Serial 7Z/D – Kingdom of Arnickleton
Kingdom of Arnickleton
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Not Silver!!
D O C T O R W H O
Serial 7Z/D – Kingdom of Arnickleton
In the 24th century, a rather feisty young Pokémon secret agent has traveled to the primitive and unfashionable end of the galaxy to a particularly primitive and unfashionable planet called Kasat as part of her mission to aide the glorious Pokémon struggle for freedom and equality against their cruel human masters.
Unfortunately, Sara the Pokémon is rather rubbish which is why she has been instantly captured by the local potentate who immediately recognized her as an off-worlder, if not a being able to transform into a cute furry animal with the ability to generate vast amounts of electricity. The ruler, a nice bloke called Magus Riga, locks her in a penthouse for the next few months demanding at gunpoint she have a cup of tea with him and also use her amazing outer spacey knowledge to help him keep the piece between the warring kingdoms.
Frustrated, Sara logs onto her blog and posts how utterly tedious it is here and wonders where the hell her boyfriend’s got to, as he really ought to be rescuing her right about now.
In fact, her Pokémon boyfriend Temeter is already in the Kingdom trying to locate his love from her incredibly unhelpful blog posts. Suddenly he notices a comment from "DrTSigma87" which has an avatar of a strange blue police box – identical to the police box on the street corner opposite Temeter right at this moment!
Cautiously, Temeter enters the police box and discovers its brain-bogglingly huge interior and the Doctor who is using a cold fusion neutron blaster to warm up a tea pot. The Time Lord has been passing the time reading various blogs and thus knows all about Temeter and Sara and, since he’s got nothing else to do until a certain shootout in a San Francisco alleyway, decides to help these star-crossed lovers.
"Um... OK," says Temeter doubtfully.
Meantime, Riga meets up with his old pals Merrill and Arnold to play a nice relaxing round of golf. As ever, Arnold reaches new heights of tedium (thanks to his crippling energy drink addiction) and tells them all of the stuff he’s dug out of a certain crevice on the Island of Blandness. After boring everyone rigid with his stunning revelation that the ancient legacy of Mondas is mistranslated and is actually the ancient legacy of MONDAY, Riga hastily changes the subject to the little get-together he has planned for this evening with all the nobs and intellectuals to meet the delegates from the Kingdom of Dakota and try not to spark another war over the quality of the canapés.
As Mission: Impossible music blares, the Doctor and Temeter make their death-defying journey across the Kingdom by daringly catching a monorail transport, bravely paying for their tickets, and with a devil-may-care attitude bluff their way past the bouncers at Riga’s private party as Dr Johannes Smither and his bodyguard.
After complaining about the glass/steel/marble interior of Riga’s pad, the Doctor and Temeter try to mingle with the guests, rapidly get bored before bumping into Merrill who has a mild panic attack and hisses abuse at the pair for being such obvious freaks rather than the discrete double agents he specifically requested from the Dakota as part of his evil plan to seize power from Riga and conquer the world.
The pair are slightly bewildered at Merrill bitching at THEM for giving the game away after he’s given details of his palace coup to two complete strangers, who now know all about the contingent of mercenaries smuggled into the Dakota helicopter on the roof and that Merrill forgot to actually ask WHO his contact would be and is mistaking random strangers for coconspirators.
Thinking quickly, they ask Merrill where Sara is and rush off to rescue her before Merrill realizes what a tool he’s been. The Doctor and Temeter easily break into Sara’s room just as she’d about to post a Dear John letter on her blog due to her annoyance at the lack of rescue. Hastily deleting this, she embraces Temeter and the Pokémon begin the traditional celebratory copulation while the Doctor stands around looking mightily embarrassed.
At the reception, Specialist Erin asks to speak with Lord Merrill alone. He dismisses her request and tells her to seek diversion elsewhere as he has moved on and doesn’t actually find her that attractive when sober, but she responds angrily and threatens to take back the men provided by Duke Hassa and let him prosecute his insurrection alone!
Merrill instantly realizes Ethel is his contact from Dakota and thus the two weirdoes are imposters! He immediately sets about organizing his guards to search for the duo, while Ethel accuses him of being rubbish in bed anyway!
Sara, meanwhile, is boring her rescuers with stories about how all the alien technology on Tasak comes from a mysterious crevice on an island a few kilometres off the coast and that they should nick a helicopter and check it out. At that moment, Merrill and his thugs arrive and the Doctor promptly surrenders as he was REALLY getting bored.
