Roots: Christopher Biggins as an alternative sixth Doctor was first touted on the now defunct 'Professor X' spoof web site, while the 'deadly dustbins' (a Dalek parody) featured in Emu's Broadcasting Company. Sally-Anne is named after the companion of 'Doctor Where', the hero of 1970s schools programme Maths Trail. The Weakest Link (game show), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the booming voice broadcast from a space ship threatening to destroy the world), the Doctor paraphrases The Pilgrim's Progress ('You're supposed to jog me out of my Slough of Despond'), while Mel and Banto paraphrase from the Blackadder I episode 'Bells' ('I've got the memory of an elephant - it's sort of a running gag between the Doctor and I' '-I bet the hours just fly by'). Reader's Digest ('It pays to enrich your word power'), The Eurovision Song Contest ('It's using us like Puppets on a String'). Short Circuit ('You will be disassembled!'). Banto Zame is a corruption of Biggins' usual pantomime role, Panto Dame. The Doctor quotes from Chesney Hawkes' 1990 UK hit 'The One and Only' ('I am the one and only/nobody I'd rather be...'). The Assemblers are closely based on the robots from the long-running 1970s UK 'Smash' mashed potato adverts, while the Assembler planet (and specifically the product descriptions Mel and Banto read out) is a parody of the popular furniture store Ikea. Sally-Anne stepping up to the 'hot spot' is taken from the UK game show Blockbusters. At the end of Part Three the Doctor and Sally-Anne give a brief rendition from the old music hall number 'The Cucumber Song' ('Ooh! What a beauty/I've never seen one as big as that before!'), while in Part One the Doctor quotes a line from 'Comment' by Dorothy Parker ('Life is a glorious cycle of song/ A medley of extemporanea; And love is a thing that can never go wrong/ And I am Marie of Romania.'). Banto's parting shot ('My wife's gonna kill me...!') is the catchphrase of Greg Mitchell (The Gorgeous Sandy-Coloured Labrador) from UK comedy show The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Various BBC TV and radio series by Stewart Lee and Richard Herring ("skellington")
Fluffs: In episode two Zame refers to his 'STARDIST'
Goofs: How do Banto and Mel take the components of ZX419 which aren't currently in their dimension with them?
Most glaringly, Mentos gives the only proper question to the Doctor when he admits he doesn't know the code to release him from the game. In any situation if the Doctor asked 'what is the code?', he couldn't fail! D'oh!!!
Technobabble: the "Doctor" and Sally-Anne need "pluvon power crystals" for their STARDIS.
"Sounds like a multi-phasing corpolectric soundwave."
Dialogue Triumphs: Everyone gets at least one good line, and there are too many here to mention them all, so...
Banto: 'Time's winged charity marches on...'
'We'll bribe one of the pilots' 'What with?-' '-You'.
(on the Doctor) 'Oh here we go - another voyage around the English Language'
Mel: 'These corridors all look the same.' 'Not to a corridor veteran like me.'
'Perhaps in another dimension we might have got together and had tons of odd looking children...'
The Doctor: 'Where science falters, force has a certain... finesse'
And an honourable mention: 'You are the feeblest contestant; goodbye!'
Double Entendres: 'You'll never get it up.'
Zame on the validity of The STARDIS's portaloo form: 'We've seen the holo-records... policemen were always hanging around these things...'
'You don't get the same effect with audio. You want to actually see the monsters.'
Continuity: At the beginning of the story the Doctor and Mel play Monopoly.
Generios is the given name of a city, planet and system of seventeen worlds, some of which are no longer inhabited. Its newspaper is the Great Visi-Echo of Generios and it is primarily a trade based economy. Credits are still the universal currency. The prison in which the Doctor and Mel find themselves contain a food machine and a sofa, and has trisonic locks (which are easy for the Doctor to pick, apparently). Thousands of years ago Generios VIII was a thriving manufacturing planet until its board of directors handed control over to the manufacturing Assembler robots, who then massacred all human life on the planet.
Among other planets mentioned are Abidos (located in the Rim Worlds, outside normal jurisdiction, and upon which there is absolutely nothing), Zynglat 3 (which has a total sensory immersion device), and Zenta.
