Monday, February 1, 2010

10th Doctor - The Shakespeare Code (i)

Serial 302 – The Shakespeare of Evil
An Alternate Program Guide by Ewen Campion Clarke
From An Entry In The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Iambic Pentameter

"YOA's Discontinuity Guides - Inaccurate But Caring."

Serial 302 – The Shakespeare of Evil -

It’s Cardiff in the middle ages as a handsome young man serenades his sweetheart Lilly at her balcony with a lute. And not in a disturbing, David Bowie lute-fellatio kind of way either. Lilly welcomes the obviously doomed boy into her home where she lives with her older sisters, promising a night of debauched bisexual experimentation.

The man is far from impressed by the dark and dingy interior of the house, and is even less impressed when he sees that Lilly’s face a warped mask. How warped? Lavros’ Horny Grandma warped!

The man is frankly disappointed when Lilly’s "sisters" Dominique and Betty are revealed as equally hideous creatures who are rampant feminazis with a taste of human flesh. By which I mean they’re carnivorous cannibalistic monsters. Don’t get excited or anything.

"A new plaything! A fresh hot toy! Much nicer than the usual homeless bum no one misses!" shouts Betty as they pounce and devour the young boy, leaving Lilly to stand and declare:

"Soon, at the hour of woven words, we shall rise again... and this
fleeting Earth will perish!"

"Who the hell are you talking to?" asks the boy between screams.

"It’s a monologue, just go with it!" Lilly complains.

Parte the First

The Doctor shows off his TARDIS/total babe magnet to new hottie Martha Jones, who has the uncanny ability to fool absolutely no one that she is not totally in lust with the Time Lord and desires to do him right there and right then. Well, fool no one except the Doctor who sets the time machine in motion.

"So, big boy," purrs Martha as she clings onto the console for dear life, "But how do you travel in time? What makes it go?"

"Jings, let’s take the fun and mystery out of everything, shall we? Martha, you don’t wanna know. It just does. And, yes, maybe Panasonic Batteries ARE involved. Now, here we go, one trip only. Gosh, you’d think I actually passed my driving test it’s working so well!" he adds before the time machine slams back into reality once more, knocking them both off their feet and making them look stupid.

Stepping outside Martha is astounded by the sight of an Elizabethan
street in Cardiff alive with activity – and narrowly avoiding a shower of liquid manure from a window above, thus proving they’re at a time before the flushing toilet.

"Oh, you are kidding me! You are SO kidding me! Oh, my God! We did it, we traveled in time! You are SO on a promise tonight, Doctor!" Martha says. "But, um, can we move around and stuff? It’s like in the films. You step on a butterfly; you change the future of the human race!"

"Well, tell you what then, don’t step on any butterflies," the Doctor says. "What have butterflies ever done to you? You’re not an agent of Faction Paradox or something? Not planning to kill your grandfather are you? No? Right then, onto tonight’s entertainment for the masses - the Globe Theatre! Brand new. Just opened. Containing..."

One edit later and they are inside, viewing the Bard’s latest play; "Love’s Labour’s Lost" and Martha is impressed at the semiotic thickness of the performed text. Mind you, the stench of the peasants undermines the experience somewhat. Cutting to the chase, Martha calls for the author, triggering a similar reaction from the crowd. Soon the playwright storms onto the stage, and the Doctor anticipates his carefully chosen greeting.

"My mate Will! He’s a genius! THE genius, the definite article, you could say, the most human of humans that’s ever been and now WE are going to hear him speak as he chooses the best, new, beautiful brilliant words to communicate with the populace..."

"SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU SMELLY BASTARDS!" the Bard screams at the cheering audience.

"Course sometimes he just says any old shit off the top of his head," the Doctor concedes awkwardly. "At least it’s not the Bastard in disguise, though, eh?"

"You don’t like the ending? SCREW YOU, YA PHILLISTINES! It’s supposed to be a CLIFFHANGER! Honestly, you lot, you don’t half get your hose in a tangle! I’M A BLEEDING GENIUS I AM! AND YOU DON’T RUSH ME!"

