Damaged Goods

Roots: There are quotations from "The Stolen Child" and numerous references to the Book of Genesis. There are references to the Mister Men, Paxo, Mr Kipling, After Eight Mints, 2000AD, A-ha's "Hunting High and Low", Dynasty, the Muppet Show, Heineken, the Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin", "Mad About the Boy", Levis, Coca Cola, Bailey's Irish Cream, Sing Out, Home on Sunday, Stingray, Knave, Watching, The Jimmy Young Television Programme, Alberto V05 hairspray, Calvin Kleins, Polo mints, Jean Muir, Chanel, St. Laurent, Vivien Westwood, Harvey Nichols, Thunderbird, Sugar Puffs, The Wind in the Willows, Neighbours, Hammer Horror, the Sex Pistols, Hamlet, Logan's Run, Bon Jovi, Sapir and Whorf, The Hands of the Ripper, Chernobyl, and Family Fortunes. Rather cheekily, Davies includes a reference to Why Don't You...? The Doctor gives Roz a copy of the Daily Mirror.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Miniature dictatorships are my speciality."

"Hayfever and bad dreams can have the same effect. Bad memories can creep up on you when you least expect, even on glorious summer days. I've got so many bad memories that if I started to cry, I might never stop. I could flood the world, and far beyond."

"Where've you been, granddad? No one says wicked anymore."
"Really? In 1987...? I could have sworn they did."

Continuity: In the Capitol on Gallifrey, the Lodge of the Academy of the Patrexes is surmounted by a gate of solid light, at the pinnacle of which revolves a ball of gold, said to be the first gold ever formed and held in place by harmonics alone. The Doctor describes everything the Patrexes create as "beautiful and pointless" and the Patrexians themselves as "artists, aesthetes, shallow epicureans with pale skin and pretentious minds". The Patrexian Numbers are a numerical base that exists at the heart of every piece of their artwork, including the Lodge gate and the N-form. The N-forms were built to fight the Vampires during the War, the Patrexians considering them beautiful than the Bowships, which were piloted by the Arcalians and the Prydonians. They scattered N-Forms across the universe in pocket dimensions, waiting for the Vampiric waveform to activate them. The Prydonians and Arcalians declared that the N-forms should never be built and persuaded Rassilon to forbid them; the Patrexes thus constructed them in secret. N-Forms can transmute their hull into any shape. They destroyed numerous Vampire worlds and along with the Bowships won the war. After the war, the Artificial Intelligences of the N-forms were removed and downloaded back to Gallifrey, including that of an N-form that arrived in Colombia in 1983. It realized that its intelligence had been removed and nothing put in its place, leaving it without an emotional lattice and with an empty void at the heart of itself. It leaves residual energy of tribophysics (The Deadly Assassin) in its wake. The N-form exists in a pocket dimension created to house it, but can enter the real universe through dimensional rents. This N-form is tagged to separate molecules of a batch of cocaine hydrochloride, which creates engrams in the brains of users; the N-form hook carves out this engram, which extends in more than three dimensions, making it a dimensional rent through which the N-form can drag itself into the physical world, releasing "half a ton of metal" into the skull and allowing it to interact with the physical world whilst remaining tethered to its hull in the dimensional tract. It needs to scatter these rents across a distance in order to avoid breaching the fabric of reality, and so uses the Capper's body to spread the cocaine as far as possible. It is capable of dimensional shift, transporting it across space within the blink of an eye. It is programmed to react to the v-stet, the vampiric waveform generated by Vampires, and is attracted to Gabriel Tyler, because he drains his brother's life force like a vampire and thus generates this v-stet; if it decides that the human race has a Vampire inheritance, it is programmed to wipe out the species and destroy the world. Eleven thousand people die when it finally activates the cocaine. The Doctor uses the Patrexian Numbers and its link to his own mind via the cocaine to deactivate it.

The Vampires were from a dark universe, and the Doctor hypothesizes that they were a distillation of nightmares from N-Space (The Ghost of N-Space). The Brotherhood in the future sent the reactivation signal that awoke this N-Form and at least one other (see So Vile a Sin); an N-Form destroyed the Quoth homeworld (The Death of Art).

The Brotherhood (The Death of Art) is still active in 1987. Dr Greco works for the Brotherhood and is investigating Gabriel Tyler due to Gabriel's psychic powers. The Brotherhood steal UNIT file Quadrant27787/Doctor in December 1999.

Tribophysics literally means the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion and dates back to the Time of Legend on Gallifrey. The pinnacle of Tribophysics is the ability to slip through dimensions. As well as the Time Lords, the Osirians (Pyramids of Mars, The Sands of Time) used tribophsyics.

Gabriel Tyler is a low-level psychic; he subconsciously and unknowingly casts a Glamour, which makes him seem more attractive to whoever sees him, often by reflecting back something of the viewer; hence, Chris sees him as large, blond and white, and Roz sees him as short, dark and coloured. Psychics with Glamours are usually unaware of their power, but tend to do well in life with or without real aptitude or intelligence because people automatically like them. According to the Doctor, there are thousands of Glamours on Earth.

