Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fact of Fiction 5: The Case of the 12 Gold Crosses

"THE GAME'S AFOOT!" The Youth of Australia pops back to an epic convergence between fact, fiction and fanwank cut short and wonders if it was a blessing in disguise...

The Case of the Twelve Gold Crosses

The cold, dank fog hangs like a shroud over the cold streets of Victorian London, its narrow alleys eerily lit by flickering gaslights. The gloomy bricks of the dull houses echo with the hopes and dreams of the dead generations and pools of dank water lie in the filth-drenched gutters. In the corner of one such gloomy side-street stands a blue police box from another time...

"Always leave them wanting more!" was Alexei Sayle's justification for only doing the first five minutes of a two-hour-long stage show and then running off to the pub. And this seems to have been the main thinking behind sparacus' unpopular decision to leave The Case of the Twelve Gold Crosses unfinished. It was not his first incomplete story, but while Alien Blood and Return to the Orchid House were deleted by outside forces, Enemy of Time, The Shadows of Christmas and Harvest of Evil abandoned for more interesting projects, there is no such reason here. Gold Crosses was probably sparacus' most popular work so far, certainly it gained the most positive comments, and everyone was eager to see what happened next. After the complete collapse of canon following LBCgate, a success like this was clearly what the Chathamverse needed - not even sparacus, it seemed, could get Victorian London wrong!

With Ben Chatham, Sherlock Holmes and Oscar Wilde teaming up to deal with an anarchist conspiracy dabbling with black magic, it beggars belief that anyone - let alone a hack like sparacus - could have suddenly run out of possible material for a story. Yet, the more people were eager to read the next part, the less and less interested sparacus became in writing it. He abandoned The Case of the Twelve Gold Crosses and began work on film pitches and ideas for a new, RTD-version of Doctor Who, and refuses to discuss his reasons for never completing it. Was it, perhaps, like his mooted Blake's 7 crossover - an idea that couldn't be done any justice and would disappoint all concerned? Yet, sparacus was happy enough to do that elsewhere. Does he get some kind of masochistic thrill from disappointing others, and immediately quit any project that got good reviews? Did he just erase the braincell with the rest of the plot after one absinthe too many?

But perhaps it's better this way. Like Shada, Twelve Crosses will be always known as the unfinished symphony - a Schrodiger-like state of being where we can imagine the unwritten bits were the best ever because there's simply no proof to contrary. Any further installments would surely just be a letdown, a cut-price Talons of Weng Chiang and a crude three-way between Ben, Oscar and Sherlock while Watson puts the moves on Kyle and prostitutes are slaughtered left right and centre?

There are some things mankind was not meant to know, and sparacus clearly thinks the rest of this story counts as such....

The Doctor uses the TARDIS to drop Ben and Kyle off in Victorian London, where Ben intends to meet Sherlock Holmes. The Doctor leaves, intending to return in a week to collect the pair and return them home.

