Roots: The James Bond films hugely inspire the plot, with Jonah Cosgrove as an aging Sean Connery Bond (in addition, there is a reference to Cosgrove speaking Russian with a Scots accent, which might be a reference to Connery's role in The Hunt For Red October). There are specific Bond references including a nod to Never Say Never Again in the title of Chapter Four. There are references to Macbeth, The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, Frasier, Changing Rooms, The Times, Sherlock Holmes, Berkeley College, The Financial Times, Cliff Richard, The Three Musketeers, Star Wars, Thunderbirds, Pandora's Box, Da Vinci, Big Brother, Star Trek, Orson Welles, Franz Kafka, Alice in Wonderland, Lego, Agathon, Batman, Harry Potter, Van Gogh, and the Trojan Horse. Lance's obligatory character per novel based on Ian Richardson here is Baskerville. There is a mention of an aircraft carrier named the Mandelson, presumably named after Peter Mandelson. As a historian, Time Agent Jaxa's former job was to go back in time and recover old television programs and films that were withdrawn, deaccessioned and junked, a reference to the missing Doctor Who episodes.
Goofs: Anji claims to be twenty-seven, but she was twenty-eight in Escape Velocity and has been travelling with the Doctor and Fitz for well over a year.
Dialogue Triumphs: 'It was easier teaching the rest of the world English than trying to teach American or British kids other languages.'
Fitz: 'The human race have nuclear weapons.'
Onihr leader: 'We will not allow them to blow themselves up.'
'Believe me Doctor, I've thought of some great new words in the last couple of minutes. Swearwords, designed for unique circumstances like this, that ordinary swearing just doesn't cater for. Just before Fitz arrived, I was thinking that you were a completely useless otterfuc-.'
Continuity: Sabbath is recruiting time travellers to his mysterious cause (hinted at in Anachrophobia), including Time Agents (Eater of Wasps). The cabin boy on board The Jonah is a former Time Agent whom Sabbath has named Roja, after Roger the Cabin Boy, a character from Captain Pugwash widely, but incorrectly, believed to exist [along with Seaman Staines and Master Bates - both invented by TV satirist Victor Lewis Smith]. This is a joke on Sabbath's part, since if Roja doesn't exist he is the perfect agent, as logically he's impossible to kill (in practice, Cosgrove shoots him in the head). Sabbath rescued him from life on the streets, gave him clothes and a bed and taught him to read and write; when Sabbath realized that he was adept at this, he made him a Boy First Class and he began intensive and specialised training in mathematics, chronology, astrology-astronomy and high-energy physick. Sabbath recruited Roja on the moon, where she had been stranded by a failed time jump he thus saved her life. The Jonah is apparently able to float in the Mare Tranquilliatis on the Moon, since eighteenth century astrologer-astronomers believed that it was a genuine body of water and their absolute faith allowed Sabbath to voyage there (Q.v. Magic versus Science).
The Onihr are rhinoceros-like alien humanoids [Onihr is, of course, an anagram of Rhino], with short legs, long arms and of course horns. They have poor eyesight but a highly developed sense of smell - their technology uses olfactograms. They come from the planet Onihros, which is four times larger than Earth. They are immortal barring accidents [a reference to the Doctor's claim about the Time Lords in The War Games]. The Onihr are seeking to become lords of Time, and have been searching for the secrets of time travel for millennia. Fragments of time travel knowledge and technology are scattered on planets throughout the galaxy [this appears to be remnants of Time Lord technology - the Onihr have found robes which are clearly the high-collared robes worn by Time Lords since The Deadly Assassin]. They have heard of the Vortex but know little about it, and know that they need dematerialisation codes. Despite their advanced technology, they have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to build a time machine and want the Doctor to build one for them. They can detect disturbances in space-time. They know that the Doctor now only has one heart (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street) and have heard of Sabbath, but know little about him. They also claim to know the identities of the four surviving elementals (see The Adventuress of Henrietta Street). The Onihr ship is designed with aesthetics in mind and resembles no human object. The Onihr value the heroic loss of one life for many. They can travel by matter transmission, but only at light speed it will take them centuries to return to Onihros with Baskerville.
The Doctor carries a device that recognises disturbances on the Bocca Scale and thus can detect items or people that have travelled through time. His sonic screwdriver can check for electronic bugging devices and can open a time lock safe. He slips out of a pair of handcuffs with considerable ease and is able to shoot bullets out of the air. He hasn't mentioned Miranda to Anji [and possibly not to Fitz either]. He used to watch children's television during the nineteen-eighties, including Thunderbirds. The Doctor opened a bank account in Athens, which has a fifteen-digit pin code.
Fitz remembers the Time Lords, but his memories of what happened to them are not very precise (The Ancestor Cell). He gets addicted to nicopills. He can hum Revolution 9. He convinces the Onihr that he is the Doctor, much to his friend's annoyance.
