Serial 309 – Blank
An Alternate Program Guide by Ewen Campion Clarke
From An Entry In The EC Unauthorized Guide O' SPLINX
"YOA's Discontinuity Guides - Inaccurate But Caring."
Serial 309 – Blank -
"Before we start this week’s 'Doctor Who', the BBC would like to point out that it contains scenes which are unsuitable for younger viewers and people of a nervous disposition and especially those of you who are younger viewers of a nervous disposition. Or an erotic disposition. Anyone of an erotic disposition can just piss off right now.
IF you wish to avoid soiling the carpet, it is recommended you watch from the safety of your nearest bathroom. We do appreciate that this episode is full of blood-chilling terror what with it being written by the 'Are You My Mummy?' guy, but please, it’s tough enough to clean carpets at the best of times! So if you are a small child with little to no bladder control and flinch at the slightest thing, either stand on some newspaper or just hide in the bathroom. We don’t want to get distracted by your bowels emptying during all the good bits, so kindly sod off now and do us all a favor!
You have been warned, bitches."
On a dark wet night Sally Sparrow sneaks into an old abandoned house for absolutely no adequately-explored reason of any kind whatsoever. The house, Gabriel Chase, is dark, decaying and ruined – like most buildings in Perivale (Cardiff) which have been firebombed repeatedly over the years. Exactly why this useful real estate hasn’t been gobbled up by developers is unclear, but it could be down to the countless strange disappearances, the UFO sightings, and the fact the BBC love these old ruins for filming Dickens as part of the Winter line up.
Sally makes her way through the corridors for similarly-undefined reasons as wind whispers through the old house, creaking floorboards and shimmering cobwebs. As you do.
Arriving in one empty room she finds some writing behind a peeling piece of wallpaper. Pulling the paper from the wall she finds more words written on the walls, including her own name:
"BEWARE THE WEEPING ANGELS! OH, AND DUCK! REALLY, DUCK! SALLY SPARROW, DUCK NOW! HAPPY TIMES AND HAPPY PLACES, THE DOCTOR (1963)
Of course, this would stick out more if the wall wasn’t covered in other graffiti like
"ACE WAZ ERE – 1883"
"CIVILIZATION ZERO IS COMING..."
"K9 MIGHTY! K9 STRONG! K9 ROCKS!"
"YOU ARE NOT ALONE – **ECCLESTON** WAS BETTER!"
"THE GATE IS OPEN"
"SERIOUSLY! VOTE B’STARD! I MEAN IT!!"
so Sally doesn’t quite notice the warning and thus when a rock is thrown through the window, it hits her on the head and knocks her out cold, and she collapses without a sound to floor.
Outside the broken window is a statue of a crying angel.
And then Sally’s mobile goes off, its ringtone oddly enough being Murray Gold’s rendition of the Doctor Who theme and thus segues perfectly into the opening titles!
Parte the First
Sally Sparrow wakes up to find herself in the home of her friend, the similarly-avian-named Kathy Nightingale. As she gets up she finds a naked man sitting on the sofa, having dozed off watching The Complete Third Series DVD Box Set of Doctor Who 2007, available from all good internet retailers for two chickens and your firstborn son.
Kathy emerges from her bedroom and introduces the naked man as her brother Larry, who regularly blanks out searching DVDs for nifty extras and Easter Eggs.
"He watches it in the nude?!" asks Sally, shocked.
"Oh no, I strip him when he’s asleep. I’d never get the laundry done otherwise."
Sally realizes at this point that not only has she somehow managed to travel from Gabriel Chase to Kathy’s home while unconscious, it seems to be a few hours earlier! Is she mad? In coma? Or has she really gone back in time?
Kathy decides the only way out is to scientifically repeat the experiment and return to the abandoned house – if they CAN travel in time they can do amazing things; place bets they know will win, suck up to celebrities before they were famous, and also run rampant on internet forums spoiling whole years of plot twists!
