Serial 6Z/2 - Messing with Magnus
Messing with Magnus
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Mastermind
Serial 6Z/2 - Messing with Magnus -
Under the influence of orange sherbet, the Doctor decides to pilot the TARDIS across the universe to the late 19th century and the extreme-climated planet of Magnus, named after an extremely froody Time Lord called Magnusanzorklyngierophel. By an amazing coincidence, the police box materializes right beside Magnus' TARDIS, which is currently in the form of an obsolete Metropolitan oak tree. While the chameleon circuit is still working, Magnus prefers his ship looking like an oak tree, which is somehow connected to his bizarre 19th century undertaker fetish. However, Magnus is so cool and popular no one likes to question this, and the Doctor throttles Peri unconscious when she tries.
The cadaverous Magnus explains he has returned to the planet named after him because he is on an official mission from the High Council of the Time Lords. The Doctor, frankly, is relieved that they're sending in a professional like Magnus and not simply throwing deranged renegades like the Doctor himself into the frying pan. The Doctor is amazed when Magnus explains he needs the other Time Lord's help in this special case.
Honoured, the Doctor, Sil and the choking Peri are sent to the palace of Xanadu to meet the ruler, Auntie Jack, cross-dresser and total dictator of Magnus (the planet). Auntie Jack explains that a strange virus in the atmosphere means that all human males on the planet die unless they wear women's clothing and wear shockingly large handlebar moustaches - and AJ believes that this has allowed his society to concentrate their efforts on technology and develop their weather technology, which stops Magnus (the planet) from flipping randomly between freezing winter and burning summer.
Sil nods and frantically warns AJ that the male-dominated planet of Savlon have developed an antidote which will allow them to invade Magnus (the planet) without wearing dresses and necklaces, and instead armored combat suits - the Magnussians will be totally stuffed. AJ gasps that he had no idea and promptly begs the Doctor to convince the High Council to let him use time technology to prevent the Savlons develop a cure.
The Doctor scratches his head, "Uh, you mean, that ISN'T the reason you called on the Time Lords in the first place?"
"No," Auntie Jack replies. "I just invited you round for tea and biscuits, like any civilized being. Just a pity Magnus didn't turn up. Arse like a nutcracker, that man..."
The Doctor is furious at the fool's errand he has been sent on and promptly tells AJ that he refuses the Magnussians' request and that their whole transvestite civilization can go down the tube for all he cares. However, when Uncle Emma reveals a sub-machine gun, the Doctor has second thoughts and meekly takes the Magnussians to Magnus' oak tree TARDIS, outside which the man himself was idly fishing for gumblejack. Magnus is furious that the cowardly Doctor has handed over the secrets of time travel and, using only the purple-ribbon on his black top hat, overpowers the Magnussian guards, empties his TARDIS and dematerializes, vowing vengeance on the Doctor.
"No one EVER messes with Magnus!" he roars as the oak tree vanishes from the face of reality.
The Doctor evades further attempts to be pumped full of lead by running around, waving his hands in air and screaming pleas for mercy.
However, the butch Magnussians grab him, wrestle him to the floor and perform Telepathic Rodgering on his poor mind. However, Uncle Emma's brain cannot cope with the kinky gay action inside the Doctor's skull and promptly passes out, allowing the Doctor to run for it.
The Doctor is soon rescued by a ground of spotty male adolescents in kinky school uniform dresses, lead by their thin-bearded leader, Cousin Vion. The teenagers are members of the self-styled MAGNII - the Magnussian Anti-Goofy Naughtiness Internal Investigators – who plan to somehow overthrow Auntie Jack and take power for themselves, not because they believe they can make a difference or even rule wisely, but just because they really get off one the idea of being in charge of a whole fricken planet.
