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135i 'Three's a Crowd'

CD audio adventure released May 2005, 4 episodes

Writer: Colin Brake
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: Gone with the Wind ("tomorrow is another day") Alien (deserted spaceship with sinister eggs inside). Lord Goschen's observation of Britain's foreign policy in the Nineteenth Century ("splendid isolation"). The transmat sounds are straight from Blake's 7. My Way (‘Regrets?’ ‘Too few to mention’)

Double Entendres: 'Shall I put my hands in the air and come quietly?"
Episode One seems to end with General Makra'thon welcoming the Doctor and Erimem to his Lada.

Dialogue Triumphs: "I am authorised to use offensive weaponry!" "Isn't all weaponry offensive?"

Continuity: Earth colony Phoenix was founded fifty years ago by pioneers seeking independence from the Federation. Its population are the last generation born there. Due to sunspot activity and general orbital debris the colony relies on teleport for internal travel with its space station Medusa a docking facility for extra-solar visitors. Despite this, the planet chosen is far from major space lanes and, because of the sunspot activity, teleport access to ‘human space’, so due to its environmental conditions it receives no visitors. On arrival most of the population were kept in cryogenic stasis while the planet underwent terraforming - a longer than expected project time meant that the awakened colonists were kept in isolation from one another and developed underlying agoraphobia. The present small population comprise the last generation of the colonists born on the planet, reared by the robotic Servitors maintaining the dome. The colony ship's engines are now useless.

Khellians are a bipedal and humanoid militaristic race of reptiles. Their society is arranged around a queen, who lays thousands of eggs and dies, becoming the first meal of her young. A Royal Guard is assigned to protect the unhatched brood. Being reptiles Khellians are susceptible to temperature changes and also hibernate in cooler temperature ranges. The Doctor has heard of them before, but seems to have not actually encountered them.

The TARDIS wardrobe has sunglasses. At the beginning of the story the Doctor is working on its temporal drift circuits.

Erimem finds a room in the TARDIS which resembles a field and pond, including ducks and what sound to be sparrows. Peri thinks she may be able to see a road and traffic in the distance. Erimem knows something of the insides of Egyptian pyramids, including their hidden passageways. Upon seeing a Khellian she relates to it as resembling Sobek, the crocodile god of her people.

Peri says she knows all about the difficulties between girls and their fathers.

Links: The Roof of the World (The TARDIS pool is still frozen over, and Erimem's eyes have not fully recovered since the events). Planet of Fire (Peri mentions her mother and by implication, her stepfather)

Location: Earth colony Phoenix and its orbiting space station Medusa, 2885.
NB: the dating would place these events within the time frame of the Earth Empire, which collapsed somewhere in the late 30th Century (The Mutants). Presumably the Federation mentioned here is not the Galactic Federation, the Empire's eventual successor.

The Bottom Line: “I was taught never to play with my food”

Big Finish does The Ark in Space. In a way Three's a Crowd is an undemanding listen - the plot's straightforward, the characters are limited and there are few big loud noises to jar one out of their headphones. Despite its quite typical running time it flows along quietly and reaches its conclusion without much fuss. It's not particularly witty or daring or controversial, it's just... fine.

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