Saturday, October 3, 2009

6th Doctor - The Assassin in the Limelight

Serial 7C/MD – The Assassin Who Died Twice
The Assassin Who Died Twice
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Footlights
Great thanks to Jared "No Nickname" Hansen who was brave enough to actually listen to this mess and do all the hard work for me...

Serial 7C/MD – The Assassin Who Died Twice -

The Doctor is trying to cheer himself up by collecting all his previous incarnations’ cricket memorabilia, dousing it in petrol and turning into a bonfire when he realizes that the TARDIS has landed in the year 1865, quite an action packed year historically speaking, and even Evelyn can recall many famous events, so the depressing duo decide to go outside and take a look around.

They find themselves in the Ford Theatre in Washington and the nearby newspaper reveals that not only has the American Civil War just ended, the TARDIS has arrived on the day that President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated. The Doctor is deeply unimpressed about this and explains to Evelyn he had high hopes that their next adventure would just involve John Wilkes Booth’s theatre career prior to his short-lived turn in Latin-quoting gunmanship, but clearly they’re going to get caught up in Lincoln’s inevitable demise.

What’s more, the Doctor strongly suspects that at such a major historical event like this there is BOUND to be some twit who’s clearly a time traveler in an anachronistic disguise wandering around making trouble.

Lo and behold, the Doctor and Evelyn soon discover that Oscar Wilde is visiting from England to promote "The Importance of Bonking Ernest" at the Ford theatre. Thirty years before anyone even knew who Wilde was and apparently in his fifties and not being remotely funny. Since someone impersonating a flamboyant dandy who has yet to grow out of short trousers in Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC on the very day Abraham Lincoln will be assassinated, the Doctor is confident he’s found the pisser-about with destiny he predicted.

Evelyn chooses this moment to complain to Ford about her irritable bowel and insomnia, but Ford mistakenly assumes that since Evelyn "never sleeps" that she and the Doctor are actually Pinkerton agents and immediately stops dicking about and starts being a useful plot device. He takes them to stage where they find "Wilde" and John Wilkes Booth getting drunk on elderberry cordial and chatting about the wild rompy sex stage actors get up to when the curtain falls.

The Doctor and Evelyn arrives and the Time Lord quickly recognizes "Wilde" as his old enemy, the time travelling boozer known to certain readers of Doctor Who Weekly as "the Wine Peddler" as calling him "the Monk" would cause all sorts of confusion with a certain American police drama series that was quite popular at the time.

However, as I never watched that homicide-investigating-touchy-feely crap, I hold no such inhibitions and lo, MONK HE SHALL BE!!

Even as the Doctor demands to know what monstrous meddling the Monk is up to know, Booth starts slurring his words and choking. The Doctor berates the actor for stealing his limelight, when Booth goes into convulsions and collapses dead. The Monk’s wines of death and destruction have changed history and killed Booth!

"Don’t agitate yourselves," the Monk says warmly, "It’s not as if he was going to be bigger than Harry Hawk, is it?"

The truth dawns on the Doctor and Evelyn - if Booth is dead, who is going to kill the President because obviously nobody would ever consider it a GOOD thing that Lincoln could live one more night. No, let’s hurry to find someone, ANYONE, who can shoot a gun to blow this slave-loving motherfucking head off.

The Doctor tells Ford to call the police and FURTHER irretrievably upset the equilibrium of time, but luckily Ford doesn’t want any bad press before Abraham Lincoln turns up tonight... even though he’s just been told his lead actors was going to assassinate him. The Monk cheerfully reminds everyone that the President is "a lovely, articulate chap and a whole career of lecture tours all over the Europe and East" once his tour is over. "All right, the consequences for American civil rights will be catastrophic, but since when have the concepts of 'America' and 'civil rights' been compatible anyway?"

The Doctor retorts that the web of time is working silently to repair of the abhorrent damage the Monk has carried out, as there are plenty of people out for Lincoln’s blood means history can sort itself out and no one actually has to do a damn thing for the next three episodes.

To pass the time, the Doctor goes onto the street and bellows at the top of his voice that there’s been a murder, but everybody ignores him and passes by, assuming he’s just promoting a new production at the theatre or more likely he’s a nutter. When they return they find that Ford has cunningly swapped Booth’s corpse for a sandbag, so not only can Booth’s "dead weight" prove useful but he now looks like he committed suicide and no one will be suspicious.

