Serial 6C/H – Interesting Times
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O'
Serial 6C/H – Interesting Times -
"May you find what you are looking for. May you come to the attention of those in authority. May you live in interesting times."
- Ancient Chinese Curses for Gallifreyans
Interesting Times 1/4 – Growth And Learning
The Doctor gets a dinner invitation from one of his more insane Time Lord associates – a notorious loonbag known as the Magician, formally a Prydonian Cardinal well on his way to reaching the finals of High Council Idol, up against Verne the Beautiful and the Minister of Chance, who has decided to live on the planet of the Budgerigar People and write poetry on a Yamaha keyboard.
The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Nyssa arrive in an average rainforest overlooking a normal-sized pond and realize that the Magician has set up a swinging bachelor pad in the highest tree and neglected to leave them a ladder since everyone else on the planet has wings.
Thus, the Doctor and Nyssa are forced to climb up the tree with equipment the Doctor stole from Mallory and Irvine just before their scale of Everest in 1924... which is why they died horribly in the attempt.
Finally they find their way to the nest where the Magician is happily forcing some of the man-sized Budgerigar People fight to the death over some scraps of food. The Magician, clad in shredded remains of a Big Bird fancy dress outfit, reveals that he took over the Avian Parliament with some ecstasy-laced sultanas and now rules the world with a feathered fist of iron!
The Doctor knows that his old Academy buddy is something of an insane mad-dog-nutter but suspects that this isn’t just a simple 'exiled Time Lord conquers some random civilization for the hell of it' job, and that the Magician is clearly working to some cunning plan.
The Magician meanwhile accuses the Doctor of selling out and becoming an agent for the Time Lords, a token rebel who picks up ape-descended girls and tries to form long term relationships with them! He can get off his fucking high horse while he’s at it!
The Doctor complains his horse is normal sized and if he wants to ride it he damn well can and no feather-clad looney is going to stop him!
A brief punch-up ensues before they embrace each other and swear they are each other’s best friends, sink a few bottles of nectar and sing the old school song to the tune of "For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow" before falling over.
The drunken Doctor and Magician decide to make some mischief and steal some ganja plants from the next hatchery, and get Nyssa to help since the plants are sprayed with contact pesticide which would kill the Time Lords instantly and besides, Nyssa is wearing gloves.
Unfortunately, the intoxicated Time Lords forget all about this cunning plan and the Magician rips off a few leaves with his bare hands. He is unable to complete rolling the joint before toppling over and writhing around in agony. The Doctor bursts out in laughter and points as the stricken Magician.
The pesticide alters the Time Lord’s DNA and regenerates into...
...a giant chicken!
The Doctor and Nyssa burst out laughing as the Magician miserably realizes that not only does he look incredibly stupid, the Budgerigar People will never accept him as their dictator now!
The time travellers steal the rest of the Magicians’ nectar and dematerialize in the TARDIS, leaving the mutant Time Lord to cluck sadly to itself and play the Birdie Song on a Yahama keyboard.
Interesting Times 2/4 – The Crimson Permanent Assurance
The TARDIS travels into the Time of Legends... and then out the other side to arrive in London. There, the Doctor’s attempts to ask directions to the Council of Niceties soon draw undue attention and he and Nyssa’s attempts to bribe the mob with 2007 Euro coins merely has them locked up in a cell for forgery.
Sir Isaac Newton arrives to investigate who is the strange alchemist with knowledge of the future who claims to travel in a blue Sedan Chair – and is this Doctor the same as the scarfed lunatic who dropped a safe on Newton’s head to explain the concept of gravity?
The Doctor and Nyssa deny knowledge of anything Tom-Baker related, only for Newton, director of the Royal Mint, to demand to know why anyone would forge coins in no recognizable currency! Are they complete morons? Catholics maybe?
