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Trail of the White Worm

Released May 2012. 2 episodes

Writer: Alan Barnes
Director: Ken Bentley

Roots: The legend of the Lambton Worm. Bram Stoker's Lair of the White Worm (including the Worm's death by lightning) and possibly Ken Russell's film loosely based on the same. Rainbow comic's Tiger Tim. Not the Nine O-Clock News (Gerald the Gorilla) Dr calls Leela "Minnehaha", likes her to "Tarzan of the Apes" and recites part of "Diddle-diddle dumpling, My son John" Carswell liken Leela to Pan's People. Big Daddy, Jimmy Saville 'A Warrior Bold' (1912 "In days of old when knights were bold...") Sid Vicious, Siouxsie Sioux,

Dialogue Triumphs: "Is this a private burglary or can anyone join in?"

"I don't have an I Spy Book of Quasi-Organic Beings, but it'd be worth a good fifteen points, I'd say.

Continuity: The White Worm is described by the Doctor as "an engineered, quasi-organic alien entity", created to shape patio-temporal wormholes for another unknown species. It can assume human form, but appears in its history to not always prefer subterfuge to live in human company. The worm feeds at molecular level and rather like an earthworm it can survive bisection and secretes slime to enable movement (and for it to shed its human skin). The same slime also slows and absorbs bullets, making it impervious to small arms fire. It can eat through rock and knows of Time Lords, and can 'smell' the Time Vortex on the Doctor. The Doctor tells its story: "bisected in space, fell to Earth [and] worshipped by Romans..."

The caves under Lambton Manor were used as a place of worship by one of Caesar's legions during the occupation of Britain, who "made a mascot of it", employing the Ouroboros, the self-devouring serpent, as their emblem and in its honour.

Spindleton's Mwalimu (the Swalihi word for "master" or "teacher' ) the Master, whom the Doctor describes as "a vengeance fixated sociopath with megalomaniacal tendencies." The Master has a device which allows him to control the weather.

Leela knows of racks (torture implements!) and using worms as bait in fishing.

The Doctor can recognise molecular extraction (how the Worm feeds), has liquorice allsorts in his coat pocket. He knows a little of Swahili. According to the Doctor, Time Lords are not descended from primates.

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor talks of a time 'in the Bloody Tower with the daughter of the Duke of Exeter [possibly John Holland, first Duke of Exeter?]

Links: Leela mentions that she has met Romans and refers to the blue guards once again. The Doctor's message for Leela to give the authorities (and ultimately the Brigadier) reads: "UNIT, Doctor, TARDIS, Master, Zygons, Krynoids, Axons too"

Location: Dark Peak, Derbyshire, 1979

Links: Leela refers to having met Romans (Wrath of the Iceni)

The Bottom Line: "Eccentric's one thing, bohemian's quite another!"

There's more than a whiff of the Nest Cottage audios about this story, with a space and time-creating serpentine creature, little villages with eccentric inhabitants, and Old Tom in full Season 17 mode, unrestrained (although to be fair, the script does give him free license). If The Seeds of Doom hadn't pastiched The Avengers so well, Trail might have been a bit more fun, and had the novelty of Emma Peel's real-life daughter in tow. As it is, it's too short, too silly, and doesn't do enough with its main draw card, the Master.

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