Saturday, August 1, 2009

Unbound # 9 - Seven Keys to Doomsday (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related –
Dr Who & Chastity Belt of Doomsday
Junior Dr. Who & The Brain of Moby by Terran Cedicks (Canada Only)
"I *Am* Canon, Damn It!" - Nick Briggs’ Autobiography

Fluffs – Nicholas Briggs seemed dead at long last during this story.

"Rehab is for quitters!"


"Believe me, I know how you feel. Incredibly frustrated."

"Dustbins to the left of me, Clawrantulars to the right and here I am, stuck in the middle with you!"

"3.1428571428571428571428571428571428571428576... fuck!"

Goofs –
The TARDIS has a bumper sticker saying "CAUTION: Pilot No Longer Gives A Shit, Yuppie Scum!" and the console is clearly suspended from the ceiling by disco rope lighting. At least that’s what "Doctor Who: Living in the Seventies" by Howe, Stammers and Walker says...

Fashion Victims –
The Doctor never changes out of his predecessor’s lime green loud checked trousers, purple frock coat with giant lapels, ridiculously huge bright pink bow tie or blue Argyle waistcoat. The fool.

Technobabble -
"The Chastity-Belt of All-Libido is a super catalyst that, when opened, boosts the orgasmatron energy source of the Unstoppable Sex Machine to incredible strength but without it, the Unstoppable Sex Machine is useless, cold and frigid!"

Links and References -
When it seems Jenny has been exterminated, the Doctor muses that he still has his predecessor’s bad luck with companions and regales the increasingly-distraut Jimmy with brutally graphic descriptions of what happened to Greg, Nadia, Ria, Truman, Fionara, Kevin and of course Squeaky the budgerigar: "Dead! All dead! Every last one of them, or as good as! And good riddance, too, they were a bunch of wankers at the best of times..."

Untelevised Misadventures -
Presumably the Briggs Doctor, Kevin and Squeaky had some of these rather than dying horribly the day after they first met, but to be honest, it could go either way when you think about it.

Groovy DVD Extras -
Trevor Martin’s impromptu rendition of Nelly Dean’s "My Baby’s Gone Down The Plug Hole" accompanied by Terrance Dicks on the mandolin.

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: Mmm. New hair. That’s weird.

Amber Benson: We don’t know this Doctor is our enemy.
Gormless: He’s our enemy because he isn’t our friend and if he isn’t out friend he’s an enemy and if he’s an enemy he is the friend of our enemy and any friend of our enemy is an enemy of our friend’s enemy’s friend’s enemy’s friend of a friend of an enemy of ours!
Amber Benson: ...what’s your point?
Gormless: I forget.

Jimmy: He’s mad, I tell ya, he’s right round the bend!
Jenny: You don’t have to be so unpleasant to him all the time!
Jimmy: "Unpleasant"? Why shouldn’t I be unpleasant? He comes staggering out of that box of tricks, suckers us into playing Good Samaritan even though he has nothing decent to steal, kidnaps the both of us and then has the cheek to tell US off for trespassing in his "Tardis"! And then, to crown it off, he wanders off and leaves us alone!
Jenny: On the bright side, now we can start shagging in peace.
Jimmy: ...I’ve changed my mind. That man is a genius.

WOTAN VII: I am powered by the sun itself! I will function forever!
Doctor: Uh, no. You’ll only function as long as the sun is around. Bit less in fact, as you’ll be fried in a supernova long before the sun collapses into a white dwarf.
Doctor: Sorry, amigo. Just thought it needed saying.
WOTAN VII: Well, I kind of knew that actually.
Doctor: You’re not going to function forever though.
WOTAN VII: All right, not forever but for a bleeding long time.
Doctor: Well, you could have said that, couldn’t you?
WOTAN VII: Oh, sure, that’d be a great chat up line. "Hi, birds, I’ll function for an estimated 4.5 billion years!" That kind of pedantry just turns people off.
Doctor: But being vague just makes you look stupid.
WOTAN VII: I know. Life sucks.

