‘Same time, same place, only a different dimension. It was a parallel world, Liz. Terrible things are happening there. Terrible things. It wasn’t this Earth, and yet it was. I didn’t go backwards into the past, or forwards into the future. I slipped sideways.’
9th May – 20th June 1970
The Time Space Visualiser
The final special title sequence and we are back in a refinery with mad singing from the Doctor. Two scientists passing unconvincing pleasantries. The drilling rate has been slowed down. Green slime oozes from the drill bit. It effects unconvincing scientist and there is a shouty man in charge. Professor Stahlman, All is going well in Doctor Who land so it’s time for Benton to put up a picture for the Brig. Not sure why he is making himself so at home in the drilling facility. ‘I can see why you grew the moustache!’ says the Doc to the Brig. He may save the world every week but he can’t tell a moustache from a hairy caterpillar that has crawled onto the Brig’s top lip.
How many times are we going to hear the word penetration. That is what they are trying to do to the Earth’s crust. I count eleven, but I am obsessed. The Doctor reiterates that he is not a big fan of computers and we learn he is working on a project using nuclear power to get the TARDIS going. The sonic screwdriver is back and it makes a great noise. I hope his project does not cause any problems like sending him off into a parallel world or something. Cue gurning. Bromley is on the phone trying to reassure someone. It’s a trim phone. I really wanted a trim phone!
So several of the scientists start running around in green looking a bit like that bloke off of vision on. The professor gets even angrier with the Doctor and the Doctor disappears taking Bessie with him. Professor Stahlman holds the jar of goo and then his hands start going green. No matter. He has a lovely pair of white gloves. Meanwhile the Doctor wakes up having had a dream about a mirror ball to find some strange things happening in his hut. There is a picture of George Roper declaring unity is strength and the sonic screwdriver no longer opens the door. Also there are strange symbols everywhere. He is then chased and shot at by a mystery military organisation whose guns make the same noise as those in old westerns.
Enter Liz Shaw in a wig and thigh high boots. What a twist all of this. Then he is taken to whom he thinks is the Brig. The Doctor works out he is in a parallel Earth. Liz’s wig gets less cohesive as the Earth gets hotter. The story then becomes a showcase for the acting talents of the regular cast who all shine as there other selves. The Doctor seems to have added the Vulcan death grip to his martial arts repertoire.
Again, as with The Silurians, the Doctor fails. This time catastrophically, as the parallel world is destroyed. Fortunately, he gets a second go as he gets back to his own Earth and ensures the drilling is stopped. It is a great opportunity for the regulars to show off their acting skills which they all do. It is a treat for the audience as well. It is interesting to note the character traits of the parallel characters. The Brigade Leader’s cowardly end, for example. It also makes us wish we had a parallel Doctor. The story is fast paced with lots of action , another refinery and a great car chase. Easily in the top four stories of season seven.
Catchphrase Error of the Week
“There’s been a murder, Liz”
Everyone knows it is just “There’s been a murder” and said in a Scottish accent. Not a bad go though.
Not a ‘Who’ cliché this but a horror one as a hairy hand appears around a pillar.
‘Just 35 seconds to go’
Does it ever add to the tension when the whatever it is that is threatening the end of the world as we know it is stopped at the last minute? Too make it a true cliché it would have had to have been in the last second.
Sir Keith played by Christopher Benjamin. Later to play Jago from Talons of Weng Chiang and Hugo in The Unicorn and the Wasp.
Venusian Karate. The Doctor’s interstellar Martial Art is used for the first time in this story against Professor Stahlman.
Private Wyatt is surely Nicholas Lyndhurst
Episode 3 5:11
The Doctor: Who’s been messing about with my equipment.
Episode 7 6:00
Greg Sutton: That flange could blow at any moment.
