Magic Bullet Productions

The Hidden Factor

By Alan Stevens

By their bootstraps?

Originally published in Celestial Toyroom Issue 530

While there has been some legitimate criticism of the Doctor Who animations over the last few years, the vital function they do perform is to provide relatable images to accompany the existing soundtracks. No matter how imperfect, this goes some considerable way towards restoring the original viewing experience.

And the results can be surprising. Who would have guessed that a 'classic' adventure like Fury from the Deep, which I had previously enjoyed as an audio, would prove to be an utterly tedious viewing experience?

The same, I'm glad to say, is not true for the animation release of "The Evil of the Daleks": in fact, quite the opposite is the case. There are so many essential visual elements to the telling of the story that any deeper understanding of the narrative is lost if they are not present.

James McCrimmon, now in 100% NostrilVision.I only realised this when I was freed from the chore of having to mentally conjure the missing images, and could fully appreciate David Whitaker's script. And, my goodness, this was a revelation, because there is something going on beneath the surface text I had not previously registered. And it's all to do with the Bootstrap Paradox-- a loop in time travel where one event generates a second, which was actually the cause of the first.

For a closer look, let's start at the beginning.

The serial follows on from the end of "The Faceless Ones", when the Doctor discovered that his Tardis had been stolen. He and Jamie investigate a series of deeply obscure clues in their search for it, which eventually leads them to an antique shop owned by Edward Waterfield, a Victorian time traveller from 1866. He has arrived in 1966 for the sole purpose of kidnapping the Doctor and his companion and bringing them back to his own century.

At a conservative estimate, it must have taken Waterfield some months to establish his successful dealership. This means he had to know in advance the Tardis would be standing outside Gatwick Airport's number four hangar at three o'clock, on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 20th, 1966.

Later, Waterfield will tell the Doctor, "They ordered me to steal a box belonging to you and thus lure you into a trap and transport you here, together with your colleague Mister McCrimmon."

"They", of course, are the Daleks, and we know of their abilities to track the Tardis' journey through time and space from two previous adventures, "The Chase" and "The Daleks' Master Plan". This also explains why the Daleks are able to provide Waterfield with pictures specifically of the Doctor and Jamie, despite there having been no place between "The Highlanders" and "Evil" when they could have witnessed this singular pairing.

We'll now turn to the series of clues laid down for the Doctor and Jamie to follow, as I believe the Daleks' manipulation of time is a key factor here. Indeed, it's quite apparent Waterfield knows just how the Doctor and Jamie will react from moment to moment, even to the point where his legman Kennedy, who has been instructed to monitor their progress, reports back with some astonishment: "It worked like a charm. I never thought it would, but you were quite right."

This suggests the Daleks have not only traced the Tardis' journey but are deliberately altering the timeline so events take place exactly as they want them to.

On entering the transport fuel office, the Doctor and Jamie encounter a man (later identified as "Bob Hall") at a workbench. He tells them the Tardis was taken away by a delivery firm called "Leatherman". As the Doctor later discovers, the company is fictitious. The real purpose of this meeting is to rouse the Doctor's suspicions: "Well, didn't you notice his overalls? They were much too small for him, and the top sheet of his clipboard was different to all the others."

'Let's go over this one more time. 'OK' is appropriate for 1966; 'uncool' is a bit too late, and 'yo, bitch' is right out.'Hall leaves Gatwick to travel to a location just north of King's Cross station. Entering a warehouse, he is greeted by Kennedy, who gives him £250, not the £75 he'd expected. Kennedy explains that Hall has been followed by the Doctor and Jamie and they must now take appropriate action. Hall responds "I'm not getting mixed up in no kidnapping, and that's flat." A scuffle breaks out between the two men, and Hall is rendered unconscious.

Let's unpack this scene with the notion we are viewing the final iteration of a timeline which has been severely tampered with.

It's obvious the Doctor and Jamie were meant to pursue Hall to the warehouse from an earlier exchange between Kennedy and Waterfield. Equally, Waterfield must have provided Kennedy with the extra £175 (valued £2,883 at today's prices) to pay Hall for the proposed abduction, although his real intention is for the Doctor to find the book of matches, planted by Kennedy, as a way of leading him to the "Tricolour" coffee bar.

