Monday, February 1, 2010

10th Doctor - School Reunion (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related -
Dr Who & The Class War (Canada Only)
Sarah Jane Smith & Company
Seven Timestreams With Mr. Gormsby

Fluffs - David Tennant seemed incredibly nostalgic in this story.

"If I know Sarah, and I do, then she’s not here to further her career but to further it. If I know her. And I do."

"He’ll be turned into a dog’s dinner. Or breakfast. Which one’s bad?"

"I’m happy now. I’ve got an enemy. I love that...only good people have enemies"

Goofs -
We are expected to believe this story ISN’T set in Cardiff.
Unfortunately, due to a confusion from the Mill, we actually see Anthony Ainley rather than Simon regenerating into Anthony Stewart-Head. Which is really rather confusing when you think about it.
Why do cafĂ© staff allow Arthur inside their premises? It’s not like he’s a sheep or anything! (Offensive Stereotype Joke # 46! Collect them all!)
One of K9’s remains hits the camera. Which then falls over.
Why are there "Welcome to Tepapawai’s Boy School" posters all around the school? Don’t they know what bleeding school they’re in? Or is this a subtle Gormsby fanwank reference to "For Whom The Bell Tolls"?
In the scene in the staff room, the Doctor is reading a form in his left hand, but is eating a bucket of salty popcorn in his right hand when Sarah enters.
Why don’t the explosive dinner ladies just put a proper lid on the oil barrel before moving it? Are they on crack?
The Bastard’s office seems to be bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside... oh, wait a minute, I get it.

Fashion Victims -
That headscarf with the Doctor Who logo.

Technobbable -
"In Simple Harmonic Motion and Damping, critical damping is obtained how?"
"When the amplitude of the oscillations decreases as quickly as possible without overshooting the equilibrium position."
"Exactly! I KNEW that wikipedia entry was wrong!

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: Allonzee! I like that. "Allonzee". I should say "allonzee" more often. "Allonzee". "Watch out, Rose Tyler! Allonzee!" And then, it would be really brilliant if I MET someone called Allonzo. Because then I could say, "allonzee, Allonzo" every time!’re staring at me.
Melissa: Um, this IS the girl’s changing room, Mr. Smith.
Doctor: Right. Yes. Sorry.

K9: 'Surveillance'. In the opinion of this unit, it is a simile of "go sit at the back of the class with the safety scissors and glitter..." Alert. This unit is talking to a very stupid equine animal and an even less intelligent anthropoid.
Mickey: Shut it, tin dog.
K9: Correction: I am not made of tin.
Mickey: Oh shut the fuck up!

Rose: It’s OK, old fella. I know it’s a lot to take in and you’ve seen some really shocking stuff, but –
Mr. Gormsby: No need to mollycoddle me, madam! I’m fine when it comes to this alien amoral godhood Sudoku-solving child-manipulating infernal extraterrestrial mumbo jumbo. I used to live on the Isle of Man!
Rose: ...say no more.

Bastard: I suggest you cooperate. Your future depends on it.
Doctor: Is that supposed to be encouraging?
Bastard: Forgive me. It was supposed to be a threat.
Doctor: I didn’t get any of that either. Try looking meaner when you say it, and hiss a bit more.
Bastard: It’s these new teeth, I’m still getting used to them.
Doctor: Oh, I’m right there with you, bud.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Mr. Gormsby on Bastabus’ exploding head:
"It’s a mucky business."


Hakanui: Nothing in this world or any other can stop us now.
Doctor: Yeah, well "Nothing" just happens to be MY middle name! Er, hang on, that came out a bit wrong...

Mickey: Sarah, all that time you spent travelling with the Doctor... d’you ever wish you hadn’t gone?
Sarah: All the time. Even today. I’ve got to get the bus since he blew up my car. Have you any idea how much it costs being around the Doctor? The insurance companies hate him more than most alien warlords!

