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'The Condemned'

CD audio adventure released February 2008, 4 episodes

Writers: Eddie Robson
Director: Nicholas Briggs

Roots: Men in Black. Prime Suspect and police procedural and forensic dramas. The X-Files (Menzies mentions Mulder and Scully), The Doctor begins to mention Coronation Street (probably). Some alien names (Vorath, Kord) come from the Transformers cartoon series.

Technobabble: A DNA patch re-writes and stabilises the wearer's DNA and therefore appearance. Usually they work well, although the Doctor knows how to recognise tell-tale signs of one being used, such as the host's movement

Chocolate is a ideal source of simple triglycerides for the Doctor to absorb and which combat the antiplatelet effect of soluble aspirin.

Dialogue Triumphs: Charley: "I don't want to knock you unconscious, it's not good for you. I speak from experience"

Charley's brilliant 999 call

"Indian food? You mean you can get it here - in Manchester?"

"There's no weapon I like better than one that destroys itself"

Double Entendres: "You know you do have a knack of making me feel this small" "-Well in cosmic terms you are!"

Continuity: Greater Manchester is the second home for a good number of extraterrestrial species working in disguise among humans. Consequently, a good deal of alien technology is apparent, such as DNA patches (see: technobabble) and devices of subterfuge, including a form of radiation that can cause anything it affects to irreversibly change its (or 'their', in the case of Sam) state into something beyond solid, liquid or gas. Some individuals from species such as the Shinx are actively contravening their cultural backgrounds and attempting to influence the local population trough environmental mood adjustment, ultimately intending to take over the planet in turn.

Shinxes are economically a very successful species and, generally speaking, low-key, regarding Earth as a high-risk planet (making the planet an unpopular place to work and requiring their government to offer an incentive package of a high payout for a workplace injury or death on Earth.) Because they are vulnerable to respiratory diseases on Earth, Shinx take some time to adjust to the planet's atmosphere - respiratory distress is identified by discolouring around their nostrils. Their skin is red and jelly-like, lacking hair, and their build is dissimilar to that of a normal human. Shinx do not divorce.

Rolteans are a rotund and heavily-armoured species who don't speak human languages very clearly. Two crashed on Saddleworth Moor in 1991 and were found and aided by Doctor Aldrich, resulting in his building a trusted reputation among aliens working clandestinely in the area.

Ghost sightings at Ackley House have been recorded, but were usually put down to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Detective Inspector Patricia Menzies works for the Greater Manchester Police; her superior is DCI Turnbull. In 2003 Menzies pulled boy out of a canal, unaware that he was an alien waterbreather - he drowned in air.

There are showers in the TARDIS, and its library contains a book on Shinx anatomy.

Charley knows the Doctor is a former incarnation (she believes the Eighth Doctor dead because he never returned for her), but doesn't know which one. Her 'Uncle Robert' (likely an unrelated acquaintance of her father's) stole church funds and ran away to Brazil. She loves South Indian curries, and when she grew up in Hampshire had a footman who had served in India and "knew all the recipes" (the alternative was travel to London for a proper curry.)

The Doctor is wearing the blue version of his costume. He isn't hugely familiar with Shinx anatomy (although can tell by its skin colour whether it is sick or dying); he takes his tea 'white and legless' and enjoys hazelnuts. He can pick a lock with a paperclip, knows the smell of aspirin and diagnoses a patient in the hospital waiting room. He has an etheric beam locator in his pocket which he uses

Location: Ackley House in Gaulton(?) Inner Manchester, 29th February 2008

Links: The Girl Who Never Was. The Shinx were introduced in Human Resources. Genesis of the Daleks (etheric beam locators) The Mind of Evil (the Doctor's vulnerability to aspirin)

Q.v. 'The Doctor's Doctorate', 'Ghosts and Apparitions'

The Bottom Line: "Expecting to find a ray gun in the soap dish?"

Eddie Robson's claustrophobic script is enlivened by the odd and suspicious pairing of the Sixth Doctor (returning here to a pricklier version of the more recent Big Finish revision) and Charley Pollard. With luck it'll be a team to beat, and it's encouraging to see things not get off smoothly too quickly for the now-seasoned TARDIS inhabitants. D.I. Menzies rounds out the story with a fun and (again) circumspect ally - a return appearance at this stage would be most welcome.

MEETING MENZIES

Chronologically speaking, this is the first time Menzies meets the Doctor, but the second time the Doctor meets her, the Time Lord having previously encountered Menzies two years later in her timestream whilst he was travelling with Evelyn (The Crimes of Thomas Brewster). In that story Menzies discovers the anachronism during her police interview with Evelyn, and unsuccessfully attempts to conceal from the Doctor the matter of her having already met him and travelled in his TARDIS. She does, however, manage to keep her knowledge of Charley Pollard a secret between her and Evelyn - a rare secret, given that Evelyn and Menzies are possibly the only two of the Doctor's acquaintances aware of Charley's existence after Charley and the Doctor are again separated. For his part, the Doctor appreciates what he infers to be Menzies' gesture and promises to return the favour on their 'first' meeting (i.e. Menzie's first encounter, being during The Condemned), which he does so successfully. This would suggest that no further out-of-sequence and shared adventures for the Doctor and Patricia Menzies occur between Crimes and Condemned. Or, at least, none known to Patricia herself.

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