Set Piece

Roots: The novel opens with a quotation from Kyla Ward's The Traveller. There are quotations from "The Gingerbread Man", Henrik Ibsen's En Folkefiende, Carmina Burana, Margaret Murray, Napoleon, 'Kin' Hubbard's A Thousand and One Epigrams, Jan Standinger, Kokin Shu, Keith Preston, G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, Austin Dobson's The Paradox of Time, Sun Tzu, Will Rogers, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. There are references to Sun Tzu, Monty Python's "Dead Parrot" sketch, Les Misérables, the Batcave, Nirvana, The Mummy, Jung, Greek Mythology, H. R. Giger, Hitler, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Anton Chekhov, Mary Shelley, Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, and The Wizard of Oz.

Goofs: The cover.

Dialogue Disasters: "Cruk off."

Dialogue Triumphs: "If I'd had any sense I'd have taken away your matches before you could burn yourself - or anyone else."

"If you make a hole, something will probably decide to live in it."

"It's very difficult to keep the human race on the straight and narrow."

Continuity: The Ants are four foot high at the shoulder and made of reflective silvery metal with bronze highlights. Their eyeless heads are covered in antennae and jointed tools. They serve Ship. The doughnut-shaped Ship is organic and made of vegetable matter. It uses the Ants to collect minds from abducted space travellers of various species. They have never encountered a Time Lord prior to the Doctor. The Leech is a curved piece of vegetable matter designed to extract useful information from the minds of intelligent beings; it kills its victims in the process. Ship travels through space and time via the rifts left by Kadiatu's time machine. It drains power from the Time Vortex. Earth colonists built Ship in the very far future, as a computer into which they could upload their minds. It fell into one of the rifts that Kadiatu's ship created, sustaining serious damage to its programming, causing it to try and assimilate all living minds into itself. Ship installs technology into its would-be slaves, including the Doctor and Kadiatu. Hoppers are large crab-like devices made of a fusion of machinery and flesh, designed by Ship to allow its human agents travel through time. The Doctor kills Ship whilst connected to its nervous system.

The Doctor first met Death on a hillside on Gallifrey, when he ran out of the house and up the mountain. Time describes him as her champion (see Love and War). He meets both of them in a dream, which Kadiatu seemingly shares. A flutterwing is a Gallifreyan insect. Pain visits Benny in a dream and tells her about the vulnerable ganglion under the Doctor's shoulder. There is graffiti in the Panopticon that reads, "History is time's way of preventing everything from happening at once", plus a joke about Time Lord suicide. Pain claims that she has a bargain with the Doctor. She is older than Death. Time Lord nanites can re-grow lost limbs.

Time Lords have a major ganglion just below their left shoulder that functions almost as a tiny, separate brain and allows them fine control over their own metabolism; a blow to the ganglion can render a Time Lord unconscious or cause immense pain. The Doctor normally only sleeps for an hour or so out of every forty-eight. After he repaired the TARDIS with Goibhnie's protoplasm (Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark) it infected the mind of the TARDIS and thus his own mind for several months; it changed the way he thought like a subtle form of possession, until he fought it off [there is possibly an implication that this is responsible for his actions towards Ace in Love and War]. He drinks mineral water on board the Cortese. He sustains a split, purple bruise to his left cheek when punched whilst being captured by Ship's human agents. Whilst held prisoner on Ship, he is stripped and suffers from exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition. His blood volume decreases, and he suffers considerable subcutaneous bruising on his back, and a greenstick fracture in his thigh. He renders Ms Cohen unconscious by pinching her forehead. He is subjected to the Leech nineteen times; it can scan his mind, but not process it. He can switch off his mind and feigns death in an attempt to escape. He later goes into genuine double cardiac arrest, but Ms. Cohen resuscitates him. His pockets contain a slingshot, some coins, a dog-eared paperback, a jade brooch (see The Aztecs, The Left-Handed Hummingbird), and a toffee wrapped in paper. Whilst on the ship, he deactivates a force shield using a spoon. He carries a three-dimensional holographic map of the galaxy. Benny claims that his hat is the only white fedora ever made. He was warned never to talk to the dead at the Academy. He drinks wine for breakfast with Kadiatu and Thierry. He once told the Brigadier about the vulnerable ganglion so that he could exploit the knowledge if he ran into the Master again. Ship temporarily infects his body, including his eyes, with plant tissue in an attempt to assimilate him, turning his eyes green.

