One Hundred And Fifty-First Entry in the YOA Unauthorized Programme Guide Finite Imagination Appendix O' Eight-Day-Old Breathless Asthmatic Schizophrenic Paraguayan Quads With Halitosis Who Think Pediatrics To Be Of Great Interest
15D - The Curse of the Arabs -
1941 - The world burns in the flames of war... well, it's not actually burning per se, but there IS a war on. World War II, you know, the one AFTER the War To End All Wars. Well, THAT advertising campaign sure sucked. Where was I? Oh yes.
From the sophisticated plagiarism of Casablanca to a Nazi torture chamber in the stews of Marrakech right off an 1980s heavy metal album cover. From the stock sound effects of the Sahara to the curious min-echo setting to indicate a metal tomb of a U-boat bound for the heart of the Third Reich, marvel at how brain-bleedingly derivative this saga is! Is there an IOTA of original thought contained between this whirlpool of clichéd American posturing? Cause if there is, I sure as hell can't find it!
Instead, follow the Doctor in his desperate bid to recover and incredible alien artefact... no, hang on. Artifact. Yeah. That's how you spell it. Yes, the Doctor must recover an alien artifact before the Nazis can use it to win WWII. By which I mean World War II. By which I mean, the war whose flames are burning the world in 1941. Which are metaphorical flames as well, I did make that completely clear, didn't I?
Oh, and the artefact - sorry, ARTIFACT - kinda holds the balance of power in a struggle between two great empires. As alien artifacts are like to do.
GASP! - as the Doctor takes on the might of the wankers in the SS!
THRILL! - as he is briefly inconvenienced in a Saharan sandstorm!
TREMBLE! - as the future of the entire galaxy rests in our hero's hands!
SEE! - nothing! It's a radio play, dumbass!
During the turbulent, well-documented but all-in-all over-romanticized times of World War II, a Snotaran Warrior by the name of Folly (Chip Jamison) picks a fight with a squadron of enemy Ru-tan fighters. To demonstrate his true devil-may-care attitude and reckless abandon, Folly decides to engage in battle above the planet Earth - a world both fast food empires are forbidden to visit after the restraining orders in the 13th century.
Nevertheless, his attempts to look damn bastard hard are undermined by his curious speech impediment which forces him to say everything in triplicate in ever-increasing volume. A bit like Colin Baker, but without the charisma.
After laughing cruelly as Folly for his girl name and annoying vocal mannerisms, the Ru-tans blast the Snotaran spaceship out of the sky and sends it plummeting towards the forbidden planet below, before going home early for a kebab and giving no more thought about this plotline.
Alas, Folly does not have this luxury as his golfball-shaped planet cruiser crashes in the Saharan desert which coincidentally looks just like a gravel quarry in Wales, but there you go. No sooner does Folly stumble from the wreckage he stumbles across two Berber natives wearing "RACIAL STEREOTYPE" badges who immediately shoot him dead for being an infidel and transgressing the fiery temple of Allah's good work and the glowing eyes of god or some such stuff like that.
So ends the ballad of Folly the patronized plot device.
Meanwhile the two Berbers immediately try to steal absolutely everything not nailed down to sell to gullible tourists as formerly-lost holy relics of Mohammed despite they're clearly nothing of the sort. One of them, Abdul, finds Folly's curiously gun-shaped artifact which then goes off in a curiously gun-like way with a burst of energy released and burning off half of Abdul's face.
Ahmed shakes his head in disbelief as Abdul embraces these hideous and crippling injuries as divine gifts, awed at the mightiness of god's work and delighted at such an offering. Finally Abdul drops dead from blood loss and Ahmed muses that he really needs to find some new friends.
Bored, the story then decides to focus on the main character of the bloody show - Doctor Who! Remember him? Well, after the heartbreaking departure of Dara Hamilton the moment she became even remotely suitable of a companion has lead the Doctor to travel back in time to a Casablanca bar and slowly drown his sorrows in sarsaparilla daiquiris. All the while he makes anachronistic in-jokes to the film Casablanca that no one else understands, especially the pianist who makes it clear that if he is referred to as "Sam" again, will throttle the git in the magician outfit.
The Doctor, completely pissed, soon starts flirting with the person at the next table - Professor Hubert Laroche, who is deeply disturbed at the drunken Time Lord slipping him alien bank notes and asking for the learned archaeologist to "sit on his uncle Theta's knee". Laroche explains he has a prior engagement, being blackmailed by a young American journalist named James Bartholomew "Jimmy" Olsen (Chip Jamison again) from The Daily Planet.
Olsen has somehow got the impression that Laroche is a brilliant undercover spy for the Allied Forces, using his archaeological expeditions to discover the latest German plots and schemes. Laroche insists that Olsen is talking complete shit and he has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of espionage. Olsen, however, notes that this is exactly what an Allied spy WOULD say, which is pretty much the last word.
The young and criminally-naive reporter demands to be allowed to join Laroche on his next dig or else he'll reveal the truth to every Daily Planet reader. The Doctor at this point throws his numerous empty daiquiri glasses at Olsen, screaming that Olsen must WANT the Nazis to win the war if he's deliberately screwing up what he thinks is a major intelligence operation.
However, it becomes clear that Olsen is just too damn stupid to have thought of that himself and didn't mean nothing by it.
Before the incoherent Doctor can mock him further, a doctor from a local hospital approaches Laroche for help. Laroche is rightly taken aback at being asked to help, since he has absolutely no doctoring skills whatsoever and gets a sadistic kick out of letting people suffer without medical attention. The local doctor breaks down in sobs and explains he's been completely bullshitting everyone at the hospital for the last forty seven years that he is a competent and talented surgeon, but he just can't TAKE IT ANY MORE!
