Return of the Living Dad

Roots: Babylon 5 (Planet-rippers, and the treatment of the Osirian back story). There are references to The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars: A New Hope, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Radio One, Batman, The Midwich Cuckoos, Stepford Wives, Sliders, ET, CE3K, The Times, Star Wars, The Muppet Movie, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, Michael Heseltine, King Arthur, Daffy Duck, The Wizard of Oz, The Name of the Rose, Back to the Future, the explosion of Challenger, Life on Earth, Freud, Raymond Bradbury, The Quick and the Dead, Threads, and The Day After. There are quotations from Joan Baez and Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

The Doctor is first referred to as the Ka Faraq Gatri in Ben Aaronovitch's novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks. There is a reference to internet conspiracy theorists pondering upon whether or not the Doctor could ever regenerate into a woman, a subject of fierce debate amongst fans ever since Tom Baker suggested it.

Goofs: Amusing though the idea is, it's hard to imagine a friendly Auton, even one shaped like a spatula.

Dialogue Disasters: "Buggery bollocks."

Dialogue Triumphs: "We reassure ourselves that we'd give our lives to protect it all. But anyone can die. Living with the responsibility is much more difficult. How long before we're wondering what little exceptions we can make? Whether solving one problem, saving one life, would spoil some great eternal plan? From time to time, I need to reassure myself that I can still do it."
"Do what?"
"Let someone die."

The Doctor on what his lifestyle is like: "Hours of tedium followed by moments of sheer terror."

"The end never justifies the means. Because the means used determine the kind of end produced."

"I used to work for the greater good, you know. But the hours were bad and the conditions were worse."

Continuity: The Daleks use hallucinatory weapons during space battles to confuse their human enemies.

The whole Navarino culture is based on frivolity and recreation; the Time Lords consider them to be so harmless that they let them have limited time travel so that they can go on holidays, although they tax them heavily for the privilege (Delta and the Bannermen). Navarino children repair and maintain machines so that the adults can continue partying. Navarino art consists largely of adventure stories and comic books. According to Albinex, the Navarinos were once warriors.

Caxtarids are humanoids with metallic red hair. Their home planet is Lalande 21185 in Ursa Major. The Doctor visited Lalande 21185 eight Lalandan years before 1983, and stopped a virus that attacked anything with DNA. Two Lalandan years after 1983, another rebellion took place on the planet and the virus was released, wiping out every living thing (including the Caxtarid ships) within five years.

The Doctor, Chris and Roz spend a week on holiday in Sydney at the start of this story, before Chris and Roz visit London. Whilst in Sydney, the Doctor does some voluntary work in a hospice. On Youkali, he wears a burgundy-coloured waistcoat and a tweed jacket. He carries a teddy bear and a chewed copy of Little Miss Star, both of which he gives to Benny. He later produces a map of the Little Caldwell area. The nanites that the Doctor injected into Ace and Benny don't notice the human genome, so although they protect against infections, they won't cure cancer or autoimmune diseases. When Mrs. Randrianasolo tries to read his mind whilst he is asleep, the Doctor plants a small post-hypnotic command in her mind so that he can identify her. The Doctor likes jazz, the Beatles, cats, and dipping croissants in coffee. He builds a PKE meter. He burns Woodworth's base down. He reads a copy of Lakota Woman and an issue of National Geographic. He receives a shallow stab wound to the shoulder. He can remember the nuclear launch codes given to Britain during the nineteen-seventies (Robot). He wears one navy blue sock and one Rocky and Bullwinkle sock. The ghost takes him back along his timeline to moments of extreme pain in an attempt to get the codes out of him for Albinex, but fails because she can't cope with the amount of pain that he can; however, she eventually succeeds by taking him back to moments of pleasure and amplifying them. His body has scars from the removal of Ship's flower (Set Piece), a bullet shattering one of his hearts (Parasite), and Ace stabbing him (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). He also has a small tattoo. He nearly dies of hypothermia here; in order to save him, Benny climbs half-naked into a sleeping bag with the naked Time Lord to warm him up.