Ace's surname is McShane. She was still listed in the pan-European database of missing persons in 2006. Ace has been in dozens of deserts, and once stayed alive in a desert with blue sand and a green sun by drinking ground water and eating lizards and beetles. When she was very young and had a cold, her mother would stay at home with her and she would play with Lego. Whilst stranded in Ancient Egypt, she becomes one of Lord Sedjet's bodyguards; they call her Tepy, which means First One. She kicks an Assurian bodyguard in the groin having broken a beer jug over his head to rebuke his advances. She tells them stories about her past, including the death of Mike (Remembrance of the Daleks). She wears a personal force shield generator around her wrist. She gets a scar on her shoulder during a battle. She changes history, writing a message in English in Ancient Egypt, which Bernice remembers as a great archaeological mystery that lasts into the twenty-fifth century and is known as the Armana Graffito. After leaving Sedjet, she ends up waiting on tables in a tavern, having failed to enlist in the Egyptian army because she is a woman. She destroys an Ant with a khopesh and kills several of Pharaoh's guards. Back in the TARDIS, she changes into a denim shirt and jeans. She carriers a flechette-thrower, which she calls her "Flash Gordon" gun. She also carries a Draconian army knife. Her combat suit is destroyed along with Ship. One of her earliest memories is picking up a black kitten out of a litter, joking that it was sleeping too much, and setting it on its feet; when the dead cat fell to the floor with a thump, she screamed and ran to her father. Ace's father is dead. Ace finally leaves the Doctor here at the age of twenty-six, remaining in nineteenth century Paris to protect the rifts, using Ship's hoppers to travel in time. The Doctor traced her family tree long before they visited Whitby and knew that she would end up in nineteenth century Paris. She visits Denon in Paris in 1815 at the age of twenty-eight, and Glebe, Sydney, in 1993 at the age of thirty-seven. By this point in her life, she is having a relationship with one of Sorin's ancestors. She fights aliens in Paris during the 1850s, who arrive through the rift and flee as soon as she mentions the Doctor, visits the Boston tea party, and manages to travel as far forward as 2002, when she visits Cristián and Ben (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). She considers saving Manisha, but thinks better of it; she does however arrange for her killers to be arrested.

Bernice eats grapes and drinks absinthe in Cairo. She drinks beer in a seedy bar and wins a drinking competition in order to gain information. She arrives in France when she first falls through the rift and separated from the TARDIS is forced to recall her high-school French. Her travel bag contains gold, vodka, antibiotics and camping equipment. She has studied Vivant Denon in the past, and deliberately sets out to meet him when stranded in France. Cultists steal her diary in Egypt.

Kadiatu has never been ill in her life. She has worked out what her origins are (see Transit). Kadiatu's travels in time and space leave permanent dimensional rifts in their wake, leaving a copy of a café at every arrival and departure point. Her time machine works, but she can't choose its destination. She has visited Arizona, Paris, the twenty-fifth century, and Mars, where she nearly crashed and was immediately forced to perform a second jump. Kadiatu's brother was first shown in public six days after his birth, and had several midwives. She has read secret documents in Stone Mountain that refer to the Master and Time Lords' vulnerable ganglia. Ship implants technology into Kadiatu, around her brainstem; under the control of the dying Ship, she jumps into the rift and disappears into time and space.

Links: Transit. Ace's new home was first hinted at in the portrait of her in the extended video release of Silver Nemesis and her liaison with one of Sorin's ancestors in Ian Briggs' novelisation of The Curse of Fenric. There is a reference to Iceworld (Dragonfire) and Ace's dream of Jan (Love and War) on Belial (Lucifer Rising). Meijer mentions Daleks. Ace reads ancient texts whilst in Egypt, looking for signs of the Doctor; she finds a reference to Daleks at the Pyramids (The Daleks' Master Plan) and looks for records of hers and the Doctor's meeting with Gilgamesh (Timewyrm: Genesys). She recalls visiting Tenochtitlan (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). There is a quotation from City of Death. Benny recalls the Hoothi (Love and War). There are references to Gallifreyan Outsiders (The Invasion of Time), the Draconians (Frontier in Space), the Exxilons (Death to the Daleks), Fenric (The Curse of Fenric), Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars), the death of Benny's mum (Love and War), the Doctor dislocating his shoulder and Robin Yeadon (Nightshade), Time Soldiers (The Dimension Riders), the Doctor destroying Skaro (Remembrance of the Daleks), his defeat of the Timewyrm (Timewyrm: Revelation), Olleril (Tragedy Day), Peladon (Legacy), and Antykhon (Birthright). Ace uses some of the Sisterhood's salve to heal her wounds (Timewyrm: Exodus). The Doctor tells Ace that he was once stranded, which might be a reference to The Crystal Bucephalus.

