Serial 8H - Reasons to Care
Tenth Entry in the EC Unauthorized Program Guide O' Dark Bastards
D O C T O R W H O
Serial 8H - Reasons to Care -
Part One - The Thoughtful Edmund Darkbastard
The TARDIS arrives at the Singapore Hilton on New Year’s Eve 1930, where the Doctor suggests Charley head for the terraces and try and make some cash while he 'minds' the TARDIS.
As the Doctor turns to escape to freedom, a giant clock drops out of the sky and lands on the Time Lord's foot.
The driver of the clock, which appears to be powered by two toilet bowls, is one S. Baldrick. The Doctor screams abuse at the grubby little ape and cheerfully throttles him.
The Time Lord stops however, when a suave, bearded man stakes his claim to throttling Baldrick and introduces himself as Edmund Darkbastard.
The Doctor, ever the gentleman, suggests they BOTH lay into Baldrick in a way that makes gang-bashing-violence look like something out of a Looney Tunes episode. After doing just that, Darkbastard explains he represents "certain universal powers" have granted him... powers.
As such, he is immortal and able to regenerate yet retain his handsome good looks. The Doctor is giant-maggot-green with envy, and Darkbastard gloats over the fact that the Doctor is responsible: ever since the universe became aware that the Time Lord had knocked up his latest bimbo, the "certain universal powers" decided to come out of the police box and just conquer the whole freaking cosmos as the Doctor's "celestial reputation on the toilet wall of time" is forever tarnished.
Darkbastard is, at present, performing a confidence trick via an old time machine and stand to win 50 000 dollars, francs, euros or whatever the hell the currency is after he's mucked about with history.
The Doctor is certain he could do a better job - and be certain what he would be paid in - and heads to the TARDIS to start a new life of lying and extortion.
Darkbastard leaps in front of him, telling him that if he doesn't keep off his patch, Darkbastard will use his time machine to meet the Doctor as a nauseating adolescent and shoot him through the head.
The Doctor tartly points out that if Darkbastard HAD done that, not only would the Doctor not be having this conversation, but Darkbastard would never meet him and so get a reason to go back in time and kill his younger self, so, ergo, he didn't. I think. This conversation does go on for several hours, with lots of false-starts, back-tracking, and digressions into the weather.
Darkbastard mumbles some technobabble about The Web of Beer being fractured, allowing him to do anything he wants to, and hands the Doctor a newspaper with the headline THETA SIGMA BRUTALLY STABS HIMSELF IN BOTH HEARTS WHILE BRUSHING TEETH!
The Doctor stares in horror as Darkbastard collects Baldrick and leaves in his clock-time-machine to fulfill this deed. The Doctor grabs Charley (mainly for the sheer hell of it) and heads into the TARDIS, determined to change Darkbastard's history and cancel him out of existence before he can to the same to him.
A quick check of The HitchHiker's Guide To Total Arseholes, the Doctor sets course for Swamp Castle, home of the royal family during the thirteen glorious years which were quickly retconned out of existence by Henry Tudor VII.
Materializing outside the castle in 1486, the Doctor and Charley emerge dressed in Hawaiian shirts and handkerchief bandanas which the Doctor insists is the correct period costume.
They enter the castle in search of Edmund Dark Bastard - or rather, Prince Edmund Plantagenet Duke of Edinborough. Edmund, Lord Percy and Edmund's squire, Baldrick are sorting out the St. Leonard's Day frolics, only to find that the traditional acts are unavailable: the bearded woman's shaved her beard off, the Eunuchs have a prior engagement and the Morris Dancers are crap.
The Doctor and Charley arrive and offer themselves as a variety act: the Great Arsehole and Friend, though they refuse to comment on which is which.
Edmund however has contact with an alien via an old tin can and an amazingly long piece of string, and plans to bring to Earth an amazingly convincing actor that can convince everyone that his much-loved and better-respected brother Harry is an illegitimate bastard and thus put Edmund on the road to kinghood.
The Doctor points out that this is unlikely to do anyone much good as whoever the king is will simply be assassinated by Henry Tudor, but is ignored by Edmund, who thinks the Doctor has a stupid haircut. The Time Lord calmly responds by trying to kneecap Edmund and earns his enmity forever.
