Business Unusual

Roots: There are references to ICL, ACL, IBM, Armani, Barclays, Body Shop, Yves Saint-Laurent, Shirley Temple, the Times, the Sunday Times, Winston Graham, Neighbours, Calvin Klein, Sony, Sega, Han Solo and Star Wars, PG Tips, C. P. Snow's Death Under Sail and Corridors of Power, HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, Sonic the Hedgehog, the Mario Brothers, Volkswagen, Lady Chatterley's Lover, 1984, Billy Bunter, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Versace, Dr. Martins, Top Man, Dupree, Le Beija, Chanel, the Beatles, Hitler, Genghis Kahn, Robin Hood, and Madonna

Oxyveguramosa was first mentioned in Pip and Jane Baker's novelisation of The Ultimate Foe. In a nod to the TV Comic strip A Christmas Story, the Doctor flippantly claims to be a friend of Father Christmas. Shaun Lyon and Trey Korte are both named after fans known to Russell from the website Outpost Gallifrey.

Goofs: SenéNet is such an obvious anagram that it's a wonder that the Brigadier didn't get suspicious when he first heard the name.

Hardly Russell's fault, but following the events in the subsequent The Face of the Enemy, it seems unlikely that Corporal Bell would have been allowed to return to active service. Likewise, Osgood retired and opened a tearoom outside Reading, which is later contradicted by The Shadow in the Glass.

Chantel was spelt Chantal in Millennial Rites. The Doctor's list of old friends who recognise him whatever body he's in include Wilkin, who didn't appear to know that he could change his appearance in Shada (TV).

According to The Scales of Injustice, the man with dark glasses first underwent cybernetic augmentation when he lost an arm in an industrial accident, but his head and face were left intact apart from his eyes: here, it is stated that he suffered serious facial scarring in the accident.

Oddly, the Doctor lumps Zeos in with Argolis, Paradise Towers and the Eye of Orion, implying that he thinks it's a pleasure planet.

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor's response to being asked who he is: "Ah. Well, I'm known by all manner of people as Trouble. Or That Annoying Buffoon in the Stupid Coat. But nine times out of ten, I'm glad to say, they call me the Doctor."

"Fascinating life cycle, the uniformed policeman. But such limited capacity for intelligence."

Continuity: SenéNet is an Anglo-French private company based in Ashdown Forest that is in the computer-games console market. It has been operating since at least 1982. Ciara, Cellian, and the man with dark glasses have accessed UNIT files and learned that the Doctor can change his appearance. They and Mr. Jones (The Scales of Injustice) all work for SenéNet: the man with dark glasses is the company's managing director. His real name is Martyn Townsend. Amongst other things, he believes that the Brigadier's knowledge will reveal how Zygons' metamorphic properties work (Terror of the Zygons), why the explosion of the Nunton nuclear complex didn't destroy half of Avon (The Hand of Fear), and the properties of Validium (Silver Nemesis). His cybernetic body, built using Cyber technology (see The Scales of Injustice) is weakening: he is constructing a replacement, but needs a vast amount of extra-sensory input, which he hopes Trey Korte, who is a latent "esper" will provide. He needs an esper to provide the psychic energy to bridge his current body, his new body, and two Nestene energy spheres to complete the transfer. His collection of trophies include Bok's head (The Daemons), an Ogron gun recovered from the grounds of Auderly House and Dalekanium (Day of the Daleks), a disintegrator gun (Robot), a sample of the infection transmitted by the giant maggots (The Green Death), a Yeti's web gun (The Web of Fear), a Sontaran Mezon rifle (The Two Doctors), and a Methaji virus. He is using Nestene technology (including two Nestene energy units) to create his new body is planning to take over the world using lethal plastic toys triggered by the Maxx console, but isn't intentionally working for the Nestene Consciousness and doesn't know how to contact it even if he wanted to. He has been controlling people by replacing their bodily fluids and nerves with Nestene technology and thus controlling their minds. In fact, the Nestene Consciousness has been using him for years via Dr Krafchin, an Auton whose body houses a fully-functional energy sphere: they intend to use Trey to create a bridge to allow them to return to Earth. The Autons on Earth, and the managing director, are destroyed when Garrett Manor explodes.