Nyssa explains that she and the Doctor are high-paid cyborg assassins from the future and if Newton wants to live another day, he’ll get down on his knees and beg for mercy – and, perhaps surprisingly, this does not intimidate the alchemist at all and threatens to torture them both to death with pliers.
The Doctor laughs in Newton’s face and explains he has seen thing that would have snapped Newton’s primate brain right down the middle – a Dustbin taskforce, Mars winning the Ashes, the director’s cut of Eyes Wide Shut – and such torment is pointless!
The Doctor admits that the cell they are in has no secret passages and there is no unexpected help from outside and he doesn’t even have a sonic screwdriver to escape, but he knows the torturous history Europe faces over the next few thousand years and how Newton will end up despised by legions of school children who think of him as some bastard who makes their physics classes more confusing.
The Time Lord explains that the colonies will rise up against England, conquer the moon and turn into a European union and the handful of coins are nothing as powerful as the mighty Handy Dandy Credit Card which itself will be rendered worthless by a cataclysmic war which will engulf the whole of humanity will be as easily defeated as the British kicking the crap out of India!
The Doctor then threatens to sing a compendium of 1970s TV-tie in rock music and his rendition of Jon Pertwee songs leaves Newton struggling to comprehend what he’s hearing and becomes increasingly confused, and starts to have a seizure.
The Doctor and Nyssa realize Newton has swallowed his tongue and will choke to death, so they kick him in the ribs for a few minutes and then rush into the TARDIS. With a scream of "Beat THIS, Isaac you TWAT!" the time machine completely disappears...
Interesting Times 3/4 – The Autumn Years
The Doctor and Nyssa arrive in the Hampshire town of Stockbridge in 1981 to see how the locals are getting on after the android legions of an alien-controlled Roman Empire from another dimension, stormed the town and slaughtered half the populace.
To his surprise, the village is the same as ever bar a few bits of Latin graffiti and the villagers are far more worried about their cricket team being relegated from the top-most league at the end of the current season.
The Doctor is touched at the Stockbridge team’s insane optimism that they can possibly win, and decides to offer his services to the cricket and they accept on the grounds that anyone who dressed like a cricketer every day must be totally hardcore.
The Doctor agrees to stay for the season, even if the team are a useless lot he has to hold them up on his own until some promising youngsters in the junior team stop exploring their sexuality with puddings and get back to the game.
Left at a guest house and bored out of her skull, Nyssa decides to write an autobiographical erotic novel with lots of lust-filled kick-boxing vampire bikini babes who spend all their time having whipped-cream orgies and draining their male victims of orgasmatron energy.
The waiter at the guest house, a wild-haired, scruffy figure called Andrew Beeblebrox, notes that there isn’t any real PLOT, and the lack of villain or illustrations might kill off the teen market.
Nyssa tells him to fuck off and insists her book will never be published by some pathetic anthropoid book company, and muses that she intends to keep the book for herself. Andrew suggests she’s just afraid the critics will tear it apart, so she punches his lights out.
Meanwhile, for a laugh, the Doctor tries to decapitate the coach, Don, but the South African is delighted and buys the Time Lord a pint and trade derogatory remarks about the barman in the pub. The Doctor is ridiculously amused, since to him it’s like one mushroom mocking another mushroom for not being exactly the same shape – so petty and narrow-minded, it just gives him the giggles.
He then grabs Don in a headlock and threaten to snap the racist son-of-a-bitch’s neck unless he reveals the tactics they need to wind at the end of the season.
Back at the guest house, Nyssa gets depressed and orders the finest wines known to humanity to help her creative juices flow. Soon completely pissed she demands the obedience of all since SHE is an alien princess and THEY are scum with ideas above their station.
Andrew points out she is a time wasting creative vacuum trying to justify her staggering lack of literary talent by pretending to be from another planet and unless she pays the tab, she’s out.
Nyssa headbutts Andrew and decides to kill him with what her old girlfriend Tegan called "the Karma Traken Sutra"...