The MAGNII have encounter Peri - the first real women they've met, and have decided to worship her and feed her all the ice cream they can supply. As the Doctor, an exalted guest of Perperguillium of the Well-Packed Bra, enjoys some "Caramel Colostomy Explosion" the sinister shape of an Ice Cream Vendor bursts in on the MAGNII HQ and, using some "Extreme Banana Sucking Chest Wound", wipes out all bar Cousin Vion. Confused by the sight of what seems to be a woman wearing her own clothing, the Ice Cream Vendor Jagger takes her back to his base in the heart of Xanadu's Freezing Centre. Jagger hopes that Peri's bosom will restore some interest to Vindaloo, depressed Ice Lord Commander who's having something of a midlife crisis.
Vindaloo is idly counting the greying scales on his head and managing to find lots of flaws in his own invasion plan to conquer Magnus. Apart from the fact Magnus is millions upon billions of miles from Mars, it is also at the moment at the height of its summer, forcing the Ice Cream Vendor invasion force to hide in the fridge of Auntie Jack and hope for some opportunity to wipe the distinctly non-peaceful Magnussians from the face of the planet. His aide, Slag, tries to cheer him up by reminding him it was HIS tactical brilliance that allowed them to commandeer a genuine invasion attempt by the Savlons when a dodgy Galactic A-to-Z left them light years off course. However, the knowledge that the entire future of the Ice Cream Vendors depends on a double-booked weekend of invasion just depresses Vindaloo further.
Jagger arrives with Peri and, since she has hands, suggests Vindaloo use her as a secretary. Indeed, Peri's presence has stirred up the listless Ice Cream Vendors, who immediately prepare to actually get of their green arses and complete the conquest of Magnus. As the surface is still too hot for them to emerge from the fridge, they have kept the Savlons alive and tell them to head out and conquer the planet for them. Or else. Please.
Peri offers to go off with the Savlons and keep an eye on them when the Doctor and Cousin Vion arrive armed with darts and begin a completely unsuccessful rescue attempt which ends will all the Savlons shot dead and the "Vanilla Ripple Explosion" bombs across Magnus activated. Peri furiously berates the Doctor for screwing up her escape, and the Doctor retorts that it was HER womanly charms which got the Ice Cream Vendors in an invading mood in the first place! The Doctor decides to try and defuse the nearest VRE bomb, but quickly gets an ice cream headache and collapses.
Meanwhile, Sil has been helping Auntie Jack and Uncle Emma break into the Doctor's TARDIS where Sil plans to finally get round to swindling the winning ticket of the ten-year billion credit Galactic Lotteries, and accidentally sets the screensaver off. Auntie Jack is shocked by the devastated world shown on the scanner until Sil wearily explains that, in a particularly bad mood, the Doctor recently reprogrammed the screen saver to create a doctored image of the world outside, making it look ruined by nuclear war.
To prove his point, Sil leads the Magnussians outside and is surprised and embarrassed when they find that while they were inside the TARDIS, the Ice Cream Vendors have used their VRE bombs to plunge Magnus into a freezing winter and then sabotage the planetary weather systems which Auntie Jack was bragging about in an early scene that, at the time, seemed pretty extraneous.
The Ice Cream Vendors, lead by Barn, capture all the main cast when Sil irritably introduces himself, complaining that while most humanoids probably look the same to Martians, a Thoros Betan doesn't exactly vanish into the crowd. Sil explains that before the Doctor kidnapped him, he'd made several good business deals with the Ice Cream Vendors and in fact manipulated them to the point where they were in the position of conquering Magnus.
The Doctor is shocked that Sil has betrayed them all, but quickly realizes that there is a third layer to this onion of villainy...
On cue, a gnarled oak tree materializes and Magnus emerges, triumphant. Thanks to his contacts Sil and Vindaloo, he has not only engineered the Ice Cream Vendor invasion of the planet Magnus but also made a shitload of cash when Sil sells the Magnussian survivors heating equipment they need to survive.
As the Ice Cream Vendors line up the non-regulars for execution, the Doctor is totally devastated that his childhood hero is just another boring megalomaniac determined to conquer the universe. Magnus insists that the Doctor is too limited, too narrow in his ideas and, in this incarnation specifically, too fucking insane to realize the big picture on this occasion. However, as he has unintentionally provided the perfect the cover for Magnus' operation, the Undertaker graciously allows the time travelers to leave and promises not to tell the Time Lords that the Doctor was willing to hand over the secrets of time travel to a bunch of cross-dressers who didn't like the look of him.
