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Nightmare of Eden
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Synopsis


The Mandrels
The Mandrels
 The TARDIS lands at the site of a hyperspatial collision between two spacecraft, the Empress and the Hecate. As a result, neither ship is dimensionally stable, risking the lives of all those aboard. The Doctor, K9 and Romana offer to help out.

 When a crewmember is found dead, his face lacerated by huge claws, it seems something deadly has been released by the accident. But how is the death linked to the discovery that the killer drug Vraxoin has been smuggled aboard - and where has the supply come from?

 The Doctor soon realises that the aliens stored in a projection machine may hold the answers - and that the cages holding these specimens are anything but secure as the savage Mandrels, hideous swamp-creatures from the planet Eden, tear through the corridors of the helpless spaceships...

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Seventeen
Production Code: 5K
Story Number: 107
Episode Numbers:518 - 521
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"Nightmare of Evil"
Production Dates: August 1979
Broadcast Started: 24 November 1979
Broadcast Finished: 15 December 1979
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC6)
Location: None
Writer:Bob Baker
Directors:Alan Bromly and Graham Williams (Uncredited)
Producer:Graham Williams
Script Editor:Douglas Adams
Editor:Rod Waldron
Production Assistant:Carolyn Montagu
Production Unit Manager:John Nathan-Turner
Assistant Floor Manager:Val McCrimmon
Designer:Roger Cann
Costume Designer:Rupert Jarvis
Make-Up Designer:Joan Stribling
Cameraman:Peter Hider
Incidental Music:Dudley Simpson
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:Anthony Philpott
Lighting:Warwick Fielding
Visual Effects:Colin Mapson
Title Sequence:Bernard Lodge
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Delia Derbyshire
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 2The Companions: Lalla Ward (Romana 2) and David Brierley (voice only) (K9 Mk II) Additional Cast: Lewis Fiander (Tryst), Geoffrey Bateman (Dymond), David Daker (Captain Rigg), Barry Andrews (Stott), Jennifer Lonsdale (Della), Geoffrey Hinsliff (Fisk), Peter Craze (Costa), Stephen Jenn (Secker), Richard Barnes (Crewman), Sebastian Stride (Crewman), Eden Phillips (Crewman), Annette Peters (Passenger), Lionel Sansby (Passenger), Peter Roberts (Passenger), Maggie Petersen (Passenger)Setting: Cruise Liner Empress and spaceship Hecate, orbiting planet Azure (circa 2116). Villains:Mandrels and Tryst

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
518Part 124 November 197924'17"8.7PAL 2" colour videotape
519Part 201 December 197922'44"9.6PAL 2" colour videotape
520Part 308 December 197924'06"9.6PAL 2" colour videotape
521Part 415 December 197924'31"9.4PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 36 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 9.3
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)57.08%  (Position = 136 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)57.03% Lower (Position = 167 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)61.25% Higher (Position = 190 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



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Notes


This story was the first solo contribution by writer Bob Baker – his final involvement with Doctor Who. He continued writing for programmes including Bergerac and also became script editor on shows like Shoestring and Into The Labyrinth. In the Nineties, Bob Baker garnered acclaim for his work with stop-motion animator Nick Park on the Wallace and Gromit series, which included the Academy Award-winning 2005 feature film Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Since the late Nineties, Bob Baker has also been attempting to spin his co-creation, K9, into his own television series.

The recording of this story marked the return of David Brierly to the show as the voice of K9. After making "The Creature from the Pit" at the start of the production schedule, David Brierly had not been needed for either "City of Death" or "Destiny of the Daleks".

The director for this story was Alan Bromly, who had previously helmed the 1973 Third Doctor story "The Time Warrior". At the time this story was recorded Alan Bromly was largely retired but he still received, and accepted, occasional work from the BBC.

Even though Alan Bromly is credited with directing this story he quit part-way through filming as a result of a huge disagreement with Tom Baker. As a result, Producer Graham Williams ended up having to complete the Director’s duties without an on-screen credit. Alan Bromly never directed another story for Doctor Who and in fact went into full retirement from television soon thereafter. He passed away in September 1995.