The next day, the cricket match has been a success and the Stockbridge team congratulate themselves by going on the piss and breaking a few windows.
Confident the team will not be relegated and frankly sick to death of conversing about soccer, cars and how warm the beer is, the Doctor realizes he hasn’t seen Nyssa in three weeks.
Searching throughout the village, he enlists the help of a little girl called Isabelle, who says she saw Nyssa and Andrew in Well’s Woods, ripping each others clothes off and talking about God a lot. It was really disgusting and has put Isabelle off boys for life.
The Doctor assumes the youngsters are just star gazing... really badly... through a dense canopy of branches... and charges into the woods to look for them. He gets hopelessly lost and, after mistaking local UFO nut Maxwell Edison for a swamp monster from Argon 5, the Doctor panics and runs back to the village.
The Doctor returns to the pub and drowns his sorrows, realizing that yet once again his girlfriend has fallen in love with a short-lived human and started wearing jeans and any minute she’ll turn up and dump him to stay on Earth, working in the betting shop while becoming a successful author of erotic fiction...
The Doctor passes out and wakes up upside down in the cricket nets with his trousers missing. Nyssa is using a wicket to prod him awake and reminds him that the last game of the season is to be played today and he is kind of needed.
The Doctor groans incoherently that something is wrong, occurring contrary to the laws of the universe, as if the Great Event Synthesizer was being played out of key, allowing chaos to ripple through the timelines...
Nyssa pokes him again and the Doctor moans and gets up and starts playing in the match. Luckily, he is fielding and is able to quietly throw up in the trees without undue embarrassment.
When he comes into bat, things look bleak and Don is weeping manfully that his career is over if Stockbridge are relegated, and begs the Doctor to forget the whole racial supremacy business off field and just help him "go out in a blaze of glory".
Meanwhile, Nyssa drags Andrew behind some bushes...
...and they immediately emerge, splattered with Time Lord vomit. Nyssa explains that this has totally put her off the idea of wild sex and setting up life in 1980s Hampshire, but Andrew understands – he feels the exact same way and heads off for a shower and a lift out of town.
Meanwhile, the referee suffers a fatal heart attack and the Stockbridge team are able to beat up the opposing team and claim victory. Don is delighted, realizes he has succeeded in his task, before realizing he’s been doused in petrol!
"Blaze of glory, Don, blaze of glory," the Doctor reminds the coach before flicking a lighted match onto him.
As the burning and screaming Don runs around in circles howling for medical attention, the Doctor struts off across the village green and he and Nyssa head off towards the TARDIS.
Nyssa points out that while she arrived in Stockbridge cold and withdrawn, she has warmed and learned much about human society and its environment. The Doctor however, arrived full of hope and cheer and laughter, which has been steadily drained out of him, leaving him a sour, bitter and uncomfortable old man.
"It’s like we’re both on the same circular story but 180 degrees opposite each other," Nyssa explains.
"No one likes a smartarse, Nyssa," the Doctor sighs, as they leave this sub-Archers tale of gentle village life, cricket and romance.
Interesting Times 4/4 – The Miracle of Death
The Doctor staggers back into the TARDIS carrying the semi-conscious Peri Brown. Both of them have contracted an alien version of salmonella and the Doctor believes ingesting the milk of a giant bat might be the cure. Peri decides to take her chances with the disease, finally accepting to drink it when the Doctor forces her to at knife point.
At that moment, the increasingly-disoriented Doctor realizes he’s somehow lost his own vial of milk and thus is doomed to die any minute and regenerate into a completely different person... assuming he still has regenerations left, as he has lost count over the years, and lies that he’s on his fifth life to impress the chicks.
Groggily, the Doctor sets the time machine in motion when there is a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning and a floating, glowing figure with long hair and bottle green frock coat manifests in mid air.
The figure introduces itself as Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass, embodiment of anti-time retroactive continuity, a godlike creation who has the ability to rewrite the pattern of infinity and shatter the chain of cause and effect, and he’s decided to start with the Doctor.