Location: Near Akhetaten, Egypt, 1366 BC; Cairo, Egypt, 1798AD; Paris, May 1871 AD and 5th October 1815; the Cortese, and Bellatrix City, the twenty-fifth century; Glebe, Sydney, Earth, 1995 and 14th July 1993; and on board Ship.

Future History: By the twenty-fifth century, the Cortese is the epitome of luxury starliners; cheaper options include fridge ships, which place passengers in suspended animation. "Cruk" is a common swearword. Slavery is no longer economically viable, since robots are cheaper than people. Set worshippers turned up on Eridani in the twenty-fourth century. Ace refers to Draconian jihads

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor met Sun Tzu, and eventually fell out with him when Sun Tzu killed two of the King's wives to win an argument. He also worked as a military advisor to the King. The Doctor and the thirty-seven year old Ace defeat the Voltranons' attempt to conquer earth using a plague in 1993, Ace rescuing the Doctor from a Klein sphere.

Q.v. Benny's Birthday, Love and War.

The Bottom Line: 'The rifts can't be repaired. Somebody's got to stay and keep an eye on them.' A triumphant return for Kate Orman marks a fitting departure for Ace, albeit one that allows for future guest appearances. The Doctor manages to seem godlike and vulnerable at the same time, and the use of the regulars, plus a plethora of times and places, is peerless.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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Comments

It was established by the BBC themselves that Ace's name is Dorothy Gale. Gale, NOT McShane. (The BBC books corrected this error.)

This novel was the first ever in-universe reference to Ace's surname. McShane was taken up by Big Finish, whilst Gale is only ever used in a couple of the Perry-Tucker BBC books (which later established that her full name is Dorothy Gale McShane)

Does it really matter what the first "in-universe" reference is/was? The BBC documentation etc. all called her 'Dorothy Gale'. While the name never appeared on screen, it was know to everybody making Doctor Who what Ace's real surname was/is. And if the Virgin novels were supposed to be 'the official continuation', then surely they would continue the actual story, not a re-imagined version of it? (Of course, this is far from the only case where the Virgin novels deviated enormously from established continuity, to the point of incompatibility...)

Take another example, the Big Finish audio 'The Hollows of Time'. The original story 'In he Hollows of Time' was supposed to have been part of Season 23. The Master was supposed to appear in it, using the alias 'Professor Stream'. However, Michael Grade saw that the original Season 23 was never made. However, news of the Lost Season became well-known, and one such detail that all fans knew was that Professor Stream=The Master.

Big Finish later decided to make audios of some of the unused television scripts, including 'The Hollows of Time'. However, due to contractual issues at the time, nowhere in the 90 or so minutes of the story is Professor Stream's true identity ever revealed. However, on the CD extras(on the same CD as the story itself!) it is stated that Stream is the Master. Everyone knew the authorial intent. And one has to ask, if Stream ISN"T the Master, then who else could he possibly be? And a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine listed 'The Hollows of Time' as a Master story, and stated that Professor Stream is/was the Master.

However, there's no "in-universe" statement in 'The Hollows of Time' that Stream is the Master. Likewise no subsequent story featuring the Master has ever referred to the events of 'The Hollows of Time'. So, is Professor Stream in 'The Hollows of Time' the Master? And if you say 'yes', then the question becomes "What is Ace's real surname?" because documentation, intent, etc., as well as actual BBC Novels and Short Stories(as opposed to licensed merchandise from another company), refer to her as 'Dorothy Gale'. And anyone who reads the likes of 'Ace of Hearts', 'Matrix' or 'Prime Time' can clearly see that "Gale" is a surname, a family name, NOT a middle name.

The Goof then clearly lies with 'Set Piece', and everything that uses that as the "true" surname. Unless they are simply set in a different universe to the main Doctor Who universe, the one of the television series and the BBC Books. Stories actually made by the BBC themselves, rather than spin-offery made by other parties, renting the right to use Doctor Who characters for profit. (And of course, it should also be noted that BBC Books themselves released books such as 'The Infinity Doctors', 'Scream of the Shalka' and 'Short Trips and Side Steps', clearly acknowledging other universes, if not embracing them.)