The next day the two women creep into Gabriel Chase, taking absolutely no notice of the mysterious statues that have suddenly appeared in the grounds, or the fact that the one outside the broken window has moved in an equally mysterious way. God damn, some people are unobservant, aren’t they? This place just SCREAMS "Lucio Fulchi Gateway to Hell!" but Sally and Kathy are too busy planning their break into ITV with a new family drama that might steal some of Doctor Who’s audience.
As they walk through the various rooms, the duo hear a haunting lament coming from deeper in the house and go to investigate and find a medieval banquet shimmering into existence in the main hall. It then shimmers and shows all the guests dead and skewered by squat mining robots dripping with green slime. (Apparently this is a typical domestic incident between rival families of the thirteenth century... but I still don’t see where the green slime comes in.)
Kathy and Sally realize the awful truth: Gabriel Chase is the centre of a time convergence, a bottle neck where time streams are constricted and brought together! Kathy and Sally also realize yet another awful truth: neither of them really care. It does however, offer a fig leaf of an explanation to how a 38-year-old warning could be left specifically for the events of the previous evening, and how Sally could time slip a few hours into the past.
So caught up is Sally in this amazing new philosophical standpoint that it takes her a few moments to realize that Kathy has mysteriously disappeared and there is now a Weeping Angel statue in the room. Sally is about to deduce that Kathy has somehow turned to stone when there is a ring at the front door... I’m sorry, a temporal interface and evil moving statues I could buy. That the Welsh Electricity Board hasn’t cut off the power to this ruin? That I do not believe.
Nevertheless, seemingly heedless of her friends vanishing out of time and space and the fact the statues are always in slightly different places and poses whenever she takes her eyes off them, Sally goes to answer the front door and meets a man called Ianto Jones with a letter for Sally Sparrow, claiming he has been told by his grandmother to deliver at the message at this exact moment in time.
"She got the idea from Back to the Future apparently," Ianto explains, before noticing the statues that have suddenly appeared in the landing, letting out a horrified scream and running for his life.
Not thinking anything of this... and now REALLY starting to look like a complete moron... Sally takes the letter and starts reading, totally unaware that the statues are getting closer and closer, held only in check by the breaking of the fourth wall and them freezing whenever the audience get a good look at them.
The letter is indeed from Kathy Nightingale – who explains she received a mighty "stony bitch slap" which sent her reeling into the numerous pesky temporal anomalies in Gabriel Chase. The upshot was she vanished from Gabriel Chase in the year 2008 to the London sewers of 1920.
It was there that Kathy discovered a series of glass tubes containing android replicas of British Prime Ministers from Walpole to Pitt the Younger to Disraeli to Gladstone to Lloyd George to Churchill to Wilson to Thatcher! These were the creations of Tasq, a blue-skinned alien engineer who also got "bushwacked by those statue bastards" and had been sent back over eighty years into the past, though he intended to get his own back by changing history and having his android PMs devote more time and money to space research so by 1986 Thatcher will rule an empire of intergalactic space ships.
Kathy pointed out what a stupid bloody idea this was and – after his entire robot army got confused by a small mouse and marched en masse into the Thames and drowned – Tasq was forced to agree. The duo made an unlikely couple, he an offworlder time engineer, and her a lying bitch who said she was only 18 and they had lots of wacky adventures before dying of tuberculosis some time in the 1970s.
After marveling at the cleverness of Kathy leaving a note to be delivered the moment she vanished, Sally decides to put the moves on Larry who no longer has a dominating and kinky sister to act as a gooseberry. Before she leaves, Sally snatches up a mysterious ankh-shaped key dangling from the hand of one of the statues and skips away – as ever, totally unaware that the statues are watching from the windows and are IMMENSELY pissed off.
Using her unspecified skills of deduction and journalistic reasoning, Sally tracks Larry down to the small, out of the way DVD shop in the depths of Cardiff run by a bearded part-troll Bill Bailey lookalike.
