Roots: Jack the Ripper. Freaks (Malacroix's fate). Batman (the Doctor's final battle with the Valeyard). The erasure of the Doctor's past is similar to that in Adrian Rigelsford's aborted script for 'The Dark Dimension'. The novel opens with a quotation from Thomas Percy. There are references to Shakespeare, Pythagoras, "In the Mood", The Wizard of Oz, Mr Kipling, Linford Christie, Charles Darwin, Tommy Cooper, The Arabian Nights, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Napoleon, Wild Bill Hickok, and the Incredible Hulk.

Goofs: Dorothy's full name is given as Dorothy Gale, which flatly contradicts Set Piece [see Relative Dementias for an attempt to reconcile the two].

The Doctor's recollection of his father contradicts Lungbarrow, although this is far from the only BBC novel to do so.

The revelations about Jack the Ripper seemingly contradict The Pit [the Valeyard takes advantage of the fear generated by the first five murders, but does not commit them himself].

Dialogue Disasters: "You've seen him, ain't you? You've seen the Ripper!" And lots of other cod-Victoriana.

Continuity: After hiding inside the body of the Keeper of the Matrix (The Ultimate Foe), the Valeyard discovered the Dark Matrix caged and forgotten beneath the Citadel on Gallifrey, trapped in its own APC net (see The Deadly Assassin). The Valeyard's coven consists of evil alternate possibilities of the Doctor's incarnations. He has been watching the Doctor ever since the end of the trial (see also Mission: Impractical). He brought the Dark Matrix to Earth in his TARDIS, although the presence of the Dark Matrix is slowly tearing his ship apart. He began committing the Jack the Ripper murders to spread terror for the Dark Matrix to feed on (see Goofs) and has sued its power to unravel the Doctor's timeline. The Valeyard's TARDIS is a twisted future version of the Doctor's. It appears here as a stone sarcophagus with the Doctor's thirteen faces engraved into it. When the Valeyard's psychic link with the Dark Matrix is broken when he tries to escape, he gets struck by lightening and falls to his death from the top of the church. Following his death, his corpse vanishes and the Doctor's timeline is restored.

The Dark Matrix was created in the early days of the Matrix when the minds that comprised it began to resent their deaths and crave for existence: realising the danger, the Time Lords divided the Matrix, constructing machinery to filter out any future negative or forbidden thoughts, and imprisoned it beneath the Citadel in its own APC net, kept prisoner by the great key carried by the Keeper of the Matrix. It thus represents a distillation of all that is evil in the Time Lords. The Dark Matrix was forgotten, but legends that it survived remained. It is destroyed when it tries to escape from the Valeyard's TARDIS, which implodes with the Dark Matrix inside it.

In the alternate timeline, the Jack the Ripper killings became increasingly numerous and spread throughout London, leading to anarchy and brutality in an isolated, besieged London. After a decade, the killings subsided and London was slowly rebuilt, until during the First World War when Jack was awoken again. Jack was seen for the first time by the British Expeditionary Force at the Battle of Mons, hovering over the battlefield like an "Angel of Death". The surviving soldiers returned to London, after which Jack returned, with wraiths appearing on the streets and widespread killings. The Government moved to Edinburgh and the Royal Family to Balmoral. London was placed under marshal law. When the Second World War began, the Americans aided Britain, but only in return for de facto control of it. Under Truman, the Americans ghettoised London, establishing checkpoints to stop anyone entering or leaving. President Kennedy eventually made Britain the Fifty-First state of the Union. He is assassinated in London by Jack's wraiths. Rationing is in place by November 1963. The London Underground became a haven for packs of wild dogs and crazed homeless people and was sealed up.

When the Doctor was a boy on Gallifrey he used to visit the sea a lot. He recalls watching the Gallifreyan dawn with his father [A term of affection for Quences? See Lungbarrow]. He heard vague stories of the Dark Matrix. He adopts the alias Professor John Smith whilst in Victorian London. He kills a girl in Miller's Court by stabbing her to death with a shard of broken glass. Following this, he suffers amnesia and loiters around Whitechapel, known locally as "Johnny". Whilst amnesiac, he drinks beer but gets little effect from it.

Ace is seventeen years old. She listens to David Bowie, Happy Mondays, and James in the TARDIS. She dons the dress she wore in Gabriel Chase (Ghost Light) whilst visiting Victorian London. She later has to change into scruffy men's clothes after a tussle with a lion. She has seen various "crappy" movies about Jack the Ripper. The Valeyard uses the Dark Matrix to briefly reawaken the Cheetah virus within her, as a result of which she kills a mad old woman and gets captured and caged in Malacroix's Circus as "the Cheetah Girl".

Ian and Barbara still live in London and work as schoolteachers in the alternate timeline. They are a couple. Barbara owns her own house (see The Chase). She has scars on one arm following an attack by Jacksprites, drug-addled youths with scalpel blades attached to their finger tips, who proclaim themselves as Jack's children. The Jacksprites kill Ian and Barbara.

The TARDIS feeds off the Doctor's mental activity [Artron energy] via the telepathic circuit. The TARDIS still works if the telepathic circuit is removed but has no link to its pilot and becomes a mere vehicle rather than a semi-living being.

Joseph Liebermann is centuries old, but there is nothing else to suggest that he's anything other than unusually long-lived and wise human being. He doesn't reveal his original name and notes that he was given the name Joseph by a man named Ananius [he's apparently meant to be the Wandering Jew of Christian mythology]. He has also used the alias Isaac. Amongst his collection of books is The Cartographia of Sardis, all trace of which vanished two thousand years earlier and which has been forgotten by the human race. By the 1960s, Liebermann has become a teacher at Coal Hill School.

Links: Trial of a Time Lord. The Doctor recalls sending Susan to Shoreditch School (An Unearthly Child), and Ace recalls her previous visit (Remembrance of the Daleks). Ace recalls the Cheetah Planet (Survival). Ace notes that she hates circuses (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy). The Doctor remembers seeing London destroyed by Daleks (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). The Valeyard mentions the Rani (Time and the Rani), the Cyber-fleet (Silver Nemesis), the destruction of Skaro (Remembrance of the Daleks), Mordred (Battlefield), Spectrox Toxaemia (The Caves of Androzani).

Location: Totter's Lane, Shoreditch, London, 12 November 1963, in an alternate timeline in which Britain is the fifty-first American state; London, November [1888, the time of the Jack the Ripper murders].

Unrecorded Adventures: The Eighth Doctor meets Joseph Liebermann (then known as Isaac) in Salt Lake City and asks him to tell his story.

The Bottom Line: "Goodbye... Doctor." During the Virgin era, Doctor Who novel writers were forbidden from using the Valeyard. This is why: Matrix is dreadful. Some promising Grand Guignol material (Malacroix's circus) and decent treatment of Ace (Perry and Tucker's greatest strength) can't compensate for an embarrassingly overwrought climax that sees the Valeyard reduced to a frothing maniac rather than the scheming manipulator seen in The Trial of a Time Lord. Giving the Doctor amnesia and sidelining him for half of the novel, something done many, many times before, doesn't help. Not only a mess, but a waste as well.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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