Roots: The Eurovision Song Contest (The story title is a reworking of Lulu's winning 1966 entry 'Boom Bang a Bang'), Logan is a parody of perennial UK host Terry Wogan, even down to the style of banter, dodgy jokes and references to 'the missus', Donnie Logan was also the name of a two-time Irish winner. Agatha Christie, Star Trek, (The Salt/Sweat Vampire, meeting an alien claiming to be God, but also its spin-offs - mainly Deep Space Nine), Babylon 5((the prologue about the new commander - last best hope for peace), Space: 1999 (Bergman and Fassbinder were both the names of early cinema pioneers, Bergman's insane schemes, and Eleanor/Helena), Dark Star. The Doctor and Mel refer to [Hercule] Poirot and Hastings, and Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Scooby Doo ('maybe it was old Mr. Jenkins, the janitor'). Cluedo ('Professor Fassbinder with the lead piping the lab'). Red Dwarf (inappropriately-placed red alert switch). Mention is made of the Four Tops and the Doctor recommends as reading material the works of [Elizabeth] Gaskill. Nicky Newman's music recalls that of Stock Aitken Waterman). One of the security men in episode four does a Michael Caine impersonation. Logan refers to Ride of the Valkyries, the Doctor refers to Neighbours from Hell and mentions Klytaemnestra (from Aeschylus' Agamemnon). London's anti terrorist Ring of Steel is referenced (though here it is iron). The Doctor paraphrases the old stage maxim 'Learn your lines and try not to bump into the scenery.' (also one of Sylvester's lines at conventions: 'I just learnt my lines and tried not to bump into the monsters.'), Zeta One (Angvia is named after a race of female aliens in this film), A number of Sylvestor's other shows are namechecked (Jigsaw, Eureka, Vision On, and Graham Garden's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue is mentioned!), Hi-De-Hi (Bert Swanley and the Debonaires), Angvia's cry of 'My make-up! My wardrobe! My wig!' is quoted from the Pet Shop Boy's song 'Shameless',
Intertextuality: The Pahkar race was introduced in Gary Russell's New Adventure Legacy. Its 'Kerry Packer' joke is continued here with Geri and Terri (The Doctor says he doesn't think he's been to their world, though Legacy states he was there in his third incarnation!). Mel paraphrases Terrance Dicks' famous summation of the Doctor ('you're never nasty, or deliberately cruel...'). Vibro-knives (used to kill Logan) may be based upon those which featured in the DWM comic strip 'The Shape Shifter' For references to Barastabon, see 'Project: Twilight', Black Star matter was first referenced in the DW Weekly comic strip 'The Star Beast'
Goofs: The Doctor says that when they were with the dead Cyrene, it was Mel that called for the Doctor, but it was Geri.
Harcourt the fantasist's many years means she can perform an operation, but still can't operate simple scanning equipment!
Technobabble: Most of what Professor Fassbinder makes up.
Double Entendres: 'I didn't know for sure until Angvia was Koshed'
'We keep our peckers up.'
'Nothing is impregnable if you have the right equipment'
'I seem to have spent my entire life being wet and cold'
'Oooh, my liddle man!'
'I'm not like the other boys!'
Dialogue Triumphs: 'The universe can wait, I am a woman!'
Continuity: Dark Space 8 is a remote space station, apparently a sister craft to younger stations Star Island XII (embassy to the Shak'R'ok empire) and Achilles IV (host to the All Worlds Peace Convention - ostensibly between Gholos and Angvia). Dark Space 8 has been in operation for 4814 days, whilst its current surviving crew have been there for 7 years [as the system they are in measures it]. There are 210 crew members. It is made of twenty tonnes (which seems rather light) of super-bonded Herculanium. It has at least 6 docking bays, a dining sphere, rest-sphere, swimming pool, auditorium, a guest lounge and there is a gift shop selling roses on level thirteen. In the recent past of Dark Space Eight Professor Fassbinder's wife was killed by a sweat vampire, the being Zeon appeared out of space and froze everyone, claiming to be God, and, via a silicon-based creature which threatened to enslave all carbon-based lifeforms an outbreak of Orion Flu (resistant to all treatment [ that Dr. Harcourt could come up with, anyway]), which claimed its previous commander, Paul Keel.
The real Commander John Ballard was leader of the Perseus expedition, famous for overthrowing an ancient super-computer that had fooled its population into thinking they were in paradise [his mind was too strong for it].
