The Resurrection Casket
Roots: Treasure Island (the plot, the character names, and some of the dialogue). There are references to Aladdin, North by North-West, George Stephenson, Noah's Ark, and The Sound of Music. The Doctor's everlasting matches were first seen in David Whitaker's novelization Dr Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks.
Goofs: Steam-powered circuit boards? How exactly do they work then?
How come the Doctor's sonic screwdriver works in the zeg?
Continuity: Kevin is from the Black Shadow Dimension and is a huge dark furry creature with large fangs, claws, and blood red eyes. He is intelligent and civilized and kills only when the Black Shadow forces him to. If Kevin doesn't honour the "Black Shadow contract" and kill whoever has been cursed by it, he will be dragged back automatically to the Black Shadow Dimension to suffer an eternity of pain and suffering, although he lets the Doctor off on a technicality. He can detect the Black Shadow parchment from the way it resonates between the dimensions due to the precise polygonal structure of the shape and the molecular composition of the ink. He is unable to divulge his master's or mistress' name. He eats kronkburgers. He doesn't need air, but considers it a luxury.
Krarks live in space and resemble sharks without fins and with tails that end in a sharp point. They can store immense amount of an oxygen-rich gas and move by releasing it in bursts from tiny round holes in their sides. They suck the gas out of the upper atmosphere of planets or moons and compress it, so that they can store it for months. They will rip ships apart to get at the gas inside, including the gas stored in people's lungs.
Types of robot mentioned here include mark-three battle robots.
Starfall has no moon and has more than one sun. Starfall is in the zeg, a zone of electromagnetic radiation that interferes with anything that has an electrical circuit. The planet is a mining colony, the colonists using steam-powered spaceships and robots. The entire mining belt inside the zeg is rich in trisilicate (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon), stooku and falastid. Planets near to Starfall include Jathros and possibly Salarius. Starfall is located near to the Gerossic Rift. Wolflings are animals native to Starfall. Scotia is another mining colony, located outside the zeg.
The Doctor's everlasting matches are made from Umbeka wood, from the Umbeka trees that grow on the planet Umbeka. The planet has a long, cold, wet winter that lasts for centuries, and a short summer lasting only a couple of weeks, during which the weather gets extremely hot; the heat stimulates the wood and it grows. The Doctor's matches are made of still-living wood, which is stimulated by the heat to grow at the same rate that the flame consumes it. The Doctor keeps anti-radiation pills that look very much like Tic Tac mints in a drawer in the TARDIS console. He drinks grog in the Broken Spyglass. He seems to be familiar with the Black Shadow. He adopts the alias Doctor John Smith, Inspector of the Watch. He recounts an apparently true story about someone called Ferdy the Fanatic. The Doctor rebuilds the Venture's engines to make them more efficient. Kevin slashes his coat. McCavity cuts his hand and he uses a jet of coolant gas to numb the pain, further damaging it.
The Doctor calls Rose "Miss Taylor" so that McCravity can't put the Black Shadow on her as he doesn't know her real name. She drinks grog in the Broken Spyglass. She got a gyroscope for her seventh or eighth birthday.
The TARDIS is vulnerable to the EMP of the zeg, which renders it inoperative and causes the console to explode. As a safety measure, the TARDIS doors shut and won't open until the ship has repaired itself and is no longer in danger.
Glint's treasure includes some Five Alzarian Sestersii coins. According to the stories, he stole the Resurrection Casket from a Cryonoflast clone ship. One of the ships stranded in the Outreaches is a Dressonian freighter.
Links: This story is set between New Earth (there is a reference to New Earth) and School Reunion (Mickey has yet to join the TARDIS crew). The Doctor uses the crank handle to open the TARDIS doors (Death to the Daleks). The Doctor's psychic paper first appeared in The End of the World. The Doctor mentions Skaro. Rose recalls the Doctor blowing up her job (Rose) and her world (The End of the World) and he notes that he also blew up her government (Aliens of London/World War III).
Location: Starfall and on board the Venture and the Buccaneer in the zeg, the future [references to trisilicate mining might place this story in the same time period as The Curse of Peladon, c3885].
Future History: Before the zeg was fully understood, numerous spaceships became stranded in the Outreaches as their systems failed. Pirate Hamlek Glint and his crew terrorized the region for years before Glint sold his seven robot crewmembers to a scrap dealer on Metallurgis Five and used the Resurrection Casket to rejuvenate himself.
Del McCravity owns the whole of Starfall. The Space Revenue Directorate (SRD) is responsible for dealing with pirates. Galactic Seven class cargo freighters went out of service over a century before the events depicted here.
The Bottom Line: Richards' first attempt at comedy since The Joy Device often borders on the silly, but for the most part is an enjoyably whimsical yarn. Kevin in particular is a great character, and there are some deliciously nasty villains in the shape of McCravity and Silver Sally.