Sarah: Rose, can I give you a bit of advice? I know how intense a relationship with the Doctor can be, and I don’t want you to feel I’m intruding –
Rose: Like you could! With the big sad eyes and the robot dog? What else were you doing last night, you decrepit harlot?! No wonder all that space stuff was too much for you, cave lady!
Sarah: That wasn’t me! That was Leela!
Rose: Alzheimer’s too, huh?
Sarah: I remember every sordid detail!
Rose: I bet they’re not as sordid as my details!
Sarah: The Old Evil Bastard Dirty Wanking Ones!
Rose: I’ve met the Moxx of Balloon.
Sarah: Phone calls. LOTS of phone calls!
Rose: Slitheen. In Cardiff.
Sarah: Dustbins!
Rose: Pah, I dated the Emperor!
Sarah: Anti-Stuff Zebras!
Rose: Gas masked zombies!
Sarah: Unconvincing cartoon dinosaurs!
Rose: Unconvincing clockwork assassins!
Sarah: [losing it] THE... LOCH NESS... MONSTER!!!
(A pause.)
Rose: ... Seriously?
Sarah: Turns out he and the Doctor were good friends. They used to cruise for chicks back in the Jurassic.
Rose: Oh, you’re just making it up now.
Sarah: I swear. Bad breath like you wouldn’t believe.
Rose: God, you look so sexy when you’re angry.
Sarah: I was about to say the same about you...

(And the whole lesbian bonking scene that follows, naturally...)

Bastard: You act like such a radical, and yet all you want to do is to preserve the old order and wallow in continuity! Have flashbacks if you must, but bring me something for the new viewers’ brains.

Mickey: Where do I fit with the Doctor? I’m the man in Havana. I’m the
technical support. Man, I am on FIRE today! Oh my God! Literally, ON FIRE! K9 you stupid metal bastard! IT BURNS! AGHHH!

Bastard: You son of a bitch.
K9: Affirmative.

UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: Mickey! This is important! I want you to hold the coats!

Links and References -
Since she last met the Seventh Doctor in the DWM Comic "Train-Flirt", Sarah mentions her Aunt Helga had died and Brendan achieved his lifelong desire to become a potato before Professor Metalkill returned from the dead, had her K9 smashed to pieces, cancelled her credit cards and made her homeless before Sarah herself discovered that Harry Sullivan was in fact the High Priest of the Cult of Cthulu before she was left, blinded and suffocating, in an out of control space shuttle on a collision course with Halley’s Comet which may or may not have been the final manifestation of the Zorro Helix come to consume the entire cosmos.
This pretty much sums up why I avoid certain Big Finish ranges.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Fourth Doctor and Sarah encountered the Goablins before when they looked like tiny, Smurf-like creatures who lived on the dying planet of Demara. When the Goablins used a clay bust of Jon Pertwee and some voodoo to try and force the Doctor to save them from a supernova, both he and Sarah abandoned them to certain death. For a laugh.

Subtext? WHAT Subtext? -

There are some episodes, and/or sequences within episodes, have clearly been written with Eccleston, or some generic Northern halfwit like him, in mind. A notable instance occurs during the swimming-pool scene in this story, in which Tennant’s attempt to give gravitas to lines falls audibly flat and he is consequently upstaged by guest star actor Anthony Stewart Head. Buffy the Vampire Slayer freaking rocks!
Where Eccleston’s sex-crazed, domestically violent Doctor would have sounded natural talking about how damn bastard hard he is, Tennant sounds rather weak and silly, as if he is bragging himself up rather than making a natural claim. Whereas Eccleston’s obsessive sexual behavior towards Rose came across as the actions of a man who has lost too many people he cared for to waste time on romance, Tennant comes across as a stalker.
The subtext here is clearly I find Tennant a threat to my masculinity and am overcompensating by ridiculous amounts of luddite-style Eccleston-worship. And those are the FACTS!

Groovy DVD Extras -
The title sequence for the due-to-start-filming-any-century-now spin off TV series, The K9 Exploitation: yes, up to three minutes of K9 in a big velvet hat and with bling around his neck gliding back and forth across a disco floor to hip-hop music composed by Ian Levine.

Vortext –
When a young girl is sent to the Guidance Officer, the Bastard emerges, urges the girl to call him Dastrab and then uses his tissue compression doohickey to turn her into a doll which he adds to a growing collection on his shelf.

