Sunday, September 20, 2009

5th Doctor - The Destroyer of Delights

Serial 6Q/K2C2 – Key 2 Chicken: The Djinn of Denial
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Meh

Serial 6Q/K2C2 – Key 2 Chicken: The Djinn of Denial -

Dear readers, through the time-worn device of the recap, we shall now take you back to last time, so that you may get a sense of just how incredibly demented this series is getting. I mean, what's the point, I ask you? Just another useless exercise in... oh god, I’ve just fallen in the water. And not a moment too soon! Let us away!

Ahem. In the previous installment of The Key 2 Chicken miniseries (AKA "I Like Bananas On My Morning Cereal" trilogy in thirty-seven parts) the Doctor and Vince Noir were left to face certain and ignoble doom aboard an out-of-control space ship about the explode when they are rather inappropriately saved by the Black Guardian, manifestation of all pure evil, hatred and darkness. So selflessly rescuing folk in such a manner is really rather unusual.

The Black Guardian is, for his part, mightily pissed off that Grace Bros are employing the Doctor to collect the new ingredients for the Key to Chicken – especially as the self same organization turned down the Black Guardian without even ONCE looking at his resume of eternal damnation and torment!

This is just one of many jobs the Black Guardian has failed to get and he’s beginning to suspect its his negative stereotypical image people seem to project just because he goes round encouraging chaos, villainy, death and destruction. The White Guardian is a total bastard in love with law, bureaucracy and red tape... but everyone likes him because of the doddery old Colonel Sanders PR persona!

The Doctor admits that, yes, chaos and change are actually far more interesting and appealing... but he still finds the Black Guardian embarrassingly camp and will continue to oppose him out of blind prejudice. The duck on the head still looks stupid, anyway.

The Black Guardian admits it was a poor fashion choice but his mighty reservoir of dark magicks is running rather low rather fast, and he simply can’t waste his fading powers on a fashion budget. The thing is, for reasons of dramatic impetus, the final ingredients MUST be found in chronological order... which is a pity since no one throughout the entire cosmos can find the ninth and tenth secret herbs and spices.

Just then, the Black Guardian’s power gets even weaker, and all three are forced to teleport themselves out of the ship as it explodes in a blaze of cheap-ass pyrotechnics. The trio appear at the River Nile in 9th Century Sudan, the volcano planet Murphax VII, the ice forests of Alpha III and a wet weekend in Ramsgate due to confusion of what exactly is the CSO backdrop.

The Black Guardian despairs at what the remaining ingredients could be – grains of sand from Sardinia, the teeth of a leopard, a blob of molten lava, or even an atom of snot... whatever it is, if it doesn’t give the zingy flavor to KFC, it’s game over, man! GAME FUCKING OVER!

The Doctor is rather embarrassed that the embodiment of chaos hasn’t, you know, tried something less methodical and suggests they just pick a totally random destination and hope they improbably get lucky before the onset of entropy and customer dissatisfaction begins!

The Black Guardian concedes this is a brilliant idea and dumps the Doctor in the middle of a Sudanese desert where he immediately enslaved by a violent alcoholic bandit called Hasan who is on a pub crawl to the city of Dunkoala. Hasan proves to not only be a complete prick, but suicidally insane to boot as he would rather asphyxiate in a sand storm than hide inside a tent like a wuss. He’s such a git random people like the Caliph’s soldiers fire arrows at him and soon the Doctor is going to be executed simply for associating with the tosser.

Though far from eager to die, the Doctor can see where the soldiers are coming from.

Luckily the Legate of the Caliph turns up and saves the Doctor’s life – and the Doctor recognizes this agent of law is none other than Colonel Sanders, AKA the White Guardian! And he’s mightily pissed off that the Doctor has been cheating on him with the Black Guardian, whether time itself is collapsing or not – even though this same thing is what has reduced the godlike White Guardian to a puny 4-D human hatchet man for a weedy despot.

