Wednesday, December 2, 2009

8th Doctor - Embrace the Darkness

Serial 8L - Encase the Arseholes
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Eleventh Entry in the EC Unauthorized Program Guide O' Werewolf's Ethical Treatment


Serial 8L - Encase the Arseholes -

Part One - Encase the Arseholes

The ancient and terrible Motherfucker Empire found only one thing stood between it and its ultimate conquest of all living matter - their rather unfortunate name.

For centuries, the Motherfucker council stood in congress, trying to work out a name that not only struck fear into the hearts of mortals but DIDN'T translate as something rude in one of their slave race's languages.

Finally, they decided that the name "The Arseholes" would be 'nicely inconspicuous'.

The Arsehole Empire spread out in every direction, and decided that the thing they needed now was an endless supply of sugar to keep their warmongers eager and speedy. Thus, a small scout ship has been sent to the planet Cinnamon 4 which hangs directly over a black hole in a sector of space marked as 'The Territory of Most Disgusting Danger' which no being has witnessed and lived.

Team Leader Orllensa comments, "We should really do this more often".

Her crew Ferras and Haliard pay her no attention whatsoever, in the belief that she's a right nutter and no mistake, and continue playing their nifty game of Indian Monopoly - where instead of sacrificing money for territory, they sacrifice REAL money for REAL tequila. As such, they are so blitzed they do not realize the scout ship being drawn deep into the planet's surface and a thick carpet of cinnamon engulfs the hull.

When Orllensa tries to point this out, they just nod and smile and comment how bloody insane their leader is. Orllensa frantically hits the Emergency Mayday "Oh Christ We Are SO Screwed" control as beings composed of crystallized sugar advance from all side screaming, "Encase the Arseholes!"

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor is listening to Country and Western music, swigging hootch and pondering on the absurdity of existence and the sheer enormity of his problems.

When Charley enters, he begins to weep softly to himself and prepares to commit suicide by landing the TARDIS in real space and throw himself out the airlock.

Unfortunately, the Time Lord has neglected to set the brakes and the TARDIS drifts forward in time at half a century per second - and accidentally gets caught in a passing rescue ship as it spirals through the outer reaches of the Mutter's Spiral, piloted by a computer program that really needs more defragging than it gets.

The sensors aboard the shuttle are tuned to focus in on Arsehole body-prints, but when the circuits detect Charley, the programmed response "No couch parties, please" doesn't seem to work and so the main computer, Roger, decides to obliterate her via one of the huge, armor-plated death machines conveniently wandering the ship.

Charley instantly ducks behind the Doctor and begs him to protect her, and the Time Lord simply sighs, depressed, and tells her to run through the hatch marked WASTE DISPOSAL - it in fact leads to the escape capsule because of a fault on the designer plans.

Charley does so and the Doctor cackles insanely until Roger explains that there is a genuine fault in the plans and Charley has just escaped in an escape pod which is homing in on the nearest planet.

The Doctor's despair that Charley is alive turns to mild relief when it seems she is going to vanish from his life for ever, then turns to morbid depression as he learns that she is now on the planet the rescue ship hurtling towards at top speed.

Charley gets out of the airlock and finds the survey ship clogged with Cinnamon and dark figures darting back and forth around the bars containing the Arsehole crew.

Who have been... encased.

Hence the title.

So to speak.

Part Two - Inspiration

Despite the risk of high blood pressure, Charley takes the lateral move of EATING all the sugar she can find and soon frees all the Arseholes - much to the deep annoyance of the newly-arrived termination robots who have significantly less to do.

They promptly begin to complain to their union representatives that this blonde pregnant chick is doing them out of a livelihood and getting high off sugar at the same time.

The Doctor isn't that thrilled at the thought of Charley at the best of times - a hyper Charley? That's terrifying. He then decides that, for the good of all mankind, he should shove her head into the combine harvester.

The Doctor sets off to kill Charley, and instead runs into Haliard, who has been driven mad with fear and pain and who runs screaming into the darkness when the Doctor tries to shove a pick-axe up his spinal column.

The Doctor is confused when two sugar beings detach themselves from the shadows and introduce themselves as passing optometrists and offer to fix his eyesight.

The Doctor admits it could be better as he has, after all, committed so many naughty acts his eyesight should be so bad it makes OTHER PEOPLE go blind and agrees to their free corrective surgery.

The Doctor then meets Orllensa, and is horrified when he gets a good look at her face - Christ, she's ugly. The Time Lord realizes the horrible truth - he's been literally blind drunk all his life and simply ASSUMED all his chicks were attractive and hot! What if they were only decent-looking to a half-blind, randy Time Lord?

