Verdigris

Roots: The Children of Destiny are rather obviously based on The Tomorrow People, albeit with added fascism. Iris plays Tammy Wynette's Greatest Hits in the bus. Jo's friend Tara is meant to be Tara King (The Avengers). The Doctor whistles David Bowie's "Starman". There are references to Milton, Dusty Springfield, Suzi Quatro, the Marquis de Sade, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, Jude the Obscure, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Vanity Fair, Thackeray, Austen, Dickens, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, Changing Rooms, Get Carter, Are You Being Served?, Princess Diana, Gary Glitter, David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust, Abba, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Thomas Hardy, Jilly Cooper, Geoffrey Chaucer, Little Red Riding Hood, Macbeth, Beowulf, Dennis Wheatley and The Devil Rides Out, the Bible, Droll Stories, Bluebeard, Lawrence's The Rainbow, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, The Blob, The Exorcist, the Daily Mirror, Shirley Bassey, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The Doctor's country house is from the TV Action and Countdown Doctor Who comic strips. Jo is captured on still camera and microphone when she enters UNIT HQ, resulting in a sequence in which clear sound recording accompanies a series of black-and-white stills, in an obvious reference to the telesnaps of missing stories and fan reconstructions.

Goofs: This story is dated to 1973, which contradicts the dating adopted by The Discontinuity Guide and used here. [Though, so far, it fits just fine with the timeline elsewhere on this site - Ed]

It isn't clear exactly why Verdigris is working for the Master; the Master certainly doesn't wish the Doctor well, and from the Master's view all he could possibly get from the arrangement is mild amusement at Verdigris's interference in the Doctor's life [which is perhaps the point, Verdigris being, in general, an affectionate swipe at the Pertwee era].

Simon Bucher-Jones pointed out on Jade Pagoda that Iris' plan to rescue the Doctor from exile is ludicrously complicated. Although given that she was very drunk when she unleashed Verdigris, this isn't necessarily a Goof. However, his observation that Verdigris' plan makes even less sense is rather harder to ignore: there is no logical reason for him to try and discredit UNIT and using killer robot sheep doesn't make sense because however silly they may be, they are still killer sheep.

Dialogue Triumphs: "But that's monstrous! You have infected the Earth with an epistemological quandary that will leave them stymied and perplexed for a century of more!"

Iris on the Doctor: "He's dying to get his hands on my bust... bus, sorry."

Continuity: Verdigris is working for the Master, although it isn't clear why [see Goofs]. The Master is bored with hanging around on Earth and has arranged a meeting on Skaro (leading into his next appearance in Frontier in Space).

Iris first summoned up Verdigris in the ruins of a city built of copper on Makorna, a world with twin suns, red sand and a green sky. He is a supernatural creature which she summoned up using magic whilst drunk and charged him with the task of freeing the Doctor from his exile, to which end he concocted a ludicrous plan that involved manipulating UNIT, the Children of Destiny, and the Meercocks. Verdigris is a livid metallic green humanoid with emerald, burning eyes. He is immortal and indestructible. He can animate trees, change his form, and regrets any loss of life. He has known of the Doctor for a long time. Verdigris disguises himself as the Master, in turn disguised as the Brigadier. After the Brigadier mask is pulled away and he's disguised as the Master, he kisses Jo. Verdigris is unable to stop interfering in the Doctor's life until his freedom is restored, and to this end sets about making Omega aware of the Doctor's presence on Earth (The Three Doctors). Omega is mentioned in the legends of Makorna. Verdigris briefly appears in the TARDIS following the events of The Three Doctors to congratulate the Doctor on regaining his freedom.

The Meercocks' home planet was destroyed by the Valceans from the Obverse dimension (The Blue Angel)' they wanted to find a new home on Earth, and set out to clone bodies for themselves that would blend in, but their advance spy mistakenly researched Earth fiction, so that they have adopted the identities of fictional characters. In their natural form they have golden telescopic legs and hydraulic joints. Their ship is the exact shape and size of St. Pancras station and they use train-shaped shuttles to travel to Earth. They eventually find a new home on Makorna.

The Children of Destiny are a group of young telepathic humans who are in contact with and working for the Galactic Federation, an "almost mystical union, an harmonious telepathic gestalt comprised of the most evolved and advanced members of races from across the galaxy" [see Roots] which is actually a fake organization created by Verdigris. A computer named Simon leads the Children. Verdigris, disguised as the Master, has lead them to believe that UNIT is a fraud, and that they have faked all the alien invasion at the Doctor's urgings, which is losing the Children credibility in the eyes of the Galactic Federation.

