Saturday, September 19, 2009

5th Doctor - The Mutant Phase

Serial 6C/C – Dustbin Umpire III: The Mutant Phrase
The Mutant Phrase
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Xenomorphs

Serial 6C/C – Dustbin Umpire III: The Mutant Phrase -

Two Dulls in a starship are hurtling through the infinite blackness of space looking for somewhere to park, and get some nachos, ideally with adequate toilet facilities. However, planet after planet is discovered devastated, wiped out by some unknown force that leaves slime trails, dead face-hugging spiders and lots of blood clogging the lavatories.

Desperate for food and to know how the snooker's going, the Dulls Muttonchops and Anteater decide to say 'Damn it all' and return to their home planet Fargo where at least they can get some air fresheners and roll-on deodorant. They discover a queue for the Dustbin city – mostly consisting of strange insect-shark-robot creatures drooling excessively and hissing cheerfully at each other.

The Dustbin Emperor has been so starved for conversation it will even talk to two beings of the race the Dustbins were actually programmed to slaughter without mercy. Depressed, it explains that, ever since their awkward vacation on the planet Earth, things have gone downhill. Dustbin after Dustbin is inexplicably chanting 'Rozamkabhar!' before exploding to reveal the alien creatures outside.

The monsters are the antithesis of Dustbin life – they drool, slobber and secrete a horrid yellow goo that is murder to clean out of the carpets. On the bright side, the Dustbins' neutralizer blasters can slaughter the monsters without spilling any highly acidic blood – but it doesn't stop the ever increasing number of mutants and the mess that they create. The Dustbins are on the verge of extinction!

Muttonchops explains that he feels quite bad about that, but, you know, shit happens. All he wanted was some petrol and tea bags. The Dustbin Emperor snaps that, as the universe is being purged of life, soon there will be NO petrol pump or tea stall attendants.

This galvanizes Muttonchops and Anteater, and so, together they decide to get someone ELSE to do all the hard work for them. Using the Dustbins' extra-large broom handles they build a massive tower that uses the mystical powers of plot contrivance to create a time vector generator, which plucks the TARDIS out of time and space.

However, as the TARDIS is as reliable as a Spanish waiter on valium, it instead arrives in the abandoned Area 51 circa 2167 when the Earth is the thrall of aggressive Dustbin tourists. Upon finding a dead Dustman carrying a newspaper detailing the exact date and details of the invasion, the Doctor immediately explains the plot of "The Dustbin Vacation on Earth" to Nyssa, who is quite impressed as it generally takes two episodes for the Doctor to work out such obvious facts.

Determined to avoid stock footage, the Doctor and Nyssa return to the TARDIS, which was conveniently parked in the Biohazard Department of Most Disgusting Danger, which contains an alien spaceship packed with bright green eggs and a note in Andromedan saying "Hope You Die in Agony, Best Wishes From Your Nearest Neighbor".

Just as the Doctor and Nyssa leave in the TARDIS, a rather enthusiastic Dusbtin glides in and starts to tidy up the slimy, steam eggs, and one of them promptly hatches – and a face-hugging spider clamps itself over the Dustbin.

Flicking V-signs at the convulsing Dustbin on the scanner, the Doctor takes off. The TARDIS is once again caught in the time vector generator, and the Dulls promise the emperor they've got it sorted. The TARDIS lands exactly where it was on Earth, only 2000 years later. As the Dulls try and sort out a fresh excuse for the apoplectic Dustbin Emperor, Nyssa complains to the Doctor that they've landed in the fourth snow-lashed quarry since Adric died.

The Area 51 base is now the only remaining outpost of humanity in the universe, run by the inbred descendents of the Royal Family after a hoard of mutants all but wiped out life on Earth. The sole occupants, Albert, Delores and Karl the wacky German have set up a half-hearted service station in the hope some passing UFO will take them somewhere NOT covered in blizzards and homicidal monsters.

Upon encountering the Doctor and Nyssa, the trio immediately offers a complete oil change and tune-up for the TARDIS, a ham omelet and some scintillating conversation. Unfortunately Karl the wacky German is a violent alcoholic, and smashes the TARDIS console to pieces with a twelve-pound lump hammer. Nyssa beats the living crap out of Karl and tries to fix the console, while the Doctor politely asks Albert what particular brand of ecological disaster wiped out humanity.

Albert explains that humanity was just doing its thing, minding its own business when these black, spiny aliens descended from the skies like a Babylon 5 dream sequence and wiped everything out in a very messy way. The Royal Family survived by hiding in the bunker where, ironically, the Americans had kept a spaceship full of alien eggs in the first place. Via demonstration, Delores wanders into the egg field and five minutes later has been impregnated, gestated and exploded.

