Saturday, August 1, 2009

Unbound # 8 - The Ultimate Adventure (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who: The Penultimate Adventure
"Silly Man, All of Them": Maggie Thatcher Stalks Dr Who!
Stage Frights – The Unauthorized Guide to Dr Who Theatrical Endeavors by Chris Howarth & Steve Lyons

Fluffs – Jason Donovan seemed simultaneously French, Australian and Welsh for most of this story.

On several occasions, the Sixth Doctor refers to the Emperor of the Dustbin race and would-be ruler of the entire universe as "Groucho the Circumcised".

Third Doctor: So the, erm, um, Cybermen are... well, er, they’re... oh, I’ve dried up. What happens now?
Emperor Dustbin: PRECISELY, DOCTOR!
Third Doctor: ...well, there’s no answer to THAT!

Goofs –
After the Emperor Dustbin gives a long speech about why they WON’T exterminate the Doctor, the assembled legions of Dustbins immediately do their "EXTERMINATE THE DOCTOR!" routine for fifteen minutes. Were they not paying attention, or were they just really keen to do some of that mindless repetitive chanting they’re famous for?
At one point two Cybermen can be seen standing around in the background arguing whose sonic X-ray laser rifle is bigger.
The Third Doctor repeatedly punches Karl in the face with a fire extinguisher, which is entirely unscripted.
On more than one occasion the TARDIS console rolls across the stage and despite the Third Doctor’s barked commands for it to return at once, falls into the orchestra pit and nearly crushed Mark Ayres.
After being exterminated Madame Delilah can clearly be seen getting up, dusting herself and pouring herself a drink. Is this part of the Future Doctor’s conspiracy? Was Delilah faking death? Did she just think the camera wasn’t pointed at her at the time?
The Emperor of the Dustbins (that’s the emperor with armies of millions of Dustbins obedient to his every command, vast fleets of ships and a huge arsenals of weapons at his disposal, the Emperor whose wrath lays waste to planets and whose ultimate defeat requires a Time-Lord-destroying inferno) needs, we learn, to form an alliance with the Cybermen and to recruit an army of up to three mercenaries to kidnap ONE American negotiator. Rather than using the Cybermen and the three mercenaries to just nuke the Earth from low orbit? NO FIST!

Fashion Victims –
During their brief time together, Jason designed the Sixth Doctor a brand new outfit. It was just like his old one, except it was all in shades of purple and blue and did not make the observer’s eyes start bleeding at the sight of it. When Jason dumps the Doctor for Kylie, the Time Lord symbolically ends the relationship by throwing the outfit in a waste paper basket, dousing it with lighter fluid, setting it alight and dancing naked around the flames.

Technobabble -
The Third, Sixth and Future Doctors reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, invert the trajectory of the neutron flow and disperse the semiotic thickness of the califraginite borogradium terminal at random, often in an attempt to shut each other up.

Links and References -
This story is one of many perilously jammed between the first and second episode of Thicker Than Two Short Planks, with the Sixth Doctor having finally got rid of Evelyn Smythe, consigning her to history like Susan, Jamie, Zoe, Leela and Peri as companions he’d rather not meet again but is no doubt bound to keep bumping into anyway.

Untelevised Misadventures -
All those adventures with the Third Doctor, Kylie and Jason for a start, and that’s not even TOUCHING the David Banks incarnation and his endless war with Zog the Hideous Form of Anti-Life...

On the other hand, maybe it’s for the best we DON’T see any of them.

Groovy DVD Extras -
Live recordings of the original plays. The audio sucks, you can rarely see what’s happening and the acting is truly, truly appalling... but they’re hands down far better than the BF version!

Dialogue Disasters -

Kylie: I’m still here, you know.
Sixth Doctor: ...yes. Yes you are. Thank you for sharing.