There have been 308 previous International Song Contests, this latest broadcasting to 'over quinquillion homes across the universe'. Contestants in this latest include Ferazferon, the Cissadian Cephalopods, Drahva (their entrant is Maaga 29), the Architects of Algol, the Breebles and the Freznixx of Braal. Cyrene, an old ally of Angvia, have distinctive colouring and resemble the gorgon Medusa. Angvia's representative is fourteenth queen of the House of Silcitor. Songs featured include Drahva's 'Clone Love', Argol's 'Don't Push Your Tentacle Too Far' (sung by Billionus Groo-Fang of the Arkol star cluster), and Angvia's 'Gozraj-a-dett' ('My Love is as Limitless as a Black Hole, and I'm Pulling You Over the Event Horizon'). Martians are among the jury members.
Angvia is fourteenth queen of the Hearth of Celsitor. Angvians are a matriarchal society. Angvian physiognomy is almost identical to that of humans (although they themselves look like Valkyries). Angvians can emit pheromones from their armpits that makes the males of other species fall for them. Angvia has been locked in centuries of territorial conflict with their neighbouring galaxy Gholos. According to Angvia their home planet ('halfway across space from [Dark Space 8]' according to the Doctor, and 'on the other side of the galaxy' according to Angvia) was a pastoral world until Gholos 'arrived' thirty generations ago [presumably the gestalt cloud, not the planet Gholos]. During their conflict, Gholos broke the Tenebros IV peace treaty and the Fringe Worlds of the Zordon Nebula were settled by Angvia in violation of this treaty. Their Personal Destructor, a piece of modulated black star matter, can turn people into bombs, set off by their stress levels, and explodes with the power of 50 scatter bombs. It is an Angvian custom to share a meal with the chief of their host village. Their world is wooded, with one of its creatures being the Argellian Star Bison and vegetation including the Angvian leaping bean.
Gholos is part of a gesalt entity, the singing part looking like a ball of candy floss. Interpreters are needed to understand them. Gholosian language is a complex series of signals famed in semiotic strings. They turn blue before striking ('the Blue Sting of Death').
Pahkar is famous for being peaceful, their planet is 'a peaceful paradise' where its inhabitants labour on 'work wheels', the Pakhar race becoming reknown diplomats.
A vibro-knife is used to kill Logan.
Doctor Elena Harcourt uses an extract from Malvolian fungi to treat Nicky's headache and nausea [or at least she says she does]. In an epilogue to this story, she has been imprisoned for three years in the Singularity 7 correctional facility and thereafter has enrolled as a junior medical student at Saint Gidula's teaching hospital (for a five year training course).
Earth's 'national' anthem is 'I Will Survive'. It has been responsible for great songs like 'Greensleeves', 'Mull of Kintyre' and 'Ride on Time'.
The TARDIS' translation system/Doctor's Time Lord gift can't translate Gholos. The peoples of the universe know of Time lords but believe them to be a myth.
Mel has a whistle in her pocket (the Doctor planted it there). She is an excellent shoulder masseuse.
Prior to the events of this story the Doctor and Mel were apparently en route to the Maison Rouge restaurant in Paris. It has always been one of the Doctor's ambitions to write the great intergalactic novel. Whilst dining with Angvia he orders Pamperanean fritters and later tells a joke about a triple-headed Barasbaronian high priest.
Untelevised Stories: The Doctor knows of Pakhars, but doesn't think he's ever visited their planet. He may however have visted Angvia, but doesn't remember there being any 'pits' to speak of on it, only trees. The Doctor speaks of his 'old friend' (Rene) Descartes.
Location: Dark Space 8, the adventure takes place over 2 days.
Links: 'Galaxy 4' (Drahvins), 'The Stones of Blood' (Saint Gidula is mentioned in both stories), 'Paradise Towers' (Mel's problems with lifts), 'Delta and the Bannermen' (Mel says 'I don't know much about Cyrene metabolism, but I think she's dead'). 'The One Doctor' (the Breebles and Earth's national anthem both feature among Mentos' Super Brain questions)
The Bottom Line: "He's dead!" (da-daa-daaaaaaaah - ooo-weee-ooooo)
Okay, whose idea was it to have Bonnie Langford not sing?! The International Song Contest aspect isn't used as much as hoped (there should have been more songs!)
Some great acting though, especially Patricia Quinn's outrageous Queen Angvia, but on the whole this is rather let down by the story. The setting shows its influence too much, leaving the sense that this story is a cobble of other space shows rather than anything really new. We do like the irony of the station name, though - what is a recording studio other than a Dark Space?