Refusing to bow to his charisma, Lilly – in the cheap seats of the theatre, plays with a voodoo doll which makes Shakespeare suddenly jerk upright and talk in a strange monotone with his eyes rolled up in his head. Everyone just assumes the playwright is simply pissed as he suddenly announces the premier of the play’s sequel for the following night: "I call it Love’s Labour’s Won since none of you dozy gits are smart enough to work it out for yourself!"

This causes the Doctor great excitement as they leave the Globe, explaining to Martha that "Love’s Labour’s Won" came to be regarded as Shakespeare’s lost play, included on many lists of his works but never found. "This is the sort of cool shit that time travel exploration is all about – once you’ve seen Atlantis sink for the third time, anyway."

"Have you got a mini-disk or something?" asks Martha excitedly. "We could tape the whole thing! We can flog it! Sell it when we get home and make a mint!"

"Jings, Martha Jones, I like you!" the Doctor grins. "Better get his permission first, though. You know what these writers are like. He was spitting blood when he saw Baz Luhrmann’s 'Romeo + Juliet' come out..."

Arriving at the White Elephant Inn, Shakespeare and his acting troupe are having a creative disagreement over his recent premature announcement. After drinking his pals Kempe and Dick under the table, they agree to differ and that Shakespeare is the greatest writer who ever lived and if he only has to write the closing scene before morning than it will be damn well written!

The Doctor and Martha enter, but Shakespeare is not in the mood to meet his fans – until the Doctor tries to introduce the both of them with his handy psychic-passport. Shakespeare, being a genius, sees only a blank piece of paper and knows the only idiot capable of trying to bluff people with a blank piece of paper is his old drinking buddy Sir Doctor of TARDIS!

"You’ve changed your face again, Doctor," observes Shakespeare. "Shithouse. You look like a weasel and dress like a geek! Still, compared to some of your other aspects, this is a marked improvement. And you’ve brought another strumpet in scandalous attire! She’ll not stab those who annoy her like Leela, will she?"

"Jing, Will!" the Doctor sighs. "That was ONE time! No one cares about that loser, whatever his name was!"

"So, Doctor, who’s this delicious blackamoor lady? Oops. Isn’t that a word we use nowadays? An Ethiop girl? A swarth? A Queen of Afric? Political correctness has gone mad!"

"She’s from a far-off land called Freedonia," the Doctor explains. "Not the Marx Brothers one, the one where after the revolution everyone turned themselves into androids. So, Will, how’ve ya been? I haven’t seen you since that godawful mess with the Shadeys and Robert Greene..."

Just then, the owner of the Globe theatre, Lynley, enters and starts screaming that he’s utterly sick and tired of Shakespeare and his wild friends with their alien monsters – and if he doesn’t get script approval for "Love’s Labour’s Won" then it will never be performed. In fact, Lynley is so damn annoyed he decided he will reject the script anyway. He then runs off, shrieking with insane laughter before he suddenly the impressario starts coughing up water and chokes to death, falling down the stairs and dying before he reaches the ground.

"It’s all go around here, isn’t it?" remarks Martha.

As Lilly hides in the Ladies of the White Elephant Inn toying with her voodoo doll and laughs that nothing can stop the performance tomorrow! Nothing at all! Just then the landlady Dolly barges in and tells her to stop muttering about water damping the fiercest flame and drowning boys and girls the same and get back to work.

"To think that I, a being beyond comprehension of mortal man, have to serve drinks to pay the rent of a hovel," Lilly grumbles. "Why do I have to do the menial work? It’s cause I’m blonde, isn’t it? Life sucks..."

The Doctor muses that he’s never before encountered a man drown on dry land before... but a few minutes nudging from Martha and Shakespeare convince him to admit he HAS seen it before, but it was in a black and white story no one remembers and thus highly unlikely to be of any relevance.

Returning inside, Shakespeare decides to get down to work so he can finish his play in five minute flat and spend the rest of the evening having torrid, borderline illegal sex with Dolly the Landlady. "All the world’s a stage," the Doctor agrees.

"I might use that," Shakespeare replies, "since it’s probably just you being smug and quoting my own future work at me."

"Nighty-night, Shakespeare," sighs the Doctor, striding into the room Dolly has prepared for him and Martha. As there is only a single bed, the Doctor strips down to his vest and question mark boxer-shorts, completely uninhibited with leaves Martha a panting, hormone-crazed bitch... until she realizes the Doctor has no desire to make the Shaboogan with Two Backs with her.

