Serial 6W/1 - Lavros
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Microsoft
Serial 6W/1 - Lavros -
Earth, England, 1985. Zoe Herriot and her weak-willed husband Harvey Baines have just opened up their combined computer programming business and Chinese takeaway on the outskirts of Cambridge when an escape capsule crashes in their backyard. Zoe and Harvey investigate and find that the capsule contains a wrinkly, prune-faced mutant in a cyberloo. However, due to the lack of toilet paper in the escape capsule, the mutant's own bodily gases have asphyxiated him.
Zoe, seeing the alien intruder as a possible way off 20th century Earth and the horrible exile the Time Lord inflicted on her, desperately runs to the nearest pub and asks if there's a doctor in the house. Luckily, the Sixth Doctor is there, chatting up the barman and is pleased to meet his old companion. After an awkward, continuity-filled exposition, Zoe explains the situation and begs the Doctor to help her revive the mutant. His response, "Well, okay, but I'm not doing mouth to mouth unless it's a really cute mutant."
Zoe and the Doctor return to their backyard where the Time Lord identifies the alien cyborg as Lavros, creator of the dreaded Dustbins and all-round happening dude of the planet Fargo. He decided that, for the good of all life-kind, they should let the bastard rot.
Typically, this is at the exact moment the dazed Lavros revives. The Doctor decides the right thing to do is to throttle the one-armed, blind, defenseless cripple – but falters. Zoe queries this and the Doctor begins a speech about respecting the right of all living creatures, before giving up half-way through and admitting he can't actually bring himself to touch Lavros with his bare hands.
Zoe is delighted that Lavros has survived, but neither Harvey nor the Doctor can work out why. Does she intend to sell Lavros to a rabid Dustbin memorabilia collector? Or want some conversation-piece hatstand? The Doctor, however, has a dark suspicion about Zoe's true motives, but this is too horrible to think about. Indeed, already he is rather nauseous and wants a lie down. While looking for a chair he notices that the basement of Zoe's failed internet café contains an automated production line with an army of robots.
Zoe, meanwhile, explains that twenty years stuck in Earth's past has driven her past the brink of psychosis – especially after Jamie dumped her to shag Victoria full-time. She wants to conquer the Earth with a robot army and from then lead an attack on Gallifrey and so slaughter the Time Lords that exiled her here. However, her robot army - like her internet café – is a complete failure as technology on Earth is far too primitive to adapt to her evil purposes.
This is why she needs Lavros' help, and she's fairly certain that the creator of the most evil race in the universe should have an edge on Bill Gates. Lavros agrees to, on the condition he gets his name added to the corporate logo.
The Doctor is sickened – he and Zoe spent years traveling together, fighting Protons and Ice Cream Vendors and Cybermen, taking wild hallucinogenic drugs and going from weird alternate dimension to weird normal dimension... In short, he's insulted Zoe didn't ask him first to build a robot army bent on destruction.
Zoe apologizes and decides to hire BOTH Lavros and the Doctor to help her tamper with the order of creation. Much to the Doctor's surprise, Lavros concedes that the Doctor is, at the very least, good at making tea and typing up spreadsheets. In response, the Doctor tells Lavros that if he tries any sexual harassment the Time Lord will break the mutant's remaining arm.
The next morning, Lavros arrives for work ready on time and begins to build a device that will allow the robots to transform into a sentient computer virus and back again, so they can creep around bulkheads and the like and save valuable cash from massive weaponry systems. The Doctor, nursing a massive hangover from the night before, stumbles in late, throws up over the device and falls over, destroying three of the robots. Within seconds, the place is in ruins and the Doctor blames Lavros for not joining him for a pint or six, meaning there was no limit and thus it's all Lavros' fault!
The Doctor suddenly falls over and, sobbing, begs Lavros for some coffee. Furious, Lavros rants that he is the supreme being of the universe, a visionary unparalleled in history itself and on top of that, yesterday they quite clearly decided that the DOCTOR was the one who did the refreshments!
The Doctor apologizes and takes Lavros to lunch at the Slug & Sandwich, before pointing out that for the so-called "finest scientific mind in the galaxy", Lavros can't even create mutant cyborgs that DON'T immediately turn on him and try to murder him. Lavros insists that if the incident isn't recorded in his official biography "Lavros: Dust Or Glory" then it didn't happen. The Doctor retorts he had Sarah Jane Smith with him at the time and she sold the story to The Sun, The Mirror and Time Out as well as serializing the incident in an episode of K9's Bitches. Lavros dismisses it as the Doctor spreading gossip and rumour rather than reporting the truth.
