Monday, February 1, 2010

10th Doctor - The Shakespeare Code (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Discovers Shakespeare in Lust
Dr Who Parties Like It’s 1599!
Witchard III: A Comedy of Terrors

Fluffs - David Tennant seemed bard in this story. In fact, he wasn’t bard, he was ruddy awful.

"You must forgive our irksome Will, he’s been on the beer and feeling ill... No, don’t bloody cut yet! There’s another half an hour left! I could improvise enough for a second bloody episode! I cannot BELIEVE that you’re cutting it there... Jings."

"All witches are evil. Except for, you know, the ones that aren’t."

Martha: Etheth I careth in a vast multitude for the divine follies of young master Doctor.
Doctor: Eh?
Martha: For one to fully prepareth for thou, speaketh on ye tounge of old... eth. That be right mine fellowship for us to be fully prepared for thy looming episode of witcheth galore.
Doctor: No. Don’t do that.
Martha: I practiceth in the tounge of ye old english. Ye verily, forsooth, an timely thread methinks! Verily thy hast thy finger on the pulse! Thou art a wordsmith in the truest formeth! But huzzah anyway!
Shakespeare: You don’t have to talk in that stupid voice to me, I’m not a tourist!
Martha: Hoots mon!

Goofs -
Both the Doctor and a caption state that it is 1599. However, Love's
Labours Won was listed as a Shakespeare play in 1598.
Why was Shakespeare expecting people to ask him for an autograph? Most of the population were illiterate – they wouldn’t know a scribble on a bit of paper from any other scribble on a bit of paper! As if that’s such a chore, the great big drama queen...
The sign of the White Elephant Inn doesn’t look remotely like an elephant. Of course, no one in 1599 London had ever SEEN an elephant – but do you think the grass-munching public will know that? Or care? No, they just use this as yet ANOTHER excuse to flog the show and scream how crap Doctor Who is, full of anorak-clad wankers unable even to get a pachyderm the right shape! IT’S ENOUGH TO MAKE A PERFECTLY SANE PERSON GO CRAZY WITH A MACHINE GUN ON THE SUBWAY!!

Fashion Victims -
Lilly’s 1980s Farrah Fawcett blonde perm. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!

Technobbable -
The Doctor refers to the mechanics of the interim temporal flux as "Marty McFly turns into a werewolf and eats Faction Paradox when Homer Simpson turns up with that toaster of his".
"I don’t even know what that means!" Martha complains.
"That goes for most of his stuff," Shakespeare agrees.

Dialogue Disasters -

Dick: Before we start the play, will the owner of the dappled horse with the palsy in its front right foot please move it as it is blocking the theatre entrance?

Martha: And those are men dressed as women, yeah?
Doctor: Cardiff never changes.

Lilly: How they love to kiss and frolic! The ale house wife had such a feeble heart! But the play was written, so let there be peace, the charm’s wound up. Today the sun rises for the last time! The very last day of human kind!
Betty: I do wish you’d speak English sometimes...

Duke: Nay stay and take my benediction with you!
Berowne: These authors of our joy, these women
Do take upon the title of men of wit
Their scolds and mocks we wear as buffoons prancing
Fidelity conjoined’s concealed beneath
Nigel: Yeah, but boy, do they put out something chronic!!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Shakespeare: So, Doctor, what’s been happening with you since we last crossed paths. Apart from the new countenance of course.
Doctor: Well, Will, I’ve been made a lord of England, knighted by the Queen.
Shakespeare: Ha, a lord is trained from the day he’s born to behave like a lord, but there’s something different about you. No, perhaps you were a Lord a long time ago, but no more.
Doctor: You got me. She banished me from empire right after she knighted me.
Shakespeare: Bitch. Mind you, I WAS talking about Gallifrey biting the big one.
Doctor: Oh. Jings. Well, that too.
Martha: Excuse me, what’s Gallifrey?
Shakespeare: She’s REALLY new at this, isn’t she?
Doctor: Yeah, only been a couple of hours.
Shakespeare: She as good as Sarah Jane Smith then?
Doctor: Time will tell, but between you and me, I doubt it.

