Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Target - The Daleks

As I'm sure you know as well as I do, the Target version differs substantially from the screen version. It's told in the first person, narrated by Ian, who is a realistic rather than omniscient narrator; we don't see anything he doesn't see, and I shan't note the absence in the Target of scenes from the screen version which don't have him in them.
The pictures, by the way, are all based on shots from the screen version. And they're often in the wrong places: for example there's a picture of a tray-bearing Dalek meeting Susan and Ian in the detention cell in the middle of the chapter where the Thals attack the city.
Also of course, for many years this was where the Target Doctor Who canon began: the first few chapters are an alternative account to episode 1 of Unearthly Child. But they have the exact same purpose: to get Ian and Barbara into the TARDIS and away from Earth, 1963.

Ian is a teacher but is looking for a job as a rocket scientist; he wears sports jackets, smokes and is rather the John Wyndham hero. Plain-speaking, decent, stubborn and upper middle class.

Barbara was a secretary with supply teaching experience who branched out into personal tuition. 'Extra cramming in special subjects.' She's proud and spends most of the book taking offence at Ian's presumptuous treatment of her.
She found herself employed at £20 pw (excellent money in 1963) by a doctor, to give his granddaughter, Susan English, a working knowledge of English history. One foggy night she insists on driving her pupil home - to Barnes Common....

And so Ian, who has just driven to Reigate and back for an interview, sees Barbara come staggering out of the fog after crashing into a lorry. Susan has vanished (into the Tardis - always so printed) and the Doctor is still on the scene of the crash because he's looking for her TARDIS key, which she's dropped.

His and Ian's first encounter is basically a translation of the AUC junkyard scene into this setting. Ian wants to know where Susan is, the Doctor won't tell him; the Doctor wants to get rid of Ian so he can leave in the TARDIS, and this makes Ian suspicious. The Doctor, by the way, has a supply of 'everlasting matches' which intrigue Ian.

Ian is not however led into the TARDIS by hearing Susan speak: he wants to use the 'police box' to phone the police. The Doctor tricks him and Barbara into walking away, but they have second thoughts and turn round to see him opening the police box doors. A fierce radiance shining from within gives the game away, and it's only then that Susan calls out 'Grandfather?' Ian and Barbara push past the Doctor and into the TARDIS; she faints, and he hits his head, but has time to be amazed by the size of the TARDIS control room. Absolutely characteristically, he compares it to a middle-sized restaurant, with room for at least fifty tables.

It isn't till Ian wakes up from his bump on the head that we get the Doctor's 'wanderers' speech, and then Barbara's exposition about how she came to know Susan. This is followed by a remix of the science lab conversation from AUC: Susan has the same mixture of extraordinary special knowledge and odd cultural lacunae, memorably thinking that 'Japan was a county in Scotland.'

The Tardis is much like the TARDIS, roundels and all, but has a lot of other wonderful paraphernalia, like corridors made up of pillars of coloured glass.

The Doctor is characterised largely through Ian's antagonistic exchanges with him: devious, powerful, intense, superior ('so superior I felt like kicking him') but shedding twenty years when he smiles.

The arrival on Skaro is a rehash of the early part of AUC ep 2, the speech about birds wheeling in another sky being transferred to when they're actually out on the surface.

From this point on, we converge much more closely with the screen version. There's still variation in detail: for example the TARDIS has an oil-and-water massage shower, and a shaving/haircutting machine, which gives Ian 'as good a barbering as I would have received at Simpson's in Piccadilly.' The food machine is there, too, though Ian complains of the hardness of the eggs, not the saltiness of the bacon.

Before Ian falls asleep - the TARDIS has 6 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms - he reflects on how perhaps travelling with the Doctor will deal with the restless search for fulfilment that's been plaguing him these last few years.

Next day, the 'That's not his name. Who is he? Doctor who?' line from AUC resurfaces, modified to 'Perhaps that's what we ought to call him - "Doctor Who"?'

Ian gives us an excellent description of the city: 'as if someone had commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build a city and then someone else had come along and pushed thousands and thousands of tons of ashy soil all around it.' There's some extra suspense during their exploration of it - movements seen in the background and so on. And the Doctor is much more noticeably ill.

Our first encounter with the Daleks - 'a round metal thing about three feet in height, like an upturned beaker with a domed top. It had dull metal flanges all round it and three different kinds of rods sticking out in front' - is necessarily through Ian and not Barbara. The Daleks are at first less explicitly aggressive, demanding to know the cause of the Doctor's illness and saying 'You will all rest in a compartment we shall show you.'
Ian tries to run away because the Doctor has told him to go to the TARDIS and bring back his 'stimulizer' pills. He doesn't do the 'my legs' bit till he wakes up in the cell.