The white-coated figure collapses to the floor in a complete nervous breakdown, but the pathos of this moment is defeated as the Doctor suddenly stumbles over and projectile vomits everywhere before passing out. Laroche sighs and rushes the Doctor to the hospital for a stomach pump and idly hopes that some strange and weird things will be happening at the hospital for him to investigate.
Luckily, the Doctor's Time Lord physiology means he has completely recovered by the time they get there. In fact, he's sobered up enough to want a nice fried breakfast. Meanwhile, Laroche is delighted to find A & E full of wounded Berbers with strange burns of unidentifiable origin on their internal organs - just the sort of crazy stuff that Laroche lives for dealing with.
He is, therefore, pretty put out when the Doctor instantly identifies the burns, the source of the burns, a history of that source with a range of three thousand years, and starts planning out a method to deal with it in less time than it takes you actually read a "STOP" sign.
Much to Laroche's humiliation, the Doctor explains the hideous burns are down to uncontained invidium from a radioactive plasma cannon - something which should not be thought up by hack sci-fi script writers for millennium and therefore this is no pure historical story the Time Lord has managed to get stuck within. So, pretty much business as usual.
Laroche's spirits sink even further as his stalker Olsen turns up at the hospital and, to avoid him, the Doctor decides to leave the hospital right away and head for the Sahara Desert in the off chance that a long-lost legendary bejeweled scarab of Mohammed might be lying around the place. Laroche asks to tag along, and Olsen follows in his deranged desire to 'get a great story' at the cost of the security of Western Civilization itself. The Doctor ultimately allows Olsen to join them on the condition he makes tea, sandwiches, asks lots of redundant questions and twists his ankle on cue.
"Why?" asks Olsen, puzzled.
"Do you WANT to be a companion or don't you?" the Doctor retorts.
Unknown to all, the Germans have been listening and are intent upon finding the scarab as well - as they have the confused impression that the lost scarab is behind the fifth-degree burns on the Berbers, and might possibly help them win the war, like their teleportation experiments, werewolf domestication and black magic consultation with alien warlord. Ah, Nazis - they're so open minded, you gotta love them!
The ill-matched trio all get completely wasted at the Casablanca club and, deeply hungover stagger off to the TARDIS. Fueled with Dutch courage, the Doctor sets to work fixing the time machine's numerous faults and next morning wakes up surrounded by broken and dismantled vital components. With the TARDIS completely fucked, they will have to travel by more conventional means - such as the drunken Irish Captain Maurice "Anal Leakage" Riveria and his incredibly decrepit and rusty sea-plane. Riveria is so out of his skull he mistakenly assumes that the Doctor is an Irish magician and logically it must therefore be his birthday.
Thinking quickly, the Doctor notes that for Riveria's birthday treat, they will take part in a treasure hunt in the desert east of Marrakech in lead-suits as an extra fun part of the game. Bouncing up and down happily, Riveria downs another bottle of Scotch and asks if the two SS blokes following them are going to join them on their expedition.
Offended at the thought that the SS are following them, Olsen strides right up to them and screams loudly that he's an American citizen and not involved in the war and thus they better get off his case. So the black-clad storm troopers beat the shit out of him and drag him to the German Consulate run by Captain Schmike the Cool Person of the Secret Service. Olsen continues to rant about how he is a reporter, best friends of a Kryptonian superman, and better than all of them... so Schmike takes him to the torture chamber.
Meanwhile, the Doctor, Laroche and Riviera are still celebrating Olsen's kidnap the night before, completely unaware that others in the Snotaran pizza delivery empire have noticed that Folly hasn't turned up for work today and decide to send a scout to the Earth. If they find the slacker is vacationing on a forbidden planet like Sol 3, they'll bust his cloned ass so badly the entire planet will be incinerated - after all, the Snotarans' heavy-handed resolutions to demarcation disputes are reputedly responsible for the vast number of dead planets throughout the known the universe.
The Doctor, Laroch and Riveria finally arrive in the Sahara desert in a jeep and start popping pills the Time Lord happens to have on his person - most of them are recreational dance floor chemicals, but he's sure at least one sort will be anti-radiation drugs that will save them from the invidium-caked wreckage on the hillside right in front of them. Both Laroch and Riveria are amazed, having not noticed it earlier for some unexplained reason.
The Doctor soon identifies the Snotaran-looking owner of the ruined Snotaran-looking space craft as, get this, a Snotaran and also finds his rheon carbine blaster which has been frying lumps out of the various unlucky Berbers, who somehow cause it to go off for some unknown reason. "It's the Curse of the Arabs," the Doctor sighs, referencing the story title in the dialogue.
Pocking the alien blaster, the trio walk around with a diving rod-like twig in the hope for finding treasure. Or the legendary scarab. Or oil. Or anything halfway interesting that might pad out the episode until the plot kicks back into gear.
At that moment, the Nazis attack - which comes as something of a relief as the padding scenes are at last at an end. The Doctor hands over a tamagotchi to Schmike and tells him that this is in fact the long lost scarab and Schmike, being something of a cultural philistine, totally believes him. He then rewards the Doctor by tying him and his companions together and handcuffing them to the wreckage, then leaving them to die in the irradiated desert during a convenient sandstorm that will begin the moment the Germans have left.
It takes a few moments for the Doctor to think of saying something, and even that is, "Nazi bastards!"