You're on a site that chronicles the in-universe continuity of Doctor Who, so yes the in-universe evidence is relevant. Virgin, Big Finish, and BBC Books all use the surname McShane for Ace. BBC Books also uses the surname Gale. There's a pretty large body of in-universe evidence for McShane being her actual surname - and certainly more than the in-universe evidence the other way. You are, of course, entitled to prefer the possibility which has less in-universe evidence, but saying that Ace's "real" name is "clearly" Dorothy Gale, rather than Dorothy Gale McShane would seem to be overstating your case somewhat.

There are plenty of examples where continuity stuff that was assumed by those behind the scenes was contradicted by later stories. This appears to be one of those cases. If you are suggesting that behind the scenes facts which the entire production team was aware of are necessarily "true", I have to assume you believe that the Doctor is a human from the 49th Century and that Tom Baker was, in fact, the 12th Doctor. Even though these are flatly contradicted by stories made and broadcast by the BBC proper (and not by an arms-length commercial publishing arm).

"You're on a site that chronicles the in-universe continuity of Doctor Who, so yes the in-universe evidence is relevant. "
I never said it wasn't. I said that it's not the ONLY thing that is "relevant".

"Virgin, Big Finish, and BBC Books all use the surname McShane for Ace. BBC Books also uses the surname Gale. There's a pretty large body of in-universe evidence for McShane being her actual surname - and certainly more than the in-universe evidence the other way."
That's subjective of course. Depending on what one considers to 'count'. Of course, there is still a mountain of in-universe evidence that eg. Paul McGann regenerated into Christopher Eccleston, or for the Looms. So 'amount' isn't really the big thing, is it?

"You are, of course, entitled to prefer the possibility which has less in-universe evidence, but saying that Ace's "real" name is "clearly" Dorothy Gale, rather than Dorothy Gale McShane would seem to be overstating your case somewhat."
I said that it was clearly 'Gale' in the BBC Books, which is after all part of the BBC, the same company that created and produced Doctor Who the television series, rather than an outside party making licensed merchandise.

It was also more a response to the idea that saying her full name is 'Dorothy Gale McShane' somehow 'fixes' or 'explains' things. In Ace of Hearts, Ace's mum's married surname is 'Gale', in Matrix Ace gives her name as 'Dorothy Gale', in Prime Time, she is referred to as 'Dorothy Gale' as her full name. So, it's abundantly clear that 'Gale' is a surname, and not a middle name(which would be spelled 'Gail' anyway).

And again, if you're going by amount of usage, then the Virgin Books can't count, as there were FIFTEEN YEARS of Polystyle comics every week, excluding annuals, various summer, holiday etc specials against TWO stories claiming that they took place in the Land of Fiction. And then various stories like Placebo Effect, Hornet's Nest, etc. all refer to events or characters from TV Comic.

"There are plenty of examples where continuity stuff that was assumed by those behind the scenes was contradicted by later stories. This appears to be one of those cases. If you are suggesting that behind the scenes facts which the entire production team was aware of are necessarily "true", I have to assume you believe that the Doctor is a human from the 49th Century and that Tom Baker was, in fact, the 12th Doctor. "
Two different things. Where IN THE TELEVISION SERIES does it say that Ace's surname isn't 'Gale'?

"Even though these are flatly contradicted by stories made and broadcast by the BBC proper (and not by an arms-length commercial publishing arm)."
Again, Ace's name isn't contradicted by anything in the television series.

And if BBC Books is "an arms-length commercial publishing arm", then what does that make Virgin Books or Big Finish Audios?

It's interesting that you don't seem to consider Relative Dementias relevant, given that it was also published by BBC Books, and is just as clear as any of the Perry-Tucker books.

I find it interesting that the in-universe evidence for Ace's surname being Gale is entirely in books and short stories written by Robert Perry and Mike Tucker, whilst every other book, short story, and audio that gives her a surname opts for McShane.

As for your other points, I'm not convinced they matter so much, but I'll answer them anyway.

The early comic strips were clearly never intended to be set in the same continuity as the TV Series, and frequently give the Doctor a very different characterisation from the TV Series. Both Virgin Books' claim that they are set in the Land of Fiction and Doctor Who Magazine's story that claims they are the Doctor's dreams are, if anything, attempts to bring something that didn't fit with continuity into the fold. There are also, as you point out, stories that suggest they were in continuity as actual adventures the Doctor had. This is a continuity issue just like the question of whether the UNIT stories were set in the 70s or the 80s. There are various different ways to resolve the issue, but nothing that is clearly and unambiguously the right answer.

