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'The Hollows of Time'

CD audio adventure released February 2010. Two 45-minute episodes

Writer: Christopher H Bidmead
Director: John Ainsworth

Roots: The Doctor quotes Proposition number seven from Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus ("whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent"). The Streamers' gifts of flowers recalls the similar presents once offered to travellers by Hare Krishna devotees at airports. The Doctor makes a pun on Richard III ("my kingdom for a hawser"), Henry IV, i ("Discretion is the better part of travel") and quotes the doomed Antarctic explorer Oates (both are explained to a painstaking degree), The Doctor discusses the concept of 'Autarky', or self-sufficiency. Foxy refers to Hieronymus Bosch.

Fluffs: In episode 1 while discussing the project's funding Colin Baker calls his colleague "Poxy".

Goofs: The Tractators' genus makes no sense in Greek or English ('appearing wing'?) - is it in alien?

Foxy's computers make rather anachronistic 'OS' sounds for 1982 - and how is the Doctor able to access Blechley Park's staff records using them? The wonders of Telnet?

Technobabble: Or, 'dialogue' as we call it in this story.

In 1997 Leading Engineer Ashouk Bagdadi quoted captain Oates, saying "I'm going outside and may be some time" during the first extra-vehicular activity of a Saturn Probe, and returned three hundred and eighty minutes later having fixed the solar stream jets as planned and fortuitously removed a meteorite fragment that had jammed the parabolic scanner (the whole mission had depended on high-resolution telemetry of the planet's surface)

Gravity waves create low-level radiation that impairs thinking - the Doctor knows of this effect.

Stream talks of controlling the "intermediate dimensions", and seven "concealed" dimensions (perhaps he means the time corridors set up by the engine?)

Double Entendres: "Call me Foxy"

"He took me back behind the curtains on the church hall stage"

"Not a bad performance for an old banger"

Continuity: The Doctor places Tractators in the genus Phenomenoptera and refers also to a similar species of creature (the incanderis) that only travels in light waves. Tractator scales are oyster-coloured and glow from within - they have some movement, akin to Mexican jumping beans, and can have their own influence on material around them via low-intensity gravity waves. Stream collected them from Kolkokron. Tractators can only generate localised gravity fields unless the presence of a Gravis coordinates these, in a similar manner (as the Doctor observes) to a Queen Bee being introduced to a swarm. Tractaor mucus is green and also appears to have a gravitic nature.

Professor Stream is said to have been a colleague and rival of Foxwell's at Blechley. After the war he opened a small electronics shop in Tottenham Court Road and secured a contract with the Ministry of Defence, eventually making his fortune in the 1970s through electronics and garnering a following through his written work. Settling in Hollowdean the following decade he acquired a large house on a hill near the coast and employed the adherents of his quasi-Eastern philosophies, colloquially termed 'Streamers' as his residents and caretakers. He boasts power and capabilities "far greater than any Earth human", including mind control, a knowledge of the Doctor and how to operate a TARDIS. Popular knowledge of Stream's history seems to be cribbed somewhat from Foxy's history - working at Blechley being an example. His vehicle of choice is a 1934 Citroen Traction Avant. Stream's Citroen is a time-travel vehicle, seemingly unbeknownst to him. It disintegrates, and there is the suggestion that the two vehicles are incompatible (so perhaps it's not a TARDIS?) When fully in the vehicle and therefore out of range of his own TARDIS Jane and Steelspecs remark that he is in another dimension (as he would be if he were in another TARDIS?). Professor Stream, known to his adherents as "The All-Flowing Stream' published three books, each in blue and white jackets, the colours of which the 'Streamers' adopt in their garb. He is wheelchair-bound, apparently due to a polo injury, and is a noted philanthropist. There is the strong suggestion that he mesmerises the Doctor on their first meeting.

Reverend Foxwell is tall, with white hair. He worked at Bletchley alongside Alan Turing (see: Untelevised Adventures) and became a celebrated figure in (initially) valve-based computing and early artificial intelligence. During his time at Bletchley he explored alternative (though not specifically Eastern) philosophies. The encasements in Foxy's experiment were added (with Steelspec's specifications) to Foxy's harnesses linked through infra-red technology. Steel Specs is a robot controlled by Stream from his wheelchair.

The Citroen has a Reality Reset switch (which pretty much does what it says on the tin), a concealed orange button under its walnut-wood dashboard. The Citroen as it appears to dematerialise doesn't make the requisite TARDIS sound.

