Nightshade
by Mark Gatiss


Publisher: Virgin
ISBN: 0 426 20376 3

     

    BASIC PLOT
    The Doctor and Ace land in the village of Crook Marsham in 1968 where the Doctor considers retirement and Ace falls in love with Robin Yeadon. Edmund Trevithick, an actor who once starred in a BBC series as Professor Nightshade begins to see manifestations of the monsters he fought in the TV program. The Doctor discovers that Crook Marsham has been the site of many unexplained deaths throughout history. The villagers are suddenly plagued by visits of lost loved ones, including Susan Foreman.

    DOCTOR
    Seventh.

    COMPANIONS
    Ace.

    MATERIALISATION CIRCUIT
    Next to a bus shelter, Crook Marsham, 1968 (page 23)

    Crook Marsham, 1644 (page 223).

    A beach on a planet with purple sky (page 228)

    PREPARATORY READING
    None.

    CONTINUITY REFERENCES
    Pgs 1-2 "A white-haired individual with piercing eyes and a down-turned, haughty mouth" We see the first Doctor's departure from Gallifrey.

    "A man with a face like a deflating balloon" It's not clear if this is supposed to be someone we recognise. His line at the end of the Prologue makes him sound a bit like the Monk.

    Pg 2 "Arranged in a row were eight featureless objects about the size of horse boxes, their dull grey surfaces tinged by the familiar underwater-green" The TARDIS capsules are the same as those seen in The War Games, although the reference to "horse boxes" might be intended to evoke the first appearance of the Master's TARDIS in Terror of the Autons (this is a book about nostalgia, after all)

    The white-haired man lifted the heliotrope robes from around his shoulders" Prydonian ceremonial robes are heliotrope, as established in The Deadly Assassin.

    "It had been so long since he had ventured outside, smelled fresh air, seen the first frosts, watched the pale silver and bronze leaves disappearing under melting snow." Gallifrey is a cold place, as seen in The Invasion of Time, Timewyrm: Revelation, Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible and The Infinity Doctors. In Marco Polo Susan mentioned that the leaves were a bright silver.

    Pg 24 "They hadn't been anywhere exciting since the Doctor had pulled his old ship back together again." Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark.

    "He did claim to be over nine hundred years old" The Doctor was 953 is Time and the Rani and later celebrates his millennium while being brutally tortured on Ship in Set Piece.

    Pg 27 "The room beyond the door had six crumbling stone walls, their solid roundels dappled by a warm green light. In the centre stood a massive granite console, elaborately carved like a Gothic altar. Nests of tiny, winking instrumentation crowded its pillars and panels. "It's like sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool," she said, gazing at the arched ceilingin awe. [...] 'Tertiary console room. Not bad, eh?'" The tertiary control room pops up in several NAs (eg Infinite Requiem) and bears a few similarities to the console room of the Telemovie.

    Pg 28 "The embroidered badge stood out in red and gold: COAL HILL SCHOOL." This is supposedly Susan's school uniform (but see Continuity Cock ups).

    "That was the place where they'd had that run in with the Daleks. So why was the Doctor so upset about that? And what was he doing with one of the uniforms anyway?" Remembrance of the Daleks. It's not outside the bounds of possibility that the Doctor didn't tell Ace that he'd lived there in Remembrance.

    "The Doctor returned, now dressed in a chocolate-brown belted coat, russet waistcoat and checked trousers" This is the first costume change of the NAs (though certainly not the last) and isn't entirely dissimilar from the outfit he wears in the telemovie.

    Pg 38 "I wonder if I'm not being a selfish old Time Lord. Keeping you from better things." Foreshadows Love and War.

    Pg 39 "I enrolled her in that school when I came to earth with the Hand of Omega." An Unearthly Child, Remembrance of the Daleks.

    "But she left me. As they all do. As you will... [...] There've been so many over the years. Ian and Barbara. Sarah. Jo. Dear Jamie..." Some more foreshadowing of Love and War.

    Pg 45 "Meeting the man with whom she would soon conceive little Dorothy" Ace's date of birth has been established as August 20th, 1969, so this tracks.

    Pg 50 "For a moment, he saw himself balanced on the slippery walkway of another telescope." Logopolis (and the Doctor later falls off this tower as well, on page 184).

    Pg 54 "The Rayner sisters are going to their family in Birmingham. Mr Dutton, Mr Bollard and Mr Messingham..." Early NA namedropping references future novelists Jac Rayner and Simon Messingham (and Tim Bollard is mentioned in the acknowledgement's of Messingham's The Face-Eater).

    Pg 64 "Of course, Victoria. Outside the Cybertombs on Telos. Talking about his family. Sleeping in his memory." Tomb of the Cybermen.