The Doctor sways uncertainly and points out he’s a bit busy dying at the moment, and if Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass wants to change his timeline he’ll have to try some other time.
"Wait a minute," the pale, sickly Time Lord gasps. "This is all just some hallucination in my mind as the synapses shut down, isn’t it?"
"Uh, no," Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass points out.
The Doctor falls over.
"But that is," the entity booms as the Doctor loses consciousness...
A bright shining light floods down over him and he sees, floating in the air above him, the ghost of his former companion Nyssa of Traken and there is strange ethereal Enya tunes in the background.
Nyssa explains that she has come to guide the Doctor to his destiny, crossing over from the Land of the Living to the Land of the Dead, and that they better hurry up before Adric finds them.
The Doctor wonders if this is real, or maybe some incredibly warped cabaret being performed by his old pal Sharaz Jek. Nyssa shoves him towards the light but he trips and...
...find himself in a smoky battlefield littered with polished white skeleton bones. The Doctor finds his way through the burning hellhole onto the plains of a landscape that could either be the Eye of Orion, most tranquil place in the universe, or some patch of Cardiff countryside.
The Doctor finds a heap of Cybermen corpses who appear to have been brutally murdered by some kind of deadly silver assassin of death, and nearby the burning remains of a roadside café. There, he meets the dying Cyberleader who reminds the Doctor he committed suicide when Adric proposed to him and that, you know, he is actually going a bit deeper into the afterlife than he should if he wants to regenerate and survive.
Just then, the Rasta Warrior Robot arrives and lunges at the Doctor’s unprotected throat. The Time Lord manages to raise a cricket bat in time and the robit’s skull is smashed in.
Feeling generally badass, the Doctor struts further through the countryside, only to suddenly fall into a sewer as he walks over an open grating without looking.
The Doctor is left in a black well-like pit with a sprained ankle when he hears the voice of travelling thespian Robert Mace and a rope ladder drops down the sewer to allow the Time Lord to climb out. As he does so he bitches that he’s perfectly capable of escaping from a dreamscape sewer in the outermost edges of mortal reality.
He reaches the top of the ladder to discover he now in a flame-filled underground cavern and Mace is accompanied by an old girlfriend of the Doctor’s -- the Mara, Goddess of Fear, who now sits on a throne of human skulls. She also wants to talk about the various other figures throughout time and space the Doctor has been on dates with.
The Doctor refuses to spend the rest of eternity raking over old relationships and strides off through the cavern and meets Rasta Vamp Marley Undead and his vampire orgy of the damned, and after getting some directions, continues his journey... only to tumble down another mine shaft.
He floats into a strange star-studded void where he meets the huge hairy dog monster called the Garm, who muses that maybe the Doctor is dying cause he hangs around puny mortals so much.
The Doctor meanwhile muses that he’s actually had an incredibly short life, all things considered. He could have had plenty more adventures with just him and Nyssa, maybe involving lots of Alaska-based whackiness, and he was certain he and Peri could have been good together, but the Garm gets more interested in chasing a frisbee and the Time Lord tumbles out of the void and into a blinding light...
Meanwhile, a strange translucent figure arrives at the battlefield, and after having a silent conversation in Portuguese with some of the Cybermen, hurries off in the direction the Doctor took.
The Doctor himself arrives in a vast ocean surrounded by mist, and spots a familiar six-foot-tall green frog with a funny hair do riding a giant rubber duck. This is Bernard, who explains that they must be in hell as none of his office supplies, time cards and budget estimates have joined him in the afterlife when the Doctor blew him up. Now condemned to travel on a giant rubber duck for all eternity, he dives in the water to murder the Doctor, only to be eaten by a giant crab.
Meanwhile, the white figure finishes chatting the Mara and Mace and heads off after the Doctor, looking pretty impatient for a translucent wraith with no facial features.
