Nature and abilities Edit
The Latter-Day Pantheon were completely controlled by the beliefs of the humans around them. They had no natural powers or personalities, but were shaped by what people believed they should be like.
Even their true form (either smoke or a puddles) might be what people expected of them. When first discovered, the Latter-Day Pantheon shaped themselves to be gods in response to the general desire for higher powers to come and save mankind from itself, forming their goals and purpose on Earth from that point onwards. Even with their identities so defined, they could still be perceived differently by individuals, such as Dodo Chaplet and General Marchant's contrasting perceptions of Jennifer the Goddess of Free Love, with Dodo seeing her as the beautiful representation of the freedom of spirit while Marchant described her as a disease-ridden whore and the personification of failing morality (PROSE: Salvation).
At least two groups of these aliens came to Earth in 1965. Though only one survived from the crash-landing in London — this one eventually travelling to New York City after its initial identity as Joseph, the God of Peace, was shaped by an encounter with Dodo Chaplet — five survived the crash in New York City. They were discovered by Alexander Lullington-Smythe, who tried to take advantage of their powers, claiming they were gods. Although the First Doctor initially believed that they were invading aliens, a conversation with Dodo and General Marchant — the head of Project Blue Book, a US government agency responsible for monitoring extra-terrestial activity on Earth — about their differing perceptions of Jennifer, the Goddess of Free Love, helped the Doctor realise what the Gods truly were.
The problem was that the human inhabitants of New York City had far too many conflicting beliefs. This meant that the Latter-Day Pantheon had trouble deciding which ideas to follow, resulting in them becoming internally divided on issues such as the "inferiority" of the negro. Even their own personas could shift, with the previously benevolent Patriarch reverting to an Old Testament-style god and smiting one of two neighbours who came to him to settle a minor border dispute. The Doctor encouraged further dissent among their followers by provoking the Patriarch into attacking him after Joseph stood up to him, the Doctor's faith in himself outweighing the current audience's belief in the Patriarch.
Eventually, they decided to end the Vietnam War, but they were stopped by the US Army before they could finish with their plan. The Doctor convinced Marchant that they would become too powerful if they went public. On the Doctor's advice, the army drove the Gods off by dropping a dud bomb on them; although the bomb wouldn't actually hurt anyone, the gods' remaining followers believed that it could hurt the Gods, and so they were forced to retreat. (PROSE: Salvation)
In November 1980, a science fiction film entitled Prey for a Miracle, which was inspired by these events, was released. The film's screenplay was based on Lullington-Smythe's book How I Saved the World which was published by Aphrodite Press in 1976 and was "very publicly discredited" in 1978. This led to the production of the film being shelved for over a year. A film critic for the magazine Film in Focus commented that upon the film's release that it was far from being the "rational, methodical investigation into the events of 1965" which was required. He criticised the film's director, a newcomer named Anthony Jones for buying "wholesale into notions of alien shape-changers and government conspiracies," which resulted in the film devolving into a B-movie.
The veteran science fiction and horror star Peter Cushing played the lead role of "the mysterious government adviser, Doctor Who", a character loosely based on the Doctor. However, the critic noted that Cushing's "endearingly eccentric professor [was] as fictional as the rest of Prey for a Miracle" as what little was known about the real life "Doctor" suggested that he was "a shadowy, manipulative figure". (PROSE: Salvation)