Roots: Alien Nation (the Flisk), The Thing. There are references to Star Trek and Lost in Space.
Continuity: The Gappa are huge black creatures resembling a cross between a monkey, spider and bat. They are a very old and very primitive species from Hydropellica Hydroxi on the far side of the Milky Way. They are hermaphrodites. They are vulnerable to, and afraid of, fire. The last surviving Gappa was accidentally brought to Earth hundreds of thousands of years earlier when a Mokrakanian ship carrying it to another planet as an attempt at conservation crashed: the creature was driven into an icy cave by primitive Homo sapiens, and has been hibernating in the polar ice ever since. It was unknowingly scooped up and transported to SnowGlobe 7, where it wakes up. The Gappa are parasitic, laying their eggs in the bodies of other lifeforms, and have a complex mental communication system, which they use to communicate with each other and to draw their prey to them. The Gappa seen here are the last of their kind, and become extinct when SnowGlobe 7 is destroyed.
The Flisk are telepathic humanoids with mottled green-blue skin. They have a seemingly innate genius with all forms of computer programming. They are a damp-loving species, Flissta having been covered entirely in lakes and hills. The Flisk can enter a trance that they call Ple’nsagh.
The Doctor dons a sombrero, Hawaiian shirt and baggy shorts: he quickly changes back into his usual attire when he and Martha arrive in SnowGlobe 7. He has an inflatable banana in a cupboard in the TARDIS, as well as deck chairs (The Leisure Hive), Lilos, and a bucket and spade. He is aiming for Saudi Arabia during the late-twenty-first century when he arrives in Dubai, since it is listed as Best Beach of the Century in Bartholomew’s Planetary Gazetteer and Time Traveller’s Guide. The Doctor carries string in his pocket.
Martha dons a long light dress and sandals. She later changes into heavy ski pants and a thick parka.
The Doctor uses the TARDIS’s telepathic circuits to break the Gappa’s hold over its prey.
Links: There are references to Sycorax (The Christmas Invasion) and Slitheen (Aliens of London/World War III, Boom Town, The Monsters Inside, Revenge of the Slitheen, The Lost Boy).
Location: Dubai, 2099; Prehistoric Earth.
Future History: Sugary Shiplanos are similar to liquid, lighter than air candy floss, and were popular on Earth in 2050 after a man in Weston-super-Mare found the recipe in the wreck of a crashed Androgum (The Two Doctors) space hopper in the Bristol Channel. O’Keefe owns a vintage 2029 Bentley hybrid. There is a World Currency by 2099.
The Flisk arrive on Earth c2079, seeking refuge from a stellar cataclysm that almost wiped them out: they have gradually integrated into human society, although their telepathic abilities have caused widespread mistrust. Many have settled in the Lake District due to its similarity to Flissta. At some point prior to 2099, Earth has been the subject of peaceful visitations from the Svillia and the Hive of Mooj. Blocky humanoid VINTEK System service robots are widely used in 2099. The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is ripped off by a class-three tornado.
The twelve SnowGlobes are artificial domes containing preserved stretches of Arctic tundra to save them from global warming. SnowGlobe 6 is a tourist snow sports resort, whereas SnowGlobe 7 is a conservation site. The SnowGlobes are located in key cities around the world, with 6 and 7 both in Dubai. Apart from SnowGlobe 7, only SnowGlobe 3 in the Australian Outback and SnowGlobe 9 in Japan have remained purely scientific establishments.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has met Elton John and the Mogadeesh of Replanak, one of whom gave him a huge pair of sunglasses. He is familiar with the Flisk, having been onboard the medical frigate Talaha of the Flisk Armada c2059, when the rift opened during the crossing of the Opius Expanse. He may also have visited the M’treeki lakes on Flissta.
The Doctor plans to take the dead Modrakanians back to Modrakania at the end.
The Bottom Line: A typically derivative Mike Tucker runaround, with a dull monster, forgettable characters and a clumsy moral message, in this case about the environment. Still, as with The Nightmare of Black Island, kids will probably love it.