The Doctor laughs in Colonel Sanders’ face, steals his camel and rides off to Dunkoala. He doesn’t have a plan beyond enjoying the sordid pleasures of this backward kingdom before the Caliph soldiers storm the place and kill everyone for tax evasion. But since the entire universe itself is ending... what the hell?

His easily-forgotten companion Vince Noir, meanwhile has ended up in Dunkoala itself and, being mistaken for a slave girl, a lifestyle to which Vince becomes accustomed to disturbingly quickly. Indeed, Prince Omar is instantly taken by Vince’s beauty, and tries to pull using the old "Hey, doll, you know Ali Baba and his 40 thieves? I’m the next generation baby!" chat up line.

For once, however, it’s true and Omar’s dad IS Lord Cassim Ali Baba who is great pals with some big ugly alien calling himself Djinn Volkswagen. Djinn is actually the one hoarding all the taxes that has brought Dunkoala to the brink of invasion and bloodshed. But this is just another symptom of the nihilistic ennui you find in 9th century Sudan nowadays, so what can you do?

Vince conveniently overhears this staggeringly handy bit of incriminating exposition and idly wanders into Djinn’s spaceship which just happens to be identical to the one in Quatermass and the Pit. Ali Baba enters the spaceship and Vince twigs that the famous historical figure happens to look exactly like the Black Guardian and breaks the fourth wall by noting to the audience that this might possibly be relevant to future adventures.

Djinn insists there still isn’t enough gold and the Black Guardian tells him to get used to it because the alien bastard’s got ALL the gold in the kingdom and the Legate is on his way to kill them all because of it. Luckily, Djinn keeps a weapon of mass destruction (the Nitro-9 Party Pack Collateral Damage Assortment) for just these sorts of emergencies, and Vince pads out the story by being chased by an insane security robot from the spaceship.

The Doctor finally turns up at the palace and bumps into Prince Omar at the local brothel, and oddly enough also encounters Djinn at the very same bordello of ill-repute. All three are rather embarrassed by this chance meeting, especially when Ali Baba/the Black Guardian wanders in with his trousers down. Then it just gets plain awkward.

After a long, painful silence, the Black Guardian passes round a hookah and explains that he may have abandoned the Doctor to his fate and done little to prevent the destruction of the universe but, you know, he IS supposed to be evil incarnate. It just felt weird trying to save all of creation, and it was a lot easier flogging gold to fuel Djinn Volkswagen’s space ship.

The Doctor announces that all eternity now depends on the outcome of these events - they’re not really fighting over tax in a desert kingdom, they’re fighting for victory over all time. One of them will perish, but with reality winding down, the other will discover he is the master of nothing but ruins!

"Really?" asks the Black Guardian, stunned.

"Well, maybe not, but it SOUNDS good, doesn’t it?" the Doctor argues. "And Rassilon knows we need a justification for this drivel!"

Vince wanders in at this point, having somehow found the value bucket with the eight other Keys to Chicken and incredibly happy and cheerful. In comparison to his normal sunshine child manner, anyway.

The fashion slave suggests they all just surrender to the Legate and be really nice and friendly to one another and – for want of a better idea – the Doctor, the Black Guardian, Prince Omar, Djinn and the rest of the speaking cast all agree.

Nisrin notes that the Legate will have collected all the taxes from the other kingdoms first and will thus have huge amounts of gold on his person, and it strikes the Black Guardian it’d be cool to just PRETEND to be friends, kill the Caliph’s soldiers, steal the gold and use it to fix Djinn’s spacecraft and then get the hell out of here.

True, it WILL start a war and plunge the entire region into chaos, but the Black Guardian points out that this IS his purpose in life and it’s hardly fair to condemn him for going with the flow, is it?

