Monday, September 21, 2009

5th Doctor - The Council of Nicaea

Serial 6Q/H – The Council of Niceties
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Broadband

Serial 6Q/H – The Council of Niceties -

The TARDIS materializes Alexandria in the year 325 in the hope Eminem will think it’s close enough to her own era for her to sod off home. In the meantime, the Doctor suggests they experience the radical nightlife of the 4th century’s largest centre of Christian study, convinced it cannot possibly be as boring as it sounds.

Eminem decides to check out an Egyptian-style casino run by an old ex of hers, Greg, and they learn that the Christian Church has been violently split in two by the beliefs of Bishop Alexander and Presbyter Arius over whether or not eating fish on Sundays counts as a mortal sin worthy of eternal damnation IF the fish is battered.

Thus, Emperor Constantine has called a council of bishops and fish and chip shop owners to debate the niceties and decide once and for all what position will be regarded as orthodox cod and chips, and what will be considered cat food.

THEN they can get onto the thorny issue of why worshippers of a God of Eternal Compassion and Love can get away with murdering non-believers.

The Doctor assures Peri and Eminem that he never believed at of this crap – like the oldest recorded religion bar Jediism could waste so much time on fish and chips! All the official texts claiming this was a dangerous time of factions and riots is clearly just PR spin.

The TARDIS crew are then caught in the middle of two angry mobs.

The split second before the blood-drenched carnage starts, the Doctor can be heard swearing furiously under his breath.

Eminem early dives into the rioters to unleash her special Egyptian brand of whup ass violence, and is soon knocking people senseless, but in the confusion, the Doctor manages to crack her over the head with a house brick – something he’s wanted to do for ages.

Just then, the fascist legionaries arrive with their riot shields, capsicum spray pepper mace, and strange Cockney accents, immediately arresting all the rioters and hurling them into the back of the chariot, even as the Doctor screams hysterically he is strictly non-partisan and has a note from matron to prove it!

The centurion Caius laughs in his face, since thanks to the Emperor’s new anti-extremist legislation, notes from matron are now worthless.

Meanwhile, Peri and Eminem find Arius himself hiding behind some bins, shaking with terror. Peri assumes he has come to Alexandria to defend his stance on fish and chips, but Arius explains that he is not actually allowed to attend the Council of Niceties as he is not tall enough to be allowed inside. Thus he cannot argue his case and most likely lose the argument, be hunted down and killed like a dog.

Eminem laughs in his face and decides to show him how a REAL religious extremist works, and decides to head back to the TARDIS to collect some machine guns and high explosive.

Meanwhile, the Doctor escapes execution by explaining he is a public relations specialist and can help Emperor Constantine stay in touch with his people via opinion polls and SMS, and thus put an end to the riots, which are giving the centurions far too much paid overtime.

To his amazement, Constantine agrees and the Doctor is allowed to go free. He heads back to the TARDIS and bumps into his companions handing out grenades and personal rocket launchers to Arius’ faction of Christianity – which isn’t so much rewriting history, as pulping the book and crapping on the remains.

The Doctor tells Eminem if she wants to stay and change the course of history, then she will have to part company from the Doctor so he can have a separate lawyer when this all eventually goes to court.

Eminem agrees and, at gunpoint, the Doctor allows her and Peri to attend the Council, so she can use tear gas and tasers to wipe out the annoying bishops who are eager to get back to their bondage sessions with prostitutes than discuss ecumenical theory.

Without waiting, she opens fire with the machine gun and blows in the doors with a grenade... leading, unsurprisingly, to them being thrown out as trouble makers and being barred for life.

Constantine is furious – the Doctor is supposed to keep the Emperor appraised of the developments in the people’s mood, not willfully aide in assassination attempts!

The Doctor apologizes, insisting that he had no idea Eminem would
react the way she did given access to heavy artillery, and promises to prevent her from causing any more damage by leaving her behind in Alexandria and generally hoping human history isn’t destroyed.

Somehow, the Emperor is not pleased at this, and orders Caius to beat the Doctor and Peri unconscious – but instead, they run away. They then bump into Costantine’s neglected, desperate housewife, Fausta who has decided to seduce our celery-clad hero with her interesting piercings.

Meanwhile, Eminem enlists the help of a stall holder named Clement and Arius to raise a people’s army and seize control of Alexandria (or "Eminemland" as she intends to rename it) as part of God’s work. Arius fears that violence may ensue, what with Eminem regular shouting, "You wanna piece of me?" at random people.

Peri stumbles across Eminem’s rally as she orders her army to mindlessly follow her and parrot her arguments without fully understanding them and to refuse to listen to anything anyone else has to say, just as the legionaries attack.

Although Peri has lead the enemy to her, Eminem as delighted, as she gets to order her army to fight to the death for her own amusement.

Unfortunately, her army immediately surrender – Eminem has not sufficiently brainwashed them with dogma. Thus, Eminem is arrested and, together with Peri, Arius and, bizarrely Caius himself who just happened to be passing.

Eminem is dragged the cells as she screams Constantine is a whiny, girly nancy-boy she could cripple even if she was buried in concrete and dumped at the bottom of the Nile.

Constantine accuses the Doctor of betraying him, but the Doctor
angrily points out that he doesn’t give a flying fuck what a bigot like Constantine thinks about ANYTHING and if this bearded poofter doesn’t get off the Doctor’s case he will travel back in time and inject the infant Constantine with monkey DNA and make him an even BIGGER wanker than he is now. O... KAY?!?

Constantine bursts out crying and insists he’s not a bad person, and it’s all the bishops who are twisted and evil. It is not for his beliefs that Arius was barred from the council, but because he isn’t a bishop and they would lose street cred hanging around him...

Bored, the Doctor smashes a vase over his head.

Meanwhile, Eminem murders her way out of the cells and goes shopping.

At the same time, Fausta puts the moves on Peri, plying her with booze and highly inappropriate questions.

Thereupon follows some completely baffling, pointless and out of context sequences of Christian slaughter and mindless violence interspersed with the distinctive sound of Eminem laughing insanely – before ending abruptly with an ‘off-the-record’ noise.

Constantine addresses the mobs, informing them that he is non-partisan and that he wishes only for the Church to sort out the fish problem by itself. He assures the people that he understands and respects the strength of their beliefs, and hopes that the bishops will take it into account -- but whatever happens, it is the bishops of the Church who will decide how the Church is to be run.

And the fishmongers are screwed, as history dictates.

The Doctor and Peri are so bored they head back to the TARDIS, no longer caring if history is the way it should be – and since their very existence has retconned Season 22 out of existence, this is indeed a sensible policy to take.

The Doctor admits that Fausta will later accidentally scald herself to death when a steam room orgy goes horribly wrong, that Arius will later be exiled after the invention of fish fingers, and Constantine will later lose his testicles in a golfing tournament.

Eminem follows them into the TARDIS and by the time they realize it, it is too late and the time machine is already hurtling through time and space and CGI to a new destination.

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Pisses On Dogma!
The Church, The Crown & The Critics
Girls Gone Wild: Ancient Alexandria

Fluffs - This exchange appears in every single scene...
"Don't betray me!"
"You betrayed me!"
"Give me one more chance!"

Fashion Victims –
The Legionaries in Levi jeans and bling.

Technobabble –
"I am your Emperor! I keep the peace whilst the debates go on, I push the debate neither to one side nor the other! If I have to reroute the internal cappuccino flow by multiplying the first twenty prime numbers with omicron particles to keep the empire together, then so be it!!"

Links and References -
Peri complains about how Eminem ruins the quasi-historical story they appeared in, like "The Eyes of Scorpius", "Doctor Who Wrecks Disney World" and "The Spoof of the World".

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor actually owns Alexandria, since he paid sixteen euros for it on a low-bandwidth website in 3974.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The cut sequence from Doctor Who Confidential about Big Finish and particular Gay Russell’s long, drawn out rant about why people should fork out fifteen quid for this rubbish every month and be damned grateful for the opportunity.

Dialogue Disasters -

Eminem: I forgot that there's more to being a leader than ideals. There is also dissecting your opponents with blunt knives and dancing in their entrails! That’s the best bit!

Doctor: We already know what happens here. So you can't change history!
Eminem: Oh yes I can!
Doctor: Oh no you can't!
Eminem: Oh yes I can!
Doctor: Oh no you can't!
Eminem: YES – I – CANNN!!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: Eminem, there are certain events that shape history to such an extent that if they are changed, everything that follows must change. This is one of those moments... SO PUT THE MACHINE GUN DOWN!!

Eminem: I have seen too much oppression!
Peri ...but Eminem, you’re the one doing the oppressing!
Doctor: Really Peri, must you be so pedantic?!

Doctor: The Christian Church is powerful from this point on. Change that and you change the world. So STOP THROWING THOSE GRENADES AROUND!

Viewer Quotes -

"I can imagine people failing to enjoy this because it is so much more complex and thoughtful than the Big Finish norm, but then, I’m a snob."
- Pat "Snob" Williams (2004)

"I would have liked to have explored the character of Fausta further. The character is rather underused. It would have been nice for her to delve into Peri’s hot pink shorts a bit deeper."
- Charles Daniels (2005)

"Hmm. I hated it. Screw you all." - Concise DW Reviews (2006)

"No monsters? No spaceships? No time paradoxes? No chance!"
- Dave Restal spends his money wisely for once (2005)

"Listen to the Pope: stop it or you’ll go blind!" - Max Gillies (2006)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Eminem started the conflict in the Middle East! THE TRUTH IS THERE!"

