Serial 7C/J – Project: Enigma
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Toast
Serial 7C/J – Project: Lazarou -
The Doctor is in a particularly jolly and distracted mood as he systematically dismantles the TARDIS console with a two-pound lump hammer, breaking all the safety systems that stop the TARDIS from landing in a vampire-invested swamp hellhole.
The Time Lord is confident, therefore, that the time machine will lead him to young Cassie Schofeild, ex-Cockney waitress and newborn vampire of lust and destruction after she unwisely shared needles.
Evelyn is delighted at the news, not realizing that the Doctor intends to rescue Cassie, cure her vampirism, and make her his new companion while Evelyn is torn to pieces by undead creatures of the night.
The TARDIS lands in a forest of southern Norway, some eighty years late as he dropped her off in 1986. The Doctor admits he had intended to arrive a few moments after he left, but he considers eighty years little consequence in the totality of creation, and briskly strides out the doors into the night.
Since this is a two-parter, narrative coincidence is cranked up and despite all the odds the TARDIS has landed scant feet from Casie, who is being chased through the forest by Professor Harker, Vampire Slayer and Carpenter extraordinaire, who wants to sell her to an Oslo strip joint for hardcore Goths.
While waving and shouting very loudly "Hi, Cassie!" they accidentally trick the young vampire into getting her foot caught in a bear trap and she screams and falls over.
Telling her to shut up, the Doctor gets her out of the trap when they notice a skinned body hanging from a tree opposite, covering in day-glo blue slime that drips to the ground.
"Oh, that is a postmodern masterpiece, Cassie!" the Doctor enthuses. "The colours, the bold stark strokes, the animalistic patterns of handprints burnt into the skin..."
"I didn’t do that!" Cassie shouts.
"Oh. We should really start running for our lives now."
They do so, with Cassie explaining she’s constantly being stalked by Nimrod who survived the various testicle mutilations that so characterized his appearance in 'Project: Nightlight' and really has put a crimp in her scavenging vampire lifestyle.
They are confronted by a strange blue creature singing "A Northern Song" to itself and Cassie tricks Harker into charging straight into the creature, and the blue slime kills and atrophies his body in ten seconds flat.
Just then, SAS troopers arrive and surround the trio on all sides, followed by Nimrod, who booms evilly that Cassie (or "Artard" as she now likes to be known) now works for him, and the organization he represents: Total Organization Utilizing Cruelty, Hashish and a World Order Of Death – or TOUCHWOOD for short!
The Doctor swings his arm around, delivering a powerful punch to first Nimrod’s bollocks, and then his nose, breaking it completely.
The prisoners are taken down through a concealed entrance at the back of a Bernie Inn, down to a huge underground facility full of labs, computer stations and wheel-clamped UFOs in what used to be an abandoned lunatic asylum. Since most of Touchwood staff are nutters, they set up base here purely out of nostalgia.
Nimrod (now with tampons up his nose to staunch the blood) insists that the Doctor and Evelyn are not prisoners but, in fact, honored guests here to be debriefed about the blue slime creature of doom, and apologizes for any overzealousnes.
The Doctor forgives Nimrod and slaps him on the back, breaking Nimrod’s collarbone. As the deputy director of Touchwood writhes in agony on the floor, the Doctor invites himself to wander around the facilities and generally be make nuisance of himself.
Dr. Crunch is sent to work dissecting the alien. Crunch suffers crippling xenophobia, and once went into a stress induced coma when he caught a glimpse of Manuel in Fawlty Towers. Thus, him working at Touchwood dealing with the alien and unknown is a rather cruel twist of fate, but Sergeant Frifth, head of security, smashes a teapot over Crunch’s head and gets him to go back to work.
Nimrod (now in a neck brace) catches up with the Doctor and promises that the alien will simply be melted down into a fake cure for cancer and its blue slime used to slaughter boat loads of refugees. He also explains that he did not use some soul-destroying blackmail to enlist Cassie, but won her over with his charm via an internet chatroom.