  • Ben apparently "really needs a break". Presumably from all those terrible adventures the nature of which we can't be certain because of the Second Great Canon reset - either that or he's bitching about having to look after Craig again. Since we don't know exactly what he wants a break from, it's hard to see how being marooned in 19th century London (not exactly the safest, most comfortable or even hygenic of locales) would prove relaxing for Ben. The Doctor wisely assumes that a wuss like Ben couldn't cope with "the delights of Victorian London" for more than a week...
  • Ben has seemingly summoned the Doctor specifically so he can take a trip back in time to meet Sherlock Holmes, which rather begs the question of why he never took this opportunity in prior times when he was travelling aboard the TARDIS?
  • There is no hint as to where this adventure takes place from the Doctor's point of view, or even which incarnation he is. Presumably it's the Tenth Doctor (apart from anything else, this was the one of the last stories written before David Tennant announced his departure), but there seems to be no companion. Is he travelling alone? In which case, one would wonder why he isn't remotely interested in joining Ben and Kyle. Does he have a companion he's dropped off on 21st Century Earth he's eager to get back to? Or is he actually keen to avoid Victorian London for fear of getting caught by Torchwood? The comic strip Time Machination makes it clear that it's only after 1888 that the Doctor can risk hanging around London without worried about being captured as an enemy of the empire...
  • Ben's description of meeting Holmes as "a dream come true" is quite appropriate given Holmes is (brace yourself) not a real person, but a fictionalized exaggeration of someone Arthur Conan-Doyle used to know. Of course, since Ben used the fictional Doctor and TARDIS to do so (and given how completely fictional Ben himself is), maybe we shouldn't complain. In Timewyrm: Revelation, Ace points out the Doctor can't be friends with Sherlock Holmes on the grounds he isn't real - the Doctor cryptically replies he never said Holmes was real. Nevertheless, the fictional detective appeared in both All Consuming Fire and Happy Endings, the latter having the Master fuming at the fact some of Bernice's wedding guests weren't even real people.
  • Nevertheless, why exactly would Ben want to meet Sherlock Holmes anyway? Holmes isn't exactly a social animal, and wouldn't be interested in meeting any fans no matter how smoothe and blond they were. Perhaps it is the fact Holmes is a homosexual drug addict who happens to be brilliant at fighting crime that attracts Ben to him, in the belief they are similar? After all, many a tale of Holmes has him lying around Baker Street in a depressed funk... but unlike Ben is prepared to completely bury himself in solving mysteries rather than getting drunk and trying to seduce the nearest young man...
  • If Ben's desire to check out Sherlock Holmes is difficult to explain, just why is Kyle tagging along? He has no interest in Sherlock Holmes or the Victorian era. He even points out that somewhere warm with beaches would be a more logical place to relax and recover from their unspecified traumas instead of hanging around a miserable, dangerous and primitive time. Ben notes that he wanted to take Anselm, presumably on a date, but has chosen to give Kyle a "real cultural break" and show him history. Of course, Ben doesn't bother to ask Kyle what historical figure he'd like to meet, instead bullying him into going where Ben wants. One can only assume Kyle is in this only to stop Ben getting himself hurt in his stupid and destructive behavior. Poor Kyle. Ben really isn't worth his time...
  • Ben criticizes Kyle as "you’d rather just go on holiday to Spain or something" - yet 2010 Spain is a lot more interesting than anywhere Ben wants to use the TARDIS to go to. Presumably Kyle is so offended by this comment, he sends Ben to coventary - he doesn't say another world in the rest of the story!
  • Apparently Anselm was too busy attending his cousin's wedding to join Ben on this journey. So Anselm decided to forgo the chance to travel in time and meet Sherlock Holmes for a wedding? Does he not understand the concept of time travel? Since Anselm's never met the Doctor or seen the TARDIS, maybe he simply didn't think Ben's vacation idea was serious... or else he's already started his quest to get as far away from clingy, bullying Ben as possible! As later stories would prove, this is clearly the more likely scenario.

Left in a foggy street at night, Ben and Kyle pass a noisy taven and get propositioned by a streetwalker.

  • “That, Kyle, was one of the many prostitutes of this era," Ben informs Kyle as he runs off into the night. "She probably has a low-paid job such as matchmaking and is topping up her income to pay the rent. It was from this social group that most of Jack the Ripper’s victims came from. This is living social history Kyle!” And Ben's way of dealing with "living social history" is to "move along quickly"?
  • Ben expects Kyle to know who Jack the Ripper was, but not that he slaughtered prostitutes. Or what prostitutes are.
  • Presumably Ben wanted to give Kyle a tour of the city, which is why he's not surprised the TARDIS missed Baker Street entirely. But surely strolling through London at night is rather dangerous? Especially when, as Ben hints, Jack the Ripper is at large - which makes his dismissal of that lady of the night rather callous. If he'd let Kyle go with her, she wouldn't be at risk for getting the attentions of Jolly Jack... but then, Ben hates common women. He'd be glad she's in danger!
  • Why doesn't Ben visit during the day? Surely it will be more likely to catch Holmes when he's not busy during daylight hours?

Finally arriving at Baker Street, Ben bluffs his way in with psychic paper borrowed off the Doctor.

  • Presumably sparacus finally noticed this plot device after LBC used it so effectively in his own stories.
    While having an all-purpose handy-dandy psychic passport would be a sensible precaution for a vacation in the dangerous past, why does Ben use it to trick people into thinking he's from the police? Inspector Lestrade, for example, would easily be able to find out that Ben's lying, and it's unlikely the "finest English detective ever" would think a gushing fanboy like Ben would actually be a proper police officer. Besides, Holmes was used to complete strangers popping by and asking for his services (which he was happy to give as long as the case intrigued him), so there's no need to pretend to be anyone. All Ben's going to do is start off the relationship on the wrong foot by lying pointlessly... mind you, that's what he does with everyone, so this stupidity is at least consistent.
  • Bizarrely, Ben tells Mrs. Hudson (Holmes' housekeeper and apparently worked for Professor Litefoot in The Talons of Weng-Chiang) he is here to see "Sherlock Holmes", rather than "Mr. Holmes". Either Ben's being stupid or else he was needlessly worried that Sherlock's brother Mycroft was visiting. Nevertheless, it's very lucky he stumbled across a night the detective was in, rather than solving a crime.

