Doctor Who: Pat & Matt In The SHADOW OF DEATH

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Christopher Morley looks at the surprising basis for the Second Doctor's entry in the Destiny of the Doctor audio series...


The Eleventh Doctor found himself quite literally revisiting some familiar faces in the Destiny Of The Doctor audio series - namely all of his past ones! And with much having been made of Matt Smith's ringing endorsement of the late Patrick Troughton, perhaps an ideal jumping on point presents itself in the shape of Shadow Of Death, during which the first of the eccentric bow tied incarnations meets the later one who'll appear to have taken more than a few tips from him.....


Although his presence is implied in the previous story (Hunters of Earth), it is Shadow Of Death that marks the first direct appearance of the Eleventh Doctor in a Big Finish production.

Released in February 2013, in the run up to the 50th Anniversary celebrations, Shadows Of Death sees the Second Doctor's quest to discover more on the Quiet Ones feed directly into the overall narrative of defeating the plans of the Creevix. Jamie & Zoe are at his side as the TARDIS arrives on an unnamed planet in the far future, in orbit around a pulsar- a highly magnetised neutron star which emits electromagnetic radiation.

One of those beams has hit the Type 40 he will one day come to call "Sexy", drawing it towards yet another base under siege - as old hat as his former stovepipe he donned in The Power Of The Daleks & tam o'shanter circa The Highlanders. Psychic paper alerts the Second to a message from his future self - whose tie he considers suitably fetching during a brief glimpse - which tells him the importance of saving vital research on the phenomenon of the Quiet Ones, which is itself based on the Philip Experiment.

Notorious in parapsychology circles, the Philip Experiment was an attempt by Dr Joel Whitton & mathematician A.R.G Owen to ascertain whether a specifically created fictional character known as Philip could be communicated with via séance. Unsurprisingly it was a failure and widely criticised for its methodology & the general supposed unreliability of the method of communication.

As www.themystica.com remembered of it-
"The group first fabricated the fictitious identity, physical appearance, and personal history of their "Philip Aylesford" who was born in England in 1624 and followed an early military career. At the age of sixteen he was knighted. He had an illustrious role in the Civil War.

He became a personal friend of Prince Charles (later Charles II) and worked for him as a secret agent. But Philip brought about his own undoing by having an affair with a Gypsy girl. When his wife found out she accused the girl of witchcraft, and the girl was burned at the stake.

In despair Philip committed suicide in 1654 at the age of thirty.The Owen group began conducting sittings in September 1972 during which they meditated, visualized, and discussed the details of Philip's life. Although no apparition ever appeared, occasionally some sitters felt a presence in the room; still others experienced vivid mental pictures of "Philip."

After going for months with no communication, the group attempted table-tilting through psychokinesis. This activity, popularized during Spiritualism séances, involved people sitting around a table and placing their fingertips lightly on the surface.

The table tilting practice was suggested by the British psychologist Kenneth J. Barcheldor who speculated that some of the group members might have scepticism concerning their venture. He felt the séance setting possibly would produce a communication with "Philip," which was the sitters' expectations.

Within weeks, after changing to the séance setting the group established communication with "Philip." They engaged "Philip" in a table rapping session where he gave yes or no answers. "Philip" answered questions that were consistent with his fictitious history, but was unable to provide any information beyond that which the group had conceived.

However, "Philip" did give other historically accurate information about real events and people. The Owen group theorized that this latter information came from their own collective unconsciousness."
And of course the Doctor will later find himself on similar ground in The Unquiet Dead.



Spooky!

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