Monday, November 2, 2009

7th Doctor - No Man's Land (i)

Serial 7W/E – A School For Glory!
A School for Glory!
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Over The Top


Serial 7W/E – A School For Glory! -

Bored, tired and depressed after their disastrous Irish holiday, the Doctor, Ace and Hex are lying around the TARDIS control room wondering what to do next. As Ace and the Doctor hurl insults at each other for their clear inability to deal with fully-fledged historical stories, Hex remembers the Transdimensional Sony Trinatron Total Image Screen which allows you view everything that does not happen.

The Doctor agrees to tune it on the events of his alternate future self and his cat burglar assistant Kate Tollinger as THEY tackle Earth’s history, to see what a godawful mess they make of it.

After getting some pizzas delivered and some bottles of cheap red wine, the TARDIS crew settle down to watch...

Part One

Setting the TARDIS to take them to the Seven Planets of the Althosian System to discover exactly WHY they exploded one day, the Doctor and Kate are not particularly surprised to find themselves in a barren, muddy wasteland of smoke and barbed wire and unbearable stench.

As the Doctor hums "Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag" to himself, Kate quickly deduces from her classical Swiss education that they have arrived somewhere in Northern France in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Doctor himself has a feeling it might be in 1917, but before he can explain his reasoning, he steps on a landmine and is sent hurtling up into the air by the blast and falls back down to crash on top of Kate and drives her face-down into the mud.

Things look grim.

The time travelers regain consciousness to discover themselves locked in a dilapidated farmhouse that reeks of antiseptic and old spice. After extricating herself from underneath the Doctor, Kate tries to steal the gramophone from the nearby table.

The Doctor suspects that from the gramophone that the TARDIS has landed in the middle of the First World War. Kate concluded the same thing, what with the minefield in No Man’s Land, but the Doctor shrugs this off as a lucky guess based on wild speculation.

Kate is pissed off at the Doctor for landing them in one of the worst wars in human history, but the Time Lord suggests this is a unique opportunity for her to meet Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon before they made it big.

Then, the door opens and Lieutenant-Colonel S. Baldrick enters to find out just who the hell this mismatched duo are and why were prancing through a minefield in the main battle zone.

The Doctor pops in a monocle and reveals he is "Sir Jonathan Smythe-Ponsomby-Smythe Esquire, Commanding Officer of the British Armed Forces with and a capital 'C' and a comma in the normal way", and promptly takes command of wherever the hell they happen to be.

Baldrick tells them they’re at Complete Carnage Hospital, about five miles from the front, not far from the town of Arras – which is an incredibly coincidence, since the Doctor has been sent there to take command because of Baldrick’s continued incompetence.

Baldrick, feeling his grip on reality starting to crumble, accepts the Doctor’s story and agrees that the Doctor is a senior official to whom every possible assistance is to be given... and then asks exactly WHAT the Doctor intends to do here?

"Well, I’m here to solve the murder of course," the Doctor beams.

"What murder?!" Baldrick boggles.

"You mean there hasn’t been one already?" the Doctor asks, shocked. "Oh. Well, Kate and myself shall hang around here for the next 24 hours just in case. You never know, we might get lucky!"

Kate points out that claiming they have been sent to look into a crime that hasn’t been committed yet isn’t the best cover story he’s ever come up with, while the Doctor performs a few number tricks to keep Baldrick completely bamboozled.

Since they have limited time, the Doctor decides to investigate Complete Carnage Hospital and see if anyone looks like they’re about to murder anyone else.

"Now, Kate, the plan is this: we have to get to know everyone in the hospital, every member of staff and every patient. THEN, we hand out a few knives and try to guess which is the potential murderer and which is the potential victim – oh, and the nurses are wild."

"You mean, 'wild' like in a card game?"

"No. Why on Earth would I mean that?"

The Doctor turns to Baldrick and gets them to show them around, and idly asks if he finds it difficult not being on the front line. Is it frustrating? Frustrating enough perhaps to go psycho and start stabbing hospitalized men on his own side?

