Roots: The Running Man. There are references to Wyatt Earp, Rolex, Armani, Bentley, Elton John, and Lara Croft.
Continuity: There are fifty Torodon leisure platforms on the Outer Rim and forty on the Inner Rim. The Torodon are basically humanoid but are larger and stockier than humans with shaggy white hair, a silvery skin-tone and piercing blue eyes. “Work hard, play hard” is the Torodon motto. They are culturally sexist, with the men doing the hard work and women primarily working in the “leisure industry”. The Torodon Confederacy spans several star systems and they exploit all of their natural resources. They import loads of immigrant labour and have always used convict labour. Disdamil is a low-percentage fruit-based alcoholic drink, Ballomol is a much stronger spirit.
Gorgoror is a former workcamp and a moon of the egg-shell coloured gas-giant Zigriz. It has a breathable atmosphere and has been heavily excavated. It was abandoned thirty years earlier.
The Doctor likes Torodon tea. Zalu offers him Abadonian lemonade.
Whilst a prisoner on the Ellipsis, Amy is forced to wear a skin-tight cat-suit and spike and dye her hair.
Alien creatures imported to Gorgoror include an octopoid with thick, rubbery tentacles; a moon-buck from Peladon (Aggedor); an ogle from Gigantia’s sea of dust, which resembles an enormous amoeba and extrudes a corrosive substance to dissolve its prey; a red and black insect the size of a tank with crimson eyes; a shologgi from the planet Pyrites which resembles a huge great ape with shaggy red hair and which are trained for gladiatorial on their home planet; and an Air-Walker, which is vaguely humanoid but has a black, leathery, parachute-like canopy.
Air-Walkers live on the planet Cha-Bala. The natives of the neighbouring planet Ka-bala worship them as gods of music. They abandon sacrificial victims on the surface of Cha-Bala, where they Air-Walkers would eat them, leaving nothing but hollow bones, which the Ka-Balans would recover and make into wind instruments.
The Doctor mentions the Bone Hoarders of Nebulo Beta. One of the aliens on LP9 is a bipedal reptilian with fawn-coloured skin covered in large brown blotches.
Links: There are references to Terileptils (The Visitation) and Aggedor (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon). Rory draws a crack in reality to leave a trail (first seen in The Eleventh Hour).
Location: Leisure Platform 9, on board the Ellipsis, and Gorgoror, the Outer Rim of the Phrygian System, November .
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor is familiar with the Torodon and is an old friend of Kobal Zalu, with whom he fought when the Torodon were at war with the Terileptils. He helped Zalu’s group out during a mission on the comet Zamos. He has seen Zalu many times since but has regenerated several times since they last met. Zalu once accidentally shot the First Doctor out of the sky.
The Bottom Line: A fast paced thriller with some excellent world-building and great villains. Finch captures the regulars perfectly and with references to Terileptils and Aggedor there are some nice nods to the past. Rory is particularly well used.