Roz buys a watch in Sydney, 1996, and dons a denim jacket over a tight T-shirt and jeans. Roz and Chris get big waterproof coats and umbrellas from the TARDIS wardrobe. She sleeps in pyjamas. Roz once arrested protesters at Subport Eight who had sat around polaric VTOL craft so that they couldn't take off without killing the crowd, and once held back crowds of Undercity dwellers who had been protesting the genetic damage done by the city's gravity beams.

Chris wears only his socks and a pair of Daffy Duck boxer shorts when sleeping. He is abducted by Woodworth's people, stripped, and subjected to x-rays, and blood and tissue samples. He has no appendix and has never had chicken pox. He has no scar tissue more than a few years old. He kisses Roz whilst concussed. It is finally confirmed that he's in love with her and has been for some time, but she doesn't think she's the right person for him.

Benny is studying for a PhD. She and Jason have been trying for a baby, so far unsuccessfully. She reads They Sit Above in Shadow: Archaeological Echoes of the Universe's First People. Benny's bags contain a chipped ex-UNIT enamel mug [presumably acquired during the events of 'No Future'] and a mug bearing the message "My parents went to Skaro and I all got was a lousy pair of genes" [see The Daleks]. See dons jeans and a denim jacket with big pockets when setting out to visit the Tisiphone with the Doctor. She thinks that she is about thirty-five years old, but has lost track. Her mother's name was Claire and there is a definite family resemblance. When Benny asked awkward questions as a child, Isaac used to tell her, "We dance around a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows." When she first saw the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Darmok', she thought that it was a documentary. After she escaped from Spacefleet, she was stranded on Olundrun Seven, where the monks helped her and taught her some meditation techniques. She tells her father about Simon (Love and War), whose second name was Kyle. His pet tortoises where reconstituted Galapagos tortoises. When he and Benny met, he was eighteen and she was sixteen. She checked up on him just before she met the Doctor, and found that he had become a Captain. The ghost gives Benny and Jason their future son, Keith Branningan Kane-Summerfield; he fades away once the ghost dies.

Jason wears jeans. He carries a chewed ballpoint pen, a shopping list and some money in his pockets. When he arrives in 1983, he considers paying his father a visit to either kill or seriously injure him (see Death and Diplomacy); Benny phones his father to ensure that Jason hasn't carried out his threat.

Benny's father's full name and title is Admiral Isaac Douglas Summerfield. He has blond hair. He disappeared in 2547AD on board his ship, the Tisiphone, during a battle with a trio of Dalek planet-rippers in orbit above Bellatrix; according to the official report, he was retreating from the Daleks. In actually fact he was dragged back through time and space in the wake of a Navarino time ship to Earth in 1963. The Clotho's flight recorder, which Groenewegen gives to Bernice, contains a recording of the battle. He has pale hair and grey eyes. He drinks large quantities of Turkish coffee. Rather symbolically, at the end of the novel the Doctor persuades him of the delights of tea. He doesn't drink alcohol. He established a group on twentieth century Earth, which helps stranded aliens and time travelers, based around the small coffee shop named "The Pyramid" which he runs in Little Caldwell. These include a time traveler from a laboratory of enslaved physicists in the twenty-fourth century, who was returned to her own time to help the others. Aliens in the group include a Ph'Sor Tzun (First Frontier), a Lacaillan who, along with a colleague, was caught trying to break into the National Hurricane Centre in Florida, two Ogrons (Day of the Daleks), an amnesiac Bannerman who spent five years living rough in London (Delta and the Bannermen), Graeme the Auton spatula (Spearhead from Space, The Auton Invasion), two Chameleons (The Faceless Ones), a Sirian, a Sea Devil (The Sea Devils), a Procyonian robot, a mated pair of Cygnians, a Kapteynian, a Ra'ashet, a Vardan (No Future), and a six-foot tall fur-covered humanoid with three arms. Various ex-UNIT soldiers discharged on psychiatric grounds also work with him. There is an Ogri in the local graveyard (The Stones of Blood).