The Spite of Sparacus -
"I also noticed a pleasing reduction in the risible heterosexuality of previous episodes - at last a sign that the dumbing down might be about to be put in reverse gear! This was something akin to proper drama! But I still don’t get how this story could make people feel 'emotions'. Every week people are going on about crying. Dr Who fans never used to be like this over twee emotionalism! How can anyone take the new series seriously enough to get upset by it? It’s simply too comedic and light for me to get emotionally engaged by it, and our society is becoming cosseted if a bit of silly relationship drama sets everyone off blubbering. Some people say I have no soul, but that is a debatable point that depends on one’s religious concepts. I enjoyed the return of Sarah Jane Smith. It’s just a pity the full time companion has to be Rose, a poorly-educated childish mocking brat, defying the Doctor. Mind you this is how most teenagers behave today due to lack of discipline from parents and at lower school level. And I can say that because I have a history degree - a 2:1, and I would have got a first if standards back in the 1980s were as bad as they are now, all dumbed down with universities pressurized to give weak, chav students higher degrees than proper graduates like me. ALL CHAVS MUST DIE!"

Viewer Quotes -

"You honestly think that bit of Cardiff looks ANYTHING like New Zealand? I mean, what the hell are you on? Are you nuts?! Are you OUT of your FREAKING mind?!" - Helen Clarke (2008)

"I’m afraid due to my crippling personality flaws, I watched this very sad piece of television through my fingers and with a very painful expression on my face. The writing worse-than-sucked to the point it was going to open another hole into the next dimension. It was written so badly that I was sort of hoping someone could solve the mysteries of the universe using computers and the minds of the young so at least they had the power to remove the new series from the space/time continuum. It was so bad that I spent the whole week denying that I’d even heard of a program called Doctor Who and not only considered taking my own sites down but changing my name by deed poll. Tragically I did neither!"
- Ron Mallet (2006)

"Tony Head as the Bastard? Pathetic. He looks like Hannibal Lecter’s annoying younger brother and is woefully underdeveloped as either an evil Time Lord or the annoying younger brother of the famous cannibalistic serial killer. And we need more evil Time Lord cannibalistic serial killers on TV. Jekyll isn’t enough!"
- James Nesbitt (2008)

"It’s a well-written character piece with great interaction between Sarah and the Doctor, and the villains work really well. The only downside is that K9 is used as a character rather than as a plot device, and that his sex scene at the end is almost cringe-inducing."
- curiously enough, a review for every single Sarah Jane Smith/K9 spin off ever (1982 onwards)

"I honestly didn’t think anything could be worse than the first season of this atrocious crap. Everyone who likes this show is a shallow, self-obsessed, sexually preoccupied morons. The emotional myopia of the show is appalling – why can’t it be like Star Trek or Lost? Even the filthy degenerate offspring of demmed colonials write this show better than the posse of filthy Celtic poofters!"
- Still Ron Mallet (2006)

"School’s Out is a classic example of "let’s staple together two completely unrelated shows like Seven Periods with Mr. Gormsby and K9’s Bitches". It also feels very Buffyish, although that’s basically because it’s got emotional stuff, vaguely decent monsters and Anthony Stewart Head in a school." - Stater of the Bleeding Obvious (2006)

"They do a proper sequel to Who lore and get some slapper from the Tom fucking Baker era? No one likes Tom Baker! It’s all lies! Doctor Who only ran for two seasons in the eighties! There was only ONE Doctor, and that was Colin Baker! EVERYTHING ELSE IS A LIE! HE’S BETTER THAN ALL OF YOU AND EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM IS PERFECT!"
- Yet More Ron Mallet (2006)

"Ron? Do me a favor... die."
- Colin Baker (2006)

"Give it up, it sucked and you know it! The only value I could see in this episode would be something to laugh at if you were stoned, which is apparently what the younger generation do nowadays. The BBC should all commit suicide and allow ME to lead fandom out of the darkness! They’re already begging ME to take over from Davies! It’s just no one else can hear the voices! Listen! LISTEN! CAN’T YOU HEAR THEM?!"
- Ron Mallet shortly before his admission into the Cosie Van Tutte Psychiatric Clinic on the North Shore (2006)

"In my ideal world, this would have become the Christmas special. And I would have a flying pony and live in a magical castle with a beautiful princess and no one would ever die or take drugs or ask me what the hell I think about episodes of Doctor Who." - Dave Restal (2007)

