Monday 29 June 2015

Story 132 - Frontios

In which the TARDIS is drawn towards the planet of Frontios, in the far distant future. The Doctor is concerned as the ship has exceeded its temporal limits, something which the Time Lords would disapprove of. A powerful gravitational force is at work, and the ship materialises in the midst of a meteorite bombardment. They have landed next to a massive spaceship wreck. Frontios is home to a colony from Earth. They crashed here some years ago and their society is failing. In command is the inexperienced young Plantagenet, guided by his tougher deputy and security chief Brazen. As well as the frequent meteorite showers, there has been an increase in looting and other disorder. At first the newcomers are suspected of being behind the meteorites, which seem to be deliberately directed towards them. However, the Doctor's scientific skills are needed to improve conditions in the hospital. Whilst assisting Science Officer Range, Tegan learns that there have been some unusual, unexplained deaths in the colony over the years. Brazen ordered mine workings to be closed down after the previous leader - Plantagenet's father - disappeared whilst studying the caves. He had been buried under some debris, and when this was removed the body had vanished. Turlough befriends Range's daughter Norna, from whom he learns that Frontios buries its own dead. During another bombardment the TARDIS is apparently destroyed - only the hat-stand from the console room left standing where the ship had been.

Plantagenet is wounded and suffers a heart attack. Whilst in the hospital ward, he falls to the floor and is sucked down into the ground. Brazen must keep this from the colonists, otherwise there will be a complete breakdown in law and order. The Doctor decides that the caves must be investigated. The tunnels prove to be artificially sculpted in many sections - as though drilled and polished. Seeing these, Turlough begins to suffer from a repressed memory - some horror story from his childhood. There is a name to go with these memories - Tractators. The Doctor and his friends soon come upon these creatures - huge insectoid beings like giant woodlice, with armoured carapaces. They can manipulate gravity and can pull people and objects towards them as though magnetised. In control is the Gravis, which is distinguishable from its underlings as it has the power of speech. Tractators fashion tunnels beneath the surface of a planet which they infest, and these are used to harness their gravitational powers. Once complete, the planet can be piloted through space, in order to colonise other worlds. They have been bringing down the meteorites to "cull" the human population - the bodies of the dead and near dead being used to fashion and run mining equipment. Plantagenet is still alive. He is to take over from his father in operating one of the mining machines.

The Doctor rescues him but Brazen falls into the machine. He is able to sacrifice himself to destroy the device. The Doctor discovers that the TARDIS wasn't destroyed by meteorites. It has been broken up by the Tractators - the pieces scattered through the tunnels. The console room is found to be still intact. The Tractators are powerless without their leader, so the Doctor devises a scheme to separate the Gravis from the others. He informs it that he is a Time Lord, and the Gravis recognises his race - and realises that it has the opportunity to gain a TARDIS. The Doctor tricks it into reconstituting the ship. The rebuilding of the ship disables the Gravis, the psychic link to its fellows cut off, so the Doctor decides to take it and dump it on a barren planetoid - Kolkokron - where it will not be able to cause any significant damage. Without their leader, the other Tractators become simple burrowing creatures which should not pose any risk to the colonists. Plantagenet is able to reassert his authority over the colony. The Doctor gives him the TARDIS hat-stand as a parting gift, and asks that no-one mention that he was ever here. On leaving the planet, the TARDIS suddenly finds itself caught in a temporal disturbance...

This four part adventure was written by former Script Editor Christopher H Bidmead, and was broadcast between 26th January and 3rd February, 1984. It was Bidmead's last script for the series.
Bidmead was unhappy with some elements of the production - the Tractator design and the toning down of some grisly body horror. These he fixed when it came time to novelise the story. The Tractators were supposed to have more flexible bodies - dancers were employed to play them - and they were to capture their victims by curling around them. The costumes proved to be far too rigid for this - the actors able to flap their hands at the most. The mining machine was to have had body parts incorporated into it, but this was felt to be too horrific. As it is, we only see Plantagenet's father - Captain revere, sitting in the machine in a zombie-like trance. Production stills show that had the machine been filmed from the side, there would have been other captive humans locked into it. Brazen's death, when he is caught by the machine and causes it to blow up, all takes place off screen.
Bidmead was always good at planet-building, and Frontios has some interesting aspects. It is difficult to see how this colony could have survived four decades, however. There is a sub-plot involving an orderly named Cockerill, who survives being sucked under the ground, and who gathers a following because of this - but this just doesn't lead anywhere.
An apparent influence on this story is the classic Star Trek episode 'Devil In The Dark'. Even design elements like the spheres lying everywhere remind us of that.

