Serial EX2 – Excelsior Merchandising
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Cities of Death
Serial EX2 – Excelsior Merchandising -
Following his trial by the Time Lords, the Doctor looks back over recent decisions and thinks of his mistakes, past adventures, of what might have been... and remembers that time he was sent to the planet Excelsior to marry the attractive Warlord Raven and TURNED HIM DOWN!
The Doctor, feeling very emotionally vulnerable after losing all his companions, decides he must make amends and pilots the TARDIS to that far flung world to locate Raven and make amends for blowing the hunk off over a few hissy arguments and a suitcase full of cash.
The TARDIS arrives in the Gatecrash Merchandise Gift Shop and Cafeteria to find it locked and alarms sounding and a cat burglar having a claustrophobic panic attack. The Doctor takes one look outside, shakes his head, and closes the door. It seems that after all the hell he’s gone through lately with being put on trial, facing the personification of his darker thoughts, losing all his friends, and nearly being wiped out of time and space, he’s decided to keep his head down from now on. For good.
Of course, after five minutes the Doctor is bored shitless and decides to leave the TARDIS and screw any kind of lessons he should have learned from recent experiences. But as he emerges the shop is opened by the Curator and a policewoman called Inquisitor Danby, who finally decided to turn up and check the alarm a mere thirteen hours after the alarms went off over the burglary.
The burglar makes no attempt to hide his obvious guilt, but claims that the Doctor is the brains of the operation. Danby locks the thief in the toilet as the Doctor insists he’s just delivering a large blue box to the Gift Shop, but there are so many holes in his story it could be marketed as a New English Cheese.
All looks bleak when Reeve Maupassant, head of the wardens’ bureau and the most important civilian official in the city, arrives to take personal charge of the investigation, spots the TARDIS and freaks out. The Doctor is stunned; Maupassant does not recognize the colorfully-clad stranger, but the Doctor recognizes the good-looking bloke in the black leather uniform as the Warlord Raven!
Deeply embarrassed, Maupassant dives into a dumpster and has a full-blown hysterical fit, screaming in agony, then emerges and dismisses it as unimportant. It seems that Warlord Raven is just a persona the guy uses to score with chicks, but underneath his hard-man biker exterior is just a glorified pen-pusher who has a really boring and miserable life. Road trips into zombie-infested suburbs was the exception, not the rule as Raven cheerfully claimed.
Sulking, the Doctor suggests he can prove his innocence using Nigel Kneale’s Stone Tape theory: buildings, particularly old stone structures, store intense emotional impressions from traumatic experiences, which can later be replayed to sensitive minds – thus, a séance will allow him to show what really happened.
The Curator suggests they just check the CCTV, but the Doctor refuses to change his course of action no matter how stupid it is. After lighting up some scented candles from the gift shop and shooting up with Dustbin bubble-bath mixture, the Doctor places himself into a trance. Unfortunately, he is so out of it he unintentionally confirms the thief’s story that he was in on the deal!
Raven decides to just arrest the Doctor, despite his insistence it was the bubble bath talking and he’s really innocent. Desperately, he explains that he is the same blond youth Raven went on a road-trip with a few days ago, his mind in a different body.
Raven is rather put out at this and decides to cut his losses and steal the merchandise from the Gift Shop, burn it down and resell the loot for profit! He reveals HE was the one who hired the thief and then, realizing he’s confessed in front of the Curator, kills him. And the thief. Just to be on the safe side.
The Doctor realize that the two personalities – timid Maupassant and wild child Raven – have driven the individual stark staring bonkers. Raven/Maupassant decides that he shall simply download one of the personalities into another body, since he thinks that’s exactly what the Doctor did to change form.
As the madman starts pouring petrol all over the place, Danby tries to stop Raven, but he’s sure that no woman can overpower him... until she kicks him in the place which can overpower any man and the Doctor winces. When he is finally brave enough to open his eyes, Raven and Maupassant have vanished.
Concluding that Danby’s kick to the bollocks somehow vaporized the git, the Doctor returns to the TARDIS and leaves in the knowledge he’s lost his chance for love and constant guilt-free sex.
As the TARDIS dematerializes, Raven finally falls back to earth, clutching his goolies in agony. In a painful high-pitched squeak vows he will conquer the whole of the universe – using luncheon meats!
Back aboard the time machine, the Doctor vows never, ever, EVER to return to Excelsior. Ever.