Riga is just starting his welcome speech with an anecdote of how a funny thing happened on the way to the meeting when Merrill charges in with his prisoners, explaining that the Doctor and Temeter are dangerous alien terrorists plotting a conspiracy against all of Kasat!
Riga is "mildly disappointed" at this, showing a truly dangerous level of stupidity, and decides to cheer himself up by opening the present he was going to give Ethel and the Dakota: a fertility statue of incredibly erotica, carved from pure arnickleton and not "steel" as some may have thought. Everyone is impressed – except for the Doctor and the Pokémon!
"That’s no fertility symbol - that’s a Cyberman!"
This statement from the Doctor, worthy for a cliffhanger though it is, doesn’t mean a bloody thing to the locals who don’t know the word "Cyberman" or why the hell it automatically means an end to all life on this planet.
As far as Arnold is concerned, his work at the dig is being upstaged by some random alternative comedians in a Chaser-style stunt and thus demands the strangers be taken away and locked up. Finally, to shut the old git up for a moment, Riga agrees and the off-worlders are dragged away protesting that this the end of the world as we know it.
"This planet is contaminated with alien mechanisms designed only for killing and sexual conquest!" the Doctor shouts to the interest of precisely no one. "They’re more deadly than anything in Kasat’s experience! If you let the Cybermen loose, your arses will be the sorest and sorriest in the galaxy!" he adds, but all this does is convince everyone that he’s a militant separatist with a novelty question-mark umbrella.
Merrill suggests they take these obvious saboteurs with them to the Crevice on the off chance they know what the hell they’re talking about and, once again showing the brilliance and tactical genius that got him to where he is today, Riga agrees instantly to this plan and even agrees to take them there in his own private helicopter.
Not quite grasping the concept of a helicopter flying over the ocean, Temeter suggests they smash a window and climb out. When the Doctor points out the flaw in this plan, Temeter shrugs and notes his amazing super-human Pokémon powers will allow him and his girl to survive, but concedes that the Doctor is screwed. Not that Temeter cares, since he is convinced the Doctor is a secret agent who has come to Kasat investigating the incredibly dodgy Von Daniken religions about great beings from the stars merging with people and the iron wills on display in museums – obvious hallmarks of Cybermen technology.
The Doctor shakes his head and notes that only a completely intellectually-subnormal imbecile would ever want to reverse engineer Cybertech for their own nefarious ends, and when he discovers that both the Pokémon and the Earth military are scouring the whole galaxy for such technology to scavenge for use in the war, the Doctor doesn’t revise his opinion.
Just then, Riga and Merrill arrive to question them but end up giving rather long speeches about how their post-nuclear-holocaust world only survived when the House of Arnickleton restored civilization through a cunning blend of superior firepower and mutual trust. Having exposited massively, the pair wander off again.
The helicopter lands on the barren and austere Island of Blandness, with the rather rude-looking Crevice which the Doctor notes is just a curiously-shaped volcano. Arnold walks the Doctor and the Pokémon to the all-important dig site... for some reason... where the fact there are plenty of steel walls embedded in basalt with the all-pervading Men of Cyber corporate logo indicates that the Cybermen on Kasat are big time and not the pissy little scout ship the Doctor was hoping for.
"Kasat must be a Cyberman tomb world!" the Time Lord realizes, "one of countless thousands spread across the galaxy where the Cybermen have secreted armies in suspended animation, sleeping out the centuries and waiting for the signal to revive! The Arnickletons’ legends of great beings and their belief that they’ll one day merge with their deities is actually a race memory, a twisted myth based on the Cybermen’s plans for galactic domination! By scavenging what remains here for machines and medicines, Riga has inadvertently been doing the Cybermen’s work FOR them, seeding Cyber technology all over the planet. The moment this hibernation unit activates, the Cybermen will find a whole planet of new recruits waiting for them, primed and ready for Cyber conversion!"
"Yeah, whatever, Skippy," sneers Arnold, undermining the drama somewhat.
The Doctor attempts to talk sense into Arnold, who refuses to believe that the weird statues are merely sleeping Cybermen and the Crevice which has brought them nothing but prosperity is actually a gateway to hell full of demonic cybersex monsters. Talk about closed-minded.
Meanwhile, Riga meets up with Ethel and thanks her both for agreeing to met them, lending them her helicopter and also for the wild passionate night of guilt-free sex they had last week. Awkwardly they discuss the last topic, admit it "got a bit weird" and then Ethel calls in a crack squad of Dakota troopers.
