Monday, November 30, 2009

The New Adventures - The Shadow of the Scourge

Serial SS1 - The Reservation of the Scourge
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Summoning


Serial SS1 - The Reservation of the Scourge -

Part One

The TARDIS has returned to the far-flung backwater planet of Earth. Specifically, Kent. Even more specifically, Newmansgate. Narrowing it down even further, the Pinehill Crest Hotel. To be exact, on the roof. On Tuesday 15th of August, 2000.

Ace and Bernice 'Benny' Summerfield are more troubled by the Doctor's choice of apparel than their dull landing point. For the Doctor is wearing his Greenpeace T-shirt, a garment which spells death and destruction of the old order wherever he happens to go wearing it. Whole doomsday cults and religions have started based around the blue-and-green dolphin images of that T-shirt.

The Doctor insists that it's just a coincidence he's wearing that T-shirt, as his tampering with the primal forces of creation activity today is distinctly low-key. While in his second incarnation, the Doctor watched the police head for this hotel on a routine job about a dead body found in a hotel room. All the time travelers have to do today is kill that bloke before the police arrive.

With Benny and Ace miming how cracked in the head they think the Doctor is, the trio take the lift down to the foyer of the hotel. By an astonishing coincidence, a homeless man catches the lift with them and by the time they reach the foyer, Ace's Space Fleet Dustbin-Shagger techniques have killed the old man and left no trace of violence.

As the police have just arrived, the trio leave them to examine the body while the Doctor decides to book rooms for himself and his companions under the name of Ursula Andress, and experiences a moment of dizziness, a moment of confusion, and a moment of falling flat on his arse screaming about an evil from the dawn of time.

The Doctor suspects there is a time experiment being conducted elsewhere in the hotel. Checking with the desk he discovers that the hotel has been booked by three separate conventions – a knitting workshop, a New Age Hippy Crap discussion and also the mysterious Time-Fucker showroom of temporal accelerators.

The Doctor realizes they must investigate the knitting workshop immediately - if they can't stop it, the human race will be consumed.

Smiling politely, Ace and Benny slowly back away from him and then run off in opposite directions. The Doctor runs after them, protesting that he won't get them killed this time and he has really stuck to his promise of not doing the 'evil chaos theory butterfly' speeches at the drop of his hat.

Ace hides in the Time-Fucker showroom and Benny in the New Age Hippy Crap discussion and the Doctor reluctantly decides to investigate the knitting workshop.

After fifteen minutes, Ace is bored, Benny is thirsty and the Doctor is waiting patiently for someone to drop their stitch and unleash a hideous form of anti-life on the universe.

After half an hour, Ace has dozed off, Benny has gone to the bar and the Doctor has knitted himself a new question-mark pullover.

After two hours, the Doctor meets with Ace and Benny in the bar and admits he's obviously wrong about this threat to stability of the multi-verse, and offers to take them to the planet Deathtrap 18.

At that moment, Dr Penbroke is shocked as his patented Time-Fucker begins to repeatedly hump a vacuum cleaner.

Electricity Turtle, guru of the New Age Hippy Crap discussion is shocked to discover her lava lamp now possesses a gloating, evil voice that begins to tell her to go and get a job and stop scrounging off social benefits and selling dope.

And in the knitting workshop, knitting needles start to work by themselves and swathes of knitting and crochet block all the exits, cutting off the hotel from the outside world.

The Doctor is delighted. This coming-of-the-apocalypse shit is just what he was hoping for, and warns Ace and Benny that anyone with a smiley face stamp on their hands is evil and should die. They ask him how the hell he knows this and the Doctor tricks them into looking the other way as he prances wildly into the depths of hotel.

Meanwhile, the vacuum cleaner and Time-Fucker have exploded, the remains mutating into a hideous robo-stick-insect that begins to chant, 'REPENT, SINNERS! REPENT, SINNERS!' as an earthquake shakes the hotel.

Meanwhile, Brian Damage of the Avon beauty products is swallowed whole by the knitting and re-knitted into another humanoid insect creature that begins to chant 'JUDGEMENT IS NIGH! JUDGEMENT IS NIGH!'

The Doctor arrives in the foyer, and tells Ace and Benny that everything's going according to plan. The Bridgehead and Demi-Leader of the Scourge (the machine and the knitting) are fully-formed, and the Doctor gets out a can of Mortien to blast the smeggers into oblivion.

