Monday, June 1, 2009

Blue Forgotten Planet

Serial CP9 – The Charley Finale
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Another Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' GODAMMIT!

Still completely unaware that Charley Pollard has been replaced by her own (even MORE deranged) sister Margaret, the Doctor decides to ditch his latest companion on Earth in the ethnographic present of the 1930s. However, for reasons of ongoing dramatic irony, the TARDIS instead arrives at a distant point in time and space where Earth has been reduced to barren moorland in perpetual twilight, and roaming around the scrublands are hairy grunting savages with burning torches.

As such, it takes a fair while before either the Doctor or Margaret twig it ISN’T the 1930s. Ba-dum-tish!

At some point in the past, a plague almost identical to the one in "28 Days Later" was unleashed across the human race, reducing them to confused savage rage-filled barbarians unable to speak, light fires, use their iPhones... all civilization was lost; no one even knows what year it is - thus making it impossible for any fan historians to clearly date this story! Hah, in yer face, Mr. Parkin!

For untold ages mankind lived in mindless violence, exposed to the elements, grubbing around for foods and dying of starvation. But apart from that, it was very different from normal.

Eventually the Viyrans turned up – mainly because it was one of their dues-ex-machina viruses that caused all the problems in the first place. As per freaking usual.

The Viyrans then began distributing extra-large breath mints to the chosen few. These somehow allowed human beings to return to normal, but without constant supplies they become increasingly hostile and violent. This is pretty much why roving band of hairy Scottish savages lumber across the ruined Earth, playing penny-whistles rather tunelessly.

The reconstituted Earth governments immediately began the Earth Appeal Project - production of countless documentaries and charity appeals to the cosmos with voiceovers by the very best Bob Geldoff impersonators the remains of mankind have to offer.

However, the cheap camcorders the cameramen have been handed in are actually bio-scanners and the crowd scene recorded have actually analyzed every human being on the planet. All the analysis results are transmitting up to the orbiting Viyran spaceship above.

And when Margaret is scanned, the spaceship in orbit detects her bio-signature and immediately the Viyrans defrost the real Charley from suspended animation. She’s spent the last few billion years on ice or spreading sexually-transmitted cures to various diseases across the universe, with the Viyrans acting as her intergalactic gangsta pimps. But she’s been eager to get back to the Doctor’s side and now she knows Margaret is in town, Charley is in a MEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAN mood!

Immediately, the Viyrans descend down towards Earth and Charley emerges to demands Margaret tell her where the hell the Doctor has got to since the last story but one.

Margaret insists to the increasingly paranoid humans that Charley is an evil body-snatcher and the Viyrans are trying to conquer the planet, quite happy to start an interplanetary war that will annihilate mankind rather than break her own fantasy – god what a stupid and selfish bitch she is! Thomas Brewster with ovaries, I tell ya!

As the ultimate cat fight threatens to rock the universe in two, the Viyrans decide to cut the crap and take Margaret captive because... well, do they need a reason to put the stupid bint on ice?

The Viyrans announce that they have detected a single particle of a virus – and after millions of years the Viyrans have become the biggest hypochondriacs in all of creation, so they decide the best thing to do is sterilize the entire planet Earth and wipe out the human race. It’s a small price to pay, but as long as the Viyrans aren’t the one paying it, it’s perfectly all right with them.

As Charley notes, when everything is said and done, the Viyrans really are just a big bunch of fuckwits.

The Viyrans release Big Emma, their massive bleaching warhead, and fire it at the Earth below. However, the Doctor has cunningly stretched some tennis nets across one of the huge craters in the Earth’s surface caused by exploding power stations, and the missile is flung back out into space without exploding.

This solution is so utterly stupid and ridiculous that the Viyrans are left catatonic with incredulity for a while. Travelling to their ship in the TARDIS, the Doctor finally discovers what the audience have known for the last three months: Charley has an identical sister even more screwed up than she is!

Margaret continues to babble inanely that she’s the REAL Charley Pollard, but her story is so unconvincing it even makes the Viyrans snigger at the plot holes. In fact, she’s so stupid and annoying the Viyrans decide to launch another missile and everyone’s too pissed off with Margaret to notice until it’s too late.

The Doctor decides that this has all got too stupid for words and decides to use the TARDIS to rewind history so none of this has ever happened, Earth was never devastated and the Viyrans never got all terracidal and hopefully Margaret Pollard was never born.

True, there is a real risk that the temporal roll-back could suck Earth into a deflating time sphere and erase all trace of humanity from the face of time forever more – but things have just got SO annoyingly convoluted that the Doctor is quite willing to take the chance.

One of the Pollard sisters suddenly screams insanely and tries to reprogram the console only to be electrocuted and frazzled up so much until she resembled an over-cooked pork nipple. For a brief moment the story asks us to wonder if it was Charley or Margaret, if the lines between them are so blurred it even matters any more...