"Elisabeth Sladen, I love you! It isn’t just her beautiful, definitive portrayal of Sarah Jane Smith but it is the woman herself. Frankly, the only ever convention I went to was with Lis Sladen because I wanted to give her one. She deserved a place in the new series, just because of who she is and what she means to the fans of the program. And by golly she’s well fit, even after all these years. Oh, Miss Sladen, why do you never respond to my letters? Is our love so forbidden?"
- Nigel Verkoff shortly before his admission into the Cosie Van Tutte Psychiatric Clinic on the North Shore (2007)

David Tennant Speaks!
"Hoo-hoo, yessssssssss! If I was a bit smaller, I’d get inside K9 and do the scenes myself! It’s a real nostalgia hit. This is the third episode I’ve shot, so to suddenly be playing the Doctor and THEN be joined by Sarah Jane and K9, it’s all a bit of a reality check. Making sure they haven’t been spiking my drinks with LSD all over again. Kicking the crap out of K9, it’s like you’re not a proper Doctor until you’ve done that. Liz Sladen, though, she’s much more fun. She doesn’t bump into the furniture, she can follow stage directions and you don’t want to kick her all the time. She hasn’t aged much. At all. Mind you, she’s got that horribly ragged painting of herself, which is a bit spooky. I got shivers, and I’ve still got shivers here on set."

Billie Piper Speaks!
"It’s a great idea for a story – zombie kids, Mickey, unseen monsters, Sarah Jane, the Bastard and a robot dog that can’t actually work on ANY surface to man or to any other alien beast. Liz Sladen actually sprained her ankle, the silly tart! Ha! No, seriously, I love Sarah. I wish she lived next door to me instead of those miserable bastards that actually do live next door to me."

Elisabeth Sladen Speaks!
"Not in the furthest realms of my psyche did I ever wonder whether I’d be asked to appear in the new series of Doctor Who. I think it’s a very, very deranged decision, really, to bring back a character who left 30 years ago. I mean, apart from say, me popping my head around the door and the Doctor says, "I’ve done it with her!", as some kind of in-joke. I really love the character of Sarah and wouldn’t want her last appearance to be an in-joke but even more importantly I would really like to get paid. I’ve been in a perpetual state of surprise at how amazingly welcoming everyone has been; how aware of easing me back into the hierarchy. Makes a change from when other producers make you stand in a queue and beat you up and scream obscenities at you until you renounce your identity and credit cards. David, Noel and Billie were very welcoming, very fit, but Anthony Stewart-Head was just better in the sack then all them put together. And that’s not a figure of speech."

Anthony Stewart-Head Speaks!
"I don’t admire the character of the Bastard, but I did think he had incredible sex appeal. Kind of like Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show except my mouth is extraordinarily wider. No doubt that scared lots of children and Buffy fans, but, you know, screw them! I’m not here to please the masses, I’m here to get laid, terrify the audience and acquire a respectable hangover! I’ve always been a Doctor Who fan, since our neighbor composed the Doctor Who theme to pay off gambling debts lest we break his kneecaps. I got offered the role of the Doctor back in 1996 when Paul McGann got on his knees and begged me to get him out of that mess. I tried again when Eccleston left, but for some reason they preferred David Tennant. Philistines. Oh well, Little Britain will keep me going until they bring the Bastard back. I doubt they’ll mindlessly recast him like they did with the last fellow."

Russell T Davies Speaks!
"Sarah is the most widely and fondly remembered companion. For some reason. Maybe it’s a hetero thing. But the problem with say, bringing back Peri is the anoraks would complain she died on an alien planet. And if we tried Ace there’s not only the regenerated Susan issue, but then we’d have to decide once and for all which spin-off was right about how she left. And if we tried Dodo, no one would remember her. Not even David remembers Dodo and he’s a bigger nerd than I am. But we can find Sarah EXACTLY as we left her, since she’s so generic and predictable and it shuts up so many people when there’s visual, on screen evidence that the Doctor is the same character who found pyramids of cards with Sarah in the past."

