Roots: The central image of the Doctor as painted by Henri Toulouse Lautrec is based on the artist's poster of Aristide Bruant. La Charlotte takes her name from a vintage 19th century Parisian absinthe. 'La Nouvelle Athènes was indeed a bohemian haunt of Lautrec's contemporaries . At the Moulin Rouge the Can-Can is danced (but not heard), similarly the Doctor sings Show Me The Way To Go Home offstage (as it were). Aladdin (Mrs Wibbsey compares Lautrec to "like staring into the face of a genie from the lamp") and the illustration (page 407) from the Demon's fairy tale book to something drawn by Arthur Rackham ("-if Arthur Rackham had completely lost his mind") Round the Horne's Julian and Sandy ("your actual"), Sir Walter Scott (the Demon's "tangled web") In greeting his wolfhound the Docr once again quotes from Walt Whitman's O Captain! My Captain!
Intertextuality: The Aristide Bruant poster in turn informed much of James Acheson's designs for the Fourth Doctor's costume, particularly the hat and scarf (a fact alluded to in the play). Pastiches of the poster with Tom Baker's features were circulated at Doctor Who conventions during the 1980s and 1990s.
Dialogue Triumphs: "This is a moment in history!" "Aren't they all, with you?"
Continuity: Dozens of Paris' working girls have gone missing according to la Charlotte, likely the victims of the Demon's appetite for their life force. Characteristics of the Demon's presence continue to refer back to its first appearance within this story, including desiccated corpses of its victims and an eerie green light emanating from its Dematerialisation Chamber.
Mrs Wibbsey's parents died while she was very young, leading her to being taken in by an Aunt Maude, who was a published poet, but didn't lead a bohemian lifestyle, quaffing absinthe ("-for all that you know", grumbles the Doctor). Wibbsey has never been to Paris before, and tries coq au vin for the first time.
The Doctor struggles to find the correct currency when visiting the Moulin Rouge. He protests that he can't sing (and Wibbsey tends to agree with him).
Near Nest Cottage is a woods with fir trees, one of which the Doctor fells for Christmas.
Location: Montmartre, including the environs of the Moulin Rouge and cemetery, Paris 1894
The Bottom Line: "Welcome to the centre of the universe!"
Hm. Perhaps best filed next to The Stuff of Nightmares under 'story ideas designed to appeal to the star' — in this case, setting the Doctor's adventure in Bohemian Paris, allowing Tom Baker to indulge his inner Francophile. There are fewer surprises this time around — the small cast puts paid to anything like a taxing guessing-game over who the Demon might be working through, although the conclusion is unexpectedly violent. A bit of a stumble after a good opener, but it's still early days. The narration by Mrs Wibbsey is nice and adequate, although with her not being present in every scene it's also all the more obvious.