Short Trips and Side Steps

Short Trips and Side Steps is the third and final short story anthology published by BBC Books. The anthology has no explicit theme, but it deliberately includes stories that celebrate the "apocrypha" of Doctor Who.

The particular apocrypha celebrated include the TV Comic / Countdown / TV Action era of comic strips, the World Distributors Annuals, Peter Anghelides' future Doctor from previous volumes (possibly intended to be Merlin from Battlefield), the Peter Cushing Dalek movies, Season 6b, The Ultimate Adventure stage play, Dimensions in Time, and Search Out Science. Several of the stories that aren't based on apocrypha explore similar themes.

The Longest Story in the World

The Longest Story in the World
Author(s): Paul Magrs
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan Foreman
Season(s): Unknown
Average: 4 (3 votes)

Roots: 1001 Arabian Nights.

Continuity: Scheherazade [or somebody very like her] tells the Caliph the story of an old man and his adopted Granddaughter, in nightly instalments in order to keep her alive. The story is clearly a version of the Doctor and Susan's departure from Gallifrey [presumably, Scheherazade has met or heard of the Doctor and knows something of his and Susan's past]. The beings with implacable machine-like wills may be a reference to the Daleks.

Location: Arabia.

The Bottom Line: 'The same tale continues?' A lyrical (if unoriginal) opening story that nicely introduces the apocryphal themes of the anthology.

A Town Called Eternity (Part One)

A Town Called Eternity (Part One)
Author(s): Lance Parkin and Mark Clapham
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri Brown
Season(s): Season 21
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Roots: Margaret Thatcher is mentioned.

Continuity: The Master is in Eternity looking for the Fountain of Youth. He adopts the alias Sheriff Masters, and is expecting the Doctor to turn up, since he assumed that he would follow him from Sarn to finish him off (he's wrong of course - the Doctor arrives by coincidence). Following the events on Sarn he has been left horribly burned and blacked, reduced back to the cadaverous state he was in prior to The Keeper of Traken. He wears a flesh mask resembling his usual Trakenite features, which the Doctor hypothesizes also serves as a bandage. His TCE has a number of settings, not all of which lead to immediate death [as a result of the modifications that he was making prior to Planet of Fire].

The Doctor dons a Stetson to blend in during their trip to the Wild West. He tells Peri that he quite liked his grandfather as far as he can recall. He adopts the alias of Doctor Sebastian Rowley, who is expected in Eternity and who is mistaken for. He is hanged by a lynch mob under the Master's influence.

Peri is a sixth-generation American. She enjoys sunbathing and sleeps in a (rather short) Mickey Mouse T-shirt from the TARDIS wardrobe. She wears a cotton blouse, plaid skirt and sensible boots whilst in Eternity. Her great-great-great grandfather is Iziah Brown has six wives and believes in evolution. Peri isn't sure which of Iziah's wives is her grandmother, although it cannot be Sarah as the Master kills her.

The TARDIS food machine is still in use and can make coffee (see Players).

Location: Eternity, California, 1880s.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor took Peri to visit talking plants, go ballroom dancing with a three-legged robot, and to a world with artificial suns.

The Bottom Line: An enjoyably traditional Doctor Who story, which explains how the Master survived the ending of Planet of Fire simply because it can. Good cliffhanger, too.

Special Occasions: 1. The Not-So-Sinister Sponge

Special Occasions 1: The Not So Sinister Sponge
Author(s): Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): K-9 Mark II, Romana II
Season(s): Season 17
Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Roots: The story's title is an affectionate nod to The Sinister Sponge', a short story from the 1976 Doctor Who Annual.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'Have you heard of the Masterbakers?'

Continuity: No explanation is given for the planetoid's origin, despite it being made entirely out of confectionery. The Masterbakers of Barastabon are famous for their cake-baking skills, although the Doctor (unlike Romana) has never heard of them.