Doctor: A while ago, Jenny and I thought you’d been killed. I can only say to you what I said to her: the success of our mission is more important than the lives of any one of us.
Jimmy: What’s that got to do with this?
Doctor: Hmm? Oh, nothing, amigo, I was just enjoying the memory.


Jenny: All the same, I can’t help but feel sorry for that computer.
Doctor: I know how you feel, Jenny. I hate being forced to do Maths sums as well. I can’t stand long division at all!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Jimmy: We’ve been chased by monsters, fried by a computer, blasted at by Dustbins and you want us to go off and fight some MORE nasties?!
Doctor: [to Jenny] He does go on, doesn’t he?

Bachelor: Who are you? Why have you come here?
Doctor: I’m called the Doctor, amigo, and I just popped round to ask if I could borrow the Seventh Key to the Chastity-Belt of All-Libido if that’d be OK. I’ve got the other six, you see, and I’m trying to collect the set.
Bachelor: Indeed. And then what will you do with the Keys when you have it?
Doctor: Well, nothing, really. But I’ll hand it over to my people, the Time Lords, for safe-keeping.
Bachelor: You lie!
Doctor: All right, so they’re almost extinct. But if they weren’t, I would DEFINITELY hand it over to them. No doubts about it.
Bachelor: All who seek the keys intend to use it for their own sexual gratification in one massive bitching orgy of oblivion!
Doctor: Bloody hell, amigo, can you blame em?!

Jimmy: I’m not scared!
Doctor: Yes, amigo, but you’re a total cretin.
Jimmy: Yeah, but I’m NOT scared!
Doctor: [to Jenny] You sleep with this guy?!

Doctor: Have I? You’ll remember that I had one of the keys in my possession for quite some time, amigo, and I think I might have made a few alterations to its atomic structure inside the TARDIS laboratory. Well, I whacked it with a hammer a lot. Same thing.
Doctor: Oh, I think I’ve ALREADY tricked you. The final key is acting a catalytic booster for the other six and it’s thrown the libido directly into overload!
Doctor: Doesn’t it? Something’s screwing up your precious Unstoppable Sex Machine, and I think it’s going to blow up and take most of your base with it. Pretty Freudian, eh, amigo?

The Doctor on Jenny & Jimmy:
"What I like about you two is your sunny optimism. No, hang about. Sorry, did I say 'like'? I meant 'hate'. And instead of 'sunny optimism', I meant to say 'incessant mindless hormonal bitching'. Apart from that, you’re totally wonderful, amigos!"

Viewer Quotes -

"The science fiction escapades of brainy Dr. Who (Trevor Martin) transfer successfully to the stage at the Adelphi Theatre. The sex scenes are noisy, colourful entertainment featuring lots of clever lighting effects and clouds of billowing smoke. Children should enjoy the spectacle of Wendy Padbury’s arse as much as the parents."
- Arthur Thirkle in The Daily Mirror (1974)

"Oh, for the love of Led Zeppelin, MORE freaking Briggsy?! Don’t we get enough of him being EVERY SINGLE Dustbin and Cyberman AS well as doing all the trailers, extras, computer voices and now he PLAYS THE BLEEDING DOCTOR! Would have been so freaking difficult to use Pertwee soundbites like Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass?! We listen to every single freaking story they send out and they think we don’t start to recognize his voice? The thing is, people have been whinging more and more about this for a couple of years now and NOTHING has changed. Big Finish doesn’t really care what their regular listeners think and that annoys me more than anything! Doesn’t SURPRISE me, but it does ANNOY me!"
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (2008)

"Adapting popular TV shows for the theatre was usually reserved for comedy sketch shows, not long-running drama serials! Why on Earth did the parent show try to make the disastrous transformation from pre-recorded TV to live theatre?! Oooh, traditional Christmas panto with companions picked from the audience! Excuse me while I try not to choke on my own vomit, Mr Dicks..." - Gabriel Chase (2005)

"This is basically an example of Doctor as a piece of theatre, with a very classic baroque feel, a visual art form FREE of the trappings of realism. Some may call it cheap and wobbly, but what do they know? This story came out when the dust was still settling from the 1960s counter-culture movement, and champions the idea of youthful rebellion against the status quo for the sake of progress! OH, WHY DID IT ALL GO SO WRONG? WHY DOESN’T GOD END EVERYTHING AND SPARE US THIS PAIN?!?!"
- Thomas Cookson (2009)