Yes, Merrill has betrayed him to the Dakota to seize control of the Crevice, Arnickleton and damn well anything else he pleases! Unbelievable, I know, but it happened! Merrill then orders his new armed redshirts to kill off the rest of the main cast: the Doctor, Arnold, Temeter and Sara!
However, as the Doctor knew all about Merrill’s palace coup, he cunningly decides to hide in the Crevice, the one place no one dares to probe without plastic gloves and some industrial solvent. They flee to the service elevator but, as it can only take three people at a time, the Doctor leaves Temeter behind. "OK, Mr. Indestructible, prove how damn cool you are!" challenges the Time Lord.
Refusing to back down in front of his girlfriend, Temeter stays behind and is immediately used as target practice by the Dakota. Tragically, his claims of invulnerability prove to be well-founded and he survives.
Merrill strides up into the Crevice, the strange orifice leading to the legacy of Monday and the future. Laughing evilly, Merrill forces his way into the Crevice, ordering no one to follow him under any circumstances.
It quickly becomes apparent that this was a particularly stupid move.
Merill is disgusted to find that the Crevice is full of nothing but soda cans, pizza boxes, egg cartons and some centuries’ old erotica magazines, all of which covered in disgusting stains it is best not to think about. But if Merrill’s unimpressed with the so-called treasure trove of technology, he’s downright horrified when the egg cartons split open to reveal active Cybermen, lead by none other than the kinky bondage Cyber-Controller who announces that it’s awake... and horny.
Merrill believes it’s just a talking sex toy and, rather optimistically, demands it to acknowledge him as leader of this world, but the Controller tells Merrill: "You are incorrect - this world belongs to us. You, pretty boy, are simply raw material for our lust!"
While Merrill suffers a fate worse than a fate worse than death, the Doctor, Sara and Arnold arrive at the lower level with Sara whining about going back for Temeter. Arnold protests that the ruthless Dakota troopers will kill them all, but Sara laughs, since HER inhuman powers will allow her to survive the carnage that occurs.
The Doctor realizes that the detritus around them are actually hibernation tombs for the Cybermen, cryogenic capsules that are thawing out from all the heat from the core of the volcano, which Arnold the Genius has stupidly been using as a power source.
Despite the Doctor’s repeated screams of "Don’t do that, you suicidal moron!", the curious Sara opens up one of the egg boxes to reveal another Cyberman – revived after millennia and desperate for fleshman-on-Cyberman action!
The twitching, stained 1970s-style Cyberman steps out and identifies them as humanoid life forms who must be converted after it has had its wicked way with them, and it lurches after the fleeing cast, declaring: "You will undress!!"
The Doctor, Sara and Arnold are soon trapped in a dead end – this particular maze leads into the Cybermen’s sauna of debauchery, with steam vents so hot they can strip the flesh from a puny human’s bones (Cybermen, however, just find it incredibly relaxing). As the Cyberman catches up with them, the Doctor distracts the approaching giant.
"Remember that one time at the South Pole in 1986?!"
The Cyberman checks its identity files and recognizes the Doctor as a former ex, but notes that after the first Cyber Wars the race went off the Time Lord completely, no matter what face he was wearing or how many Swedish massages were given – but the distraction allows the fugitives to trip the Cyberman directly into a vent and is blasted by a steam discharge that leaves it blissed out and ignoring them.
The Doctor leads the others away, admitting that he’s feeling lightly poached, but regrets that his condition isn’t as enjoyable as that of the Cyberman they’ve escaped.
Waiting outside the Crevice, Riga reminds Ethel of their wild days at college and asks why she’s going out with Merrill, who is not only two tortillas short of a picnic and dribbles during sex? Ethel insists that at least Merrill doesn’t nag her about drinking out of the milk carton, and doesn’t complain about her "HEAVEN THIS WAY" tattoo on her thigh.
The troopers return with Temeter, who has used his Pokémon powers to survive over a dozen gunshot wounds to the head, and demand to know what in the name of a certain four-CD spin off is going on?!
Just then, Merrill emerges from the Crevice - but he’s not the same man that went inside. He’s covered in tight metallic fetish gear and speaks to them with the cold, metallic voice of Nicholas Briggs! Er, I mean, the Cybermen!
"The people of this world will share in my sex life and become a swinger like me! Surrender yourselves to our sordid appetites! Heavy metal thunder is the feeling that I’m under! Yeah, we’re gonna go and make it happen and take this world in a cold metal embrace, before we prepare spaceships to explode into space! BORN! TO BE! CYYYYYYBS!!"
The group are horrified at this awful Steppenwolf tribute and Ethel orders her troopers to open fire on Merrill – but his new arnickleton body laughs at such ineffective weaponry and at that moment the Crevice starts opening and an army of Cybermen squeeze out so the three speaking parts flee for their lives...
Meanwhile, Arnold is freaking out over the inhuman and soulless Children of Monday and the Doctor does his traditional expositional speech about the Origins of the Cybermen that is always read out at this point in proceedings. I’m sure you know it, the one that goes, "They were living beings like you or I, once upon a time! They started with plastic surgery and anal bleaching, but somewhere along the line they lost compassion, mercy, love and now all they have is the need to sexual dominate the universe, to build a perfect emotionless sexual utopia forged from pure arnickleton and just a hint of leather!"
Arnold isn’t exactly reassured to discover the history of his people have been completely screwed up, especially as he is discovering this monumental revelation in a cavern structure stretching for miles beneath the sea floor and containing thousands of dormant Cybermen and even more of their mess!
In a sudden fit of paranoia, Arnold recalls how they’ve used the technology they found here to make a high-octane energy drink called "Wicked-Strength Silver", and fears it might be full of nanogenes – but Sara tells him it’s just pure caffeine and to stop worrying about it.
Inside the Crevice, the Cyber-Controller decides that the Dakota have a strong physiology and the troopers will respond well to the baby oil twister games before the conversion procedure – but once the Cybermen have used, abused, battered, bruised and cast them aside, their immortal insatiable lust will require new raw material.
"Oh, you don’t know what we can find – why don’t you come with me, little girl, on a magic carpet ride? Well, you don’t know what we can see – why don’t you tell your dreams to me? Fantasy will set you free!" which the Cybermen eventually realize is Merrill telling them there are prisoners aboard the aircraft on the surface.
Alas, there is a snag – all the dirty and filth have got into the hibernation system so the Cyber-Controller can’t revive the army, only the ones that have been randomly defrosted by the volcano’s heat. Thus, the Cyber-Controller decides it is time to seriously stop pissing about and get to the action.
"We will make contact with the other Cybermen Planets throughout the galaxy and we will reactivate the sleepers! Mankind has stumbled and the Cybermen will be waiting to take them from behind!!"
It then strikes the leader of the Cybermen that things would probably go a lot smoother if the Doctor wasn’t on hand to slaughter them all before their evil plans come to fruition, so he sends Merrill to seek, locate and eradicate the Doctor! But, you know, take plenty of time trying to extract all useful knowledge from the Time Lord’s brain, cause, you know, that ALWAYS works...
Unaware the Cybermen are working hard to defeat themselves before he can do it for them, the Doctor, Sara and Arnold sneak through the tunnels of trash as more and more Cybermen decide it’s too bloody hot to stay asleep and start to emerge from their egg cartons – but are all too half-asleep, hungover and horny to properly detect our heroes because otherwise the story would end instantly and be all depressing.
Arnold nevertheless believes they are STILL doomed to be captured, sodomized and transformed into Cybermen, but Sara tells him to stop whining like a cry-baby and the trio sneak to the nearest lift, and bump into Temeter, Riga and Ethel. This leads to a rather tedious conversation as both sides are brought up to speed with things we already know as a phalanx of Cybermen draws closer and closer.
The group head out to a ledge overlooking the vast CGI cavern filled with an entire army of Cybermen below, preparing for battle and a good time with the locals. The Doctor points out the disturbing conveyor belt of conversion machinery. "This is the true secret of the Crevice, the poison at the core of everything you believe in: a vast sex machine ready to receive more living beings, whether they’re compatible or not! But, you know, don’t let it get you down."
Nevertheless, Arnold stupidly continues to insist that just because it will lead to the destruction of all human life on Kasat, the Island is the source of technology superiority and a hope for a peaceful future, so they shouldn’t blow it up.
Thankfully, the others ignore the senile old fart as they speak darkly of the Cybermen on all their hibernation planets awakening and spreading like a virus, converting whole populations and wiping out the Pokémon! They also muse that this would be great material for a spin-off audio series, unlike the last one which was over four hours of tedium about Pokémon taking over the White House or some shit like that that went absolutely nowhere.