The Doctor realizes that somehow he has arrived in a gigantic bathtub filled with all his water-based enemies – Macra, She Devils, Bilurians, the Loch Ness Monster – and so manages to climb to safety on the plug chain and onto the massive toilet seat.
Nyssa appears and explains to the Doctor that while only a few seconds are passing in the real world, the supply of blood to his own brain has halted and the salmonella is breaking down his nervous system, so he better find his way to Point Zero if he wants to get out of this.
The Doctor bitches that he’s too young to die, and generally wishing he’d taken up the offer of that strange crackling figure with the girly hippie hair, and if you can’t get a ten cent whistle-tour of the afterlife when you’re about to snuff it, then when can you?
Meanwhile, the white figure is caught up in a vampire orgy.
The Doctor discovers an evil being called the Malus fused into the cistern of the toilet, who reveals that the toilet seat is actually an incredible fairground of whacked out villagers from Little Blewbury with the Cranliegh family going apeshit with shotguns in the rifle ranges and also parts of the fairground where shotguns are generally considered bad form.
The Doctor decides to try and win a coconut, when he spots a giant slug called the Gravis sliding towards him and waving its antennae in a flirtatious way. The Doctor dives into the Ghost Train to escape, only to end up in the same carriage as Lavros and a party of Dustbins, who ruin the ghost train experience by exterminating all the ghosts, demons and monsters and leaving a heap of glowing radioactive corpses.
The carriage turns onto a roller coaster that hurls the Dustbins and Lavros over the rails and they tumble to their doom, while the other passengers – a bunch of bored Eternals – note how terribly predictable and common this all is.
The roller coaster runs out of track and the Doctor dives out of the carriage and somehow manages to land on the gallery of a lighthouse on the edge over a cliff overlooking the entire universe.
The Doctor enjoys the view and regrets once again the fact he’s going to die because he forgot to milk a giant bat properly to cure some undercooked chicken. He realizes he’s never meddled with Cybermen at their genesis, or had a love affair with a werewolf, or even gone to Disney World! His life sucks – or rather, sucked...
At that the pale, mummified white on white figure catches up with the Doctor, looking like a chrysalis something much more colourful and floridly homosexual on the inside.
The Doctor hurls abuse at the potentially camp figure for screwing all this up and blames him for anything that might go wrong when Nyssa arrives with a bunch of other spirits from the shadowlands to help her convince the Doctor to stop pissing about and regenerate.
First Tegan, who's safely at home and is wondering what in the name of fuck he's doing inside her mind.
Then, Turlough, who explains he’s a bit busy at the moment being throttled by his old girlfriend who is possessed by the spirit of Margaret Thatcher and doesn’t really care about this.
Kamelion seconds Turlough’s complain as he/she/it is having lots of fun in Silicon Hell talking to the Terminator, R2D2, Robbie the Robot and Hal 2000 and frankly, it’s much more interesting.
Nyssa realizes this isn’t working and falls back to hurling homophobic abuse at the Doctor and telling him to get on with it.
Adric proves quite a bit of help, begging the Doctor to join him in the afterlife, but the Fourth Doctor simply stares blankly ahead and shouts Beatle song lyrics and proves no help whatsoever.
The Bastard doesn’t help either, shouting that the Doctor should let himself die and finally get off the wheel of life and stop it creating the next... but reveals he’s not actually dead, which means he comes across as rather biased.
The First Doctor calls the Fifth a "selfless bastard" and beats him over the head with his cane until the Doctor surrenders and runs screaming into the Watcher, knocking them both over the gallery and plunging into the endless ocean. Moments later Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass arrives in the dreamscape, running into view screaming and waving his hands.
Meanwhile, in reality, the Doctor regenerates into a burly, curly-haired nutter.
"FINE!" Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass snaps and jumps through time and space back into the TARDIS five seconds before the Fifth Doctor and Peri decided to go to Androzani Minor in the first place.
