Saturday, September 19, 2009

5th Doctor - Creatures of Beauty

Serial 6C/F – Teachers of Footy
Teachers of Footy
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Offside

Serial 6C/F – Teachers of Footy -

While the Doctor and Nyssa are spending the afternoon trying to fix the Transdimensional Sony Trinatron Total Image Screen, the TARDIS materializes in the heritage listed Veal system, where alien species are banned from entering until the local life form develops to the point where it can control its own bodily functions.

Suddenly, the rather convenient and seldom-used 'Oregano Alarm' activates, sensing a leak from a Meathook garbage ship dumping stuff on a Veal moon so the garbage crew can knock off early. The TARDIS inexplicably refuses to function with oregano around, and promptly strikes the garbage ship and sends it hurtling into the atmosphere of Veal Prime, spreading oregano all over the planet.

Sick of these in-flight collisions, the Doctor sends the inexplicably-working TARDIS a century into the future and lands on Veal Prime. The air still smells of herbs, but the Doctor insists its perfectly safe to
breathe for short periods. The police box has arrived in a beautiful garden surrounding a manner house and the Doctor decides to drop in, ask for a cup of sugar and give a lofty homily about the dangers of using oregano as a fuel source.

Bored, Nyssa hangs around the TARDIS until she see a hand beckoning her behind a bush with a sign saying FREE MONEY & SEX!! Nyssa investigates an attractive-looking woman who suddenly stabs herself in the stomach and smashes her head against a tree three times before bleeding all over Nyssa and expiring. With impeccable timing, the police arrive. With impeccable insight, the police jump to the wrong conclusion. With impeccable violence, they beat the crap out of Nyssa.

The Doctor, meanwhile, is knocking on the door to the manor when he is promptly arrested by two armed men, Marilyn and Monroe, who have also stolen the TARDIS on the orders of the house's owner, Lady Vanoverdyke. The Doctor quickly realizes that Marilyn and Monroe have mistaken him for someone else, and thus dubs himself 'Angus McNugget' to remain incognito. He is rather put out to learn that everyone on the planet knows about the dangers of oregano, which ruins his main conversation point and creates a lot of awkward silences.

For want of a topic, the Doctor boasts he's an alien and, though he could be mistaken, his alien girlfriend has just been beaten up by the cops and dragged off in a van. Lady Vanoverdyke explains that she has come up with a revolutionary new way of saving the Veal race from terminal oregano poisoning – football. Somehow, thinking about football stops the Vealoid's immune system from collapsing. However, it also causes them to go on a self-destructive prostitution orgy – hence the nutter responsible for Nyssa's arrest and torture.

At the last moment, the Doctor uses his Galactic Driver's License to prove he is not a member of the Meathook race – which is, to the discerning eye, totally obvious as Meathooks resemble a walking Christmas Tree. Vanoverdyke's scientific advisor Quirk, explains that while Meathooks are generally despised and blamed for the ultimate extinction of the Veal race after deliberately poisoning the atmosphere, few have actually bothered to find what they look like.

The Doctor begins to correct Quirk about the real nature of the oregano poisoning, but decides to let that one go. In the meantime he politely asks to use Vanoverdyke's multiple riches and resources to stage a daring Mission: Impossible-style rescue of Nyssa.

Guess what? She agrees!

After, of course, ringing up her Phoneline Psychic Aid, which speaks with a distinctive Meathook accent. However, when the Doctor points this out, Monroe kicks him savagely in the groin.

After some cosmetic improvements for her appearance on Crimewatch 4963, Nyssa is brought before a fat bloke called Crybaby who finds her defense so utterly piss-poor he's decided to write a book on her. Annoyed, she claims to be an alien and shows him her Galactic Driver's License that allows her to drive anything, anytime anywhere – which is ironic as she never actually passed the test, merely used the threat of Adric to terrify the examiner.

Crybaby immediately believes she is one of the Meathooks, the aliens responsible for the oregano fallout which is slowly but surely killing the Vealoids. Nyssa neatly sidesteps that particular issue and points out that she's from Traken. Crybaby decides Nyssa is out of her tree and heads home to get shattered on cheap gin. Nevertheless, this episode of Crimewatch is now providing more than enough evidence for the cops to raid Vanoverdyke's place.

Crybaby is on his fourth bottle of schnapps when the Doctor and Quirk arrive and torture him into helping their libertarian cause. While DI Billborough works all night coming up with a new excuse to get Nyssa executed, Crybaby helps the Doctor and Quirk complete their over-complicated under-rehearsed escape plan.

Quirk promises to drive the Doctor and Nyssa back to the TARDIS, but the Doctor's backseat driving ends up with them driving through a snowy wasteland. Finally, Quirk gives up and asks directions from a pair of Christmas trees the Doctor identifies as genuine Meathooks who are very embarrassed to be on Veal – the embargo is still on. As the Doctor is actually responsible for the ultimate extinction of the Veal, he agrees to look the other way just this once.

Meanwhile, Billborough storms Vanoverdyke's manor and finds a handy video diary showing the perverse 'Footy Experiments' and that she has been conspiring with a Meathook to cure the oregano disease and pray everything sorts itself out and pretend the last century never happened. Billborough is delighted, but realizes he'll have to get a new criminal psychologist after he beat Crybaby to death searching for an excuse to raid the manner.