The Doctor is not taken out and interrogated: we learn about the Thals from Susan's report of the conversation she had with the Daleks while they were being brought to the cell. A Dalek then enters and exposits about the time travellers not having any anti-radiation drugs; this leads to a discussion of the capsules they found outside the TARDIS, to which the Dalek listens 'patiently' and then leaves - presumably to inform its colleagues, because it then returns and orders Susan to start walking. The stuff about the extent of the Thals' mutations is inserted here.

Ian then conks out from radiation sickness, and when he recovers, Susan has returned and recounts her trip to the TARDIS. Ian is deeply impressed by her courage, and indeed you don't have to be a John Wyndham hero to think the same, as she tells of staggering through the storm thinking four-headed, six-armed monsters might be after her.
She apologises to the Doctor for having arrived in the TARDIS 'saturated' with rain and leaving puddles all over the floor. There's some suspense with Alydon initially speaking to her from the shadows, like a disgusting mutant would, before emerging to show himself as 'the most wonderful looking man I've ever seen anywhere in any world.' There's some charming business with Ian involuntarily looking jealous and Susan jokingly apologising, and Barbara raising her eyebrows 'to agree to a future and secret conversation' about Alydon. (As if anyone reading this doesn't already know!)
There isn't any talk from Alydon about crops and rain, the Thals merely intend to search the city for food, and on her return Susan naively told the Daleks this and wrote the 'Su San' invitation at their dictation. Thus far her narrative in the cell. The Doctor then explains the Daleks' motivation, thus introducing young Shallow to the word 'jeopardy'.

Ian doesn't think much of the idea that the Daleks are powered by static electricity; neither does the Doctor really, as he says 'I know the use of static electricity may seem absurd but it is an answer, isn't it?'

The first attempt at the cloak plan fails: the Dalek is suspicious to see the time travellers standing in two pairs, and orders them together, giving them a demo of its gun-stick when they aren't quick enough. And it spots the block on the door and makes them remove it. But Susan cunningly asks for more water, which is brought later by another, more trusting Dalek.

Target Doctor has no truck with physiological relativism: the disgusting appearance of the Dalek creature (described in fair detail by the narrator) convinces him that they are right to oppose the Daleks and support the Thals.

There's a nasty moment where the lift guard Dalek notices that the Doctor is pulling Ian's Dalek along, and orders him to 'Step away!' Ian is able to bluff his way through, though. In the lift, it's a button-hook that the Doctor uses to disable the door sensor - a fine bit of Edwardian characterisation.
They help Ian out of the Dalek casing almost immediately, so there's no suspense as to whether he's still inside when the Daleks break through (it wouldn't work with him as narrator).
The object that they push down the lift shaft is specifically described by Ian as a 'sculpture'.

The conversation near the gateway - where the Doctor wants to use the Thals as a diversion, Barbara is disgusted, and Susan wants to go back and help them - is transferred to the observation floor, and it's Barbara who wants to accompany Ian and is ordered to do what she's told. She understandably becomes resentful about this - David Whitaker presumably seeing more narrative use for Ian/Barbara tension than the Doctor/Susan struggle for independence in the screen version.

Temmosus makes a better speech here, it's more focused and less rhetorical. And after the first Dalek shot, he makes everything stop by sheer force of personality, telling the Daleks that cooperation is the only way forward. They still kill him of course, but what a way to go.
Alydon is much more impressive in his first conversation with Ian. On screen we pity the Thals for being naive, on the page Alydon almost seems to pity Ian.

Ian has an initial discussion with the survivors of the city party (seven Thals were killed, not just Tecanda, who isn't named here) as they rest on their way to the encampment. The pacifism issue is brought up here, and Alydon says 'with a terrible sincerity' that rather than fight, the Daleks will have to exterminate them.

At the encampment, we don't see the maps of the solar system or the picture of the original Thal male, but the Doctor does the same basic speech about war, radiation and circular mutation. The Doctor doesn't get Ian's surname wrong here, or anywhere else in the story.
Barbara is annoyed at Ian's rude behaviour earlier, and the Doctor annoys him by giving him advice as to how to deal with her. This conflict replaces the argument on screen about whether they should put the Thals in danger by persuading them to help recover the fluid link. Incidentally, it's only the Doctor who's made up his mind to leave Skaro before he finds that it's missing: on screen all four of them are ready and willing to leave.

Rather than Alydon speechifying and Ian arguing with him, it's the Doctor who makes the speech. And we don't immediately go to the climax: there's a long interval where Ian tries to educate the Thals in the concept of hostility, by teaching them to box. They don't really get it, with amusing results. The Doctor finds this particularly amusing, and this winds Ian up to making his bluff of taking Dyoni to the Daleks.

After Alydon's big speech next morning, the Doctor very arrogantly uses a whistle to silence everyone and offer his services as 'general' for the attack on the city. There's no cooperative planning scene, it's all the Doctor's design. Nor is there any map; Ganatus is the source of their information, as he knows the terrain round the lake. Incidentally, Ian speaks of the lake as if he's already mentioned it to us - he hasn't.

