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Doctor's Dilemma

By Jon Preddle

Stuart Brown wants to know what the top five Doctor Who videos are going by sales.

Unfortunately I do not have sales details for the entire video range to hand but I can tell you that The Tomb of the Cybermen is the highest selling to date with well over 30,000 units sold. The highest selling videos for 1993 were the boxed Dalek stories and The Trial of a Time Lord boxed set each selling well over 20,000 units.

Stuart also asks if the white void in Warriors' Gate is in E-Space, N-Space or somewhere in between.

The third is correct. The void is the intersection between the two Universes, having absolute zero co-ordinates.

And thirdly, Stuart asks about the Stranger videos, and what is their connection with Doctor Who?

The Stranger is the brainchild of Bill Baggs, a BBC video editor. The BBC funds an internal society called the BBC Film Club which enables BBC staff to try their hand at making short video films to gain valuable experience in all fields of television production.

The Stranger series holds particular interest with Doctor Who fans as it features Colin Baker, playing a very Doctor-like character (although the character is named 'The Stranger' in the credits he is not actually called that on screen) and for the first three stories Nicola Bryant plays his companion, Miss Brown, and using her natural English accent. Most stories have featured other actors who have appeared in Doctor Who, such as Sophie Aldred (Ace), Louise Jameson (Leela), Caroline John (Liz Shaw) and David Troughton (King Peladon). Some reviewers feel that the Sixth Doctor era would have been so much better had Baker and Bryant played their respective TV characters as they do on these videos. These are the videos to date. Bill Baggs has served as both producer and director on every story so far.

Summoned by Shadows by Christian Darkin (35 minutes, 1991) Cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Michael Wisher, Heather Barker, John Wadmore.

The Stranger has decided to give up his exploration of the Universe and become a hermit. Miss Brown leaves him to his musings, and meets up with a young mute who is searching for his girlfriend. The girl has fallen in with an alien (Wisher) who is hypnotising the locals to search for the scattered components of his crashed space-craft, but his rewards for success are not what they seem...

More than a Messiah by Nigel Fairs (35 minutes, 1992) Cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred, Peter Miles, Barbara Shelley, Nigel Fairs.

Bernard and Charlotte Dutton are holidaying on Majus Seventeen. However Bernard's stress takes the better of him and he accidentally shoots another camper. The Stranger meets a peculiar sprite-like girl (Aldred) who appears to be somehow telepathically linked with the planet itself...

In Memory Alone by Nicholas Briggs (50 minutes, 1993) Cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Nicholas Briggs

The Stranger and Miss Brown find themselves at a deserted railway station, with no memory of who they are, or of each other. The only other figure is a peculiar speaking bowler-hatted man, who later turns out to be an android. The answer to all their questions lies behind one of the station walls...

The Terror Game by Nicholas Briggs (50 minutes, 1994) Cast: Colin Baker, David Troughton, Louise Jameson, John Wadmore, Nicholas Pegg, Nicholas Briggs.

A confused Stranger arrives at a night club run by Tamora Hennessey (Jameson). Meanwhile two mercenaries, Egan (Troughton) and Saul are planning an attack on the club intent on destroying the mysterious being that lives upstairs. Somehow the Stranger is linked to all this...

Breach of the Peace by Nicholas Briggs (1994) Cast: Colin Baker, David Troughton, Caroline John, Nicholas Briggs, John Wadmore, Holly King, Ian Marr.

The Stranger tries to come to terms with the new revelations concerning his identity. Hunted by Egan and Saul, he is arrested by the police on suspicion of murder.

While not part of the on-going Stranger saga, the fourth video made by Baggs featured four of the Doctors:

The Airzone Solution by Nicholas Briggs (50 minutes, 1993) Cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Briggs, Michael Wisher, Bernadette Gepheart, Alan Cumming, Gary Russell.

TV weather-man Arnold Davies (Baker) becomes embroiled in the machinations of Airzone, a corporation given the lucrative government contract to find a solution to the world's pollution problems, when he is visited by the ghostly figure of reporter Al Dunbar (Davison). Assisted by environmental activist Anthony Stanwyck (McCoy) and the dead journalist's mentor, Oliver Trethewey (Pertwee), he investigates Dunbar's death and stumbles upon the secret of Airzone's solution...

Bill Baggs has also produced a fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of his videos, called Stranger than Fiction.

David Ronayne asks about the 1985 radio serial Slipback; if one were to consider Slipback as being canonical, how does it fit into Who lore when it contradicts much of Terminus with regard to the creation of the Universe?

For those of you unfamiliar with Slipback it was a six-part serial written by Eric Saward specifically for radio when the TV series was put on hiatus back in 1985. The serial dealt with a spaceship which ended up travelling back in time, exploding and triggering the Big Bang that created the Universe. Terminus explored the same idea, but in that case it was the Terminus craft that had triggered the Big Bang.

What should be remembered was it was hinted at that the giant spacecraft in Terminus came from another Universe, one that was destroyed when the Doctor's Universe was created. To fit Slipback comfortably into this timeline, we could say that the Big Bang in Slipback created the Universe that the Terminus originally came from.

Wade Campbell of Christchurch wonders how it is possible for Jamie, in The Two Doctors, to change into some new Highland clothes in the Sixth Doctor's TARDIS when presumably all of his clothes were returned to him at the end of The War Games.

As we have seen in stories such as The Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani the TARDIS wardrobe rooms contain a massive supply of costumes from all time periods and planets; besides we see Jamie returned to his homeland at the end of The War Games with the same outfit he had on when he first joined the Doctor (which was left behind on Atlantis in The Underwater Menace). He had no other clothes with him that I could see.

This item appeared in TSV 40 (July 1994).

Index nodes: Doctor's Dilemma, Warriors' Gate, Slipback, Terminus, The Two Doctors