mistress of the magical bus

Number 22 to Putney Common

    Number 22 to Putney Common

 


Iris Explains - Lance Parkin

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synopsis

Iris visits the amnesiac, PACT eighth incarnation of the Doctor and his daughter Miranda and attempts, quite poorly, to explain what has happened since the destruction of Gallifrey.

 

annotation

P30 - "Miranda" - the Eighth Doctor's adopted daughter, as seen in his adventure Father Time.

P30 - "the iron gates to get into the drive" - One of the Doctor's houses mentioned in Verdigris.

P30 - "Jane Fonda's workout book" - Jane Fonda [born 21.12.37] was the daughter of the actor Henry Fonda and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw. Initially known as an actress, her screen debut in "Tall Story" (1960) marked the beginning of a highly successful and respected acting career highlighted by 2 Academy Awards for her performance in "Klute" (1971) and "Coming Home" (1978) Fonda's professional success contrasted with her personal life, often laden with scandal and controversy. Her appearance in several risque movies (including "Barbarella" in 1968) by then husband Roger Vadim was followed by what was to become her most debated and controversial period: her espousal of anti-Establishment causes and especially her anti-War activities during the Vietnam War. Her political involvement continued with fellow activist and husband Tom Hayden in the 70s and early 80s. In the 80s Jane Fonda started the aerobic exercise craze with the publication of the Jane Fonda's Workout Book. She remarried with broadcasting czar Ted Turner in 1991.

P32 - "the young Jodie Foster" - Jodie Foster [born 19.11.62, as Alicia Foster in Los Angeles]. Nicknamed Jodie by her three older siblings, Foster rose to popular prominence following her casting as the 12 year old prostitute in Martin Scorcese's Taxi Driver, although later roles in The Accused and Silence of the Lambs eclipsed this early success.

P32 - "the Monocled Mutineer" - BBC Drama serial from 1986. Based on apparently true events recalled in a book by John Fairley, The Monocled Mutineer was the story of dashing rogue Percy Toplis, played by Paul McGann. Topliss, a private in the British army, was stationed at the Etaples training camp in France and, on the night before the Battle of Paschendaele in 1917, instigated a mutiny among his harshly treated fellow recruits. His partner in the action was Charles Strange, a political idealist. The four-part dramatization by Alan Bleasdale (whose own grandfather had died at Paschendaele) added fiction to the bare facts and depicted how Toplis escaped into the French hills, took to impersonating an army officer and led a group of renegades in the taking of a bridge. He then returned to England and fell in love with Dorothy, a young widow, before being captured in the Lake District and 'executed' for his crimes by Ml5 assassin Woodhall.

P32 - "BBC1" - the main, publicly-funded TV station in the UK. Makers of the best television in the world, regardless of what Hutton, Blair and his deranged cronies say.

P32 - "cascades of golden hair, big brown eyes and full lips" - which does sound a lot like Jane Fonda in Barbarella.

P32 - "the Doctor genuinely did not know the answer" - the Doctor, in his eighth incarnation, was responsible for the destruction and eradication of his (and Iris') home planet, Gallifrey. Following on from this, he was marooned on Earth for a century without his TARDIS or his memory - hence he cannot at this point remember Iris at all.

P32 - "this is the third time you've lost your memory...or is it the fourth?" - The Doctor has always been a little prone to losing his memory, although generally this is soon after his regenerations.

P32 - Incarnations of the Doctor - The Doctor at this point has regenerated 7 times.

P32 - "the one with a shock of white hair" - The Doctor's third incarnation.

P32 - "the one with the recorder" - The Doctor's second incarnation.

P32 - "the one who was only in a charity thing for a few seconds but was the best of the damn lot" - A reference to the actor Hugh Grant, who played the Doctor's penultimate incarnation in the charity presentation, "The Curse of Fatal Death" and was rather good, aided in no small part by a simply superb dying speech written by Steven Moffat.

P32 - "school uniform" - a possible reference to the second incarnation of the Doctor's one time travelling companion and latter President of Gallifrey, Romana, who at one point wore a very fetching school uniform.

P32 - "Do you have a surname or are you one of the ones what doesn't?" - a few of the Doctor's (and Iris' too for that matter) companions never mentioned their surnames - most famously Polly, who may have been a Wright or a Lopez; and Ace, who had two - Gale and McShane - depending on who you believe. Although why you would care sufficiently about Ace to enquire even once is another matter entirely.

P32 - "How old are you, love? Twenty seven going on fifteen?" - Historically, the Doctor's companions tend to be played by actors and actresses who are...ahem...slightly older than the parts they are playing.

P32 - "Now, don't get upset, or write letters" - The Doctor is never (well, very rarely) referred to as Doctor Who on the TV series (it's not his name, it's the name of the series) or official book range (although is so called for decades in the annuals amd the like), hence fanboys could well be upset by the use of 'Who' as Miranda's surname. Far more annoying, IMHO, is the way in which Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart at one point introduces himself as 'The Brigadier' in one of the Big Finish audios. Similarly, a character who has been spying on Bernice speaking to the seventh Doctor says she calls him 'The Doctor' in the New Adventure, Warlock.

P32 - "Great Gallifrey" - the home planet of the Time Lords.

P32 - "Not allowed any more" - as it's been removed from time by the Doctor and thus no-one should recall enough about it to swear in its name.

P32 - "Rassilon's Rod" - a piece of Gallifreyan regalia which, like almost everything else on that planet, was named after Rassilon, their most powerful former leader. The phallic connotations are fairly clear.

