Wednesday, November 4, 2009

7th Doctor - Last of the Titans

Serial DWMCD02 - Clash of the Titans
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Burnt Toast


Serial DWMCD02 - Clash of the Titans -

The Doctor, a dashing debonair bald man in a tuxedo with a pink toothbrush stands at the controls of his mighty time machine, talking to himself like a total nutter.

Having promised his human companion Greg some kind of holiday, the Doctor decides to check out the French Dictator Theme Nights by Wild-Time Incorporated on the planet Ormelia.

However, the TARDIS computer repeatedly refuses point blank to accept these coordinates and the Doctor is forced to repeatedly strike it with a cricket bat. Finally the TARDIS materializes in a grimy and smelly loading bay aboard a fifth-class space cargo liner.

Leaving Greg to sleep off his night of wild drug use and non-consensual animal sex, the Doctor steps outside the time machine and, still narrating to himself, begins to look around in the vain hope there might be a Napoleon costume party nearby.

Just then, the deck plate beneath the TARDIS slides back and the police box plunges out of sight.

Fearing exactly how Greg will react to this rude awakening, the Doctor actually hopes that the TARDIS's technical indestructibility doesn't cover falling through a deck hatch.

The Doctor resolves himself to find someone dressed as Napoleon having a costume party. From past experience, he knows he might be letting myself in for accusations, incarceration, or possibly something a little more terminal. But when did that ever stop him?

His odd narration and first-person description scare off the only person he sees, so the Doctor begins to whistle 'Funk Soul Brother' and graffiti his tag over the walls.

The Doctor decides he can smell chicken vol-u-vents burning and, following his nose, wanders through endless unfinished corridors, bitching about the architecture and complimenting himself on his cunning use of toothbrushes.

Going through a door marked 'MOST DISGUSTING DANGER AHEAD', the Doctor encounters a big, smelly alien sitting on a sofa watching TV. This is the Captain of the ship, the Titan formally known as Vilgreth.

The Doctor quickly realizes that Vilgreth is a tortilla short of a picnic, as he dubs his empty beer cans 'his companions' and has been scrounging off galactic social benefits since time immemorial.

Indeed, he initially suspects that the Doctor is a tax collector and if he weren't go comfortable, Vilgreth would have ripped off both the Doctor's arms and forced him to eat his own feet.

The Doctor explains that his TARDIS has fallen through a deck hatch and Vilgreth announces it is no doubt now in the furnace – the time machine and the irate Greg are probably reduced to slag and clinker by now. He'd send some crew to check, but he killed them for their beer and fag money months ago.

The Doctor heads down to the furnace and discovers that the 'furnace' is nothing more than a glass tank full of detritus. Using a joystick and the giant mechanical claw, the Doctor is able to reclaim the TARDIS – after quite a few attempts.

Checking inside, he discovers Greg passed out in his own vomit. Nudging his companion into a shower unit, the Doctor decides to return to Vilgreth and complain what a fat, useless lump the Titan is.

On the way there, the Doctor encounters a similarly huge, but ugly Titan calling itself Stapler leaps out of the shadows, dressed in a ridiculous leopard-skin leotard.

Stapler reveals that he is one of the Ormelian Justice League and that unless the Doctor follows him and obeys him in all things, bad things will start to happen. He's not entirely sure of the nature or scale of these bad things, but, you know, they're bad. Really bad.

Finally, he remembers that he has planted a heap of nitro-9 in the engines and in a suitably short space of time the entire cargo freighter will be blown into teeny, tiny tinny pieces.

The Doctor decides to go and warn Vilgreth, mainly because he is the less pathetic of the Titans the Time Lord has met today. Vilgreth is fairly confident that something will crop up and save the day, as his favorite sitcom 'Bastard Squad' has just started and he is loathe to miss it, bomb or not.

The Doctor decides to let Vilgreth die and head back to the TARDIS, following the graffiti he left earlier – now *that's* convenient. He soon realizes he has actually gone back to the cargo hold instead of the furnace and has thus got himself lost with the bomb ticking...

Luckily, the same ticking bomb is sitting just next to his left foot.

The Doctor kicks it and it stops ticking.

