The Singing Stone Horizon Guide to Touchwood
written without any permission (or consent) by anyone who would sue me
by Ewen Campion Clarke
DISCLAIMER: This is an unauthorized program guide to the stupendously awful Doctor Who cash-in Angel-rip-off. Neither the guide nor the series is to be taken seriously. Or orally. And if rash occurs – and it probably will – consult the Doctor immediately.
"TOUCHWOOD... Just another group of humans that value their lives and their feelings and their money and their security. They are nothing. They are worth nothing. None of them are worth ANYTHING! I am above them. I will not allow this group of emotional cripples to defeat me. I will not cower before their sexual abnormalities. I will not surrender to them! This is NOT the end – this is only... THE BEGINNING!"
Episode 10: From Out of the Blue
The Electro theatre reopens as a museum of local history, so Touchwood sends Ianto, Owen and Gwen to destroy all the evidence that might make the Welsh finally notice all the weird alien shit that has gone down in the city of the last century. Suddenly a naked black guy materializes in a flash of CGI and, dreadfully embarrassed, runs off into the local deserted industrial site.
Jack starts roaming the streets and taking an obscene delight in the thought of gratuitous male nudity, together with Ianto and Owen. Tosh is ordered to remain at the Hub as there’s only so much dialogue to go round and more importantly, no one really likes her any more.
Investigating the abandoned warehouse district on the off-chance the naked man might be there, the Touchwood team discover the entrance to a network of underground tunnels, built into the basement of a building in a not-at-all-ominous fashion. The gang think nothing of it and decide to take an early night while more and more people are captured by the naked man and dragged into the warehouse.
Finally Tosh can take it no more and decides to investigate the blindingly-obvious secret hideout of the evil man, and discover it is now guarded by a spider-like robot built entirely out of un-recycled plastic bottles and the robotic brain from a Japanese mechanical dog. Tosh decides that the spider-bot is under a remote control and uses her date-rape alarm to scramble the signal and disable the obstacle and allow the plot to advance. Tosh heads in deeper and the others follow her for want of something better to do.
The gang are immediately captured by the naked man’s zombified victims who have cybernetic implants nailed into their heads and taken into the underground maze where the naked man has built lots of robots and technology using modern materials and futuristic scientific gubbins. The naked man laughs evilly and reveals that he is a perfect clone of Lavros, Creator of the Dustbins – only this time with all his limbs and not completely crazy!
Oddly enough this doesn’t impress the Touchwood Team, assuming that the naked man is just a total loonbag confusing his identity with someone halfway important. Jack tries to seduce Lavros by offering him a job working xenotech for Touchwood on the grounds the general public can’t be trusted with such dangerous material. Lavros boggles at this hypocrisy and orders his zombies to attack when Owen decides that since he’s an indestructible zombie he can do whatever he fucking pleases and threatens to smash Lavros’ machinery to bits, piss on those bits and then upload the results to youtube.
The Touchwood team idly discuss whether they should go through the motions of taking Lavros prisoner in the hub or just shooting the mad genius through the head here and now. Alas, Lavros has managed to build his own Time Rift Manipulator out of a flux capacitor, two used toilet rolls and some sticky-back plastic – time rips open and an alien spaceship descends through the clouds to land next to the courtyard.
The gang decide it’s time to let it as Lavros continues to babble insanely to himself that when the original Lavros conquered the world in 2157, he decided to clone a proper humanoid body for himself. Ultimately, the Doctor turned up and predictably defeated Lavros, but the clone survived and escaped through the Cardiff Rift to the present day, to seek his fortune and dominate places without having worry if they have wheelchair access.
Finally, a squad of golden Dustbins burst into the warehouse and exterminate Jack (who has dozed off with boredom from all of Lavros’ convoluted back story). The Dustbins announce that they are only here to get rid of Lavros once and for all before he is used as a bargaining chip in the oncoming Temporal Difference of Opinion they’re building up to with the Time Lords of Gallifrey.
Whimpering pathetically, Lavros falls to his knees and begs with them to spare his live and allow him to aide the mighty Dustbin Empire in their quest to sweep the entirety of creation clean. After sniggering at this miserable display, the Dustbins accept and agree to take him with them back to the future. Lavros immediately starts formulating grand plans of conquest, despite the Dustbin Commander insisting that he’s going to have to work his way up the chain of command, and has been ironically placed on latrine duty.
The spaceship hurtles up and away from Cardiff as Lavros screams that his skills base is not being used effectively and demands to complain to senior management. The Touchwood team watch them go, then decide to machine-gun all cyber-zombies to death so the day isn’t a TOTAL waste of time.
