. Why on earth didn’t the director ask for a re-take?

Nyssa tells Olvir that the cure to Lazars disease would work, if only somebody could be bothered to perfect it.

Sue: Nyssa is going to stay behind at the end. It’s obvious. She’ll probably end up marrying this joker while she’s at it.

The Doctor politely asks the Garm to pull the lever.

Garm: And if I fail?
Sue: (As the Doctor) No more Jumbones. Ever.

The Garm complies.

Sue: I hope he doesn’t break a nail.

Bor doesn’t fancy their chances:

Bor: Beginning of the end, boys.
Sue: (As Bor) Just enough time for one last song. I know, what about ‘Octopus’s Garden’ for the encore?

But the Garm is successful.

TerminusSue: Yay! A dog saved the universe. You don’t see that very often.
Me: Dog is god spelt backwards.
Sue: Either this is really deep and clever or, well, let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.
Garm: Have I served you well?
Sue: You are a very good boy. He should replace Nyssa. He could be the next K9.

Another badly choreographed fight breaks out between Olvir and Valgard.

Sue: Why hasn’t this finished yet?
Bor: It’s all I can do to keep awake for more than a minute.
Sue: Tell me about it! Just finish!

The Doctor tells Olvir to cut the lines to the engines.

The Doctor: I’d hate anyone to start the sequence manually.
Sue: Yeah, the last thing we need is a sequel to this story.

And then Nyssa drops the bombshell: she has decided to stay on Terminus.

Sue: She should go back to the TARDIS for a change of clothes, first. She won’t last five minutes dressed like that.

TerminusNyssa gives the Doctor a quick peck on the cheek before collapsing into Tegan’s arms.

Sue: I’m sort of sad. But I’m glad at the same time. I bet Peter Davison’s wife was pleased as well.

The episode concludes with the Black Guardian giving Turlough one last chance to kill the Doctor.

The Black Guardian: This is your last chance. I shall not say that again.
Sue: Yes you will. You know you will.

 

The Score

Sue: Hmm. I really liked some of the ideas – I bet it looked great on paper – but the execution was a shambles. The design was bland one minute and unintentionally hilarious the next, the acting was all over the place, and the music is still too medieval. But it was the direction that killed Terminus. It had “that’ll do” stamped all over it. Ringo Starr was brilliant, though.

3/10

 

Coming Soon

 

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Comments

  1. Dave Sanders  October 11, 2012

    Interminable, isn’t it?

  2. Dave Sanders  October 11, 2012

    Next time: I am Leee John, for Es are many.

  3. Neowhovian  October 11, 2012

    “The Doctor realises that Terminus is slap bang in the centre of the known universe.

    “Sue: Either that or the ship is using Apple Maps.”

    Literally laughed out loud a this.

    • encyclops  October 11, 2012

      My literal LOL moment was “He has a slice of wood as his witness? How does that work?”

  4. Gavin Noble  October 11, 2012

    Agree with the score on this one. I remember being sad at Nyssa leaving, being so much in love with her at the age of nine!

    I’ve never had a problem with the Garm in the same way I know some sections of fandom have. Given the infinite nature of the universe giant walking dogs have to exist somewhere don’t they?

    You can tell the writers struggle to cope with four companions based on the fact Tegan and Turlough spend so much time locked up under the floor.

  5. Jazza1971  October 11, 2012

    “The design was bland one minute and unintentionally hilarious the next”

    RIGHT! That’s it! I making the Makaton sign for “toilet”. You can’t say you haven’t been warned…

    Great review (otherwise) by the way, although I rather like it. Thanks, Nyssa!

  6. P.Sanders  October 11, 2012

    This is a story whose ‘making of’ doc definitely deserves a viewing. The whole production was a nightmare of delays and problems. It’s amazing the end result is as good as this, and many issues highlighted by the docu – eg overload edits. Less “that’ll do”, more “that’ll HAVE to do”. Sounds like a scarring experience for the director as well.

    And yet I enjoy Terminus. Unsurprisingly I have no memory of it from original transmission (aged 6 it wouldn’t have made much of an impression) but I remember the novelisation being very strong, and quite emotional. The TV version suffers from its production problems, not to mention those ridiculous Space Pirate Top of the Pops outfits. And the Garm is a convenient plot device with no backstory or purpose beyond pulling a lever. He actually looks okay in shadowy close-up – it’s anytime we see his legs that he looks lumpy, bless him. But he does look very cute when he looks triumphant after he’s granted his freedom!

