Serial 7Z/C - The Debt Collectors
The Debt Collectors
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Wild Cards
D O C T O R W H O
Serial 7Z/C - The Debt Collectors
Following the events of the first Blake’s 7 episode written by Sherlock Holmes, the planet Phosphorescence has been quarantined after a long-dead xenophobic civilization set about a series of Trojan-horse traps to spread the most potent virus ever created, specifically to target those with deep-space travel and thus destroy any rival empire-builders. Since this occurred in another television series altogether, the Doctor never turned up to save anybody at all and the planet was left a blood-stained charnel house.
But it’s still canonical according to four out of five New Adventure novelists, so there we are.
But time has passed and the Terran Federation have funded a research team lead by Professor Mors Alexandryn to discover everything they can about the plague which is dubbed the Deadly Killer, or DK. You might think this tautological, but I think it helps underline how bloody lethal this infectious virus is and why you should NOT mess with it.
From the orbiting Skybase, Mors studies DK and the quarantined plane for several years and comes up with absolutely bugger all. With the help of Danika Meanwhile, a girl he had a hopeless crush on at high school, Mors determines to take things up a notch.
Showing a truly remarkable level of stupidity, Smith Ridley volunteers to step onto the surface of the planet with an environment suit on to protect him from the DK. This isn’t the stupid part. The stupid part is doing it after the last six people to do the exact same thing and found out the suits DIDN’T protect you from the DK and each and every one of them all died screaming in agony.
Ridley does not prove the exception to the rule and his last, pitiful screams of incoherent terror to the Skybase are, in fact, picked up by the TARDIS which just happened to be passing through this particular patch of time and space. Intrigued by the series of Wilhelm Screams emerging from the communications net, the Doctor programs his ship to home in on the source of the unspeakable terror.
Meanwhile, well, not DANIKA Meanwhile, just at that moment, er, well, it turns out that Ridley has somehow managed to return to his shuttle and sends it back to the Skybase when all communication abruptly ceases in a blatant homage to The Quatermass Experiment. The shuttle docks with the base, where it has spookily become buckled and warped by undetermined reasons. Suddenly, Ridley stumbles out in his environment suit and collapses in a gibbering heap – which is another Quatermass reference there for those normal people who couldn’t inflict the genuine article on their undeserving brains.
It seems that Ridley has somehow got infected by DK and died in the usual way, but this time Mors has the Drakh to bring Ridley back from the other side. "Death is not the end to debt!" cackles Mors insanely as lightning flashes for no apparent reason.
With its usual reliability, the TARDIS materializes inside the Skybase airlock with lift muzak playing, one week after he picked up the distress signal. No sooner does the Doctor realize how damn pointless it is to have a radio station playing in a section that is depressurized most of the time, the airlock then starts to depressurize. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
At the last moment the Doctor manages to zap the airlock door with the sonic screwdriver and into the Drakh ship which is docked to the Skybase. After dividing his time between coughing and spluttering, the Doctor realizes he is at the feet of two hideous skeletal insectoids in filthy, ragged hooded cloaks looking like a cross between a Sychophant and the Grim Reaper.
These Drakh are the telepathic slave race of a certain Evil From Before The Dawn of Time who has now pissed off leaving them completely at a loss and with no idea what to do. Thus, they have become bailiffs with a twist – using their amazing, near-supernatural abilities, they can bring the dead back to life, so no one can truly escape paying off their bills by going to their graves.
Indeed, the Drakh can see creature’s "debt signatures" and are puzzled that the Doctor has apparently died six times with a huge amount owed to the RassilonCom pre-paid phone service! The Doctor insists that those times do not legally count as dying as he simply rejuvenated himself into a completely different physical form, so technically he was reborn with a good credit rating.
Oddly enough, the Drakh don’t seem to want to quibble over semantics and immediately decide to place a brain parasite called a Keeper that will remote control the Doctor in every possible way until he pays off his astronomical phone bills...
