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147b 'The Spectre of Lanyon Moor'

CD audio adventure, released July 2000. 4 episodes

Writer: Nicholas Pegg
Director: Nicholas Pegg

Roots: Celtic folklore (pixies, plus the belief that a stone with a hole in it protects one against malevolent sprites), antiquarian lore (Sir Archibald's ancestor's work), Psycho ('he's probably the original Norman Bates...'). The Hound of the Baskervilles and An American Werewolf in London (danger on the moors, backpackers coming to peril), The Lurker at the Threshold (the stained glass window trick). Evelyn and Flint refer to Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, Aleister Crowley and Frederick Nietsche.Evelyn name checks Grimms' fairy tales and compares Mrs Moynihan to Joyce Grenfell ('...Buster, don't do that' - there's surely some Barbara Woodhouse in there too: 'walkies!'), while Mrs Moynihan paraphrasaes Great Expectations ('Perhaps Abel Magwitch has escaped from the prison hulks?'). Sancreda is named after Saint Sancred ( and the Cornish town of Sancreed), who accidentally killed his brother and lived the rest of his life in penance. Silas Marner. Philip quotes from the tinpan alley classic 'Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens'. The Brigadier being 'more of a soup man' is an affectionate nod to Nicholas Courtney's own tastes. The Doctor quotes from William Allingham's The Fairies.

Goofs: The Brigadier tells the Doctor that he and Doris are married, yet the Doctor finds this out for the 'first time' again in his seventh incarnation ('Battlefield').

Evelyn pronounces Crowley's first name as Alis-tair, which may be correct for the Brig, but Crowley is most definitely an Alister.

Technobabble: Using a Shlangiian power cell and a roll of copper wire, the Doctor hunts for evidence of electrical disturbances from the fogou. He also carries a metadimensional rheostat in his pocket. It's of no use to him in this story. Sancreda's menantolian induction loop is made of menantol bisilicate. A potable field vector map is, apparently, quite heavy. The power coil (about the size of a coffee cup) is made of molecular bonded dissilum.

Double Entendres: 'There's nothing like a good 'yomp' before breakfast.'

'Nothing's going to get between me and my Horlicks.'

'Under whatever circumstances, don't switch off!'

'He's coming up the back path'

'There he is - he's out!'

Fashion Victims: The Brigadier rightly identifies the Doctor by sight, reckoning that only he could get away with wearing such an outrageous ensemble.

Dialogue Disasters: 'Remember - no-go fogou.'

'You're a bit crackers, aren't you?'

Dialogue Triumphs: 'My plans will finally come to fruition' '-It's got something to do with fruit'

'My will shall be the whole of the law'

'You mean to tell me my housekeeper has made a Faustian pact with a pixie from outer space... when she gets back, she's fired!'

The Doctor quotes his 'old tutor' [Borusa?] 'You can go a long way with talent, but you'll never get anywhere without a pencil.'

Continuity: Some 18,000 years previously a Trigannon spaceship crashed in southwest England. Trigannons are a race of 'space hopping conquerors from the Spulion system' around three feet tall and (according to the caricature in the fogou) with tails. Millions of years ago they developed an entire technology operating at 'the speed of thought' and based on 'psionic energy and bits of old rock - a formidable combination'. Their psionic prowess is formidable, including telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, and the ability to project images of themselves (which can kill). Despite this, Sancreda and Screfan use heavy impulse hand laser weapons. Trigannon ships draw their power from the Trigannon home world - this is then inducted to its crew (usually two), to which it is bonded for life. The closer an individual is to their ship, the stronger their power is, being linked to the Trigannon gestalt.

A normal Trigannon life spans hundreds of thousand of years - even twenty thousand years are as nothing to Sancreda or his ship. When the focussing amplifier is placed on the tumulus, within seconds, Sancreda takes on physical form in an explosion of psychic energy. By studying the 'physiological imprint' of a victim he may assume its appearance. They pilot their ships by psionic induction. Sancreda's ship, in repairing itself, undergoes cellular reintegration.

Evelyn goes over her discoveries of the previous day; as she'd thought, and a friend of hers who lectures at Oxford confirmed, Lanyon Moor has long held a reputation for ghostly apparitions. During the English Civil War, a party of Roundheads was apparently torn apart by wild beasts while camped around tumulus (this is reported by their quarry, the Royalist Edward Hopkins). In 1783 - Sir Percival Flint, owner of a tin-mine and ancestor of Sir Archibald, tried to excavate the tombs, a diabolic, shrieking wind drove his workers away. And in the 1840s, when a tenant farmer tried to flatten the tumulus, he dropped dead of a heart attack, his entire herd of cattle died within a month, and all crops in the area failed for the next seven years. In 1940 the moor was the site of a naval radar observation post (albeit unsuccessfully - the signals were often scrambled and a wave of mental illness among staff, followed by a death closed the operation and it was moved twenty miles down the road).

As a boy the Brigadier made crystal wireless sets. He and Doris are married in this story [See 'Goofs'], although the Doctor hasn't yet met her. Doris' family currently reside in Devon. The Brigadier is doing some unofficial surveillance for UNIT (despite his retirement), as he continues to do from time to time. There is a UNIT tracking station nearby. Captain Ashforde is UNIT's international liaison.

Evelyn has a student called Phillip and calls a colleague - Gareth, a lecturer in history at Oxford. The Trigannon ship is the first space craft Evelyn has ever seen (but the first in 'many years' for the Brigadier).

The TARDIS is apparently driven 'off course' by an external influence at the beginning of this story. Sensing Sancreda's presence, it shifts itself to a different existential plane and out of danger until the end.

The Doctor 'gets by' in geoelectrical isography. He considers going back in time one day to find out what real purpose the fogous served. He mentions the Sydney opera house.

Links: 'The Marian Conspiracy' (the Doctor has recently had a cold, caused by falling into the Thames in that story). 'The Daemons', 'The Stones of Blood' (Lemington-Smyth).

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor has visited the Parthenon in Athens previously, but he always meant to return "now that it's finished".

Location: Lanyon Moor in West Cornwall, some five miles from Tremain, presumably some time before the events of 'Battlefield' (see: 'Goofs'). And Greece, of course.

The Bottom Line: 'Round the craggy mountain, through the wooded glen; we daren't go a wandering for fear of little men'. After a chilling trailer, 'Spectre' delivers a spooky and atmospheric tale reminiscent in many ways of the earlier Baker's 'Gothic' season. The second go at uniting the sixth Doctor with the Brigadier is more successful here than 'Dimensions in Time', but the resulting large cast occasionally gives Colin Baker little to do. In all however, a well acted and competently directed mood piece.

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