The Doctor's pocket contains an enormous Turkish sword. His 500-year diary lists the first Sunday after the Feast of Rassilon [a Time Lord celebration], the fifty-eighth phase of the tri-Arctic Moons of Manabulos 81, and a Danish bank holiday. Romana carries an easy-to-view, millennium-at-a-glance 'time-o-fax', which stores data in a hyperspatial dimension twice the size of the fourth universe. It is K9's 'birthday' at the precise temporal location at which the TARDIS has materialized [which doesn't make sense given that K9 Mark II was built by the Doctor, in the TARDIS - possibly it is just his birthday in terms of operating time since he was activated and the temporal location is irrelevant]. A combination of conditions on the planetoid and interference from the TARDIS's telepathic circuits gives K9's birthday cake sentience.

Location: An unnamed planetoid composed of confectionery, date unknown.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor lets Romana pilot the TARDIS to Barastabon whilst he remains on the planetoid with K9. Whilst doing so, she apparently lands on the desolate planet Kendrax by mistake, and foils a plan by the Master to conquer the universe with the Daleks and the Cybermen, using a Black Dwarf device. A Controller leads the Cybermen, a Dalek Supreme the Daleks.

The Bottom Line: 'Great Gallifrey! It's K9's birthday!' An affectionate and witty homage to the World Distributors Doctor Who Annuals, which manages to outstrip them in quality.

Nothing at the End of the Lane (Part One: The Valiant Woman)

Nothing at the End of the Lane (Part One: The Valiant Woman)
Author(s): Daniel O'Mahony
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright
Season(s): Season 1
Average: 4 (2 votes)

Roots: There are mentions of A. A. Milne, Kingsley Amis, Cromwell and Dixon of Dock Green.

Continuity: If Barbara's hallucinations are to be believed, she votes Conservative. Her classroom at Coal Hill was numbered C4, Ian's C3. Her dissertation was about the fall of the Aztecs and was published (The Aztecs). The pupils call her Rosa Clebb (From Russia With Love).

Ian's politics are Liberal ("wrong but romantic").

Assemblies at Coal Hill are held by "Holy Tony". The deputy headmaster is called Mr. Kint ("a thin but robust Irishman").

Location: The TARDIS

The Bottom Line: Impressively bleak effort from O'Mahony, who provides some fascinating insight into Barbara's character.

Countdown to TV Action

Countdown to TV Action
Author(s): Gary Russell
Doctor(s): Third Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Roots: This story is set in the continuity of the T.V. Action + Countdown Dr Who comic strips, and is set between Zeron Invasion (from issues 94 to 100) and The Deadly Choice (from issues 101 to 103). Haylock-on-Sea is presumably named after Dr Who comic strip artist Gerry Haylock.

Dialogue Disasters: 'I'm Dr Who and I'm a scientist.'

'Great Venusian vegetables!'

Continuity: The Doctor is referred to as Dr Who throughout; Bessie is referred to as Betsy. The Doctor owns a cottage in the countryside (see Verdigris) and has a friend named Miss Brown, a newspaper reporter he met shortly after his exile (Spearhead from Space). He mentions recent encounters with Vogans, Uggrakks, and Daleks [from the comic strips The Vogan Slaves, The Uggrakks, and The Planet of the Daleks, respectively]. He has passed driving tests on "a hundred" planets. The Doctor has appeared on BBC3 shows several times when they have required an expert on outer space, and has frequently clashed with arrogant scientist Jeremiah Scratch on such shows.

The Doctor has met the Klepton Parasites before [in the First Doctor comic strips The Klepton Parasites and Prisoners of the Kleptons]. They are from a planet in the constellation of Badia and can control all plant-life. They can apparently take on the form of a moss, and are susceptible to weed killer [and are probably plant creatures themselves]. The Klepton who leads the invasion in Haylock claims that they have a large "Kingdom", to which they want to add Earth. They are technologically advanced, and can apparently use television signals to carry a toxic gas.

A GuzzleFruit is a Venusian fruit about the size of a large pumpkin.

Following the events in Haylock, Scratch extracts from the BBC a promise to set up a further, educational, channel, BBC4.

Location: The Doctor's country cottage and Haylock-on-Sea, July [1972].

The Bottom Line: Fanwank for comic strip enthusiasts, Countdown to TV Action is far less fun that it ought to be because Russell takes his subject matter too seriously. Nice idea though.