It has been reported that it was the situation that occurred during the recording of this story that prompted Graham Williams to decide that he had wished to leave the show.

This story was subjected to severe budget-restrictions in order to have money left over for the season finale, "Shada" and the Paris filming in "City of Death".

More facts about K9 are revealed during this story – including his ability to track The Doctor and that his scanners do not work in a ‘matter interface’. The Doctor is also heard to state that K9 has saved his life many times and has beaten once him at chess.

The Doctor’s ability to suspend his breathing whilst in a vacuum (see "Terror of the Zygons") is again witnessed.

It is revealed that the space liner Empress, with 900 passengers, commutes between Station 9 and the planet Azure in the Western Galaxy.

Space travel within this story appears to be more highly advanced than other stories, which are of a similar time period. For example in the 1969 Second Doctor story "The Seeds of Death" space travel has all but ceased at the end of the 21st Century, with travel only between the Moon and Earth.

This is one of the few Fourth Doctor stories to have a strong moral, in this case against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade. The drug in question was originally going to be called ‘Xylophilin’, or ‘Zip’. However, this was changed to ‘Vraxoin’ so as not to sound interesting to children. Despite this name change K9 still mentions Vraxoin as having the scientific code ‘XYP’.

The drug is a fungus and The Doctor has seen ‘whole planets’ destroyed by the drug which induces apathy.

Tryst’s research it seems hit funding problems due to ‘the Galactic recession’. On his Volante expedition, Tryst mentions visiting the Cygnus Gap and three planets in System M37.

The idea of the Continual Event Transmuter (CET) machine and its stored life-forms recalls elements of the Miniscope seen in the 1973 Third Doctor story "Carnival of Monsters". The CET works by converting specimens into electromagnetic signals that are then stored on laser crystals.

Examples of life, from various planets, stored in the CET include: Eden, Gidi, Zil, Bros, Vij, Darp, Lvan and Ranx.

The Doctor is heard asking whether the CET features a spatial integrator, a transmutation oscillator, a hologistic retention circuit or a dimensional osmosis damper.

More techno-babble is used when it is revealed that Tryst and Dymond plan to smuggle Vraxoin with an entuckor laser.

This story contains a number of anomalies. Including: in the second episode, when K9 seals up the wall panel, a hand emerges to hold the panel in place; then in the third episode the Mandrel that is killed by K9 can be seen breathing while it is still laying on the ground after The Doctor makes sure it is dead and strangely when Della gets shot in the face in the final episode, she is seen clutching her stomach.

Interestingly the tabloid newspaper The Sun wrote that the Mandrels were terrifying monsters. However, the majority of critics were more scathing and many of them saw the Mandrels as being thoroughly unconvincing (particularly The Doctor Who Appreciation Society, which described them as ‘cute rejects from The Muppet Show’).



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first solo contribution by writer Bob Baker.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Graham Williams.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The final contribution to the show by writer Bob Baker.

 The last Doctor Who story to be directed by Alan Bromly.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Doctor and Romana
The Doctor and Romana

While in orbit around the planet Azure in the year 2116, the luxury space liner Empress and a private spaceship called Hecate, collide as the space liner emerges from hyperspace.

Very soon afterwards The TARDIS arrives close to an unstable area on the Empress and as The Doctor and Romana investigate they quickly discover that both spaceships have become fused together. Realising that the collision of the two spaceships has caused a dimensional crossover, which must be repaired, The Doctor and Romana offer their services to detach the two craft. To assist them K9 arrives from the TARDIS and is tasked with cutting through the locked spaceships.

The Doctor and Romana also meet the scientist Tryst, and his assistant Della, who have with them a Continuous Event Transmuter (CET) machine containing crystals. On these are recordings of many of the planets that Tyrst has visited, and they continue to develop within the machine.

Empress Pilots
Empress Pilots

The Doctor also discovers that someone on board the Empress is smuggling the dangerously addictive drug Vraxoin. Too complicate matters further the interface between the two spaceships allows some clawed monster from the mud-swamps of Eden to escape from the CET machine and to start running amok.

