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'The Ultimate Adventure'

Based on the 1988 stage play. Audio released: 2 episodes

Writers: Terrance Dicks
Director: Jason Haig-Ellery

Roots: Star Wars (Zog as a Wookie/Ewok-like companion). Dicks once again indulges in his love of film noir (The Bar Galactica as a 'speakeasy' with Delilah as its femme fatale) and detective stories in general (surreptitiously recording the culprit's confession), the Doctor's description of the PM as "the lady" references Margaret Thatcher's famous "the lady's not for turning" remark. The terminal (see: technobabble) may owe its name to the Mary Poppins stage show tune Supercalifragelisticexpialodocius and the 'borogroves' of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky

Intertextuality: Nods to previous TV stories include hiding inside a Dalek casing (The Daleks). Dicks wrote the Sixth Doctor and Churchill's first (but not Dunkirk) meeting in the BBC book Players.

Technobabble: A Califragelic Borograngean Terminal

The Doctor creates a time tunnel with a crystal containing time energy from the TARDIS.

Goofs: How does the Doctor use ventriloquism while speaking into an electronic device? (it's clearly him masking his speaking, not voice projection)

Dialogue Disasters: "The Cybermen and mercenaries are our dupes" (from the Dalek Emperor?)

"That's my muzzle blaster you can feel on the back of your neck!" There is a lot of stage directions translated into dialogue - there is a better way to adapt these, isn't there?

And what kind of nightclub singer from the 80's says "It's a good illusion, I grant you that". Oh, that's right, one from the head of a 55 year old writer who likes messing about in boats.

Continuity: Altair III is a volcanically-active planet with an indigenous social and avian insect life form. They have fierce looking human faces, but have fangs, claws and wings. They communicate through a language consisting of loud squawking noises, which the Doctor can understand and replicate [The TARDIS' translation Circuits don't appear to be working then].

Among the Bar Galactica patrons are individuals the Doctor describes as "a large hairy one, a tentacle one, and one with a cutlass." The Mercenaries hail from many places, including Deneb Three, while

There is a Galactic Council which the Daleks appear to recognise as some form of authority (although they are working outside of its jurisdiction). The Daleks spin around, helplessly disorientated when their guidance systems are out of control (seemingly these are governed by instrumentation aboard the Dalek saucer). Their ship is fitted with a tractor and transfer beam which captures the TARDIS, and a high frequency sonic beam that can destroy brains. Their Dalekanium bomb (a silver egg-like device powerful enough to destroy most of central London) can be deactivated by exposure to tannic acid in a high temperature solution (i.e. tea).

Jason is the Marquis de Saint Epiman de Sinee de la Tour. His mother was English and he was schooled in England, not returning to his birthplace in France until the Revolution (see: Untelevised Adventures)

Crystal is a singer at the Number Ten, a nightclub in Clarendon Square.

Zog is male and a native of Deneb Four - a hard-working species who do the cleaning all over the galaxy.

The TARDIS' Emergency Displacement System works remotely and not unlike HADS, automatically take the Ship as far from the source of danger as possible and to safety. By reversing the linearity of the proton flow Dalek scientists throw the EDS into reverse, making it seek danger rather than avoid it. TARDIS has smoke grenades and a dressing up chest (presumably part of the furniture from the wardrobe)

The Doctor uses ventriloquism (see: Goofs), and is working under instruction of the British PM with intelligence provided by MI5. The most important peace conference in Earth's history begins tomorrow

Location: Skaro, Earth, 1988; Altair III, the Bar Galactica, Paris 1789, the Dalek Emperor's ship.

Links: The Doctor mentions his past companions Susan, Jamie, Zoe, Leela, Peri and Evelyn, training with Harry Houdini (rather, Houdini allegedly studying under him), Planet of the Daleks ("Daleks can't stand the cold") and implicitly refers to Invasion of the Dinosaurs (a hangover from the Pertwee stage version) Dalekanium as an explosive weapon was introduced in The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor remembers talking to Winston Churchill once, just after Dunkirk. Churchill was in the dumps, but the Doctor managed to persuade him the British public were about to face their finest hour. He knows Margaret Thatcher well enough to work in her confidence. He has recently (re)visited Revolutionary France, rescuing Jason during his time there. The Doctor visited Altair III 100 years ago when the Daleks were trying to establish a base there, destroying the forests and wiping out much of the population in the process. After their defeat by the Doctor the insect people made him an honorary member of their colony.

The Bottom Line: "He's reversed the linearity of the proton flow!"

A slavish devotion or a fool's errand? It's hard to see how the original stage play served the eras of either the Third or Sixth Doctor, yet it exists, and now BF have made a very fine stab at recreating it. Listen to this one, admire the craftsmanship, then forget it forever more.

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