Dialogue Disasters -
4th Doctor: Who says religion has to have a spiritual dimension?
Gerbil: Uh, you did, actually.
4th Doctor: Did I really? How clever of me.
Gerbil: So, uh, religion DOES have to have spiritual dimension?
4th Doctor: Oh, don't listen to me. I never do.
Charley: How did you make so many police boxes?
Devious Dan: Lucidity made them tangible and belief made them real.
Charley: You followed the instructions.
Devious Dan: Well, yes. A bit.
Charley: Charley's Furry Store welcomes all and in the end all shall come. And THAT's a guarantee!
8th Doctor: If you're experiencing mental strain the last thing you need is someone giving you a god complex!
4th Doctor: Why not? Works wonders for me every time!
4th Doctor: The thing I've noticed about power is that it's ever so abuser-friendly, isn't it? And that it smells ever-so-slightly of caramel.
BMA: Are any of you pot-heads? Or lapsed alcoholics? Or nerds that got fooled into thinking that a tic-tac was really 300 pounds worth of ecstasy and look like a rather ugly lizard? I'm thinking of you, specifically, C'Rizz.
C'Rizz: [hands over ears] Shut up!
Dialogue Triumphs -
The obligatory Eighth Doctor 'Damn it! I just love...' quote –
8th Doctor: DAMN IT! I JUST LOVE LSD!!
4th Doctor: All the answers are waiting for you in your dreams!
C'Rizz: But I thought EVERYTHING in dreams represented sex! Are you saying that sex is the answer to everything?
Charley: I *like* that philosophy!
BMA: Are any of you carrying drugs about your person?
Charley: Depends. Do you do strip searches?
Gerbil: I'm through with blindly following leaders! I'll do whatever you ask me without question!
8th Doctor: There, you see, Charley – why can't you be like Gerbil?
Charley: I can't afford the lobotomy.
C'Rizz's haunting story -
"L'da and me were digging the summer and drawing on my jeans in biro, when this guy in a scarf came up and said, 'Hey, how about an electric cool laid acid trip? Like 300 pounds a tab?' We dropped them and instantly....
...my previous adolescent depression fell away from me, my head detached itself and floated above me. I looked across and I could see that L'da's tits were bigger than Alpha Sphere.
Then this flying saucer landed on her right nipple and an apricot-coloured walrus waddled out and started playing 'Greensleeves' on a lute made out of my nostril hair - except it wasn't a walrus, it was a LAMP POST!
And he said, 'Watch the moonlight make out, C'Rizz, there are no more heavy vibes.'
I said, 'Each and every one of my thoughts is a glittering bubble, floating in space for all eternity.' Then, there was this incredibly sexy-looking tree in front of me doing a dance.
It looked a lot like L'da and was singing a song that went, 'This is an orange tic-tac, C’Rizz! Man, we've been ripped off!'
"I have vowed revenge."
8th Doctor: C'Rizz was compelled against his will to do the funky chicken. Now something like that's bound to leave some psychic bruising.
C'Rizz: OK, it's a bit unfashionable now, but it was cutting edge back then. I've dealt with it...
8th Doctor: Don't listen to him, Charley - his guilt is very much in the present. The weight of it is crushing him.
C'Rizz: Uh, no, I'm fine. I haven't thought about the incident... ooh, only a few times since it happened.
8th Doctor: And there's only a few times like the present.
C'Rizz: Hey, are you implying something!
UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: C'Rizz? WILL YOU SHUT THE GODDAMNED HELL UP ABOUT L'DA?!??!?
Viewer Quotes -
"This Doctor Who story was a real freak-out. Like, totally the same thing happened to me when I discovered drugs. I WAS HAPPY FOR EIGHT MINUTES! When I found out the 'acid' were just tic-tacs, my second adolescent depression started. God damn the pusher man."
- Neil Pye, ELF (1984)
"Ah, Faith Dealer! That's the one where they go somewhere. Something about drugs. Was there a fountain involved in this one? No I think that was The Actual Mystery of Beer... Something else about relationships... C'Rizz gets laid - I remember that bit distinctly - that was cool. Something else happens, the Doctor probably does something extremely clever and Doctorish (probably at the last minute knowing him) and then they leave. Now, Faith Dealer was... I remember... er... hang on... give me a second... something about faith and dealing?"
- DIY Sheep's Amnesiac Review (I forget when)
"I remember when a new season of Doctor Who was a time of celebration, a chance to hurriedly rewatch all those stories that will lead to the first new episode. So MY memory is fine!"