When the TARDIS dematerialises at a frequency of 908 gigahertz Stream's Citroen leaves its dimension and coalesces (the Doctor calls it a congruence - an unstable convergence of two incompatible vehicles) with the Doctor's TARDIS, giving Stream control of the Ship.

The Doctor saw Gravitational blips on TARDIS sensors and triangulated their precise location, bringing him and Peri to Hollwdean. The Doctor says that, to him, "history is the only thing." He learned the trick of concealing his life signs from the TARDIS in the Angilian Desert. His description of himself as "a grasshopper mind, set loose on the universe" is rather apt. The Doctor's malapropisms include "Dead as a doughnut", "We'll burn that boat when we come to it", "out of the firing pin and into the foyer" and "Richness beyond the dreams of Edelweiss" (a side-effect of his mesmerism by Stream?) 'Fortuitous' is the Doctor's second-favourite word, with 'serendipity' being his favourite (see: Links)

Foxy believes he is working on a 'real intelligence project', but is contributing a major element to Stream's quantum gravity engine, the other significant ingredient being the Tractators and Gravis, which he has kept in a subterranean dungeon for the duration of the project. The waveguide actuator is a genuine element.

Foxy, too, was hypnotised by Stream.

Links: Frontios. The Doctor and Foxy discuss K-9, while the Doctor recalls Bessie. He says "serendipitous" is one of his most frequently used words (in The Green Death, maybe)

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor (possibly in his sixth incarnation, although Foxy appears to not question his "in another body" comment about K-9) worked with Alan Turing on the Enigma Project - Rev Foxwell knows him from this time. The Doctor counts Ludwig Wittgenstein as a "friend" (although he may be appropriating the term to refer to his familiarity with his works rather than a personal acquaintance?)

Location: Hollowdean, a coastal village south of London (Jane talks of driving "up" to the capital). It is the early 80s, a couple of years before Peri's time.

The Bottom Line: "Oh my poor old head"

Renaissance of the Daleks - the sequel. It's probable that no one was going to be happy with this adaptation - a cut-down version of a script BF allegedly already found incomprehensible. And yet here it is, with an added mystery attached courtesy of BBC Wales' strict guidelines over current-DW characters appearing outside the new TV series. In the wake of all of this is a story poorly paced, illogically dialogued, and bafflingly positioned around an unanswered question (the retrospective narration being no help whatsoever). Decaying sand creatures, a time rotor filled with bric-a-brac - it's all very dreamlike and scarcely believable, even for fiction. And it has Noddy in it. The soundtrack is lovely though.


Setting aside the obvious answer to the question of Professor Stream's identity (that of the original script, identifying him as the Master), The Hollows of Time asks the listener to consider the story's villain with some varying and sometimes contrasting evidence, particularly at odds with the original reveal. The Professor's name alone is an anagram; one among many used by the Master of the JN-T era, and yet a clue as obvious as this is completely missed by the Doctor (and to all intents and purposes we could assume that only the Doctor was hypnotised and not Peri, as there is no matching scene to suggest it happened, and similarly no evidence in Peri and the Doctor's recollections that her memory is at fault. We must therefore assume that Peri's memories of the story are complete as far as her own experiences go, but are obviously poor for episodes in which she was not present. Forst and foremost, Peri does not recognise Stream at all, despite having met him twice already.

Is Stream a Time Lord? He admits he and the Doctor know one another, but explains the Doctor's confusion as "that's one of the problems with being a Time Lord" (a reference to himself?) The Doctor notes (without comment) the presence of a grandfather clock in Foxy's lab (Stream being Foxy's mysterious benefactor), recalling the Master's appropriation of the disguise in The Deadly Assassin and The Keeper of Traken. The Doctor realises that Stream having the means to control his TARDIS suggests something - but cannot put his finger on it (a mental block?); his strength and mental powers indicate that he is not human - or at least no ordinary human, and is ambitions are on a universal, even multidimensional scale, outdoing many of the Doctor's usual opponents and demonstrating an awareness of a greater sphere of influence than Earth or the Solar System. Finally, his time vehicle is in part a disguise, although not in the conventional Chameleon Circuit manner, but with its eccentric earth-oriented form, something along the lines of the Doctor's own TARDIS. It disintegrates, or appears to disappear with no characteristic TARDIS dematerialisation sound, however, and it would appear that Sream's death is a very final and irreversible fact - it cannot therefore be the Master within the known continuity of the series, and it may be that Stream is not a Time Lord either. It would appear that despite early intentions and with the help of some late revision, the mystery of Professor Stream is intended to remain just that.

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