Roots: The works of Marcel Proust, particularly À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, but also Swann's Way. The Woman in White. A theatrical performer known as Toby the Sapient Pig did in fact exhibit himself in the nineteenth century [c.1871], and even published an "autobiography". Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy (real name Fedor Jeftichew) also actually existed and having died in 1904 isn't an anachronism. Augustina's Bovril story implicitly refers to Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1871 novel The Coming Race (aka Vril: The Power of the Coming Race), Miss Bultitude mentions Rescued By Rover (1905) Toby describes The Time Traveller and paraphrases the Hamlet soliloquy ("to die, to eat - to eat, perchance to lunch..."). ("Gone! And never called me mother!") The Doctor is a reader of The Beezer and mentions The Anvil Chorus and Power Man and Iron Fist. There is film footage discussed of the actor Henry Irving and Colonel Alfred Dreyfus.
Intertextuality: The Doctor's claim to have had his coat made on Kolpasha references two stories: Dan Abnett's DWM Fourth Doctor comic strip Victims first featured the 'fashion world' (and includes the coat as a visual gag), but it is Gary Russell's Sixth Doctor BBC Book Business Unusual that specifies the connection.
Fluffs: Michael Keating's reading of the line "How would a pig dress itself... in a hammam?" makes him sound as though he's describing an item of clothing and not a Turkish bath (unless it's a fluffed attempt at making a ham-based pun?]
Technobabble: A temporal fission grenade's detonation is "like putting sneezing powder into the space-time vortex."
Dialogue Triumphs: Mostly from Toby: "My mother was a fine 700-pound fancy Devonshire with the most elegant lop ears. My father was a portly Essex half-black with a permanent expression of quiet optimism and a pipe he never put down."
Double Entendres: "I managed to procure the key to Miss Bultitude's room. Care to go there for a quiet rummage?"
"I'm afraid I may have to do something indelicate with the fire extinguisher"
Continuity: The person who conducted these experiments didn't come from this time or this planet. Chardalot claims to be a scientist who used to work on long and complex experiments. He says he rarely ate and slept at his bench, toiling over his test subjects. There were many failures before his two 'boys' Charlie and Toby grew inside the bell-jars until he allowed them to take their first steps into the world. The Doctor tells them they were both born in test-tubes in this very house. Toby did go on the stage, but everything else he remembers was taken from the picture book. Chardalot isn't from the planet Gamantis and he's invented a history based on characters from Proust's books. The Doctor can't be sure about the sanity or morals of their creator, but he certainly seems to have achieved what he wanted. He came here from another world and brought two boys into the world. he proudly announces that he doesn't feel physical pain.
Nurse believes they can find them with the telescope, which has been left behind. By pressing the right buttons, they can look through the buildings of the town as if they were made of glass. The first item is a set of crystalline rods that can be moved about to receive a communications signal, not that there's anything to listen to in this period of time and it's likely to be at least another century before he can get a tune out of that,
Albertine asks him where he studied science and he tells them he was at University on the planet Gamantis. He starts to talk about his time there in a nostalgic manner and Peri wonders why he doesn't just go back home and leave them all alone. the Doctor noticed that just before he fell, the Inspector took from his pocket what appeared to be a fob watch. But it wasn't just an ordinary fob watch - it was really a 'parachute' He shows her one of this few keepsakes from home - a device that allows him to make short trips through time and space, but it only has a range of about 400 kilometres and two hours and will only take one person at a time. Unfortunately it can't help him in his plan to take Toby to a scientific conference on Gamantis 500 years in the future. He views a monitor and concludes that one of his kidneys needs replacing, but fortunately he has plenty in the bank so the butler goes to collect one from the cold store. the bookmark starts bleeping and the Doctor tells Peri it's a device for detecting time machines
Among the other freaks mentioned by Miss Bultitude are the Baboon Lady who dances the Highland Fling, Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, Equus the Calculating Horse, Madame Baboo the Lobster-Claw Lady (there's a charming picture of her doing a crochet square) and Simia the Missing Link.
Peri irritates the Doctor by allegedly revealing a plot twist from the last volume, which she says she read during her gap year; she also knows the story of The Railway Children. She (apparently) has a TARDIS key. One of her college friends was probably bulimic and was referred by Peri to a counsellor.
The Doctor eats a Battenburg cake and gets drunk, accosting Marcel Proust as a result.
He admits that although it was his first incarnation ["the real Francophile"] who ordered the set of À la Recherche du Temps Perdu from Foyle's, he's never been able to get past the first twenty pages before now. None of his other incarnations were especially interested in reading, except for his immediate predecessor who was fond of a Boy's Own story about an aristocrat who yomped through the Brazilian rainforests, depriving the natives of their orchids (see: Links).
Future History: The Doctor recalls an incident in the mid-25th century in which the world was flooded with bogus x-ray spectacles summoned into existence during an accident at a plastics factory involving a matter synthesiser and antique back issue of Power Man and Iron Fist. After a boom year the company suddenly collapsed when the factory was destroyed by a rampaging horde of sea monkeys.
Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor isn't sure he's been to Brussels, but remembers coming here "in the future" to buy an engagement ring - for business, not pleasure. He personally knew Chang Wu Gao, the Chinese Giant, whom he regards as a marvellous fellow and a very good dancer. The Doctor also recalls a time, "about 300 years ago", when he saw a beached whale explode after lying dead for four days.
Links: Vengeance on Varos (the Doctor mentions the planet and refers to Peri's transmogrification there), the Doctor's threatened story of "The Giant Rat of the River Fleet" is presumably the same infamous beast of The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Black Orchid (the episode and the book, in this instance), Peri intends to correspond with Herbert Wells (Timelash); The Twin Dilemma ("the odd anthropomorphic slug"), The Doctor name checks Mire Beasts (The Chase) and Moroks (The Space Museum). Forty-five: Casualties of War (the Doctor eats a Battenburg Cake)
Location: Ostend, 1913.
The Bottom Line: "Who's dead today, Nurse Albertine?"
Witty and wonderfully baroque, and therefore ideal for the wordy and pretentious Sixth Doctor (although Peri being a reader of Proust seems a little harder to swallow). Possibly a little long, but a pleasure to the ears all the same. And nobody dies.