Serial 6Q/A – Red China
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Sphinxes
Serial 6Q/A – Red China -
Aboard the TARDIS, the Fifth Doctor is stealing stuff from Turlough's room as he doesn't live here any more, and trying to get what was originally Adric's room to suit the taste of a spunky American MTV VJ called Peri Brown, his latest time-traveling companion.
"I'll show you what a real spin around the universe can do for you, Peri!" the Doctor says, distracting her as he tries to hide the illegal doctored porn images of Tegan, Nyssa and Kamelion. "We'll go visit a very old friend of mine, Sharaz Jek. I honestly can't remember why I don't go and see him more often."
Just as Peri is about to agree, there is a brilliant clap of thunder and a young, long-haired man in a frock coat appears in a flash of lightning. "I am Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass! And going to see Jek would NOT be a good move, Doctor! Do it, and you'll be dead in three episodes!"
"Hey," the Doctor retorts. "I know you – you're the guy that told me to avoid going to Dust, and I was dead a story later!"
"Yeah, but you had a four more whole episodes than you WOULD have got!" ZZGA replies.
"I just want to pop in on old Sharaz Jek! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?" the Doctor demands. "Look at me! I'm in the prime of my life AND a brand new companion... Oh my god! You're right! I'm DOOMED!"
"Look, why don't you take a holiday, Doctor?" ZZGA suggests. "Take Peri somewhere that ISN'T 19th Century England and meet some proper aliens. How about... Ooh, I don't know. Mars?"
"Wait a minute. This is the same spiel you gave the Third Me!"
"Was it my fault you chose to believe me?"
The Doctor shrugs and agrees – on the condition that, if the adventure on Mars proves to be his swan song, Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass owes him a coke. The elemental being vanishes and the TARDIS arrives in a quarry.
The Doctor explains that they are on an alien world, but Peri thinks they are just back in Lanzarote. If they were on an alien planet, how can they breathe? The Doctor explains the TARDIS only lands in human-friendly environments, and decides to explore the mysterious building over the hill. Peri doesn't find it mysterious – it's just a larger-than-average ice cream store.
The Doctor is rather confused that, between value buckets of ice cream are freezer units containing silhouettes of frozen warriors and wonders just who could possibly be hanging around an ice cream shop on Mars?
Similar thoughts have occurred to a team of Chinese midget astronauts, but as they've not been in the four previous prequels to this story, I shall forgive them their ignorance. The Chinese has managed to send a colonization unit to Mars after the British got there first, looked around and decided it was crap. However, they are surprised to find their space suits unnecessary as the air is clear and only a bit colder than Earth. For a moment the highly-paid astronaut team ponder this paradox and eventually put it down to some crappy X-Files type government conspiracy and get on with their lives.
As the British made it to Mars first, the Doctor is able to skip the tedious "We're not spies, we're travelers" stuff that inevitably slows down the story but claiming they're lost tourists. REALLY lost tourists. At that moment, however, the Chinese astronauts begin to steal all the ice cream they can find.
The foolish Orientals leave the freezer units open, and soon the power cuts out as the Martian Electricity Board decide to get tough. This causes the temperature to rise and the blocks of ice melt to reveal Martian Ice Cream Vendors.
These Ice Cream Vendors were unusually clumsy and all at one time ended up accidentally freezing themselves. Martian Law thus decrees its probably best not to wake them up again and dumped them in The Tomb of The Unknown Topping next to Olympus Mons.
Ice Lord Sally, upon emerging from deep freeze, offers the Doctor some ice cream – but is so accident-prone she unintentionally guns down one of the astronauts as she says this. Her deputy, Tart, apologizes and converts the midget into 'Yellow Snow', a new form of ice cream that no one is brave enough to try.
One of the astronauts promptly steals their shuttle and all the ice cream he can – unfortunately, he is so utterly stupid all the ice cream melts during the journey through the atmosphere. Annoyed, he sulkily returns to the surface of Mars and agrees to let the others return with him. Before they go, Tart confesses he is, in fact, the father of one of the astronauts.
Bored out of their skulls, the Doctor and Peri flee back to the TARDIS and take off before anything else can happen. As the TARDIS hurtles off into time and space, the Doctor grudgingly hands over a can of Coke to Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass, but confesses if he has an adventure that dull again, he'll probably commit suicide.
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Talks To Himself
Worst Case Scenario: The First Contact Handbook
Midgetsploitation: Time Bandits, Red China and The Hobbit.