The Queen of Eros

The Queen of Eros
Author(s): Trevor Baxendale
Doctor(s): Eighth Doctor
Companion(s): Samantha Jones
Season(s): EDAs part 1 (Vampire Science to Seeing I)
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Roots: Sam mentions Flash Gordon. The Times crossword puzzle is mentioned.

Continuity: The Doctor and Sam have been on Eros for thirteen days prior to the start of this story. The Doctor gets occasional visions of the future (see The TV Movie), "all part and parcel of being a Time Lord". He once rode with a Queen at Balmoral castle and once faced a hungry lioness in Africa. The Doctor becomes the reluctant object of Asheya's affections, but she eventual realises that he will not stay with her willingly and allows him to leave.

The Queen of Eros rules the entire planet absolutely. According to Erosan law, until the crowned ruler of Eros consummates a royal marriage, not Erosan of normal stock can bear children. Erosia is the capital city. Auboras, the bringer of life and love, is the most venerated god in the Erosan Pantheon. Aubora trees are named after him. Kelmaks are large Erosan reptiles used as horses are on Earth. Skavars are vicious flesh-eating scavengers that roam the steppes of the city of Erosia. Grilons are another type of Erosan animal, regarded for their bravery.

Location: Eros, date unknown.

The Bottom Line: 'I gave my word to Asheya that I would marry her if I survived the duel.' Interesting idea, but the execution's a bit dull. Still, it's a worthy attempt by Baxendale to move away from horror.

The Android Maker of Calderon IV

The Android Maker of Calderon IV
Author(s): Miche Doherty
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Sarah Jane Smith
Season(s): Season 13
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Roots: Sarah Jane is reading a first edition copy of Tristram Shandy.

Continuity: The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane visited Calderon IV five years previously, and within one and a half hours, defeated an attempted takeover by the android maker, who was believed to have died. The Doctor left a signal device with the planet's rulers so that they could contact him in case they needed his help again (see Terror of the Zygons, The Shadow in the Glass and Real Time). The android maker builds a perfect simulacrum of the Third Doctor, which he intends to have murder and impersonate the Doctor so that it can gain an audience with the Praesidium and then kill them by detonating an explosive built into its head. The android turns out to be useless due to the Doctor's regeneration.

The Doctor has built a new improved sonic screwdriver.

Location: Calderon IV, date unknown.

The Bottom Line: 'Bugger' A near perfect use of the short story format with a highly amusing twist.

Revenants

Revenants
Author(s): Peter Anghelides
Doctor(s): Future Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
Average: 1 (1 vote)

Roots: The story opens with a quotation from Ecclesiastes 3:15. There are references to Barbara Cartland, Immanuel Kant, and Ferdinand Lindemann.

Continuity: The Doctor wears a mustard yellow waistcoat over a crumpled white dress shirt, open toed sandals and socks, bracelets, and an Afghan coat, and has curly red hair [He is presumably the same incarnation seen in Good Companions (More Short Trips)] He is rather short. He is prone to dark moods when the subject of the future is brought up, during which he talks gloomily of his next regeneration and then sits and broods. He has met Tasdevin, "the most experienced temporal-quantum-research scientist this side of Habarnia Bogrognoga" before, and considers him a friend. The Doctor is sent to the Schrödinger Institute by the Time Lords, who are concerned by the effects of Tasdevin's experiments [presumably the destruction of Gallifrey is undone before the Doctor regenerates into his current form, or the time line in which this story at least occurs no longer occurs - see The Ancestor Cell]. He has visited the Gates of Martontigan in the Platrion Galaxy, which he tells Guin makes Stonehenge resemble a child's construction kit. He notes that he was good at magic tricks in a previous life (a reference to the seventh Doctor, perhaps?). The Doctor had to re-sit three of his final exams in Temporal Theory (see The Ribos Operation, Tears of the Oracle).

Guin's full name is Professor Guinevere Winchester. She has a daughter. She had a husband called Lance, with whom she broke up under unpleasant circumstances - she cut the toes of his socks off during this period. The two of them used to go to the RSC, and she would get annoyed with his habit of parroting the actors' dialogue. She hates repeats and wouldn't even let Lance keep his Shakespeare videos in their sitting room. Her parents once took her to visit Stonehenge.