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Is Arrested for Shoplifting
Nigel Verkoff & The Art Of Crime
"RPGs Cause Schizophrenia!" by Timothy/Cynthia Williams/Lane
Right Good Bollocking In Sci-Fi
The Doctor engages in a lengthy attempt to prove his innocence by summoning up the spirits of the dead rather than, say, shouting "BEHIND YOU!" and running into the TARDIS? Especially after Raven spurns him? Is he in denial like the emotionally-stunted middle-aged Gallifreyan he always seem to be?
What kind of police force has a response time of a day? Apart from a Californian one, anyway.
Why the hell doesn’t Danby notice Raven falling through the ceiling of the gift shop and landing right behind her?
Fashion Victims -
The Reeves’ creaking tight leather fetish suits with those ridiculous epaulets, and albatross-shaped medals that hang round their necks... It says a hell of a lot where the Sixth Doctor is the most sensibly-dressed person in the room.
Danby’s kick to the goolies causes "corporal ectoscopy", one of the threats the Kangs use in 8041 Paradise Towers.
Links and References -
Oddly enough, Excelsior Yawns, to which this is a direct sequel. I know that fact may not be common knowledge, so it’s best mentioned here.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor played golf regularly with the Eastern Slums Prostitute Murderer, who was a lovely and charming man when he wasn’t having mercury-induced psychotic episodes and murdering prostitutes. "Mind you, serving him carrots had a similar effect," the Doctor notes.
Groovy DVD Extras -
A televised inquest documentary dealing with the author’s own awkward experience when he was false accused of theft and tried to prove his innocence with an impromptu séance before claiming the arresting officer was, in fact, the evil bastard behind it all. Audio commentary by Nigel Verkoff, Colin Baker, and Rove McManus.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: Call me Solomon!
Doctor: It’ll piss off everyone who owns BBV’s "The Weirdo Chronicles" for a start!
Doctor: There is something rotten in the state of Gatecrash!
Raven: Oh, VERY amusing. Misquoting Shakespeare must be the height of wit where you come from, I suppose.
Doctor: Curiouser and curiouser.
Raven: Do you speak in ANYTHING but quotes?
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: When you've been falsely accused of serious crimes as often I have, you learn to recognise the oncoming inevitability of the next one. So that’s why I ran away officer. There was no guilt at all!
The Curator’s description of the TARDIS:
"I suppose it COULD be a new delivery, an example of American civilization. While they've still got one..."
Danby: What the hell are you doing trying to hide yourself in Jurassic Park memorabilia?
Doctor: ...I LOVE DINOSAURS!!
Danby: I suppose if you were lying, you'd tell a better tale!
Doctor: I always saw you more as Salt Peter than Saint Peter as an after shave, Ravenboots!
Raven: I don't resort to torture to stop stupid jokes, because experience has taught me that torturing people like you to shut them up doesn't really work. But I’ll do it anyway.
Doctor: Sheesh! Just trying to lighten the atmos!
Viewer Quotes -
"I don't, on the whole, find the genre of steam-punk to be particularly riveting. In fact, anything which directly mentions steam-punk aspects I find to be boring. So, a story like this with a steam-punk influence and background never stood a chance. I hate it. I want to DESTROY this story and everyone involved!" - Frank Woodley (2009)
"This is an awkward audio to review as in the broader sense it is one act of a broader play. I might have actually bought the other parts if I wasn’t a complete tightass with a fanatical hatred of all other Doctors. And why not? Colin Baker goes from strength to strength with his portrayal of the Doctor and there is a boundless confidence about him now that is reminiscent of Tom Baker around season 14, when the plebians were fooled. Not a classic but if you want some stories good enough for general sci-fi fans, Big Finish are nothing compared to my magnum opus 'Planet of the Titans'... LOOK UPON MY WORKS AND MARVEL!!!"
- Ron Mallet (2002)
"By jove, it’s good to have Colin Baker back! I thought for the briefest of instants that maybe, just maybe, Paul McGann might be worthy of note thanks to his sterling work recently but this disc proved me wrong. Colin Baker proves with one story at half the length his voice is perfectly suited to the series and there’s no pesky companion to take away the limelight. Um... what actually was the story LIKE? Uh. I couldn’t say for the life of me. But Colin Baker was excellent. Which story was this again?"