Giving a satisfied nod, the Doctor realizes the space liner is now in orbit around Ormelia and it needs only a quick trip in the TARDIS before he can appear at his French Military History ball.

As he returns to his time machine, Stapler appears and explains that the Titan Formally Known As Vilgreth is CURRENTLY known as Thergliv The Planet Eater and he has consumed every single world he has encountered over the last six months.

Vilgreth has popped out for a toilet break and, overhearing this conversation decides to open a can of 'kill everything that exists' on the duo's collective ass.

He begins a long speech about how his empty beer cans are the only things that haven't walked out on him, and his new habit of eating planets is just one facet of his interesting personality. He has hopes! He has dreams! He has been arrested for violation of the 3860 Tomato Ketchup Act on thirteen separate occasions! Is he not deserving of life, even at the cost of a couple of a hundred planetary systems?

Stapler replies by shooting Vilgreth in the groin.

The Doctor has wandered off at this point. Returning to the TARDIS he leaves and a few moments later, the bomb inexplicably goes off. Vilgreth, Stapler and the huge space ship around them explodes.

As the Doctor tries on his Napoleon outfit, he broods over what he has just witnessed. Maybe, out there in the depths of space, there will be someone more pathetic and smelly than Vilgreth.

Perhaps, one day, he will find them...

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Watches On In Disbelief
The Benefits of Tax Exile by Hotblack Desiato
The Adventures of the Titanious Tit-Monger

Goofs –
When this gigantic spaceship exploding in orbit around Ormelia with enough destructive power to annihilate everything in the immediate vicinity, the explosion clears to show absolutely sod all has happened.

That time bomb must have been seriously crap.

Fashion Victims –
That Napoleon outfit would even look bad in Babylon 5.

Technobabble –
"Now, I admit that I have more than a... passing interest in all things technical, but bipolar vectoring modular flange jets and arc tunnel boosters seemed to be the only sort of things that got Vilgreth horny."

Links and References -
The Nth Doctor and Greg regularly try to appear at 18th Century French Military Figure Theme Nights, but have been constantly forced to reschedule because of the Evil Bank Teller, renegade Time Lord Trashkan, the demonic Dustbins and also the Inuit invading Hull.

Untelevised Misadventures -
In his 'wackier days' the Doctor regularly tried to invade Ormelia with a dead hamster and an automatic pineapple.

Groovy DVD Extras -
Five minutes of the proposed Seventh Doctor re-write. Actually, there's probably more than five minutes, but I wasn't prepared to listen to it.

Dialogue Disasters -

The Nth Doctor's distinctly pathetic new catchphrase –
"Now, THAT'S never happened before!"

Doctor: Hmmmm. "Spatial co-ordinates failure" - what's that supposed to mean? This all made sense in the synopsis...

Doctor: I'm actually here by accident. I was just getting my bearings when one of the deck hatches opened up and my ship fell into your hole.
Vilgreth: Oo-er!
Doctor: God. Give him an inch and he'll make a porn movie.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Vilgreth: Ah. You are a nice person. My only friend.
Doctor: That is SO sad.
Vilgreth: You get right up my snout, sometimes, Doc.

Doctor: The TARDIS had apparently, yet again, displayed its penchant for the saucy, odious, and, no doubt, inappropriately erotic.

Doctor: Wait a minute. Chalk marks!
Vilgreth: Mmmmmmmmmmm. Chalk marks. I'm hungry.
Doctor: This is no time for food!
Vilgreth: Gimme that chalk!

Stapler: Do not move!
Doctor: What? Who are you?!?
Stapler: I am Oligarchy Stapler.
Doctor: Are you really? How nice. Is that the door behind you?
Stapler: Now listen. I am blighted with a sense of justice, Doctor.
Doctor: Is that justice with an 'I' or a 'Y'?
Stapler: Are you trying to get some crappy foreshadowing for 'Justyce'?
Doctor: Well, as you put it like that... Yes.

Vilgreth: Stapler! You cold-blooded lizard!
Stapler: Yep, that's me!

The doom-laden final monologue -
Doctor: As the TARDIS doors closed, I paused for a moment; dazed, I
think. I was killing two people. And one of them had thought of
me as rather attractive. But the time for thinking was over.
Yet, the memory makes me giggle to this day.

