Roots: The movie The Hindenberg (1975) (spies aboard a doomed airship), the Twilight Zone episode; 'Nightmare at 30,000 Feet', plus obvious comparisons to the story of the Titanic. Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The concluding fight in the airship recalls the film The Assassination Bureau, featuring Roger Delgado. Rathbone's last line "I can reach it" recalls a character's dying line whilst reaching for the Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Bedazzled (Peter Cook's Devil rips out the last page of Agatha Christie novels so no one will know the ending), Tony Hancock's The Blood Donor ('One pint... and that's very nearly an armful'), Network ('[I'm] mad as hell and [I'm] not going to take it anymore!'). Heartbeat (Steward Weeks' character voice based on Claude Greengrass - or Barbara the transsexual from The League of Gentlemen - take your pick), pop-feminist theory (women as inspirational creators, men as 'un-creators'). The Doctor, inside the R101, refers to the Biblical story of Jonah. Tamworth compares Charley to the original 'It girl', Clara Bow, and name checks Jules Verne's The Master of the World (in which world domination is attempted via airship) and Fu Manchu. The Doctor paraphrases the Lone Ranger ('heigh-ho and away!') as he and Charley fly off on Ramsay. Chief Steward Weekes is a parody of John Prescott.
Intertextuality: The Doctor's alias of Johan Schmidt comes courtesy of Terrance Dicks' Virgin New Adventure Timewyrm: Exodus.
Fluffs: 'The British arse-series.' (or is it arse-hairies?)
Goofs: The Doctor's copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has the last page missing, leading him to despair he will never know who committed the crime. However the villain is actually revealed at the end of chapter 25, two chapters before the book's end.
The Doctor says that all aboard the R101 died in the crash (six crewmembers survived).
Lord Tamworth mentions in #2 that the Germans have an airship named the Hindenburg on the drawing board (this is incorrect, as the airship was not named that until Reich President Hindenburg's death in August 1934. It was known until then as the LZ 129).
The Doctor stops outside cabin 48 and hears muffled sounds within. The numbers apparently tell him what language he's going to be accused in, but Arabic numerals are used in many languages besides English. At one stage the airship carriage has two holes in it (the cabin window where the Vortisaur broke in and the promenade window where the Doctor broke out), yet maintains air pressure integrity (even with tarpaulin over the windows). Frayling's rank is Lieutenant Colonel in Part 1, and Lieutenant-Commander in the rest of the story [he starts out in the army, then becomes a naval officer. Later he hopes to become an Air Vice-Marshal, so he seems to be in the RAF by the end. (Tamworth also refers to him as being in the RAF)]. Not that Frayling is particularly observant - despite the Triskele revealing that the Doctor is 'more than human', he still refers to him as an enemy [i.e. German] agent.
Charley described herself as an 'Edwardian Adventuress', which is twenty years out (by 1930 George V was on the throne). [She was born during Edwardian times]
Why doesn't Charley believe the Doctor when he says he met Geronimo? Geronimo died in 1909 - conceivably late enough for someone the Doctor's apparent age to have met him.
Some ambient sound effects of gentlemen in the lounge chatting goes on even when Charley's disguise is revealed, the Triskele is brought in and when the flying saucer appears.
Dialogue Disasters: 'I don't know art, Earthman, but I know what I like.'
'Rathbone... you have killed me.' (exposition at its worst)
'Have you gone squiffy in the head?.'
Dialogue Triumphs: 'I am the Doctor - of most things and more besides before you ask'
'A million planets circling a million suns, Charley, where the starlight makes colours that human eyes have never seen.'
'Breath in deep, Lieutenant Commander. You too, Charley. You feel that pounding in your heart, that tightness in the pit of your stomach, the blood rushing to your head? Do you know what that is? That's adventure. The thrill and the fear and the joy of stepping into the unknown. That's why we're all here and that's why we're alive!'
Double Entendres: 'Ten more minutes and then... I must act.'
'Don't get so excited Frayling - stand firm.'
'The Uncreators will be released from bondage.'
'Look at the size of those gas bags!'