Richard and Esther Shapiro were watching an old videotape of this story in February 1984 while they were putting together the storylines for season 6 of Dynasty. They thought it would be a great idea to have a parallel world in Dynasty. In the event, as they were already planning for Fallon to be kidnapped by Aliens they decided they were going for too much Science Fiction so instead they just used Crystal’s double, Rita. However, in an interview with TV Zone in 1997, Linda Evans admitted she studied Caroline John’s performance as reference material.
If this were Star Trek …
In the conversation between Section Leader Liz and the Doctor in episode 4, she asks the Doctor what the other Liz does on his Earth. If this were Star Trek, she would ask the Doctor, ‘Was she beautiful?’
This Weeks False Moustache
This week the Brigadier has a few episodes off funny facial hair as the Brigade Leader and has to make do with an eye patch. The Hair and Glue department at the BBC do not get the week of though, in fact they have to work overtime on all the hairy Primords.
Bonnie Tyler Quote of the Week
‘We’re sitting on a powder keg.’ So Greg sings in his Karaoke attempt early in episode 6.
Enlightening Dialogue of the Week
Gold: No. Well, goodbye, Doctor.
The Doctor: Goodbye, Sir Keith.
Gold: Goodbye, Miss Shaw.
Liz: Bye bye, Sir Keith.
The Doctor: Goodbye, Brigadier
What is this, The Waltons? All these goodbyes and this is Liz’s final scene in the show which passes without a mention!
The 500 Year Diary
15th March 1973 am
At a drilling complex near Eastchester. The Brigadier is down here on a security detail whilst the rather ill-tempered Professor Stahlman drills down to the Earth’s crust mining for Stahlman’s gas. I’m only here to use the power for my own project – to get the TARDIS console going again with Liz’ help.
Not everyone here at the ‘Inferno’ is surly. Sir Keith Gold is a rather reasonable fellow, concerned about aspects of the operation. He’s drafted in Greg Sutton to advise, but it’s unlikely the Professor will listen to anyone, apart from his assistant, Petra Williams.
Funny goings on as a technician is killed by another technician, Slocum, but Stahlman remains unconcerned… fellow’s liver must be playing him up.
As I try a test flight on the console, there is a power surge and end up being pulled apart in a dimensional void. Luckily, Liz manages to reduce the power, but what happened? Alarms are going off – the drill is in danger of shutdown. When we go to the power room, we notice the power is at maximum. Just as we attempt the lower the extremely hot switch, in bursts a rather crazed looking Slocum.
15th March 1973 pm
Try to calm Slocum down, but he’s shot at by Private Wyatt who is attacked. Eventually Slocum is stopped, but a huge burn mark is left on the wall. He also was making some strange noises – I heard noises like that at the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.
Whilst walking around the towers of the complex, I encounter Private Wyatt attacked by Slocum. He has also changed and attacks me until he falls off the tower.
Back at the control centre, Stahlman continues to ignore the advice from the computer and wants to accelerate the drilling. A strange green liquid has been found coming up from number 2 outlet pipe and placed in a jar although the outside is cracking. Stahlman foolishly grabs hold of it. I wouldn’t have done that! In addition, I’m convinced he’s sabotaged the computer by removing the microcircuit – I catch him trying to smash it up, which he tries to hide in his pocket… with success.
He orders power to my experiment to be cut. How petty! Anyway, I secretly turn it on, send Liz on a wild goose chase before having one more go on the console. It starts to shudder and shake and just as the Brigadier & Liz come into the hut, I’m off!
23rd July 1972
Woke up in the hut, someone’s had a bit of a tidy up. Added to that the sonic screwdriver won’t open the door which has some sort of triangular symbol with three arrows. Very odd.
Next thing, I’m shot at! What’s going on? Manage to shake them off in Bessie and hiding in a dustbin. As I watch the soldiers from the top of the cooling tower, there’s Private Wyatt again. But how can it be?