"Course," the Doctor continues, "it’s not often that I have to cope with magic and stuff. It’s all so... Harry Potter. You read book seven yet? Oh, I cried. It was such absolute rubbish. I can’t believe Voldermort died THAT easily! And the ending where Draco’s a single dad, and Hermoine and Ron have 2.4 children and a bungalow in the Algarve, what adolescent schoolgirl mush! And the film, jings Martha, the film was even WORSE! I can’t believe anyone fancied Radcliffe after that nude business with a horse on stage..."

"I always thought Barty Crouch Junior was well fit," Martha muses, having completely stripped naked and snuggled up to the Doctor. "Sorry, there’s not much room. Us two here, same bed... tongues will wag."

The Doctor doesn’t seem to notice she’s licking his ear. "But there’s no such thing as witchcraft. Everyone knows that. If there was, you think ANY self-respecting Wicca would have allowed them to make Charmed for eight years without a SINGLE binding spell put on them? No, no. I mean, there’s psychic energy and no one can channel that without a generator the size of Taunton and I think we’d have spotted that."

Still seemingly unaware that Martha is now straddling him, the Doctor blows out his cheeks. "No, there’s something I’m missing, Martha. Something REALLY close, staring me RIGHT IN THE FACE and I can’t see it. Nice breasts, by the way." He sighs. "Rose would know. Actually she wouldn’t, if I’m honest. Or if she did she’d go running off into trouble and nearly get killed without telling me. But she did have this thing of saying exactly the right words to inspire me. Still. Can’t be helped. You’re a novice, Martha Jones, so never mind. I’ll take you back home tomorrow. That all right with you?"

The moment rather broken, the miffed Martha bitch-slaps the Doctor and storms out. He blinks for a couple of seconds, shrugs, then rolls over and goes to sleep as the naked Martha barges into Shakespeare’s room. "Is THIS better than Rose? Huh?" she demands, showing him her divine form. "Or was she so fucking perfect in every manner?"

It is around this point Martha realizes that Shakespeare is staring blankly ahead with a stupid expression on his face while scribbling away at his parchment without glancing at his work. She also notices a hideous warty witch in the corner with a BBC Character Opinions Shakespeare marionette, with which she is controlling the writer.

However, rampant Lilly is taken aback by Martha’s nudity and flees out the window on a broomstick, having totally lost her train of thought and become overcome with homo lust!

Putting this down to some kind of hallucination brought on by her hectic day of interplanetary kidnapping, time travel, asphyxiation and singularly failing to get any off the Doctor, she goes back to bed.

The next morning, the three main characters are none the wiser and when Martha idly asks if anyone saw a witch the previous night cackling away like a crude Wizard of Oz cliché, Shakespeare remembers that Peter Streete - architect of the freaking Globe theatre, don’t you know? - spoke of similarly stereotyped witches in the past.

The Doctor immediately runs out of the room.

For want of something to do, Martha and Shakespeare follow.

The Doctor returns to the Globe theatre, obsessed by it’s stupid name when it’s actually a fourteen-sided tetradecagon to improve the sound quality of performances. "Theatres are powerful things!" he rants to anyone who will listen. "A place where you can change people’s minds simply with words – and transvestites and prop swords and a little pseudo-satirical rambling! Stand on this stage, say the right words with the right emphasis a the right time... Oh, you can make men weep, or cry with joy, change them. As long as you don’t fluff the lines, anyway."

Trying to make sense of his gabbling, Martha suggests that if the theatre is so damn important they can chat to Peter Streete the architect. "Bit of a problem with that, Doctor," Shakespeare explains as he hands out the script to the actors. "He’s in Bedlam, the mental institution at Albion Hospital. Said he could hear voices, saw witches, his mind was addled."

"Oh, come on, Will. You’ve seen weirder shit than that! The Shadeys alone, not to mention that time Braxiatel tried to retcon you!"

"He also started running round naked and throwing his effluent at passing noblemen while trying to eat his own fingers."

"Jings. OK, maybe he WAS insane. Let’s go and check him out!"

