The Pirate Loop
Roots: Groundhog Day. There are references to Star Trek, MySpace, Co-Op, Captain Scarlet, Friends (the “Rachel” look), and Facebook. The Doctor quotes Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars).
Goofs: It’s best not to dwell too hard on the logistics of the time loop.
Technobabble: Expressions of atemporal mismatch is measured on the Kodicek Scale
Dialogue Disasters: The pirate joke.
Dialogue Triumphs: “I’m Mrs Wingsworth. My friends call me Mrs Wingsworth.”
Continuity: The Starship Brilliant, which went missing during the fortieth century, is an experimental ship with a drive that allows it to travel just outside of space and time. The ship remains trapped forever in a time loop, the Doctor rescuing anyone aboard who wants to leave. The engine room of the Brilliant is manned by mouthless men, apparently created by genetic engineering. The stewards are Bondoux 36 robots, which are short, bipedal and thin. The pirates, also genetically engineered and grown in a lab, are badger-like humanoids.
The Balumin are egg-shaped, with tentacles instead of arms, and large eyes.
The Doctor still carries a yo-yo. He eats cheese and pineapple on a stick. He and Martha get electrocuted, but resurrected by the time loop. He drinks tea whilst recuperating from his transmat journey. He makes milkshakes for Martha and himself.
Martha once went on a miserable family holiday to an activity camp outside London, where Tish fell for one of the creepy staff members. Martha likes tea with a little milk and no sugar. She had a friend at the Royal Hope named Rachel. She briefly, and accidentally, adopts the alias Ms Malinka. Archibald stabs her to death, but the time loop resurrects her.
“Time fungus” lives in the gaps between quanta of time. The TARDIS occasionally gets clogged up with it. The Doctor softens it here by using setting twenty-eight on the sonic screwdriver. He uses the TARDIS’ gravitic anomaliser (The Pirate Planet) on the experimental drive of the Brilliant. The console room contains a 1966 Martin Rowlands trimphone.
The Ogidi galaxy is mentioned here. Eton Nine is a public school located on an asteroid. Slow Station Settlement has an orbital tower.
Links: The Starship Brilliant was first mentioned in ‘Peacemaker. The Doctor recalls Jo Grant. Martha recalls throwing a gold sovereign down a wishing well (Wishing Well). She also remembers Mr Stoker (Smith and Jones) and Shakespeare (The Shakespeare Code). There is a reference to the Mim (see Old Friends, The End of the World) and Yemaya (Sleepy). The Doctor mentions Ood (The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit), Monoids (The Ark, Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Kingdom of the Blind) and Vocs (The Robots of Death, Corpse Marker).
Location: Milky-Pink City; the Starship Brilliant, during the fortieth century.
Future History: Milky-Pink City and its thousands of robots were built to serve and pamper human holidaymakers who never arrived. The robots started fighting amongst themselves, until the Doctor introduces them to music.
Badgers are extinct by the fortieth century, but DNA records of badgers and many other species have been retained, allowing them to be recreated. The West European Badger becomes extinct during Martha’s lifetime.
Old fashioned piracy is in vogue during the fortieth century.
Unrecorded Adventures: At the start of this story, the Doctor and Martha have just spent four hours in Milky-Pink City.
The Doctor and Martha have seen Mika perform “Grace Kelly” in Denmark. They were attacked by lions in Kenya. They visited Milton Nine, where the Doctor got lost in a cornfield maze for two days. The Doctor claims that he helped to lay a carpet on the SS Great Britain. He has visited Slow Station, where he jumped off the orbital tower and free-fell to the surface. He again notes that Cleopatra’s bodyguard taught him to swordfight (The Masque of Mandragora).
The Bottom Line: Very tongue-in-cheek, but all the better for it, The Pirate Loop is exactly the sort of witty but imaginative romp that the Tenth Doctor Adventures should be going for. Just don’t dwell on the logistics.