Short Trips: Companions

This is the second anthology released by Big Finish Productions. Its theme is that the stories are about the Doctor's companions. Many of the stories take place either before the companions in question join the TARDIS crew, or after they have left the Doctor.

The Tip of the Mind

The Tip of the Mind
Author(s): Peter Anghelides
Doctor(s): Third Doctor
Companion(s): Zoe Heriot
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: Academic funding regimes. There is a reference to Parmenio and Alexander.

Goofs: If the project has had flat headcount and zero attrition for six years (page 1), then how can Zoe have joined the team 3 years ago (page 8)?

The blue-skinned Fodorans from another solar system are presumably aliens. However,the first peaceful contact between humans and aliens was in 2085 according to The Dying Days, and my best attempts at dating the 21st Century place Zoe's native era well before that.

Technobabble: The Doctor talks about visual stabiliser circuits and short-range transmitting devices. Dr Urtiman mentions a renitential molecular scanner and a polyphase analyser.

Dialogue Triumphs: Dr Urtiman: 'Flirting, with waste-paper baskets? No, Ms Xafta, I think not. Desk tidies, you could understand it.'

Continuity: Fodorans have pale blue skin, and they come from a different solar system. One works on XZ49. Galactic Studium Generale funds academic projects that have to be open to outsiders.

The Doctor again uses his alias of Dr. Smith, and visits Zoe whilst posing as an academic from the "Temporal Institute", also referred to as the "Gallifrey Institute". He is still serving his exile on Earth and has been sent by the Time Lords to re-imprint Zoe's mental conditioning, although he intends to try and gently coax temporal equations from her that she learned during her time with him, so that he can once more control the TARDIS. The sight of the TARDIS, which the Doctor tries to avoid her seeing, causes Zoe to have a sudden flood of memories, after which her mental conditioning is re-imprinted.

Location: ZX49, a space station - presumably in the 21st Century.

Future History: The Urticorp Project researches into the possibility of Time Travel, and is based on XZ49. Earth Central recently closed station XF24. XB38 is more prestigious than ZX49. Academic and research institutes at this time include the Drazah Institute, Toinbi Polytechnic, and the Bartali Foundation.

Unrecorded Adventures: Zoe knows who Alexander the Great and his general Parmenio are; given her appalling knowledge of history as shown in several stories, this probably means that either she met them whilst on the TARDIS, or the Doctor told her about them. A report says that she did a great job on W3 after The Wheel in Space.

The Bottom Line: Nice to see Zoe, one of the few companions not previously reunited with the Doctor later in life, after the events of The War Games, and Anghelides wisely pays homage to the past without undoing the Time Lords' memory block. The obnoxious first-person narrative is rather effective, lifting this above the mediocre.

The Splintered Gate

The Splintered Gate
Author(s): Justin Richards
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright
Season(s): None
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Roots: Ian mentions the works of A.A. Milne.

Continuity: Barbara has a friend called Rosemary who is a palm reader, who says that Barbara rarely keeps her palm in one place long enough to read it. Ian meets Rosemary at a party. A.A. Milne has always held a delightful fascination for him. He is sceptical of what he calls the so-called 'supernatural'.

Prior to travelling with the Doctor, Ian visits a fortune teller who has a premonition of his time line being shattered across time and space by forthcoming events. Ian disbelieves her, convinced that she is a charlatan.

Location: Dorset, Summer [1963]. Shoreditch, some time later.

The Bottom Line (Prosecution): 'I have told you what will happen. Cryptic to the point of meaningless, The Splintered Gate feels like pure filler.

The Bottom Line (Defence): Short but sweet. There's not much substance (or length) to this one, and it only works because its being told from Ian's perspective, but it entertains you for a couple of minutes.

The Man From DOCTO(R)

The Man From DOCTO(R)
Author(s): Andrew Collins
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Harry Sullivan
Season(s): None
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Roots: The story is, of course, a spoof of tongue-in-cheek spy stories such as the James Bond films and The Man From UNCLE.

Goofs: Crumpton appears to be the real name of a lizard-person, rather than just the name he uses as am earth pseudonym.

Why does the genetic manipulator only affect the Garvaks in the room? Surely it would be programmed to affect all life on Earth.

Continuity: Harry has garnered a reputation as an eccentric storyteller in his local pub (the Fox and Chickens), due to his habit of telling stories of his time with the Doctor, which he massively embellishes.

The Garvaks are "brutal totalitarian lizards" who tried to obliterate the planet Zantor, and succeeded. The remaining Zantorians survived, hoping to seed a new world with the Egg of Abundance, which contains the genetic template for all life on Zantor and looks a lot like a hen's egg. Their technology includes a homing beacon disguised as an Earth pen. The Garvaks have a genetic manipulator. Harry claims that he was recruited by the organisation DOCTO(R), an acronym of Department of Overt and Covert Tactical Operations (Regional), and taken to their secret base located beneath Guildford [it is possible that this is all sheer fabrication, since it is implied that Harry is writing a novel. Given that many of his stories are distortions of his experiences with the Doctor and UNIT however, it may contain an element of truth].