The jungle surrounding the lake grows increasingly strange and mutated the nearer the party approach it. Ganatus tactfully pretends to stay close to Barbara because he enjoys her company, when actually it's so that he can help her. (At least that's what Ian tells us. It's his story and he's sticking to it.)
When they make camp, Barbara suggests building a raft to cross the water, but Antodus says ominously 'There are things in the lake'. This replaces Ian's premonitory encounter with the lake creature from the screen version.
There's then some banter between the Thals about eating Elyon if his food preparation isn't up to scratch, which is nicely macabre as it comes just before he himself gets eaten. There's no whirlpool on the lake by the way, Ian specifically tells us that the surface is undisturbed.

Next morning - after a hot drink of Ratanda - the party are attacked by a huge monster from the lake, but Ian fends it off with burning torches - and it's then attacked and eaten by its fellows. There's then a scene where Kristas climbs up the rock face with an improvised rope, which he then lets down so the others can climb up.

The narrative continues to stay with Ian, so of course we don't get the Barbara/Ganatus banter, though all the Nationesque stuff about splitting up and exploring separate tunnels is still there. There's no first or second rock fall, and no grousing about the journey being impossible or unbearable.The journey along the ledge begins after they use the rope to cross the chasm, and the chasm comes straight after the cavern that Ganatus falls into - whereas on screen the rope is used to cross a gap in the ledge.
Antodus doesn't get into any claustrophobic panic - Ian remarks that when he screams as he goes over the edge of the ledge, that's the first time any of the Thals in the party have shown fear. He doesn't sacrifice himself by cutting the rope either. And when he hits the water at the bottom, they hear some creature attacking him.
The final impasse isn't caused by a rock fall, they're just at a seeming dead end; there's a large hole above them which leads into the Dalek hydroelectric plant.

Their incursion into the city is shown in greater detail - they find a hydroponics room and a room full of spare Dalek rod attachments, which is where they meet Alydon.
Alydon recaps the business with the reflective plates, and explains about the Daleks' radiation bomb plan, and that the Doctor and Susan have been captured. When they discover the control room, Ian sends Alydon back down to the power plant with instructions to smash it.
The chief Dalek is made of glass, and is wearing the fluid link on a chain round its neck. Ian smashes its glass casing during the fight. But it isn't the damage to the control room that finishes off the Daleks, it's Alydon's work off-page down in the power plant. 'Then this... is the end... of the Daleks,' says the last one to die.
There's a sort of preliminary final speechmaking in the ruins of the control room, with Ian telling Alydon to keep life itself an ever-increasing thing of beauty, and the Doctor warning him to search for the truth (like he does in the final scene in the camp in the screen version).

He looked away from Alydon and weighed the fluid link in his hand. 'Be straightforward,' he went on. 'It's surprising how much trouble can come from a small deception.'

There's no business about compensators or tests of the soil. Instead, there's a final feast at which the Doctor makes another motivational speech, assuring the Thals that the Daleks are definitely all dead, and offering to come back and visit another time.
Susan doesn't get a cape and Barbara doesn't get any dress material.
Barbara is not with Ganatus: instead, Ian discovers her talking to Kristas - about how she and Ian can be reconciled. Kristas doesn't go away empty-handed by the way, he intends to propose to the lovely Salthyana, or rather to tell her, Thal-style, that he wishes her to remain at his side for the rest of their lives. Barbara says sadly that in Earth proposals 'the man asks the woman if she is willing.'

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor outlines to Ian the advantages of him and Barbara staying on Skaro with the Thals - before inviting them to accompany him and Susan on their travels. 'The man always asks the woman if she is willing,' says Ian, thus letting her know that he overheard her wishes for reconciliation. And so they are reconciled. It's rather romantic actually, I wish I'd been able to appreciate that a bit more when I first read it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Target - An Unearthly Child

The patrolling policeman actually spots the police box in the junkyard, and assumes the proprietor has bought it legimately. We learn that he subsequently forgot the box in all the excitement surrounding the disappearance of the proprietor, and his granddaughter, and two teachers from her school.

Barbara has 'a habitual expression of rather mild disapproval'. Ian is 'a cheerful, open-faced young man' and they're friends because he's the only teacher who ever dares tease her. And he reflects that it's typical of Barbara to want to confront Susan's grandfather and lecture him on his responsibilities.

Ian explains, to us rather than Susan really, that the Hon Aubrey Waites calls himself John Smith because 'it's not so fashionable to be upper class these days'. Susan by the way has 'a rather elfin face' and 'a distant, almost unearthly quality'.

In the parked car scene we get one of Terrance's late era parenthetical explanations, about British pre-decimal coinage. I wish he wouldn't do that. But he also gets the idea of time travel into the foreground by having Ian say that Susan seems to see Space and Time as equally easy to travel in.

The Doctor's face is 'old and lined, yet somehow alert and vital at the same time'. He helpfully suggests that one of the teachers watches the yard while the other goes for the police, and Ian assigns Babs to sit in the car and do the watching.