...but it was Margaret because Charley isn’t so damn stupid.


History is unwritten, mankind is saved and the Doctor is so caught up in the confusion he unwittingly allows Charley to seduce him. Alas, this Doctor is several centuries younger without all the magnificently perverted sexual skills she remembers from his eighth incarnation, and basically it was a huge letdown.

Utterly disillusioned, she announces she is no longer willing to travel with the Sixth Doctor and orders the Viyrans to mindwipe the whole experience from his brain and remove any reference to Margaret Pollard from the entire universe.

The story ends with the Sixth Doctor reluctantly returns to rejoin that rather dull adventure with the Wine Peddler, Abraham Lincoln and Evelyn Smythe he’s been avoiding for the last few years.

Meanwhile, the Viyrans drop Charley off on the infamous Planet of the Nymphomaniacs where she is soon knocking back Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, doing stripteases and bonking every alien in sight...

If that ain’t a happy ending than what the fuck is?!

Book(s)/Other Related -
Blue Forgotten Charley
Dr Who & the Retcon of the Viyrans
The Closure That Wasn’t

Fluffs – India Fisher seemed to be two-faced in this story.
"Margaret, why I oughta..."

Goofs –
Seriously. We were supposed to think that Charley, not Margaret, had died? How dumb do they think we are? Even Chris Lilley fans are too intelligent to fall for that – and THAT is saying something!

Technobabble -
The TARDIS "reverses the polarity of the narrative flow" which is just a complicated way of saying "doing that temporal orbit space-time-enema bullshit from the 1996 FOX television movie".

Links and References -
The Doctor fondly recalls K9, who (even though he often turned evil, had identical twins and had an in-built death ray that could disintegrate rock) was never as much hassle as Charley.

Untelevised Misadventures -
Margaret claims the Doctor took her to the Planet of the Nymphomaniacs but it was actually the Planet of the Narcoleptics. Still, it WAS a world where everyone sleeps with everyone else, so it sort of counts.

Dialogue Disasters –

Charley: Let me tell you a story. You meet a girl on a swinger’s cruise on a recreation of the SS Titanic...
Doctor: If this is something from my future, I don’t —
Charley: But you save her and get her pregnant... but in a way, you don’t care. Because you’re in love with her. Or at least really enjoy having sex with her for years on end.
Doctor: Sounds like I become heterosexual again in my old age.
Charley: Isn’t that what old age is for?
Doctor: Perhaps.

Hirsute Savage: Me need coffee!

Doctor: What’s in the projectile, by the way?
Viyran: Radiation designed to cleanse the Earth of the human race.
Doctor: "Cleanse"? That’s a rather innocuous-sounding euphemism for genocide.
Viyran: If it was not innocuous-sounding, it would hardly be a euphemism at all, would it?
Doctor: Mmm. Touché.

Margaret: Don’t call me that! I’m not Margaret anymore!
Charley: Well, you’re not me, bitch! You can’t be me!
Margaret: I’M Charlotte Pollard and YOU’RE supposed to be dead!
Charley: Yeesh, and the Doctor used to call ME a maladjusted, psychopathic retard with boundary issues...

Doctor: It’s a vision of hell out there. Pass me a scone, will you?

Driscoll: I do askin’. What they call you?
Doctor: Er... the Doctor.
Driscoll: "Doctor"? Were doctors. Before Bad Times.
Doctor: Bad Times? You mean the Thatcher government?

Viyran: Charlotte Pollard, we bear you no ill feeling whatsoever. We bear the human race no ill feeling. We have tracked down 3,436,000 viruses and, in fairness, we have only had to sterilize the odd solar system here and there. Give us a freaking break already.

Charley: I sense a little sexual tension in the air.
Atherton: Well you might.
Charley: Ooh, I LIKE where this conversation is going...

Doctor: One last question.
Charley: What’s that?
Doctor: Which one are you? Are you REALLY Charlotte Pollard?
Charley: Hmmm. Let me think. I’m the one wearing the clothes of the real Charley, who knows all the stuff about your future that Margaret didn’t, I’m not the one stupid enough to electrocute herself and the Viyrans have repeatedly noted I am the genuine article. So, with all that in mind... WHAT DO YOU BLOODY RECKON, YOU DENSE TIT?!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Driscoll: For a clever bloke, you’re acting pretty stupid.
Doctor: When in Rome...

The epic aftermath of Charley seducing the Sixth Doctor -
Charley: That was... that was rubbish. Even C’Rizz lasted longer than that. And he looked better naked, if I’m honest.
Doctor: I can only do my best, Charlotte. That’s all anyone can ever do. But luckily, my best is... rather better than average.
Charley: No. It REALLY isn’t.