"When the utlimate horror is announced, a murmur of affection runs through the house and on slide the Dustbins to general applause. Nobody actually said, "Aaaaw" but they might just have well been koala bears. Koala bears looking like shiny beehives with knobs on, cruising around exterminating every living thing... KOALAS ARE EEEEEVIL!!!"
- Psychotic Nostalgia Dude (1974)

"It’s so weird to think a story that all I had to go one was a rather confusing synopsis in The Terrestrial Index has been remade and I get to listen to it. And after the brain-numbing assault that was The Alternate Adventure, this worked like a dream. A not-at-all surreal and entirely un-symbolic dream, natch, but a dream nonetheless."
- Nigel Verkoff (2008)

"From Shakespeare to Sam Shepherd, anything goes on the modern stage, but when it comes to Dr Who, the theatre has to reckon with an expert public: and that scene where the Doctor opens a Dustbin like a hinged biscuit tin and scrape out its occupant while the rest of the cast avert their eyes in horror is just WRONG! For Mr Dicks to suggest that Dustbins contain ANYTHING more than standard printed circuits, he deserves a rehabilitation sentence down in the reactor room!"
- Irving Wardle, The Times (1974)

"What the fuck are you on about, you ponce? You tell me my job now, bitch? You actually pay attention to anything, you tumor-filled malodorous PERVERT?! YOU MAKE ME SICK!!"
- Terrance Dicks in a private letter to Irving Wardle (1974)

"Trevor Martin’s gravelly-voiced Doctor was a welcome break from the norm and I certainly wouldn't mind hearing him return in an Unbound capacity. I would love to hear more of him in that role - but leave Jimmy behind, his macho whining really put me off him and reminds me too much of Nigel..." - Dave Restal (2008)

"OI!" - Nigel Verkoff (seconds later)

"I liked Martin’s easy-to-accept Doctor and it was great to hear him finally. Nice to have an older Doctor for a change given that they cast them much younger in the TV show now and Martin’s too long in the tooth for BBC Wales. Of course I haven’t actually SEEN Matt Smith and I’m SURE Moffat knows what he’s doing but FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS AND ALL THE SAINTS, HE IS TOO – FUCKING – YOUNG!! WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH PATTERSON JOSEPH!?" - random DWF member.

Trevor Martin Speaks!
"I have no idea who thought I’d be a good Doctor, but I think it might have been because I won a bet with the director, Mick Hughes, about winning a game of darts in the pub where Hughes was drowning his sorrows. He couldn’t pay the two pounds fifty we’d agreed on, so the forfeit was being the new Doctor on stage. Or maybe not. Good story, though, isn’t it? It was an intense business – the dress rehearsal took four days straight and we still got our bleeding lines wrong and bumped into Dustbins filled with dehydrating actors and lethal battery acid. Great fun, though. But it’s only the people who REALLY know their Doctor Who that even know about it now, which is unfortunate, as it means I only really meet total nutters rather than the nice, normal sort of fans or girls in love with David Tennant. I was quite surprised to be asked to do it again on audio, but it might mean more fans – normal fans – know of it and like it and all that jazz."

Charlie Hayes Speaks!
"My mum’s Wendy Padbury, and she couldn’t be bothered doing this so they got me instead. The script leaves it a bit ambiguous about whether or not there’ll be another story. Well, it’s not at ALL ambiguous but no one’s willing to commit. I’m not sure I’d be as brave as Jenny when facing Dustbins and Crawrantulars, but what I like about Doctor Who is fit birds in tight white denim pants flared at the knee. And that is something which this story has in spades."

Joe Thompson Speaks!
"Jimmy’s very forceful and headstrong and I think the Doctor secretly quite fancies that, having a companion who calls it how he sees it and can use him as a human shield. Trevor Martin’s probably having LSD flashbacks doing this again. It’s fascinating, from a psychological point of view seeing how he recreates a 34-year-old performance. Don’t you just want to take him to a secret laboratory and run tests on him? No? Just me then? OK. I just find that interesting, that’s all."

