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SS3 'The Dark Flame'

CD adventure released March 2003, 4 episodes

Writer: Trevor Baxendale
Director: Jason Haigh-Ellery

Roots: The Doctor, referring to his relationship with Ace refers to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, Batman and Robin, and Roobarb and Custard. Hamlet ('Alas, poor Yorick'), Star Wars (Joseph's character seems to be based upon See-Threepio - he is a 'Mark IV service droid', mention is made of 'the Dark Side'). The Servitor's army recalls Ezekiel 37:1-14 (the Valley of Dry Bones) and of course Ray Harryhausen's much mimicked 'skeleton warriors' scene from Jason and the Argonauts. Ace calls Joseph 'Metal Mickey' and starts singing 'My Old Man's a dustman'. Monty Python - the parrot sketch ('It's stone dead'), the Lethal Weapon series (debate on whether to run on three or after three).

Intertextuality: The Doctor mentions Chelonians, which first appeared in Gareth Roberts' Virgin New Adventure The Highest Science.

The Doctor refers to Ace's time with the military (Deceit).

The implication at the end of 'The Dark Flame' is that the Doctor turns Joseph over to Irving Braxiatel to give to Benny in the Virgin Benny Adventures.

[Cantanimus Prime is possibly a reference to 'Death Comes To Time', but if so it's an incorrect reference.]

Fluffs: Ogron is mispronounced as Og-ron rather than O-gron.

'Professor Summerfield hasn't got long left'. (huh?)

The Doctor pronounces 'Chelonian' with an 'sh'.

Goofs: Slyde says that Remnex's body was the best he could get, but there were at least six others (not including himself!) he could have picked, all better choices.

Technobabble: Black light is an energy field generated by quantum meta-fluctuations in the space-time continuum. Black light explosions are controlled by a iso-chrontic crystal, a forced generated tachyon super-conductor, time sensitive element.

Joseph has a million micro-cell omnitronic memory bank.

On Orbos is a reverse photon manipulator. There's no field dampener on the trans-mat grid.

Double Entendres: 'Can I touch it?' 'No.' 'I don't see why not' etc...

'Behold the coming of the Dark Flame.' (Er, we've already heard it, thanks.)

Dialogue Triumphs: 'You've kick-started the end of the Universe!' 'Oh. Sorry!'

Dialgoue Disasters: 'Alas poor Yorick, you're parachronic.'

'What a rubbish matter transmitter.'

Continuity: Marran Alpha is a planet with a volcanic surface and acid rain.

Orbos is a scientific research base, where experiments are conducted on black light. There has never been a black light explosion before. The Time Lords frown on the Doctor being involved with such experiments.

The Dark Flame is a cult that worships a negative energy being, which exists in another dimension/dark universe from the end of time. Ten thousand years ago, the head of the cult was Vilas Krull, whose skull became imbued with special properties that enabled it to partially exist outside time (i.e. is parachronic). Vilas existed past his death and had the ability to possess dead bodies and affect the minds of others.

Humans aren't sensitive to parachronic time fields, but the Doctor is.

The Doctor is considered an expert in temporal engineering. The

Doctor knows a secret passage when he sees one, and a Mark IV service droid. By the end of the adventure, the Doctor has created another paradox.

Ace wears a light-weight combat suit, which is designed to defuse phased energy beams.

Location: Orbos, a space station above Marran Alpha.

Links: 'The Talons of Weng-Chiang' ('Sleep is for Chelonians' recalls the Doctor's line 'sleep is for tortoises'), 'The Trial of a Time Lord' parts 1-4 (black light), 'Dragonfire' (Mel leaving), 'Day of the Daleks' (Benny refers to Ogrons).

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor and Mel have met Remnex before. The Doctor and Ace got up to general skull-duggery before picking up Benny.

Bottom Line: "The web of time can look after itself; it's the spider I want"

Emulates the Virgin era of Doctor Who quite well, what with the resurrection of ancient evils and so on, although it does tend a little too much towards rehashing old ideas rather than trying out new ones. Guest star Michal Praed provides a cliched whispery-voiced villain that wouldn't have been out of place on TV during the 1960s. Ultimately, maybe it's not quite too broad and deep for the small screen, but it's good to see the Ace and Benny dynamic at work again.

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