The performance goes ahead as planned, with the Doctor and Charley doing a wide variety of stand-up comedy, show tunes, Egyptian tragedy and card tricks.
Edmund enters and declares himself "the Dark Bastard", a title with which he will rule the world. Immediately, a shimmering, Star-Trek-style transportation beam arrives, heralding the Dark Bastard's ally. Instead, a surprised-looking Dustbin arrives and begins slaughtering everyone and everything in sight.
The Dark Bastard is unimpressed at this particular acting talent and thinks they should have just stuck to the original naughty letters plot, but the Doctor quickly deduces that the Dustbin has been brought out of here by sheer cosmic necessity so as to give episode four some punch.
Deciding he should get on with changing history, the Doctor and Charley shove the Dark Bastard through the torture chamber - removing his arms, legs, ears, nose, genitalia and shoving a spike up his arse.
However, a stray shot from the Dustbin splashes the Dark Bastard's body with Time Lord blood and, as the Doctor and Charley flee the castle, the ruined body begins to glow and change and regenerate into a younger, bearded, more attractive form.
As the Doctor and Charley flee back to the TARDIS, the Dustbin runs out of things to shoot and so self-destructs for no other reason than to annoy amazingly gullible viewers into thinking a real location has been blown to smithereens...
Part Two - Reasons to Care
The Doctor and Charley escape moments before the castle is completely destroyed - y'know, the way they always do. If it was ME during a completely coincidental gas leak at high school, oh no, far too "unrealistic"... Educational BASTARDS!
Meanwhile, the newly-regenerated Dark Bastard decides to try to use his alien benefactor to conquer the world again, however, the diary's filled up for the next 100 years. By that time, the Dark Bastard has become known as Edmund Darkbastard, a familiar of Queen Elizabeth I and nobleman living on Drury Lane with descendents of Baldrick and Percy.
The TARDIS materializes in a sidestreet, where Charley realizes that Dark Bastard's hatred of the Doctor must stem from the Doctor’s interference in his affairs - but the Doctor would never have interfered had Dark Bastard not contacted him to gloat. The Doctor advises her not to try reasoning out temporal paradoxes such as these as they spoil the enjoyment for the viewer.
Queen Elizabeth I has decided on a massive costume party for no other reason than she wants to and Darkbastard offers to get his out of town acting "chum" to provide the entertainment when the Doctor and Charley arrive to greet the royal party.
The Doctor admires Darkbastard's rejuvenated form, envious at the fact he can keep the best aspects of his old body and improve them. Darkbastard mocks the Doctor and boasts how his alien master will annihilate the course of history and ruin the Earth forever.
As the aliens seem to have no grudge against the Doctor, the Time Lord decides to sit back and let them do it, I mean, why should he care?
Darkbastard is surprised at this attitude, and is prepared to overlook their feud. Well, PREPARED to. He decides that he will not murder them and somehow engineers Charley to, er... have a "happy moment" in the middle of court, where her screams of kinky abuse gain nothing but scorn from the Queen who has both her and the Doctor thrown in jail.
Charley kind of admires Darkbastard's ingenuity and requests he and her be transported to a deserted planet for the rest of history and the Doctor realizes that this is the moment that he has been waiting for!
Using his Super Gonad StrengthTM, they break out of the cell and into the throne room just as the 'entertainment' arrives - a blonde vampire slayer who accidentally slaughters all the characters bar the Doctor and Charley before she realizes what she's doing.
Darkbastard has transported the wrong alien overlord.
As Buffy reluctantly assumes the role of Queen Elizabeth, the dying Darkbastard regenerates again into a paler, clean-shaven, and altogether more effeminate incarnation - and the passion he and Charley shared is gone for good. Beside himself with rage, the Doctor throws the new Darbastard out the nearest privvy...
Part Three - Pun and Punctuality
Charley is horrified to see the Doctor fling Darkbastard into a heap of crap, but the Doctor assures her that Darkbastard is immortal and invulnerable, and will thus survives the plunge into a shit heap.
To his immense annoyance, he is proved absolutely correct and the Doctor vows that he WILL slaughter the son of a bitch the next time they meet - presumably in another century's time when Darkbastard books in an alien variety act and then gets the wrong one by mistake like the previous two episodes.