Tasdevin's huge temporal accelerator is the size of Oxford and occupies most of the Schrödinger Institute. It works by throwing instantons into a quantised orbit around the central laboratory complex. By the twenty-sixth century, Galextricity Corp provides power for large portions of human-occupied space. The Brilliant Corporation was a similar company, but went out of business sometime earlier.

Location: The Schrödinger Institute, deep space, 26th century.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor met a wise woman in his fourth incarnation, who told him to beware of heights, advice he notes that he should have heeded.

The Bottom Line: 'Distinctively the Doctor' Or not. An exercise in technobabble that again showcases Anghelides' future Doctor, whom I still can't stand.

Please Shut The Gate

Please Shut The Gate
Author(s): Stephen Lock
Doctor(s): Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie McCrimmon, Zoe Heriot
Season(s): Season 6
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Continuity: The Doctor is unwittingly responsible for the destruction of the Mars Polar Lander, which is impaled on the TARDIS as it lands on Mars.

Location: Mars, December 1999.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor visited Mars with Ben and Polly whilst trying to take them to see the Coronation of Queen Victoria, between The Smugglers and The Tenth Planet. He decided to show them the Martian dawn since they were there, but the TARDIS's lateral drift compensators started working whilst they were toasting marshmallows and it nearly took of without them, forcing them to leave in a hurry and abandon their picnic. The Doctor tried to return to clear up his belongings, but the TARDIS materialized at the wrong South Pole (The Tenth Planet).

The Bottom Line: Rather daft, but entertaining enough and too short to outstay its welcome.

Turnabout is Fair Play

Turnabout is Fair Play
Author(s): Graeme Burk
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri Brown
Season(s): Season 22
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Roots: There are references to David Bowie, Tattoo from Fantasy Island, Magnum P.I., and Billy Joel.

Dialogue Triumphs: Attempting to pass for the Doctor, Peri improvises and comes up with, 'Now, if you plebeians will kindly desist in your circumlocution and let me pass, I have urgent business to attend to.'

The Javaman on the Doctor: 'There are only two people in the known universe who dress that tastelessly.'

'You've been talking complete cobblers, haven't you?'

Continuity: The Javaman is three feet tall, but apparently human. He claims to be responsible for an insurrection on Wermir Colony A and is wanted by the Space Security Service. Mavic Chen personally signed his death warrant (The Daleks' Master Plan). He won the Dastari Prize two years running (The Two Doctors).

According to the Javaman, the legends of the Doctor claim that he is a witty adversary. The Doctor's pockets contain a paper clip, a cigarette lighter, a copy of Burmese Days by George Orwell, and a firecracker. He congratulates Peri on dealing with the Javaman, but notes that he is hardly in Davros' league (Revelation of the Daleks).

Peri has seen Freaky Friday. She only knows how to operate two controls on the TARDIS console - the door and the scanner.

The TARDIS has a TV room. The theta emissions generated by the Javaman's Dorganator create a feedback loop in the TARDIS's telepathic circuits, which causes Peri and the Doctor to swap bodies (the Doctor tells Peri not to worry about how they swapped back, adding that corporelectroscopy is best left to the Time Lords (see Trial of a Time Lord Episodes 5 to 8, and Paradise Towers).

Future History: Professor Dorgan is an Earth scientist noted for his research into the refraction and transmission of theta waves. Given his alleged friendship with the Javaman, he is probably a criminal.

The Bottom Line: The hoary old cliché of body swapping is used to great effect, giving Peri a much meatier role than she ever got on television. The Javaman is wonderfully silly.

Special Occasions 2: Do You Love Anyone Enough?

Special Occasions 2: Do You Love Anyone Enough?
Author(s): Norman Ashby
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana II
Season(s): Season 17
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Roots: Rolo adverts.

Continuity: The Doctor and Romana watch the heat death of the universe, whilst the Doctor gives Romana the last Rolo in existence [Romana's incarnation is not specified, but the closeness between the two suggest that it is the second. Given that they are able to watch the destruction of the universe, they are presumably outside it - this would place it in the gap between The Well-Mannered War and The Leisure Hive].

Location: The edge of the Universe, apparently, possibly, maybe!

