By Jon Preddle
The first question in this issue comes from Ehren Stowers. He has watched Remembrance of the Daleks and is puzzled by the scene in Part Two where Ace turns on the TV at the boarding house and an announcement is heard saying: '... the time is a quarter past five and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure in the new science fiction series ...' Ehren believes the announcer is going to say 'Doctor Who', but he asks how can this be explained when surely the Doctor can't have his travels seen on TV?
Well, Ehren, there is absolutely no certainty of what programme the announcer is previewing. In fact the entire sequence is wrong in the context of the story because Ace has just had breakfast when she turns on the TV, so it cannot possibly be 5.15pm (in fact they all go off for lunch later on). In 1963 the BBC did not start transmitting until midday - so then what did Ace tune into?
With the Dalek mother ship in orbit, listening to all of Earth's radio frequencies, I would think that the mother ship had intercepted a testing signal sent by the BBC. Weird distortions in the atmosphere caused the signal to be dispersed and picked up on the TV in Mike's house! But was it 'Doctor Who'? It is apparent that Thunderbirds exists in Ace's world as she has the logo of that series on one of her badges. Ace also appears to be a member of Fanderson - the UK Gerry Anderson fan club as she also wears their membership badge. Ian Briggs, who wrote Dragonfire and The Curse of Fenric, once stated that he believed that in the universe seen in Doctor Who there is a popular UK SF series called 'Professor X' and that this is one of the reasons why Ace calls the Doctor 'Professor'. So while there is no such programme called 'Doctor Who', the announcer was referring to some other science fiction programme that screened in 1963 on Saturdays and that started with the letter 'D'.
Jamas Enright has written in again with two questions: In The Time Meddler novel did Nigel Robinson make up the idea of Steven's teddy bear mascot? The answer to that is: no. Steven Taylor did have a stuffed toy panda which he called 'Hi-Fi'. It was first seen in The Chase and Steven was carrying it when he found the TARDIS and was later discovered by the Doctor and Vicki in the next story (The Time Meddler). For reasons only known to him, John Peel deleted all references to Hi-Fi in his novelisation of The Chase.
Jamas's second question concerns the Target Episode Guide. He wants to know how I know where all the endings occur when half the episodes no longer exist. Well, before everyone comes over and starts a massive search of my house for missing episodes, the answer is very simple. Way back in 1981, Doctor Who Monthly ran an Episode Guide feature which gave full cast credits, etc. And this listing also included a very detailed description of how each of the episodes ended. I simply matched up the descriptions with the relevant passages in the books. I have also had the opportunity to see some rare black and white episodes as well as listen to audio tracks of lost episodes, and it is from these three sources that the Target Guide is compiled.
Jamas has also offered yet another theory concerning regeneration. Jamas reasons that the faces seen during the mind battle in The Brain of Morbius are the Doctor's. He suggests that Time Lord students, as part of their Academy studies, receive a set of 'practice' regenerations. They use these to perfect their own regenerative powers and once they have mastered it they graduate. It is these practice faces that are seen in Morbius. An interesting idea Jamas, which would also explain Romana's strange regeneration in Destiny of the Daleks: she is using her own 'practice' bodies and settles on Astra's form. After all, she had not yet fully graduated when she joined the Doctor in The Ribos Operation!
In TSV 24 I answered one of Jamas's queries concerning the Vogons, but he is dissatisfied with my explanation. Because, Jamas says, in Revenge of the Cybermen, Sarah says she has only heard of the Cybermen. My answer still applies even with this taken into consideration. The TARDIS landed on Voga during the Cyber Wars. The Doctor and Sarah are separated while the Doctor ends up battling the Cybermen (and losing his seal in the fight), Sarah was probably being held prisoner by the Vogans. So while she never actually met the Cybermen she would have certainly heard all about them from her captors. Jamas also points out that the Vogans do not show any reverence to the Time Lord who saved them. OK, but you have to realise that the Vogans seen in Revenge are from several generations after the Cyber Wars, so they do not know of the Doctor and the true meaning behind the symbol that adorns their walls.
That's all for this issue. Keep those questions coming!
This item appeared in TSV 25 (October 1991).