    Pg 66 "One of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit" Mark Gatiss seems to have a soft spot for mid-17th Century English history. One of his novel for BBC Books is The Roundheads, and deals with the execution of Charles I. The first of the BBV Time Travellers audio adventures was Republica, about what would have happened if Cromwell's legacy had continued into the 20th Century. And the Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventure Phantasmagoria, also by Mark Gatiss, takes place in Restoration London.

    Pg 72 "'Phantasmagoria,' said Cooke, waving his hand dismissively" Mark Gatiss' first production for the Big Finish audio adventures was entitled Phantasmagoria. This word also appears in Gatiss's The Unquiet Dead.

    Pg 128 "How many times had he been here before? With Victoria on the gas platform. Jo in Llanfairfach. Tegan in London." Fury from the Deep, The Green Death, Resurrection of the Daleks.

    Pg 129 "After Fenric and more recently their adventures battling the Timewyrm" The Curse of Fenric, Genesys through Revelation,

    Pg 137 "She'd thought that their terrifying experiences inside the Doctor's own mind during the final battle with the Timewyrm had exorcized the Doctor's angst." Timewyrm: Revelation.

    Pg 165 "'Grandfather?' said the girl giggling. 'Where have you been?'" The Doctor's nostalgia conjures up an image of Susan.

    Pg 167 "He saw again Dalek-ravaged London, Ian and Barbara, and Susan with the man she had grown to love." The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

    "Since then, there had been one brief meeting, during the Borusa incident." The Five Doctors.

    Pg 175 "With a start, the Doctor recognised the earring Ace had picked up on their visit to Segonax." The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.

    Pg 183 "It was the same formula she'd brewed up in Nazi Germany." Timewyrm: Exodus.

    Pg 184 Reference to the Perivale Youth Centre (Survival).

    Pg 187 The Doctor suffers extreme agony from a dislocated right shoulder. Later NAs (including The Left-Handed Hummingbird) establish that the Doctor's left shoulder conceals a huge nerve bundle that can act like a tiny brain and falling on that could have paralysed him.

    Pg 211 "Remember Gabriel Chase?" Ghost Light.

    Pg 214 "That nasty boy Chad Boyle." Timewyrm: Revelation.

    Pg 216 "That first visit to Revolutionary France." Referenced in An Unearthly Child and The Reign of Terror and covered in more detail in Christmas on a Rational Planet.

    "Fleeing through the forest to the plain where the TARDIS stood. The months in China with that Venetian traveller. Slowly dying from the deadly radiation of the planet Skaro." An Unearthly Child, Marco Polo, The Daleks.

    "Not the sort of thing for a fan of John Smith and the Common Men." An Unearthly Child.

    "One day, I shall come back." The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Five Doctors.

    Pg 222 "It's an owl." Owls were quite symbolic in the NAs, especially in the works of Paul Cornell.

    Pg 227 "He didn't want to let her go but under normal circumstances he would have done. Under normal circumstances. But there was more at stake now..." First hints that the Doctor is playing for higher stakes, which will become embodied in the concept of Time's Champion, starting with the next book.

    Pg 228 "By the time Ian Brown and the Stone Roses came round she'd probably be too old to like them" Ace was a fan of The Stone Roses in Timewyrm: Revelation.

    "Take me back!" This seems like it should tie into the next book, but it doesn't, except for a couple of oblique lines.

    OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
    Cameo by the first Doctor in the prologue.

    Susan appears, but as an apparition manifested by the Sentience.

    NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
    Robin Yeadon (who reappears in Happy Endings, having met up with Ace's mother), Dr Cooper, Vijay Degun, Jill Mason, George Lowcock

    The Sentience, possibly the Sou(ou)shi from Venusian Lullaby.

    CONTINUITY COCK-UPS

    • Pg 28 "And what was he doing with one of the uniforms anyway?" Susan didn't wear a school uniform in An Unearthly Child (and nor did any of the other students).

    PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]

    • The girl in Remembrance of the Daleks wore a uniform, so presumably it was a no-uniform day at school the day An Unearthly Child took place.

    FEATURED ALIEN RACES
    The Sentience, a creature that feeds off energy and nostalgia. The Doctor believes the Earth formed around it (page 188).

    The monsters from the Nightshade televison show are brought to life (they're the giant cockroaches seen on the cover).

    FEATURED LOCATIONS
    Gallifrey, pre-An Unearthly Child.

    Crook Marsham, 1968.

    Crook Marsham, 1644 (page 223).

    A beach on a planet with purple sky (page 228).

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    The first stand-alone novel of the NAs, Nightshade is a surprisingly touching book. It's theme of nostalgia is perfectly placed to examine and then rid the NAs of their obsession with the past, allowing them to move forward (as they would in the very next book). Having a sentient being buried beneath the Earth for millennia manages to tie into the novel's theme and thus avoid being the enormous Doctor Who cliche it would otherwise be. It's also a neat little tale in its own right, with some great imagery and set pieces and the wonderful Edmund Trevithick, who's sadly killed off.