Friday, January 1, 2010

9th Doctor - Boomtown! (ii)

Links and References -
The Doctor mentions the Chameleon Circuit getting stuck (An Unruly Child) and his cataclysmic attempts to fix it (Death Comes To Tom and Atari of the Cybermen).

The Doctor hasn't had such a surreal experience at a diner since two of his past incarnations got wasted and murdered the proprietor (The Even Doctors), and the TARDIS runs on panasonic batteries (as revealed in the Big Finish play Louis Gooey).

The Slitheen were originally in Alias of London, and the rift was originally in The Presuming Ed. Rose mentions Milliways (The Restaurant At The End of the World).

Once again, solid proof that if your story's under-running, a bucket of pointless continuity references will fill the gap.

Untelevised Misadventures -
Rose mentions travelling to Justicia, a reference to The Lobsters Offside, the first time a TV story has explicitly referenced a non-TV story since I, Dustbin.

She then turns directly to camera and recites the book's title, author, ISBN, recommended retail price and that if you DON'T buy a copy right away then the whole fabric of space time will collapse.

Mickey is tortured by tourist snaps of: the Glass Pyramid of San Clune, the continent of Women Wept, Brighton Beach and the Giant Easel advertising Le Grand Bauble Diamond.

K9 Conspiracy –

In this episode, the Doctor and Rose finally begin to notice that the phrase K9 is following them around. Proving that they have attention span reactions roughly ten weeks slower than fans and general public.

This week, the name of the Mayor's nuclear power station scheme is the Canine Project, which is English for "K9".

One of the continents on the planet Women Wept looks like a robot dog.

Subtext? WHAT Subtext? -

Christ, Rose is a callous bitch, isn't she?

Groovy DVD Extras –
Sheet music for the Funky Squad theme tune and also artist's recreation of Jack's after-dinner anecdote (note: latter is not suitable for persons under the age of 85).

Psychotic Nostalgia –
"Dear Russell T Davies. If you write one more romp through a diner in present-day Wales with Rose's ex-boyfriend I will send large men in
ape suits to beat you with plastic plunger-guns, drag you to my secret lair and scrape off your skin, layer by layer. PS – bring back the Teletubbies, they freaking rock!"

Viewer Quotes -

"Even *I* have had better dates than that!" – Nigel Verkoff (2005)

"The TARDIS-based finale is bizarre, a technobabble conclusion giving way to a Deus Ex Machina ending that's beautifully filmed and acted, but remains risible in terms of how everything is magically sorted out. Anyway, enough of this. Who wants to buy an autographed copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?" – J.K. Rowling (2005)

"Hmm. Well, I can really see what they tried to do. Rip off Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Look at it – an evil mayor, a hellmouth beneath the setting, all that angst and relationships, all that twaddle about second chances and redemption, the leather jackets... And the way that Mickey is shown to be completely useless and still fights the forces of darkness in his own way while the rest of the gang have face-offs in the TARDIS off-screen recall that episode The Zeppo. Wait a minute! This IS The Zeppo! RTD's totally stolen this!"
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (2005)

"With a clever, casually paced and emotionally rich screenplay which develops and expands on all its characters and a setting that pays tribute to the stellar work done by the season's Welsh crew, Funky Town is not only a candidate for the best episode of the season, it's a piece where you can see the boundaries of what is and isn't possible in Doctor Who being re-defined. Joe Ahearne again demonstrates he has simply no equal in Britain when it comes to directing this kind of television and there isn't a single performance that isn't note perfect. A great character drama of wit, depth and subtlety. And how sober is Captain Jack?"
– Compulsive Liars Weekly – No, Monthly! (1876)

"Never mind that trifle, what about energy policy and legislation? Have these so-called program-makers never heard of section 36 of the 1989 Electricity Act - consent for new power stations over a certain size? It is not devolved to the Welsh Assembly, consent for a nuclear plant would indeed have to come from London. And all the consents for a nuclear plant would take up to ten years to come through, at best guess. And these stations generally have to be built close to a large water source (for coolant). RTD should be duct-taped inside a barrel of smouldering ferrets and dropped off a cliff!"
- One of those fans who simply cannot suspend their disbelief (2005)

"Does Rose have the right keep poor Mickey hanging on like a lost puppy? Is he a victim of their happy-go-lucky travels or a beggar to his own demise? Who cares – Rose is now available! Yee-haaa!"
- One of those fans who finds that suspending their disbelief all too easy (2005)

Billie Piper Speaks!
"Look, do I have to call the cops or something? Piss off!"