The idea Waterfield planned for both the Doctor and Jamie to be smothered with hessian sacks and then battered over the head with billets of wood seems totally out of character. In fact, Waterfield is genuinely concerned for Hall's welfare and seeks assurances from Kennedy that the man wasn't "badly injured".

Kennedy himself is surprised there was a fight at all, telling Waterfield, "Bob Hall was a bit of a problem. I didn't think he'd turn nasty." Despite this, it's clear financial provision was made for the kidnapping in advance of Hall and Kennedy's meeting at the warehouse.

So, what's going on?

Well, the brutal seizure of the Doctor and Jamie doesn't fit with Waterfield's modus operandi, but Kennedy is a different matter.

Consequently, it's perfectly feasible to imagine a situation where Kennedy visits the warehouse to pay off Hall and plant the matchbook, but the Doctor and Jamie arrived too early. A violent struggle ensues, perhaps ending with either or both of them being seriously hurt, or even killed.

To avoid this scenario...

Waterfield gives Kennedy the extra money to compensate Hall, knowing the man is going to reject the abduction plan, and a fight will commence where Hall is knocked out, with Kennedy making an unobserved escape.

There is no possibility Waterfield could have predicted the chain of cause and effect with any certainty unless he had been told by the Daleks exactly what was going to happen. And they knew this because their Emperor had repeatedly scanned the timeline, making minor adjustments on every occasion until Kennedy's aggressive tendencies were countered, redirected away from the Doctor and Jamie, and the desired sequence of events achieved.

A number of red herrings are thrown up amid this process. For example, the dazed Bob Hall mentions the name "Ken". Equally, Kennedy has been using the book of matches to light his cigarettes. This causes the Doctor to reach a false conclusion: on arrival at the Tricolour coffee bar they need to "look for a man called Ken or Kenneth, who's left-handed."

As it turns out, their contact is called Keith Perry and is right-handed, but this is irrelevant, as the important details have been followed to the letter.

'Actually, I rather *like* the flying pests outside. Got a problem with that, mofo?'You may wonder why Perry is sent to meet the Doctor instead of Waterfield attending in person, yet the latter clearly hails from the Victorian era, not 1966! Perry and Kennedy might seek to dismiss his appearance and manner as a theatrical gimmick, but the astute Doctor would have immediately sensed the disconnect, and brought pressure upon Waterfield to reveal everything. Maybe this even happened during an earlier rendition of the timeline.

Which brings us to the question of what the initial intentions were, and why they went so drastically wrong. It's logical the Doctor and Jamie would have confronted Bob Hall, who had been tasked to give them the address of the firm called Leatherman, the location where the original trap was to be set. However, the Doctor's gadfly mind picked up on the artifice, the ill-fitting overalls, et cetera, and in spite of Jamie's insistence, failed to ask for directions. This then forced the Emperor to integrate the Doctor's capricious nature into its plan.

Now let's move on to the death of Kennedy.

Patently, Waterfield never suspected the man would steal from him and is further horrified to discover his corpse, chastising the Dalek responsible.

For its part, the Dalek is noticeably unaware of who Kennedy is, but then, it also is simply a pawn in the Emperor's stratagem. Waterfield improvises, making the dead body integral to the Doctor and Jamie's capture, so no revisions are required. This raises the macabre irony that if Waterfield had acted on his plea, "I can't go on with this", then the timeline would have been adjusted and Kennedy's life spared.

After the Doctor and Jamie are brought to 1866, the temporal and psychological manipulation continues. For a start, a large and striking portrait of Waterfield's late wife has been placed above the mantel, and Jamie learns their daughter, Victoria, "looks just like her." This can only be a primer for his approaching "test".

Even the Doctor gets in on the act, saying to Jamie "Don't you try to be a one-man army. You leave well alone. I won't have you ruining everything trying to rescue Victoria Waterfield", and then, after Jamie has dashed out, admitting to the girl's father "Once our young friend has cooled his heels a bit, he'll launch off on his own."

There is also the case of Arthur Terrall, a man who feels Victoria's life is in danger and Jamie is somehow involved. While he frustrates the Daleks by instructing the ruffian Toby to kidnap the boy, they can't simply exterminate him, as he is the fiancé of Ruth Maxtible, the daughter of their human ally Theodore.

