Following yesterday’s Master Monday, today it’s…
Ah, Terminus. The reason this is known as The One Where Nyssa Gets Her Kit Off is because it really doesn’t have a lot else going for it, which is maybe why we get the first blatant objectification of a companion until Peri comes along in a couple of years’ time. Perhaps JNT had Sarah Sutton running around in her underwear on purpose, to distract us from a story so dull and uninspiring that not even the cast can hide the fact that they know it too.
The only one that’s at all likeable is that bloke Bor [pronounced Bore, which is appropriate] from Albion Market and as for Maxil’s ex-missus Liza Goddard, in the most backcombed wig you’ve ever seen, she looks like she and her toyboy have just come straight from a recording of an Eighties-themed Top of The Space Pops at GBC TV Centre to join in the fun on Dr Who and the Funky Space Pirates In An Exciting Adventure with Space Lepers. And blokes in plastic armour with Norse-sounding names. Oh, and a Big Space Dog.
It takes a lot to make The End of Everything seem boring but Terminus manages it. The Vanir are such a miserable lot, apart from the aforesaid Bore, that you really don’t give a toss if the whole ruddy lot of them snuff it or not. Eirak, which I always thought was a funny way of pronouncing Eric, looks well vampiric but nobody else does, with Valgard looking particularly well fed [he was in an episode of Blake’s 7 as well btw] so that particular aspect of the script doesn’t get played to the full.
And pity poor Mark Strickson, stuck behind Janet Fielding while they filmed all those ventilation shaft scenes at Ealing, forced to stare at her arse jiggling away right in front of him… There’s a whole world of Crazy Captions right there in that one scene alone. The Norse mythology angle seems tacked on and not integral to the story, and Cerberus the Big Space Dog guarding the entrance to Hell is a bad idea for a show like this with a BBC budget.
So, to paraphrase Rowan Atkinson, editing a story that’s less exciting than an escape up a ventilator shaft involved removing Tegan & Turlough from the narrative as much as possible and concentrating on the Doctor and Nyssa In Her Knickers, for purely story reasons I can assure you. It’s a pity that Miss Sutton wasn’t built more like Miss Bryant but you can’t have everything, can you…
We start with Turlough’s sabotage of the TARDIS, knocking five minutes off the running time straight away and when Tegan and Turlough drop into that ventilation shaft they drop out of the edit too for as long as I can keep them out of it. After about twenty minutes, Nyssa gets down to her knickers and I ‘ve managed to plug all the gaps with Vanir scenes. As a result, we manage to condense the first two episodes into the equivalent of one, losing the cliffhanger that leads into part three. The music on both versions is different for one thing, and for another it keeps things moving if Valgard goes to Eric and tells him what he’s seen instead of attacking the Doctor and Mrs Eighties Funky Space Pirate.
There’s some re-arranging of the material to keep the pace up so we manage to get this over with in less than fifty minutes, which makes this the best version of Terminus yet. And yes, I altered the title to The Secret of Terminus instead as there is a story secret hiding there and Terminus is a crap title that tells you nothing. Apart from misleading you into thinking that you’re about to watch a story about a Space Bus reaching its destination, that is. The real life secret of why nobody could be arsed trying to salvage this story remains a mystery.