The King of Terror

Roots: V. The title comes from a quotation from Nostradamus. The Brigadier quotes Wellington. The Doctor reads The Times. The television program Space 2693 is presumably meant to be a sequel to Space: 1999.

There are references to the Guardian, Sky Sports, Silk Cut, Margaret Thatcher, Homer Simpson, the Daily Mirror, the Quatermass serials (British Rocket Group), Rudyard Kipling, New Scientist, Joseph Turner, Stewart Granger, The X-Files, Star Trek: Voyager, Citroën, the Beatles, Burger King, Denzel Washington's performance in Malcolm X, Goebbels, Disney, Picasso's The Blind Girl, Don Quixote, The Omen, Aleister Crowley, Noddy Holder, Star Trek, Cybill Shepherd, Alias Smith and Jones, USA Today, the Sex Pistols, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mary Poppins, Ferdinand Magellan, Amerigo Vespucci, Neiman-Marcus, Galileo, Copernicus, Sherlock Holmes, Marxism, Oasis, Yes, Genesis, the Jam, the Clash, the Buzzcocks, Boards of Canada, Bridge on the River Kwai, "New York, New York", "The Tracks of My Tears", Jack Daniels, Oscar Wilde, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Deliverance, Kepler, Herschel, Isaac Newton, Elvis Presley, Beck's "Loser", James Bond, M*A*S*H, The Midwich Cuckoos, The Wild Bunch, Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Italian Job, Def Leppard, The War of the Worlds, Gardener's Question Time, Michaelangelo, da Vinci, Shakespeare, Mozart, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, Star Wars, Humphrey Bogart, Steve McQueen, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Nelson Mandela, the Moonbase 3 episode 'View of a Dead Planet', and the BBC.

Goofs: The Fifth Doctor knows that the Brigadier is married to Doris, despite not learning about it until Battlefield.

Turlough drinks eight beers in a bar in Los Angeles, chats up local girls, and is apparently interested in American football. That's Turlough. Right...

According to Keith Topping, Johnny Chester's wife is an older Tegan post-Resurrection of the Daleks, and Johnny recognises the younger Tegan here. And yet nobody, not even the Johnny Chester-obsessed Dave Milligan, comments on her similarity to Chester's wife, or even notes that they have the same name.

The Brigadier apparently still has the space-time telegraph (Revenge of the Cybermen, Terror of the Zygons), so why doesn't he use it to contact the Doctor instead of leaving cryptic adverts in New Scientist?

In Chapter Twenty-One, the Doctor starts quoting his second incarnation for no apparent reason.

Double Entendres: "Take a man round the rear, Sergeant".

Dialogue Disasters: Ooh, lots and lots. Most of Paynter's macho dialogue, but especially "We're the Force, son, and we ain't had our breakfast".

Tegan's dialogue here includes such out-of-character gems as "Flis had, like, all of her claws into the only boy I fancied, Gary Lovarik, so I resigned from the human race", whilst Turlough gets to snarl "Die, you bitch, die!"

"The price of this art is junkies and whores".

Dialogue Triumphs: "Science requires linear certainty from random doubt".

When asked how he made a blue police box appear out of thin air in Hollywood, the Doctor replies, "Colour separation overlay".

Continuity: International Communications (a.k.a. InterCom) is a multinational conglomerate headed by billionaire Paolo Sanger: Sanger and the board of the directors are actually Jex. The Jex are insects with huge domed skulls, antennae, and small red eyes, and claw-like pincers. And tentacles, apparently. They were once a hugely powerful corporate empire-building race. They originate on the planet Jexa in the Cassiopeia system on the far side of the galaxy from Earth. They once had an empire that covered several galaxies and were very powerful, bureaucratic and methodical, arriving on planets and taking them over from within, strategically placing moles in positions of power across the planet in question. They called their power elite the conglomerate. The conglomerate operates in total autonomy to the Central League on Jexa. The classic Jex invasion takes place in three stages: infiltration; economic conquest; and bombardment. They have been in retreat for the last two thousand years, pursued by the Canavitchi, one of their former slave races. Jexa has a slightly toxic atmosphere that contains trihexabenopolyeythlochloride, which is non-toxic to humans. The Jex intend to modify Earth's atmosphere to suit them, and to use a gene-bomb to cause genetic mutations in humans that will allow them to survive as slaves in the new environment.