As this existential angst tears at the very fibre of his being when suddenly five Cinnamons rush towards him, explaining they are defenseless - Charley simply EATS her cell every time they encase her in one. The Doctor knows how they feel and suggests to one of the terminator droids to blow her head off.

Unfortunately, the robots' eyesight isn't particularly hot and the innocent Cinnamons are bloodily gunned down.

As the Doctor tries not to be sick as he sees how bloated and swollen his companion REALLY is, he considers the possibility that the Cinnamons have taken the slaughter of their brethren as an act of war and react accordingly. However, as Charley points out, any race having to rely on crystallized sugar for its weaponry should be a walkover. Indeed, she has unintentionally eaten three weapons of mass destruction during that last sentence.

With the episode winding up, the Doctor, Charley and the Arseholes board the shuttle and prepare to leave. Halliard refuses to leave without his bottles of duty-free and is promptly gets encased in Cinnamon. Hearing his screams, Roger calmly decides to get the hell out of the solar system and hide under a rock in a galaxy far, far away where no one can hurt him or taunt him and mummy give him a hug, PLEASE!

The Doctor suggests that they really should reboot the insane computer, and Charley instantly begins to dismantle everything in a sugar-fueled-sonic-screwdriver-frenzy.

However, Charley has no actual idea what she is doing and soon has the entire ship stalled and the massive force fields shut down.

She happily asks the Doctor what else she should do as tidal waves of Cinnamon flood into the ship and threaten to drown them all.

"Well, Charley," the Doctor replies. "You can take the sonic screwdriver and shove it --"

Part Three - Sound Surround

In order to survive, the beleaguered heroes begin to consume all the sugar they can and in hours they are safe. Convulsing, twitching and shaking, but safe none the less.

With his Time Lord brain at super-speed, the Doctor quickly realizes what the situation is and what to do about it.

The Cinnamons were an advanced culture who traded raw sugar in return for technology and non-sugar products, eventually sidelining into optometry because they didn't want to get typecast as a race who were only good for making food and beverages sweet.

However, a race of Bilurians came across the Cinnamons - conjunctivitis in all three eyes. The Cinnamons had no idea what to do about it and, ashamed, pretended to die out when their sun became a black hole.

The sun is, in fact, alive and well and shrouded from the rest of the universe by a thick shell of blackened sugar. The Doctor decides that all they have to do is scrape away this shell and then they should all be able to get a tan. The others agree and uses the Emergency "Sun-Scrapper-Offer" Button, flood the solar system with light again.

They then realize that the Bilurians are still looking for someone to fix their eye problem - indeed, their visually-impairedness has prevented them from leaving the solar system at all, and promptly flock back to Cinnamon IV in the desperate hope that someone might be there to help them out.

Charley is horrified at the thought that they have unintentionally doomed the Cinnamons. She hates doing that sort of thing without knowing it. It's not half as fun as intentional genocide.

The Doctor, however, already has a cunning plan.

Part Four - Pass the Rope

The Doctor tells Charley to remain on the shuttle, where it's safe, while he returns to the Cinnamons - but she only agrees when he promises to return shortly, not realizing he had his fingers crossed all the time.

The Doctor wires Roger up to a nuclear compression charge, but it doesn’t accept the Doctor’s claim that he is just trying to "see what happens".

Fed up, the Doctor opens the airlock with his sonic screwdriver, letting himself out and Haliard in. On his way out, the Doctor asks Haliard to keep Charley occupied if he doesn’t return. Haliard arrives on the bridge, but when he tells Charley what the Doctor said, she's furious and storms out to join the Doctor outside.

The Doctor claims that he just wanted her safe, but she knows better; he wants her to be on the ship when the NCC explodes while he kicks back and conquers the peaceful and delicate Cinnamons.

The Doctor denies everything: there was no NCC, he never planned to wipe out the Arseholes OR the Bilurians, and he doesn't think she's fat - honest! The last one proves the vital clue that allows Charley to realize the Doctor is full of shit.

The Doctor, determined to prove he's not a drunken, womanizing, genocidal maniac (good luck to him, say I), unplugs the NCC and places it on Cinnamon IV as the hordes of Bilurian invasion fleets accelerate towards them.

He now pleads for Charley to leave with the Arseholes while he commits a noble act of self-sacrifice. Charley suspects that there's simply a different explosive on bored the ship, not realizing the Doctor has reverted to his original plan of suicide.

Dragging him aboard the shuttle, Charley tells the others to haul arse. As they are known as Arseholes, this cultural misunderstanding wastes vital minutes, ups the tension and pads out the episode. Finally the shuttle leaves and goes to warp drive.