Jo gets in a taxi driven by a troll-like alien with orange eyes. The Children of Destiny picked up a fluid silicon creature on Naxon Four. The Saldisians are handbag-shaped aliens. They used to visit new hominid races and declare themselves to be gods [presumably explaining why handbags are found all over the galaxy].

Iris Wildthyme is apparently not "a proper Time Lord"; the Time Lords don't know who she is. The Doctor suggests that she comes from the New Towns under the Capitol (see The Eight Doctors) and notes that she shouldn't have ever been let anywhere near a TARDIS. She found her TARDIS in the mountains of Gallifrey where it had been left to die, and coaxed it back to life; it was her TARDIS that suggested that she should spend her life traveling around the universe having adventures. Iris has a travelling companion called Tom. She gives him an antique burnt orange silk dressing gown. She wears leather driving gloves and a floppy green felt hat. In her current incarnation she is a woman who in human terms looks a little over sixty, and has dyed her hair lilac. She takes Tom to meet the Doctor, whom she confidently assures him, will be pleased to see her! Iris knows that the Doctor is currently exiled to Earth; she has met the Doctor in his own future prior to this point, and has met the Fourth Doctor when he was travelling with Romana and K9. It is implied that she knows the Master. She once had a companion named Jenny, whom she describes as a "butch dyke traffic warden". Jenny got diarrhoea every time she travelled through the Vortex. Iris has a fear of trees after an encounter with living trees on an alien planet. She has a fake UNIT pass. She never finishes books, preferring to make up her own endings. She loves the Internet. The Meercocks worship her handbag, to which they refer as the Revenant, and which she claims was given to her as a present (see also Excelis Dawns); in fact, it is the sentient Ambassador Saldis of the Galactic Federation. The kitchen at the back of Iris's TARDIS contains enough water "to fill the Great Lakes of Canada". Iris wears Shalimar. Unbeknownst to the Doctor, she was once a member of the Sisterhood of Karn and was present when his fourth incarnation defeated Morbius (The Brain of Morbius); he didn't recognize her because of her robes. Following the events of The Brain of Morbius, Ohica apparently led Morbius to the Death Zone on Gallifrey (The Five Doctors), reactivated the Time Scoop and interfered with Rassilon's remains. When Ohica discovered that Iris had infiltrated the Sisterhood, she timescooped all of her incarnations and pitted her against Voord (The Keys of Marinus), Zarbi (The Web Planet) and Mechanoids (The Chase); when Iris dealt with them, Ohica threw her through space and time to Makorna, where she learned of the Doctor's exile from a prospector and decided to do something about it, unleashing Verdigris. [Readers should note that Iris's accounts of her adventures are generally considered to be somewhat unreliable - Ed]

Tom is black and gay. He wandered into Iris' bus by mistake in early November 2000; she dematerialised with him on board in a fit of pique after he laughed at the décor. His first trip in the bus took Iris and him to Calgoria, where they became embroiled with the forest-dwelling Jirat and the pathologically metropolitan Trinarr. He has complained about all of his adventures with Iris - except for the time he met Cleopatra, which he thought was "fabulous". They have been travelling together for a little over a month. He got a First in English Literature. He mistakenly thinks that Iris doesn't know that he is gay. When he was seven years old, his mother told him that she believed in destiny and gave him a belt with a golden buckle, which he has worn ever since. The buckle is shaped like a hexagram with a star at its centre, and is the emblem of the Children of Destiny, of which his mother Mary was a member. Tom is familiar with Daleks.