Annoyed at the stupidity of the badly-accented colonials all around, the Doctor and Evelyn follow the Monk into his TARDIS, cunningly disguised in the shape of an igloo where the renegade Time Lord is pampered by an army of prostidroids sculpted to exactly resemble Eve Myles because... well. Because.

The Monk offers to save time and reveal the true reason he has come to Washington and has his prostidroids relocate his TARDIS to a nearby Lafayette Park opposite the White House to meet the Monk’s girlfriend, Clara Harris, who also exactly resembles Eve Myles. For some reason. Clara and the Monk feed some bread to the ducks, while the Doctor and Evelyn stand around being gooseberries. In a spasm of intelligence, Evelyn recognizes Clara as a senator’s daughter who will be the one to do the whole Jackie Kennedy shtick when Lincoln is actually assassinated. Senile dementia kicks back in before Evelyn can be of any further use, making the whole thing rather random.

The Monk explains he was doing the tourist thing and watching Lincoln’s assassination when he spotted Clara and has decided to change history so her night doesn’t suck so much and her fiancé Major Rathbone doesn’t get repeatedly stabbed with a bowie knife by the same bloke who blew Lincoln’s head off. Plus, Rathbone’s injuries will drive him nuts and in just twenty years time he’d stab Clara to death with a toothpick.

"Lincoln is just another here-today-gone-tomorrow politician!" the Monk grumbles. "His usefulness is already behind him, but the REAL tragedy in this story is Clara. Does anyone weep for her? Do they bollocks!"

The Doctor dubs the Monk has having the Wine Peddler equivalent of a midlife crisis and losing his head over a pretty girl. "You’re older than Methuselah and you’re acting like a love-struck teenager!" the Doctor jeers. "Good gracious, man, you’re fifty years older than I am! And what IS that after shave you’re wearing?! Lavender and bergamot? YOU SMELL LIKE A LABRADOR WITH HALITOSIS!!"

Deeply hurt, the Monk decides to head off and kill Major Rathbone with a sawn-off baseball bat, and then he can put the moves on Clara. Chuckling at his own unmitigated brilliance, the Monk punches the Doctor in the groin and escapes into his TARDIS and takes off, stranding the Doctor and Evelyn in Lafayette Park. The Doctor immediately blames Evelyn for everything and kicks her in the shin.

Inside his TARDIS, the Monk laughs. "I rather think my work in 1865 is done now the Doctor’s taking care of business! The Doctor’s in for such a nice surprise, it’s almost a shame I won’t be around to see it... I could sell snow to Eskimos!"

He then starts coughing up blood and tries to cheer himself up by getting his prostidroids to perform a jolly version of "Peachy" by Missy Higgins while, in a cage hanging from the ceiling, Benny Hill is forced to dance to the music on pain of violent electrocution.

The Doctor and Evelyn visit Clara and asks her how she feels about "Mr Wilde" – she thinks of him a strange old man she’s cast a smile once or twice as a minor act of charity. "He’s nothing more than a stinking itinerant theatrical; a degenerate, filthy-minded libertine as bad as John Wilkes Booth, so if he has designs on me, he can go hang!" she shouts loudly.

Confused, since it’s been clearly established that Booth is dead, the Doctor returns to Ford’s Theatre to demand to know what the hell is going and is arrested by Major Eckert as an English alien seditionist. Before the Doctor can say a word he’s strapped to a human spinning board while the Major fires a derringer pistol at him.

Evelyn then bumps into a woman who announces she is part of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, and has given her boyfriend a false moustache, an opera cape and hat so he can dress up as John Wilkes Booth, kill the President, and then they can find the real Booth’s corpse and claim they killed the real assassin!

Thinking this woman a loony, Evelyn wanders off, bored as the nutter continues to rub her hands with glee and tell anyone who will listen that she’s left letters to help incriminate Booth and this will get her boyfriend promoted, etc, etc, until she gets run over by a horse and carriage driven by a man called Morris Minor.

In the theatre, Ford is slowly coming to the conclusion that Eckert is completely bowel-shatteringly insane, especially since he has started speaking backwards in Romanian as his head rotates 360 degrees. Evelyn arrives and takes a seat in the audience as she watches the demonically-possessed Eckert use the Doctor as target practice, while all the while the Doctor hurls abuse at her for not helping him.