The Doctor remains skeptical, then trips Nimrod down thirteen flights of stairs, and wanders off to vandalize a drinks dispenser.
Nimrod survives, luckily using a vampire called Amelia as a soft landing, but also killing her and causing her to explode in gore.
Meanwhile, Cassie and Evelyn sit in a waiting room idly doing crosswords in old magazine. Cassie notes she can hear Evelyn’s pacemaker sparking and Evelyn forgets that there is a "b" in "doubt".
The Doctor meanwhile has found a cavern full of dead aliens, artifacts and technology from the most dangerous races in the universe. Feeling like a kid in a candy store, the Doctor starts stealing all the ancient super weapons of omniversal destruction – just in case "there's no good TV on the weekend."
The wheelchair bound Nimrod races in, explaining that he is using this stockpile of xeno-tech responsibly and the huge red button marked HADES PROTOCOL will trigger a firestorm and sterilize the archive to stop the alien technology falling into the wrong hands.
He now drops all pretence at friendliness and reveals the real reason why the Doctor is here -- their archive is lacking in data on the Time Lords.
The Doctor laughs in Nimrod’s face and kicks over his wheelchair, sending him hurtling into a pile of deactivated Cybermen, which bury his screaming form.
"You want some DNA to test? Fine!" the Doctor sneers, and throws a grotty hanky on the twitching heap of Doctor Who pops.
The Doctor strides back to where the TARDIS has been helicoptered in by helicopter (as you do) and offers Cassie the chance to sail the oceans of time and see sights and colours the human mind could never even begin to dream of.
Unfortunately, the Doctor gesticulated wildly with a ballpoint pen and accidentally stakes Cassie through the heart and she literally explodes in boiling blood.
The Doctor sighs. "The perfect end to the perfect day."
The Time Lord boots Evelyn into the TARDIS and tells her to make him some cocoa and a chocolate cake so his mild depression can be cured by some calorie-high brain chemistry alteration.
However, Evelyn, who’s senility now means she thinks the Doctor is a Spanish milkman called Jimmy who’s been seducing her on the side, flies into a rage over the lack of milk bottles she’s been getting.
Evelyn storms off to her room and locks herself in, and quaffs some LSD tablets in the mistaken belief they are vitamins.
The Doctor realizes he needs to ditch this raddled old has-been as soon as he can, as she is seriously cramping his style.
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Versus Touchwood Round Two
Doctor Mysteria ia Bluey Slime ia Morte
Kinky Electrocution Monthly # 21: Nimrod Special!
Nimrod refers to Norway as Blackpool.
The Doctor’s anti-vampire cure works on the "Utarefson Reset Button" principle, and tastes delicious with fried bacon.
Links and References -
The Doctor hasn’t met such a disorganized and disgusting alien menace since "The Spill of Exxon".
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor once spent a debauched evening with Petter Dass, which left them both with public lice that attempted to conquer the world.
Groovy DVD Extras -
The alternate conclusion to the story, where Nimrod jumps out from behind the TARDIS hatstand and directs the TARDIS power supply through the Doctor’s groin, triggering a premature regeneration into Sylvester McCoy. This was recorded partially to give some karma to the story’s one sided plot, and partially because Colin Baker was getting too big for his boots once again and the production team wanted to cut him down to size for the sheer hell of it.
Dialogue Disasters -
Evelyn: You don't keep nipping out to the Co-Op while I'm asleep, do you? No wonder we always run out of milk! And tidy your room, Johnny!
Doctor: SHUT UP YOU OLD BAT!
Evelyn: Very melodramatic. You sound like the Doctor.
Doctor: I AM the Doctor, you daft bint!
Nimrod: Ah, the enthusiastic quest for knowledge. I remember being like that. And then people started jabbing me in the balls with electric cattle prods...
