Serial 306 – The Infinite Jest
An Alternate Program Guide by Ewen Campion Clarke
From An Entry In The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Ad Infinitum!
"YOA's Discontinuity Guides - Inaccurate But Caring."
Serial 306 – The Infinite Jest -
Following his hideous disfiguring injuries involving the Tepapawai High School Canteen and a huge vat of Goablin oil, the Bastard has not only been forced to bandage every inch of his scalded body but has also gone distinctly peculiar. How peculiar? He’s got a robot parrot called Pieces-of-8 (or P8 for short).
The Bastard now intends the crush the entire Earth from the safety of his orbiting space ship which he forged entirely out of old baked bean tins. The Bastard’s amazing plan is to wipe out the human race and turn the planet Earth into a diamond to flog to gullible Andromedan tourist. No sooner does the Bastard relish his moment of destiny, a large blue police box roars into existence beside him.
"You’ve got to be fucking kidding me," he laments as the Doctor and Martha emerge from the TARDIS.
The Doctor and the Bastard exchange the traditional witticisms and the evil Time Lord notices that he’s no longer travelling with the bodacious blonde with the teeth any more. The Bastard accuses Rose Tyler of dumping him and leaving the Doctor to have to make do with third-rate companions, but the Doctor hastily changes the subject by remembering he nicked a golden spoon from the Tepapawai canteen and meant to return it.
Deeply unimpressed, the Bastard throws it over his shoulder... and immediately the spoon falls through the suddenly-rusting floor! While in the Doctor’s pocket it picked up a strange space fungus and let a lethal rust loose in the Bastard’s command ship.
The Doctor admits he DID have a really good plan to stop the Bastard destroying the Earth but now he’s managed to defeat his arch enemy with a spoon, anything else would probably just be gratuitous overkill.
The Bastard sarcastically thanks the Doctor so very much for his consideration before he plummets into the lower decks as the rust spreads and the whole spaceship starts to implode. Rather awkwardly, the Doctor and Martha leave in the TARDIS to find a slightly more memorable and impressive adventure.
Setting the TARDIS to the Copacabana beach on Earth, the Doctor and Martha fly off into the time vortex, unaware and uncaring that the Bastard has managed to escape the breakup of his spaceship in his own goddamn TARDIS. The Bastard is alive.
And he’s in a MEAAAAAAAN mood!
Parte the First
With its usual precision and delicacy, the TARDIS arrives not at a Tellurian beach but instead plunges out of control into a distant alien planet ruled by Budgerigar People. Stepping outside the Doctor and Martha are greeted by a giant pantomime chicken with a Yamaha Keyboard.
The Doctor is amazed, for this is one of his old associates, a renegade Time Lord called the Magician who regenerated into a giant chicken after a Big Finish Fifth Doctor story no one remembers. Martha is confused as the Doctor insisted that the Temporal Difference of Opinion wiped out all other Time Lords yet she’s met two within the last five minutes.
"Jings, Martha, LOOK at him!" the Doctor protests. "He doesn’t count! And the Bastard doesn’t count either since he’s officially dead for tax reasons. I am the one and only Last of the Time Lords. And there’s nobody I’d rather be. Except possibly ginger."
The Magician clucks with annoyance and points out that whatever his legal status the Bastard is immensely pissed off with the Doctor – the Magician and the Bastard are facebook friends. The Magician reveals the evil bandaged villain is now searching for The Infinite.
"Let’s just say that there are things out there in space, Martha, things that predate our reality. Relics from the Dark Times. There was a time when the universe was so much smaller than it is now. A darker, colder time of chaos when truly, truly stupid and gormless beings rampaged through the void. They did some truly pointless and messed up things. The Infinite was originally a Cornflakes competition sort of deal, allowing the winner to receive their hearts’ desire. And frankly that’s quite a thing to receive and someone as corrupt and twisted as the Bastard cannot be allowed to have access to that kind of power! As the last custodian of all the secrets of the universe, it’s our duty to get it first. Plus, it’ll drive him totally nuts if we beat him to it!"
