I remember when the Sixth Doctor began traveling with Constance Clarke. It seemed like a really good jumping on point to me, however I was still a ways away from completing my Eighth Doctor collection, a priority at the time. Constance’s first adventure with the Doctor was “Criss-Cross” (Sep 2015), but her first actual appearance was the month before, part of “The Last Adventure” box set, which I did listen to. With my Eighth Doctor collection now long since complete, I am finally prepared to move forward with the Sixth Doctor and Constance. Here’s a look at what’s ahead…

204. Criss-Cross - p1
205. Planet of the Rani - p1
206. Shield of the Jötunn - p1
218. Order of the Daleks - p1
219. Absolute Power - p1
220. Quicksilver - p2
225. Vortex Ice / Cortex Fire - p2
231. The Behemoth - p2
232. The Middle - p2
233. Static - p2
238. The Lure of the Nomad - p2
239. Iron Bright - p3
240. Hour of the Cybermen - p3
246. The Hunting Ground - p3
253. Memories of a Tyrant - p
254. Emissary of the Daleks - p
255. Harry Houdini's War - p
259. Blood on Santa's Claw - p

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Who is Flip?

The Doctor first met Philippa “Flip” Jackson in “The Crimes of Thomas Brewster” (#143) when he was traveling with Evelyn Smyth. After the Sixth Doctor’s “Travels with Charley” he met Flip for a second time and she became the Doctor’s Companion for a series of adventures (#156-158, 182-184). The end of “Scavenger” left her in dire straits: trying to make planet-fall from low orbit in a spacesuit. After that, when the Doctor was reunited with Peri, he made a cryptic remark about his recent companion “taking the plunge,” but we eventually discover that she landed safely and married her boyfriend.

QUICKSILVER: At the end of "Absolute Power", Constance Clarke asked to be returned to her proper time and place. The Doctor miscalculates a bit, arriving in 1948. Constance tries to locate her husband, but evidence suggests that he is involved with another woman. To the Doctor's surprise, that woman turns out to be his erstwhile companion, Flip! The whole thing is a misunderstanding, of course. Flip has been transported to 1948 from her wedding day. If I understood this correctly, the Doctor's wedding gift was a pair of wine goblets from 1948, but something in the way they were delivered inadvertently transported her to 1948 from her wedding without her husband. (Either that, or the Doctor wanted to send them to 1948 on their honeymoon and the groom was left behind; I'm not certain on this point.)

I say the "whole thing" is a misunderstanding, but that's not entirely true; Henry Clarke is having an affair. It turns out Constance and Henry were very young when they were wed, and his mission only put further strain on their marriage. When he met Ana on his mission, it was all he could do not to fall in love with her, but when the war ended and Constance was missing, nature took its course. They part amiably, but this is not the ending I anticipated for this arc. 

Both Constance and Flip decide to continue to travel with the Doctor for a time, Flip on the condition that he eventually return her to her wedding day, which he assures her he can do (this despite the fact he missed the mark with cOnstance by at least three years). There couldn't be two women with personalities as different as Connie ("Constance!") and Philippa ("Flip!"), but they eventually bond (over the Doctor's lack of fashion sense for one thing). I'm looking forward to the continuation of this trio in the TARDIS, but next up are two standalone two-part adventures (as opposed to a single four-parter) set during Flip's original tenure with the Doctor.

VORTEX ICE (Pt. 1): I was going to save this one until tomorrow because I just posted about "Quicksilver" earlier today, but I want to get something written up while the details are still (mostly) fresh in my mind. As I mentioned, this is a two-part adventure set during the time Flip was first travelling with the Sixth Doctor. the first part is fairly straighforward, but then... HOO BOY!

The TARDIS lands in an old mine in the present day, where the Doctor and Flip meet a small group of scientists researching an anomaly of some kind, the same thing which attracted the TARDIS. they soon discover that one of the corridors is filled with "vortex ice," a kind of frozen time which is the way chroton energy reacts under certain conditions. The Doctor expects to find a Time Lord frozen in the vortex ice, but is completey unprepared for the one he does find: himself! There is another Flip frozen in the ice as well, wearing the same outfir as the one she's wearing now. The Doctor explains that, apparently, sometime in their future, they will become trapped in the vortex ice.

"How do you know?" asks Flip.

"Do you remember being frozen in vortex ice?"

"No."

"Therefore, it must happen to us in the future."