Vanoverdyke herself and Quirk have fled to the Meathook spaceship and continue their quest to teach the Vealoids the joy of football. Billborough chases after them, but loses them in the wood of Christmas trees and decides to just go home and get wasted. Maybe it'll look different in the morning. If so, he's on the wrong planet.

The Doctor and Nyssa return to the TARDIS, the former insisting that, even if they HADN'T arrived, nothing would have changed. The girl would have killed herself anyway, providing Billborough with the excuse to raid the manner house and so on and so on. Nyssa points out the little matter of spreading oregano across the atmosphere and the Doctor tells her to shut her goddamned mouth.

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who – What An Arsehole!
Dr. Who & The Dangers of Tarragon Coloring-In Booklet
Police Procedure: "You Have The Right To Bleed To Death"

Goofs -
I'm sorry... *OREGANO* is a weapon of mass destruction??!??

Technobabble -
Not much, but can I just remind you of this goof:
*--OREGANO--* is a deadly weapon?!?!?

Links and References -
Nyssa points out they have arrived in yet ANOTHER windswept icy tundra, making it the sixth one in a row and suspects the Doctor is doing this just to get her nipples erect.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Fourth Doctor and Sarah killed a Meathook and carried its corpse to the 1978 UNIT Christmas Party.

Groovy DVD Extras -
A nifty device which places the story in chronological order. Believe me, without that little narrative conceit, I would never had tried to develop this entry.

Dialogue Disasters -

Quirk: My lady?
Vanoverdyke: Come! Urgh! Not like THAT!

Doctor: Just what did this suicidal prostitute look like?
Nyssa: Lovely nose. Lovely... everything.
Doctor: Damn. I really missed out, didn't I?

Vanoverdyke: This isn't some intellectual puzzle!
Doctor: All right then, Lady, YOU tell me how far point B is from point E, then!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Nyssa: What exactly is going on here?
Doctor: Not sure, but I *think* it's a cross between Pulp Fiction and Beauty and the Beast... and a pretty bad one, too.

Billborough: Do you know what they do to beautiful boo boos like you in the penitentiary?
Nyssa: What you do to yourself every Saturday night without fail?
Billborough: HOW DID YOU KNOW?? Er, I mean: shut it, bitch!

Viewer Quotes -

"Presumably Big Finish are getting bored with normal storytelling techniques and so are allowing experiments like this. The problem with this disjointed story construction is that by the time episode four rolls around, the audience is just waiting for the story to fill in the gaps and know exactly what is going to happen, which does rather kill any sense of expectation of development. On the other hand, the audience always know the universe ISN'T going to end in episode four and the Doctor will always survive so, I guess it's fair."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2005)

"Nyssa doesn't smoke? Damn it, man, I thought she was COOL!"
- Australian Tobacco Lobby (1987)

"So... let me get this straight. Oregano is, in fact, a type of battery acid used by alien Christmas trees seeking to make a fast buck. But it can, in fact, be cured by an unhealthy interest in football. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MAGIC OF DOCTOR WHO?"
- Harry Keaton (2003)

"Hmm. So, ugly equals evil, beautiful equals good and Christmas tree equals alien invaders from another planet. So what is an evil, beautiful Christmas tree? I think I'll just have a bit of a lie down. And maybe mug some small children."
- Institutional Sociopath Magazine (2003)

"I'm still mystified as to why the conclusion to each episode is Billborough whispering 'Football!' and thus I fear I may have missed the entire point of this play. It's a comforting thought, isn't it?"
- Robin Hood (2004)

"Hey, this CD is stuffed, man!" – Dave Restal (on first listening)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"It made perfect sense to me on first listening. What's more, it also revealed to me the secret location of El Dorado. Unfortunately, I doubt I'll be allowed anywhere near the Pope's rectum after last time."

Peter Davison Speaks!
"You know, I'm pretty certain that the story was written in a perfectly natural, linear progression. Then someone threw the script up in the air, caught the pages at random and forced us to record it."

Rumors & Facts -

Nicholas Briggs escaped from his prison of Encase the Arseholes CDs and desperately begged Big Finish to let him write another script, preferably one with the Eighth Doctor being forced to regenerate into a bald, toothbrush-wielding psychotic.

The answer, as ever, was no.

Producer Gay Russell made a crucial error the day he didn't send Briggs back to his prison. He initially believed that using Briggs constructively would mean less work and more material – indeed, two whole series of Dustbin Umpire series were ready for recording hours after his release, but it was worse.

Briggs was determined to take over Big Finish and confirm himself as the Doctor. Not the ninth, not the seventh, or an alternate second – there would be no other Doctors bar him. He started his work slowly, subtly. He decided to write a Fifth Doctor and Nyssa story – this time without the Dustbins. He wrote the story in a complicated manner and made it worse by recording scenes out of order. This meant that most of the cast and crew now constantly required his input – and he was already writer, director and sound engineer on the story.

By the time the CD was released, Briggs had starred in it as well as all the monster voices, extras and stunt double for Peter Davison. He had also completed the Dustbin Umpire series, an Unsoiled play called Revile. He was also insidiously worming his way into every other story, and Russell suddenly realized that the last three stories of the year consisted entirely of material (be it acted, written, directed or performed) of Nicholas Briggs.

In desperation, Russell banned Briggs from the Big Finish studios and, in order to make sure the bald nutter couldn't take over while his back was turned, Russell decided to take personal control over EVERY aspect of production.

This, for Big Finish, was the turning point.

No comments: