The second Big Finish Doctor Who Christmas Episode Panto
, continuing the tradition that started with "The One Doctor"
The Seventh Doctor and Mel land on a spaceship... which promptly blows up. They're transported to Dark Space Eight, the spaceship where the Intergalactic Song Contest is being held. After being mistaken for the commander of the blown-up spaceship and a pilot, the Doctor and Mel decide to play along and help keep this ship running (and hopefully retrieve the TARDIS). Unfortunately, one of the contestants is killed — murdered by an unknown assailant. More unfortunately, a magnificently Large Ham
named Queen Angvia (played by Patricia Quinn
) falls madly in love with the Doctor. He realises that the feeling is starting to become rather mutual, which would subvert the series' long-standing No Hugging, No Kissing
policy, which is of course downright impossible
Mel, meanwhile, has accidentally seduced a Teen Idol
named Nicky Newman, simply by having no clue who he is. He follows her around like a lost puppy. Things get a little bit complicated when about half the cast gets murdered, and the potential political fallout is starting to look disastrous. Especially since it's revealed that there's a bomb on board. Mel and the Doctor convince Nicky to duck out of his performance while the Doctor distracts the audience.
With the space station saved, the political tension resolved and Queen Angvia revealed to be a hypnotic cheater, the Doctor and Mel head back to the TARDIS. The winner of the Intergalactic Song Contest is... the Doctor, on the spoons!
- Abhorrent Admirer: Queen Angvia and Eleanor to the Doctor, and Nicky to Mel.
- The Alcoholic: Professor Fassbender.
- Alien Animals
- Amateur Sleuth: The Doctor might be used to this, but Mel isn't.
- Blatant Lies: The Doctor trying to convince Mel they're in France when they get out of the TARDIS.
- Boomerang Bigot: Loosely.
- Brawn Hilda: HOO BOY this is Angvia.
- The Cameo: Some Ice Warriors show up for a single sentence.
- Captain Ersatz: Dark Space 8 is supposed to be Deep Space Nine, continuing the Star Trek theme. Although, just to mix things up, Ivor Fassbinder and Eleanor Hardcourt are blatantly Victor Bergman and Helena Russell.
- Captain's Log: Eleanor makes Star Trek style "captain's logs" a few times every episode.
- Captain Obvious: *Alarm goes off*
The Doctor: "What's that!?"
Cadet: "An alarm."
- Catch Phrase: Eleanor's "I feel so... helpless." Said practically every five minutes.
- Credits Gag: The final credits come on while there's still a chunk of the mystery to be solved. Mel cuts them short.
- Deadpan Snarker: Logan (the presenter) wants to be one, Mel is one.
- Dead Person Impersonation: The Doctor assumes the role of Commander.
- The Denouement: Lampshaded. The Doctor tells everyone to shut up because he's busy doing the grand denouement.
- Intergalacticvision Song Contest
- Everybody Calls Him Barkeep: The Doctor says he's the Commander, and is only referred to as such.
- Expy / No Celebrities Were Harmed: Commentator Logan's accent and commentary style are clearly based on Sir Terry Wogan, former commentator on the Eurovision Song Contest for The BBC.
- Feigning Intelligence: Elenour.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar / Crosses the Line Twice: The Breebles are caught on camera in front of billions of viewers rhythmically squeaking and grunting with each other. The replacement announcer is embarrassed, and changes the camera with another green room.
- Genre Savvy: Both the Doctor and Mel realise something's wrong when the Doctor develops a crush on Queen Angvia. After all, there are the things he always does, and the things he never, ever does.
- Gratuitous French
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Whenever the Doctor and Queen Angvia — played by the legendary Pat Quinn — are in a room together.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: When Nicky Newman meets Mel, she has no idea who he is. He loves this.
- In The Style Of a Panto!
- Indy Ploy
- Just for Pun: One of the Pakhar is named Geri. Pakhar are a species of rodent-like aliens. (Although this is also consistant with previous Pakhar naming; the first one to appear in the Virgin New Adventures was called Keri - which was also a pun, on Australian media mogul Kerry Packer.)