Trivia -
Because the character of Sarah Jane Smith was copyright Sherlock Holmes 1973, the production team quickly had to bluff their way and claim that Sladen’s character was a completely different woman who just happened to be called Sarah-Jane Smith. To prove this, everyone calls her "Sarah-Jane" rather than "Sarah" and the Smith woman herself drop-kicks anyone that tries shortening it, which becomes a comedy catchphrase in her own spin-off series The Sarah Jane Misadventures (which missed out the hyphen out of sheer bloody mindedness).

Rumors & Facts -

What daydreaming schoolboy hasn’t at sometime imagined his teacher was from another planet - especially when he/she gives him bad grades? Yeah, you’re all pathetic and in denial. They’re all human, so suck it up and get studying. And do as I say, not as I do.

In the fall of sanity and the return of Doctor Who in 2003, Executive Producer of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe, Russell T Davies, produced a pitch document for the new Doctor Who series which basically ripped off everything he ever wrote and quite a few other people did as well. One suggestion was that the Doctor’s irritating, annoying and disturbingly camp robot dog, K9 - first introduced in 1977’s The Indivisible Enemy – be a regular character in the series. RTD had many fond memories of watching friends and foes of the Doctor alike kick the crap out of K9 for every little thing that went wrong, but also mainly because no one likes a smug know-it-all robot dog.

K9 had been extremely popular with young viewers for precisely this reason, since he could suffer so much more pain and humiliation than ordinary household pets could before they died. Even after then-producer John Satan-Turner decided to remove him from Doctor Who (with The Webbers’ Gate in 1981), his appeal had inspired the creation of a spin-off show entitled K9’s Bitches, although only a pilot episode was ever aired and those responsible placed on an employment blacklist. Nevertheless, K9’s popularity gained him his own Sunday Afternoon variety show, K9’s Kennel Club, in which the titular character (K9 Mark 33 and a 3rd) would discuss topics such as politics, fine art, poetry, the state of English theatre, while all the time having the shit beaten out of him by co-host Keith Chegwin. The series ran for eighteen incredible years, and the episode where Bucks Fizz douse K9 in petrol, set him alight and throw him out of the studio was marked "historically, culturally and aesthetically important" by the National Film Registery.

Although the element of K9 featuring again in the revived series did not make it into production, the cast and crew never got this memo, which lead to the infamous K9 Conspiracy – the strange repeated meme of the robot dog being continually referred to, often more than once, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, in every single episode starring Christopher Eccleston. The public’s sadistic hatred of K9 meant they flocked to this idea of a story arc with K9 as the ultimate villain trying to conquer the universe doggy-style, forcing RTD to hastily rewrite the finale The Parting of the Legs. However, he was quick to stress that it was the Moxx of Balloon behind the whole cosmic plot, and K9’s presence was a red herring of trans-dimensional proportions.

But the public demand for K9 did not end in 2005 and indeed, even the cameo which showed K9 on the weakest, feeblest and most outermost layer of the onion of villainy, merely strengthened their lust for more robot dog sadomasochism! It was quite clear to the production team that if they wanted the 2006 series to stand a chance in hell of being as popular as its predecessor, then they were going to have to feature a return appearance by K9 sooner rather than later.

Another idea which occurred to RTD at an early stage in the development of Doctor Who (around twenty to twenty-five seconds after he got the job) was to bring back one of the Doctor’s former companions so they could have a totally meaningless bitch-fight, inspired by the Big Finish story The Best Wife, which featured Charley Pollard and Grace Holloway mud-wrestling to the death over the Time Lord’s affections.

Of course, RTD largely preferred to avoid dwelling on the program’s lengthy history and instead take its anal virginity every chance he got. But this time, rather than a completely pointless return like Presuming Ed or the Brigadier, this one-off cameo could be a way to shed a new dimension on the fate of those who travel with the Doctor, or at least get hot chicks cat-fighting on camera, which he automatically assumed would make any such episode critic-proof. The fact he was absolutely correct in this idea just reinforces the sad state of British journalism and depresses me even further.

At first, RTD decided to save up The Bitch Fight Of Time for a potential third season, mainly to rub it in the noses of Gay Russell at Big Finish that the 'illegitimate inbred Welsh cousin' of Doctor Who had survived that long without any problems whatsoever. However, it quickly became clear to all concerned that the production of 2006 would be so bloody difficult it would make 1979 (the year when the script editor and producer were not only stuck with Tom Baker, but actually murdered all the script writers and set fire to the studios) look like Child’s Play. By which I refer to the infamous Chucky horror flicks.

