The Infinite Quest

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The Infinite Quest
Doctor Who animated serial
Infinite Quest.jpg
The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones confront Baltazar on his ship.
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Alan Barnes
Director Gary Russell
Producer James Goss
Ros Attille
Executive producer(s) Mark Cossey
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Series Totally Doctor Who
Length 13 episodes, approx 3:30 each, 45 minutes total
Originally broadcast 2 April – 30 June 2007
30 June 2007 (full story)
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
Dreamland

The Infinite Quest is an animated serial based on the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was made by BBC Television, but does not share the same producers as the live-action series. It was aired in twelve weekly parts (three and a half minutes each) starting 2 April 2007 as a segment of the children's spin-off show Totally Doctor Who. The final instalment (after episode 12) was shown at the end of the "Omnibus" episode, thus increasing the total to thirteen parts, making the compiled series the equivalent length of a standard episode of Doctor Who.[1][2] The compiled story was broadcast on 30 June 2007, coinciding with the finale of Series 3.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones set off on an adventure through space to find the datachips to unlock The Infinite, a huge spaceship that can grant people their heart's desire. However, the evil Baltazar is also searching for the ship.

Plot[edit]

An alien named Baltazar has set his sights on Earth, planning to compress its population into diamonds. The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones arrive on his ship, which he hand-crafted himself, to stop him. The Doctor threatens him with a spoon, which Baltazar cuts in half with his metal claw hand. The spoon happens to be made of a special fungus, which when introduced to the metal ship quickly begins to rust it. As the ship falls apart, the Doctor frees Baltazar's huge metallic bird, Caw, who carries Baltazar away. The Doctor muses that Baltazar will end up on the ice prison planet Volag-Noc at some point.

Some time later, Caw takes the Doctor and Martha to his home planet, where he gives Martha a brooch as a gift. He also spits up a datachip, explaining that it and three others like it hold the location of The Infinite, an ancient spaceship that can grant people their heart's desire. Each datachip leads to the next one. At first unwilling to search for it and about to destroy the chip, the Doctor is forced to when Caw notes that Baltazar has a copy of the datachip. As the two set off on their quest, Caw is revealed to be working for Baltazar.

The first chip leads to the planet Boukan, where the pirate captain Kaliko is raiding the living oil rigs they find there. She is wearing the next datachip as an earring. Assuming the Doctor and Martha to be spies for the oil companies, Kaliko tells her crew of skeletons to throw them overboard, unaware that her first mate, Mr. Swabb Mate, is in fact the spy, as he has been promised a new body. Swabb stages a mutiny and has the oil rigs shoot down the ship, but their poor aim causes them to scatter the crew in doing so. After Swabb is knocked out by being knocked off the ship, the Doctor reveals the reason for their visit to Kaliko. She tries to escape in a pod, but is found murdered after landing near the TARDIS. With nothing left to do, the Doctor and Martha take her datachip and follow it to the next one.

The next chip is on the planet Myarr, being used as a necklace by a lizard alien named Mergrass. Mergrass has been hired to advise the Mantasphids, alien bugs, on military strategy against the humans attacking them, but in reality is little more than a gun-runner. During an attack by the humans, a pilot is captured. He reveals that the Mantasphids invaded the planet for its fertile dung, and that the humans were there first. To rid themselves of the bugs, the humans have decided to bomb the entire hundred-mile area. The Mantasphid Queen turns to Mergrass for help, but is unwilling to pay him for it, and as such he refuses to arm the weapons he provided her with. As Mergrass leaves, the Doctor is forced to defuse the situation by impersonating the supposed pirate-master, Doctor Vile, of the Mantasphid, which proves successful. Quickly telling the pilot to work with the Mantasphid for the benefit of both species, he follows after Mergrass. By this point, Mergrass has also been killed, so again the Doctor and Martha take the left-behind datachip and head for the next planet.

