27 Doctor Who – Inferno

Jeff, owner of Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World, in a rare photo from his one and only TV appearance outside of Crufts.

The Centre of the Earth. A fascinating subject tackled by many different writers and storytellers over the ages wondering what dangers, treasures and enchantments are waiting to be discovered at the Earth’s core? But as good as these stories may be, that is all they are – stories, mere flights of fancy. The truth is like nothing you could imagine and now, finally, Doctor Who has revealed to us that most incredible truth. The Earth’s core (drum roll please) is full… of…


Boiling, bubbling snot.

And hair. Lots of it, all over the body.

There’s also quite a lot of burning, steaming magma, spewing forth like the after effects of a really hot curry. Strangely enough, none of the women get affected by these things, only the men. So join us as we discuss Doctor Who and the Hot ‘n Hairy Snot Monsters from the Earth’s Core. Catchy.

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12 thoughts on “27 Doctor Who – Inferno

  1. Lewis Christian says:

    I started listening to this at 11:30am and it’s now 3pm. Damned real life getting in the way. But what a brilliant podcast for a brilliant story. I feel like I could write a whole essay but I’ll bring up a few points.

    Parallel Doctor. Each time the show’s done a parallel world, there hasn’t been any hint of either a parallel Doctor or parallel Time Lords. The exception is “Battlefield” with Merlin, but that’s a grey area and I feel the Doctor, in that case, simply went to an alternative world and adopted the name. Also, whether we like it or not, Rose was given a humanny-Doctor-clone, further suggesting there isn’t a Doctor at all in that parallel world.

    Personally, my theory goes that the Time Lords oversee time. Therefore they somehow exist in the Universe but outside of time itself, as though they can see timelines. This is backed up by “Genesis” when they foresee *A* time when the Daleks rule supreme, and it would appear the Time Lords can pretty much observe many possibilities and alterations etc. Though this leads to another topic entirely (a race that can see *everything* yet only interfere in certain cases, and what are the grounds for “we should interfere”/”we shouldn’t”/”this is a fixed point”/yadda yadda…), I find it fascinating that everyone in the Universe has a doppelgänger (including the Doctor himself, various times) and a parallel self… except the Time Lords/the Doctor.

    In the case of “Inferno”, it’s clearly just ignored because if that universe did have a Doctor, well, there’d be no story really. Though, actually, it could’ve been interesting to see a parallel Doctor – a double, but evil/slightly mad – and I think Pertwee could’ve been quite good with that role. But then I like the idea that our Doctor is the only one between the two worlds. Wondered what you guys think, and whether this had come across your minds at all? Maybe it’s just a case of the parallel world having a Doctor but he’s not exiled and he’s not at all bothered with Earth.

    I call it the “Reality Bomb Situation” in that, well, there must only be one reality bomb. The Medusa Cascade is one second out of sync with the rest of the Universe (that’s stupid, surely, in itself) and there must only be one bomb… because if there were parallel versions, logic says at least one must’ve gone off and therefore consumed reality. That said, Rose pops back from her world saying the bomb has gone off and is having an effect – the “darkness”. Overall, frankly, bonkers. And therefore shrugged off and brushed under the carpet, something I feel was done with a parallel world and the Doctor. It’s something I don’t think has ever been answered – did the production team toy with the idea of a parallel Doctor at the time, or not? What’s also interesting is that, at this point in the show, Gallifrey has been seen but that’s it. No other details, not even the name, has been spoken.

    So yeah. That’s one ramble.

    The other is about the TARDIS and the overall series. In my mind, I often remember and think of S7 as the “transition” series where we go from “traditional” Who (Troughton’s last series), then through a series of experiments working with the ‘exile’ plot and then we jump back into “trad” Who with S8. Essentially, as you say, it’s a different show. The only recognisable elements are the Brigadier, the TARDIS console, and the Doctor. And the titles, though they’ve changed obviously with the new Doctor and even the titles are experimented with in S7. Maybe that’s why S7 stands out – because it’s very bold, it toys with the idea of how the show works, it’s short, it’s very grim (shop dummies come to life and shoot the public, the public are infected with a plague, the Silurians are blown up, a whole parallel Earth dies, etc.) and it’s also lodged between two great series, and is a great series itself.

    Curiously, though, my memory of “Terror of the Autons” (without wanting to jump ahead too much) seem to be that Pertwee Who seems to be watered down. All of the scientists and villains (especially in S8) that S7 had now get melded into the one character of the Master. The UNIT family starts to feel like a family, rather than an organisation (and that’s a good thing, but…) therefore reclining into a shadow of their former selves (the Brig gets very dumbed down later on, and the HQ has “Brigadier Works Here, Top Secret” sign, etc etc.). The companion is watered down (Liz is strong and a scientist but the production team felt they needed someone a little dimmer, to ask the questions for the audience, whereas Liz was on a level with the Doctor) somewhat. And, unfortunately, the Pertwee era starts to now become slightly repetitive, which is what I think they were actively trying to avoid (and succeeded with in S7).

