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'Human Resources'

First broadcast 11th February 2007 - 18th February 2007. 2 episodes.

Writer: Eddie Robson
Director: Barnaby Edwards


Roots: The Office [Jerry Cooper is a clear David Brent knock-off]. Lucie has a self-described Wizard of Oz moment (and later says "I don't think we're in Telford any more"), and mentions [Good Morning With] Richard and Judy. Hulbert mentions Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses (and the Doctor virtually replies with Del Boy's signature "lovely jubbly"). American Psycho (the Doctor's 'more expensive' business card of "bone-coloured stock with Sillian Braille typeface" matches that of Patrick Bateman's.) The Crimson Permanent Assurance skit from Monty Python's Meaning of Life (an office building converted to become a mobile battle vehicle). Notorious UK footballer Phil Neville is mentioned as part of the company's fantasy football competition. The Doctor paraphrases Obi-Wan Kenobi in Return of the Jedi ("more machine than man"). Red Nose Day.

Intertextuality: 'Hulbert Logistics' is a neat tip of the hat to both The Invasion's International Electromatics and the adherence to logic in such Cyberman stories as Tomb of the Cybermen. Straxus also appears in the Bernice Summerfield audio play The Adventure of the Diogenes Damsel.

Dialogue Triumphs: "...If you win and your existence isn't threatened anymore, then what will you do? Buy a farm, settle down with a nice Cybergirl? [...] You-will-survive. What for? [...] To create, to achieve. You don't. You just oppress others to preserve yourselves. And what have you learned from being the oppressed for a change? No humility, no empathy, nothing. I don't say this lightly, but you deserve to be oppressed."

Double Entendres: "I feel like you're going to say 'tune in next week to find out'."

"I take pride in my flexibility."

"Surely I'm the most 'arch' enemy you've got?"

Cyberleader: "We made several attempts to penetrate your machine."

Technobabble: The force field of Hulbert's viewing platform has an 'energy wash' with specific 'ebb points'.

Continuity: The planet Lonsis has scrubby jungle and a purple sky and contains hibernation tombs for a Cyber army, being a pre-Telos refugee world for the race after the destruction of Mondas, and was chosen for its lack of competing lifeforms and strategic unimportance. The tombs themselves are a mile below ground. The Cybermen of this story appear to be Invasion-styled (according to the disk cover), although their voices are closer to those of the new series. Their fighting ships are armed with photon cannons and they also have a mother ship. They only display interest in converting humans (the Shink are destroyed on sight).

Previously another human worker subject to the conditioning of the alien war machine, Hulbert shook off his conditioning and has held his current position for a year. The operation was actually set up by an extra-terrestrial lizard whom he executed before taking his place ("call it a 'hostile takeover'"). he He hasn't heard of Gallifrey

Hulbert's alien clients are representatives from the government of the planet Shinus, in the neighbouring system from Lonsis, and home to the Shinx, a species known to the Doctor as non-aggressive traders (so averse because war destabilises their markets.) By their sound they appear to be small, and whoop in high-pitched voices.

Straxis is another Time Lord and representative of the High Council who appear to be at loggerheads with the Celestial Intervention Agency. His time ring has built-in buffers

A quantum crystalliser is a Time Lord device that can splinter the timelines over a small area and let different possibilities play out until it gets one that its programmer likes. It can be set to recognise certain outcomes as positive and others as negative, and then it fixes the favoured timeline and lets the others die off (although the more unlikely the outcome, the harder it has to work to make it happen). the Celestial Intervention Agency installed it and seeded ideas into the Shinx. Straxus says he'd agreed with the CIA that neither he nor they would interfere on Lonsis and both sides are monitoring the planet to make sure the other doesn't meddle. If he'd gone himself, the CIA would have accused him of hypocrisy - hence the Doctor's being shanghaied into the affair.

Having plotted out her future and discovered she's destined to become a powerful and aggressively expansionist right-wing leader of Earth, the CIA have repeatedly manipulated Lucie's timelines and removed certain negative formative experiences, with the result that she's now been guided entirely away from the future he described. Straxus, tipped off by a High Council agent within the CIA, placed her with the Doctor so the CIA wouldn't discover she'd been taken. Their prediction is erroneous, leading the closer match, Lucie's work colleague Karen, into the hands of the Headhunter.

The Headhunter has a personal pod - a travelling vehicle which can fit four (though it's a tight squeeze at the back) and an orbiting warp ship at hand. Her associates have had a couple of run-ins with the Time Lords before. Headhunter's craft contains a medical bay. Her mission to retrieve Lucie for Hulbert came about after the High Council's actions removed Lucie from space-time (and into the Doctor's protection) while Lucie was en route to 'Telford' (i.e. Lonsis). With only a limited understanding of his portal technology Hulbert feared Lucie had been taken by a competitor and would reveal his trade secrets, so arranged to have her returned.

Lucie has a PXT phone and doesn't smoke. Travelling with the Doctor in the TARDIS has made her sensitive to temporal manipulation, which is why she was able to detect the quantum crystalliser. Her Auntie Pat (see Links) got four grand out of the council once after an accident with a hedge-trimmer. The job from which Lucie was abducted was to have been data entry in Hulbert's office in London (not Telford), where she would have been staying with Amanda, an old school-friend.

The TARDIS hasn't been in a state of temporal grace for years

The Doctor wears a grey business suit complete with business card (see: Roots) and a cellphone (which he has modified so that it has a special feature that shields it from alien comms scans and still gives him fifty off-peak minutes a day free).

Q.v. 'The TARDIS' state of Temporal Grace', 'Time Sensitivity'.

Links: The Doctor says his name is unpronounceable (Whispers of Terror) - it's a bluff this time. Lucie refers to the Daleks (Blood of the Daleks), Tomorrow Twins and Aunty Pat (Horror of Glam Rock). Phobos (Phobos) and Zimmerman House' (No More Lies). A variation of the Cyber-chant of 'we will survive' (Tomb of the Cybermen) is heard, while the Cyberleader mentions the destruction of Mondas (The Tenth Planet), and the Cyberplanner and Planet 14 (The Invasion). The Time Lords give the Doctor a Time Ring [which the Doctor thinks is "a bit too 'bling'"] (Genesis of the Daleks). This story links to the Headhunter stories (Blood of the Daleks, The Horror of Glam Rock, Phobos, No More Lies, Grand Theft Cosmos, Orbis) and The 'Karen' stories (Grand Theft Cosmos, The Eight Truths, Worldwide Web). The Shinx reappear (as it were) in The Condemned.

The Bottom Line: "When people come halfway across the universe for a business lunch, they don't want to have it in Ipswitch."

Vast and cinematic, the closest yet of the new Eighth Doctor stories to match the scope, contemporary references and wit of the New Series. The revelation that Lucie is actually 'nothing special' is, depending on how you see it, either a brilliant con or a wasted opportunity - the former's the more fun, and if it means we get to keep Sheridan Smith around for a while longer, then all the better.

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