AS VISITED BY THE DOCTOR
The Fourth Doctor: 2290. [The Leisure Hive, C18.1.]
Universe: Normal space.
Galaxy: Milky Way. [probably, as in 2290 there are frequent tourists from Earth.]
System: Orbiting Argolis’s sun.
Human Colony: No. There are many human tourists though.
Argolis [according to the Target novelisation, originally called Xxbrmm,] is the planet of the Argolin. In the year 2290 it is still highly radioactive from a war of forty years ago. This war between the Foamasi and the Argolin, which lasted 20 minutes, ended with around 2000 missiles devastating planet Argolis. [According to the Target novelisation, this war began over a disagreement over conflicting territorial claims to an asteroid, and the “Argolin struck the planet of Foamas” during the war too.]
The Argolin have built the Leisure Hive amongst the ruins, where they now shelter.
The Argolin are the native population of the planet Argolis. Humanoid, with some characteristics of plantlife [note also the Trees of the the episode The End of the World, N1.2], they are yellow and green in appearance, with small berries on the top of their elaborate hair. At the end of their lifespans, the berries drop, signifying their imminent demise. As a result of the war, in 2290 the Argolin are sterile. [It is not made clear how they used to reproduce, but given their plantlife characteristics, perhaps the berries fell to the soil to produce more Argolin – like sycamore trees?]
Soon after the end of the war in 2250, the Argolin invented Tachyonics, and by 2290 the Tachyon Recreation Generator is an important part of their world.
Prior to the war, they had a warrior society led by the Argolin Theron, but after, they dedicated the habitable part of the planet – the Leisure Hive – to promote understanding between different cultures. They also then rely on tourism for their economy, with the Experiential Grid being one of their main tourist attractions, which is powered by the Tachyon Recreation Generator.
The Foamasi [from the planet Foamas according to the Target novelisation] were traditionally the enemy of the Argolin, and were the opposing side in the war that devastated planet Argolis. Humanoid, with characteristics of both reptiles (their scaly green skin) and spiders (their use of webs). The Foamasi language is one of clicks and chirps, although with use their translation device they can converse in other languages. They are able to compress their bulk to fit into suit-disguises to appear human. [These suits are outlawed on Foamas according to the Target novelisation. Note a similar approach to human disguise used by the Slitheen of episodes RTD1.4&5 and RTD1.11.]
One Argolin – Pangol – has monstrous plans for his planet. He intends to return to the warrior culture of Theron, using the power of the Generator.
Last month’s Classic Planet of the Month, Skaro, featured the humourous Season 17 story Destiny of the Daleks, C17.1. The planet Argolis is the centrepiece of the first story of Season 18. The intended approach to the programme Doctor Who by the new production team is illustrated here – a leaning towards science rather than humour, and an attempt at high production values.
Altough the science is perhaps not as hard-science-fiction as it might be, the production values for ’80s television are great – which contributes to…
The Tachyonic aging of the Doctor by “500 years” in this story can be compared to the aging of the Doctor by Lazlabs technology in episode RTD3.12. Although in that later story, the Tenth Doctor has been aged “100 years”, a length of time the Classic stories suggest would not affect the Doctor’s appearance that much, the Tenth Doctor appears to be aged even more drastically by Lazlabs than Tachyonics – despite the quoted years being much less. Perhaps the Lazlabs process is more traumatic than Tachyonics. (Later, the Doctor is aged again…)
With a radioactive planet devastated by a war seemingly (emphasis on seemingly!) lasting less than a day, this is very similar to the planet Skaro.
The Target novelisation, by the story’s writer David Fisher, elaborates greatly on the planets of the story, as noted above.
Update July 7th, 2007: After transmission of Last of the Time Lords, RTD3.13, with a comparison of LazLabs versus Tachyonics.