Rumors & Facts –

With a fine Doctor, companions who sound like a twee pair of children’s show TV presenters, this quick-moving tale is light on incident and heavy on cliches – the only surprise is that Terry Nation DIDN’T write it. Unoriginal it may be, even for 1974, but it’s the Sistine freaking Chapel of audio adaptations compared to The Alternate Adventure!, which just goes to show that not being special or groundbreaking can be good too. As The Chaser tells us, in a world of excellence we must STRIVE for mediocrity!

One-time Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks had long harbored a deep and disturbing desire to see Doctor Who on stage – back in 1970 he had tried to interest theatre companies in a musical starring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor along with the Dustbins. This idea had not been well received, however, as neither Jon Pertwee or anyone else be consulted beforehand and were very pissed off at Dicks taking such damned liberties when they were trying to create art.

Dispirited, Dicks abandoned his hopes for a stage play for another three minutes before plotting once more to create a children’s comic West End show and spread rumors throughout the land that Doctor Who would be interested in having such a production based upon itself.

Typically, it was over four years before anyone responded and this was by Siamese twins called Robert de Wynter and Anthony Pye-Jeary who had both independently become rival theatre producers. Their pitch couldn’t have come at a better time: the BBC was turning itself inside out to find a half-decent replacement for Jon Pertwee and Terry Nation was so desperate for cash that both allowed the twins the rights to do the play without giving much thought about it.

The twins at this point revealed to the world that they had everything they needed. Except a cast. Or a script. Or the £35000 budget that such a production would need. With the twins’ criminal genius they stole a super-computer from one G. Garden of Cricklewood, and set it to work incidental music, pre-recorded voices and project 2000 slides on huge screens on the stage, saving a fortune in terms of set design, prop construction or scenery transportation.

There were just TWO minor flaws in this in-all-other-important-respects brilliant plan: firstly, the computer (WOTAN VIII: Not Before I’ve Had My Coffee) was insane and wanted to take over the planet Earth, and therefore had little interest in theatre. Secondly, they simply didn’t HAVE 2000 slides of suitable space-age backgrounds, Dustbin armies, ungodly nightmare creatures. In fact, they had about 12 slides altogether, not including the saucy shots of the twins cooking a barbecue in the nude.

Director of the play, Mick "Hughesy" Hughes and the designer, John Napier, decided this was a three-pipe problem and went to the local opium den for the three pipes each required to sort out the problem. Their drug-fueled inspirations had solved bigger problems like this – "Mrs Warren’s Profession", when the actress herself turned out to have leprosy; "Chez Nous" when the theatre suffered a white ant infestation; or "John Paul George Ringo... and Bert" when Bert went insane over the lack of lines he was getting and murdered the rest of the cast. Surely a mad computer with pretensions for world domination in the West End would be easier to solve than the production of Equus for the Royal Shakespeare Company when the main star was accidentally taken to the Knacker’s Yard instead of rehearsals?

While the twins patiently waited for the director and designer to come back from their drug-addled wanderings, they realized that the insane computer wasn’t their biggest worry: who the hell was going to actually play the Doctor on stage? Although by now Tom Baker had been chosen to play the Fourth Doctor on television, it would be simply too complicated to borrow an actor during a TV shoot and have him perform on stage a role he had yet to master on the screen. Plus, of course, it was Tom Baker and he was technically banned from the West End after that nasty incident during "Romeo and Juliet" when Baker turned up screaming he was Rasputin and threw up on the audience, picked a fight with a stagehand and singularly failed to get off with Juliet.

The obvious alternative was to cast Jon Pertwee as the Doctor since Pertwee was after all, famous, popular, well experienced with treading the boards and regarded by fan and critic alike as Doctor Incarnate! The idea of any other actor would frankly be ludicrous. Unfortunately, Pertwee had just quit as the Doctor on TV and was loathe to be typecast by appearing in a grotty stage play – but he WAS willing to sacrifice his future career prospects and portray the Doctor if and only if he received a usual-than-higher fee. It became obvious that if "Dr Who & The Dustbins Hunt The Seven Keys To My Pants" became the best-selling stage show ever and every single person on the entire planet paid their whole week’s wages every single night it STILL wouldn’t cover Pertwee’s fees AND make a profit.