Nevertheless, he finds it a lot easier to think of an incredibly clever way to escape - after contorting themselves into a curious human knot, they are able to set to work on the support struts of the ruined ship with an Allan Key and in just five hours have dismantled the wreckage completely, freeing them... but still leaving them to die of thirst in a lethal semi-radioactive sandstorm.
The Doctor uses the Allan key to free himself and his companions from their handcuffs, just as a caravan trail happens to be passing, allowing the trio to hitch a lift on a camel and out of the semi-radioactive desert of death. The Time Lord darkly notes that any ridiculously contrived death trap Schmike can come up with, he can come up with an even MORE ridiculously contrived means of escape! They head off after the Nazis with their measly ten-hour start...
Back at Marrakech, Schmike manages to convince his elderly and arthritic Zany Uncle Hans to let them borrow a U-Boat to head for Berlin by marveling at the might of the tamagotchi. Zany Uncle Hans agrees on the conditions he gets to torture Jimmy Olsen with bamboo needles, salt and heated metal pokers. Unfortunately, Olsen proves far to annoying and smug and soon Hans releases him on the condition he shut the hell up for five damn seconds.
While Riviera gets complete rat-arsed in a hotel, the Doctor begins to search for Schmike, taking on the guise of a German Count demanding to see the local German Consulate Official. After finally leaving the hotel room and talking to the local authorities, this guise actually gains any kind of narrative worth and the story starts moving at long last.
The Doctor and Laroche are directed to the downstairs flat of General Bretzkopf, used on workdays for illicit transvestite orgies and recreational torture. It is there that they are instantly recognized by Schmike and the Doctor realizes that doing absolutely everything possible to get face to face to the one person who knows what they look like and wants to kill them might actually have been something of a bad idea, in retrospect.
Laughing evilly, Schmike places the Doctor inside an iron maiden... to absolutely no effect whatsoever. After five minutes of all the characters standing around wondering how the hell the Doctor survived all the spikes with no harm whatsoever, Schmike realizes that he doesn't actually care and threatens to blow the Time Lord's head off his shoulders with a Luger.
Without missing a beat, the Doctor explains the tamagotchi he gave the SS in the previous episode was completely worthless but luckily that rheon carbine he pocked in what seemed at the time to be a completely extraneous plot thread instead becomes vital. Not only can Schmike provide the Third Reich with plasma canon weapons, the Doctor can make plenty more out of used toilet rolls, empty baked bean tins, an EMP pulse generator and some string.
Even Schmike can tell this makes the Doctor VALUABLE... mind you, his henchman Krantz needs to explain this a few times with a flip chart... and thus the Doctor is invited to join the Nazis on a budget saver holiday to Casablanca and from there to Berlin! For some reason, Laroche is dragged along too because the author forgot to give the Doctor a companion for this story and needs something and someone to talk to.
Meanwhile, Olsen - for want of something to do - tracks down Riviera and pesters the life out of him until he runs away. They then spot the Doctor, Laroche and the Nazis heading for the Casablanca Airstrip (for there can only be one), and board the Honest Holidays plane. The prisoners are locked in the hold without any in-flight movie and to pass the time, the Doctor relates about much more interesting adventures he'd experienced in the crossfire of the Snotaran/Ru-tan war of culinary excellence.
Above them, Schmike is playing idly with the rheon carbine and doing his hilarious Charlie Chaplin impression when suddenly the plasma canon goes off, blasting a hole in the hull and sending countless non-speaking Nazi extras hurtling to their death. The pilot of the plane is furious at this demolition of his prized aircraft and knows the insurance company will never believe a glorious SS member was just doing his party piece when the fuselage was blasted to dust! Schmike, however, is more concerned that the pilot should really be at the controls and is told that, since the plane is plunging into a turbulent storm, they're probably doomed anyway!
Indeed, the random blasts from the rheon carbine have attracted the attention of a passing Snotaran Pizza Delivery Cruiser as it nears Earth. Group Marshall Alfalfa assumes it is Folly pissing about when he should be working and decide to buzz the primitive airship marked "Honest Holidays". The idea of his inferiors not only dodging work but actually having a vacation at his expense makes Alfalfa yellow with fury and he vows the most bloody vengeance imaginable!
But since neither he nor his colleagues are noted for their particularly vivid imaginations, they decide to bide their time until inspiration strikes and then they shall go medieval on this mudball known as Earth!
Riveria meanwhile, desperate to avoid Olsen, hires Quentin Tarantino to fly him through a dangerously turbulent storm to Casablanca after another plane crammed full with violently keyed-up Nazi bastards only too eager to shoot anything that moves. Unfortunately, Olsen manages to stow aboard and is so utterly nauseating that seasoned travelers Riveria and Tarantino vomit everywhere!
Despite all the damage inflicted on the plane and the pilot deciding that life is inherently purposeless not to mention being trailed by a heavily armed alien space craft, the Honest Holidays chartered plan STILL manages to land safely in Casablanca - a true testament to their undervalued skills as providers of quality transportation, education and enlightenment! It's a SHAME they don't get recognized by people, I tell ye! A FUCKING SHAME!
The Doctor tries to explain to Schmike the amazing laser rifle he holds actually belongs to a raced of cloned warriors resembling Mr. Potato Head, but the insane Nazi refuses to believe him... not that you have to be insane to find a tad unbelievable the Time Lord's hysterical claims that they are surrounded on all sides by invisible frog-like monsters wrapped in tinfoil.