- Jo Ford's Bitchy-to-Amnesiacs Reviews (2005)
"I tried sniffing glue, once. I threw up and spent five hours trying to eat my own navel, before my right nostril got stuck to the toilet bowl. So, yeah, it worked for me!" - Andrew Beeblebrox (2005)
"This season shows the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C'Rizz stranded in another universe, cut off from the TARDIS and looking for a way home. It was kinda like the E-Space Trilogy mixed with Season 12. Only with more groupies." – A Brief, Brief History of (Time) Travel (2004)
"The only complaint I have is the horribly rushed ending which in a shockingly awful moment, the Eighth Doctor gets wasted and misses the ending which suggested Verkoff ran out of time and just scribbled out a blink-and-you'll-miss-it ending. Uh, that was a signed confession to be honest." – Nigel Verkoff (2005)
"There is a familiar feeling now with Chris Eccelston's ninth Doctor on the horizon that the eighth Doctor has had his day and with eight years of being the head of the TARDIS it is easy to see where the feeling has come about. Sod off you Liverpudlian Tosser! Let someone with some actual talent take over!" – David Tenannt (2004)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Tweedle dum and tweedle dee! There's a mushroom growing inside me! Who am I? Don't you ask! HAH! YOU'RE just a pain in the looking glass!"
Paul McGann Speaks!
"Once more into the breach, India, once more. My last season as the Doctor. We've had our hero, we've followed his journey, we've followed his paths and watched him trying to surmount their obstacles and all the usual bollocks. I feel bloody relieved now there's someone else in the firing line. In fact, I regularly log into Outpost Gallifrey under the name of WOTAN and insist that my incarnation doesn't count and Chris Eccleston is the TRUE Eighth Doctor. So far, no luck, but I will persevere. Damn Eccleston, being the first skinhead Doctor Who. THAT COULDA BEEN ME!! Stupid American film directors..."
Conrad Westmaas Speaks!
"The main difference with this season was that, this time round, I was a lot more comfortable and familiar with Doctor Who. No more New Boy initiation pranks like having the inside of my underpants smeared with Tigerbaum, or being doused with petrol and set on fire, or being reversed over by Mark Gatiss in his four-wheel drive. Paul, India and me have been through more than the characters have – a year's passed, conventions have come and gone, Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass, vodka slammers... Yeah, I'm definitely one of the team now. We're inseparable."
India Fisher Speaks!
"It was a bit of a shock to return to Doctor Who so soon, but I never complain about the chance to get a bit closer to Paul McGann. It's that element which gets me back time and time again, and it is good to see the Big Finish team realize when I say 'I will crush your testicles', it's not an idle threat. Oh, and that other guy was there... You know... Some actor or another we've never heard of. Connington somebody? Anyway, he was there. Big bald wanker."
This story does not have a trailer. But then again, neither did The Twice-A-Night Kingdom. Or Credo of the Moron. Or Schizo. Or Nowhere-Land. Or Encase the Arseholes. Or Reasons to Care. Or Vogon Cutaway. Or Evaders from Bars. And The Best Wife lack one as well.
Rumors & Facts –
No one expected the Eighth Doctor to return again so quickly after The Twice-A-Night Kingdom and plenty prayed it wouldn't happen.
Upon hearing that Doctor Who was returning to television in a brand new series NOT written exclusively by himself, Producer Gay Russell had the ongoing adventures of the Eighth Doctor shunted off into another universe where he could never return.
He soon began to regret this fit of pique, especially as the mind-blowing possibilities of the Divergent Universe had been reduced to the Doctor, his companion Charley Pollard and an annoying lizard called C'Rizz being forced to participate in extreme lifestyle show Double the Fist in the vain hope of regaining the TARDIS.
Critics themselves simply couldn't spew up enough bile for the season, with only The Twice-A-Night Kingdom (with its endless sex scenes and full-frontal nudity) escaping this fate by being so good it cancelled out the inevitable crap reviews and was thus, forgotten entirely.
Russell made several rebuttals in the media, suggesting that after six years of making Big Finish audios, he expected the fanbase to trust him when he made the entirely spurious decision to remove the TARDIS, Earth and any old monsters from the line-up. "We're building to something!" he would regularly scream, but when pressed admitted he was lying.
Basically, everyone thought the whole Divergent idea was crap, and as a result Big Finish had been hemorrhaging buyers and listeners like a hemophiliac with a slit wrist ever since the horror of Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass.