"Until the Leader pierces this dimension, these losers are weaker than Harry Potter and Frodo's lovechild," the Doctor assures them, just as the homeless corpse explodes to release the Scourge Leader.

"Ah. Bugger," the Doctor admits. "OK, plan B."

He steps forward, gets down on his knees and begs for his miserable life, handing over a deed of transfer for the Earth and its contents he printed for a laugh one afternoon.

The Doctor has sold out the Earth!

Benny sighs and pays Ace the fiver she now owes her.

Part Two

It is now physically impossible for the human nervous system to disobey the will of the Scourge. But Ace is in such a bitch of a mood, she just doesn't care and heads for Penbroke to berate him for not de-sexing both the Time-Fucker and the vacuum cleaner beforehand.

Benny suggests that the Doctor is just PRETENDING to side with the aliens and they are doing exactly what the Doctor wants by falling for this elaborate ploy, but Ace cuts through this posturing – Benny just wants her fiver back to buy some more booze.

With the Scourge now in absolute control of every living thing on Earth – bar, for some reason I'm sure is on a website somewhere, the Doctor, Benny and Ace – the Scourge decide to start killing anything that moves in horribly bloody ways.

Meanwhile, the Doctor asks the Scourge leader and bridgehead for a reward for handing them Earth on a plate – a pair of X-ray glasses that will allow him to see ladies in their underwear. Such a request is, however, characteristic of what they know of him. They've done a lot of research on the Doctor since they first encountered him having naughty dreams in the astral plane.

The Scourge have plotted to conquer this Universe and manage its resources more efficiently ever since they first became aware that its population was the Scourge's primary food source, and when they searched time and space for a suitable invasion point, they found the Doctor waiting with his offer, along with a sign advertising McDonalds.

They are well aware of the fact that he often defends the human race by leading its enemies into traps, but he brags that he's often much more sexier and cooler than those he fights. Only a foolish species wouldn't see his traps coming, and the Scourge are, of course, nothing like that at all.

The Doctor breaks down in sniggers at this, composes himself, cracks up again and pooh-poohs the idea he was going to kill the lot of them at the earliest opportunity and just has accidentally screwed-up and is now trying to make the best of it. He would also like a bicycle to go with his X-ray specs.

Ace discovers to her horror that there is nothing on TV apart from knitting patterns. However, flipping the channels she just catches The Doctor's Tea-Time Explanations, where he explains the Scourge are emotional parasites who live on depression, despair and inner demons of lesser beings, like humanity.

Benny realizes the presence of the Scourge automatically removes any such responsibility for humanity's actions, and starts drinking all the whiskey she can find. If she's not helping, it's all the Scourge's fault, not her's.

The Doctor also explains he's left the Mortien canister in the hotel's ventilation system which should kill the lot of the stinking little creeps. And the Scourge too if he's lucky.

At that exact moment, the Scourge gets a phone call from the fiery hell dimension they call home – the pubs are shut and the Scourge army should be at the hotel any minute.

Just then, the army bursts into the hotel and the knitting falls away to let the Scourge out into Earth and the universe. Everyone – including you – are immensely screwed.

The Doctor feels certain he can sort this out, possibly manipulating or perhaps even reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. Just then, he notices the smiley face stamp on his wrist and starts gurning.

Ace and Benny start screaming.

Part Three

The end of the world is delayed by bad weather – the Scourge had not counted on English climate conditions, and decide to suspend Armageddon until the following morning and the Doctor begins to sing.

Ace orders Benny to strike her on the ears, bursting her eardrums so she will not be able to hear the Doctor's show tunes. The TARDIS medical bay can always put her right later for continuity fan wankers. Benny reluctantly does as she asks, and it's one of the most painful things Ace's ever gone through -- and one of the stupidest things Benny has ever been asked to do.

Ace and Benny lock the yodeling Doctor in a broom cupboard and run away very quickly. Ace stumbles across a passing hotel porter and believes he is working for the Scourge. She ruthlessly breaks his neck. Benny does try and explain she's wrong, but Ace can't hear a word being said and continues to murder innocent passers-by. Finally, Benny gets bored and stops trying.

The Doctor, meanwhile, is psychotically angry that neither Ace nor Benny have realized his horrible singing is in fact the only way he can tell them how to defeat the Scourge without the giant tone-deaf praying mantises noticing.

