Roots: Barnes and Briggs have described the story as a form of Western (a la Shane), with the Doctor as the 'retired' gunslinger-gone-native. Lucie calls Selta 'Nelly the Jellyphant' and 'Jelly Furtardo'. Star Wars ("that's no moon") Neville Chamberlain's 'peace in our time' speech ('I have in my pincer...')
Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor misunderstanding Lucie's 'Cockney'.
"'Old Doctor'? This pink prawn is your protector?"
"L! <slap> U! <slap> C! <slap> I! <slap> E! <slap>"
Dialogue Disasters: "The Galactic Council - what have they got to do with the price of fish?' (Oh I see what you did there)
Technobabble: Why, quantum-tipped time bullets of course. Whatever could 'quantum-tipped' mean?
Continuity: Tweenspace is a layer of cosmic sediment, where 'the dregs settle', according to the Headhunter. Galactic Council is a (local) authority. Interspace radio is a common means of interplanetary communication.
Orbis was a water world with salinity significantly higher than that of Earth's oceans. Its seas were therefore very dense and buoyancy was little problem. It was increasingly prone to storm cycles however, endangering the life forms on it, particularly its indigenous intelligent population, the Keltans. Keltans are amphibious, have very short lifespans and associate one another with 'blooms' (e.g. 'Bloomfather', 'Bloomsister'). They iridesce when agitated - green is the colour of fear, for example. Scrumping for barnacles is a popular pastime for young Keltans. They sleep, dance and used to eat and regurgitate their dead to re-fertilise the seabed until the Doctor showed them an alternative means of remembering their dead (and more efficiently fertilising the sea bed). The seaweed of Orbis may be partially sentient. The planet has seasonal storms, which are on the increase due to the approaching stellar manipulator which the short-lived Keltans have mistaken for a moon.
Molluscari are described by the Doctor as "aggressive space oysters". They carry information in data pearls and their hierarchy includes secretaries and a Barometer General, charged with monitoring planetary conditions necessary for spawning. They are hermaphroditic and require specific temperatures and some feasting before they can mass spawn. The Molluscari have clam ships and applaud with their shells. They are hermaphroditic. Among the recent atrocities committed by the 'hormonal' [Sachs] are the massacre of the Tetrapoids, the firing of the Mugwater vents and the broiling of his personal cook. A brainsponge reef may be quite clever, or to be 'cleverer than a brain-sponge reef' is merely a turn of phrase.
The TARDIS smells of mothballs and engine oil, according to Lucie. Its 'quick-start' manual has seventeen volumes, all of which the Doctor uses as a step-ladder in his library. The 'real' manual in full has its own library located two miles down the Wardrobe Corridor (or street, as Lucie likens it to). The TARDIS has a 'slingshot mode'. The Doctor's TARDIS manuals are in several volumes, many of which he uses as an impromptu stepladder to reach copies of Steam Enthusiast magazine. The 'quick start guide' volume as Lucie calls it is located five miles down a corridor the width of a street. After the Doctor seemingly died on Karn the Sisterhood acquired his TARDIS and gladly passed it on to the Headhunter. The Headhunter has a warp ship and can fly a vortex podule; her gun fires quantum-tipped 'time bullets', which can be fired, paused or 'un-fired' and once inside a body can move at a rate of one millimetre per thirty seconds [one assumes the Headhunter paused Lucie's bullet a few times or she might have been dead before she reached Orbis' 'Great Shore']. She is travelling alone.
Lucie lives with her mum and has a nosy neighbour over the road. She wears tights and at one point calls the Doctor "Mister waistcoat 1769". She still sleeps in on a Sunday (link?). She has an aversion to jelly after an 'incident' at a children's party in 1992. In his amnesiac state the Doctor calls her "Lizzie" and "Lily". Because of her time in the TARDIS her fingertips are charged with 'chronon energy' - slapping the Doctor reawakens his neurons and restores his memory. Lucie has an aversion to jelly dating back to her childhood jelly experience. She can swim and wears tights. She cried for weeks after the Doctor apparently died.
When the Doctor and Morbius were thrown into a chasm on Karn (see: Links) the Doctor was still holding Morbius' remote activator for a stellar manipulator. This saved him, removing him from danger and transporting him to Orbis where he and it became separated. In the intervening six hundred years the activator lay at the bottom of the Great Ocean and grew a layer of coral, while the Doctor reached the shore and settled down with the Keltans. His long term memory was affected beyond three hundred years in his past. The sonic screwdriver has gone rusty and doesn't work as well as it did.
The Doctor has a collection of Steam Enthusiast magazines, as he is a train fanatic. He lost track of his true age a long time ago and tends to round it down according to local variances. In one part of space his age is two. The Doctor has been on Orbis for around six-hundred years; past the last three hundred years his long-term memory in unreliable. His age is indeterminate, as he approximates it to whatever solar year is nearby
Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor, accompanied by Lucie, once played tiddlywinks with Serenus (presumably Serenus of Antipouplis, the mathematician)
Links: Since the events of The Vengeance of Morbius relatively two or more weeks have passed for Lucie and around six hundred years for the Doctor. Lucie once again recalls the events on Red Rocket Rising (Blood of the Daleks) and Nadir Services on the M26 (The Horror of Glam Rock). The fate of the stellar manipulator is revealed in The Eight Truths and Worldwide Web.
Location: Orbis, in Tweenspace.
The Bottom Line: 'A word in your shell, like?'
Another in an escalating and disturbing number of tragedies mixed with bathos and comedy accents; Orbis plays out like The Web Planet meets Finding Nemo. As directed by Sid and Marty Kroft. But Selta is an engaging and likeable foil to Lucie, who more than proves her companion mettle here. But after a hour of the Molluscari and some bad puns - some real tragedy, and the suggestion that not everything can be truly 'reset' in Big Finish's Eighth Doctor universe is promising. But it's a big bet, at the same time.