Serial 6W/B – Cryptosporidium
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Something Fishy
Serial 6W/B – Cryptosporidium -
In October of 1901, the cargo ship Wankester is caught in an ocean storm midway between New Orleans and wherever the hell it is going. On board, the Doctor and Peri are pestering the crew with improvisational comedy about Dr Livingstone, an elephant and a gorilla suit but the crew are not amused and throw empty bottles at the pair.
Realizing there is a passenger whose life they have yet to make a misery, the Doctor sends Peri to harass Irma Maid, who is confined to her room since she has a rampant social disease that earned her last voyage "the Ship of Shame" when the entire crews’ genitalia rotted off.
Just then, there is a horrible scream and one of the crewmen is found, skinned alive and gutted. The Doctor and Peri are not particularly concerned, as this sort of thing happens all the time on the Wankester. However, their nonchalance costs them dearly as Captain Callany accuses the Doctor of murder and has the Time Lord into the brig.
Callany suddenly decides for some reason to add the Doctor to the crew. Peri notes that the practice of signing up suspected murderers to join to crew might explain the high rate of murder in the Merchant Navy, but is ignored.
For something to do, Peri visits Irma Maid and discovers she is strapped into a wheelchair which completely encases her legs, and is drugged off her head on mercury. Peri is mildly interested to discover Irma Maid is a mermaid!
For fuck’s sake, some people are stupid, aren’t they?
Chief Mate Cornelius Smith is meanwhile secretly in contact with his ominous amoral employers – the Touchwood Institute of Great Britain, and conveniently explains the entire plot as he makes his report on 'Operation Open Water'. Having captured Irma the Mermaid while fishing one afternoon, Smith plans to sell her for medical experiments allowing humanity to have sex underwater without all that passion-killing oxygen starvation. Like all Touchwood operatives, Smith is sex mad and has already done it with the mermaid four times, and for his troubles got a mer-baby to sell for vivisection!
Meanwhile, the hull of the Wankester is breached and lots of foamy brine washes in with distinctly Fraudien overtones. Big fish-like creatures circle the sinking ship and the Doctor tries to escape in the TARDIS only for it to sink to the bottom of the ocean – a real bummer, that. Almost as much of a bummer when Irma dies from dehydration since Smith has stupidly not realized that creatures who spend their entire lives in the ocean might like a bit of water.
Peri is left holding the mer-baby swears vengeance on Smith for getting Peri’s prized multicoloured jacket soiled with baby vomit.
Smith tells Peri to shut the fuck up and hand over the baby so that his immoral scumbag paymasters can cut it up and have tests run on it in the vague hope it might help the crumbling British Empire. He punctuates his rant by shooting Callany, who happened to be passing.
Meanwhile, the Doctor meets Nerus, King of the Mermaids, and they perform an up tempo rendition of Disney’s "Under The Sea!" before using the TARDIS to re-board the sinking Wankester. Smith sees the hundreds of Mermaids surrounding the stricken vessel and explains that since the gun in his right hand still has a bullet in it, he wants the entire species to surrender to him and breed in captivity as pets for the middle classes.
If you hadn’t already guessed, Smith is completely insane.
Nerus bitchslaps Smith unconscious with his mighty tale and they drag him under the water to join their zoo, and maybe dissect him to learn the secrets of having sex out of water without all that passion-killing oxygen-poisoning...
The Doctor and Peri marvel at the irony of it all, and sod off.
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who: Cryptozoology
Doctor Who: Cryptobiosis
Doctor Who: Tales from the Crypt
This story isn’t from our reality. It’s a quibbling thing, I know, but it still counts.
Fashion Victims –
The Doctor’s formal 19th century travelling gear, which happen to be hot neon pink with transparent blue polka dots.
"I never cease to be amazed by this planet. No matter where I go, the variation of life Earth produces astounds him. MERMAIDS! I must admit, I thought you were myth."
"What? Is that IT? No pseudo-scientific explanation?"
"No. I’m quite happy to simply accept you exist."
"Oh. Fair enough."
Links and References -
This might be the Sixth Doctor and Peri after that unfortunate brainswapping incident in "Turnabout Is Fair Play", or maybe just some typos lead to Colin Baker playing Peri and Nicola Bryant the Doctor?
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor and Peri recently fought the evil Mentor and her armies of Trashcans in The Void In Space!
Dialogue Disasters -
Peri: That just seems... inhuman...
Doctor: Well, as I keep telling you, I'm NOT human!
Peri: You never told me that!
Doctor: I thought I told you earlier!
Peri: WELL, YOU DIDN’T!
Doctor: Don’t scold me, you bitch!
Peri: Stop exploding at me!
Doctor: Make me, you stupid child!
Peri: You used to be a lot more compassionate and understanding!
Doctor: Oh, do be quiet child, I’m trying to concentrate and I can’t do that with you moaning at me like a whore without lubricant!
Callany: Sell the Wankester after I die. Don't use your gun to make a living! More importantly, don’t use your gun to blow a hole through my kneecaps! I really LIKE my kneecaps! Life without kneecaps would be POINTLESS! OH, GOD, THE PAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Smith: You know something, don’t you?
Doctor: I know lots of things, Cornelius. You might almost say that I’m an almanac. An almanac with wit. I’m full of wit.
Peri: We all know WHAT you’re full of, Doctor.
Peri: Where did you land us? A cramped steam boat in the middle of a storm, accused of murder! It’s always in the middle of a crisis that stinks of dead fish! This was supposed to have been a couple of relaxing weeks on board a luxury liner heading to far and distant lands. Why didn’t we stay in Madagascar, huh? WHY?!?
Doctor: Shut up.
Viewer Quotes -
"I caught Cryptosporidium back in 1998. That, like this audio, gave me the shits." - Ewen Campion-Clarke (2006)
"Where the fuck is Sil?! He’s the only reason I subscribe!"
- Nabil Shablin (2006)
"There is much to like about this episode: a ghostly ship in the middle of the Atlantic ocean; a villainous first mate; a secret colony of non-human terrestrial life forms... and best of all, the price! It’s free! Free! FREE!!" - a total cheapskate (2006)
"Not as spectacular as The Michaelmas Evasion! DAVID TENNANT IS GOD!"
- Christmas BBC Press Statement (2005)
"First The Maltesa Penguin, then One Final Fight, and now this. There’s something not quite right about it all. I just wish I knew what it was." - Andrew Beeblebrox (2008)
"Cryptosporidium is different enough from The She Devils and Project Nightlight not be direct plagiarism. And that title I have considered for many years to be a snappy contender for a Doctor Who story as it was the only choice that made sense for this plot. I think. It even uses my own invention, The Galactic Cold Card which was in no way stolen from the Ninth Doctor’s handy-dandy-all-purpose-telepathic-psychic-paper! Yes, Cryptosporidium is one of my favourites, a strong story that has a lot going for it. You get the feeling a lot of work went into this one, like it was maybe a THIRD draft or something. I really enjoyed this unabashed adventure yarn because as pure escapism it works well, despite being a bit of a rip off... not that it’s incredibly derivative in ANY way! Ignore anything I said that might suggest otherwise. Anyone who says it is will get an earful! I actually think Cryptosporidium is quite neat, unique in a strange sort of way and could work well on screen. YOU HEAR ME, RTD, YOU WELSH BASTARD?! This story is about ISSUES, the characters are REAL, the script is GRIPPING, particularly SCARY, quite RELEVANT and VERY WELL THOUGHT-OUT! BY FAR BETTER THAN ANYTHING YOU HAVE *EVER* DONE BY A MILE! And I have no problems being objective." - Ron Mallet (2006)
"I think we found out who wrote this crap – or at least their equivalent in THIS reality." – Ewen Campion-Clarke (later that day)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I love mermaids. They taste great with brown ketchup."
Colin Baker Speaks!
"Huh? I don’t remember this one at all. You sure it was me?"
Rumors & Facts –
There are no rumors or facts about Cryptosporidium for the simple fact it wasn’t actually produced by Big Finish, or indeed anyone – from this reality at least.
Rob Shearman was quietly passing the time by building a possibility generator out of the various items he found in the stationary cupboard, creating a device capable of manifesting physical objects from redundant timelines and while attempting to find a cyborg ghost clone alien programmed to murder Gay Russell, Shearman accidentally created a forty-seven minute audio play with Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Peri.
Yes, in that other reality, the Doctor was an American teenager with impressively large breasts and Peri Brown was a mellow, fruity middle-aged man in a patchwork coat weathering nips and brawls of his ire-filled time travelling mentor.
Russell quickly realized that while they could pass off Cryptosporidium as one of their own works and claim Baker and Bryant simply misread their scripts, they couldn’t use the generator to simply churn out new stories to the crack of doom. This meant that the hitman he had preemptively hired to assassinate Nicholas Briggs would tragically not be required for the foreseeable future.
The single-disc story was given away free to those strange and insane individuals who actually subscribe to Big Finish. Whether this was intended to be a reward for their loyalty or some sadistic punishment is unknown, but Cryptosporidium allows us a glimpse at a different reality – a reality where Doctor who is a damp squid of largely dour scripts on Radio 4 that didn’t die in the 1980s. And the Doctor was repeatedly locked up while kinky hijinks were forced onto her whining, loud and annoying companion.
Makes you think, huh?