Groovy Chick: In 197 the Doctor brought Jo to LA in search of a vampire, a tale that I wish we could have seen on TV instead of The Mutants or The Time Monster. Jo and Iris are less Thelma and Louise and more like Hinch and Bracket. Jo wont stand for bullying, even if it is a monster that is in the firing line. It's wonderful how she stands between Vita and the Jellyfish and gives her a torrent of Jones abuse. The proximity of the Doctor makes Jo feel just that bit braver. Jo knows her own mind and is determined to free the monsters from Vita's prison, regardless of Iris' opinion. She will always do the right thing as she sees it and doesn't need anybody's permission. Crusades are her bread and butter these days. The Doctor never leaves your life entirely, even when it appears as though he has.
Sparkling Dialogue: 'That'll mess up the fan boys!'
'The monsters must have their revenge...'
'All husbands revert to type eventually.'
Great Ideas: Paul Magrs stories often leave me with a warm glow of nostalgia in my belly, usually for an era of Doctor Who gone by (or in the case of his superlative novel Diary of a Doctor Who addict of my childhood). That same warm glow you get at Christmas when you are revelling with your family, when you are on a friends holiday and lazing on the beach with your best mates half drunk and when you have shared a wonderful meal with the person you love. With Find and Replace and now The Elixir of Doom he manages to wax lyrical and get me yearning for a time period that I wasn't even born in! This might be a rosy glow imagining of the seventies but it is one that is very easy to slip into. Magrs loves offering an amusing spin on accepted tropes and in this case creates psychic money, the currency that keeps on giving if you think hard enough. Oh the day out I could have with a couple of those notes. I love the fact that Iris takes over the narration at points, it gives us a greater perception into both characters to have their own unique take on each other (and besides Iris is willing to embellish and make naughty observations than Jo). Something terrible happened on the set of Leopard Boy Meets the Human Jelly (sounds amazing)...and Iris has the hindsight to know that the film was never completed. It's time to find out why... In a bizarre twist it turns out that Vita has her own giant jellyfish waiting backstage along with the other monsters, gorging on the elixir. Vita literally turns her husbands into monsters and uses them in her movies. Apparently the Doctor is the second biggest nosey parker in the galaxy (after Iris herself, naturally). It wouldn't be an Iris story unless she was responsible in some way or another and low and behold her penchant for booze has made this whole ghastly situation possible, allowing Vita to turn men into monsters. Apparently Panda has been on a little trip on the Orient Express.
Musical Cues: I was just saying in my Tomb Ship review about how predictable the music has become of late in the main range adventures - how every story seems to contain the same bangs and flashes of a high octane action adventure movie. I also said that there was often more diversity and identity in he spin off ranges. Richard Fox and Lauren Yason wrote the score for Tomb Ship. They also wrote the score for The Elixir of Doom and the difference in quality and style is extraordinary. This is a stylish period piece set in US of the happening seventies and so needs a soundtrack that will conjure up the imagery of smoky back streets, vintage cars smoothing past, seductively lit clubs and fashion on acid. It does that and then some.
Standout Scene: The appearance of the eighth Doctor was completely unexpected and therefore utterly delightful. They have encountered one another a number of times in the novels but I would kill for a bona fide audio featuring Manning and McGann. I think they would spark off each other really well. The Scarlet Empress and The Blue Angel are both name checked.