No sooner have they headed for the shore than a second plane crashes and Riviera is miraculously the only survivor. Until it turns out that Olsen has also somehow survived as well, which is more a proof against god than a miracle when you think about it. Nevertheless, now he's back in Casablanca, Riviera uses this opportunity to dive into his rusty yet trusty sea plane and flee Africa (an more importantly, Olsen) forever!
At the harbor, the Doctor quite-fanciful claims are suddenly born out as an army of diminutive potato-headed Snotaran warriors decloak and open fire with their own damn rheon carbines and in a matter of moments downtown Casablanca resembles 1994 Kuwait. Thinking quickly, Schmike the Cool Person shoots up on morphine and suddenly this situation makes an incredible amount of sense!
Laughing insanely at jokes only he can hear, Schmike uses his own rheon carbine to slaughter all thirty seven Snotarans and ruin the paintwork of the Snotaran golfball cruiser overhead. He then strips naked and swims after the rest of the Nazis who - along with the Doctor and Laroche - have sensibly fled into a rubber dingy and paddled like hell.
A U-boat emerges from the icy depths of the ocean, commanded by Captain Jumbo Stuffy (Chip Jamison yet again) who cheerfully invites everyone inside his cramped and smelly submarine for some sauerkraut sandwiches and a cup of hot bean tea and a chat about nuclear power facilities in the third world.
Captain Stuffy's a bit of a nutter, in case you hadn't noticed.
The speaking parts agree to risk their leaves in the U-boat, unaware that Riveria - upon discovering that Olsen has somehow managed to stow away, yet again, this time on his sea plane - has been gripped by suicidal despair. Seized by a raptus, Riviera pilots his plane straight at the U-boat, wanting to in his words "end it all, Mollari, end it all in fire!"
Just when things looked statistically unlikely to get any worse in any way shape or form, Group Marshall Snotaran Alfalfa finishes the two thousand credits' worth of repairs to the cruiser's body work and decides that it is pay back time. Using the ship's menu pamphlet stocks as makeshift depth charges, Alfalfa rains recycled paper junk mail death on the semi-submerged U-boat!
These watery explosions and shockwaves actually come as a relief to the Doctor and Laroche who were finding Captain Stuffy incredibly tedious and his body odor frankly appalling.
Grateful for the distraction, the Doctor tries to convince Schmike the only way for them all to survive the attention of the outer space pizza delivery people is to hand over their rheon carbine and say that they are really really sorry and that they've learned their lesson and also they're sorry and they'll never ever do it again ever cross your heart hope to die, stick a German sausage in their eye.
Tragically, in the time it takes for the Doctor to explain this, the Snotarans scupper the U-boat and everyone tries to abandon the crippled submarine. As the cruiser closes in, Schmike shoots up with even MORE morphine than before and believes himself to be Thor the Invincible, Living God of Retribution. He uses the rheon carbine again and - since the Snotarans are utterly enthralled by the loony in the damp Nazi uniform screaming he is a Norse deity, they have forgotten to raise their defensive shields - the alien ship is blasted out of the sky. Now completely insane, Schmike makes happy noises and a little dance.
Riviera abandons his attempts to ram a sinking U-boat and instead rescues Captain Stuffy and his non-speaking extras, finding even his mortal Hun enemies more pleasant company than Jimmy Olsen, who pesters the half-drowned sailors for an exclusive in tomorrow's paper. Indeed, when the Doctor and Laroche finally get on board the sea plane and discover Olsen already there, they reconsider taking their chances with the icy ocean outside!
However, this possible escape is ruined as Schmike arrives with his rheon carbine, humming Ride of the Valkyries to himself over and over and over again. Even more disturbingly he strips off to show his superhuman naked body as he plans to seize control of the Reich from Gibraltar outwards!
Schmike decides to hang the Doctor from the highest yard arm available on the sea plane. Since the only 'yard arm' consists of a coat peg, the Doctor doesn't even have to work out a clever way to survive this hanging. Thus, Schmike vows to force the Doctor to 'spend a night in his bed' and the Time Lord finally starts to get scared...
But the monumental terror of the rest of the cast of characters is short lived as the two surviving Snotaran warriors haul themselves inside and ask hopefully for a cup of tea and some warm towels. Schmike is now so totally out of it he finds this completely normal, which proves to be a downfall and the Snotarans attack. However, there is still another fifteen minutes to go so the fight scene is postponed as Olsen tries to get the aliens to pose for photos for his honestly-going-to-be-written-and-published-any-day-now story.
Schmike loses it... well, a bit more than he had already lost... and empties the rheon carbine at Olsen's face, but only succeeds in killing the Snotaran standing on the other side of the room. Schmike realizes that his ultimate killing machine is now completely useless, and so Riviera blows him apart.
The Doctor agrees to help Alfalfa return to the Snotaran Pizzeria Homeworld, and is rather dispirited when the angry toad-faced alien refuses point blank the chance to become his new TARDIS companion. Apparently the bald clone is too busy and needs to "wash his hair". The Doctor is insulted and, despite having saved the course of human history and prevented a galaxy-wide price war between the Snotarans and Ru-tans, STILL feels the need to sulk and get completely wasted on sarsaparilla daiquiris in a Casablanca bar.
As the Time Lord drunkenly abuses the piano player with more Humphrey Bogart dialogue, Laroche and Riviera decide to enjoy some respite and leave to go on a 22-year-bender on Kentucky bourbon, leaving Olsen to do an appalling karioke rendition of "As Time Goes By..."
Books/Other Related Material-
Doctor Who Visits Casablanca!