Mrs Hudson leads the pair upstairs where Sherlock Holmes is playing the violin.

  • "A tall man with dark hair and a long chin in a dressing gown" is the description, but it's hard not to think that sparacus has chosen the portrayal of Jeremy Brett (arguably the definitive interpretation and certainly the most well known) rather than, say, Tom Baker, Peter Cushing, Richard Roxburgh or Robert Downey Jr.
  • Interestingly, Holmes is described as playing the violin "badly". In most versions, Holmes is very good at his instrument - it's just hardly anyone else likes the sound. It also means that Holmes has a) finished a case successfully and b) is in a very good mood. Ben's luck is truly cranked into overdrive tonight...
  • A rather lame cliffhanger. The person Ben's been babbling on about all episode and has deliberately gone to see... is there. Whoopeedoo.

Ben introduces himself with the psychic paper as "Ben Chatham and Constable Scott" from Scotland Yard.

  • Curiously sparacus doesn't have a scene where the psychic paper fails to work on Sherlock Holmes - a neat shorthand for showing historical figures are incredibly intelligent, as done with Shakespeare in The Shakespeare Code or Shackleton in The First (both of which sparacus was aware of).
  • Ben almost gives the game away immediately, forgetting that he is supposed to be a police officer. Not smoothe at all. And if his concentration is wandering (let's be kind and say he's awed by being in Holmes' presence) surely the psychic paper should be showing incriminating gibberish, as demonstrated in The Empty Child?
  • Holmes "takes an elegant drag on his pipe". Presumably Holmes' high status is why Ben doesn't immediately tell him off for smoking indoors.

Holmes quickly deduces that Ben is a trained archaeologist.

  • "Why it's elementary my dear Watson!" Holmes decries, causing his friend to clap his hands and exclaim "Holmes you're a genius!" both, completely unforgiveable cliches, as well as portraying Watson as a gormless tit who spends his life utterly amazed at his companion's cleverness.
  • That deduction in detail: "Young Ben here has a speck of soil under his right index-fingernail. Since his general attire and demeanour are so refined and well groomed, I deduced that this could not be the result of carelessness or lifestyle. Therefore it must be his work. Since the work involves digging and he is a police Inspector, then he must be an archaeologist, since an Inspector would not involve himself in the general digging around bones, but would get his constable to do it."
  • However, this doesn't really make any sense. It's Victorian London! Dirt under the fingernails is not suspicious, but a lack of it would be. Certainly, Ben's girly hands that have clearly never done a day's work in his life would be also be worthy of note. What's more, are we to assume Ben's just come from an archaeological dig? Is that what Ben needs such an urgent break from?
  • Have Ben and Kyle changed their clothes to suit the period? One would assume so, but Ben's half-assed mistakes suggest otherwise. Surely Kyle's not dressed as a police officer? If not, then why hasn't his plain clothes attire caught Holmes' attention as well? That fluff Ben made upon entering, his awe at Holmes' presence and so on would all immediately clue Holmes in that something is wrong... In fact, why bother with the deduction at all? Wouldn't the psychic paper give away Ben's profession?
  • Given how lucky it was for Ben and Kyle to arrive on a night Holmes was ready to meet them, and the fact the detective is so blaise about their anachronisms and Watson is out of character suggests that this might all be an act. It's not exactly impossible to think that the Doctor's popped by, chatted with Holmes and told them he's sending by a couple of newbie time travellers that can easily be impressed later in the evening, and certainly the sort of wheeze that Holmes and Watson would cheerfully carry out if there was nothing else more pressing. It'd be just typical if Ben was convinced he had seamlessly inveigled his way into society and no one was fooled but too polite to correct his mistake...

Ben hastily improvises that he wants to interview Holmes for a police magazine.

