Roots: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Gulliver's Travels (Litefoot compares the floating city of Antor to "a veritable Laputa") The Venusian stories of Jules Verne (Jago's supposition that the women of Venus might speak French) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (Amtor and Vepaja come via Edgar Rice Burroughs' Venus series). The word "Cytherean" as an adjective referring to Venus is often found in science fiction of the early and mid 20th century. Olaf Stapledon's A Story of the Near and Far Future and Last and First Men (Tropical storms and oxygen factories on Venus) Voyage to Venus by C S Lewis Native American notions of a 'happy hunting ground'
Intertextuality: This adventure follows on from the concluding story of season four of Jago and Litefoot, in which the Sixth Doctor, in disguise and evading temporal marauders the Temperons, reacquaints himself with Henry Gordon Jago and professor George Litefoot (and Leela).
Goofs: Venus was recently repopulated with many species, including "plants, insects, then reptiles and arthropod life." (Insects are arthropods)
Dialogue Triumphs: 'Go out on a song? I say that's in rather poor taste!'
You're using God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as the basis of a Venusian lullaby?'
I can take you anywhere in time and space...and you want me to take you to a pub?
Continuity: The sky of Venus is a lilac-mauve. Venus was an arid desert until six years ago. Gradually it has been repopulated with (in order of appearance) plants, insects, then reptiles and arthropod life (see: Goofs) Shanghorns are herbivorous pachyderms native to Venus. Herd animals, they may stampede if startled but are otherwise docile and susceptible to psychic instruction and music, being traditionally pacified by means of a perigosto stick, a Venusian form of musical instrument. Shrieking Blurosas are a native animal. A Venusian Sporebeetle has a nasty sting, shooting jets of acid and with a bite able to render its victim unconscious for several hours.
The indigenous intelligent Venusian life form Thraskins are human-sized lemur creatures with large ears and are the former dominant species on Venus. They are otherwise known as Cytherians having exhausted their fossil fuels and subjected their world to a greenhouse effect, the Thraskins retreated to geodesic crystalline ice caverns in the planet's subsurface (the "forbidden caves"), taking with them samples of all Venusian life forms and storing their psyches on memory crystals. They established through a psychic collective an elite creature, Vepaga, as their leader and ambassador.
The current female rulers of Venus are Earth-descendants and have evolved to grow green, fur-like plumage, like parrots. They observe a Lightning God and a merciful Sun God. Males are functional, almost parasitic and tiny beings which attach to the females for breeding and then drop off after some time. They are incapable of speech. Venusians have no concept of music
The floating city of Amtor is suspended by hot air balloons and is a floating oxygen factory, allegedly a by-product of its food synthesis machines (but not)
This is the first time either Jago or Litefoot leave Earth in the TARDIS and is, one assumes, the last occasion as well. Henry can perform simple sleight of hand routines and suffers from motion sickness; Litefoot was born in Twickenham and lived his early life in India and regards himself well-familiar with the subcontinent.
The Doctor reveals that he learned Venusian Aikido whilst in his second incarnation (see: Untelevised Adventures.) Among the drinking establishments with which he is familiar he recommends the Emerald Tearooms on Jastan VII, the Throat Emporium of Qualactin Major, and the Voxnic Institute of Applied Toxicology (see: Links)
Links: See: 'Intertextuality' for the starting point for this adventure. The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon (the Venusian Lullaby). The Time Monster (Thraskins) The Green Death (Shanghorns and perigosto sticks), and Inferno (Venusian aikido). Slipback (voxnic) The Doctor mentions Victoria. This story leads into the beginning of Voyage to the New World, while the crystal (later dubbed the 'Venus Stone') procured by Jago here reappears crucially in the following Jago and Litefoot series.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor recalls having visited Venus a few times before, including a visit with Jamie and Victoria in which he spent a fortnight learning the basics of Venusian aikido. When the Doctor went to Venus in its future the Venusians and Thraskins were living in harmony. He also claims to have met David Livingstone the explorer, who apparently "couldn't read a map if his life depended on it."
Location: Venus, far in Earth's future - the mother planet is now a barren, airless rock.
The Bottom Line: "Victoria? You let the queen in that confounded box?"
Fun fun fun, but has it come to this - Doctor Who purloining its own history (this is something of a re-telling of Doctor Who and the Silurians) for inspiration? The two Victorian gentlemen are a delight and Morris deftly weaves threads of the TV series' Venusian history to create a story that, despite all of this, surprises and comforts all in one. Almost perfect for Christmas.
Venus in the Doctor Who universe was, seemingly, not always an inhospitable place. The first, great native civilisation of Venus is that of the Cytherians, who populated the planet during Earth's infancy. Despite this advanced civilisation and the guiding presence of a psychic collective (the Vepajer, see above) the Cytherians were responsible for the environmental collapse of their world, and like the Silurian races of Earth retreated to caverns below their planet's surface to await its recovery. It is possibly during this very long time that Venus is regarded as being a largely inhospitable place, with seas of metal witnessed by Susan during a visit with her grandfather (Marco Polo) and ultimately becoming a lifeless desert.
Despite this lack of life it is possible that Venus was still of some importance to Earth; presumably colonies were established there for some time, and flowers are grown there (The Wheel in Space) leading to Mars to Venus pleasure cruises of the 25th century, which the Doctor participated in for a time (Robot). Venus' influence seems to have endured, with the planet targeted for invasion by the Daleks during the administration of Mavic Chen (circa 3999 - Mission to the Unknown). In the space year 17000 the Daleks again attempt an attack on Venus, but are repelled by a fleet from the planet Hyperion (Genesis of the Daleks), suggesting that (if this date can be inferred to be Earth's future) some civilisation remained on the planet for a long time, forging interplanetary alliances and becoming a key player in the politics of the Solar System. This closeness remained, after some form, and when Earth itself became unable to support life billions of years later, colonists arrived on Venus with the intention of terraforming the planet. Over time their own forms changed to adapt to local conditions and their original humanity was lost.
The Thraskins, lemur-like humanoids with large ears and long (up to a metre) feet, are descended from original Cytherians enslaved by the 'Venusian' humans and, revived and freed with the help of the Sixth Doctor, Jago and Litefoot, become a great civilisation. Their era is broken down to at least twenty-five distinct dynasties, after which the Thraskin name disappears and they are thereafter referred to as Plinges (The Time Monster). If all of the following can be relied upon it would appear that the Thraskins were an agreeable and sophisticated species - among their cultural touchstones mentioned by the Third Doctor are a game of hopscotch (Death to the Daleks), musical instruments (the perigosto stick) and lullabies (The Curse of Peladon) and comedy (a joke involving Shanghorns and perigosto sticks mentioned in The Green Death; perhaps the reference to multiple eyes in the translated Venusian lullaby is another example of absurd humour?) Presumably because of their large feet one Venusian mile is equivalent to approximately four and a half Earth miles. Several hundred years into this age the Doctor visits with Jamie and Victoria whereupon he learns the local form of Aikido (as seen in Inferno.)