A similar Keeper is keeping Ridley on this mortal coil and Mors idly asks the environment-suited corpse what the afterlife was like, and if the sound of heaven really IS like Enya? Ridley mumbles incoherently and doesn’t actually answer the damn question.
Suddenly Ridley lets out a strange demonic moan and, deeply freaked, Mors switches off the two-way radio and tries not to think about the screaming zombie lying in the biohazard suit in front of him as Nancy the Skybase starts to stutter, bumble and generally be sinisterly incoherent and burble things like "We are the machine!"
On the Drakh ship, Danika pops by for a cappuccino and to bitch about how annoying Nancy is getting when she finds the Drakh trying to subdue a small Scotsman in a straw hat who is fighting back with a question-mark-handled umbrella.
Danika gets everyone to calm the hell down and asks the Doctor what the hell he is doing in the Skybase airlock and, lying through his teeth, the Doctor explains the Skybase computer was luring him into a death trap! But as Danika has also been getting seriously annoyed by said computer, she believes this story utterly.
Idly bringing the Doctor up to speed, they decide to go and check up on Ridley and his Keeper. With his usual tact and finesse, the Doctor tells Mors that is wonderful to meet such a brilliant mind and hands out a number of platitudes before destroying Mors’ reputation by saying he’s abandoned all reason and become a foaming-at-the-mouth-psychopath who should be hunted down like a rabid dog.
Mors demands to know who this rather offensive little Scotsman is but the Doctor complains they have brought a DK plague victim aboard the Skybase and put them all at risk! Mors insists that Ridley is completely free from infection, but the Doctor points out that if this is the case, why did the silly man DIE in the first place?!
No one is able to come up with a satisfactory answer and Ridley starts letting out strange banshee wails – and all the computer screens in the base start showing static and the Doctor realizes that the plague has evolved – into a computer virus!
"And you’ve let this Trojan inside your firewalls!" screams the Doctor, rolling his 'r's in such a fashion so it segues perfectly into the closing title music!!
The immediate crisis is averted by Mors simply rebooting the computers which, rather depressingly, seems to solve everything despite the Doctor’s hysterical screams they’re dealing with an intelligent virulence with a pathological hatred of anything alive. If he had the faintest idea HOW the disease could be contracted, he’d be even MORE utterly terrified than he already is!
Nancy announces that the DK file-shared its way into the Drakh cruiser and – not particularly fussed as they are accomplished necromancers beyond the reach of death – the Drakh decide to mosey on back into this plague pit and disinfect it. This makes a kind of sense, but the Doctor and Danika decide to tag along, which sure as hell doesn’t.
Unfortunately, one of the zombified creatures aboard the Drakh cruiser trying to pay off a gambling debt is infected with DK and starts shambling off into the shadows, which is bad news in anyone’s language. The Drakh cheer up immediately as they love a scavenger hunt, and, again for similarly baffling reasons, the Doctor and Danika follow exchanging gossip that Mors and Ridley might be "more than just friends" even though one’s slowly decomposing in a biohazard outfit stuffed full of biohazard. The Doctor speculates whether a lover’s tiff lead to Ridley "volunteering" to go down to Phosphorescence and get infected in a glorious romantic suicide attempt... but it probably wasn’t and they’re just imagining things.
Back in the Skybase, Nancy cheerfully reveals that – defying all the laws of god and man – the DK plague is 'leaking' off the planet’s surface and through the atmosphere, and soon the Skybase will be smothered in a continent-sized doomcloud of senile dementia, bubonic plague and alien nastiness... assuming it gets there before the ever-increasing amount of DK aboard the Drakh ship consumes them first!
"If there’s any further news, I’ll keep you updated," Nancy promises.
After a quick change of underwear, Mors comes up with a phenomenally good plan – simply move the Skybase a little further away from the planet. This adroit suggestion only has too drawbacks: the Skybase cannot function out of orbit and even if it COULD, it would only buy them another few minutes and that’s STILL assuming the spaceship docked with them doesn’t infect everything first anyway!