Doctor Who and the Cross of Lorraine (Free French Editions)
Everybody Comes to Rick's... Even Time Lords
Dying Berbers Say The Darnedest Things
Links and References -
Riviera has a supply of deodorant cans filled with Nitro-9 after meeting with a spunky girl from Perivale during a vampire siege of Maiden's Bay.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The last time the Doctor visited Casablanca, he was an agent of the Time Lords dispatched to prevent priceless Italian artwork falling into the hands of the Nazis. It was around this time he began to suspect the Celestial Intervention Agency had lost respect for his skills as a field agent.
Dialogue Train Wrecks
Schmike: If I could I would spend much more time with you - unfortunately, our aircraft leaves for Casablanca in an hour or so, so I must forgo my usual pleasures and deliver the coup de grace now.
Doctor: Never been an exponent on the 'bullet in the back of the head' school of cruelty, then?
Schmike: Nein, nein, much more refined. See here? My latest acquisition. A fully-functional iron maiden.
Doctor: That's not bad. Excellent band. I've got all of their CDs.
(Krantz opens the front of the maiden.)
Doctor: Ooh. Spiky.
Schmike: Would you like a closer look? Krantz! Put him in!
Doctor: But I actually would rather prefer to spend a few years here, studying the outside - NO! Now, just one moment! NO!
(They fling the Doctor into the iron maiden, swing the door shut and lock it.)
Schmike: (Laughs evilly) Goodbye, Doctor! GOODBYE!
(There is a knocking on the door.)
Doctor: (VO) Ah, can I come out now? Hello?
(Curious, Schmike opens the door. The completely unharmed Doctor emerges.)
Schmike: Why are you alive??
Doctor: You know what? I've often asked that question myself. I think it's to spread peace and happiness across the cosmos.
Schmike: You will answer! How did you survive?
Doctor: Well, one doesn't like to give away one's secrets... but I haven't the faintest idea.
Laroche: There must be some explanation! They audience will never forgive us otherwise, will they?
Doctor: Oh. I was really hoping that they'd just accept it and move on.
Schmike: Well, they won't! Quick, think of something before the moment passes.
Doctor: I dunno! Maybe I managed to twist my body around the spiky bits in there and, abracadabra, here I am?
Krantz: They'll need a bit more than THAT, they're not COMPLETE idiots!
Laroche: Maybe once upon a time Harry Hudini taught him how to self-dislocate his own shoulders and thighs?
Ja! And perhaps the Ekolatians artists of Bravlox 4 have some handy tips on organ displacement in contortion.
Doctor: (Nods thoughtfully) Remarkable creatures. They can post themselves through their own letter boxes. No idea why they have letter boxes in their front doors at all, though, since they never use them for letters, just doorways. Why bother with the rest of the door, that's what I want to know...
Krantz: And then, of course there was that episode of The X-Files with the chap who could squeeze down chimneys...
Doctor: But the practical upshot was that I'm still alive and there's another two episodes to go before the season ends, so can we just get on with the plot please?
Schmike: Krantz, give me your luger. Doctor. On your knees.
Doctor: Ah... You're reverting to the 'bullet-in-the-back-of-the-head' school of cruelty, I see.
Schmike: Ja. Contrive your way out of this!
Doctor: Ah! Look! A rheon carbine in my pocket! You have to let me live.
Schmike: Of all the torture chambers in all the world, you had to end up in mine...
Doctor: Play it again, Sam.
Pianist: My name's not actually Sam.
Doctor: Well, the line's not actually "Play it again, Sam!", so if you can allow THAT little misquote, the whole name business is totally irrelevant. Bah. Like "Play it once, Sam, for old time's sake" is SO better anyway...
Schmike: These... Snotarans, as you call them? They deliver pizzas? But war is at the core of their being? Like that of my people? A race that is not like that would have produced such a weapon of unimaginable power and yet it has been made to be held by one man - in his hand! Doctor, these Snotarans, they like to see carnage with their own raw eyes; like to witness the conquest face-on; taste the blood of their enemies... even if they're just cheap pricks who insist that the delivery is two seconds late and therefore don't have to pay and then they LAUGH at you! These Snotarans, if they come, they will understand and they will smile. Smile as they see the glory of the Third Reich, because they will see in it brethren! Kindred brothers! Sauerkraut pizzas for EVERYONE!
Alfalfa: The Ru-tans will come after me! We must recover the weapons! We must!
Doctor: It's all right, old chap. I'll take the rheon carbine back to your people. The Ru-tans will never know a thing about it.
Alfalfa: But how do you know of such things?! You are primitives!
Doctor: Steady on! Not so much of "primitive". I saved your life once today. And by the looks of your injuries, if I move quickly enough I can save it all over again. Take my hand, Snotaran. I will help you. You will survive. You know, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Alfalfa: Whoa! No naughty touching, Time Lord!
Krantz: The gun in my right hand is loaded AND aimed at your heart!
Doctor: That is my least vulnerable spot. Mainly because I've got two of them, one on either side of my chest and you're actually aiming at nothing vital.
Doctor: If it's December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in Dublin 1997?
Pianist: Why the hell are you asking me for?
Doctor: My watch stopped. In about four hundred different interplanetary time zones. I bet they've drunk themselves unconscious in Dublin. I bet they're completely shit faced all across Europe...
