Wednesday, November 7, 2007


It's that time of year again! Christmas blipverts have begun sprouting up on TV, although it's not as bad as it once was. I remember back in 2001 when I was at the home of a girl I was seeing at the time; it was Labor Day and we saw a Christmas ad from one of those megalithic box stores.

So even though we're weeks away from seeing Santa at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 'tis the season. So the least I could do is make the adverts diverting, Toobworld-style. And this first one is from England, circa 2004......

When the Doctor was pursued by "The Family of Blood" in a two-part adventure of 'Doctor Who' this past season, he used a piece of Gallifreyan technology never before seen in the TV series to disguise his presence from the Family. It was called the Chameleon Arch and the TARDIS wiki (link to the left) gives a very good description of the device:

"The Chameleon Arch was a piece of Time Lord equipment which could modify the biology of a creature so the cells were that of something else. The procedure was very painful. It was composed of a headset and a fob watch-like device, with an added perception filter, used to store the Gallifreyan biological information. The Doctor used one to change himself into the Human John Smith so he didn't have to punish the Family of Blood. (DW: Human Nature)

The Master also used it to turn into a Human to escape the Last Great Time War, and remained in Human form until he opened the watch part and remembered everything that the Doctor had done to him. (DW: Utopia)"

As I said, it was the first time the Chameleon Arch was actually seen in the program, but that doesn't mean that the Doctor never used the infernal device before. We may not have seen the Tenth Incarnation of the Doctor actually use it on our telly screens, but I think it could be argued that we saw the results of its use......

There are many unseen adventures of the Doctor which fill in the spaces between those adventures that were televised. A lot of these have been told via other medium (and thus are banished to other universes based on Mankind's imagination) - comic books, audio-plays, short stories, tie-in novels, and unofficial fan fiction, for example.
Over at the Doctor Who Reference Guide, Dominique Boies lists not only the TV episodes but also the non-canonical stories, placing them approximately where she thinks they best serve the Doctor's personal chronology. And between the second Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride" and the introduction of Martha Jones into the series, "Smith And Jones", she has quite a rundown of stories:

The Runaway Bride
Corner of the Eye
Warkeeper's Crown
The Hunters
13 O'Clock
Green Fingers
The Snag Finders
The Power of the Cybermen
Drones of Doom
Enemy Mine
Time of the Cybermen
Beneath the Skin
The Sky Below
Beyond the Sea
Lonely Planet
Plague Panic
Deep and Dreamless Sleep
Smith and Jones

As I said, this is not to say that all of those adventures actually happened to the Doctor we know from Television. In fact, the current Doctor (and the Ninth Incarnation preceding him), as we see him on the TV, is not even the Doctor from the main Toobworld. As I've mentioned many times in the past, there are far too many discrepancies within the series at present to allow the current version of 'Doctor Who' be a fixture in Earth Prime-Time.

But nevertheless, being a traveler in Time, the Doctor had plenty of opportunities for adventures after he dropped off Donna Noble and before he picked up Martha Jones. And in one of these, I believe he was forced to use the Chameleon Arch. And he perhaps stayed hidden as a human for several years - certainly long enough to marry a human and begin a life with her!
Not possible, you think? Then check out this Boots blipvert from a few holiday seasons ago.

And yes, for those newbies just joining us, TV commercials do count in the TV firmament.

Forty seconds in TV time, and we get the foundation for a new 'Doctor Who' story!

And in that space of time, we garner a few clues as to what is going on, as well as some additional questions.
If the Doctor has used the Chameleon Arch to hide from some enemy, he must have been under its influence for at least two, maybe three years. It's been long enough for him to fall in love and get married, and to settle down into a rather comfortable, taken-for-granted living arrangement with his human wife.

(By the way - can anybody out there tell me the name of the actress who's playing the role of the wife in this Boots ad?)

Being married has brought along a slew of in-laws - we know that her mother's about, as well as Katie and Matt, who have a baby. I'm assuming that Katie is the wife's sister, as she gets top billing when they're mentioned.

There's also "little Hannah".... Now, I suppose the inclination might be - if we were just treating this commercial as nothing more than an ad for Boots, - to think of little Hannah as the daughter of this couple. But even then, I would argue against it. Does it seem logical to you that the parents would refer to their own daughter as "little Hannah" - oh wait. She might have been named after someone else, and this was their way to distinguish between the two (just in case he thought the popcorn maker was for the older Hannah).

And then she mentions her husband's brother....

We know the Doctor had a brother, if not still has one; he mentions him to Martha in a later episode. But by the way he talks about him, we're supposed to think there's something ominous, more than the usual sibling rivalry, in his relationship with his brother. (There was a lot of speculation after this revelation aired that the brother might turn out to be the Master. But by the time another episode "The Last Of The Time Lords" was broadcast, that theory was pretty much chucked, since neither one of them mentioned a family tie between them when it would have mattered.)

In all the time that could have elapsed between "The Runaway Bride" and "Smith And Jones", it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that the Doctor picked up his own brother as a traveling Companion in the TARDIS. If so, perhaps both of them had to be subjected to the Chameleon Arch in order to change their appearance. Or it could be that his "brother" was just his latest Terran Companion, a male this time - as were Steven, Ian, Adric, Harry, Turlough, Ben, and Jamie before him. (But not Jack - we know from the opening moments of "Utopia" that the Doctor wanted nothing to do with Captain Jack Harkness once he had been changed by Rose to become "fixed in Time".) Perhaps this new Companion posed as the brother and kept watch over the Doctor while the Time Lord was living out this new identity. (The picture above is from "Quatermass", but it could easily be that of the scenario I'm sketching out.)

And perhaps we could make a further suggestion that the aforementioned "Hannah" was the daughter of the brother? It might be for her safety and benefit that they were hiding this time. Or it could be that she was some other Companion under the care and guardianship of the Doctor and his "brother".

(If I was writing fanfic, I'd make Hannah be the daughter of Susan, the Doctor's grand-daughter, who was left behind in the year 2174 with David Campbell, the man she came to love from that era. So Hannah would be the great grand-daughter of the Doctor, and perhaps the "brother" was her father David Campbell. Both of them might have been on the run - from the Daleks to be found on Earth during the 2180s - after the death of Susan, and so the Doctor was trying to protect them from detection in the past.)

And there you have it. Eventually, whatever crisis forced the Doctor to utilize the Chameleon Arch that first time would have been settled, one way or the other, before he met Martha Jones during that adventure on the Moon. And that would lead to conjecture as to whatever happened to this wife and to Little Hannah.

Were there pink flame-throwers involved?

I suppose this type of argument could also be made for any one-shot appearances by the other actors who have played the Doctor over the years, from Hartnell to McGann, even Eccleston! And if at all possible, I'd restrict the options to other TV commercials. What made this Boots blipvert perfect was its brevity - it restricted the eventuality of Zonks by being so concise; less opportunity to give conflicting details.

(This is why I'd rule out "The Old, The New, And The Deadly", an episode of 'The Persuaders' in which Patrick Troughton guest-starred as the Comte de Marceau. In the span of an hour, we learned that he had been a collaborator with the Nazis. That's not the Doctor, even under the influence of the Chameleon Arch. And besides, he had been aged so much, more than he looked when he regenerated into the Third Doctor.)

Well, if anything, this blog post should prove that I'm willing to make connections between just about anything on TV. Horse Hockey Pucks! The essay probably took longer to read than it was to watch the bleepin' blipvert!

Toby OB


No comments: