Wednesday, December 2, 2009

8th Doctor - Invaders from Mars

Serial 8F - Evaders from Bars
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Seventh Entry in the EC Unauthorized Program Guide O' Missing Remote Controls


Serial 8F - Evaders from Bars -

Part One - Dramatic Personas

The Doctor has set the TARDIS drink machine to mix him a smooth Manhattan cocktail. By some curious cross-wiring, this causes the time machine to fetch up in New York City, October 30th, 1938.

The Time Lord is immediately annoyed: not only is he several million miles and eight years off the possibility of dumping Charley, he's also rather thirsty.

Upon exiting the TARDIS, the Doctor and Charley stumble across a badly burned dead body, from which the Doctor decides to steal a wallet. Charley suggests they investigate what could fry a human being to a crisp and her companion mistakenly believes she is suggesting they eat the corpse. After all, it IS cooked.

One course of cannibalism later, the duo decide to loot the dead man's office. Just as they're about to enter, a woman named Spelling Bee arrives, and assumes that the Doctor is a private detective. To Charley’s despair, the Doctor decides to play along, and invites Spelling into “his” office, where she explains that she’s trying to find her missing uncle.

Charley privately insists that the Doctor let her start playing around, perhaps with something a little more traditional like the late-working admin officer and the pizza delivery kid, but the Doctor then learns that Spelling's uncle is a compulsive arsonist and is interested in this for a possible insurance scam.

The private detective was shot down by a pair of two-bit hoodlums - Moose and Squirrel - who have stolen merchandise from their boss the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks, to sell to a third party, Mr. Hell.

They aren't that professional with the mysterious laser guns they carry, and accidentally assassinate two hit men sent by Mr. Hell, who is providing awful adaptations of sci-fi theatres for CBS to broadcast.

Orson Welles and John Houseman cannot believe anyone would write this shit, but heck, they're getting paid and decide to do it. This subplot continues through the next three episodes and are utterly pointless, so I'll summarize their remaining scenes now: Welles and Houseman wrap up rehearsals, go to a rave, come back, hungover, do a quick run through and then record the damn thing, broadcast it, compliment each other on a job well done, twig that they have unleashed riots on America, laugh about it, crack open a bottle of champagne and sit back and watch the beginning of the end of Western Civilization.

Meanwhile, the Phantom demands to know the truth from his followers Moose and Squirrel. Squirrel proves so utterly inept, his explanation of why they have stolen the radiation pulse weapons consists of shooting himself in the foot and tumbling into the gaping maw of the Phantom's pet giant toad, Cucumgillia.

This cuts the interrogation short somewhat and the episode ends prematurely.

Part Two - Fame, Sex and Matches

The Doctor is far from convincing as his gumshoe cover - certainly the police don't believe his explanation for why he is covered in the detective's blood and has his wallet and keys.

However, they DO believe him when he says there is some vital evidence on the fire escape out of the office. The Doctor escapes, leaving Charley to the mercy of the cops.

He then books himself for a two week stay at the bed and breakfast motel with Spelling Bee. However, the pygmy servants of the Phantom are there and capture both of them.

Charley is thrown into a cell after her attempts to seduce her way out of trouble get her into even more. She decides she will become the ruler of the cell block - and is unopposed, as she is, after all, in solitary confinement.

Using her belly, she smashes her way out through the cell wall and, by a series of outrages coincidences I refuse to dignify by writing down, falls under the evil influence of Mr. Hell, who promptly shoots her full of truth serum.

After two minutes listening to her true exploits, the sickened Mr. Hell gags her and frantically asks for a bucket.

The pygmies take the Doctor and Spelling to the Phantom's lair - a huge skull-shaped building, carefully concealed in the middle of town beside a handy waterfall.

There, they find Spelling's Uncle, burning the Phantom's record books for a cheap laugh. The Doctor has a healthy respect for anyone who is willing to set fire to 400-year-old diaries for the sheer hell of it, and so introduces himself and Stepashin's niece.

The surprised Stepashin claims that he has no family. Spelling reminds him that he does, revealing her name is, in fact, Glory Bee. Stepashin smacks his forehead and apologizes profusely for this oversight, but he's been working hard.

The Doctor consoles him and insists there is nothing to apologize about...

Part Three - Evaders from Bars

Mr. Hell is on his phone to CBS radio, trying to interest the station in a series of horrific monologues based on the saucy sex antics Charley rambles about nonsensically.

He is cut off when a UFO down a 365-point turn and lands on the phoneline. Mr. Hell runs for it as Moose and Charley are left at the mercy of the huge alien ferrets, Streath and Noriam, emerge and complain how it doesn't look like it did in the tourist brochure.

Spotting a large skull dumped in the middle of the river, the curious aliens decide to have their photos taken outside it, and, when Moose tries to run off with their camera the aliens declare war on Earth and its miserable inhabitants.