In the TARDIS, Barbara asks the Doctor if he's Dr Foreman. 'Not really. The name was on the notice- board, and I borrowed it. It might be best if you were to address me simply as Doctor,' he responds.

Za's father was named Gor. And Mother (who is literally Za's mother) secretly despises Za for not having her killed as tradition demanded. She did watch Gor making fire, but he always kept his back to her so she couldn't see precisely what he was doing with his hands. The narrator adds that, although Gor intended to give the secret to Za one day, he'd held back because 'a son can be a rival, too.'

Za's opposition to Kal isn't just self-interest - it's based on the highest motives, the narrator tells us. Za is a responsible leader who organises the hunting parties properly and ensures that the women and children get their fair share of the kill; but he knows Kal is just out to get as much as he can for himself.

When addressed as 'Dr Foreman', the Doctor definitely doesn't say 'Doctor who?'

Susan says the Doctor's dropped notebook contains codes to 'some' of the machines in the Ship, not 'all'.

Za asks if the strange creature, the Doctor, that Kal has brought in is good to eat. During Kal's subsequent 'Do you want fire?' speech, the Doctor reflects that 'even in the stone age, there were still politicians to deal with.'

In the Cave of Skulls, the Doctor calls Ian Mr Chesterton. Ian isn't mollified by this piece of careful old-school etiquette, because when Susan tells her grandfather not to blame himself, he thinks 'Why not. The old fool's quite right, it is all his fault!'

During the escape attempt through the forest, Ian is trying to remember what animals might be about in this historical period - 'Not dinosaurs, at least, though that was a common mistake.' Sabre-toothed tigers are on his list, and it's indeed one of those that's stalking them, as he deduces from its claw marks on the dead animal.

Kal and Old Mother's scene is different: she proudly boasts of setting them free, and is rewarded by having her death put in the foreground.

After the Doctor tries to kill Za, Ian thinks 'Just how much ruthlessness was the Doctor capable of, if he felt it might save his own and Susan's life?' Perhaps to release this tension, he throws the Doctor's 'You surely...?' diction back at him - ''You surely don't expect one of the girls to do it?' And he's rather politer to Susan when requesting her to lead the way.

Kal's cover story to the Tribe is a bit more sophisticated - rather than saying that Old Mother is just taking a nap in the Cave of Skulls, he says 'She sits silent ... she would not move or speak.'

At the episode 3 cliffhanger, the tribesmen don't emerge from hollows in the sand - it probably wouldn't look nearly so good on the page - but from behind the TARDIS.

The Doctor specifically argues to the Tribe that it's Kal's uncontrollable anger that makes him a bad and dangerous leader.

On the return to the Cave of Skulls, the 'this place is evil' remark is transferred to Barbara, and she utters it when she sees Old Mother's body still lying there.

In the exchange with Hur about the strangers coming from the other side of the mountains, but that there are no tribes there, Za thoughtfully adds 'So we thought. But we were wrong.' There are some other slight expansions in his recapitulation of what they've learnt from the strangers.

The firemaking is very much a co-operative exercise. The Doctor provided the theory, and adds 'the practice calls for strong wrists and unending patience, and I have neither.' Babs remembers the need for tinder, Susan finds the stone, Ian contributes the physical work, the scientific explanation and a warning that it'll take a long time to work.
Za makes clear that Orb is the sun, and that being 'returned' to Orb means being sacrificed.

The timing of Horg's speeches in relation to the position of Orb is different - in the first scene someone remarks that 'Orb will soon rise in the sky,' and the second is 'as the first rays of the sun struck the stone', which is odd because Horg still says 'Orb is above us'. Not that it makes any practical difference.

When dissuading Ian from leaving the cave with the fire-bearing Za, the Doctor calls him 'Chesterton', indicating their growing familiarity.

Za very practically orders the Tribe to gather wood to keep the fire going while he's off hunting.

When Ian is reproaching himself for giving them fire, the Doctor reassures him that he did the only possible thing. All the following scenes are given expansion: for example, when Za returns and starts talking about water in hollow stones, Barbara thinks hysterically 'He's trying to make conversation'. And the skull gets into the fire because the Doctor moodily kicks it in there.

It's not Hur, but an anonymous guard who first sees the flaming skulls and fetches the Tribe. And Horg has a final speech: 'The strangers have died! Their ghosts have come to punish us.'

There's more suspense in the chase back to the TARDIS: the time travellers reach the clearing where Za killed the tiger, and see the Tribe's torches right behind them.

As the TARDIS disappears, Za thinks that the strangers must have come from Orb after all.

On landing on the lifeless planet, the Doctor specifically says that they need to explore in order to fix their precise current co-ordinates, so that he can take Ian and Barbara back home.

The business with the radiation meter entering Danger is just the same, and the narrator seizes the opportunity to explain the other Danger in store, giving us a quick infodump about Skaro, the Thals and the Kaleds:

They had changed their name as well as their appearance. The Doctor was about to meet the creatures who were destined to become his greatest enemies. Out there on Skaro, the Daleks were waiting for him.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Target - Survival

Once again, deleted scenes from the screen version are widely available, and where the novelisation uses those, I won't necessarily note it unless it's particularly interesting.