Christopher Eccleston Speaks!
"My incarnation of the Doctor is the closest I've been to playing myself, in a way. It's like a version of me as a child – the way I felt about the world and everything that's in it and my intense desire to get into Billie Piper's underwear. I based a lot on Russell. I borrowed some of Russell's speed of thought and pace. Not Russell T Davies, though. Russell the Mathematician Chicken, I mean. What a chook!"

Jack Barrowman Speaks!
"Did anyone else start to wish that Paris Hilton would join the TARDIS team full time? I just thought the mix of the characters was great. I can just imagine future adventures with Paris. Like on that video."

Russell T Davies Speaks!
"When I want your opinion on 'Funky Town!' I'll kick it out of you."

Trivia –
The extremely killable extra in the first scene was an extremely killable extra in Rememberin' To Take Out The Dustbins – thus being the only person to be directly involved in both versions of Doctor Who and die horribly each time. Doesn't he get the hint?

Rumors & Facts –

Funky Town! can be described in a single word: Belgium.

Although there are a lot of good (nay, perfect) character moments for the Doctor, Rose, Mickey, and the Brigadier, the 'plot' is a trick of the light, Jack is totally sidelined, demonstrating that four companions is too many for the format, and the best bit of the episode is trailer for next week which at least tells you this week's forty-five minutes of filler crap is over.

According to RTD's paranoid rantings (or "production notes" as Doctor Who Magazine euphemistically calls it) Funky Town was the first story of Christopher Eccleston's third and final season. Yeah, right.

Nevertheless, RTD was determined that he would have complete and utter control of Doctor Who for this production block as he had only written one episode for previous block and that had been given the worst review of the 'season'. This way at least he was guaranteed of writing the best story. And the worst story. And the one people always forget.

This 'season' arc would comprise the final three episodes of the Ninth Doctor and a 60-minute Christmas special to introduce the Tenth. The first episode was originally entitled "The Amazing New Adventures of Doctor Who: the Last of the Time Lords from The Journeys of Rose Tyler Being a Fantastical Tale of a Young Earth Wanderer and Interplanetary Explorer within The Environs of A Gentleman's TARDIS Part Nine: Act One - The Young Miss Tyler Discovers Something Nasty In The Woodshed"

This was originally the script that Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling had considered writing in the vain hope that it would break her writer's block on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Re-named Whistledown, the script was set in rural America of the 1880s. The Ninth Doctor and Rose watch, amused as suitors have a drunken argument and murder each other in front of a barn.

The barn is guarded by sinister scarecrows with deadly weapons in the form of pointed sticks. Inside the barn contains a hideous experiment involving... well, no one knows what because at that moment inspiration struck Rowling and she dropped Doctor Who like a leper-infected mine.

The script hung around in the vain hope someone could finish it. Under the new name Trouble Down South Mark Gattis suggested that the scarecrows were really Cybermen in a new fetish phase of their existence.

Paul Carnall looked at the script and came up with an idea entitled Uncivil War and suggested a cameo by Abraham Lincoln only for the Doctor to discover that the president was, in fact, a scarecrow powered by racial intolerance.

Rob Shearman offered the possible storyline Yeehaw Bandene. This story would basically involve the Doctor and Rose repeating dialogue to each other as they wander through the barn in circles. Finally they discover their presence is responsible for the evil scarecrows and, after an emotive speech from the Doctor, the scarecrows and barn vanish.

Steven Moffat had the idea that the Doctor and Rose would be relating this story to Jackie and Mickey in a coffee lounge and thus the Rowling material could be used and, instead of coming up with an ending, could stop there and then when the Doctor gets called away, leaving the story unfinished. He offered the name One Man's Story and prayed no one would realize his suggestion had already been made as a Coupling episode.

I offered my services to RTD and came up with a brilliant script entitled Fools & Family set on a vampire-infested planet where the vampires live in peace with humans but an elite group plan to tip the balance of trust. It was absolutely fucking fantastic, I tell you. Especially the twist ending where the Doctor gets turned into a vampire.... Shit, spoiled it. Trust me, it SO worked.

Well, RTD thought it lacked the 1880/American barn/Scarecrow stuff and had an AVO placed on me. I re-submitted my script with these elements, entitled Tears for Gethsemane but it was returned to me with a death threat and a recently-mauled rat.

Stupid Welsh imbecile.

However, proving that I am above such snide, Eye of Sauros-style bitching, I will go on without editorial bias.

RTD tried to write the story and came up with the title More Than Crows where the Doctor and Rose and Jack begin the final battle between good and evil with the Moxx of Baloon and his evil servants, scarecrows. He later changed the scarecrows to crows in the belief that scarecrows were so passe. The title changed from More Than Crows to Casting Shadows to Baloon, because, well, the runt has no imagination.

Finally, RTD abandoned the Whistledown concept altogether and started from scratch. Wimp.

Started from scratch, however, meant grabbing a former script he had yet to use and crudely re-forming it for the characters of the Ninth Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack.

This script was Dining With Arseholes, a script for the 1972 Australian cop show Funky Squad – the elite "young people" police force sent into dealing with kidnaps, bombing threats, estate agents and psychopathic serial killing circus freaks.

With five minutes cut and pasting, Dining With Arseholes became the basis for the finished Funky Town episode. The characters of Grant, Cassie, Stix and the silent Poncho were changed to the Ninth Doctor, Rose, Jack and the ineffective Mickey. The original serial killer, the flatulent Shaun Warne was replaced with Paris Hilton, really the Brigadier in a cunning disguise.

In an attempt to spice up the long-night-at-the-stakeout plot, RTD added a complicated series of moral dilemmas and mutually assured depression, but gave up after fifteen minutes when he realized his pizza was getting cold and simply had the TARDIS's seldom used Genie Device fix the story and prevent any progression, growth or development, but with a shockingly large amount of pixie dust.

The final three episodes of Doctor Who's first season back on the air – no matter what the hell RTD says – formed its fifth and final recording block.

This was overseen by director Joe Ahearne, who had previously worked on the third block, helming I, Dustbin and Death Day and now carried a shotgun with him at all times and refused to do anything without consulting his collection of singing onions before hand.

Work on Alias, A Broad (as Dining with Arseholes had be renamed) began around mid-January 2005. Unlike The Presuming Ed – whim RTD leached any potential plot from in moments – Saving Wales (as it was renamed yet again) was entirely made in Cardiff, with the exception of studio
scenes which were enacted in a Newport warehouse as it had been discovered Noel Clarke had a flourishing cannabis garden growing there.

The story's title was left Justice Once for a while, then to The Twin Double-E Dilemma in homage of Colin Baker's debut serial. Finally, it was decided to just cut the crap and name it Funky Town!.

This title gives a subtle clue as to the origin of the story.

That and such sequences as the Doctor's "Whoa, Chief!" speech; the scene at the stakeout; the continuous gunfights and the famous Funky Squad theme music being used continually in the background.

Fans looked upon this and just assumed that RTD was saving up all his creativity and scriptwriting prowess for the final, massive, epic two-parter for the Ninth Doctor.


Next Time...
"You got chosen. You're a housemate. Isn't that brilliant?"
"Well, it sure ain't fantastic."
"Wel-come to the Weak-est Link. Kiss your ars-es good-bye."
"We're giv-ing you a brand new im-age."
"Why? Is there something wrong with what I'm wearing?"
"Where do we start! Those ques-ti-on marks..."
"What was that hideous, foreboding scream?"
"She's been evicted. To death."
"Oh, fair enough. Fancy a quick one in the sauna, Lynda?"
"This isn't just a game..."
"I need to find the Doctor! He's got to be here somewhere! He's always here – he's my stalker for crying out loud!"
"'s a way of life."
"We have contestants outside the game. There could be an idea for a game show in that..."
"My masters. They fear the Doctor. And his accent."
"Tell me! Who are the evil forces behind this?!?"
"That's impossible. I know those ships. They were destroyed."
"Obviously someone in continuity has screwed up."
"Oh, just Dustbins? Phew – thought it was the Moxx of Baloon there for a moment."
...The Parting of the Legs...