As dusk falls, the Doctor and Kate observe all the soldiers gathering together to perform an unusual drill which involves them taking hallucinogenic drugs, listening to a recording of Field Marshal Hindenburg making an obscene phone call and then attacking some dummy German soldiers in a fit of rabid LSD-fueled paranoia.

The Doctor is delighted at this strange Clockwork-Orange style anger management, as it means any of them might have an incredibly bad trip and killing people.

"Look at them, Kate!" he marvels.

"They’re all chanting the word 'Die!' over and over again."

"Yes. Obvious murder suspects, wouldn’t you say? Especially that young chap screaming 'Kill all the German scum!' and rolling around on the ground trying to tear his hair out."

The Doctor decides to have a hardcore one-on-one interrogation with this convulsing Private, a man named Taylor. Baldrick insists that this is just a perfectly ordinary ‘Hate Session’ typical of all military hospitals to keep the men focussed on the enemy.

The Doctor and Kate realize they know so little about World War I beyond a few scenes in "The Monocled Mutineer" and decide to take Baldrick’s word on it rather than cause a scene. Instead, the Doctor speculates that all the soldiers they have seen are fighting fit – either they’re malingerers desperate not to return to active service or stir-crazy bezerkers desperate to get back to the battle.

"Different motives for the same cold-blooded murder! I do so love human beings, don’t you?" the Doctor marvels, shaking his head.

He and Kate wander down the corridor, as the Doctor notes that while the First World War only lasted four years, eight million were killed. It strikes Kate that if they simply tell the soldiers here fighting their way through the “war to end all wars” that there’ll be another one in 20 years time, they’ll go bonkers and start murdering each other in no time at all.

The Doctor advises against that, since knowing why the murder would take place would take all the fun out of it – but still refuses to return to No Man’s Land to simply leave in the TARDIS on the grounds there are still three and a half episodes to go.

Meanwhile, the bewildered Baldrick meets up with Sergeant Wood and gets him to double the patrols and he is utterly confused how the number he first thought of could be the cube-root of minus fourteen, but suspects there will be trouble soon.

New arrival Captain Darling arrives with a shrapnel wound and is puzzled to discover that the Complete Carnage Hospital is filled with such sophisticated facilities marked with PROPERTY OF TOUCHWOOD, and that the head surgeon is Lt-Col Baldrick, who is even now lying down with a migraine struggling to "carry the three".

Darling meets up with his old fag, Private Taylor who is hammering away on an old typewriter the words ARE YOU MY MUMMY? over and over again, intending to post it to his girlfriend Lilly to try and keep her spirits up while he’s away.

Darling decides Taylor is a complete loon-bag and asks him for a cigarette and idly asks Taylor if he fancies the rough, nasty, professional soldier Sergeant Wood.

Taylor denies having any homosexual fantasies about Sergeant Wood, who, at that moment, is heckling the soldiers for taking their internal organs for granted while there are men out there, young men, dying at the sharp pointy prongs of the Hun.

At that moment the Doctor bursts in and generally acts like an irritating, smug, self-centred asshole – all part of his plan to wind up these soldiers into a blood fueled frenzy so there will be at least one murder tonight.

To his incredible disappointment, the volatile Wood calmly takes the abuse and tells everyone to turn in for the night, with all the Doctor’s wind-up attempts falling to nothing.

Outside, Kate bumps into Darling having a crafty fag and together they marvel at the sights of fields of poppies and corn and farmers working the land. It’s hard to imagine the battlefield is so close, but this is not down to any errors on behalf of Big Finish – World War I really WAS that surreal and demented. Jesus, didn’t you work that out on your own?

Sergeant Wood reports to Lt-Colonel Baldrick’s office and says he’s been able to observe their new arrivals and they irritate the hell out of him. Baldrick, having finally worked out the range of numbers between 62 and 99, decides they shall deal with Darling and the Doctor, but spare Kate as she is the first woman in ages they’ve seen and both suffering debilitating lust for her smooth alabaster body.

Excited at the thought, Wood promptly runs around the hospital until he finds Kate, and invites her for a romantic candle-lit supper for two in the Hate Room and generally see where the mood takes them over the next hour or six until daybreak.