Ace decides to go and escape in the TARDIS and so uses a Space Fleet Dustbin-Opener to break into the lift shaft and climb up to the roof. Benny lets her go, unable to be arsed to explain she could just use the stairs instead.

A Scourge soldier chases her up to the roof, and a second one is already waiting at the TARDIS. Ace kills both of them without breaking sweat and leaves in the TARDIS.

Inside the Doctor's mind – which resembles an echoing quarry full of tasteful furniture, the As-Yet-Unborn-Eighth Doctor heckles the Seventh for being such a monumentally-stupid Scottish screw up. The similarly Scottish As-Yet-Unborn-Tenth Doctor goes for the Seventh's defense, and no one is prepared to listen to the As-Yet-Unborn-Ninth Doctor's sound advice, because he has Manchester accent and that's the only accent more ridiculous than a Scots one.

Benny has hidden inside a bedroom and is systematically emptying the minibar within.

The Seventh Doctor turns to his previous selves for help – the First Doctor has some advice, but has forgotten precisely how to communicate this and starts grunting, "Hmm? Chesterfield?" to himself.

The Second Doctor says the Seventh should just blow up monsters straight away, and starts making penguin noises.

The Third Doctor advises the polarity of the neutron flow be reversed.

The Fourth just stares at the Seventh Doctor in confusion.

The Fifth is too busy being nailed to a tree for daring to be nice to people to help, and the Sixth just says, "Get out of this one, smart arse!"

Part Four

It seems that a desire to make the Sixth Doctor look like a moron is the most powerful emotion in the universe. The Seventh Doctor smashes the mental defenses of the Scourge and communicates with Ace, who is now piloting the TARDIS to another time and place.

The Doctor has to use the TARDIS nanites repair Ace's eardrums, rearrange the interior of the time machine and restock the food machine before Ace is willing to discuss helping him. The Time Lord must burn his Greenpeace T-shirt and replace it with a new T-shirt saying "I Am An Incompetent Anarchist With A Question Mark Fetish".

The Doctor reluctantly agrees and Ace programs the console to do something incredibly clever. I mean, very clever. We're talking something so clever that Douglas Adams would be impressed and Stephen Hawking would need diagrams. That's how clever it is.

And something that clever simply cannot be understood by mere mortals and thus while it APPEARS that the writer has absolutely no idea how to get out of this mess and has just chosen a truly pathetic plot device of dues ex machina, it is in fact, perfectly dramatically appropriate.

After five minutes of weird, distorted TARDIS-like wheezing and groaning the police box reappears in the foyer with the Scourge and all trace of their reservation in the hotel erased.

The Doctor and Benny run inside the TARDIS and it takes off, but not before the Time Lord is stripped naked and all his possessions burnt by Ace, who already has a special T-shirt printed for him.

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Mysterio ia Hotella of Certain Demise
Doctor Who: The Scourge Is Crap In Bed (Canada Only)
The New Doctor Who Adventures – The Hotel Reservation of Deuteronomy's Epistle To The Romans And All That Virtual Reality Shite
'What Have Humanity Ever Done For Us?' by the Scourge Leader

Goofs –
If the Scourge are so utterly bad-ass and cool, why did they agree to let the Doctor help them invade Earth? Couldn't they do it on their own? And they needed the deeds to the property? What a bunch of wusses! Bring back the Vardans, I say, the Scourge are crap!

William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant appear in this story as psychic manifestations of the incarnations of the Doctor when the first three are dead, the next two refused to appear in Big Finish and the last two had yet to be cast.
It may not be impossible for this to happen, but it is very, very improbable I think you'll agree.

Benny locks herself in one staff bedroom for the last two episodes, but somehow has managed to drink all the booze in the hotel while not leaving said staff bedroom.
Maybe this is some strange side effect of spiraling dimensional anomalies, or maybe Benny is just a good multi-tasker – all I know is that I wish I could do that!

Fashion Victims –
Yup, guess Ace really DOES have a glossy black battle suit for absolutely everything.

Technobabble –
Dr Penbroke's Time-Fucker works on 'fucktational universes' created by 'hard-on radiation' generated by its quantum adjustments. Oo-er.

Links and References -
Benny makes a note in her diary to jump the bones of the Eighth Doctor.

