Who Killed Kennedy

Roots: Conspiracy Theories - especially those about Kennedy's assassination. Kurt Busiek's Marvels limited series/graphic novel.

Goofs: Why can't the Doctor use the Time Ring himself to go back and stop Cleary? Even if (as implied) An Unearthly Child happened on that date, there's nothing to stop him being in Dallas at the same time that he's in Totter's Lane.

Stevens' part in the Master's plan seems strange. Why was he allowed to escape from the Glasshouse? The only possible reason would be to discredit his theories - which no-one took seriously anyway. The claim that he had a planned part to play in 1963 is also ludicrous, as Cleary on his own would be sufficient. Perhaps the Master wanted someone to alert the Doctor, and just improvised the rest.

The UNIT dating is probably wrong [Dialogue in The Dying Days establishes that some of it was changed before publication.]

The death toll from the Silurian plague (The Silurians is stated to be nearly 400, yet The Scales of Injustice establishes that it was 67 including UNIT and research lab people.

Continuity: The Auton attack in Spearhead from Space was known as Black Thursday. The Silurian Plague (The Silurians) spread to Paris airport, nearly 60 people died on one platform at Waterloo Station. There were almost 400 deaths (20 overseas) and 3 ministers resigned.

The British Space Centre has 'recently' [about season 7] leapt ahead of the US and USSR space programmes, thanks to the microchip. It was renamed by Ralph Cornish, from the British Rocket Group. Cornish had done several controversial orbital flights in the 50s. The collapse of IE was a major contributory factor. IE had claimed 80% of the global electronics market with microchip technology by the mid-60's, apparently coming from nowhere.

Think Tank (Robot) was established by the Ministry of Science to encourage new ideas and to prevent brain drain. Kettlewell is known not for his work as a roboticist, but for his 'crackpot' ideas about renewable energy.

BBC3 was launched with live, colour, coverage of the Mars Probe crisis. At some point, it started doing live broadcasts from the House of Commons.

UNIT's (London) headquarters during season 7 was near the high street in Ealing Broadway. Apparently, they only accept volunteers who aren't married [the Brigadier - who was married when he joined - is a special case because of his experience and his role in setting up UNIT]. UNIT is said to have been formed by Lethbridge-Stewart's efforts. In 1967, he went to the UN security council. By 1969, he was seconded as Brigadier in charge of UNIT. At this stage, the Glasshouse is in Evesham, but is abandoned within the space of a day in such a way to look as if the building has been empty for weeks or months.

Isobel Watkins (The Invasion) has become a standing joke in Fleet Street. Her photos of the Cybermen have been universally derided as fakes. She has received threats from the man with the lisp (The Scales of Injustice), she was blacklisted, and her boyfriend left her as his career was threatened. [Her boyfriend wasn't Captain Turner, as the two are married by The Scales of Injustice.]

The Intrusion Counter-Measures Group (Remembrance of the Daleks) was formed in 1961. Chunky Gilmore was in charge and Professor Jenson was recruited (her autobiography The Electrical Dreamer fails to mention this and neglects to explain why in 1964, in her 40's, she retired).

Ian and Barbara reappeared in Summer 1965. She became a university lecturer, he became a leading scientist. They later married. Dodo's middle name is Anne. Liz smokes a pipe.

Horatio Chinn was head of the new Ministry of Security that the security agencies agreed to sabotage. After The Claws of Axos, he was retired.

Links: The book contains references to most, if not all the early UNIT stories, together with dates -mostly arbitrary ones. Chapter 1 coincides with Spearhead from Space (October 1969), the Auton attack explained as a terrorist attack. Chapter 2 coincides with The Silurians (November 1969). Chapter 3 coincides with The Ambassadors of Death (December 1969). Chapter 5 (February 1970) is set in the aftermath of Inferno. Chapters 7 and 8 coincide with Terror of the Autons (April 1970). Chapters 9 & 10 coincide with The Mind of Evil (November 1970). Chapter 12 coincides with The Claws of Axos. Chapters 14 & 15 coincide with The Daemons (May 1971). Chapter 21 coincides with Day of the Daleks (September 1971). The Doctor's visit to the Master in The Sea Devils is possibly prompted by this story [or it would be if there weren't so many other events in the way]. All dates mentioned here are those cited in the book.

Stories Stevens investigates retrospectively include The Web of Fear, explained as a nerve gas attack (August 1966), and The Invasion (Spring 1969) - blamed on radiation from a comet's tail. Also, The Shoreditch Incident (Remembrance of the Daleks) - dated 1 week after Kennedy's assassination, with An Unearthly Child happening on the day of the assassination. Also, The C-Day Fiasco (The War Machines) - July 1966, The Curse of Fenric (during WW2), Delta and the Bannermen (1959), The Faceless Ones (July 1966)

Characters Stevens interviews include Ralph Cornish (The Ambassadors of Death), Professor Kettlewell (Robot), Isobel Watkins (The Invasion), Greg Sutton and Petra Williams (Inferno), Liz Shaw.

The Glasshouse's man with the lisp comes from The Scales of Injustice.

The collapse of International Electromatics (The Invasion) is referred to, as is Ashley Chapel (Millennial Rites). Metropolitan magazine (which Sarah Jane worked for) is mentioned. Dodo plays a major part in the book. Time Rings were first seen in Genesis of the Daleks. The Doctor's bank account at Coutts (R. J. SMITH) (Birthright) is mentioned. Journalist "cadets" James Stevens mentions training include Sarah Jane [Smith?] and Ruby [presumably Ruby Duvall from Iceberg - although she would be far too young to have been trained by Stevens in 1995].

Extras: This book was later released for free as an ebook on the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club website, accompanied by author's notes and a photo file.

Location: England, in the late 1960's to early 1970's. The story runs from Spearhead from Space to just after Day of the Daleks. Also Dallas, Texas, 22nd November 1963.

Unrecorded Adventures: There's a cameo appearance by the Second [or possibly seventh] Doctor at Dodo's funeral.

The Bottom Line: Quite a good alternative look at the early UNIT stories. The style is engaging, though those fans interested in the UNIT dating debate will be disappointed that onscreen evidence of when stories are set is ignored in favour of harmonising with the real world. Despite the high quality, the ending isn't poorly thought out. The Master's plot makes very little sense. And as the author's notes (available with the free e-book edition) confirm, the Kennedy scenes are simply tacked on for no good reason, despite some clever foreshadowing with Stevens' ongoing interest in the case.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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