Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Roots: The True History of Planets and Reginald Tyler are obviously based on The Lord of the Rings and J. R. R. Tolkien, respectively the Smudgelings are based on Tolkien's real-life group the Inklings, and Cleavis is based on C. S. Lewis. Despite this, there is also a reference to The Lord of the Rings itself. Likewise, John Fuchas is clearly based on George Lucas, and Ron Von Arnim on Ray Harryhausen. There are references to Dracula, Alice in Wonderland, Phillip K. Dick, Bluebeard, The Wizard of Oz, Crufts, Planet of the Apes, Lassie Come Home, Digby the Biggest Dog in the World, Beethovens Second, 101 Dalmatians, The Beatles' Hard Days Night and Hey Jude, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley, Bingo, Nintendo Gameboy, Lady Marmalade, Starsky and Hutch, Cerberus, Frankenstein, Michelangelo, Cole Porter, Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Burt Bacharach, Marlboro Lights, Russ Meyer, Sean Connery, Bette Davies, Joan Crawford, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Aleister Crowley, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tom Jones, Chanel, Rumpelstiltskin, Professor Challenger, Fu Manchu, Sherlock Holmes, Van Helsing (Dracula), Frankenstein, the Mock Turtle (Alice in Wonderland), Abba, War and Peace, Blithe Spirit, . The dogworld Princesss holographic distress call is clearly inspired by Princess Leia's message to Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.

Goofs: The Doctor is surprised to find that there are others like him, despite meeting (and apparently recognising) the Master in The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

It is stated that John Fucha's movie version of The True History of Planets is released in 2007 and 2008 at different points [this could be due to the interference with the timelines since Fuchas is killed by Arnim and the poodles' interference in history is eventually corrected anyway, this timeline is ultimately averted].

Dogworld video cassettes are compatible with Earth video recorders.

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor and Char: 'You said this was a time ship? You know of such things?'
'We are poodles, Doctor. Of course we know of such things.

Memorable Moments: In a kinky moment straight out of Eurotrash, the Doctor, Anji, and Fitz are forced to strip naked and walk on all fours with collars around their necks like dogs. Later, Freer admits to having had sexual liaisons with a poodle.

Continuity: Iris Wildthyme has adopted the alias Brenda Soobie and has found fame under this alias as a diva - numerous articles have been written about her supposed rise from a poverty-stricken background in Glasgow. She is in a new, Scottish-accented, incarnation, hence Fitz doesn't immediately recognise her. She is unaware of Gallifrey's destruction, but has already visited the Doctor on Earth during the 1980s (Father Time). Martha the bright-orange poodle has accompanied her on her travels for sixty years, but purely for the purposes of manipulating her so that she could use Coward to alter history and allow the Princess to seize power on the dogworld. Iris befriended Noel Coward when she first met him at the 1957 Royal Variety Performance. At the end of the novel, she gains two new companions - Fritter, another poodle, and Flossie, the large cook from the asteroid Hotel. Cleavis is writing a book about an old woman who travels around in a bus having adventures, presumably at Freer's suggestion, since he hasn't met Iris. Amusingly, the Doctor is intrigued by the idea, but says that the heroine sounds like a proper old harridan.

The poodles of the dogworld are similar in size and shape to Earth poodles but are intelligent and have hands instead of front paws. They are ruled by an Emperor, who deposed his predecessor. This history has been quashed and is unknown to the general populace, who would rise up in anger if they knew about it. The altered poodle-oriented version of The True History of Planets tells of this secret history. They have time travel (Q.v.: Time travel).

Despite the events of The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, the Doctor can still speed-read (see Hope). His eyes change colour for grey to blue when Enid asks where he comes from. Interestingly, he has no memory of Iris's visit during Father Time, possibly because she was in a previous incarnation. Despite his amnesia, his memory is still throwing up snippets of information from his past - he tells Enid that he comes from somewhere in the south of Ireland beginning with the letter G (The Hand of Fear, Human Nature (book)). He also pretends that he is writing a novel about terrible shape-shifting aliens who have lived beneath Loch Ness for millions of years, a reference to Terror of the Zygons. Later, whilst making up a story, he alludes to the events of The Android Invasion, The Brain of Morbius, and Planet of the Spiders. He again uses his favourite alias, claiming to be Doctor John Smith from Trinity College in Dublin. He found a brochure for the science-fiction conference stuffed inside a pair of Wellingtons in the TARDIS boot cupboard. He is still supporting a beard (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street). The Doctor drinks a pint of beer. When attacked, he automatically uses Venusian Aikido to defend himself (see Endgame). Coward notes that he is increasingly using strong-arm tactics, after he punches Von Arnim in the face. The Doctor ruefully acknowledges this and says that he doesn't really know why (see The Burning, Endgame).