With a ravenous, acid-bleeding eyeless monster on the loose – and the inherent stupidity of the monarchy assured – the Doctor and Nyssa decide to run for it as Karl the wacky German and Albert are ripped into various messy bits by the mutant. However, this is when the Doctor discovers the smashed console and promptly blames Nyssa.

Luckily, the time vector generator WORKS this time and drags the TARDIS to the planet Fargo. However, the Dulls have been wasting time so much that the aliens are storming Fargo and wiping out everything in sight. The mess is driving the Dustbin Emperor to the brink of insanity and it breaks down and begs the Doctor to sort this mess out.

The Doctor retorts that the aliens mutants are mindless, destructive beasts, consuming whole civilizations and laying waste to the Universe. They're clearly better regular villains than the Dustbins, surely. However, as the Dustbin Emperor points out that the Doctor knows how to defeat the Dustbins without even breaking wind and has yet been able to face a single mutant creature without screaming and running like a girl. He must stick to the devil he knows, and the ratings they bring.

With a shrug, the Doctor and Nyssa and the Dulls pop back into the TARDIS as sad opera music plays over the death throes of the Dustbins and Fargo itself. There is now no other life in the universe bar these hideous mutant creatures. The Doctor takes in the enormity of this.

"Hey! We're the four best-dressed people in the cosmos!"

As it's no particular brain-stretcher working out what went wrong, the Doctor travels back in time and throws the Dulls to the alien ancestors of the mutant creatures. The Dulls taste like they sound and the species is dead within the year.

History shifts onto a new track and Nyssa demands to know how the hell they can have saved time if the timeline that got them to save it in the first place no longer exists. The Doctor tries to explain several times before going cross-eyed and then suddenly pretends to be distracted in fixing the damage to the console that Nyssa caused.

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Versus The Scary Fuckers
What NOT To Watch When You're Expecting
Dallas: Even WORSE Cop Out Endings

Goofs -
The Doctor and Nyssa watch "Girls Gone Wild - Lanzarote" on the scanner, but this tape is worn clean by 'Mammaries of Fire'. [Unless, of course, they watch it one HELL of a lot in the next few adventures, so who knows?]

Technobabble -
The TARDIS is wrapped in time vector generator that works by "collapsing the multiplicity of the typewriter flow".

Links and References -
Nyssa notes the last time they were in a rip off of the Alien saga, Adric was killed and hopes something similar will happen to Anteater.

Untelevised Misadventures -
A scene in episode three is quite revealing -
Doctor: Well, Emperor... It looks like we've both had a facelift since we last met.
Doctor: Yes, I get him to do my haircuts.

Groovy DVD Extras -
A free bucket, allowing you somewhere to vomit in between cliffhangers.

Dialogue Disasters -

Dustbin: Engage maximum thrust immediately!
Doctor: That's what I like to hear!

Muttonchops: I have no illusions about the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder of the Dustbins, believe me, Doctor – I read the novelization by Orange Peel and its not worth getting worked up about, even if they DO happen to find another of its missing episodes!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: No sense, no feeling, no humanity... Still, enough about Tegan.

Doctor: Show a little optimism, please Nyssa.
Nyssa: No! Never!
Doctor: OK. How about showing a little cleavage, then?

Jimi Hendrix: Congratulations, Doctor! You may qualify as the Universe's Greatest Optimist! Now... are you feeling nervous, Doctor?
Doctor: A little, Jimi.
Jimi Hendrix: Perfectly natural, Doctor. And the winner of the Universe's Greatest Optimist is... Roger Richards!
Doctor: DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! Still, on the bright side, it improves my chances next year...

Doctor: Really? And what if I prefer to die, rather than compromise history?

Doctor: That's the trouble with inferior technology built by megalomaniac machines! They work better than the TARDIS!

Muttonchops: You've got all the persuasive power of a food dispenser.
Anteater: A food dispenser with a gun.
Muttonchops: Don't be ridiculous! Food dispensers aren't allowed guns! We learned that hard lesson during the Great Vending Machine Massacre of 4973!

Nyssa: Fidelity? Never heard of it!

