Wednesday, July 1, 2009

JS Doctor - The Seventh Dungeon of Drakmoore

One Hundred And Fifty-Second Entry in the YOA Unauthorized Programme Guide Finite Imagination Appendix O' Now Is Here!

16D - The Seventh Album of Darkmere -

CD Blurb

In the 13th century, Henry III may have sat on the throne of England. I'm not 100% certain about this, and history's not really my thing. I can't stand historicals, either. But I seem to recall that, during the 1200s, it was the barons who ruled the land. Well, it was the barons who fought roving gangs of musicians for control of England. Some of the barons were kind, some of the barons were corrupt, some of the musicians were great, some completely awful and seemed to have invented Country and Western music centuries early.

But most had their eye - sometimes two of them in the cases of those not a Cyclops - on the crown for themselves. Hang, on what crown? Henry's crown? I'm getting confused...

One band of minstrels had help...unnatural help. Help for what, I ask myself and get nothing as a stern reply! Maybe they mean backing vocals? Is that what they're talking about? Unnatural medieval back-up singers? What kind of crap idea is that? It's not exactly up there with gasmask zombies, is it?

I digress.

Garglebaster of the Celtic minstrel band Darkmere, a direct ancestor of Clannad, poured his musical armies back forth across the land to find an audience that actually like them; no one was able to stand before his forced Irish accent and instead hurled rubbish at him. Some called him a leprechaun, others said he had signed a pact with the devil in order to master playing a lute backwards behind his head before setting it alight and smashing it on stage. Perhaps both were right. How the hell should I know?

Those who performed against him in the battle of the bands would taste the cold steel of his sword. And, no, that ISN'T any kind of metaphor for oral sex. Some, however, suffered a worse fate. And that isn't a metaphor for oral sex either.

There are terrible stories about the album covers of Darkmere. Unspeakable horrors that are spoken of nonetheless because this is an audio god damn it. And beyond the covers, past the trippy primary colours that hold the neo-conservative LSD flower power imagery, was - where men faced the truth about the drinking songs and flutes and guitars and bongo folk rock music, is the seventh album. The album where Gargleblaster's evil experiments with a lush, electric sound and vocals by an Enya-wannabe, since Enya herself would not be born for another seven hundred years. The album where men, and occasionally women if they happened to be passing, faced the truth behind the mellow and delicate tracks alongside tempestuous and piercing songs of Darkmere... and lost their souls in the guitar riffs and trumpet reverberations.

Deep in the cover artwork of their Darkmere albums lie unholy powers. And they recognizes the Doctor from somewhere... a wedding, maybe? Some sort of social function at the very least. Let us move on.

Plot Summary

In 1255, a bunch of violent alcoholic minstrels gatecrash an orgy of Lord Byron and eventually force him out of house and home as they get drunk and torture their prisoners to death with their off-key renditions of "Three Jolly Coachmen" without rhyme or reason. But mainly rhyme.

One night, the evening's meaningless melted cheese sex session and forcing castle servants to fight to the death to the tribal music from that old Star Trek episode, a passing alien space craft crashes into the meadow outside. The next morning, Lord Gargleblaster and his backing singers finally get off their medieval backsides and emerge fully expecting to find Lord Byron and his army of cyborg warriors he tamed with his mighty space syphillis.

The minstrels are, therefore, incredibly let down to find the only survivor of the space crash is a rather battered iPod, with which Gargleblaster immediately calls shotgun before anyone else can.

One revamped opening title sequence later (or two years, depending on how you view linear time), the solo Doctor arrives in the English countryside and starts wandering around looking for small children to taunt and terrify in equal measure. Just then he finally notices the army of ferocious ex-minstrels riding by in the next valley towards a quiet village. The Doctor puts this down to the tourist season and watches on with a complete lack of interest.

Lead by Gargleblaster himself, they burst into a song whose lyrics dip in an out of English, Welsh, Latin, Gàidhlig, Mohican and most of all in their native tongue of Irish! The townsfolk are unable to withstand this ballad of "Scarlet Inside" and all the looting and pillaging starts. By the time the Doctor bothers to visit, Gargleblaster's forces have been and gone leaving an insulting message and a box of milk chocolate for the local ruler, Lady Karthryn of Kettledom - an insane white-goods-worshipping bint who is uglier than most of her objets d'art.