The Doctor announces that he’s in one hell of a mood and no amount of reason, logic, patience, understanding or finest 9th century hashish will convince him otherwise. He announces he will stop the Black Guardian at any cost... only to twig slightly too late that the Black Guardian is Ali Baba, ruler of Dunkoala and has a thousand soldiers at his beck and call. Five seconds later, the Time Lord is stripped, blindfolded and hanging upside down in a cell.

"Bugger," he notes.

Luckily, the Doctor is allowed conjugal visits and Nisrin is able to smuggle him out of the cell in her translucent flared pants without anyone noticing (coz it’s on audio and thus no one was looking) and, stealing that damn camel again, races off into the desert to stop Vince, Omar and the White Guardian getting blown up.

Not that I, or indeed anyone, cares.

Luckily, Djinn is so wasted he can’t shoot straight, and succeeds in repeatedly blowing up a patch of sand sixty metres to the right of everyone he was aiming at. For hours.

Finally the Black Guardian gets bored and wanders out to join in with the conversation and, after some camp bitching at the White Guardian, realizes none of them have any clue what to do now.

Vince suddenly twigs that Djinn is played by Ricky Gervais, snaps his neck and turns him into a jug of Absinthe-flavored Kool-Aide and a curiously-buttock-shaped peach. "That wasn’t so difficult, now was it?" Vince points out much to the shame and humiliation of everyone else.

Djinn’s spaceship then explodes to break up the tedium, Nisrin and Omar finally resolve the sexual tension between them, the TARDIS falls out of the sky to land conveniently nearby and the Doctor and Vince bugger off to finish this mediocre story arc once and for all, leaving the two Guardians hanging around in the desert being useless.

Of course, regular readers of that wholly remarkable tome, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, will recognize that these events will, by means of a rather shameful accident involving some rogue tachyons, a crate of gefelte fish, and a thoroughly startled iguana, be sexed up and several millennia later be turned into a box-office-hit Disney animation called Ali Baba And His 40 Thieves.

For further information, please go and get stuffed.

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Discovers Djinn & Tonic
Caliph-ornia, Here I Come!
Ailing Guardians Say The Funniest Things!

Goofs –
Someone decided that the two most powerful beings in all of creation, rivals throughout known reality, should become two screaming queens having a handbag fight. I dunno what this says about the author, the actors, society or myself... but it’s just plain embarrassing. Why even write another Key to Chicken story if you spend the whole thing dismissing the original as cliched rubbish and aren’t willing to play the game properly? ANSWER ME THAT!

Vince can name the stars, recognizes robots, understands technology as fully as he does traditional Arabian garb, he knows a door from an airlock, a starship from a cave, but for some reason does not know one thing: what a mop is. WHY!?!

If "blue" means "black" in the Sudan culture, how can Prince Omar threaten to beat Vince black AND blue?!?

The Vizier WASN’T evil???

Fashion Victims –
Vince in the belly dancing outfit that shows off his appendix scar.

Technobabble –
The Black Guardian casts the Doctor and Vince through time and space by "the tried-and-tested cardboard-and-string replica of fast-forwarding through the narrative" expulsion matrix by extrapolating from Einstein’s theory of relativity and by "dint of a smegload of pure guesswork".

Links and References -
The Black Guardian insists that getting Turlough to repeatedly assassinate the Doctor (in "Marley Undead", "Terminal" and "Entitlement") wasn’t the passionate blood vendetta it appeared to be and actually the man in black was just going through a period of very low self esteem.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Fourth Doctor met Aladdin once in a story coincidentally by the same author in Short Trips: The Goats of Christmas which the cast break completely out of character and recommend you buy at once for yet MORE Arabian Nights frippery. Or else.

Groovy DVD Extras -
Brian Williamson’s incredibly graphic illustrations. Does he actually get paid to do those or is it some kind of therapy?

Dialogue Disasters -

The random commentary of the pot plant called Gertrude:
"Thankfully, no Turkish Delight was harmed during the making of this play. Diabolical ingenuity! Here, take this complimentary OBE!"