Jason Haigh-Ellery suggested they might want to try and capture new buyers, intrigued by Doctor Who's past once the new TV series was the inevitable success.
All in all, it was probably not the best time for the Eighth Doctor's adventures to be 2/5ths into a five-year ongoing story arc in another universe with no TARDIS and a crap gameshow format.
After it became clear that Big Finish's remaining two subscribers would soon be leaving them, Gay Russell agreed that the next season of the Eighth Doctor would be the last one, literally. Abandoning the next two years of Double the Fist storylines, Season 31 would now consist solely of stories from the original Season 33.
Due this bizarre rescheduling, Paul McGann's future releases would be recorded on rotation rather than in blocks. True, this meant it would be even more difficult than normal to get McGann to portray the Eighth Doctor, but then he wasn't THE Doctor anymore no one really cared.
Production was stuffed from the beginning as the writers and stories proposed for Season 31 had been immediately abandoned and so Big Finish basically had to start from scratch. Ideally, the season would be quite simple for new listeners and give a nail-biting departure for the Eighth Doctor and companions.
Unfortunately, a near-total media black out had been imposed by new series creator Russell T Davies once it became known Billie Piper would be the new companion Rose Tyler a full three months before she'd auditioned. With no idea of the stories, tone or developments of 'Season 32', Russell had no idea what would happen in Season 31!
Even an audio regeneration couldn't be done, as Christopher Eccleston had made sure he was unavailable to Big Finish for the rest of his entire life after appearing as Maxil in The Twice-A-Night Kingdom.
With no time left, Russell grabbed the four most important scripts to the arc and commissioned them on the spot. The second story would involve the trio escaping the Double the Fist Plot, the third have them regain a TARDIS and fourth have them escape the divergent universe. That only left the first to be worked out.
As chaos reigned following the decision of Witch-finder General Matthew Hopkins' decision to write the second story, Russell decided to fall on his old standby – Nigel Verkoff.
Nigel Verkoff regularly pestered Big Finish to be allowed to work for them writing a story. He would then negotiate downward to co-writing a story, then just appearing in a story, then just making the coffee, or his final offer of being locked in a studio for six hours with nothing but India Fisher and a can of whipped cream.
However, his open-minded outlook and lack of desire to become a canonical Doctor made him far more approachable than Nick Briggs.
Verkoff's first submission to Big Finish was its second release, a Fifth Doctor, Turlough and Kamelion story called Phantasmagoria Is In Nigel Verkoff's Pants (later renamed Fan & Phantasmagoria), which ignored the regulars entirely in favor of a character of Verkoff's own creation – Sir Nigel Verkoff Esquire.
Verkoff's weekly-proposed sequel, The Nigel Verkoff Experiment, was not so well received but Russell decided to give him the duty of writing a story from the season outline. The story was originally to be the shock-filled finale of the second Divergent season, where the Doctor and Charley find the TARDIS... only to immediately lose it and be sucked back into Double the Fist.
Verkoff agreed to write the story as long as he could feature a wild LSD rave party and take the piss out of his former employers, Warringah Mall, where he had been forced to dress as the Easter Bunny and hand out eggs. "They only paid me twenty bucks an hour," Verkoff remembers, "which wasn't so bad. Except, what with all the medical bills and bail fines from the muggings and beatings I got came to around $2500."
He agreed not to include the character of Sir Nigel Verkoff Esquire, but would get to play The Boring Man's Assistant. He also went and talked to Tom Baker, his old drinking buddy, about making a return appearance to Big Finish after gatecrashing the production of D'You Believe This? in 2003.
Having previously worked with Paul McGann in the television movie playing the eponymous Rasputin, Baker was undecided and finally agreed on the condition he could do a rapping song about being the embodiment of God, the Divine Being and Ruler of the Universe.
Nigel agreed and double-dared Nick Briggs to work on the episode WITHOUT trying to take control of the story and crown himself the Doctor Immortal for All Eternity.
One of the biggest criticisms of the third McGann season was its
lack of consistency as there were wildly imaginative and innovative
stories sitting alongside bland rehashes of archetypal Doctor Who
adventures. That and the fact it was all shit.
Faith Dealer is perhaps the first story to appreciate the difference of the Divergents' universe setting – it's exactly like this one, except there's better parking on Tuesdays and all the pens work.