In the Hate Room, Wood explains the chair in the middle of the room is a concentrated device for individuals, using electric shocks, tongue depressors, recordings of English women and children screaming and ergonomic design for its evil ends.

"If you’re not on our side, and you’re not on THEIR side, you’re a coward! You’re worse than the enemy! It’s time you had some sense knocked into you, and if you resist I’ll bally-well kill you! You understand that?!"

Kate punches Woods’ lights out, ties him to the chair, switches it on and strides out, ignoring his screams.

She meets up with the Doctor and tells him she’s left the Sergeant stuck in a Clockwork Orange aggression-inducing lash up, so he should be positively homicidal by morning. Pleased, the Doctor decides to call it a night, and they head off for their rooms.

"Luxury, I hope?" Kate asks.

"Of course, Kate. Lots of rats and lice..."

"That’s hardly luxury!"

"Of course it’s luxury – this is the real Great War. Just a pity they can’t manage a leaking roof, cover everything in mud and the smell of gunpowder... I do so LOVE history!"


"Yes, Kate, my dear?"

"You’re a stunted, delusional madman, you know that?"

At that moment they find Lance-Corporal Burridge nailing a dead rat to the door of their room. The Doctor assumes this some sort of Anglo Saxon fertility initiation rite and thanks Burridge profusely for the kind thoughts.

Baldrick has arranged for a chat with Private Taylor and, via the old "Step forward if your mother has not been killed in a cowardly Hun attack – not so fast, mister," method, tells him some bad news.

Taylor starts screaming, snatches up a bayonet and chanting "DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!" runs off into the depths of the hospital, only to run straight into the Doctor, Kate and Burridge!

Part Two

Kate clotheslines Taylor, successfully disarming him, and then successfully kicking him repeatedly in the ribs until he wakes up. The Doctor suggests Taylor was sleepwalking and gets Burridge to drag him back to his room.

Baldrick arrives and muses that clearly Taylor is a babbling lunatic wandering around the place trying to kill people, and therefore must be the major murder suspect.

"Never," the Doctor booms. "Far too obvious. Where’s the dramatic irony? Besides, he hasn’t killed anyone yet. No, it has to be someone completely unexpected, someone who would never be a suspect in the first place, but, in hindsight, is the logical candidate! Goodness gracious me, where’s Agetha Christie when you need her, hmm?"

Due to a flaw in continuity, it is now the next morning.

Kate and the Doctor head for the hate room to release Woods, who is now shouting about killing people. As the soldier screams and runs out of the room, the Doctor realizes the Hate Room is for brainwashing the soldiers.

"Ah! A temporal anomaly – someone is interfering with cause and effect! The English shouldn’t have access to such technology or even the idea of brainwashing!"

"Uh, Doctor – Europe’s full of research projects because all the stuff Freud and Jung have worked out in their published works. They think the human mind is the weak link in the chain of soldiering."

"No alien monsters?" asks the Doctor, disappointed.

The Doctor is crushed – at this rate, the only murders they’ll be able to investigate are either metaphysical ones or else incredibly easy to explain brainwashing-gone-wrong ones.

Bored, Kate goes off to the flirt with Captain Darling since he went to Eton and Kate’s something of a snob. Darling brags he was part of the very first battle in the Great War between England and Germany, before admitting that he was also part of the very first retreat. In fact, he the only survivor after he shat himself and hid behind a bush.

It was then, he saw the Angel of Mons floating in the air above him, a winged bowman from Agincourt appeared to save his miserable life.

Kate laughs in his face, knowing that the Angels of Mons were mass hysteria in result of Arthur Machen’s short stories in the newspaper – the exact same tactic that the makes of The Blair Witch Project later used for their own fun and profit.

Darling admits he’s talking crap and was just trying to appear sensitive and attractive to lure Kate into bed with him on a daily basis, but he’s then roughly seduced by Kate using the skills she learned at her Swiss Finishing School.