The trio head off, and Shakespeare inquires from Martha more about Fredonia, again taking the opportunity to flirt with her. "Whoa, Nelly," Martha protests. "I thought you were gay!"

"Bollocks!" Shakespeare jeers. "The Doctor always tells his girlfriends that so they don’t try anything with me. In half a millennium, 57 academics will be falling for that toss as well! Now, since I have a wife in the country but THIS is the town..."

"Jings, Will, you’re worse than Captain Jack!" the Doctor moans, urging the pair of them onwards.

Back in the Globe, the actors begin to rehearse the incoherent pretentious wank Shakespeare has provided them with. As they try to work out what the hell the last scene means, they completely fail to notice a violent wind pick up, or an apparition appears then fades to cinders in the sky without a word.

Actors, eh?

At Albion hospital Martha is disgusted by the poor conditions the patients are left in, especially as nine out of ten times the conditions are better than the hospital some 409 years in the future.

"I suppose it’s barbaric, but it serves its purpose," Shakespeare muses. "I’ve been mad. I’ve lost my mind. Fear of this place set me right again."

"Yeah, when you lost your only son to the black death," the Doctor observes softly.

"Eh? Oh, yeah. That too. Yeah, that was pretty nasty. It made me question everything – the futility of this fleeting existence. To be or not to be... oh, that’s quite good. Should I write that down, Doctor? I don’t want to look too pretentious?"

Soon the trio enter Peter’s cell and the Doctor comforts the patient, unaware that Lilly is watching him in her cauldron. Not that many people would be expecting that sort of thing at the best of times.

The Doctor holds Peter’s head and does that Vulcan mind-meld thing he does so well in historical stories – just ask Madam du Pompadour! "Peter, I’m the Doctor. Go into the past, one year ago. Let your mind go back, back to when everything was fine and shining. Everything that happened in this year since happened to somebody else. It was just a story. A winter’s tale."

"Hmm. I like that..."

"Not now, Will! Where was I? Jings!"

Determined that the Doctor DOESN’T find out that the witches spoke to him in his sleep, getting him to build the Globe to their design; in particular the fourteen walls and then once the building work was over they snapped his mind before he could tell everyone about their squat in All Hallows Street, Lilly dispatches Dominique to go to Bedlam and do her man-eating shtick!

The witch appears in the cell and uses her evil powers to Freddy-Kruger-Johnny-Depp-style suck the architect into his bed and consume him for eternal damnation.

"Oi – I was talking to him!" the Doctor complains.

Dominique turns on the remainder who are trapped in the cell. "Oh, oh, I’ll stop your frantic hearts. Poor, fragile mortals! WHO WILL DIE FIRST?!"

Parte the Second

Martha shouts at the door to be let out, but that has as much success as you’d expect in a lunatic asylum. Not remotely intimidated, the Doctor strides towards Dominique. "No mortal has power over me!" she squawks defiantly.

"Then it’s a good thing I’m here," the Doctor grins. "GET THEE TO A NUNNERY THOU WRETCHED WOMAN OR I, THE WIZARD OF OMIGOD, WILL CAST A SPELL ON THEE!" he roars making some stupid hand gestures.

Amazingly enough, this works as Dominique lets out a pathetic wail of misery and suddenly teleports away shouting, "It’s a wizard! Oh my God! The Wizard of Omigod! He has ability! We must flee! Oh, Goddess we are so completely screwed!"

"Oh grow up, Dominique," Lilly says, calming her with a snog. "If he knows us then he will also know death - he will perish at my hand and the Doctor will scream his last! Now you two, get out of here. You’re cramping my style."

The Doctor, Martha and Shakespeare return to the White Elephant Inn as the Time Lord explains the story, "The witches disappeared way back at the dawn of the universe, funny story really. You see, although they tapped into the elemental forces of prime evil in the cosmos, they were incredibly, monumentally gullible. They finally got sick of every Tom, Dick and Cthulu fooling them with a silly hat a megaphone that the All-Powerful Voice of Witchcraft was out to get them, and they fled this reality altogether. But now they’re back, they’ll want a new empire on Earth, a world of bones and blood where they can show off magic tricks to each other. Turn trees into lead and stuff like that."

"So why are they stalking Shakespeare?" asks Martha, revealing she saw Lilly the previous night and prompting a whole "WTF DIDN’T YOU TELL US?! ZOMG! ROSE WAS SO MUCH BETTER!" tirade from the others.

Shakespeare checks his script for "Love’s Labour’s Won" – although it’s as funny and thought-provoking as usual with the boys getting girls and have a bit of a dance, the last few lines are clearly not his own!!

"That’s it!" the Doctor gasps. "They used you! They gave you the final words, like a spell! The right combination of words, spoken at the right place with the shape of the Globe as an energy converter! ANOTHER famous landmark turned into ANOTHER transmitter by ANOTHER evil alien race! JINGS! JINGS! JINGS!!" the Time Lord screams, repeatedly bashing his head against the table. "The play’s the thing! And yes, you CAN have that, Will."

The Doctor and Martha head off to look up any bedsits the Witches might be squatting in, and Shakespeare is sent off to the theatre to stop the performance of "Love’s Labour’s Won". "Once more unto the breech," Shakespeare quotes his own work, only for the Doctor to tell the playwright to get over himself.

Unfortunately, the Witches have that funky voodoo doll and knock Shakespeare unconscious before he even enters the Globe while Martha and the Doctor arrive in All Hallows Street on the grounds it’s the most obvious place for demonic forces to congregate.

"Am I missing something here?" asks Martha. "The world didn’t end in 1599. It just didn’t. Look at me — I’m living proof."

"Jings! How to explain the mechanics of the infinite temporal flux? I know! 'Back to the Future'! It’s like 'Back to the Future'!"

"The film?"

"Well, I was thinking of the novelization – brilliant book that, really is, but yeah. The film will do. Marty McFly goes back and changes history and he starts fading away."

"So, when you said there was absolutely no danger of me messing up history when we arrived, that was – what? Total bullshit to shut me up?"

"A clue: yes!" the Doctor snaps as he strides into the house with a sign saying "CURSE THIS HOVEL" and are immediately confronted by Lilly, provocatively posed astride a broomstick.

"Ah, this is what you like, huh?" says Lilly in her best Cockney Chav voice, expecting this impersonation of Rose Tyler to disarm the Doctor, but it simply serves to piss him off even more than before. "Once you are out of the way, the rest of the Witches will be summoned and the human race purged as pestilence! From this world we will lead the universe back to the old ways of blood and magic."

"And you REALLY think you can seduce me?" sneers the Doctor.

"We’ve heard the stories about Charley Pollard."

"Jings. But you see, Lilly, you’re completely devoid of charm, personality or dirtiness of any kind. You might as well be a blow-up doll! Only you ancient order of lesbians would think an all-devouring female with no actual social skills would be sexy!"

"Oh well," Lilly sighs. "Plan B."

She takes out a voodoo doll, stabs it through the heart and flies off. The Doctor falls down in pain. "See? Told you they were stupid – they actually think I’m a human being with one heart! Brain-dead bitches! Oh crap, you know, I think I might need some help anyway..."

Martha smiles sweetly and restarts his other heart. Eventually. After what looks like a particularly nasty and violent beating where the medical student gets a bit of catharsis from every single person in 1599 comparing her unfavorably with Rose Tyler. But, unlike Rose, she is not breaking the Doctor’s hearts but restarting them. Symbolically.

Or something.

Lilly arrives at the theatre, bragging about how she totally killed the Doctor in an epic sword fight that makes The Princess Bride look like the outtakes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Dominique and Betty aren’t incredibly impressed and wait patiently as the last monologue is delivered by the King of Navarre:

"The eye should have contentment where it rests! This spun-out year I watch on, groaning sick at mewling poor drooped men in stenched beds! THE VARGO PORTAL SHALL OPEN NEXT AND THE TIDE OF WITCHES SHALL COME DOWN UPON OUR HEADS!"

Suddenly a light bursts through from the theatre as clouds of red smoke drift into the sky and an army of Witches begin to flood into the night sky, cackling in victory and unleashing hoards of man-eating vampire bats! "Huzzah!" Lilly cheers. "Watch this world become a blasted heath as the millennium of blood begins!"

"Do you HAVE to talk like that?" Betty complains.