The Bottom Line: 'You old romantic.' Passable interlude, but too short to really comment on.

Nothing at the End of the Lane (Part Two: The Watcher on the Walls)

Nothing at the End of the Lane (Part Two: The Watcher on the Walls)
Author(s): Daniel O'Mahony
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright
Season(s): Season 1
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Roots: There are mentions of Machiavelli, The Avengers, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Dr. Strangelove and The Wizard of Oz.

Continuity: Certain school governors opposed Barbara's appointment. She once met Peter Sellers. She spent some time in Australia, although it was more of a rest than a holiday. She was married, but is now divorced. As a child during the war, she was burnt by V1 wreckage and evacuated from London.

Ian doesn't like Korean food. He has often had to confiscate copies of Lolita from pupils. The headmaster of Coal Hill School is called Harvey [and is probably the second new headmaster within only a few months - see Time and Relative and Remembrance of the Daleks] and was Ian's teacher. Coal Hill also had a teacher called Miss McGovern who taught history and chemistry and now works for a scientific consultancy doing research for Labour [Lola McGovern was one of the companions originally outlined in the early plans for Doctor Who, before being replaced by Barbara - see Campaign].

Location: The TARDIS

The Bottom Line: More admirable exploration of Barbara's character, this time focusing on her relationship to Ian. Impressive.

Dr Who and the House on Oldark Moor

Dr Who and the House on Oldark Moor
Author(s): Justin Richards
Doctor(s): Unbound Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): None
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Roots: Count Tarkin is presumably named after Grand Moff Tarkin, Peter Cushing's character in Star Wars. Tarkin's creation of a man in his own image and eventually a woman in his wife's image is a clear nod to Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein.

Continuity: Tardis's materialization at the end of Dr Who and the Daleks is revealed to have been in Rome, 64BC - Ian was forced to become a Gladiator during this adventure. Tardis is described as a "precision instrument" and requires accurate data to be programmed into its directionometers in order for it to steer properly.

Location: Oldark House on Oldark Moor, date unknown [the early twentieth century].

The Bottom Line: Despite my personal opinion that the two Dalek movies are gaudy, tacky wastes of celluloid, Peter Cushing's performance as Dr Who is the best thing about them, and it's nice to see him included in the anthology. Sadly, the plot is a third rate Hammer rip-off, although Richards' grasp of both Dr Who and his companions is spot on.

Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon
Author(s): Christopher M. Wadley
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Season 23b
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Continuity: Whilst on a journey into his personal future, the Sixth Doctor, traveling alone [prior to meeting Mel in Business Unusual] discovers that his current incarnation is nearing its end. Deciding to live life to the fullest whilst he has the chance, he travels to a planet before the dawn of life in the Milky Way and carves ("THE DOCTOR WAS HERE") on a rock. He also plays guitar with the Beatles in Hamburg in the 1960s using his own guitar, witnesses the birth of Ludwig Van Beethoven in Bonn 1770, and to visit an old mentor before his death. Whilst in Hamburg he dresses in a black costume [a nod to Colin Baker's own costume suggestion for the Doctor on taking the role]. He again demonstrates his powers of hypnosis. The old mentor that the Doctor visits prior to his death introduced him to freedom of expression, and to art and music (probably K'anpo - see Planet of the Spiders].

Location: The TARDIS; an unnamed planet prior to the development of life in the Milky Way; Hamburg, the 1960s; Bonn 1770; and an unknown location.

The Bottom Line: Tedious and self-indulgent. The image of a black-clad Colin Baker playing guitar with the Beatles is strangely disconcerting.

Reunion

Reunion
Author(s): Jason Loborik
Doctor(s): Second Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Season 6b
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Roots: The Evening Standard and the Beatles' Hey Jude are mentioned.

Dialogue Disasters: 'Perhaps I should apologise, scum.'

Continuity: The Second Doctor is traveling alone, placing this story in between The War Games and The Two Doctors. It may be approximately thirty years in his personal time line since he last used his electricity detector (The Web of Fear).