[The producers of Doctor Who would at this point like to establish that this is NOT the same DVD shop that appeared in the Touchwood episode "Invisible Restal". It is, in fact, a completely different DVD shop in an entirely different part of Cardiff and, assuming you completely missed the relevance of Ianto Jones’ pointless cameo earlier in the plot, Touchwood itself is as canonical as any number of awkward one night stands the audience may or may not have undertaken. You might think it incredibly superior to point and laugh at the Cyberwoman episode, but YOU were the one that woke up next to Pee-Wee Herman when nine corona cocktails made you think you scored with Uma Thurman, remember? Eh? Not so fucking superior NOW, are we?]
As the proprietor shushes her to admire the intricate story telling of "Shaun of the Dead", Sally spots Larry working in the back room, continuing his quest to make sense of some rather demented Easter Eggs on the Doctor Who Complete Third Series DVD Box Set. Gosh this product placement is so subtle, isn’t it?
After awkwardly circling the fact that Sally got to see Larry stark naked but we haven’t so much as seen Sally’s ankles, our intrepid audience identification figure (you know, the one with no apparent family, or life, or history or even acknowledgement of her ridiculous alliterative name) decides to break the gentle news that Larry’s sister died some forty years previous in an interspecies relationship with a lens grinder from the planet Bestonas.
Sally does this in SUCH a gentle, subtle, almost subliminal way that she gives Larry the impression that he has a terminal disease and everyone else in the whole world is laughing at his misery. "Yeah, in retrospect, that conversation DID get way out of hand," muses the Doctor from the DVD player in a spooky coincidence.
Finally Sally claims Kathy has been tricked into becoming part of the white slave trade and will be gone for some time – an excuse Larry is curiously eager to accept as it means he can lounge around her place to his heart’s content and concentrate on his DVD project to find out the purpose of this baffling hidden special feature.
Just then, the owner of the shop calls Larry "Florence" (as in "Florence Nightingale"? Eh? Suit yourselves. Bunch of ignorant philistines...) and Larry is disposed to go out into the shop and beat the guy over the head for his impudence, leaving Sally to watch some kind of outtake with David Tennant and Freema Agyeman muck about and babble about time. She comments on what he says and oddly enough he appears to reply to her remarks, which starts off creepy but rapidly becomes inane and winsome in my humble opinion.
Sally then overhears the shop owner screaming at Larry to put down the petrol tank and the oxyacetylene torch or else he will go the police. Thinking this is a really nifty course of action, our avian-named heroine does just that – alas, Cardiff policemen are pretty much useless at the best of times and to be fair it’s hard to expect what a copper is meant to do with a temporal interface. Bung handcuffs on it?
So exasperated with the desk sergeant is Sally she fails to notice the pair of angel statues that have somehow in the blink of an eye traveled from the church opposite and appeared in the room behind her. Well, I SAY "so exasperated" but that might not be the reason she hasn’t noticed. Maybe she’s just a moron?
At that moment a young Indigenous Australian with acid blond dreadlocks and mirrored shades crosses over to Sally claiming to be DCI Nigel Verkoff, and is ready to listen to her story and even have sex with her.
[The producers would like to point out, yet again, any similarity with a certain uncanonical Touchwood episode is purely coincidental and probably down to the fact both were put in this guide by the same twisted mind. There is absolutely NO need to write in.]
"Hi, babe," Nigel says, smirking over his pince-nez sunglasses, "Gabriel Chase, am I right? You won’t believe the cool shit you can find round that place. The garage next door is full of cars I found there – unlocked, owners vanished, sometimes even the motor’s running. I’d have sold them all except for that seven-year-rule bollocks, and how the hell is THAT supposed to work with people adrift outside a time interface?! That’s what I’d like to know. Goddamn this stupid Welsh town and the time fissure running through it – but enough about the absurdity of Cardiff. Are you wearing a bra under there?"
"Can I see these cars?" asked Sally.