The Doctor meanwhile, pesters Taylor and learns that all the patients are challenged with solving sudoku puzzles to prove they are mentally fit for service. He also muses that he heard Woods went berserk and is know claiming he’s secretly banging Taylor’s girlfriend.

"Doesn’t that make you want to snap his scrawny neck?" asks the tubby Time Lord hopefully.

Meanwhile, as Kate and Darling share a post-coital cigarette, Kate wonders exactly WHY the hospital is full of people who aren’t sick or even injured. Which rather defeats the point of a hospital.

Darling explains that Wood and his team screwed up some mission in No Man’s Land to seize control of an old church in the middle of the wasteland and thus prime real estate to both sides. The troops retreated to the hospital to wait for new orders, and they absolutely refuse to discuss it as apparently there was some gay sex involved at some point.

Musing that maybe the Angels of the Mons are real, probably some kind of ancient alien life form from beyond the dawn of time, Kate realizes they might not actually be in a genuine historical story after all!

Baldrick confronts the Doctor to demand to know why isn’t questioning the men but instead trying to start fights, and the Time Lord tells the soldier a baffling Koan about a Sheik who turned his harem into an army and how it only took three concubines to be beheaded before they proved they didn’t actually exist.

"What do you think is the moral of the story?" asks the Doctor idly, and Baldrick falls over in convulsions trying to understand the existential subtext.

The Doctor smugly waddles off and bumps into Kate as she hastily pulls some clothes on. The Time Lord announces that this has been a total waste of time and no one has died – they might as well leave!

It is then they discover the body of Sergeant Wood, stabbed to death in a fever of blood-lust carnage.

The Doctor and Kate exchange a look and, in unison, say "Jackpot!"

Part Three

The Doctor concludes that the culprit was probably Taylor, since the Doctor himself gave the man motive, opportunity and detailed instructions how to pierce a man’s heart with only a screwdriver. However, he was rather hoping that it would turn out to be some evil alien entity feeding off death itself.

"You win some, you lose some," Kate points out with a shrug.

Baldrick arrives, sees the multiple stab wounds in Woods’ corpse which suggests an organized assassination followed by brutal and unthinking psychotic attack, and realizes he has now lost a bridge partner.

The Doctor tells Baldrick that quite clearly Darling was murderer, to Kate’s annoyance, and Baldrick runs off to confront him.

"Why is it, whenever I get a boyfriend, YOU have to frame him for murder?" Kate demands, referring one of countless unseen and probably unmade stories that ended up as New Adventures.

"Oh, but this gives me the chance to see a court martial!" the Doctor enthuses. "I can act as his defense, string together a winning case on the flimsiest of evidence, and beat the jury with my cane until they side with me – I mean, that worked for O. J. Simpson, didn’t it?"


"Lovely chap. Dreadful actor, though. Ruined the Naked Gun film trilogy forever. Not that that would take much. But that fat Professor in the second one was VERY good, I thought, stole the show..."

Meanwhile, Darling is dragged off by Baldrick’s soldiers and his protests that everyone EXCEPT him has blood on their hands is ignored – the blood is from the dead rats they nail to things, in fact this just makes Darling look even MORE guilty!

"Trying to wash the evidence away, eh?" Burridge jeers.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Kate discuss the church in No Man’s Land and how suspicious it was for a French combat hospital to just happen to able to send a rescue squad for Sergeant Woods group when they were presumably pinned down by German snipers.

The Doctor immediately ponders that maybe the soldiers were fighting something else, something not of this world, perhaps a spectral furry something with giant bat wings, a face composed entirely of tentacles and floating, detachable eye balls, dripping globules of blood...

"We’re going to visit this church, aren’t we?" asks Kate, unimpressed.

"Just a quick trip," the Doctor promises. "You’ll be back before I even notice you’re gone."

"ME?! You want me to wander into No Man’s Land dressed in civilian clothes from 1992 to look for a dilapidated church in the middle of nowhere that both sides are watching like a hawk and able to unleash deadly arsenals at if they see anything remotely suspicious approach it from ANY direction?"

"Precisely! I knew you’d understand!"