    But episode one is still strong and atmospheric and Nyssa’s farewell is genuinely moving. She doesn’t leave to get married and live happily ever after like Jo or return to her (now destroyed) home like Sarah Jane. She stays on a grim spaceship trying to help cure a disease to beat an unscrupulous company. Life will be tough and this is the one companion whose post-Doctor fate seems genuinely uncertain.

    • Dave Sanders  October 12, 2012

      The Garm is a metaphor – he represents the Norse wolf at the end of the world. In fact, the whole of Terminus is the same metaphor. Not having read the book, I don’t know if it highlights the parallels with the Wagnerian Gotterdammerung and the Norse myths of Ragnarok, but if so it would immediately explain why so many fans apparently take to the TV version as a flawed gem after they’ve read it. (Me, I have Tat and Larry to thank once again instead.)

      Once you’ve been made aware of the source material that Terminus derives from, it becomes clear that the grey, unrelenting misery is entirely the wrong approach for this one – it’s not overplayed or ridiculous *enough*. You don’t want Mary Ridge doing her best Blakes 7 here, you want Chuck Jones doing What’s Opera, Doc?. This story is crying out for one particular element, and that is Colin Baker’s Doctor. Not only would his bombastic bravado be entirely in keeping with the Wagnerian themes, but it would be the one time where that sodding coat encourages all the different visual design subteams to up their game and compete with each other in the *right* way that Terminus would demand, instead of painting the screen with tacky technicolour gloss.

      • P.Sanders  October 12, 2012

        Yes the Garm came from the metaphor/influence of mythology and is part of what could have been epic storytelling. But in actual plot and story terms he simply exists to pull a lever – did he come with the ship? Who enslaved him? I also vaguely remember that in the book it makes it clearer that Terminus came from a previous universe destroyed by the birth of ours (am I misremembering?). So when I watched the show I was disappointed that this wasn’t clearer – Terminus could have been a temporal paradox from our universe that went back in time and created its own existence. Plus why would we get another Big Bang if it jettisoned again? Surely the circumstances aren’t still “exactly right”?

        Still like it though.

  7. Broton  October 11, 2012

    Despite its (many) faults, I can’t help but like Terminus. And no, it’s nothing pervy.

    • Nick Mays  October 11, 2012

      Me too, but I can’t say it isn’t a BIT pervy… ;o)

      • John Miller  October 12, 2012

        Well, without Nyssa is her underwear, name ONE positive thing about Terminus.

        • Nick Mays  October 12, 2012

          Ummmm…. I like dogs! ;o)

        • Mark B  October 12, 2012

          Olvir? Olvir was cute…

  8. Ryan Hall  October 11, 2012

    I always liked the idea of the Doctor traveling with a companion who was evil, nice twist to the whole assistant character, i was disapointed when the rumours of Donna being evil in the end were not true , kinda thought that would of been cool.

    turlough was great , massivly big improvement on Adric , you can see the producers made sure that didnt happen again.

  9. Smith  October 11, 2012

    I wasn’t looking forward to this.

    Nyssa is my favourite companion, and Terminus is by far my favourite story of Season 20 – bar the Celebration Story that comes at the end of it. (Are we allowed to mention the name of that one?) I love the story’s atmosphere and the way that it works with various mythologies to produce a story that manages to work on both a personal level for Nyssa and an epic one that encompasses the fate of the Universe. I love the style, the stagnant direction – there’s an overbearing sense of depression and closure that frame’s Nyssa’s exit, and that’s probably one of the reasons why it’s the only moment in Who that makes me tear up.

    • DPC  October 11, 2012

      Wasn’t the celebration story technically a one-off, co-financed by the Australian Broadcasting Network, and not officially part of season 20 (and the reason why JNT would stay an extra year, since he wanted to do an anniversary special before leaving but the BBC said he could do the special IF he stayed for another year?)

      • John G  October 12, 2012

        That is correct. JNT initially wanted Season 20 to be broadcast in the autumn of 1982, so that Season 21 could be broadcast the following autumn and an anniversary special included as part of it. The BBC wouldn’t allow this, so the special became a standalone story that does not technically belong to any season. The Aussies did indeed put in some of the funding, the rest coming from 2 of the 28 episodes Season 20 was originally meant to have (as we know, strike action put paid to another four of those episodes). As for JNT agreeing to stay on for one more year, I think you are getting mixed up with Season 25, which he agreed to do as he was quite keen to do something for the silver anniversary (though he didn’t have anywhere else to go by that time, anyway). I don’t think he had any great desire to leave at the time of the 20th anniversary, but with the benefit of hindsight it might have been better all round if he had…

  10. Al Drehan  October 11, 2012

    Bor is the spitting image of Alan Hull from Lindisfarne:

    • BWT  October 12, 2012

      I used to get him mixed up with Malcolm Storry from “Dogfood Dan and the Camarthen Cowboy” (now THERE’s a blast from the past!)