Meanwhile, the Phantom has returned to his cave to find 4 centuries worth of vital knowledge and history have "spontaneously combusted" around his old foe, the Doctor, who created the Singh Brotherhood back in the 14th century for the sole purpose of finding him a Manhattan cocktail before such a beverage existed on Earth.

The Doctor explains he has come to end their battle and, as a peace offering, is willing to sacrifice his latest travelling companion Charley Pollard.

After a complicated series of questions designed to ensure the Time Lord isn't just palming him off with another K9, the Phantom agrees to see the merchandise, and has his pygmy's shoot the Russians with poison arrows as the plot no longer requires the comedy foreigners.

The replacement comedy foreigners, Streath and Noriam, arrive with Charley and Moose. By some strange, extra-sensory perception, the Phantom deduces that the heavily-pregnant Charley is not a virgin and refuses to accept her.

The Doctor screams and begins to throttle him, shouting "The ONE time I need you to do something! The ONE time! YOU IMMORTAL-WANNABE!!"

At that moment Mr. Hell arrives in a 1929 Lamborghini and offers everyone a ride to Starbucks.

Part Four - Close Time

Charley, feeling ravenous begins to eat everything in sight.

While she works through the pygmies ("They're like peanuts! You can never have just one!"), the Doctor and the Phantom flee.

The Doctor knows that Noriam’s claim to be spearheading an alien invasion is just empty bluster: they aren’t alien warlords - but alien bartenders who have been bankrupted when the Doctor drank their respective pubs dry, and thus have been forced to run an overly-complicated protection racket.

They throw heavy amounts of alien weaponry at a primitive planet, wait three days and then go on a holiday in the vain hope the planet is rich in minerals.

This is just another symptom of the stress-induced insanity the Doctor has inflicted on millions of beverage workers throughout the Gallifreyan Noosphere.

The Time Lord reminds them that the combined hunger of Charley and her baby will not be sated by the pygmies and they are next. Streath and Noriam suspects the Doctor is just bluffing to avoid having to pay them the seventeen billion credits he owes them on that night he convinced them to give him credit at the Big Bang Burger Bar, but before he can question him further, Charley begins to gnaw on his leg.

The Doctor chooses this moment to ring up Orson Welles and congratulate Welles for the panic and confusion he has caused, saying it takes a particular type of credulous bull to turn a city into an angry mob. Welles modestly says it was nothing - Americans believe anything if you know how to get past the natural indifference barrier.

Unsurpsingly, Welles doesn’t seem to recognize a quote from Ali G which the Doctor makes while outlining his persecution by Streath and Noriam.

Mr. Hell has already allied himself with the aliens, but not even he can stop Charley from eating everything in sight.

They try everything to stop her, even pointing out that every radio in the country is insisting that an alien invasion is underway, but Charley just doesn't care! She'll eat the Martians too if need be! SHE'S HUNGRY!

Finally, Streath and Norium hit the self-destruct in the desperate hope their sacrifice will save the rest of creation from the vile appetites of Charlotte E Pollard and, believing they have shared a little of the Doctor's suffering, tear up the IOUS and hit the red button.

The atomic explosion lights up the sky and annihilates parts of the US, the Soviet Union, France, England, and Germany, leaving the remaining countries lost and leaderless.

However, the rest of it is simply inhaled by Charley with the aid of a straw.

With her huge gut flexing and glowing with radiation, Charley announces that what she'd like to do now is completely redecorate the TARDIS, get rid of all the Doctor's lifelong and prized possessions and really get comfortable.

The Doctor damns Streath and Norium with every one of the Gallifreyan pantheon of Bored Gods, and, after a final, unsuccessful plead to the Phantom to take the bimbo, leaves in the TARDIS, more depressed and sober than in episode one.

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Versus The Bar Tab
The Night America Went A Bit Loopy
Ford Prefect's Guide To Gullible Barmen

Fluffs - Paul McGann seemed a tad bored shitless in this story.

Goofs –
Did the Titanic set sail in 1930? No, it bloody well did not!

The Wine Peddler's evil plan can be defeated... by TOAST??

Look, I'm no genetics expert, but I'm fairly certain any pregnant women out there - even if you ARE convinced the father is a time-travelling alien - shouldn't try and suck up an atomic explosion with a straw. It's really not a good idea.

Fashion Victims –
Charley tries and fails miserably to squeeze into the dead detective's clothing, causing all manner of smooth white flesh to gently pop out... Wait a minute! This is a fashion triumph, surely??