Jason: What exactly are Cybermen, Doctor?
Third Doctor: They were weak, sexually frustrated little aliens once, just like you.
Sixth Doctor: Do you mind? Jason is MY companion, and I think he was asking for my knowledge and wisdom.
Third Doctor: Yes, but if you answer it, he’ll need a thesaurus and a high boredom threshold. You see, Jason, they gradually lost the use of their limbs, their organs, their brains, their naughty bits...
Sixth Doctor: ...and replaced them with cybernetic devices. See? I can explain it easily! Yes, it turned them into things more machine than man, with an obsessive xeno-consumptive behavior pattern controlling their oligarchy – DAMN!
Third Doctor: As I was saying, Jason, the Cybermen have no feelings, and no emotions, just an ungovernable lust for... well, lust actually.
Jason: Thank you, Doctor. That makes things clear.
Sixth Doctor: Oh, fine, if you want everything SPOON-FED to you!

Cyberleader: Cybermen are born ready, bee-yotch.

Kylie: How are you going to reverse his hypnosis?
Third Doctor: I know the perfect solution, an old Venusian lullaby...
Sixth Doctor: Don’t be ridiculous, you antediluvian fogey! That’s not going to work. Much better use a mystic mantra from the ancient swami who dwelt beside his own sacred river.
Third Doctor: What the deuce are you on about?
Sixth Doctor: Surely you’ve heard of the Swami River?!
Karl: I think it best we use the ballad of the aunt to all the elves who dwell in the magical forest, Nellie the Elf Aunt?
Sixth Doctor: you mind? This is a private Time Lord conversation!

The Sixth Doctor on Jason and Thatcher:
"Down, boy! Woof, woof!"

Kylie: Wow! This place! It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!
Third Doctor: That is because the TARDIS is dimensionally transcendental.
Kylie: What does that mean?
Sixth Doctor: It means you’re not intelligent enough to understand long words. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, because it just IS, OK? Honestly, Jason, couldn’t you do better than this?

Dialogue Triumphs -

Sixth Doctor: You know, Jason, I can cope with most things in the cosmos - from Dustbins to dinosaurs – and I really can’t see what Ben Elton has against that lovely woman!

Kylie: You’ve become my strange attractor
My love for you is a major factor
On the road it takes me back to you!
Third Doctor: Don’t worry, I have that affect on most blondes.

Third Doctor: I shall do nothing of the sort.
Third Doctor: Oh no I won’t.
Third Doctor: Oh no I won’t.
(Ed note: this goes on for a while.)

Jason: Why are you hiding under the console, Doctor?
Sixth Doctor: Even the bravest of us have our moments of despair.
Third Doctor: The young fellow’s quite right. I remember saying as much to old Winnie?
Kylie: Winnie? Winnie the Pooh?
Third Doctor: No, Winston Churchill. Just after Dunkirk, everything was going wrong. British army was defeated and Hitler was master of Europe. Poor old Winston was well in the dumps. "Just you put it to them straight, Winnie old chap," I said.
Sixth Doctor: YOU FUCKING LIAR!!
Third Doctor: How dare you, sir!
Third Doctor: I’ll have you know I said to him, "Tell the British people you can offer them nothing but blood, toil, sweat and tears."
Sixth Doctor: BULLSHIT!
Third Doctor: "Let old Adolf know that you’ll fight them on the beaches, you’ll fight them in the fields and you’ll fight them in the streets," I said.
Sixth Doctor: OH? What else, "You never know, this could be your finest hour!" Did you say that as well?
Sixth Doctor: And did that help?
Third Doctor: Well, he brightened up, gave one of his famous V signs, lit a big fat cigar and went out and won the war!

Karl: Alright guvnor, I’ll do the job for yer, but don’t farking rip me off, or the boys will be right round yer manor to sort yer out and you’ll be seein’ in Christmas inner wheelchair!