Also, he offers the Doctor Rachel, a deluxe-model inflatable woman that should provide some suitable entertainment for this incarnation. When the Doctor furiously pronounces that he's gay, Magnus dryly comments, "Doesn't matter, Rachel's bisexual."
Sulking, the Doctor storms into the TARDIS with Peri and Sil and takes off, ignoring the increasingly-desperate pleas from the Magnussians as the Ice Cream Vendors take aim and fire...
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Fiddles With Magnus
Doctor Who - Doctor Fiddles While Ice Cream Burns (Confused Editions)
Doctor Who - Trust No One, Eat Ice Cream
Magnus Magnussans' Miss-Spelt Mastermind Marathon
For some reason Vindaloo decides that, rather than conquer Earth (which is a few hundred million miles from Mars) but rather head across three star systems to a planet like Magnus which is designed to be a very warm, temperate clime, a planetary Hawaii. Surely at least Jagger would have noticed that they must have past about a dozen frigidly cold worlds on the way?? Is Vindaloo suicidal?
Peri continually complains how warm it is and starts to disrobe... in the middle of Xanadu's freaking FREEZER CENTRE!
The Doctor convinces the Ice Cream Vendors to save his life because he has fingers and not clamps, and therefore might be able to operate native machinery better. How pathetic is that? And worse, the Ice Cream Vendors BELIEVED him! I mean, if I faced an alien menace who explained I should let it live because it had superior speed and dexterity to myself -- that would be one dead alien. I learned that in How To Be An Alien Monster 101!
I could probably go on, but I want to move on before my head explodes.
"Counter thrust, turn, galvanize up, return to vector matrix, matrix seven over five, siven, six, Z-S = EQ squared twice, rotor operating time CDE, no time specificate... Oh, sod it! Give me that orange sherbet, this is too damn complicated!"
Links and References -
Upon spying the Doctor, Grand Marshall Vindaloo immediately covers his crotch in terror, a not-so-subtle reference to "The Spoons of Death".
Sil: I am now in the red thanks to you and your interference in moneymaking plans for the Isle of Wright.
Doctor: Oh, yes. The Isle of Wright. What a fun place that was.
Sil: ...are you taking the piss?
Doctor: In a word; yes.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor was freed from his hum-drum life of running a back street brothel and concept shop on Gallifrey when Magnus sealed Cheevah, the Doctor's domineering pimp, in crystal and dropped him into a nearby black hole.
Groovy DVD Extras -
A nifty sound option that makes EVERYONE sound like an Ice Cream Vendor.
Not to mention Mangus' guest spot on "Burke's Backyard".
Dialogue Disasters -
Jack: Sil, tell me of the transvestites you have known.
Sil: Kings, queens, subs, doms, daddys, women and some who became women via complicated surgery.
Doctor: All Sil's kinky associates tend to share one thing in common.
Sil: And what is that, Doctor?
Doctor: Leather underwear with metal studs.
Vion: I'd risk anything if it led to something not found on Magnus!
Peri: What's that?
Vion: Sex! Sex-sex-sex-SEX!
Peri: OK. Anything else?
Vion: No. Just sex.
The bewildering scene next to the Ice Chasm -
Savria: Who are you?
Doctor: I am the Doctor.
Savria: What is your quest?
Doctor: To seek the holy grail.
Savria: How does one destabilize a quantum shift?
Doctor: Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.
Savria: OK, across you go.
Vion: Monster from Salvon? Big green thing from the ice age? It doesn't matter who or what it is - it's not going to stop me achieving what I truly desire!
Peri: And, er-
Vion: Do not ask. I shall not tell you.
Peri: It's "sex", isn't it?
Vion: Might not be.
Magnus' first line to the Sixth Doctor:
"I am a Time Lord? Homosexual? Perish the thought."