  11. Glen Allen  October 11, 2012

    I was always scared by lezzers. I’m ok now
    How though, did I miss the lezzers gag before I read this? I’m a fool.

    Sue: Can’t they do something to the video to make it look as if it was all shot on film? **** VIDFire, work on something that makes it look less like video.
    Quite. I must be one of the few people who doesn’t like the vidfire process. Everything looks so much better on film. If there was an easy and cheap technique I’d do it to a lot of Doctor Who (CAN. WORMS. OPEN. I know)

    Sue: She climbed on top of him after she knew it was him
    I’m always doing that so it’s no biggie 🙂

    • Gavin Noble  October 12, 2012

      How can you not like VIDFire given the difference in quality it has made to the 1960’s black and white episodes? I remember when Planet of Giants came out on VHS and thinking how incredible it looked compared to previous b + w VHS releases. Do you really prefer a grainy copy where things are blurred to clarity?

      PS Great trailer again!

  12. charles yoakum  October 11, 2012

    so how many different versions of the big bang have we seen in doctor who?

    • DPC  October 11, 2012

      Four known examples:
      ———————
      The Edge of Destruction
      Castrovalva
      Terminus
      The explanation for River Song… 😮

      • Wholahoop  October 12, 2012

        Not seen but heard was Slipback’s take on the cause of the Big Bang. Will Slipback be included in the experiment?

        • BWT  October 12, 2012

          Oh, yes please! The book version was my introduction to the Multi-coloured Yawn Coated one and, for my money, is one of the best Sixth Doctor stories out there. I really enjoyed Eric Saward’s riffing on Douglas Adams’ writing style that actually worked for the most part – definitely the Saward’s best work for the series here…

      • Nick Mays  October 12, 2012

        Wasn’t the “Event One” of Terminus ‘simply’ the creation of our Galaxy and not the Universe itself?

        As for River Song, hasn’t her blasted timeline caught up with “Silence in the Library” yet?

  13. John S. Hall  October 11, 2012

    One thing that always baffled me about “Terminus” was that Nyssa seemingly contracts Lazar’s Disease just by being in the passenger liner, while Tegan — who’s pawed all over by the Lazars, including her mouth (as seen above) — doesn’t get infected at all! 😕

    And as someone else posted above, “Terminus” was plagued by industrial action and all manner of problems. Like the story that comes next, it was lucky not to wind up on the scrap heap alongside “Shada”.

    Also, no deriding of the risible robot that Tegan encounters?? 😉

  14. Antti Björklund  October 11, 2012

    😀

  15. Thorsten Volker Junkie  October 11, 2012

    A half-naked Nyssa licked to death by a giant dog.
    Thanks Sue, for putting such dirty ideas in my head.

    • DPC  October 11, 2012

      ROTFL!

  16. Fuschia Begonia  October 11, 2012

    Wasn’t Liza Goddard shacked up with Alvin Stardust for a while?

    And no recognition for the original Jack Sugden? For shame! 😉

  17. Adam Birch  October 11, 2012

    Terminus was a story that, in episodic form, feels a lot longer than four episodes for me, simply because of the time Tegan and Turlough spend beneath two floor boards. Watched as a straight 100-minute sitting, it’s a decent story.

    Terminus: Mostly Garmless (thankfully!).

    Hope learning the bass is going well, Neil. I went from guitar to bass over 20 years ago and it’s a challenge. Dammit, why aren’t I John Myung yet?!

    • Al Drehan  October 11, 2012

      The advice I always give to people learning bass is to sit with it, unplugged, whilst watching TV, and just play anything, it doesn’t matter what. It really helps you get a feel for holding it and playing it, without worrying about the notes. It’s so much easier to learn specific things once you’re comfortable with it.

  18. Rassilon  October 11, 2012

    Liza Goddard as “Clancy” Merrick in Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

  19. Jane  October 11, 2012

    Great idea, terribly executed. The perfect summary for Terminus, but I like the ideas so much I still tend to give it an 8. And isn’t this what being a Doctor Who fan is all about, overlooking the telling of a story for the story itself?