Untelevised Misadventures -
Several months ago in the Doctor's timeline the Time Lord visited a guest house where Penbroke was staying and stole his complimentary towels, soap and the hotel bed.

In one of his incarnations, the Doctor snorted a line of cocaine and thought he was a sponge fisherman called Spirios for three years (the memory of this part of his life is lost forever in this story at the Doctor's insistence).

Groovy DVD Extras -
A special video clip where the Doctor Who theme music played on a sitar by Ravi Shankar as Paul Carnall runs back and forth throwing flowers on Dustbins and Cybermen.

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: As my old friend William Shakespeare once said, "Hey, you! The short Scottish bloke in the hat! What the hell are you doing wearing my wife's underwear?"

Leader: We tire of this dance, meat puppets.
Doctor: Okay, no more Tango. LET'S DO THE SALSA!!

Demi-Leader: Pitiful humans. WHO can save you now?
Doctor: I think that's my cue.

Scourge: Run. Cry out. We are the Scourge, and we will devour you.
Penbroke: ArrrrRGH!
(The Scourge eats him)
Scourge: Told you RUN and cry out, not just cry out, meat puppet.

Scourge: We are human failure. We live in the gap between what you are and what you could be.
Ace: I'm not human.
Scourge: Oh. Off you go then.
Ace: Hah! Sucker.
Scourge: Damn! Hey, wait a minute! Come back!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: I'm the Doctor, I always win... I'm the one the monsters are afraid of. So tell me - are you getting scared yet?
Policeman: Not really sir. Can you breathe into this bag, now?

Electric Turtle: Fear prevents us from doing anything, but love stops the fear.
Benny: Wow. You're an idiot.

7th Doctor: Well, Doctor, any advice?
(A long pause)
4th Doctor: What the FUCK am I doing in this brain?!! This isn't my brain! Where are the badgers? Answer me that!
7th Doctor: Never mind.

Viewer Quotes -

"A bold, frantic flight from so many conventions of the television series. With cracking dialogue, some gruesome set pieces and real emotion at its core, Scourge is an accomplished realization. Wait a minute! The central notion is human dismay being an alien fabrication – this is complete crap!" - Extremely Fickle Review Monthly (2000)

"Christ on a bike, Ace, haven't you heard of EAR PLUGS?!? No need to perforate your own eardrums! Still, I do like women with high pain thresholds. Bwa-haha-ha. Thwack!" – Nigel Verkoff (2004)

"A drawback? The plot – or lack of one. Alien nasties who can take over the bodies of others are trying to create a bridge between their dimension and ours to allow an invasion force to attack Earth. Whoop-de-friggin-doo. Bet THAT'S never been done before and, if it has I bet it didn't take two hours of runaround and technobabble to save the day. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who think Doctor Who stopped in 1989 - and those who think it just stopped being on the telly. I'm in the former category, so... this CD is crap."
- Gay Russell (2000)

"When I heard they were making audio versions of New Adventures, I was over-joyed. Who needs books when we can listen to audio with proper actors and everything?! I immediately set fire to my New Adventures collection and laughed aloud as it burned! On reflection, it may not have been a good move."
– Precipitous Ed (2003)

"New Adventure, eh? How baroque. Nice to arrive sensibly for once! Ground floor. Horror, tragedy and mysterious deaths. There's a time experiment going on in a hotel in Kent? Then instantaneous travel between this universe and others will become a reality! I offer you the unconditional surrender of the planet Earth! GAAHAHAH! SPIDERS!!"
- John Preddle during his nervous breakdown caused by fluctuating Doctor Who canon (2000)

"Despite the scripting, acting and sound design, I can't say that I really enjoyed this one. It harked back too much to an era that I didn't particularly like, and to a series I have not really enjoyed."
- Mary Whitehouse (2000)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I'm glad my spirit guide Ohm got mentioned in this story. He's real wacky guide of ghost, going round convincing people they have supernatural powers and then running away just when they are about to show other people. Ohm's great. But don't offer him pig's blood."

Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"Well, I don't know much about the books or Bernice's character, really. Is Bernice going to be in all the others? God, I hope not. Because nearly every story we do has someone new coming along anyway. What usually happens to Sophie and me is we arrive, we get split up, we each get a new companion, and then we meet at the end and lie through our teeth about what we get up to. It's quite different in Doctor Who."

