Roots: The Time-Traveller's Wife (book and film). Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang (the movie - Jarod calls Brewster "Caractacus Potts"). The Godfather ("You've made me an offer I can't refuse") Casablanca ("The start of a beautiful friendship") Second World War public notices ("careless talk costs lives") Menzies mentions Captain Kirk, Metal Mickey and The Three Musketeers; she compares Brewster to the Artful Dodger. Gallagher says of the Doctor and Evelyn "It's like listening to The Archers!" Cliff Richard's Wired For Sound, Flip's ringtone is Lady Gaga's Pokerface. The video game Call of Duty and movie Avatar are mentioned by Jared. Evelyn describes Brewster as looking "like he's stepped out of an Evelyn Waugh novel" (and later name checks Brideshead Revisited) "discretion is the better part of valour." The Doctor mentions Heath Robinson. Gallagher quotes Sun Tzu ("you know the saying; 'my enemy's enemy'..."
Goofs: "I knew there must be a reason for you wearing that coat", says Evelyn, specifically of the Doctor's multi-coloured ensemble (pointedly not the blue variant as shown on the CD cover), and referring to its ability to confuse the Terravore. In fact not only is the coat an unusual choice given the Doctor's contemporary attire (not that the conversation mentions this in itself), Evelyn already discovered the reason for the Doctor's coat pattern in The Sandman.
Brewster's time machine parts survive very well after a hundred and fifty years in a working tube station.
Since when were computer viruses "self-developing"?
Technobabble: The Terravore's parts include a "gravity inversion drive linked to [a] neural matrix."
Neville's transmission relay includes a 'neutronic wave inductor' - something that is currently beyond Earth's technology.
Dialogue Triumphs: "This flat is a tip. It looks like a bomb hit it and a burglar broke in to tidy up."
"I'm just the Doctor's companion. It's my job to ask stupid questions." (from the Doctor!)
Dialogue Disasters: "Norman. Er... Norman de Plume" - the Doctor's and Menzies' bluff is hopefully obvious to everyone they meet.
"I can't move... the legs, the mud - it's sucking like quicksand!" "Hold on... I'm sucking too!" "We're being sucked into the mud!" etc.
Continuity: The planet Symbios has two moons and its stars are visible by day. There are no birds or insects in its rainforests, and its landscape incorporates bone-like trees, swamps of blood and arterial tunnels - it is a living world imbued with a living energy - as long as the Locus survives, nothing dies on the world. The Locus is the life force of the planet, resembling living spirits and seemingly having the ability to manipulate wormhole interfaces in space-time. It has two agents (Patricia Welsh and Danny Cole) already on Earth.
Terravores are insect-like robots resembling mosquitoes and have a limited ability to process visual data; they have gravity inertia drives and a self-destruct mechanism. The official explanation for their appearance on Earth is given by the media as out-of-control radio-controlled toys. Primarily terraforming devices, they can reduce any object including living things, into their constituent elements including their various isotopes (diamonds, for example.) They have a hive mind yet require a Queen, a massive individual by Brewster's description. Travelling between planets in Hive ships, they communicate via radio waves (which can penetrate wormholes.) The swarm here made email contact with one Neville Perkins, a loner living in a bedsit outside Penge. Over one hundred and ninety days Neville followed the instructions he received, ostensibly from 'Andromeda' (though the Doctor is doubtful) to create a Terravore, which, once active, linked with the hive mind and set about creating others before the swarm finally overcame Neville, his neighbour and landlady.
The Blinovitch Limitation Effect creates a static charge which the Doctor experiences as tingling on the back of his hand when another of his incarnations is nearby.
Sarcasm is a capital offence on Literalis II.
This is the third time D I Menzies has encountered the Doctor, but the first time for him, necessitating some play-acting on his behalf when they will eventually meet for 'her' first time five years before this story. She identifies him as appearing to be in his mid-forties, and roughly five years older than the last time she saw him in the company of Charley (see: Links). She has been seconded to London office due to her familiarity with "the Doctor". She hasn't read The Time-Traveller's Wife, but watched the first few minutes of the rented DVD.
The TARDIS can detect other TARDISes and time vehicles in its vicinity. Its Sensory Disorientation Forcefield is operated by an ochre switch, third from the left on one fascia of the console.
This story marks the first encounter between the Doctor and future companion Philippa 'Flip' Jackson, heard here with her current boyfriend Jarod, both of whom were abducted en route to a friend's (Marty) 21st party. Flip has never held a gun before.
One hundred and fifty years have passed since the Doctor and Brewster first met. Brewster is, by accounts, dressed in an approximation of the Fifth Doctor's costume. It is revealed that around six months ago Connie, Brewster's girlfriend, was killed in a hit and run (see: Links). Considering his lot and wishing to travel once more, Brewster used his broken time machine to leave Earth, but in doing so caught the attention of the Locus, who took him for the Doctor and pressed him into service defending Symbios.
Evelyn has change in her handbag, but no oyster card.
The Doctor hot-wires a police launch and picks locks. He is wearing his 'old' multi-coloured coat in the opening to this story (one of an apparent twelve he owns, see also: Goofs). For the remainder of the story he wears a jumper and jeans from police lost property. He jumps from a third floor window and survives, even getting up and continuing to run (putting this down to his rapid recuperative powers). He describes his age as 900 years old, and says he has never addressed a living planet before - nor has he heard of The Time-Traveller's Wife.
Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor was present at the opening of Tower Bridge during the reign of James II. He has visited Bermuda.
The Doctor will meet both the Locus and Terravores in his future and the past of the planet - he saves Symbios from an invasion by the Drahvins (see: Links).
Location: Oh, London, and the planet Symbios. The present day, et cetera.
Links: This story follows (but is set some time after) A Perfect World and follows in part some elements of The Haunting of Thomas Brewster (Brewster's time machine in Portland Road Station). Menzies refers to Charley Pollard (The Condemned, The Raincloud Man). This is the second time the Doctor has visited the Tower of London with Evelyn (The Marian Conspiracy) and the third time she and the Doctor have had to swim the Thames (Marian again, plus Project: Twilight), while he experiences deja vu at Portland Road Station - Bewster's hideaway at the time of their first meeting. Galaxy 4 (Drahvins) The Sandman (the Doctor's coat - see: Goofs) The Beast Below (The Doctor calls out "Geronimo!") Evelyn mentions Daleks to Brewster (The Apocalypse Element). This is the third Big Finish story set partially in Penge. Flip and Jared return in The Curse of Davros
Q.v. 'Meeting Menzies'
The Bottom Line: "Where are the chairs?"
Everyone's off their game in this, and the re-introduction of Thomas Brewster is too obviously an attempt to match the (deserved) success of the Charley Pollard/Sixth Doctor combination. Even worse, it upsets the bigger event, the return of Maggie Stables' Evelyn Smythe to the BF fold. Add to that the first appearance of a future companion in Flip and the (admittedly amusing) time shenanigans with future foil D.I. Menzies, and you'd be struggling to find a pretty lacklustre story inside. And that's a shame for David Troughton fans.