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'Legend of the Cybermen'

CD audio adventure released June 2010. 4 episodes

Writer: Mike Maddox
Director: Nicholas Briggs

Roots: Oliver Twist, The Call of the Wild, Wuthering Heights (Heathcliffe is a hound - source?), legends of Robin Hood and King Arthur, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty and National Velvet, Dracula (the character adapts one of the Todd Browning movie lines: "the children of the night - what terrible music they make!") - particularly pop culture reinventions of the Count, Frankenstein, Moby Dick, Grimm's fairy tales (fairies, pixies, mermaids and giants, but especially Sleeping Beauty), The Phantom of the Opera, the robot soldiers are accompanied by The Royal Grenadier, while Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries naturally accompanies the Valkyries, The Wind in the Willows (the Wild Wood), Macbeth (MacDuff), Sherlock Holmes. Dracula's imagined weeping of blood tears may refer to the same phenomenon in True Blood. Treasure Island (Long John Silver), Beowulf (Grendel's Mother), The Canterbury Tales (the Wife of Bath). Merodac, the villain of Night's Black Agents (see: Links) is identified as coming from James Hogg's Brownie of the Black Haggs. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - Nemo quotes words ascribed to Julius Caesar: "nemo me impune lacessit". Read-along story records. Jamie's lyrical epithet "Proud warrior of the Highland race" may be a nod to Robbie Burns' Address to a Haggis ("Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race")

Intertextuality: The scene of Cybermen rising out of the water recalls an intended feature of the abandoned Doctor Who Meets Scratchman movie.

One of Zoe's apparent adventures created for Jamie is The Laird of McCrimmon, presumably based on the abandoned Yeti storyline by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.

Though they never met on screen, Jamie encountered the Zarbi with the Doctor and Victoria in Christopher Bulis' Missing Adventure Twilight of the Gods.

Jamie's asking the Doctor why his footfalls are audible while walking in the void is a nod to a production goof from The Mind Robber.

Technobabble: The constructs fight the Cybermen with armour-piercing rounds of radioactive shells in an acetone syuspension.

Dialogue Triumphs: Alice and the Doctor: "Chapter?" "Prydonian" "I'm not familiar with that one - is it a comedy?" "-In so many ways..."

"I never name-drop. I got that from Saint Augustus."

"Lay on, MacDuff-" "-Oh, he's not here. Shall I fetch him?"

Continuity: The White Robots here are more advanced than when the Doctor and Jamie last encountered them. The Doctor recalls the last Master of the land of Fiction as being "rather endearing." Masters (or Mistresses) of the Land cannot create their own fictions, merely use and adapt established narratives. Not all storybook people bleed ink or appear to, although perception of this changes as one travels further into the Land [this would explain why the Doctor doesn't notice this during the battles in Jamie's fictional homeland]. The fictional constructs are all created from Zoe's memories of stories she has read, plus her own memories.

The "Four-Colour Kingdom" (presumably referring to the CMYK print tones) within the land pertains to the world of comic strip stories, an area with which the Doctor is unfamiliar. It was destroyed in the first day of the Cyberman invasion. The Karkus is a refugee from this zone, and fought the Hirudin Corporation in the comic strip guise of the Space Leeches (which also explains why the Doctor wasn't familiar with them earlier.)

The Cybermen use "datamats", two-foot long wormlike cybermat variants. They intend to rob humanity of its imagination and thereby subjugate them more easily. Data clusters are aplle-shaped spheres which store the memories of organic life forms, holding them in stasis until the emotional and sense aspects can be removed.

One month has passed in real time for Zoe on the space wheel. The Doctor explains to Zoe that the Time Lords "locked away" her memories of travelling with him and Jamie, rather than removing them outright. Zoe travelled with the Second Doctor for two years, according to a medical examination of her shortly after her 'return' to the Space Wheel. Months after this, during an inspection of debris outside the Wheel, Zoe witnessed a raiding party comprising three Cybermen and a Cyberplanner infiltrate the Wheel. She was captured and set aside for conversion into a new Cyberplanner, but escaped after the conversion process unlocked her memories, and executed an audacious plan of counter-attack. Sending a feedback wave to the Cybership nearby she 'punched a hole in space-time', sending the ship into the land of Fiction, followed them and made it to the wrecked Master Computer to rebuild the Land, giving the characters there free will to upset the narrative logic the Cybermen could otherwise predict. Opening a further hole in space-time Zoe then sent data through to lock into the [Sixth Doctor's] TARDIS navigational circuits; however as this also scrambled the circuits the TARDIS landed off-course in the fictional Scotland. In order to aid the Doctor Zoe created the fictional Jamie to guide him through the environment, while not remembering the Doctor himself.

The Doctor says he has never been to Camelot.

Links: The Mind Robber, The Wheel in Space and The War Games. Another mention is made of the events of Companion Chronicle Night's Black Agents. City of Spires, The Wreck of the Titan. Jamie's memories of monsters seem to include the sounds of Zarbi (see: Intertextuality) alongside Quarks (The Dominators - the volcano of Dulkis is also mentioned), Daleks (Evil of the Daleks) and Cybermen (The Moonbase et al). The Doctor recalls meeting the real Dracula - Vlad Tepes, with Erimem (Son of the Dragon) and refers to "scarves, cricket, Bessie..." The Chase (the Marie Celeste)

The Bottom Line: "Pseudohistorical to base under siege - you're quite at home."

Dazzling, funny, highly visual and outrageous. The episode endings are very strong, particularly that of episode two : the Doctor's discovery that he never left the Land of Fiction, followed by the revelation of Jamie's fictional self, bleeding ink. The conceits -especially the Cyber-conversions, oddly enough, are breath-taking, and the ending, however you read it, is a heartbreaker, as only it could be. A classic.

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