Nimrod: That is the Forge's brief. To examine, utilize, and master the technology we have here. Like this Venusian testicle electrocuter. Who know how it works, what it does, where it... ARGGGGGGGH!!!!!!!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Evelyn, on the sound of Nimrod’s screams -
"Sounds like a night down the Student Union."
Evelyn: Since I’ve met the Doctor, I’ve never felt so alive. These little pills with the E written on them help too, I suppose.
Viewer Quotes -
"Evelyn's going through hell again! After the suffering in The Goodies and Mealtime, let’s hope they don’t lighten things up for her. I love to see her suffer so!" - Nigel Verkof (2004)
"It wasn't exactly bad, although I missed the more subtle character of Nimrod we saw in Project: Twilight; here, Nimrod is just the Big Evil Loony Guy of the Week. On that level, though, he is rather impressively Big, Evil, and Loony. So it’s great to see the crap kicked out of him!"
- Jeff Goldblum (2009)
"Right. So Evelyn can be nearly executed by the Sheriff of Nottingham, been thrown out of the window, shot at by Dustbins, manhandled by Bilurians, bitten by vampires, nearly turned into a Cybermen... but going for a brisk jog in Norway nearly gives her a heart attack?"
- Dave Restal (2006)
"I dunno, I thoroughly enjoyed Nimrod’s screams of pain and that's all that counts." – Jo Ford (2003)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I wish I secreted paralyzingly fatal blue slime. Life is so unfair."
Colin Baker Speaks!
"Often during these recordings you find yourself working with interesting actors who have strong characters. Then the story's finished and that's the end of them so it's quite nice when good ones like these are picked up. I love beating the shit out Stephen Chance."
Rumors & Facts -
For their third Big Finish Doctor Who script, Project: Enigma, writers Cavan Scott and Mark Wright revisit some of the most interesting characters, well some interesting characters, well, some characters of their debut story Project: Nightlight.
There, the brutal yet highly conductive, vampire molestor Nimrod was very much a supporting character, a haunting presence lurking in the shadows, waiting for the moment to strike during the final episode... and repeatedly getting violent electric shocks to his gonads.
It is perhaps a pity that the characters from Scott and Wright’s previous story, Doctor Who Wrecks Disney World, were not also part of the story, taking turns in performing violent torture to Stephen Chance’s character’s scrotum sack.
Producer Gay Russell strongly disapproved the open ending of Project: Nightlight since it implied to a degree that he did not have complete and total control over whichever stories he chose to make. He also felt that the way Gay Russell voodoo dolls had gone down in price when he released their vampire magnum opus meant that doing a sequel could cost his life – or at least, the very close approximation he possessed.
Nevertheless, after twenty-two certifiable stinkers and three tonnes of forged fanmail demanding a sequel to Project: Nightlight, Russell backed down and agreed to let Scott and Write pen a sequel as long as it did not feature vampires, but genies and the cover featured a nude shot of Colin Baker from his 1970s porn career.
This Wright and Scott did, but editing restraints meant that the entire genie subplot was edited out to allow more gratuitous groinal torture to be carried out on Nimrod, who developed from a tragic, hurting character in the previous story to a generic punchbag which the entire cast and crew regularly beat near to death.
The script originally explained WHY Nimrod had risen to the level of deputy director of Touchwood, but this draft was lost during the lengthy sequence when the entire staff of the project began to sadistically kick Nimrod around his office until the walls dripped with blood and absinthe.
However, budgetary concerns meant that Big Finish couldn’t simply afford the millions of lawyers, soldiers, scientists, security men and loonies required to make Touchwood a credible international secret organization, and so instead it was decided to have Blair cutbacks blamed for the fact the secret organization is run by three oversexed morons and a Macintosh computer.
Sequels can be a lot of fun especially if you remember what made the first one work so well and elaborate on that. The best sequels take the core elements of the originals and make them much more bigger, much more bolder and much more entertaining.
So this is pretty much a disappointment on all fronts, really.