Behind them, Cinnamon IV explodes, destroying absolutely everything in the system. Congratulating himself on a job well-done and reproaching Charley for her lack of faith in him, the Doctor and companion leave in the TARDIS.

The Arseholes find that Roger has frozen up and their desperate clicks of ALT+CTRL+DEL simply cause the warp drive to explode.

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor swears he never had any idea that this would happen, and his intention to keep Charley aboard was to keep Halliard company.

Charley believes him and, the moment he's alone, the Doctor begins swearing and kicking the furniture.

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Encases Arseholes
A Bastard's Guide to Anuses (2432)
ARSE!!! An Autobiography of Father Jack Hacket

Fluffs - Paul McGann seemed a bit arse over elbow in this story.

"Don't blast on the grass, for the glass might be an ass, and should the past be the last, then the mast could be... D'oh!"

Goofs –
If the Arseholes are so goddamned evil, why do they plan to run a nice, neat garden centre stall for the church fete?

Fashion Victims - Ollensa's neon purple underwear.

Fashion Triumphs –
Charley: "Oh, fellas, help me get out of this suit."

Technobabble –
Alien arses give off peculiar gastronomic signatures.

Links and References -
The Doctor, getting a good look at his face for the first time, remarks that he plans to try and regenerate into someone resembling Nick Briggs in a scene which, when I first heard it, had me reaching for my anti-insanity drugs.

Untelevised Misadventures -
Unfortunately, these were untelevised and thus, we have no idea what happened in them - though, it is a good bet they were a darned sight more impressive than the crap that actually WAS televised.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The abandoned regeneration sequence from Paul McGann into Nicholas Briggs, and the comic strip which inspired it from DWM (latter revealing that the whole Briggs Doctor plot was a conspiracy to test the gullibility of the readership).

Dialogue Disasters -

Ferras, after a particularly terrible bout of flatulence -
"That should put the wind up their sails."

Doctor: You know, now I can actually see myself in the mirror, Charley, I must say I'm not half as good-looking as I thought I was. If only I was taller, slightly wider, and had less hair. And a more aquiline nose. And bushier eyebrows. And wore a toothbrush for no readily-explained reason. Maybe I SHOULD just kill myself. Maybe regenerate into the Doctor I've always wanted to be. A Ninth Doctor! Played by Nicholas Briggs! Yeah, that would kick arse!
Halliard: What?!?
Doctor: No offence.

Roger: Reality is uncertain.
Doctor: What makes you say that?
Roger: This script. From the last page I started being a Throxillian Emperor, and now it looks like I've become a coffee machine.

Dialogue Triumphs -

The Doctor to Herr Lenses -
"I spend most of my life being told 'I'm not your type'."

Orllensa: There's no way back from the pub.
Doctor: And that's a bad thing? DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE ESCAPE-PROOF PUBS!


Ferras: Why do you people always assume the worst?
Charley: Because it's a Briggs script, dumbo.

UnQuotable Quote -

Cinnamon: Encase the Arseholes...

Viewer Quotes -

"'Encase...' is an interesting diversion. Like the village idiot waving his genitalia at passing traffic on the motorway. That first cliffhanger, man. I mean... wow! Who on Earth would have guessed that the Arseholes would have been encased like that? I seriously defy anyone not to do a triple take when they come across it."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2002)

"Initially so good you actually want to turn the sound up and understand what's happening, but eventually it becomes the opposite."
- George Lucas (9991)

"Once again, Paul McGann hits the right note as the Doctor. The sense of desperation conveyed in his voice as Charley arrives or when the cast start talking to him reminds us that, more than ever, the Eighth Doctor flies by the seat of his pants in an effort to escape the situation. His performance is quite unusual throughout, dropping much of his boyish charm and actually taken on a surprising amount of Hartnell-like gruffness, snapping and suicidal guilt later on in the story are quite shocking, but not half as bewildering as his desire to regenerate into Nick Briggs. Like ANYONE would want HIS face!"
- John Merrick (2005)

"The Arseholes have the scariest voices this side of Pauline Hanson."
- David Olefield (1998)