Peter Davison Speaks!
"I’m not particularly religious, but I often wonder if, perhaps, appearing in a work where the council of the Christian Church are machine gunned to death in slow motion by an insane Egyptian woman from three centuries in the past, might have some kind of long term consequences for my immortal soul. But given the number of priests I’ve played... well, non-evil, non-possessed, nice priests... well, those two occasions surely balance it out at the end of the day. And who’s to judge me? Saint Peter? Us Peters have to stick together, you know..."

Nicola Bryant Speaks!
"The Council of Niceties was my favorite story that year. We need more stories where a bunch of bigot pedophilic closeted homosexuals are unable to downplay the role of women in the life of Jesus and turn Mary Magdelene into a prostitute because Doctor Who blows them all up. As the Lord said, 'Fuck em if they can't take a joke.'"

Caroline Morris Speaks!
"I can imagine people were appalled that Eminem would turn her back on the Doctor and Peri so severely for a cause she has only just heard about, but I found her strength of character and morals extremely impressive, rather than her psychotic stupidity irritating. She has a mind of her own, it just happens not to work very all. Eminem is repulsively priggish, abusive and treacherous to her friends and, fundamentally, an ignorant hypocrite; espousing a cause she had neither understanding of nor connection to. She rocks!"

Rumors & Facts -

It takes a great deal of skill to turn something as dry as the philosophical/doctrinal intrigues of early Christianity into a well-structured audio play that interests and entertains, and The Council of Niceties proves not even Big Finish can manage it.

When Russell T Davies announced to all an sundry he would steer his new TV series of Doctor Who afar away full-blown historical stories since they were utterly boring and by definition could not support the presence of his greatest creation, the Moxx of Baloon.

Thus, Big Finish immediately realized they had a possible edge over the new, flashy and disturbingly popular TV series and immediately decided on a wave of historicals – but after the first story, set in 2003, enthusiasm rapidly dwindled as it became clear that historicals were incredibly dull and boring. Worse, since only NEW writers were being allowed to pen stories for Big Finish, there were no old hands to attempt something set earlier than the creation of mp3 players.

Worse, it rapidly became obvious that the only idea anyone had for a historical story involved cryptic mentions from Leonardo da Vinci about Bill Clinton’s sex life and an albino monk serial killer, entitled "The Lewinski Code".

Meanwhile Caroline Symcox, the wife of Paul "Shagger" Carnall, who had cowritten the Eighth Doctor story Reasons to Care. While her husband was busy penning a Ninth Doctor episode called Death Day for RTD and Oxford University had handed over a doctorate in return for some spoilers, Symcox was at a loose end and offered her services turning her theological studies into a hard core historical Doctor Who story which was NOT based on Dan Brown’s bestseller.

Gay Russell was eager but pointed out that the revelation the titular council were actually Wondarks from the Waateh Galaxy interfering in a fourth-century theological crisis didn’t QUITE count as a "hard core historical". He was also annoyed at Symcox’s incredible arrogance in wanting to write for the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Eminem rather that been arbitrarily handed them.

Unfortunately, it became obvious that the plot itself boiled down to the Doctor and Eminem shouting at each other "Changing history is BAD!", so it was decided to rip off Eminem’s second story Doctor Who Wrecks Disney World and simply have this psychotic Pharaoh go on a machine gun rampage which would neatly pad out the episodes and also help Caroline Morris deal with her sexual frustration.

Symcox agreed and the final draft different from the finished product in only one respect – Constantine was revealed, in fact, to be Scarry, the Jackingoff Door-to-Door Salesman from the Fourth Doctor story, "Paris Sucks!"

Russell refused point blank on the grounds that not only was Scarry the copyright of a confused gestalt of Douglas Adams, Graham Williams and David Fisher – and since two of them were dead, that just made it even MORE difficult – but that the careful balancing of plot between the church factions would be compromised if one side turned out to be a hideous green-skinned Cyclops with a fetish for cutlery.

Symcox suggested they use Scarry’s alter-ego, Count Carlos Dracula, and maybe have him marry Eminem, to provide the story with genuinely high stakes; since these were supposed to be missing adventures, Eminem had to leave at some point, and her fate remained an open book.

Russell refused point blank the idea of an Eminem/Dracula shipper fic ever being made under his leadership of the company, little realizing that the strange hobgoblin known as Nicholas Briggs was listening intently and making notes in a strange, childlike scrawl...

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