Anji sets her watch to six-thirty every morning when she wakes up, because she always wakes up at six-thirty. Her pockets contain tissues, coins (mostly eighteenth century and also some twentieth-century American coins, the keys to her and Dave's flat, her Psion organiser, sun cream, a theatre ticket, and a page from The Financial Times. The ring tone of her mobile phone is the theme tune to The X-Files. Constant danger has honed her reflexes to a point where they rival life-long secret agent Cosgroves. The company that Anji worked for is arms trader MWF. Unlike the Doctor, she has noticed the large number of time travellers that they have encountered. She has only ever once flown First Class before, on a business trip to Hong Kong, and that was because her flight was upgraded due to being late. Although she doesn't actually get the chance to do so here, Anji proves willing to disobey the Doctor's instructions about not trying to tamper with history, and is prepared to lie about it to him.
The Doctor parks the TARDIS in a long-stay car park at Heathrow airport with a ticket in its window. The TARDIS's dimensions are much smaller than they were - the furthest point from the main door is through a couple of other doors and down a short, dead-end corridor. Fitz has heard scratching from behind this wall [possibly the entity absorbed by the regenerating TARDIS in The Burning]. The TARDIS console is now five-sided [it has been reconfigured since The Slow Empire, when it was octagonal].
Links: There are references to Tigers and Hitchemus (The Year of Intelligent Tigers), Silver, Endpoint and Hope (Hope), EarthWorld (Earthworld), men with clocks for faces (Anachrophobia), and poodles with hands and Noel Coward (Mad Dogs and Englishmen). Believing that she has travelled back in time and space to Brussels 2001, Anji attempts to telephone Dave and trick him into avoiding his fatal encounter with the Kulan (Escape Velocity). The Doctor still knows of the Bocca Scale (The Two Doctors). Fitz's ability to speak Chinese is mentioned (Revolution Man). There is a reference to Control (The Devil Goblins from Neptune, The King of Terror, Escape Velocity). There are references to Martian and Canisian invasions (The Dying Days and Death Comes to Time, respectively). The Time Agents first appeared in Eater of Wasps. There are references to Miranda and the Doctor's theft of a space shuttle (Father Time).
Location: Athens, London, an unspecified location on the Mediterranean coast, the Russian steppes, Los Angeles, Toronto, and the Onihr ship, July 2010; the Mare Tranquilliatis on the Moon, date unknown.
Future History: By 2010, Europe has formed into a single state named the Eurozone (although there is apparently civil war in Italy), or EZ, which appears to be ruled by a monarchy, under the Act of Federation. There has already been a third World War by this time. Various Mafias still exist. The EZ is on the verge of war with America. The RAF was involved in sorting out Cyprus at some point. Russia has at some point destroyed Chechnya with nuclear bombs. There has been a war in Mexico. China has possibly split into North and South China. Everyone on Earth speaks English. Cosgrove knows of at least nine secret societies that believe that they secretly rule the world - six are still active. A building called the Octagon has replaced the Pentagon. Thanks to Baskerville's machinations, Athens is destroyed by an artificially created tidal wave. Former astronaut Felix Mather is now the President of the USA (he previously met the Doctor in Father Time).
The EZ ULTRA computer is the most powerful computer in the world and is located in a bunker beneath the headquarters of the European Secret Service in Brussels. The International Financial Exchange Computer (IFEC) controls every single electronic financial transaction on Earth. RealWar Teletroops are remote-controlled robots used to fight wars. They are controlled by members of the public from the safety of their own homes.
The children of this era wear badges with R:C on them - this stands for Rebel: Conform, since they have realized that the best way to worry their parents is to pass exams and become teetotal.
Vitamin pills have been banned by the EZ, but Ecstasy is legal and sold in restaurants. Nicopills have replaced cigarettes and contain Nicotine oil - they remove the craving for cigarettes but are themselves highly addictive. Marijuana is widely smoked and considered more socially acceptable than tobacco. Vineyards are micro-irrigated and climate controlled and robots do the picking. Soccer matches are played in ninths, to allow for more advert breaks. Electric buses and animated billboards are used. Sun cream now has telomere fray protection. Human cloning has been perfected. The Airbus IX is the fastest commercial aircraft available. The last Concorde went out of commission when British Airways went bust. Rhinos are extinct in both the wild and in zoos, but survive in clonetivity. There is a LunarDisney and a theme park in California called Neverland. The Moon's Lunar Tower is four times higher than Toronto's CN tower. Civil nuclear devices are used for engineering projects and are relatively clean - they are at least safer than traffic fumes and industrial waste. There are at least two channel tunnels.
The Onihr know of Chronodev, from the forty-first century [possibly a time traveller or a time active element like Taranium (The Daleks' Master Plan) or Chronomium (Anachrophobia). Jaxa is a former Time Agent from the forty-ninth century (see Eater of Wasps).
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor attended the Olympic games at some point during the future, at which all the athletes were naked in order to boost flagging TV ratings.
Q.v. Magic Vs Science.
The Bottom Line: Entertaining and witty, if lightweight, Bond spoof. The Onihr are great monsters, and the ruthless Cosgrove and Baskerville make for suitably well-motivated villains. Fitz's turn as the Doctor is hilarious and the almost superhuman Doctor himself is on fine form, but it is Anji who steals the show here, calmly dealing with both Baskerville and Cosgrove, not to mention space Rhinos, throughout. Pity about Pad though - it would have made for a great hand-held K-9.