    Perhaps not. If that was the case, Earthshock wouldn’t be held in such high regard.

    • Thomas  October 12, 2012

      Agreed completely. I just finished watching it and was really intrigued by the ideas and story. The production often fails to do as well as it should, but honestly if we’re going to criticize Doctor Who for that we might as well slag off half the series, old and new.

      At any rate, I quite like it.

      • Jane  October 12, 2012

        I dunno, there aren’t many stories in the Revival that fail on account of bad acting, chintzy sets, pants direction, embarrassing choreography, and incompetent special effects — but sure enough, those are the ones that get the worst criticism.

        Anyways, getting back to Terminus, while I love the ideas behind it, I would say the story itself lets them down, primarily because of how the Tegan/Turlough/Guardian arc plays out, or rather, fails to play out. So many ways to have involved these characters in the central drama, and they’re squandered; as it is, when their scenes come up, they just detract from the main narrative and turn whatever pace and tension have been established into glue.

        What Terminus does well is establish some interesting iconography for its ideas — the cry they’re on a leper ship, Nyssa’s conversation with the other leper, the Garm’s freedom, the costume design of the Vanir, the astronaut, all out of an idea good enough to be a smashing season finale in its own right.

  20. charles yoakum  October 11, 2012

    there was something in the middle of this second davison season that you felt might lead to something. the connection of the stories in the middle of the season were interesting in sales pitch: the eternals, the lepers colony, the return of the mara, the evil companion. execution was a problem with lots of it, but from an idea standpoint it looked like they were trying.

  21. John G  October 11, 2012

    “Terminus? I hope this story doesn’t take place in a bus station.”

    You never know, it might have been more interesting if it had! As Sue says, the ideas at the heart of this story are interesting, but it is just so slow and drab to look at, and it’s embarrassingly obvious that Steve Gallagher didn’t really have a clue what to do with Tegan and Turlough (or indeed with the Black Guardian/Turlough story arc, which goes precisely nowhere over these four episodes). In fairness, as mentioned above, there were a whole host of production problems which no doubt impaired the finished product somewhat, though the script is still too thin and poorly paced. Nyssa’s exit is quite touching, though why she would want to stay in such a dump beats me – guilt for her pampered, aristocratic upbringing, perhaps? Sue’s thoughts on Dominic Guard were amusing. Strange to think, back when he was playing the young boy in The Go-Between, that he was seen as a star of the future. Just over a decade later, and he looks like a wannabe member of Shalamar…

    On the musical theme, I hope the deadly combination of a flash-in-the-pan 80s pop star and Nurse Gladys “Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon” Emmanuel does not harm Sue’s enjoyment of the next one too much!

  22. Leo  October 11, 2012

    I remember someone reviewing this and saying that they might as well have not included Kari and Olvir, as they could just have given their roles in the story to Tegan and Turlough. Don’t know whether that might have worked, although it could have meant the latter two might have had a bit more to do.

  23. encyclops  October 11, 2012

    I watched this again last night and can only agree with just about everyone here, including Sue. Great ideas, in some respects among the noblest the classic series had to offer. Really interesting stuff about the treatment of the fatally ill, a dehumanized and dehumanizing medical industry, and how little you’d actually have to change about the way it’s all conceived and run to make it work positively rather than oppressively. And then some visual stuff that’s grim and gray compared to the mausoleum ship last episode but maybe appropriately so, what with the skulls and the Wagnerian armor. And then the whole bit about the universe starting with an explosion from the one before! That’s fabulous stuff, are you kidding me?

    But yes, like Jane says (she’s gonna kick tomorrow), terrible execution: atrocious casting, especially of the Thompson Twin pirates, and a criminal waste of Tegan and tedious Turlough. I love Leo’s idea of having Tegan and Turlough take their roles — imagine how much more interesting Turlough would have been with a Lazar sister and combat training under Colonel Pereira! And we have to blame the script for at least part of it — those long stretches of boredom, and the pointless power struggles, which do make a point about life in low-stakes corporate ranks but don’t make it enjoyably.

    And all that said, this is one of the best companion departures the series has ever had. Nyssa’s actually going to use her scientific skills (which apparently allow her to chemically analyze glowing liquids just by shaking their tubes) to help people who really need it — echoes of Romana in Warrior’s Gate, not unsurprisingly. And you get the sense she really is going to have a pretty rough time of it. I can’t help being proud of this fictional character, and glad she got such a noble exit. If only what led up to it had been a lot more dignified.