Isaac and his group knows of the Doctor by reputation, since most of the stranded aliens are leftover from encounters with him. Occasionally, they tip off UNIT or the CIA to the presence of hostile invaders, including a Lalandian safari killing people in Durham in 1976. Books and magazines collected by the group as research include Who's Who and What's That?, Professor X fanzines (Conundrum), Western Mysticism, Zen, Close Encounters, Tarot, Dreaming the Dark, Women's Spirituality, and The Shoreditch Incident (Remembrance of the Daleks) by H. O. Macbeth (The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Happy Endings), whom Isaac has met. The group started at a library in Llanelli and then moved to a shelter for the homeless in London before moving to Little Caldwell. Isaac met Dorothée during the nineteen-seventies (Set Piece); she intended to tell Benny, but hasn't found her yet [so for Ace the encounter took place after Happy Endings]. Isaac wants to use the nuclear launch codes (Robot) to start a small nuclear war and change history so that the Earth is prepared for the Dalek invasion (The Dalek Invasion of Earth), rather than basking in a time of peace. He and his group then plan to travel forward in time to 2154 to help fight the invaders. Albinex hijacks his plan, since he and the Ogrons are secretly working for the Daleks and simply plan to start World War Three. The Doctor persuades Isaac to abandon his plan, and use the missiles to destroy the orbiting Dalek satellite instead.

The TARDIS finds a Victorian wooden cradle, a food machine capable of producing nappies, and a Martian hatchling's spinning top, all of which the Doctor gives to Benny.

Youkali Six was laid waste during the war between Sutekh and the other Osirians (Pyramids of Mars). Death was regarded as a female figure on Youkali Six. The Youkali had time travel technology. The Osirians influenced the Exxilons (Death to the Daleks), who took their culture and spread it even further. Bellatrix has a purple moon. Lacaillans have blue skin. Other races mentioned here include Etruscans. Ra'ashets have catfish-like faces. Kapteynians are butterflies the size of two human hands.

Links: The novel opens with a quotation from Battlefield. Albinex uses genetically engineered shape-shifters from another dimension in the forms of Ace and the Doctor, which, the Doctor hypothesizes, crossed over when he and Ace visited Llanfer Ceiriog (Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark). Benny's father Isaac was first mentioned in Love and War. Youkali was first mentioned in SLEEPY, as was the Doctor's beach-house in Sydney. Benny and Jason last appeared in Happy Endings, in which they married. Benny notes that she was in England in 1978 (No Future) and 1968 (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). Isaac has met Adam Colby (Image of the Fendahl). There are references to the Ants' tunnels (Set Piece), the Land of Fiction (Conundrum), alien replicas of sleepy English villages (The Android Invasion), Sloathes (Sky Pirates!), Draconians (Frontier in Space), Department C19 (Time-Flight, The Scales of Injustice, Who Killed Kennedy), Huitzilin (The Left-Handed Hummingbird), Daleks, Iceworld (Dragonfire), and Fortean Flickers (The Highest Science). Woodworth has pictures of the Fifth Doctor at Heathrow Airport (Time-Flight) and talking to Lethbridge-Stewart (Mawdryn Undead). She imprisons Chris in the same house that the Doctor was held in 1968 (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). There is a reference to the Doctor sacrificing his Sixth incarnation (Head Games).

Location: Youkali Six, 2587; Sydney, Australia, Earth, 1996; the Tisiphone, in Bellatrix space, 2543; and Little Caldwell, Berkshire, over several days from 10th December 1983.

Future History: Youkali Six is colonized centuries prior to 2587, but only has a couple of bases due to the preservation order placed on the archaeologically rich planet.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor, Chris and Roz won a pair of matching teddy bears that they named Jasper and Stewart at the Sprunge festival on Vashig.

The Doctor visited Lalande 21185 after the virus has been released, but is unable to stop it.

The Doctor, Benny, Chris and Roz visited Navarro for a holiday.

The Doctor takes Albinex and the other stranded aliens home, and also visits Youkali to locate the Youkalian time machine that turned Caroline Grey into the ghost.

The Bottom Line: 'Every dawn you don't know if you'll see the dusk.' At first glance Orman by numbers, Return of the Living Dad actually begins the closure of the range, with Benny finally finding her father, Chris and Roz admitting their feelings, and the Doctor starting to realize that he can't hold off his next regeneration forever. The plot switches from whimsical to dramatic with ease, and has some great lines. All in all, very enjoyable, and more significant than you might think.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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