In fact, this plan is rather crap, so crap in fact Nancy decides that an advanced artificial intelligence like herself doesn’t want to talk to an empty-headed animal like Mors and changes his password so he can no longer boss her about.
Aboard the Drakh ship, the Doctor theorizes totally off the top of his head that the virus went to the cruiser because it contained a collection of dead things and DK is attracted to things of a like nature – in fact DK might be sentient itself and determined to spread the infection by any means available!
The Doctor says they should find it and ask it to leave nicely, since all the other options seem to involve dying in hideous agony.
Just then, the DK zombie steps out of the shadows and, never one to waste an opportunity, the Doctor steps forward and doffs his hat, introducing himself to the walking husk of evil death. As he hoped, the zombie is so stunned by these good manners it needs a moment to think and so decides to slaughter all the Drakh present, and one group hug later leaves their twitching, blistered corpses on the floor.
Danika wants it on record that she thinks they should run for their lives, especially as the zombie is growing larger and more black, hairy and Lovecraftian with each moment, when Nancy’s voice booms over the intercom with ominous evangelical rantings that suggest that she might be infected with the computer virus and the reboot hasn’t helped at all beyond pad out the episode!
The Doctor agrees that legging it would be a smart move, but Mors has had the brilliant idea of disconnecting the Drakh vessel in order so he’s only HALF as monumentally screwed as he already is. The vessel undocks and floats away into the midnight sky – much to the annoyance of the Doctor and Danika who have just reached the airlock with the zombies not far behind them.
Deciding desperate times call for desperate measures, the Doctor decides its time to piss about in spacesuits and try and blow the airlock and space-walk to the Skybase. This superlative suggestion has only three small flaws in it: there’s only ONE space suit and even if the Doctor’s zen-like abilities to survive hard vacuum could help, Mors is trying to move the Skybase to a higher orbit and assuming the duo WEREN’T burnt up by the Skybase’s booster rockets, they’d be out there and vulnerable to the encroaching tide of DK.
However, as the only alternative is being ripped apart by DK zombies, the Doctor and Danika decide to take their chances outside.
Aboard the Skybase, the infected and malfunctioning Nancy releases Ridley from the quarantine chamber and the undead astronaut rips off his helmet allowing DK to spew out into the air like a fountain of corruption as the creature starts stumbling off into the station.
In space, Danika is discovering that events are basically moving to 'worst case scenario' mode as the Skybase is drifting away and Danika’s oxygen is running out and, oh, that huge cloud of DK is getting closer.
Some day’s it’s just not worth getting out of bed, is it?
Luckily, our heroes are saved from certain death by Professor Mors’ complete lack of navigational skills. Confusing latitude with longitude, he unintentional moves the Skybase closer and allows Danika and the Doctor into the airlock in the nick of time. Mors meanwhile reboots Nancy and since she doesn’t immediately start gargling about the blood of prophets assumes she’s cured. Just like he did at the start of the previous episode.
Once aboard the base, the Doctor revives from his trance and insists on cutting open Danika’s space suit so he can perform CBR. Danika points out she doesn’t need it and, indeed, has an adrenaline-filled hypospray that could do that for her. Sighing, the Doctor admits he just wanted an excuse to see her tits – Time Lord thermal comas always leave him feeling unaccountably randy for some reason.
Elsewhere in the Skybase, the DK virus reprograms Nancy to ensure the Skybase can re-dock with the Drakh cruiser and its funky cargo of contamination and pain. The Skybase is also steered CLOSER to
Phosphorescence so the DK tidal wave hits them all the sooner!
Yep, it’s definitely going to be one of those days.
After bumping into Mors, throttling him for a short period for being a total asshole who simply doesn’t know WHEN to stop meddling with things he doesn’t understand, and then explaining all the plot that happened during the last episode, the Doctor realizes they’ve got ANOTHER DK zombie lumbering around a spaceship and they’re still doomed!