Sophie Aldred Speaks!
"I've enjoyed having Bernice around, although it's slightly different because she obviously has a relationship with the Doctor, and there's a real familiarity there. Of course that's a bit weird because I haven't really read the books, more sort of burned them."

Lisa Bowerman Speaks!
"Yeah, I have a good dynamic with Sylv and Sophie, cause we were all in Survival back in 1989. Sylv kept in touch with me ever since, always asking if I'm wearing the fur knickers from that story. Nine times out of ten I am. I do like Bernice, though. Well, someone has to."

Trivia -
The Reservation of the Scourge is based on a true story. Just not a very interesting one.

Rumors & Facts -

At the end of 2000, times were bad for Big Finish. With the economy on the downturn and Who-centred apathy at an all-time high, things were just getting far too expensive for a four-episode full-cast audio drama to be recorded and released every month.

Every conceivable attempt had been made by Gay Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellory to reduce costs. Already the idea of releasing the stories both on cassette and CD had been abandoned, and now every Big Finish story was being burnt over Nicholas Pegg's rapidly-diminishing music collection. Covers were now ripped out of Dreamwatch centre folds and blurbs made up from letters cut out of spare BBC Books. Actors were no longer paid, but drugged unconscious when not required. Big Finish moved the significantly cheaper Skylight Studios in Kennington because Nu Groove studios had started to use the word 'rent' in sentences.

Gay Russell realized the only way to save any more money was to stop commissioning any new scripts. Thus, the next twelve releases would include the Oddly Visual stories The Mutant Phrase, Vulgarity, Bored of Ironing and Inuit in Hull by Nick Briggs. Failed Tom Baker proposal My Last Duck Egg by Paul Magrs and The Unholy Error by Rob Shearman. Mark Plate's never-used 5th Doctor werewolf story Kamelion Gets Mange. All of these stories had initially been laughed out of BFP.

However, with the next release still undecided, Russell turned desperately to Paul Carnall, who had been implying he would definitely get out of bed and hand over his Seventh Doctor proposal any year now. Carnall took pity, and handed over the story.

Russell was shocked to find this wasn't a Big Finish proposal, or even an audio script or even a script at all – just an unpublished New Adventure for the Seventh Doctor, 'New' Ace and Bernice Summerfield. Considering Russell's own pathological hatred of Virgin Publishing material after his Third Doctor epic The Legacy of Paddington was mistakenly published as a New Adventure, it shows how desperate the producer was to accept The Summoning of the Shite.

There was not enough time to re-write the story, and so although the thirteenth Big Finish story was stuck in New Adventures land, a few changes were made at the insistence of the cast and crew.

For a start, the hotel was no longer hosting a Doctor Who convention. The Seventh Doctor did not wear Tom Baker's scarf throughout the story, claiming it was a parting gift from college (presumably when he was expelled for that incident behind the TARDIS sheds). There was also to be a plot AFTER the end of the first episode. The character of Johnny Chesterton, Village Policeman was also abandoned.

When it came to renaming the Buffy-style metaphorical monster, the Shite, Carnall screamed that it was only this element of the script holding him back from clinical depression. That and his lifestyle of all-night sex, drugs and rhythm and blues.

The story was dubbed The Bedroom of the Scourge, and finally The Reservation of the Scourge. Russell had the story's production code changed to SideStep1 to divorce this particular story from the rest of Big Finish canon. He later allowed there to be a sequel and, just to piss Carnall off, didn't let him write it.

Recording went quite well until the scene where Bill Bailey was interrupting in his knitting by one of the Scourge, played by Peter Trapani.

As he considers knitting an extremely masculine art, Bailey took offense to being disturbed and began to viscously beat Trapani over the head with Lennox Greeves until buckets of cold water calmed him down.

Bailey offered no defense for his actions other than to say, "What the fuck are you looking at, gibrony? You want a fight? Huh, do you? Bring it on, then!! Ooh, I've dropped a stitch!"

Bailey was ultimately diverted into working on Bernice Summerfield plays rather than mainstream Doctor Who. Without the constant diverging of cash into hospital bills caused by Bailey's violent mood swings, revenue for the company increased ten fold and soon new scripts were becoming affordable.

The uncontrollable juggernaught of Doctor Who lurched onwards.

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