The Ghosts of N-Space
|The Ghosts of N-Space|
|Doctor Who radio play|
Cover of the CD release
|Written by||Barry Letts|
|Length||6 episodes, 30 mins each|
|Originally broadcast||January 20 to February 24, 1996|
The Ghosts of N-Space is a radio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was recorded in 1994 and finally broadcast in six parts on BBC Radio 2 from January 20 to February 24, 1996. This was the second Third Doctor radio play, following The Paradise of Death in 1993. Plans for a third were scuppered by the death of Jon Pertwee in May of that year.
The announcer in the radio serial gave the title as Doctor Who and the Ghosts of N-Space, but both the cassette and CD releases have dropped the “Doctor Who and” prefix in their packaging, as does the novelisation.
The recording was originally released on cassette in 1996, re-released on a three CD set in 2000.
- The Doctor — Jon Pertwee
- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart — Nicholas Courtney
- Sarah Jane Smith — Elisabeth Sladen
- Jeremy Fitzoliver — Richard Pearce
- Clemenza —
- Don Fabrizzio —
- Max — Stephen Thorne
- Nico — David Holt
- Maggie — Sandra Dickinson
- Mario — Harry Towb
- Louisa —
- Umberto —
- Maid —
- Paolo — Paul Brooke
- Barone — Gavin Muir
- Baronessa / Marcella —
- Roberto —
- Guido — Jim Sweeney
Sarah Jane Smith and her co-worker Jeremy Fitzoliver are on holiday in Sicily when they meet the Brigadier. The Brigadier is trying to help his Uncle Mario, who is being threatened by a mobster named Vilmio. Mario is also trying to deal with the ghosts that have been sighted in his castello. The Brigadier asks the Doctor to investigate the hauntings and determine their source. The Doctor reveals that the ghosts are “N-Bodies”, or the souls of the deceased who have not yet left the physical plane. The ghosts are gathering around Mario’s castello due to a fracture in the N-Space barrier; if the barrier were to fail, Earth would be overrun with the monsters that inhabit N-Space.
The Doctor travels back to the 19th and 16th century in an attempt to locate the cause of the fracture. In the past he discovers that Vilmio is actually an alchemist called Vilmius who has discovered a method for extending his lifespan; now that he is nearing the end of his life, he wants to use the power of N-Space to give himself true immortality. He also plans to control the monsters in N-Space and use them to rule the world. Vilmius has been waiting centuries for a specific astrological conjunction to occur, which is scheduled to occur in the next few days.
Vilmius’ men storm the castello, allowing Vilmio access to the N-Space fracture. The Doctor and Sarah Jane, using a device the Doctor invented, send their N-bodies into the fracture as well. Inside N-Space, Sarah Jane’s belief in the Doctor transforms his body into that of a heroic white knight, which allows the Doctor to defeat Vilmius and sever his N-Body’s link with his physical body. The defeat comes too late, and Vilmius begins absorbing the N-Space energy into his body. In a last-ditch attempt, the Doctor increases the amount of N-Space energy funnelling into Vilmius, which causes him to explode; the N-Space energy disperses harmlessly.
- Jeremy Fitzoliver was introduced in Barry Letts’ first Doctor Who radio play, The Paradise of Death and went on to appear in Letts’ Past Doctor Adventure novel Island of Death. He is also featured in the Past Doctor Adventures novel Instruments of Darkness. Author Gary Russell originally intended Fitzoliver to be a part of the novel Business Unusual, but when BBC ordered it changed from a Third Doctor to a Sixth Doctor novel, the character was dropped.
- The term “N-Space” (Null Space) here is used differently than it is during the E-Space trilogy, where it stands for “Normal Space.”
- Sarah Jane mentions encountering the Daleks, placing this story after Death to the Daleks.
- The Doctor tells Sarah Jane a story about hiking around Gallifrey with a wise teacher who lived in the mountains. This seems to be a reference to the Gallifreyan they encounter in Planet of the Spiders.
Cast and Crew Notes
- Broadcast a few months before his death, this was Jon Pertwee’s final performance as the Doctor.
- Sandra Dickinson was married to Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor). Their daughter, Georgia Moffett, played Jenny in The Doctor’s Daughter, who later married David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor.
- Stephen Thorne appeared in The Dæmons, The Three Doctors, Frontier in Space and The Hand of Fear.
- Harry Towb appeared in The Seeds of Death and Terror of the Autons.
|Series||Doctor Who book:
Virgin Missing Adventures
Sarah Jane Smith
|Set in||Period between
Death to the Daleks and The Five Doctors (in the Third Doctor’s timeline)
|Preceded by||The Romance of Crime|
|Followed by||Time of Your Life|
Barry Letts’ novelisation of the script was released as part of the Virgin Missing Adventures range of spin-off novels in 1995, nearly a year before the broadcast of the serial (the first BBC novelisation to not be published under the Target Books range, which had been retired the previous year).
- The Ghosts of N-Space at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Ghosts of N-Space title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Ghosts of N-Space (audio) at The TARDIS Library
- The Ghosts of N-Space (novel) at The TARDIS Library
- The Ghosts of N-Space reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
- The Ghosts of N-Space Missing Adventure reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
- The Ghosts of N-Space reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
- The Ghosts of N-Space Missing Adventure reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
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