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147a 'The Marian Conspiracy'

CD and audio cassette adventure released March 2000, 4 episodes

Writer: Jacqueline Rayner
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: Elizabeth (1998) and other Elizabethan historical propaganda from popular culture. Back to the Future (Evelyn 'visibly' fades away as her own existence is threatened by the nexus point). Evelyn 'ta-tums' a snatch of Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz to herself whilst knitting. Monty Python and the Holy Grail ('Lovely execution it was...') Leaf's 'Your actual [Catholic]...' comes from 'Round the Horne. The Doctor's claim to Mary that he may well be speaking Serbo-Croat is likely a nod to the documentary Thirty Years in the TARDIS (where 'Dalek' has a definition, apparently).

Intertextuality: Evelyn's comment about feeble jokes about 'the size of the king's balls' may be a reference to the oft-repeated one in Paul Cornell's Bernice Summerfield audio adventure 'Oh no it isn't'.

Goofs: Evelyn's faux pas in the Dog and Duck is met by the tinkling of dropped glasses instead of the clunk of tankards.

Technobabble: Landing next to a temporal nexus point with a close significant proximity to it provokes "an adverse existential stabilising effect".

Double Entendres: The Doctor's most obvious pick-up line - "I wonder if you'd mind accompanying me to my ship for a few tests?" Evelyn on cakes - "I'll bake you one, one day. If you're good"

Fashion Victims: Evelyn, already an anachronism, wanders about Marian London in a bright orange cardigan and toting a handbag (You go, girl!).

Dialogue Triumphs: "I find that cake is an excellent solution to many of life's problems"

Continuity: The Doctor claims to have never been tempted to mix romance with study, and always meant to "pop back and support Darwin". Mary implies that Elizabeth is the illegitimate child of Anne Boleyn's lute player.  Evelyn is fifty-five and divorced (she and her husband parted after a disagreement over their anniversary falling at the same time as a conference on the Administrative Privy Council - the conference was Evelyn's concern). She cannot ride a horse, swim, nor run any faster than a jog at best, although she does have excellent hearing. She is a lecturer in Tudor History, although her faculty is trying to force her into early retirement. At a History Soc social she attempted a yard of ale (the yard won). She recalls the Class of 1974 as being particularly unattractive and chose to ignore them. She loves chocolate cake and suffers from migraines. Her ancestor, John Whiteside-Smith, was a learned man and an advisor to the future Queen Elizabeth. The Doctor says she is the most well-prepared and useful companion he has ever had.

Once more, the Doctor poses as a physician. He tells the lady Sarah that he has never married and Evelyn that he was never tempted to mix romance with study. When it is suggested that he could be the father of a human child, he does not deny it outright, but sounds offended.

Links: The Visitation (the Doctor squirms when the Great Fire of London is brought up). The Doctor confesses to Mary that he once destroyed an entire race [or he believes he had done] (The Trial of a Time Lord). Bloodtide (Darwin)

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor played bowls with Sir Francis Drake and met William Cecil whilst attending Elizabeth the First's court (coronation?). Up to this point the Doctor has never met Queen Mary, although he knew her father Henry VIII.

Location: England in the present day (Evelyn has a modern sounding phone), London, late 1554 - one month after the Wyatt Uprising.

The Bottom Line: I Should Cocoa! The first straight historical story since 'Black Orchid' is a well-characterised success, and introduces a potentially memorable companion in Evelyn Smythe. Refreshingly, a notorious historical figure is given a sympathetic revisionist treatment, and despite some 'out of character' TARDIS accuracy in episode 4, 'Marian' proves to be everything that the sixth Doctor's era could have and should have produced. An impressive debut.

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