For a video jockey, Peri is highly adept at identifying and criticizing all forms of frozen confectionery AND reprogram NASA flight programs.
The Doctor, upon contemplating a Mars-Earth conflict refers to it as 'one big bitching competition with handbags at fifty paces'.
In reality, there AREN'T ice cream shops on Mars. There are, admittedly, pyramids and a huge Sphinx carved into the ground staring directly up at Earth, but ice cream shops? No siree-bob.
The Doctor is on Mars, surrounded by giant, armor-clad figures in blocks of ice, but it doesn't occur to him that they might be Ice Cream Vendors. More proof, if it be needed, that the Fifth Doctor has a serious attention-deficit-disorder when it comes to returning foes.
Links and References -
The Doctor loses all interest in this adventure when he finds there is no Victoria Surprise available (The Ice Cream Vendors).
Untelevised Misadventures -
Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass is initially worried the Fifth Doctor chose an Ice Cream Vendor as a companion, as ZZGA once made that fatal mistake.
Groovy DVD Extras -
Ice Cream Recipes. And that's IT.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: I'm a great believer in free love, but I rather like to take the scenic route...
Sally: I suggest, Doctor, that you come quietly.
Doctor: And I suggest, Sally, you stop giving me straight lines.
Peri: Smelly, cold and green. Might as well be Nebraska.
Doctor: It's Mars, Peri! Honestly, it's Mars!
Peri: Then who are they? Chinese midget astronauts?
Doctor: It would appear so.
Peri: Oh, who are you kidding?
Doctor: Myself, chiefly.
Forbes: This is the biggest step so far on the ladder of man's achievement. I knew I should have brought platforms.
Doctor: There is always the possibility of misunderstanding.
Sally: What did the stupid mammal say?
Tart: I *think* he said "I wish to get the Sword of Tuburr and bugger you to death with the blunt end".
Doctor: Damn! My babel fish must be playing up. I beg your forgiveness.
Sally: There is dignity in forgiveness, Doctor, just as it is noble to exact revenge...
Peri: What's she saying?
Doctor: Oh, nothing. Would you be so kind as to stand just in front of me as I run, screaming in terror?
Dialogue Triumphs -
(The classic scene where the Evil Chinese Midget pulls a gun on the Doctor and forces him away from the exit.)
ECM: Can you feel this gun against your cheek, Doctor? Is it as cold as the Ice Cream Vendors' armor?
Doctor: No, I can't feel a gun against my cheek. Are you sure it's there, Evil Chinese Midget?
ECM: Of course it's bloody there!
Doctor: Sorry. Maybe it's just so cold my face has gone numb.
ECM: It's not *that* cold!
Doctor: Prove it.
Doctor: Prove it. Take your trousers off.
Doctor: To prove it's not that cold. Go on.
(Sighing, the Midget begins to disrobe, and is forced to hand the gun to the Doctor while he removes his pants. The Doctor shoots him dead)
Viewer Quotes -
"That cliffhanger to War of the Worlds where the astronauts land on the moon to find the Martians ready and waiting for them was the most terrifying moment of my life. This story pisses all over my memories so I have decided to become a postal worker."
- Bernard "Tornado of Death" Douglas (2001)
"Nice monsters. Shame about the plot."
- The Nine O'clock News (1982)
"Red China felt very low-budget – and it was a fucking audio for the love of Alpha Sintauri! But the cast is small and made up of Chinese midgets who seem to have been in every BF story so far, the walls of the ice cream shop are described as 'cheap and wobbly'... WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU UP TO, JUSTIN?? WHAT!??!"
- Colin Firth (2000)
"If the most tedious planet is Traken in PRIME Evil, than here we meet Doctor Who's most boring alien race, the Ice Cream Vendors."
- A dull man I can't be arsed to remember his name (Oh, ages ago)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Wow! Honorable Ice Cream Vendors against amoral humans! Who are real monsters here? Will fresh-faced Time Lord get to shuttle before nasty old astronaut? Time Lord very clever, but astronaut very stupid. PLACE YOUR BETS NOW! Hiiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssssssssss..."
Peter Davison Speaks!
"Was this one of ours? I don't remember it."
Nicola Bryant Speaks!
"It's us on the cover. Guess we must have done it."
Rumors & Facts -
You know, there was a bloke who thought that, in order to make Big Finish Doctor Who like the television version, we should try and wipe out random stories so that 'missing' episodes can make these tales seem so much better than they actually are. He nominated we start with this one and work our way outwards.
No one disagreed.