The Doctor then spots a sign marked "DORMANT MAGMA CHAMBER – DO NOT CRACK – DANGER OF LAVA SURGE SWEEP THROUGH TUNNEL NETWORK" and marvels that once again the Cybermen have conveniently built their evil empire right next to a convenient doomsday device, and gets them to start placing strategic cans of Nitro-9...
In the Main Chamber, the Cyber-Controller at that exact moment realizes that they’ve let the Doctor run loose in the best place to wipe them all out and smacks its steel forehead repeatedly for not thinking of this earlier.
The Cyber-Controller sends all the Cybermen in the incredibly vain hope they can eliminate the intruders before everything goes tits up, but the Doctor is already confident that the explodes will weaken the basalt and cause the magma core to break through and flood the Crevice, wiping out all the Cybermen in one neat, gory inferno.
Since he’s been a boring old tosser, no one has been paying any attention to the increasingly fail, feverish Arnold as his flesh turns silver and the sinister tones of one N. Briggs starts to emerge from his mouth - turns out that Arnold’s paranoia was well founded and the pop drink IS full of nanogenes that can transform you into a Cyberman!
Pausing only to note how long he’s been waiting for this opportunity, Riga jams a can of Nitro-9 into Arnold’s mouth and literally blows his head off his shoulders.
Hearing the explosion, the Cyber-Controller notes that this CANNOT be a good sign and urges the Cybermen to hurry the hell up!
As the Cybermen finally turn up, the group has a vote and Riga is chosen to stay behind, cover their retreat and sacrifice themselves by setting off the Nitro-9. This is for many reasons, not least of all because it’s more thematically appropriate and allows better dialogue between Riga and Cyber-Merrill – unfortunately, the powerful Cyber-Merrill effortlessly smacks Riga’s ass down before he can do anything, and easily captures the others.
Thinking quickly, the Doctor points out that SINCE the Cybermen are a superior force and SINCE the prisoners are meaningless and helpless organic losers there’s no POSSIBLE chance that they could do any real harm to the Cyber cause. And if they pose no threat, it’s a total waste of time capturing them so they might as well be let go, since the oh-so-high-and-mighty-Cybermen can always recapture them and convert them later on in the plot as needs be.
Cyber-Merrill can’t quite think his way out of that particular flawed argument and thus allows the Doctor, Temeter, Ethel and Sara to run for it, leaving Cyber-Merrill to get a very annoyed voicemail from the Cyber-Controller for being such a stupid tool. Riga then decides to shovel the emotional blackmail onto Cyber-Merrill, insisting that they had some good times.
Realizing that there’s no chance of the Crevice surviving, the Cyber-Controller reaches out to press the great big threatening button to transmit the galaxy-wide reactivation signal to the other Cybermen, but at the last second the Nitro-9 explodes and molten lava bursts through the walls of the control room. Damn!
Above, the survivors escape the collapsing tunnels and onto the airstrip where the helicopter is waiting. As clouds of dust fill the air, a series of massive explosions starts and soon the island starts to sink into the sea, but our heroes escape in the nick of time.
The Doctor muses over the irony of the Cybermen’s legacy creative peace, freedom, democracy and equality instead of unleashing an army of evil death and negativity. "That’s the thing about science and technology, it’s colourless - it’s the use to which it is put that defines good and evil. Well, apart from photocopiers. They’re definitely evil off their own bat, that’s for sure..."
The helicopter lands back at the TARDIS where the two Pokémon ask if the Doctor can use his magical time machine to transport them back to the war zone, or maybe somewhere nice and interesting. But the Doctor’s sick and tired of auditioning companions and decides to leave them on Kasat as Ethel plots to seize control of the now-leaderless House of Arnickleton, keeping Riga’s dream of peace and unity alive while simultaneously ensuring they expunge every last trace of dissidence and subversives from their world.
The Doctor buggers off around this point, musing that Kasat is only one world and the sky is full of other civilizations. "The Cybermen are out there, sleeping in silence, waiting for the day when the call to arms comes. Thank Christ I’M not the one who has to sort it out, that’s all I can say..."
Book(s)/Other Related –
Dr Who & The Junkyard of the Cybermen
Doctor Who Cleans The Room of the Cybermen
Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed apathetic in this story.
Why in the name of God’s gluteus maximus did the Cybermen build their secret and easily-destroyed tombs on top of an active volcano? Do they have some kind of death wish? You wouldn’t find the Borg being as retarded as that, would you?