Kylie: What are those things?
Third Doctor: Permit me to introduce you, my dear. These are the most evil, ruthless, obsessively tidy creatures in the cosmos. Beings without scruples, without conscience, without mercy, motivated only by the lust for cleanliness and the desire for hygiene – the DUSTBINS!
Jason: Don’t beat about the bush, Doctor. Tell us what you REALLY think of them!
Sixth Doctor: Well, I’ve always thought they were rather endearing.

Sixth Doctor: Well, there are only two of them...

Kylie: Wherever you’re going, I will follow you
No matter how far, you can lead me to the furthest star
Whenever you need me, you’ve just got to call my name
And I’ll be there!
Sixth Doctor: My dearest Kylie, I’ll be a randy, spiky-haired Scottish geek in glasses and on the SS Titanic before that would happen!
Sixth Doctor: Oh go away.

Third Doctor: Kylie, I can deal with most things in the universe – from Cybermen to cavemen – but quite frankly, that woman terrifies me. How does Dennis put up with it?

Viewer Quotes -

"I’m confused just READING about it. And Jesus Christ that exposition sounds bad. And the plot. And the characters. And the songs... DAMN IT I JUST NEED TO LISTEN TO THIS!!!"
- Jared "No Nickname" Hansen (2008)

"It’s so... cute! It is totally ridiculous, but still immensely entertaining. I shall wallow in the nostalgic cheesiness shamelessly. Those of us that were there in 89 will wallow in it. It really does erupt like some sort of tumor. Anyone who disses this is an over-serious psycho fan who will never be normal. Disagreeing me in any way will prove this beyond any doubt."
- some guy I hate with a fiery passion (2008)

"You know what this needs? A really good troupe of performing seals!"
- Slappy the Sea-Lion (1989)

"The first-ever national tour restores the guts to a character that has become a disemboweled travesty on TV in recent years. Jon Pertwee travels back in time to reassume the air of authority and fobbish sense of style he brought to the role of the good Doctor in the 1970s. Thank god that troll Colin Baker isn’t in it!"
- General Maureen Patton, Stage and Vitriol Today (13 April, 1988 – the day before Baker turned up in the play and lead to Patton’s ridicule, dismissal and eventual suicide... hindsight’s a funny thing!)

"So, not only do ALL the mercenaries of the WHOLE GALAXY know each other, but they hang out in the SAME BAR?! This is the most parochial shit I’ve ever had the misfortune to read about!"
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (1999)

"This was just awful. It failed to overcome its innate JST stamp of crappiness and wasn’t really camp enough to make a passable piece of eighties kitsch. It’d fit right in as a cheesy season-opener for the current TV series. They should have used my OWN version of The Alternate Adventure!, the untapped resource of the whoniverse! It’s called 'Terror Nullius' about the Ice Cream Vendors and humanity arguing about land rights and natural sovereignty until the Earth blows up for absolutely no reason just to put the characters under more pressure! BY FAR MY BEST STORY BY A MILE! I AM YOUR GOD!!!"
- Ron Mallet (2008)

"As a standalone story, this was completely embarrassing nonsense from start to finish. As an archival item of an oddity in Doctor Who’s history, it gave people like me a chance to experience something that I’d previously only been able to read about, written by people who dearly longed to forget the pain. I wasn’t expecting high art, but I wasn’t expecting something more embarrassing than my Phil Collins CD collection!" - HMV store detective (2008)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"What is this juvenile romp shit? Lost in Space? It’s just a song and dance show interspersed with Nick Briggs doing silly voices! Ridiculous musical interludes, Dustbins that might as well be Bond villains stroking rabbits called Flopsy, totally gratuitous showbiz indulgence, a decapitation sequence LESS convincing than flying an out-of-control spaceship through an asteroid belt! HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO RESPECT A STAGE PLAY WITH UNREALISTIC DECAPITATION?!? I tried to burn down all the theatres before the tour began, but they ended up writing me into the plot! That whole thing with Captain Jack exploding, that’s all down to me and their insane improvisation! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!"