The Doctor and Martha arrive at this point, finding Shakespeare awakening from his earlier attack. They hurry to the stage where the Doctor uses the Final Solution Spell he always uses to defeat creepy space witches and destroy them all:


Absolutely sod all happens.

"Jings. Looks like they finally saw how stupid having that fatal weakness was," the Doctor sighs. "OK, new plan. The quill is mightier than the sword! Come on, Will! History needs you! Reverse it! The shape of the Globe gives words power, but you’re the wordsmith, the one true genius – imagination is more important than knowledge. You’re William Shakespeare, the only man clever enough to do it! I mean, you had a woman fall in love with a donkey! How freaking cool is that? What we need are words of the right sound, the right shape, the right rhythm — words that last forever! That’s what you do, Will! You choose perfect words. Do it. Improvise!"

Shakespeare grins, cracks his fingers and shouts:

"Close up this den of hateful, dire decay! Decomposition of your witches’ plot!
You thieve my brains, consider me your toy. My doting Doctor tells me I am not!
Foul bewitching spectres, cease your show! Between the points 761390!
Banished like a fevered dream, ne’er more to be seen!"

Again: absolutely sod all happens.

"Jings. I am completely out of ideas," the Doctor sighs, beaten.

Martha rolls her eyes, then her sleeves, mutters something disparaging about the men she hangs around with and shouts at the top of her voice, "EXPELLIARMUS!"

Instantly, the Witches are all sucked up into the cloud in a torrent of wind, tornado-style, along with Lilly, Dominique and Betty as well as all copies of the play. The cloud dissipates back into the void and the audience sighs in relief then begins applauding.

The Doctor discovers all the screaming Witches are trapped in a novelty snow globe which he shoves into his pocket in a manner so casual it simply HAS to be a set up for a sequel.

"Well, fancy that, Will," he says to the others. "Turns out that JK Rowling is a better writer than you after all. You should do something like hers, a boy tormented by ghosts of his parents, lots of skulls and stuff..."

"Hey, I thought I was the most human human ever!" Shakespeare protests.

"I didn’t see YOUR genius being the one to defeat the Witches, Will."

"Oh, you are so going down for that!" Shakespeare snaps and then shouts to the audience. "Oh, look Your Majesty! It’s the Doctor, your sworn enemy, right on stage where he can be decapitated!"

Queen Elizabeth I rises in the royal box. Actually, she looks a bit like Lavros too. And sounds like it, the way she goes "DOC-TORRRRR..."

"What? What?! WHAT?! Hang on, that’s not Queen Bess – that’s Prince Ludvig the Indestrubbibble in disguise!" the Doctor protests.

The Queen looks horrified. "Treason! Pernicious Doctur, I vill heff yair head on a spike at the Traitor’s Cloister! After him!"

Guards rush the stage as the Doctor and Martha leg it. Shakespeare is left laughing cruelly. "See ya earlier, Doctor!" he calls mockingly as they flee back to the TARDIS.

"Is there an English monarch you HAVEN’T pissed off?" Martha demands as they run through the streets chased by soldiers with bows and arrows. "What the hell did you do to upset him/her?!"

"Pay attention, Martha!" the Doctor retorts. "Time travel! I haven’t met her yet! No idea what’s gone on between us – but it’s going to be a laugh finding out..."

Next Time...
"We’re slap back in the middle of Balanystra! You thought I was going to say 'Cardiff' again, didn’t you?"
"Drive faster you idiots!"
"She’s lost, she doesn’t belong on this planet! It’s all my fault, I’ve screwed up yet ANOTHER relationship!"
"Find him before the episode runs out!"
"The Doctor – where is he? Is he hiding inside the crisp packet again?!"
"Doctor, about Rose... YOU’VE GOT TO LET HER GO!"
"I want to talk to the pigs!"
"Buy some 'pissed off'!"
"Try some 'complacent'!"
"How much you want swallowing?"
"You wouldn’t be a researcher for a certain Hitchhiker’s Guide?"
"Some cars go missing on the motorway, just vanish never to be seen again because there’s something living down there..."
"What the hell is going on with this trilogy?"
"This is Sally Calypso signing off. I really don’t give a shit."
...The Macramé Gridlock...

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