As work finally got underway for Doctor Who’s sophomore season and Touchwood debut, RTD threw a dart at a board covered with past iconic companions and thus chose the returning character of Sarah Jane Smith. Arguably Doctor Who’s most iconic companion by irritating fans who talk loudly in restaurants, Sarah had been portrayed by Elisabeth Sladen from 1973’s The Slime Warrior to 1976’s The Hand Of Fear, spanning the regeneration from Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor to Tom Baker’s Fourth and ignoring the Trevor Martin incarnation entirely. Sladen had continued to be associated with the character, chalking up appearances in K9’s Bitches, the twentieth-anniversary special The Four-and-a-Half Doctors, the mid-90s radio plays The Plothole Of Death and The Gist Of Null-Space alongside Pertwee, and several Sarah Jane Smith audio adventures from Big Finish Productions in 2002 where she bravely fought such evil returning foes as Harry Sullivan, Dennis Waterman, the Zorro Helix and a young boy named Kenny.

Sladen was contacted by the Doctor Who production office early in 2005 about appearing in the series, and was immediately apprehensive, fearing that she was being invited back for a throwaway cameo. And she was right, too, but in a fit of compulsive lying, RTD and Producer Phil Collinson, agreed that Sarah would be the focal point of the adventure. They also found themselves agreeing that on top of this, Sarah would have to be portrayed in a manner which coincided with her own vision of how she would have evolved after leaving the Doctor and NOT the psychotic feminazi the production team remembered fondly from those halcyon pre-Tom Baker days.

RTD fought back in the only way he knew how – he decided to fill up the story with lots of other characters to try and rob Sladen’s limelight, and decided that the time was ripe for the return of K9, last seen facing certain doom in The Parting of the Legs. He also decided the time was even more ripe for the return of the Bastard, last seen facing certain doom in The Parting of the Legs, coincidentally.

Unfortunately, Simon Pegg who had portrayed the villainous Time Lord was busy filming his 'Spaced Characters Tackle The Apocalypse' cycle of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Run, Fatboy, Run to reprise the role, or even do camp and self-aware narration material for Doctor Who Confidental, the XXX-rated behind-the-scenes porn-u-mentary about the drug-addled production of BBC Wales’ flagship TV drama.

Thus, RTD decided that Anthony Stewart-Head – he of Golden Blend Tea adverts, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Beth Comes to Rhyme, the Excelsior saga and earlier, funnier episodes of Jonathon Creek – should take over the role. Although ASH was up for it, this earned the ire of Mark Gatiss who was determined to play the Bastard if he wouldn’t be allowed to play the Doctor. In his defense, Gatiss offered the Big Finish Unbound play Sympathy for the Devil to show what a brilliantly camp and eye-rolling insanity he’d bring to the role... and oddly enough convinced RTD more than ever that ASH was the right man for the role. Thus, Gatiss was allowed to narrate Doctor Who Confidential while ASH grew a beard and mastered the art of malevolent chuckling.

The rest of the mighty Doctor Who production team, meanwhile, had secured the services of John Leeson to provide the voice of the robot dog. Leeson had had two stints voicing K9 during his original tenure on Doctor Who, and had returned to the role on many occasions since but about the only one I haven’t mentioned is when he was in the 2003 BBC webcast version of Shagged'er alongside Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, and the Gallifrey 90210 audio series from Big Finish Productions (from whom RTD stole all sorts of juicy gossip about the fall of Gallifrey, the wars of time and whatever happened to the Inquisitor from Season 23).

Chosen to pen this Sarah Jane Smith/Bastard/K9/similar-non-specific-fan-pleasing-character story was Toby Shithouse, the creator of the curiously rubbish spin off of Charlie’s Angels, No Angels which featured the guy with the intercom trying to sue a local hospital. RTD assigned scripting duties to Shithouse on the logic that he had to be a better writer than an actor, as evidenced by anyone who survived his appearances in Holby City or Bridget Jones’ Diary or Shallowlands.

At first, the story was entitled Old Fiends and was intended to air so late in the 2006 season it could be mistaken for a Christmas Special, but under Shithouse’s initial struggles to find a plot, developed into Black OAPs, which involved alien activity in a segregated retirement home in a rural village and a nearby undercover Touchwood base. RTD liked elements of Shithouse's proposal, but more importantly hated so many, many other elements of the proposal as well. Apart from anything else, RTD was concerned that the army base setting would force the writer to jump through too many storytelling hoops and more importantly give John Barrowman yet another chance to cameo in the series.

Another problem was the reveal that the reason why all the OAPs had sudden become skilled scientists and engineers was the face a bunch of aliens had been pissed off by the Doctor and Sarah back in the 1970s and were out for revenge. RTD was horrified at the idea of the Doctor being instigator for a story and actually therefore being responsible for all the carnage. He was so horrified he nicked the idea and kept it for the season finale he was promising everyone he’d start thinking about really, really, REALLY soon.

Instead, RTD suggested shifting the adventure’s locale to a comprehensive school and featuring a completely gratuitous sequence where the Doctor flies the TARDIS down a motorway. Deep down, RTD had harbored rather unhealthy fantasies of the Doctor showing up in class disguised as a teacher, who would then seduce students whose first names were Russell. Indeed, this disturbing scenario was used by RTD himself in the 1991 telefantasy serial Dork Season.

The school environment suggested the inclusion of a crossover with the New Zealand school drama, Seven Periods With Mr. Gormsby, which had a sequel entitled Seven MORE Periods with Mr. Gormsby and then a feature film Look, Just Accept It, You’ve Got Mr. Gormsby As Your Teacher Full-Time From Now On.

Shithouse was confident that having Mortimer Ellis Gormsby in the plot would completely de-emphasize the role of Sarah Jane Smith in the storyline and for good measure incorporated Mickey Smith into the tale as well, with the character shown to be a member of the TARDIS crew. This in turn forced Mickey to be violently inserted into the previous episode, The Nun in the Lift-Shaft, but writer Steven Moffat got his own back by creating a completely new character – Arthur the Horse – who would similarly have to be violently inserted into Shithouse’s script.

Despite the setting, plot, characters, cliffhangers and special effects budgets all being finalized, it was discovered that when it came to naming characters, Shithouse lived up to his name. Originally the Bastard’s nom de plume was Hannibal Lector until it was learned that there was a real principal by that name, and boy did he get sick of the cannibal jokes. Worse, the Bastard’s hench-monsters were initially the Krill, but when it was discovered that the name was already trademarked by the props guy of all people, they became Goablins. Similarly, their physical appearance changed greatly during the story’s development – originally they were identical to Cybermen, which would save on costs but add on confusion when, at no point during the epic Cyber adventure to follow, did anyone notice a similarity.

Thinking quickly, David Tennant suggested they should instead become purely extraterrestrial computer-animated creations whose appearance was based loosely on descriptions of the mythical Stephen Payne. The Bastard himself would display no alien characteristics at all, so the scenes of him bleeding acid and laying eggs with copious amounts of slime were edited out not only for reasons of logic, but also good taste.

School’s Out was originally planned to be part of the season's second production block, but was subsequently added to Block One when yet ANOTHER gunfight on the Touchwood set lead to the death of some three production assistants, leaving delays with scripts, medical attention and doughnuts. As usual, School’s Out was directed by James Hawes after his disappointing stints in The Michaelmas Envasion and Earth 2.0. Two schools were chosen to represent areas of Tepapawai’s Boy School, since someone was unable to remember they only needed one.

The confrontation between the Doctor and the Bastard was originally scripted to happen in the school gymnasium as "Let’s Get Physical" by Olivia Newton John played ominously in the background, but was moved to the pool, which Hawes felt served as a more dynamic setting and also allowed him to perve on the girl’s swimming lessons. Similarly, the TARDIS was intended to be hidden in a supply closet, but its discovery by Sarah Jane was shifted to the gym, since there was less of an obvious gay agenda subtext.

Hawes was notorious for his bad luck after an ex girlfriend put a voodoo curse on him, and soon not only had Tepapawai’s turned out to be full of asbestos but the production block continued to fall behind schedule during the shoot, just like the Christmas special and it quickly became clear that an additional day would be needed. Luckily, a member of Faction Paradox happened to be passing who was a bitter ex of said voodoo warlock, and happily warped the laws of time to allow completion of filming in return for all of Hawes’ past, present and future possibilities.