Schmike: The glorious scientists of the Reich will surely be able to discover the secrets of my glorious supernatural powers! I am no longer merely another washer woman from Heidelberg! Nobody move lest I STRIKE AT THEE WITH THOR'S MIGHTY HAMMER! I have stood before greatness and NOT averted my eyes! I have beaten SUPERMEN! I AM INVINCIBLE! I AM A GOD!!! There are no rules now, none except which I decree! I WILL BE FÜHRER SOON ENOUGH! Even Hitler will bow to kiss my feet! Yes, Doctor, you KNOW what it means to be vanquished! Silence! Silence! SILENCE! Stop whispering! STOP WHISPERING! WHISPERING WILL BE MET WITH ULTIMATE FORCE! YOU WILL OBEY ME! I AM THE ARYAN MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE!
Doctor: Wait a minute... are you the Bastard?
Doctor: The silly old Time Lord called the Bastard, I mean.
Schmike: Oh. No. Why?
Doctor: Just, you know. The beard. The catchphrase. The spine-chilling threats. Being played by Dave Segal... You ARE the Bastard!
Schmike: Stop calling me that!
Doctor: Is there an SS school for bearded megalomaniacs with spine-chilling threats? Or is it little books you read by candlelight in dank dungeons to get you in the right graveyard mood?
Schmike: I do not need to threaten, Doctor! YOU HAVE SEEN MY POWER!
Doctor: "Your" power?! YOUR POWER?!? You steal an alien artifact from an unarmed man, learn how to work it by accident, with more luck than judgement bring the top of a dockyard building down on the Snotaran's potato-shaped heads, then with almost breathtaking good fortune hit the drive pods of the Snotaran battle cruiser when you were aiming in the other direction! "POWER"?! You are a second-hand facsimile of "power", Schmike! A pale shadow of greatness not worthy of cursory footnote in the pages of Lance Parkins' A History of the Universe! Which, neatly enough, brings me back to the question: are you SURE you're not the Bastard?
Doctor: You there! The gyrating man! Look up when a better is in your presence!
Policeman: Can I help you?
Doctor: Ja! I am Count Eric Von Strudel-Fritz-Katz-Botch-Frugal-Schnitzel-Gruber the Nineteenth!
Policeman: I-I'm sorry, I-I-I...
Doctor: Don't just sit like an imbecile talking about yourself! Be interested in ME! I am Count Eric Von Strudel-Fritz-Katz-Botch-Frugal-Schnitzel-Gruber the...
Policeman: The Nineteenth?
Doctor: Ahhhhhhh. Excellent. So you're not as completely shtupid as I first suspected. I vant to shpeak immediately to the local German councilor official. My butler here and I have been sheverely affronted by an Englisher doctor and a French profesher of arcaeology!
Policeman: Affronted? What shape did this affront take?
Doctor: A personal slight against mien family, mien honor and vorst of all mien nob!
Policeman: ... nob?
Doctor: Ja! Nob! Don't you have nobs in Unoccupied France? Or did you execute them all while eating your disgusting cheesy sauces? You are quite simply the most incompetent police officer it has ever been my misfortune to become involved with! GET ME A GERMAN COUNCILOR OFFICIAL!!
Policeman: There are no German councilor officials in Marrakech, monsieur...
Doctor: I vant to shpeak to a German in authority! NOW, LITTLE SHCRIBBLING MAN! NOW!
Policeman: I will have you taken over to General Zany Hans' residence!
Doctor: Is he German?
Doctor: Now we are making progress, little shcribbling man. Mien butler and I vill vait over there! Ensure that we are transported to the General's residence at once!
Laroche: You are truly a master of disguise, Doctor! How did you impersonate the unmitigated arrogance of a German aristocrat so well?
Doctor: I just pretended to be Dara Hamilton with a German accent. Ah, Dara. She tried everything to be popular, and nothing worked. She did her best to convince me that I actually found her in any way attractive, but that was all over long ago. For my sake, she pretended it wasn't, and I let her pretend because it was a hell of a lot easier than actually trying to talk to the bint. I regretted ever travelling with her and vowed to kill her. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not today. Maybe not next Tuesday. But in time travel, the late Renaissance counts as 'soon and for the rest of your life'.
Laroche: How... er... noble?
Doctor: I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the emotional problems of a little schoolgirl with underdeveloped breasts don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed up cosmos. Then one day, she actually understood that, and she dumped me. Where she went, I couldn't follow and what she'll do, I'm pretty sure I don't want to be any part of. (sighs) I'm not bitter.
"Jeffrey Coburn playing Barron Von Stuplicritzplotfiz... the 19th whatever was a genuine behind the sofa moment. To this day, I work the phrase "disgusting cheesy sauces" into conversation as often as I can. Which is far more often than one might expect. HAHAH! Ah. I have no life." - The Pizza Supreme (2008)
"The Curse of the Arabs is the best story of the season. It's a story rich with plot and a lot of fun to listen to. And a lot better than Polymorph, which just didn't sit right with me. It was always at a list of about three or four degrees and I HATE THAT! Yes, the SCADs really hit a good stride here, I can't really pick a best or worst. Except for Curse of the Arabs being the best and Polymorph being the worst. I can pick those, no sweat. This season has a nice variety of stories, too. Just looking at titles reminds me how much I miss the voice of Jeffrey Coburn, whispering naughty things in my ears while the general public avoided me on public transport, never realizing what was REALLY going on..."
- Fatty Arbuckle (2005)
"Hello. I'm Joanna Lumbley." - Dooley Wilson (1981)
"If I want a four-part storyline about an emotionally vulnerable Doctor in 1941 trying to stop an alien artifact from stuffing up all known history while dripping with romantic and inaccurate post-war preconceptions about the true nature of the topic while dripping with clichés... then I choose this over Steve Moffat's retarded gasmask baby story any time! Oh yeah, New Series fans, I SO fucking went there! YOU'RE ALL SHEEP! See you on the way to the abattoir!"