Technobabble -
A 24th century Pulfidian Polarity Reverser can be used to make toast. (See Untelevised Misadventures)

Links and References -
Charley wonders if it would be possible for her to sleep with a whole city. The Doctor gives her a knowing look ("Paris Sucks")

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor mentions the last time he was in New York he faced off against the Wine Peddler and, using a 24th century Pulfidian Polarity Reverser to make a round of toast. What these two events have in common is a complete mystery

Groovy DVD Extras -
The original 1930s cinema trailer: "Big Finish presents PAUL McGANN & INDIA FISHER suffering the 'script' of EVADERS - FROM - BARS!!! A Pretentious Wanker Production in Glorious HACK-O-VISION!!"

Dialogue Disasters -

Charley: Why do *I* always have to dress up when we indulge your gumshoe fantasies?
Doctor: Oh, swivel on this mid-digit, Charley!
Charley: [excited] Well, if you insist...

Orson: That's the trouble with cliches.
Houseman: What is?
Orson: They keep appearing in this script!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: Shut up, Charley!
Charley: Don't tell me to shut up, you stupid cunt!
Doctor: It's YOUR stupid cunt that got us into this mess!!

Mr. Hell: I'd better get you to a darkened room and there we will -
Charley: Why you shrew!
Mr. Hell: I hadn't finished.
Charley: Oh, sorry.
Mr. Hell: They'll be released from their bondage.
Charley: Why you shrew!

Doctor: So lady, what's the rumpus? You cracking foxy with me, or is you in trouble with the bricks? They gonna drag you down to the hole because some guy gets shot through the pump with a heater?
Charley: Um... yes. Yes, I am... Should I take my top off now?
Doctor: Err. Guess so. I rarely get someone willing to cut to the chase.

UnQuotable Quote -


Viewer Quotes -

"I would suggest you all listen to it for proof that McGann is still the Doctor at the moment. And a fucking damn fine one at that! But, I won't. Watch it for Charley. Grrrrrrr. The body that forced the abortion issue, that's what I say." - Father James O'Malley (2005)

"There was also "authentic 1930's incidental music" between each scene. The idea was certainly original, but I also found it utterly annoying. Then, I realized that the musical interludes in Evaders were the best part of it - bar Charley of course. Hubba hubba."
- Lavros42 at Outpost Gallifrey (2003)

"Evaders from Bars wasn't total shit. There were some good bits in it. Generally the moments the defensive mechanism in my brain activated and my consciousness shut off. Apart from that, there were just annoying bits. Of course, it was also nice to have our first definitively gay characters in a Doctor Who story - leaving more sex-starved babes for us REAL men. Like Charley, of course. Sex-say. So much of her to grope and so little time! Plus, she has nature's best contraceptive - she's already up the duff!" - Nigel Verkoff (2001)

"I was a bit disappointed to see two 8th Doctor and Charlie adventures in a row set in America. Surely knowing America exists is bad enough, but to visit three times in seven adventures? That's gotta be overkill." - Dave Restal (2001)

"I was a bit disappointed in Dave Restal's casual spelling mistake. Charley is a woman, as evidenced by her advanced state of pregnancy and thus I think it right to remind everyone that "Charley" is derived from her real name "Charlotte" and not "Charles". Because, if not, that has to be the best sex change I have ever seen." - Katy January (2001)

"I was a bit disappointed in Katy January's all-over pedantry and totally ignoring the main point of Dave Restal's argument and dragging the whole quotes page back to Charley's pregnancy. Surely we all have better things to do than ogle a pregnant woman?" - Harry Hill (2001)

"I was a bit disappointed that Harry Hill is totally missing out one of the true joys in life." - Nigel Verkoff (2001)

"I was a bit disappointed that all the viewers in this section were disappointed with Evaders from Bars. This kind of negative attitude is not productive and rather disappointing." - Evelyn Markson (2001)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I was a bit disappointed with all the pointless repetition so I went round to the houses of all the viewers quoted in the above section and fired two warning shots... into each of their heads."

Paul McGann Speaks!
"I can't say that Doctor Who is a part I would always have wanted. But now I'm involved, I can honestly confirm that its a part that I wish I'd never had. When I think of the wonderful roles I could be playing - MacBeth, Fish, Bush, Danny La Rue - it's a wonder that I shouldn't have more in common with Richard E Grant. But, I don't. We're different in every way possible. For instance, he managed to retcon his way out of Doctor Who and I didn't."

India Fisher Speaks!
"You know, I remember being very aware as we recorded Evaders from Bars in September 2001, that a story featuring amoral enemies annihilated New York landmarks for the sheer hell of it might not be in the best possible taste. But who cares? I mean, do Americans have taste? What do they know about it?"

Trivia -
Orson Welles' reasons for failing to recognize an Ali G reference is explained (but not justified from a scriptwriting point of view) in Rhyme of the Dustbins.