The curse on Hawes was still in affect and not only did the extra day of filming prove utterly useless, the main cast got drunk and unruly at Da Vinci’s Coffee Shop and began a fight with the BBC Model Unit in a battle so long and so bloody that the whole Unit was subsequently disbanded by the BBC and its members left resembling burnt-out Vietnam vets only with Welsh accents.

Meanwhile, the K9 prop (a rebuilt and motorized version of the lightweight prop repeatedly attacked by Keith Chegwin in the 80s) proved no less irritating and kickable than earlier versions, moving only with difficulty over certain surfaces and running over Billie Piper’s feet – even when she wasn’t in a scene. Worse, K9’s eyepiece flashed in time with his lines, which was out of keeping with the way the robot dog had been portrayed in the past. This meant when Collinson learned of it upon his return from a sex holiday in Thailand, he got the strange idea K9 was coming onto him and ordered the prop destroyed, the rest of the scenes cut and a priest requested urgently to exorcise the demons.

However, this meant that K9 now appeared in the story totally randomly for one scene only and they needed someone else to help resolve the plot. Shithouse was more than happy to give more material to Mr. Gormsby, while the prop dudes found the last surviving K9 prop in existence, a refurbished version of the original radio-controlled prop built for The Indivisible Enemy which Graham Williams had wanted to be ritualistically sacrificed for The Killer Cats of Molester Jones, the Season 15 finale the government thankfully had to ban.

By the end of production, every single member of the cast and crew were sick to death of K9 and demanded the story be rewritten so he could be blown to smithereens. However, Bob Baker the co-creator of the metal mutt insisted that the K9 cartoon spin off he’d been planning since 1977 would be commissioned any day now and demanded the ending feature the Doctor building K9 Mark Whatever at the story’s end. At this point RTD had already asked security to remove Bob Baker from the premises, but they pretended to film that ending. To the annoyance of everyone an editing flaw meant it appeared in the finished program.

Several moments were trimmed or excised from School’s Out in editing which, is of course, what "editing" means for Christ’s sake. Pretty anything which might have fleshed out the characters was cut, especially the sequences that revealed that Ms. Taungaroa and the Bastard were having a loveless sexual relationship while two-timing Mrs. O’Flahhety.

Meanwhile, the return of Sarah Jane Smith was regarded so highly by the
Doctor Who production team that discussions soon ensued about basing a new spin-off series around the character. While incredibly drunk and filled with bitterness that his sitcom featuring the Moxx of Balloon, "Perish the Thought", had been completely turned down by the BBC, RTD had a self-destructive fit and decided that the already over-stretched-to-breaking-point Doctor Who franchise should create TWO MORE spin off series. Before RTD had sobered up, he had already announced that The Sarah Jane Misadventures would air beginning in early 2007 and The K9 Exploitation sometime around the turn of the next century.

Sarah Jane Smith may have dumped the Doctor once and for all, but her television career free of robot dogs had only just begun!

Meanwhile, David Tennant continued his baffling desire to sing in every episode, he and ASH providing a duet – bouncing each line off each other as the regenerated Doctor and the Bastard confronted each other once more, looking around for faces they’d know, while falling in love with the people in the front row, how how...

"Can’t Pwn the Devil" by the Skasis Paradigm Posse

Time is driftin', this rock has got to roll,
So I hit the road and made my getaway.
Restless feeling, I really gotta hold,
I started searching for a better way.

And I kept on looking for a sign in the middle of the night!
But I couldn’t see the light, no I couldn’t see the light!
I kept on looking for a way to fight the good fight!
But I didn’t have the right, no I didn’t have the right...

Killing off Dustbins made me feel great,
But I must admit it got the best of me...
So rough we BOTH had to regenerate?
We can’t get back to where we used to be!

Remember that when I got turned into a sea lion
What good is a trip down memory lane?
Doesn’t it make you wonder why we keep trying?
No idea, let’s ask Sarah Jane...

And I kept on looking for a sign in the middle of the night!
But I couldn’t see the light, no I couldn’t see the light!
I kept on looking for a way to fight the good fight!
But I didn’t have the right, no I didn’t have the right...

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