Suddenly a TARDIS materializes on stage in the inauspicious shape of a Sopwith Camel and as Ford faints for comic relief, and the ill-looking Monk stumbles out, revealing that after eons of alcoholic abuse, his Time Lord liver is disintegrating and he on the verge of dying. Not even kidnapping Benny Hill has taken his mind off his problems and the Doctor suddenly realizes that Benny Hill is using that evil intelligence thingamajig from "Seaside Suicide" to control Major Eckert, who announces he suddenly has a strange desire to kill billions of people, starting with Evelyn.

Unfortunately, Eckert at that moment, falls through a trapdoor in the stage and bitches that he doesn’t get half the respect a despair-and-hopelessness-seeking possessor of the downtrodden and lost is due.

The Monk collapses, realizing his final moment has come. In his final breath, he bequeaths to the Doctor his TARDIS and his wine cellar, before crumpling dead. The Doctor laughs, snatches the key and immediately steals the Monk’s TARDIS, abandoning Evelyn in 1865...

...moments later, the TARDIS reappears and the Doctor staggers out, pie-eyed, exhausted and mumbling "No, Charlotte, I’m telling you, I’m gay, put the nun’s wimple down!" to himself as he realizes that his off-screen activities in a certain spin off series has left a touch of grey in his hair.

The theatre is starting to fill up and the Doctor considers staying to witness history first hand, before he notices that the Monk’s corpse is glowing unnaturally – it seems the Wine Peddler finally remembered that he is a Time Lord and can change his body and personality by rejuvenating himself and all that bollocks.

As the Doctor and Evelyn watch on, the Monk regenerates into a completely different person, going from Leslie Phillips in a silk cravat to Patrick Stewart in a monk’s habit. After all, what is visual continuity in a bleeding audio play?!

After wondering where his hair has gone, the newly-reborn Monk retches at the smell of lavender and bergamot, announces that he is Dr Arthur Conan-Doyle and runs into his TARDIS and takes off. Shrugging, the duo decide to return to their own TARDIS and say farewell to Ford as he welcomes Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln and Miss Harris and Major Rathbone.

"I hope the evening goes with a bang!" laughs the Doctor in a shockingly distasteful farewell, even for someone as often shockingly distasteful for him.

True, it reaffirms the Time Lord’s alien perspective on history, but also reaffirms how the writer makes cheap jokes about the murder of a respected historical figure that aren’t as clever or cheeky as were undoubtedly intended, which sums up the whole story, really...

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who: Happiness is a Warm Gun
Doctor WHo & The Wine Peddler (sic)
Dr Who Versus The Defenders of Liberty (Canada only)

Goofs -
If the Monk just wanted to save Clara, all he had to do was stop her from going to the theatre in the first place! All this pre-assassination-assassination was entirely unnecessary, and would have stopped this story being so mind-numbingly BORING!
According to the CD booklet, Evelyn is one of the mistresses of Charles Dickens. Normally this disgusting and abhorrent concept would be quietly accepted as probably true, but it is clearly a misprint for "Evelyn was once molested by Charles DARWIN!"
The booklet also notes that Colin Baker has only appeared in one other story for Big Finish, Id. And not even the extra one-episode story also contained on the same CD. Does Big Finish understand the concept of a proof reader.
One of the CD extras features Paul McGann complaining about the portrayal of the Bastard in RTD scripts, which doesn’t make any sense as this is a COLIN BAKER story, SANS Bastard! Did some damn fool screw up in CD processing plant or something? Or is it just my illegal copies are bootlegged by amateurs?

Fashion Victims -
As the cover for this story reveals, after years of having people complain about his ugly coat, the Doctor decides on an even more outrageous sartorial statement!
Evelyn: Johnny, you’re not really going to go around in public wearing that scale model of a building, are you?!
Doctor: Yes, I am, Evelyn, and YOU are going to wear it with me. And anyone else we meet has to get in here with us too!

Technobabble -
The Monk’s deviant lust for Clara Harris contradicts the "Acram Pedophilia Rule of Hyper Mathematics", which declares an inverse square of the age of one half of the relationship in balance with the other.

Links and References -
The Doctor’s evil laughter as he screams at Lincoln that he’s going to die tonight are in stark contrast to the Fifth Doctor’s attitude to Lincoln in Telos Novella "Blood & Pope"... which is probably what inspires the Sixth Doctor to do it in the first place. Incidentally, this ties in very well with the anecdote the Eighth Doctor mentions to Charley in "Inuit in Hull".