- Large Ham: Pat Quinn.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: All over the episode.
- Mel and the Doctor both instantly know something's very wrong once they realise the Doctor's about to shatter the series' No Hugging, No Kissing policy.
- Mel cuts the ending credits short when she realises there's still a few chunks of plot left to be resolved.
- Letting the Air out of the Band: The theme music starts up when we think the mystery is solved and everything is done! It isn't. However, Mel realizes that the mystery isn't quite solved and the music quickly fizzles out.
- Earlier, the Doctor gives a Rousing Speech about how the show must go on. As his speech reaches its climax, and Sylvester McCoy waxes Churchillian, the music swells triumphantly — until Mel punctures it all like a balloon.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall
- Letting the Air out of the Band
- Lighter and Softer: Since the episode takes place early on in Seven's story arc, he's much closer to his goofy first appearance in "Time And The Rani" than to his later status of The Chessmaster during Ace's storyline. This includes him making things up as he goes along and a constant use of Malapropers (although Mel tells him to cut that out). It works very well.
- Marshmallow Hell: Queen Angvia wastes no time in seducing the Doctor and rather unceremoniously shoves his face into her chest. He protests. A bit. At first.
- Mistaken for Special Guest
- Mundane Made Awesome: The Doctor plays spoons and WOWS the crowd.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Fassbinder's name is a reference to the German cinematic auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, since he's a parody of a character called Bergman.
- Never One Murder
- No Hugging, No Kissing: Lampshaded all over the place.
- Out-of-Character Alert
- Peace Conference: The plot of the story takes place away from one. Subverted when it turns out the Song Contest is the Peace Conference.
- Performance Anxiety: Nicky has a bad case of this. The bomb in his stomach certainly isn't helping.
- Poor Communication Kills: Lampshaded. Mel tells the Doctor that if he just told her what his plan was, this mystery would be solved a lot faster. He reveals that he didn't really have much of a plan.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "This is Logan, signing off. *drops dead*"
- Recycled In Space: The Eurovision song contest IN SPACE!
- Red Alert: There's a Big Red Button that's easily pressed that causes this to go off.
- Serious Business: The Song contest.
- Shout-Out: The favor◊ to Power Rangers Lost Galaxy is paid back in the form of a location named the "Zordon Nebula".
- "He's dead, John!"
- The Doctor actually calls out for phasers to be set on stun. He gets corrected. It is Laser after all.
- Mel calls the Doctor out for playing Poirot.
- The Doctor, at one point, says nonchalantly "Crisis? What crisis?" This is a reference to a particularly infamous headline mocking the aparent indifference of British Prime Minister James Callaghan to an economic meltdown in the '70s.
- The Doctor rattles off all the possible suspects, ending up with "Old Mr Jenkins, the janitor."
- When Mel rattles off her list of 'things the Doctor will never do', they're a mixture of Terrence Dicks's novelisation series bible and the things that Tom Baker listed off as things the Doctor would never do in the famous interview where he explained on television why he didn't feel the Doctor was an 'acting role'.
- Sssssnake Talk: See The Cameo.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The solemn anthem of future Planet Earth is... "I Will Survive".
- Strongly Worded Letter
- Take That: A being called Xion came from outer space, froze people and claimed to be God..
- Take Our Word for It: The miss pangent commentator says this.
- Techno Babble: Subverted to hell and straight back.
- Teen Idol: Nicky Newman is the universe's most famous one.
- Time Bomb
- Title Drop
- Translator Buddy: Though it's not a buddy role, the entity Golos needs an interpreter.
- Trilling Rs: Pat Quinn's admirable effort to out-ham Sylvester McCoy.
- Two Guys and a Girl: The deceased captain, Fassbender and Eleanor have shades of this, as well as the Power Trio. Too bad that two of the three are almost completely incompetent.
- The Unintelligible: The entity Golos.
- And the Cephalopod singers.
- Verbal Tic: Gerri tut tut tut tuts like a mouse.
- Why Am I Ticking?
- World of Ham
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle