Serial 6C/A – The Band of the Dead
The Band of the Dead
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Motorhead
Serial 6C/A – The Band of the Dead -
Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor and Nyssa are just recovering from a three-day marathon sex session which is interrupted when the room around them shakes – unfortunately, it's just a kamikaze air pilot colliding with the police box floating in mid-air over Alaska.
Determined to track the pilot and swap insurance details, the Doctor tries to follow in the TARDIS and is surprised to discover the police box hasn't moved a bloody inch, merely leapt forward to 1994. Nevertheless, the Time Lord refuses to give up on his insane quest and heads off into the bleak snow for the pilot – or at least his descendents – and maybe even contact the police. Nyssa suspects that the sudden sexual activity has warped the Doctor's mind. Then she remembers the guy in the scarf and counts her blessings.
The time travelers encounter a half-finished open-air rock festival and are promptly attacked by a hairy hippy who has been waiting for the music to start for three decades. As they flee for cover in the refreshments tent, a second stoner joins the chase, and what little light the Doctor is able to shed on them convinces him that his pursuers are not related to the pilot of the plane.
Inside the ticket booth, Monica Lewinski is working feverishly to contact some up-and-coming rock bands in order to complete her music festival, which she started in 1964 to get an edge on the proposed Woodstock event. She hasn't managed to get it off the ground for thirty years, but she hopes this will make victory all the sweeter.
Just then, the Doctor and Nyssa arrive – the former investigating the possibility that Monica was piloting a light air craft in 1964, the latter collapsing from exposure. She really should have put some clothes on before leaving the TARDIS, but I can't honestly complain. Luckily, the Doctor knows the quickest way to warm Nyssa up and begins immediately.
Monica is delighted to get some new visitors, as the old ones have now gone utterly insane and are prowling the ice fields for food. She explains she was hoping to fly over the Eflin Diggers as the opening act, some thirty years ago, and is rather annoyed they have yet to turn up. The Doctor, bored, turns and wanders off with Nyssa as Monica sits on the floor, babbling about T-shirt vendors and toilet facilities.
As the Doctor searches for a convenient landing pad for light aircraft, Nyssa starts claiming she has a headache – just as they find some more hairy groupies climbing down the chimney. Thinking quickly, the Doctor lights a roaring fire and the duo wander off, leaving the hippies to their unpleasant fate. Nyssa insists that a more permanent solution is needed, but the Doctor waves away the idea. He suggests she make herself useful by using her expertise in bio-electrics to cure her own damn headache while he continues the search for the plane.
Nyssa storms off and the Doctor decides to cut the crap and simply blame Monica for the air collision. He heads for her and quickly starts demanding recompense. Monica meekly offers a cup of tea and the Doctor immediately accepts – until she mentions that the Elfin Diggers were riding a yellow number 7 plane and the Doctor immediately realizes that a middling pop group will be better to blackmail than this lonely old trout who only gets famous for not sleeping with Bill Clinton.
Suddenly, a huge furball bursts into the tent. The Doctor realizes too late that it was originally one of the hippy's pet sheep that hasn't been sheared in three decades and has turned into a gigantic sphere of dirty wool. Luckily, the creature has no real maneuverability and cannot hurt them, so the Doctor and Monica walk out, completely unharmed. The Doctor heads for a nearby pay phone and rings up Nyssa to see if she still has a headache. She has.
The Doctor flings the phone at Monica and sighs, depressed. He decides to go back to the TARDIS and begin stalking the Elfin Diggers with intent to sue them for dangerous piloting of an air craft. On the way, however, he is beaten and mugged by some more flower people and tied to a spit over a roaring fire. Resigned to his fate, the Doctor starts singing campfire songs as the hippies start roasting him.
At the last moment, Monica arrives and saves him using the complicated method of beating them over the head with throw rugs. The rescued Doctor insists they must kill all the hippies and burn them - if they escape and establish a colony out on the ice and begin breeding, there will be no stopping them. Suddenly, the hippies drag forth their 'spirit guide' to protect them – Nyssa, sans clothes.