Fashion Victims -
The Evasion-model Cyber-Controller wears stockings with garters, cowboy boots, a studded leather leotard, a fur stole and feather headdress, and ornate earring leading to a sleeper in its right tear-drop eye-pod.
The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver has a "point of no return" detector.
Links and References -
In one of those wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey thingamajigs, this adventure is a sequel to the story the Doctor has yet to experience: Bored of Ironing, when the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard encounter Cybermen during the Pokémon wars of the 23rd century. But it’s really a rather embarrassing mess and I’d rather not discuss it.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor once took Leonardo da Vinci for a ride in the Brigadier’s private helicopter, only for the great and learned inventor to discover he not only suffered from violent motion sickness but also had a severe fear of flying. This lead to an Exorcist-style explosion of vomit it took more than three weeks for the Doctor to wash out of his pullover.
Groovy DVD Extras –
Exclusive cast list for the Cybermen spin-off. About the only interesting thing is confirmation that the character of the Scottish time traveler whose only dialogue was "Oh, jings, not these steel wankers again, I’m nae in the mood!" was played by David Tennant.
Dialogue Disasters -
Sara: I hear you call my name and it feels like... home.
Arnold: What are you doing?
Doctor: What I do best – kicking some serious Cyber ass!
Doctor: What are your standing orders regarding the Doctor? Capture? Seduction? A nice cup of tea?
Cyberman: My orders are for your destruction.
Doctor: ...I only asked!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Controller: I am going to shag you to within an inch of your life. And then... I’m going to convert you into just another Cyberman.
Controller: Because... we’re not really very nice people.
Temeter: You know humans. Mood swings, hormones and stuff. Eww.
Cyber-Merrill: My ascension is complete! I have been enhanced in the bedroom department! I am superior in bed to any of you and therefore worthy to rule this planet! Oh, the things I’ve done, the things done TO me! No puny fleshman could provide such thrills!
Temeter: OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that he’s been turned into a Cyberman.
Cyber-Meriill: Damn straight, bitch.
Sara: Never mind the noble gestures! Nuke the tin bastards!
Cyberman: It’s arnickleton! Not tin! God damn it, why does no one ever twig to that?
UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: You need to listen to the rocks!
Viewer Quotes -
"Solid but unspectacular. The plot is very much Dr Who by numbers. Feel free to insert your own cliche here." - Lay-Z-Reviewer (2000)
"The Cybermen don’t turn up until the end of part two and it’s only a three part story! What the fuck’s up with that? Does Briggsy HONESTLY think we like his shitty little spin off which feature less Cybermen than the average episode of Dead Ringers?!" - Jared Hansen (2009)
"It’s not that there’s anything QUANTIFIABLY dreadful about any of it, it’s just that it’s instantly forgettable. I have tried listening to part three about four times, and it just hasn’t held my attention past the resolution of the cliffhanger. After the Doctor says "afternoon tea?" I can’t tell you a thing that happened in it. And now it’s so long since I heard parts 1 and 2 that I can’t remember the set-up either. Bland, just very very bland. Which one was this again?"
- ADHD Doctor Who Fan Hourly (2010)
"If Kingdom of Arnickleton is supposed to be a prelude/teaser/linked to the Cybermen series than I can safely say that it hasn't convinced me to spend any more money and indeed I’ve decided to sell my previous CDs on eBay. Fuck you, Big Finish." - Dave Restal (2008)
"The problem I’ve had with the solo 7th Doctor stories of the last two years is that I've found the substitute companions are nowhere near as interesting as his normal companions. Sadly that is the case here too. A right dreary pair they are. I hate them. In fact, I’m glad they die horribly. Doesn’t happen soon enough in my humble opinion."
- Katarina Sedgewick (2008)
"Christ, ANOTHER installment of The Nick Briggs Show, with occasional cameos from other actors! His voice is far too distinctive and he seems incapable of disguising it. You just get left thinking 'For fuck’s sake, not HIM again!' Couldn’t he, just ONCE, let SOMEONE ELSE have a go on the ring modulator? JUST ONCE? This is beyond a freaking joke."
