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159c 'Dust Breeding'

CD audio adventure released June 2001, 4 episodes

Writer: Mike Tucker
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: Dust Breeding by Man Ray. The Blakes 7 episode 'Sand' (a sentient sand possesses bodies), Sapphire and Steel (force being captured in pictures), Star Trek (the Warp Core, plus the Voyager episode 'Warhead'), Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (backwater desert planet, hyperdrive, plus a character called 'J Binks'). Beyond the planet being named after the artist Marcel Duchamp (who also created a picture called 'Dust Breeding', a copy of which was coincidentally hanging in the Big Finish studio, and which appeared on the CD cover), some character names appear to be based on artists, including Salvadore (Salvador Dali), Klemp (Gustav Klimt), and of course Damien Person (Damien Hurst - he even uses clear isolation tanks in his 'art'). Bev paraphrases Casablanca ('of all the planets, I had to pick this one...'). A Nightmare on Elm Street and sequels (Ace asks of the Master 'Who's Freddy Krueger?').

Intertextuality: The Krill were created by Mike Tucker for his BBC Book Storm Harvest, the events of which are related to Bev by Ace (despite Bev knowing of the planet Coralee, this obviously took place after she was last in contact with anyone from there - see 'The Genocide Machine')

Goofs: Bev has visited Coralee before (see: 'The Genocide Machine'), yet Ace does not pick up on this when describing her and the Doctor's first encounter with the Krill [presuming that she was alluding to the events of Storm Harvest - see 'Roots'. If this is so, the events of the book may have taken place on a future date from this adventure, explaining Bev's ignorance of Coralee's invasion]. She identifies the Krill twice to Bev.

The Krill alternate from being afraid of Bev because of the Core-affected dust on her, to one punching its way through a star cruiser hull into space to attack the planet.

Technobabble: The Doctor manages to "reverse the polarity".

Double Entendres: 'I'm sorry ma'am... I couldn't resist him.'

'It's evil, Damien' (must be an omen!)

'You can't know, not until you've been touched.'

Dialogue Triumphs: 'You've spent your life looking at masks Madame Salvadore, without ever wondering what lay beneath them. Would you like to see beneath my mask..?'

Continuity: The Doctor collects masterpieces of art, usually rescuing the works in question just before they are due to be destroyed or lost forever. Among his private collection are one of the seven 'Mona Lisa' painted by Leonardo da Vinci (not the one hanging in the Louvre, but another - presumably retrieved from Count Scarlioni's basement before it was destroyed), and Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch' (rescued from the 33rd century before fire was to have destroyed it). He also has an untitled example of Terileptil sculpture, which Ace compares to 'an explosion in a glass factory'.

The Krill are a living weapon created 'long ago' by an unknown race. Virtually indestructible, they attacked the planet that was to become Duchamp 331 before its inhabitants developed a super weapon, the Warp Core, to defeat them. Though not utterly defeated, the Krill were scattered and, like the Core itself, instinctively seek out their enemy. After its victory the Warp Core sought to explore the Universe, and in its attempt destroyed its creators and their world (reducing it to a barren planet covered in a shifting dust ocean) before escaping and roaming the cosmos. At one point, exhausted, it rested on earth in the nineteenth century, where, in Norway the artist Edvard Munch encountered it in his famous recollection of this inspiration for his most famous painting 'The Scream'. Entering Munch's subconscious, the weapon tormented the artist until he 'exorcised' it onto his canvas, where it was trapped for several centuries, dormant, but able to reach out to telepaths and 'sensitives', including artists. Presumably it was through Damien that it made its way to Duchamp 331.

It was in the National Gallery in Oslo that the (post-'Survival') Master encountered the Warp Core, having tracked it to Earth and intending to use it to power his TARDIS. Unprepared for its power and underestimating its outside awareness, he was attacked by it, having the body he stole from Tremas of Traken stripped from him, reducing him to his previous, decaying form. He captured six Krill eggs from space and, adopting the guise of 'Mr Seta' (work it out), tracked the Warp Core's eventual destination of Duchamp 331. In this guise the Master wears a series of expensive looking masks (and presumably, gloves also), but carries his TCE, which he still uses. His TARDIS continues to bear the form of a stone pillar.

The latterly named Duchamp 331 is now a refueling station off the major space lanes. Six huge fuel tanks lie floating beneath its surface, topped by six way stations and a crew of around 250. No other human inhabitants live on the planet, save for a community of 50 artists in a remote commune nicknamed 'the Outhouse'. Years ago a crippled Dalek taskforce landed on the planet, their saucer sinking beneath the dust. Trapped, their dalekanium power source was still active, and, according to Guthrie, their screams can still be heard on the winds of the planet. Bev suggests the sound is merely the dust sharks crying out in hunger.

Bev is 29, a thief, and a smoker.

Ace carries 'redub' (?) pennies in her pockets. Her O-Level art teacher was Miss Parkinson and she loved abstract art.

Links: 'City of Death', 'The Keeper of Traken', 'The Genocide Machine'

Location: The planet Duchamp 331, the luxury space cruiser Gallery.

The Bottom Line: "I am the Master..."

He's back - and unexpectedly too. Anthony Ainley's refusal to participate is our gain; Geoffrey Beever's spine-chilling voice adds an atmosphere to the adventure that Ainley could never have provided.

Let's hope that this version of the Master will be back to confront the seventh Doctor again, soon (though how many more secret anagrams can one create from the word Master?). While the 'return' of the Krill didn't quite live up to its hype, 'Dust Breeding' is a fun addition to the ever-growing post-Season 26 catalogue.

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