The regular cast members get plenty to do in this story - with Mark Strickson's drooling nervous breakdown and Tegan's reaction to being passed off as a dodgy android - with a wonky walk and accent. Davison dons the half-moon "brainy" specs.
The guest cast is strong. Peter Gilmore, best known for The Onedin Line, plays Brazen. Plantagenet is Jeff Rawle, who will return to the Doctor Who universe in The Sarah Jane Adventures story Mona Lisa's Revenge. Norna is Lesley Dunlop, who will be back as one of The Happiness Patrol. Range is William Lucas - more on his casting below.
Episode endings are:
  1. Emerging from shelter following another of the meteorite bombardments, the Doctor is shocked to find the TARDIS appears to have been destroyed...
  2. The Doctor finds himself frozen by the Tractators' gravitational beams...
  3. The Doctor and Tegan are confronted by the mining machine, driven by the dead Captain Revere...
  4. In the console room, the Doctor and his companions must hang on as the ship begins to go out of control...

Overall, a very strong story, with interesting concepts and an unusual monster modus operandi. Peter Davison had already decided to move on from the role by this stage, but has said he might have done a further season had his second series of scripts been as good as this one.
Things you might like to know:
  • Tragically, William Lucas got the part of Range late in the day after the intended actor - Peter Arne - was murdered. On his way back to his flat after a costume fitting, he had invited a young man named Guiseppi Perusi home with him. Arne knew him and had often given him food. Perusi killed Arne and then himself - his body was later pulled out of the Thames. Lucas knew Arne and was shocked when he learned that it was his old acquaintance whom he would be replacing.
  • Another death which affected production was the suicide of the intended designer - Barrie Dobbins. His assistant David Buckingham was promoted to take his place.
  • As with a number of Davison stories, this ends on a cliffhanger which will lead into the following story.
  • The temporal boundary for the TARDIS is never really explained. Presumably this is a legal thing rather than anything physical. What is it about the tail end of the universe that needs protecting?
  • This story sees the final musical contributions by Paddy Kingsland of the Radiophonic Workshop.
  • Look closely in the opening scene when Revere gets dragged into the soil. You will see the fingers of one of the VFX assistants wriggling away.
  • A noticeable continuity error is when Tegan bars the doors to the hospital ward. She puts the bar through the middle of the door handles, but we then see it across the top. The door handles are clearly made of cardboard as well.
  • You have to wonder why they use a space with a soil floor for the hospital unit. Not terribly hygienic, and especially silly when you know the planet eats the dead and dying.
  • Never trust a reference book. About Time Volume 5 claims that this is the first of a run of four consecutive stories to have an actor with the name Maurice in it - there being no other story with someone of that name at any other time. Well, there ain't no Maurice in Planet of Fire. With Maurice Denham playing Azmael in The Twin Dilemma, you do get four out of five consecutive stories with a Maurice, but not the straight run as they claim.
  • The Federation helmets from Blake's 7 get reused for the Orderlies.

Friday 26 June 2015

TARDIS Travels No.28

Christopher Eccleston moves on, and David Tennant begins his residency of the TARDIS, starting with the first of the Christmas Specials.

Journey 422: The Game Station, 200,100, to Powell Estate, London, 24th December 2006.
We get to see Rose's first reactions to the new Doctor in the Children In Need mini-episode (which I will be calling Born Again, as that is what BBC Books call it). This is set entirely in the TARDIS. The planned trip to the planet Barcelona gets cancelled as the Doctor suffers post-regeneration mania, recklessly speeding the ship towards Rose's home on Christmas Eve. The TARDIS is heard by both Mickey and Jackie before it is seen to materialise in mid-air, colliding with a building before crashing to a halt by the communal bins. Still one of the most impressive bits of TARDIS action we have seen in the series.
When Mickey activates the scanner, the technology is spotted by the Sycorax who transmat the ship onto their vessel. Spilt tea, heated when it lands on some of the components, provides the boost that brings the Doctor out of his comatose state.
When the Sycorax leave, they transmat everyone down to a different location  - including the TARDIS.

Journey 423: Powell Estate - Bloxom Road to the Parade, 25th December, 2006.
At the conclusion of The Christmas Invasion, the TARDIS is clearly no longer where it was earlier transmatted to. Presumably, the Doctor moved it when he went to choose his new outfit - the clothing store being the first new area of the TARDIS seen in the new series. We know that Ursula Blake spotted him in Trafalgar Square on this night, so he may have gone there by TARDIS, before settling down to his Christmas dinner.

Journey 424: Powell Estate, December 2006, to New Earth, 5,000,000,023.
After receiving a message on his psychic paper, the Doctor takes the TARDIS to New Earth, the ship landing across the river from New New York, and within walking distance of the hospital from whence the message originated. We don't know the date on which the Doctor and Rose set off - presumably December 26th, as the new Doctor would not have wanted to hang around the Powell Estate for too long.

Journey 425: New Earth, 5,000,000,023, to Scotland, 1879.
The TARDIS was aiming for Sheffield on 21st November, 1979, but lands in the Highlands of Scotland - a day's journey from Balmoral - a century too early. Had the ship gone where it was supposed to, the Doctor and Rose still wouldn't have seen Ian Dury and the Blockheads - they did not play Sheffield on that date. Some intelligent parking by the TARDIS. It does not land anywhere near where the alien threat is, but does bring the Doctor and Queen Victoria together so that he can join her party.

Journey 426: Scotland, 1879, to Deffry Vale School, London, 2007.
After receiving a message from Mickey, the TARDIS returns to Earth so that the Doctor can investigate strange goings-on at a comprehensive school. Unseen journeys here will have seen the Doctor collecting and delivering the winning lottery ticket that allowed him to replace the Physics teacher. Sarah Jane Smith finds the TARDIS hidden in a storeroom.

Journey 427: London - Deffry Vale School to local park, 2007.
The TARDIS survives the destruction of the school, and is later seen to have been moved to a park, where Sarah visits and gets left K9 Mark IV.

Journey 428: London, 2007, to SS Madame de Pompadeur, 51st Century.
Mickey's first journey in the TARDIS and they land on the spaceship, which is located in the Diagmar Cluster.

Journey 429: SS Madame de Pompadeur, 51st Century, to London, 1st February 2007.
An alternative London to be exact, in a parallel universe. Mickey gives the date from a discarded newspaper. The journey through the Void between universes just happens to take place when Mickey removes his finger from a button which the Doctor has forgotten to inform him he could have released ages ago. A coincidence, or has this actually led to their travelling here?
The TARDIS materialises by Lambeth Palace, on the Albert Embankment.

Journey 430: Alt. London, 2007, to Powell Estate, 2007.
The Doctor takes Rose home to see her mother once they leave the parallel Earth, the ship materialising in the middle of her living room.

Journey 431: Powell Estate, 2007, to North London, 1st June, 1953.
The TARDIS materialises near Alexandra Palace, close to Florizel Street, on the eve of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. The Doctor was aiming for New York in the second half of the decade. He mentions catching Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show. Presley appeared 3 times between September 1956 and January 1957. It was the final appearance that was the famous one - where the director was ordered not to film him below the waist, so presumably this is the show the Doctor wanted to catch. We discover that the Doctor has a moped in the TARDIS, though he gives it away to Tommy Connolly before they depart.

Journey 432: North London, 2nd June 1953, to Sanctuary Base 6, Krop Tor, 42nd Century.
The date is given as 43K 2.1. The Doctor is worried that the ship seems "queasy" - reacting to something nearby it does not like - presumably the Black Hole K36 Gem 5, though there is also some writing so old that it won't be able to translate it. When an earth tremor destroys the storeroom in which it has landed, the TARDIS falls several miles into the planet's interior. This is the first time that the Doctor states that TARDISes are grown.

Journeys 433 - 435: Krop Tor to Torchwood Archive space shuttle, 42nd Century.
The Doctor finds the TARDIS close to where he encountered the Beast and he uses it to first rescue Ida Scott (unseen) then to use the tractor beam to pull the space shuttle to safety. It then materialises inside the hold of the vessel so that Rose can rejoin the Doctor, and Ida can be reunited with her crew (unseen).

Journey 436: Torchwood Archive space ship, 42nd Century, to Woolwich, London, 2007.
Elton Pope, of LINDA, tracks the TARDIS down to the riverside area, south east of the city, where the Doctor and Rose are trying to deal with a Hoix.
An additional journey is glimpsed when Elton tells of how the Doctor visited his home in the 1970's - the night his mother died.

Journey 437: London - Woolwich to unspecified part of city, 2007.
An alleyway within running-for-your-life-from-an-Abzorbaloff distance of Macatier Street, if that helps pin it down any better.

Journeys 438 & 439: London, 2007, to London, 2012.
The TARDIS materialises in Stratford, East London, on the eve of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. The ship first materialises with the door facing a metal container, so the Doctor has to try again in order that they can exit. Later, the ship will be sent to the unknown dimension where the Isolus within young Chloe Webber sends the people and things she draws - being returned once the Isolus departs.

Journey 440: London - Stratford, 2012, to Powell Estate, 2007.
The TARDIS does not seem to have a favoured landing spot when visiting Rose's manor. It generally lands on or near the Parade, but it has recently landed up in Jackie's front room, and now materialises in a playground on the estate.
At some point - possibly between Stratford 2012 and here, or perhaps around the time of LINDA's 'Nvestigations - the Doctor and Rose have visited a bazaar on an unnamed asteroid, plus a planet that is home to flying manta-ray creatures.

Journey 441: London - Powell Estate to Torchwood Tower, Canary Wharf, 2007.
The TARDIS travels to the source of the "Ghost Shifts". It materialises in a store-room, but Torchwood staff later move it manually to another area of the complex.

Journey 442: Torchwood Tower, London, 2007, to unknown region of space, 24th December 2007.
The Doctor harnesses the energy of a super nova in order to get a farewell message through to Rose, who receives it on Bad Wolf Bay in Norway. The date is a guess - based on what happens next.
But that is for next time...

Wednesday 24 June 2015

TARDIS Histories No.1

Regular readers will know that I recently set up a second blog devoted to my passion for History (especially local history, which in my case means London). I have now devised a means to link the two together - since there is obviously an awful lot of History to be found in Doctor Who.
Starting with 1964's Marco Polo, I am going to be looking at the historical context behind the Doctor's travels through Earth's history.
In my story reviews I have always tried to add a little bit of the historical background in the "Things you might like to know..." section, but this allows me to delve a little deeper. Hope you enjoy.

Monday 22 June 2015

Know Your Cybermen No.11

Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel (2006).
New Series, new Cybermen. In Series 1 we saw a part of a Cyberman - the head of a Revenge style one in a glass case in Henry Van Statten's museum. Its caption suggested it was supposed to be one of the ones from The Invasion, however.
With the Daleks dominating that first series, it wasn't until the second series that the Cybermen were brought back. As they have one of the more complex histories, it was decided to start afresh with an origins story. These would be an entirely different race of Cybermen, born on a parallel Earth.
They have been created by John Lumic, director of Lumic Industries. Lumic is dying and has been seeking ways to prolong life. He has developed an armoured body, into which a human brain can be transplanted. So, unlike previous Cybermen from our universe, only the brain is organic. The entire body comes ready built.
Emotions are inhibited by a device built into the chest.
Carried over from earlier designs are the tear-drop ducts below the eyes, plus the handlebars on the sides of the helmet. There is no chest unit - only a Cybus logo, which opens to access the emotion inhibiter.
The body is made up of steel sections, overlying hydraulic cabling.
Their only weapon is a powerful electrical charge, enabling them to kill by touch.
An empty Cyber-suit is capable of movement on its own, even responding to others.
New Cybermen retain a memory of their previous self, at least initially. They can be destroyed by an electromagnetic bomb, or by concentrated Artron Energy. The main force is destroyed when the inhibiter is bypassed. The Cybermen, realising what has happened to them, self-destruct.
Other Cybermen still exist, however, at other Cybus factories in other countries.
This two-part story also introduces a new Cyber-Controller - a converted John Lumic. It is of the same design as the ordinary Cybermen apart from a transparent brain-case, plus bolt sections on the chest where it was connected by cables to a throne-like unit. The Controller is destroyed when it falls into the exploding Battersea Power Station - which had been turned into a Cyber-conversion factory.