The TARDIS leaps ahead to 1785 in the home of the Prince Regent where Darkbastard has been pushed further down the social ladder, and has crept his way up to butler to Prince George accompanied by a dogsbody named S. Baldrick.
As is the fashion, the Doctor must wear a rapier, with which he plans to skewer their enemy like a kebab again and again until all the regenerations are used up.
He and Charley emerge to find themselves in a cave system, and a few minutes' exploration takes them to a door which opens into what the Doctor instantly recognizes as a dungeon.
Charley points out that most dungeons don't have dining tables stocked with fine claret. The Doctor decides to deal with this paradox by drinking every last drop of claret. Charley, however, knows that they are in Wickham Caves, one of the homes of the notorious Naughty Hellfire Club which caused them such trouble in 21st-century America, and the Doctor snarls "No one likes a smart arse, Charley."
They are confronted by three guests of the NHC - the Prince Regent, Darkbastard and Baldrick, who have been invited along because they have graciously promised to provide entertainment for tonight's meeting to celebrate the turn of their calendar.
Darkbastard seems delighted when the Doctor and Charley introduces themselves and politely invites the Doctor and Charley to dine with him. The Doctor accepts and promptly skewers Darkbarstard - and is gobsmacked when he regenerates again.
But the cellular stress on the remorphic lindos glands has been tested once too often. To put it another way, he's turned into a red-headed lunatic with a kilt and a claymore: Mad MacBastard, the most dangerous homicidal maniac ever to wear a kilt on Earth.
The Doctor then takes issue with one of MacBastard's comments, twists his innocent and insane words and actions into insults, and finally challenges the "frog-eyed, beetle-browed basket case" to a duel.
The Doctor doesn't just want his enemy dead - well, actually, he DOES. That's all he wants, really. Sorry.
Unfortunately, the latest regeneration has made his enemy a fantastic warrior. Fortunately, the Doctor has chosen to fight with cannons rather than guns and so smears his enemy across a hundred-acre field before MacBastard can use his cannon as a blunt instrument.
Satisfied that they've resolved the plot, the Doctor decides to have a nice orgy at the NHC - he knows such things were a journalistic invention, but he IS out to change history after all.
As the Prince Regent laments the loss of his first butler, he offers Baldrick the position and thinks no more about it. However, no sooner has the whipped cream been gathered than the doors burst open and a disheveled, moustachioed Darkbastard (the one we saw in Singapore) enters - he survived the cannon ball at the cost of his nicked regenerative cycle and he's in a meeeeaaaan mood.
Darkbastard drags the struggling Prince Regent into the dungeon and chains him to the sacrificial stone; he will summon his benefactor now and make damn sure he gets the right one.
The Doctor and Charley try to stop him, but in one of life's little trials, Charley's stomach gets stuck in the door and the precious time wasted shifting her allows the evil mastermind behind this series of sketches to materialize.
Leonard Nimoy has arrived on Earth at last...
Part Four - Go Down
The journey through the time corridor has weakened Nimoy, who requires fifteen pints of Advoca to do his nifty eyebrow trick. However, when Darkbastard tries to use the bar-pumps, he discovers that the Doctor has already drained the supply dry in his "Gallifreyan courage".
Enraged, Darkbastard sets off to the local off license leaving Baldrick, Charley and the Doctor locked up with Nimoy, who is unable to stop them escaping in his travel pod, no matter how many times he arches his eyebrow or strokes his goatee.
When Darkbastard returns with the advocas, he demands to know why Nimoy simply didn't use his Vulcan Nerve Pinch and gets and smack in the mouth for being uppity.
The other members of the Hellfire Club arrived and Nimoy feasts on the terrified men and women, only to find that the corridor has been blocked. Nimoy slips on a pair of rubber gloves and prepares to unclog the corridor...
Returning to the TARDIS, the Doctor takes the opportunity to explain to Charley that Nimoy travels from planet to planet, consuming them as they go in his quest to ruin artistic ability and acting talents.
In their last encounter, Nimoy's accomplice, William Shatner, was killed, and now Nimoy plans to return to Earth - a vital nexus in Star Trek conventions - and from here spread out in several directions at once, thus conquering all of time and space.
Nimoy arrived on Earth centuries ago, offering acting jobs and secrets of power to the gullible, only to be stabbed by someone who didn't like the shape of his ears. Despite this setback, however, Nimoy didn't give up trying to get to Earth, and eventually they found a man who would serve him. Now, Darkbastard has finally opened the way for him to overwhelm the Earth...