Tosh notes that though the threat of Lavros has been stopped now, he could return to cause problems in the future. Jack returns to life and explains he finds that very difficult to believe and doubts this adventure will have ANY long term consequences at all.
Just then, Gwen returns from her holiday and asks if she missed anything while she was away. The end credits roll over the rest of the cast laughing uncontrollably at her gormless naivete.
1. Who previously owned the Electro theatre in the 1980s? 2. What Big Finish audio needs to be thoroughly listened to and understood for this episode to make ANY kind of sense?
Great Moments - Um. Well. You don’t often see a naked black guy hurling supremacist abuse at a squadron the Dustbins about to fight a time war. Does that count? At all? Maybe?
Lavros. Stark bollock naked. With that 1970s porn star moustache and bathing cap. WHY?!
The fate of Lavros and his demands for union representation to the Dustbin Suzpreme are explored in tedious detail in Nicholas Briggs’ BBC audio range, The Dustbin Chronicles where Briggsy explains his complete chronology of the Dustbin race to such a degree your agonized brain will start bleeding as he tries to reconcile Genocide of the Dustbins with the original Serial B.
Technobabble - "The explosion of compressed inverted temporal particles divided the molecular structure of my trousers! BEHOLD MY GLORIOUS NUDITY, OH HUMANS... AND... DESPAIR!"
Great Lines –
Jack: How would you like to join Touchwood?
Lavros: I prefer to be in charge rather than part of a team. I would be better suited to CONTROL your organization than be a mere part of it.
Jack: Suits me. Fancy running the Glasgow branch?
Lavros: Not particularly.
Jack: No, that’s pretty much the trouble. No one does.
Woman: Your eyes are older than your face.
Jack: Is that a bad thing?
Woman: Yes. It means you don’t belong. It means you’re from…nowhere.
Jack: What’s your point?
Woman: Have you ever considered plastic surgery? There’s a very cheap clinic around the corner.
Lavros: I knew you would return for me.
Dustbin: WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? IDENTIFY YOURSELF AND BE EXTERMINATED!
Lavros: You mean "or", right? "OR be exterminated"?
Dustbin: ANSWER THE QUESTION, BITCH!
Lavros: Don’t you remember me? Your creator?
Dustbin: YOU? LAVROS?
Lavros: The very same!
Dustbin: THE ONE WHO DESTROYED OUR HOME WORLD AND BETRAYED US TO THE DOCTOR? THE ONE WHO WAS ABANDONED BEFORE THE GREAT EXODUS TO SANS-SERIF AND REPLACED BY THE EMPEROR DUSTBIN?!
Lavros: Well. Sort of.
Dustbin: YOU DESERVE EXTERMINATION, YOU FILTHY LITTLE ANIMAL!
Lavros: No wait! Please, I can help you!
Dustbin: WE DON’T NEED YOUR HELP, BIPED, AND WE NEVER DID! WITHOUT YOU, WE’VE ACTUALLY GOT A LOT CLOSER TO CONQUERING ALL OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE! THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN OFFER US BUT SPECTACULAR FAILURES!
Lavros: I’m not the real Lavros! I’m just a clone!
Dustbin: THEN YOU CAN OFFER US NOTHING BUT TARGET PRACTICE!
Lavros: I know the Doctor’s planning to destroy you all as we speak!
Dustbin: WHOA, TAKE THE REST OF THE DAY OFF, SHERLOCK!
Lavros: Only I know how to defeat him! I’m the only one who can help you!
Dustbin: GO ON THEN. YOU CAN START BUY MUCKING OUT THE DUSTBIN SAUCER’S BALLAST CHANNELS. WITH A TOOTHBRUSH!
Lavros: [sotto] Sunovabitch...
Crap Lines – Lavros: I want to drink her tears. Unless of course you have any refreshing organic colas available?
Jack: Ianto, I need your local expertise.
Tosh: Is THAT what they’re calling it these days?
Ianto: Piss off, ya slag.
Owen on seeing Lavros for the first time:
"Aunt Peggy? Is that you? Have you been on the whiskey and gin again?"
- Why doesn’t the woman react when her daughter is kidnapped by the nude Lavros before her eyes?
- How is Lavros able to build a secret underground lair and fill it full of trans-temporal mechanics in less than nine minutes with absolutely no resources, preparation or a degree in quantum thermodynamics? Did someone else leave it all there and Lavros got incredibly lucky?
- BBC Three accidentally forget to include their logo watermark, just long enough for fans to be briefly jubilant before realizing that if they want a watermark-free Touchwood, they’ll just have to buy the fucking DVDs instead of downloading them all illegally.
