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Radio / The Paradise of Death

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The Doctor: He knows how wary the human tribe is of foreigners. What sort of a welcome do you think a gang of alien carpetbaggers from outer space would get?
Chairman Freeth: Not quite the expression I might have used myself, but fundamentally, Doctor, you've hit it on the button — or even the nose. Our proposals can only be of benefit to the economy of your world. A valuable new export market for a new product, cheap imports of every kind, the benefit of advanced technologies, which can offer a life of ease and luxury to the vast majority of your people! We have a paradise of our own on Parakon, we want you to share it!
The Brigadier: So, you plan to get the public on your side, before it's revealed that you come from outside the Solar System. Give them a spoonful of honey to help the pill go down?
Chairman Freeth: Exactly right. Except, that in this case, it'll turn out to be honey. Honey! Honey!

The one where the Brig momentarily has pink toenails.

The Paradise of Death is a radio drama based on Doctor Who, written by Barry Letts and produced by The BBC, and first broadcast in five episodes on BBC Radio 5 from 27 August to 24 September 1993. The original radio play was released on CD as part of the BBC Radio Collection in March 2000. A second radio play featuring the Third Doctor, The Ghosts of N-Space, was broadcast in 1996. Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney all return to play their Doctor Who characters.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart asks the Doctor to investigate a mysterious murder near a new theme park called Spaceworld. Together with Sarah Jane Smith and her photographer Jeremy Fitzoliver, the Doctor investigates the mysterious Parakon Corporation, which is not quite of this world.

Liner notes say that, continuity-wise, this story fits between "The Time Warrior" and "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". This is also the first appearance of Jeremy Fitzoliver, who would make a few more appearances in the Expanded Universe.

Tropes featured in The Paradise of Death include:

  • Actually, I Am Him: Via a Jump Cut, the audience is told of the true identity of someone from Onya's past:
    Freeth: This Onya, who is she? Where does she come from?
    Tragan: That is precisely what I'm checking at the moment. Ah, here we are. Onya Farjen. Bond-servant to the President. Previous employment: Catian Glesay, deceased. Highly recommended, previous records unavailable, reference...
    Freeth: ...Unavailable.
    Tragan: Ah, thought as much. Her previous records were destroyed in the Temple dissolution riots.
    Freeth: I see! So, our only lead is this Catian Glesay, correct?
    Tragan: So it would seem.
    Freeth: And she's dead.
    Onya: (To the Doctor and company) Oh, my name wasn't Onya Farjen in those days; it was Catian Glesay.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Sarah says that Tragan's true form has mauve-colored skin and a face full of hairy warts, and the Doctor identifies him as a Naglon.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: When Sarah plugs into an ER couch on Parakon and turns it to Channel 77, she initially presumes that it's a game of paintball in a forest... until she realizes that the target was not pretending to be hurt after being shot, and that there's a giant hole in his back. Made more horrible when her point-of-view person trudges over to him to shoot another hole in the victim.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: When Sarah is in disbelief that the Doctor's been to Atlantis, he retorts that she's been with him to medieval England.
    "Well, you've traveled in the TARDIS yourself, about eight hundred years back, to merry England! [...] If you can swallow that, why choke on a mere three thousand years more?"
  • Blood Knight: Tragan takes much pleasure in the wetwork he does for Freeth, between sending his beasts after the hooligans, mind-controlling Grebber to send the Doctor off a building with him, and orchestrating the arrest and execution of Captain Rudley.
    "I stayed with him too long, that's all. I couldn't resist it! The sheer mortal terror of the man — it was ecstasy, Freeth! I tell you, utter ecstasy!"
  • Blood Sport: On Parakon, those who stand accused of serious offenses such as insurrection against the government or the Corporation are plopped into a wilderness and pursued by a heavily-armed soldier, whose experience in hunting and likely killing the victim is broadcast into the Experienced Reality headsets. Rudley says that the ones where the condemned escapes aren't even put on the public networks.
    Sarah: And people switch on for that?
    Rudley: They're the most popular channels.
  • Bound and Gagged: Sarah, while Tragan has her restrained in his ship.
  • Bread and Circuses: The scenes of gory bloodsport broadcast on the ER channels serve well to lull the populace of Parakon into a state of complacency. The Doctor spells it out after the President departs:
    The Brigadier: Gladiators, by jiminy.
    The Doctor: Yeah, to keep the plebs quiet. The Romans had a word for it, or rather, three words: Panem et circenses, bread and circuses. It works then, it works now!
  • Cliffhanger: Each episode save for the finale ends on one of these:
    1. Tragan, having mind-controlled Grebber to leap off a building, takes the Doctor down with him, proudly proclaiming, "The Doctor's dead!"
    2. The TARDIS has brought the Doctor, the Brigadier, and Jeremy not to Parakon, but to a war-torn planet called Blestinu.
    3. As the Doctor and company rush to escape Parakon, their flight is halted by Freeth, Tragan, and the latter's hounds standing between them and the TARDIS.
    4. Sarah and Jeremy have doubled back to rescue Rudley, but their path takes them right through the territory of the Gargan... and the beast has seen them.
  • Cold Ham: Chairman Freeth talks slower than most other characters and doesn't raise his voice much, but manages to be very dramatic and theatrical anyway, making a meal of each line he utters.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • While being interviewed by Sarah, The Doctor relates some of the events of "The Time Monster". When Sarah reacts with incredulity, The Doctor reminds her of her own meeting with Irongron a few days (and a few hundred years) earlier.
    • When the Doctor, Onya, and the like land in one of the Last Fertile Regions of Parakon to escape Corporation agents and tend to Onya's arm:
      The Doctor: the stun gun blocked the energy flow, so we have to reverse the effect.
      The Brigadier: Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, eh, Doctor?
    • The Doctor tries to soothe the Gargan with the Venusian Lullaby, just like he did with Aggedor. He mentions his old teacher as well.
  • Damsel in Distress: In Episode 2, Sarah is a stowaway on Freeth's ship as it leaves Earth for Parakon, and is tied up and menaced by Tragan.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: A variation. While Onya doesn't mind La RĂ©sistance using conventional firearms, she objects to the use of stolen stun-guns used by Corporation agents, and so modifies them to give a lower-intensity blast incapable of permanent paralysis.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Just as in her previous appearance, Sarah's eager to get to the bottom of all of the strange happenings at Spaceworld.
  • A Head at Each End: The Venusian Klakluk, according to one of the Doctor's anecdotes.
  • Hell Is That Noise: After the two hooligans are brutally killed by Tragan's beasts, there is a sound of bones slowly crunching as the monster sinks its teeth into their lifeless bodies.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Discussed in the beginning of Episode 1, where Freeth notes how the radio advertisement for Spaceworld didn't mention its sponsor, the Parakon Corporation.