There is an alien cyborg creature, freed from the ice, who wants to kill the Doctor for trapping it in the ice in the first place (which he hasn't done yet). The Doctor and Flip become separated, and something about Flip's proximity to the vortex ice causes it to melt. Flip's counterpart thaws before the Doctor's and explains to the first Flip that she (that is, the Flip not frozen in the ice) is her own future self!

Then it starts to get weird.

VORTEX ICE (Pt. 2): I love stories with two Doctors, especially when both are the same Doctor. This one is extremely entertaining, but equally hard to follow. I listened to the whole thing twice, then the second part a third time and took notes, and I'm certain I'll be able to make it sound as interesting as I found it to be. I eventually had to plot the story from the past Doctor & Flip's POV (the ones trapped in the ice) as well as from the future counterparts'. The part that difficult to wrap my mind around is that the "first" Doctor/Flip set we encounter is actually going through the series of events for the second time. The Doctor has lost his memories (for reasons which may or may not become clear), and Flip is only pretending not to she's been through this experience before. 

This set-up leads to the unusual situation that companion knows more about their circumstances than the Doctor does. "If I've done this before," the Doctor asks at one point, "why don't I remember it?" to which Flip replies, "I'll explain it to you later." Both flips go off with the one Doctor while the other is still thawing. The Doctor tries to enact a plan when the TARDIS appears and enacts the same plan. The "frozen" Doctor has "borrowed" the "other" Doctor's TARDIS, then takes off leaving Flip to explain, saying ,"You know how bad I am with explanations."

"He is the most rude, incorrigible..."

"He is you, you know."

"...handsome, intelligent, perceptive person I have ever met."

Flip is in a true moral dilemma, because in order to close the loop, she has to let events play out as they did before, which means the scientists will die. This one is much better than I'm making it sound, believe me, but it's difficult to explain.

CORTEX FIRE: The Doctor takes Flip to a planet whose nearest star, 2 1/2 light days away, is known to go nova in two days. they will be attending an opera in an outdoor venue which will just happen to be the prime place to see the event. The natives of the planet abandoned space exploration decades ago (although they still conduct experiments in the ionosphere) and have no idea of the event about to happen. When the doctor is overheard mentioning the "fireworks" and then a bomb explodes in the arena, he is arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist. 

Lots of other stuff happens. The natives all have a rudimentary for of group mind. Somehow, this mind got the idea to commit suicide and led the people to build space rockets to fire into the neighboring sun about 100 years ago. It is these same rockets, just arrived, which are going to cause the sun to go nova. when the normally harmless effects of the nova reach the planet's ionosphere, it will trigger the experiments which will wipe out the population. It's up to the doctor to figure out a awy to save them in time.

"Cortex Fire" was pretty good, but I personally didn't like it as much as "Vortex Ice."

THE BEHEMOTH: Colin Baker expressed a desire to do a "pure" historical, that is, a story set in Earth's past with no supernatural or science fictional elements. The TARDIS arrives in Bath in the year 1756. Society is abuzz about the impending arrival of Lady Clara from Amsterdam, in the company of one Captain Van Der Meer. the big reveal at the end of part one is that "Lady Clara" is actually (wait for it)... a rhinoceros. Apparently, Captain Van Der Meer is an actual historical figure who traveled Europe with a captured rhino in tow (one of many historical facts I have learned from Doctor Who). The action shifts to Bristol, the center of England's slave trade, and it soon becomes a very serious story about slavery (a topic touched upon only once in Doctor Who to the best of my knowledge). 

The Doctor is traveling with Mrs. Clarke and Mrs. Ramon at this time (the only time I can think of in which the Doctor traveled with not one but two married women... without their husbands), although "Mrs. Ramon" still prefers to be called "Flip" (as in "flippin' 'eck!"). The serial gets off to rather a slow start with all the high society stuff before moving to the meat of the story. 

Be funny if "Lady Clara" the rhino turned out to be an aspect of Clara Oswald.

The same thought occurred to me, but lady Clara's Wiki doesn't mention it. :)

With two married women aboard the TARDIS, this is definitely not the era of the "boyfriend Doctors," yet the doctor does have something of a romance with the widowed Mrs. Middlemint, one of the society women.

THE MIDDLE: "The Middle" is, more or less, the Doctor Who version of Logan's Run. the story begins just after Flip (19 years old) learns that today is Constance's birthday (35 years old). How she learned this information from the private Mrs. Clarke is not revealed, but Flip is determined to make it a memorable occasion. They convince the Doctor to take them somewhere for a spa day, and they end up on Formicia. Formicia is one of 40 colonies on this world, driven underground when the surface was devastated by war a century ago. The war still rages, but you wouldn't know it from the populace, who seem only to party and sleep. One other thing: all of the citizens are young.