The alien's race is unnamed. He is reptilian, with pincer like claws. His mother ship disintegrated near Earth and he escaped in a smaller craft, the emergency fail-safes of which cut in and caused his ship to spiral back in time eight hundred years. He took over the body of a human baby in order to survive. He was subsequently divided amongst the baby's descendants over successive generations, until his spaceship is regenerated back in his own time, when he gathers the descendants together to reform himself. It is implied that he converted his entire body into mental force when he possessed the baby. His ship has an auto-repair cycle and an auto-destruct sequence - the Doctor notes that if it explodes, it will take "half of London" with it.

Location: London, late twentieth century.

The Bottom Line: Dull. The alien's situation is vaguely reminiscent of Scaroth's in City of Death, but far less interesting.

Planet of the Bunnoids

Planet of the Bunnoids
Author(s): Harriet Green
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Vicki Pallister, Steven Taylor
Season(s): Season 3
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Continuity: Vicki is reading The Big Girl's Book of Bedtime Tales, which she doesn't realize is a storybook.

The Lapino exploits the Doctor's guilt over abandoning Susan and disrupting the lives of Ian and Barbara.

The Lapinos are telepathic and exist purely as mental force, having neglected their physical forms. They feed on emotions. They use robot "Bunnoids" as servants. If a Lapino is lost with his ship, the Lapinos send a wave of mental force to destroy the ship, to prevent their technology falling into alien hands - this mental force is sufficient to wipe out all life on a planet.

Location: An unnamed planet, date unknown.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor once "accidentally" trod on the God-Idol of the Small Vantinis of Dolphus III, thus rendering their entire civilization meaningless. He also incited the Bugmen of Tripsis to war against their neighbours so that he could find his lost pen.

The Bottom Line: 'What a silly idea.' Another rather daft entry in the anthology, but quite a fun one. The TARDIS crew is captured perfectly, fondly recalling Hartnell's knack for comedy.

Monsters

Monsters
Author(s): Tara Samms
Doctor(s): Seventh Doctor
Companion(s): Ace
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: There are references to Lucozade, Barbie, and Flake and Galaxy bars.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'The monsters. They used to know their place. In the shadows, in the crypts, roaming the moors. But they've grown wiser. Bolder. They've figured out that the first place people come looking for monsters is in those dark, empty places, and they don't want to be found. They don't want to be stopped. So they've come to join us. Come out into out cosy, well-lit world. They like it here.'

Continuity: The Doctor likes cheese-and-onion pasties.

The alien's race is unnamed. The Doctor knows of it - it is a killer and a criminal. On the run from its people, it adopted the form of an old sweetshop owner and used his shop to trap and kill children to make a flesh cocoon in which it can renew itself and grow strong. When its people locate it, they destroy the shop and the creature from orbit with an energy weapon. The Doctor tells Ace that they mustn't witness this punishment, suggesting that the aliens are unwilling to leave witnesses alive.

Location: London, 2000.

The Bottom Line: 'I'm just trying to make a crust.' Superb slice of horror from Cole's Samms persona, which makes good use of the Seventh Doctor and Ace.

Special Occasions: 3. Better Watch Out, Better Take Care

Special Occasions: 3. Better Watch Out, Better Take Care
Author(s): Steve Burford
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana II
Season(s): Season 17
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Roots: There's an allusion to a quote from Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest: "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."

Continuity: The Doctor has met Prince Albert. Romana has been reading the Doctor's diaries, following his suggestion that she read something sensational whilst on long journeys. The Doctor dresses up as Father Christmas in order to sneak into the Brigadier's house and leave him a Christmas card and present.

Location: The Brigadier's country house [the 1990s].

The Bottom Line: 'Merry Christmas, Brigadier.' The Special Occasions instalments are starting to get a bit trite by this point.

Face Value

Face Value
Author(s): Steve Lyons
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
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Continuity: Zog is an Aldeberian. Unknown to his companions, he is nowhere near as harmless as he seems and is planning universal domination.

On believing the Doctor to be dead, Crystal dreams about him changing into an ageing white-haired dandy, and a tall imposing man in a light suit and a Greenpeace T-Shirt [a nod to the performances as the Doctor during the run of The Ultimate Adventure by Jon Pertwee and David Banks, respectively]. It is implied that she and Jason are sleeping together [which would make them the first proper companion couple in the TARDIS - at least as far as we know.].