As the ruined village of Derrickton recovers from the musical devastation, Lady Karthryn realizes after it is explained very slowly to her by her advisors that Gargleblaster could have completely taken over the province but chose not to because it was such a boring and rubbish place. When the Doctor finally turns up he is immediately assumed to be one of Gargleblaster's minions despite his strange clothes, lack of weaponry or horseback and complete ignorance of who the hell Gargleblaster of Darkmere is. "Bloody peasants," the Doctor bitches.

At the last second he is saved by one of Lady Karthryn's advisors, John Toaster and his horse Durant (Chip Jamison), who points out how stupid the Derrickton survivors are and the Doctor is let loose. However, the rebellious young teen called Luke wishes to raise a rebel alliance against the evil Gargleblaster Empire as he searches desperately for his long lost twin (Chip Jamison... again). The Doctor decides to tag along with the overconfident pratt simply to see if this is a serious Star Wars mockery or just a really freaky coincidence.

The Doctor and Luke head off to the Castle Darkmere, where Luke casually reveals that Gargleblaster is seemingly indestructible and in league with the devil and that he steals the souls of absolutely anyone that dares annoy him.

"And you didn't mention this earlier?!" the Doctor demands.

This frustrated cry proves to be their undoing, as a squad of minstrels emerge from the castle and attack - lead by Luke's twin brother Matthew (still Chip Jamison) who denies Luke three times before cutting him into pieces. The Doctor muses that Matthew may fight for Gargleblaster and kill his own brother by some curious soul-stealing brainwashing... but then again Luke WAS very irritating.

Just as it looks like the Doctor is about to suffer the same fate, Lady Karthryn's Kettle-clad army sweeps over the hill, ridiculously confident that a bunch of kitchenware obsessives like them can succeed where armies and war fleets have failed. They soon get a reality check, however, and there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth as that happens.

Having miraculously escaped to the sidelines, the Doctor laughs uproarishly at how lucky he was to flee the carnage without a single scratch. A split second later he gets an arrow through his shoulder and swears like a trooper at the sickening irony of it all, before fainting from blood loss.

When the battle comes to a predictable end with Gargleblaster's rendition of "The Hooded Man", they discover the strangely-dressed young man babbling narrative to himself has somehow escaped without them noticing. Showing all his brilliance perspicacity, Gargleblaster learns of this when news reaches him from his fellow players, and decides on absolutely no evidence of any kind that the Doctor is an emissary from the King's Court sent to help Kettledom. He orders that the Doctor be captured at once, but - again showing his superb tactical skills - orders that the Doctor be FOUND first, THEN captured!

The Doctor however has already been found by some very kind villagers and brought to their home. The Time Lord is truly touched by their generosity and compassion, but it soon becomes apparent that the villagers are also the product of first cousins interbreeding too often, and criminally stupid. Thus, rather than giving the Doctor up to Gargleblaster's followers for the exorbitant reward of two chickens and a goat, they help him escape through a handy ventilation shaft while the irate minstrels burn the house down and kill them all.

The Time Lord heads for the Darkmere mines, and puzzles over the presence of petrol generators and electrical equipment. Either this is a Renaissance Fair that has gone completely out of his control or else some strange force is interfering with human history. As he puzzled over this, Sir John Toaster and is faithful horse Durant (Chip Jamison - aren't you paying attention?) happens to pass by, spots the Doctor and beats him unconscious with a baseball bat.

The Doctor recovers consciousness to find himself in what appears to be a kitchenware furniture showroom, but is actually the Kettledom Palace of Lady Karthryn - who collects lots of anachronistic technology to do with cooking. The Doctor considers Lady Karthryn a deeply, DEEPLY pathetic specimen, and doesn't even bother to ask why her chief advisor wanders around capturing people with baseball bats on the off chance they might agree to help stop Gargleblaster.

The Time Lord is half way through his standard "I am expressly forbidden to alter the course of history for good nor ill" speech before admitting that all this advanced time meddling technology is reminding him of good times fighting the Wine Peddler or Unix the Snotaran Slime Warrior or that Connecticut Yankee he bumped into at King Arthur's Court. So, for a nostalgia buzz, he agrees to help Kettledom defeat the evil Darkmere on the condition that afterwards Karthryn does not attempt to seize her enemy's advanced powers and raise herself to the throne.

