Short Trips: Past Tense

Short Trips: Past Tense is the sixth anthology published by Big Finish Productions. The stories are all set in the past, and the final story (That Time I Nearly Destroyed The World Whilst Looking For a Dress ties in to every other story in the collection.

The Immortals

The Immortals
Author(s): Simon Guerrier
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Adric, Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka
Season(s): Season 19
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Continuity: The Doctor wears his spectacles again. He prepares fireworks to frighten horses (see The Time Warrior). He is an excellent shot with a longbow and can fire from horseback.

Adric invents the longbow, thus contributing to human history.

Tegan has known the Doctor for less than a month. She loves a good story. Tegan's name may be Welsh in origin.

Traken once had a monarchic system of government.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor claims Robin Hood taught him how to fire a bow and arrow (see The Thief of Sherwood).

The Bottom Line: Workmanlike, but dull. Its also hugely derivative of the far superior Bunker Soldiers, which exploits the foreigners as aliens idea to much greater effect.

Far From Home

Far From Home
Author(s): Alison Lawson
Doctor(s): Eighth Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: There is a reference to H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon. The Doctor sings Mae hen wlad fy nhadau.

Continuity: The Velderons are small, blue-skinned humanoids. Their skin reacts with water to generate highly corrosive acid vapour. The Velderons' distress signal is capable of penetrating the Time Vortex. Their escape capsules are pale blue globes that are biodegradable.

The Doctor has a device capable of tracking the Velderons' distress signal.

Location: Crickhowell, near Aberystwyth, Wales, 1928AD.

The Bottom Line: The second story in the anthology does not inspire confidence, coming across as a badly written children's story. It's inoffensive enough, but not especially interesting.

All Done With Mirrors

All Done with Mirrors
Author(s): Christopher Bav
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Sarah Jane Smith
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: There is a reference to Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.

Goofs: The central conceit is that Marlowe changes his name to Shakespeare after the Doctor averts his murder, which contradicts The Time of the Daleks, Apocrypha Bipedium (Short Trips: Companions), and The Empire of Glass.

Dialogue Disasters: 'Ha! It's certainly not what you Earth-dwellers refer to as nice, I grant you. Throw me a rope, old girl!'

Continuity: The Doctor is trying to take Sarah to see a performance of Ben Jonson's The Alchemist when they get sidetracked. He dons Marlowe's doublet and shares a smoke on his pipe (see An Unearthly Child). He gives a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare to Marlowe, whom he believes will adopt Shakespeare as his new identity see Goofs).

Sarah dislikes the Doctor calling her S. J. She disguises herself as a boy.

Location: London, May 30th 1593AD.

The Bottom Line: Possibly one of the worst Doctor Who short stories ever published, All Done With Mirrors suffers from a moronic plot and astonishingly poor characterisation of the regulars. A disaster.

CHAOS

CHAOS
Author(s): Eric Saward
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri Brown
Season(s): Season 22
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Roots: There are references to A Christmas Carol, The Times, The Guardian, and Blue Rizlas

Continuity: The Doctor's brain has recently been infected with a microscopic CHAOS droid, of which he is unaware. It is not explained where it came from [or how, if at all, he eventually gets rid of it] or precisely what it is; it gives the Doctor nightmares and possibly makes him more prone to fainting. The Doctor gets mugged in New York and is knocked unconscious. If the Doctor's nightmares can be believed, Tegan once told him about an ex-boyfriend showing her around the cockpit of an aeroplane.

The mugger steals Peri's cash card.

Location: Broadway, New York, during the late twentieth century.

Unrecorded Adventures: Depending on whether the Doctor's nightmares are in fact part memory, the Fifth Doctor and Tegan once fought Terileptils on Raaga.

The Bottom Line: It's woefully obvious that CHAOS only got commissioned because former Doctor Who script editor Eric Saward wrote it, and it doesn't do much to dispel the criticisms he often receives from his detractors. CHAOS is pointless, plotless, and reads like an especially bad World Distributors Annual story.

Ante Bellum

Ante Bellum
Author(s): Stephen Hatcher
Doctor(s): Seventh Doctor
Companion(s): Ace (Dorothy McShane)
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: There are references to Schliemann's excavation of Troy, Midnight Express, and Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Continuity: The Krivani civilization was immensely private. They eventually began to explore beyond their solar system, but became involved in a trivial dispute with a neighbouring race and were annihilated during the subsequent war. Their years of isolation allowed them to develop some of the most advanced interstellar drive systems ever invented, although their weapons development was far less advanced. The propulsion units of their ships were highly advanced and too expensive to allow to go to waste; in the event of an accident, they were programmed to land on the nearest planet, conceal themselves using a primitive chameleon circuit and send a distress signal to their makers.

