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'Dead London'

Released January 2008. 1 episode.

Writer: Pat Mills
Director: Barnaby Edwards

Roots: Mills' earlier comic works, including Charley's War (WW1 zeppelins) and the Sláine story 'The Bride of Crom' (the wicker man), the writings of Julius Caesar (the wicker man again), and The Wicker Man, of course. Jack Ketch is a slang term for a hangman (Mills reused the name for his English Civil War zombie series Defoe) Judge Jeffries mentions Don Quixote. The legend of Springheel Jack, Jack the Ripper, 'Yellow Beryl' is a pun on the term "yellow peril". Lucie misquotes Richard III ("a bridge, a bridge, my kingdom for a bridge"), calls Sophie 'Calamity Jane', the Doctor 'Captain Bligh' and mentions The Love Boat. The Apostle Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus ("Looks like the scales have been lifted")

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor's gallows speech: "In the course of my lives I have much to apologise for. I sincerely regret sundry heinous offences against fashion. In my defence I plead the regrettable taste of previous incarnations; it wasn't me, it was me"

Dialogue Disasters: "'Arf man, 'arf snake, 'arf eurgh!"

Continuity: The Cista Mystica is a Roman artefact used by the [followers of] Dionysus, who kept sacred snakes inside them. Sophie's one however has 'flashing fairies' (control lights and buttons operating invisible tractor beams) and is made of telmonium, an incredibly durable and rare extra-terrestrial metal that can only be found on Quagreeg, a marsh world in the Sirius System inhabited by unpleasant reptilian life forms who are a gestalt being (they have a hive consciousness). Sepulchre can therefore control several aspects (or 'avatars') in different Re-enactment Chambers. Those human victims trapped within them are selected from among the poor or vulnerable and will therefore not be missed as their lives are of no consequence, including prisoners of the Old Bailey, victims of World War One zeppelin raids, Celtic sacrificial victims and the Ninth Roman Legion. Sepulchre says they don't do this for pleasure, but if they didn't kill it would be injurious to their well-being. Sepulchre is named after St Sepulchre's Church Sepulchre's [historical] avatars include the historic Judge Jeffries and Jack Ketch as well as Boudicca's chief druid. A side-effect of the neural isolation means the people here can sense that the three of them are alien to this world, so the Doctor decides it's time they were gone.

Lucie had a boyfriend who tried to get her into extreme sports, but only succeeded in getting her to dump him. She has seen The Wicker Man (hopefully the original) and knows how it ends.

The Doctor faces the charge of leaving a blue box on a double yellow line on Holborn Viaduct, but he claims that he was still inside the Ship waiting while Lucie went off to do some shopping,

Links: The Doctor briefly refers to a previous encounter with the Sea Devils and mentions the cult of Mithras (Seasons of Fear).

Location: London, the mind of Sepulchre as facsimiles of the city in the age of Roman Britain, the 17th century, and 1917.

Bottom Line: "He obviously doesn't appreciate gallows humour!"

There's not a lot new here, and the story recalls aspects of The War Games (which also featured Romans and a 1917 location) and Seasons of Fear. It's mostly harmless though, and a pretty inoffensive and unchallenging opener for the Doctor and Lucie's second season.

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