Karthryn agrees, and then begins to chuckle evilly and rub her hands with glee. She darkly announces, "This Doctor shall prove to be very useful to us, and when he has lead us into Darkmere, we shalt dispatch him with all haste! Leaving us with powerful weapons which will elevate my son William to the Throne of England and me to Queen Mother! The whole of England, nay the whole of Europe, will BOW TO QUEEN KARTHRYN! HUZZAH!"

"Um, I'm standing RIGHT here in front of you," the Doctor points out, annoyed.

Awkwardly, Karthryn coughs loudly and changes the subject.

A scene change later and the Doctor, Sir John and Durant are heading for the Castle Darkmere, an experience made all the more pleasurable by the fact that Durant has no dialogue and thus we are spared CJ's acting for a few scenes. The Doctor is impressed at the art deco bungalow with its clear Frank Lloyd Wright influences, noting that it is painfully obvious to anyone able to see the building that its size and style are centuries out of fashion. He then describes it in detail for the listeners, annoying them a lot since it sounds completely different to the one on that awful CD cover.

Sir John decides to take a subtle approach... and charges naked at the front door, screaming obscenities at Gargleblaster's musical ability and triggering a tidal wave of troopers with their instruments at the ready. A few choruses of "Herne the Hunter" knocks the Doctor unconscious and Sir John and Durant realize how utterly stupid this plan is... and run away.

Proving herself as stupid as her subjects, Lady Karthryn decides to attack Darkmere AGAIN, despite not having a Time Lord this time, using all her peasants as shock troops to gain control of Darkmere and then the world. However, she is shocked that the promise of untold waffle irons is not enough incentive for her people to be hacked limb from limb by the awesome power of Clannad music.

Furious at the villagers en masse telling her to "go forth and procreate in isolation", she has her army slaughter the lot of them. By the time she remembers she kind of NEEDED the peasants for day to day stuff not to mention her insane attack on Darkmere, all the villages have been burned to the ground. Nevertheless, Karthryn is nothing if not clinically insane, and decides to send her exhausted handful of remaining soldiers up against Gargleblaster ANYWAY.

The plot gets kind of dull at this point so let us skip forward a few days to where the Doctor wakes up chained to the wall of a dungeon. Gargleblaster turns up and the Doctor demands to be let out before he uses his mighty Time Lord powers to rent Gargleblaster asunder!

Gargleblaster spits on the Doctor and orders the guards to take him away to suffer the most horrible of all known executions... death by IRISH MATCHMAKING SONGS SUCH AS "TEIDHIR ABHAILE RIÚ"!

The evil baron then runs into his bedroom, gets an LP cover and has a complete panic attack, screaming at the cover that the Doctor is a Time Lord and all their evil masterplans are completely fucked.

The Doctor is taken to the execution yard where black-hooded musicians prepare to slaughter, when at just the right moment, the handful of survivors from Kettledom attack. Gargleblaster decides to stop pissing about and just waste the bastards with a rousing cover of "Down By The Sally Gardens!"

The Doctor makes a half-hearted attempt to stop the slaughter before it strikes him he doesn't actually WANT any of Kettledom to survive and wanders off to find that Gargleblaster blubbering in front of an iPod on a throne. It appears that this is where Gargleblaster has been getting his technology and lethally beautiful Celtic pop music!

The Doctor quickly deduces that, based on past experience, that the iPod is really a strange alien (Chip Jamison) who shares the mind of Gargleblaster and intend to take the Earth and then the universe. The iPod then tries to mesmerize the Doctor with a swirling screen saver...

The Doctor shakes his head in disgust and walks out of the castle to stumble across the survivors of Kettledom's army - Karthryn, Sir John and Durant who are pretty bummed out by the total slaughter that handed their asses to them. The Doctor tells them all about the deranged walkman trying to conquer the universe and leads the remaining speaking parts into the castle for a final confrontation.

Once inside, he picks up a laser rifle and kills Sir John and Durant in cold blood before blasting off Karthryn's knee caps and letting her fall at the feet of the insane Gargleblaster. The would-be dictator assumes that the Doctor is still under the iPod's hypnotic power.

"Huh?" the Doctor asks, non-plussed. "Oh right. Yeah. Hypnosis. Sure." He shoots some more random peasants. "That wasn't me, that was the evil alien controlling my brain! I'm not responsible for my actions! Hell, I'm not responsible for my actions at the best of times..."

With Gargleblaster now ruling what's left of Kettledom, he decides to challenge the Doctor to single combat - allowing the Time Lord to die like a man, with honor, on the battlefield!