    But yeah. Overall, a great series, with some very good, solid points made by you two. I’m not watching along with you – I plan to do my own marathon soon, though, inspired by you guys and the Wife in Space – but I’m listening along and remembering my own thoughts in order to compare. It’ll be interesting to view the Pertwee era after having listened to you guys because one thing I love about you and your shows is that you always put the effort into the research and the production/behind the scenes, whereas many other people simply review the stories. (I’ve updated my site, so the link to me in your sidebar no longer works – I’m now at http://toobusyblogging.wordpress.com)

    Apologies for the long comment but I hope I’ve sparked a few more thoughts for discussion, and I find that a long comment like this means I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the podcast. See you again soon for “Terror” 😀

    • Don’t apologise. Sometimes it’s nice to get these long ones. Link updated, by the way. Thanks.

      I like your ideas about why there’s only one Doctor throughout all universes. Big Finish’s Sympathy for the Devil explores one possibility. Not sure I’d like to see a parallel universe Doctor. Somehow I just think it wouldn’t work, regardless of the actor playing him. Alternate companions and subsidiary characters, yes. The Doctor himself? …No.

      Funny what you’re saying about Series 8 *cough*, but you may be getting slightly ahead of us *coughcoughshutupcoughcough*

      • Lewis Christian says:

        I’ve yet to listen to Big Finish – I struggle with pure audio (god help my 60s marathon!) – but I’ll have to check that out 🙂

        Sorry I jumped into Series/Season 8 a bit. I started out thinking “I’ll just casually mention it” and then I rambled, oops!

  2. Lewis Christian says:

    Of course, the real question though… how the heck did the Doctor get the console through the TARDIS doors? :p

      • Lewis Christian says:

        Ah, fair enough! I’ll stick with my usual answer: the TARDIS console and room are from GallifreyIKEA and therefore can be flatpacked 🙂

      • You mean the bookcases are called Runcible, the CD storage units are called Engin, the dog kennels are called Spandrell…

  3. “Krotonopia”? Given whose planet it was, surely it was…’Gondwanaland?’ Hmm, yes.

    As for getting the console out of the TARDIS, remember this is one story along from when the Doctor managed to make a tape disappear via the sudden incredible ability to perform the transmigration of objects. Of course, it would have been interesting to see him pull the same sleight of hand with the console – probably do his wrist in for one thing – no wonder he was in such a bad mood in ‘Ambassadors’!

  4. mekster says:

    You discussed earlier Liz Shaw’s compatibility as a companion. I like Liz Shaw and I’m sad she had such a short time on the show. She was a strong, intelligent woman who could hold her own. I agree that this doesn’t necessarily help in the way the companion is supposed to be ‘us’ and ask the questions/need the explanations we’d need from the Doctor. Not many viewers had the qualifications or were even old enough to attempt them. So really she was ‘too intelligent’ for the role of explanatory companion. This was further compounded by the arrival of Jo Grant. Who was her exact opposite. I have never taken to her character. I find her wimpy, irritating and she bats her eyelashes far too often.

    I’ve never liked Pertwee’s Doctor the most either. I’ve always found him arrogant and smug. Too full of himself by far.

    Later along the timeline appears Romana. She’s supposed to be a super intelligent Timelord. At least as well educated as the Doctor if without his life knowledge. This relationship doesn’t falter due to her intelligence. More from the fact that it’s never written into the stories.

    I don’t think Liz Shaw was necessarily too intelligent to be a Companion. A change here and there to the writing style could have helped. As one of two companions she may have stood out less like a sore thumb. Zoe never suffered from being bright as she had Jamie to bounce off. I think what really meant that Liz wouldn’t work was the incarnation of the Doctor she was paired with. They just didn’t sit right together. When you look at his successful pairing with the pretty, subservient, unquestioning Jo Grant was this one was never going to work. A shame really, maybe if she’d have crossed paths elsewhere she could have had a longer stint.

    Good on the producers for giving us a strong woman. Shame you couldn’t make it work.

    • Mekster is spot on. Ian and Barbara were hardly dolts, and Susan was supposed to be “an unearthly child” of immense intelligence, but they were able to interact suitably well with the Doctor. The significant difference between Ian/Barbara/Susan/Zoe and Liz is the insufferability of the Doctor. The first comapnions could challenge the Doctor because he was written as a fallible and crotchety grandfather who was, in the end, a good person. Zoe worked becasue of Jamie, but also becasue the second Doctor was of good humor. Liz doesn’t work becasue the third Doctor would never accept criticism without offense and a snide retort. And becasue the writers seem afraid to let him be wrong.

  5. Lewis Christian says:

    Interestingly, Chris Chapman on Twitter has mentioned how it was announced at ‘Utopia’ that a revisited “Inferno” is on the way in 2013, with a particular emphasis being on improving the picture quality. Also, this will also include his ‘secret project 4’, which will be a new collaboration with Toby Hadoke.

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