Everything in the society is predicated by age, and before they enter the spa they must submit to a scan, one which reveals their respective ages. (Actually, the machine breaks while scanning the Doctor, but it does reveal he is much older than he appears.) A robot drone immediately appears and transports the Doctor away. The scan also reveals that Constance is actually 16 minutes shy of turning exactly 35 years old. When that time expires, she too is whisked away.

Left behind, Flip makes friends with a hedonistic young woman who is eventually revealed to be a member of the underground working against this society, which dives people into three groups. "The Beginning" is anyone birth through 34 years old; they are free to enjoy life with no responsibilities whatsoever. "The Middle" comprises ages 35-69; they do all the work of the society. When someone reaches "The End" at age 70, they are conscripted into the army to become soldiers in the war. 

On anyone's birthday, he or she is allowed to send a single, one-way message to one of the other groups. Because it is Constance's birthday, she sends a message to the Doctor, cluing him in to what she has learned of the situation. Because her scan also revealed her ability to organize information, she is given a job which allows her to look in on both Flip in "The Beginning" and the Doctor in "The End." Constance's co-worker is the father of Flip's new friend.

The Doctor has been materialized into a mechanized battlesuit, which keeps the soldiers energized and anesthetized and in top fighting form. When the Doctor refuses to fight (which is almost unheard of in this society), a drone is dispatched to kill one of his friends in another zone. The drone attacks Flip, but she and her friend are able to defeat and reprogram it to think they are both over 70. They reactivate it and are immediately grafted into battle armor in "The End" zone. Constance observes all this from "The Middle."

Eventually it is revealed that the war is long since over and the whole society is a social experiment to produce a willing yet expendable soldier class, society's elderly. As soon as this information is made known, the society crumbles leaving the Doctor to pick up the pieces. The Middleman, who runs "The Middle," is actually way past 70 himself. Constance berates him, "Where I come from, young people step up to do their own fighting and wouldn't allow anyone to die in their place, let alone their own grandparents. where is your courage?"

In light of what I have heard certain pundits and politicians say about the elderly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this story (from 2017) has some shilling overtones in today's world.

STATIC: The Doctor has agreed to return both Constance and Flip to their respective times/places. Instead, the TARDIS arrives in a "caravan site" (what we Yanks would call a campground) in the 1980s. Our POV characters are Andy and Joanna, an unmarried couple whose relationship is strained due to the death of Joanna's sister Susanne, who drowned while they were all three on holiday a year before. This particular caravan site is run by Percy Till, a man in his 60s who allows no electronic devices to be used on the site whatsoever. When the Doctor, Constance and Flip arrive, Percy knows the Doctor but the Doctor doesn't remember him.

Constance recognizes the name of the site as on old RAF station where hush-hush things were done during the war. Nearby, there is a stone circle used for human sacrifices in ancient times. Andy has brought a stack of photographs of Joanna's sister, Susanne. This upsets Joanna greatly, especially when Andy turns on a portable TV which seems to pick up Susanne's dying cries. Percy then enters their cabin with an ax and breaks up the television. Soon, they discover a duplicate of Suzanne growing inside a nearby tree. Then, a fog appears, and from out of the mist emerges Suzanne herself! 

There is something about this area which allows the dead to return to say their final goodbyes if someone thinks of them. Somehow Andy has found out about it, which is why he brought the pictures of his girlfriend's dead sister. It soon becomes apparent, however, that although the deceased may manifest through the mist (and duplicates, or "shams") are for some reason created, they cannot leave the site and they must return to the moment of their deaths. 

The Doctor and Constance decide to take the TARDIS back to WWII to find out what was going on then, but Flip elects to remain behind with her new friend Joanna. Besides, the Doctor and Constance will be coming back, right? In the past, the Doctor and Constance discover that the RAF have learned the secret of this area, and they are bringing back pilots killed in action, pumping them for any intelligence they may know to help the war effort, then returning them to their proper time and place to die. One of the pilots, it turns out, happens to be Percy Till. 

This whole situation was set up by an extra-dimensional, non-corporeal race called the "Static" who are creating the "shams" to invade our dimension. They are able to exist in the static of electronic devices, which is why the future Percy is so adamantly opposed to electronic devices on the caravan site. The Doctor separates from Constance, leaving her behind to smash all of the RAF radios, a job she takes very seriously, even when a fire breaks out and threatens her life.