Vion: You don't understand how it is. I don't know where you come from, or what you plan to do here on Magnus. Are you a sign of the coming revelations, or a visitor from third Earth? And, just while we're on the topic, what are your views on sex?
Dialogue Triumphs -
Peri: You're just letting us go? WHY?
Magnus: I feel... magnanimous.
The scene where the Magnussians enter the TARDIS -
Emma: Let us try to travel through the fabric of time!
Doctor: No! Never! If I tell you how the TARDIS operates, you might give the details to someone like Sil! HE will develop a process of mass production and bring about willful distortion of the continuum of time!!
Sil: Hey, that's a pretty good idea! I'd never thought of that before!
Doctor: Aw, crap.
Vindaloo: Sssssooon the Grand Marshal will be here to placccce hisssss heel to your throatsssss, after which you will, of coursssse, be exxxxecuted in hisssss honour. Your bodiessss will be disssplayed to what remainsssss of your people.
Vion: And THEN the sex?
Vindaloo: No! There will be no sssssex, you hormonal freak! My orderssss are to procccceed with the extermination of all enemiesssss!
Vion: So that's a "no" to the sex?
Vindaloo: "No" to sssssex! No sssssex, no ssssurrender, and no kinky sssugessstionssss whatssssoever!
Vion: Aw, go on.
Doctor: Come, come, don't you Ice Cream Sellers learn anything at all? Look at you, the pathetic survivors of a once great frozen food retailer!
Vindaloo: We will be magnificccccent onccccccce more, with this new planet assssss our home! Sssssooon, this world will be made perfect for mixxxxing flavors and new ingredientssssssss! The our racccccce will rissssssse again from the ashesssss of Magnussssssss to corner the Iccccce Cream market of the galaxxxxy!
Doctor: Oh, ssssscrew this for a game of sssssssoldiers!
Peri: Why are they taking so long?
Vion: Maybe... maybe they're just spinning it out for their own pleasure?!
Peri: There's NOT going to be any sex, Vion!!
Peri: You wish.
Viewer Quotes -
"It was really clever the way that, like, EVERYONE in this story was a totally irredeemable, sex-obsessed loser! I couldn't care less if they lived or died, which gave it a cool slasher movie feel, except I was gunning for chainsaw maniac the whole time!" - Slasher Victim Monthly (1989)
"God, is there an ORIGINAL thought in this story? We have the Doctor using the TARDIS to aid the baddies, like in Atari of the Cybermen; the Doctor is alienated by an old Time Lord buddy, like in Lark With the Rani; the Doctor takes at least an episode to get his fat arse out of the TARDIS, like in Vengeance on Vetnor; a completely pathetic use of old monsters, like The Even Doctors; and the Doctor's last ditch attempt to get laid mirrors Lame Shit. It exacerbates everything I hate about Season 22... so it worked for me!" - Michael Grade (1998)
"I don't get it! The Doctor and Peri note how incredibly warm it is inside the Ice Cream Vendor base, but still assume if they can get the Martians a good 20 feet away from the ice shelf, they'll die! I just find this to be a big mystery. It's just the nit-picky inner-climatologist in me... I dunno." - Charles Daniels (2000)
"This story makes it quite clear that alien warmongers are just in need of a good fuck. And so am I." - Nigel Verkoff (2001)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Man! This story was fantastic! I mean, if it weren't for Messing With Magnus, I'd never have discovered the delights of hiding inside fridges, scaring passers-by. Of course, there was the time the door got stuck. Cryogenics my arse!"
Colin Baker Speaks!
"I was looking forward to having an adventure with the Ice Cream Vendors at the polar ice cap, so when I heard we were doing Messing With Magnus, I was delighted. I was beside myself for excitement, waiting for all the blood-drenching violence to start, leaving only me, the Doctor, to tackle these lethal monsters with my wit, charm and somewhat dubious taste in peccadilloes. So, I waited while I chatted with Magnus in the TARDIS, had tea with a cross-dresser, wandered up and down a corridor and then... WOW! There it was! The moment when the Doctor meets the Ice Cream Vendor Commander and things – get – personal! OK, it looked like me shouting general terms of abuse at an overweight old man with a cereal box on his head, but... but... No, it WAS just me shouting general terms of abuse at an overweight old man with a cereal box on his head. Sigh."
