An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Deep Down I Think Shearman’s Great But That Won’t Save Him Today, Will It?
W H A T I F . . . ROB SHEARMAN WAS PLAYED BY SIR DEREK JACOBI?
A Lack Of Doctor – A Lack Of Dimension
- Metaphor -
In November of 2003, the bitter and utterly delusional Robert Shearman has finally thrown in the question mark towel and retired hurt to the Bayview Retirement Home for the Almost Dead. There he is tended to by Sylvia Noble aka the Mega Bitch, and completely loses any grip on reality he might have had. After Benjamin Cook tries to interview him for DWM, Shearman has a vision of Russell T Davies demanding he write a Dustbin script for the new Welsh TV revival of Doctor Who. Now out of options, Shearman hides in a wardrobe and eventually suffocates himself to death with a plum pudding.
Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who & The Whinging Defective
Robert Shearman Waits For Godot Most Foul
The Fall and Fall and Fall and Eventual Death of a Sci-Fi Writer
Fluffs – Sir Derek Jacobi seemed psychotic for most of this story.
"Really, Miss Noble, I can hardly be excepted... expected to know the originality of each and every strain I procure. Stain I produce. Yes. Hmm! No, my dear boy I should say no. Hmmm. Yes. What?"
"Oh monster, a bug-eyed dear!"
"I am Robert Shearman, the solvent of a police box, the eccentric old man in Countess’ beds! I am the weevil of spells and teller of spells. And stories. As well as spells. Yes. Hmmm. Do I sound vaguely oriental to you, Chatterbean?"
Goofs - They charged me $49.95 for this. I could used that $50 note to snort cocaine off a stripper’s tits. I could have given that $50 note to a beggar and made him pathetically happy. I could offered that $50 note to the starving kids in Africa. I could have used that $50 note as toilet paper, and I’d STILL have got more satisfaction out of it than if I’d spent it on this drivel. PITY ME NOW! I was a different man back before I listened to this mockery of narrative – it was an encounter that destroyed my life; my career is in ruins, all forgotten; my girlfriends keep emigrating in the wrong order and there’s a nasty stain on the floor that could be an alien footprint... or that the roof is leaking. Sounds like it’s time for me to come into Shearman’s life again and sort him out. Permanently.
Oh, and it’s ten minutes shorter than the running time on the CD cover.
Technobabble - "Gosh, this calibrated meta-subtext destabilization zone effect is all very Radio 4, isn’t it?"
Links and References - "Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. A git sitting a retirement home looking like Derek Jacobi... he can write interesting stories set anywhere in time and space?! Sounds ridiculous"
Untelevised Misadventures - The last retirement home Shearman was in was made of crystal, designed by Frank Lloyed-Wright and run by an insane android calling itself the Perfect One (really Nigel Verkoff in fake tan) carrying out hideously kinky experiments on young women and making them sing show tunes.
Groovy DVD Extras –
A personal Randomized Rob Shearman Story Review Generator, guaranteed to fit any Shearman plot! Only 50 pounds and available from the nearest outlet "B. Fishnotes Infinite Internet Enterprises". Mention my name for a five per cent discount!
Dialogue Disasters –
...well, the whole story, pretty much.
Dialogue Triumphs -
Shearman: "It came out of the closet, and it wants to kill me!"
Sylvia: "What does?"
Shearman: "I don’t know, but I’m pretty certain it has a Gay Agenda!"
Shearman: "I was going to be the best playwright since Shakespeare. Hell with it, I’d be BETTER than Shakespeare! As the years go by you realize you aren’t as good as Shakespeare, and you aren’t as good as other writers to watch out for. You scale down your ambitions. You pride yourself you can always meet deadlines. Then you’ll be proud if no-one sacks you when you stop being able to meet them. And you end up with nothing left to write. Because you’ve nothing left to say. And you’re not sure you ever did."
Resident: "Piss off, you sad old git!"
Shearman: "What is your name?"
Nigel Verkoff: "I am called the Perfect One!"
Shearman: "No doubt because you wish to seduce all sentient life through all time and space?"
Nigel Verkoff: "Well. Actually, it’s just a happy coincidence really."
Gay Russell: "You can’t expect production schedules to stay the same just because you’re not interested in them anymore."
Shearman: "Yes I bloody can!"
Gay Russell: "Oh, yes, you can. My mistake. So sorry."
Shearman: "It’s the only thing I ever felt truly passionate about. I used to burn with ideas, to say something new, to change the world just a little. I’d have given my soul for it. Sometimes I think I did."
Resident: "I don’t care! Stop nicking my plum puddings!"
Ben Cook: "I’m from the Official Doctor Who Magazine?"
Shearman: "Oh my God, don't tell me there are unofficial magazines about it as well?!"
Ben Cook: "Oh yes! The program may be dead, but it still lives on through us, the fans. We still watch the videos and talk about it at conventions and there are spin-off novels too. And audio dramas featuring a handful of the original cast."
Ben Cook: "You know, I haven’t the faintest idea. It IS just a bit of cheap disposable Saturday night viewing, I suppose. Analyzing it seems like missing point, I guess."
Shearman: "Yes. Why do I want to be interviewed about a piss-poor TV show I once wouldn’t have touched with a barge pole! Perhaps if you’d grown up on a diet of Juliet Bravo rather than cheap escapism like Doctor Who, you’d be something more than a journalist for a niche magazine! You’re NOTHING and NOBODY! No offense."
