This entry features a risque cover from Finn Clark!

The One Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Tropico

Serial 6N - AFRONTIOS -         

 The TARDIS is captured in a time tunnel and flung into the dizzying
future.  Before landing a time lord appears in the console room and
explains to the Doctor that while he may be a renegade, on the run
from political office, he has other higher duties to perform in
service to Gallifrey.  The time has come for the Doctor to be
married.  When he asked whom the time lords have chosen for him
he is told that he is to be wed to a member of an enterprising
species, a Tractator named Gravis.  "Oh no!  Not giant slugs, AGAIN!"

 The Doctor demands that he will not go through with the ceremony
but the time lord disappears as they materialise on the planet   
Frontios.  The planet is inhabited by the last survivors of the
human race - refugees which settled here after the earth was destroyed
in an incredibly complex game of Monopoly which went terribly wrong.
Amoungst the last humans is the young Plantagenet, his mind destroyed
by the guilt and horror of it all -- he was playing the thimble.

 The companions and Doctor meet the humans but are distressed to 
discover that they are now basically fast food snacks for a bunch
of gastropods - the Tractators.  The Doctor checks his pocket watch
and discovers that it is the year 802,701 AD.  On the surface of
the planet the human race frolics happily until they are dragged
underground and eaten by hideous subterranean monsters...this all
sounds so familiar somehow, but the Doctor can't puzzle it out.

 Instead of solving the nagging doubt in the back of his mind,
the Doctor focuses on the nagging doubt at the front of his mind.
He knows perfectly well that time lord marriages aren't always
arranged along lines of love -- but the number of times the time
lords have tried to pawn him off on slugs, snakes, reptiles, and
lawyers, has gotten him worried that they don't think much of him
personally.   Still the Doctor decides to skim through a marriage
informational textbook still in the TARDIS from their last attempt -


   So the time lord council has chosen you to marry a Tractator?
Well, don't rush to press the demat gun against your head just yet!
While the Tractators might not be much to look at - by the late
799th century they control an astonishing 0.00003% of the galaxy!
These large mollusc-like creatures have a variety of amusing
gravity-wielding powers, which they have creatively employed to
devastate many planets in the universe.
   Over the course of your long, and somewhat agreeable, marriage
you'll be sure to see a series of fantastic ruins -- of some planets
that were awe-inspiring in their beauty just moments before you
   Tractators are fairly relaxed compared to most other rampaging
slugoid insectoids but still you might want to skip discussing
the following sensitive issues with your partner - Politics,
Religion, Ethics, Morals, Sports, Literature, Science, and Travel.
You're partner will probably be able to discuss the following
without any cultural sensitivities - Mating, Artillery, and
French films."

 The Doctor is somewhat disappointed by this description but
considers starting off his date by asking his opinions about
Alphaville and Francois Truffaut.

 Tegan is deeply upset with the Doctor and he assures her he'll
bring up the whole "By the way?  Should we be eating human for
dinner tonight?  I'd like to maybe see you drop human out of your
diet and try vegetarianism for awhile" issue.  But the Doctor
firmly tells her he will only mention it when it naturally comes
up in the conversation - as that sort of immediate judgmental
behaviour is certain doom on a first date.

 Turlough offers to help the Doctor, mentioning that he is perfectly
happy to date the creature as well and distract it.  The Doctor
immediately turns down Turlough's offer to help and insists he
must do this alone.  

  When the Doctor arrives, Gravis has set out a special candle-lit
table and put on some soft improvisational jazz on his base's hi-fi.
Gravis explains to the Doctor that they chose to conquer this world
because it had a magnetic core.  They plan to use the humans to
dig down to the core, hollow out the planet, thus turning the 
planet into a giant spaceship they can pilot around the universe.
The Doctor thinks this all sounds horrifically cliche, and wishes
he could meet an alien menace with a truly unique idea for once.