Viyran: We are... reviewing the footage. It is... great. We... liked them. We are not doing anything at all suspicious... honestly.

Charley sums up her sister in three words:
"God, she’s pathetic."

Doctor: No! I want you both to leave. I don’t know which of you is telling the truth. Maybe you both are. Maybe neither of you are. But I don’t have time to work it out, and I can’t trust you any more. AND STOP TRYING TO HAVE SEX WITH ME!

Driscoll: Look at them out there. You don’t know what it’s like, Doctor. When you’ve got the madness... nothing makes much sense any more. You just feel angry and afraid.
Doctor: Quite. Are you going to finish that scone, Driscoll?

The heartbreaking final farewell scene -
Doctor: Well, are you sure this is the life you want?
Charley: Yes, Doctor. It’s been such a great life, traveling with you, but I’ve started to feel like... like I’m becoming a fag hag. I’ve come to obsess on screwing you in the TARDIS too much. I feel like I’m starting to cling to that... a bit too much. And I don’t want to become an obsessed stalker bint like someone else I could mention.
Doctor: Well... I’ll look in on you from time to time.
Charley: I don’t think you will.
Doctor: Nonsense, of course I —
Charley: Nope, because I’m going to have you mind-wiped and sent back into history totally unaware of meeting me. I’d like to say "don’t go changing", but as we both know that would be an utter lie and the sooner you regenerate into someone straight with a vague fashion sense, the better. I much preferred Celery Boy, anyway. Take him away!
(The Viyrans drag the Doctor out.)
Doctor: bitch! I won’t forget this!

The very final scene with the orgy on the alien beach -
Viyran: Is this the outcome you wished for, Charlotte?
Charley: Oh you betcha!
Viyran: And what do you wish for now?
Charley: I don’t suppose you’ve got any more baby oil?

Viewer Quotes -

"A sad end to what promised to be so good!"
– Davina McCall on the Sixie/Charley sex scene (2010)

"Well, what an absolute mess! These people who have said they cried, are I assume crying with sheer relief that it’s over, because that’s 90 minutes of my life that I can’t get back! The only good bit is Charley is actually gone at last. I was worried she’d somehow end up with McCoy or Davison and mean Big Finish would lose my patronage."
– some cunt who was immediately blacklisted by Big Finish (2009)

"I think BF should just put India in their logo and have done with it!"
– Nigel Verkoff (2000)

"In its own right this story harkens back to some of the best of Big Finish. It is powerful, dramatic and considering it is an audio, extremely visual. It has grand central concept and the script builds up from rather bland set up in part one to a truly powerful conclusion. The sound design is extraordinary and the musical score is to die for. What’s more the central performances are all excellent. On every conceivable level as a standalone audio this is very good indeed. P.S. Eddie, remember to make the cheque out to 'Richard Richard'."
– Eddie Hitler’s flatmate (2009)

"I don’t mind admitting I’m wiping away a tear! Like bonking the Sixth Doctor, I enjoyed most of it, but was left unsatisfied by the ending."
– Matt Lucas (2010)

"It was with a certain degree of trepidation that I approached the much-trumpeted finale. Mainly because I was high on LSD and mistook the CD for an untamed and very hungry Bengal tiger."
– Ronnie Corbett (2010)

Colin Baker Speaks!
"I’ve been playing with TWO Charleys these last few stories and, god it’s hell, folks. Hahaha! I’m enjoying receiving her sexual advances as avidly the listener listens to her making them. The one joy I don’t have is listening to it and not knowing what will happen next – except, sometimes, when we go completely off the script which happens more often than you’d think and it is awesome! I love working with India and the character of Charley, but I have to accept judgment of the Great Gurus who run Big Finish. Well, I don’t have to accept it, actually, but I have to PRETEND to accept their judgment so I am pretending to accept that that Adrian Edmonsen character knows what he’s doing. Which is something we all have to do rather a lot nowadays..."

Eddie Hitler Speaks!
"It is no secret that most of the English-speaking world are fans of Charley Pollard and India Fisher. The trouble is that India is not Charley, that’s a definite if depressing truth. Oh grow up, you girls, there’ll be a second series as soon as everyone’s sober enough to actually make it! This isn’t Babylon 5, you know!"

Rumors & Facts -

A stowaway; rescued from certain death on the Titanic, her existence is a slap in the face to the laws of time and the Child Support Agency of Kasterborus. She shagged the Eighth Doctor for years – he even abandoned this universe to get away from her. Leaving him in a fit of plot contrivance, the Edwardian sexual adventuress has been trying to get into the Sixth Doctor’s candy-striped pants and spinning outrageous yarns to a) get him in the mood; b) prevent him from realizing he’s journeying with a companion from his own future; and c) for a laugh.