"I’m gonna mess up this time stream if it’s the first thing I do..."
Book(s)/Other Related –
5th Doctor Anthology Special: "Look at Me! I’m Wearing a Vegetable!"
Doctor Who & The Meaning of Life
Doctor Who - Blonde Boy Snuffs the Big One
The first episode exists.
How exactly is this story supposed to lead into the comic strip which began with the solo Fifth Doctor an accepted member of the Stockbrigde community – did he only manage this by setting fire to the cricket coach? If so, then just what is wrong with these Hampshire folk?!
So this means that every story from Mammaries of Fire is no longer completely canonical? May not be a goof, but it is a big one if we assume those looneys at Big Finish want to survive the fan fatwah this will inevitably create...
Fashion Victims –
The Magician’s pantomime goose outfit.
Links and References -
The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa’s escape from the Tower of London allows all the other prisoners – the First Doctor and Susan ("The Serve-You-Rights"); the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn ("The Maid Marion Conspiracy"); the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Eminem ("Doctor Who Discovers The Bloody Mystery Of The Bloody Tower Of Bloody Secrets"); and a wheelchair-bound Tom Baker and a lone Dustbin ("D'You Believe This?!") - to make good their respective escapes.
This chain of events was later declared "Plausible" by the MythBusters.
Untelevised Misadventures -
While staying in Stockbridge, the Doctor sets up the Jade Pagoda mailing list which allows him to communicate with the High Evolutionaries and a strange midget in Texas.
Groovy DVD Extras -
The original ending sequence, where the Fifth Doctor regenerates into Nicholas Briggs...
Doctor: You're expecting someone else?
Peri: I - I - I -
Doctor: Walking! Walking without fear but with a certain understandable trepidation now that all will be well and all manner of things will be well. Then, you see, I knew the truth!
Doctor: That I was like a king of infinite space and time and I ruled it all! Oh, I ruled it! Without fear but with justifiable TYRANNY!
Peri: What's happened?
Doctor: How little you know! I have passed through the fire and the darkness and been changed! I have risen from the dead to continue the never-ending battle! I shall use the power that is mine as Gallifrey’s son to bring justice to this cosmos -- and ALL who sin shall KNOW the VENGEANCE OF DOCTOR WHO!!!
Dialogue Disasters -
Kamelion: I do have a mind of my own. Just not a very good one.
The Doctor’s mystic incantations allowing him to change lead to gold --
"Let’s spend our honeymoon in East Berlin!
And though like lemmings, we will never swim!
The Devil’s lunar craft makes waves in time
My Asian brother says, 'spare me a dime'!
Subconscious prejudice - a way of life,
Cause all the citizens of sin are rife!
Our friends are castaways, the ship went down!
The storm clouds gather in and statesmen drown!
NICE VIDEO, SHAME ABOUT THE SONG!
NICE VIDEO, SHAME ABOUT THE SONG!"
Doctor: Something is added to cricket by the angle of the sun as it stands at four o’clock in early September. The shadows are longer, there's a suggestion of colder days approaching, of circular time, of aspects of our lives dying away and returning. The other sort of time is called linear time -- life is hard and then one dies, if that's something one is liable to do. Cricket, to me, seems to stand for the former and against the latter. It’s something that dies but returns and writes mortals into history, in stories and statistics. Perhaps that’s why it appeals to me. I also die and return, like a hardy perennial.
Nyssa: Yes... but that doesn’t explain the celery, does it?
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: My old friend, the Magician!
Nyssa: What’s he like? Alien invader or a mad scientist?
Doctor: Well, a mixture of both... with a Yamaha keyboard.
Newton: GUARD! GIVE ME YOUR PISTOL!
(Newton shoots the guard in the foot.)
Newton: GUARD! RELOAD THE PISTOL!
Guard: I hate my life.
The chilling rehash regeneration sequence --
Tegan: What was that movie you liked, Doctor? Braveheart?
5th Doctor: I’m dying and that’s all you want to know?! How insensitive can you get?!
Turlough: You mustn’t die, Doctor. Too many enemies would delight in your death... me for starts.
5th Doctor: Good point Turlough. Well, Kamelion, do you agree with him?
Kamelion: There you go again, Doctor! Mistaking me for someone who actually gives a damn!
5th Doctor: That’s just unfair. Nyssa, tell him to stop picking on me!
Nyssa: Damn it, Doctor! Get off the floor and stop acting like a wuss!
5th Doctor: Miserable alien. What about the rest of you?
Adric: Join me Doctor! We could be together! I love you Doctor!
5th Doctor: Well, that was just disturbing.
4th Doctor: I AM THE WALRUS!
5th Doctor: So’s that. Does anyone actually want me to live?
Bastard: No, my dear Doctor. You must DIE! DIE DOCTOR, DIE DOCTOR!
1st Doctor: Excellent point my dear boy! Die, you selfless bastard!
5th Doctor: What kind of pep talk is that?! Then again... I think I shall choose survival -- just to piss off the lot of you.
Mara: Then you’ll be needing this.
5th Doctor: Oh, thank you. I love rainbows, but just why would I need a
Mara: You’ll find out...
Viewer Quotes -
"This decision clearly proves that Big Finish is aiming this story at fans, since members of the general public – normal people are not able to recite the script of The Phantom of Androzani in their sleep. Mind you, I’m sure this would’ve worked equally well with a different regeneration. Except without Nyssa. And the others. And with different characterization. And Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass. My examples really need work."
- Duke Vobbo III (2008)
"I loved listening to this and so did my wife! THANK YOU BIG FINISH!"
- some guy who was crucified (0 BC)
"Nyssa is possibly the most seductionary ever - I don't think that's a real word but it’s her all right – and my fucking flatmate, a Neanderthal in denim shorts, gets her?! IS THAT SANE, I ASK YOU?!?! And shagging sounds awful on headphones. Or maybe I'm just not getting enough myself... Which is, of course, impossible."
- Nigel Verkoff, "Screwing Dr. Who's Ex’s Makes Me Happy!" (2009)
"As the Doctor reminds us, Newton is the man who invented calculus just so he could answer questions only he had thought of. I hate people like that. That make me feel intellectually inadequate."
- George W. Bush (2005)
"In... cred...ib...ly.... bad." - Gay Russell (2007)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"So... Sir Isaac Newton was actually a cruel, torturing White Extremist. How come they never mention interesting things like that in the textbooks, huh? It’s always 'moving bodies will continue to move in straight lines and constant speeds unless acted upon by an outside force', never 'lie to me and I shall drown your children like kittens in a sack, rip out your toenails and feed them to the ravens!'"
Peter Davison Speaks!
"The thing about audio scripts is that they can be so much more adventurous than a TV one. You can do things you couldn’t possibly achieve on TV, just by describing them as going on. And I like the pace of them – I would love to go back and re-edit my old Doctor Whos, and redo the music on them. Everyone would think it was sacrilege, but there were so many things that one did as a matter of course in those days that are just silly now. Like that one with the time travelling Concorde. The genius is of course, that my bland, indifferent performance equally suits some fellah in a rubber monster outfit and the finest CGI hellbeasts money can buy. It was an investment!"
Rumors & Facts -
Interesting Times was the first release to be produced under the stewardship of Nicholas "I Am A Canonical Doctor You Stupid Bastards" Briggs, even though he still had to wade through a backlog of stories his not-at-all-esteemed predecessor, Gay Russell.
Briggs was determined that if he HAD to work on stories Russell had in mind, he could at least ensure they were changed dramatically and re-launch absolutely everything.
The first release of 2007 was a story written by Paul "Shagger" Carnall and was joined in the writing duties by Max Middox, some passing guy who won an award for reading comics while sitting in the middle of the English Channel without eating them.