  • So, despite having come to this time and place specifically to meet Sherlock Holmes, Ben hasn't actually worked out a cover story? Why go to lengths to pretend to be from the police in the first place if he had nothing to back it up? Did he not think that an amateur crime fighter like Holmes would actually want to know more about his 'business'? And claiming to be a journalist from The Blue Lamp is something that can easily be proved to be a fake - especially now Ben's dancing around casting more and more suspicion on himself. He doesn't explain why two 'police officers' are needed for an interview anyway! Worse, he all but agrees with Holmes' summary that the "police case" involves a very old skeleton, so he's basically said "I'm a liar" to England's finest detective ever and hoped he won't notice? Sherlock must be playing a game with the blond tosspot...
  • Ben's new cover story, even if he'd used it from the outset, is pretty pathetic too - he wants Holmes to "rell" him about "your most difficult cases and how you solved them". So, if Holmes is real, then Watson is real and his published diaries are in the public domain. Basically, Ben knows all this already - or should do if he's such a Holmes fanboy as he claims. Of course, he could be interested in the 'untold' cases like the Giant Rat of Sumatra... but if Holmes didn't think that the world was ready for that story, why would some blond off the street unable to string two sentences together be worthy of them to get printed in a magazine? Clearly, Ben's not coping well in a situation where he isn't the most famous person in the room.
  • Watson winks at Kyle as he pours drinks. A poor depiction of the character as a rampant gaylord eager for new flesh? Or further evidence that this is all a charade set up by the Doctor at Ben's expense?

A carriage draws up outside and Oscar Wilde enters, accompanied by a young lady - his goddaughter Arabella Francombe.

  • Clad in "a long, fur-lined coat and waving an expensive walking cane", Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) is the first real person to enter the story and, indeed, the first real person in the Chathamverse since Henry VIII in Dissolution (surely no one mistakes Hitler in Nemesis for the real thing?). A famous and witty Irish playright was persecuted for his homosexuality, and came to a sad end - dying at only 46, destitute in Paris. It's not exactly easy to date this adventure, but the references to Jack the Ripper and the general feel speak of the 1880s, which would be the most realistic period for Wilde to be in town long enough to be on first name terms with Sherlock Holmes. Thus this would be the last glory days of the writer - and presumably the coincidental presence of Ben presumably to be one of the final "good times" Wilde had, rather than "the point everything went wrong." One's tempted to think that the story might have reveal that Wilde's only novel, his 1890 book The Picture of Dorian Grey (a story about a cruel, decadent and hedonistic bissexual man who makes a deal with the devil to remain eternally young and beautiful), might be inspired by his brief encounter with Ben Chatham...
  • This version of Wilde seems to be based on Stephen Fry's portrayal in the 1997 biopic Wilde (which is fair enough, as Fry is uncannily similar to Wilde in many ways, not least his physical appearance.) No doubt sparacus would be a solid fan of that film, with its use of Jude Law and Orlando Bloom in gay sex scenes.
  • Holmes waits an awful long time to agree to an interview, just as a new client arrives, preventing him from revealing anything. How very convenient. This definitely a charade for Ben's benefit...

Oscar flirts with Ben as more drinks are poured.

  • And immediately characterization slides out of the room. The detached Holmes describes Arabella as "most beautiful" and politely kisses her (certainly not the behaviour you'd get from the Brett interpretation on television) while Oscar Wilde... Oscar Wilde... gets tongue-tied around Ben's beauty and is "spellbound and transfixed". Given the criminalization of homosexuality, and Wilde's future experience of it, it's highly insensitive (in fact, utterly disrespectful) to portray him as a ravenous manwhore who believes "the only way to remove a temptation is to give in to it". The real Oscar would have been appalled, if only for the truly crap chat-up lines: "And who is this? Sherlock it is most neglectful of you not to have warned me that you have such... charming company. There are few things more perfect than youth my dear boy."
  • No doubt Ben would be mightily annoyed that absinthe was available and he wasn't offered it (he immediately demands a glass). Given how Holmes was often annoyed when clients turned up drunk or indeed in any state of mind that might hinder their recall of important facts, he doesn't seem to be taking this seriously at all. Surely we must believe this is all some rag-week wheeze dreamt up by the Doctor?
  • Ben introduces himself and Kyle as police inspectors. Again. Why?! Certainly, Oscar isn't fooled for a moment - stroking the hair of an officer of the law and making double entendres about giving into temptation at the Albermale Club would count as suicidal insanity at the time...
  • Just in case Ben's incompetence wasn't bad enough, he now starts on the absinthe - never a substance one drinks to be clear headed and rational, after all. Despite being an experienced time traveller, he can't go three words without digging a hole: "You don't get absinthe this good in my century..... I mean in my club." Kyle, wisely has kept his mouth shout, clearly counting the minutes until he can get the hell out of his mutually camp appreciation society and go somewhere more interesting.