    "I could have wished that he had mentioned the name of the corporation, that after all it is the object of the exercise. Perhaps we should have called it the Parakon Corporation Spacepark, like a sponsored horse race. It lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, though, wouldn't you say, Tragan?"
  • Last Fertile Region: Rapine cultivation has reduced much of Parakon to a desolate wasteland, but a few regions survive that went unspoiled by this environmental degradation, "a green island in a yellow sea", as Sarah Jane puts it.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: The Doctor is flabbergasted at the Brigadier's request that he help him investigate the goings-on at Spaceworld:
    "Lethbridge-Stewart, let me understand you right — you have catastrophically interrupted a very tricky operation, on which I may say the entire navigation system of the TARDIS could depend, to invite me to a children's funfair?"
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Experienced Reality module feeds the subject a seamless simulation of another person's recorded experiences. It compels people to want to live in the simulation, as it resists the Brigadier's efforts to deviate from "what the program wants [him] to do". The Doctor notes that it's possible (and, with the aliens' advanced tech, very probable) to scale that technology way up to control a country — or even a world.
  • Meaningful Name: The miracle plant used by Parakon for food and manufacturing is called rapine, which rapidly depletes nutrients from the soil. Rapine is an old term for violent siege and plunder, which is fitting as the Parakon Corporation routinely ravages other planets through engineered wars, taking the bodies of those killed in the conflict and processing it into a fertilizer that sustains the plant.
  • MegaCorp: The Parakon Corporation has powers on its home planet equaling those of the proper government, and the President says that it is the sole producer on the planet.
  • Monster Munch: In the very beginning, there're a pair of drunken hooligans who try to invade the park, but run into Freeth and Tragan while the latter pair land. Tragan sics some of his alien monsters on the pair, killing both and eating the body of one.
    Freeth: Don't let them both be eaten! A corpse could be good publicity.
  • Multipurpose Monocultured Crop: Rapine, a plant that's the source of everything from food to furniture to metal-substitute.
  • Noodle Incident: The Doctor points out to Freeth that he recognized the Crab-Clawed Kamelius from having "spent a long weekend on Aldebaran II a few years ago", and remarks that the food was bad. Freeth commiserates.
  • No One Could Survive That!: The Brigadier says that it'd be a miracle for anybody to survive the 200-foot fall that the Doctor suffered at the end of Episode 1.
  • Not of This Earth: The Doctor and Professor Willow analyze the body of the man who was butchered by one of Tragan's creatures, and they determine from traces of its acidic saliva and from a non-mammalian hair that it left behind that it must be an extraterrestrial.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Mr. Grebber is slaved to an ER implant by Tragan to jump off a tower, but the latter also sees the opportunity to drag the Doctor down with Grebber when he tries to help Grebber to safety.
  • Pun-Based Creature: This is Sarah's impression of what a time ram is, as the Doctor relates the events of "The Time Monster".
    "Oh, don't tell me — the TARDIS was attacked by a randy sheep with a clock for a face!"
  • Puppet King: Onya notes that Parakon is nominally ruled through the President and his Council of Ministers, but they're all too weak and/or corrupt to do the job of governing, so they leave it all to Freeth.
  • Rule #1: Midway through Episode 2, as Sarah prepares to investigate the spaceships at Spaceworld:
    Sarah: Second rule of investigative journalism, Jeremy: Never take anything for granted.
    Jeremy: What's the first rule?
    Sarah: Get your expenses sorted out.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Jeremy briefly loses his shoe on Blestinu, he grouses, "I can't go wandering around the old universe like Diddle Diddle Dumpling now, can I?" This actually tips the Doctor off that his shoe's stuck in the mud outside the TARDIS, and he swipes it for Jeremy before departing for Parakon.
    • When the Doctor expresses his puzzlement at how the inner workings of Parakonian society must tick, he has this to say:
      "Even on our own terms, there's one thing missing from the paradise equation, Brigadier. [...] Nothing for nothing and precious little for sixpence, as King Lear very nearly said."
    • After Tragan and Freeth thwart Team TARDIS' escape from Parakon in Episode 3's cliffhanger, Freeth gloats, "To misquote a little, I think this could be the end of a beautiful friendship!"
  • Stealth Insult: When Mr. Grebber encounters Sarah and Jeremy, Sarah sneaks in a jab at the latter's status as The Ditz:
    Sarah: Pretend to be dimwitted.
    Jeremy: What?
    Sarah: On second thought, stay as sweet as you are.
  • Tempting Fate: When Freeth insists that Tragan head back to Parakon, he says that the Doctor — the only person who could've been a Spanner in the Works — is dead. Cue the Doctor, healthy as a horse, "barging in unannounced".
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: After Tragan's gambit to kill him and Grebber, the Doctor wakes up in a laboratory where one Professor Wilkins is about to dissect him. The Doctor doesn't react with fear, though, he just impatiently asks Wilkins to stop pointing the scalpel at him.
  • With This Herring: In the Gladiator Games, the Doctor is armed only with a Rolling Pin of Doom against a mighty champion with a broadsword and shield.
  • The X of Y: "The Paradise of Death". Not as in death itself being a paradise, but death being around every corner in this ostensible paradise.