Location: The Fox and Chickens pub, and surrounding area; Guildford, Switzerland, Mexico City, Rio De Janiero, Shanghai, Belgium. Date unknown.

Unrecorded Adventures: One of Harry's tales involved him being turned transparent because of a flying sponge and some loud women.

The Bottom Line: 'Fortunately, I know a chap at the Embassy...' Amusing take on the "Harry as James Bond" set-up of Harry Sullivan's War, with Harry as likeable as ever despite his apparent propensity to self-aggrandise!

Apocrypha Bipedium

Apocrypha Bipedium
Author(s): Ian Potter
Doctor(s): Eighth Doctor
Companion(s): Charley Pollard
Season(s): Eighth Doctor audios season 2
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Roots: Troilus and Cressida. The Doctor gives Will Shakespeare several Doctor Seuss books to read, several other Shakespeare plays are mentioned, as is The Golden Girls, and Wisden. Vicki mentions Alice in Wonderland. There are references to Peter Pan, the works of Dr. Seuss, and Ludo. Charlie's diary mentions Orpheus and EuroDisney. There are references to The Iliad and Chaucer.

Goofs: As Charley points out, why is the Doctor worried about Shakespeare getting inspired about Troilus and Cressida from visiting Troy when he's already read half of his plays before writing them?

Technobabble: "The Doctor flicked the temporal stabiliser off and pulled down the transitional element control rod taking him out of the Vortex", which is the wrong way to "actualise and quadro-anchor even a Type 40 Time Capsule", as "Exiting the interstitial continuum at the perihelion of a temporal ellipse can cause serious buffering in your harmonic wave packer transference and sever your main fluid links. The Absolute Tesseractulator can pinpoint a TARDIS's dimensional locations.

The rift in the Vortex last seen in Time of the Daleks was caused by "the paradoxical interaction of two paravertical chronostreams further complicated by three retro-temporal augmented causal feedback loops.

Continuity: The Doctor describes Shakespeare as one of the finest writers and most atrocious spellers of any age. He got the commission to write Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor on the same day, and sprained his wrist in the rush to write both. (see City of Death), Charley says that Shakespeare was a functioning alcoholic from the age of eight. When the Doctor drops Shakespeare off back in his own time, he gives him a list of things not to mention in his plays, including Daleks, Walter Raleigh (at least before Shakespeare meets actually him), cigars (until Raleigh brings tobacco to England), and the fact that he has read half of his plays before he actually wrote them. The list ends up in the Braxiatel Collection, along with the "disputed Scarlioni Hamlet manuscript". The Doctor claims to have actually written all the best bits of Hamlet, rather than just transcribing what Shakespeare dictated.

"Loom Auntie Flavia" (The Five Doctors) wrote Tales from the Matrix - True Stories from TARDIS Logs Retold for Time Tots (Shada), was published by Panopticon Press in 6803.8 Rassilon Era. A copy became part of the Wigner Heisenberg Collection, The Mobile Library, Talking Books Section. There was once a fashion for having friends on Gallifrey, which the older cousins of the Time Tots Flavia writes for might remember. [Some] TARDISes come with an Ionic Column factory preset for their chameleon circuits (a reference to the Master's TARDIS in Castrovalva, Logopolis and Planet of Fire). President Pandak's kittens once got tangled up in Mobius twine (Pandak was mentioned in The Deadly Assassin His kittens may the same cats that accidentally got eaten by one of the Rani's experiments - The Mark of the Rani)..

Cricket is the Earth's planetary sport, despite humans being the worst players of it in the galaxy. Homer, the author of The Iliad, was blind.

When he hasn't landed where he expects to, the Doctor often asks the date off a local, and waits for night to fall so he can get a better position from the stars. He says that he's been particularly keen on wine, particularly the heavier oaky reds. He tries not to eat anything that has a central nervous system or that he's knocked up in the TARDIS food machine, but sometimes as a guest he doesn't stick to that. However, he still tries to avoid eating anything with a sense of self, parliamentary democracy or sultanas in it. He has never actually read Troilus and Cressida. He reveals that he hasn't actually read anywhere near as many classical texts as he claims, half of his quotations coming from books of quotations.

After decades of trying, the Doctor has never managed to tune in the Time-Space Visualiser (The Space Museum, The Chase) to catch all of The Golden Girls. [presumably, he rebuilds the TSV following the events of The Eye of the Giant, or replaces it with a new one]. He kisses Charley to shut her up. The Doctor only let Vicki go off with Troilus at the end of The Myth Makers because once he learned that she was calling herself Cressida, he assumed that it was predestined. The Doctor has a weakness for alcohol on his mother's side (Transit, The TV Movie).

Vicki's mother once told her that it was a family tradition to keep a journal, and made her promise that she'd write one when she eventually settled down. Her knowledge of history tells her that the Trojans will get no peace if they head in the direction of the Holy Land. She learnt something about Aeneas )as well as the fall of the Mallatratt Protectorate from the UK-201's didactomatic box. She thinks that Dido's music was Late Classical, and confuses her with Sister Bliss. She grew up in Liverpool but later moved to New London. Following the sacking of Troy (The Myth Makers), Vicki and Troilus left the area due to the presence of the Greeks, who resented their presence. She recognizes the Eighth Doctor due to his character, but initially assumes that he is a younger version of the First Doctor and then later assumes that he is a Dalek robot double like the one sent after the TARDIS crew in The Chase. The Doctor advises Vicki and Troilus to move to Britain, although he worries that she might end up becoming one of her ancestors.

Texts cited here include A Suggestive Correlation of The Cressida Manuscripts with other Anomalous Texts of the Pre-Animarian Era as proposed for Collective Consideration by Historiographic Speculator Anctloddoton and The Pseudo-Shackspur - works attributed to William Shakespeare (collated by Heinrich Von Berlitz and Leopold Kettlecamp, Ampersand and Ampersand, 85AH) (which includes fragments from The Noble Troyan Woman of Troy, written whilst the young Shakespeare was on board the TARDIS).

Future History: The Primary Cressida Document - Suppressed Texts of the Vatican Library is published by Mysteria Press in 2973. The Great 2107 AD Cock Up causes The Diary of an Edwardian Adventuress (written by Charley) to suffer from worm damage. It would later be available in the Elgin decorruption which is the version available in the Library of Kar-Charrat (The Genocide Machine). The damage means that her name is spelt Charlotte Elspeth Bollard. The Pseudo-Shackspur - works attributed to William Shakespeare is compiled by Heinrich Von Berlitz and Leopold Kettlecamp, and published by Ampersand and Ampersand in 85 AH. 22nd Wisden (probably) records that Katie "the Beast" Davies never bowled a maiden over. The Secondary Cressida Document (a transcribed fragment allegedly found at a Church of Rome jumble sale) - Even More Suppressed Texts of the Vatican Library is published by Harper-Mysteria-Ellerycorp Press in 2977.

Liverpool in Vicki's time boasts the Campus Manor theme park, a castle (The Chase), the Beatles Memorial Theatre, The Saint Francis of Fazakerley Museum, the Carl Jung Dream Tour, Post-Industrial Land, and several cathedrals.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor once wrote Not Necessarily the Way I Do It! The True Confessions of a Ka Faraq Gatri not just written for the money when trapped on a primitive planet and needing cash to buy parts under the pseudonym 'Snail' (Lungbarrow). It was published by Boxwood Books in 3000 AGB (hence, in Earth's future). It contains a version of the story of the Terrible Zodin, and this story. One of the Doctor's encounters with William Shakespeare involved Kit Marlowe and some Psionovores from Neddy Kelley's scrying glass [this may contradict The Empire of Glass, but then the Doctor might have been making it up]. He also mentions having put the mixed metaphor in the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, having hired the bear for The Winter's Tale, and that he really shouldn't have passed on the story of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Bottom Line: Magnificent. Potter makes almost perfect use of the short story format, playing with format to great, and very funny, effect.

A Boy's Tale

A Boy's Tale
Author(s): Gary Russell
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Adric
Season(s): Season 18
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Roots: The format is inspired by pen pals and diaries. The Alternative are the equivalent of a Hippy/New Age commune, and the Torris Plague is a common Science Fiction biotechnology nightmare.

Continuity: When Adric was eight, he was put into the Starliner's accelerated learning programme. Education on Alzarius happened through terminals where the students had a choice of 15 images including Deciders to act as electronic teachers. By age 12, Adric knew more than his parents and Varsh put together. Varsh and his friends 'dropped out' shortly before Adric and Varsh's parents were killed in a farming accident. Adric and a friend called Zayn (with whom he used to play games) once hacked into a fellow student called Jiana's education terminal to delete the image of Decider Draith from the images. She never mentioned lessons again, so they never knew whether or not they succeeded. Adric uses the TARDIS databank to compose a letter to K9 Mark II, whom he misses. Adric knows how to read, but has never actually written much down. Tannek was Decider before Gariff, who was previously a scientist and colleague of Dexeter. Larralice occasionally ravaged crops on Alzarius.

On Terradon, Dogs were first domesticated during the twenty-fifth era. Terradon was one of four core-worlds. There were over five hundred different breeds of dog on these worlds. The Torris Plague was a mysterious illness that struck animals on the Terradonian continent of Prolside. Everything died out within 2 months. When the plague spread to humans, the Torris Company on the Wattnill continent admitted that they had engineered a virus that attacked only creatures with a respiratory system smaller than a human's, but the virus obviously mutated. It was designed as a means of germ warfare, intended to make Prolside children sterile and depopulate their continent within two generations. Shortly before this revelation, a war broke out between some of the smaller continents and Annexed Islands which started the first wave of colonisations and annexations that eventually led to the Starliner landing on Alzarius. The plague led to the destruction of all animals not needed for food, and the end of pets (they were banned in case they spread the disease to their owners. This led to a brief popularity for holographic pets. The animals affected by the cull included dogs. Alzarius is Terradonian for 'island', the name reflecting the hope that the starliner's crew would return to Terradon, the 'mainland'.

There are a group on Terradon calling themselves The Alternative. They live away from the starliner, have no power source, and they keep dogs, and it is implied they have other animals. They were led by Lok and Maíre. Adric maintained secret contact with them until he met the Doctor. Decider Draith knows their secret and keeps it for them.

Location: The TARDIS, though events are being related that took place on Alzarius several years before Full Circle.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has shown Adric how to use the TARDIS databank to compose a letter, and Adric pointed out a few subroutines that could make the Doctor's life easier.

The Bottom Line: 'Now you can understand why it is I feel such a kinship with you. Vaguely nauseating and with a predictable twist, although the attempt to flesh out Adric's life on Alzarius is admirable.

Kept Safe and Sound

Kept Safe and Sound
Author(s): Paul Magrs
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): None
Season(s): None
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Roots: There is a reference to Ethel Merman's "Gypsy".

Goofs: Dating this story is near-impossible. Jack's dad being killed by a dinosaur sets this 14 years after Invasion of the Dinosaurs (set c.1974) and yet K9 hasn't spoken for 16 years (and there are plenty of stories featuring him and Sarah-Jane-Smith into at least the early 1990s). Second-hand books can still be acquired for one pound, but it's the era of recordable CDs.

Continuity: It's 16 years since K9 last spoke. He has been stripped down for spare parts by a man who runs an electronics business in a local market, and can survive for a while when stripped down to his brainmodule. This can be hooked up to a CD writer and K9's brain and memories can be stored on CD. Jack actually does this before K9 is totally dismantled. Jack collects the twelve volumes of The Book of Mayhem, a short story horror anthology.

Location: England, the dating is uncertain.

The Bottom Line: 'Preserve your memory you mean?' 'Before the bit that's left wears out completely.' Magrs prose brings a lyrical melancholy to what would otherwise be an exercise in whimsy, and it's strangely heartwarming to know that something of K9 survives. Although it is more a character piece about the new character Jack than anything else.

The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe

The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe
Author(s): Mark Michalowski
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana I, Romana II
Season(s): Season 17
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Roots: Fanfic about Romana's regeneration in Destiny of the Daleks and fan speculation about a romance between the two characters. The title is a blatant rip-off of CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Goofs: If the TARDIS can personify itself as Iraj, then why hasn't it done so before or after? There are a number of circumstances where it would have been quite useful (e.g. The Edge of Destruction).

Technobabble: The TARDIS can read minds 'telempathically'.

Continuity: The TARDIS can project itself into a virtual person, who takes the name Iraj. an old woman who tells Romana that she is the Doctor's wardrobe mistress. Iraj can change shape and impersonates Princess Astra (The Armageddon Factor) pretending that she is a newly regenerated Romana; it is established that the various bodies "tried on" by Romana in Destiny of the Daleks are actually all Iraj in disguise. The TARDIS objects to having the tracer inserted into it and having the randomiser installed. Jealous of Romana, Iraq immobilizes her in the wardrobe room, telepathically steals her memories and impersonates her during the entire time the Doctor spends on Skaro: this explains why Romana only took a single anti-radiation tablet in 'Destiny of the Daleks' without showing ill effects. It can also trap a Time Lord in some kind of temporal phenomena, freezing them and making their sense of time not work whilst they remain conscious. It is due for a 1,000 year service soon. The Doctor knows two men who do the repairs. It can (and does) guide a Time Lady's regeneration into a particular form, and deletes these events from its experiential banks.

Romana has been taught meditation exercises that can keep her regeneration at bay for some time. Her regeneration is put down to the wearing effects of the quest for the Key to Time (Season 16) and the chronodyne in particular (The Armageddon Factor). It's probably the result of subtle damages that have built up. She mentions rumours about Gallifreyans in the newer houses regenerating to order. Despite Iraj's claim in Destiny of the Daleks that Romana learnt to stop her hearts in school, Romana still hasn't mastered that one.

The TARDIS wardrobe contains a huge tiger-striped fur coat, a gossamer-thin pink dress, a dark blue velvet suit, a pair of grubby white silk shoes, a pinafore dress, and a straw boater.

Location: The TARDIS and the planet Skaro during Destiny of the Daleks.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has a racy photo that has been ripped up and stuck back together lovingly with sticky tape which is signed 'forever yours GG' in his wallet.

The Bottom Line: 'Since you came aboard, he hasn't been the same, you know.' Incredibly cheeky but hugely enjoyable nevertheless.

Hearts of Stone

Hearts of Stone
Author(s): Steve Lyons
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Adric, Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka
Season(s): Season 19
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Roots: The statues are similar to the ones created by Rassilon in The Five Doctors, the interplay between the TARDIS crew is taken from the "soap" aspects of several fifth Doctor stories.

Continuity: Adric and Nyssa play chess. Tegan doesn't play, Nyssa needs practice, and Adric beats her in every game. Nyssa beats him at the end, unwittingly helping to make him feel like maybe he does fit in on board the TARDIS after all. He left the Starliner and joined the Outlers because he felt he didn't fit in and was constricted by the rules of his society and he still wears Varsh's belt (Full Circle). Adric feels lonely as nobody understands him.

The forest the TARDIS has landed in exists outside of time somehow, and many of the petrified beings hadn't arrived there yet. The beings that are petrified exist as a gestalt group mind. The living statues include a Terileptil (The Visitation) Contrary to the Doctor's fears, it is implied that they do not coerce unwilling candidates into becoming one of them.

The Doctor programmes the TARDIS' exterior doors to open for him alone.

Location: A jungle on unnamed planet that is to some degree outside of time.

Unrecorded Adventures: Last week Adric wanted to observe a collapsing star which was at least three weeks away from becoming a black hole. However, the Doctor decided not to because it wouldn't have been very interesting for Nyssa and Tegan. The TARDIS crew has been on the planet for four days prior to the start of this story.

The Bottom Line: 'I will never understand other people!' Dull. Lyons churns out yet another morality tale, but without the humour that usually makes his prose come alive. If Adric had been less irritating (as in A Boy's Tale earlier in the anthology), it might have made a decent character study.

Distance

Distance
Author(s): Tara Samms
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright
Season(s): None
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Roots: There is a reference to Noah's Ark.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Why is it, do you think, that man sees so many familiar patterns in phenomena he doesn't understand? For convenience? Or for comfort?"

Continuity: Ian and Barbara are still married (see The Face of the Enemy) and have both retired. Barbara looks old and has recently had tests telling her that she has [cancer], which she hasn't yet told Ian about; she prepares to tell him at the end of this story [it is implied that this condition is terminal, or at least life threatening]. whilst Ian is now Dr Chesterton and has worked on a problem with the Hubble Space Telescope with Frank Ellis. He and Frank flew to Houston to help with the infrared dectectors, which had stopped functioning. He still does some work and is about as old as he thinks the Doctor was. They never mention the Doctor outright as part of their "back to normality" routine. Barbara drives an Audi.

The alien life form that infects Ellis traveled along infrared wavelengths from Monoceros and became trapped in the Hubble telescope. It created an intelligence inside Ellis in an attempt to find a way home. The dermoid cyst that grows in Frank's body as a result contains what appear to be ganglia that are only visible under infrared light.

Location: England in the late 1990s or the early 21st Century.

The Bottom Line: 'Ian, there's something I must tell you.' Grim, and possibly in bad taste, given the fact that Jacqueline Hill died from breast cancer, although Samms' writing is as powerful as ever. Ian and Barbara are perfectly characterised, but the plot is incredibly weak, the end result being a story that is both sentimental and forgettable.

Qualia

Qualia
Author(s): Stephen Fewell
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Tegan Jovanka, Vislor Turlough, Kamelion
Season(s): Season 21
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Continuity: Tegan wants to show Turlough what the (fourth) Doctor was like when she first met him, and Kamelion has a particular affinity for her mind. Tegan's mother is called Joy. Kamelion works by tapping directly into the memory centres of the brain and using that information to create holographic simulacra of any individual his controller desired.

Kamelion adopts the forms of the First, Second and Third Doctors. Tegan encouraged him to try and adopt the form of the Fourth Doctor so that she could show Turlough what he looked like when she first met him. Kamelion has a particular affinity for Tegan's mind. Because human memories are associated with shared subjective experiences such as the taste of coffee and certain sights and sounds, whenever Kamelion picks up large portions of these memories he is simultaneously swamped with an impossibly dense influx of memory Qualia that overwhelms him.

Tegan's Aunt Vanessa left the family home because she was sick of seeing her mother worn down by years of marriage to her father, a decision that caused a lasting rift between Vanessa and her sister, Tegan's mother Joy. Vanessa felt that the same thing had happened to Joy, which influenced Tegan's decision to leave and become an air hostess. The Doctor tells her that he can't bear the thought of not having her around.

Shortly after the events of Spearhead from Space, the Brigadier showed the Doctor to a sparsely decorated bedroom in UNIT HQ, which he could use. The Doctor brought a suitcase of personal items with him, which he salvaged from the TARDIS as it smoked and shorted out around him [following his unsuccessful attempt to dematerialise].