Their first victim is Empress’ co-pilot, Secker who heads off alone into the unstable area and while there is attacked by a clawed monster and is left for dead. The Doctor and Rigg, the captain of the Empress, find the wounded Secker and send him to the sickbay where he dies. It soon becomes apparent to The Doctor that Secker’s strange behaviour was in fact caused by him being a drug addict. He had become hooked on the organic substance Vraxoin, whose origins are unknown, but whose properties are lethal and dangerous.

Meeting the two Captains
Meeting the two Captains

The Doctor then finds Secker’s drugs stash but someone stuns him and steals the evidence. Two Azurian Customs and Excise officers now board the Empress and start to suspect The Doctor of smuggling because of the traces of Vraxoin they discover in his pocket. This forces The Doctor, along with Romana, to go on the run from them. They soon find themselves in the CET machine room where they evade capture by leaping directly into the projection.

Inside the projection, The Doctor and Romana are menaced by jungle plants as they avoid the clawed monsters. They soon meet up with a fugitive called Stott, who is a Major in the Intelligence Section of the Space Corp and who has been hiding in the projection while he tries to establish the source of the Vraxoin, which he is convinced is from Eden. He also names the vicious creatures as Mandrels. The trio then exit the projection but discover that the Empress is under siege from the Mandrels, which have now started killing the passengers.

As The Doctor, Romana and K9 evade the creatures they try once more to separate the two spacecraft. In the process, The Doctor incinerates one of the Mandrels, which disintegrates into raw Vraxoin – so revealing that the Mandrels are the source of the drug.

K9
K9

With the help of his two companions The Doctor finally manages to separate the two spaceships. But as they finally part The Doctor becomes trapped in the interface and vanishes from the Empress and finds himself aboard the Hecate. There he soon finds evidence that the smugglers are Tryst and Dymond (the pilot of the Hecate) who are planning to beam the Vraxoin down to Azure, the planet below, by sending the sample of Eden from the CET machine. It is also discovered that the CET machine does not take recordings of planets, but has actually displaced whole planetary areas into its recording crystals.

Back on the Empress, The Doctor uses K9’s dog whistle to round up the Mandrels - having worked out they are pacified by ultrasonics. He leads them all back into the projection and then slips out, leaving the creatures trapped inside. Then after allowing Tryst and Dymond to transport the Eden projection to the Hecate he activates the CET and traps them within a new projection so that the Customs Officers can arrest them.

With the spaceships separated, and the drug smugglers caught, The Doctor, Romana and K9 slip back to the TARDIS with the Eden project so that they can return all the creatures, including the Mandrels, to their correct planets of origin in the hope that nobody else discovers the Mandrels’ secret.

 
Romana with Tryst and Della
Romana with Tryst and Della
The Continuous Event Transmuter
The Continuous Event Transmuter
Romana
Romana
The Doctor Meets Tryst
The Doctor Meets Tryst
 
Stott
Stott
The Mandrels Escape
The Mandrels Escape
The Docor Trys to Stop a Mandrel
The Docor Trys to Stop a Mandrel
The Docor with the Mandrels
The Docor with the Mandrels




Quote of the Story


 'First a collision, then a dead navigator and now a... monster roaming about my ship. Well it's totally inexplicable.'

Rigg



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
The Tom Baker YearsSeptember 1992BBCV 4839PhotoClip only Introduced and commented on by Tom Baker Double cassette release
Video
VHS
Nightmare of EdenJanuary 1999BBCV 6610Photo-montage
Video
DVD
Nightmare of EdenApril 2012BBCDVD 3378
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 17 (Limited Edition)Due: December 2021Photo-montageBlu-Ray Limited Edition boxed set containing 5 specially restored stories and an updated version of "Shada" with enhanced animation


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Nightmare of EdenAugust 1980Target No. 45Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterISBN: 0-426-20130-2
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 42 (Released: March 1993)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 273 (Released: January 1999)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 366 (Released: March 2006)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 538 (Released: June 2019)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 134 (Released: February 2014)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor

   

Lalla Ward
Romana 2
 
David Brierley (voice only)
K9 Mk II
   




On Release

Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   


In Print

 
Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
 
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 42
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 42

CMS
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 273
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 273

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 366
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 366

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 538
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 538

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 134
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 134

GE Fabbri


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