"City of Spires" - "Wreck of the Titan" - "Legend of the Cybermen"

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Arriving in a hail of musket fire, the Doctor unexpectedly finds himself in the highlands of Scotland, where the ruthless Black Donald and his band of rebels are fighting the Redcoats. But the highland warriors no longer fight for the Jacobite cause and the English officers answer only to the mysterious Overlord. What has happened to Scotland and why are its moors littered with advanced, oil-pumping technology?

Reunited with his faithful companion Jamie McCrimmon, the Doctor must venture into the sinister City of Spires to find the answers. But standing in his way is the deadly Red Cap…

"City of Spires" takes place in Scotland in 1780. Although Jamie's memories of his travels in the TARDIS were wiped by the Time Lords, he should still remember his initial encounter with the Second Doctor in 1746 but, mysteriously, Jamie maintains that he’s “never clapped eyes” on the Doctor before. Of course, he hasn’t (not this regeneration, anyway), but he doesn’t recall the Second Doctor, either. That’s not the only mystery to greet the Doctor upon his arrival; there’s also the matter of modern oil-pumping technology in 18th century Scotland. According to the Doctor, the past 35 years as Jamie remembers them represent a "Temporal Foldback Distortion."

This adventure serves as a perfect introduction to the new status quo of a trilogy of stories featuring the Sixth Doctor and Jamie. It’s self-contained, but it’s also open-ended, setting up a few mysteries to be solved in the remaining two parts.

NEXT UP: “The Wreck of the Titan”
Interesting - I always thought that Hines and C. Baker worked well together in the otherwise less-than-stellar "Two Doctors".
You're not wrong. Read on.

DOCTOR WHO REACTIONS: “The Wreck of the Titan”

The North Atlantic is a treacherous place at the best of times. April 14, 1912 is the very worst of times. The Doctor and Jaime find themselves trapped aboard the RMS titanic, 400 miles off Newfoundland and heading towards a conclusive appointment with destiny.

But the iceberg isn’t their only problem. Down in the inky depths, something is hunting: something huge, hostile and hungry. This should certainly be A Night To Remember.

Whereas “City of Spires” sets up the new relationship between the Sixth Doctor and Jamie, “The Wreck of the Titan” takes the ball and runs with it. Although a younger Jaime was deferential to the Second Doctor in terms of leadership, he always gave as good as he got. The relationship and verbal interplay between Colin Baker and Frazer Hines is so spot on that it makes it easy to believe that Colin Baker is a later incarnation of Patrick Troughton himself!

I’m reluctant to discuss the plot in detail lest I give too much away. Suffice it to say that there is a mystery involved and there are enough clues given to keep you guessing, but enough red herrings to keep you from guessing correctly until the answer is revealed in its own time. The link to “City of Spires” is subtle, but whereas part one was open-ended, part two, while self-contained, ends on a cliffhanger leading directly into part three. You could listed to “the Wreck of the Titan” without having heard “city of Spires” but I don’t recommend it; I don’t think anyone reading this would even want to.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at how it all wraps up.

NEXT UP: “Legend of the Cybermen”
A Night to Remember was a 1958 British film about the sinking of the Titanic (based on a book of the same name, Wikipedia tells me). Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan was a novella from 1898 that told a story about the sinking of a passenger liner which can be seen as prefiguring the Titanic disaster. Wikipedia has an account.
The 1898 novella does play an important part in the plot (especially the fact that it went back to press for a second edition in 1912). Very good!

Other than that brief tip o' the hat on the back label, the 1958 film doesn't have anything to do with it, although wouldn't it be cool if somehow all the fictionalized accounts (A Night to Remember, the James Cameron film, this audio adventure, an episode of The Time Tunnel...) could be edited together in to one big narrative as if they were happening simultaneously on different decks?

Then again, maybe not...
Jeff of Earth-J said:
wouldn't it be cool if somehow all the fictionalized accounts (A Night to Remember, the James Cameron film, this audio adventure, an episode of The Time Tunnel...) could be edited together in to one big narrative as if they were happening simultaneously on different decks?

Then again, maybe not...

"Suddenly, I realized - everyone on board was a time traveler!"
DOCTOR WHO REACTIONS: “Legend of the Cybermen”

The Cybermen are on the march… killing and converting as they go. Resistance is useless.

Trapped on the outermost fringes of the battle, the Doctor and Jamie are astonished to encounter an old friend: astrophysicist Zoe Heriot.

It’s the happiest of reunions. But what hope is there of a happy ending against the unstoppable Cybermen?

I find myself in the unenviable position of not being able to discuss the plot of “Legend of the Cybermen” at all without giving away the key premise of the plot (as well as certain aspects of “Wreck of the Titan” as well). I can tell you that when the Doctor and Jamie first encounter Zoe, only one month has passed for her and she still has all of her memories from her travels with the Doctor.

There are plenty of twists and turns throughout this trilogy (especially in parts two and three) and it’s a direct sequels to one of the television stories… but I can’t tell you which one! [HINT: It’s a Second Doctor story and it is available on DVD.] Everything is wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end, but other than that I’m afraid I can’t say anything else about it without giving it away!
I wonder - is there any indication as to which era of Cybermen these are?
Yes, it's all made quite clear.

I will give one other hint: this trilogy (especialy it's conclusion) is definitely a Doctor Who story in that it wouldn't work as Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica or any other kind of straight-up "serious" science fiction.

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