Location: The TARDIS.

The Bottom Line (Prosecution): A confusing mess. You have to read to the end of the story to understand what's going on, but until then, you've got lots of isolated sections which bear little or no relation to each other. The central concept is interesting, but it could have been executed so much better.

The Bottom Line (Defence): 'Kamelion's only a machine.' Another surprisingly effective use of one of the most two-dimensional companions to date.

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae
Author(s): Simon Guerrier
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Polly Wright
Season(s): None
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Roots: Job interviews. There are references to Marlboro reds, 2Unlimited, John Major, and Neil Armstrong

Dialogue Triumphs: Maurice: 'Tell me Ms Wright, when you were travelling, back in the sixties... did you ever try LSD?'
Polly: 'Never. You're the one in the music industry.'

Continuity: Polly has always had a skill for looking after the administrative affairs of creative people. Recently, the company she has worked for for 12 years has had a rough patch and the managing director lost his PA, who was Polly. Subsequently she has been out of work for six weeks. Polly used to be married, and has always worked in London. She was twenty-three years old when she traveled with the Doctor. She is interviewed for the job of PA for John Eliot Maurice.

Location: London, 14th February 1993 (judging by John Major's re-election and 2Unlimited having got to number 1 in the charts the previous day).

Unrecorded Adventures: A couple of years ago, the seventh Doctor and (teenaged) Ace helped John Eliot Maurice's company - they had just had faxed installed, and odd things started happening, one of the janitors was killed, the Doctor and Ace sorted it out, and Ace argued with everything the Doctor said.

The Bottom Line: 'Do you know how hard it was to come from that back to this?' Curriculum Vitae is a good exploration of what leaving the TARDIS to resume normal life must be like, and it succeeds on every level. Polly is well characterised, her situation is realistically drawn, and it's nice to see her strength and resolve, rather than the screaming airhead occasionally witnessed on screen. The brief appearances by Tegan are the fanboy's icing on the cake.

Notre Dame Du Temps

Notre Dame Du Temps
Author(s): Nick Clark
Doctor(s): Seventh Doctor, Eighth Doctor
Companion(s): Anji Kapoor
Season(s): EDas part 5 (Earth World to Camera Obscura)
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Roots: Fan speculation about a romance between the Fourth Doctor and Romana II. We see copies of 1984 and The House at Pooh Corner, whilst the Seventh Doctor whistles The Marseillaise and All You Need is Love. There are several references to The Prisoner (the penny farthing in the stained glass window, and a book entitled The Schizoid Man).

Dialogue Triumphs: 'Parents who spend their lives ensuring bread for their children and then die of hunger themselves should be hit over the head with a very big stick.'

Continuity: The eighth Doctor often disappears for days on end without mentioning the excursion to Fitz or Anji. He once mentioned that the TARDIS contained a levianthry. There are multiple libraries and laboratories. The room in which Anji finds herself has a cream and brown chessboard tile floor, windows shaped like a church cloister's through which bright light streams making it impossible to see through them, two large columns, and a curved staircase leading up to a balcony. The room Anji visits contains 1984, The House at Pooh Corner, and The Schizoid Man as well as a chessboard and a small model of a 1960s police box which has a spare key above the P of Police Box (The TV Movie) and is dimensionally transcendental. The Police Box contains the sketch of Romana. [the implication is that this is somehow the "old" TARDIS (Anji retrieves the picture of Romana from City of Death when she puts her hand inside it) and is possibly a result of the events of The Ancestor Cell]

The seventh Doctor finds it easy to remember things from his past incarnations by smell and difficult to remember faces. His own clothing (he is currently wearing his cream suit and fedora) has a neutral but clean smell. He considers this incarnation to be relatively long-lived. He doesn't like peppermint tea, but drinks some because it was a gift from a friend. He is suffering from a spot of melancholy (The Eight Doctors). He retrieves the sketch of Romana from the streets of Paris (City of Death). He is on a mission to collect something specific [presumably the Master's remains - see Lungbarrow and The TV Movie].

During City of Death, the fourth Doctor lost the piece of paper with a sketch of Romana from his pocket. Romana was unique among the Doctor's companions that she had tempted him to pack it all in, and was the only one who had ever been able to understand him for who he was because she was the only one like him.

Location: The TARDIS, Paris during City of Death.

The Bottom Line: Saccharine, sentimental and cloying; The Lying Old Witch In the Wardrobe made much better use of the fan rumours about just how close Romana and the Doctor really were.

The Little Drummer Boy

The Little Drummer Boy
Author(s): Eddie Robson
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom
Season(s): Season 3
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Roots: Robert's time machine is reminiscent of the sentient TARDISes of the Future War first seen in Alien Bodies. There are references to Dickens, and George Cruikshank.

Goofs: The Doctor's explanation of why it's OK to change Robert's history but not OK to change history in general doesn't make much sense. If the other time machine disrupted the normal path of causality by intervening in Robert's life, then the TARDIS must surely have the same effect, making changes to history acceptable in general.

Continuity: The Doctor claims that alcohol has a negligible effect on his constitution and that he has never slept through a TARDIS landing. He tries to avoid using the fast return switch since its malfunction (The Edge of Destruction) He claims that the TARDIS has a device for calculating the exact time in which it materialises, but that this works in absolute time and needs to establish a formula for converting this into Earth time. He occasionally wears spectacles for close work. Whilst in No Man's Land in 1914, he claims to be a Minister from the war office. The Doctor creates a temporal anomaly by taking Robert back home and switching him for his dying twin brother Christopher; Robert agrees to this to keep his family together, meaning that there are two Roberts existing in the same time line. The Doctor tells Steven and Sara that he can alter history in this way due to the involvement of the other time machine, and describes the temporally duplicated Robert as an anomaly that is a remnant of a vanished divergent timeline.

Although he has never been there, Steven recognises the trenches of the Western Front in World War One.

Sara adopts the room in the TARDIS next to Steven's. Her uniform has a built in temperature regulator.

The Time Machine that Robert becomes trapped in is controlled by linking the mind of the pilot to the ship, the outer shell of which then alters to match the pilot's form (in this case, Robert's eight-year-old body), so that he or she can interact with their surroundings. The ship is an experimental model; during the test flight, neural feedback was generated trapping both ship and pilot in a repeated pattern of responses. The pilot ejected, leaving the ship adrift in the Vortex until it arrived on Earth and Robert accidentally became trapped in the control booth. The ship is sentient, but was designed to be unable to override the pilot for safety reasons and became trapped into a pattern of visiting Christmas in different times, because Robert remembered being happy at Christmas. The ship is sentient [and is possibly a prototype TARDIS - it tells the Doctor that the race that created it is more advanced than humans, it is dimensionally transcendental, it has a chameleon circuit and it has a type of Fast Return Switch (The Edge of Destruction)]. The Doctor manages to return it to its point of origin.

Location: Hollywood, in the 1920s or 1930s; the TARDIS; England, the 25th of December in 1885, 1946, 1931, 2069 (a Sussex village), the Western Front at Christmas 1914, and another planet, date unknown.

The Bottom Line: Despite a decent premise, and making use of a TARDIS crew never previously used outside of the television series, The Little Drummer Boy is rendered deeply objectionable by the twist of the Doctor kidnapping a terminally ill boy and taking him away to die, whilst his family are left unaware of what has happened, supposedly for the greater good. However, the story is well-written and if you are not too bothered by the premise, you'll probably really enjoy it.

Hidden Talent

Hidden Talent
Author(s): Andrew Spokes
Doctor(s): Third Doctor
Companion(s): Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Jo Grant
Season(s): Season 10
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Roots: TV talent shows and "reality" TV notably Opportunity Knocks and more recent series such as Pop Idol. There are references to the Ritz, the Beatles (Jo used to fancy John Lennon) and "Fame".. There's a reference to the famous quote about everybody having their 15 minutes of fame.

Goofs: The Doctor tells Jo that Latep is probably flying around in his spaceship thinking about her right now, even though Planet of the Daleks was in the 25th Century.

The Master seems to think that by broadcasting performances of songs that haven't been written yet, he will cause the timelines to unravel, causing him to control the planet. BUt surely the worst that can happen is some minor changes to the course of history.

Dialogue Disasters: The Doctor: 'A quick call to Alistair, a few wires pulled out just in case, and Bob's your uncle.'
Jo: 'No he's not, he's the host Doctor.'

Continuity: The Master has a West Indian chauffeur (The Mind of Evil). He is the producer of Make a Star ("aka Master"), which he is using to disrupt the timeline by making the contestants cover songs that haven't been written yet (The Doctor notes that he has never tried to disrupt the timeline before - see The King's Demons). He intends to use the relatively minor disruption caused to allow him to take control of Earth. He has used his TCE to dispose of various contestants in Make a Star, passing the corpses off as dolls. He still has access to some plastics factories left over from his alliance with the Nestene Consciousness (Terror of the Autons). His TARDIS disguises itself as a cabinet. The Master thought that it would be amusing to let Jo join in his talent show when he saw her in the audience. The Doctor thinks that the Master has stopped using his Tissue Compression Eliminator.

Jo never wanted to be famous. As a child she quickly grew out of dreams of being a dancer and attending ballet classes. Her favourite Beatle was John, though most of her classmates fancied Paul or George. She doesn't regret not staying with Latep (Planet of the Daleks). She often visits her Nan. She picks a lock again (Terror of the Autons, The Sea Devils, Carnival of Monsters).