 The Doctor listens patiently as Gravis praises his own plan.
As Gravis drones on and on about his work the Doctor notices the
cut of meat he's eating is very bland and the only flavour he's
getting is from the cheap red wine in box laid next to him on
the table.  Things seem desperate, when the waiter arrives wanting
to know if their are any spices the diners would enjoy.
The Doctor is shocked as Turlough is in the full waiters costume.
The Doctor tries to say something, but it is too late.  Turlough
acts as if he's just fumbled a silver serving tray -- suspiciously
filled with a mountain of salt on top.  The serving tray lands
in the lap of Gravis whom immediately begins to dissolve.

 Turlough grabs the Doctor and they run up to the surface as
the Doctor complains -

 "You've just killed my bride to be!  Or perhaps it was my groom
to be!  Or umm...both.  In either and all cases, the time lords
won't be pleased!  I'll just have to start this whole mess all
over again with some other unspeakable alien species..........
Thanks Turlough."

Book(s)/Other Related - 
Doctor Who & The Sluggish Menace
Rassilon's Guide To Alien Monsters And Marriage (How To Survive)
How To Serve Man - The Ultimate Cookbook

And of course...the infamous and grossly inaccurate TARGET novel -

Goofs -
The chef prepares the human flesh in COMPLETELY the wrong way.
No wonder there was no taste!   Still, a little curry sauce and
who would notice?

Fashion Victims -
Tegan braves the hostile alien environments of the galaxy clad only
in a tight leather mini skirt and ripped t-shirt.   Not that I'm
complaining.  But it is a good example of the classic "Space Bimbo
Hooker" look that Doctor Who loved to capitalize on.

Links and References - 
The Doctor mentions it's been ages since he's had human as the 
main course - preferring them of course as dessert toppings.
(Serial 4C)

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor mentions that the time lords have suggested a number
of unsuitable marriage candidates to him, including - a cactus,
a killer whale, a post box, and Fidel Castro.
Apparently he was forced into dates with these as well.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The extended "Tegan bitching at the Doctor" sequence, deemed too
scary for television in 1984.

New Periodic Section:
To often people focus on quotes that are especially memorable, or
which retain their charm and wit out of context.  Almost always
the hard working lines of dialogue which establish the plot or
move the action along are left by the wayside, so I present for
the first time, the first - "UnQuotable Quote"!

UnQuotable Quote -

Doctor: No.  The one to the left Tegan.

Dialogue Disasters -


Turlough: Doctor, I can date Gravis with you.
  Doctor: A risk shared is a risk doubled.


Doctor: Sometimes it's easier to look for the way in and then
        work backwards.

Tegan: Oh please!  This isn't rocket science!  You're just trying
       to undo my bra!   I mean, you're suppose to be a lord of
       time and space, and you haven't even mastered a simple hook


(The Doctor, still fiddling)

Tegan: This is ridiculous - I was horny half-an-hour ago.
       You're taking forever!  We should just give up
       if you ask me!

Doctor: No one is, Tegan, so shush.


(The Doctor caught by the authorities whilst desperately trying
to remove Tegan's bra, in a public place)

Policeman: Oi!

   Doctor: It's all right officer...umm..she's..ahh...AN ANDROID!
           Yes!  Just ahh..trying to reach her service hatch.

Policeman: It's broken down on you sir?  Not the best quality?

   Doctor: I got it cheap because the walk's not quite right -
           and then there's the accent of course.

Policeman: Damned streetwalking androids.  Used to be a guy would
           go on the beat and catch some old fashion flesh trade.
           Neighborhood's gone right down the tubes with these

The Doctor mentions to Tegan that he wanted to take Gravis along
because time lords like to keep Tractators as hood ornaments

Tegan: We can't go dragging around the universe with a dormant
       Gravis on the console!


Dialogue Triumphs -


    Tegan: You can't marry the Doctor off to some slug!  I LOVE HIM!

Time Lord: Love? 