The Magician hands over a paddle pop stick – one of four – that will lead the holder to the ship, each one being a link to the next. Not at all remotely suspicious at this goodwill, the Doctor and Martha board the TARDIS and take off, revealing the Bastard was sitting in the tree right behind them. He wasn’t even hiding or anything!
"Well done, Magician! The Doctor’s going to find the Infinite for me, going to find my hearts’ desire! I said I’d make you pay for this, Doctor!" the Bastard rants. "When I have my revenge, I’LL MAKE YOU WISH YOU’D NEVER BEEN BORN!"
The first paddle pop stick directs the TARDIS to the planet Booty-Tan, which looks suspiciously like a Cardiff beach with CGI suns in the sky to make it look a little less tourist-y. The only sign of civilization are giant Tripods sucking oil of the ground with giant straws – John Christopher’s Master Race were forced to turn to oil field ownership after Michael Grade cancelled the crucial third series.
Suddenly, the Doctor and Martha finally notice that have actually arrived on a herring trawler run by a butch feminazi called Captain Calico who intends to steal the oil from the Tripods and give it to the poor lesbian single mothers’ art colonies as a statement against intolerant capitalists everywhere.
Using her crew of armored Harry Hussein skeletons, Calico fires a harpoon to knock a Tripod and prepare to force the Doctor and Martha to walk a plank for no other reason than the author seems to have an unhealthy obsession with piratical cliches.
Martha quickly threatens to destroy Calico’s ship with one of the Doctor’s spoons of alien rust, but it turns out he doesn’t have a spare and his sonic screwdriver has sand in it so, er, that’s totally useless as well. Indeed, both time travelers look well and truly stuffed.
Luckily at this moment it turns out that every single member of the pirate crew are actually Oil Corp spies and they all immediately attack each other in a massive misunderstanding that they’d all probably laugh about now if they weren’t all of them, to a skeleton, dead. The Tripods blowing up the fishing trawler with plasma cannons doesn’t really help matters in that regard either.
In the wreckage, the Doctor, Martha and Calico have survived the holocaust the way speaking parts tend to and the Time Lord’s super powers of detection finally notice Calico’s god-awful novelty earring in the shape of a paddle pop stick.
Calico scoffs as she realizes they are in search of The Infinite, and instead flees in a rocket back pack she wears for just such an occasion. Unfortunately, as she flies off into the sky she is hit by a volley of machine gun fire and drops to the ground – murdered by some unknown force which, the Doctor suspects, mistook Calico for a clay pigeon.
On the bright side, though, the Doctor and Martha now have the second paddle pop stick and can finally advance this stupid plotline. One trip in the TARDIS later and the two-dimensional twosome arrive on a distant planet bathed in eerie green light which looks suspiciously like a Cardiff quarry with some odd mood lighting.
They are then nearly run over by a space-suit-wearing iguana driving a four-wheel-drive with a paddle pop stick medallion on his necklace. This is Mere Grass, who cheerfully recites his entry in Who’s Who, revealing he is supplying the local queen with protection from a sinister and unknown attacker who even now are providing a cheap blitzkrieg allegory as alien ships swarm over the ant hills firing sonic bombs.
The Doctor and Martha follow Mere Grass into a surprisingly large dung heap where Martha trips over, sprains her ankle and loses consciousness, allowing lots of exposition to occur off screen. It’s not very interesting exposition, all told. They’re in a war zone, Mere Grass is a gunrunner, war’s going badly. Jeez, you could have thought up something more interesting yourself if I’d let you stay ignorant.
Anyway, a giant unconvincing CGI preying mantis shouts they have captured one of the invaders – a weedy Welsh teenage boy in an Aliens-type exoskeleton and a truly incredibly unconvincing rubber mask. The soldier reveals that, actually, they are not the invaders but the indigenous inhabitants of the planet Mynob and the giant alien insects are EVIL! I know, unbelievable!
The boy, Kelvin, reminds everyone of the human invasion and that they plan to Hiroshima the alien insects out of existence and everyone involved with the plot at this stage is completely freaking screwed...
