Monday, 28 September 2015

Main Range 038b. No Place Like Home by Iain McLaughlin (January 2003)

Another freebie much like Living Legend, this time devoted to exploring the TARDIS with new companion Erimem, and a great pleasure it is too. As a conceit, it’s a good one, so much so that Steven Moffat almost repeats it for one of his ‘Meanwhile in the TARDIS’ shorts during Series 5: the moment where the companion discovers there’s a lot of evidence in the Doctor’s time machine that many others have travelled before them. Furthermore, McLaughlin delivers a charming, witty little script with the occasional well-done moment of suspense and a bonkers Douglas-Adams-esque premise, at the same time managing to give his principal creation of Erimem a nice bit of development.
Our leads do a great job, particularly Caroline Morris; Erimem is a tough companion to make work, but Morris always manages to lends her a down-to-earth likeability coupled with an awareness of her isolation in her Ancient Egypt days. Her first sight of ice is a most ble little segment, for instance. The two of them have a very funny, giggly reaction to the Rovie’s appearance.

If the story has a weak point, it’s easily the slightly naff performance of Mark Donovan as the villain, Rovie – especially coming just before Bang-Bang-a-Boom! there’s rather too many rodent-like villains around at this point. Donovan is serviceable enough as the Shayde, however.

Appropriately for the anniversary year, this is a veritable treasure-trove of continuity: there’s reference to K9, the Fourth Doctor’s scarf, the Second Doctor’s fur coat, the Third Doctor’s smoking jackets and frilly shirts, a cricket pitch, a rainforest, an army of terra cotta Chinese soldiers, Susan, The Eye of the Scorpion, Jamie’s kilt, the Doctor’s everlasting matches, Amelia Earhart’s flying jacket, the TARDIS swimming pool, the general carnage the TARDIS suffers during the Fifth Doctor era, and a recent trip to Gallifrey (I’m guessing The Five Doctors?).

Good fun all round.

Other things:
Antranak continues to provide some fun comedy for the exasperated Fifth Doctor.
“It’s much too big for me!”/“Are you saying I used to have a big head?”
“What kind of an animal was it?”/“A polyester.”/ “I’ve never heard of those. What are they like? Are they fierce?”/“Oh yes, nobody’s ever caught one alive. Huge eyes, sharp teeth, terrible things.”
“There’s much more to you than that.”/“Thank you. You know, I wish more of my companions said nice things like that.”
Erimem on her father’s boat of solid gold: “It sank”.
“The TARDIS has redecorated. I don’t like it.”
“Gallifrey, my home planet, will always have a hold on me, I imagine. But I never felt that I really belonged there: all the endless tradition and ceremony and mind-numbing tedium, following a path that’s been the same for generations and won’t change for generations more.”
“The shadows are moving, Doctor.” (Headcanon: there’s Vashta Nerada in the TARDIS).
“I don’t suppose you’d care to show yourself.” (Very polite!)
“Have you ever been sucked into a cleaning machine, Doctor? It’s not pleasant.”
Peri is “the Doctor’s other monkey”, apparently.
“I know what it is to be lonely in a room full of people.”
“Well, I’ve never seen that before. A megalomaniac mouse.”
“Don’t provoke me, Doctor!”/“No need to get ratty.”
“I will kill you.”/“Perhaps, but not today.” (That’s almost word-for-word from The Sontaran Experiment, isn’t it?)
“You can’t expect me to have developed social graces as well!”
“There’ll probably give it a seat on the High Council of Gallifrey. It’s full of rats.”/“Indeed, my Lord President.”

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