"I thought not," Nigel laughs evilly, taking her to the carpark containing a random collection of vehicles, a poorly-designed police box with wrong-sized windows, and a mysterious silver coffin. "As you can see, it’s really rather boring after a while. Even the detritus of a rift in time and space is rather dull. Look at this one!"
He kicks open the coffin to find a four-legged insect-headed alien in a spacesuit in suspended animation.
"Does sweet fuck all!" Nigel sighs. "Maybe it’s dead. Maybe it’s operating on a slower time frame. Maybe it’s just in suspended animation. But that’s not the big question. See, you’re missing the big question."
"Okay, what’s the big question?"
"Will you sleep with me?"
"Shagging. You. Me. Now?"
"Aren’t you on duty, Detective Inspector Verkoff?"
"Ah, so you fell for my pathetic disguise as a policeman; this relationship is more promising than I expected!" Nigel grins. "Now, life is short and you are hot. Fancy some recreational drug taking first, gorgeous girl?"
"ANY shagging? Ever?"
"Maybe... maybe not," Sally says, storming out.
Nigel watches her go. "Oh yeah, I was so in there," he grins. "Another close call for the Big N," he adds, totally unaware that the giant bug has awoken from its stasis and immediately tries to rip his head off. Screaming like a girl, Nigel flees the carpark chased by the evil bug man, neither of them noticing the sudden quartet of Weeping Angels around the police box prop.
Moments later, Sally returns on the off-chance that key she stole earlier in the plot might work in the Yale lock of the police box prop. For some reason. Anyway, she arrives and finds arrives she finds the
box, Nigel, the alien bugman and the statues have gone. Well, she never noticed the statues anyway. Forget I said that.
Just then Sally receives a phone call from Nigel who somehow got her number in a moment I forgot to transcribe. He screams hysterically that there’s a giant space cockroach trying to mate with him and he’s going to try lose it in Albion Hospital and she should meet him there to surrender to his incredible personal charisma.
Again, for another reason I cannot fathom and with any other writer would immediately be inked as "shithouse plot contrivance", Sally heads to the nearby hospital and soon finds an elderly man in one of the wards. Seemingly believing that this guy... this WHITE guy... is somehow Nigel after falling through the time interface, Sally asks him what the hell happened.
The old man rambles that he was grabbed by evil statues and thrown into the distant past of 1969 where he met a young man and his female companion who acted in an incredibly smug manner as they blathered on about how they visited the moon landing four times and developed a crude iPod that causes passing hens to explode.
The man, alias the Doctor, forced the old man (or young twat, as he was back then) to spend the next few decades becoming a DVD publisher and smuggle in the all-crucial Easter Egg into the Complete Third Series Box Set in a desperate attempt to stop two thirds of the universe being destroyed. The old man confesses to Sally he knows he is destined to die at three minutes to lunch time, and suddenly sticks his tongue out, crosses his eyes and goes limp.
Rather put out, Sally turns and leaves the ward. The moment she’s gone, the old guy stops faking, laughs insanely and immediately flees the room before the hospital orderlies catch up with him with their butterfly nets and straightjackets.
The moral of the story is not to trust surreal shit spoken by random strangers claiming to be 80-year-old versions of creeps you only met half an hour ago. I personally find this bit of advice incredibly useful, and indeed only wish I’d known it before I started high school...
Parte the Second
As night descends Sally decides to try and make the best of a bad day by getting her leg over Larry Nightingale. With a determined look, she phones Larry and pretends to be even remotely interested in his pathetic DVD Easter Egg obsession. She asks him to come round to her place and show her his amazing discoveries, also to bring a packet of three, a bottle of champagne and an open mind.
She also wants her romantic interlude to occur at Gabriel Chase for reasons that exist beyond the latitude of human comprehension. Not even Steven Moffat himself can come up for a reason of why she would fancy a good bonking in a decrepit haunted house splintered in time and space filled with homicidal alien statues. We can only assume that Sally is expecting this to be a one night stand and doesn’t want Larry to actually know where she lives – an excuse trotted out for a similar plothole in one of the lesser-known Press Gang episodes where whatshername goes on a date with an incredibly geeky suicide bomber.