Colin Baker Speaks!
"I got involved in the play because I was in the audience on the first night, I wanted to see what it was like. The moment Jon Pertwee came on stage, there was a power cut and all the lights went out. I laughed and laughed, knowing how much Jon hated his limelight being stolen. Then I decided to steal some more by sneaking on stage and forcing myself into the production and adlibbing like crazy. You can only imagine the wrath he had as a result, because the blackout remained while he kicked nine shades of crap out of me. Fancy that, Venusian Akido is REAL!"

Jon Pertwee Speaks!
"My wife begged me not to play Doctor Who, which was rather sad as I’d already done it for five years before we met. I was just turned 70 and the idea of a grueling 10 week tour would apparently kill me. With all the demanding fight scenes and musical numbers, she was convinced this stage play would finish me off, so she became my tour nurse for the whole run. Of course, what with all my strict diet, exercise regime, swimming, scuba diving and motorbike racing, it’s amazing I’m alive at all. It was very nerve wracking, that stage show. Learning lines is hard enough, but dealing with improv from random audience members jumping on stage and trying to take control is a nightmare. I remember wishing I’d taken over from Roger Moore in that Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical instead, but I was very drunk at the time and Colin Baker and I were working out how much it would cost to assassinate Michael Grade. The bastard cancelled Worzel Gummidge, Doctor Who AND The Goodies... WE CAN’T LET THIS GO UNPUNISHED!"

David Banks Speaks!
"After doing a decade in Doctor Who itself I’d played the Cyberleader and when I heard about this play through my complicated system of paid stooges, I wanted to get involved. And not as the bleeding Cyberleader for a change. I considered wearing a white wig and a frilly shirt and trying to pretend to be Jon Pertwee but it didn’t work. The bouncers wouldn’t let me in. So I had to join the show as Karl the evil mercenary character and take it from there. I decided that I could play the Doctor, my own Doctor, with a floppy linen suit and Friends of the Earth T-shirt. But what do you know, Colin Baker’s had the exact same idea. It was an electric moment. It illustrates, superbly well what Doctor Who truly is: fucking deranged."

Rumors & Facts –

This is a story that has almost everything, but lacks a certain something. Like logic. Acting ability. Respect for the audience’s intelligence. Internal consistency. Alysson Hannigan in a fur bikini. How many shows miss that CRUCIAL element? Will we NEVER learn?!

The Alternate Adventure! cannot be described as a musical, or a pantomime, or a fast-moving tale suitable for all the family, or a compilation of Dame Nelly Melba singing the Blues, or worth $45 of my hard-earned cash to buy this appallingly over-acted, exposition-filled trash. It is an impossible-to-categorize offence to higher anthropoids and Doctor Who fans everywhere!

In 1988, theatrical producer Mark Furnace started to stalk John Satan-Turner and Andrew Cartmel, as well as making obscene phone calls to Terrance Dicks. Under the pretense of working together on a stage play, furnace drew the trio together so he could have his wicked way with them. JST, however, was an old hand at sexual psychopaths and quickly defeated Furnace with a ninja star blade hidden in one of his trademark Hawaiian shirt – but still thought the idea of a Doctor Who stage play had legs, albeit wonky artificial ones with the wrong measurements.

JST suggested that Cartmel and Ben Aaaaronovitch devise a script for the play which they did – The War of the Worlds involving blood-sucking alien squids from Mars arriving on Hamstead Heath. This script was unfavorably received as it was a rip off of one of HG Well’s lesser known broadway musicals.

Aaaronovitch believed that expecting a proper script from him was too demanding, but the threat of one of JST’s ninja stars proved surprisingly encouraging and soon had come up with a brilliant plot entitled "Hellbound to Fargo II: Enter the Metatraxi!"

