Roots: This is an expansion of the Reeltime video of the same name, written by Terrance Dicks and directed by Keith Barnfather.
The Doctor Who Weekly comic strip Warlord of the Ogrons (Garshak). The Blake's 7 episodes 'Shadow' and 'Gambit' (Megacity is highly reminiscent of Space City and Freedom City, and its name comes from 2000 AD and Judge Dredd). Roland Rat might inspire Roz and Chris's ratty driver. There are references to Hobbes' description of the Life of Man, Buddha, Von Daniken, Quatermass, and Wurlitzer. The Doctor quotes from Hamlet. Steg quotes Mark Twain.
Goofs: The cheap special effect used to realize the Rutan in the video creates the impression that the Rutans are energy-based creatures, which is contradicted by Horror of Fang Rock, Lords of the Storm, and the first part of the novel. During the part that is a novelisation of the video, Dicks seems to decide, "Sod it" and starts describing the Rutan as a ball of light.
It is made clear in Horror of Fang Rock that the Rutan only needed to dissect its first human victim in order to learn how to mimic the human form, and in Lords of the Storm the Rutans have mastered metamorphosis to a far greater degree. So why does "Karne" dissect all of its victims? [Sadism?].
Not strictly a goof, but for the first of many, many times, Dicks has a Sontaran quote Linx when describing a human female, which is extremely irritating.
Dialogue Disasters: "Pot-bellied, potato-headed, murderous, short-arsed bastards."
"Goddam off-world pervies."
Kurt's line about "the Dentist" makes more sense in the novel than in the video, but it's still an atrocious way of crowbarring a reference to the Doctor in.
Dialogue Triumphs: "I refuse to be murdered on a technicality!"
Continuity: a red tint to it. Before they discovered cloning technology and space flight, the Sontarans fought endless civil wars; eventually the survivors united and turned their attention to other species. Badly wounded Sontarans automatically go into protective comas, a condition that usually ends in death; occasionally, anabiosis occurs and the Sontaran recovers. It is the policy of the Sontaran Empire to uphold the laws of such territories it may acquire except when such laws conflict with the guiding principles of the Sontaran military code, which essentially states that anything not expressly permitted is forbidden. Under the Sontaran Military Code the death sentence is mandatory for all crimes. The word "retreat" does not exist in Sontaran military vocabulary. Vragg is a Sontaran liquor.
The supreme ruler of the Rutan Host is Great Mother [a nucleus of the group intelligence]. The Rutan Host allows the Doctor to leave Ruta III because it decides that his attempt to help them, whatever his motive, cancels out the death of the Rutan at Fang Rock. So separate from the Host did the Rutan that posed as Karne become that the Rutans no longer know if it is dead or alive. A Rutan's tentacles can cut through flesh (which is of course how they dissect humans for study - see Horror of Fang Rock). Rutans can generate energy shields. It is possible to destroy them using energy weapons, but difficult. Rutans reproduce by binary fission, both new Rutans having the same memories as the original even if, like Karne, the original Rutan is somehow isolated from the Host.
Megacity covers most of the planet Megarra. Megarra is extremely mineral rich, with vast deposits of gold, silver, iron, nickel, and uranium; the planet is covered in mines, factories and workshops as well as Megacity, and is notoriously dangerous due to the high level of crime and corruption. A Planetary Council of businessmen run Megarra, which as well as mining has a thriving tourism industry due to the fact that almost any form of pleasure can be purchased on the planet. Fugora-fish stew is Megarra's speciality dish; since the original population of the planet became extinct, virtually nobody knows how to make it. Drugs available on Megarra include vraxoin (Nightmare of Eden), crackerjack, and jekkarta. Aliens on Megarra include Arcturans (The Curse of Peladon), Alpha Centaurans (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon, Legacy), Falardi (Original Sin), Foamasi (The Leisure Hive), a rodent species that resemble giant rats, and an ursine species that might be Biune (Toy Soldiers). Also present are Wolverines, humanoids with fur and long-muzzled faces lined with needle sharp teeth, which have formed one of Megacity's most vicious street gangs. The Megacity police force is composed largely of Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space, The Romance of Crime); Chief of Police on Megacity is Garshak.
Sentarion is a low-gravity, high-oxygen planet covered in desert and very largely uninhabited. Its sun is bigger and closer than that of Earth. It is known as the university planet and is the greatest concentration of scholars and scholarship in the known galaxy. The crystalline Sentarion City is its only city and the centre of learning. Very large, intelligent insects are the dominant life form on Sentarion, of which there are three main types; the smaller black beetle-like insects, which perform menial roles, work hard, and rarely speak; the grasshopper-like species, which tend to be civil servants and functionaries, due to the fact that they are meticulous and pedantic and obsessed with rules and correct behaviour; and the ant-like Sentarii, the dominant species, which are highly evolved, dispassionately intelligent, and devoted to scholarship in all of its forms. These include the Harrubtii, a group of assassins who live in the outer desert. The Harrubtii usually only kill each other, engaging in endless blood feuds, but occasionally hire out their services to important customers for very high fees. "Domina" is the customary term of address for distinguished female scholars. The Temple of the Shining Ones is located in Sentarion City and is a closely guarded secret; it houses the Gateway of the Gods, a space-time warping template that opens and closes the wormhole to Ruta III. The Rutans discovered the wormhole centuries earlier and decided to use it as a secret escape route for the Rutan Great Mother if Ruta III ever falls. They taught and changed the Sentarrii, causing their culture to take a great leap forward, bypassing fossil-fuel and other dirty forms of technology at the same time that they started to devote themselves to science and learning, thus advancing their technology and establishing their religion so that they would protect and guard the wormhole for them. The Sentarrii and other insect species on Sentarion worship the Rutans as "the Shining Ones" and are fiercely loyal to them. The Rutans' Sentarrii technology is based on solar power, which is captured and converted to electricity by the crystalline walls of their cities, and by solar panels on the wings of their ornithopters. The Sentarrii believe that alcohol clouds the intellect and blurs reality and prohibit it in the university. Alcohol is brewed in the Old Town; varieties are limited to fizzy beer, red and white wine, and rekkar, a distilled white spirit.