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (2009)
"Paul Ebbs once again crafts a well-constructed tale full of three-dimensional characters and interesting plot devices. The jammy git makes the rest of us look like incompetent hacks with no natural talent whatsoever! No wonder this is the last time we let him get his grubby protuberances over our glorious Doctor Who Superiority Complex Audio Dramas! There's nothing that can justify such creative ability! NOTHING! But no matter how hard you try, you just can't escape that Indiana Jones feeling... you know, the one where that mad Arab with the knives does a really cool fighting dance move for about three hours and then Indi just blows the mother away and walks off with no interest whatsoever? That's Paul Ebbs, that is. Effortlessly blowing away the pretentious wank we glorify ourselves with. Oh, my firm beliefs are shattering! Reality has been questioned! IS THIS THE END?!? If so, you are left wondering if this should have been a SCAD story at all rather than something for professionals. Nevertheless, it's still a good romp populated entirely by David Segal and Chip Jamison squawking at each other in fake accents. Good times!" - The Jeffrey Coburn Handbook (2000)
Jeffrey Coburn Speaks!
"I remember being very drunk when we finished this story. Frightening, considering that we had two more crates of malibu to finish off during this particular production block. Paul Ebbs was very specific that for us to do his characters justice, we had to be as inebriated as they were. Jym, who played Riviera, needed his stomach pumped four times recording that first scene alone. What a trooper. They're all wonderful. I love them all. More booze, barkeep!
You know, you might find this a bit hard to belief and OK it might spoil the magic of the story but... get this... I didn't actually DO any splashing about during those ocean scenes. That was done by foley artists! HAH! The poor suckers were waterlogged and freezing when we finished. And they weren't too happy when the director told her that she had to go back in for another scene! HAHA! Sheri was the director for this one, wasn't she? That explains a lot of things. Like the mindless cruelty to all the production team. Lotta karma, right there!
I think it was interesting to see the Doctor without a companion. No one to mock him, annoy the audience, get into trouble or anything like that. Well, there was Jimmy Olsen, but he managed to do all that and never once come close to pseudo-companion status. I understand it kept the audience guessing "Who was going to be the next companion?" they would ask and it's always fun keeping them on their toes, so to speak.
While I would never suggest that he should be without one on a permanent basis, I must hand it to the producer for being courageous enough to give it a try, even for a story. Unless of course it was down to the fact they simply didn't have a companion ready. Then it wouldn't be so impressive.
I'd always thought of Joe Medina as a deep, professional man. I know I was quite shocked, and saddened, when he left the show so suddenly in a very shallow and unprofessional way, but, hell, creative geniuses are allowed such foibles. Or they'll slash your throat with a broken beer bottle. Still, it allowed Tom Himinez to take over as script editor. I don't know a lot about what happens in the production office... or indeed if ANYTHING happens in the production office, but I do know this was a long time coming. Like the apocalypse.
Tom's been there in the background for a long time, like the apocalypse and it's about time he got due credit. Doug's been bringing on people who shared his philosophies. Like professionalism, dedication, and the zeal to encourage new writers and actors and... hahahaHAH! I'm sorry, I'm fooling no one, am I?"
Rumours, Slander, and Libel
What can one say? From the very beginning the viewer... well, the listener... well, the responder at any rate, is thrust into a spiral of adventure! The crashing craft, a mysteriously idiotic Arab Berber, a foaming-dog-fever insane dastardly German officer. Is this the next Phantom movie? The sequel to The Mummy Returns? Or has Indiana Jones gone "SCAD"?
Nay! Nay, thrice and moo! Although if you were to compare such classics to The Curse of the Arabs Scarab you couldn't be more far off. Such a wonderful, adventurous style is always a pleasure to watch... well, listen to... well, respond to. The Doctor is thrust into World War II to recover an alien weapon that could assist the Nazis to win that exact same World War II, I was on the edge of my seat and shouting for mercy! Surely only the powers of Lucifer himself could make Chip Jamison give a half-decent performance portraying a character so monumentally irritating they could teach things to Dara Hamilton?!
As you may have deducted, I enjoyed this story thoroughly! Not a dull moment and some wonderful adventure sequences with top notch acting... from the foley artists. Paul Ebbs and the Everlasting Films group really have excelled themselves this time in producing something ON par instead of merely SUB par! So let's all give them a five minute head start before we set loose the hounds of hell for providing such an excellent story to their so-called range of "entertainment"! Breathtaking, assuming of course you can stand to breathe in such fetid, self-congratulatory stench...
Like it's immediate predecessor, Polymorph, The Curse of the Arabs was a story that producer Douglas Phillips rejected so utterly he laughed it out of his office and hired a hitman to seek, locate and destroy the author, one Paul Ebbs. However, script editor and professional loony Joe Medina had completely ignored Phillips and went ahead with it anyway. This was the latest in a long line of insubordinate acts and so Phillips decided the time had come for a final confrontation between the ultimate creative forces of the Superiority Complex Audio Dramas!
Medina laughed Phillips' face and immediately resigned. His vengeance was perfectly planned - Phillips had absolutely no alternative but use the stories that Medina had commissioned even though they were chosen solely because Phillips hated them. What's more, Phillips would be forced to actually finish the stories since Medina had quit with them still in the middle of production.