Lilly: Such sweet music stirs that your blood is afire. Though fear and love, aye both quicken the heart. Why wait beyond stale custom for consummation?
Geek: Oh yeah, baby, tonight’s the night!
Lilly: Would you enter, bold sir?
Geek: Oh, I would! Especially if that’s a euphemism for sex!

Doctor: When you get home, you can tell everybody you’ve seen Shakespeare.
Martha: Yeah, and then I could get sectioned!
Doctor: Why not? People in loony bins are always more interesting and open-minded. There’s probably a couple there who think they ARE Shakespeare. Don’t be so negative all the time, Martha Jones.

Doctor: Once more unto the breach...
Shakespeare: I like that. Wait a minute, that’s one of mine.
Doctor: Jings! He’s onto me, Martha, time to scram before the Dommervoy turn up and complain!

Doctor: This lot are a step away from the Dark Ages. If I tell them that, they’ll panic and think it was witchcraft.
Martha: What was it then?
Doctor: Witchcraft. Hey, I said they were a step away from the Dark Ages, I didn’t say they were stupid or anything.

Shakespeare: So, just how do you know about evils from the dawn of time? How can a man so young have eyes so old?
Doctor: I do a lot of reading.
Shakespeare: Yeah. But I know the sort of man you are – a man that talks and talks and talks and talks and behind the mouth he thinks and thinks and thinks and thinks and thinks.
Doctor: ...Is that bad?
Shakespeare: Well, it’s better than the last few men you’ve been. That last one in the leather coat was as fun as a heart attack.
Doctor: I know. Gritty Northern twat.
Shakespeare: But he had the buxom Rosie whereas you do not. I can sense your loss, your grief, your madness. But we both go on living, go on talking, go on hoping. We must, what else are we fit for? But I don’t need to travel by TARDIS. This is where I belong, this is the whole Earth, the Globe. Give me pen and ink, give me a mind’s eyes, I can go wherever I want.
Doctor: Jings, Will, you’re supposed to be cheering me up!

UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: Jings, Lilly, anyone who speaks in rhyming couplets clearly missed the last five hundred years of child-scaring terror! That mad German hag with a straw was scarier than you, pal!

Links and References -
This story is a direct sequel to the comic strip "A Wit’s Worth of Groat" featuring the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler. And if you’re ignorant of it because you didn’t buy the relevant DWM issues or the reprint or download the strips illegally off the interweb then you can damn well STAY ignorant, boyah!

Untelevised Misadventures -
At some point in his personal future, the Tenth Doctor and his companions Katy Darling and Will Spender will become Elizabeth I’s sworn enemies after they mug her in the street and steal her crown.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The strange and completely pointless scenes where the Doctor dons a psychotic Donnie-Darko-style bunny mask and a ruff to mingle with the rabble of Elizabethan London – scenes removed at the request of Freema Agyeman on the grounds it was "not a good look for David".

The Spite of Sparacus -
"Comic interludes, panto monsters, sub par boredom that ruined Doctor Who which now deserves to be axed! It was like watching something by Douglas Adams! This is the worst, most AWFUL episode I’ve seen of the new series - totally unbelievable and I knew from the very start this would just be a rewrite of The Presuming Ed only with a completely different cast, characters, monsters, writers, directors, setting and budget. Why oh why can’t they do something more intelligent with these scripts? This would have been a fine opportunity for a pure historical intrigue to teach kids something about Elizabethan England and Shakespeare! Anyone who says that it DID do this is a lying gay-hating terrorist sympathizer who enjoys too much samyness! Shakespeare was not a 21st Century 'Jack the Lad'! The people were too well dressed! A woman dressed like Martha would have been stoned to death by passers by for her unsmoothe chest! The Queen wasn’t a caricature! Everyone should have been unable to speak for the stink of London! The so-called plot isn’t even an ATTEMPT at sci-fi! A REAL time traveler would experience PURE HISTORICALS!!! HISTORY IS NOT BORING! DOCTOR WHO IS BORING! IT IS BORING, CHILDISH, SILLY PIPPY-SQUIFF PITCHED AT THE HARRY POTTER AUDIENCE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE APPEARED ON BRITISH TELEVISION! If this is what Doctor Who is like I shall never ever ever watch another episode. Unless Adam Rickitt is involved. In which case, I shall force myself to do it."