At this point, Monica shakes her head and insists that they should all have a nice cold shower – perhaps with some 500 thousand gallons of Arctic sea water, perhaps? The Doctor suggests some expensive polymer paint and tells Monica to walk for miles through the cold pitch darkness of the Alaskan night while soaking wet and surrounded by murderous hippies. Which, you know, is admittedly an option.
Monica decides to consider her options, while the increasingly desperate Doctor tries to throw the dead hippies at the living ones to make them think they are under attack from their own kind, but it's of no use because it's heart-breakingly pathetic.
Monica suggests luring the hippies into the refreshment tent and then setting fire to it when Nyssa explains the hairy figures aren't wannabe spectators for the indefinitely postponed rock festival, but are actually the first band – the Eflin Diggers!
The lead hippy explains that during the thirty year delay, Ralph the drummer read this really freaky book called The Tibetan Book of the Dead and the band has changed its name to The Band of Dead ever since. The Doctor immediately demands compensation for their mid-air collision in episode one and is brutally reminded of the police box's faux instruction panel:
"If this capsule's a rockin'
Don't come a knockin'"
Scowling, the Doctor grabs Nyssa. Then, slightly relieved, he returns to the TARDIS, leaving Monica to begin the first broadcast of The Band of the Dead, live from AlaskaStock – LIVE!
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who - Lust In A Cold Climate
Dr. Who Discovers The Alaskan Book of the Dead
The Hungry, Hungry Hippies Boardgame
Inexplicably, Monica seems to remark that the Doctor and Nyssa are a "couple of mad ravens!".
The hippies are glowing a lovely shade of sea blue in the last scene.
Nyssa creates a makeshift spectroscope using "ion bondage gear".
Links and References -
Upon learning where they've arrived, Nyssa asks the Doctor "Is Alaska near where we left Tegan?" and the Doctor replies "Hopefully not, Nyssa. It'd be just typical if we arrived on the ONE place on Earth that Tegan happens to be having a naughty weekend!"
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor describes Enya's adventure to find Alaska, although he may have been present and acting as the tea boy.
Groovy DVD Extras -
Three unscreened songs by the Band of the Dead, "Baking Alaska", "The Titanic Go Down" (one for Monica, there), and "The Laughable Lament (of the Doctor and Nyssa)".
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: Nyssa! We must do it!
Nyssa: Doctor, I've got a headache.
Monica: Why don't you have a cold shower or something?
Doctor: Oh, really? How long a shower would you suggest?
Monica: Five hundred thousand gallons of water should do it!
Doctor: Maybe we should take off all our clothes while we're at it?
Nyssa: Keep this up and I'm going to join Monica hiding under the bed!
Doctor: Oh. Can I watch?
Monica: Have you ever eaten beaver, Nyssa?
Nyssa: What do you mean? The traditional food of the Koyakun?
Dialogue Triumphs -
Nyssa: Are you lost?
Doctor: We know this is Alaska.
Nyssa: Do we?
Doctor: Yes. Nyssa, I'm a Time Lord, with an intuitive connection with the whole of linear time itself, the vastness of space is no obstacle to likes of a being of my power.
Nyssa: Are you lost?
Doctor: A bit.
The Doctor's constant and impolite hints at wanting to be let off the spit constantly end up having him do it himself.
Doctor: Shall we risk a look?
Doctor: Good, here we go th—- What do you mean, "Yes"?
Nyssa: I mean "Yes, let's risk a look".
Doctor: Oh. All right. Just a bit unusual to have a companion that
doesn't constantly argue and hassle me and bring me down.
Nyssa: You're missing Tegan, aren't you?
Doctor: I need to get back to the TARDIS and check up trivia on the systems internal computer.
Monica: Every home should have one.
Doctor: Oh, they will – but I doubt it will be used for anything except low-resolution pornography.
Monica: You're dressed for a game of sex-cricket, I see.
Nyssa: Yes, sadly called off. Due to frostbite.
Doctor: Aww, Nyssa, don't be a spoilsport!
Doctor: An ancient force to fight an ancient threat.
Monica: An ancient force, by which you mean...?
Doctor: Throw rugs.
Monica: And an ancient threat means?
Doctor: They broke my headlight!! You don't just FORGIVE that, do you?