JST turned it down as being far too over-ambitious and clearly written with no idea of what could be done on stage or even what the average human being wanted to see anyway. Aaaaronovitch was convinced that this was a conspiracy to ensure that his brilliance never saw the light of day and only avoided a full-blown hysterical fit when Cartmel promised to use the story (now entitled "Live Aid") for the opening slot of Season 27. When said season was axed by the BBC, Cartmel insisted that this too was just a coincidence but after attempting to get the story published by the New Adventures, the Missing Adventures, the Benny Summerfield Adventures, the Eighth Doctor Adventures and the Past Doctors adventures, it became clear to all that there was a genuine plot to suppress this material and keep it out of the public domain. Probably because it was crap.

Aaaaronovitch finally decided to give up when Live Aid was not accepted as part of the 2010 Doctor Who Storybook Annual, and instead decided to use it for one of his mind-meltingly awful Blake’s 7 Audio Adventures, but for some reason it was never released.

Meanwhile, back in the past, the entire Aaaarovitch paranoia had made JST gone right off producing the play and decided to get Sonia Todd – the blonde chick from ABC’s "Police Rescue" – to do it even despite her clear lack of theatrical experience and deep-rooted hatred for Doctor Who in general. Terrance Dicks was roped in and immediately tried to bluff everyone by handing over a script with "Dr Who & The Dustbins In Seven Keys To My Pants" crossed out and "Dr Who’s Ultimo Adventure" written over the top in biro.

However, the script went through so many rewrites at the casual whim of Todd that Dicks might as well started from scratch. The end result featured the Doctor, Carmen Miranda and ET taking part in a pantomime involving nets, Michael Jackson moonwalking, a lecture on the French Revolution conducted in a field somewhere, and setting fire to the TARDIS prop as part of the theatre’s insurance scam.

The trouble with theatre is that the script is constantly being tailored and amended as the weeks pass, and while on tour numerous alterations were made to the dialogue and action, whole scenes were dropped altogether. No two performances were same, which might be fun for a regular audience member seeing significantly different version of the story as the months went by, but pretty useless to all us sadact fans who were born too late on the other side of the planet to see ANY version of the damn thing, and have to have tedious debates about canonocity with total mouth-breathing brain donors who simply don’t accept that I AM RIGHT AND THEY ARE INBRED MORONS WHO THINK THE WANK LORD AND THE BASTARD AREN’T THE SAME PERSON!!!

What? You want an unbiased view? Read "Doctor Who: It Was Acceptable In The Eighties" by Howe, Stammers and Walker then. It’s from where I’m ripping all this info off, anyway.

Because of this constantly evolving production, there are two hundred and twenty seven separate and contradictory versions of this story. By the time anyone was smart enough to smuggle in a video camera and capture the play on film, not only had the plot changed completely beyond recognition, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan had got caught up in the production and become companions of the Third, Sixth and Post-Seventh Doctors as Jon Pertwee, Colin Baker and David Banks randomly swapped roles, often in the middle of scenes several times a night.

Quickly gaining the moniker of "The Alternate Adventure!" due to its ever-fluctuating cast and plot, the stage play was a resounding success and gained countless good reviews as every bad review turned out to be totally inaccurate by the time anyone saw the version on stage which was, of course, completely different.

The Alternate Adventure! toured London, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Mold, Birmingham, Bristol, Basildon, Glasgow, Manchester and Apollo – and that was only the opening night! Over the weeks that would follow, it would randomly be held in Newcastle, Nottingham, Leeds, Brighton, Edinburgh, Wolverhampton, Northhampton, Canterbury, Southsea, Eastbourne before going completely apeshit during the Christmas season and appearing simultaneously in the West End, Australia and America throughout 1989.

