Thursday, 15 January 2015
TARDIS Travels No.7
When we last saw the TARDIS it was on the Time Lord homeworld. The Doctor had been put on trial, and was found guilty of interference in the affairs of other planets. Part of his sentence was to have a new face - and he got to pick which one he would like. Judging by the number of times the same actor will be called upon to play Time Lords more than once, this might suggest a limited pool to pick from. Or they are the same Time Lord... Goth at the Doctor's trial maybe?
Who knows? Moving on.
Journey 070: Gallifrey, date unknown, to Oxley Woods in Essex, England, 1970.
The TARDIS materialises in said forest, and the Doctor staggers to the door, falls out, and lies comatose. How did he get here?
At the trial, he was standing in the court room one minute, then appeared to be transported off somewhere else - seen on the view screen (no longer in the room itself) vanishing into a black void with his features disappearing.
If you are an advocate of "Season 6b" - as I am - then he didn't become the Third Doctor immediately, but was hijacked off somewhere else and forced to work for a clandestine group of interventionist Time Lords for an unknown period of time.
Given back the TARDIS, which he was now capable of controlling, he was able to have Jamie rejoin him, as well as Victoria. He dropped her off (to study Graphology) to go on a mission to meet the Third Zone scientist Dastari and try to prevent the Kartz-Reimer time travel experiments; and also to attend the Brigadier's UNIT reunion in The Five Doctors and get abducted by the Time Scoop.
(For more on this, see my earlier post - most unimaginatively titled "6b or not 6b...").
However, for non-advocates of "6b", and to return to this series' originally stated intention of looking at journeys as seen on screen, the Doctor is transported directly from his trial to the TARDIS, which is sent by the Time Lords to late 20th Century Earth - exile there being the second part of his sentence.
Discovered by UNIT troops, the Brigadier has the TARDIS transported to UNIT HQ in London.
The Doctor keeps the ship's key in one of his boots (at this point there only ever seems to be the one key in use). Reviving from his self-induced coma, the Doctor pursues the TARDIS - using a locator device built into a wrist-watch (see The Chase before this, and then Full Circle onwards for bulkier versions).
The Brigadier seems to have a premonition as, instead of locking the ship away in some vault, he has it placed in the laboratory...
The Doctor tricks Liz Shaw into stealing the key from the Brigadier, and he attempts to flee. However , he can't do it.
The exile seems to comprise two aspects. The ship, physically, can't dematerialise - there's all sorts of whizz-bang noises and smoke pours out - plus the Doctor has had his memory tampered with, regarding the codes and equations needed to travel.
Until the exile is lifted, he's going nowhere. Or is he?
The Silurians is the first story, which features the Doctor, where the TARDIS does not appear at all. Not so much as a mention.
Now we get to the removable TARDIS control console...
For two stories in Season Seven (and one in Season Nine), the console is outside the police box shell of the TARDIS. It isn't in the control room.
This automatically raises two questions: How (bearing in mind the size of the doors), and why?
There is the suggestion that the console is the TARDIS, and all the rest is just the container it is housed in. It is safer and more convenient to have the shell. It provides a habitat, but the console houses all the key systems.
Of course, this contradicts what we have already seen - such as having the separate power room in The Mind Robber.
There are a couple of ways in which the console could come to be divorced from the rest of the ship.
We know that it is not totally defunct. There is power and it can still cause people to move through time, and to travel distances. The Doctor may have simply materialised it outside the ship. As we will shortly see, he can still do short hops.
Alternatively, the Doctor has dismantled it and rebuilt it in the lab.
A third possibility is that it isn't the console from the ship at all. That is still in situ, and the Doctor is building a new one to get round the Time Lord exile. Yes, a bit improbable.
The main query is why? Why take it out of the TARDIS in the first place? If he is conducting repairs, surely there is more space in the control room - and the ship must be much better equipped.
Sadly, the real answer lies not within the narrative of the series at all - which is why it will never really make any sense. With the TARDIS not going anywhere any time soon, there is no need to use up valuable studio space with the control room set. Simple as that.
In Ambassadors of Death, the console features (in episode one) only to remind us that the Doctor is exiled, and is trying to get round this, and to provide a bit of a joke scene with the Doctor and Liz appearing and disappearing.
Before moving on, we should mention that this is obviously not the same lab that we saw in Spearhead From Space. One of the biggest mysteries of the UNIT era is not so much the dating of the stories as just how many UNIT HQs were there?
Journey 071: Inferno Project, 1970 (our universe), to Inferno Project (parallel universe).
How did he end up with his legs up in the air? Just goes to show what I was saying about having a shell round the console making for a more comfortable journey.
The console is still outside the police box shell, and it has been transported to the Inferno drilling project. The Doctor's experiments, using power from the project's nuclear reactor, cause the console to travel to a parallel universe. Interestingly, it takes Bessie with it, but no other items from the Doctor's hut. Only things not already present (in an alternate form) make the journey. There are no alternative Doctor, Bessie or console in this other universe. I assume that if Liz had been with the Doctor when he dematerialised, she would not have been transported - using the reverse logic of why the Doctor can't take the alternate characters back to our universe with him later. The Doctor couldn't have, even if he tried. The TARDIS can sort out these potential paradoxes on its own.
Journey 072: Parallel Inferno Project to parallel Inferno Project.
A short trip a few seconds into the future, to demonstrate the console for the benefit of the Brigade-Leader and Section-Leader Shaw et al. The console stores some power - just enough for this short trip. This sort of contradicts the whole "console doesn't need the rest of the TARDIS" bit. It obviously has to be connected to an external power source to operate properly.
Journey 073: Inferno Project (parallel universe) to Inferno Project (our universe).
Using the project's nuclear reactor, the Doctor (and Bessie) are returned to their proper universe. Again, the journey is not comfortable in any way. Indeed, it renders the Doctor unconscious for a time. However, this might all be to do with the movement through to the parallel universe - as we will see next. It is interesting, however, to note that in The Doctor's Wife the makeshift TARDIS has at least a couple of walls. Did the Doctor insist on them just for aesthetic reasons? You'd think that if you were in a desperate rush to save your companions, and the console worked fine on its own, you would not waste time with any purely architectural items.
Journey 074: Inferno Project (hut) to Inferno Project (rubbish tip).
Yes, a petulant Doctor goes off in the huff, thinking for some reason that he can now travel anywhere again. The ship only gets as far as the nearby refuse tip, and so he has to come grovelling back to ask the Brigadier if he can lend a hand getting it out of there. Well Liz certainly found it funny.
And so Season Seven closes. Quite a bit of TARDIS related activity, considering the Doctor is now exiled to Earth. He'll stay that way for Season Eight - but the Time Lords will shortly start coming a calling...