We love StoriesBig Finish produce great full-cast audio drama for CD and download, featuring many popular television fantasy series.
Take a deep dive into the brilliantly bonkers Doctor Who: The Doomsday Contract video promo with analysis from Big Finish's head of semiotic thickness, Polly Asia Ford.
Hit "play" on the video and read along with the notes below.
00:02: “Don’t panic” is the famous phrase that adorned the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy in large “friendly” letters, within the fiction of Douglas Adams’ radio/book/TV series.
00:04: The Doctor’s 500 Year Diary debuted on screen in 1966’s The Power of the Daleks. The contents as delineated here are, of course, pure whimsy. In truth, it contains a list of his evening meals and nothing but. Note, coleslaw appears as a dinner in its own right 256 times.
00:12: This image, of course, is based on British former professional tennis player, John Lloyd (not the TV producer), whose ATP ranking did indeed peak at 21 in 1978.
00:14: “TIME AND RELATIVE DIMENSION(S) IN SPAIN” refers to both the inconsistent plurality ascribed to the “D” of the TARDIS acronym over the years and the Doctor’s memorable caution, “You'll end up as a couple of burnt cinders floating around in Spain... in, er, space!" in 1965’s TV tale, The Chase.
00:34: The radio dial tunes to, variously, Pirate Radio 4 (a 1985 Radio 4 magazine programme that aired the Doctor Who audio adventure, Slipback); Radio Free Skaro (a polite, Canadian podcast); Necros FM (which can boast the biggest share of ABC1 listeners on the funeral planet featured in 1985’s Revelation of the Daleks); Radio West (where Trevor Eve’s ‘private ear’ sleuth worked in the 1979 BBC1 detective drama, Shoestring, created by Robert “Zygons” Banks “Krynoids” Stewart); Radio Active (1980s Radio 4 sketch show); The Pirate Radio Planet (in truth, we just shoe-horned in a Douglas Adams Doctor Who story here); and Live 34 (the station featured in the 2005 Big Finish release of the same name).
00:39: A falling whale appears at the evocation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as homage to a favourite sequence from the TV adaption of the books.
00:42: Douglas Adams is depicted behind bars as a metaphor for his anxiety regarding deadlines.
00:46: Non-existent LP The Sound of Deadlines wafts past, as a way of alluding to, but not quoting – yet again – that quote that’s always quoted about Douglas Adams and how he loves the whooshing sounds of… Well, you get the point.
01:00: What this trailer really needed! – a quick pastiche of the K9 & Company (1981) title sequence. Alas, the animator couldn’t conceive of a way of also including alfresco typing at this point…
01:06: … but on reflection, the depiction here of Douglas Adams roaring away astride K9 has a similar elan to Sarah Jane Smith zooming down a country road in a convertible Austin Metro.
01:16: The coat of arms of the Altribunal of Coelare Coelum is based on Fulchester crown court’s regalia, as seen in the 1970s series, Crown Court. Instead of lions rampant, if features ‘The Dish of the Day’ as played by Peter Davison in the BBC2 version of Hitchhiker’s and Aggedor from the Doctor Who Peladon TV stories. The shield within contains three shrivenzales (The Ribos Operation, 1978), Erato (The Creature from the Pit, 1979); the Harp of Rassilon (The Five Doctors, 1983) and rubber ducks (the bath time companion of the Captain of the Golgafrinchan B Ark in the Hitchhiker’s books). The (cod) Latin mottos (roughly) translate to, “I have a cunning plan” (as often heard in the John Lloyd produced BBC1 sitcom Blackadder) and, “Bosanquet, why did you go away?” (a refrain from a fine musical lament to ITN newsreader Reginald Bosanquet, sung by Pamela Stephenson in Lloyd’s satirical sketch show, Not The Nine O’Clock News).
01:24: A copyright notice infers that the Vogons from Hitchhiker’s – who demolish the Earth in the opening moments of the novels/radio and TV series – nonetheless assert ownership of the planet.
01:34: “SPOILERS!” appears in an approximation of the “DON’T PANIC!” lettering as seen in the Hitchhiker’s TV series.
01:50: An advert spoofing those that often impede further reading on popular entertainment websites of the “Did X just reveal Y about a future series of Z?” brand [NO THEY DIDN’T!]. This specifically refers to the Golgafrinchan B Ark, as featured in a note preceding this.
02:06: The Children of Pyxis are the diminutive assassins featured in the Big Finish story this trail is supposed to be persuading you to buy.
02:15: Returning tennis metaphor, because we’re committed to that now. The script that appears behind the depiction of John Lloyd, incidentally, is Nev Fountain’s actual adaption of The Doomsday Contract for Big Finish.
02:32: Hopefully self-explanatory, but this is a depiction of Rowan Atkinson, a latex Margaret Thatcher and Mel Smith stealing John Lloyd away to work on their various comedy productions.
02:40: Now you’re talking! A lovingly rendered outer space sequence, riffing on the fantastic title sequence to the 1981 BBC2 adaption of Hitchhiker’s.
03:16: Mutter's Spiral was the Time Lord designation for the galaxy in which Earth's solar system was located, as established in 1976 Doctor Who story, The Deadly Assassin.
03:21: Frogstar World B is a sorrowful world from the Hitchhiker’s universe.
03:23: Bonarcha Anarda has a methane catalysing refinery in every town, according to its mention in the 1978-9 TV Doctor Who story, The Power of Kroll.
03:24: Canis Minor RA 7h 55m 17.31s D 2° 17.9.68” is a genuine star, genuinely named after the person who scripted this trailer.
03:26: “Infinity welcomes careful drivers” is the title of a 1989 novel by Grant Naylor, based on the TV spacecom, Red Dwarf.
03:29: Eden – a planet as seen in 1979’s Nightmare of Eden.
03:32: Playbeing Magazine is a journal devoted in roughly equal parts to galactic politics, rock music, and gynaecology, as featured in the original radio series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
03:34: “We love stories” – they always say that, don’t they?