Parte the Second
The Bug Queen asks Mere Grass for help but he refuses to on grounds he’s feeling in a bit of a nihilistic and suicidal mood, before realizing he’s ACTUALLY in a selfish, genocidal mood and runs away, leaving everyone to die horribly.
The Doctor suggests the hideous alien insects do something sensible for a change and simply surrender to the Welsh. Amazed at this brilliance, the Queen agrees and the time travelers run out after Mere Grass because of this paddle pop nonsense only to find he’s apparently committed suicide by cutting his head off and nailed it to a tree.
Thinking no more of this, the Doctor and Martha immediately snatch up the abandoned medallion, run inside the TARDIS and get the hell out of this truly mediocre plotline which clearly had the name "Planet Zog" during the tone discussions.
The TARDIS arrives at Justice World, the galaxy’s penal colony which is shaped like a pair of scales, but the drawing, lighting and animation are so shitty you’d be forgiven for not noticing this crude symbolism. Hell, I only noticed after I looked the episode up on wikipedia. Assuming that wasn’t a lie.
Arriving in the derelict Neutral Area, the Doctor and Martha are ordered by the disembodied voice of the Governor to don electronic escort shoes and pass through a mind probe to detect malfeasance – and unfortunately is found guilty of 9005 criminal offences. Ironically, double jeopardy would get him out of 9004 of them but those alien bugs prevented their annihilation by claiming that the Doctor was attacking the human race, not the bugs.
"That BITCH!" exclaims Martha.
The Doctor is marched into the Justice Zone with the only other inhabitant a chronically depressed simulant droid. The Justice Field makes it physically impossible to commit any sort of crime with synthesized karma... so the Doctor switches it off for a laugh and the simulant droid immediately goes on a killing spree with no repercussions of any kind.
Martha decides to complain to the Governor of Justice World, a sinister leather-clad, eyepatched chap called Crall Travis with an artificial hand and a distinctly homoerotic air, toying with a paddle pop stick. Travis rants a lot at Martha, padding out the episode until the simulant smashes down the door and screams that IT is the Governor and Travis is a prisoner with ideas above his station.
"Oh no I’m not!" shouts Travis at the android.
"OH YES YOU ARE!" grates the android back.
"Oh no I’m not!"
"OH YES YOU ARE!"
"Oh no I’m not!"
"OH YES YOU ARE!"
After a while, Travis stops arguing and runs away as the simulant starts screaming that rehabilitation is impossible and all criminals must be killed and all their possessions sterilized, foams at the voice box and then falls over, twitching.
"Jings, that was random," the Doctor observes.
The duo run off after Travis but find his tiny, wizened, doll-sized corpse lying beside the TARDIS. The Doctor knows this to be the work of the Bastard’s matter condensing thingamajig and is unsurprised when the bandaged figure steps out of the shadows screaming "REVENGE! FINALLY, REVENGE!" along with the giant chicken-shaped Magician.
"You dirty bird!" the Doctor shouts at the double-crossing Magician.
The Bastard snatches the final paddle pop stick and orders the Doctor and Martha into his singed and rusty TARDIS. The Bastard demands the other three paddle pop sticks, revealing that he has been the one murdering main characters to help the Doctor and Martha retrieve the vital sticks. Martha notes that surely it would have been a lot easier for the Bastard to just find them himself rather than rope in his arch enemy and put everything at risk.
"I’ve had two thirds of my body boiled off the bone and been driven com-PLYT-ly insane," sneers the Bastard. "I’m ALLOWED to have some eccentricities!"
"But The Infinite is just a myth!" the Doctor protests. "And even if it wasn’t, even if it contained a FRACTION of the power everyone claims, it’s more likely to consume and destroy time than give you your hearts’ desire. What IS your hearts’ desire, anyway?"
The Bastard and the Magician unsurprisingly want vaguely normal bodies back after the nasty things that have happened to them over the years. The Doctor rolls his eyes and suggests they just use the Chameleon Arches in their respective TARDISes to reboot their DNA. The Magician clucks in delight and runs off, but even though this is an eminently sensible course of action, the deranged Bastard wants more!