Rumors & Facts -
Philip Martin's Season 22 script Vengeance on Vetnor had been an instant success since the twenty-year development the script had undergone. Immediately he asked to write a follow-up involving his slimy creation Sil, not realizing that Sil had been hijacked into becoming one of the regular characters in the show.
Upon learning this, Martin developed a story with no less than eighteen separate 'villainous' characters that could, conceivably, be selected for recurring companion status at any given time – there was the sex-obsessed Vion, who could conceivably follow Peri aboard the TARDIS; Auntie Jack, fleeing the destruction of hir homeworld; Slag, who would be the Ice Cream Vendors' representative in future deal with Sil; and, of course, Magnus himself, who was considered a far more popular character than the Sixth Doctor.
What the production team DIDN'T know was that Martin had cunningly copyrighted every character in the story, so if they DID decide to snatch another one of his ideas, they would have to pay him royalties for every appearance. Also, sick of rewriting his scripts, he handed in the first draft (entitled Planet of Storm Troopers) and had not altered it once, leaving Eric Saward to do all the work for him.
However, ironically, Saward's only action was to re-write the endings so that the Ice Cream Vendors actually won and slaughtered all the non-regular characters. Thus, the story was left with too many plot threads going nowhere for no purpose at no speed, weakly-written villains and victims that just don't die quick enough!
Production standards were pretty low as well – Ron Jones was all ready to start filming when it was discovered that only half of one Ice Cream Vendor costume had survived the infamous 'Wild Thing' video clip of The Monster of Paddington, forcing a drastic rewrite of several scenes involving a heard of Ice Cream Vendors rampaging through scenery with all the restraint of Gengis Khan after three shots of tequila, and several action sequences showing Magnussians running for cover, only for the 'cover' to suddenly unfurl to reveal even larger, more vicious Ice Cream Vendors that begin to systematically disembowel their victims. Indeed, only one Ice Cream Vendor is seen at any time, and that was from the neck upwards.
Starring as the amazingly froody character of Magnus was David Troughton, who was the son of Patrick Troughton and had already secured two previous roles in Doctor Who thanks to his compulsive name-dropping – as King Paddington in The Curse of Paddington and as a Time Lord in The Wank Games. By a curious set of coincidences too troubling to ignore, David Troughton not only shared a flat with Colin Baker during the 1970s, fought off Ice Cream Vendors in The Curse of Paddington and portrayed a very Magnus-ish Time Lord that the Doctor sucked up to in the Wank Games. Indeed, whenever Phillip Martin claims he created the character of Magnus, fans side instinctively with David Troughton's claim that he had been "at it for ages beforehand".
Alan Bennion played Vindaloo, the third of the Ice Cream Vendor Commanders he had played since wandering into the studio begging for food in 1969 (Slaar in The Spoons of Death, Igloo in The Curse of Paddington, Asexual in The Monster of Paddington). After this story, he was diagnosed with terminal lung failure after his Darth Vader impersonation got out of control during Peri's topless scenes.
David Jackson, and actor who'd previously appeared as Olag 'Cat Strangler' Gan in the first two series of Blake's 7, and found playing a repressed transvestite didn't stretch his acting muscles as much as he would have liked, though the underwear did chafe somewhat.
Ultimately, this story was seen as sexist, tired, cliched, cheap, corridor-bound, low on special effects, shoddily produced, dully-plotted, under-edited, out of steam and the best contender for The Worst Doctor Who Story EVER as voted by Doctor Who Magazine, narrowly losing out to The Twin Double-D Dilemma.
Naturally, Phillip Martin was instantly ordered to rewrite Messing with Magnus, amplify the gender-swapping characteristics and replace Magnus himself with, well, Brian Blessed. The third draft of the script, Kowtowing To Kiv, was ultimately used under the name of 'Sex Warp' as the alliterative nature to Martin's titles was REALLY starting to irritate John Satan-Turner.