By this time, Mark Furnace Ltd suffered financial problems and burnt up, but the play continued to spread, changing beyond recognition without a single member of the original cast or a line from the script. During the early nineties it was spotted in the Apollo Theatre now dubbed Dr Who & The Inheritors of Thyme, featuring the Fourteenth and a Half Doctor tackling the American civil war. The next day it was Doctor Who Pisses On Dogma, a scathing satire as the evil Valeyard becomes Pope and fills the Vatican with evil Zarbi. The Battered Suitcase Company tried to return the play to its original format... and ended up being performed as a radical reinterpretation of The House of Bernada Alba. At last count, the latest performance of The Alternate Adventure! was in the Glebe High 2 Unit English Advanced adaptation of Cosi Van Tutte. I played Doug the pyromaniac (and was bloody brilliant).

The Alternate Adventure! was completely forgotten as the New Millennium began, until some kind bloke uploaded some crude avi. files to certain bit torrent sites providing a complete audio of a dozen performances and incredibly shoddy visuals of two of them. These were immediately and illegally downloaded by shameless individuals who quickly realized that it wasn’t worth the bandwidth.

One of those fans, unsurprisingly, worked at Big Finish and came up with a brilliant idea – using their brilliant editing know-ho and all the resources of Colin Baker, Terrance Dicks, David Banks and Nicholas "BLASPHEMY!!" Briggs, they could turn these off-air recordings into a brand new audio adventure with absolutely no difficulty at all. It would be incredibly cheap, easy and provide the completist fans with what they’d wanted since 1988 – a definitive version of the play they could take home and experience exactly the same way more than once.

But no one had taken into account the awkward nature of the play – no two versions of the same, in fact, no two versions were even remotely similar. One of the versions told the story of a golf tournament between the Third Doctor and Dennis Thatcher as they discussed topical events like the hole in the ozone layer, while another was nothing more than Jason and Kylie singing the Bay City Rollers’ greatest hits while Cybermen and Dustbins danced wildly in the background.

It would take a brave man to try and work out a plot to encompass every version with the minimum of needed bridging material, and it was decided that Nigel Verkoff would be the man required. Taking a break from his pass-time of trying to steal Sheridan Smith’s used underwear, Verkoff retired to the Green Room with every copy of the recording and a notebook to jot down his thoughts. After five minutes he announced he would require a lot more paper and lots of coloured crayons. After ten minutes he demanded a laptop with PowerPoint presentations programmed in. After fifteen minutes, and obviously in a state of great mental confusion, Verkoff emerged from the Green Room again, declared that he was NOT guilty of manslaughter, then went back to hiding in launderettes waiting for fit blondes to turn up and do their washing.

All the usable notes Verkoff had left were:

"The Dustbins have allied themselves with the Cybermen and a retarded band of loser mercenaries who made Touchwood look like Spooks. The future of the Cold War depends on a vital strip joint and pole dancing club. Hypocritical old ratbag Margaret Thatcher knows that only one Time Lord can save the world, but as ever stupidly sends three. There are epic battles, bloody obvious betrayals, blistering Antipodean lust and even show tunes! THIS IS NOT WORTH AN IOTA OF MY TIME!!!"

Using this as their guide, Briggs forced Jason Haigh-Ellery at knifepoint to direct it with some rudimentary knowledge of musicals and ideally turn The Alternate Adventure! into an incredible psychological thriller the like of which unseen without the names "Robbie Coltrane", "Christopher Eccleston" and "Jimmy McGovern" attached. JHE pointed out that there no point doing lots of rigorous script editing and rewriting since every other scene would be from a completely different plot – in some cases they’d simply dilute the original energy.

Briggs couldn’t argue with that logic, but he COULD throw JHE into the canal and scream "What have I told you about showing signs of independent thought?!" as he did so.

Finally The Alternate Adventure! went into production and... to cut a long story short... it got done with very little hassle.

Later, Briggs was stunned when he later checked the Big Finish website and discovered them advertising an adaptation of The Alternate Adventure!, as he had become convinced the whole stage play was nothing more than a meth amphetamine fueled hallucination on his part.

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