The final datachip is on the ice prison planet Volag-Noc. Upon arriving, the Doctor is quickly identified as a wanted criminal, sentenced to 2,000,000,000 yrs and dumped in a cell with a damaged robot. Martha is taken to the Governor of the facility, a human named Gurney. He has the final datachip locked in a safe. As they discuss things, both Martha, when Gurney says nobody was to be locked in the cell where the Doctor is, and the Doctor discover that Gurney isn't the Governor, but one of the prisoners. Locke, the robot with whom the Doctor is sharing a cell, is in fact the Governor. The Doctor apparently shouldn't have been put in the cell in the first place. Upon being fixed by the Doctor, Locke decides that all the prisoners are irredeemable and orders their execution, giving Gurney a chance to shoot Locke and escape with the datachip. The Doctor manages to prevent the prisoners' execution.

On the surface, Martha catches up to Gurney, but can do little to stop him without a weapon. At the same time, however, Baltazar arrives riding Caw. Gurney shoots down Caw, but is apparently dispatched by Baltazar off-screen. Caw dies from the damage caused by Gurney's shot while the Doctor and Martha comfort him, claiming he was promised "all the gold he can eat". Baltazar then takes the two hostage, forcing the Doctor to show the way to The Infinite. He also reveals that Martha's "brooch" is actually Squawk, Caw's child, which flies to the body of his parent. Once the Doctor locks in The Infinite's location, Baltazar takes control of the TARDIS – as flying the TARDIS involves little more than a button-press, he no longer needs the Doctor, and knocks him out with a blast. He leaves the Doctor to perish in the snow.

On The Infinite, Baltazar orders Martha to find the hold, which she does by accidentally falling through the deck. In the hold, Martha finds the Doctor waiting for her, but quickly realises that it is a creation of the ship: the ship is doing as promised. The real Doctor is close by, however, riding a matured Squawk. He quickly knocks Baltazar out and comes to Martha's aid. The Doctor informs her she just has to reject the vision, which she does, causing it to fade away. The Infinite tries to find the Doctor's heart's desire but he wards it off. He explains that for him it has been nearly three years, in which time he weaned Squawk and helped re-establish Volag-Noc, making sure to tone down the somewhat homicidal Governor. He further explains that the desires granted by The Infinite are little more than illusions, the last spark of whatever powerful being died within its walls. Baltazar has not yet realised this; he is standing in a treasure room, oblivious to Martha's warnings about the illusion. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to vibrate the wreckage, causing the ship to fall apart. He and Martha flee in the TARDIS, leaving Baltazar to rely on Squawk, who has been trained by the Doctor to take Baltazar back to Volag-Noc to be imprisoned. With the day saved, the Doctor and Martha resume their adventures.

Continuity[edit]

As Martha is traveling freely with the Doctor, the story may be set somewhere between the series three episodes "42" (which follows directly on from Martha's invitation to long-term travel in "The Lazarus Experiment") and "Utopia" (which begins the series finale). However, the Character Bios on the DVD release state that Martha is traveling with the Doctor for one more trip, which seems to set it before "The Lazarus Experiment". The Doctor states in both the first and third segment that the serial takes place in the 40th century. Caw indicates that many years have passed between the first and second episode, in which time Baltazar has gone to prison, supposedly sold out by Caw, and has since got out again.[4]

The Doctor names various other beings from the same time as The Infinite including the Nestenes (Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons, Rose, The Pandorica Opens), the Great Vampires (State of Decay) and the Racnoss, (The Runaway Bride), all of which he has met.

While walking the ice cold wastes of the prison planet in his regular clothes, the Doctor seems quite unaffected by the cold. This was a trait shown by the Second Doctor in The Tomb of the Cybermen, the Fourth Doctor in The Seeds of Doom and The Hand of Fear, the Ninth Doctor in The Unquiet Dead, the Tenth Doctor in "Planet of the Ood", and an improvement over how the First Doctor responded to cold – not just subzero cold – in The Space Museum.