The twins tried to track down the other available Doctors but Peter Cushing was busy in Hammer Horror, Patrick Troughton was busy in Hammer Horror and William Hartnell was quite, quite dead. They were left with no course of action but to create their OWN Doctor, a Frankenstein-type hideous hybrid of parts of previous incarnations sewn together.

The new Doctor was to be a crotchety old wanker dressed as cosmic hobo with a dash of style yet a happy mixture of heroine and baboon, cocaine and genuine anabolic steroids. The First Doctor’s voracious sexual appetite and senility; the inconsequential penguin impersonations from the Second; and the sickeningly moral and pompous gittiness of the Third; and Peter Cushing would be represented by acting ability.

Chosen to play this medical curiosity of stitched-together characters was Trevor Martin who had, oddly enough, already appeared in Doctor Who in 1969 as one of the three Time Lords who sentenced the Doctor to be transformed into Jon Pertwee at the end of The Wank Games. He’s the one who looks like his face has been made out of weathered clay who gives the infamous line, "The machine is ready! ACTIVATE – SPIN MODE!"

With his long white hair, booming voice and the ability to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow without wincing, Martin was the perfect choice for the Doctor, and it was decided that he would need two companions – which would double the chances of casting Wendy Padbury as Jenny, Zoe’s hitherto unmentioned twin sister cast back in time to 1974 by a freak time storm and an evil from the dawn of time. The other companion no one gave two hoots about and indeed no one was entirely certain what he was even called – Dave, maybe? – but ended up calling him Jimmy because it was easier to remember. James Matthews was cast, but Simon Jones played him instead because people would actually remember him when Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came around.

James Acheson (another hack the genuine TV show was desperate enough to employ) was commissioned to design the monsters for the production. This should have been easy as the only monsters were the Dustbins and not only had they been designed, they had nicked four props from the TV studio the other day. But Acheson detested the conical trashcan shape of the Dustbins and wanted something that spoke of the inner turmoil and raging desperation of the blobby mutants within and plus he had the costumes used for Tom Baker’s debut Gobot going spare.

Acheson’s redesigned Dustbins were bright red, ten-foot high humanoids in silver platform boots and gigantic shoulder pads, with one arm being a tubular limb with a clamp on the end (clearly nicked from the Gobot) while the other was a massive crab-like claw, while the heads were a cross between a peacock and an alligator. Absolutely no human being on this Earth could understand how this design was an improvement on Ray Cusik’s version, as even this humanoid Dustbin couldn’t climb stairs and in the words of Martin, look like "the inbred offspring of a Proton and a Quirk brought up by Macra!"

But Acheson had built and paid for these Nouveau Dustbins and they were damn well going to be used, crudely described as mutant servants of the genuine Dustbins the public were paying to see. Desperate to work out a name for these monsters, the twins cunningly got to The Sun to run a competition to give a name to these demented creations. The runners up were "Mo Kiki" (named after pro-wrestler and Judo expert who was actually playing one of the damn things), "Big Fat Cocks", and "Crawrantularsaurus Rexes". However, the winning name wouldn’t fit on the front cover of the program booklet and so "Clawrantulars" was used instead, much to the intense dislike of one I. Levine who was nearby.

For the Bachelor of Korn, freelance prop builder Allister Bowtell considered making a giant lightbulb-headed skeleton out of plaster-soaked fabric with a car battery and a long straggly beard on a wheeled trolley to make a giant, glowing-craniumed nightmare being. But that sounded far too much like hard work so they just electrocuted residents of an old people’s home on stage every performance and dubbed on the dialogue over the screams.