Some say Charley has always known that her time is running out because that the Eighth Doctor didn’t recognize her from his past... but it puts his "Fancy meeting YOU here – and I do!" into a new context if you ask me. But no one does. So all the bastards stay ignorant.

And so Charley’s Odyssey reaches its pulse-pounding, pupil-dilating, nipple-hardening climax. Having traveled with two Doctors for nine years, it would be reasonable to expect Charley to be at the heart of the final story – but reason is thrown out the window in a script written by Eddie Hitler, David Sax, Alan Barnes and India Fisher herself. Why make more of Charley’s dilemma and of her confessions to the Doctor when you can have Viyrans carpet bombing zombie hoards?

This strange writing team combined their powers, sort of like Captain Planet if he stopped fighting poorly-motivated super-villains and instead sat down to write sci-fi tie-in audio dramas.

All in all, though, they had it massively easy – the entire story was just four episodes of stuff we already know being repeated to Colin Baker as he tries to catch up with the audience. Bloody hell, there are writers out there who DREAM of such cushy little jobs where EVERY exposition, revelation, whatever is revealed to another character, and thus the audience, and then repeated at a later date with just a tiny bit more exposition to the Doctor. They didn’t even have to think up any of the ideas in the first place! All the stiff about Charley, about the Viyrans, about the bigger picture that happened on Amethyst and its consequences that have already been seen in other BF plays.

OK, the plot has a really strong starting point, where the central concept is really interesting and imaginative and presented quite well in the beginning, before it wanders off a bit and gets completely lost near the end and the resolution just turns into a confusing mess – but that happens to pretty much every Big Finish releases! They’re consistent if nothing else!

Unable to think of a title, Hitler suggested they just dub the story "BFP" after the production company itself, but unfortunately people kept assuming the initials stood for "Blue Forgotten Planet". I’ve no idea why they did this, but it just goes to show that – like hydrogen atoms – the stupid are everywhere.

Perhaps The Charley Finale isn’t QUITE the farewell it could have been – but if you want to argue with the authors, hell, go ahead... they can only kill you once, after all... we hope...

The Charley Finale is an odd experience, so good in many ways but held back from being entertaining or dramatic by the most retarded character arc since that wonderful collection of short stories called the Bible.

Charley’s Odyssey needed resolution, closure, and dealing with intense sexual frustration while simultaneously making it damn clear to every single listener that Rose Tyler sure ain’t anything special.

"If it hadn’t been for Charley," wrote Russell T Davies, "I wouldn’t have been able to write a character like Rose. Thanks for giving me all that stuff to rip off for primetime BBC 1 drama, suckers!"

Yes, Charley has battled Dustbins and clockwork men, met Ali G, crossed into other universes, given birth to Richard E Grant and passed herself off as Charlotte Church – but all good things must come to an end and also pretty shitty, crummy spin-offs of good things must do the same, especially after a decade of endless nymphomania-mauseophiliac-gynecological jokes and racist reactionary stereotypes.

And as Charley faces the final curtain, there is only one person actually worth listening to. A clue: it’s not Giles Brandreth.

India Fisher Speaks!
"It is the very end of the road and I’m very sad, but it’s been the most lovely day. Everyone’s been so nice to me I half suspect I’m going to be put in front of firing squad and killed. But I’ve got out of situations like that before, especially when I was in Master Chef.

What next? Well, I’ve still got so much to do. Sleeping with Jean-Claude Van Damme; whipping Harrison Ford’s backside with bamboo shoots; making John Barrowman making my cocker spaniel pup, punishing him for disobedience and rubbing his nose in his own mess... oh, and of course I’m going to be the combined stripper, chief bridesmaid and organist at David Tennant and Georgia Moffet’s wedding. I’d be the priest too but apparently John Simm won that bet.

Yes, Charley’s an amazing character and I am really grateful to Big Finish for the opportunity to play her and be a massive slut across ten years - ever since that really old Peter Davison story that no one likes. I feel like Pauline Fowler if she was much posher, sexier and bustier and slightly less maladjusted. Charley’s sort of like the cookie monster if he was a sex-obsessed unwed teenage mother from 1930 who talks fluent drivel, isn’t she? Or maybe a citrus fruit. She’s quite like a citrus fruit too... her zest, her pithiness, her love for life. But I wish I was more like her, with her ability to screw TWO Doctors. It’s an amazing feat and she just gets on with the shagging.

Charley’s a good girl, she’s extraordinary with her ability to transcend all the positions of the Karma Sutra and I love her completely. I know I might be a touch schizophrenic after all this, but at least I’m a SEXY schizophrenic!

But as for that last scene? Honestly, I made myself cry. Absolutely floods of tears. I was genuinely moved. As I said to Colin at the time, it was an absolutely beautiful and rather immodest multiple orgasm..."

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