The Doctor drinks water with a slice of lemon in nineteen-eighties New York whilst holidaying with his companions. He takes them to SoHo markets, a performance of Gorecki's Sostenuto Tranquillo Ma Cantabile in Central Park, a late-night show-tune singsong in Marie's Crisis Café. They also join a demo protesting at the Supreme Court's verdict on the Michael Hardwick case, which makes Roz uneasy. They stay in the Algonquin Hotel. They later drink "nasty coffee" at the Angel Square Café in London. The Doctor has a network of friends, associates and enemies who leave notes for him about scraps of information that might interest him. One of these, a Miss David (Cat's Cradle: Warhead), left ideograms for him woven into a carpet. The Doctor and his companions stay in flat number 43 in the Quadrant. The Doctor produces a duffel bag from the TARDIS containing antique circuit boards, liquid memory wafers, an old chain mail waistcoat from, the wardrobe, and numerous rolls of sellotape. He carries a biro in his pocket that doubles as a soldering iron. The Doctor speaks plain Anglo-Saxon. He builds a device for forcing cohesion, jamming interdimensional interstices to cause dimensional closure, as a weapon to use against the N-Form; it only has a range of fifteen metres. The Doctor knows the Patrexian Numbers. He takes some of the cocaine and seizes control of the engram it creates to fight the N-Form. He shoots Mrs. Jericho in the face three times with a Hekler Koch MP5 once she joins with and takes control of the N-Form, knowing that it won't kill her.

Manufactured metagenics in Roz's bloodstream break down tar and nicotine and expel them in her bodily wastes, meaning that she can smoke without damaging her health. Whilst staying at the Quadrant she dons khaki trousers and a white vest. She gets a cut to the forearm from the N-Form.

Chris gets drunk on melon wine in New York and has his right ear pierced (not realizing what this will signify in nineteen-eighties Britain); the piercing gets infected. He has read Douglas Adams' Mostly Harmless in the TARDIS library. He wears tight jeans a white cotton t-shirt whilst staying in the Quadrant. He buys a mobile phone, as well as another pair of Levis, another white t-shirt, and a leather jacket. He has sex with David, partly because of the Doctor's philosophy that it is better to regret having tried something than to regret never having done it; this is his first same-sex encounter.

There is a virus from the Heliotrope Galaxy maturing in the sewers of New York in 1987; the Doctor informs Roz and Chris that it is dealt with sixteen years later.

The Tregatorian Empire occasionally collects psychics from across the galaxy and makes them slaves to their Economic Architects. Every fourth season, the priests of Sant's World sail forth to harvest and burn psychics, which they call Gifted, because their gods demand it.

Links: State of Decay (the Vampire War, bowships). There are also references to the Doctor's battles against Vampires in Goth Opera and Blood Harvest. The Patrexian Numbers are reminiscent of Block Transfer Computation (Logopolis). The Patrexes were first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin, as were the Prydonians. There are references to Woodwicke (Christmas on a Rational Planet), Ricky McIlveen (Warchild), Yemaya 4 (SLEEPY), Professor Clegg (Planet of the Spiders), Warlock (Warlock), Rassilon, and George Reed and England in 1941 (Just War). The Doctor's line "Somewhere in the universe, the tea's getting cold" is a reference to Survival. He mentions the anti-Dalek weapon that he built in Shoreditch (Remembrance of the Daleks) and the ripple detector that he built in Little Caldwell (Return of the Living Dad). UNIT soldiers arrive in response to the havoc wreaked by the N-Form. The Doctor sets out to follow the reactivation signal that awoke the N-Form to the thirtieth century, leading into So Vile a Sin.

Location: The Quadrant, England, 24th to 25th December 1977, 17th July 1987 and 25th July to 28th July 1987; England, 27th April 1963; Manhattan, New York, 25th July 1987.

Future History: UNIT file Quadrant27787 is closed and archived on 28th July 2017. Harry Sullivan finds a potential cure for HIV in a blood sample taken from David Daniels in June 2015, which is due to a mutagenic compound left, it is implied, in David's bloodstream when he had sex with Chris.

New York inspired the design of the Overcities (Original Sin). Norman's Cay is submerged by the thirtieth century.

In 2199, an android Dorothy Parker massacres her guests with a bazooka at the Algonquin Hotel in New York; legends of the "Algonquin Massacre" endure to the thirtieth century.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Seventh Doctor and Ace were by the Rio Yarí in Caqueta, 1983, when the awakening of the N-Form destroyed the woodland. The Third Doctor and Jo also narrowly missed encountering it fifteen months later in Tranquilandia, where Jaime Ramírez Gómez took them to a cocaine kitchen after the assault to see the real reason for the raid.

The Bottom Line: 'Hers is an entirely human tragedy. I haven't got time for such things.' Written by Russell T. Davies and featuring gay sex and a mother and daughter named Tyler living in a tenement block in London, anyone reading Damaged Goods for the first time might be forgiven for thinking that this is a blueprint for the new series of Doctor Who. In fact they couldn't be more wrong; without the need to aim for a family audience, Damaged Goods is nasty, showcasing the grinding misery often associated with a working class life in Thatcher's Britain, and with a plot that revolves around drug abuse, squalid unprotected sex in isolated public gathering points, and some of the most grisly deaths in any of the New Adventures. Toilet humour isn't on the agenda; this is adult, gripping and superbly written, and is, above all else, absolutely unforgettable.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions about the site, or any technical problems with it. You may also want to check out our Privacy Policy. There is also an About Us page, if you really want to read one.

Add new comment


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.