Viewer Quotes -

"The question we really should be asking ourselves is whether or not the BBC cleared this story with Shakespeare’s people? Did Kevin Shakespeare and the Bard’s Estate give the whole thing the nod? Inquiring minds need to know!" - Nippl-e Peppedine (2994)

"The Shakespeare of Evil is endlessly quotable. I just can’t think of any quotes at the moment." - random OG sig. (2007)

"My wife groaned when we watched this, but she always groans whenever I find her trying to watch Doctor Who on her on and insist on watching it with her. Still, this wasn’t by RTD and thus not the affront to god it normally, though it got all the historical details wrong. Shakespeare should have been a balding poofter, not young and sexy! I sniggered throughout until the police arrived and dragged me out of the house on the grounds I was violating the restraining order placed on me by my wife. At least I know my story, City of Rats where the Second Doctor and Jamie do fuck all is better than this toss!"
- L. Ron Mallet (2008)

"Probe beneath the surface for any sort of depth and you’ll find nothing at all. You just end up with something that’s just there, serving no purpose beyond itself. It’s just a load of stuff happening! Loud, brash, pointless, annoying, and pretending to be subversive maverick when in fact being hopelessly, crushingly predictable. It’s not Russell T Davies, it’s Russell Brand!" - Mike Morris (2007)

"SPIT ON DAN BROWN!" - Katy January (2009)

"There are no pre-title sequences! They all pitiful media lies in the last great fan war! This story is better than The Visit! I want a Shakespeare action figure! Future episode HAVE to match or exceed The Shakespeare of Evil OR ELSE THEY WILL NOT BE CANON!"
- (did you guess?)

"Shakespeare is unhealthily charming, like the kid in the playground who everyone likes because he can insult you more cleverly, until that day when you just snap, you try to fight back, but you miss and everyone laughs at you even more and you weep and you cry and just wish you could give up teaching and go home! ...Sorry, where was I? Oh yes. This story completely rips off the not-at-all-well-known fan film "Lung Shadows" by Timewaste Productions, starring Rupert Booth as the Doctor. In "Lung Shadows" the Doctor takes his brand-new companion to meet Shakespeare, only to find a cult of demon-worshipers led by a crazed magician are about to unleash a Lovecraftian monster into the world. All right, so the plots actually aren’t that similar but "Lung Shadows," is a quality production, and well worth seeking out. I feel morally raped... how about you?" - some guy on youtube who never puts up anything (2008)

"The Witches - creatures even the Eternals feared who have only one real wish: the creation of an empire across the entire universe, an empire devoted to the generation of pain and glorification of despair? Or... a bunch of dotty old ladies who look like they’ve had strokes and cackle like witch and ride around on broomsticks would only scare a snail with lumbago? YOU DECIDE!" - Derek Acorah (2008)

"You spoiled everything you Time Lord asshole!" - JK Rowling (2007)

"The second episode is never as good as the first - it could be a slightly odd episode of Casualty. By the time you reach the end, there is the uncomfortable taste of corn in the mouth. Or was that just me? I was eating corn on the cob. Maybe I shouldn’t taste test episodes..."
- Benji the Bland (2008)

"Doctor Who’s new assistant ceases to be the intelligent, inquisitive individual we saw in last week’s opener, and becomes a bland, squeaky, irritating she-parrot who makes fuck-obvious statements and then says 'Yeah?' and just because no one knows what I’m talking about doesn’t mean I’m not right! She’s supposed to be training as a doctor. She doesn’t know what “Bedlam” means. Can you not SEE how those facts should be connected?! She doesn’t understand anything Shakespeare says, even though it’d be easily comprehensible to any A-Level student! Or was that me? Basically, Martha Jones has become a generic thick woman sidekick without ANY credible or likeable dialogue! I can only say how GLAD I was that I didn’t actually watch this episode at all."
- Mad Larry the Pirate King (2007)

David Tennant Speaks!
"If you’re doing something set in the year 80 squillion, you have to be endlessly creative. But I don’t think that let the author off the hook, no matter what he tells you. A historical setting STILL has to be believable. It HAS to be something that we recognize. The whole of London is a character in this one, and it’s a rubbish plot device of a character we’d normally palm off to Paul Kasey. Yeah, in some ways this is quite an old-fashioned slice of Doctor Who. I can imagine Tom Baker being in it, can’t you? In fact, I think he was! Jings, not AGAIN! You think they’d find SOMEWHERE secure to hold him, wouldn’t you?"