The Stalker (The Scales of Injustice) homes in on the pheromones of human skin. Private Erskine kills Mr Jones to save the Brigadier. Ciara and Cellian were training as nurses until they were arrested for stealing and dealing pharmaceuticals: Dr Krafchin approached them and made them an offer, culminating in the replacement of their bodily fluids and nerves with Nestene technology: they are the only transplant victims to have retained their own personalities. Nanites repair any damage to their bodies: Cellian loses an arm to the Stalker here, but it regrows. He kills the Stalker with his Auton hand-gun.

Usurians have teapot-sized star-ships (The Sun Makers).

The Doctor has green eyes. He buys a Lochie burger from Nessie's in Brighton and devours it in a single mouthful. He carries Andromedan Grotzits (see Trial of a Time Lord). He enjoys crosswords. He claims that he has always wanted a coffee grinder. He likes Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn. He describes Sir John Sudbury as a "terrible bridge player". The Doctor has several old friends on Earth who have helped him out in the past and who always recognise him regardless of what body he's in: these include a fish and chip seller in Bolton; Harry in Shoreditch (Remembrance of the Daleks); two old ladies in Seattle; a Safari driver in Africa; Wilkins at St Cedds (Shada (TV)); a mad Austrian who lives halfway up a mountain but can always get hold of scuba gear; and Goronwy (Delta and the Bannermen). The Doctor claims that his coat is considered haute couture in the Acteon galaxy and that he had to patent the design on Kolpasha after a rash of copies.

Mel's family address is 36, Downview Crescent, Pease Pottage, West Sussex. She is twenty-five years old. Mel's mother is named Christine. She paid for Mel to have very expensive dancing lessons in Brighton with a woman named Miss Fairs. She is Honorary President of the Crawley and Area Dog Training (Obedience) Society, despite not owning any dogs, and is also involved with the Women's Institute and the Girl Guides. She employs gay Illinois drama student Trey Korte (real name Donald Korte the third) as a gardener whilst he's visiting England for the Brighton Festival. Her father Alan plays golf with Bob Lines. Mel attended a London University. When she was twelve, she liked Abba and the Bee Gees. She is working in a summer job at Brighton Information Technologies, as a condition of her taking a contract with ACL, when she first meets the Doctor. She works in the troubleshooting department under Peter Lovelady. She has befriended Lovelady's nephew and fellow co-worker Luke Aspinall. Mel thinks that the Doctor is fat. She screams for the first time in her life when an Auton attacks her. Prior to Mr Jones' death, she has never encountered death before in person. She creates a self-replicating computer virus similar to the Master's to destroy the Maxx consoles. She likes C.P. Snow (see Time and the Rani).

The Brigadier meets the Sixth Doctor for the first time here [he's very cautious when greeting him in The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, presumably because he's aware that the Doctor may have met him "out of sequence" - see also The Shadow in the Glass]. Brendon School for boys is in Heskith, Hertfordshire (see Mawdryn Undead). The Brigadier's pupils refer to him as "Brigadier Fuddy-Duddy", a fact of which he is aware. One of his pupils is called Caldwallace. The Brigadier attended a UNIT reunion part in October 1983: Benton had returned to active service, Osgood and Mike Yates had set up tearooms just outside Reading, and Carol Bell left shortly after the Brigadier went to Brendon. Bell married, and had one child. Dennis Palmer (The Three Doctors) also attended as did Liz Shaw, Masie Hawk (The Scales of Injustice), General Scobie (Spearhead from Space), and Sir John Sudbury (Time-Flight). The Brigadier also recalls Sarah Jane Smith and Tegan Jovanka (see Mawdryn Undead, The Five Doctors). Greyhound One was the Brigadier's personal call-sign when he was a member of UNIT. Sir John persuades the retired Brigadier to go undercover and investigate SenéNet in his capacity as a school teacher. He's held prisoner at SenéNet for over three weeks. The Brigadier has yet to be reunited with his former lover Doris Wilson (Battlefield), whose husband George was killed in Northern Island during the nineteen seventies; she currently lives near Pyecombe.

UNIT personnel seen here include Major Alex Simmons, who is killed when the phone box he is using is blown up. UNIT once rescued a Lacaillian (Return of the Living Dad) from Yugoslavia before the Russians found it. Private Bryan Erskine was shot down by an Axon (The Claws of Axos), which scorched off half of his face, and left for dead by UNIT: he was officially declared dead but was recruited by C19. He eventually ended up working for the man with dark glasses, and eventually SenéNet. The man with dark glasses kills him when he rebels.

Sir John Sudbury is planning to retire to his home in Swanage. The Doctor gave some rose bushes to his wife Mary.

Communicating with agents by placing a seemingly innocent advert in a newspaper is a traditional C19 way of operating.

Links: Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons, The Scales of Injustice, Millennial Rites. The Brigadier recalls Parakon (The Paradise of Death), Colonel Crichton (The Five Doctors), Cyberguns (The Invasion), and Axons (The Claws of Axos). His daughter Kate first appeared in Downtime. The Doctor mentions Argolis (The Leisure Hive), Zeos (The Armageddon Factor), the Eye of Orion (The Five Doctors) and Paradise Towers (Paradise Towers). He recalls the loss of old friends including Azmael (The Twin Dilemma), the Keeper of Traken (The Keeper of Traken), the Monitor (Logopolis), Adric (Earthshock), and Katarina (The Daleks' Master Plan). There are references to Harry Sullivan going undercover at Think Tank (Robot). There are references to Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space, The Romance of Crime), Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Macra (The Macra Terror), Zygons and the Skarasen (Terror of the Zygons), "large intelligent plants" (The Seeds of Doom), Jo Grant, Chelonians (The Highest Science, Zamper, The Well-Mannered War). The Doctor has a nightmare about Sontarans in the TARDIS, which is a reference to In a Fix with Sontarans.

Location: Ashdown Forest, Sussex Weald, 11th May 1989 and 30th June 1989; Ashdown Forest, Brighton, Hove, and Pease Pottage, 24th - 26th July 1989.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor was enjoying a fishing holiday on Majus Four when Bob Lines used a Space-Time Telegraph (see Revenge of the Cybermen, Terror of the Zygons) provided during a previous encounter to ask for his help: the story opens with the Doctor defeating an attempt by the Master and his Usurian partner-in-crime to defraud Dow-Jones of $68 million and reduce the contents of Fort Knox to dust: the Doctor defeats his plans by computer, the Master remaining unaware that the Doctor has defeated him. The Doctor insists on wiping all records of the Master's activities from the computer systems to ensure that the anachronistic computer techniques utilised by the Doctor, the Master, and the Usurian Company do not affect Earth's history. He recruits Mel to help him mop up (see Millennial Rites).

Following the events of Trial of a Time Lord, the Doctor dropped Mel off with his future self on the planet Oxyveguramosa. At the end of this story, he offers to take her to the planet Herec.

The Doctor may have met Erich von Däniken. He again claims to have met Napoleon (see Day of the Daleks, as well as the subsequently published World Game).

Q.v. UNIT Call Signs, The Invasion from the original Discontinuity Guide.

The Bottom Line: "Hello Mel." "Hello Doctor." Comfortingly cosy fanwank, with Russell's enthusiasm making his decision to write Mel's proper debut and orchestrate a meeting between the Sixth Doctor and the Brigadier just about acceptable. As usual, there is some terrible dialogue and tedious soap opera on display, but it's all rather entertaining.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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