However, the Doctor comforts Charley, pointing out that this "isn't the end of the world". When reminded, however, that it IS, the Doctor smacks his forehead and pilots his TARDIS into the time corridor, despite the risk of ruining the miniature pornographic stick figures etched into the police box's paintwork - hah! Thought they were just cracks in the paint, didn't you!
Suddenly, Nimoy and Darkbastard materialize aboard the TARDIS in a sparkly Star Trek effect, and the Doctor screams that he's had enough of this mediocre plot and opens the doors in the hope of being sucked out into oblivion rather than die at the hands of Rowan Atkinson.
Unfortunately, Nimoy is sucked out of the TARDIS as well, leaving Darkbastard, Baldrick and Charley left with no obvious way to resolve the integral plot built up so carefully over the proceeding three and a half episodes.
After a few conversational pleasantries, and the dawning realization that Darkbastard should really have contacted some kind of evil alien empire rather than an aging sci-fi actor to create an immortal alliance with, the trio decide to play scrabble.
Three hundred games later, Baldrick suggests they use the nifty Plot Device fitted to the TARDIS console and send the time machine after Nimoy and the Doctor. He is shouted down by Charley and Darkbastard for being a moron, when the latter suggests they use the nifty Plot Device fitted to the TARDIS console and send the time machine after Nimoy and the Doctor.
By curious coincidence, the Doctor and Nimoy have arrived at the Singapore Hilton and there they decide to just be calm and adult and not destroy the universe at least until there are sufficient numbers of mere mortals around to impress.
A few gin-slings later, the whole "ancient enemies" thing starts to slide and Nimoy admits he's not really interested in attacking Earth and conquering the galaxy. That sort of thing stopped being fun when his main weapon, William Shatner, was killed during his last encounter with the Doctor on Skonnos.
The Doctor tries to cheer Nimoy up by explaining the Skonnossians weren't worth invading anyway and soon were wiped out by a native race of electric blankets.
Touched at the Time Lord's heart-warming tales, Nimoy decides that, all in all, he should really just pack it in. The Doctor segues neatly onto the topic of family and suggests Nimoy direct his powerful gifts into looking after a wandering stray, pregnant, blonde nymphomaniac.
Nimoy simply arches an eyebrow.
The TARDIS arrives and Darkbastard is shocked that his alien master is now best friends with his mortal enemy. The Doctor explains that they should try and start off their relationship again and, by way of a peace offering, hands over Leonardo Da Vinci's exclusive plans for a combined TARDIS and toilet block, suggesting he use this for confidence tricks and joyriding through history.
Darkbastard is surprised, but agrees on the condition he can pretend he DID kill the Doctor to freak out an earlier version of him. Nimoy decides to simply chill out and enjoy life as it is, telling the Doctor to come back when his hideous offspring is born. He might have an acting job available - even for a furry-eye-balled protoplasm that can type ILUV YOUMUMMUY with one tentacle.
Depressed, the Doctor leaves in the TARDIS. However, the moment he is gone, something else arrives in the room with Nimoy - something which looks and sounds like Richard E Grant, but isn't.
The Universe has been visited by something inimical to its existence - something horny. The thing that looks like Richard E thus consumes the aging sci-fi actor.
Soon the Doctor and Charley will face their most lick-the-mirror-handsome threat yet...
Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who and the Shit Ending
Dark Bastard? Black Adder!
My Cunning Plans by S. Baldrick
Fluffs - Paul McGann seemed strangely concussed in this story.
"The Time Vortex! It's doing this really complicated swirly thing. That spiral shit happening... I have no idea what that's about..."
How did Dark Bastard grope Charley when she was three miles away? Some creepy, Darth Vader-type power? Or is it, as some people say, Charley's erogenous zones start six miles from her actual body?
If Dark Bastard can survive being ripped apart, poisoned, his throat slit, shot and shot again, why does he die from an infected hangnail?
After the scene where the Doctor tries to chat up 'Bob', Paul McGann has a very noticeable black eye and a bleeding nose.
Fashion Victims –
Dark Bastard's face changes from bearded to moustached to clean shaven irregularly throughout the story.