However, Ridley’s Keeper is Drakh technology and thus will home into the Doctor’s unusual Debt Signature and Mors breaks down in tears and explains how he’s been fiddling the accounts and thus, technically, is in debt twice as much as the Doctor ever was!
Laughing at Mors’ misery, the Doctor strides off into the corridors and challenges Ridley to stop pissing about and cut to the goddamned chase! It’s obvious to just about anyone that the 'virus' is just an alien intelligence trying to communicate by slaughtering every single thing it encounters, which is why it has been trying to transform itself into a computer download so it can finally have some decent conversation about interest rates – hence why it was attracted to the Debt Collectors.
DK isn’t just lethal, it’s INCREDIBLY boring as well!
Danika and Mors have gone through numerous possible plans of escaping with their lives, but none of them actually work: they can’t steer the Skybase out of orbit, even if they could do that the DK would be sucked from the planet and still hit them, and they can’t escape in the Drakh cruiser because THAT’S full of DK as well and the escape pods don’t work thanks to Nancy being corrupted and even if they weren’t there’s not a chance in hell they can escape the DK from the planet anyway!
The Doctor meets up with the pair and they leg it to the airlock where the TARDIS is so conveniently parked, collects some flame throwers and destroys all the DK zombies, including the ones from the Drakh ship. The DK, reduced to a computer virus, tries to infect the TARDIS – but the shitty free software the Doctor has downloaded over the eons is full of viruses already and the DK doesn’t stand a chance.
Although the Skybase and the Drakh ship are now clear of disease, that huge tidal wave I’ve been mentioning at every available moment is still on course for them. The Doctor tells Danika and Mors to steal the Drakh ship, upload Nancy into the flight computer and run for it.
Danika thinks this is a brilliant plan with just one small improvement needing to be made... and she shoves Mors out an airlock where he is consumed by DK two seconds before he can explosively decompress.
The Doctor quickly picks up from these psychotic tendencies that maybe Danika would be a poor bet as a companion and decides not to waste another speech which failed on Genevieve and Jevvan earlier on in the season. Frankly, this whole adventure has creeped him out so he runs into the TARDIS and flees.
Danika steals the Drakh ship and flies off into the void, glad to be alone... until she remembers they never actually debugged Nancy, who starts to rant with biblical catchphrases and starts screaming about Danika’s overdrawn credit card accounts as DK starts spewing from the computer terminals and kills everything.
Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who: Life After Debt
Dr Who & The Escape from Debtor’s Prison!! (Canada Only)
Sex With The Headless Corpse of the Virgin Astronaut (1982)
Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed to have expired in this story.
"Do have some sort of debt wish, Mors? Wait. Debt or death? Death? Yes. Death. You have some sort of death wish. Death has come to collect all its children! Wait. Death? Death? Yes. Death. Not debt. Oh, it IS debt? DEBT has come to collect all its children? Yes, that works all right. Can we go again, please?"
This story implies that Kaldor City may possibly be canon – a concept I frankly find totally objectionable.
Fashion Victims -
The Drakh’s Seventh Seal goth emo chic.
Dk can transfer itself from biological to digital viruses by use of the hitherto-unsuspected "Intel Patch of Death".
Links and References -
In a rather lame attempt to impress Danika, the Doctor reveals that he used to be the President of the Time Lords until he got deposed. By a sea lion. Called Slappy.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric encountered the Drakh once before when they were visiting the 23rd century. Despite their best efforts, they STILL couldn’t sell Adric to the aliens to use for medical experiments.
Groovy DVD Extras -
Optional commentary by Lawrence "Mad Larry the Pirate King" Miles. Well, I say "commentary" but what I mean is "around 90 minutes of deranged and hysterical laughter interspersed with baffling comments like, 'Your power pats cannot save you NOW, old man!'"
Dialogue Disasters -
Nancy: The debtors will rise. There is only debt.
Danika: Things have been going wrong ever since Ridley was brought back!
Doctor: I wonder... maybe something ELSE cam back with him?