Meanwhile, back in the future, Flip is thinking of Constance in the past when a sham of Constance appears within a tree, absolute proof that she is dead. Shortly thereafter, Constance herself appears from out of the mist, confirming the fact. The Doctor has to convince Percy that the only "escape" for him is to return to the point of his death, and that he needs to stay and prevent anyone from using electronic devices to summon the spirits of the dead until he returns.

Can the Doctor somehow save Constance?

Sounds vaguely reminiscent of "Under the Lake"/"Before the Flood".

Jeff of Earth-J said:

STATIC: The Doctor has agreed to return both Constance and Flip to their respective times/places. Instead, the TARDIS arrives in a "caravan site" (what we Yanks would call a campground) in the 1980s. Our POV characters are Andy and Joanna, an unmarried couple whose relationship is strained due to the death of Joanna's sister Susanne, who drowned while they were all three on holiday a year before. This particular caravan site is run by Percy Till, a man in his 60s who allows no electronic devices to be used on the site whatsoever. When the Doctor, Constance and Flip arrive, Percy knows the Doctor but the Doctor doesn't remember him.

Constance recognizes the name of the site as on old RAF station where hush-hush things were done during the war. Nearby, there is a stone circle used for human sacrifices in ancient times. Andy has brought a stack of photographs of Joanna's sister, Susanne. This upsets Joanna greatly, especially when Andy turns on a portable TV which seems to pick up Susanne's dying cries. Percy then enters their cabin with an ax and breaks up the television. Soon, they discover a duplicate of Suzanne growing inside a nearby tree. Then, a fog appears, and from out of the mist emerges Suzanne herself! 

There is something about this area which allows the dead to return to say their final goodbyes if someone thinks of them. Somehow Andy has found out about it, which is why he brought the pictures of his girlfriend's dead sister. It soon becomes apparent, however, that although the deceased may manifest through the mist (and duplicates, or "shams") are for some reason created, they cannot leave the site and they must return to the moment of their deaths. 

The Doctor and Constance decide to take the TARDIS back to WWII to find out what was going on then, but Flip elects to remain behind with her new friend Joanna. Besides, the Doctor and Constance will be coming back, right? In the past, the Doctor and Constance discover that the RAF have learned the secret of this area, and they are bringing back pilots killed in action, pumping them for any intelligence they may know to help the war effort, then returning them to their proper time and place to die. One of the pilots, it turns out, happens to be Percy Till. 

This whole situation was set up by an extra-dimensional, non-corporeal race called the "Static" who are creating the "shams" to invade our dimension. They are able to exist in the static of electronic devices, which is why the future Percy is so adamantly opposed to electronic devices on the caravan site. The Doctor separates from Constance, leaving her behind to smash all of the RAF radios, a job she takes very seriously, even when a fire breaks out and threatens her life.

Meanwhile, back in the future, Flip is thinking of Constance in the past when a sham of Constance appears within a tree, absolute proof that she is dead. Shortly thereafter, Constance herself appears from out of the mist, confirming the fact. The Doctor has to convince Percy that the only "escape" for him is to return to the point of his death, and that he needs to stay and prevent anyone from using electronic devices to summon the spirits of the dead until he returns.

Can the Doctor somehow save Constance?

THE LURE OF THE NOMAD: This one begins with the Doctor preparing to return his companion  Mathew Sharpe ("that's Mathew with one 't' and Sharpe with an 'e' at the end" as he is wont to say) to the year 2715. I was immediately confused. Apparently, he was promised one trip in the TARDIS, but ended up going on many. He met the Quarks, Mermodons, a Chronosaurus and Mr Peep. They travelled together for quite some time, with Mathew later stating that it is difficult to keep track of time in the TARDIS. I had never heard of him. Was he a companion from the books?

In part two, a flashback reveals their actual first meeting. The mention of the previous adventures in part one was apparently a shorthand way to establish that he was a trusted companion [SPOILER]... before he betrayed the Doctor. [END SPOILER] Sharpe had deliberately flown his ship into a time storm over the planet Ormelia in order to get the Sixth Doctor's attention. Soon enough, the Doctor arrived to rescue him and they began their travels together.

At the very beginning, the Doctor has just shown Mathew the episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus which includes "the parrot sketch." The Doctor is quite a fan of the show (Goon, too), and claims to have suggested the troupe's name. The story was pretty good, too, but I was more interested in fitting this into the Sixth Doctor's timeline. Because it was released after his travels with Constance and Flip (and because there is nothing to indicate otherwise), I'm going to say that's when it occurs.

This would seem to indicate that he never appeared anywhere else.

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