Thursday, April 20, 2023

#AtoZChallenge2023: Doctor Who Quatermass

The Tenth Doctor: You named a unit of measurement after yourself?
Malcom: Well, it didn't do Mr. Watt any harm. Furthermore, 100 Malcoms equal a Bernard.
The Tenth Doctor: Who's that, your dad?
Malcom: Don't be ridiculous, that's Quatermass.
The Tenth Doctor: Right. 

- The Planet of the Dead

Few things are as quintessentially British sci-fi as Doctor Who. Unless of course, you are talking about Quatermass.

First a bit of background.

Prof. Benard Quatermass is a brilliant scientist and part of the (fictional) British Experimental Rocket Group.  In his work he is constantly dealing with all sorts of alien threats.  Sound familiar?  The Quatermass stories have a solid sci-fi bend to them but are not afraid to do a little bit of horror, as in Quatermass and the Pit

The Doctor Who Connections

Lots really. I mentioned in my review of Quatermass and the Pit that finding an ancient skeleton older than humanity has been covered by Who in Image of the Fendahl and in horror by The Creeping Flesh. But that is just a story. The connections run deeper.

The whole Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor) was designed to have a solid Quatermass feel to it; brilliant scientist fighting off alien threats with the aid (to his annoyance) of the military and some secret organization. Are we talking about The British Rocket Group or U.N.I.T. here? 

In the 1988 series "Remembrance of the Daleks," which takes place in 1963,  military, scientific advisor Alison Williams remarks to her colleague Dr. Rachel Jensen, "I wish Bernard was here." Rachel replies, "British Rocket Group's got its own problems."  Even the episode "Hide" set in 1974 featured a very Quatermass-like character in the form of Professor Alec Palmer, who was supposed to be Benard Quatermass but they could not get the rights cleared.  

"The Planet of the Dead" has an energy reading in Benards which is 100 Malcoms. Named in honor of Quatermass.

In "The Christmas Invasion," David Tennant's first turn as the Doctor, a British Rocket Group logo can be seen in the command center of Guinevere 1. This one is especially interesting because of the very recent (2005) "The Quatermass Experiment," which featured David Tennant playing a Doctor. Not the Doctor, but he did get the roll in Doctor Who while working on this show. 

The Doctor?

In addition to David Tennant this show featured Mark Gatiss, a regular Doctor Who actor and writer. Gatiss also wrote a Doctor Who novel "Nightshade" about a serial that exists in the Doctor Who universe that is not quite Doctor Who and not quite Quatermass. 

Quatermass and the Doctor

Some fans have even suggested that the reason Ace calls her Doctor, "Professor" all the time is because of her familiarity with Quatermass. 

I'd love to see a full-on crossover with Doctor Who and Quatermass. Set it in the late 1950s or early 1960s. That would be a lot of fun.

If nothing else, then it would make for a good Doctor Who RPG adventure!

A to Z of Doctor Who

All images are used with permission from the BBC and are copyrighted 2023 by the BBC.


PT Dilloway said...

Getting a unit of measurement named after yourself is a good way to keep people remembering your name for a long time to come, even if it is annoying people with having to figure out how to spell Fahrenheit.

martine said...

Hi, thanks for your visit. I used to love Dr Who as a child, Tom Baker was my favourite but it's not something I have watched in recent years. Hope you are enjoying the A to Z.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Sounds like there's lot of overlap between the two.

Ronel visiting for Q:
My Languishing TBR: Q
Queen of the Gods: Hera