Dave, the doomed man washing his car, is still Dave, but he's Mr Aitken being called in to lunch by Mrs Aitken, who is an unimaginative cook and not his mum.

There's no clue that the 'man with cat's eyes' might be the Master. He's described from the cat's perspective as being 'on the other side of the door.'

Ace's last visit to the youth club prominently featured not only the music of Guns and Roses, but that of 'Spondy Gee'. Search for that and you only find links to the text of this novelisation...

After saying that 'survival of the fittest' is a glib generalisation, the Doctor adds that he warned 'Charles' that it would be misinterpreted. (It was Herbert Spencer's coinage, not Darwin's). Perhaps annoyed by the inaccuracy, Paterson calls the Doctor 'scrawny'.

Sergeant Paterson is a police sergeant, not Territorial Army, and consequently says to Ace 'We let you off with a warning, didn't we?' and not 'The police let you off with a warning, didn't they?' Later on she refers to him as 'that plod' not 'that TA twit', and when he pounces on the Doctor he's in police uniform, and refers to the Neighbourhood Watch as 'they', rather than implying that he himself is part of the Neighbourhood Watch.

The Doctor doesn't explain the punchline of the lion joke to Pace, or warn him to put his running shoes on.

When Ange asks the Doctor for 10p, he puts a gold coin from Psion B weighing several ounces in her Hunt Sabs tin.

When Ace first spots the Cheetah Person, she's impressed by its beauty as well as its menace.

The Master is not discovered in a tent; he becomes visible when the massed Cheetah People part to let the kitling through them. Very cinematic.

Midge is a much nastier piece of work both on the Cheetah Planet, and in Ace's memories. His later metamorphosis seems much more credible in the light of this.

The powers, habits and interrelationship of the Cheetah People and the kitlings are outlined at length in the Doctor's thoughts. The Master appears to have been associated with them both for some considerable time before this story opens.

Ace's anti-Cheetah trap attempts are described in some detail. The second trap is a technique she learnt from a commando in 1943 - 'last week'. Incidentally, the insights into her issues that she gained in Curse of Fenric are no use to her now, because they seem unconnected to the reality of Perivale. And while we're on the retconning, she was - so we're told - thrown out of the Brownies after a petrol bomb incident. I think we're straying into the Marmalade Atkins universe here.

When told about the Master, Ace does a comic summary of the plot so far. It is quite funny, but it's not really in her voice, she doesn't say things like 'I take it he has got those?' It's more as if, the plot being at the halfway stage, Rona Munro has come out in front of the curtain to joke with us while the actors have a quick break.

The big battle and escape scene with the Cheetah People is, again, in much more detail but essentially has all the same effects in plot terms. It gets Ace to the lake for the encounter with Karra, it gets Midge to safety, and it gets the Doctor into conversation with the Master. There's a long summary of their previous relationship and it's (humourously?) implied that their rivalry stems from their schooldays when the Master was a bad loser at chess ('that demon game that exists in every world,' as Fritz Leiber pointed out).

The scene where Ace gives Karra the moon water has - famously - a distinct erotic undercurrent. It reminds me of some of my better Secondlife encounters.

We see Midge and the Master appear back in Perivale outside the block of flats. The surroundings evoke deep distaste in the Master.

While the Doctor chases after Ace and Karra, Paterson bores the others with a continuing monologue about an SAS survival course he did. It's raining on the Cheetah Planet at this point.

The animal corpse that Karra invites Ace to dine on is one that they've just hunted and killed. Ace regains her humanity as a result of watching Karra eating.

There's an extra scene where the Master and Midge visit Hale and Pace's shop and rob the till. H & P are attacked by a kitling and transported to the Cheetah Planet.

When the Doctor and party arrive back in Perivale, Derek doesn't repeat the words of Ace's sarcastic speech of gratitude. He just says 'Thanks' quietly.

Midge's flat is decorated with heavy metal posters, and it's these that Ace is looking at when she makes the remark about pensions.

After killing Paterson, Midge and his goon squad locate Derek and kill him too. Poor lad.

Midge doesn't just die after the crash, he's kicked to death by his own boot boys. Serve him right too.

When the Master sees the Doctor lying in the rubbish pile he checks that he's dead (as he thinks).

It's the moon water that Ace wants to get for Karra to make her well again. This scene is very moving on the page, it took me by surprise rather.

Ace leaves the wasteground and meets Shreela, and they have a conversation about Ace's intention to once more leave Perivale. Ace asks Shreela to get her a can of petrol for 'one last bonfire.'

When the Doctor meets the Master at the TARDIS, he says 'Good hunting, Master?' Usually scriptwriters go to some lengths to avoid having the Doctor address him thus (there's a lone exception in Logopolis, I think).
The possibility of their fight destroying the Cheetah Planet is underlined by mass volcanic eruptions, which are much cheaper to do on the page.
The Doctor yells 'If we fight we'll die!', just that. And he's under strangle attack at the climax, not bone club attack.