The Doctor luckily has a map drawn two months from now that Kate can use, which he collected during a previous unseen adventure Kate was not involved in – "but I’m sure the chemical spill hasn’t happened yet, so that giant mutated serpent shouldn’t be out of the trenches" – and shrugs off his companions’ protests that the terrain of No Man’s Land is constantly in flux and the map cannot possibly be accurate.

Meanwhile, Baldrick goes to speak with Darling who desperately protests his innocence. Baldrick explains however, that this is all part of the Touchwood operation to manipulate and brainwash soldiers to make them better canon fodder for the next big push.

Baldrick then realizes he’s accidentally blabbed his evil plan and decides to convince Darling not to talk - with a romantic candle-lit supper for two in the Hate Room and generally see where the mood takes them over the next hour or two...

With Kate finally losing Scissors Paper Rock fifty-seven times, she heads off to No Man’s Land and the Doctor checks up on Taylor and idly asks if any pale, bald, fanged monstrosities are wandering the hospital, spreading filth and plague.

"No. Why?"

"Oh well, guess that just makes YOU the murderer then!"

Taylor starts screaming that he was no where near the Church when the horrifying events unfurled, he never saw anything, heard anything and has more than enough notes from matron to act as a cast iron alibi and further more refuses to discuss the matter of the church which categorically was NOT his fault in any way, shape or form!

The Doctor, showing his soul-piercing superhuman alien deductive powers, asks Taylor to tell him about the church.

Taylor refuses but eventually the Doctor beats him into submission simply by humming Cliff Richard’s "Summer Holiday" non stop for thirty five minutes. After that, Taylor cracks and reveals all!

Taylor explains that he found out about the church while flicking through the property pages of King and Country (which was then quickly used as toilet paper) and used it to cover an awkward pause in the conversation after Burridge admitted he intended to start a sheep farm after the war was over, which he would use as his own private harem. Baldrick sent out his men to capture the church and test how his conditioning was working and unspecified shit went down.

The Doctor broods that he may have sent Kate into dreadful danger... and then gets bored... and starts humming "Pictures of Matchstick Men" as he stares into the middle distance.

Kate meanwhile is trudging through the muddy landscape and generally bitching that surely being the trophy daughter of a reformed gangster must be better than looking for a church in World War I.

She then falls into a service trench and twists her ankle, before a biplane swoops through the clouds and opens fire – but whether or not it is German or English shall not be revealed here, in order to maintain a semblance of suspense.

Back at Complete Carnage Hospital, Taylor is whimpering and whining about how miserable his life in and how the free personality tests he conducts show him as a "gruesome loser".

The Doctor meanwhile continues to zone out, humming Status Quo songs.

Back in the trench, the shoddy-looking biplane crashes nearby Kate Tollinger as the wild-haired blond pilot with the unusual tan and prince nez sunglasses leaps out of the wreckage. This Lord Griffin John Thomas Flasheart, the Ego That Walks Like Man.

"Pardon my intrusion, darling – WOOF! - but is that a canoe I have in my pocket?" he demands. "Or did I just see my reflection? WOOF! I am here for you to worship, and a woman’s worship is more JUICY if you get my drift – WOOF!!"

However, before Kate can break every bone in Flasheart’s body, a bank of poison gas heads towards them, and they are forced to flee through the trench to relative safety. To Kate’s annoyance, Flasheart doesn’t have any kind of gasmask in his belief that his good-looks are a more devastating weapon than any amount of mustard gas.

Unfortunately, Flasheart leads them in the wrong direction and are soon forced to dodge bullets and explosions as shells are fired on what is an obviously empty area.

Taking her chance, Kate buries a lump of shrapnel in Flasheart’s leg and leaves him to die. "Oh, yeah," Flasheart croaks as he falls over. "Want to see if the Flash bleeds like mortal man, or is truly the god he appears, eh? Oh, shit, that’s punctured my kidney..."

Luckily, the wind changes direction, and with the gas clear and Kate is able to move on once more and over the next rise of mud is – the church! The Doctor’s map was ACCURATE!