The Canavitchi are from the planet Fen'vetch Suxa Canavitchi, which means "the beautiful world of blue and gold", in the Pleiades system. They were once so feared that they were the ancient equivalent of the Daleks. According to Ryman, they've been on Earth for a thousand years, waiting for their warriors to arrive, during which time they faked the Turin Shroud, set up the Knights Templar, gave the Spanish Inquisition ideas about how flat the Earth was, caused the War of Independence and the Wall Street Crash, and helped Nostradamus write his prophecies, all to slow down mankind's technological evolution. The Canavitchi don't fear death, since they consider it to be a doorway to a better life. Their life-span is hundreds of years long. They have a gestalt-like consciousness and are green, slender, and frail-looking, with teeth and fangs. They were empire builders for many thousands of years before the Jex enslaved and organised them: they now hunt the Jex, and destroy any worlds where the Jex are found. The Jex wiped out two-thirds of the Canavitchi in their attempts to retain control over them.

The Doctor spots the hidden message placed by the Brigadier in New Scientist, so he presumably picks it up fairly often whenever he's on Earth. The Brigadier arranges to meet the Doctor in the National Portrait Gallery: on the previous such occasion, it was the Tate. The Doctor gives the Brigadier a signed, first edition of The Revolt of Islam, because he knows of the Brigadier's fondness for Shelley. The Doctor and Tegan pose as Doctor Smith of Cambridge and his assistant Miss Jones whilst investigating InterCom. The Doctor assumes that Turlough's home planet is drab, colourless, hot and gaseous, but admits he doesn't know the planet's name.

Tegan grew up in the town of Caloundra, seventy miles from Brisbane. Tegan is a Cornish name meaning "lovely little thing". Her "best friend" was neighbour Felicity "Flis" Spoonsy, who often got her a beating by encouraging her to smoke. She fancied a boy named Gary Lovarik, whom Flis seduced. When she was thirteen, she asked God to kill her "mad old cow" of a grandmother, who died six weeks later from a coronary thrombosis. Tegan's father had an affair with a twenty-year-old bimbo from the typing pool, and her mother hated her: she was sent to boarding school, but was expelled after two terms and ran away to Sydney, where she squatted in King's Cross until her dad found her and sent her to England to live with her Aunt Vanessa (Logopolis) at the age of fifteen. Tegan drinks vodka and orange here. She has never visited America before. Tegan hates computers. When she slaps Paynter, he backhands her across the face, after which they start kissing. She claims to be claustrophobic. She injures her hands whilst attacking Perico.

Whilst in London in 1999, Turlough visits a solicitor in Chancery Lane and apparently has a fight with him, returning as he does with a swollen, bloody nose (see Planet of Fire for the identity of the solicitor). The neon lighting and plasticity of Los Angeles remind Turlough of Trion before the revolution (see Planet of Fire, Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma). He is given a UNIT ID pass that states his age is twenty-one. His rank on Trion was Junior Ensign Commander. The insurgents on Trion used truth sera when they took to the Presidium. He drinks eight beers in a bar in Los Angeles, chats up local girls, and is apparently interested in American football (see Goofs). The Jex abduct Turlough and strip and extensively torture him. Torture to which he's subjected includes having a hole drilled in one of his teeth, and he also ends up with scars on his torso. Turlough can withstand higher temperatures than the average human, has a higher white blood cell count, and has minute traces of uranium and other odd elements in his blood. His DNA profile is different from that of a human. He kills his torturer, Eva. Turlough's classmates at Brendon school included Bolam the school bully, Matthewson, McMullen, Pradie, Rogerson, Shaw major, Shaw minor, and Watt.

The Brigadier is seventy-one years old in 1999. He rejoined UNIT in an advisory capacity in 1997 (see Battlefield). He is in charge of a small team operating out of an office in Covent Garden that investigates the unusual and unexplained to try and avert alien invasions before they happen. He attends a United National General Council seminar on the use of alien technology by Third World countries in their nuclear programmes. When UNIT was based in its second or third London HQ in Marble Arch, he used to buy a bacon and cheese roll with a cup of tea for ninety-nine pence from Signor Graziani's coffee shop. The Doctor told the Brigadier during the seventies that aliens had infiltrated the CIA. When the Brigadier taught Turlough at Brendon school, he was told that Turlough came from Coventry. By 2050, Brigadier General Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is one hundred and twenty-one years old (see Happy Endings) and returned to his home dimension twenty years after taking a bride in Avalon (The Shadows of Avalon). He lives in the Westcliffe Retirement Home in Sussex. His grandmother died in 1955.

The Doctor can access the TARDIS' databanks from the Brigadier's space-time telegraph (Revenge of the Cybermen, Terror of the Zygons).

Control has dandruff. He appears to be the same age as he was in the nineteen-seventies [The Devil Goblins from Neptune - again supporting the theory that he's a Time Lord]. He describes the Fifth Doctor as "the vulnerable one". Control has an assistant named Greaves.

Doctor Shaw (Liz), Professor Chesterton (Ian) and Doctor Sutton (Petra - see Inferno) all dropped out of Project Carnival.