   Doctor: The exchange of two fantasies.

Time Lord: Ah. 


Doctor: PEOPLE OF FRONTIOS!  I have come to invade and kill you
        all, with this lethal and horrifying....Blue Box....
        umm...yes, just joking.  Forget I said anything.


Garvis: Your interest in me a sham.  Just a fiction invented by
        your fellow time lords.

Doctor: Officially, I'm here quite... unofficially. 


Refugee: Our computers are design with full tempro-logical
         feedback.  They foresee the future and avoid all
         statistical anomalies.  Each one has a completely
         autonomous and self-aware intelligence-driven database -
         each containing the collected knowledge of the entire
         universe. They were built to be completely failure proof.  

Doctor: Then why didn't they foresee landing on a planet filled with
        man-eating Tractators?

Refugee: They failed.


Turlough: Look Doctor, this is all perfectly sensible and easy..

Doctor: OH YEAH!  Well if you're so damned smart, YOU GET THIS


Viewer Quotes -

"This was Peter Davison's finest moment in the role. He really showed
off the unease and discomfort in dating a horrifically repulsive
creature.  It really reminds me of the dates I've had recently."   
  - GothGirl1972, (1994)

"The Doctor's constant worrying about upsetting the time lords seems
totally strange when you consider he's just recently thrown hot
scalding tea at a government official, has hijacked the Death Zone,
and has been on the run for several hundred years now.  It seems
totally without explanation.  The only worry I have, is in some 
dark, sick part of my mind -- I'm worried the Doctor WAS really
into the idea of marrying that slug thing."
                - Charles Daniels (2004)

"I think this was by far Kamelion's strongest story.  I know he
doesn't APPEAR in it whatsoever.  But I like to imagine that he's
shapeshifted into various props in the background.  When I watch
this adventure I like to just pretend that Kamelion is there, lurking.
He's the coathanger one moment, then a water jug, then a small desk.
He's the master of disguise.  And I like the story better that way."
               - Zarniwoop, (1993)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Well conceived, well written, well acted, well executed.
Executed?  Oh!  That reminds me!  Can you leave now?  I need to go
into the basement.  I sure hope the soundproofing is as good as
they said in the catalogue.  The last 15 brands sure weren't."

Peter Davison Speaks!
"I was really nervous about this story.  Most the stories I saw were
a little weak.  Needed a bit of a boost to the plot or the concept.
And I think when those sorts of scripts came along actors just
embellished what they good - try to add a little flavour and hope
for the best.  When went through this story however, I noticed
immediately how the companions and guest characters and even the
monsters were well handled.  I think realised that the Doctor was
going to have to match the energy and vibrant quality of everyone
around him.  Most of the time, I could sort of stand around - give
a weak smile, and slip effortlessly from scene to scene.  It was
my style if you like.  But in this story I really had to drink some
coffee, get some rest, and try to remember the lessons I'd learned
from my early days in dutch pornography.  
It is strange how many eerie similarities Doctor Who actually
shares with illegal Dutch pornography of the 70s.  More than just
blind coincidence would allow for I'd imagine."

Rumors & Facts -

 There is a long standing rumor that this story was originally
intended to feature Richard Hurndall in a black and white
retrospective story remembered by Peter Davison's Doctor after
hitting his head on the TARDIS control console.   This idea is
completely silly, as the Doctor would NEVER be clumsy enough to
injure himself by falling head first onto the TARDIS console.

 However, Eric Saward DID fall head first onto the TARDIS console
during rehearsals one day and struck upon the idea of a story in
which the Doctor fought giant head lice.  Exactly why he thought
of this concept is unknown of course, but he immediately contacted
Christopher Bidmead and asked him to write the story as he recovered
in hospital.  Bidmead was uncertain but eventually finished off
a plot meeting those incredibly loose and strange specifications.

 Bidmead later spun off the Tractators into their own Australian
soap opera.



Cover By: Finn Clark