Story Notes:

  • Russell T Davies ensured that the word 'silver' wasn't used for the new Cybermen. 'Steel' was to be the new key word.
  • The Cybermen finally get their own catchphrase - "Delete".
  • Marc Platt's Big Finish audio Spare Parts gets mentioned in the closing credits. Very little of it is used - mainly the Sally Phelan section. There was more in the initial drafts.
  • In the early 80's, Gerry Davis - the Cyber Co-creator - proposed a Cyberman origins story to producer JNT. There is a synopsis in the DWM Essential Cybermen special edition.
  • One of the Cybermen is the then Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones.
  • To help co-ordinate their movements, unable to see clearly in their helmets, the Cybermen had their wrists tied together with elastic bands.
  • The Invasion is referenced with International Electromatics being a subsidiary of Cybus Industries.
  • The story aired around the 40th anniversary of the Cybermen's first appearance. There is an obscure nod to this with Jackie's 40th birthday party.
  • Graeme Harper was the first - and so far only - director to be brought back from the Classic Series.
  • This is the first story since Black Orchid not to feature any alien elements - these Cybermen being native to this Earth.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Series 9 Update

Thought it might be time for a brief update on the forthcoming series.
Photos emerged last week that revealed the return of Joivan Wade, who played graffiti artist and community service worker Rigsy in Flatline last season. He will be appearing in Episode 10, which has a female writer - Sarah Dollard. There has been a lot of criticism about Steven Moffat favouring only male writers during his tenure as lead writer, even inviting back writers whose work quite frankly bombed with fans, so obviously nice to see that this is finally being addressed.
Note the Doctor's new dark red coat - again linking his image with the Pertwee years.
Talking of which - did you see the Instagram picture Sean Pertwee released of himself looking like his dad? This came after his Halloween 2014 pics of himself in a Third Doctor wig and costume. Is he trying to hint something? Might he be suggesting that it is time we had a The Two Doctors style story where the Third and Twelfth meet up? Gotham is obviously keeping him very busy these days, but it would be lovely if Sean could soon play Jon.
Lastly, video emerged that shows that Maisie Williams will be playing a Highway Woman - which seems to suggest her story The Girl Who Died / The Woman Who Lived is set in at least three different time zones.
And yes, Moffat let slip that the series would start in September - then quickly recanted. The UK Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August is the most obvious start date, but the later the better as far as darker evenings go, I think. And will the next series continue to be shown in a later time slot? Something which concerns me as, without the children watching, the series withers.
Since I last looked at Series 9, wikileaks provided information about discussions concerning a movie. The BBC said no - at that time. Moffat is now committed to a 10th series.
Could the plan be to rest the TV series after 10, and then do a movie? Peter Jackson has already said he would be up for it...

Story 131 - The Awakening

In which the Doctor agrees to take Tegan to visit her grandfather. Local historian Andrew Verney lives in the village of Little Hodcombe. The TARDIS materialises in the crypt of the church, which is derelict and abandoned. The Doctor notes a number of engravings which show a devilish face. It is 1984, but the travelers are surprised to see Roundhead soldiers riding about. From the village school teacher Jane Hampden they learn that Little Hodcombe is preparing for war games commemorating a Civil War battle which took place here in July 1643. Jane tells them that Tegan's grandfather disappeared a few days ago. The travelers see what appear to be the ghosts of Cavalier troops, and Tegan has her bag snatched by a young man with a disfigured face, who is wearing ragged clothes. Chasing after him, she finds that the young man seems to transport himself great distances. The Doctor suspects that two time zones are coming into contact in this village. He meets the squire, Sir George Hutchinson, and his friend Colonel Ben Wolsey, who have organised the recreation. Sir George and his assistant, Sgt Willow, seem to be taking things very seriously. Jane and the Doctor find themselves captive. They escape through a tunnel which links Sir George's home with the church. The Doctor notices a piece of tinclavic - a soft metal found only on the planet Raaga. Some alien presence is working behind the scenes. Tegan and Turlough are also captured. He is locked up with Andrew Verney, whilst she is to take the place of the May Queen - who is traditionally burnt at the start of the games.

The Doctor meets a young man named Will Chandler, who has fallen through time from the 17th Century. He tells him of the events of the battle in 1643 - of how a huge, evil face appeared in the sky at the height of the battle. At the church, Will recognises this face when he sees the engravings. A huge crack in the church wall breaks open to reveal the same face - ten feet high. The Doctor realises that this is the Malus - a psychic probe from the planet Halkon. It was sent to Earth in anticipation of an invasion which never materialised. The probe feeds on violent and aggressive emotion. It has forged a psychic link with Sir George and is going to use the war games to regenerate itself - creating real hostility and bloodshed. Verney had discovered what was going on, and so was locked up by the squire. He and Turlough escape, and the Doctor and Jane rescue Tegan. The Malus continues to grow and gather strength, even invading the TARDIS. Events reach a climax at the church. Sir George is quite insane. Knowing that he is linked in some way to the alien creature, Will shoves the squire into the breach in the wall, killing him. Everyone flees in the TARDIS as the church, and the Malus, are destroyed - the psychic link now broken. Tegan will spend a few days with her grandfather, and then Will can be taken back to his own time.