Untelevised Misadventures -
The last time the Doctor and the Wine Peddler crossed swords, it was 1983, with the Fifth Doctor and Gus visiting a lunar lagoon in Antarctica. This lead to a massing booze up involving two police-box-shaped TARDISes, a squadron of extremist Martians, the Goodies being seconded to Touchwood, and endless four-dimensional vistas caught in the tides of time. "Ah, sweet nostalgia," says the Sixth Doctor.

Groovy DVD Extras -
An exclusive "comedy" skit as the Wine Peddler discovers that his shopping list of tomato soup, a cauliflower, a minibar, hair elastic, eggs, peas and breath mints reads: "Soup-a-cauli-fridge-elastic-eggs-pea-halitosis". Laugh? I nearly started!

Dialogue Disasters -
The dialogue really is atrocious, with 'physic', 'the vapours' and even 'oopizootics' being mumbled in the background of every scene for no reason whatsoever, occasional accompanied by Tom Baker shouting the word 'rhubarb!' over and over again.

Evelyn: I don’t suppose it could be the REAL Oscar Wilde?
Doctor: The program notes for the opening night of "Ernest" thirty years from now didn’t mention he was a time traveler. So that’s a 'no'.
Evelyn: What does he travel around in? A... HANDBAG?!
Doctor: Shut your face you decrepit has been – I am NOT in the mood!!

Ford: Wilde’s Bottom is a marvel to behold?
Doctor: I always thought it surprisingly firm... Oh, you mean the CHARACTER?! Sorry, thought we were talking about something else.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Evelyn: But who is this Wine Peddler?
Doctor: There’s not really much back story, Evelyn. He’s a bit of a git who happens to have a TARDIS.
Evelyn: Just like you, you mean?
Doctor: know, it’s usually much later in the day before I start wondering what I did to deserve being lumbered with you.

Monk: I know that you are a Time Lord. It’s the complete lack of Olympian detachment and fashion sense that gives it away.

Evelyn: This cordial smells of bitter almonds. Like cyanide!
Doctor: Of course! The Monk has poisoned this elderberry wine!
Monk: Nonsense, Doctor. Cyanide would ruin the flavor of the arsenic!

Doctor: Oh no – we’re in the Ford Theatre... and it’s LINCOLN DAY!!!

Viewer Quotes -

"The Assassin Who Died Twice – isn’t that Nick Briggs’ career?"
- Cameron J Mason (2008)

"Be assured, I only listened to this out of a love of entertainment-related sadomasochism. After a mass of historical cliches alternating with pure, unadulterated, historical batshit-insanity and then the cliffhanger to episode three goes and fucks it up with Benny Hill showing up and going "AHA, I SHALL KILL ALL HUMANS!" Wow. That’s mind-expanding, that is." - Jared "No Nickname" Hansen (2009)

"The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn aren’t really giving out anything new - I do think it’s time for Evelyn to go, preferably chopped up and turned into a Cyberman EVERY TIME! EVERY SINGLE TIME! BURN, BABY, BURN!"
- Worryingly Intense Fan of "The Real Thing" (2006)

"Like the dark side of RTD’s id, I don’t give a damn for planet Zog. Historical stories create such an atmosphere and seem to lend themselves greatly to the medium of Doctor Who that they are highly anticipated by many and enjoyed by an equal number. Surely, the Assassin Who Died Twice can be no exception to this? Big Finish MUST be encouraged to produce more stories of this nature. Otherwise, how the hell is Primeval going to get ANY ratings whatsoever???"
- an increasingly desperate ITV executive (2008)

"For those of you that don’t know, I’m a bit of a history buff and to hear the Sixth Doctor facing the Peddling Monk is satisfying beyond belief... If only they’d let ME write it! Abraham Lincoln? PAH! It should be involved with the ancient Malet family, to whom I lie about being related so as to impress people in restaurants! I have always thought the historical stories worked better when they were based more deeply around actual events and historical relationships, which is why shoving a bunch of time travelling aliens into an explanation for the death of King Rufus appeals to me! I would call it 'The Normans' and basically rip off Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet! I DESERVE TO WRITE FOR BIG FINISH! LAWRENCE MILES HAS NOTHING ON ME!!!!"
- Ron Mallet (2009)

"A thumbs-up from me! Acting honors all round here, and I think Big Finish won’t get ANY criticism for their latest batch of American accents. All the actors involved are actually Canadian and/or American. I always think directors should say 'Okay, that's good - but can you make it sound more like a character off of The Muppet Show?' Let’s hope Robert Ross writes another one!"
- Mark Gatiss (during his gap year at a certain mental institution)

