|1 – The Crystal of Achillon|
|The Projection Room serial|
The DVD cover of The Crystal of Achillon
• Chris Hoyle (The Doctor)
• Lian Chua (Leia)
• Robin Castle – The Intruder
• Kit Steels – Professor Lawrence
• Paul Smart – Police Officer
|Series||The Projection Room|
|Length||3 episodes, 56 minutes|
|Originally broadcast||August 1994 (VHS)|
|← Preceded by||Followed by →|
|The Glass Cage (missing)|| A Spoonful of Sugar (missing)|
The Invisible Opiate
The Crystal of Achillon is the first fan Doctor Who story from The Projection Room. It was released onto VHS in August 1994, and onto DVD in 2007.
The previous story, The Glass Cage, is an un-recorded adventure linking the end of Sylvester McCoy's era to the beginning of Chris Hoyle's tenure, although a 5-chapter 'novelisation' of this story is available on The Projection Room's 'Facebook' group-page.
The subsequent adventure, A Spoonful of Sugar, is also missing and currently un-written. The next existing adventure is The Invisible Opiate.
It seems like an idyllic afternoon in the English countryside - The Doctor tinkering with the TARDIS console; his companion, Leia, relaxing with a radio nearby... but when the Doctor hears a press-release about a small meteorite that is about to hit the Earth, he has to find out more! Frustratingly, Professor Lawrence insists in cloaking his new astronomical discovery in secrecy.
Unbeknownst to anyone else, though, another Time Lord has an interest in this particular piece of space-debris, and when Prof.Lawrence is brutally killed at the hands of a mysterious intruder the matter takes on a far more serious undertone, not least because an unusual crystal found at the heart of the meteorite has vanished - a crystal which the Doctor should be very worried about...
This debut adventure for Chris Hoyle's 'Doctor' sets up the 'time-crystal' story-arc, maintained through the subsequent four adventures namely The Invisible Opiate, The Deadly Alliance, A Stitch in Time and Masterplan. This story also sees the Doctor bodge his repairs of the TARDIS so that his ship can only travel in space and not time, such that the TARDIS always arrives at it's next destination a few seconds after leaving the last port of call.
The Projection Room's founder members - Chris Hoyle and Robin Castle - met at the University of Nottingham in 1990, living in the same halls-of-residence for three years before Chris moved out into a house in nearby Beeston. In the spring of 1994 Chris was toying with a storyline for a Doctor Who novel when Robin suggested making a film in the remaining months before Chris ultimately left to move to Leeds. The two decided to turn Chris' story idea into a script and having written, filmed and edited the first episode - with very pleasing results - it was decided that the remaining two episodes should also be made.
The finished 3-part production, made on a shoe-string budget of only £50.00, runs to 56 minutes in duration, and marks the debut of Chris Hoyle's Doctor.
Effective use is made of the University buildings as the exterior of the Flamstead Observatory, and nearby Wollaton Hall as the centre-of-operations for the Doctor's opponent. Interior sequences were filmed in rooms of both Chris and Robin's student houses, with the downstairs of Chris Hoyle's house on Warwick Avenue being used for the Episode 1 TARDIS console-room scenes as well as doubling for Prof.Lawrence's home, whilst one of the upstairs bedrooms was used for the console-room set in Episodes 2 & 3.
The TARDIS materialises, accidentally, in Robin Castle's lounge in Episode 1, and the same room was used for the interior of the Wollaton Hall location in Episode 2.
As a result of shooting the pyrotechnic sequences for Episode 3 in Chris' garden, a neighbour heard the explosion and called the police, suspecting terrorist activity, and following a night-shoot at Wollaton Hall the team discovered they were locked in the grounds of the stately home.
In a startling coincidence Wollaton Hall featured as Bruce Wayne's residence, 'Wayne Manor', in the film 'Batman: The Dark Knight Rises' (2012), 18 years after it was seen in 'The Crystal of Achillon' scored with part of the soundtrack from 'Batman Returns' (1992).
All camera work was done by Castle and Hoyle, with the incidental music also made by Hoyle. The sound effects are from BBC Effects and Chappell Sounds, whereas Cath Astell provided costumes and locations.
NB: Although the stories directly preceeding and following 'The Crystal of Achillon' are both 'missing' (i.e unrecorded), the linking story dealing with how the 7th Doctor regenerates into the Chris Hoyle Doctor ('The Glass Cage') has been 'novelised' into 5 chapters and is available on The Projection Room's 'Facebook' group-page, identifying the Projection Room adventures as taking place in an alternate, splinter-universe ... essentially developing from the scenario of the 7th Doctor not taking the Master's remains back to Gallifrey at the start of the 1996 TV Movie.