Before they can actually do any fighting, a passing serf called Christine runs Gargleblaster through the spine with a handy thermal lance, killing him instantly. "What a buzz-kill!" the Time Lord sighs, dropping his sword.

Pocketing the protesting iPod, the Doctor takes his leave of Darkmere and the thirteenth century as well - but takes Chris with him on his journeys as his new companion. Mainly because he's terrified she'll disembowel him if he doesn't.

Books/Other Related Material-
Doctor Who - Together We In The Ancient Forest of This Strange Land
Dr Who Goes Medieval on The Opposition's Ass!
Clannad's "Legend", the infamous Robin of Sherwood soundtrack which was banned by the Geneva Convention

Links and References -
Delirious, the Doctor has an acid flashback to when he had a psychotic episode after finding his companions Melissa and K9 redecorating the TARDIS.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor isn't sure if it's been two weeks or two centuries since he got rid of Dara; either way, he still hasn't finished repairing the damage she did to his cloaks whenever she got bored and had a box of matches to hand.

Dialogue Train Wrecks

Karthryn: Thou are a sorcerer!

Doctor: I assure you I do not weigh the same as a duck!

Sir John: Why is that relevant?

Doctor: Oh, you have technology and architecture a thousand years ahead of your time, but asking for a bit of Monty Python, well that's just ridiculous...

Karthryn: So you're NOT a sorcerer?

Doctor: No. Well. Not really. Though I do have an uncanny knack of telling the Olsen twins apart! I pity you philistines unable to grasp those subtleties...


Luke: Mathew!

John: Mark!

Mathew: Luke!

Mark: John!

Doctor: Am I the only person who finds this funny...?


Matron: I'll teach thee to defy thy authority! What thy lord does with his prisoners is none of thou business. Does thou understand?!

Chris: What they do to those poor men down there...

Matron: Thou be doing the same to thee, if I catch thee loafing again. Thou does what thou art told and ONLY what thou art told! If I catch thee again where thoust does not belong! I'll thrash thee down to thy very bones! Now get thee to thy chores or thou shalt be going to bed hungry tonight, understand?

Chris: Yes, my lady.

Matron: Know thy place!

Chris: I now know thy place, matron... And thou shalt now know the HOT KISS of MOLTEN LEAD, HAG-SEED! DIE!!!

Dialogue Gems

Sir John: There, Darkmere stands before us! Prepare to meet thy fate, though prating hegemony jackanapes! Mine sword hath longed for thy blood and this day shalt thy satisfy its blood! Let the siege engines be brought forth and lo...

Doctor: SHUT THE HELL UP! GOD DAMN, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! It's not bad enough you're all a bunch of irritating, inbred sociopaths living parasitically off your so-called inferiors without a clue of what's actually going on in the real world, but do you have to be so FUCKING PRETENTIOUS ALL THE TIME?


During the attacking army scenes, you can hear shouted phrases such as:

"Stay in school!"
"Three Jolly Coachmen sat in an English tavern
And they decided to have another flagon!"
"Buy our CDs!"
"JST sucks!"
"Landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it doth run over
For tonight it's merry I'll be, tomorrow I'll be sober!"
"Don't do drugs!"
"What do you with a drunken sailor?"
"Here's to the man who drinks water pure and goes to bed quite sober
He falls as the leaves do fall, he'll die by October!"
"Got milk?"
"Tom Baker should have quit in Season 15!"
"Here's to the man who drinks good ale and goes to bed quite mellow,
He lives as he ought to live, he'll die a jolly old fellow!"
"Down with Thatcher!"
"Here's to the maid who steals a kiss and runs to tell her mother
She's a foolish, foolish lass for she'll not get another!"
"Click-clack, front-and-back!"
"The TV Movie is BLASPHEMY! Paul McGann is not canon!"
"Here's to the maid who steals a kiss and stays to another
She's a boon to all mankind, for she'll soon be a mother!"
"My common sense is tingling!"
"David Segal is GOD!!"


Gargleblaster: Now I have enough minstrels to take the Crown itself! Even Henry's entire army shall be unable to stop our tin whistles, flutes and mandolins of mass destruction! Pity thou shalt not be around to see mine coronation. I know how fond Time Lords are at gate crashing historical events. Prepare to die. There's no honor in just dispatching thee in any way bar combat. Take up thy sword, Doctor! A contest, to the victor goes the world! PREPARE TO DIE!

(Christine steps from the shadows and kills Gargleblaster with a single blow.)

Doctor: What a buzz kill. I must have seen The Princess Bride a hundred times to get all the cool sword-fighting moves and I get saved by a passing non-entity. Oh well...

Chris: ...well?

Doctor: Um, thanks for that. Whoever you are. You were lethal with that sword...

Chris: I was glad to be of service, my lord.

Doctor: Er. Bye! Why are you following me?

Chris: Take me with you!

Doctor: WHAT?!

Chris: You promised!

Doctor: This is you barking. This is me being the wrong tree.

Chris: You said if I helped you escaped you would take me with you!

Doctor: I've never met you before, you lying wench, I said no such thing... Did I? Look, you don't want to come with me...

Chris: But verily, I do, my lord.

Doctor: But why?

Chris: I've nowhere else to go. My mother died when I was but nine years old and my father, I never knew - he died when I was a babe. Now I am alone at Darkmere... this is a place where nothing grows, where the air hangs thick and sick and silent, as if even the whisper of wind is afraid to trespass. No sun has ever shined here. This is the place where death lives and all hope dies. Basically this place out and out sucks.

Doctor: I can't argue with that. And I know how you feel, believe me. You know, it's been over two hundred years since I really let anyone into my private life, for good reason. My last friend I almost lost, because the life I lead, the one I brought upon myself, is very dangerous. I swore I'd never subject anyone to that again, bar the occasional English school girl and junior Time Lord on probation, but no one I actually CARED about...

Chris: Er, yeah. Really interesting. Can I come with you or what?

Doctor: I don't even know your name!

Chris: Christine, my lord.

Doctor: "Christine". Hmm. That's far too gender specific. I shall dub you Chris, as it is nicely androgynous for a depraved witch like you.

Chris: As you wish, my lord.

Doctor: Well, come along, Chris. It's time two lonely souls started to come out of their shells again. Besides, I always wanted to visit Crellium and I can't go there alone. A planet of nothing more than swampland, gas, misty half-light and the occasional ghostly psychic vampires that will make you scream until your brains liquefy. Sounds like great fun, eh?

Chris: You surely jest Lord?

Doctor: Hairy Zeus on a traffic light, stop calling me that! Call me 'Doctor'. Preferably in an annoyingly high-pitched shriek. Think Bonnie Langford.

Chris: Doctor? DOCTOR! DOCTOR!!!!

Doctor: Yeah, you'll do...

Listener Reviews

"Rachel Sommers does indeed hide her stutter quite well. But still... her voice makes me contemplate murder. As does their demented distracting oddities they call the credit sequences - it's incredible that they've actually transferred the stories into the far less convenient and popular RealPlayer format just to include these title sequences, as they are very unprofessional, and all the information contained therein could be (very) easily obtained from their website. COULD BE, but aren't. Cast lists, production names and the like are rarely seen anywhere. Not even in their guidebooks. I tell you, the end credits tell me more than the official website, precisely the polar opposite of BF's approach. Add to this is the puzzling brightly-coloured lines added to the star field in the end credits to punctuate the 'middle eight' bit of the music, and the fact that at least three characters are entirely uncredited, and you have genuine weirdness. Now, where's that flintlock of mine?"
- Jared "No Nickname" Hansen (October 2007)

"Now that Seventh Album is out, we've all had to endure Mr. Coburn's... ahem... 'singing'. Oh, how my ears were rendered! Was he faking that complete lack of talentless tone deaf noise pollution in Album? IT'S DRAMA!!"
- The Pizza Supreme (2005)

"Together we. Together we see. Together free. Together we... realize that this whole story was done a lot better on TV with Jon Pertwee and a freaking Snotaran! And I *LIKE* Clannad, OK, so stop slagging them off, SCADs! And what the hell was the album cover all about? It was the iPod that was doing all the evil stuff!" - Ewen Campion-Clarke (2006)