Doctor: I warn you, hippies, if you harm Nyssa I'll hunt you down and I'll promptly break your arms, your legs, your collar bones and your clavicles! I'll slice off your fingers and toes, one by one, then jam hypodermic needles filled with lemon juice into your eyeballs! Do you know what I'm going to do to your ears? Nothing, that's what! Your ears will be perfect and you'll be able to hear every shudder and giggle as you walk throughout the world a miserable, disfigured freak...
Hippy: Whoa. Someone has issues, dude.
Viewer Quotes -
"Band of the Dead has an irritating villain, an irritating supporting female, an irritating native and an irritating Doctor. No wonder Nyssa has a headache. This is the most irritating story EVER! And we all know what fixes irritation, don't we, boys and girls?"
- Calamine Lotion International (2000)
"Who on Earth thought that a story where the Doctor is more interested in getting insurance details from a small plane more interesting that non-stop sex with Nyssa was a good idea?? I mean, the STUPID, STUPID bastard! And when the little girl from Traken started claiming she had a headache... well, *I* cried!" - Nigel Verkoff (2003)
"With great cliffhangers, a small but well chosen cast and a simple yet enjoyable plot, Band Of The Dead is probably the strongest Doctor Who story to come from Big Finish."
- Albert Robins (1999 - in the days when there were only four Big Finish releases in the whole damn world)
"In many ways, my reaction to Band of the Dead is nearly identical to
Fan & Phantasmagoria. So I'll just cut and paste that and save some time and effort. Am I practical or what?"
- John Merrick (2000)
"Did you know that Big Finish were placed on this Earth by a malevolent race from another planet as part of a larger plan to wage a terrible war upon us. The deadly purpose that lays at the heart of Big Finish is to drain the best creative minds in the world of Doctor Who in an attempt to think of novel ways of going about it. Seriously, I've seen Gay Russell peel off his rubber mask to make their decisions known! Two words, dude, two terrible words: 'funky... robots'..."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (1999)
"The original title for The Band of the Dead was actually Panadol, but that was rejected because it had nothing to do with the story. And it sounded like that pain-killer. Panadol."
- no idea who actually said this, it's just one of the many anonymous tip-offs I find on my voicemail.
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I used to play for the Elfin Diggers – until the drummer saw me sacrificing roadies to the Liquid God Ashgotoroth. What can I say? There were creative differences, and after a few rounds of sub-machine gun fire, I left with their heads held high."
Peter Davison Speaks!
"It was great to be back with Sarah Sutton again. She was the companion I thought worked so well with my Doctor – she has this sort of bland indifference as she wanders through life. I mean, if it weren't for the fact she was with Adric and Tegan, you wouldn't have noticed she existed. But I'm glad to be able to work with her – I was afraid she might have taken my farewell speech to her the wrong way, as I was stupid enough to put inflection into my voice. Might as well have danced naked in front of her reading passages from James Joyce's Ulysses backwards. It was dreadfully embarrassing."
Rumors & Facts -
The fourth Big Finish release was determined to be a Fifth Doctor in order to keep a balance of Fifth/Sixth Doctor stories until Sylvester McCoy managed to navigate his way to the studios and finally turned up for work in The Fishmonger.
Unfortunately, it was at this point it became clear to Jason Haigh-Ellery and Gay Russell that 98% of all Fifth Doctor stories featured Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka – and actress who had already slaughtered sixteen Big Finish personnel for mentioning 'Doctor Who' in her presence. Thus, the possibility of her resuming her role as Tegan – or letting her client Paul McGann return as the Eighth Doctor – was so low as to be non existent.
There was only one possible gap in continuity in the Fifth Doctor's life and they'd already used 'the-rather-long-afternoon-between-Erection-of-the-Dustbins-and-Mammaries-of-Fire'. As this was back in the dark days when ANYONE in Big Finish gave a rat's arse about continuity, it looked like the Fifth Doctor's adventures were about to be tragically curtailed...
How did they get out of this? How should I know? Those stupid goblins keep stealing copies of The Official Big Finish Guide whenever I order the damn things, and this stupid CD came out before the stoned wasters at DWM were even accepting the things as canon! I have sod all information about who wrote this, where they wrote it, how they wrote it and how much they got paid. All I know is that they succeeded.
Well, apart from the Tegan Jovanka/Monica Lewinski thing...