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147l 'Pier Pressure'

CD audio adventure released January 2006, 4 episodes

Writers: Robert Ross
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: The role of Max Miller is played by Roy Hudd, president of the real stage entertainer's fan club. As the Doctor and Evelyn disembark Oh I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside plays. The Doctor adapts the "more things in Heaven and Earth" speech from Hamlet and refers to Dante's Inferno. He refers to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L Sayers and Edmund Crispin and borrows a line from William Blake's Jerusalem ("your green and pleasant land") and the 1883 song There's a Tavern in the Town. Max calls the Doctor "Joseph - you in the coat of many colours" and later likens him to "a proper H.G. Wells" (Albert unconsciously name checks Things to Come, the movie of the same year for which Wells provided the screenplay). Albert's movie idols are the horror movie stars of the day, including Lionel Atwill, Colin Clive, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi; he refers to Werewolf of London. The story's conclusion references the actual collapses of the Brighton Pier in the 1990s and 2000s.

Intertextuality: Young actor Billy's recent films While Parents Sleep and I'm an Explosive also contain early appearances by a certain 'Billy Hartnell'.

For references to Blackpool, see: 'Links'.

Double Entendres: "The end of that pier is my turf"

"The British Broadcasting Corporation, often unforgiving to their finest assets..."

"Position... I want position!"

Dialogue Triumphs: "I'm the watchmaker: I regulate time and there are so many faults and so many cogs that don't quite fit, so many worlds that would shatter, so many life forms that could destroy everything - destroy the very fabric of time. But here as the ocean laps in and the ocean laps out, here beats real purity, and honesty. A simple life - uninterrupted."

Dialogue Disasters: The rotten "people are revolting" joke in the opening scene. There's really no excuse.

Continuity: The Indo are a microcosmic species hailing from a planet of the same name, from the furthest reaches of the Galaxy - the Doctor likens their clinging together to 'frogspawn'). They arrived on Earth 'centuries ago', as refugees following the invasion of their world by another race. Possession by the indo can be of both living creatures and the deceased - it is characterised by a blue glow.

Gallifreyan zinc is one of the strongest metals in the Universe.

The Doctor and the TARDIS are both reluctant to make a return visit to Blackpool (see: Links). The Doctor has seen (and enjoyed) Creature From the Black Lagoon. He remembers reading about strange goings-on in the area in 1918.

Links: Among past planets visited the Doctor mentions Sirius IV (The Colony in Space) and Metebelis 3 (Planet of the Spiders). The TARDIS' reluctance to visit Blackpool is a likely link to The Nightmare Fair. The Indo return in Assassin in the Limelight. Evelyn mentions Dr Knox (Medicinal Purposes), while the Doctor, jogging her memory, mentions Silurians (Bloodtide)

Location: Brighton, 1936.

The Bottom Line: 'There'll never be another!' Er, quite.

Ross follows Medicinal Purposes with, of all things, a love-letter to Brighton and one of her favourite sons, Max Miller. In that, it might be enough, and perhaps Miller's fan club were happy enough with their hero's fictional outing. However, despite the constant presence of horrors of the silver screen and local legend being evoked, the story is lacking the zest of such company and, rather fittingly, draws too much from its own influences where some originality wouldn't have gone amiss. Not quite end-of-the-pier (the Doctor's soliloquy quoted above is very nice), but beyond the performances of the regulars, Bradley and Hudd, this tale is less chilling and somewhat tepid.

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