Briggs decided that the story would be scrapped and replaced by a special sequel to his own work in the very first Big Finish story – The Tarrants of Time, some ninety releases earlier!
However, contracts had been signed, fees paid, threats with baseball bats made to certain relatives who were non-functional members of society, and Briggs realized he would still have to use Peter Davison as the Doctor in the story, and for quite a few others. Thus, he decided to compromise of his own accord (a true sign of principles corrupted by exposure to Big Finish) and allow the story to go ahead.
However, like The Tarrants of Time, the story would be comprised of four individual stories of no less than and no more than 25 minutes, and not be linked in theme, plot or guest cast. The final episode would also retcon the end of The Phantom of Androzani by revealing Peter Davison actually regenerated into Nicholas Briggs, not Colin Baker.
Briggs wanted Interesting Times to be a play about death, a play about rebirth, a play about beginnings, a play about ends, and a play confirming once and for all that Briggs was a canonical Doctor and anyone who said otherwise was a despicable disciple of Satan.
Carnall told Briggs to get back to his ring modulator and let "the professionals" get to work on a story displaying the evolution of the relationship between the Doctor and Nyssa and their passage through linear time... plus it allowed gratuitous hardcore sex action with Nyssa and some passing Stockbridge stable-hand.
Carnall’s one concession was to make the final episode a near-death hallucination during the fifth Doctor’s regeneration into the sixth on the grounds that even a happily married sex monster like him needed a bit of fanwank every so often. Not only did it allow him to set the episode in Carnall’s favorite setting – the stomping ground of the Doctor’s mind – it would allow him to clarify once again that Eminem wasn’t canonical and a full quarter of Big Finish releases were just an aberrant timeline that needed "some Donnie Darko shit" to sort out.
The other episodes were chosen to fit in with the other politically-correct pigeonholes Carnall lazily ascribed Doctor Who stories – Imperialist (alien planets), Social Realism (historical Earth) and Tory Slut Executive Relief (modern day Earth), while the last episode was simply The One-Handed Wonder Of Rassilon!!!
With the plots for Interesting Times as one-paragraph springboards carved into Middox’s back with a compass point, Middox required painful rehabilitative surgery to remove said plots and transcribe them into Aramaic – the only language bar the human fist that Middox understood. From there he typed them up into scripts
The first episode, Growth And Learning, featured the return of the Magician, the insane thesauratic Time Lord who first appeared in Tony Attwood’s "Turlough Versus Thatcher: The EarthLink Dilemma" and was pointlessly reused in Mike Tucker’s The Jazzocize Machine.
The second episode had nothing of any interest happen whatsoever during conception, editing, recording or broadcasting. At all. Quite a feat really, and worthy of note in itself. Oh the irony.
The third episode, The Autumn Years was set in the village of Stockbridge, and thus rendered canonical the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip. For all those wankers who missed the repeated references to the comics in the TV series, anyway.
The final episode used lots of dialogue lifted wholesale from the final episode of The Phantom of Androzani. John Ainsworth got down on his knees and begged Briggs not to, since Big Finish would be sued to a singularity for doing that, and suggested maybe they get Toby Longworth to try and impersonate all the characters.
Briggs kicked Ainsworth in the head and went on with his plans.
It was only sheer fluke that Ainsworth’s prediction did not come true, since Gay Russell used his contacts at the BBC to slaughter any and all who attempted to, in his words, "pervert the true course of destiny" for Big Finish. He later sold out Big Finish lock stock and barrel for a chance to breathe in the main studio where they filmed Touchwood.
Ultimately, "Interesting Times" achieved, against all the odds, a big win on the 'hedging its bets' front, providing the public with at least one episode of dross that hits all their buttons in a ridiculously provocative manner and ensure that no fan didn’t at least worship 25% of the overall product.
Big Finish couldn’t have asked for a much better start to 2007 than this. They might have got one, but it really would have been chutzpah to actually think they DESERVING such a thing...