Roots: Stephen Gallagher's foreword refers to The Secret Seven, The Famous Five, Billy Bunter, Henry Hall, Robert Louis Stevenson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star Trek. There are references to Alice in Wonderland (Cheshire Cat), ET, First Contact, Jules Verne, Frankenstein, and Woolworths. The hymns Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and Eternal Father, Strong to Save are sung by the congregation.
Goofs: TARDIS is said to stand for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, rather than Dimension. [Is this really a goof anymore? - ed]
Continuity: The Doctor is travelling alone, placing this either between The TV Movie and The Eight Doctors [you mean between The Eight Doctors and Vampire Science? - ed], in the same gap as Shada (8th Doctor), or immediately prior to Storm Warning. He dresses in loose cotton shirt and trousers, with a floppy white sun-hat. He later changes into a white shirt and jeans. He carries a bag of jelly babies in his pocket. He drinks ginger beer, Assam tea, and red wine (Syrah). He orders Barbary duck. His eyes appear both green-grey and blue, to Ruth's confusion. He rents a cottage whilst staying at the village. He pilots a lifeboat with ease.
The means of travel used by Ruth's people caused a blip in the space-time continuum that the TARDIS detected. There is an ornate Baroque chair in the console room, in addition to a more comfortable armchair.
Ruth's people are highly technologically advanced and have abandoned space travel in favour of a system of spatial gateways. They are a peaceful race and use their travel abilities for tourism alone; they forbid themselves to betray their origins whilst on other worlds, or to influence the worlds in question. For this reason, they are forbidden from taking any technology with them except what they need for life support and communication. Water is lethal to them. The rate of physical decay they undergo after death is very rapid. In order to survive and blend in on other worlds, they undergo temporary genetic adjustments to enable them to cope with alien environments more easily; they gradually revert to their true state due to natural cell renewal. In their natural state, they have seven fingers on each hand.
Location: A village on the Cornish coast, c2003.
The Bottom Line: A charming outing for the Eight Doctor, which remains engaging throughout despite the lack of a villain. Cooper's knowledge of Cornish fishing communities and the lifeguard makes for a rich backdrop to the story.