The "Vulgar End of Time" is where everything has been discovered, everything has been done, and technology has made everything affordable. The Doctor rarely goes there because it's boring. Presumably this is either around the time of The Ark and Frontios or beyond. The Skardu/Rosbrix Wars were fairly recent history. By this time tales of the Doctor's various deeds and knowledge of his various incarnations as well as Time Lords has become legend, in such a way that imposters eager to cash in on his heroics are common.
Skelloids are an aggressive race which resemble 'skellingtons'. They breathe hydrogen through their gill plates (it may well be however that they do not exist outside of Zame's holographic displays).
According to the Cylinder, five marlegs equals fifteen and a half gluarbs, which is equivalent to three Earth hours. The Assemblers measure their time in dekkons.
The Jelloid has been guarding the great crystal for thirty million years (which makes Generios' civilization very old indeed). Spraxis Jelloids are single celled organisms from the binary quasars of Bendalos and are the longest lived race in the cosmos. Many believe them to have been the first living creatures.
Vectrons are the fastest beings in the cosmos, thanks to their skill at manipulating time. As couriers they are forty times faster than anyone else (they must charge a packet or there'd be no competition). They resemble flying insects. The Vektons' depot is on the planet Syrranus Traxea.
Banto Zame in his guise as the Doctor has a "STARDIS" and a "psychic screwdriver". He is from Osphogus, a 'mudball' of a planet that was terraformed five thousand years ago. He once (as a child?) stole a five nim note from his mother. Banto once went drinking on Geddon and is also thinking of buying one of the moons of Plenagon. His STARDIS is merely a teleport vessel based on a portaloo.
The TARDIS has a wide-range distress transceiver.
Sally-Anne Stubbins' Aunty Sue was gobbled up by one of the Spaags of Vishtek 3.
Mel was in the Girl Guides and is from 1989. She was working as a computer programmer in Brighton when she first met the Doctor. Her full name is Melanie Jane Bush (see Business Unusual). She and her family lived in a big house seven miles from town, and would put on a Christmas show for pensioners every year at the Pease Pottage church hall. She can fly the TARDIS.
The Doctor has never been to Generios. His hair stands on end when another of his selves is near. Roget was a very good friend of his. He hates hotels and rarely drinks. On his 900th birthday his three wishes upon blowing out his cake were: better control of the TARDIS, peace throughout the galaxy, and more manageable hair. Later that day the evil Mantelli captured and imprisoned him with an old man.
Links: 'The Dominators' ('left them feeling like a right bunch of Quarks!'), 'Slipback' ('It's destroying my mind!') The Doctor attributes his good eyesight in the dark to lots of carrot juice ('The Trial of a Time Lord' ep 7), while the 'memory of an elephant' routine comes from the same story. Subjects featured among the questions asked of Mentos include Pescatons ('The Pescatons') and the Master-Bakers of Barastabon ('Project: Twilight' - but see also 'Intertextuality'). Mentos may be directly aware of the Doctor's method of dealing with BOSS ('The Green Death').
Untelevised Adventures: During the Cyberman invasion in June 1975 ('The Invasion') the Doctor based himself in 35 Jefferson Road, Woking (the wallpaper was purple) - this may have been a separate adventure to that seen on screen. In a future (eighth?) incarnation he will run foul of the Cylinder's senders, the Sussurats of Chalzon. He has encountered Jelloids before.
Intertextuality: The Cylinder knows of the Doctor's aliases including 'Ka Faraq Gatri' ('Bringer of Darkness' from the Target novelisation of 'Remembrance of the Daleks') and 'Snail' (from the Virgin New Adventure Lungbarrow). The Master-Bakers of Barastabon actually hail from Hickman and Roberts' Short Trips and Side-Steps story 'The Not-so Sinister Sponge'. Lastly, the Delaware version of the theme on Part Three is a reference to the overseas print of 'Carnival of Monsters'.
Location: The planets Generios I, VIII and XI of the Generios system in the West Galaxy, the Vulgar End of Time.
The Bottom Line: 'Enough talk of this foolish Earth pan!'
Great fun, with some superb casting (could there have been anyone more suited to nearly besting Baker's Doctor?) and some wonderful performances from the regulars as well. Best of all, everyone seems to be having a ball. You can't take it seriously of course, but then to do so would be to spoil it for everyone. For optimum effect, listen to it sparingly. Perhaps once a year. December, maybe?