P32 - "professor...does that count as one?" - Iris is concerned that the use of the word 'professor' will count as a breaking of the laws of time as that is the name that Ace called the Doctor in the early years in which she was travelling with him. Presumably she's joking since (a) the damn tale is called Iris Explains so a small slip like that is hardly going to cause many ripples and (b) Professor barely counts as nickname for someone called Doctor, never mind viewing it as a breach in time. More pertinently, this is probably a meta-fictional reference to the unofficial BBV audios which attempted, with no great degree of effort, to avoid breaching BBC copyright by calling the Seventh Doctor 'Professor' rather than Doctor. The phrase 'gorblimey fliping eck' immediately preceeding this is, I suspect, a dig at the less high quality accents used by some of the cast.

P32 - "Or at least the first hundred and twenty nine pages or so of one" - So we can fairly definitely date this story to between pages 129 and 130 of Father Time. Which is quite specific.

P32 - "You know about the note?" Compassion dropped a note in the Doctor's pocket after he lost his memory in order that he meet up with Fitz in 2001.

P32 - "why are the diamonds arranged in a question mark...and so she never discovered that they'd been a gift from a gentleman admirer" - as the Doctor took the question mark as his personal symbol round about his fourth incarnation and as Iris claims - in her words from Plague Herds of Excelis - to have 'had him', we can conjecture that these undergarments were a present from him.

P32 - "Kipling cakes" - a range of small fondant cakes much loved in the United Kingdom in the latter part of the twentieth century.

P32 - "They were called Paradox" - a reference to Faction Paradox and the War in Heaven which led to the events of The Ancestor Cell and the destruction of Gallifrey. In another universe Faction Paradox did other, even more complicated, stuff as recounted in the Book of the War (although recounted is perhaps stretching the definition beyond any sensible limit), but in this one (actually, in that one too) they can be summed up as a a cult of time-travelling voodoo terrorists and we'll just leave it at that.

P32 - "the Grandfather...he was me, but with short hair" - Grandfather Paradox, the legendary founder of Faction Paradox, is a figure steeped in mystery and legend (and blood and bones he would no doubt add) who, reputedly, cut his own arm off. If he is also the Doctor then we shouldn't really be surprised.

P32 - "one where you lived at home and mourned your dead wife" - a reference to another Universe where the Doctor was the mysterious Time Lord founder known as the Other.

P32 - "Unless events conspire to restore, y'know, thingy" - a reference to Gallifrey.

P32 - "Borusa's your spirit guide" - One time President and Cardinal Borusa was a Time Lord who began his career either teaching at the Time Lord Academy or working for the Celestial Intervention Agency but who, in any case, rose in prominence to become first a Cardinal and later President of Gallifrey. Unfortunately, a tendency to regenerate a lot seems to have driven him a little mad, leading to the events of the Five Doctors, and his entrapment by Rassilon as a living eternal statue. In an very unlikely and quite contrived seeming addendum, Borusa was later released by the Eighth Doctor in The Eight Doctors to resume his role as leader of Gallifrey.

P34 - "Forget Izzy...Charley...Benny" - Three companions of the Eighth Doctor, from three different media. Izzy S first met the Doctor in Stockbridge, armed with a zap gun, and working for the Bureau for Interplanetary Liaison (Stockbridge Division). Charlotte (Charley) Pollard was saved by the Doctor from certain death of the airship R101, thereby causing huge ripples in the fabric of time and, indirectly, leading to the awful events of Zagreus. Professor Bernice (Benny) Summerfield is almost as interesting as Iris - a self-appointed Professor of archaeology with a fondness for unsuitable men and strong drink, she met the Doctor when he was in his seventh incarnation (during the period when that incarnation was a bit on the devious side, as opposed to earlier on when he fought giant sweeties and cleaning machines). She left the Doctor soon after his regeneration and is believed to be working for the Braxiatel Collection.

P34 - "the one that went to Guernsey without you" - This is a meta-fictional reference to the Just War audio play which is set in Guernsey and adapted from the similarly titled novel, both by Lance Parkin. In the audio, the Doctor has been excised for copyright reasons and replaced primarily by Benny's husband Jason Kane.

P34 - "the one who travelled with you, except for that one time in 1997, who you dropped off at Dellah in 2593" - the Doctor dropped Benny off in Dellah in 2593 in the Dying Days, the events of which are partly set in 1997, where Benny arrives under her own steam. This is the only time Benny and the Eighth Doctor travel together.

P34 - "I'm not sure where the one who fought the Scourge with you is" - The Shadow of the Scourge was billed as a side-step into New Adventure territory by Big Finish and hence featured that version of Benny. More interestingly, Ace (Dorothy[ee] Gale/Gail McShane) helped Benny and the seventh Doctor fight the Scourge in the same audio. It is very unclear what happened to her after her time with the Doctor - she has been reported as living in a past France; as a soldier in the Dalek Wars; as simply McShane in Colditz and as plain and simple dead. Take your pick - we like to think she was number 2 and is now number 4. YMMV.

P34 - "You had 13 children with her [Benny]" - Uh huh. Whatever, as the Americans say. Iris is such a big fat liar, as we say. As a no doubt wholly connected aside, Patience and the Other had 13 children, according to the same author's Cold Fusion. Tell me that's a co-incidence (it's not, obviously).

P34 - "or was that in another bottle?" - The theory of bottle universes can cover a lot of sins, as it were.

P34 - "Emma Thompson" - Emma Thompson [Born 15.4.59] Actress, daughter of Eric Thompson, creator of the Magic Roundabout and ex-wife of the actor/director Kenneth Branagh. Major roles include The Tall Guy, Howards End (Best Actress Oscar, 1993) Sense and Sensibility (Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, 1996) and Love, Actually. Bernice has frequently been described by Paul Cornell as looking like Emma Thompson in the movie, The Tall Guy. She has a protracted sex scene in that movie, so those wanting to see Benny in the Buff should go rent it now.

Fonda Iris