    • Jane  October 12, 2012

      The whole “space pirate” thing serves no functional purpose other than to introduce exposition machines. How much more interesting if that’s given to Turlough — he could try to hide his knowledge from our heroes, and even turn that deception to his advantage (“Tegan makes me feel so unwelcome, I don’t feel safe revealing anything of my past, yadda yadda.”)

      The Black Guardian could be trying to convince Turlough of the Doctor’s monstrosity by painting his actions as dangerous to the Universe. Tegan could interfere with the Vanir much like Kari did, but without waving about a gun, and how much more poignant Nyssa’s departure would be if it were Tegan who’d just “saved” her.

      Unfortunatey, the whole staging of the story seems averse to creating tension, and given the strife behind the scenes, I’m not surprised.

  24. DPC  October 11, 2012

    Well, if I dated someone (with a UNIT or otherwise) I probably wouldn’t be nitpicking WHO so much… 😀

    Bad joke…

    As always, thanks for the great reviews to read!

    Yeah, on paper this is a good story. As executed, especially with the industrial action, it’s amazing it got made. But it’s definitely not the sum of its parts.

    “Sue: Oh just some boy who got killed. You should probably clean the sheets before you get into bed.” was one of many lines having me in stitches. As were many such great lines…

    Amazingly, there were no jokes about Nyssa making enzymes in her underwear in her bedroom…

    Yes, the hair of the pirates was pretty bad. I had no idea pirates were so fashion conscious, if you can call a ginormous frizball “fashion”…

    I’m hoping “Is that Barbarella?” gets as many mentions as the Master, hehe!

    • encyclops  October 12, 2012

      I could have handled the hair if there had been ANYTHING whatsoever about them that suggested they were capable of pirating anything larger than a rubber duck. Do you get the feeling that their fellow pirates had come up with an excuse to get rid of them, just dropping them off on Terminus and then taking off? Yet another element of the labor relations theme….

  25. wholahoop  October 12, 2012

    If they can get someone of the calibre of Steve Gallagher to write for the programme you would hope the production would do his script justice. The novelisation was more enjoyable

    I seem to remember being distinctly unimpressed with this story, it was slow and plodding but it was the one time in my life that I wanted to be Turlough, as a 15 year old I reckoned it would have been worth the sore knees

  26. Frankymole  October 12, 2012

    I seem to be having trouble finding “Laura Mulvey”‘s actual job history/CV on the internet. What “proper job” has she done?

    • Leo  October 12, 2012

      She is a film theorist who writes from a feminist perspective, who also made some avant-garde films, co-writing and co-directing with her husband, in the 70s and 80s, co-directing another one in 1991. Currently professor of film and media studies at Birkbeck, University of London, according to what I’ve read online anyway. I’m not sure what you are defining as a “proper job”, so I’ll have to leave that to you.

      • Frankymole  October 12, 2012

        Practical experience of doing what she teaches, like directing, is the “proper job” that qualifies her to be a professor. Thanks for the info!

  27. Frankymole  October 12, 2012

    “VIDFire, work on something that makes it look less like video.”
    Ouch, RT stand down!

  28. Frankymole  October 12, 2012

    “Ringo Starr was brilliant, though.”

    “Eh wha’, whach?”

  29. Thomas  October 12, 2012

    Sandifer’s read of the story is, I think, indispensable here:
    http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot.com/2012/03/original-viking-settlers-terminus.html

    • encyclops  October 12, 2012

      And be sure to read Jack Graham’s take in the comments section.

      • Thomas  October 13, 2012

        Indeed- his readings in general are absolutely fascinating, I’m a huge fan of his blog.

  30. Ollie  October 12, 2012

    Watched this for the first time a few days ago in anticipation of this wonderous experiment.

    I found that the first episode was very good, almost as good as anything Davison I’ve seen. All of that falls to bits in episode 2. Episodes 3 and 4 are incredibly tediously boringly mundane.

    I’m wondering Neil, after you have finally finnished this blog how long do you reckon it’ll take you before you get the urge to watch another classic Doctor Who?

  31. Perry Armstrong  October 12, 2012

    Guess I’ll be the first to comment how much Mark Strickson resembles a young Albert Steptoe.

    • Nick Mays  October 12, 2012

      He does as well!

      ” ‘Ey! ‘Aaaarrrooooolllld!”

      “You dirty old man!”

  32. BWT  October 12, 2012

    Damn you, Neil and Sue! After Neil teased us all with your singing I couldn’t help but look up “I Lost My Heart To A Starship”. It led me to this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wwilCs4Jqg

    I’m sending you my therapist’s bill.