The annoying woman who clutters up the ending is still there, but she's the 'What are you doing?' woman from the cat food scene, shouting out of a window, rather than just some arbitrary madwoman barging into the story.

There's no Cheetah Person to dispose of the corpses. Instead Ace has instead made a pyre with the motorbikes, put Karra and Midge's bodies on it, and cremated them with the petrol she asked for earlier. Okay...

The last bit is slightly different: it's the Doctor who proposes they go back home/to the TARDIS. And the final voiceover is not present.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Target - Curse of Fenric

Again, there are deleted scenes from this story which the Target uses, and I don't note all the occasions where the novelisation uses that material.

There's some opening pontification about where a story starts or ends, but this is a comparison, not a review, so I won't comment on it.

Part of Ace's costume is a pair of size 18 bloomers. She doesn't like that any more than we do. I must say I didn't think she was quite that big around the hips.

Sorin's men are guided ashore by a lantern placed by a local woman. The 'Everything in English' line is not used.

The wording of the letter of authorisation the Doctor forges differs from that seen on screen.

At night Ace perceives a dark, ancient power in the Doctor's face. After he leaves, she overhears Kathleen comforting her baby, and this causes her to shed a tear.

While Sorin is stealthily circling the camp fence, he ruminates about the Ultima project is specifically a Naval rival to the work at Bletchley Park. Meanwhile, Petrossian isn't fleeing an unseen foe, but being spoken to and killed by the undead missing commandoes.

Mr Wainwright is described as 'young'. I like Nicholas Parsons in this, but young he is not, even back in 1989. He is however correctly referred to as Mr Wainwright throughout: well done Ian Briggs for not committing the same breach of ecclesiastical etiquette as the authors of Ghost Light and Remembrance of the Daleks, to name but two.

Ace contributes an 'And me,' and a conspiratorial smile, to the exchange about Maidens Point which survives in a deleted scene.

The scene with Millington amid his Nazi regalia has some documentary evidence attached in the form of one of his schoolboy essays.

At the beach, Phyllis tries to ponce a 'ciggie' off Ace, only to be told that she's given up. 'What for?' asks 40s Girl puzzledly.

Ace's discovery of baby Audrey is a tense moment for Kathleen, she's afraid that the Doctor will get her into trouble. 'Women - they even smelled different,' thinks Millington after delivering his ultimatum at the end of this scene

When Judson and Millington are discussing Ace, Millington suspects her of being an Army spy from Bletchley. And the reason he had the Navy's rival project set up at this particular camp was specifically to learn the meaning of the inscriptions at the church. Furthermore, Judson was paralysed as a result of Millington - jealous of his attentions to another boy - attacking him during a rugby match at school, and Judson has been emotionally blackmailing him ever since.

More documents: a translation of a Viking saga reveals that the flask was brought back from the Silk Lands via Transylvania, where a black fog appeared and began to trail the Vikings across Europe.

When Jean and Phyllis lure Trofimov into the sea, he's drawn by the 'deep musk scent of the darkness in girls.'

The camp appears to be near Whitby: one of the documents quoted is a letter from Bram Stoker to his wife regarding the disappearance and exsanguination of a local girl, together with the coy suggestion that it might inspire Stoker with a story... If you like that sort of thing, you'll love this.

We don't see Perkins taking the Wrens' chess set - the 'bonfire of burning chess sets' is already in progress as the Doctor arrives.

Just before Miss Hardaker gets killed, we learn from her reverie that she had an illegitimate child who died young, and has been shunned by the villagers ever since.

The Doctor's reference to the Orient in the crypt gives Ace the chance to use an old Hancock gag. Sadly she isn't being ironic.

The faith that the Doctor uses during the Haemovore attack on the church is faith in his companion - he mentally goes through a list of their names. Ace can hear odd words from the creatures - which the Doctor tells her means that she's slightly telepathic. And she also thinks some interesting thoughts about 'the powerful Russian' and the idea of 'tumbling with him into oblivion.'

Sorin is thinking of other things just then: his family and all the workers by hand and by mind. When he brandishes the red star, its significance as the international symbol of the working class is explained by the narrator.

Another document, this one the recounting the Doctor and Fenric's original chess game, told as an Arabian Nights pastiche, translated by an ancestor of Judson. There's some truly awful humour about the 'Island of Dhógs and the White City' but an interesting bit about the Doctor subsequently leaving with the freed slave Zeleekha, who returns two years later bearing the Fenric flask and telling tales of fabulous travels among the stars.

After Sorin's capture, the Doctor and Millington swap talk about the 'status azure' Hindle-style suicidal defence plan.

The Doctor says 'Evil from the dawn of time', not 'since'. And Ace doesn't say anything about a wind whipping through her clothes: she employs a much better weather metaphor, about the heat causing them to stick to her. Unfortunately though she still does the bit about moving so fast that she doesn't exist.