"A fine tale with a nice touch of historical inaccuracy thrown in for good measure where even the good guys aren't so good after all. In fact, I'd go so far as to say there AREN'T any good guys at all. This septic isle is drenched in sin and false virtue! THEY ALL DESERVE TO BURN IN THE EVERLASTING FIRES OF HELL! Jym DeNatale is excellent as the evil Gargleblaster, certainly better than anyone or anything played by Chip Jamison, and Rachel Sommers turns in a stunning performance as the hapless young serf, Christine, for all thirty-six seconds of story she actually deigns to appear in. The only letdown is the campfire song sung by Jeffrey Coburn who really can't sing. I understand that apparently, Coburn sounded much better with the original version where he rehearsed, but just because I wrote the entire fucking handbook doesn't actually mean I'm an authority or anything! My, what long hair the Doctor is sporting this season! What big eyes the Doctor is sporting sporting this season! What large nostrils the Doctor is sporting this season! What big teeth the Doctor is sporting this season.... ARRGHHH! IT'S THE BIG BAD WOLF AND HE'S COMING FOR MY SOULLLLLLLLLLLLL!" - The Jeffrey Coburn Handbook (2000)

Jeffrey Coburn Speaks!

"The Seventh Album of Darkmere would be my favorite story, if I had to pick one. I always wanted to do a medieval story, and asked several times. I'd do another one if I could, but on second thoughts I better quit while I'm ahead. The atmosphere was great, the story a lot of fun, and I just love the medieval period, with swords and knights and castles and hot jailbait maidens in chastity belts made out of chocolate... I attend Renaissance Fairs whenever I can, often when I should actually be here, recording Doctor Who stories.

Ever since I joined the team they'd forced me at knife-point to dress up in character as the Doctor every day, despite the fact we were on audio and what I was wearing made absolutely no difference whatsoever. And the only magician cloak they had weighed forty stone - why the hell sew lead weights into a cloak anyway? That heavy thing would literally choke and, get this, EVERY damn story seemed to have me wearing it. If I didn't know better, I'd put this down to another assassination attempt by David Segal (but he generally limits himself to powdered broken glass in my cocoa). But at last we switched to a black costume and I finally got a cloak to go with it. Asbestos is such a lightweight material, isn't it?

Oh, and I'd like to point out that the song was not my idea. I hated it. I do NOT sing, not ever. Not after last time. Oh, the painful memories still scald my heart with the injustice... They had to promise me an awful lot to get me to do it, like allowing me to actually quit. And, in the end, after a year of practice, I was able to croak out a fairly decent rendition of Eleven Plus Eleven. I was a little pissed off, so to speak, when I was told I had to learn a new song called Three Jolly Coachmen in less than a week. I would rather they'd have just scrapped the whole scene and had some Trods turn up. It's the most embarrassing scene I've done with the SCADs.

As you can imagine, that is up against truly awesome competition.

This was also Rachel's first story too, I think. I must admit that I was shocked at how well Rachel plays the innocent medieval girl who is in fact a psychotic killing machine, a man-eating tigress underneath a soft exterior. It
was almost as if she had been doing it all her life, and that INCLUDES the disemboweling of random strangers. Which makes her quite disarming, when you realize she might be responsible for all those headless corpses the police keep finding by the canal...

I've learned to be very careful around her. And lock my bedroom door at night."

Rachel Sommers Speaks!

"What do I think of the character of Chris? I love that character. Especially I love doing her voice. Because it's on audio, and the voice is pretty much all I've got. And it lets me act sexy. Well, Shakespearian at any rate. She's a very strong-willed young lady who takes shit from no one be it man, woman or Trod. I believe my character is going to evolve into a very strong companion who will be able to snap bricks in half with her pelvic floor muscles alone. I think, for the time being, she's being written just fine, but in the near future I'd like her to appear for more than one scene per story. Ideally."

Rumours, Slander, and Libel

With an efficiency drive rivaling that of certain concentration camps, Sheri Divine had whipped the Superiority Complex Audio Drams into such a frenzy that they were able to complete five whole stories a year. This meant that the fourth and final season of Jeffrey Coburn was beginning a full three years ahead of schedule, and the production team had no choice but to finally get round to acceding to their main star's demands.

While having got rid of the companion Dara Hamilton and changed their recording practices, Coburn was still bloody annoyed at being forced to wear a heavy and restricting magician outfit in studio as part of "getting into character". Producer Douglas Philips insisted that it was crucial to their work that the Doctor looked the part, but eventually agreed to let Coburn wear a shorter, more lightweight cloak that didn't keep getting caught in things and regularly threaten the actor with asphyxiation.