The Doctor first detected the presence of the Krivani propulsion unit during his visit to Troy (The Myth Makers). He carries marbles and local currency. He again uses the alias Doctor John Smith.

Location: Ilyas Ada, 1914; Constantinople, Turkey, 8th June 1914AD.

The Bottom Line: Competent, but dull. The anthology continues to tread water.

The Thief of Sherwood

The Thief of Sherwood
Author(s): Jonathan Morris
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright
Season(s): Season 1
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Roots: The Adventures of Robin Hood.

The story is supposedly a Season One Hartnell story by Godfrey Porter entitled The Outlaws (and with the production code Serial I) and is told via various fictitious articles, including listings from an issue of Radio Times dated 19th September 1964, a Gallifrey Guardian article from Doctor Who Weekly issue 69 (1982), an exert from Peter Haining's Doctor Who A Celebration, the Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special (1983), Godrey Porter's novelisation of the serial entitled Doctor Who The Thief of Sherwood (the style is based heavily on Donald Cotton's novelisations of The Romans, The Myth Makers, and The Gunfighters), a Doctor Who Episode Guide from Doctor Who Monthly issue 51 (1981), Interview: Godfrey Porter from Doctor Who Magazine issue 172 (1991), a guide from The Discontinuity Guide (which includes Dialogue Triumphs, Fluffs and Goofs), an exert from Doctor Who: The Television Companion, an instalment of Time Team from Doctor Who Magazine issue 285 (1999), and an Archive from Doctor Who Magazine issue 332 (2003).

In keeping with the era, each of the six episodes has an individual title, which are The Deserted Castle, The Thief of Sherwood, The Alchemist, Errand of Mercy, Ransom, and A Guest For the Gallows, of which episodes 3 and 5 are missing, but exist as off-air audio recordings. There are references to Ovaltine, Z-Cars, Compact, The Challengers, Brighton Rock, The Daily Sketch, Junior Points of View, the Morning Star, Thank Your Lucky Stars, and Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans.

Goofs: According to the synopsis extract from Doctor Who Weekly issue 26, the First Doctor describes himself as a Gallifreyan, which is hardly in keeping with the period. [This is an error on the part of the magazine.]

Brilliantly, there is an entire list of Goofs in a Discontinuity Guide-style entry, which also features a trivia section – which has never been part of the Discontinuity Guide format.

Continuity: The Doctor poses as an alchemist to the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Susan claims that the Doctor promised to return her home.

Ian is a doppelganger of Robin Hood and impersonates Robin after his death.

Barbara has an Auntie Margaret. She has met Ian and considers him to be a very eligible young man.

Robin Hood is a real person, but despite being a thief he doesn't give to the poor; Ian, who returns Robin's loot to the local villagers after Robin's death, whilst impersonating him, starts the legend.

Location: Sherwood Forest, Medieval England.

The Bottom Line: Oh thank God! After starting to look like Big Finish's worst Short Trips volume to date, the anthology picks up with The Thief of Sherwood, which is, quite frankly, a work of genius. The style of the narrative is beautifully executed and the entire story is hilarious.

Come Friendly Bombs

Come Friendly Bombs...
Author(s): Dave Owen
Doctor(s): Third Doctor
Companion(s): Jo Grant
Season(s): Season 10
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Roots: There are references to Co-Op, Dizzy Gillespie, Harold Macmillan, de Gaulle, Hitler, Bertrand Russell, Oppenheimer, John Betjeman, Michael Foot, Churchill, the Luftwaffe, and Neils Bohr. The title is, of course, taken from the John Betjemen poem Slough

Goofs: The UNIT is era is dated to the nineteen-eighties.

Continuity: Jo tells her fellow marchers that the Doctor is her uncle. The Doctor secretly corrects Neils Bohr's research notes on the development of the H-bomb in order to safeguard history.

Following the Doctor's offer of a trip in the TARDIS, Jo considers visiting her ancestors in Tudor times, seeing how the West was really won, meeting Mata Hari, and going to a Beatles concert. She used to get uncomfortable at school open evenings with her parents, worried that her father would say something embarrassing. She has completed all of her firearms training.

The Bobodix of Lonsee-23 are each the size of Antarctica. They use thermonuclear devices to caramelize their snadge puddings.

Location: Aldermaston, Slough and Reading, Easter weekend, 1960; and Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1953.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor acquired his cape in Venice for the premiere of Rigoletto. The Doctor has told Jo that he prevented Sir Walter Raleigh from being beheaded in the Tower of London and that he told Columbus to take another two trips in the Mayflower. He claims to have met Thomas Huxley.

The Bottom Line: 'Making something happen is easy. It's making it happen responsibly that takes common sense.' A fascinating examination of how the Doctor is able to see the bigger picture of history, told largely from the perspective of Jo Grant.

Graham Dilley Saves the World

Graham Dilley Saves The World
Author(s): Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri Brown, Erimem
Season(s): Season 21
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Roots: The story opens with an article from the National Clarion on England's win of the 1981 Ashes series. There are references to Muhammed Ali, George Foreman, Bobby Moore, the Jules Rimet trophy, Geoffrey Boycott, Jim Laker, Don Bradman, Ian Botham, Bob Willis, David Gower, The Third Man, Monty Python's Flying Circus (the Ministry of Silly Walks), and W. G. Grace. The Doctor has a tape in the TARDIS from an alternate timeline, entitled Elvis Presley 1979, in which Presley covers the songs Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen), Jumping Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones), Let it Be (The Beatles), The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band), and The Lumberjack Song (Monty Python).

Continuity: During the Fifth Doctor's previous visit to the third test match in the 1981 Ashes series, Tegan distracted Graham Dilley, causing him to fumble a vital catch and thus England to lose; the change to history caused a new timeline in which disappointed fans rioted, starting a chain reaction of escalating violence culminating in the assassination of the Queen and Prince Charles plus various other heads of state from around the world at Charles' wedding; England under the rule of Edward IX saw the introduction of martial law, eventually leading to social collapse and anarchy. The Doctor corrects history by getting Peri and Erimem to distract Tegan, since he doesn't want to meet her whilst she is still travelling with his earlier self.

Peri has introduced Erimem to boots, which are still a novelty for her. Erimem likes haggis. She doesn't speak to Turlough, but thinks he looks untrustworthy. Peri and Erimem get drunk with Tegan (see Blood and Hope).

The TARDIS contains several gardens as well as some cricket nets.

Location: Edinburgh, 31st December 1999, in the alternate timeline; Leeds, July 1981.

Future History: It is implied that at some point in the future, cricketers start wearing numbers on their backs like baseball players.

Unrecorded Adventures: The story opens with the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem having escaped from the local tyrant in Edinburgh Castle, who wanted to marry Peri and Erimem and include them in his harem in the alternate timeline caused by England losing the 1981 Ashes series.

The Doctor has met several members of the England cricket team (see Goth Opera) and chatted with Tom Graveney and Fred Trueman during his visit with Tegan and Turlough. He knows commentators Digger and Brian well enough that they aren't surprised when the TARDIS materialises.

The Bottom Line: Witty and entertaining, Graham Dilley Saves the World is an excellent use of the short story format, perfectly in keeping with the theme and the anthology, and further proof that McLaughlin is better at writing prose than he thinks. Erimem's worth as a companion continues to be justified.

Bide-a-Wee

Bide-a-Wee
Author(s): Anthony Keetch
Doctor(s): First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan Foreman
Season(s): Before Season 1
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Roots: There are references to Noel Coward's Mad Dogs and Englishmen, King Kong, Jesus, Lazarus, Nintendo Game Boys, The Teletubbies, McDonalds, Hillman Wizards, Volkswagen Golfs, the Daily Mirror, Lady's Companion, Sunny Delight, Tango, Lawrence Olivier, The Champion, and Film Fun.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'Humans talk nonsense, haven't you noticed, Mr Prentice, hmm?'

Continuity: The Doctor [and presumably Time Lords in general] doesn't have a prostate gland. The Doctor has never had a holiday. He and Susan spend time apart for the first time since their travels began (see Lungbarrow). He likes ice cream, especially chocolate flavoured, and Knickerbocker Glories. He drinks pea soup. He goes to the cinema with the Major and watches King Kong. He wears a hat. He performs sleight of hand, producing a stick of rock from behind Craig's ear. He wins a pink vase whilst playing bingo.

Prentice is humanoid but isn't human. He doesn't seem to be a Time Lord, noting that he borrowed the technology to create the temporal barrier from a heavily advanced civilization. He recognizes the Doctor as a time traveller [and possibly as a Time Lord].

The TARDIS food machine can be programmed to synthesize specific foods.

Location: Keelmouth, England, 1999, inside a temporal barrier that keeps the town perpetually in 1933.

The Bottom Line: A charming little story that sees the Doctor taking a traditional English holiday. Hartnell's Doctor railing against racism is deeply ironic.

Mortlake

Mortlake
Author(s): Mark Wright
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Evelyn Smythe
Season(s): Season 23b
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Roots: There are references to Einstein, Newton, Ian Fleming and James Bond, the Times, and the Times Literary Supplement.

Continuity: The Doctor has wanted to meet Dr. John Dee for some time. He carries a gold coin. He swaps Dee's copy of the Steganographia for a harmless copy. He asks Evelyn to join him for a pint.

At some point following the end of her travels with the Doctor, Evelyn writes a book entitled The Merlin of Mortlate: The Life and Talents of Dr John Dee.

The Steganographia contains powerful psionic key sequences to activate the Sintra communication net. The inhabitants of Sintra are telepathic and advanced in the mechanics of psionic engineering. The system uses hyper-intelligent avatars such as Padiel to deliver messages instantly. The avatars are mischievous by nature and cause havoc if summoned by a user without the psionic talent to control them Padiel is eight feet tall humanoid with a scaly body and thick, veiny, gnarled muscles. A ridge of plated spines runs up its spine, alternating red and black in colour; the scales on the rest of his body are bottle green. He has feline eyes and a dog-like snout.

Location: Mortlake, England, 1568 and 2004.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Sixth Doctor asked W. G. Grace for his autograph, promoting him to chase the Doctor and Evelyn down a road. Trithemius once helped the Doctor with a Times crossword.

The Doctor has visited Sintra and has met Padiel before.

The Bottom Line: An entertaining pseudo-historical that captures the Doctor-Evelyn relationship perfectly.

White Man's Burden

White Man's Burden
Author(s): John Binns
Doctor(s): Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, Turlough Vislor
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: Haggard's creation Allan Quatermain is mentioned, as is King Solomon's Mines. There are references to Nelson Mandela and Disraeli.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'We can't change history, we can't affect anything, it all just puts itself right back to where we started. No matter what we do, no matter where we go, we're never going to achieve anything at all.'

Continuity: During a visit to Pretoria with the First Doctor and Vicki, and unbeknownst to either of them, Ian and Barbara pose as Sir Joseph, a new commissioner from Natal, and his wife in order to persuade Shepstone not to annex Pretoria, thus changing history and avoiding Apartheid. The Fifth Doctor exchanges the letter from the Shepstone to President Burgers and persuades Haggard to read it out in order to restore history to its correct path.

The Doctor sets up an early warning system in the TARDIS to detect interference with history. He pretends to be the son of a man who worked for Osborn in Natal. He befriends H. Rider Haggard and tells him of his friend Allan Quatermain, paradoxically inspiring Raggard to write the Quatermain novels. The Doctor drinks water and lemonade.

Turlough drinks beer.

Travelling in the TARDIS induces an extreme form of jet lag.

Location: Pretoria, Transvaal, 10th to 12th April 1877.

Unrecorded Adventures: The First Doctor, Ian and Barbara spent some time in Natal in 1877, at the end of which the Doctor contracted a fever and remained bed-ridden in the TARDIS with Vicki looking after him.

The Doctor may have swum a horse across the Tugela and been present at the battle of Indondakasuka.

The Bottom Line: Despite starting out as a run-of-the-mill altered history tale, White Man's Burden is blessed with a great twist. Barbara's distress that she didn't manage to prevent apartheid is more powerful than her similar despondency in The Aztecs, putting the Doctor's views about preserving the web of time at odds with his former companion's without either of them ever realizing.

Of the Mermaid and Jupiter

Of the Mermaid and Jupiter
Author(s): Ian Mond and Danny Heap
Doctor(s): Seventh Doctor
Companion(s): Bernice Summerfield
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: There are references to Ruben, Walt Whitman, and What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?

Dialogue Triumphs: 'I've saved planets, galaxies and even the universe on a few occasions. Working on that scale, it's very easy to forget what its all for. That each single life has its own hopes and dreams, and these too are worth saving.'

Continuity: The Doctor promised to take Benny to the planet Soolis before changing his mind and taking her to Australia instead. The Doctor orchestrates the sinking of a number of ships, ensuring that no lives are lost, in order to facilitate a reunion between Mermaid crewman Peter Richley and his mother, Sarah. He confesses that it didn't occur to him to use the TARDIS to bring Sarah to her son. He carries a syringe filled with a fluorescent yellow substance designed by him to break down the molecular structure of wood. He also carries a device that emits a short sonic pulse designed to keep sharks at bay. He dog-paddles. The Doctor hypnotizes Professor Burroughs.

Benny wins a drinking competition against a sailor. She loathes fish. She dons a pullover and trousers once on board the Swiftsure.

Location: On board the Mermaid, 16th to 20th October 1829; a rocky reef in the ocean, 20th to 23rd October 1829; on board the Swiftsure, 23rd to 28th October 1829; on board the Governor Ready, 28th October 1829; a lifeboat, 28th October to 30th October 1829; on board the Comet, 30th October 1829 to 3rd November 1829; and on board the Jupiter, 4th to 6th November 1829; all off the coast of Australia.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor met Sarah Richley not long ago and says that she was kind to him when he needed someone to talk to.

The Bottom Line: A charming story that manages to be whimsical without being silly, and exploits the real life sinking of a string of ships without loss of life to great effect. The Doctor's motivation is touching, especially since this story is set during the New Adventures, when the Seventh Doctor was at his most manipulative.

The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up

The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up
Author(s): Nev Fountain
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Melanie Bush
Season(s): Season 23b
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Roots: There are references to Play For Today, and Robert the Bruce.

Continuity: The Doctor undertakes a series of mysterious visits to various points in Earth's history and gives advice to historical figures, purely to steal food without Mel's knowledge. He steals the cakes watched over by Alfred the Great (prompting him to claim that he burnt them) and joins the last supper. He claims to be a wandering harpist and is also briefly mistaken for a Danish spy. He later claims to be a wizard from the kingdom of Hernia.

The TARDIS has a mischievous sense of humour when it comes to translating historical language, and tends to make people from different periods sound like they are spouting cod-Shakespeare or speaking with a posh BBC accent.

Location: Wessex, England, during the ninth century; the TARDIS; Jerusalem, c52AD.

The Bottom Line: Highly amusing. The final joke is superb.

One Small Step...

One Small Step...
Author(s): Nicholas Briggs
Doctor(s): Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie McCrimmon, Zoe Heriot
Season(s): Season 6
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Roots: There is a reference to Neil Armstrong, the events of the Moon Landing taking place contemporaneously with this story.

Continuity: Much to his bafflement, cows are always very friendly towards the Doctor. The Doctor somehow manages to change history by averting his own actions, which apparently required him to go to great lengths, in order to prevent the little boy being accidentally run over.

The TARDIS is currently invisible [the Doctor is repairing the circuits seen in The Invasion].

Location: Compton Bay, the Isle of Wight, 1969.

Unrecorded Adventures: The TARDIS crew has recently visited three awful planets, on one of which they encounter a yellow thing with five unspecified features.

The Bottom Line: Brief, pointless and sentimental, it's hard to believe that the usually cerebral Briggs could produce such twee filler.

To Kill a Nandi Bear

To Kill a Nandi Bear
Author(s): Paul Williams
Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Season(s): Season 12
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Continuity: The Doctor owns a Bigfoot costume that he obtained from a man named Patterson in California.

Sarah once wrote an article criticizing tourists who failed to respect native customs in Peru.

Harry poses as the mythical Nandi Bear to allow the Doctor, Sarah and himself to escape.

Location: Nyasaland, four hundred years before it becomes Malawi.

The Bottom Line: Another twee, inconsequential story that feels like page filler. Yawn how many pages left to the end of the anthology?

Fixing a Hole

Fixing a Hole
Author(s): Samantha Baker
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Tegan Jovanka
Season(s): Unknown
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Dialogue Triumphs: 'I've traveled with a lot of friends. Some have been people I've loved, some have been people I've felt responsible for. Some were forced upon me, some I invited. Some I adored the company of, others drove me to distraction. Some have been strong, and some have needed protection. I can honestly say, I think you're the only one who was all of those things.'

Continuity: Tegan is twenty-five years old. For a while after the Doctor's regeneration, Tegan wondered if it would be a regular occurrence (Logopolis, Castrovalva). It has been almost a year since Tegan left the TARDIS, both for her and for the Doctor. It took several weeks before she finally got her old job back, and required her to walk into the office of the personnel director. She now has a boyfriend.