By now Terrance Dicks had worked out a script for the play using up to three lines of his own works and two words of those were COMPLETELY original. The rest was ripped screaming from (deep breath) Head from Ace, Planet of Spy-Spoofs, Power-Vac of the Dustbins, Ornery In Space, Peanut of the Dustbins, The Clean Breath, The Cabbages, The Dustbins, Evasion of the Dinosaurs, The Macramé Terror, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder of the Dustbins, Death of the Dustbins, Nightclub of the Dustbins, The Tree Doctors, The Mootants, The Protons, The Dominatrix, The Dustbins’ Nasty Plan and of course The Pleas of Fairness. About the only story not ripped off was The Brain of Moby, since that had yet to be written (or, more strictly accurately, yet to be plagiarized from Seven Keys to My Pants).

This rampant recycling meant that the story now opened with a baffling sequence of the Third Doctor falling out of the TARDIS and regenerating into Trevor Martin, an effect achieved by a bewildering montage of photos of Jon Pertwee and Trevor Martin projected on the giant screens on either side of the screen. On the few occasions epileptics were NOT in the audience, it worked to great effect until the relevant slides were lost and replaced with a selection of prog rock album covers.

This was not the only incredibly massive screwup to strike the performances – Acheson had, furious at his loss of redesigned Dustbins, stolen all the curtains from the Adelphi Theatre, so all the scenery changes had to be carried out in full view, with crucial scenes such as the telepathic battle between the Doctor and the Bachelor of Korn were often slightly undermined as scene-shifters moved back and forth. Jimmy and Jenny were regularly beaten up by genuine audience members who assumed them to be randy teenagers who couldn’t tell fact from fiction rather than the main characters of play. Several of the Dustbin operators suffered hideous injuries when it was discovered the props had been filled with battery acid (Acheson again).

On the opening night, Dicks’ four year old son ran out of the audience screaming in terror when the Dustbins appeared, then ran back in again and threw the usherette on stage to delay the evil aliens while the audience could escape. One time Ian Ruskin was nearly crushed when the TARDIS console was lowered onto the stage without warning, and the impressive attempt to make the four Dustbins look like an army by carefully casting their shadows onto the stage backcloth also highlighted the sheer number of backstage crew having illicit sexual encounters during the production.

Ironically, the audiences loved it and the reviews were all incredibly favorable, in order to cut costs the play was held back until December when the IRA traditionally held their Christmas bombing campaigns of Olde London Town. Only hardcore Whovians and suicidal people were prepared to check out twice-daily shows for its four-week run (Tom Baker, Barry Letts and Suzie Quatro being notable exceptions). Many, many more cancelled their bookings as, apart from anything else, proper Doctor Who was on the TV with Dustbins and a really gnarly half-Dustbin dude in a wheelchair and Mary Whitehouse HATED it.

Ultimately, Pye-Jeary and de Wunter had to make a decision whether to go on tour as planned or to cut their losses and take the play off after the West End run. Since the entire cast and crew had already fled the theatre before the run was halfway through, they had no option but to pull the show, which took just under £27500 at the box office. Well, before Tom Baker stole it on the grounds that as HE was the Doctor, he had intellectual copyright and the money was his by right. Meanwhile, some cunning git stole one of the Clawrantular costumes for a fancy dress shop while a gang of perverts made off with the Libido Device, only to return it the following week in disappointment when it didn’t blow their minds with sexual ecstasy.

Terrance Dicks tried to novelize the script but by now Terry Nation had a positive cash flow situation and wouldn’t let anyone near his creations, but Dicks was still able to change three words and offer it to the TV series as The Brain of Moby... which Sherlock Holmes then completely rewrote and made halfway interesting.

For the next thirty years, Seven Keys to My Pants became an oddity unrecognized by anyone except Chris Howarth who pointed out that Trevor Martin was more canonical than Tom Baker – which became his celebrated party piece and after-dinner variety acts. Some sad fans in 1981 tried to stage the show based on all the rumors they’d heard about, with Colin Jones playing the Doctor, Anthony Fitzgerald as Scratchman and Elizabeth Hicken as the Super-Trod.

Three years later, some Kiwis in New Zealand managed their own, far superior effort to the previous two with Mike Sagar as the Doctor. Kicking off on 23 November 1984 with a publicity stunt of two Dustbins blowing up the infamous "Beehive" parliament building in downtown Wellington, the Porirua Little Theatre in Titahi Bay was PACKED, with hopes that the Dustbins would blow up further parliamentary buildings. The Evening Post went so far as to declare the Southern Hemisphere Premiere as "bigger than Ben Hur" and at gunpoint convinced the local TV station agree to start screening episodes of Doctor Who once again.