Yes, Virgin Books, BBC Books, and Big Finish are/were all at arms length from the BBC proper (even though some Big Finish audios were made for broadcast on BBC radio). My view is that if a story is officially licensed and clearly intended to be set in the main continuity, that makes it just as valid in a continuity discussion as any other story. I'm not convinced that your claim that BBC Books stories are more valid than Virgin Books stories just because BBC Books is/was owned by the BBC has any weight (which was the point I was trying to make). And given that a number of BBC Books (from a wide variety of authors) draw very heavily on continuity created by Virgin, and that Ace's surname is one of only two or three real contradictions between the two ranges, it's difficult for me to think of them as entirely separate strands of continuity.

''It's interesting that you don't seem to consider Relative Dementias relevant, given that it was also published by BBC Books, and is just as clear as any of the Perry-Tucker books.''

I never said it's not relevant. In any case, it could easily take place after the Tucker-Perry books, or in an alternate universe, like The Infinity Doctors or Scream of the Shalka.

''I find it interesting that the in-universe evidence for Ace's surname being Gale is entirely in books and short stories written by Robert Perry and Mike Tucker, whilst every other book, short story, and audio that gives her a surname opts for McShane.''

I don't find that interesting at all. What I find more interesting by far is the real-world evidence of what the man who created Ace actually said her surname is.

''As for your other points, I'm not convinced they matter so much, but I'll answer them anyway.

The early comic strips were clearly never intended to be set in the same continuity as the TV Series, and frequently give the Doctor a very different characterisation from the TV Series. ''

That's not true at all. They were clearly intended to be the same character as the character William Hartnell was playing on television. Note how, eg., after The Web Planet, the Zarbi appear in the comic strip, and the Doctor refers to his earlier encounter.
The reasons for using John and Gillian are that a)it would have cost too much to use tv companions, ab)the strips were prepared pretty far ahead of publication, and the tv companions may have left by the time their stories reach the page, c)the strips wouldn't be able to say something about the tv companions, because the tv stories may say something else.

But nowhere is it stated that this is a different continuity to the television show. Also take not of the fact that the tv show in the 60's did stories like Planet of Giants, The Celestial Toymaker, The Mind Robber etc.

''Both Virgin Books' claim that they are set in the Land of Fiction and Doctor Who Magazine's story that claims they are the Doctor's dreams are, if anything, attempts to bring something that didn't fit with continuity into the fold. There are also, as you point out, stories that suggest they were in continuity as actual adventures the Doctor had. This is a continuity issue just like the question of whether the UNIT stories were set in the 70s or the 80s. There are various different ways to resolve the issue, but nothing that is clearly and unambiguously the right answer.''

Is that apart from your claiming that they were 'clearly never intended to be set in the same continuity as the TV Series'? But remember that things like The Big Timeline etc. didn't really exist in the 60's and 70's, as witnessed by the whole T-Mat problem, the multiple fates of Atlantis etc.

However, by the 90's, and especially as most people following Who in the 90's were fans rather than just the general public, the concepts of continuity and canonicity now existed. Which makes Virgin's decision to break with that ever more interesting.

''Yes, Virgin Books, BBC Books, and Big Finish are/were all at arms length from the BBC proper (even though some Big Finish audios were made for broadcast on BBC radio). My view is that if a story is officially licensed and clearly intended to be set in the main continuity, that makes it just as valid in a continuity discussion as any other story.''

Then why did you dismiss the BBC Books as "fringe"? And as noted, the TV Comics WERE intended to be set in the main continuity. Actually for that matter, Scream of the Shalka(mentioned earlier) was meant to be set in the main continuity too.

''I'm not convinced that your claim that BBC Books stories are more valid than Virgin Books stories just because BBC Books is/was owned by the BBC has any weight (which was the point I was trying to make). And given that a number of BBC Books (from a wide variety of authors) draw very heavily on continuity created by Virgin, and that Ace's surname is one of only two or three real contradictions between the two ranges, it's difficult for me to think of them as entirely separate strands of continuity.''

I think there are more than two or three. But anyway, in-universe and real-world it is stated that the Virgin Books take place inside a bottle in the BBC universe(Dead Romance and Interference 1&2). SO, going by your own viewpoint....

The comments on this page have been massively targetted by spammers, so I've closed the comments so I don't have to spend hours deleting spam posts. I would like to come back on this discussion with Ged, but it would be unfair for me to abuse my admin rights to get the last word in.

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