Freema Agyeman Speaks!
"Oh! My! GOD! I’ve only just started on Doctor Who – it’s just been a couple of weeks – so I’m still reeling from that, but now I also get to appear on stage. With Shakespeare. So all those drama critics who bitched I’ve never work with high art and period drama and only ever end up in crappy sci-fi remake can go fuck themselves!"

Russell T Davies Speaks!
"We decided NOT to go for a spin-off entitled Shakespeare Investigates Miami with Dean Lennox Kelly and do crossovers with Christopher Marlowe’s spin-off Gay Atheist Spy. Oh, it would have been good – all the episodes with quotes for titles and plots about Shakespeare finding out that actors in his plays are killers, or that his plays are foretelling the future and he’s going to be burned a witch, or finding a lost dog, or becoming convinced he personally is the Antichrist, or wondering whether a murder on stage was actually a dream... Actually, sounds rather crap now I mention it? But The Shakespeare of Evil was the usual kick-bollock-scramble against the clock but everyone felt this episode was a bit special, and it’s all that extra detail that I love. Fit blokes being ripped apart by witches. Bless."

Trivia -
This story really pissed off Nev Fountain for being a "gratingly smug Harry Potter replica inexplicably lauded by many fans yet lacking any real grit or substance in what is generally an implausibly-plotted, self-congratulatory romp" and, in short, not as good as his own story Doctor Who Discovers The Bloody Mystery In The Bloody Tower Of Bloody Secrets. Boo freaking hoo.

Rumors & Facts –
Yea, t’was (and rest assured that I do speak upon this point with utmost certainty and conviction) an episode of nature excellent, fine-rounded with witticisms well-judged and times past recreated with skill surpassing that of my admittedly lowly expectations. While some of the slyly-slipped references to our culture present didst aggravate mine ears with their awkwardness, seeming to me like the grating of an iron bar amidst a chorus of violins, the great strenght of the whole nontheless sufficed to overcome them.

Or something like that.

By 2006, Gareth Roberts had written for Doctor Who in virtually every possible capacity, from novels to annuals to comic strips to audio plays. For executive producer and master of the revels Russell T Davies in particular, he had scribed both the Vortexts which had accompanied Doctor Who’s 2006 season, as well as the interactive game Attack Of The Grinch. Indeed, Roberts would also be working with Davies on the first episode of The Sarah Jane Misadventures, called Invasion Of The Babe.

Quite simply, Roberts was sick and tired and demanded RTD "show some fucking mercy" and finally let him write a script for proper televised Doctor Who. As it was my birthday on February 4th 2006, I got script editor Simon Winstone completely pissed and bet him he couldn’t tell Roberts the news he’d always wanted.

RTD only found out about this months later when he received a script entitled "Whodunnit? Firestorm!" about the Doctor and Martha meeting Agatha Christie while investigating a mysterious rag week fire at Oxford University – completely unaware that an unreal killer is stalking them as part of an alien plot millennia in the making, since that sort of thing happens so often it’s very easy to miss.

RTD was less than impressed and insisted that his celebrity historicals involving Peter Marwood, Madame du Pompadour, Santa Claus, Catherine Tate, Queen Victoria and all the others ones I cannot in all honestly promise to remember off the top of my head. He demanded that the story NEEDED, absolutely DEPENDED on little-known English playwright William Shakespeare rather than that hack Christie.