Continuity: The Doctor is rummaging through books in the story's opening, including War and Peace, The I-Spy Book of British Birds, The Wizard of Oz, Frankenstein (see: 'Untelevised Adventures') and Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. He is travelling alone at the beginning of the story and adopts the guise of Johann Schmidt, a German spy whilst upon the R-101. He weighs a lot, supposedly because he's carrying a lot in his pockets (including a lucky Altarian dollar). His shoes aren't waterfast (possibly the same pair from 'Doctor Who', hence his surprise - although this might suggest that 'Storm Warning' takes place not very long after the TV Movie). Inside the R-101 he refers to the Hyperion 3 ('The Trial of a Time Lord') and a Storm Miner ('The Robots of Death'). At the Academy on Gallifrey he [and presumably his classmates, as he uses 'we'] used to ride vortisaurs bareback. It was also there that he learned of the theoretical 'butterfly effect' taking place on Mettula Orionsis, causing a nebula storm in Mutter's Spiral.
Vortisaurs (Pterosauria vortexfera) are carrion-feeders which live in the Vortex (when the Doctor sees some they are attacking a doomed time ship which is trapped in an endless time-loop cycle of crashing over and over), but might travel via wormholes. They resemble pterosaurs, with a beak, striped, leathery hides and bat-like wings with clawed feet. Because they live in five dimensions, their bites are also five-dimensional (Rathbone's wound ages 30 years). They are partial to Time Lord blood. According to Charley, 'Ramsay' resembles the then Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald.
The Triskele are an ancient race of grey humanoids with reflective eyes. Although they are not wholly familiar with modern Earth, their influence, the triskelion figure betrays their influence over Manx culture (the Doctor also recalls seeing it in the ice caves of Nephthys). They are a telepathic race (the Doctor's mind is closed to them), breathing a low oxygen mix and suffering when separated from their own. Long ago their race was destroying itself - to stem this, they separated into three 'cousin' races of feminine Engineers (the creative 'instinct' of the species), masculine 'Uncreators' (the warrior 'intellect' class) and the 'conscience' of the race, the 'Lawgiver'. They travel in 'flying saucers' two miles wide, with interior floors that move around the crew and walls that can become insubstantial. Their energy weapons are triskelular and fold in upon themselves. When the Doctor encounters them, their Uncreator race are of sufficient generation that they are unprepared for resistance.
Charlotte 'Charley' Pollard adopts the guise of Simon Murchford, an air steward she plied with drink at the Hare and Hound in order to slip aboard the R-101.
Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor name-checks Geronimo, Lenin (with whom he played tiddliwinks whilst sharing an overnight train journey from Switzerland to Petrograd) and the Tsarina Alexandra to Charley. The cabin arrangement of the airship reminds him of the Orient Express.
He was present and met several Afrikaans during the Boer War (and was present at the battle of Roarke's Drift). He once met a Venusian on the terrace of the Singapore Hilton. He has the stethoscope of Arthur Conan-Doyle, and means to 'return it' before Doyle gives up general practice.
The Doctor implies that he was aboard the Lusitania (c.f 'Sirens of Time')
Location: Earth, 5 October 1930. Or rather above it, aboard the British airship R-101 on its maiden voyage over France en route to Carachi.
Links: The Trial of a Time Lord eps 9-12, The Robots of Death, Doctor Who (see: Continuity). The Company of Friends: Mary's Story (Reading the preface to Frankenstein he says of the declaration that 'there were four of us -well that's wrong for a start.') The identity of the stricken time ship the Doctor sees in the Vortex (indeed, the events immediately prior to this adventure's opening) are explained in Terror Firma.
The Bottom Line: "He's back - and it's about bloody time!"
Something of a mid-air collision. Opening with an uncomfortably long and descriptive monologue before becoming a jolly and affectionate historical, 'Storm Warning' careers from its course in episode 3 to wander into cod-SF action drama and loses its innocence along the way. The set-up for Charley's rule-breaking TARDIS presence looks promising however, and there is some great use of sound to keep things chugging along happily in the first half. An honourable mention to Tamworth, Gareth Thomas' most fun character... well, ever. After some faltering steps, version four of the eighth Doctor's adventures begin here.