The Chameleons left Earth following the events of The Faceless Ones, but passed Krennos shortly afterwards and decided to start kidnapping and impersonating its humanoid visitors. After taking their place, the transformed Chameleons return to their victims' homes for a while to avert suspicion from Krennos and then return to the Chameleon's homeworld. The Chameleons don't just absorb the appearances of their victims, they also absorb their personalities (but not their memories); hence, the Chameleon who had taken on the form of Captain Blade in The Faceless Ones has taken the place of Leisureworld's Manager, and instead of being the calculating ruthless figure that he was before, he is now an abject coward. He overcomes this however and sacrifices his life to becalm Krennos by trying to absorb it, thus saving his people. The Doctor extracts a promise from the builders of Leisureworld to help the Chameleons with their plight, on pain of being reported to the Time Lords for exploiting Krennos [presumably, for this threat to work, these people must know of the Time Lords - perhaps they are Dastari's people?].

The planet Krennos is a living entity. The builders of Leisureworld built it to sap the vitality from their customers and feed it to the planet to keep it dormant whilst they studied it. The Doctor is able to communicate telepathically with it, although with limited effect. He persuades its occupants to depart following the exposure of the Chameleons. The planet has two moons.

Location: Leisureworld, on Krennos, date unknown [some time after 1966 - see The Faceless Ones].

The Bottom Line: 'Well, that's nice too, of course.' Great fun, and a highlight of the anthology. The only problem is that the ending demands a sequel that we'll probably never see.

Storm in a Tikka

Storm in a Tikka
Author(s): Mike Tucker and Robert Perry
Doctor(s): Seventh Doctor
Companion(s): Ace
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: As with The Dimensions in Time, this story is set in Walford, a fictional region of London which is the setting for EastEnders. The woman who enters the takeaway and runs out yelling "Beppe" is probably meant to be Rosa de Marco, a character from, EastEnders played by one-time Doctor Who companion Louise Jameson. Kali's opponent is reminiscent of Apu from The Simpsons.

Continuity: The Doctor and Ace are accompanied by K9, who is present in Dimensions in Time and destroyed in Search Out Space [A new K9 (Mark IV), which the Doctor builds between The Greatest Show in the Galaxy and Battlefield - this is the most convenient gap, given that the gap between Survival and Timewyrm: Genesys is becoming increasingly crowded].

The Doctor recognizes Kali's opponent and knows of their conflict, but hasn't apparently met him in person before. They are both alien life-forms, with considerable powers, who the Doctor describes as beings of great power trapped in a cycle of ritual - periodically, the two fight and if Kali wins the planet they chose as their battleground is hers to destroy. They must carry on fighting throughout eternity until one of them is [permanently] defeated [presumably, they have visited Earth before, since Kali is a Hindu God - the implication is that they inspired the Hindu Gods of legend in much the same way that Azal inspired legends of the Devil (The Daemons) and the Osirians inspired the legends of the Egyptian Gods (Pyramids of Mars)]. They both originate from another dimension and technically can't exist in our dimension - they require artificial means to remain here. The planet on which Kali awaits the next combat has a temple to her on the altar of which a victim from the destination chosen for the battle is sacrificed by her followers. The altar contains DNA scanners, which uses the victim's blood to provide accurate targeting coordinates for her matter transmitter.

The Doctor's pocket watch can detect energy signatures.

The TARDIS's food machine once more dispenses bars alone [the improvements that the Doctor made prior to A Town Called Eternity have broken down, or he has had to replace the entire food machine].

Location: Walford, London; and an unnamed alien planet, 1993.

The Bottom Line: A means of linking two obscure bits of apocrypha that is far too staid and thus ultimately pointless.

Nothing at the End of the Lane (Part Three: The Only Living Thing)

Nothing at the End of the Lane (Part Three: The Only Living Thing)
Author(s): Daniel O'Mahony
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright
Season(s): Season 1
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Roots: The Beatles are mentioned.