Arabella explains that for her last twelve birthdays, she recieved gold crosses in unmarked envelopes from Eastbourne for some reason since her parents' death. But this time her present is a decomposing severed hand.

  • Apparently Arabella's "deep, dreamy eyes" have achieved the amazing and converted Sherlock Holmes to heterosexuality. She is the Anti-Ben! No wonder Ben is shouting at her to "get to the point" and demanding to know "where is this leading?" Either that or he's irritated that there's a woman in the room, preventing him getting his end away in a massive 19th century orgy...
  • Wilde is horrified Arabella brought the hand with them. Shouldn't he have noticed this? Why not go straight to the police, anyway? But, of course, this a cue to some humor the writer and poet would have been disgusted by: "You brought the thing with us? In a handbag? A HANDBAG??"
  • Ben suddenly remembers his cover story and tells Kyle, "Seems we have a murder to investigate Constable Scott!" Yes, I'm sure Kyle will love his holiday being turned into a brutal murder inquiry in 1880s London, entirely because Ben wants to get into the pants of some long-dead poofs...

Holmes concludes that this is "a threat so foul and so monstrous that the entire British Empire is in danger!"

  • Of course, there's no explanation for why, because it's a cliffhanger.
  • Holmes bizarrely refers to "Ben, Watson, Oscar" rather than "Chatham, Watson, Wilde" - if this version of Holmes is so informal, why doesn't he refer to his best friend (and possible lover) by his Christian name? And why doesn't Kyle get a mention? Arabella is ignored because, of course, she is a woman.

Holmes questions Arabella about the deaths of her parents - they perished of malaria in India while working for the Viceroy and his valet, Jeremiah Snape insisted that he be given any correspondence they had sent to Arabella at the time. Ben immediately concludes Snape must be involved.

  • Mrs. Hudson has provided Arabella with tea at some point but everyone (bar Kyle) it seems has been knocking back whisky, absinthe or in Ben's case both. No wonder he's coming up with wildly strange theories, and expecting 9-year-old girl to be suspcious of a stranger when she's just been told her parents are dead ("I was too young and upset to notice!" she says, rather obviously).
  • The fact twelve years have gone by seems to have been glossed over as well - everyone treats it like a couple of weeks ago.

Holmes however, knows Snape as a customer at a Soho Square opium den.

  • The spara cliche of Soho vice being crucial to the plot might be balanced out by the admission Holmes (by implication) is a frequent opium user. As anyone aware of The Seven Per Cent Solution will note that opium was one of the lesser substances the famous detective was into.

Arabella notes that the crosses a small and appear to be designed to hang upside down.

  • This was presumably of vital importance to the plot. Tragically, we will never know.

Leaving Wilde and Arabella at Baker Street, Holmes, Watson and the time travellers take the carriage to Soho Square.

  • In the middle of the night? Oh well, it certainly makes a change from allowing days to pass in between action. Holmes' get-up-and-go-attitude certainly puts Ben's modus operandi to shame. This fast pace is undoubtedly one of the reasons The Case of the Twelve Gold Crosses is so popular.
  • Another positive factor is the actual attempt to give character-building moments to the cast. Watson broods unhappily that Holmes visits "awful dens and their poor unfortunate clientelle", and Ben bleakly agrees he fears "opium will continue to destroy lives for many years to come", a sentiment that leads Ben and Kyle to reflect on their sister and mother respectively, in the events of Crystal. Whatever points Ben gains for not blabbing he's a time traveller (here he "somehow fears" future events rather than claiming to have seen them firsthand) he loses for ignoring the fact that it was he, rather than drugs, that destroyed Nikki's life, and certainly it was a bullet meant for him rather than any drug that killed his sister. Using her as a human sheild wouldn't help either.
  • Oscar Wilde (having apparently dozed off in this talk of dead relatives and severed hands) is sent to the "Albermarle Club" for the duration. Presumably this is the same as the "Albermale Club" Wilde wanted to make Ben a member of in the previous episode. But why was Wilde not asked about events? He's Arabella's godfather and thus must surely have known her parents, probably better than the girl herself did! It's unbelievable that Holmes would have skipped such a vital detail or that Wilde (who, despite appearances, was a workaholic) to be so lazy and uninvolved. Combined with the coincidence of Holmes happening to smoke pipe of poppy at the same Soho Den as their only league, it's hard to shake off the mental image of the Doctor watching all this on a Time Space Visualizer, laughing his head off...