The conundrum is solved by fitting Terrell with a "control device" placing him under the power of the Emperor, and although this works erratically, it does serve its purpose in removing Terrall from the chessboard.

Jamie's abduction is not interfered with, because the youth is soon returned from the stable to the house and the test remains on schedule. Toby, in contrast, is a random, unloved, and therefore disposable individual who, once he enters the house, can be shot on sight. Undeniably, the blow of finding another dead body takes a further toll on Waterfield, but his daughter is still a prisoner of the Daleks. The Emperor can be certain Victoria's safety is her father's primary concern.

Time control is also apparent during the test itself, as there are a number of occasions where the two participants, Kemel and Jamie, may well have been killed, only for the scene to be played over again, but with a new detail added to spare their lives.

'Uh, that's very nice, Debbie, but we were thinking more of something in the, er, Katy Manning line...' To illustrate, the hidden entrance to the south wing of the house is defended by metal spikes which spring down from the top of the door frame, and what prevents Jamie from being skewered is the timely intervention of a bat. In the camera script, he's distracted by "candle-grease" dripping onto his hand. But either way, it still means authorial intervention saved his life. As for the second iteration, the question is raised: was this a random bat, or one arranged by the Daleks when Jamie's rashness checks his ability to pass the test?

On another occasion, the convenient placement of a lengthy coil of sturdy rope enables Jamie to rescue Kemel from falling to his death, whilst in turn, Kemel spares Jamie a nasty encounter with a swinging axe.

This is of definite interest. We see a Dalek placing Victoria's embroidered lace handkerchief within the range of the axe and then retreating into the shadows literally moments before Jamie and Kemel enter the room. Again, such split-second timing indicates foreknowledge, whilst the item itself alerts Kemel to there being something amiss.

Obviously, the strategy is not to kill either of them, but rather to record Jamie's reactions and from that distill the "Human Factor". This means the obstacles must be genuine and deadly so as not to give a false reading, but ultimately it may also suggest Jamie and Kemel died repeatedly before the test was completed.

When the action moves to Skaro, the temporal manipulation ceases, giving the Doctor space to trick the Emperor into instilling an army of Daleks with the Human Factor, thereby triggering a civil war.

Why does it stop?

Because, evidently, the Daleks can only travel into the past, meaning they cannot visit, or observe their own future!

Intriguingly, the Bootstrap Paradox is the main driver behind "Day of the Daleks". It is also where we first hear mention of the "Blinovitch Limitation Effect", which apparently accounts for why the time-travelling guerrillas are prevented from returning to a specific date. Some years later, the matter is explained as concerning the perils of crossing one's own timeline and meeting yourself.

In a daring bid for escape, Victoria dons a cunning disguise.Of course, this would not be an issue for "Evil" as it involved reviewing and then introducing new information into an extant timeline to influence cause and effect, as opposed to generating manifold versions of Edward Waterfield to invade on the same day.

In "Remembrance of the Daleks", the titular characters borrow the exact same ruse from "Evil" of tracking the Tardis to Earth and then jumping back in time to set up operations before the Doctor's arrival. On this occasion, however, it's implied the Doctor is the grand manipulator, surveying the relevant timeline before making adjustments to favour a particular outcome.

While this works well as an extension of the Second Doctor's suspect manipulation of Jamie, such actions give the Seventh Doctor the power of life and death over all participants, making him directly responsible for every innocent who perishes.

Twenty-first century Doctor Who has made the Bootstrap Paradox a major recurring theme. It underpins the recent "Eve of the Daleks", an episode title that not only references the earlier story but also entails multiple resettings of a timeloop as the protagonists work to change circumstances to their personal advantage.

In conclusion, "The Evil of the Daleks" consists of two connected stories, a surface text which hides another, where our heroes are killed and resurrected numerous times during events devised by the malevolent brain of the Emperor Dalek.

All the more fitting then, "Evil" should be the first Doctor Who serial ever to get a full repeat showing on BBC One, with "The Wheel in Space" proving an in-story explanation that the images we see are "thought patterns" generated by the Doctor.

"Two minds with but a single thought", indeed!