Continuity: An explanation for what is going on is offered - the TARDIS landed on a planet with three suns, where a gelatinous creature that attached itself to her face and tried to drain knowledge from her mind attacked Barbara. She spent three weeks recovering from the attack, during which time she had terrible dreams [i.e. the events of this story. An alternative, but less canonical interpretation, is that all of Barbara's travels with the Doctor, including her attack by the creature, are schizophrenic hallucinations.]. The creature managed to sneak aboard the TARDIS however and cause damage, resulting in the ringing of the cloister bell (Logopolis) [the resolution of these events is left untold. The story presumably takes place between The Reign of Terror and Planet of Giants, along with The Masters of Luxor and Campaign].

The Doctor tells Barbara that some authority has ruled foresight impossible and established boundaries that even the TARDIS cannot pass. He suggests that this authority might be "a guardian" (The Ribos Operation).

Barbara introduced the Doctor to Earl Grey tea.

Susan is only eight years younger than Barbara (assuming that she is actually sixteen of course. Either way, this makes Barbara 24).

Location: The TARDIS.

The Bottom Line: A bleak ending, albeit one with a hint of an explanation. Great stuff.

A Town Called Eternity (Part Two)

A Town Called Eternity (Part Two)
Author(s): Lance Parkin and Mark Clapham
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri Brown
Season(s): Season 21
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Continuity: The Master has seen Jurassic Park. Following his fate at the end of Planet of Fire, he is afraid of fire. He uses the Fountain of Youth to restore his Trakenite body, curing the severe burns he sustained on Sarn. He can hypnotize a large group of people, but this is unreliable, as he can't predict how individuals in the group will react - in the case of the populace of Eternity, the result is mass hysteria and blood lust. He can also hypnotize dinosaurs, although hypnotizing non-thinking entities involves humming soothingly whilst maintaining an authoritative manner, which he finds to be a very dull process. The Fountain's regenerative properties are presumably responsible for him surviving being shot in the chest, since he gets up without much difficulty afterwards [presumably, after freeing himself from the lasso attaching him to a Velociraptor he decides to simply cut his losses and leave, rather than finishing off Peri's ancestors].

The Doctor uses his respiratory bypass system to survive hanging. On Gallifrey, hangings are a risky hobby for seedy cardinals with regenerations to spare. Reluctantly, he shoots the Master in the chest.

The Master kills Dana Brown, so she cannot be Peri's great-great-great grandmother either. Peri's Dad never let her near guns. She has seen Night of the Living Dead.

The waters of the Fountain of Youth can recreate dinosaurs from fossils. They also resuscitate a Velociraptor shrunken by the Master's TCE, but do not restore it to its normal size. The Doctor hypothesizes that a recent seismic disturbance brought the Fountain to the surface, bringing the waters into contact with the fossils and recreating the dinosaurs that started to plague Eternity. The waters of the fountain are a temporal freak, and are a liquid that can reverse the effects of time. The effects are unstable - several of the dinosaurs die, consumed by the paradox of their own existence, whilst other mutate, revert and flux into another continuum. The Doctor blows up the cave containing the Fountain of Youth to bury it safely out of harm's way.

Location: Eternity, California, 1880s.

The Bottom Line: A satisfying conclusion to a thoroughly enjoyable story. Parkin and Clapham make a great team, as they also demonstrated with Beige Planet Mars.

Special Occasions 4: Playing with Toys

Special Occasions 4: Playing with Toys
Author(s): David Agnew
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana II
Season(s): Season 17
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Continuity: The Doctor adapted the safe in which he kept the segments of the Key to Time into a fridge. The TARDIS contains a Louis Quinze chaise longue, and a toybox including a suspiciously new doll of a Chinese Mandarin [the ending is left unresolved. Given the probable location outside of time and space and given the toys, the Doctor and Romana's transformation into toys may be the work of the Toymaker. (The Celestial Toymaker, Divided Loyalties, The Nightmare Fair)].

Location: The TARDIS [outside time and space].

The Bottom Line: 'We had fun.' An enigmatic ending that rounds off the anthology nicely.

Vrs

Vrs
Author(s): Lwrnc Mls
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): None
Season(s): None
Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Continuity: Th Cybrmn rls cmptr vrs tht dstrys vwls.

Location: Erth, 2000.

The Bottom Line: Xcllnt.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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