Roots: The Apprentice [UK version in particular, given the mention of Sir Alan Sugar] The CD cover deliberately resembles the X factor logo. Asha calls herself 'Supergirl.' Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Drusus = Drusilla)
Dialogue Triumphs: "When we tell the Doctor about this we can definitely put a more heroic spin on it."
Double Entendres: "Wait for it to come out after us and then jump it"
"Lift your end a bit more, it's dragging on the floor"
"Boys. You're all the same!"
"Come on, let's see Inside the Spaceship."
Continuity: Situation Vacant is the in-universe equivalent of the real-world The Apprentice.
Much of the technology at the expo is "years" head of its time. Professor Leonard Pallister led research into sentient software. Virtual Pallister is initiated on his death - robots would take charge (it needed some tweaking) The mini robots under his command can assimilate other data, including that of the TARDIS. Pallister is supposed to be meeting a potential investor later. The Chesterton Award went to the team of Owen Stanford (there is the suggestion that Pallister was supposed to win) Julia Dorney (Roots?) from Cambridge specialises in cybernetics. The team of Wanda Rothman and her team discovered vodium, a super low-waste nuclear mineral and potential source of energy. Vodium has enough energy to create wormholes, but can be neutralised by the acid in orange juice.
Rafshaw is from the planet Thafa and works for the Pan-Galactic institute on Dimensional Rifts. His job is to identify and plug rogue wormholes.
A contract has been put out on whoever really did place the act. The venue was changed when the list of candidates were siphoned down from 12 to 4 deliberately so the Doctor could deal with all the megalomaniacs and psychopaths whilst the person who really set up the advertisement could work his way through the remaining 8 candidates and get a really great companion.The Doctor and 'his' applicants have been drawn to the Greenwich Cathcart Hotel so that the hopefuls might 'audition' for a role as the Doctor's assistant, the newspaper advertisement having been placed three weeks ago, unbeknownst to the Doctor himself. In reality, it seems the role has already been cast for a different time traveller, and the actual site for job interviews was an office in Golden Square, Soho.
Hugh Bainbridge is a vampire called Drusus, retro-engineered to conform to legendary limitations (such as having to be invited into a dwelling place.) He can assimilate the genetic signature of a Time Lord by drinking their blood (and can thereby operate a TARDIS.) He has seen a TARDS before (likely the Monk's) Vampires such as Drusus can elect whether to drain or 'turn' their victims.
Asha Qureshi, apparently in her 20s, is actually the alien Lantis, from the planet Imafiya. Technologically stranded during an information retrieval mission on Earth in 1995, she was offered rescue in exchange for killing the Doctor by the people of Yanmada, due to the Doctor's alleged "infernal meddling". Her weapon is a magnetic inducer cannon, while the gravity of her home planet (1.6 times that of Earth) has given her greater strength.
'King of the Geeks' Theo Lawson is in his teens and with his computer skills inadvertently started the global financial crisis after hacking into several global banking institutions. He is officially on therun from police.
Hard-hitting businesswoman Juliet Walsh is in reality Tamsin Drew, a failed actor in her 30s who TV career high point was three years ago in a leg waxing commercial. She is from Dulwich.
The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to change the molecular structure of wire cabling and strengthen it (he's done this a couple of times before) He uses his John Smith alias and has dosed up on anti-vampire antibodies just in case (TARDIS supplies?)
Location: the Greenwich Cathcart Hotel
Links: The Doctor implicitly refers to Lucie (but doesn't name her), while similarly unnamed is the renegade Time Lord 'foil' of this series, ultimately revealed in The Book of Kells. The Chesterton Award is, one would imagine, named after Ian Chesterton. The Doctor says that he once saw a large robot at large in London (Robot)
The Bottom Line: "I can't help feeling sorry for whatever poor devil ended up getting the job"
Robson is back and writing for his ideal Doctor. There's a hare-brained energy to this story that ploughs on, sometimes at the expense of plot and character, but with characters as expendable as this and a conceit so mad perhaps it's a minor consideration. Sharp, and great fun.