Roberts sucked it up and agreed on the condition that any such story in NO WAY contradict his 2005 Ninth Doctor comic strip "A Wit’s Worth Of Groat" for Doctor Who Magazine, or the 467 separate references to the Doctor meeting Shakespeare (most of which entirely adlibbed by Tom Baker when he realized it was actually a take).

Five minutes on wikipedia made Roberts aware that the Bard was alleged by some researchers to be the author of a "lost" play: two catalogues of Shakespeare’s output dating from 1598 and 1603 indicated that he had written a comedy called "Love’s Labour’s Won" before a union strike interrupted the author’s work and despite attempts by Kit Marlowe to reconstruct the play as an audio drama for the fans. Of course, some historians believe that this is simply an alternative title for an existing play (probably "Much Ado About Nothing", "Blue Harvest" or "Beyond the Sun"), others believe that it is a distinct script – likely a sequel to his "Love’s Labour’s Lost" as if the name didn’t give the game away. Roberts presented "Love’s Labour’s Won" as an ideal hook upon which to hang his Doctor Who script, since it was 408 years old and completely out of copyright. RTD readily agreed.

Freed from the trouble of coming up with original ideas, Roberts could "seek inspiration" from the Bard’s own writing and not a single lawyer could possibly touch him! Roberts proposed drawing upon either the Three Witches of "Macbeth" or the Fairies of "A Midsummer Night’s Dream". It was felt that the former were more iconic, especially as they’d been regular foes of the Second Doctor, Johnny and Gillian in Mighty Midget TV Comic 21 in The Witches!, Return of the Witches!, Attack of the Witches!, Which Witch Is Which?, Be Not Afraid of the Witches!, Freefall of the Witches!, Nightlife of the Witches!, Consolation Prize of the Witches! amongst others, not to mention the 1978 reprints Last Straw of the Witches!, The Strictures of Applied Ethics In Regards to The Witches!, and Break Up With Witches Is Hard To Do.

Many of the characters who appeared in Roberts’ script - itself called Love’s Labour’s Won, since Shakespeare wasn’t using it - were genuine contemporaries of the playwright. These included actors William Kempe and Dick Burbage, as well as Globe architect Peter Streete, although the latter’s death at this point in his life was Roberts' invention. Roberts was incredibly cautious over this development, as it might have caused a dangerous tendency towards providing his own material. Shakespeare’s Sister was also to have appeared at one stage until people realized it was a 1980s pop band unconnected with the 16th century writer.

One invented figure was Wiggins, named for Roberts’ friend, Doctor Who fan and Shakespearean professor Martin Wiggins who was then ruthlessly edited out of the story by RTD on the grounds that they weren’t made of money and Wiggins did sod all but stand around in the background holding up a sign saying "HI MUM!". Roberts suggested that maybe they could get Wiggins to do a nifty dance number in the background, perhaps when doused in petrol and set alight, but RTD refused as the two pounds fifty required for such a special effect was desperately needed for the completely pointless sequences in the season finale where David Tennant was turned into Dobby the House Elf.

Roberts littered his script with references to a variety of Shakespeare’s plays to pad out the running time; most notably, he wasted around ten minutes having the characters stand around arguing if Sycorax from "The Tempest" was more interesting than Hal Mellanby in Blake’s 7 until the Doctor and Shakespeare got into a punch-up over who was to blame for the Blaxploitation (or maybe Blakesploitation) outfit Mellanby wore in that particular episode. Meanwhile, for the Bard’s infatuation with Martha, Roberts was drawing upon the legend of the "dark lady" to whom Shakespeare wrote twenty-six sonnets - although most scholars doubt that the woman in question (if she was not wholly metaphorical to begin with) was actually a medical student from 2009 called Martha Jones... still, what the fuck do they know?

Love’s Labour’s Won underwent a shotgun wedding to the preceding episode, season premiere Smith & Weston, to form the year’s second recording block under the aegis of director Charles Daniels who had woken up in the position after a sex holiday in Thailand went horribly, horribly wrong. It quickly became apparent that the scale of Roberts’ script exceeded the other historicals made for the new Doctor Who series, which tended to be able to be filmed in downtown Swansea, often within the apartments of cast and crew, with everyone talking in funny old-fashioned ways as they tried to subtly advertise product placement.