Shaking his head in disgust, the Doctor decides to leave but the Bastard takes off before Martha can follow. The Doctor is left marooned on Justice World. With his TARDIS. And the Magician’s TARDIS. Actually, he’s the least marooned we’ve ever seen him, but go with the flow.
Aboard the Bastard’s TARDIS, the evil Time Lord tries unsuccessfully to chat Martha up, noting she’s not half as attractive and endearing as Rose Tyler. Nevertheless, Martha insists lusting pointlessly after the Doctor is better than getting squelchy with the hideously-burnt Bastard. The diabolical despot is confident once he gets the whole hearts’ desire business she’ll soon wise up and fall for his charms.
Soon they arrive at the Infinite, the wreck of a space ship now slowly being formed into an asteroid. Martha looks on in amazement as the Bastard explains that the paddle pop sticks were released by the higher powers of creation as a competition across the galaxy – just in case the entire audience forgot that particular plot point from the start of the narrative merely half an hour previous.
Martha enters the ship’s hold and is amazed to find the stark-naked Doctor waiting for her with a huge heart-shaped bed, velour sheets, lots of flowers, chocolates and Barry White music playing in the background. He rips off his pinstripe suit and invites Martha to put on a nurse’s outfit and come at him with a riding crop...
...but at that moment a police box appears in the corner and another Doctor emerges and sees what happening and coughs, embarrassed.
"Excuse me, but I think that’s my platonic friend you’re seducing?"
Martha realizes to her deep shame and humiliation that she has discovered The Infinite’s treasure, giving her heart’s desire which just takes the form of the Doctor finally noticing her as a sensual being rather than a talkative piece of furniture and waffling on about Rose.
The Bastard finds "girlie girl Martha’s" sexual fantasies hilarious and laughs so hard his crude life support mechanisms come loose and he starts bleeding nasty bodily fluids everywhere.
The Infinite attempts to find the Doctor’s hearts’ desires but apart from a ghostly image of a naked blonde girl on a horse, nothing more appears – the power of the Infinite is dissipating by the day, held together by lingering hopes and dreams, enough energy left to give visitors a slight glimpse into their heart’s desires.
"It’s all one big practical joke," he surmises.
"And the Bastard just FORGOT that bit?" asks Martha, skeptically.
"Well, he IS insane..."
The Bastard finally twigs that The Infinite can never grant him a new body and sound mind and that he’s stuck in this dying, withered body unless he stops weeping into his respirator and DOES SUMMFINK ABOUT IT!
Unfortunately, by the time this positive course of action occurs to him the Doctor and Martha have fled in their TARDIS leaving the ancient space craft to fall apart in cunning re-use of stock footage from the very first scene. The Bastard wails at the unfairness of his certain doom, but because this is recycled footage, he is able to escape in his own TARDIS and fling the increasingly-decrepit time machine to the outermost fringes of time and space.
As the mortally-wounded Bastard tries to find the Chameleon Arch in his TARDIS, he shouts stuff like "Curse you, Doctor! CURSE YOU! Once I get a new body and some decent anti-insanity medication, I’ll destroy you, Martha, Earth, Justice World AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN!"
Elsewhere, the Doctor and Martha plot the TARDIS’s next course by picking random lotto numbers... which is as good a way as any given how unreliable the bloody thing is...
"Distress signal. I bet this isn’t anywhere NEAR worth the hassle!"
"47 minutes until the end of the episode..."
"Wow, that that is DEFINITELY ripping off Douglas Adams!"
"And who are you?"
"I’m the Doctor. You think after twenty stories people would get that, wouldn’t you?"
"Why are we falling into the heart of the sun? Is it something to do with a Disaster Area rock concert?"
"THAT is contrived."
"Urgent assistance! I am completely screwed!"
"BURN, BABY, BURN!"
"What the hell is this about?"
"I’m not going to sleep with her."
"We’re stuffed, here!"
"It’s picking us off! We’re in a base under siege!"
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who: The Jest is the Jest
Dr. Cheapo Cartoon in the TARDIS!
Modern Sci-Fi... IN GLORIOUS 2D-O-VISION!!