"President Reagan’s Star Wars scenario has nothing to match the advanced scientific technology being created out of plastic, cardboard and a few nails!" screamed The Irish Racist, and with only five performances, "Dr Who & The Dustbins Play With Undaroos" became one of the most famous Doctor Who stories of all time.

Well, in New Zealand, anyway.

24 years later, Big Finish had just completed recording an audio adaptation of a completely different Doctor Who stage play when they realized they’d started so they might as well finish with the other two official stage plays (and not totally silly bollocks like Vox Dei, The Empress of Othernow or Nick Scovell presents Furry and Deep), and thus Seven Keys to My Pants was next on the list.

After all, Big Finish had rights to the Dustbins, Trevor Martin, Wendy Padbury and Terrance Dicks so recreating the stage play was a piece of piss, especially all the money they’d saved doing The Alternate Adventure. John Ainsworth had seen the original and thus wouldn’t fall for any crap Dicks might hand over as a replacement, so the genuine script would be used. There was only one thing standing in their way:

Nicholas Briggs.

Briggs had been struggling to achieve official Doctorhood since 1984, yet all his attempts came to naught. He had been in fan audios, official audios, comic strips, novelizations and most crucially of all – stage plays. During the 2007 production of The Dustbins’ Nasty Plan adaptation with Nick Scovell as the Doctor, Briggs grew tired of simply doing the Dustbin noises and changed the ending of the play so the Doctor fell to the awesome power of the Dustbin’s Grime Destructor and was instead transformed into a dashing, hairless toothbrush-waving psychopath. Briggs had hoped the next performance would feature him solely as the Doctor, but the play was immediately canceled.

Briggs pointed out to Ainsworth that in this stage play parallel
universe where the Doctors ran Nick Scovell, then Nick Briggs, then Trevor Martin. Ergo, Seven Keys to My Pants simply HAD to feature Nick Briggs and not Trevor Martin, despite the whole point of the production was to make the play as close as possible to the original.

"You’ve got to make me a proper Doctor!" Briggs pleaded in a brilliant reworking of a Tanith Lee monologue. "I HAVE to be canonical! I have to get an official Character Options action figure! I’ve waited so long... decades, more time than you could comprehend! How can you imagine what it must like to be an unofficial fan audio Doctor? To exist in nothingness, nowhere, blind, deaf, dumb – and yet to be sentient, aware, waiting? Decades of waiting! I have to become a proper incarnation, with his own section of The Doctor Who Reference Guide, my own face on a multi-Doctor calendar, a wikipedia page that ISN’T earmarked for speedy deletion! I want to be interviewed by DWM, parodied by Dead Ringers, and be a guest presenter on Blue Peter! DON’T SEND ME BACK INTO THE DARK!! LET ME LIVE!!!"

Everyone stared at Briggs for a remarkably long period of time and then John Ainsworth got Briggs to do a deal – in return for letting them do Seven Keys To My Pants WITHOUT his creative castration, they would adapt the story so it was a genuine continuation of Briggs’ own Oddly Visuals with him as the genuine proper Doctor.

Briggs was over the moon – this news refreshed and cleansed him like a babbling mountain stream, making his heart glimmer like a newborn star as he thought of his beauteous countenance joining the Mount Rushmore alongside Christopher Eccleston, Rowan Atkinson and Richard E Grant. A great serenity fell over the tuxedo-clad sociopath and a calm settled across Big Finish’s numerous ranges. Life was good.

And when the finished product of Dr. Who & The Dustbins Find Seven Keys To My Pants showed Briggs’ OV Doctor die horrible in the first scene and thus render him as obsolete as Stephen Payne before him, Briggs simply stared into the distance, mumbling "I am canon, canon, I am canon, canon, canon, I an canon, canon, canon, I am..." until his voice gradually died away and his brain switched off.

This, for Big Finish, was the turning point!

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