- Dave Restal (2009)
"Getting worried about Big Finish, as the output increases so the main ranges quality appears to lapse. Everything has been a case of going through the motions with no real feel of having produced something of substance. You can’t fault the productions technical quality, just the stories have stopped having any depth to them. Everything since Charley left has been a total bloody shambles. Any body else getting disenchanted? GOOD! MY PLAN WORKS BRILLIANTLY!" - Nick Briggs (2009)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"In some respects, wibble, I think I actually ended up preferring Silly Nemesis to this wibble. Wibble. But then, I’m mad. Wibble. Those self-enlightenment books work great, don’t they? Wibble."
Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"Terrific stuff, this. It’s got wit, pace, humor, sadness, philosophy and lots of other things you have to listen to to find out. I do like these solo stories, ever since I had those ten minutes or so in the movie, it felt good. Almost melancholy, in fact. And it’s nice to play that, though this one hasn’t been QUITE as melancholy as some of the others we’ve done. You’d have to have a heart of stone to feel sorry for Pokémon dying at the steel fists of Cybermen; a kind of stir-crazy madness. By the way, why DO the recording booths have rubber wallpaper in them nowadays? Is this something I should know about?"
Nicholas Briggs’ insistence that all Cybermen be portrayed as the model from 169’s The Evasion with the voices of the New Series models but the strange, LSD-induced elliptical pronunciation from 1966’s The Tense Planet is NOT because he’s a strange and creepy Cyber-fetishist. It’s just he knows that doing this will piss the fans off.
Rumors & Facts -
Kingdom of Arnickleton could be called predictable, and in a sense it is since it takes advantage of the listener’s foreknowledge and expectations to unfold like a classical tragedy – so it HAS to be completely and utterly predictable or everyone would confused, wouldn’t they? Honestly, what are you lot complaining about...
Nick Briggs’ master plan was well under way. After getting rid of all the original companions, the Eighth Doctor and deliberately churning out predictable, derivative crap he had managed to lower interest and respect in Big Finish to previously-unheard of depths. More and more people had given up after the infamous The One That Fandom Forgets had triggered the Who equivalent of a Holy War, the only people left listening were hardcore nutters or incredibly stubborn subscribers who would not abandon Big Finish after wasting good cash on the releases.
To ensure that this particular cross-section of fans would abandon Big Finish once the subscription was up, Briggs decided to ensure the stories would continue to be of as a low a quality as possible. To this end he decided the time was to bring out the Big Guns:
He was going to get the writers from the New Blake’s 7 Audio Adventures to write for Big Finish!
This was the equivalent of getting Jeffrey Archer to write a novel in the Harry Potter series and absolutely cast-iron guaranteed to produce the most ineffable, annoying, unimaginative shite in the history of history itself. The sheer THOUGHT of it was enough to make even Briggs himself want to lie down in a darkened room for a few months.
Alas, this final fatal blow to Big Finish never happened due to a detail that Briggs simply couldn’t have known about – simply put, none of the so-called authors of the NB7As had actually written any of it. They’d been paid handsomely to have their names associated with the audio range to give it authenticity and also dupe the innocent members of the public into thinking not EVERY episode was written by Ben Aaaaronovitch in a deranged rapid Babylon 5 ferver.
As such, getting Mark Plate and James Swallow to write stories for Big Finish was not a suicidal move. In fact, it was probably quite sensible as they’d both written for Big Finish before on more than one occasion. No one connected the consecutive releases’ authors with the names stitched onto the NB7As, especially as the few who had listened to the damn things refused to speak of the horrors they’d witnessed and the sheer shittiness of said audios was unknown to the general public. Hell, the EXISTENCE of said audios was unknown to the general public!
Briggs was depressed at this development, as he’d gone to a great deal of trouble... well, not a GREAT deal but SOME trouble... well, not SOME but a LITTLE bit of trouble... well, NO trouble at all, if we’re going to be honest about it and stop beating about the bush. Briggs had done borderline fuck all but STILL intercepted Swallow before he could take park in Eddie Hitler’s brain-twistingly successful Eighth Doctor spin-off series and stopped Swallow from being commissioned to write a season finale about the return of Moby.
Swallow was pissed off, especially after his cunning plan to make himself tragically unfashionable via the NB7As in order to ensure Russell T Davies stopped ripping his ideas off (watch in awe the 2007 finale and listen to Singular Angularity, recorded two years earlier and then demand Big Russell hand back that BAFTA!)