Eventually some sanity when I come across Liz in some ridiculous get up, except she doesn’t know me and takes me to the Brigade Leader who is actually the Brigadier with a scar and an eye patch. Well, I’ve worked out what’s going on – I’m in a parallel space-time continuum – the TARDIS console has hopped me sideways. I’m in the Republic Of Great Britain where the Royal Family have been executed. Pity. A charming family.
They’re more advanced with the drilling in this universe. Everyone’s counterpart is here – smarter and more regimented. Stahlman or Stahlmann’s still the same although Sir Keith Gold has been killed. Because of my prior knowledge, they think I’m a spy.
I need to try and help as there’s some sort of crisis at the drill head. I escape from Benton and d towards the computer, broken in this universe too. Except Benton aims a gun right at my head.
24th July 1972 pm
Saved by ‘Section Leader’ Shaw. She appears reasonable and lets me repair the computer and help with the immediate crisis which I solve by cleverly suggesting that they push all the coot down the outlet pipe and then draw up all the debris from the bottom of the shaft through the inlet pipe. Is Stahlmann grateful? No. Ungrateful nitwit.
They’re still convinced I’m a spy and I have to go through this ridiculous interrogation which involves a table lamp and lots of shouting. Only the equivalent Liz seems to possibly believe me. Confront Stahlmann about his hand and being infected, but cleverly he has hidden it with a bandage.
Throw me into a cell, where I’m to sit and wait, except the fellow next to me has been infected. Manage to escape in the subsequent kerfuffle and hide in a Land Rover driving to the control centre. Disguise myself as a technician to get inside. The noise! The sound of the Earth screaming out its rage!
Despite my best efforts, it’s too late. I can’t escape, I can’t stop the drilling. The countdown to penetration zero continues.
24th July 1972 eve
And so we reach penetration zero. Predictably, there’s an explosion and earth tremors. Mr Sutton thinks he can cap the bore so in we go to the drill head except Stahlmann attacks us and locks himself inside the drill head.
The Earth is doomed. There’s nothing I can do, except…. Yes… return to the other universe and stop it happening there! I can save a world! I need to convince the others to help me, which they agree to except the Brigade Leader wants to come with me, which is just impossible – the dimensional paradoxes would shatter the space-time continuums.
As I start to explain my plan, the creatures outside start to break in.
24th July 1972 eve
We escape the creatures, using fire extinguishers and coolant pipes.
Outside the sky is red and air is blisteringly hot. Tremors come and go knocking people to their feet.
We manage to get to the shed with the TARDIS console in and wait whilst Petra tries to reconnect the power, except she can’t. Oh well, she tried. I probably wouldn’t be able to convince the other world anyway. The Brigade Leader and Sutton start fighting, but Petra sneaks out to try again.
She’s a genius. She gets it working and the power to the console comes through. The Brigade Leader, a real coward, threatens me unless I take him with me. Liz saves me by shooting him. Time is running out as the lava flows towards the shed.
19th March 1973
It worked. I’m back. In my delirious state, I manage to prevent one disaster by telling them to reverse all systems.
Feeling better. Visited by Sir Keith. He’s not dead! So there is a chance… An infinity of universes, ergo an infinite number of choices. So free will is not an illusion after all. The pattern can be changed.
At the Control Centre, I start smashing at controls ordering Stahlman to stop, but they think I’m just ill so they cart me off. I escape again and find that Stahlman has changed, but he is shot. We go to shut down, but there’s a problem… a bit of rewiring and we stop the drilling with 35 seconds to spare. Phew!
The whole project’s been abandoned and the nuclear reactor shut down. Sutton & Petra have left for London together – there’s nothing like a nice happy ending.
Back at the hut, I’m working on the TARDIS console. I’m sure this time I can get away, but not before telling the Brigadier he is a pompous, self-opinionated idiot. Except… the console takes me a few seconds forward in time and a few hundred yards east. The rubbish tip. A little bit awkward with the Brigadier… Liz just laughs.
Five Word Lords
Creative horror showcasing the leads.