The Lockpick of Space was both story arc and physical device, telling a single story across five Inspectors (so far), Two through Six, one episode at a time. An audacious experiment in very slow serial storytelling, the serial - which spanned a decade of production years - started as a Second Inspector storyline which was junked after filming of the serial was interrupted by an industrial action. However, the first (and complete) episode was unintentionally aired, due to an error in shipping and production codes, and Third Inspector writer Davis Martin decided to pick up the story where it had left off, with new script and no explanation whatsoever.
The serial became something of a running gag amongst Inspector Spacetime writers, as Davis Martin never wrote a third episode, leaving the serial unfinished for a future Fourth Inspector writer, and it continued to be handed off over time. As of yet, the story is incomplete, but no additional episodes aired since the the Sixth Inspector. Reportedly, a final episode was planned for the Eighth Inspector regular series run which did not materialise; various scripts appearing on the internet have largely been disavowed by the production team.
What the device actually does is a matter of some speculation by fans, and the actual intended final function has yet to be revealed in story. The physical appearance of the device has also changed from Inspector to Inspector, as no one seems to be able to locate the original prop. One consistent rumour is that the original prop is in fact known, and is in storage, and will be revealed again whenever the final episode is filmed and airs. It has, at various times, looked like a rather large pair of tweezers, a scaled-down Optic Pocketknife, some sort of sonic device which is clearly a knockoff of the Optic Pocketknife, a laser pointer, and a small statuette of a cow.
Release as a Combined SerialEdit
The serial has yet to be offered as a single package on home video, and continues to air separated by many years of reruns in normal syndication. The only edition of the story as a single collection thus far has been an unauthorised pressing in Japan by Pioneer as a demonstration of both the MUSE High Definition Laserdisc format, and Pioneer's in-company restoration/HiDef upscanning services. Copies of this disc set are extremely rare - even moreso than the players - and are amongst the Holy Grail of collectables.