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135g 'The Axis of Insanity'

CD audio adventure released April 2004, 4 episodes

Writer: Simon Furman
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: Erimem attempts to read Alice in Wonderland, which sets the tone for the rest of the story; The Matrix: Reloaded (the two choices with the two doors), the legend of Pandora's Box. The Jester name checks the songs 'Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag', 'The Tears of a Clown' (Stevie Wonder/Smokie Robinson), 'Chicago, Chicago, a Wonderful Town' (Frank Sinatra), 'The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum' (Fun Boy Three) and appropriates 'Ding Dong The Witch is Dead' (The Wizard of Oz), plus recites the elocution phrase 'The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain' and the nursery rhyme 'Doctor Foster Went to Gloucester'. Peri mentions the works of Charles Dickens, Leon Tolstoy and Barbara Cartland, as well as the story Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The Doctor quotes from The Slough of Despond (Pilgrim's Progress) and finds Pangorum's end "Bergmanesque" (The Seventh Seal). The opening distress message evokes Yeats' The Second Coming ("Everything is falling apart.") The speeches of Winston Churchill ("The sum of all fears.") The carnival carousel plays 'Lara's Theme' from Doctor Zhivago.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'In my experience, the quicker the fix, the quicker it breaks'

Dialogue Disasters: "Molenski Univarius a go-go"

Continuity: The Axis links and controls damaged realities, caused by changes in history. It isolates and regulates the truncated realities to make sure the damage doesn't spread to the main reality. The damaged realities can be altered from the Axis, but they eventually return to a looped state. The Doctor admits that the Time Lords caused a good number of these realities. The environment of the Axis is in constant flux: proportion and dimensions shift, everything appears slightly out of focus, and even time is illusory - the Doctor says "time is even more relative around these parts."

The Overseer, who never ages, controls the Axis. His consciousness exists in multiple simultaneous realities, and he is able to summon help from the main reality. The Axis depends on the Overseer for its existence, and the structure of time depends on the existence of the Axis. The Overseer is from Guardus, another dimension (given that the Doctor returns there to seek another Overseer, this would appear to be a title rather than an individual's name), and by reputation has little time for Time Lords because of their contributions to the Axis' existence

Time Lords and TARDISes are intricately woven and symbiotically linked, according to the Doctor. When Time Lords die, their TARDISes die too, and end up in a pocket dimension - a sort of TARDIS elephants' graveyard, which very few people have seen (see: Links) The Doctor says Time Lords have an 'aura' that is almost impossible to disguise [i.e. from another Time Lord?], while their minds have a mental failsafe, which puts them into a fugue state when pain gets too great. The Doctor says Time Lords serve time, rather than the other way around.

Pangorum is a world in one of the damaged realities which was destroyed by Firebreeds, powerful dragon-like creatures which hunt in packs using their hearing. Jarra To, a temporal scientist on Pangorum, opened a portal to the Axis through her time scoop experiments. The Time Lord, Protok, who turned up to stop her temporal experiments, was also killed by Jarra To. His TARDIS key was in the shape of an ankh.

The TARDIS can be set to move to another nearby location at the press of a few buttons (like a manual version of the HADS?)

Erimem is attempting to learn to read English and is being taught by Peri. She is proficient in swordsmanship and making salves from natural ingredients.

Peri wears a Swiss watch.

The Doctor carries a Molenski Univarious, a sort of "Swiss Army knife for Time Lords" which incorporates a magnetic pulse emitter, laser drill and sonic agitator. It requires recharging. At the beginning of this story he hopes to catch the meta-spawning off Blucher Major - a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Links: Peri's mockery of the TARDIS Chameleon Circuit probably references Attack of the Cybermen. The Jester lists some of the Doctor's previous companions, whom he refers to as being the Doctor's 'pets': Susan, Polly, Zoe, Liz, Jo, Sarah Jane, Leela, Romana and Nyssa. The TARDIS graveyard was first mentioned in Omega. The Doctor mentions to Erimem their first meeting "on horseback, near Thebes" (Eye of the Scorpion)

Location: The Axis, "somewhere in interdimensional space"

Untelevised Adventures: Possibly a "snafu" on Delta Five. The Doctor visits Guardus at the end of this story to locate a new Overseer. He has visited the Axis before and recognises it.

The Bottom Line: 'And to think I gave up a dynasty for this.'

An odd sort of story which starts off set in a sort of Jungian nut-house and then turns into a standard run around with a mad scientist. The Jester's over-the-top antics make it hard to take this story seriously as an audio play, but not-unwelcome return to the past Doctor stories.

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