The Doctor's overall costume was changed as well, now with a black suit and a grey vest with a TARDIS key and pocket watch instead of a neon pink zoot suit and a kipper-shaped tie with a naked woman on it. New script editor Thomas Himinez found the new costume, in his words, "mind blowing", and decided to set an entire story around it. Entitled The Talentless Tellurian, it would reveal that being dumped by Dara would lead the Time Lord to become a darker character, his persona arguably being classified as somewhat sinister. In order to echo this secret torment, he would go change his outfit from dark blue to black. He would then spend the entire story brooding over some memory, some past sin or sins of which he would never come out and speak, allowing the new companion Cleo Baxter to take the lead in the series.

Phillips put his foot down on this development, pointing out that the idea of the Doctor being happy and jovial on the outside, yet lonely and tormented by some terrible secret leading him to commit good deeds as penance for ancient sins rather than out of the goodness of his hearts, was in fact just a tall tale he used to pull chicks and he didn't actually have a dark past at all. But what Phillips REALLY objected to was the SCADs aping the "detestable" Sylvester McCoy era which he believed was an utter betrayal of everything Doctor Who stood for.

When he discovered that the new season would use the Keff McCulloch theme music and a Seventh Doctor-inspired logo, the producer just sighed and wondered if ANYONE actually listened to a word he said?

Since The Talentless Tellurian was scrapped, the only other script available was The Children of Chaka Khan by Jamie Lawson, who had penned The Backpacker of the Night for Coburn's second season to universal shame, ridicule and ignominy. Lawson's tale was commissioned after Phillips promised the cast one drunken night back in 1995. During the making of The Thyme Brokers, the entire cast had got completely out of their skulls and demanded for a story set in Medieval England to occur the next season as they all really liked the medieval period for its impractical fashions, diseases, cruelty, poverty, elitism and religious schisms.

The Children of Chaka Khan was originally slated to occur sometime after The Empire of the Dustbins Strikes Back! but over the years fell through the innumerable cracks in the floor of the recording studio and no one could be bothered printing out another copy of the script. The story would have featured the funk band Rufus travelling back in time to said Medieval England and the Queen of Funk Soul herself attempting to seize control of Europe with her R&B hits. When the TARDIS Crew attempt to take on Chaka Khan, Rick James bitch-slaps Dara to death, leaving a vacancy for a new companion. Lawson suggested this character could be called Carol Kaye, whose prolific bass guitar skills would defeat Chaka Khan in a hip hop challenge.

Because of Phillips' mindless hatred of Lawson, The Children of Chaka Khan was withdrawn and a suitable replacement was sought for. With none available that did not stink of Joe "Trods Rule!" Medina's influence, Himinez was forced to quit as script editor in order to commission himself to write the replacement medieval story, tentatively entitled Doctor Who Visits The Clannad Albums of Darkmere And Thinks Them Rather Derivative.

The character of Carol Kaye was considered as being the new travel-mate for Coburn's Doctor, but Lawson threatened to sue everybody. After briefly considering renamed the character Mary Kaye, the First Lady of Rock and Roll, they dropped the idea altogether.

A new medieval companion had to be thought up and it was decided to go for a fifteen year old peasant girl who would not pose an intellectual threat and not have the galaxy-sized egomania of Dara Hamilton. The new companion could best be described as a carbon copy of Leela except without the knife fights, janis thorns, backchat, alien religion, leather moccasins, fur bikini or indeed anything that made Leela interesting or popular.

Thus, Christine Kane was born...

"Fifteen years old, born in mid-thirteenth century England, she is a folk singer, songwriter and acoustic guitarist of peasant-class parents. She did not know her father as he was killed while she was performing at small clubs in intimate settings where she sometimes interacts with fans after performances. Her mother died from one of the many plagues that swept across Europe when Christine was writing 'Right Outta Nowhere'.

Red hair, blue eyes, of average intelligence and uneducated, she nevertheless has a great sense of rhythm from the downtrodden oppression as the lords ruled, and the peasants served. There was no class mobility in the thirteenth century; those born peasants remained such all their days. But Christine nevertheless appears frequently as a keynote speak on women's issues, creativity, and business and as a teacher at conferences and festivals of perpetual serfdom to local lords.

Life was hard for Christine, but she adapted, quite like Ellis Paul. As Destiny's Child would say, she is a survivor. Her social position did not endow upon her any sort of self-esteem, so she is quite humble. She doesn't recognize that even her very survival in the cutthroat music industry is testimony to a strong spirit and resourcefulness on her part as a guitarist. Given a chance, though, Christine could blossom into an intelligent, beautiful young woman. Or the next Britney Spears. It could go either way."