"I don't like doing long reviews because I try to avoid spoilers. But this was a very unusual story, much in the vein of The Others - THEY ARE ALL GHOSTS! - and Pitch Black - ONLY VEN DESAL, THE CROSS-DRESSER AND THE BISHOP SURVIVE! - that really only works on the first viewing. Kind of like Titanic - THE BOAT SINKS! - in that regard. Paul McGann gives his best performance of the season - I HAVEN'T SEEN NOWHERE-LAND YET! - and is wonderfully paired with Roger, who seems inspired by 2001 - I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT THAT'S ABOUT! - with that wonderful computer logic that makes up a lot of Douglas Adams' - HE DIED BEFORE HE FINISHES THE SALMON OF DOUBT! - radio work. The story abounds with nice touches - CHARLEY GROPING PEOPLE! - good characters - THE CINNAMONS AREN'T EVIL, BUT GOOD! - and twists - THE DOCTOR'S EVIL! - that raise this story from what precedes it and is what I would say the best of the season so far - I HAVEN'T SEEN THE OTHER STORIES YET EITHER! - in my opinion. Don't risk spoilers - ROSEBUD WAS ACTUALLY HIS SLED! - just get out there - DARTH VADER IS LUKE'S DAD! - and enjoy it." - Robert Thomas (2003)

"Robot arse-catchers? ROBOT ARSE-CATCHERS?!?!? I don't want robot arse-catchers! I want QUIRKS, you massive shrunken testicle! QUIRKS!!!"
- the Creator of the Quirks (2001)

"It's Nicholas Brigg's best work so far for Big Finish. Well, at least this isn't just some shitty fan audio he thought would work better on CD. It's a brand new story. Well, it's cobbled together from everything else he's written, but at least he's borrowing heavily from SEPARATE sources by himself instead of just whatever was lining his litter tray at the time." - Alan Barnes (2004)

"It's a total rip off of "Star Trek: Insurrection"! But, hell, Doctor Who always nicks stuff off PROPER science-fiction, doesn't it? The planet Vulcan, the Borg, robot companions, sexy alien chicks wearing little clothing, a retarded British lead character exploring the universe, time traveling, historical drama, god-like alien beings... Everyone knows that Doctor Who is a rip off of Doctor McCoy, who had the "who" gag said to him once in episode 2.09 and then they got a guy to play Doctor Who who actually pretended his last name WAS McCoy. Oh, and the Dustbins are a total rip-off of the Tribbles. Gene Roddenberry is GOD!"
- some ST fan in 2001. I didn't catch his name. I was too busy shoving a chainsaw through his solar plexus to catch it over his hideous, sobbing screams. But I think it was Jonathon.

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Do you know if they had cast Tony Hancock as the Second Doctor, absolutely nothing would have changed, except that movie Hancock would not have been made. Seems a good enough reason, huh? Which is why the people from Atlantis made sure it didn't happen! You know, the Atlanteans look just like cinnamerians, only less bum cleavage."

Paul McGann Speaks!
"Encase the Arseholes? Was that one of mine? I don't remember it? Oh, yes. Nick Briggs. That cunt. Yes, you're right, that is one of mine. Sadly. I remember when we were recording it, I kept getting this curious feeling of deja vu, it got more and more profound. Then I realized - I was recording the script for Bored of Ironing again. It was exactly the same. They hadn't even crossed out the bits with Cybermen and replaced them with something different. I assumed that somehow, it had got lost and we were redoing it. Then, it was time paradox shit with three Doctors, then Dustbins, then the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. I remember thinking that finding out that the monsters weren't actually monsters was quite inventive. For Nick, anyway. I got pretty annoyed during rehearsals, and he told me he wanted the story to end with the Cinnamons killing the Doctor and regenerating him into Nick Briggs. Well, I couldn't miss a chance like that, could I? But the bastards edited the sequence out and doubled a bit from Bored of Ironing for the closing scene. No one noticed the change in tone. What tone there was, of course."

India Fisher Speaks!
"Yeah, this was the last one that we filmed in my second year, and I remember thinking that they saved the worst till last - even Rhyme of the Dustbins was better than this. I have no idea what Briggs' is on, but whatever makes you think four episodes of aliens being buried in Cinnamon is good Doctor Who HAS to be illegal. I don't know where the story fitted into the season. I mean, my character was called 'Nyssa' for the duration of episode three. And I wasn't even wearing my pregnant outfit for most of it, which was weird. And annoying - I had to find a suitcase to carry my stuff and had to stand in public transport. Really!"

Trivia -

Rumors & Facts -
The new season of Paul McGann had an albatross hung around every story - P.J Hammond, Vogons, Leonard Nimoy, Dustbins, Romana - except this one. Then I realized that the albatross was Nick Briggs.

The story stands alone in a story arc. Hell, it stands alone full stop. It also proves without doubt that the outer reaches of time and space are so completely dull it's far better to just sit here and die of sedentary collapse because of the sheer variety.

Encase the Arseholes would have worked just as well with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa - that is, to say, it would have stunk to high heaven and scared old ladies in exactly the same way.