RTD: "Rob Shearman, you utter bastard! This is just D'you Believe This? with lots of American yuppies mutating into Dustbin zombies! What do I have to do to you before you actually come up with something vaguely original for once?!"
Viewer Quotes –
"Curdled fanwank." - Craig Hinton (2003)
"Ah, Sylvia Noble. Bizarre, schizophrenic and totally unjustified Sylvia Noble. Venom-spitting, fantastically nasty Sylvia Noble. Always flying off the handle and delivering a scathing, insulting speech on how disgusting everyone else is in scenes of shocking worthlessness... BRILLIANT! I think I’ll make her a regular character!" - RTD (2007)
"Fans on the net considering a writer’s story the worst, mindlessly insisting they can do better despite all the evidence to the contrary and hating each other more than non-fans... Am I really any better than the fans portrayed in this story? Yeah, probably." - Ron Mallet (2008)
"Another cracking script from Rob Shearman. This time the best parts aren’t the Doctor Who elements, but the human story. Rob Shearman creates a beautiful tale with the wry touches we’ve come to love so much. With top notch casting to round it off, an excellent story."
- a sample from the Randomized Rob Shearman Story Review Generator
"I feel perfectly justified in saying this leaves a nasty aftertaste and it has some shockingly close to the mark scenes. This is story is horse dung, pure and simple and quite offensive in places. How awful. This disgusts me and chills me to the bone."
- John Kenneth Muir’s "A Critical History of Big Finish" (2004)
"This story overly self-referential as regards Who lore and fandom and all that, and yet soaked through with bitterness about the whole thing. It even takes time out to sneer at, of all things, the audio adventures! How recursive! And its attitude to Shearman himself seems one of ambivalence verging on loathing, and its treatment of fans snide and nasty – still I suppose we’re all just speech-impeded wankers in the great wheel of life..." - Dave Restal (2003)
"Bitter. That’s the word that comes to mind after listening to this, a trip into the mind of an unpleasant failed hack. It’s poisoned his life and destroyed his family, and has even more unpleasant consequences on the life of the hack in question as the story progresses. The point being what? To tell a story about the life and death of a horrible man? Still, enough about me." - Tony Hancock (1970)
"Rob Shearman’s sad, lonely existence can tell us something about ourselves. Shearman is not a horrible man. Rather, he’s an emotional void, a man who doesn’t understand people and doesn’t feel the attachment of love. And so, he shows the absurdity of what people do for love. He doesn’t set out to be nasty, he just lacks empathy. Like a psychopath. Now, psychopaths may be loonies, but they are at least HAPPY loonies. He has by far the most vibrant, meaningful life of anyone else in the play." - Mick Morris (2003)
"Shearman is selfish, abusive and thoughtless and he appealed to me in no way whatsoever so I find it hard to give a damn what happens to him. He has no time for poetry, too obsessed with his own work and ignores his fans’ pain in favor of getting to know his plum pudding in the biblical sense. He is cranky, bad tempered and quite rude. His final decision to hide away in his fantasy rather than live up to his responsibilities shows how much of a coward he is too. Overall, a dickhead! Ooh aren’t I nasty bugger?" - Jo Ford Prefect (2005)
"How wonderful, he’s excited about a plum pudding. It’s just a pudding on a plate to me, and it’s a whole world to him!" - Tom Baker (2003)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Phew, what a loony. Well thank god I’m not like that."
Sir Derek Jacobi Speaks!
"I remember doing an audio Doctor Who story once, a few years ago. It didn’t have Dustbins or the Bastard or... come to think of it, there was absolutely nothing in the story about Doctor Who at all. Yes, I was playing a psychopathic ex-Doctor Who writer who had a disturbingly close relationship with baked confectionary... What a nasty, squalid, spiteful piece of crap that revels in its own perverse identity! Let’s just be thankful it’s not 'real' Doctor Who, eh?"
Rumors & Facts –
This story was originally called The Amazing Adventures of the Amazing Rob Shearman in the Amazing Lair of the Amazingly Perfect One, but it lacked that certain something that would have made it amazing. Sir Derek Jacobi agreed to play the part of Shearman on the condition no photos were taken and no interviews given. This is not because he is ashamed of Doctor Who or anything, it’s just he’s incredibly respected and request random crap on a whim and no one dare object.
Metaphor is not a Doctor Who story in any traditional sense, as Shearman embraces the freedom of Unbound to stop even pretending to give a shit and wallow in self-pity that the mighty playwright has been reduced to scribbling out storylines for "Born and Bred".
The opening scene successfully sets the tone of the play as a familiar scene of two orderlies discovering the secret of their resident, Shearman and the introduction to his mysterious obsession with plum puddings. Does this story allow Shearman to seek refuge within his own fantasy to escape the harsh inconsequentiality and emptiness of his own life? Does anyone really care? They produced this trash instead of my own brilliance "Caribbean Blue", so frankly Shearman can go whistle for sympathy. Boo-hoo, Mr. Award-Winning Writer is feeling a tad depressed, let us all drop everything and provide warm flannels to wipe his BAFTA-nominated bottom! Try being ME for a weekend, Shearman, and you’ll be hiding in wardrobes in five seconds flat...
While the harsh critic in me wants to dismiss Metaphor as a showier, more ambiguous word-by-word retread of Shearman’s previous work with an incredibly predictable and inevitable conclusion, that would probably be churlish.
But when the hell did I ever let THAT stop me?