- Jo Ford Prefect (2005)
"And I *swear* – every word is true!!" - Nigel Verkoff (2003)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"You will find me if you want me in the garden. Unless it’s pouring down with rain. Because I’m stranded on my own – stranded far from home – you gotta leave me alone. I look at all the lonely people and there’s a meaning there but the meaning there doesn’t really mean a thing! This is the Rising of the Age of Excelsior! Like it’s no big deal you’ll be missing! All the heart and the soul I’ve been giving! YOU BLEW ME OFF!"
Colin Baker Speaks!
"All drama works better on audio because the audience plays a greater part. If you’re listening to Excelsior Merchandising in your armchair at home, then you’re providing the pictures – and I can look exactly how you want me to! I expect that my Doctor works better now on audio than he would if I were still playing him on television, because I’m still the lusty young male that I once was on audio. You can hardly tell the difference on audio, and the whole credibility of the story would be thrown out if, on TV you saw me as I am today trying to seduce Anthony Stewart Head, you’d probably be sick. Exorcist sick. And who could blame you? The man is ugliness personified..."
Rumors & Facts -
As 2002 began it became clear that for six months the entire company relied on its customers wanting to enjoy the adventures of the Eighth Doctor and his pregnant jailbait assistant Charley Pollard. Fearing that not all fans would instantly rush out to buy these (as if...) it was decided that released parallel to the Eighth Doctor season would be plays for the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors. In order to appeal even further to the fans and make sure they bought at least THREE releases, the plays would be linked together in a saga showing the three Doctors and their relationship with one man in one city on one planet.
This entire concept was dreamt up in one lunchtime by Jason Haigh-Ellory. Well, it passed the time, didn’t it?
After foolishly allowing Paul Magrs to pen the all-important establishing installment with the Fifth Doctor, it fell to Producer Gay Russell to find someone brave and yet simultaneously unhinged enough to be able to build on the disturbed ideas of Excelsior Yawns.
Luckily, pretty much every single writer known to Big Finish fitted into that category and so proposals for the second installment were submitted by Simon A Forward (wanting to pen his infamous Season 6b 1940s French resistance storyline), Stephen Hakes (never heard of him), Craig Hinton (whose proposal ended up becoming the third part of the trilogy, Excelsior Bouquets), Guy Lambert (involving the Sixth Doctor teaming up with the Beatles... for some reason), David A McIntee (who really, REALLY wanted Raven to turn out to be the Bastard), Mark Michalowski (even more bitter and depressing than usual), Ian Potter (with more zombie porn), Thomas Morris (surely that’s a made up name?), Justin Richards (the usual time paradox bollocks), Andy Russell (who?!), Paul Sutton (about werewolves at the Eye of Orion), Scott Alan Woodward (whose storyline featured far more fanwank than even Gay Russell was fully prepared to take on board).
The only proposal accepted was by Nigel Jay Verkoff, who didn’t so much actually propose a plot, more started talking with the words "You will not BELIEVE the kind of day I’ve had".
Verkoff explained he was minding his own business at the National Gallery when some passing git tried to steal an artwork, a Dadaist work involving a suitcase full of money. As the alarms blared, Verkoff stumbled across the thief and decided to try and capture him to get famous and sex with supermodels twice daily – however, Verkoff was so unfit and out of condition he collapsed in an asthmatic attack and the thief escaped... only to be caught by security. Verkoff had been shouting things like "Stop in the name of Nigel Verkoff!" so when the thief was arrested he immediately told police that Verkoff was his partner in crime.
Realizing he was, to coin a phrase, completely fucked, Verkoff fled into a service elevator and disguised himself as a cleaner, and an attempt to dye his hair caused it to fall out, leaving him bald with huge burns on his scalp. He tried to sneak out of the gallery when DCI Charles Ellingham entered and conspired with the thief, who Ellingham himself had hired to steal the artwork.
Verkoff overheard this, and told the gallery security services. Who immediately assumed he was insane and tried to restrain him. Verkoff fled once more and managed to steal said artwork (and more importantly the cash within) and escaped the gallery while Ellingham and his flunky were mistakenly shot dead by snipers.
Russell was so impressed by the plot he agreed to do the story right away. This actually terrified Verkoff and desperately spent all the stolen money on hard women, fast drugs and cheap cars in desperation to get rid of all the evidence to the crime that Big Finish were going to broadcast to the nation. Well, the sad-acts who would buy it anyway.
It seems that all the other prospective authors had pitched stories that felt far too consequential with lots of things happening in the plot, with lots of susprises rather than simply being something to pass the time between the opener and finale. In this, Excelsior Merchandising succeeds admirably.