This two part story was written by Eric Pringle, and broadcast on the 19th and 20th January, 1984. It is the third and final of the Davison two-parters, and marks the end of the 25 minute episode two part stories. Technically, the last two episodes of the 23rd Season are part of one long story.
For both the writer and the director - Michael Owen Morris - this was their only story.
The Awakening is also significant for being the final design work on the programme for the late Barry Newbery, who has been there since the very first transmitted episode.
We meet yet another member of Tegan's family, her grandfather. Her aunt Vanessa fell prey to the Master, and her cousin was enslaved by Omega.
It is the strongest of the Davison two parters, with some lovely location work coupled with the nice period detail that the BBC always did so well.
A strong cast is assembled. Sir George is Denis Lill (last seen in Image of the Fendahl). His henchman, Willow, is Jack Galloway. Ben Wolsey is another returnee - Glyn Houston from The Hand of Fear. Jane Hampden is played by Polly James - best known from the popular Liverpudlian sit-com, The Liver Birds.
Episode endings are:
  1. The Doctor seems powerless to move as the church wall breaks open and the face of the Malus appears within...
  2. The Doctor is about to take Will Chandler home when Tegan reminds him that he promised her some time with her grandfather. The Doctor looks forward to some proper English tea...

Overall, a very enjoyable little story, with good performances, sets and costumes.
Things you might like to know:
  • A scene was filmed for the start of episode one featuring Tegan coming across Kamelion in the TARDIS. It would have been nice to have reminded the audience that he was still around, but this was cut.
  • There was some discussion about Keith Jayne - playing Will Chandler - being kept on as a series regular, as it was known both Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson would be leaving the show. Jayne wasn't aware of this at the time, but has said he would have agreed had he been asked.
  • Jayne's dialogue was written phonetically in a BBC Mummerzet accent - with z's replacing s's and double r's.
  • Eric Pringle's agent was one time Doctor Who producer Peter Bryant, who encouraged him to write for the show. One story was almost commissioned for the end of the Tom Baker / Lis Sladen period. The Awakening was originally written as a four parter. The original title of "War Game" was obviously a bit too close to something already used.
  • The names Verney, Hampden and Hutchinson all come from real Civil War personalities.
  • A few mishaps concerning horses - Denis Lill fractured a rib when squashed by a horse against a wall, and more famously there was the horse pulling the cart which destroyed the faked church lychgate. This appears in all those Out-take programmes, but was also used as in-house training at the BBC for demonstrating the dangers of working with animals. Peter Davison collected a Golden Egg Award from Noel Edmonds when it was first broadcast on his Saturday evening show - egg as in egg on your face.
  • The original VFX person allocated for this - John Horton - was replaced by Tony Harding, as Horton had previously fallen out with the director. One of the extras on the DVD release for this story sees Harding being reunited with the original Malus face prop.
  • Should you wish to pay Little Hodcombe a visit, you need to go to three different villages - Tarrant Monkton and Shapwick in Dorset, and Martin in Hampshire.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Figurines for June 2015

This month's figurines have arrived - the decayed Master from The Deadly Assassin, and the Teller from last series' Time Heist.
Both are very well modeled. The Master is holding his staser pistol, whilst the Teller is in its red strait-jacketed form. Always nice to get a figurine from the Classic Series (though the first Master figure to be released really ought to have been the Delgado version).
Did expect one of the extras this month - it has been a while since we had a special edition or one of the subscriber Daleks.
Next month sees the release of the Dalek Emperor Davros from Remembrance of the Daleks - with the dome open to reveal his head and shoulders.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

TARDIS Travels No.27

And so the travels of the TARDIS reach the new series. There is a suggestion that Rose comes just after the Doctor has regenerated - he seems to be noticing his appearance for the first time when he looks into a mirror chez Tyler. According to writer Russell T Davies, it is left open for you to think this might be the case or not. Series One sees the introduction of a new bigger Police Box shell, the coral-themed console room, controls that seem to be made up from household bric-a-brac, and a frequently unsteady mode of flight. The ship now creates a disturbance in the air as it materialises and dematerialises - sometimes.

