Doctor Who: Revisiting THE LONG GAME

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Christopher Morley has time to play...


Having taken a fresh look at the Bad Wolf arc in light of the formation of the new media enterprise which shares its name, surely the next logical step is to replay The Long Game, the Daleks fancying themselves as station controllers aboard Satellite Five- which will lead us nicely into Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways.



Notable also as both a first & last TARDIS trip for companion Adam Mitchell.

In a sense the Doctor has been here before. Back then he found himself in a comparatively more colourful coat than the leather jacket he now sports, as he uncovered shady dealings on Varos- where executions were marketed to the masses as televised entertainment......



SIL: You are not a rich planet. Zeiton is all you have to sell.
GOVERNOR: There are other exports. We're expanding into entertainments and communications with some success.
SIL: How?
GOVERNOR: The Punishment Dome. We sell tapes of what happens there.
SIL: Ah, that is enterprising. Your idea, Governor?
GOVERNOR: Yes.
SIL: Are they very disturbing, these videos you sell?
GOVERNOR: They show what befalls those who refuse to obey the orders by which the people of Varos must live.
SIL: Torture? Blindness? Executions?
GOVERNOR: All the functions of the Punishment Dome are recorded as warnings to miscreants everywhere.
SIL: But they entertain as well as instruct?
GOVERNOR: You must ask my Chief Officer. He is responsible for ComTec Division product.
SIL: I will hope to help organise your sales exports, if you consent to lower your Zeiton price.
But has anything really changed since? Three regenerations on, and with Rose having taken Peri's place at his side, the Doctor will soon find out  - with the help of the psychic paper, a relatively recent addition to his pockets first seen in The End Of The World.
SUKI: You're on Satellite Five.
DOCTOR: What's Satellite Five?
CATHICA: Come on, how could you get on board without knowing where you are?
DOCTOR: Look at me. I'm stupid.
SUKI: Hold on, wait a minute. Are you a test? Some sort of management test kind of thing?
DOCTOR: You've got me. Well done. You're too clever for me.
SUKI: We were warned about this in basic training. All workers have to be versed in company promotion.
CATHICA: Right, fire away, ask your questions. If it gets me to Floor Five Hundred I'll do anything.
DOCTOR: Why, what happens on Floor Five Hundred?
CATHICA: The walls are made of gold. And you should know, Mister Management. So, this is what we do.: Latest news, sandstorms on the new Venus archipelago. Two hundred dead. Glasgow water riots into their third day. Space lane seventy seven closed by sunspot activity. And over on the Bad Wolf channel, the Face of Boe has just announced he's pregnant.
DOCTOR: I get it. You broadcast the news.
CATHICA: We are the news. We're the journalists. We write it, package it and sell it. Six hundred channels. All coming out of Satellite Five, broadcasting everywhere.
Sky News, it most certainly isn't. But like the News Of The World phone hacking trials, an editor is the villain! Even if he is aiding his boss - an alien who looks nothing like Rebekah Brooks. Say hello to the Jagrafess.



SUKI: This whole system is corrupt. Who do you represent?
EDITOR: I'm merely a humble slave. I answer to the Editor in Chief.
SUKI: Who is he? Where is he?
EDITOR: He's overseeing everything. Literally everything. If you don't mind, I'm going to have to refer this upwards.
SUKI: What is that?
EDITOR: Your boss. This has always been your boss, since the day you were born.
The Doctor will meet him too, & indeed discover the true identity of his paymasters later on.
DOCTOR: You mean that thing's in charge of Satellite Five?
EDITOR: That thing, as you put it, is in charge of the human race. For almost a hundred years, mankind has been shaped and guided, his knowledge and ambition strictly controlled by it's broadcast news, edited by my superior, your master, and humanity's guiding light, the mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. I call him Max. Create a climate of fear and it's easy to keep the borders closed. It's just a matter of emphasis. The right word in the right broadcast repeated often enough can destabilise an economy, invent an enemy, change a vote.
ROSE: So all the people on Earth are like, slaves.
EDITOR: Well, now, there's an interesting point. Is a slave a slave if he doesn't know he's enslaved?
DOCTOR: Yes.
EDITOR: Oh. I was hoping for a philosophical debate. Is that all I'm going to get? Yes?
DOCTOR: Yes.
EDITOR: You're no fun.
Much of Adam's story here actually draws upon The Companion Who Couldn't - a story outline which Russell T Davies is said to have submitted to the BBC during the early 1980s. This was rejected, with the writer allegedly told to focus on writing more realistic television about more mundane things like "a man and his mortgage" instead. Come 2005, though, he was in the showrunner's chair and felt it was still a story worth telling.

Initially he was to have Adam experiencing things in much the same way Rose had during her own introduction to the Doctor. With one crucial difference - where she was welcomed aboard and never put a foot wrong, Mitchell incurs the wrath of the war-scarred Time Lord.
DOCTOR: What the hell's he done? What the hell's he gone and done? They're reading his mind. He's telling them everything.
EDITOR: And through him, I know everything about you. Every piece of information in his head is now mine. And you have infinite knowledge, Doctor. The Human Empire is tiny compared to what you've seen in your T -A- R- D- I -S. TARDIS.
DOCTOR: Well, you'll never get your hands on it. I'll die first.
EDITOR: Die all you like. I don't need you. I've got the key.
Which means an unceremonious exit from the police box for him.
"The archive of Satellite Five. One second of that message could've changed the world. That's it, then. See you."

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