The Doctor gives Jo a brooch that can generate a radio signal, which he can then respond to. He expresses disdain at the clashing colours of Leezley's clothes, insisting that he'd never wear anything so vulgar, which is an obvious nod to the Sixth Doctor. Time Lords can feel the flow of timelines being changed.

The Brigadier arranges to stop the final of Make a Star from being broadcast, following a telephone call from the Doctor.

Location: A TV studio during the UNIT era between The Three Doctors and The Green Death.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor says that he's visited the early 80s and seen its fashions.

The Bottom Line (Prosecution): 'It's fixed! I knew it!' A formulaic Pertwee story. It would have been more of a surprise if the "mysterious" producer had turned out to be anybody other than the Master.

The Bottom Line (Defence): Silly but fun, and worth reading for one of the Doctor's most infamous foes using reality television as a cover two years before Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways.

The Canvey Angels

The Canvey Angels
Author(s): David Bailey
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri Brown
Season(s): Season 21
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Roots: There are references to Coke, the Kennedys and Miss Marple.

Continuity: The aliens are about five feet tall, have pale white hides that go a rough pink when they are injured, milky eyes, foxlike teeth, and cloven hooves. They have bony bodies, vicious looking teeth, and three inch claws at the ends of their emaciated fingers. The radiation emitted by the dead aliens wilts the Doctor's celery and creates a multicoloured aura around their bodies.

It's a long time since Peri went inside a church. Peri wears denim shorts and a pink vest.

Location: The (Roman Catholic) Parish of St. Anthony of Padua, Canvey Island, Essex, Summer 1953

The Bottom Line: 'I forgive you.' Dark and rather derivative, but with a powerful vein of emotion underlying it and a thoughtful reminder of the difference between the Doctor and his human companions.

Balloon Debate

Balloon Debate
Author(s): Simon A Forward
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Sarah Jane Smith
Season(s): None
No votes yet

Roots: Reality TV. The Survivor game on the now-defunct forum at Doctor Who website Outpost Gallifrey (the very first such game saw players voting to evict Doctor Who companions.)

Goofs: How does Sarah know the televised companions so well as she writes them all here, because she can't possibly have met all of them. And why are there no non-TV companions or UNIT staff? You'd expect her to add in the Brigadier and Sam Jones (who she met in Interference) at the very least.

Technobabble: 'simultaneous convergence of multiple timelines within the TARDIS has resulted in a catastrophic overload of the internal configuration modulator.'

Continuity: Sarah is writing an article for the anniversary issue of Columbine magazine. As an exercise to overcome writer's block, Sarah writes a story in which most of the Doctor's companions are trapped inside the collapsing TARDIS. Companions included are Sarah herself, K9, Susan, Ian, Barbara, Vicki, Steven, Dodo, Ben, Polly, Jamie, Victoria, Zoe, Liz Shaw, Jo, Harry, Leela, Romanas One and Two, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan, Peri, Mel, and Ace. She uses guesswork to write the characters of the companions that she has never met [given the accuracy with which she manages this, it seems likely that K9 is programmed to recognise all the companions listed, and has provided her with information on them]. She believes that the Doctor had a special affection for Victoria (Pyramids of Mars).

Location: England, date uncertain, though Sarah is writing for the anniversary issue of Columbine magazine.

The Bottom Line: 'It's only a silly piece of fluff.' Nice idea to celebrate the main theme of the anthology, although points are deducted for the cop-out ending which futilely makes a token gesture to fit the story into continuity whilst raising the unlikely possibility that Sarah is familiar with the personalities of all of the Doctor's other companions.

A Long Night

A Long Night
Author(s): Alison Lawson
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Barbara Wright
Season(s): Season 2
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Roots: There's a mention of the Evening Standard and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique.

Goofs: The story claims that Barbara disappeared on the 23rd of November 1963, conflicting with the November setting for Remembrance of the Daleks, which happens a fair bit later in November 1963 than An Unearthly Child.

Continuity: Barbara's mother is called Joan, and they share a house. She keeps all of Barbara's possessions. A couple of months after the two disappeared, Ian's landlord let his flat (ten minutes drive from Coal Hill) to somebody else. Barbara kept a diary, and had a friend who went to teach in America, and who sent Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique to her as she felt Barbara would be interested. Barbara had almost finished it when she left. Barbara used to talk about Susan Foreman and the book on the French Revolution that she lent to her is her own (An Unearthly Child). The police investigated Barbara's disappearance. Staff at Coal Hill School suggested that she and Ian had eloped. Barbara and her mother dream of each other at the same time, reassuring Joan that she will see her daughter again; the Doctor attributes this to the TARDIS' telepathic abilities.

Location: Shoreditch, 23rd November 1964.

The Bottom Line: 'We will get back one day, won't we, Doctor?' Touching and a sweet end to a decent anthology.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke and Stephen Gray

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