"I listened to this last weekend good story I would love to see the Wine Peddler in the new series, perhaps as the mysterious evil villain having a predictable and ineffective conspiracy against the entire human race as the overall theme of the season? Having the Wine Peddler behind every episode would be an absolute fan's ultimate dream - well, my dream and that's what counts!" - Sparacus "Flamingo" Jones (2007)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Leslie Phillips for the Tenth Doctor! I mean, not the Tenth Doctor, there’s already one of those, quite a popular one actually, but I keep forgetting the little Scottish fellow. Or was that Sylvester McCoy? Yes, Sylvester McCoy for the Tenth Doctor! It’s a fair cop! OH GOD, I HAVE GOT TO STOP SNORTING THIS ANTHRAX! If there are any Americans reading this - what do you want? My oil, is that it? Haven’t you got national landmarks to destroy in secret or something?"

Colin Baker Speaks!
"I was QUITE familiar with this particular period of history which we all have a scant amount of knowledge about. It’s just like the assassination of Kennedy, except less recent and it didn’t interrupt episodes of Doctor Who at the time. Of course, I wasn’t an expert on the detail, but then, neither is author. I know for a fact that it took three redrafts of the script before they spelt 'Lincoln' correctly..."

Rumors & Facts –

Just when you thought Big Finish couldn’t surprise you, they come out with something even crapper than you suspected possible.

The Assassin Who Died Twice manages the unique achievement of taking one of the most dramatic and interesting episodes in US history and turn it into a boring, tedious mess. Written in the certifiably insane belief that pottering around with a villain from the 1960s is better than the widespread conspiracy at work against the government, that standing around in TARDISes arguing is more exciting than simultaneous attempts on the lives of the Vice President and the Secretary of State, and that a deranged Benny Hill is much more interesting that the cross-country chase for Booth following Lincoln’s death! Script editing consisted entirely of "let’s drop a reference to The Talents of Wong Jing while we’re here, that’d keep the fans happy", though in fairness, there’s little Alan Barnes could have done with this.

For The Assassin Who Died Twice is by none other than Robert Ross, the only writer Big Finish had possessed who worked out exactly what went wrong with his debut story, and based his follow-up ENTIRELY around those weaknesses, while systematically stripping all the strength away. It would be really hard for any intelligent person to have positive expectations from Ross no matter what, which was precisely why executive producer Nicholas Briggs chose him.

Briggs’ latest diabolical scheme was deliberately create the worst story the company had ever produced, so that the public would devastated with emotional trauma unprecedented in Western Civilization. The plan followed that after such near-impossible subterranean depths of tedious dross, the customer base would accept ANYTHING else – even a series of revamped Oddly Visuals with Briggs himself as Doctor eternal!

The story would, in true Ross style, be a deliberate distillation of everything that was bad about Big Finish, featuring staggeringly unconvincing foreign accents across entire guest cast, an unnecessary history complete with time paradox as an excuse for hideously hammy dialogue and broad brush-stroke characterization, complete with lots of console room scenes with no effort imparted into them by anyone at all that add nothing to the plot, writing radically inferior to half the stuff on and the crème de le crème – an invented BF companion thoroughly past their use-by date!

When told point blank that he was only being hired for his ability to make stories LESS than the sum of their parts, Ross was not offended. Indeed, he thought that his derivative and generic style was finally being recognized for the genius it was rather than him being used as a pawn in Briggs’ endless battle for canonical supremacy. Even when the bald, toothbrush-wielding loon shouted through his ring modulator to "GO FORTH AND ADD NEW WAYS OF BEING TERRIBLE!" Ross did not suspect a thing, and instead went to new lengths to follow his orders.

Ross has his heart set on completing the trilogy he’d started back in 2004 with Medicinal Porpoises, but this proved more than difficult – for a start, the whole vibe was ruined as the third part was released three years after the first two, which were back to back releases! Secondly, since David Tennant was now busy being the PROPER Tenth Doctor on TELEVISION, they couldn’t bring him back for the final story, and since he hadn’t been in the second story either, it was a dumb idea anyway. Apart from anything else, there was absolutely no connection between Ross’ earlier stories Medicinal Porpoises and Seaside Suicide, bar perhaps the both of them being considered the worst Big Finish releases ever for their overlong, muddled storytelling and incredibly poor characterization of the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn, so how the hell was he supposed to make them a trilogy?!

