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Serpent Crest: Survivors in Space

Released November 2011

Writer: Paul Magrs
Producer & Director: Kate Thomas

Roots: The Battle Servos have Cylon voices. Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation of The War of the Worlds (Reverend Tonge's ranting against the aliens). The Reverend begins to recite the 23rd Psalm. Diedre calls Mike and Tish "a couple of proper Pollyannas" "Even on Earth these peole were marooned - Lost in Space." Tish, Deirdre and the second Doctor sing Show Me the Way to go Home. The Doctor refers to the Skishtari wormhole relationships as "snakes and ladders"

Fluffs: Tom Baker calls the Robotov Empire the "Holy Integrated", rather than Integral.

Goofs: What were the Skishatri and Robotovs doing during the three months Hexford is on Rebel Moon?

Dialogue Triumphs: "Hah! You got an earlier model instead of the superior upgrade"

Double Entendres: "I have other things to do. I'm needed elsewhere."

"We have to keep our peckers up"

Intertextuality: The Doctor's comment regarding his being "needed elsewhere" may be a reference to his imminent Big Finish series (actually set before the Nest Cottage stories.)

The Doctor's explanation as to the appearance of his apparent Second self solo and unremembered by his present self due to Time Lord intervention can initially be explained by the 'Season 6(b)' theory.

The 'Second Doctor's memory of defeating the Daleks in a diamond mines on the planet Marlion is referred to simultaneously as a shared adventure with Iris Wildthyme in Magrs' BBC Past Doctor Adventure Verdigris, and also the DWM 289 'interview' with Iris 'Bafflement and Devotion', also published in April 2000.

Continuity: Alex is now in his thirties and has ruled the Robotov Empire for twenty years. Legends from the Robotov Galaxy foretell a great and conquering serpent which will rise from the ashes of the Empire. The army of Robotov troopers is a hundred strong, tall, gleaming and broad-shouldered, and armed with laser rifles.

The Skishtari resemble giant golden cobras with scarlet eyes. Ten of them crew a standard ship. They regard themselves as masters of genetic and spatial-dimensional engineering. The 'second Doctor ' is in fact a phenotype clone of the Doctor, cultured from a sample taken by Lucius after his tongue lashed out and drew the Doctor's blood (Tsar Wars). He has the Doctor's appearance and some of his earlier personality, but not his Time Lord signature or memories (the latter are provided by the Skishtari egg's psychic connection with the Doctor while he was inside it (Aladdin Time) The Doctor pronounces his clone self as "more misguided than evil", and says he will fade away in time (a matter of weeks, it seems). His second self also has a sonic screwdriver. He arrived at UNIT HQ not long after they began to detect the activities above Hexford. He drinks cherry brandy.

The Hexford postmaster is a Mr Bush. The village population is around 263. Hexford's village clock was struck by a functional quirk a couple of centuries ago, and now strikes thirteen around the fall of dusk. The Doctor and Wibbsey take months to reach Hexford on Rebel Moon, during which time their journey take in a few detours and several hair-raising scrapes. Thanks to the biomesh trees Hexford's air and atmosphere have survived the wormhole travel, although its bees have all died. The villagers swear never again to speak of their experience in space. Christmas show is to be Aladdin.

Tish has a print of Lautrec's portrait of Aristide Bruant (see: Links), on the wall of her upstairs landing. Her cottage is more sparse and minimalist than Nest Cottage

Mike can make a rudimentary toad in the hole from a recipe given to him by Sergeant Benton. He inherits Nest Cottage at the end of this story and, presumably, Mrs Wibbsey as his housekeeper. It is heavily implied that he and Dierdre have developed an mutual attraction.

There is a cryogenic pantry containing meat of unknown provenance in the TARDIS as well as a wine cellar stocked with wines of excellent vintage (see: Links)

The Doctor recalls his 500 Year Diary, claiming that his previous self was a habitual diarist for some time. The Doctor tells Mike that the Time Lords removed some of the memories of his former self, which might explain why he doesn't recall this adventure having taken place earlier for him. (see: Intertextuality)

Links: The 'Doctor' refers to facing the Cybermen in their Tombs (Tomb of the Cybermen), Giant Crabs (The Macros), and Daleks. Mike recalls the Brigadier lamenting to him the loneliness of command.

Q.v.: 'Season 6(b)'

The Bottom Line: "One of these days I wouldn't say no to another jaunt."

Great to hear the Doctor choosing to confide in Mrs Wibbsey more than Mike ("he does get himself worked up") it's her POV which has become foremost in this series, especially as she has grown as a character and an independent person. There are echoes of The Tides of Time here with a small English village thrown out into a cold and deadly cosmos, and supernatural aliens playing dice with its inhabitants. Troughton's ructions with Baker are a hoot, although the Deus ex machina ending is disappointing, betraying a lack of confidence in the [real] Doctor's ability to enter the fray and determine fate for himself. In all though, this series belongs to Mrs Wibbsey, who has found herself and a zest for adventure she hadn't known she had. If the series were to end here (as it might), then her rebirth is a fine place to finish on.

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