On this brain-numbing twist, we cut to Private Taylor who has finally given up on the Doctor – who is even now still in that humming trance of annoyance – and sold him out to Baldrick. Claiming that the Doctor intends to shut the hospital down and is snooping for evidence and stealing the medication for private use.

Baldrick finally realizes that maybe this strange interfering man with his mini-skirted tart might be the SAME Doctor the Touchwood Institute has declared outright war on ever since its formation 1869 Scotland, so it’s time to blow a few holes in this rotund bastard!

Kate cautiously enters the gloomy derelict church, on the eye out for any strange alien monsters, angels, ghosts, poisonous animals, deformed humans or supernatural booby traps. This reminds her of the Chimera House of Certain Death teenagers die on the vague promise of getting their money back – but then, most places remind her of that.

As she waits for her eyes to adjust to the dark, she hears a noise and realize there’s someone else in there with her...

"Not much happening in this church, is there? And if you’re looking for action, you better look at ME! Lord Flasheart, known wherever women are found as... the WOOFMAN!!"

It appears Flasheart reached a first aide station, healed his injuries, and is still on the prowl for the bootylicious time traveler!

Back at Complete Carnage Hospital, Baldrick finds the rest of the men and tells them that the Doctor is a German spy who killed Woods, framed Darling and irritated Taylor to the point of nervous breakdown. What’s more, he’s eaten all the biscuits in the canteen!

Suitably riled, the officers charge out of the ward...

Meanwhile, the Doctor finally falls off his chair and snaps out of his daze. Getting up, he strides into Baldrick’s office to steal his record collection and sell for profit 50 years in the future – pausing only to smash the LP of "Your King and County Want You!" by Edna Thornton, because it's shit.

The Doctor then starts looking at the folders marked TOP SECRET DOCUMENTS FOR TOUCHWOOD INSTITUTE AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ANYONE ANSWERING TO THE NAME "SIR DOCTOR OF TARDIS". What inside amazes the Doctor, who hasn’t seen that episode of RTD’s Doctor Who, and is thus very confused, because technically, this isn’t canon and never the twain should meet...

The Doctor needs to sit down and work out his continuity when Burridge and the others enter, line up in a firing squad and start chanting "DIE! DIE! DIE!" over and over again.

The Doctor protests he’s too young to die – he’s not even finished a whole season yet! – but it’s too late!

The soldiers open fire!!!

Part Four

By an incredible coincidence, all the ammunition at Complete Carnage Hospital has been requisitioned for the war effort, and thus the Doctor is completely unharmed.

Baldrick arrives, dismisses the men bar Taylor, and muses that at least he’s worked out how to get them to blindly shoot first even if the guns are empty.

Baldrick admits that he owes the Doctor an apology for the failed execution, but Baldrick doesn’t quite believe the Time Lord’s investigation methods and says he’s behaving like no army man he’s ever met. In fact, he seems to be stirring up trouble for the hell of it.

The Doctor checks his question mark pocket watch and, since it’s the last episode, gets Baldrick to explain his evil plan in suitable detail for the benefit of plot resolution.

Thus Baldrick starts ranting about the "real business of men for
Conflict" and how battles, campaigns and even whole wars can sometimes hinge on the efficiency and preparedness of one squad of men willing to follow unpalatable orders. Baldrick’s intention is to give every soldier in this war a killer instinct, an ability to follow orders without sentiment and without thinking of the moral consequences. There will be plenty of time after the war to discuss such lofty ideas...

"I’m terribly sorry, Lieutenant-Colonel," the Doctor interrupts. "But I’m afraid you’ve signed up to the wrong army. Fascists bastards aren’t the vogue for another twenty years."

The Time Lord then threatens to EAT the Touchwood files he has found, and Baldrick pulls out a gun... and hands it to Taylor. The unstable psychotic screwdriver murderer in this story.

"I hope you know where you’re going with this," the Doctor warns him, as he grates some Parmesan Cheese over the files.

In the church in No Man’s Land, Kate tries to shrug off the advances of Flasheart by heading upstairs to a gallery. But one of the wooden steps is rotten and Kate falls through it, to end up landing on Flasheart and thus being miraculously saved.