The Doctor's vermilion off-the-shoulder ball gown.
Nimoy boasts he's been to 'brothels of infinite delights' and thus require a continuous amount of sustenance. He uses 'very fine' Swedish publications, magnifying glasses, and cold metal probes to do his work.
Links and References -
"You know, maybe there's a bit of Time Lord sexuality in me after all. This isn't like when I run into the Bastard. He's got some self-knowledge, he knows that what he's doing is naughty. He's just getting his rocks off, in his own way. Showing off to a universe that is of a completely different orientation to his own. He always changes his mind when it looks like the cosmos is going to start giggling. I actually rather fancy him when he's weather black leather... but I digress."
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor tried to renegotiate the Treaty of Versailles in order to start the Second World War. He suggested instead of fighting, the countries concerned in the dispute should have a Pokémon competition. The other treaty members kicked him in groin and threw him out.
Groovy DVD Extras -
A rather boring monologue from the Doctor about himself:
"I'm repulsive, unimaginative, ready to break wind for a worthy cause. I hate tyranny and oppression and anything that is anti-life in my tea but, as concepts, well, they aren't that bad. I believe in food and fight evil - although I have to admit that I also believe in the Tooth Fairy and fight off the invisible slugs that sit outside my front door, singing. Though I may often be caught up in violent penetration, I am a man of piss-taking. I am never cruel or cowardly, instead I strive to be sadistic and scaredy-cat-ly. In fact, to put it simply, I am a whore. These days, there are far too many of them around to get any work done..."
Dialogue Disasters -
Charley: Are you sure this toga doesn't make me look fat?
Doctor: Of course not, Charley. The fact you're a heavily-pregnant lard-arse makes you look fat. The toga makes you look... Roman. DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE MY CRAZY WILDEAN WIT!!
Something not supposed to be aired? -
Doctor: [learns destination] Another opportunity to wear a nice dress.
Charley: You know, Paul, I think we should have a talk about this.
Doctor: Shut your face, India!
Charley: The huts! The fences! The sky! The everything! Oh, Doctor!
Doctor: WILL YOU SHUT - UP?!?!?!!?!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Charley: So, what sort of things did they get up to in here?
Doctor: Oh, you know, rude things.
Doctor: They probably drank far too much. An look - they weren't too careful where they threw their chicken drumsticks.
Charley: What about orgies?
Doctor: Well, obviously. Of course. The orgies go without saying.
Charley: I went to an orgy once.
Doctor: You surprise me. [realizes what she said] Really? What was it like? Go into intense and vivid detail about the whole thing!
Charley: Well, there was a lot of melted cheese.
Charley: I didn't stay.
Doctor: WHAT? ARE YOU INSANE! CHARLEY, HAS YOUR BRAIN BEEN TAKING OUT BY SOME STRANGE PEOPLE AND WASHED IN PALMOLIVE? WHAT KIND OF FREAK ARE YOU FOR OMIGOD'S SAKE??
Percy: A Dustbin? What's this got to do with anything? Plot
contrivance, say I!
Dark Bastard's chat-up lines with Charley deserve their own over-priced, badly printed book -
"I shall do what I have ached to do for centuries!"
"Pinch me if you like." "Oh, I'll do more than that."
"You have got to admit, THAT is what you call hard!"
"You think that sword is jolly, meet my love truncheon!"
And, of course, the Doctor's rejoinders:
"Is it too late to suggest a round of bondage fun?"
"I've been stumbling through women like they're particularly dangerous town bicycles."
"You learn to screw such things when you're used to the frigidity of the Time Lords."
Doctor: That was close.
Charley: I'll say! Doctor - oh no, your foot's on fire!
Doctor: What? Which one?
Charley: The one that's burning.
Doctor: Oh, that is REALLY helpful, Charley.
UnQuotable Quote -
Charley: Doctor, what-? Oh, wait for me!
Viewer Quotes -
"Paul Carnall swears that this is his last Doctor Who work at all, ever. Please, God, let him be right this time. It starts off quite well with that nasty Dark Bastard chap taunting Paul McGann, saying that in his past but in the Doctor's future, he killed the Doctor. Now, Dark Bastard is very good in this story but doesn't reach superb villain status like Captain Bent, the Protons, or Captain Bent. No review of Reasons To Care would be complete without mentioning the returning Leonard Nimoy too, who has the perfect face for radio. And trampolining. Add to this a tantalizing cliffhanger which suggests greater things are to come in the whole 'arc' and you have a first rate play; although not quite as great as Shakespeare, it comes close."