Fitz dons a leopardskin suit with snakeskin shoes whilst in Las Vegas. He doesn't recognise the regenerated Iris at first, but eventually recognises her bus - this is partly because he assumed that she had ceased to exist after Gallifrey's destruction.

Anji thinks of London and Dave, and wonders why the Doctor can't get her home but can pilot the TARDIS accurately enough to drop her and Fitz of in Hollywood in 1978 and Las Vegas in 1960, respectively she suspects that he is deliberately failing to do so (see Hope).

The TARDIS has never killed anyone on materialisation, at least as far as the Doctor can recall (and it doesn't happen here - Jag fakes his own death). Whilst visiting the TARDIS library, Fitz once stumbled across an extremely old woman lying face down at a table, surrounded by books on British Birds and wearing 1960s teenage clothing on returning to control room with her, he showed her to the Doctor, who looked deeply embarrassed and called her Emily [it is not explained who she is. If as implied, she first wandered into the library as a teenager and has been living there ever since, the TARDIS must have been keeping her alive]. Certain books in the library are booby-trapped. The library has an eccentric system of card files, which the TARDIS can apparently rewrite at will. The Doctor lends books out randomly and generously and never gets them back.

Bizarrely, Noel Coward has the ability to manipulate his own timeline, allowing him to travel along it even past the point of his own death - this is a gift bestowed upon him by Iris, which also means that when he dies, he goes back to the moment of his birth and lives his life all over again. He travels through time using pinking shears provided by Iris, which he uses to tear open the fabric of time and space [this being a Paul Magrs novel, it isn't explained how they work]. He travels through the warp and weft of the Very Fabric [of space-time], a much subtler place than the vortex. It is Coward who arranges for The True History of Planets to be poodle-oriented. He recognises Venusian Aikido and knows of the Doctor.

Alid Jags species are similar to aphids in size and appearance and are notoriously pragmatic.

The people of Karim are ruled over by an emperor and are similar to lobsters. In addition to the dogworld, there is apparently a pussyworld.

Magic is again shown to work, Freer using it to melt Tyler's face, which takes several months to heal.

Links: BBC three is mentioned (The Daemons). The effects of The Ancestor Cell continue to be felt, with the poodles ability to time travel and working magic both in evidence. The Doctor nostalgically remembers that one of his earliest memories is of waking up on a train (The Burning). Anji recalls the events of Eater of Wasps. Freer's book is called The Slaves of Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars). Johnson is writing a story about silver Vikings frozen in a tomb, which is presumably a Tomb of the Cybermen in-joke.

Location: Whitby, 1917; Cambridge, 1942 and 1974; Las Vegas, 1960; Hollywood, 1978; the asteroid housing the Science Fiction Conference, c2074; the dogworld, c2074

Future History: In the alternative timeline in which The True History of Planets concerns poodles, American blockbuster mogul John Fuchas filmed The True History of Planets, which was released in 2007 and was generally regarded as a flash travesty designed to attract children. This timeline was averted thanks to the Doctor. The Halliwell Film Guide of 2010 is particularly disparaging towards it. It is implied that the Queen is no longer on the throne by 2010. By 2074, the works of Terran Science Fiction authors, particularly of the twentieth century, are studied extensively by academics. Shadowy groups exist that seek to alter the contents of certain texts for their own ends. These groups include The Circle Hermeneutic and The New Dehistoricists. Over the last one hundred years, wild boars have developed intelligence and culture, thanks to the Doctor (see Unrecorded Adventures), and have become part of Earth society. The poodles of the dogworld built their first space-station c2058 to receive signals broadcast from other planets.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor was responsible for the repopulation of Britain by the wild boar circa 1987 - he was breeding continental boar at his house, and the storms that swept Britain that year destroyed the fences and allowed them to escape. Whilst he was breeding them, he taught some of them to talk [possibly he was genetically engineering them to heighten their intelligence]. Whilst on Earth, he apparently visited Whitby, which he describes as the best source of fish and chips in the world. The Doctor visited Cambridge whilst trapped on Earth during the 1980s, when the University was considering giving him a chair in something very complicated and grand he turned it down, as he had Miranda to look after (Father Time). He also witnessed magic performed somewhere in the South Seas, possibly explaining his familiarity with magic in City of the Dead. He may have met Noel Coward before, possibly in his third incarnation.

The Bottom Line: Extremely silly, but entertaining. As the 100th BBC Doctor Who novel, Mad Dogs and Englishmen has a welcome celebratory feel and is also a return to form for Magrs after the dire Verdigris.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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