Danika: Like what?
Doctor: If I knew that, I wouldn’t be wondering, would I?
Ridley: Hey! Who turned out the lights? Hey! Who turned out the lights? Hey! Who turned out the lights? Hey! Who turned out the lights? Hey! Who turned out the... oh, wait. It was me. I remember now.
Drakh: Explain your Debt Signature...
Doctor: I’M A TIME LORD! WE’RE OVERDRAWN ON OUR BANK ACCOUNTS BEFORE WE LEARN TO WALK!
Drakh: Whoa. Hardcore.
Dialogue Triumphs -
Danika: I only came here to get a bit of peace and quiet!
Doctor: Oh? And exactly which part of "quarantined plague pit" made you think you’d find it?
Danika: I thought it was ironic.
Drakh: I warn you, Mors, you are playing with the Drakh!
Mors: Yeah. I was aware of that.
Drakh: Oh, were you? Well then. Good.
Danika: My name’s Danika. Danika Meanwhile.
Doctor: Meanwhile... what?
Danika: No. My name is "Meanwhile". My parents were total jerks who refused to let me have anything easy and gave me a transitory surname so I would be forced to "make a name for myself" and earn a place in the universe rather than resting on my parents’ reputation.
Doctor: Oh my. Your parents suck.
Danika: Tell me about it.
Doctor: Debt knows me well, although I constantly disappoints her. I can see it too, I’ve stepped through that door many times before the bank manager agreed to a new payment plan! The first time was the greatest shock; I didn’t know what to expect and I was frightened even though I knew I could just do the old 'time-travel-compound-interest' trick! Debt is a game of chance and you just hope the odds are stacked in your favor - but experience helps! And loan sharks!
UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: Whatever Ridley may be now, he’s certainly not "solvent" in any true sense of the word!
Viewer Quotes -
"WHAT TRAILER!?!!?!? I’ve looked and there is NO TRAILER ON THE
WEBSITE!!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!? WHERE IS IT!?!? I search
frantically for the trailer to 'Debt Collectors' AND DO NOT FIND IT!"
- Mr. Shouty (2007)
"This is just pretensious rubish! All thoze wining and skreeching noizes to very litul afekt! I wil hav to avoyd Sheargold lic the playge now! He shood lern how to rite propalee for a stert!" - TV Zone (2009)
"Ah, debt! Treated in this story almost as though it was a "place" but that would imply that, since it's obviously not possible to go there in a physical sense, only a spirit or soul can make the journey; this is something that the show just has not touched upon very often, and it’s bit refreshing. You don’t see late nite ads for financial advice using THAT argument, do you? Imagine it - a kind of hazy desert plain with an obscured sun hanging large and low in the sky and a shining rock arch, and that an individual suspended between the two worlds, such as the guy across the road, would see both this ethereal netherworld and the
"real" world, and neither would seem to be especially solid. Kind of
hard to explain, but it works a treat, doesn’t it?"
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2008)
"So, uh, was Silence of the Librarians ripping this off or what?"
- Dave Restal (2008)
"Danika makes a great surrogate companion. Katherine Parkinson puts in a dryly witty performance that makes the character feel real, and the character’s exasperation and sense of resignation in the face of increasingly catastrophic events makes her ideal companion material. And I’ve always fancied chicks like that." - Nigel Verkoff (2009)
"Far be it from me to run with the fox and hunt with the hounds – but blood sports are LOVELY, aren’t they? Especially when listening to stories of this calibre! I ended up shooting most of the dogs, but they tasted rather good. Especially after all that booze I had drunk, yes."
- Arthur King-Brooke-Taylor (2009)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"One of the most adult and thought provoking quality drama that BF has produced. It sure made ME think twice as I performed by traditional blood-letting on the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh month under the light of a McDonalds restaurant just off the freeway. What IS death? Is absence more important than presence? Is Objective Permanence just a contradiction in terms? And do you think the authorities will put down my latest victims to grizzlies?"
Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"It’s great fun working with Sophie and Philip, but it’s nice every now and again to do one by myself. That pair steal the coffee all the time before I get to the green room. So this is nice, but apparently it’s the exact same story they did on TV with Tennant. But I’m used to that. The bits I’ve seen of the New Doctor Who, the writers clearly saw our episodes and it scarred them for live. We had trips to World War Two, and babies being shoved in companions’ arms, AND levitating Dustbins – so all those TV reviewers can go jump off a cliff. It’s very interesting to watch and see just how many professional writers rip us off and get critical acclaim for it."
The Doctor’s fevered screams that he does NOT want to die on an operation table as 'Killing Me Softly' plays in the background is actually some amazingly unsubtle foreshadowing to the TV Movie Doctor Root & The Enema Within where the Doctor dies on an operating table as 'Killing Me Softly' plays in the background. So that’s really rather sad, when you think about it, isn’t it?
Rumors & Facts -
As one might reasonably infer from the title, this play is about debt. And it is grim. You can only applaud how Sheargold deals with money owed in this play; somehow he manages to rationalise it without destroying its soul-shattering mystique, even when a bunch of totally random Babylon 5 aliens turn up for no real reason of any kind.
Stewart Sheargold had understandably washed his hands of Big Finish in 2006 – after working as a dogsbody and general nothing for the company for years, they had his one accepted script completely rewritten by Nigel Verkoff while then executive producer Gay Russell ventilated Sheargold’s internal organs with a sawn-off double-barreled shotgun. Worst of all, they made him have to write for Mel!
But by 2008 it was quite clear that Big Finish was a completely different organization. Now under the vice-like grasp of Nicholas Briggs, standards had dropped ridiculously low and stories were now incredibly poor sequels to half-memorable Tom Baker episodes. Few realized that Briggs was MORE than aware how utterly awful the stories were and was deliberately trying to grind cast, crew and audience into the dirt until they finally gave in and spent the rest of eternity redoing OV stories starring Briggs himself as the Doctor.
I suppose you’re wondering if he succeeded. Well, keep wondering you slag, I wasn’t put on this Earth just to make up for you depressing lack of knowledge about the current status of Big Finish.
Sheargold, unaware of the tangled web of deceit and incompetence Briggs had spun, offered his services to what he naively assumed to be a far more professional and considerate operation to the one that had sent him to casualty with a sucking chest wound years earlier. The presence of a nervous, flinching Alan Barnes as script editor didn’t seem suspicious to Sheargold, and indeed Barnes had calmed down a lot since the pair had last met.
Determined to do his 'hard sci-fi Seventh Doctor story' this time free of Melanie Bush, Nigel Verkoff or episode three, Sheargold offered his services to Nicholas Briggs. In his words, "Orange is not the only audio!"
Sheargold quickly worked out a script entitled The Debt Collectors, inspired by the Haitian landlord he’d had once, who used voodoo to ensure tenants paid their rent, even AFTER one died of malaria. Turning this odd anecdote into a bizarre, hard-action-packed script full of dark, creepy, claustrophobic darkness and creepiness that could be felt even if you were listening to it on a warm Summer’s afternoon – all completely free from any editorial interference whatsoever!
Chosen to direct the story was Ken Bentley, a talking car who was the inspiration for Knightrider – although Bentley itself was disgusted at the "horrid Americanization" of the series, originally conceived as a comedy of manners in lower-upper-middle-class Croydon or "Jeeves and Woodster if Jeeves was a talking car", in Bentley’s words. The stock market crash of 1987, however, had lead to Bentley falling on hard times and having to prostitute himself out as mere transport to a number of disturbing individuals, one of them Nicholas Briggs.
Briggs often used Bentley as a mere machine to take him from place to place, but in recent years had allowed Bentley some creative input into the scripts – Bentley is reportedly the one who came up with the novel concept of "Homemade Speckled Goat Semen" which was used to such nauseating effect in the Unsoiled play, Whose Exile Is It Anyway? and also been responsible for most of the script-editing of Hostage.