When the TARDIS self-repair function is at work, the console room is deprived of oxygen (see Planet of the Daleks).

Location: Heathrow Airport, 23rd February 1985.

The Bottom Line: A sequel to In a Fix With Sontarans sounds utterly pointless, but it works surprisingly well as a study of the relationship between the Doctor and Tegan, and gives her the chance to explain her sudden decision at the end of Resurrection of the Daleks. It also, incidentally, plugs one of the more ludicrous plot-holes of Planet of the Daleks, which is trivial but amusing.

That Time I Nearly Destroyed the World Whilst Looking For a Dress

That Time I Nearly Destroyed The World Whilst Looking For a Dress
Author(s): Joseph Lidster
Doctor(s): Second Doctor
Companion(s): Polly Wright
Season(s): Season 6b
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Roots: The story opens with a quotation from the James V Bible, i-iii. There are references to Heat, Hello!, OK!, Sainsburys, the Beatles, Take That, Princess Diana, David and Victoria Beckham, the Fine Young Cannibals She Drives Me Crazy, Terry Wogan, Riverdance, Jimmy Saville, Germaine Greer, the Daily Mail, Ming the Merciless, and Louis Armstrong. Jane Vapid, murdered presenter of Crime: It Can Pay, is a reference to Jill Dando.

Continuity: The being that appears to Polly and sends her on a destructive trip through history appears as a female humanoid and claims to be God. She uses Polly to disrupt history, sending her to key points in history, usually ones involving the Doctor. Polly is transported to: medieval England where she finds that she is a doppelganger of Maid Marion and inadvertently saves Robin Hood's life (The Thief of Sherwood); Keelmouth, where she disrupts the Doctor's plan to persuade Prentice to dismantle his temporal barrier and instead causing Prentice to lose his temper and destroy the town (Bide-a-Wee); She also visits Pompeii (The Fires of Vulcan), the Galapagos Islands (Bloodtide), Colditz (where she gives Klein her mobile phone, changing history so that the Germans didn't win the war, but did win the 1966 World Cup) (Colditz), the England versus Australia cricket match, where she undoes the Doctor's attempt to restore history to its correct path (Graham Dilley Saves the World); Eastern Europe c.1016AD, where she interferes with Adric's invention of the longbow (The Immortals); and the Jupiter off the coast of Australia in 1829, where she gets drunk with Benny (Of the Mermaid and Jupiter). As a result of her unwitting interference, history is disrupted and threatens to pull Earth inside out; the Time Lords send the Doctor and Jamie to repair the damage to history, after which the pair reunites with her and Ben to celebrate New Years Eve, 1999. The four share bottles of 66 Sauvignon and a meal cooked by the Doctor.

Following her interview at GEZ, Polly got the job (Curriculum Vitae (Short Trips: Companions)) and became PA to John Maurice. After catching Maurice in a compromising sexual situation, she agreed to keep the story out of the tabloids in return for Maurice's wife signing GEZ over to her and she became a media mogul. Under her management, GEZ signed lesbian trio Girls, Girls, Girls, and shock-rockers Slice the Animals. She has been married to a man named Simon and widowed. She has an estranged son named Mikey, who walked out after he caught her having sex with a sailor and didn't see her for three months. She and Simon were at the England versus Australia cricket match at Leeds in July 1981 whilst she was pregnant with Mikey, where she encountered Peri and Erimem (she and Simon were the couple with whom Peri and Erimem argued) (Graham Dilley Saves the World). Later, she had a brief marriage to the gay member of band Boyzzz and had well publicized battles with alcoholism and bulimia. Polly smokes. She had a stalker who was a young estate agent from Tunbridge Wells.

Since returning home in The Faceless Ones, Ben has been living in Sydenham, where he runs a pub. He is a widower.

Location: London, 31st December 1999; Sherwood Forest, Medieval England; Leeds, July 1981; Keelmouth, England, 1999; Eastern Europe, c1016AD; on board the Jupiter off the coast of Australia, October 1829.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie visited the Galaxian, Oakes Minor, and Venus.

The Bottom Line: A magnificent and totally unexpected finale to the anthology, which makes great use of the short story format. Having personified the swinging sixties in her television stories, Polly gets to move with the times, amusingly taking on the mantle of a bitchy media mogul with an extravagant, but messy, life style and her reunion kiss with Ben at the end is touching.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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