Placebo Effect Bookcover

Placebo Effect

"...this union is anything but good. It is unholy." 

The Eighth Doctor and Sam Jones accept an invitation to attend the wedding of Stacy Townsend and Ssard, an Ice Warrior, on Micawber's World. Stacy and Ssard traveled with the Doctor for a short while (see Descendance / Ascendance) while Sam was at Greenpeace rally in Canada. After about a year of adventures, the Doctor parted company with his two companions in the fortieth century and rejoined Sam at the rally a few hours after he left her (see Historical Notes). Stacy and Ssard stayed together and soon they fell in love.

Stacy and Ssard
Stacy and Ssard

Although originally from other eras – Stacy is from the twenty-third century while Ssard comes from Ancient Mars – the former time-travelers made a life for themselves in the fortieth century. Stacy found work on Antares, handling applications to join the Galactic Federation from outer planets. Ssard, meanwhile, has gotten a job with the Martian Commission on Io.

The work is especially rewarding for Ssard. He is helping to locate some of fringe Martian groups who have rebelled against the peaceful coexistence that Martians have shared with the Federation and its members. These groups are demanding a return to an independent, even warlike past. Having been born in that past, Ssard sympathizes with these groups. Personally, however, the Ice Warrior realizes that living in the fortieth century means fitting in with the times.

When the Doctor and Sam arrive on Micawber's World the preparations for the wedding are almost complete. The couple has decided on a traditional Christian ceremony. The Doctor is to be the best man with Sam Jones, M'Rek'd and P'Fer'd, a pair of yellow and purple spotted Equinoids and a Pakhar tailor named Frankie as witnesses. The Doctor surprises Stacy with a couple of last minute additions to the guest list: her parents, Mary and Christopher Townsend.

The ceremony is perfect. Sam leads the wedding party out of the church, tossing rice at the newlyweds. Stacy throws the bouquet and Frankie catches it. The Pakhar shrugs and begins to munch on the flowers. Everyone is happy.

Suddenly a group black-clad men begin to throw paint bombs at the wedding party. The Doctor acts quickly and stops the attack. No one is hurt, but everyone is frightened and covered in blue paint. The leader of the group, the Reverend Lukas, explains that he and his followers belong to The Church of the Way Forward. The Church believes that matrimony between alien species is unnatural, and should be stopped. The attack was meant as a form of "non-violent" protest.

Chase Carrington, the owner of Micawber's World, asks the Reverend his group to leave the planet. He apologizes to the wedding party and offers to treat everyone to dinner and accommodations courtesy of Carrington Corp. The Doctor and Sam, however, miss the festivities. They get side-tracked by the 3999 Intergalactic Olympic Games, deadly Foamasi plots, and the invasion of the galaxy by the Wirrn...

After saving the galaxy the Doctor and Sam join the newlyweds on Kolpasha for some vegetarian food.

  • The fact that Stacy cannot have children something that would have occurred in a comic strip that was never made. In Doctor Who Magazine Issue 267 author Gary Russell had this to say about the canceled strip and the appearance of Stacy and Ssard in Placebo Effect:
 "When I did the strip I was promised by Steve Cole's former boss that we'd get to do a collected paperback of the strips in which [artist] Lee Sullivan and I could do at least one extra strip – this was the one alluded to in the book which stops Stacy having kids. As that died a death when the strip prematurely ended, I wanted to wrap up their story."

— Gary Russell       
DWM 267, pg 15


Doctor Who Historical Notes:

"Met up with some old friends. Saved Earth from alien invaders. Hung around with an old archeology chum. And at some point met Stacy and Ssard." (pg 20)

In the quote, the Doctor not only refers to the Radio Times comic strips adventures (see Descendance / Ascendance) but to The Dying Days and Professor Bernice Summerfield. This would seem to indicate that the events chronicled in the Times strips and the Virgin New Adventures are a part of the Doctor's "official" history.


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First Posted: 8/31/98 -- new kissing pic added 5/13/99
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