The Witch Hunters
by Steve Lyons


Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 40579 1

     

    BASIC PLOT
    While the Doctor repairs the TARDIS, Ian, Barbara and Susan decide to live history for a week in Salem Village, well before the infamous witch trials. But the crew have made a disastrous mistake and their attempts to change the tide of history can only be doomed to failure. Or can they?

    DOCTOR
    First.

    COMPANIONS
    Ian, Barbara and Susan.

    MATERIALISATION CIRCUIT
    A forest near Salem Village, Massachusetts, January, June and July 1692.

    Massachusetts, Nov 1954.

    Boston, July 1692.

    A beach, Sep 1742.

    Danvers, Massachusetts, present day.

    PREPARATORY READING
    None.

    CONTINUITY REFERENCES
    Note: This story is referred to in William Russell's in-character introduction to The Crusade video release when he mentions "The Salem Witch trials"

    Pg 3 "Then Susan is to marry a fighting man." This may or may not refer to David Campbell.

    Pg 15 "He was here only by the good grace of a powerful man, a legend among his own people; a small boon granted after the Death Zone affair." This is the Richard Hurndall Doctor, from the Five Doctors and the powerful man is Rassilon. Also, see page 247.

    Pg 18 "The Doctor signed it with the name Benjamin Jackson" This dates the Richard Hurndall Doctor to the very end of the first Doctor's life.

    Pg 21 "You seem to spend more time at this fault locator than at the main controls. If it's not the fast-return switch, it's the fluid links - and that chameleon thing hasn't worked since we came on board!" The fault locator was used quite a bit throughout the first Doctor's era. The fast-return switch was a central plot point in The Edge of Destruction and it's referred to on page 29, used on pages 79 and 224 and is disabled on page 267. The fluid links caused them trouble in The Daleks and the chameleon circuit first jammed in in An Unearthly Child (or Time and Relative).

    Pg 23 "He couldn't help but remember how the TARDIS's systems had once failed to warn them of a radiation hazard on Skaro." The Daleks.

    "Even the Earth of another era was far better than a Sense-Sphere or a Marinus, to her mind." The Sensorites, The Keys of Marinus.

    Pg 29 "Since it took us back to the beginning of time and almost killed us all" The Edge of Destruction.

    Pg 33 "It had been part of a costume he had picked up in revolutionary France" The Reign of Terror.

    "I thought it wasn't possible to alter history" The Doctor tells Barbara this in The Aztecs.

    Pg 41 "I'm not a mountain goat" The Doctor also says this in The Time Meddler.

    Pg 46 "It's like the Aztecs all over again." The Aztecs.

    Pg 48 "He recalled the name of one of those infernal twentieth-century musicians with whom Susan had been so besotted.It would suffice. 'Smith,' he said. 'Doctor John Smith.'" John Smith and the Common Men were the band Susan listened to in An Unearthly Child. The Doctor's alias is first mentioned onscreen in Spearhead from Space.

    Pg 51 "An unearthly child indeed" Describing Susan.

    Pg 57 "A cloven-hoofed demon was beckoning her to join it in her own personal inferno." With any other author, this might be chance, but with Steve Lyons it's surely no coincidence that this sentence refers to two Pertwee stories (and the Cloven Hoof was the pub in The Daemons). Presumably an in-joke, especially since The Daemons features a white witch in the form of Miss Hawthorne.

    Pg 70 "He would remind her of their tribulations in Mexico." The Aztecs.

    Pg 71 "He probably just wants to keep us from warning ourselves not to go to that junkyard or step into his wretched Ship." An Unearthly Child.

    Pg 72 "Telepathic powers, like Susan started to develop on the Sense-Sphere."

    Pg 73 "When we went to Marinus we were in somebody's past, but it didn't stop us fighting the Voord. We changed everything on Skaro." The Keys of Marinus, The Daleks.

    Pg 74 "I left it in the back of my car on Totters Lane." An Unearthly Child.

    "Would you tell them what we learned about [the French Revolution]?" The Reign of Terror.

    Pg 76 "You tried to alter the past then." The Aztecs.

    Pg 79 "A serious malfunction had almost killed the entire crew." The Edge of Destruction.

    Pg 97 "Much as it pained him, she would have to learn this lesson the hard way. As had Barbara before her. As had he." In The Aztecs, the Doctor tells Barbara that she cannot rewrite history, saying "I know! Believe me, I know!" suggesting that he had tried and failed.

    "She would leave him soon." She does, just two televised stories later in The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

    Pg 101 "I only wish to save the child from going through exactly what you did." The Aztecs.

    Pg 129 "'Just as some Americans of your century imagined themselves abducted by aliens.' 'To some English men, that really happened.'" An Unearthly Child.

    Pg 161 "Barbara recalled their adventure with the Sensorites, in which Susan had demonstrated unsuspected mental abilities." The Sensorites.

    Pg 203 "The First Law..." Of Time.

    Pg 247 "You seem somewhat... different from last night." Last night refers to the appearance of the Richard Hurndall Doctor, who looks similar to William Hartnell, but not identical.

    Pg 263 "Or perhaps there's an army of Daleks waiting behind the dunes." The Daleks.

    "I remember how I felt after Mexico" The Aztecs.

    OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
    None.

    NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
    John Proctor, Mary Warren, Abigail Williams.

    The Reverend Samuel Parris.

    CONTINUITY COCK-UPS
    None.

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

    FEATURED ALIEN RACES
    None.

    FEATURED LOCATIONS
    Salem Village and surroundings, Massachusetts, January, June and July 1692, plus January 1693.

    Massachusetts, Nov 1954.

    Boston, July 1692.

    A beach, Sep 1742.

    Danvers, Massachusetts, present day.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    Fantastic, heart-wrenching stuff. The Hartnell historical is a sure bet anyway, but this is a triumph, well-deserving of its place at the top of fan polls. The regulars are spot-on and each has a significant part to play. The recreation of Salem village is so vivid that you want to cry out at the seventeenth century injustice. The shenanigans with the Richard Hurndall Doctor are amusing and the use of the fast-return switch is extremely clever. Highly recommended.