Black Guardian: Thank you. Now, having made a thorough hash of the Mad Arab character, perhaps you’ll be good enough to fall through that trap door.
(trap door sound)
Black Guardian: (pleasantly) The one you happen to be standing on, perchance? Now, let me see... how further to annoy, antagonize and general stall the hell out of things to allow the Doctor to bring a screeching halt to my evil plans? Hmm....

White Guardian: Do you have something to report, or are you here simply to make my life a living hell?
Black Guardian: We can but dream, Sherlock, we can but dream.

Nisrin: Who is the Black Guardian?
Doctor: An utter bender who considers Jack the Ripper a sissy when it comes to causing chaos and misery at the least provocation and will turn your internal organs into lawn furniture as quick as look at you.
Vince: That’s a bit harsh, Doctor.
Doctor: But basically correct.
Vince: Alas so.

Vizier: I thought for tonight’s entertainment, story-tellers...
Black Guardian: Not more about willy merchants and dark-eyed slave girls? Try and keep it to a minimum, eh?
Vizier: Ape-dancers? Bear-leaders? Popular with the soldiers!
Black Guardian: More performing animals? Oh... if you must...
Vizier: Some jugglers?
Black Guardian: Juggling what?
Vizier: Balls. Probably.
Black Guardian: Can’t they juggle something else?
Vizier: what?
Black Guardian: Each other?
Vizier: We have acrobats, too.
Black Guardian: Fine!
Vizier: And a troupe who perform tricks with human wind.
Black Guardian: ...I beg your pardon?
Vizier: They are professional farters, my lord.
Black Guardian: And that’s a profession?!
Vizier: Indeed it is.
Black Guardian: I despair of the arts. This is the last time I appear as a guest-judge on The X Factor, that’s for sure!

Doctor: Why are you saving my life? Time and time again you have done nothing but tried to destroy me!
Black Guardian: Oh one time! And that was a joke!
Doctor: A joke?!
Black Guardian: Good Lord, man, did you think I was honestly trying to kill you? Perish and forfend! That would be NAUGHTY!

Vince: How about you and me getting it together later?
White Guardian: The only way you and I will ever get anything together is if I hack you to bits and there’s some spare glue around.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Nisrin: Prince Omar belongs to me!
Vince: Ang about, aren’t you HIS slave?
Nisrin: Yeah, so?
Vince: So YOU belong to him, not the other way round.
Nisrin: Details, details!

Omar: Now, I know what you all must be thinking...
Vince: Yeah. How DOES a mouse get hold of leather underpants after early-closing time?
Omar: ...go away.

Doctor: Let’s see you eight feet tall and spitting with the voice of a God! You’re stuck in that body like you’re stuck on this planet, you’re stuck in five dimensions, you’re stuck in five boring old dimensions like the rest of us! You’re a slave of time! You’re having to experience the universe through human eyes!
White Guardian: Lah-lah-lah, I can’t hear you...

Black Guardian: Well, what do you make of it, Djinn?
Djinn: A piece of string. It’s very useful, you know.
Black Guardian: No, no. I meant, our current evil scheme?
Djinn: Ah. As evil schemes go, it’s right up there.
Black Guardian: Where?
Djinn: On the shelf, just next to the cocoa tin.

Viewer Quotes -

"Typical Big Finish timing; panto season was three months ago!"
- Cameron J Mason shows no mercy (2009)

"I didn’t realize that it was a proper historical and not an Arabian Nights pastiche, but apparently there really WERE aliens in Sudan over a thousand years ago and the embodiment of pure evil really IS a chubby-faced cheeky chappie with a duck on his head. You learn something new every day, don’t you?"
- Gullibility Brown (2009)

"I won’t pass judgement as yet, but I may pass water. Anything to end this misery!!"
- Weak-Bladdered Eric (2008)