Fluffs - David Tennant barely seemed animated throughout this story.
"What? Shadows and fog, that sort of thing?"
"Not eerie, EYRIE!! ...was that too much, love? I’ll get my equity card taken off me for this! Fifteen points off and you’re out!"
Martha’s nose regularly vanishes in long shots.
The "skeleton crew" jokes.
Fashion Victims -
The Bastard’s bandages, goggles, scarf, gauntlets and one arm ending in a harpoon makes him look like a cross between a 1930s aviator, India Jones and the Invisible Man.
The Bastard "reverses the polarity of the gullibility flow" by ever thinking for a moment the prize is real.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: Yes! 670 million miles an hour! And a bit! ROCK ON! ARRRRRRIBA!
Martha: You invaded this planet for DUNG?
Mantasphid Queen: Indeed.
Mantasphid Queen: That too!
Calico’s last words:
"No! MORE precision! FIRE WITH MORE PRECISION! AGHHH!!"
(The Bastard fires his harpoon at the Doctor, but the Doctor catches it.)
Bastard: You are just no fun any more.
Doctor: I’ve been shot at by better people that you, Bastard!
Bastard: Really? How nice for you?
(The Bastard raises his other hand with a flintlock and blows the Doctor’s kneecaps off)
Dialogue Triumphs -
Kelvin: Earth Command can’t afford to lose this planet! They plan to use spatial disintegration of this hundred-mile vector!
Doctor: They’re gonna burn us out of space and time?!
Kelvin: It’s like Domestos, only it actually DOES kill all bugs dead.
Doctor: Now, forget your Bonapartes, your Boudicas, your Blackbeards even. This, Martha Jones, this is the Bastard – Scourge of the Galaxy, Corset King of Triton in the 40th Century, the greatest despot that ever, ever lived!
Bastard: And now I’m going to envelop Earth in a field of plasma fire and superheat the carbonites who crawl across its surface!
Doctor: Really? So then all the carbon-based life will super-compressed in a plasma field, making...
Doctor: [stares at her] ...precisely. Yeah. Yeah, well done. Don’t interrupt again, will you? [to Bastard] Where was I? Oh yeah, every living being turned into diamonds!
Bastard: And the plan starts in SECONDS!
Doctor: Now, that is a plan! That. Is. Indeed. A. Plan. Is that not just the most incredible plan you have ever come up with?
Martha: But we’re going to stop him, yeah?
Doctor: Jings, Martha, how am I supposed to keep this confrontation between ancient enemies going when you keep spoiling the atmosphere? Of course we’re going to bloody defeat him! That’s what he’s there for! [to Bastard] No offence.
Bastard: None taken. It wouldn’t be fun otherwise.
UnQuotable Quote -
Bastard: I’M THE KING OF THE WORLD!
Links and References -
The Infinite was apparently set up as an April Fool’s gag by the Leaderene of the Aracanons ("The Drunken Ginger Bride"), the Nestle Consciousness ("Ruse"), the Lame Vampires ("California – The State of Decay"), Fenric ("The Chess of Fenric"), Kwundaar ("PRIME Evil"), Rag, Nar & Rok ("The Greatest Blow in the Galaxy") to mess with the Doctor and the Bastard throughout all of history.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor remembers the good old days when he and his youthful (ahem) "wards", John and Gillian, went to Canada and found the Nutty Professor tormenting sabre-toothed gorillas with flubby truncheons.
Groovy DVD Extras -
Outtakes. Yes, the animation COULD have been worse!
The Spite of Sparacus -
"I didn’t actually watch this as it was a cartoon and, ergo, completely immature. I nevertheless believe this series’ overall quality and worth can be turned around after the trash we’ve had to suffer. All you have to do is: get rid of Murrary Gold’s fake cinematic orchestral pieces and use the old theme tune; make every story a two parter to slow the plots down so dysfunctional alcoholics like myself have a chance of understanding them; no new monsters and all the stories to be historicals set in small English villages; the Doctor should be exactly like the mature and serious and boring and above all non-Scottish Jon Pertwee rather than anything meat puppets like Tennant might want; rip off plots from Midsomer Murders; avoid making anything I don’t like; sack RTD and put Barry Letts in charge. If that doesn’t fix this shallow-plotted, over-fast-paced, full of banal emotionalism, dumbed-down series, then I’m a Dutchman. The fact the show ISN’T like it was in my childhood is as bad as if nuclear war broke out – just because things change doesn’t mean it’s GOOD!"
Viewer Quotes -
" I didn't like the first part at all. The animation didn't feel or look good, nothing happened (seriously... the main plot was something about a spoon or something, right?) and I also felt the voices sounded weird! For a kids' cartoon, it was way too talky, and Tennant's voice was even harder to grasp than it is on the proper show. The animation looked great, it just felt wasted on a conversation about a spoon. I hope later episodes are more action-oriented.
%^&$ing %&$^-%*$&ed *%&£ing mother*£*&$ing $(£&$. My Freeview box is all *$&%ed because of the *&^%ing weather, and my painstakingly-planned recording is compeltely *&^%ed. Anyone know if there's going to be a repeat?
"Below feeble. Doctor Who Claymation, THAT is what’s required."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2009)
"I don’t wish to say anything negative, but no one cares."
- Mike Thecoolperson (2007)
"With the BBC squeezing every last drop out of the Welsh series, including a post screening "How It Was Made" Doctor Who Confidential screened on BBC3 (how on Earth did we ever manage to enjoy TV in the 20th Century without knowing every detail of how our favourite shows were made?) and a series for children, Totally Doctor Who, an animated story was produced, though it was HARDLY a Disney epic! Older fans would no doubt spot a resemblance to the plot of The Key to Chicken but for younger viewers, with their typical 21st Century short attention spans and no respect for human life, it was unquestionably popular and a powerful advert for the BBC’s "Doctor Who Adventures" magazine."
- Gabriel "RTD is a War Criminal" Chase (2008)
"I feel sorry for The Infinite Jest. After the first minutes it seems no one really cares about it and stops paying any attention, like it wasn’t interesting enough in terms of story or quality of animation with simplistic, mono-dimensional plots and characters. If I was a Doctor Who episode, it would be this one." - Dave Restal (2007)
David Tennant Speaks!
"It’s interesting because it’s sort of the same as TV, but it’s also completely different, and it has a beginning and a moral and an end in 45 minutes, which is quite a lot compared to the TV episodes, don’t you think? The thing about doing what’s effectively radio is that we don’t have to put on thermal underwear. Which is a tragedy. I look forward to the thermal underwear quite a bit. Jings. Those drawings of me are very nice, but there’s a danger you could just wallpaper the walls of your flat with graven images of yourself. Like Nick Briggs does. It’s at that point I think somebody should just creep up behind him and put him out of his misery... but I don’t think I’m alone in that thought."
Freema Agyeman Speaks!
"Gay Russell’s been really helpful, like when he threatened to kill my family if I didn’t learn how to turn my script pages without making noise. I’ve learnt masses doing this, particularly that I don’t like making audio dramas with Gay Russell. I hope there aren’t any more of these, because I know that apart from everything else it’s going to look like total crap. She’s got this weird squint and 80s hair! Legs-eleven and huge boobies, too, but it’s the squint that puts me off."
Anthony Stewart-Head Speaks!
"The Bastard is a bit of a villain, really. But you get used to it when you play as many Doctor Who villains as I have. This has really changed the character, made him more of a space pirate. I’m utterly confident I’ll be back next year. Now they’ve reestablished the character they’re hardly going to kill him off in a cheap shock, are they?"
Russell T Davies Speaks!
"I wasn’t remotely worried that the BBC would like the animated episode more than the rest of the season and decide it was just cheaper to get Gosgrove Hall to dramatize Big Finish plays instead. You think they didn’t notice how bloody awful the last four webcasts were? Every year we keep providing extra forms of Doctor Who to expand the fictional franchise – tie-in websites, Vortexts, Attack of the Grinch, now this. It should never, ever stop. Unless we’re having a gap year or something. Which could never happen. Of course not. Whatever gave you that idea?"