Encase the Arseholes is the second Eighth Doctor story to be both scripted and directed by Nicholas Briggs, after the last season's agonizing Bored of Ironing.

His first script proposal for the new season was The Time Cabbages, where the eighth Doctor is killed off-screen five minutes before the story started and became the Ninth Doctor for the rest of Doctor Who's media lifetime.

The "plot" around it consisted of the Dustbins conquering a race of root vegetables that had the ability to alter and shape history in order to rid the universe of Shake'N'Vac.

Gay Russell took a long, hard look at the proposal and then told Briggs to get the hell out of his life, and not come back under ANY circumstances - including either his own funeral or a workable script or both.

Briggs adjusted his script again, and proposed Endurance, a script he had previous stated he would rather die than offer to Paul McGann. Endurance featured the Eighth Doctor and Charley at a bus stop for four episodes, surrounded by an army of Nicholas Briggs clone and, in a sequence inspired by Being John Malkovitch, would become Briggs clones as well.

Jason Haigh-Ellery told Briggs in no uncertain terms to fuck off and die, pointing out that Being John Malkovitch was a touching, psychological portrayal of the media and concepts of identity and NOT a runaround at a bus terminal by a rabid egomaniac.

Briggs took these points on bored and handed in a rewritten Being Nicholas Briggs, cutting out all the bus stop sequences and the Eighth Doctor and Charley.

Briggs suggested a sequel to Bored of Ironing in the hope that he could blackmail them into using his script by reminding them they already had done. However, it was then he realized that he had sort of killed off every single person in the teleplay and annihilated the setting. Russell insisted that a sequel to Bored of Ironing would not only be difficult and pointless, but also very, very, dull.

Briggs decided to keep Bored of Ironing 2: This Time It's Steaming for a possible feature film and began to write down his streams of consciousness on the walls of the mental institution he frequented to "get away from it all".

He quickly decided that a good story would be a BUS story involving a giant preying mantis. Cautiously impressed at the total LACK of Briggs clones in the script, Russell suggested Briggs script a possible first episode. He was stunned by the revelation that "BUS" did not refer to the Doctor Who acronym of "Base Under Siege" but was an actual red double-decker bus.

The script in question, Return of the Smarm, seemed to be a bewildering mixture of Summer Holiday and Mothera Annihilates Tokyo. The story involved the Seventh Doctor and Ace heading to a moth sanctuary and then blowing it up with extreme prejudice. Upon learning this, Russell suggested they cut off the power to Briggs' padded cell and give it three months.

When he emerged, blinking, into the harsh light of day, Briggs had a script proposal about a race of beings made from sugar living over a black hole in a story entitled Return of the Cinnamons, which featured the Doctor and Charley trying to save an outpost of the Motherfucker Empire from drowning in a tidal wave of sweet crystals.

The Big Finish Production team had, at the time, realized getting the increasingly unhinged Rob Shearman to control the new season was not the most sensible move, agreed to let Briggs' story fill the remaining four-episode gap. JHE also had come to conclusion that having Briggs around improved their opinions of the fellow authors.

Briggs thought that the best titles were ones that had good elements and bad, and so this story has a large amount of working titles: GoodBad, Good/Bad, Sex/No Sex, The Beautiful But Ultimately Rather Ugly Little Shits, The Return of People Who Normally Tend to Leave, and Naked Thatcher.

However, after perusing through what some might call the script, decided by calling the story "Encase the Arseholes" and having every main character shout this every so often would work as a subtle marketing ploy, or at least as a subliminal advertising campaign.

Briggs was keelhauled into appearing with the other authors of the season in order to make sure the season's story-arc was fitted in seamlessly with the existing narratives - Charley having a baby and screwing up absolutely everything the Doctor was ever happy with, from his all-night horror flicks to just drinking in pubs.

Briggs was made physically ill at the thought of this foul 'continuity', as he considered the William Hartnell story 'The Weird Planet' (which featured a war between the packaged goods and the slurpie machines in a 7/11) the paragon of televised science-fiction.

He had learnt from his previous experiences, and so kept a fake grin on his face throughout the meeting. The suggestion that he make the unnamed three-eyed reptilian menace the Bilurians from the Jon Pertwee era was done without complaint, and also added the line that there are thousands of races who have three eyes going around calling themselves the Bilurians and so this is not a genuine continuity point.

After recording was finished, Briggs was taken to a field in the middle of nowhere, and locked into a cellblock entirely constructed from CDs of his work by the BF team, who will not reveal his location or even if Briggs is still alive.

The Encaser of Arseholes has been encased.

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