Nevertheless, a sentient talking car with no previous experience was an unusual choice to be director – which was precisely why Briggs wanted Bentley on board. Briggs was now determined to make the output of Big Finish as awful as possible and in the occasions where the scripts couldn’t be made complete crap, everything else had to have the standards lowered to compensate.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Debt Collectors would Bentley’s first and last directing job. After swanning (or rather, ram-raiding) the studios, Bentley showed off an amazing lack of people skills and insulted the entire cast and crew, heavily implying they were all "well past it" and "had been doing it all wrong for the last fucking decade". Bentley was also convinced that Sheargold’s Gothic Horror piece was "quite simply pointless" and could be improved by having crossovers with both Blake’s 7 and Babylon 5 ("REAL science fiction" according to Bentley, who always thought less of Doctor Who for not having a cool numeral in its title).
Although Bentley’s ignorance and stupidity caused a palpable atmosphere of harsh, cold cruelty which was precisely what the story needed, the entire cast were left full of unsuppressed anger and rage. Oddly enough, it was Sylvester "Chill, Dude" McCoy that snapped first and demanded that Bentley "come outside and get what’s coming to you!"
Five minutes later, Bentley was found crashed into a wall with a petrol tank full of sugar and a much-relieved McCoy returned to help... whereupon he finally remembered who was now in charge of Big Finish and fled the building.
Despite this turbulent recording session and rampant unprofessionalism, Sheargold was nevertheless pleased that Briggs had not tampered with the script in any way, shape or form. But Sheargold was unaware that Briggs had been deliberately avoiding script editing the story, as he knew that a story about a zombie in a spacesuit was being done at the exact same time by the TV series: Steven Moffat’s latest illusion of godhood, Silence of the Librarians!
There was nothing more guaranteed to annoy the crap out of listeners than to offer them the same ideas being spat out by the TV series (don’t believe me? Remember Sail Away? Clock Works? The Girl Who Never Was A Virgin? And they’re just the OTHER Moffat stories BF had rehashed!) and so ensured that Sheargold’s work would be hated and reviled as any Big Finish story would be.
But this was just a warm up for what Briggs was certain would destroy the old order of Big Finish, a story by Paul Magrs for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa entitled The One That Fandom Forgets...
Also included in the disc was a one-episode story entitled "Spider’s Chateau" – written by Stewart Sheargold when Nicholas Briggs realized, YET AGAIN, that three 25 minute episodes couldn’t quite fill 100 minutes of run time according to the laws of human mathematics. So they wrote another suitable 25 minute episode of willfully obscure, and all was well with the world.
The TARDIS arrives in a lovely seaside chateau on New Year’s Eve where two princesses are bitching about which one is cuter. Just then the super intelligent evil arachnids from the best-forgotten William Shatner film "Kingdom of Spiders" arrive and start spinning webs around everything. The princesses are more interested in trying to prove which one is best by a competition to seduce the Doctor. The Doctor decides he doesn’t have time for this crap and flees into the TARDIS.
Alas, the spiders easily manage to breach the interior in the two hours it takes the Doctor to cross the console room, climb the console and hit the relevant buttons. The spiders then combine, Transformer-style into a giant hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional white furry mouse-like being. Called "Henry".
Henry reveals that his species of higher evolutionaries found the princesses and their bitching so damn annoying that they just couldn’t take it any more and placed the two bimbos in a time loop so they could argue outside the physical universe and give everyone else some peace. The Doctor’s arrival threatens to unleash the pair onto the universe and so the Doctor... must... die!!
Luckily, there is still some residue DK kicking about which kills Henry instantly and turns his spidery corpse to dust in an instant, and thus the Doctor’s life is saved. Despite, you know, the TARDIS apparently being filled with lethal disease. Nevertheless, the Doctor is alive and healthy enough to kick the princesses out and take off, vowing never to complain about being lonely ever again.