The Doctor owns a country house thirty miles from Thisis, which he bought with his rather large UNIT wages. The drive is lined with marble statues of various mythical beasts, including a faun and a Minotaur. The house has a dining room with French windows, robin's egg blue décor, a red wood dining table, and portraits of his past incarnations. The Doctor keeps a very fat female ginger cat. It sleeps in his house, and he has been training it to help him get out of trouble; as such, it can vomit useful keys. There is a room decorated in deep underwater blue, with a collection of blue Chinese ginger jars containing holograms of planets and creatures including a Stranovitican. He brings the TARDIS to the house and leaves it in the hallway, next to a small table with a black Bakelite telephone. There is a laboratory in the house, which is better equipped than the Doctor's lab at UNIT HQ, but messier. He has a huge yellow teapot in the kitchen and provides cold roast beef sandwiches with horseradish and gherkins for Jo, Iris, Tom and himself. He later prepares a roast dinner for the four of them. He takes Jo to his house for a week's holiday and is planning dinner parties with various important guests. He wears a cherry red velvet jacket with violet trim here, and a blue ruffled shirt. He is extremely hospitable to Iris, but apparently only because she has a working TARDIS. The Doctor has known Thisis newspaper shop owner Sally for some time and met her in his second incarnation several times; he has told her that he is an alien working for the United Nations, but she doesn't believe him. He usually buys some newspapers and a Radio Times from her. He tells her that she reminds him of his mother (see The TV Movie). He drinks Bombay Sapphire with lime on Iris's bus. Verdigris suggests that it is the Doctor's work for UNIT that has kept him trapped on Earth, since it distracts him from repairing the TARDIS.

Jo wears purple dungarees, red plastic stack-heeled boots, and a shaggy ice-blue fur coat. She packs a battered case with sweaters and old jeans for a week in the country. She is trained in escapology, lock picking and escapology, albeit only to a preliminary level. She has a friend named Tara who is in a similar line of work in that she is the assistant to "another rather eccentric freelance gentleman adventurer in secret service to the government" [see Roots]. She recently stayed with Tara in London. When the Doctor, Jo, Tom and Iris go for a drive in Bessie, Jo brings a china tea service and cakes.

At the last UNIT party, Mike clumsily kissed Jo and talked to her a little about his unhappy childhood. He is brainwashed into believing that he's a shopkeeper and then transformed into a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out, which Jo folds up and puts in her bag.

The Doctor and Iris agree that the Nurses of Ionicaiy Six would go to the trouble of kidnapping humans simply to play doctors and nurses.

Links: This story takes place between The Time Monster and The Three Doctors. Jo recalls being dragged into the future to face the Daleks (Day of the Daleks), tussle with fish people (The Sea Devils), being tied to an altar to be sacrificed to the Devil (The Daemons), and facing "a malign alien consciousness that disguised itself variously in the form of shop dummies, plastic daffodils and trimphones" (Terror of the Autons). She also recalls visiting Atlantis (The Time Monster). There are references to Sontarans, Ice Warriors, Drashigs (Carnival of Monsters), Yeti (The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear), and Peladon (The Curse of Peladon). Props provided by the Children of Destiny include a fake Dalek, and a rubbery vegetable-like prop that is meant to be the Axon costume from The Claws of Axos and reused in The Seeds of Doom. Iris recalls meeting the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane (Old Flames (Short Trips)). The Doctor notes that the Cybermen used to have a base on the Moon (The Invasion).

Iris' journal entry alludes to "canon-death" and she considers warning the Doctor what will happen to him in years to come when "everything changes", which might be a reference to Interference. She also alludes to the Doctor's secret past lives and his real origins (The Brain of Morbius, Lungbarrow).

The Doctor and Jo once visited a blue swamp with purple mud, where he told her that if she is in trouble it will sometimes be enough if she thinks in his general direction.

Liz Shaw is amongst the members of UNIT brainwashed by Verdigris.

Location: Thisis, Great Yarmouth and London, England; and Wales, shortly before The Three Doctors.

Unrecorded Adventures: Iris and Jenny help a future incarnation of the Doctor defeat the Dalek Supreme in the Crystal Mines of Marlion. The Third Doctor, Brigadier and Iris faced Celaphopods in Venice. The Doctor and the Brigadier recently dealt with a malevolent alien from Arcturus, whom the Doctor sent back home. The Doctor and Iris encountered the Terrible Zodin on Mars (see The Five Doctors, Lungbarrow). Iris also claims that she saved his life in Scotland during an encounter with Mary Queen of Scots, on Neptune during an encounter with the Ice Warriors, and on Qon-ti-jaqir during an encounter with the Drashigs, none of which the Doctor recalls.

The Doctor has taken Jo to his house in Kent (first seen in Cat's Cradle: Warhead), his flat in London, the caravan he keeps up in the Highlands of Scotland, and his country house at Thisis. The Doctor is known to the Galactic Federation and has friends in the organization.

The Bottom Line: "There really are such things as robot sheep!" Logic flies out of the window, but for the most part Verdigris is hilariously entertaining, poking fun at the UNIT era, rubber monsters, certain two-dimensional performances from regulars, and assorted other cult television programs into the bargain. Iris works particularly well in contrast to the po-faced Third Doctor.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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