Rumors & Facts -
The Eighth Doctor is back for his second season, and this is one of seven widely assorted stories to look forward to. Which is comforting considering the total shit that occurs between the opening and closing credits.

In January 2001, Producer Gay Russell decided to save on paper by re-commissioning the Eighth Doctor season he had drafted back in 1999 rather than sort out a completely new season of adventures.

Once again, the flaws in the proposal were obvious – not only was the idea of setting the stories between the BBC Books Placable Effect and Dick Vandyke's Children unsuitable, costly and canonically impossible, but Big Finish's home-made companion and fertility figure Charley Pollard had made something of an impact in the role.

What's more, while Justin Richards, Paul Carnall and Nicholas Briggs were now available to pen stories, Mark Plate, Steven Moffatt, Steve Cole and Peter Anglihides refused to return any calls. The only story prepared for the season, a remake of the Oddly Visual Bilurian extravaganza Endurance, had to be dropped; Briggs refused to remake any more stories for Paul McGann that should rightfully have featured himself. In fact, he had already prepared a similar argument for any other Doctor stories before suddenly leaping out the window.

It was now decided that the season would be linked in theme with the Doctor's ever-more bizarre and desperate attempts to dump the ever-larger Charley before she gives birth to goodness knows what. The first story was to be Bar of the Birds by Mark Gatiss, with the Doctor trying to make some money by setting up a one-woman freak show in 1930s New York. The story would revolve around the Goonies trying to break into the Van Buren house only to be confronted by... Orson Welles and his gang of hideous extra-terrestrial bar staff.

The idea of the Doctor finally encountering some angry alien bartenders came to writer-director Mark Gatiss while he was being shoved, face down, into a toilet bowel by Nicholas Briggs for daring to portray a Doctor in the 1999 Doctor Who Night.

Apparently, a lot of his inspiration comes from annoyed Doctor Who fans trying to drown him.

Gatiss found himself empathizing quite intensely with the injustices heaped on the Time Lord by a wandering asshole with some obscure grudge the likes of which any reasonable person could only guess at - a sensation intensified by every time Briggs flushed said toilet.

Gattis thus proposed a tightly-written emotional drama called Tequila Mockingbird where the Doctor is falsely accused of molesting a donkey by a bunch of racist American rednecks.

This idea was dismissed as being a total rip-off of To Kill A Mockingbird and rejected on the ground that the alien bartenders did not feature strongly enough in the main narrative.

Gattis duly re-wrote the script and so a donkey was falsely accused of molesting an alien bartender by a bunch of racist American rednecks.

This too was dismissed on the grounds it no longer featured the Doctor. Thus, a further rewrite saw the Doctor being falsely accused of molesting the Doctor by the Doctor.

This idea was considered utterly ludicrous, badly plotted, and vaguely erotic. Thus, it was thrown at Rob Shearman, who was now being chained securely to a police box prop as he cackled about the catharsis of spurious intertextuality.

Gay Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellery wanted Gatiss to understand that there was no actual house-style to Doctor Who and every four episodes was virgin territory.

Once this was taken on board by Gatiss and the script rewritten, they demanded he change it specifically to the Eighth Doctor and Charley and scrap anything that distracted from the story arc in any way, shape or form. JHE was very annoyed when Gatiss shrugged, explaining that every script he did was done for a generic Doctor so he didn't have to do much work in order to change it.

Thoroughly disgusted at Gatiss' professionalism, the Big Finish Production office brought forward the script The Tab Evaders to the first story of Paul McGann's second series and made Gatiss direct the story as well.

This annoyed Nick Briggs to the point of psychosis, and he grabbed Gatiss, tied a plastic bag around his head and threw him into the canal once recording was finished. Gatiss survived with no injuries and the inspiration for a whole new series of The League of Gentlemen, which pissed everyone off even further.

Shaking with fury at what a calm, relaxed and agreeable person Gatiss was, they demanded he scrap his other script project The Intergalactic Poofter, and merge the central concept with the Bartenders plot.

Gattis simply shrugged and did so, remarking that the Orson Welles/B-Movie invasion/Maltese Falcon/Tarzan Versus the Nazis plot needed a bit of tidying up and adding the camp Mr. Hell to the mix was just what was needed.

Finally, Russell came to the decision that the titles for the new series would all feature the word "Tim". The series now ran The Tim of Fright-Night, Tim to Care, Tim Is An Arsehole, Tim & the Dustbins, The Eggs of Tim and also Evaders from Tim.

At this, Gattis began to swear violently and wreck the recording studio, shouting obscenity after obscenity at anyone who stood in his way. He quickly located Russell and JHE and began to shoot at them with cross-bows until they retracted the order. The moment they did so, Gattis smiled politely and said, "Thank you very much," before turning and leaving.

Evaders from Bars came out first in the new salvo of Doctor Who: Season 29, with the back cover reading:


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