WonderPark came to me while riding the River Caves ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which is a rather unconvincing and not very realistic collection of scenes including ancient Egypt, Aztec, jungle and other ‘wonders’ of the world. Nobody believes for one minute that the exhibits there are real, of course. But it got me thinking about the idea of a river ride where the exhibits WOULD be real. Abu Simbel and Karnak were the ones I thought of first, simply because they ARE on the banks of the Nile. But I got to thinking about other Earth wonders, and creating a few more from around the universe, and then the idea of a fantastic park where they could all be viewed.

The invitation, especially when The Doctor referred to it as the Golden Ticket, immediately brought forward the image of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, especially since the planet looked like a chocolate sweet, and the mysterious nature of the owner of WonderPark. The fact that The Doctor and Susan were invited to preview the exhibits, brought Jurassic Park to mind, too. What might go WRONG with the place?

But we were back to Blackpool Pleasure Beach for the first part of the story, and a roller coaster ride to beat all roller coaster rides. I like roller coasters, and for my money the best are at Blackpool. There are some parks in the USA that beg to differ, but I don’t care. Anyway, the best in the universe, according to the Unfinished Business story Vampyres of Tara, are on Upsilon Gamelon, a planetary theme park with 2,000 roller coasters. But WonderPark seeks to upstage Upsilon.

The end of the Roller Coaster ride sees the introduction of a character whose inspiration was even more mundane than Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Ric, the a Robotic-Individual-Companion was based on a plastic laser spirit level from Poundland, which looked to me very much like a stripped down version of K9, without the dog-like shape or personality. I decided he would be a Professor Marius creation, an ‘upgrade’ on K9, though there is no particular indication of how he is superior to K9.

So begins the more sinister part of the tour, in which The Doctor and Susan view the stolen monuments. The Doctor’s reaction when he finds out, of course, is to want to put a stop to it. And he does so, finding, in the process, Ric’s imprisoned master, Professor Marius, and B’Tallia Vance, who used to be a man but became a woman so that The Doctor would fall in love with her. Big mistake.