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147q 'The Feast of Axos'

CD audio adventure released February 2011, 4 episodes

Writers: Mike Maddox
Director: Nicholas Briggs

Roots: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (its author Jules Verne is also referenced, naturally). Brewster calls Evelyn "Old Mother Hubbard". Evelyn quotes from Space Oddity and mentions Barbarella, James Bond, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. The Doctor quotes from William Cowper's The Task (1785) ("England, with all thy faults I love thee still!") and invokes Newton's Third Law. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Joanne appropriates and personalises Neil Armstrong's "One small step for a man..." speech. Brewster invokes The Three Little Pigs ("you can huff and puff, Doctor...") and compares being inside Axos to the story of Jonah and the whale.

Intertextuality: UNIT's description of the TARDIS sound seems to have come from the liner notes of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop 1983 soundtrack album Doctor Who - The Music.

Goofs: How can a time loop be measured in three dimensions - in other words, how does Evelyn manage to drift towards the edge of Axos'?

The Doctor explains his past stranding on Earth as being "mostly to do" with stealing the TARDIS, which is a very odd way of describing the finale of The War Games (although it plays very well into Brewster's hands, of course.)

The Eurozone astronauts are rather charming in their easy acceptance of a blathering Evelyn.

What a marvellous and lucky coincidence that, of any number of alternatives, the possible future presented within Axos' time loop so resembles that of the present as to be entirely plausible and is the self-same possible future witnessed by everyone.

How is Axos aware of the passage of time from within the loop?

Fluffs: Mission Control's "Green go on descent orbit manoeuvre" sounds like Nick Briggs is saying "Gringo..."

Technobabble: Time loops eventually decay.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Honestly, if you want something doing, don't leave it to your former selves to sort out!"

The Doctor and Evelyn: "What were you doing in a rugby changing room?" "Sightseeing, mainly"

"So what exactly has Axos promised you, Brewster? A lifetime's supply of Mother's Ruin and all the gold you can eat?"

"We come in peace - and so on and so forth."

Dialogue Disasters: "All these arteries look the same"

Two occurrences of the rather clumsy "Access to Axos"

"Amazing what a chainsaw can do to an Axonoid" (well, that's one scene that doesn't need to be recorded now, right guys?)

The Doctor goes all Tennant-y: "Oh Axos. I'm sorry. I'm so very very sorry."

Double Entendres: "You'll have to help me brace myself. Don't be shy, hold me tighter!"

"Axos has been penetrated! There is... pain!"

Continuity: Axos is currently stuck in a figure of eight crossing four dimensions as part of the time loop trap set by the Doctor and Master (see: Links). It is telepathic (but chatty), bleeds when its multilayered outer skin is ruptured, and feels pain. On its outside it has gills and a 'blow hole.' Evelyn likens the smell of its interior space as that of wet dogs and feet. It has a nutritional cycle - energy drained from the Jules Verne manifests as resembling the Aurora borealis. As in The Claws of Axos the being can duplicate almost anything, although the TARDIS key is "too complicated"; it can also, seemingly, absorb an individual's memories. The creature is able to recognise the Doctor between incarnations, and recognises the TARDIS - "last time it was a shivering thing, cowering from the Time Lords. But it has regenerated." It refers to the humans as 'Earthmen." The Doctor calls its more primitive creatures "Axonoids", describing them as resembling "walking rubbish heaps, powered by mains electricity."

Ironclad Industries was formed by Campbell Irons, who bought our British Rocket Group thirty years ago. Ironclad's private shuttle Windermere has completed its first flight from mission control in Devesham. Powered by a nuclear reactor it features a prototype microwave transmitter. Its 'alien displacement device' was perhaps discovered by Jo in a field in Kent, and enables the ship to cross the time threshold of Axos' loop. It is not explained how the Jules Verne managed this (perhaps the Eurozone Space Agency were working on their own version?)

The Eurozone Space Agency has a Geneva Control and is working with the RAF on this mission. The crew of its shuttle Jules Verne are described in the languages of Europe, including 'rohmfahren' and 'spazionaut'. A second shuttle, the Johannes Kepler, is also mentioned.

The Selskarratch Universal Arbitrator is a form of translator.

UNIT's file on the TARDIS describes it as a 1950s police box which makes a noise "like an elephant in labour" (see: Intertextuality.) Inside the TARDIS wardrobe room is a collection of spacesuits for oxygen as well as non-oxygen breathers (one has gills). The TARDIS' sensory disorientation force field immobilises any person within a localised area.

Brewster describes the sensation as "like being stuck in a vice." He hasn't heard of Buck Rogers.

Once again, the Doctor says a new sonic screwdriver is on his "to-do list." He hasn't heard of Campbell Irons.

Future History: Thirty years in the future space tourism is still popular, with tickets costing around the same as that for a luxury cruise. There is a global lottery and mention is made of an Oklahoma Desert (history repeating?). Ironclad astronaut (and spy) David served in the Malayan War.

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor says he was present during the infancy of the British Space Programme.

Links: The Claws of Axos. This story immediately follows The Crimes of Thomas Brewster (Menzies is also mentioned). Remembrance of the Daleks (British Rocket Group), Inside the Spaceship (the Fast Return switch).

Q.v. 'The TARDIS Key', 'The TARDIS' Defences'

Location: Thirty years in the future, according to dialogue.

The Bottom Line: "Oh great, it's you again."

In which Mike Maddox returns with a quite decent near-Earth space opera. There are a few missed opportunities here (Axos as a character isn't as interesting as its avatars, especially when one is played by Colin Baker), and Brewster's betrayal is disappointingly predictable, but beyond that, this is actually a lot of fun. And Evelyn's very own cliffhanger is one to break your heart.

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