- Caroline Symcox (2003)
"This story had no milk and a scant amount of sugar."
"Surely if the Doctor does not chase Dark Bastard over the centuries he won't die at his hands? Is he leading himself into his own death? It is explained why the Doctor acts in this fashion, but the reason - 'BECAUSE I WANT TO, ALL RIGHT??' - didn't convince me. However, very little of Doctor Who convinces me at all. Or television in general, come to that. Oh, OK, I admit it, I'm just watching it for Charley."
- Nigel Verkoff (2003)
"THAT was the all-powerful, multi-dimensional, history-screwing beast from beyond the realms of my imagination? Well, bugger me sideways."
- Bruce Dessau (2001)
"I think turnips could have been scarier. I mean, if you sit on one, that's scary. Ooh, yeah." - S. Baldrick (1723)
"Right. That's it. No more. It ends now!"
- Father James O'Maley before smashing his TV to pieces
"A witty runaround romp chase portentous ominous grand clearly-sign-posted torrid tired old piece of shit dear god never make me watch this again please please please I beg you don't show me any more."
- SFX correspondent after being to watch all 800 plus episodes of Doctor Who in one weekend
"For fuck's sake, man, I'm on the bloody toilet!"
- Paul Carnall Exclusive EC interview
"The concept of the Doctor popping in and out of history to make people's life a living hell is... terrifying. Please, this is fiction right? Oh my god, he could be right here, right now! Go away, Doctor! My life already sucks! I promise! Oh, no... here comes R.E.G.!"
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2002)
"I know you, you're that loony with an unauthorized program guide. Help! Help! Somebody! Help!"
- another excerpt from the exclusive Paul Carnall interview
"I am actually quite apathetic when it comes to the works of Paul Carnall, but Reasons to Care groans with the abundance of complete shite in the plot." - Producer Gay Russell
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Yeah, the Eighth Doctor's hatred for Charley is definitely getting out of control. The Doctor really needs to unwind. Relax. Snuff a couple of drifters. I mean - you're fighting Leonard Nimoy and you're WORRIED! Someone's cruisin for a bruisin..."
Paul McGann Speaks!
"As a relative newcomer to Doctor Who, I was, of course, aware of the Yeti, the Dusbtins and to a lesser extent the Cybermen, but had no idea about Nimoy. I now realize just how blissful that particular bit of ignorance actually was. When India foolishly voiced a similar concern, we were immediately thrown into some ludicrous Clockwork Orange contraptions and forced to watch a Tom Baker story, The Horny Nimoy. I remember Carnall wanted us all to repeat dialogue from the story, to sort of clue in anyone about the real nature of the enemy. I refused point blank on two grounds. One, I thought the less was said about Nimoy the better, and two, I always write it into my contracts that on no account am I or the character I'm playing be connected in any way to sex with non-consenting furniture."
India Fisher Speaks!
"I love the bit when we're about to travel to Buckinghamshire and Paul decided to spend all his time in the TARDIS wardrobe, wearing dresses. Yes, a McGann sure looks good in a frock. There's a real difference between style and sheer transvestitism, you know."
In episode three, the Doctor refers to the American President Benjamin Franklin. There is no such president, and this has lead some to suggest that, as a side effect of history changing, Franklin became president by accident. In fact, it is a genuine error and one of millions in the series which fans constantly defend by blaming changing timelines. This is just one of many types of self-hypnosis techniques that Doctor Who fans use on themselves. Nine out of ten fans will believe that this particular story is called "Seasons of Fear" and does not feature the Dark Bastard, Leonard Nimoy, sex, violence, shaking sets or steamy shower scenes with Charley Pollard. What a bunch of wankers huh?
Rumors & Facts -
Ah, Paul Carnall does it again. By "does it again", I don't mean it in the usually accepted sense of "writes a great story", or "has another success". I mean it in the sense he has "written a formulaic, PC-script that annoys the bejesus out of me".
Dark Bastard's life-journey through the centuries provided the story with a backbone that really works well - as it is obviously by someone with actual talent.
