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Doctor Who: Terminus (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Terminus originally aired in 1983. It was the second instalment in the Black Guardian Trilogy.



If ever you had to kill someone, could you do it? Could you?

No. I don’t know. If it was important, to save my friend, to defend myself.

But cold-bloodedly?

You’re weird, Turlough.

– Turlough does seem to “get” Tegan, does he?

Terminus gets a bit of a bad wrap, and I can understand why. It’s a very “eighties” production, in all the wrong ways. There’s too much soap opera, there’s bad acting, there’s a wealth of high concept ideas that are never properly exploited, the monster looks absolutely terrible, and the budget shows in the worst possible manner. Still, despite all these (very significant) flaws, I still kinda like it, admiring the story more for the ambition than for the execution.

The serial has some pretty big garn-damn problems...

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Non-Review Review: Perrier’s Bounty

Mark O’Rowe wrote a play that I had the pleasure of seeing last year called Terminus. The piece, featuring four characters narrating sensational events occurring in and around the city of Dublin in thick Northside accents and with distracting amounts of elloquence, obviously became something of a cult hit – so much so that it returned to the Abbey (our national theatre) earlier this year. I mention this purely because O’Rowe has very much fashioned the script for this Irish film from the same cloth as his theatrical success. The same elements which I enjoyed in Terminus I enjoyed in Perrier’s Bounty, and the same elements I didn’t enjoy were just magnified by the transition to film.

Parting shots?

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