Viewer Quotes -

"The plot was complicated. I have spent six months surfing the Doctor Who Reference Guide, the Doctor Who Ratings Guide and Nick Briggs Is God to find out what it was all about. But the paradox thingy just left me feeling dazed and confused, like that time I drank lighter fluid because that what all the cool kids were doing. Apparently. I kinda got that one second-hand." - David Barnes (2000)

"How come The Mutant Phrase is marked 'Dustbin Umpire: Part 3'? It has nothing to do with The Apocalypse Elephant OR The Jazzercise Machine except, well, Dustbins! They've tricked me into buying these damn things by faking a story arc! BASTARDS!" - Ewen Campion-Clarke (2002)

"Easily the LEAST irritating of all the Dustbin stories yet!"
- A fan who never takes off his Cyberman outfit (2003)

"Travelling back in time, the Doctor must save the universe from a foe even the Dustbins are scared shitless of. But the Emperor has plans of its own – and then all their clothes fall off. But it's all done in the best possible taste." - Kenny Everett (1987)

- A curious sig. file I noticed one day in a chatroom (2003)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"My zombie guide told me the tale of the scorpion and the frog, but I didn't believe it. What if the frog got stung half-way through?"

Peter Davison Speaks!
"You know, I was really terrified by the Alien movies. Couldn't sleep a wink, actually. But what I thought was this – the Dustbins would kill the shit out of the Aliens in a fair fight and, heck, since I was the Doctor, I could beat them by snapping my fingers. So, I could beat the things that could beat the Aliens. Then we did this story... I think I'll leave the light on tonight."

Rumors & Facts -

It was out of sheer, exhausting desperation that Gay Russell agreed to adapt one of Nicholas Briggs' old Oddly Visual stories for Big Finish. Quite simply, he had immediately decided to begin a Dustbin Umpire trilogy without realizing that there were only two scripts available.

Briggs had been pestering Russell with his script for months, even before they managed to wrangle the rights to the Dustbins in the first place. While Mike Tucker and Steve Cole struggled to come up with interesting, thought-provoking ideas, Briggs would put a waste paper basket on his head and start running around the place screaming, "MUTANT PHRASE! MUTANT PHRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE!!" and at one point Jason Haigh-Ellery agreed to have every story called The (Something) Phrase just the shut the bastard up.

However, there was an... ahem... last-minute mix-up with the printers, and so The Jazzercise Phrase and The Apocalypse Phrase went out under their original names.

The Mutant Phrase started life as a badly-drawn comic strip written by the teenage Nicholas Briggs starring the teenage Nicholas Briggs as the Doctor, clad in his usual space anorak and carrying a toothbrush. The story consisted of the lone Doctor arriving in a quarry and, after exploring for twenty seconds, finds that the Dustbins have tapeworm.

The comic strip was never completed, mainly because there are some ideas that even Briggs will admit are crap.

The next incarnation of The Mutant Phrase was a twenty-seven hour long Oddly Visual story – on the planet Anal Interface IV, the Dustbins are conducting an experiment to find a being who had the requisite bug-killing skills to deal with the Mutant Phrase. They attract broadly suitable people to planet by sending out a flyer offering a free car wash. Those unsuitable – with a 100 per cent failure rate – were taken off to cleaning camps where they were fitted to the mysterious Orgasmatron 5000, which converts human beings into bath salts. While visiting, the Doctor and Dull Muttonchops discover that the Doctor's companion Greg is, in fact, a reincarnated monster slayer and send him into battle against an entire Dustbin army while they run very fast in the opposite direction.

Upon being told the plot, the phrase "THAT IS THE BIGGEST LOAD OF CRAP I'VE EVER HEARD!" was heard being screamed very loudly from Gay Russell's office.

"Oh, what would you know about writing talent?" Briggs retorted.

When Briggs finally recovered consciousness and was able to survive off life support, he began re-working the Mutant Phrase. He was under orders to create a story for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, the Dustbins and also tied up with the previous two Dustbin stories – which Briggs quickly got out of via the use of the 'it was all a dream' sequence.

Nicholas Briggs gleefully took over full responsibility for recreating The Mutant Phrase – writing it, script editing it, producing, directing and scoring the finish product, as well as starring in it and trying to convince Peter Davison that his time in Doctor Who never actually happened and that everything from Convex and Concave onwards featured Nicholas Briggs as the Doctor.

This didn't work – and Gay Russell was glad as similar activities had turned Tom Baker completely off the idea of doing Big Finish stories altogether.

Russell took a stand, however, when Briggs composed his own cover for The Mutant Phrase – a stick-figure picture of the Doctor and Nyssa watching in horror as the chest-buster explodes out of the Dustbin Emperor.

Russell handed the sketch over to Clayton Hickman, who promptly photoshoped the cover from existing stills only to fall into Briggs trap!

When reflected in a mirror, the cover to The Mutant Phrase showed Briggs' face and the words I AM CANON.

Luckily, Russell spotted this and frantically composed another at short notice.

Unfortunately, this would be the tip of the ice berg as, over the next four months, Briggs would begin his campaign to take over Big Finish and make it churn out remakes of his stories – whether if Paul McGann WAS involved with the company or not...

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