Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A BBC PDA proposal that was eventually rejected after Ian Mckintire and I did some more work on it.

Proposal by Simon Bucher-Jones


3rd Doctor and Jo Grant   PDA  - role for future Master

The third Doctor is called into a UK experimental laboratory where light is being slowed down by laser bombardment to give “captured frozen quantum states” a process that will revolutionise super-computing.

There have been strange reports of “drops in temperature” – “ghost like apparitions” and “enhanced déjà vu”.  And one of the physicists is exhibiting signs of paranoia, and has attacked a colleague with whom he was on good terms on the grounds that “he was going to break up my marriage” – when asked what the man had done to do this he had only replied “not yet, stupid” and refused to talk about his motives further.

More than light has been slowed down – tachyons – particles travelling back in time faster than light have also been caught in the Bose-Einstein condensate webs of the project and are affecting the scientists working on it.

Realising this the Doctor devises a way to divert the future particles away from the main experiments, but discovers while doing so that they are being modulated. Someone in the future is calling out for help.  Decoding the messages he discovers that they are coming from a time traveller trapped on Earth twenty years in the future.

The messages warn of a current threat to Earth, a political conspiracy using alien technology at the heart of Whitehall and the White House – to try to break it will mean risking the Brigader’s career and he has only the Doctor’s word for the messages, and doubts their truth.

So too does the Doctor  - for he suspects that the messages come from a future version of himself embittered by a further twenty years of exile, or worse from the Master.

Sent undercover to gain proof  Benton, Yates and Jo face mutants built using the changes in gene switching discovered to be inherent in cloning (these are parody X-men figures used as “heavies” by the conspiracy, some are merely deformed but some do have psionic powers – and it is one of these whose mind controlling power will be used to rig the forth-coming election and  take Britain and then the US under a single dictatorial thumb).

The novel is about trust, and when and why it is right to give it.  In fact the messages are from the Master but he is in fact honestly helping the Doctor to escape the horrible England that the
Conspiracy will create.  He conceals his identity believing the Doctor will not trust him – but it is revealed to the readers at a midway point as a “cliff-hanger/shock”.

It is the Doctor’s decision to trust his informant, the decision of the mutant Charybdis to trust Jo and defect from her masters, and the Brigader’s trust in the Doctor that win the day – the conspiracy is a
Personification of mistrust, of things done solely for personal advancement by Widmerpool-like
Bureaucrats and members of the military.  Scenes focused on the villains show the temporary but ultimately unsuccessful results of distrust, it is – in part – their refusal to trust their underlings’
Ideologies (and particularly their distrust of their experimental subjects) that fosters rebellion in
Charybdis and others.

It is trust that is the real Bridge of Light, not the slowed photons of the project.


1st Possible using his contacts made in the War Machines, and with the possibility that the future time traveller is the Meddling Monk, but some of the edge is lost as the Monk while venal is more trustworthy than the Master.

The 2nd Doctor could in theory be used, meeting the Brigader between Invasion and Spearhead, and the
Future Master could pick up the Kochei – continuity.

Early 4th before Seeds of Doom, interesting new interactions between Tom Baker’s Doctor and the Delgado master.

5th just possible but less useful I think as he is so trusting that the tension will be lost.
6th equally this Doctor is far less likely to trust, and the 7th would have the matter in hand without future prompting.

8th As the 8th Doctor has lost his political/UNIT contacts this is unlikely to be a plot that would fit him, unless your longer term plans include some re-establishment of this perhaps with CONTROL rather than UNIT.  If so the element of trust could be the Doctor establishing it for the first time with
the authorities of the 21st C.

Simon Bucher-Jones

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