The Sixth Doctor and Peri arrive in the 111th century, where
nostalgia is everything. Reef Station One is receiving broadcasts
from 20th-century Earth, and shows such as Dixon of Dock
Green are ratings winners. But another force needs Reef
Station One, and millionaire Walter J Matheson III sees this
as a marvellous business opportunity...
are many fascinating ideas in this book, not least of which
is the tantalising notion that mankind could one day travel
to such distant stars that he might overtake the transmissions
that left Earth during the 20th century. Oh, wouldn't it be
lovely to catch up with those missing Doctor Who episodes?
In reality, the signals would be degraded beyond repair, but
the people of the New Earth Republic enjoy the benefits of
a mysterious new technology called Redux (which the BBC's
Restoration Team would no doubt love to get their hands on)
that allows ancient broadcasts to be restored to pristine
media-based subject matter allows for plenty of in-jokes.
For example, the character of Walter J Matheson III is clearly
based on Victor Kiam, the man who, in his famous commercials,
claimed to like Remington shavers so much he "bought the company".
addition to real television programmes such as Dixon of
Dock Green and EastEnders, Craig Hinton refers
to numerous made-up shows, including Executive Desires
(a Dynasty-style soap opera), The Secret Files (The
X-Files), Space Journey: Traveller (Star Trek:
Voyager) and Dusty the Fearless Monster Killer
(you don't really need me to explain that one, do you?). The
familiar Doctor Who analogue Professor X also
crops up, as Professor X: The Next Generation. Allusions
to the new series of Who make their debut in a Past
Doctor Adventure as debate rages over whether the latest incarnation
of Professor X is actually the Ninth or the Tenth (a reference
to the arguable validity of Richard E Grant's webcast "Ninth"
The author also pokes fun at the more detailed classifications
that the BBFC has taken to issuing these days. "Mild peril?"
asks the Doctor at the screening of a cleaned-up print of
George Pal's The Time Machine, "What's mild peril?"
subject of nostalgia is a fitting one to deal with in a story
that takes place during Season 22 (some time after Vengeance
on Varos, since the Doctor is still running in his new
supply of Zeiton 7). That season was renowned (or reviled,
take your pick) for its copious reuse of elements from the
show's past. Fittingly, this novel puts an inventive new spin
on another old enemy.
following a good beginning, the book appears to run out of
steam, and very soon seems rather slow and shallow. Also,
despite supposedly having toned down his propensity towards
continuity references, Hinton shoves in an entirely unnecessary
precursory scene to The Trial of a Time Lord. We don't
need to be given a reason for the Doctor being put on trial,
Craig, the reason for that was explained perfectly well back
I said, this book boasts some fine ideas, but its execution
could have done with being less long-winded.
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