The eighteenth planet the Doctor lists to the charge of planetary demolition is Gallifrey. Or maybe Krop Tor. Or maybe Saturn.
Rumors & Facts -
The official Doctor Who website had been trying to get a new animated story for the new series ever since 2005. Unfortunately, their first attempt with the Ninth Doctor and Rose would only have been allowed to be released following The Parting of the Legs when one was dead and one amnesiac. Thus the normal wacky hi-jinks of the pair were found to be in poor taste by the production team, who were still sobbing at the thought of Billie Piper’s departure.
However, it became obvious that the 2007 season of Doctor Who would have a whacking great hole in its schedule thanks to the Eurovision Song Contest and at last there was a gap to convince the BBC to screen an animated episode in the timeslot usually ruined by Doctor Who Confidential. The project finally kicked into life only to find that all their designs and sketches were absolutely useless as neither the Ninth Doctor, Rose or the Simon Pegg Bastard were still part of the show and they’d have to come up with stuff for the Tenth Doctor, Martha and the Anthony Stewart-Head Bastard quick smart.
Having idly passed the previous two years animating the two missing episodes of the 1968 Patrick Troughton serial The Evasion (and, for a laugh, had Zoe completely clothed throughout), animators Roy Sladen and HG Nelson immediately jumped at the chance to do something halfway new involving alien planets, explosions, space ships, robots and a truly frightening amount of CGI.
Helping them provide such an epic script was Alan Barnes, infamous author of countless DWM comic strips, Sick Morning, Nowhere-Land, Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass, The Best Wife and The Girl Who Never Was A Virgin. Doubts were immediately raised over the choice of Barnes: even without the negative influence of Gay Russell, the guy was surely far too much of a Charlotte Eh Bah Gum Pollard fanboy to be of any use? Barnes refuses these allegations and scrapped the idea that Martha should be played for the duration of the episode by India Fisher answering to the name of "Charley Pollard".
Further doubts were raised when it became clear that Gay Russell actually WAS going to be involved and intended to simply record a typical Big Finish story with the Tenth Doctor and Martha before handing it over to Roy and HG to animate as best they could. Russell was chosen by RTD, though the man himself denies all knowledge of this and insists he has no idea who "Gay Russell" is, assuming it’s his own nickname.
After over a hundred Big Finishes and Oddly Visuals under his belt, only someone bowel-shatteringly insane would think Russell perfect for a rigidly-formatted, perfectly-enunciated visual drama. RTD has an alibi, but it’s hardly a cast-iron one.
For his own part, Russell was firmly of the belief that the rather static cartoon would be received in awe and with thunderous applause in living rooms worldwide. He intended to seek out anyone who didn’t thunderously applaud and then feed them to his pet scorpions, but he’s been saying he’ll do that since last century. The guy’s all talk.
I Scream Boom-Shaka-Laka! had taken twelve minutes to see the Earth invaded, introduced a brand new Doctor, a brand new companion and for the alien monsters to show themselves attacking. Clearly, thought Roy and HG, this was far too slow a pace for the new series. By contrast, twelve minutes into The Infinite Jest, the Doctor and Martha have already saved the Earth, visited two alien planets that coincidentally resemble rural Cardiff, been betrayed (twice), been chased by giant robots, whilst also finding time to discover an ancient secret of the entire universe itself.
If there’s a moral to this, it’s that Richard E Grant is crap.
Meanwhile, David Tennant continued his baffling desire to sing in every episode.
"Ghandara Guffaws" by
A long time ago when men were all apes
There was a prank of hilarity
Fantasy and dreams of untold wealth
Turns out none of them were real
The Old Ones did it for a laugh
Lead us up this winding road
Driving us around the bend
The ultimate is supposed
To wait for the few
Who make it to the very end
Each man desires to reach Gandara
His very own dystopia
In the striving, in the seeking soul
Turns out that they were just joking
Just joking, just joking
They said it was the Infinite!
Just joking, just joking
It was a dud, just joking!
Just joking, just joking
They said it was the Infinite!
Just joking, just joking
It was a dud, just joking...