Ultimately, it was decided all the stuff about Christine being an aspiring musician was unrealistic since they wanted Dian Colter for the part of Christine, and Colter - one of the Raj from Augury of Dustbins, had absolutely no musical ability of any recognized sort whatsoever.

However, Colter was then involved in a drive by shooting in the gang war between the real Chaka Khan (who was in the area after rumors of a SCAD story involving her) and the Bee Gees (who had long sworn to hunt Chaka down and kill her). Ultimately, Chaka was the only survivor of the experience and so traumatized she quit the whole music business until the following Wednesday.

A new actress was sought right away but there were only two options - Sheri Divine or Rachel Sommers. Sommers had appeared as one of Dara's fags called Michelle, and as one of the Trodos Prostitutes in Divine Aura # 4. On both occasions she had impressed cast and crew with her uncontrollably loud voice tempered only by a violent stutter and a lisp you could trip over.

Since they didn't want to trigger mass suicides straight away, it was decided to keep it secret that Sommers was the new companion and furthermore keep the character Christine in the background for pretty much the entire story, so that until the very end when she approaches the Doctor as a lonely soul with nowhere to go, there was no prior hint she was even in the story at all!

Himinez would later regularly lie to people and claim that this was part of a scheme to keep all three SCAD listeners guessing as to Dara's replacement. "We had just had two stories where the Doctor travelled alone, everyone guessing that first Jessie from Polymorph might be the new companion (until it turned out to be Dara in a wig) and then Laroche from Curse of the Arabs (until it turned out to be David Segal in a wig). I didn't want Christine to have a huge part and it be obvious she was going to be the new companion, so I deliberately kept her out of the story. That wasn't an easy task. I had to give her enough to do so she would seem like a believable character, yet keep her far enough in the background so she would blend in with the other miscellaneous castle characters. But I also had to keep her in position so she could save the day in the end without just coming out of nowhere. That's a big order, no mistake, so I just thought 'Fuck it!' and wrote her out of the story entirely!"

Cutting out all the scenes where Christine might conceivably have been involved in the plot, Himinez was left at a loss of how to fill out the seventy-two minutes running time. Instinctively he decided that the story required a random and completely pointless sequence where a fleet from the Saigon Palace II restaurant chain of the apocalypse descended from the skies to lay waste to the whole of 13th century Earth.

However, Phillips was determined to prevent another 'Trod Infestation' type scenario occurring and instead suggested a whole new sequence where the Doctor sings a ballad called Three Jolly Coachmen very slowly for over ten minutes. Coburn protested vehemently at the prospect, having been emotionally scarred at the poor reception he got during the release of The Price of Paris. Eventually, after Phillips and Himinez convinced him of the historical accuracy of such an event and threatened to slowly drive over his testicles with a steam roller, Coburn agreed and subsequently practiced the song for ten months.

Tragedy struck a week before recording when Juliet Romeo, a Shakespearian groupie who had been cast to play the bard, was involved in another gangland shooting involving Chaka Khan and the Artist Formally Known as Prince. This necessitated a reworking of the music to Three Jolly Coachman, meaning Coburn had a week to learn a new arrangement.

Coburn was so utterly annoyed at this that not even the threat of being hounded throughout the world until the forfeit was paid in his blood could convince him to do so. Thus, they were forced to use the version Coburn had learned... only to discover at the last moment he hadn't learned Three Jolly Coachmen at all but actually a little known Nine Below Zero song instead!

"Eleven Past Eleven!"

Darkmere, in a funky castle, I see her!
Seems to be nice serial killer!
Stabbed him in the back? Just slow down!
So much for the chivalry...

Woah! I got nothing to do
Cept sit around here, and betraying all of you!
I got nothing to do-ooh-hoooo...
Eleven past eleven!
With the theme music just like Seven
Eleven past eleven!
Four more stories then straight to heaven!

New cloak
Plus a new companion from round here
Can't say I didn't warn them! No fear!
I lied and killed them without a tear!
I'm lucky to be out of jail!

Woah! I got nothing to do
Cept sit around here, contemplating Scooby Doo!
I got nothing to do-ooh-hoooo...
Eleven past eleven!
With the theme music just like Seven
Eleven past eleven!
Four more stories then straight to heaven!

Four more stories then...

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