The Beautiful People

Roots: You Are What You Eat. The Prisoner (statues concealing hidden cameras). Soylent Green. Dodgeball (an evil, once-fat health fanatic). Chapter Four is called "Live and Let Diet".

Goofs: Romana recalls stopping her hearts on Skaro, which contradicts The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe (Short Trips: Companions).

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor tells Karna, "I hope you don't mind me saying, but you are a very orange lady."

Karna gets her own back, remarking of K9, "How deliciously whimsical of you! The cold winter evenings must simply fly by..."

"For some reason the Doctor was incapable of naturalistically walking through doors".

"Nothing signifies guilt more clearly than locking something in a room with a homicidal seaweed wrap".

Continuity: Vita Novas Health Spa is so exclusive that patrons need to own "half a planet" to be able to afford to attend. Robots ("burndroids") train the visitors and also police snacks. Dame Karna owns and runs the Health Spa. Karna's cellular reduction technology breaks down cellular matter, including cellulite, fat, and infected or damaged tissue: contaminated tissue is disposed off, everything else is used to make beauty products. In the process, Karna's patients are brainwashed, so that they will persuade other people to visit Vita Novas, and so that she has influential friends in high places. She plans to make the entire population of the universe thin, and kill anyone who refuses to lose weight. After she "slims herself out of existence", the Doctor reprograms the burndroids to obey Isabella Bing, who decides to turn Vita Novas into a place that people can genuinely enjoy.

The Doctor likes doughnuts and has been trying to teach K9 to make them: K9 keeps using the wrong kind of jam. The Doctor hates celery. He and Romana pose as researchers for a holiday magazine when they meet Dame Karna. The Doctor and K9 buy a towel for Romana from the Vita Novas Health Spa.

Romana is forcibly dressed in an Edwardian bathing costume. She can swim.

The TARDIS food machine is capable of producing doughnuts.

Aliens present on Vita Novas include Lanuellans, Lurhmans (Carnival of Monsters), and Pakhars (Legacy).

Links: The Doctor mentions the Mandrels and CET machine (Nightmare of Eden). Romana mentions her new sonic screwdriver (The Horns of Nimon). Karna mentions Tythonians (The Creature from the Pit). Romana recalls stopping her hearts on Skaro (Destiny of the Daleks).

Location: Vita Novas, the 32nd Century.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor claims to have won the Arcturan Outer Cluster in a game of inter-dimensional Buckaroo.

The Bottom Line: "You're turning them all into health bores!" Marcia Ashton gets all the best lines. As in Festival of Death, Morris captures the best aspects of Season Seventeen flawlessly, with an eccentric villain, a hilarious script, and perfect characterisation of the regulars. Lalla Ward narrates brilliantly.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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