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Doctor's Dilemma

By Jon Preddle

Christchurch reader Tony Platts writes: 'Further to my question about the Silurians in TSV 26, why did they change their third eye from being a powerful weapon and tool in The Silurians to a simple device to show which of them was speaking in Warriors of the Deep?'

The Silurians of the first story were designed by Christine Rawlins, and by Judy Pepperdine in the subsequent story. The masks were made by the special effects department in both cases. With 23 years separating the stories, the designers had forgotten the purpose of the third eye. (Why they didn't simply watch the original story to find out, I don't know!) I haven't been able to come up with any theories as to how this change in design can be applied to continuity. Does anybody else want to give it a go?

Kirk Moore points out that in The Masque of Mandragora when Sarah asks the Doctor how big the TARDIS is, he says it is infinite. Yet in Castrovalva, the Doctor jettisoned twenty-five percent of the interior space of the ship. So, Kirk asks, how can you have twenty-five percent of infinity?

Obviously the answer is you can't, so therefore the TARDIS isn't! The Doctor's reply to Sarah's question is 'There are no measurements in infinity', which is quite different from saying that it is infinite. In fact, throughout the sequence from which this quote comes, the Doctor gives Sarah nothing but glib answers to her questions. Later in the same season the Doctor states that the TARDIS does have a defined size; in The Robots of Death he uses two different sized boxes to demonstrate to Leela how the TARDIS can be bigger inside than out. He explains that trans-dimensional engineering is the key which enables the bigger box to fit inside the smaller one. The larger box clearly has finite dimensions, so it would be possible to delete twenty-five percent of it. Yes, the TARDIS interior is huge, but in my view it is not infinite. The Doctor was simply being facetious.

And finally Bevan Thomas has two questions concerning the second Doctor's clothing: 'How did the Doctor's trousers change from being flamboyantly checked in The Highlanders to a more conservatively patterned pair in The Underwater Menace if the former story leads directly into the latter leaving the Doctor no time to change? Also, what was the ultimate fate of the Doctor's stove-pipe hat, last seen in The Underwater Menace Episode 1?'

Hmmm, I have a question for you, Bevan. How can you possibly know what the Doctor was wearing in The Underwater Menace Episode 1 if you weren't born when the story screened in New Zealand, and the episode has been missing since the 1970s? Unless, of course, you have seen it recently, but that would mean...

Indeed, the Doctor is wearing his hat at the end of The Highlanders, as seen in the telesnaps of that story. Telesnaps also show the hat's last appearance on screen is actually in part four of The Underwater Menace - Polly is wearing it in the closing scene in the TARDIS control room. It is never seen again, even though The Moonbase follows on from The Underwater Menace. As for the Doctor's pants, although Jamie, Ben and Polly are wearing the same clothes they had on at the end of The Highlanders when they explore the volcanic island, the Doctor has indeed had time (off-screen) to change his trousers during the landing.

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).

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