In 1965, the last story of Doctor Who's second year, The Wine Peddler, lead to the inception of a TV show showing a rambunctious time traveler with no alcohol tolerance whatsoever and his dimwitted assistant making merry in various historical scenes. This show survived five separate seasons: Dark Bastard, Dark Bastards, Dark Bastard3, Bastard Resurrection and The Dark Bastard Five, set in the Middle Ages, Elizabethan times, the Regency Period, World War I and 1963.
It was only natural, therefore that, like an errant child that needs its laundry done and various drug pushers paid off, Dark Bastard would return to its parent program, Doctor Who.
Unfortunately, however, Ben Elton and Richard Curtis, the writers and producers of the show, thought they should rather eat their own legs rather than do this.
Despite several bribes, blackmail attempts and repeated dive bombing of Elton's house and burning the BBC master tapes of The Young Ones, Elton's response remained a conciliatory, "You fucking wanker, you! Why don't you bathe in your own shit, you useless tossers!"
So, when the twenty-ninth series of Doctor Who reached its halfway point - Reasons to Care - finding that the main character and villain would be the Dark Bastard came as something of a complete bloody surprise. Writer Paul Carnall insists this is a complete surprise, and believe me, I am being paid an awful lot of money to agree with him.
And furthermore, the idea that episodes 1 - 4 are merely compilation tapes of the Dark Bastard series with badly-edited asides to Paul McGann and India Fisher seriously does not merit confirmation.
Producer Gay Russell's outline for the third story of the season revolved around the Doctor and Charley attending pre-natal classes somewhere outside space and time. The conclusion would show Charley deciding to return to the universe and thus condemn herself to the horrible agony of childbirth – much to the incredulity and horror of the Doctor.
Paul Carnall's original story outline was entitled Time's Champignons and started with the Doctor trying to off-load Charley to Alex Carthy, her school boyfriend and first cousin – the Carthys and the Pollards have been incestuous bedfellows since the Vikings. After a shocking encounter with Sebastian Carthy and the drinks tray, the Doctor vows to travel back in time and stop the bastard from ever being born.
Unfortunately, Carthy has got there first and, between fading away, the Doctor and Charley confront him in a Roman camp, the court of Edward the Confessor, the Naughty Hellfire Club and London during the Blitz. Just as Carthy would be portrayed by the same actor in several time zones, India Fisher would portray her illustrious ancestors – Slutican Polardo (in drag), Queen Edith the Anybody's and Mother Superior Pollard.
The conclusion showed Carthy and his master helpless as the Doctor simply re-visits the same time period until there is a vast army of duplicate Doctors that resolves the plot in a cheap negative effect. Time's Champignons ended on a cliffhanger as the Doctor realizes Alex Carthy has been erased from history and thus he has no one to offload Charley to...
The monster in this story, are like every other monster Carnall uses, the worst of the worst that Doctor Who has to offer. Previously, he has used the awful peanut being from Peanut of the Dustbins; the odd-looking dice from The Chaste; an ant from Plan It of the Spy-Ants; and a hedge from The Hedge of Destruction.
The choice of Leonard Nimoy simply reaffirms the opinions of his initial appearance: completely pathetic and shithouse. The weird Smiths-eating goblin is a scarier opponent than that loser.
It is telling that, for most of episode four, once he is revealed, the Doctor laughs so hard he loses control of his bodily functions and is later seen dragged off set in a straightjacket.
In Paul Carnall's defense, he swears that the particular choice of Leonard Nimoy was entirely down to Gay Russell. And you know what? I believe him.
Admittedly, there are several attempts throughout the story for the evil, unknowable giant hexagons that the Dark Bastard is working with to be replaced with something halfway decent - a Dustbin in episode one, Buffy the Vampire Slayer in episode two, a Lexmarx Z12 printer in episode three...
Reasons to Care lists these, um, reasons to care as following:
- It has the Dark Bastard in it
- It has Charley in it
- It is in the middle of the season and so you are duty-bound to suffer through it if only to see the buttock-clenching finale
- Dustbins appear occasionally
- The Doctor sings the famous ballad, "I'm An Underpaid Social Worker, Oh Yes I Am" when plastered on cheap cider followed by an up-tempo rendition of the old favorite 'Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass'
- If you don't watch it, we send the boys round