Viewer Quotes -

"A sombre ending and an overall sense of doom prevents the story from fitting entirely within the mould of Season 24, one of its closest counterparts. Apart from the complete lack of the Seventh Doctor and Mel. Who the hell is Greg, anyway?" – Dave Restal (2000)

"Closer to Doctor Who Versus The Fishy Bastards, employing its half-narrative by the Doctor, it uses its single episode format well, and Nick Briggs' lumbering Vilgreth is a supporting character so annoying you wish the Doctor had let him get blown up six minutes earlier."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2001)

"If Clash of the Titans had been televised, perhaps the word of the day would be 'oddball'. Yeah, like a cold enema is 'oddball'."
– Nigel Verkoff (2000)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Vilgreth. What a weirdo. Why couldn't a giant, planet-eating, tax-evading Neanderthal god be portrayed as someone even remotely NORMAL?"

Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"God, I hated that story. The script wasn't up to much, and when they did the monster with a Devon accent, I turned to Briggs and asked, 'You're not going to do that stupid accent, are you?' and he asked me the exact same thing. Bitch. I hated the alien names anyway. Vilgreth, Staplor, Trethu... why can't he just call them easy things? Like Bill? Or Donald? Eh? Answer me that!"

Trivia -
Despite being given away free with a copy of Doctor Who Magazine # 300, it ultimately would have been cheaper to get the original copy which was hurled at passing motorists by Nicholas Briggs in 1987.

Rumors & Facts -

It was the start of the year 2000, and Big Finish were desperate to let every man, woman, child and chronically overweight and manic-depressed budgerigar know that they had tricked Paul McGann into recording some audio plays.

In order to do this it was decided to release a preview of episode one of Sick Morning (with all the music and sound effect and title credits to save on costs) as a free cover-mounted CD on the first DWM issue that year. After doing this deal with Panini UK, it was realized that even with lots of trailers added, that left most of the CD empty.

Luckily – if that's the word – Nicholas Briggs had the answer; yet another adaptation of his never-ending supply of Nth Doctor Oddly Visual stories, and had convinced Big Finish to begin working on The Mutant Phrase, Bored of Ironing and Inuit in Hull.

During the recording of Briggs' own "The Constructor Con-Trick" realized that the story was around sixty minutes short and, rather than extend the material, added a completely new story entitled 'Doctor Who Lets Vilgreth Die In Horrible Torment While He Dresses As Napoleon Bonarparte' (later simplified to 'Doctor Vilgreth In Horrible Dresses Bonarparte' and finally simply 'Bonarparte').

No script was ever made and the original was completely improvised on the spot. And it shows. Thus, Briggs was forced to sit and transcribe the whole thing – much to his pleasure at being allowed to record such audio-drama genius. He was especially impressed at the plot device of making his Doctor narrate the story and thus he did not have to contrive reasons for characters to describe their surroundings.

Since the vast majority of fans wouldn't and, indeed, still haven't listened to anything after Sick Morning part 1, Gay Russell agreed to adapt Bonarparte on the condition that the story be renamed The Bunting, the writer be credited as Samuel Flint and the story be adapted to the solo Seventh Doctor pre-TV-movie.

Grumbling to himself, Briggs did so. While the original production had, like nearly all OV stories been written, directed, designed and consisted entirely of Nicholas Briggs, Big Finish decided to let him do all the work again while they kept the money they would otherwise have needed to have spent.

The Bunting, now renamed Voyage of the Sorcerer after an old Eagles song, was pretty much identical to Bonarparte except it now featured the Seventh Doctor and boasted an entirely new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-style segue that revealed that all Titans are actually genetic off-shoots of humanity with uncontrollable bouts of lethargy.

Unfortunately, Briggs' decision to do Vilgreth's voice with a Devonshire accent – not to mention the CD cover which made him appear a midget next to Paul McGann – Sylvester McCoy refused point blank to finish recording The Bunting.

With time running out and DWM editor Alan Barnes impatiently waiting for this "sexy" one-off one-shot episode, Russell just gave up and decided to hand over a copy of the original Bonaparte, now renamed Clash of the Titans.

Big Finish currently refuse to admit they ever did this.

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