"Well," Flasheart opines, "Eight of ten girls SAY it’s a miracle, and the other two are still out of breath! WOOF!"

"What are you, some sort of dog or something?" Kate complains.

"Ahem – I am the British Special Forces Commander, and they don’t call me that for nothing – WOOF!!"

Kate looks for something to kill Flasheart with and discovers they are surrounded by spent cartridges – clearly there has been a pitched battle here with no survivors. But, annoying, there is no sign of alien slobber, angelic manifestations or time meddling technology!

Flasheart also heard something about this failed mission of the late Sergeant Woods – but it was from Field Marshal Haig’s wife, and she had her mouth full at the time, so all he knows is that the Germans never went near the place since the architecture isn’t camp enough.

"But if the Germans didn’t slaughter the British then..." Kate’s eyes widen in realization. "Oh my god!"

Flasheart is smug. "Yeah, that’s how people USUALLY greet me..."

Kate explains she was referring to the clear fact that the British slaughtered themselves rather than fighting with Germans, and that whatever triggered this self-destructive chaos could still be around!

Flash points out that mass suicide is quite common around him (and Kate isn’t surprised) since often men realize they’ll never match up to him and kill themselves.

Back at the hospital, Baldrick orders Taylor to shoot the Doctor on the grounds he is a German spy and then gives the junior officer a complete guilt trip about how he once saw a German shaving and then DIDN’T blow the Hun’s head clean from his shoulders, ergo, Taylor is single-handledly responsible for the millions of men who have died ever since and it’s ALL HIS FAULT BECAUSE HE IS A WEAK SPINELESS DOG!

"Oh, I’ve had enough of this," the Doctor mutters, before taking off his spectacles, pocketing them, and then punching Baldrick repeatedly in the gut, driving his elbow into Baldrick’s nose and then ramming his lit pipe into the corporal’s eye.

"Sorry about that, young man," he says to the shaken Taylor, "but he was annoying the hell out of me."

They take the half-blinded, dazed Baldrick to the Hate Room. Although the soldier is rather proud at having managed to create an effective indoctrination process with absolutely no previous training, and intends to turn the files and documents into a self help book entitled "So You’re An Incompetent Bungler Who Wants To Create An Army of Super Soldiers On A Budget?"

The Doctor laughs and explains he will tear up all Baldrick’s research, drop it into a nice bolognaise sauce and eat it with pasta! Then he straps Baldrick to the chair and plays a recording of the screams, backwards.

With a grunt of, "Let us know if Paul McCartney starts talking to you," the Doctor and Taylor leave Baldrick to suffer the torture he met out to others so freely. GOD, THE IRONY! THE PATHOS! THE ANGER!!!!

The Doctor and Taylor head the barn and steal a tractor, and recklessly hoon off towards No Man’s Land as the Time Lord fries some onions with his sonic screwdriver to help improve the flavor of the months of research contained in the stolen documents.

Since the information on mind-manipulation could change the outcome of the war, the Doctor has high hopes that some evil time meddling git is trying to pervert the course of history.

As they make their speedy getaway, Burridge and the other soldiers finally get some proper ammunition and chase after the tractor, convinced that the Doctor will eat more British biscuits if allowed to escape – and in their passion they completely forget to rescue Baldrick, who is going insane in the Hate Room.

The Doctor and Taylor somehow manage to reach the church on the horizon with out being caught by friendly fire, and meet up with Kate and Flasheart, who urges them on with, "Glad you could make it – but, then again, I make it several times a day! WOOF! WOOF!"

Kate finally manages to calm Flasheart down by threatening to castrate him, and the Doctor rapidly eats the research, explaining the massacre at the church was entirely down to faulty brainwashing of the soldiers on Baldrick’s part.

"So, it’s not aliens, then?"


"Not even a renegade Time Lord?"


"Parallel history time line?"


"Well, that’s pretty boring, isn’t it?"


The Doctor finishes eating the evidence, and then falls through the section of floor he was sitting on – whether it was rotten or not we may never entirely know for sure.

