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Serpent Crest: The Broken Crown

Released October 2011

Writer: Paul Magrs
Producer & Director: Kate Thomas

Roots: 'Andrew' reads The Arabian Nights (see: Links) and nicknames the rector "Dame Dob" after the character in the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill (it is also observed that his paper mask is a form of "vinegar and brown paper" repair for his damaged face, the 'broken crown of the poem and this story.) Sherlock Holmes (deductive reasoning; the Doctor says "Elementary deduction, my dear Wibbsey".) The Doctor quotes the Latin Vulgate Bible ("fiat lux!")

Dialogue Triumphs: "Wibbsey has an amazing nose for these things. Show him your nose..."

"Perhaps you should have left me tied to a post outside" "I wish I'd thought of that..."

"Just a little wibbsey, Mrs Woozy"

"Threats are dreary, Alex. The final resort of the terminally unimaginative"

Double Entendres: "Your guardian won't want to hear about you pressing yourself against the windows"

Continuity: Nineteenth-century Hexford is a superstitious place, and features a shop (other shops are mentioned in passing by Andrew), plus some tearooms and an inn called the White Hart, which has lodging upstairs and becomes The Dragon after the conclusion of this story. The pub landlord is a man called Harold, while the postmistress is a woman called Mrs Sneed. There is a school house. Nest Cottage does not yet exist, and on the whole Mrs Wibbesey doesn't think it has changed that much. Old Mother Madoc is the town gossip (see: Links)

St Patrick's church rectory is a large, multi-storeyed building with a walled rose garden with iron gates next door and library. Within are an attic (where Andrew lives), a minstrel's gallery and several stuffed animals, which the Doctor pets as if to pacify. There is a cemetery nearby - presumably the churchyard mentioned in Survivors in Space. Mrs Noggins is the cook (a relation of Percy Noggins?) Hexford Wood lies some fifteen minutes' walk from the Old Rectory, according to Mrs Wibbsey (the Doctor's walk proves otherwise, although it is difficult to tell if it takes longer or shorter) It is largely hawthorn and bramble.

Alex's spaceship crashed ten years ago, and lies in the nearby hawthorn woods. In its wake many villagers have "taken a moonlight flit", presumably absorbed by the egg in Alex's possession. Alex and Beuluin have become 'Andrew' and 'Mister Buley'. Andrew is now thirteen years of age. Beuluin isn't aware that he is a robot. After Beuluin's memory was scattered in the crash, Rev Dobbs found the pair on the roadside next to the woods. Beuluin did his best to act as physician to Alex, but his repairs to the boy's face have been rudimentary at best, necessitating the boy to fashion a new brown paper bag face for himself every day. With his friends Sally and Jake (siblings) he found the wreck of the Robotov space module, a silver, fish-like craft, in the Woods, containing the "precious thing" - the Skishtari egg. As a child he was once terribly upset when the Rectory cat killed a sparrow.

Mrs Wibbsey is getting better at thinking on her feet and providing cover stories for her presence out of time. She is described here as skinny.

The Doctor says he has dealt with dragons before. At the Dragon he orders a ginger pop in a pint glass with a twist of lemon, and, later, a dandelion and burdock with "a kiss of lime and a ton of ice."

Links: Denobian slime dollars (The Dead Shoes) Old Mother Madoc is, presumably, an ancestor of Mrs Wibbsey's nemesis Tish Madoc (The Hexford Invasion). The Doctor petting Revend Dobbs' stuffed animals is a nod to the creatures in Nest Cottage in the Hornets Nest series. "Worlds within worlds"

Location: Hexford village, 1861 (this story's reference to the present day being 150 years in the future confirms that the present for the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey is 2011)

The Bottom Line: "Have you seen my dragon? He's having so much fun up there in the sky!"

Nest Cottage's environs get a good exploration, although once again Wibbsey is a woman out of time. There's some good development of her character in this, though, and the child actors aren't too jarring (although vary from scene to scene).

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