Outside references[edit]

The Doctor compares Baltazar to Napoleon Bonaparte, Boudica, and Blackbeard. The former appeared in The Reign of Terror while the latter appears as a fictional character in The Mind Robber. The Doctor also refers to Delia Smith, Fanny Cradock, and Madame Cholet from The Wombles as among Earth's greatest chefs. Martha refers to Bill Oddie, who played the pirate captain Red Jasper in the Big Finish audio adventure Doctor Who and the Pirates.

Pilot Kelvin describes the final weapon to be deployed on Myarr using the phrase "kills all known bugs, dead." This is similar to the UK advertising slogan for the bleach Domestos.[5] Baltazar's promise to Caw of "as much gold as he could eat" is a reference to Monty Python's Life of Brian in which the same promise is given by Naughtius Maximus to Brian's mother.[citation needed]

DVD release[edit]

The serial was released on DVD in its compiled state on 5 November 2007. This release included deleted scenes, interviews and behind-the-scenes documentaries.

This story was released in Australia and New Zealand on 6 June 2008.

BBC Worldwide Americas, BBC Video, and Warner Home Video jointly announced on 31 July 2008 that The Infinite Quest would be released in North America on 18 November 2008 as a single disc (also the same release date for the live-action series' The Complete Fourth Series on DVD for North America). As in Australia and New Zealand, this serial was never broadcast in North America.

Production[edit]

One segment of The Infinite Quest was shown each week during Totally Doctor Who from 2 April to 29 June 2007. The serial, animated by Firestep, was the second officially licensed, animated Doctor Who serial, the first being the flash-animated Scream of the Shalka (2003). Missing episodes of the 1968 serial The Invasion were also animated for that serial's 2006 DVD release. Both of these animations were produced by Cosgrove Hall. The BBC describes Firestep as "the creative team behind previous Doctor Who animated adventures for the BBC."[1] The Firestep website attributes the name to former Cosgrove Hall animators Jon Doyle and Steve Maher.

An earlier animated series based on Doctor Who, to be produced by Nelvana for CBS, was planned in the 1980s, but fell through.[6] Production art had been drawn up by Ted Bastien.[7] Three limited animated webcastsDeath Comes to Time, Real Time, and Shada – were made and "cast" on the BBC Website before Scream of the Shalka.[8]

A second animated serial, Dreamland, was produced and aired and released in six part on BBC Red Button from 23 November 2009, and was broadcast in full on BBC Two on 5 December 2009.[9]

The title sequence for the omnibus version is identical to that for the television series, except that the photorealistic model of the TARDIS is replaced with a cel-shaded version as it appears in this story.

Cast notes[edit]

Anthony Head previously appeared in the Series 2 episode "School Reunion" as Mr Finch. He was also the Doctor's adversary in the Excelis Dawns, Excelis Rising, and Excelis Decays audio dramas produced by Big Finish and appeared in the webcast Death Comes to Time. Head had auditioned for the role of the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who television movie. Head narrates series 3 and 4 of Doctor Who Confidential and the BBC Audio release Doctor Who: Project Who?.

Freema Agyeman's voicing of Martha Jones in the first episode of The Infinite Quest was her second televised appearance in the role, airing two days after "her first appearance" in the main series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Who's a Toon?". BBC Doctor Who website. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2007. 
  2. ^ Methven, Nicola; Polly Hudson (26 January 2007). "DOCTOR TOON!". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 26 January 2007. 
  3. ^ Richard Johnson (March 2007). "Master of the Universe". London: The Daily Telegraph. p. 3. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2007. 
  4. ^ Caw thanks Martha for saving his life "all those years ago."
  5. ^ "Domestos Commercial". Domestos advert hosted by Daily Motion website. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2008. 
  6. ^ Lofficier, Jean-Marc (1997). The Nth Doctor. London: Virgin Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 0-426-20499-9. 
  7. ^ "CBC Television – The Planet of the Doctor ('Ted Bastien's Nelvana photo gallery.')". CBC Television. Retrieved 27 January 2007. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Webcasts". Doctor - Classic Series. BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2007. 
  9. ^ McEwan, Cameron K (25 May 2009). "Doctor Who: Animated Series On The Way". Den of Geek. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 

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