Finally, Burridge and the other soldiers arrive and surround the church to recapture the Doctor and execute him. Inside the church, Kate muses that hiding out in an indefensible ruin in the middle of a war zone has to be the worst idea since someone said, "Yeah, let’s take this suspiciously large wooden horse into Troy – statues are all the rage this season!"

Since the church is under fierce attack, and not even sending out Lord Flasheart is able to stop them – this proves a critical blow to Flasheart’s confidence, since he was hoping to be appointed "Lord Marshal for the Ministry in Charge of Shagging! WOOF, WOOF!" by public demand the next financial year.

Once again, the dodgy brainwashing starts to go wrong, and without even Baldrick present to shout a lot, and when they realize that their gunfire will draw Germans, they start to accuse each other of cowardice, start chanting "DIE! DIE! DIE!" over and over again and start shooting each other. Burridge is the only survivor and HE gets shot when the German squad arrives.

The Germans storm the church, only for them to realize they have a really urgent appointment elsewhere and suddenly run off. The Doctor and the others are, not to put too finer point on it, deflated.

Just then, Captain Darling arrives in an army vehicle to rescue the others in the nick of time. He explains that Baldrick has been rendered a half-blind, mindless, gibbering simpleton and thus has been demoted to Private and sent to the front lines at Flanders as a combined batsman, chef and latrine cleaner. He was dragged off mumbling Communist propaganda and "Death to the aristos!"

What’s more, in return for not blabbing about this screwed up military operation, Darling has been promoted to permanent under secretary of General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, and is confident a pencil-pushing staff officer should be able to see out the rest of the war in perfect safety. Assuming of course, he isn’t then slaughtered by influenza after the war is over.

Meanwhile, Complete Carnage Hospital has been closed down and turned into a Starbucks café as the Touchwood Institute, fulfilling their remit to be self-interested, completely amoral and nasty but be considered as patriotic by anyone they don’t give amnesia drugs to.

"Probably best you don’t mention this little escapade of ours, Commander," the Doctor advises Flasheart.

"So many things happen to me," Flasheart shrugs. "No one would ever believe me if I claimed them all! WOOF! Mind you, most of my exploits are probably out in paperback by now!

"Are all you airmen such drooling perverts?" Kate demands.

Flasheart laughs awkwardly and changes the subject. "Yes, well, I think I’ve bestowed enough of my greatness upon you for now, I have to get back to base – it looks like yet another night of wild, screaming sex for me!"

"Sleeping alone, huh?" Kate asks.

Flasheart snaps. "Enough, foul wench! Be gone before I be-head you!"

Leaving Taylor to going Flasheart in the Royal Flying Corps, The Doctor and Kate hurry out into the muddy wasteland, not realizing that fate, like a badly-tempered cocker spaniel called Ralph, has decided to bite them on the arse once more.

The Doctor and Kate make their way through the silent wasteland to where the TARDIS sits admits the barbed wire, guns and bodies.

"I won’t be sorry to miss this place," Kate grumbles. "It stinks of rotting corpses, vomit, mud... skeletons sticking half way out the mud... At least that constant shelling’s stopped!"

"Odd," the Doctor frowns. "Normally they only do that when one side is about to make a suicidal charge – and there should be one of those until at least... oh dear..."

The Doctor and Kate manage to scramble inside the time machine as the next Big Push starts – gunfire and explosions hurl smoke and dirt in the air as thirty thousand soldiers leap into the fray and a wall of machine gunfire before they’re even off the ladders.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor sets the controls to take them as far away from No Man’s Land as possible – but forgets to release the handbrake...

The TARDIS now stands in a field overgrown with grasses red posies, the only sound that of chirping birds. The time travelers emerge out into the peaceful landscape of 1989.

"The Great War’s over for over seventy years, all those nine million soldiers are dead under the ground they died on, trying to conquer or save old Blighty!" the Doctor broods, picking a single posy and tucking it neatly in his scarab badge.

"That’s so stupid," Kate sighs.

"Yes, but it inspires some fantastic poetry, don’t you find?"

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