This of course dealt the production a terrible blow and Roberts was beseeched to completely rewrite the script to relocate the action to the Welsh countryside, but he got round this by asking RTD, "So you’re not smart enough to work out a way round this yourself then?" which made the executive producer determined to reestablish his genius yet again.


Since all of Roberts’ script seemed focused on the Globe Theatre, the production team decided it would save a lot of time and effort if they just filmed it all at the new Shakespare’s Globe Theatre. Opened in 1997, this was a faithful reconstruction of Streete’s original edifice, which had been destroyed by fire in 1613 (and rebuilt in 1614, only to be closed by the Puritans in 1642 and torn down in 1644 after it was deciding it totally clashed with the new architecture).

RTD wanted Doctor Who to be the first television drama to be granted permission to film at the new Globe, but the management told them to "swivel on it until you squeal like pigs on a honeymoon". So RTD and co broke into the theatre at night and record everything then. This of course creates a huge monumental error, as apparently none of Shakespeare’s plays occurred at night. I do so hate how people pick on this particular bit of the story, as it implies that if flying Witches from another dimension had attacked the Globe during the DAY everything would be perfectly and historically accurate.


The first material recorded for Love’s Labour’s Lost involved the set for the Witches’ lair, erected at the Upper Boat Studios with the aide of the local Wicca group and Allied Lesbian Committee of Cardiff. This spanned August 23rd to 25th, and was originally intended to include an elaborate swordfight between the Doctor and Lilly, which was excised only at the last minute when it was felt to be too impractical to complete since Tennant was too busy seducing the Wiccans to waste time in another rubbish sword fight. After Tennant stabbed the stunt coordinator in the gut with the sword to prove his point, the whole thing was abandoned.

Everyone else decided to leave Tennant with his orgy while they secretly filmed more stuff at the Globe, until it was discovered that Gareth Roberts had somehow got caught up in the aforementioned orgy. Luckily, he writing partner Clayton Hickman who had co-written There Can Only Be One Doctor... and Go-Book-A-Room! for Big Finish was on hand to sort things out. When it became clear to Hickman he wouldn’t be paid, he decided to sabotage everything by introducing material about Queen Elizabeth I specifically to piss off RTD since it would force him to base an entire future story about explaining this plot.

With principal photography on Love’s Labour’s Lost complete, all that remained was some insert work. Crowd scenes were captured at the Colchester Avenue Industrial Estate in Cardiff on September 14th to 15th until the police got wind of it and demanded they were returned to the rightful owner, but RTD told the fascist bully boys to "swivel on it until you squeal like pigs on a honeymoon" while simultaneously blaming the management of the Globe Theatre for the kidnapping.

As police descended en mass onto the Globe, this provided the production team with all the chaos and destruction they hadn’t been brave enough to do themselves. Indeed, this story would prove to be the most expensive Doctor Who saga ever made – just so happened that the costs were attributed to everyone else.

By now, it had been decided that Love’s Labour’s Won was not sufficiently exciting as a title and indeed was leading many to think it was some kind of chick flick. It was briefly changed to the more traditional Theatre Of Death before Justin Richards rang up, furious that not only were they nicking his Doctor Who Shakespearean homage they were nicking his bloody title as well! He was fobbed off with a TDA novel but Roberts decided that they should spoofing the enormously popular 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown by calling it...


Hmmm. Maybe not.

Meanwhile, David Tennant continued his baffling desire to sing in every episode. As was his want. There’s not ALWAYS a hilarious anecdote attached to these, you know!

"Carry on Carrionite" by Iambic and the Pentameters

Not happy but I’m smiling,
Traveling time with my Martha!
You know I’d love to love you,
But above you there’s another.

We’ll go walking out
While Witches shout
Of new disaster!
Let us close out eyes;
Outside their lives
Go on much faster!

They’re bewitching
And bitching
Let’s go visiting the past!

Once I had a girlfriend
I thought it would never end
Now there’s evolution
But they don’t know
What they’re dating!

Oh, no, they won’t give in
So we’ll keep visiting the past!

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