Journey 395: Date and location unknown, to London, March, 2005.
The Doctor is already investigating the Nestene infiltration of Henrik's store as Rose opens. The exact location of the shop is not known - but appears to be either Oxford Street or Regent Street. The TARDIS is parked in an alley opposite the store. The Missing posters for Rose seen in a couple of episodes' time will give the date of her disappearance as 6th March 2005. Assuming Jackie reported her missing the day after the Auton attack - when she failed to return home - this must be 4th March.

Journey 396: London - West End to Powell Estate, South London, 5th March, 2005.
Following the signal from the mannequin arm, the TARDIS materialises on Rose's estate close to her block of flats. It is the day after Henrik's blew up.

Journey 397: London - Powell Estate to unknown location, 5th March, 2005.
Later the same day - now following the signal generated by the Auton Mickey, the TARDIS materialises in the yard behind a restaurant - presumably somewhere between Clive's home and the Powell Estate.

Journey 398: London - location unknown to Victoria Embankment, 5th March 2005.
The TARDIS materialises on the north side of the Thames close to the RAF Memorial - opposite Jubilee Gardens and the London Eye. The Autons capture the ship and bring it into the Nestene lair under the foreshore at the base of the Eye.

Journeys 399 & 400: London - Nestene lair to Powell Estate, 5th March, 2005.
The TARDIS materialises at a street market, close to Rose's home. The Doctor initially dematerialises the ship without Rose when she declines his offer to travel with him. Seconds later it rematerialises on the same spot and this time Rose agrees to go with him. It is unlikely that Jackie's late night shopping would have been after midnight, so presumably this is still the 5th of March.

Journeys 401, 402 & 403: London, 2005, to Platform One, Earth orbit, the year 5.5/apple/26.
Now the Doctor does tempt Rose with two stops en route to the year 5 Billion (approx), but the TARDIS isn't actually seen to materialise in those times. The first stop is 100 years into her future, and then 10,000 years - the age of the New Roman Empire. They finally opt to go to the viewing deck of Platform One on the day that the Earth is destroyed by the Sun. The little Crespallion attendants move the TARDIS out of the viewing deck.

Journey 404: Platform One, 5.5/apple/26 to Cardiff, Wales, 24th December 1869.
Aiming for Naples in 1860, this is the first time that the ship has proved erratic in the new series. The clothing store is quite some distance from the console room - first left, second right, third on the left, under the stairs, past the bins and fifth on the left.

Journey 405: Cardiff, 1869, to London - Powell Estate, Spring 2006.
The TARDIS goes wrong yet again - landing 12 months later than intended. It is graffiti'd with the words "Bad Wolf" by one of the little neds on the estate.

Journey 406: London - Powell Estate to Albion Hospital, Limehouse Green, 2006.
The Doctor goes to the hospital in East London where the alien from the crashed ship has been taken. We know where the hospital is as it will reappear later in the series.

Journey 407: London - Albion Hospital to Powell Estate, 2006.
The TARDIS returns to the promenade on the estate. We learn that the scanner gets all the local TV news channels, and sports.

Journey 408: Powell Estate, London, 2006, to Utah, USA, 2012.
The TARDIS materialises in Van Statten's museum built beneath the plains of Utah. No-one knows what a Dalek is - something which will become significant much, much later on. Actually, there is no real reason at all to have set this story in the near future - the date is irrelevant.

Journey 409: Utah, USA, 2012, to Satellite Five, Earth orbit, 200,000.
The TARDIS materialises on Level 139 of this news gathering space station. The Doctor realises that human development is being interfered with.

Journey 410: Satellite Five, 200,000, to England, 2012.
Talking of messing with human development, the Doctor returns Adam to his home - the town or city unspecified. Accents suggest Northern England, but then Amy Pond lived just outside Gloucester. And South London girl Rose Tyler sometimes sounds like she comes from closer to Swindon...

Journey 411: England, 2012, to South London, London, 1987.
Rose wants to see her dead old dad, who was killed in an accident on 7th November, 1987. The TARDIS takes her and the Doctor to see her parents getting married - presumably at the beginning of the year.

Journey 412: South London, early 1987 to 7th November 1987.
Rose next decides she wants to be with her dad at the moment of his death as he was alone when killed by a hit and run driver. Attempt one fails, when she chickens out.