Now Briggs HAD to work with Swallow and decided to simply callously use him as a mere tool to get people interested in one of the least-known BF ranges – Cybermen! The spin-off to the BF remake of the OV Bored of Ironing, it told of the gruesome endless war between Humanity and Pokémon with up to twenty-second-long cameos of Cybermen wearing spacesuits so no one actually knew they were there. Indeed, many assumed that as even Touchwood gave more time and effort to the kinky metal gits than this, their supposed "spin-off", the name "Cybermen" was a misprint. Ironically, this was the absolute truth as the series’ original title, The Ultimate Brian, hadn’t gone down well at ALL.
Thus, Swallow’s story would be nothing more than a sandwich board for 'Cybermen 2 – This Time, It’s Personal' and have the interesting approach of actually HAVING Cybermen as part of the plot. Briggs, terrified that this over-exposure could reveal that the Cybermen were only there for some variety in ring modulation, insisted that they be kept to an absolute minimum, just as they had in Bored of Ironing.
However, there was already a problem – Swallows Cybertale would have to be a Seventh Doctor story yet McCoy had quit due to his longstanding antipathy against Briggs (who made fun of McCoy’s accent, height, taste in clothes and the fact Steven Moffat hated Seasons 24-26). Luckily, they had plenty of raw recordings, outtakes and the like, so as long as the Doctor spent the entire story making non-sequiturs rather than getting involved in the plot, it should work out. However, as most of said stock material were directed by other people, Briggs couldn’t put his name to it without risking getting very badly sued. So he decided to claim that the now deceased Ken Bentley the Talking Car was in charge and if the lawyers wanted to take a wrecked automobile to court then they were more than welcome to try.
For added vitriol, Briggs took the measure of casting Terry "Lavros" Molloy (fresh from the spin-off series "I, Lavros" and the Broadway stage musical "The Trials and Tribulations of Lavros"), but DIDN’T cast him as Lavros – thereby disappointing all the fans who had heard he would be in it and hoped they’d see Lavros/Cyberman action (but hopefully not the kind that immediately comes to mind at that phrase).
Ultimately, it didn’t matter how good Molloy was, brimming with indignation and anger and real pathos -–he WASN'T a hideous non-functional psychopathic cripple in a Cyberloo and the fans were disgusted – if the character hadn’t just appeared in the RTD television series a few weeks earlier, they’d have been REALLY angry! Tragically, this meant that the story was received mildly better than Briggs was hoping for, and thus he STILL had a fan base to get rid of.
Tearing out what little of his hair remained, Briggs continued his desperate scheme to grind Big Finish into the dirt – only to be dragged off back to BBC Wales by hired goons as he was needed to provide voices for monsters in the next Doctor Who Christmas episode. The monsters in question were the Cybermen.
Ain’t karma a bitch?!
Also included in the disc was a one-episode story entitled "Blog Post" – written by Nicholas Briggs when he realized, YET AGAIN, that three 25 minute episodes couldn’t quite fill 100 minutes of run time according to the laws of human mathematics. Ergo, James Swallow was forced to desperately scratch out one last installment to act as an epilogue to the story with which he could take even MORE piss out of Briggs’ Cybermen spin-off drama.
At one of the generic commerce planets that turn up all the time in Farscape, the Doctor searches for spare parts for his TARDIS – ideally ones that can shrink the console down to a scale it can be operated by someone under 3 kilometers tall. As he haggles with a mechanic called Two’Pack, the Doctor notices a small owl-like creature that squawks at the Time Lord as if recognizing him. The owl heads to the nearest internet café and looks up www.lifeandtimesofpokémon@blogspot.com.
In a post over two thousand years old and with no comments bar spam, the Doctor discovers that Sara and Temeter were put on trial by the High Pokémon Adjudicator for their intense sex life when they are supposed to be secret agents fighting a dirty guerilla war against the human race, and letting some weird Scotsman with a silly umbrella destroy a shitload of nifty Cybertech just cause some stupid ape-descended bipeds were at risk.
Being total assholes, the Pokémon decide to imprison Temeter in a multi-dimensional bubble until he learns his lesson while Sara is lobotomized and condemned forever to her cute animal form, because she’s a girl and the Pokémon are surprisingly sexist. By now, even if Sara could be restored to normal, all the other Pokémon were slaughtered in a non-canonical BF spin-off series that has yet to be released. Or, if it HAS been released, not actually listened to.
After musing over this sad and miserable outcome, the Doctor and Two’Pack get over themselves and decide to keep Sara as a conversation piece mascot at Two’Pack’s shop while the Time Lord buggers off on his merry way and doesn’t give this a second thought.