The group arrive at the opium den. Ben spots a man fleeing out the back and has Kyle beat him up while shouting questions at him. Holmes recommends they instead take Snape for a meal to get him to talk.

  • Another unusually subtle sequence where Ben's idiocy is not only flagged but an alternative offered. Unsurprisingly hunting down, attacking and interrogating a paranoid opium fiend was going to get little results, especially Ben's screams of "I presume you are Jeremiah Snape. Have you just sent Lady Arabella Framcombe a severed hand?" leads only to a blanket denial and swearing. Holmes' "subtle approach and command of the situation" impresses Ben (but surely can't surprise him?) and "reminds Ben a little of the Doctor". Odd that the Doctor never shows such attributes in these stories - remember that hamster? Or smashing a villain's head against a mantlepiece to shut him up? Or letting UNIT use nerve gas on civilians? Because sparacus obviously doesn't...

The group head for the Albermarle Club just off the Strand when a bearded man shoots Snape dead and flees into the fog, leaving a piece of paper with the symbol of the Green Hand League, a notorious anarchist group...

  • Sherlock Holmes previous faced the Redheaded League, a seemingly benign if eccentric order that was actually a cunning front as part of Professor Moriarty to rob a bank. This, however, appears to be a genuine organization that are clearly not above cold-blooded murder. The "green hand" bit seems to come from the 1860s American insult to unskilled laborers that were only getting employment due to mechanization, which was strongly opposed by the labor unions, including the Order of St. Crispin (an infamous but poorly-organized union that collapsed soon after). Is this some clue that the anarchists are against the advancement of technology rather than any specific political stance? Certainly, anti-tech groups often feature in stories by sparacus from his infamous Season 4 pitch to Winter of the Lost, the luddite doomsday cults are trotted out more often than the genuine series uses Daleks...
  • It is unclear if the assassin dropped the note by accident or not - certainly it's ridiculous if it wasn't a deliberate calling card. Combined with the fact that Watson declares Snape dead, it seems another part of the Doctor's murder mystery scheme.
  • How exactly did this assassin know that Snape would be taken to the club? Come to think of it, how did they know Sherlock Holmes was investigating him at all? Either the badguys are monitoring Arabella's movements and spying on the group or... well, we'll never know. But, either way, if Snape was such a threat to security (which is surely why he was killed, to keep his silence) why let him live for twelve years?
  • And so the story ends. It is impossible to guess what would happen next, but no doubt later chapters would be set entirely in this gay gentlemen's club with Ben courting the attentions of everyone, and maybe even Kyle might get an actual line of dialogue. The idea of Ben up against anarchists is the sort of social snobbery that would be unlikely to have aliens involved. Perhaps Professor Moriarty himself might get involved in events, or Jack the Ripper, or both? Given the author's ignorance of continuity we could expect the cast of The Talons of Weng-Chiang to turn up, or maybe even Torchwood? Whether or not the severed hand or the gold crosses would have been significant is unknown - presumably they were sent to Arabella to ensure they were not used in some way? Her parents having uncovered some conspiracy? The main thrust of the plot seems similar to the Sally Lockheart mystery, Ruby in the Smoke, where the titular heroine discovers innocuous gifts from her late parents are the key to an opium-fueled conspiracy of murder and backstabbing... with Sally Lockheart portrayed on TV by Billie Piper, it's not too ridiculous to think sparacus wanted to steal some of the glory for Adam Rickitt (Ben's life is, after all, a cross between Doctor Who and The Secret Diary of A Call-Girl...)
  • A very small possibility is that this story would have somehow allowed the Doctor to restore Donna's memory. The next Chatham story is a film pitch called New Dawn, where the Doctor and the newly-revived Donna are continuing their travels while Ben returns to an archaeological dig on Earth (apparently the same dig he seems to have fled from at the beginning of this story). The Tenth Doctor would continue to travel with Donna until a nasty incident in a Soho gay club toilet... but that's a different story altogether...

Next Time: The Vampire Planet

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