RTD was not so completely deranged when he cast Christopher "This Is Me Swanning Off!" Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. A dozen other artistes were considered for the role and their audition tapes are transcribed here to show you the alternatives that made Chris Eccleston seem like such a sensible choice.

By now even RTD had given up hope of ditching Eccleston like a bucket of warm cockroach manure and re-filming the entire series. It was time to admit the Ninth Doctor was nothing more than a retarded hiccup in the Time Lord's regeneration cycle and look to the future.

It is a testament to his sheer mental and physical exhaustion that he completely caved in and finally auditioned Bill Nighy as the Tenth Doctor, to take over immediately, perhaps limiting the Ninth Doctor to just eight stories. Nighy was crap, however, and quickly abandoned.

A Bill Nighy impersonator was considered, but during rehearsals it was discovered to be Nigel Verkoff (who played Adam Mitchell in I, Dustbin and The Long Haul) and his prospective co-stars beat him up at the earliest opportunity...

Extract from "Doctor Who – Escape to Danger" Episode 1:

(Setting: The TARDIS control room. The Doctor ["Bill Nighy"] and Jack [John Barrowman] enter.)

Jack: That is, without doubt, the worst place I've EVER been to.


(Rose [Billie Piper] enters.)

Jack: I mean, curry? With pasta?! And it wasn't even pasta, it was maggots! I’ll never get to sleep tonight with all these parasites laying lava all over my insides.

Doctor: 10p a plate is not a bad deal!

Jack: They never got round to the 'plate' part – more like 10c a handful, and not OUR handful either. Just some French git in a chef's hat tossing whatever refuse he could find out of bin to throw at us.

Doctor: Look, for the 700th time, the table we were sitting at was reserved for a much less hygienic couple. (Cheerfully) But you must admit, the atmosphere was wonderful. The soft light from the candles, the music. And you looked just ravishing tonight, Captain Jack Sparrow.

Jack: (Blushes) Did I?

Doctor: (Nods) Looking at you tonight, Jack, like that, in that off-the-shoulder cocktail dress and tight stockings...

Jack: Well, my clothes were in the wash and I had to borrow Rosie's overnight bag...

Doctor: (Wistfully) You know, Jack, tonight could have been the night. The way you were got up really set me going. (Sadly) Oh, GOD JACK! Why couldn't you be a woman?!? The closest I've had to a romantic dinner this regeneration! DAMN YOUR STUPID GENITALS, JACK! DAMN THEM!

Jack: I don't have to put up with this! I'm off to the river.

Doctor: What for?

(Jack pats his stomach.)

Jack: Well, with all this bait, I'm liable to catch myself a real meal if hold my head under water long enough.

Rose: You're joking, right?

(Jack stares at them both in a long silence. The Doctor and Rose exchange glances before Jack sighs.)

Jack: No, you're right. I'm off down to the pub.

Doctor: What? You're stone broke! How can you afford a night out?

Jack: The Sparrows are nothing if not cunning.

Doctor: Yes, but they're not and neither are you. Oh, and by the way... YOU ARE A BIG NOTHING!!!!

Jack: True enough, still...

(He suddenly grabs the Doctor, hammerlocks him and pushes his face down onto the console. Jack pulls out the Time Lord's wallet and, using his teeth, pulls out several notes before returning the wallet. Just as the Doctor is about to break free, Jack picks up an empty beer bottle and smashes it over the Doctor's head, knocking him out.)

Jack: Twenty bucks should do it. Sweet dreams, Doctor.

(Smiling, he leaves. The Doctor groans as Rose approaches him and starts to shake him. The Doctor groans again.)

Rose: Doctor, wake up! Wake up, Doctor!

(The Doctor wakes up with a start then drops his head.)

Doctor: Oh, my skull! The throbbing’s getting worse. Luckily, Rose (Holds her arm) thanks for waking me up and comforting me in my jarred, tender state of shock.

Rose: Actually, I'm just here for the cash.

(She grabs another empty beer bottle and smashes it over the Doctor's head, knocking him out again. She pulls out the Time Lord's wallet and steals the remaining money – lots of notes.)

Rose: Sweet superman, there must be a whole month's pay in here. That'll come in handy at M & S. (Pockets cash) Must remember to take it all next time. I do hate these annoying little trips back for refills.

(She leaves. The Doctor remains unconscious.)

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