    • BWT  October 12, 2012

      And that’s just one more thing that “Terminal” has to answer for…

      • BWT  October 12, 2012

        However, I have nothing against the idea of Lezza disease…

  33. Peter A  October 12, 2012

    I’ve only heard two Depeche Mode songs ever and I’m the only one who noticed the reference? I don’t know whether to feel shame or – actually, I’ll just take shame.

    Liza Goddard did a bunch of serialised ads in NZ in the early 80s for Idon’tknowIcan’trememberafterallthistime. In the guise of a newsreader. Otherwise we too must have only known her for Give Us a Clue.

    That’s all I have on Terminus except that I too liked Bor. “Short term memory’s always the first to go…” Bleak, but much better than “push the blue buttons!”

    • CJJC  October 19, 2012

      I would take the prize for spotting the reference if I were you. After all, everything counts.

  34. John Miller  October 12, 2012

    One thing that upset me back in the day was that i had heard(probably misheard) that Season 20 would re-introduce old characters/aspects in every serial. So “Arc Of Infinity” brought back Tegan, Omega, Borusa, The Time Lords/Gallifrey/The Matrix. “Snakedance” brought back the Mara. “Mawdryn Undead” brought back the Black Guardian and the Brigadier(well ”a” Brigadier 🙂 ). And then “Terminus”, um…er…

    Of course, it was every serial would ”’feature”’ an old character/concept. But the Black Guardian had arrived weeks earlier.

    • Thomas  October 13, 2012

      Yeah- the publicity was that every story would feature a returning villain (though as pointed out, the stretch actually lasts from Earthshock to 3 stories from here).

  35. chris-too-old-too-watch  October 12, 2012

    Anybody else remember all the fuss in the press about DW “demonizing” leprosy? Seem to remember it was in all the papers, particularly how you couldn’t catch it that easily.
    By-the-by, I assume Sue was refering to Roger Taylor, drummer of Duran as “the one everyone forgot”…..

    • Al Drehan  October 12, 2012

      I wonder if Queen and Duran Duran ever turned up with their drummers accidentally swapped around? That’d be embarrassing.

      • DPC  October 12, 2012

        And people say the 1960s were the drugged-up era… what was going on in the 1980s was far more freakout-worthy…

  36. Auntie Celia  October 12, 2012

    Susan is not the first person to find “Terminus” similar to “Alien”! A dear friend gleefully quoted Miss Liza Goddard’s autobiography to me, in which she not only points out the many qualities they apparently have in common but also claims that the television serial was made years before the film!

    • John Miller  October 12, 2012

      You sure you aren’t confusing it with The Ark In Space?

  37. Auntie Celia  October 12, 2012

    Quite sure, Poppet! Miss Goddard makes these claims when recalling her time on Doctor Who.

  38. DamonD  October 12, 2012

    Alternatively, the audio commentary for Terminus was tremendous, I thought.

  39. Silent Hunter  October 12, 2012

    Does Sue know who Peter Davison’s then wife was?

    • Neil Perryman  October 12, 2012

      Yes. In fact, we watched them perform their song and dance number on the Russell Harty Show yesterday.

  40. Noodles  October 12, 2012

    Nyssa doesn’t take her skirt off because she’s hot, she takes it off because she feels bloated and it’s making her uncomfortable. According to Sarah Sutton, anyway.

    • Nick Mays  October 12, 2012

      Does it matter? ;o)

  41. Jazza1971  October 12, 2012

    Yay! The comment reply e-mail thingy has started working again!

    • Neowhovian  October 12, 2012

      That wasn’t just me, then? Huzzah!

  42. Cracked Polystyrene Man  October 12, 2012

    I agree with Sue. I’d buy every Doctor Who DVD again if they could make the video sections look like film.

    • Thomas  October 13, 2012

      Meh. The video sections are part of the charm, I think- it’s part of a whole visual aesthetic TV had through most of the 80s.

      IMO, it was a huge loss when they stopped using it for dramas.

    • Frankymole  October 14, 2012

      The Restoration Team having been very busy turning “film look” back in to video-look using their VidFIRE process. They’ve even been revisiting previously-released stories like Tomb of the Cybermen and (reportedly) The Aztecs to make them look more like studio videotape. “Planet of Giants” had its third episode shown with the “film look” (deinterlaced) back in 1964 but they’ve also modified that to look like video even though it was anever seen that way at the time!