Anyway, as night falls and things get really spooky, Larry sets up his portable DVD player. It appears the Doctor can reply to what Sally says despite having reordered the message thirty-eight years previously, just in case you thought this was just going to be an incredibly twisted BBC Wales porno.
"Hullo there! I’m a time traveler. Or I was. I’m stuck in 1969!" the Doctor reveals before his companion moves into frame ranting that she’s stuck with him and out of all of time and space she now has to have a job in s shop like some kind of beans-on-toast-swilling chav from the Powell Estate. The Doctor headbutts her out of frame in mid-bitch, and continues the DVD extra. "Now, you’re probably wondering how we can communicate what with you being 39 years in the future, but that’s because I know everything you’re going to say. I downloaded a complete transcript off bit torrent in 2013, what with me being a time traveler and you having that conversation as we don’t speak because it’s on my autocue. Jings, pay attention! And stop snogging!"
Sally and Larry stop making out and listen to the ranting TV man.
"The angels have the phone box! You should know that by now since I’ve ensured that becomes a thriving T-shirt logo throughout the next decade! Now those statues are creatures from another world. No one knows where they come from and fewer still give a damn – they’re almost as old as the universe and they’ve survived this long because they’ve got the creepiest mofo defense system ever: they turn to stone if they are observed. Well, looked at. It’s an out-of-mind-out-of-sight kind of deal, otherwise they’d freeze if you smelt them or were simply in the same room as them. The point is the moment your eyes rest of them, they literally turn to stone! Medusa backwards! But if you take your eyes off them, even just to blink, and they’re free again! That’s why they cover their eyes. They’re not weeping, they can’t risk looking at each other. Their greatest asset is their greatest – I SAID, STOP SNOGGING!!"
"Get to the point then!"
"The point, blondie, is that they’re after my blue box, my time machine. With that and the whole interface bottleneck in Gabriel Chase, the damage those stone fuckers could do could switch off the sun! The only thing to do is send my time machine straight back to me in 1969, the box to which you have the key which is why the Angels are after you in the first place!"
"Well, I could waste time telling you how I’ve gone to all this trouble, starting a BBC TV series that would last long enough to justify a massive DVD box set to smuggle this otherwise inauspicious Easter Egg into so we could communicate, but instead I’ll say – HAVEN’T YOU HORNY TWATS BEEN PAYING ATTENTION?! The statues are BAD! BAD, BAD STATUES! They’re coming for you and you IDIOTS are in their base! And if you MORONS so much as blink, or turn away, they’ll catch up with you – and they’ll either throw you into the infinite temporal flux or rip your heads off with their bare claws. Either way, THIS WHOLE BUSINESS WILL HAVE BEEN A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME, SO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!"
[The producers would just like to draw your attention to this brilliant retcon completely explaining and justifying 98 per cent of all breakings of the fourth wall over the last 45 years, because, really, it’s a doozy and well worth acknowledgement! You don’t get this sort of thing from Nev Fountain, do you? Mind you, you don’t technically get ANYTHING from Nev Fountain, so perhaps it’s best we leave him out of this and focus more on material that DOESN’T make us ashamed to be human.]
The extra ends and Sally and Larry finally notice that there is now a Weeping Angel standing in the corner of the room and it wasn’t there at the start of this scene. As they argue about whether or not rewinding the Easter Egg could help, the Angel moves closer and closer.
They lock their sights on the creature and back away, Sally departing to try and find a way out. Larry remains in the room to stare at the Angel as Sally moves to the front door and finds it locked.
"There’s just one, right?" asks Larry hopefully. "There’s just this one. We’re okay if we keep staring at this one statue? Everything’s gonna be fine?"
"There’s three more."