There are some flaws which detract from Faith Dealer's overall quality – what there is of it. For example, C'Rizz tawdry love affair which DOESN'T end with either the horrible death of one of them or Lizard Boy staying behind just feels... realistic. And when we're talking about C'Rizz, psycho-scaly-people's-poet, realism is LOW on the list.
But the biggest problem is the hasty resolution as the Doctor offhandedly gets wasted and misses the resolution of the story – which was apparently a garbled mess of technobabble which was as unconvincing as it was terse.
There is some improvement in the characterization of C’Rizz here, but having a companion that makes Kamelion look well-thought-out and used better is not a good sign. Also the fact that it takes up to three minutes at a go for the Doctor and Charley to remember who he is wastes valuable drinking-and-boozing time.
While Paul McGann and India Fisher were once the backbone of this
part of Big Finish's range, it's become clear that the character of
Charley is increasingly stale. She's finally DONE everything TO everything and is utterly redundant in this story, bounding along after the Doctor like an over-excited and rather-horny lapdog but adding nothing of substance to the drama. She doesn't get her knockers out, either.
What is chilling is that this script is by Nigel Verkoff, India Fisher's – and Charley's – greatest fan. The fact she's treated like dirt in this story could be down to the author's fickle decision to lust after Billie Piper instead, but he denies this utterly. Very sensible too. Fisher will kill him if it's true.
To be fair, McGann's Doctor sucks just as bad. McGann, consummate
performer that he is, doesn't even try to act alongside Tom Baker after last time. The Eighth Doctor is pretty screwed too, with the search for the TARDIS to escape Steve Foxx just a pale shadow of the original dump Charley and her illegitimate sprog plotline of his first two seasons.
Faith Stealer is an engaging and enjoyable play that evokes the
spirit of Doctor Who well, being a good mixture of spirits and mind-altering drugs. It brings some much needed ravers into the hitherto humourless Divergent Universe and for that it's easy to overlook its
deficiencies in relation to the regular characters, plot, setting, episode structure, dialogue and sound design.
LSD rave parties in a shopping centre are scarcely touched upon by Doctor Who and it is easy to see why. It's such a tricky subject that is usually dealt with in totally arse-scratching-ly dull seriousness so not to offend anybody. Even Nose of Evil, which is the closest Doctor Who ever got to truly screwing up everything in the name of a good laugh treated dealt with the idea by having the Fourth Doctor only SUGGEST this, rather carry it out, as he does here.
Finally, tragedy had befallen Big Finish during the production of The Actual Mystery of Beer. While there the specially-re-composed theme tune by David Arnold had been replaced by Waltzing Matilda on a Jew's harp, it was discovered at a relatively late stage that they had, in fact, taped over the original music.
Thus, specially composed theme tunes were made for every individual Eighth Doctor story onwards, starting with 'A Decent Star' for The Twice-A-Night Kingdom. For Faith Dealer, Verkoff managed to get a three-part harmony with Tom Baker, Paul McGann and Nick Briggs...
"Yes, The Doctor Is GOD!!!"
by Sir Nigel Verkoff Esquire
performed by Tom Baker, Nicholas Briggs and Paul McGann
TB: My name's Tom Baker!
PM & NB: No need to shout.
TB: I said, that's my name!
PM & NB: So don't wear it out.
NB: My name is Nicky Briggsy
If the situation's sticky...
Then I'm your man, I am canon
And Tom used to be a brickie
I don't give a damn
About what you say
If you don't like that
You better walk this way!
PM: Rock it, Little Nicky, rock it to the left!
TB: Rock it, Little Nicky, rock it to the right!
PM: My name is McGann, Paul
And I'm the best of all
Cause I'm in your face
Like a can of mace
I'm a Satan-groove love man
King of the universe
Mess with me, C'Rizz
And you leave in a hearse.
ALL: Your GOD is a nothing GOD
Is a small-mind GOD
Is a weak-arsed GOD
Now I'm a real-tough GOD
A straight-line GOD
And a good old boy
As a GOD I arm-wrestled Charley
And – grin – wide
Yes, the Doctor is GOD!
Long scarves and jelly babes
And the good word is 'Rasputin'
Cause I'm the guy
Who won't die
And fought all the Dustbins!
Cause I'm the word
The truth, the light, the way
But I have not risen
Cause I'm sleeping in today
Go get some merchandise
For me to autograph
Don't be too pathetic
And I'll try not to laugh!
My will, my law, my drugs
My will, my law, my drugs
("Nick Briggs for the Tenth Doctor! – Oww!")
Doctor Who is G-G-G-G-G-G-GONE!