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'Whatever happened to Susan Foreman?'

Air date: July 9, 1994, BBC Radio 4.

Writer: Adrian Mourby
Producer: Brian King

Roots: Claire Raynor's advice column.

Goofs: Ian and Barbara were returned one second before they entered the TARDIS, so the TARDIS wasn't there. Eh?

Why do so many aliens settle on Earth in the 20th century if they know about the Dalek invasion in a few hundred years time?

Also, see box out below.

Double Entendres: 'I wanted to get back in time for my French oral.'

Dialogue Triumphs: 'He refused to believe it could travel in time and space, because he was an O-level science teacher.'

Dialogue Disasters: 'She backcombed her hair, as I recall, and stuck out her bosoms.'

Continuity: The law of 'Real Time' means that one must only return to time periods left after the relative amount of time they'd been away had passed. Time travel causes time lag, which can cause amnesia. Time Lords need to file flight plans before travelling in TARDISes. There are "Temporal B Roads" which can be used to escape detection by the Time Lords.

Most of the people in the EC are time travellers, including Temmosus Skyedron, the EC commissioner for over-production, and not everyone has eyelids. French in a universal language and on some planets you can't even get served in restaurants unless you can speak it. Skaro is 5.6 billion light-years away. There are plenty of planets where the plants are more intelligent than people. In Aztec mythology, reincarnated people look like Kathy Kirby.

The Daleks come from the far future and time travelled back to gain revenge on Ian, but could only get back to 2164 to conquer earth.

Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright were returned a second before they entered the TARDIS. Ian suffers from time/space amnesia, due to time lag, forgetting all their adventures, but it isn't clear if Barbara has. Ian is now the deputy head of Coal Hill School. Ian dies in 2014 (150 years before the Daleks invade in 2164). Barbara lives in mid-Wales. Susan claims Ian got a blood-lust after defeating the Daleks.

Jo (Grant) Jones is now living in Llanfairfach, Wales. Although there was some sexual tension between her and the (Third) Doctor, nothing came of it as they were too busy.

Susan can't lie (lying is an Earth thing), but she can cheat. Her parents ran a shop selling concepts, available in intellectual form or on a t-shirt. When she came to Earth in 1963, she was in class 5B, and was obsessed by taking mock O-levels. She is comfortable about the ideas of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, although she didn't understand it. She'd travelled with the Doctor for eight months before he left her on Earth. She thought she was in love with David Campbell because she was young and was always in love with someone (she thought Ian was dishy). She found the task of rebuilding London too daunting. She returned to London in 1964 via her god-father's brother, Terry. In her rucksack, she carried a sou from 1764, an ancient Chinese tea-bag, an early form of Aztec contraceptive and in-flight cutlery from Mechanus. After returning Susan stayed in a YWCA but was placed in an approved school in Barking after she was published in the papers as a 'time traveller'. From then, she tried religion and opening a concept shop herself. She became a civil service typist, and was involved in Britain's joining the EC. She eventually joined the EC after marring and divorcing an EC commissioner, became the Education commissioner, and is trying to put into place plans for proper schooling up to 2164. She always finds it embarrassing to say where she was when people talk about Kennedy's assassination.

According to Susan, the Doctor could pilot the TARDIS fine but wandered to spite Ian. Susan joined him when he retired. They were supposed to go France, but the Doctor didn't like the lavatories, so they went to London. He took them to 1794 France as a joke. He was black-balled from being a Time Lord. Given a choice, he will always join the freedom fighters. He continually regenerates into younger bodies having worked out how it was done and bestowed regenerations on himself, and has met his seventh incarnation. He travels with young women for... personal reasons. According to Jo, the Doctor got a PhD in botany.

Location: Brussells and London, 1994.

Links: 'An Unearthly Child', 'The Daleks', 'Marco Polo', 'The Keys of Marinus', 'The Aztecs', 'The Reign of Terror', 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth', 'The Crusade', 'The Chase', 'The Green Death'. Susan refers to Zoe, Sarah Jane, Jo, Ace and Romana.

Future History: The school system has collapsed by 2164.

Bottom Line: "We had all this out in 1964."

One does question what the point of this was. Did people really wonder what happened to Susan? This story makes some odd choices on which to concentrate, such as the sex angle and having Susan obsessed about O-levels, and clearly the writer felt that actual continuity got in the way. Still, some nice performances although Barbara sounds rather drugged out!

Whatever happened to continuity?

The reason this story has been placed in the Unbound section is because it ignores some of even the most basic of continuity points. The following lists the differences between this tale and 'established' TV continuity, and therefore could either be considered goofs in the story or simply divergent ideas.

  • Ian and Barbara were returned to 1965, not 1963. ('The Chase')
  • Temmosus died on Skaro. The Daleks weren't releasing radiation into Skaro's atmosphere and Thals are hardly androgynous. ('The Daleks')
  • Susan never went to Mechanus, so how did she get in-flight cutlery from there? ('The Chase') [Perhaps she visited it with Terry?]
  • How did Susan know Ian was knighted? ('The Crusade')
  • The Doctor is hardly regenerating into younger bodies every time, although this might be Susan's bias. (Of course his later incarnations are younger in appearance in comparison to his first body at the time that Susan travelled with him...)
  • The Doctor was hardly a 'commercial' time traveller, and didn't get caught speeding through the Dark Ages... Nor did he ever preach non-intervention!

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