"Oh, for fuck’s sake... Can’t we just wink with alternate eyes?" asks Larry hopefully, but quickly discovers that this is actually bloody difficult – as demonstrated by the way the Weeping Angel advances on him in a split second, bearing down on him with bared fangs and stone-cold eyes in a moment of brown-trousers-with-bicycle-clip terror!!
At that exact moment, the door is kicked down by Nigel Verkoff as he runs into the house, screaming "GANGWAY!" as an insane insectoid astronaut charges after him, waving its claws in the air like it just doesn’t care and shrieking alien death threats.
A typical plot twist in BAFTA-winning drama, I think you’ll agree.
The sudden intrusion of Nigel’s mirrored sunglasses and the alien bug dude’s tinfoil suit is enough to keep the Angels at bay as they run through the scene like an embarrassing Scooby Doo cameo, giving Sally and Larry more than enough time to escape down into the basement.
Downstairs is arguably even creepier as they find the blue box standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by three Weeping Angels. In the blink of an eye (HAH! YOU SEE WHAT I DID JUST THERE?!) they find the remaining Angel from upstairs has followed them and now seems to be reenacting the opening titles for "Callan" by blowing out a swinging mood light bulb.
For those of you not paying attention, the resultant darkness means that the human victims will be unable to see the Angels and thus the statues cannot be frozen and have their wicked way with Sparrow and Nightingale. Terrified yet? If not, marvel at how we spend the next five minutes having a chase scene full of inanimate objects. Very Zen.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Larry and Sally escape certain death, dive into the TARDIS and slam the door shut. This of course pisses the Angels off even more and are left with nothing better to do than grab the phone box and try to shake it apart with mindless fury – the whole fourth wall thing completely baffling them now, as you can imagine, so they don’t know if it’s a genuine time machine or a genuine tacky BBC prop.
Inside, the dyspeptic duo are struck when a crackly, fizzy hologram of the Doctor appears at a 90 degree angle to the floor and claims that the ship has detected a funky DVD Easter Egg that allows you to pilot the TARDIS for one journey. Larry removes a DVD case from his jacket and finds the disk inside is glowing. He places it into a slot in the console and the machine is set in motion.
However, all is not as it seems and as the ship departs the interior fades, leaving the young humans behind. "SAYONARA, SUCKERS!" laughs the evil holo-Doctor as the TARDIS dematerializes completely. Sally and Larry are left between a group hug of the Angels, who unwittingly found themselves looking at each other when the TARDIS took off, and are all now frozen to stone, meaning they cannot look away, freezing the others to stone, meaning they cannot look away either, freezing the others to stone and so on and so on and so on until the highly-tedious heat death of the entire universe.
Larry and Sally muse on this happy ending and agree that the chances were it was a complete fluke rather than a diabolical bit of ingenuity on the Doctor’s part. So they wander off to go to a proper hotel and get some decent shagging in before the night is out.
Yet although for Sally and Larry the case of the Weeping Angels is over, hundreds of statues still remain all over the city, all over the world. Are they evil aliens? What the fuck do you reckon?
However, the montage of perfectly harmless stone decorations gets out of control and turns into a bewildering montage of Doctor Who clips before finally running out and being replaced with a test card with the face of Graham Norton.
"The call came from across the stars, over and over again. It got old quick."
"We’re overacting! To the end of the universe – if that doesn’t get rid of the twat, I’ll be fresh out of ideas! Not even the Time Lords came out this far, so I’ve been here at least five times..."
"You know him?"
"Yeah, one of my stalkers. Fancied me when I was all dead gritty and Northern. Mind you, he fancied everyone back then..."
"Was someone assaulting my twitching corpse? And if not, why not?!"
"What the hell are they?"
"Chelsea supports. It is feared that that is what we will become unless they score a hat-trick."
"The Rogue Traders, Doctor! Constantly! It’s worse than Sunrise with Mel and Koshie!"
"And Dystopia is..."
"...the beginning of the 2007 season finale."
"We’re the only ones left – it’s a small cast this week!"
"You are a complete bastard."