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147e 'Project: Twilight'

CD audio adventure released August 2001, 4 episodes

Writers: Mark Wright and Cavan Scott
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: Ultraviolet, Blade, From Dusk To Dawn (vampires in a bar, the name Dusk), the BBC Book Vampire Science by Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman (in which the Doctor offers to help modern day vampires despite himself and is ultimately betrayed by one of their kind, a female scientist), Dracula (Reggie's surname 'mead' may be a pun on the line "I do not drink... wine"). Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (vampirised Cassie's opening speech evokes Juliet Landau's Drusilla). British 'gentlemen' gangsters The Long Firm (Harry Starks) Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, The Sweeney. Sphere ("three is H"), the Doctor's song about Zagreus is to the tune of Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush' (also, see 'Links'). Laurel and Hardy ('that's another fine mess I've got myself into'). The planet Barastabon appears in 'The Not-so Sinister Sponge', a short story by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman in the BBC Books anthology Short Trips and Side Steps.

Fluffs: Doctor sounds rather hoarse in the first episode.

"I guess that makes me a paste on the arse." (patron of the arts?)

Goofs: The Doctor and Evelyn see Nimrod shoot Eddie, yet it was Eddie's scream on being shot that attracted them in the first place.

Reggie's drink (blood) pours rather easily - is it watered down?

Cassie can hear the Doctor cursing (when he is walking with Nimrod), yet not Nimrod [perhaps he is technologically 'dampened'?].

Double Entendres: "I'll stick to my sweet-and-sour chicken balls."

Dialogue Disasters: 'I'm holding a taser directly above your spinal column...'

'You bring us to Saarf-East London.'

Dialogue Triumphs: "'Private. Do not enter.' Oh dear, perhaps I should tell them that's ancient Gallifreyan for 'Doctor come on in, have a snoop around.'"

"If I were being melodramatic, I would call it a 'blood-soaked dawn for the human race', otherwise it's just a syringe."

"Where has all the finesse gone in the universe?"

Continuity: Vampires were originally and accidentally released into the universe by the Time Lords, who have vowed to destroy them ever since ('State of Decay'). They very nearly did this, having virtually defeated the race after it enslaved entire worlds at the height of its powers. The 'Twilight' vampires were a form of hybrid, having been humans (typically prisoners or war wounded) created during the First World War by the Forge, a top secret government initiative to research means by which a superior soldier class might be engineered. Among their experiments were drug, DNA and radiation treatment. It is not explained where the vampire genetic material came from, nor what ultimately happened to it. Among the subjects were Amelia, an embezzler (also known as Twilight Seven and created on September 12, 1914), Reginald (a shell shock victim) and Nathaniel. On October 14th 1914, the twilight vampires overpowered their creator, Doctor Abberton, and escaped. Abberton, mortally wounded, took the drastic step of using the Twilight formula to save his life, becoming a vampire in the process. Under the employ of the Forge he took the codename 'Nimrod' and, enhanced with cybernetics and specialized weaponry, sought to hunt his charges down and destroy them. These vampires communicate telepathically, can hear others' heartbeats and pumping blood, and are (with the exception of Nathaniel) immune to sunlight, but have personalized vulnerabilities, including silver and lead, running water and even helium (thus promoting myths of vampire vulnerability). They cannot be killed by bullets, are not repelled by holy devices, and cast no reflection, and the Doctor deduces that their regenerative abilities are almost as powerful as a Time Lord's. They hunted freely after the War, but were forced (literally) underground when international policing became more sophisticated. Their current operations (under the front of The Dusk) involve a human blood farm, supplying to other vampires, including some in Bristol. Nimrod's weaponry features a crossbow, the bolts of which release nanobots into the heart of a vampire, destroying its immune system and causing the gases of its body to increase until the body bursts. Nimrod's armour is made of bonded polycarbide (see: 'Links'), the implication being that the Forge has access to alien technology (possibly stolen from UNIT), and has a file on the Doctor, noting his activity for 'the UN' during the 1970s and 1980s. Nimrod's last encounter with Reggie was in 1971, and left Reggie recuperating for three years. Reggie was influenced by London gangsters of the sixties and based The Dusk, his casino, after them.

The Doctor implies that Kasterborus is in the center of [our?] galaxy. he loves crispy Peking duck with prawn crackers (so his claimed vegetarianism has lapsed since 'The Two Doctors') and chicken fried rice.

Evelyn was once married to a man who was 'a bit of a war buff', interested in cryptology. She has been warden of a hall of residence.

Links: 'State of Decay', 'The Apocalypse Element', 'Neverland' (the Doctor's song about Zagreus)

The Doctor says he should have listened to Houdini ('Planet of the Spiders') and mentions being at the court of Kublai Khan ('Marco Polo'). He almost gets to ask Evelyn if she's ever been to Blackpool ('Revelation of the Daleks', although the Doctor visited it before, as mentioned in 'Underworld'), and in a line about an 'old friend' who was very keen on the word 'zap', alludes to Tegan. In return, Evelyn evokes the Brigadier in 'The Five Doctors' after the Doctor sings ("Are you in pain?"), and says 'Fishing you out of the river in front of the Tower of London is getting to be a habit of mine' ('The Marian Conspiracy')

An implied link to 'Remembrance of the Daleks' is Nimrod's bonded polycarbide armour.

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor implies that he was present during the Spanish Inquisition and has tasted the delights of the pastry chefs of Barastabon (see 'Roots'). He has visited the Slow Boat Chinese takeaway before and has knowledge of the war cabinet's secret tunnels under the Thames in the Second World War. He claims Bram Stoker (whom he implies having known) was the greatest authority on vampires outside Gallifrey (although he didn't like his book).

Location: Bermondsey, South London. The date is given as 2001 in Project: Destiny.

The Bottom Line: 'Who are you?' 'The future!'

Yet another take on the vampire myth (there have been more in the tv series than you may immediately think) manages also to resurrect the grim twenty-second season. Frequent moments of brutality are sprinkled throughout - not all of it toward the not-so innocent (including Cassie), but perhaps this is part of the sixth Doctor's past that was due to be addressed. The rather interesting creations of the Forge (a sort of anti-UNIT?) and Nimrod (why are there so many characters named Nimrod in Who?) are a welcome inclusion however, as is Jim Mortimore's sinister score, half electronic heartbeats and half John Carpenter. We anticipate a sequel and a rematch.

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