The Jekkari are native to Jekkar and are enormous anthropoids with incredible physical strength. They live in houses in the trees, they are vegetarians, they don't like killing, and they hate machines. Contrary to the beliefs of the human colonists, they are intelligent, but can't speak due to a lack of vocal cords, and communicate by a complex system of signing. After the Jekkari overthrow the Sontaran invaders, the human colonists also leave in case the Sontarans come back. Port City is the main colony city Jekkar. When dried and smoked, jekkarta weed is a mild euphoric with almost no side effects; the Colony government put a massive duty on it, and limited its export. Lenta is a tasteless but nutritious green bean that comprises the planet's main export. Lenta stew has a mild sedative effect.
Garshak is the product of experiments by a scientist interested in brain augmentation that traveled to the planet of the Ogrons and paid a local chief for test subjects; half of the subjects went mad and died, some recovered with slightly higher intelligence, and some remained unchanged. Garshak was the exception; when the scientist realised that he had been successful, he tried to buy more subjects. Garshak killed him and the chief that had sold them, and left in the scientist's ship with the other survivors, feeling responsible for them. They worked as bodyguards and mercenaries before arriving on Megacity, where Garshak took the role of Police Chief.
The Time Lords contact the Doctor to let him know that Karne is still alive, since they don't want the Sontarans to defeat the Rutans and remain unopposed. The Doctor eats Lenta stew whilst in prison. He uses the alias General John Smith of the Jekkari Liberation Army. He learns Jekkari sign language. He reluctantly notes that he has had to teach the Jekkari how to kill. He wears a huge fur coat on Ruta III. He helps the Rutans purely because he knows that they are the only force in the universe that can contain the Sontarans. He gives Roz a crystal cube that she describes as "T-mail"; it relays spoken information directly into the TARDIS databanks. He also gives Benny a SPATAB (Spatio-Temporal Alarm Beacon), in the form of a small silver ball with an inset button. The Doctor builds a steel model of a space-yacht capable of firing a steel bolt into a Sontaran's probic vent. He provides Roz and Chris all the money they need to cover expenses. As payment for her services, the Doctor, Roz, Chris and Benny crew Lisa Deranne's Tiger Moth in the Tri-Systems cup; an article on the victory is published in the Tri-planetary Times.
Benny carries a flask of Eridanean brandy. She visits Sentarion with very impressive but forged credentials and a fake research project as a cover story. Whilst visiting Sentarion, she dons the scarlet robes of a Master of Arts of the University of Antares to meet the Lord Chancellor, before changing back into dark trousers and tunic. She drinks the local beer and rekkar on Sentarion.
Roz and Chris stay in an outrageously expensive hotel in Megacity. They pose as private detectives working for Pinkerton Intergalactic and hunting down a serial killer called the Ripper. Roz carries a slim-line blaster. She doesn't like carrying vibro-knives any more (see Original Sin).
Chris once broke his hand on an Androgum's chin (see The Two Doctors). He carries a blaster and a neuronic stun-sap.
Planets mentioned here include Algol III. Materra is an herbal drink imported to Megacity from Rigel IV and rumoured to have aphrodisiac properties. One of the barmen at Space Station Alpha is a four-armed Dravidean (The Brain of Morbius). Deathwatch is a Dravidean drink. In addition to Space Stations Alpha and Beta, there are at least two others, named Gamma and Delta.
Links: Lords of the Storm. The Rutans first appeared in Horror of Fang Rock. Benny finds information on the Sontaran invasion of Gallifrey in the Great Library of Sentarion University (The Invasion of Time). There are references to Chris' beppled fur (Original Sin), Daleks, Drashigs (Carnival of Monsters), Ice Warriors, and Gaztaks (Meglos). Benny recalls visiting Chicago (Blood Harvest).
Location: Port City, Jekkar; Megacity, Megarra; Sentarion City, Sentarion; Ruta III; Space Station Alpha; Space Station Beta; and on board Tiger Moth, c2590 AD [Lance Parkin's A History of the Universe arbitrarily dates this story to 2376AD, but Garshak reappears in Mean Streets, so unless Ogrons live for hundreds of years, this story must be set c2590. Given that the Rutan Host believes that Karne has been dead for a very long time, this just about works, although it does mean that Karne has been "stranded in space" for two-hundred years].
Future History: Circa 2590 AD, the Pinkerton Agency still thrives and has become something of a legend.
By Benny's time, the theory that extraterrestrials influenced primitive societies is known as the Von Daniken or Quatermass theories, after the scholars who originated it [for more evidence that the Quatermass serials take place in the Doctor Who universe, see Remembrance of the Daleks and The Dying Days].
Unrecorded Adventures: Roz and Chris have been tracking Karne across several planets by the start of this story, including Formalhaute Four and Lorelei. The Doctor has visited Sentarion before and is an old friend of the Lord Chancellor of the Sentarion University. He again alludes to having met Shakespeare (see City of Death).
The Bottom Line: The idea of a novelisation of Shakedown book-ended by new material featuring the Doctor and his companions sounds dubious in the extreme, but Dicks pulls it off surprisingly well. Shakedown, his last New Adventure to feature the Doctor, is highly entertaining, with a likeable cast of well-drawn characters from Garshak to Kurt. Although Major Steg steals most of the limelight, as Dicks manages to give us a Sontaran with a personality without betraying their warlike nature.