UNIT has a field operations centre in Derbyshire that contains a full working model of "It's a small world". Lieutenant Mark Paynter's first UNIT job involved Kettlewell's robot (Robot) when he was seventeen. His father worked for the British Rocket Group (Remembrance of the Daleks). Barrington's UNIT call-sign here is Greyhound: he reports to Trap Five. Other UNIT soldiers mentioned here include Sergeant Hill, Lieutenant Jacqueline Maguire, Devesham Drill Sergeant James Rankin (known as "stinker" due to his body odour), and Richie Symcox (who left active duty after his wife shot him). Mel Tyrone is head of UNIT's Los Angeles office, and has two staff members, a secretary and a sergeant. The secretary is Private Natalie Wooldridge, niece of Major Martin Beresford (The Seeds of Doom), who was promoted to Colonel and is now retired and living on the Isle of Wight. At some point, a UNIT squadron under the command of an officer named Wolfgang dealt with a Raston Warrior Robot (The Five Doctors) at Waterloo Station. Wolfgang eventually became a Major and returned to Germany. UNIT has an HQ in Iceland and a Strategic Operations Defence (SOD) in Geneva. In 1981, a group of UNIT soldiers including Paynter had to deal with about a hundred Zygons (Terror of the Zygons, The Bodysnatcher) left over from an invasion. Barrington's first encounter with aliens was after "the Ice Warriors fiasco in Northampton": Paynter was with Harry Sullivan's broadsword team at Porton Down at the time (see Harry Sullivan's War). Barrington dies in a terrorist bomb attack here: Paynter's first partner, Paul Foxton was also killed on active duty a decade earlier in Baghdad. There is a video entitled State Secrets about the Cyber invasion (The Invasion). UNIT uses technology cannibalised from International Electromatics and still has the Hercules transport plane (The Invasion).

The Beatles are currently on a Millennium tour, minus Ringo Starr, who has drowned - members include George, Billy and Klaus.

Links: Control first appeared in The Devil Goblins from Neptune. The Doctor describes the events of The Awakening to the Brigadier and notes the comparison to the events of The Daemons. He notes that he has been to Hollywood before (Dying in the Sun). There are references to the Cybermen invasion (The Invasion), the Autons (Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons), the General Carrington affair (The Ambassadors of Death), the Stahlman project (Inferno), the Waro (The Devil Goblins from Neptune), the Master, Doris (Battlefield), Cybermen, the Black Guardian, The Monk's use of a pop concert during the Seventies (No Future), Daleks, and Terminus (Terminus). At one point, the Brigadier murmurs "poor Miss Grant", which may be a reference to . Johnny Chester was first mentioned (as Johnny Chess) in Timewyrm: Revelation: his band, and the fact that he was married to an Australian politician, were previously mentioned in The Hollow Men.

Location: San Joaquin Valley, California, 4th December 1981; Westcliffe Retirement Home, Sussex, 28th September 2050; Tokyo, 1st July 1999; Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, 3rd July 1999; London, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, from 3rd July 1999.

Future History: Some of the UNIT files are released to the public in 2050 under the eighty-year ruling. The Doctor is referred to in UNIT files as Doctor Smith, and there is speculation that "the Doctor" was actually a code name for a group of scientists who worked for UNIT. Daniel Clompus' Watch the Skies: The Not-So-Secret History of Alien Encounters is published by London Multimedia Publishing in 2051 and contains information from the UNIT files. The Man Who Saved the World - The Complete Memos, Letters and E-mails of Brigadier Lethbridge Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart of UNIT, edited by Russell Farway, is published by London Multimedia Publishing in 2052.

Unrecorded Adventures: Following The Awakening, the Doctor tried to take Will Chandler back to 1643, but the TARDIS first landed on a planet of very intelligent, warlike, walking reptiles, whose King wanted to execute the Doctor.

The Doctor once did some work in Redborough for UNIT. He met Chung Sen during the 1970s, when Sen was working on a tachyon-field generator. He also met Lewis at MIT and tried to recruit him into UNIT.

The Doctor once ran into the Jex on an ice planet in the Rifta star system. He again notes that he saw the charge of the Light Brigade. He was also at Agincourt, Waterloo [Endgame], Rorke's Drift, Passchendaele, El Alamein, and My Lai.

The Doctor once faced a servant of the Terrible Zodin (The Five Doctors) who was utterly without pity but had a strange predilection for cream cakes.

The Bottom Line: "Would all of this still have happened if I hadn't been here?" Embarrassingly shallow, The King of a Terror is a ghastly car-crash of a novel. The regulars (and the Brigadier) are not only badly characterised, they are largely wasted, with Topping preferring to focus instead on the oafish and unpleasant Geoff Paynter. The plot, so derivative as to be utterly forgettable, doesn't help.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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