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159m 'The Dark Husband'

CD audio adventure released March 2008, 4 episodes

Writer: David Quantick
Director: Nicholas Briggs

Roots: Laurel and Hardy ("That's another fine mess you've got me into!") Hex calls a hairy guy 'Simply Red' and compares being surrounded by torch-bearing natives to being "Frankenstein's monster" Richard Wagner's 'Bridal Chorus' plays at the wedding. The Doctor says "Elementary my dear Watson" (Ace says Sherlock Holmes never said that). Ori and Irid's voices seem to be modelled on stage and screen examples of the sophisticate (Leslie Phillips) and the brute (Brian Blessed).

Dialogue Triumphs: "It's only a piece of stone" "So was Stonehenge until some idiot found the 'On' switch!"

Continuity: Tuin is (apparently) referred to as the Brewery of the Galaxy, its beer houses boasting 1,400 different varieties of ale. Despite this it has received no visitors for over ten thousand years and, due to unending war between the populations of the moons Ri and Ir, the planet has become a (relative) desert (it once boasted blue grasses). In fact, Tuin is a failed product of the Worldshapers of the Large Magellanic Cloud - a "reject", with its living stone constituents all part of a faulty planet building kit that failed quality control. When Tuin vreated life on itself it was disappointed with its efforts and divided them into two individually flawed but complimentary races both of which it rejected, Craving utter devotion from his 'children, Tuin set them against one another in a near endless war so that they might rediscover their devotion to him.

The Ir are bald, quiet-spoken, sophisticated but born without a humour gene; they represent the guile, wisdom and deviousness of Tuin - that of the Shining Wife. Proud of their hairlessness, they believe hair is evidence of degenerate behaviour. The ways of the Ir include garmenting, garlanding and fasting; in fact, weaving recalls how their world was first created from the glitter of stars, the thread of comets and the warp and weft of supernovae. Their technology is impressive, including spaceships and attractor/detractor beams. The Ri, in contrast, are covered with long, ginger hair; their ceremonies are less sophisticated and largely involve beer. Their characteristics, that of the dark Husband, include bravery, impulsiveness and violence, and their technology includes large land-going vehicles and (presumably) space craft as well. It is a sign of honour to the Ri to have your name burned into their hair.

Each group follow a variation of their creation and wedding myth. For the Ri it is a children's tale, The Story of the Planet and the Wanderer, in which a Wanderer, neither man nor woman, came to a barren world which 'he' named Tuin. When he entered the world it was no longer barren and in return, the world named him Ri'ir (although to the Ir he is Ir'ri). The Wanderer longed to continue his travels but also wished to stay on Tuin, so his soul was divided into two and he became estranged from the planet. Being divided, those souls were unable to either leave or stay behind, and so became Ir and Ri, the two moons, trapped in the planet's orbit. In the Ir version, Ir and Ri are the children of the Wanderer who were hanged in the sky as outcasts because they killed their parents. Tuin was originally home to both the Ir and Ri, but as their world was ravaged by war they retreated to their own respective Moons. Since then the planet was declared a sacred place to both groups, with no fighting allowed but visits made to bury the dead in the shadow of an enormous giant pillar as tall as the Empire State Building and twice as wide. Surrounding this in vast concentric circles are Ir and Ri graves, each ten feet deep. The Unity of Tuin is not restricted to the peoples of one world - the articles of the common faith (as laid down upon the great pillar) specifically urge its priests to seek out and convert others.

The Sign of Commencement is a giant klaxon originally created during a brief truce 9,500 years ago. It is sounded once every five hundred years to announce the start of the Festival of the Twin Moons, the most significant date in the calendar as it is the only time when the Ir and the Ri are (temporarily) at peace. The Festival is a week-long party with music and dancing, a tradition so old that keeping the peace during the celebrations is virtually encoded into the DNA of the Ir and Ri. Pre-dating the war, the Festival was once a yearly event and people came from both Ir and Ri, from the ocean cities of deep Tuin and the mountains of high Tuin. Since the war started, all the beer on Tuin has been strictly alcohol free.

Locations associated with the Wedding of the Dark Husband and the Shining Wife include the House of Faith (which contains the Cellar of Lonely Contemplation), the Stake of Decision (where the Dark Husband is 'sacrificed' in order to lure out his courageous Wife), the Campfire of Thwarted Regret and the Disc of Union, a raised dais that emerges from the ground and acts as a teleport to an underground chamber where the will of Tuin, the living planet, resides. The aim of the wedding is to take the complimentary qualities of the Ir and the Ri and combine them through battle so a single victor will emerge. This victor would be genetically condensed on the subterranean Altar of Transfiguration and pumped up through the pillar on the great plain to shower as a 'gene cloud', transforming life all over the surface of the planet.

The twin Bards of Tuin are made of very old stone, have the voices of a man and woman, and have buttons on their rotating foreheads (press one if a student, button two if an academic and button three if a tourist). They are a dfata store, containing the recorded souls and memories of the first men from Tuin's history and the chronicles and laws of its people.

The Snot Monster is a great beast originating from (depending on one's translation) either the Forest of Delicious Fruit or Snot Monster's Garden. It attacks by sneezing and covering its victim with mucus. White spotted toadstools common in this part of the galaxy and noted for their soporific effect upon ingestion.

The TARDIS recently performed an automatic architectural reconfiguration (or so the Doctor claims), and the Emergency bathroom is third door on the right after the console room. Brochures retrieved by Hex from the emergency bathroom include those for The Death Well of Mindar (with a screaming face on the front cover) The Eye Boiling Vat of Pain at Fringan, and The Festival of the Twin Moons of Tuin.

Hex once got caught covering the mural outside his community centre in graffiti (he shouldn't have used his real name). His name means something quite rude in the language of the Ri, hence Ori calling him 'Hox' instead.

Location: The planet Tuin.

The Bottom Line: "I suppose you think that's funny?!"

After some leaden and/or heavy stories it's good to have some brevity, although this may not be everybody's cup of tea. The humour is, depending on your point of view, student-ish (involving drinking and bodily fluids) or reminiscent of either season 24 or the early Seventh Doctor DWM comic strips. It's not a bad thing. The story here is slight, on the other hand, and the 'novelty' voices do become wearying. On the plus side, the TARDIS crew are only separated briefly, so their interplay is the more interesting for it.

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