Byzantium!

Roots: The Gospel of Mark, Monty Python's Life of Brian, Carry on Caesar. Barbara quotes If by Rudyard Kipling. There are references to Slade, Henry Cooper, Spartacus, Alistair MacLean,

Goofs: Ian uses 1990s colloquialisms.

There are numerous errors in the portrayal of first century Judaism and Christianity including references to the Byzantium Synagogue as a temple, references to the Apostle Paul as a Gentile, and the Gospel of Mark having to be translated into Greek (the language it was originally written in).

The Doctor's memory of helping Shakespeare write Hamlet contradicts The Empire of Glass, which is clearly his first meeting with Shakespeare, and shows that it was the fourth Doctor who helped with Hamlet.

Dialogue Disasters: 'Pure dead easy', 'Peachy-fine' and 'pen and inks' are Ian lines.

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor describes his origins: 'I am from many places and have many homes, and yet no home save that which I carry in my heart.'

Continuity: The Doctor helps to translate the Gospel of Mark. He tells the Christians that in the language of his people, Doctor means creator.

Johnny Chess is confirmed as being Ian and Barbara's son; his full name is John Alydon Ganatus Chesterton. Ian and Barbara met for the first time in a teashop on Tottenham Court Road. Ian was born in Reading and did two years National Service in the RAF at Lynham. He is an atheist (see The Witch Hunters). He has a brother and a sister and used to go on family holidays to a cottage in North Wales. He was taught Latin at school by a teacher called Mr Dumbie, and his form tutor was named Quibbs. He used to bully a Jewish boy named Goldfinkle. He was a wing-three quarter for Harlequins Third XV. He once got drunk in a Rugby Club in Bath, and spent a terrible weekend in Colchester with a girl from Guildford. His gladius, inscribed with his initials, ends up in a museum in London during the 1970s.

Barbara is nearly thirty-two. When she was thirteen, she tried to persuade her father to take her to the Tower of London. She lived in a small flat on Kensal Rise. She has only ever been drunk once, thanks to a student named Herbert Effemy, and got lost in Cricklewood. She attended Cricklewood Grammar School and was in form 2A. She had a teacher named Mr Dolphin. She has read Steinbeck.

Vicki is fourteen years old. She uses the alias Vickius Pallisterus, suggesting that Pallister is her surname. Her mother died when she was eleven. It is implied that the Doctor knows that she is destined to become Cressida (The Myth Makers) [This would explain why he apparently shows no remorse at abandoning her in Troy with someone she has only just met, despite the inherent danger]. She grew up in Liddell Towers on the South Circular Road in New London. She used to watch videos [so these are still in use in her time], but has never heard of Plato, Socrates, or Archimedes, although she has at least a passing familiarity with Dickens. She was nearly named Tanni by her parents [a reference to her name in the original camera script of The Rescue, which had the working title Doctor Who and Tanni].

The TARDIS food machine is malfunctioning.

Links: This story takes place between the TARDIS's arrival in Rome at the start of The Romans and the rest of that story. Barbara refers to the lesson she learned about trying to alter history in The Aztecs. There are references to Vicki's rescue from Dido (The Rescue) and the events of An Unearthly Child. Ian adapts the story of the Daleks and the Thals to entertain an audience (The Daleks), and also describes the events of The Aztecs. By 1973, Ian has befriended Greg Sutton (Inferno).

Location: Byzantium, over a period of weeks from 14th March 64AD (the TARDIS crew spend sixteen days lost and separated in Byzantium) and London, 1973.

Future History: The ship carrying Vicki left Earth for Dido in 2493.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem and Mexico with Susan. He was at Dunkirk, collaborated with Shakespeare between drafts one and two of Hamlet, and sailed around the Caribbean on board a pirate galleon. He has also visited Cassuragi and Mondas [explaining how he knows of the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet]. He witnessed the debut performance of King Lear and the assassination of President McKinley.

The Bottom Line: The detailed and colourful setting of Byzantium is superbly portrayed in all its brutal glory, but the novel is marred by the poor characterisation of Vicki and, especially, Ian.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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