"Call me obsessive compulsive but I hate uneven episode lengths and need to be physically restrained if episodes aren’t all the exact same length. The laudanum just doesn’t help any more!"
- Kyle Endicott (2018)

"The moment when the Black Guardian utters a very famous line from an
Oscar Wilde play is genius! God I’m easy to impress, aren’t I?"
- M. Hemlock (2009)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"The characterization of Vince seems to have taken a couple of back steps and fallen off the cliff - all his development from the previous story seems to have gone out the window. It’s a problem and man is it a big one. The only explanation for this new and unimproved Vince is just a complete and utter lack of communication between writer, script editors and producers in terms of the trilogy. Yeah, Clements, I think you’re shit! BRING IT ONNNNNNNN!!"

Peter Davison Speaks!
"It was very nice to have David Troughton back. Pity about the story, but you can’t have everything, can you?"

Noel Fielding Speaks!
"Wacky, wonderful and weird. But not enough! NEVER ENOUGH!"

Rumors & Facts -

"Another brilliant success. I adored it the wonderful performances and the writing, everything just clicked for me and made it a delightful romp. I’m adoring Big Finish at the moment! In my opinion, every release so far this year has been brilliant! Could this be a golden era for Big Finish?"

These are just some of the things you can say to stop being brutally murdered by the author of this audio play.

Only Big Finish stalwart Jonathon Clements (author of Immoral Bedfellows, Brave New World and anything else he claims he wrote) could have gotten away with a story of this calibre. But then, being a sadistic sexual psychopath cannibal was always going to have some perks and in his case it’s critic-proof material and no mistake.

The luxury of 100 minutes of air time was greatly appreciated by the author. He didn’t actually utilize it or do anything interesting with the extra 55 minutes, but he was very happy to be given the choice. Of course, given The Djinn of Denial is the middle story of the mini-series, you’d expect this story’s development was careful to ensure it was an entertaining and fulfilling story in its own right rather than merely a component of a larger story.

And in pretty much every respect you’d be damn well wrong.

With his usual violent contempt, Clements was displeased with the logistical baton he had been handed – a cliffhanger where the Doctor and Vince Noir are at the mercy of an infinite, powerful god. This is why the rest of the story has absolutely nothing to do with this idea; why said infinite powerful god turns into a camp twat and Bastard substitute; why another infinite powerful god is also turned into a camp twat and Brigadier substitute; and why, in the middle of universal apocalypse we get four long episodes of Ali Baba sci-fi mockery.

But, after the remains of the last person to try and script edit Clements were discovered, he was pretty much left to his own devices. It was a request they should never have granted.

Everyone agreed that after the epic chase across space and time in The Ice Cream of Judgement, a change of pace and approach was required. No one automatically assumed the change should take the form of a tedious and isolated tale set in a particularly uninteresting part of human history, but similarly no one was going to tell Clements that. Indeed, the way that the words "THE BRIGGZONS HAVE CONQUERED THE PLANET RARG" were daubed on the walls in animal blood put them right off.

Clements later confessed to one of his victims that he’d spent much of his working life writing about the historical past that a day rarely went by when he didn’t want to inflict the same depressing task on fictional characters. Why should the Doctor get to be free of human history when he could suffer it just like everyone else!

Lisa Bowerman was chosen as director, as all the other prospective options had fled the building. She was delighted, assuming the script was actually an unmade Carry On... script set in the Sahara. Or Africa. Geography was never anyone’s strongpoint. It was only after recording that Bowerman discovered who wrote it and immediately went into hiding.

Meanwhile, it was discovered that the actors who played the Guardians had died over 20 years ago and not even threats from Clements could get them to participate in the audio play. Eventually David Troughton and Jason Watkins volunteered to stop Clements throwing a wounded moose into a handy cement mixer.

Anyway, I’ll end the entry there as to go into any further detail would simply increase the chances of Johnny Boy noticing this, hunting me down and killing me in cold blood. He’s like that. Just can’t take a joke, some people...

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