Journey 413: As 412 only a few minutes before.
Attempt two to be with her dad, and this time Rose intervenes and saves him. Not a clever thing to do. When the Doctor returns alone to the TARDIS he finds that it is only a Police Box shell. If the Reapers are working their way back through time - older things being more resilient - why take the ancient TARDIS, or did a real Police Box once stand on this location?
The TARDIS attempts to re-establish itself via the Doctor's key in the church where everyone is taking refuge, but appears to be destroyed when a Reaper collides with it.
With Time put back on track - with only the minor difference that Rose was now with Pete, and he was half a mile away from the original scene of the collision - the TARDIS is reconstituted, though at a different location to where it started - now by some shops and restaurants.

Journey 414: London, 1987, to London, 1941.
Whilst in transit through the Vortex, the TARDIS detects an object heading for Earth. It materialises some weeks after the object has arrived - in an alleyway outside a night club at the height of the London Blitz. Best guess is Spring 1941. We know Captain Jack assumed his name after the real one died in January 1941. It is a long night, and breath freezes, yet the garden of the house where Nancy's troupe gathers has flowers and veg in it. The TARDIS has run out of milk - the food machine? The phone in the door rings for the very first time. If you think that John Barrowman became ubiquitous after this story was broadcast, there are four Captain Jacks split between London and Cardiff in 1941, as we will subsequently learn.

Journey 415: London, 1941, to local space, 1941.
The TARDIS materialises on Jack's ship just before it is blown up by the German bomb it is transporting.

Journey 416: Space, 1941, to Cardiff, 2006.
The TARDIS lands in Roald Dahl Plas, outside the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay in order to refuel from the Rift discovered when it last landed in the city. Presumably Torchwood are off somewhere else at the time, otherwise they would have popped up to have a look and Jack could have met himself. As it is, there is another Jack in cold storage right under his feet. It is late in the year, as Margaret Slitheen has had time to establish herself as mayor, and Mickey needs his parka. First appearance of the Extrapolator (that's the Tribophysical Waveform Macro-kinetic Extrapolator to be precise). The Doctor will use it on a couple of later occasions. The need for the TARDIS to refuel has never been mentioned before - we always assumed it had an infinite power supply.
At some point in the list above, unseen journeys now have to be factored in. We don't know when these took place as Jack isn't mentioned as being present. One journey was to Woman Wept.
The central console opens up of its own accord - presumably to prevent damage from the Rift - and the energy released causes Margaret Slitheen to revert to her egg state. This surprises even the Doctor. He says that the power of the ship lies underneath the console and the entire Vortex can be released.

Journey 416a (unseen): Cardiff, 2006, to Raxacoricofallapatorius, date unknown.
Presumably still 2006, as there is no evidence the Slitheen have time travel.

Journey 416b (unseen): Raxacoricofallapatorius, 2006, to Kyoto, Japan, 1336.
Mentioned by Rose when her memories start to come back on the Game Station.

Journey 417: Kyoto, Japan, 1336, to the Game Station, Earth orbit, 200,100.
After removing its occupants with a powerful transmat and depositing them in the various lethal game shows, the Daleks have the TARDIS land in Archive Six of the Game Station - as Satellite Five is known a century after the Doctor's last visit.

Journey 418: The Game Station to Dalek Command Saucer, 200,100.
The Doctor pilots the ship through normal space to the Dalek saucer in order to rescue Rose. It dematerialises momentarily to avoid a missile and lands in the saucer close to where the Emperor is based. The Extrapolator is used to provide a force-field extended around the ship. The TARDIS has materialised around objects before (e.g. Logopolis) but this is the first time we see it materialise around someone (Rose and a Dalek) as viewed from within the console room.

Journey 419: Dalek Saucer back to Game Station.

Journey 420: Game Station, 200,100, to Powell Estate, London, 2006.
The Doctor tricks Rose into leaving before the Daleks attack - operating the TARDIS remotely using his sonic screwdriver and implementing an emergency hologram system. Rose is taken back home. Recalling what happened with Margaret Slitheen, she has Mickey and her mum help her to reopen the console. The horsepower of a pick-up truck seems to be able to do this - though it is more likely the ship did it deliberately.

Journey 421: Powell Estate, London, 2006, to Game Station, 200,100.
Flooded with the energy of the Time Vortex, Rose is able to take the ship back to the Game Station. Destroys Daleks. Brings dead Captain Jack back to life. The Doctor takes on the energy himself to save her - resulting in his regeneration...