Fifteen pints later, Lavros drunkenly wishes that they should have met in different circumstances – brothers, perhaps, running a wacky bookshop in Greece and marrying the local twins instead of getting wasted in a pub, each convinced the other is trying to destroy him. The Doctor drunkenly concedes that Lavros has good cause to suspect his motives as he had a phial of poison and was going to add it to the mutant's pint, but accidentally gave it to the mutant at the other table, who is even now lying dead and beginning to smell.
Lavros and the Doctor laugh uproarishly at this development, and decide to take the rest of the afternoon off. Lavros, however, is having dinner with Harvey and Zoe while the Doctor heads off to St. Cedd's and begins to pester Professor Chronotis by throwing bricks at his window. Chronotis retaliates by throwing an electronic monk on top of the window, knocking him out.
Meanwhile, Lavros is surprisingly able to talk to Zoe – the alcohol-fueled lunch had loosened his inhibitions. Idly, they chat about their childhood hopes, their awkward moments, their first realization that humanity was weak and needed to be replaced by giant octagonal beasts hell-bent on deforestation... He also reveals that today was the first day he hasn't diced with death more than five times and, frankly, it's put him in the mood. The conversation turns to the Doctor and Zoe wishes that Lavros could have met the short one with the recorder rather than this badly-dressed bisexual bastard.
The next morning, a cheerful Lavros joins the Doctor and the electronic monk in completing the circuit influencer a full 1269 years before the first humans will even think about it. Lavros then claims that he intends to solve the galactic famine which was mentioned on 60 Minutes last night, and the Doctor tells him to check out the film Soylent Green (available in all good remainder bins). The Doctor suggests a bit of a wager – if Lavros can seduce Zoe AND cure famine by the end of the week, he'll download Lavros' mind into the electronic monk, giving him a whole new lease on life. Lavros cautiously accepts.
Harvey drops in to check up on the work and is slightly startled seeing two time-traveling aliens betting on whether the ugly one can seduce his missus. Furious he storms into the room, accidentally activating the robots, which promptly go on the rampage. Luckily, Zoe fitted all the robots with auto-destruct circuits set to the frequency of her screams, and so, while disappointed her entire army is now a heap of scrap metal, is at least cheered that it worked in practice.
Wearily, the Doctor, Lavros and the electronic monk start rebuilding the army, singing Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" while they do so. That night, the monk buys the others dinner at the pub, and the Doctor explains that, during his exile, he once got bored and worked out a mathematical formula around which Earth's economy revolves. The electronic monk and Lavros are unimpressed until the Doctor explains that he can actually predict the result of any exchange of stock and become the most powerful man on the planet.
Lavros asks why the Doctor hasn't already done this, the Doctor rolls his eyes and reminds the evil genius that Earth currency is lower than magic beans on the galactic exchange rate – indeed, all the money in the solar system wouldn't even buy a decent-sized milkshake on Ursa Minor, let alone get onto the interplanetary property market.
Lavros hastily claims that he already knew that. It's just that he often spends his time surrounded by a universe of people that can't keep up to his thinking, so he pretends to be stupid in order to have conversations. The Doctor has only two things to say to this information:
1) Lavros is full of shit
2) It's his round as well
Lavros grumbles off to buy the drinks and returns, noting that it could be the beer talking, but he's fairly certain someone's left an atomic bomb in the disabled toilet. This news prompts even more laughter from the others than the accidental poisoning of the previous day – indeed, the corpse is still at the next table and beginning to attract flies.
That night, Lavros begins to chat up Zoe while the Doctor and the electronic monk watch in hiding. While trying to woo her, Lavros lets the conversation drift to previous lovers and Lavros accidentally let slip he stole the whole 'Dustbin' concept from his ex-boyfriend, Yarvelling. Boy, there were some fireworks that night – indeed, it was during the argument that Lavros received his hideous crippling injuries. "I got him back, though," Lavros admits, "I hid a dead Magnodon behind his couch; stunk out his whole apartment before he found out what was causing it."
Awkwardly, Zoe decides that maybe she's not cut out for this intergalactic megalomaniac life just yet – she definitely has no intention of ending up like Lavros, and heads off to try and make amends with Jamie and suggest a threesome.
The Doctor and the electronic monk console Lavros, the former insisting she wasn't worth it – otherwise, he sure as hell would have tried to find her after the Time Lord returned his libido. But the depressed Distbun mutant complains that he seems to be stuck in the pattern of creating a homicidal robot army, why bother fighting it?
The Doctor and the electronic monk immediately go to sign Lavros up for the '24 Step Plan To Overcome Genocidal Tendencies', being hosted by Q-Tip the Destroyer. Unfortunately, on the way to the first meeting Harvey arrives, carrying the atomic bomb some undergraduates left in the gents at the Slug & Sandwich, determined to get revenge against the adulterous aliens, regardless of personal cost.
As Harvey pulls out the pin, the Doctor and the electronic monk grab Lavros and hide behind a handy Morris Minor – and thus survive the massive explosion. However, the massive mushroom cloud gives Lavros all sorts of interesting LSD flashbacks and he starts screaming Nuremberg diatribe in a variety of falsettos.
The Doctor and the electronic monk watch on in bewilderment as Lavros starts drunkenly zooming around the streets of Cambridge, screaming xenophobic abuse and Black Sabbath lyrics, before heading back to Zoe's shop to activate the robot army of DEATH! Zooming up to top speed, Lavros runs over the miraculously-alive Harvey and cuts several red lights – as a Distbun, Lavros cannot see the color red and is surprised at the laxity of human traffic laws. Unfortunately, it is at this point he smashes into a post box at one hundred miles per hour.
From a safe distance, the Doctor bets the electronic monk that Lavros
will somehow survive. Unfortunately, a robot designed to believe anything it is told makes a rather bad gambling partner, as he only bets on what you bet. Shaking his head in disgust, the Doctor decides to return to the TARDIS and his relatively-normal companions, cursing the fact that he never actually got his fiver off Lavros.
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Joins The IT Industry
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Spin-Offs
Lavros: Dust Or Glory
Exactly how Harvey's jealousy manages to activate the robot army is never explained.
It is said that Lavros has been dead for a thousand years, then later he is declared dead over a century ago by Zoe – who only met him fifteen minutes ago!
How the hell do the Doctor and the electronic monk survive a 13-megaton thermonuclear blast by crouching behind a Morris Minor? Can ANY Morris Minor survive atomic explosions? Or is it the TARDIS and the Doctor has been tinkering with the chameleon circuit again?
Either way, it doesn't explain how Lavros and Harvey survive – they didn't even have a Morris Minor! Heck, why even involve an atomic bomb when it has absolutely no affect on ANYTHING??
The Doctor constructs an alpha matrix out of beer coasters.
Links and References -
Peri and Sil demanded a break from the Doctor after the disturbing events of The Even Doctors. The Doctor responded by landing in Cambridge, locking them in the TARDIS and going to the pub. He "expects they're both probably quite dehydrated" by the time he returns.
Plus countless references to Genocide of the Dustbins, Dustiny of the Dustbins and Erection of the Dustbins. We also discover Zoe's fate after being exiled to 1969 with Jamie in The Wank Games.
Untelevised Misadventures -
Lavros and the Doctor have apparently graffiti-ed their names on Fargo's two moons, Falkus and Omega Mysterium, along the lines of 'Kilroy was here'.
Groovy DVD Extras -
Three pages of plagiarized Dilbert cartoons, with the Sixth Doctor and Lavros crudely inserted.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: Oh, it's probably just a sprained ankle.
Zoe: Do you mind, Doctor? I'M the one with a degree in space medicine!
Doctor: Er, that differs from normal medicine how?
Zoe: Well, do you know how to treat a sprained ankle in zero gravity?
Doctor: No, but YOU obviously know how to sprain one in zero gravity!
Lavros: I'm not sure I have ever felt... anything!
Electronic Monk: Ah, you just ain't met the right girl yet.
Lavros: No, you're right. I haven't. I haven't. And, you know, considering I'm millions of years away from my home planet and the Distbun race is long extinct some MIGHT just say I'm leaving it a little bit on the late side.
Harvey: You know, Lavros, you show FAR too much sexual frustration for a guy with his right hand jammed permanently below his waist.
Lavros: If you're not careful, your clothes will stick like that!
Doctor: That is a remarkably insensitive thing to say.
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: A Dustbin can't change its bumps.
Lavros: Yes they can.
Doctor: ...Can they?
Lavros: Yes, any Dustbin unit can remove its bumps at will and replace them. Indeed, it has become de rigor one Fargo for the bumps to be alternate primary colours – because I designed them to be! I designed the Dustbins to change their bumps more efficiently than ANY other being in the cosmos!
Doctor: And why did you do that?
Lavros: To be honest, just in case of this very conversation.
Lavros: The Doctor is far more dangerous than a mere high-fibre diet!
Doctor: Zoe, Lavros will take out your eyes, then come back for the sockets. Then remember he's left the eyes here and look for them and, after a while, while find them behind the sofa. Then he'll look you up and down and take your legs, your right elbow and your spleen – not to mention a kidney to be on the safe side. And you know what? He'll laugh while he does it.
Doctor: He tends to get hysterical around the sight of blood.
Lavros: You don't understand. Dustbins don't kill people... DUSTBIN WEAPONRY SYSTEMS KILL PEOPLE!!
Viewer Quotes -
"There are some Doctor Who stories that demand to be told. Glaring omissions in the show's mythology that were never filled during the shows twenty-six year television reign. 'The Genesis of the Cybermen', 'Why the Ice Cream Vendors Chickened Out' and 'A Funny Thing Happened To Bastard To Turn Him Into A Sea Lion'. However, 'Doctor Who and Lavros Get Pissed After Work' isn't quite in the same league."
- Andrew Beeblebrox (2009)
"It's like Robocop only... not."
- Nigel Vekoff's 'Badly Constructed Reviews What I Wrote' (2004)
"How can Lavros get blind drunk if he doesn't have any eyes? That has always bothered me, it really has."
- DwarfMordant98 at Outpost Gallifrey (1999)
"As character studies go Lavros is one of the best; it shows the character at his cunning, manipulative best freed from the constraints of the Dustbins as his minions. It's just a pity this story confirms that Lavros is a totally crap character whose only redeeming feature is that he can speak for more than fifty seconds without saying 'EXTERMINATE' – and even that isn't guaranteed."
- Richard Dawkins (2003)
"Oh, you moron! I wanted a Dustbin story WITHOUT Lavros, not a LAVROS story without DUSTBINS!"
- Dave Restal (Christmas 2004)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I expect many Doctor Who fans will love this story, but then most Doctor Who fans are insane. Why are you looking at me like that?"
Colin Baker Speaks!
"I've always thought, of all my Doctor's opponents, Lavros was without doubt the one that made you go 'Huh?' He really is quite chilling and I know for a fact most of the actors and actresses refuse to go anywhere near him. The whole love/hate relationship between the two scientists really comes to the fore. There's this great line: 'Your words make no sense. Have you resurrected me just to ask me out for dinner?'
Yes, I'm also here with Wendy Padbury who I adore for many reasons – not least because she's a fine artiste, nor because she's my agent, but because that silver-studded cat suit she wears. I think it's the profession's loss that she doesn't do more."
Rumors & Facts -
For the fortieth anniversary of Doctor Who, Big Finish producer Gay Russell took one look at the massive extravaganza Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass and decided it wasn't worth risking everything on it, and so decided the three stories before it would focus on other, better, more canonical menaces focussing on the best villain of the fifth, sixth and seventh Doctors.
Unfortunately, no writers were willing to begin work on Garm, Vervoid and Whizzkid, so JHE suggested they just stick to the basics.
Remembering the sheer sparks that flew in the 1985 serial Rhododendron of the Dustbin, Russell decided that the sixth Doctor release would focus on reconciling the determined Lavros from the austere setting of Genocide of the Dustbins (a mutant that thought that anything not related to his digestive tract was irrelevant) to the Lavros working in Shrewsbury, being stalked by wombles and searching desperately for conversation.
Still no one was willing to take up the challenge of writing such a story – not even Nicholas Briggs, who was certain it was a trap! Gay Russell had long made it clear the day Big Finish revived the ancient Dustbin creator was the day Billy Nighy was named as the Doctor in a revival by Russell T Davies.
Curiously enough, it was not long after this story hit the shops that the Daily Mail made their journalistic blunder of the decade, triggering mass suicides across the county.
As Russell searched desperately for someone to write the damned story, all he got was the same meek reiteration that Lavros' televisual career had merely reduced the Dustbins to supporting soldiers whilst turning most stories into tales of yet more internal dissent amongst factions. Indeed, it was this attitude that sparked off the Dustbin Umpire series to grow and develop.
In desperation, Russell set fire to his copy of Doctor Who: The Leg-End, and decided that the Dustbins would not appear in the story, just Lavros. At this, enthusiasm seemed to drop even LOWER!
Jacqueline Rayner pointed out that such a story – involving Lavros justifying his ethics to the Sixth Doctor – had already been done in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip Up Above The Gods, where Lavros and the Doctor spent the night looking up at the stars and smoking cannabis.
By this time, recording of the serial was mere days away and still no one had a clue what the story was supposed to be about: it was called Lavros, featured Lavros, the Sixth Doctor and Peri.
At this point, however, it was discovered Nicola Bryant had got wind of this when she was asked if she was prepared to write the story. She immediately took a vacation, promising to be back for Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass.
At that moment, Lance Parkin escaped from his holding cell and offered his services to create a story underlining the truth behind one of the public's great misconceptions about Doctor Who, their ignorance that that there were other actors to play it apart from Tom Baker.
Russell thanked him for this and explained he hoped Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass would do just that and asked him to focus on the fact that Lavros is a rather lonely old fart in a wheelchair and not, in fact, a Dustbin having a very, very bad hair day.
Another requirement was to plug the rather awkward gap between Erection of the Dustbins and Rhododendron of the Dustbins – and a rather curious gap considering that they were both written by Eric Saward between shots of morphine.
In the former, Lavros was last seen planning to develop a brand new race of alien killing machines before he accidentally dropped his patented Small Pox Plus vial on the carpet and killing everything within a radius of three galaxies.
The former began showing Lavros established as the Great Cleaner in Shrewsbury with Jerzei Balowski as his DJ.
Parkin insisted that "Lavros" was not simply there to plug this gap – and good thing do, because it is totally crap at it!
It has no explanation how Lavros escaped death or his space prison to land on 20th century Earth, or how he could escape smashing into a post box and starting a business in a nearby Tudor town. It does, however, show that he is a boring dinner guest and prone to suicidal depression. He can't hold his liquor a damn, either.
With Peri and Sil unavailable for the story, Parkin and Russell decided to focus the play on the relationship between the Doctor and Lavros - two giants in terms of bad fashion, sexual self-sufficiency and mixed metaphors.
As the Sixth Doctor existed to win arguments and get lucky, Russell was glad to be free of such things as 'subtlety' and 'subtext' and decided that the Sixth Doctor would spend the whole story determined to kill Lavros the first chance he got.
Unfortunately, to be in any way credible, this meant Lavros died without a word of dialogue and the story lasted a full fifteen seconds. The other alternative was to create basically an audio Roadrunner cartoon, with Lavros' Cyberloo unwittingly getting him out of death trap after death trap which inevitably rebound back on the Doctor.
Russell refused point blank – mainly out of sheer, nameless terror that Warner Bros. would somehow find out about it. Desperately, all he wanted was "some nice dialogue for Baker and Molloy where Lavros examines his own conscience and questions his motives".
Unfortunately, Parkin mistook him to be referring to TOM Baker and MICK Molloy, and made the logical step of setting most of the story in a pub. When Russell complained not a lot of evil and death was occurring, Parkin used the handy American shorthand of evil and added Marilyn Manson to the script.
JHE was immediately disgusted that Big Finish was effectively comparing Doctor Who and Lavros to a bloke who wears make-up and sings covers of eletropop nonsense. This story needed a menace to society to be really, really effective. Parkin then did the most vile thing he could think of – he nicked a Douglas Adams character with permission.
However, recording was due to start any second and with no time to rewrite, recast or just even think, production began. Meanwhile, Colin Baker's agent former Who girl Wendy Padbury popped in for some milk and was quickly mesmerized into doing it as Lavros started sending bolts of electricity hither and tither and yon.
The story was quickly completed and the production team quickly began to ret-con their opinions, saying it was all planned to resonate with the Dustbin psychoanalysis of the 2003's first release, D'You Believe This? They rejoiced that Parkin didn't take the cliched line of 'he was a good man turned bad by society', instead giving us the picture 'he was always a total and complete bastard'.
And the return of Zoe Heriot was one of the long-sought-after triumph, beating the blackmail of Paul McGann and/or Tom Baker for sheer sexiness.
Unfortunately, listeners were quick to point out that while Rhododendron could, at a pinch, be described as having a few good scenes between the Sixth Doctor and Lavros, a whole story of them probably not a brilliant idea.
Indeed, as the story shows the psychotic, cowardly asshole of the early Sixth Doctor stories, Lavros comes across as the more sympathetic and, indeed, a lot of children were apparently dismayed that the fuckwit in the weird coat won the day rather than the poor, lovable wretch in the wheelchair.
Another problem was Gay Russell taking up the director's chair for the fifth time the year in his ever-worsening desperation to keep Nicholas Briggs out of the director's chair (Briggs would ultimately ruin the production of Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass and the course of audio Doctor Who when he popped into recording to see if he'd left his keys behind).
Ultimately, the disorganization and panic were just a foretaste of the trials and tribulations to occur when the news broke that televised Doctor Who was about to make a comeback...