Ross shrugged and insisted that he would find a way to justify his parasitic adherence to Colin Baker, even if he had to assassinate JFK, John Lennon and Martin Luther King at the time.

To replace the character of the Tenth Doctor – Briggs wisely refusing the idea for him to play a future incarnation as he did not want to be tainted with the total failure the play was bound to be – Ross decided to try and create a new Time Lord antihero and after fifty four seconds gave up completely and stuck with the Monk.

An amoral, time-meddling, wine-peddling TARDIS-using twat, the Monk appeared in two stories in the 1960s – The Wine Peddler and The Dustbins’ Nasty Plan – played with disturbing relish by Peter Butterworth. The character was rapidly dropped by the production team at the time when Butterworth and Hartnell wanted to give the Monk his own spin-off TV series, The Son of a Bitch, revealing the Monk was actually Susan’s father, the Doctor’s illegitimate son.

Deeply ashamed at the idea, the character of the Monk was completely abandoned, though at various points nerds would petition to bring back the character, revamped for contemporary audiences. This started back in 1967 and never really stopped. Indeed, most abandoned Who scripts turn out to be fan written rematches of the Monk, now renamed the Cleric, or the Vicar, or the Controller, or Dr. Threeways, or the Abbot of Anarchy or the Pisser-About With Destiny. Apart from the truly pathetic Alcoholic Universe Cycle with the New Adventures wherein revealed that the threat to all life throughout the multiverse was the Monk, some Vardans and a TOMTIT monster, the Wine Peddler only appeared in two comic strips in the 1980s and both times played third fiddle to such figures as the Sleaze Brothers.

The return of the Wine Peddler was just the kind of brain-dead fanwank that Briggs KNEW would destroy Robert’s story in the eyes of fans, the eyes of non-fans and indeed the eyes of everyone WITH eyes. To make doubly sure that the whole thing would bomb, it was decided to cast Leslie Phillips as the Monk when it became obvious that they could not animate the corpse of Butterworth with the usual black magic spells. If an actor of Phillips’ standard trashed the story, no one would be prepared to defend it and thus Briggs would suddenly look like a sensible choice to be main star, director, producer, writer, voice artiste, producer and publicist.

Alas, tragedy struck production when it became known that Ross had completely forgotten how to count! Although he only had four episodes, he though he still had one more to wrap up the plot, and had to compress fifty minutes of convolutions and running around into just half a bloody hour, which meant the returning of Benny Hill became a complete waste of time – the ease with which the Doctor defeated him thus emphasized that they were a crap villain the first time around, and that they were little more than an extraneous macguffin!

Disaster struck – in the form of the annual Official May Cock Up, which in 2008 took the form of them completely forgetting to ship the CDs out to retailers! When they tried at the last minute, the Royal Mail (old enemies of Doctor Who fan audios) 'mislaid' their sacks by throwing them into the canal opposite, where Rob Shearman gratefully used them to make a fresh nest. This meant the only CDs that could be salvaged were in broken boxes and soaked in unspeakable slobber, and the postman refuses to take them!

Briggs plan to unleash the worst thing ever released with the words "Doctor" and "Who" attached to it was in jeopardy! Without the lethal dose of endless, pompous speeches, shallow characterizations, or a complete lack of any sense of threat or jeopardy, how could his evil plot for world domination succeed?

A clue: it couldn’t.

In desperation, they cancelled the next bank holiday to give normal people access to the release in high street shops, but accidentally-on-purpose forgot to reply to the emails and phone messages from genuine subscribers wondering where the hell their automatic download accounts had gone and why the hell they were bothering to subscribe when it was cheaper to get the behind-the-scenes-extras-filled CDs at retail. On the bright side, this meant few – a VERY few – innocents had this story inflicted upon them.

Personally, I wonder why the hell Big Finish launched their online download service four months before anyone had the faintest clue about how it worked – thank god I nicked all their output illegally off bit torrent sites, that’s all I can say.

Ultimately, it would have to be said that Leslie Philips saved this story from being the worst, dreariest, dullest story BF have produced since the all round awful Seaside Suicide. Some suspect that The Assassin Who Died Twice might even be worse... but to prove that they would have to listen to Seaside Suicide all over again, and no one has been willing to attempt it!

There’s some kind of pattern here which seems to involve me believing that if they never employ Robert "Dross" Ross again it will be altogether too soon.

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