After suffering through the untold nightmare of Polymorph, the production team had to finally finish off Jeffrey Coburn's third season, only seven years after Coburn had signed up as the Time Lord. Phillips quickly decided that the best bet for a replacement for Medina was Thomas "Saigon" Himinez, who had been writing for the SCADs since the so-called "Vincent Savage" era of 1982.
Himinez teamed up with Paul Ebbs (first having to save him from the bounty hunters chasing him across the western world) and together they tried to salvage The Curse of the Arabs after Medina's initial rewrites. Originally entitled As Time Goes By In Brazzaville, the story was a sequel/prequel to the Hal B Wallis film Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, a tasteful historical story pitting the Doctor and Dara up not only against the corrupt Nazi regime but the disillusioned resistance movement as they desperately awaited the war to reach what surely seemed to be a forgone conclusion.
Ebbs was a bit pissed off to discover that Medina had commissioned the story under the title "The Trods Do Casablanca!!" and consisted entirely of the conical static-powered robots time travelling to 1941 Morocco and then incinerating humans while shrieking "WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS!" over and over again. For one hundred and two minutes straight.
It is a testament to Medina's criminal genius that even AFTER exhausted and numerous top-to-bottom rewrites by Ebbs, Himinez AND Phillips, scenes like this still kept appearing in the finished product:
Doctor: Unless we fix this situation, things will get a lot worse than just Snotaran storm troopers. The Trod Confederacy might get involved!
Laroche: Won't three-metre tall, be rather conspicuous in Casablanca?
Doctor: Yes. Good job they thought to make themselves invisible, eh?
Laroche: You don't mean...
Doctor: I'm afraid so, Professor. Only their supreme technological skills master light-bending armor. Remarkable technology. You can rest assured there WILL be three-metre tall, one-eyed armor-plated conical robots with razor-sharp metal talons in Casablanca - waiting for us!
Laroche: Great! I love Trod stories!
Another problem arose when it became clear that the scripts would have to be rewritten to remove the character of Dara, whose services as a companion it had taken the SCADs two stories and most of a year to finally get rid of. However, they had no suitable new companion ready to take their place and absolutely none of the characters in Ebbs' scripts merited upgrading to become either a regular companion or a desperate last-minute stand-in companion either.
"It was never planned that the Doctor would have an extended adventure by himself," said Douglas Phillips when called upon by the magistrate to explain the alleged anarchist massacre in 13th century Rome at the hands of Bill the Visigoth. "In fact, Executive Producer Richard Segal was against the idea of even having one story without a companion. But I think it was good to do something different for a change, to see how the Doctor would be when he didn't have his companion to fall back on. That's the story I tell people and I'm sticking to it. It worked with Tom Baker, so what more do you want? BLOOD?!"
But the removal of Dara "Robo-Slut" Hamilton was to have further repercussions over the work on the story. After her unceremonious dismissal from the role of Dara, Sheri Divine had one fricken big bone to pick with the rest of the production team. So when she was chosen by lottery to become the director of the story, she made every single one of the SCADs members pay dearly for her numerous humiliations. Typically, this was the only time she had shown any signs of long-term memory while working with the audios.
One advantage of Divine's sadistic and ruthless production schedule was that The Curse of the Arabs (or, as it was known at various points "Doctor Who In The Mysterious City of Sin and Intrigue!", "Date With Fate In Marrakech" or plain "You Can Tell By The Cast Alone That This Is The Biggest Story Ever Done By God It's Important And Gripping And Big And Glavin!") was completely in a fifteenth of the time it normally took to produce a half-decent four-parter.
The only real problem that occurred during recording (apart from the numerous emotional and nervous breakdowns that unfolded under Divine's campaign of intense psychological bullying) was when Jeffrey Coburn became extremely ill. At first it was assumed that he had once again gotten drunk on absinthe and tried to swallow live reptiles, an unfortunate habit which had ruined the first season finale of his tenure, The Thyme Brokers.
However the truth was much less hilarious and therefore dull. Quite simply, Coburn's sinuses were clogged up and his voice throaty, so he just took an antihistamine on an empty stomach. Coburn had a habit of skipping breakfast, since he considered the platter on offer at the SCADs not fit for elderly leper-infected swine. No one else was aware of it, and therefore did not connect him not eating breakfast to taking medication that required him having eaten beforehand and just assumed that he was demonically possessed.
After a lengthy and ultimately pointless attempt to have Coburn blessed by a passing priest with some holy water, the actual problem was discovered and he was kicked repeatedly by Divine until he got back up and started recording again. This lead to several scenes of Coburn heading way off script and often getting the confused impression they were actually adapting Casablanca the film, randomly inserting quotes and misquotes into dialogue to the bewilderment of his frightened co-stars.
For all it's faults, Divine's recording reign of terror had - in conjunction of stealing another recording unit and a 2nd Unit Director from their bitter rivals, Finelinebetweenpleasureandpain Productions - made the SCADs now 212% more efficient than it was before. Even if they went back to their old, lazy routine they could still complete another two stories before 1999 was out!
With a rising sense of disbelief, Douglas Phillips and Thomas Himinez found themselves in the position to plan ahead for the next season of SCADs which Jeff Coburn had made crystal clear was to be his last, no ifs, ands or buts!
All in all, The Curse of the Arabs would be the finest story so far by the SCADs in production terms and sheer story quality. Indeed, this is damning indictment of how this gang of idiots were giving 'ham-fisted bun vendor amateurs' a bad name. And, as millennium drew to an end, it remained to be seen if things could possibly get worse for this little-known fan audio production with delusions of adequacy...