Where Angels Fear
Roots: Various real-life religions, including The Witnesses of Jehovah. There are quotations from J. R. Lowell, and Milton's Paradise Lost. There are references to Phillip Marlowe, Marilyn Monroe, Aladdin, Hammer Horror, Edgar Allen Poe, and Sherlock Holmes.
Dialogue Disasters: "I'm not an atheist because I don't believe anything. Atheism is what I believe."
Continuity: The gods were imprisoned beneath the surface of Dellah and feed on faith, the unique multi-faith society on Dellah allowing them all to attain god-like powers. Without faith, they are powerless. It is implied that they wouldn't be able to survive the detonation of John's bomb. John implies that they were imprisoned as part of a hugely secret treaty [between the People and the Time Lords] and are the reason why God has always been interested in Dellah. Bernice deduces that God arranged for them to be imprisoned in exactly the same way that MEPHISTO was imprisoned inside Tyler's Folly (Down) [all of which implies that both the Time Lords and God know that they are the Ferutu and why they are such a threat - see Twilight of the Gods (NA). Given that they are the Ferutu, Clarence's theory - that they were the People's gods until God cast them out and that God deliberately bred the psi gene out of the People's genome because it would allow them to return - may be mistaken assumption on Clarence's part. On the other hand, Twilight of the Gods (NA) establishes that these Ferutu are outcasts from their own people and arrived in this universe centuries earlier, so they may have first arrived in the WorldSphere]. Dellah was chosen as their prison because at the time its inhabitants believed in powerless gods, which should have kept the entities powerless in turn; instead, they have been influencing religion on the planet for years so that it would develop in ways that suit them. By the end of the events depicted here, the gods totally dominate Dellah, which is consumed by religious war. Earth, aware of the danger posed, quarantines the planet.
The Hut range is Dellah's largest mountain range; Maa'lon's Spear is the highest point on the planet at three-thousand five-hundred and twenty-four metres above sea level. The Hut'eri are one of the species native to Dellah, and are humanoid, with yellow-brown scaly skin. The Mokari were another tribe, which live on the nearby Plain of Tumas. The Hut'eri wiped out the Mokari during the N'a'm'thuli Schism. The N'a'm'thuli are a violent offshoot of the Hut'eri. Religions seen on Dellah here include the Church of Maa'lon, Itari, the Church of the Grey, the Church of Ahriman the Great, the Sect of FoJal, and the Cult of G'na.
The Church of Maa'lon originated five thousand years earlier in the small Hut'eri town of Tal'een on Dellah. Maa'lon taught his followers the Code, which forms the main part of the Book of Taa'lon. The Sultan of Dellah establishes a New Moral Army, members of which are given a copy of the Coda of the Army of the Gods. The Church of the Grey follows The First Book of the Grey and was born in the twenty-first century out of the anarchy and paranoia of the internet; the Church has no set rules, and every member chooses his or her own rules, which he or she writes in his or her own personal Book of the Grey. The Sect of FoJal follows The Pronouncements of FoJal. The Arcanate of the Hedra is a region of savannah near the Hut mountains and home to a tribe named the Hedrai who worship the triple-god Anoouki. The Hedrai are dark-skinned reptilian humanoids with dark green leathery skins, small horned beak-like mouths, no noses and yellow and black vertical slit eyes.
God recalls all of his agents from the Milky Way in preparation for the events here. There is an Obscene Topiary Interest Group, an Apocalyptic Religions Interest Group, and an Awfully Clever Hacking Interest Group. The People have never believed in deities and therefore have no religious iconography.
Gh'see are small, white, short-haired goat-like animals native to Dellah. Aliens currently on Dellah include Pakhars and Earth Reptiles.
The First Book of Grel contains Grel creation myths. The Grel have large, broad, rubbery feet.
Clarence is a veteran of the War, but can't remember fighting in it. His never had sex, which is the most biological thing he can imagine doing.
John resembles a human, but has two hearts. He definitely isn't a Time Lord. Braxiatel knows what he is and John himself knows who and what the gods are [is he a renegade member of the People?]. Maa'lon kills him.
Bernice is an atheist. She orders a Virgin Mary in The Witch and the Whirlwind. She later drinks an orange crush. The Grel seen here visit Dellah because they consider Bernice to be a "fact catalyst". Benny eats a j'lee in Tal'een. She befriends Grel Servitor Shemda here. Captain Lorna Stewart is an old acquaintance of Braxiatel's, with whom he has done business in the past. She suffers various bruises and broken blood vessels here.
Braxiatel has sandy-coloured hair. Unusually, he drinks [or at least, buys] a pint here. He drinks cognac. The Time Lords try to recall him back to Gallifrey, but he refuses to leave Dellah, noting that he hasn't lived on his home planet for centuries. He is afraid of dying. He completes John's work by evacuating four thousand people from Dellah in a secret armada of ships.
Emile Mars-Smith is killed here but resurrected by one of the gods as a part of a deal he made with it.
The Very Reverend James Harker works in the department of Comparative Religion and is a friend of Bernice's. Jonaas Brenkler is Professor of Ancient History (Indigenous) at the University of Dellah and is the author of The N'a'm'thuli Schism and the Dark Heart of the Hut'eri.
Species mentioned or seen here include Cham'di, which are short and three-fingered.
Links: John previously appeared, unnamed, in Another Girl, Another Planet. Emile last appeared in Deadfall. The Grel first appeared in Oh No It Isn't!. !Ci!ci-tel and WiRgo!xu are mentioned (Walking to Babylon).
Location: The WorldSphere and Dellah, 2595.
Future History: The Great Act of Tolleration of 2528 on Dellah recognises one thousand and thirty-six religions on the planet. Five and hundred and twelve of these are indigenous.
The Bottom Line: "With these powers we can do anything. If we're willing to pay the price." At the time, Where Angels Fear came as a big shock, a massive shake-up of the status quo that saw Benny's home throughout the range thus far denied here and even Braxiatel shaken to the core. In retrospect, the story arc it sets up suffers the same ignoble fate as the War in the Eighth Doctor Adventures, unexpectedly truncated and brought to a hurried conclusion that doesn't do it justice. It's now difficult to separate it from that, although in its own way it remains significant for setting in motion a chain of events that would set things up for Big Finish to pick up Benny's adventures later on. Nevertheless, taken in isolation, it's a competently written attack on the stupidity of blind faith and religious dogma.