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147k 'The Vanity Box'

CD audio adventure released July 2007, 1 episode

Writers: Paul Magrs
Director: John Ainsworth

Roots: Cutting It. Magrs' non-Who Brenda and Effie novel Never the Bride. The Salford location deliberately evokes the fictional Manchester of Coronation Street ('Warren Street' takes its name from series creator Tony Warren, there is a noted corner shop; compare 'The Sailor's End' with 'The Rover's Return' and 'Bessy Tiplington' with 'Betty Turpin'; the Doctor's comment about "hair nets" may be a reference to original Street stalwart Ena Sharples) Mel mentions Carnaby Street, Ready, Steady, Go and the art of L S Lowry.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Mel and I are often up to our eyes in 'funny peculiar'"

Double Entendres: Two from "Monsieur" Coiffure: "Now, eef madame ees com-fy ah shall take owt my miraculous tool that will breng a smay-ul back to madarme's fayce"

"Did I eenvite you into ma glamorous annexe?"

And one from the locals" "it's been a long time since you've had strangers in the snug"

The Sailor's End

Continuity: The Vanity Box is an aspect of the Wishing Beast, a very powerful ancient entity from 'somewhere beyond', according to the Doctor. He isn't able to determine which dimension it came from or how it ended up in the ship canal where Coiffure found it.

While inside the Box the Doctor learns that it is a psychic parasite, feeding on the hopes, fears and experiences of living human beings. In the spectacle of rejuvenating its victims it shortens their lifespans as well. It doesn't work on the Doctor because of his Time Lord biology.

The Doctor uses the TARDIS controls to create a tear in the fabric of time and space (it appears as a rip in the air of the console room itself). Jettisoned through the rip, it follows the TARDIS's last immediate flight path, back to the asteroid it came from, and so far in the past that it will forget all about him.

Q.v. The Viyran Strand

Links: This story follows and also leads into the events of The Wishing Beast, and forms part of the Virus Strand.

The Bottom Line: "Drag me up!"

Bonnie Langford's final BF story and (in theory) therefore the last audio story before Time and the Rani is this strange coda, Magrs' love letter to the ladies of Coronation Street, tied-in with the briefest of nods to The Wishing Beast. It is, it hardly need be said, very silly, but quite good if you're in the mood for outrageous accents (several at once in the case of Toby Longworth) and a dragged-up Sixth Doctor. Possibly not as unconventional then, given the direction the TV series was headed at the time.

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