Judson/Fenric doesn't accuse Crane of humiliating him, but he does reveal that she'd been a Russian spy all along.

Kathleen's escape is much embellished, although Ace doesn't do the bit about the empty house in Perivale. The photo is handed over before they leave the hut, and they don't just climb out of the window, they smash through the floor, and then they both drive through some Haemovores in the jeep before Ace stops, gives Kathleen the address, and watches her drive out of sight.

When the Doctor is listing the 'coincidences' that failed to convince him, Lady Peinforte's chess set is not mentioned.

Sadly, Bates and Vershinin don't revive in this version.

While Ace is taking her carthartic swim at the end, she doesn't have the 'always love you' thoughts - instead she has a vision of hundreds of Aces, each representing one of her emotions. She acknowledges them her own and lets them go, and comes to the surface.

The final exchange with the Doctor is absent. But: there is an epilogue set in Paris, 1887, where the Doctor appears to be visiting 'Dorothée' after some years. (Not that many though, as she's still a 'young lady'). She has her eye on a certain Count Sorin... the author returns to his opening ramblings about the circularity or linearity of stories, and at least he has some justification this time after such a strange envoi.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Target: Ghost Light

As is widely known, the screen version was heavily cut down to fit 3 episodes - some say to the point of incomprehensibility - and the Target retains much of the original material. I won't note every single example of an expanded conversation, concentrating instead on memorable bits from the novelisation which a new viewer might be surprised to find omitted on screen. That, after all, was the original purpose of these comparisons.

We join Ace shortly after the 'white kids firebombed it' incident, kicking open a door in the garden wall of an old house. In the overgrown garden she finds a stone lion

She briefly thought of childishly pencilling a pair of spectacles across the beast's stone face, but dismissed the idea as kids' book stuff.

(for anyone who doesn't recognise the allusion, it's to Edmund in Jadis' castle in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe). In the TARDIS, there's some philosophical rambling about the Doctor as cosmic juggler, though it does come neatly to a point with the observation that he accepts Ace for what she is - a delinquent. She meanwhile is just wondering why he never changes his clothes.

We join the Rev Mr Matthews on his way to Gabriel Chase in the station dogcart. The time of year is September, and it's 5.52pm when he arrives at the house, and by 6pm the sun has set. Remember that please. Oh, and he sees the stone lion too.

The microscope in the observatory has a 'flywheel'. I thought a flywheel was a huge great heavy wheel for conserving momentum, not a delicate little focusing wheel.

Matthews sees a photo of Gwendoline and realises he's seen her in the audience at the opera. Very few Churchmen from this era would have visited a theatre, they were considered dens of immorality.The Doctor notes that a stuffed okapi is on show a couple of decades before they were discovered. Either a hint of upcoming oddness or a reproof to the nitpicker.Redvers is literally under the delusion that the house is a jungle - it's quite well described in his journal entries, which we read. He sees the carpets as beds of thickly matted leaves and so on. Unfortunately, we read that the date is September 19th - when sunset in Perivale was at 6.07pm in the pre-daylight savings time era. That's some 10 minutes later than the time of sunset established during Mr Matthews' arrival.

When Redvers holds the Doctor at gunpoint, the latter realises that he's too close to palm the bullets (?).

As Ace is taken away by Gwendoline to change clothes, she shouts that she isn't going to wear a bustle, and the Doctor urges her to try for some 'parlour-cred'. I think this must be what the 'OK Professor, you win' line in the deleted corset scene is about.There's an extra scene between Josiah and Nimrod where they argue about the cave-bear's tooth. It sets up the idea that Nimrod is ultimately going to leave Josiah's service.It's the Doctor's jumper that he says Mr Matthews doesn't like, not his tie. A sequence is inserted here before Josiah enters, with the Doctor playing boogie-woogie, and then the Moonlight Sonata, on the piano. Didn't really work as Seventh Doctor characterisation for me. Ace notices a dolls' house in Gwendoline's room - the inhabitants being a family of stuffed red squirrels. Gwendoline produces a box of cigars and offers her one to cement their friendship.

The Doctor distressingly refers to Ace's dinner jacket as a 'tuxedo', American-style. Later on he makes pointed references to Georges Sand and Vesta Tilley.

We hear the Doctor's thoughts about the progress of Ace's 'test' - which is after all ostensibly the whole premise of the story.

The last two lines of That's The Way To The Zoo are slightly different - and inferior to the screen version in my opinion. But 'white kids firebombed it' is there in all its glory.

The book in which Ace finds the term 'lucifugous' is Essays on the Unity of Worlds by Rev Baden Powell, who Platt refers to as Rev Baden-Powell, which is wrong in that (a) his surname is Powell and (b) Rev John Smith, Mr Smith, never Rev Smith. I couldn't find 'lucifugous' in the online version but we know that OCR still has some way to go.

Ace's breakfast has several extra items, and she's relieved that everything in the list isn't on the same plate. Mrs Grose brings it in on the Doctor's instructions: he's conducted a long interview with her earlier in the day.

There's an extra scene where Mrs Grose discovers Control in the drawing room and has to be revived from her shock with brandy, while Control returns to the basement. Mrs G walks off the job forthwith. The Doctor tells her to give his regards to Peter Quint (look that up and you'll find Henry James' story The Turn of the Screw in which a Mrs Grose features).

The reason Light is confused to find himself on Earth is that their next destination was a barren planet with a few social moss colonies.

The Inspector enters the scene with Light and Nimrod because he's being pursued by maids armed with machetes, who Mrs Pritchard has ordered to dispatch him. (That last is a deleted scene)

In the scene where Control saves Ace from Gwendoline, Control actually climbs into the room through the window, she isn't just already in there. The 'vicious little Victorian' epithet is transferred to the narration.

In between iusifying the Inspector, and calcifying Mrs P and Gwendoline, Light has been flying all round the world getting increasingly annoyed by the amount of change.

Before Light ladles up a portion of primeval soup, Ace does the same, and finds the Inspector's badge dangling off the ladle. The chapter, by the way, is called Beautiful Soup, which matches the other Alice in Wonderland reference in the earlier Ace's Adventures Under Ground.

The final exchange between the Doctor and Ace is just the same, but when he says 'Wicked.' he thinks 'That's my girl!'. I must say I think that is not an improvement.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top tip

Simple brand 'Refreshing Shower Gel' makes an excellent remover for bio-stains. I discovered this by accident when I left a huge blood spot on a Premier Inn sheet, and had nothing else to clean it up with. I rubbed it in while the blood was still wet and then sponged it off, and it completely bleached out the stain. Since then I've found that it also gets crap off carpets. Thumbs up!

This also applies to Sanex hypoallergenic shower gel - indeed, probably to all clear shower gel.

Pineapple juice is also good for blood stains - I theorise because it contains bromelin which breaks down proteins.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ziggy says...

Leafing through the local library's excellent online newspaper archive service for 1982, 'Gaoling of Briton brings strong protests' happens to catch my eye for July 1st. And I'm upset to read about one Dr Ralph Pinder-Wilson being treated improperly in Afghanistan.

But the power of the internet 32 years later enables me to quickly discover that he was released a fortnight later, and continued a distinguished career until 2008. Phew!

There's an interesting corollary to this. The obit of RP-W that enlightened me about his release suggested that it was at the instigation of George Galloway MP, who was about to visit Afghanistan at the time. The only problem with that is that all sources agree that GG didn't begin his Parliamentary career till 1987, and wasn't even in his former connection with War on Want till 1983. In 1982 he seems to be referred to only as the previous year's chairman of the Scottish Labour Party.

The missing link here is the Times obit of RP-W, apparently published on 10 November 2008, which may repeat the GG story. More when I find it. Who'd've thought a feel-good post about the power of the internet would turn into an intriguing mystery?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Newspaper archive OCR corrections

Not interesting, but I have to record these somewhere since there's no way of submitting them to the originators. OCR or OCD?

Adortion row over grisly find Scobie, William. The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 20 June 1982: 12.
Abortion not Adortion

Piectgptin acid rain Mosey, Chris. The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 20 June 1982: 13.
Pledge on not Piect...

Grim figures could spell new US farm-led stamp Jackson, Harold. The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 29 June 1982: 7.
Slump not stamp

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kenneth Williams and The Avengers

KW's diary for January 7th 1966 records:
Went to see Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell. Watched some television, 'The Avengers', which was puerile.
Records show that this must have been Room Without A View. What a picture that conjures up, the three of them sitting there at Noel Road under the pink and yellow chessboard squares of the ceiling, watching this chess-themed Avengers ep.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gerards crossed

I've realised there are two different actors:
  • Gerard Murphy (Radio 4 LotR narrator, Silver Nemesis)
  • Gerard McDermott (numerous Radio 4 roles including a great George Wilson in The Great Gatsby)
Up to now I've been confusing them as freely as I once did Rebecca Front and Rebecca Stevens.

I mention this because G. McDermott was recently in the wonderful Seance on a Wet Afternoon on R4. I know we're in the twilight of the gods as far as public broadcasting is going in Britain, but full marks to Radio 4 - more specifically Radio Scotland - for still being able to come up with the goods.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Schism of the week: Scouting

No surprise to find that the Scout Association has a splinter group, the 'Baden-Powell Scouts' Association' which fell out with the main movement after the 1967 reforms where some of the Kipling iconography, and all of the explicit Edwardian paternalism, were ditched.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


Finally managed to see the conventional lines of Camelopardalis tonight - usually I can manage to find alpha and beta, but the fainter stars that make the 'legs' of the giraffe are invisible.

Fortunately tonight I had the lucky combination of excellent seeing and my neighbours being away and consequently not having their conservatory lights on.