- Why does the lady at The Windsor Café open the door to Lavros and his spider bots? And why does she still have all the candles burning at that time of night rather than just switch a light on?
- The temporal storage unit is quite clearly a shampoo bottle spray-painted silver. Either that or time drives work on cutting down on persistent dandruff.
- Jack theorizes that Lavros didn’t want to be forgotten as a severed head in a giant roll-on room deodorant, but how did he know Lavros ever ended up like that without being told? Surely he’d assume Lavros was just Adam Mitchell in fancy dress, like last time?
- Jonathan is reviewing films from the turn of the century, and yet projecting them onto a screen in widescreen mode (CinemaScope, the first widescreen standard, was not introduced until 1953) – if this weren’t odd enough, the clips seem to be normally proportioned, despite being in this ratio. FUCK THAT KIND OF THING ANNOYS ME!!
- Graham Kennedy received a closing credit as himself despite being dead for twenty years and never once appearing or even being MENTIONED in this episode.
"Did anyone else think that was Peter Miles playing Lavros? Well, probably not, people see all the cast notes beforehand but COME ON! The resemblance is quite disturbing, and even though it’s more of an impersonation the voice even sounded similar. The only reason I didn’t feel positive it was him was because he didn’t look 30 years older. But then he could have gotten whatever freakish genes Nicola Bryant has. Screw Lavros, this guy is the new Rontane! Yes, that’s right, Rontane needs to make a comeback! Blake’s 7 rocks!"
- Jared "No Nickname" Hansen (2008)
"Why is it futuristic alien technology make weird noises whenever anyone operates them? It defies all logic. Plus, I think Ianto’s autistic. Prove me wrong, I dare you!"
- Mr. Beige (1987)
"This kind of episode is the sort of thing I was expecting when Doctor Who came back on the air. Creepy, whimsical, scary, a relatively small scale story and a sense of fanwank that does not detract from the scary lack of plot. The TW team really felt like a tight knit group of co-workers here, and their portentous monologues was refreshing! This sort of thing should be shown to kids more! Huzzah for good television! SEX IS MY ADVENTURE!!!"
- Wayne Kerr (2009)
"Seriously, that was probably the most dull episode of Touchwood I’ve ever seen. It was just blank, silent darkness for 45 minutes and 25 seconds. If I didn’t know better, I’d say my TV was broken."
- Someone Who DIDN’T Know Better (2007)
The Author Speaks
"Barely three million viewers, this one got. Which was good. Made it all the more amazing when Lavros turned up in Journey till Dawn. I was worried we’d nearly spoilt it all months too soon, but it all worked perfectly. Even people who bought the Touchwood Season 2 DVD Box Set have no idea that this episode even EXISTS. For everyone who watches it, From Out of the Blue totally lives up to its title!"
1. The Cult of Fargo in "The Dustbins on Broadway!" 2. "Dustbin Umpire 0: Terri’s Firmer". Rumors and Facts
This episode was originally going to be "Assignment Four: The Photographs" by PJ Hammond who had decided that Touchwood was SO bad it didn’t deserve rehashed Sapphire & Steel scripts, and instead provided a Sapphire & Steel script already made and plagiarized by Doctor Who on several occasions throughout 2006.
Chris Chibnall, however, was not prepared to put up with Hammond’s histrionics and smacked the respected science-fiction-fantasy author down, commanding him to "Be gone, you unspeakably foul wastrel!"
This of course left a rather large episode-sized gap in the season. However, RTD had been repeatedly using episodes of the spin-off to provide exposition and background to the next season of Doctor Who so he wouldn’t have to waste precious screentime explaining who/what/why the monsters were doing what they did. In a unique celestial conjunction with Chris Chibnall and Dave Lister, he decided the empty episode of Touchwood would be nothing BUT background exposition that would make sense of the two lines of dialogue in The Stolen Cardiff about how the hell Lavros came back from the dead.
The fact that the numerous plot twists of Tennant’s third year just goes to show that no normal people actually watch Touchwood and those that do don’t actually pay any attention.
A more disjointed and disappointing episode of Touchwood has never been written, with a plot trying to move in too many directions with austere and forgettable dialogue from characters there wasn’t time to understand or care about so pardon me while I yawn! The audience (should there still be one) is left shaking their heads in confusion and disgust, desperately trying to make sense of the plot before realizing that, quite frankly it’s not worth the effort and this episode is the perfect illustration of how NOT to write ANYTHING.
Hang about. Sorry, I was still talking about last week’s episode.