Serial 6Z/C – The Rip-Off (Dead Men Walking)
The Rip-Off (Dead Men Walking)
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' 8-6-8-7
Synopsis by the Mighty Jared "No Nickname" Hansen
Serial 6Z/C – The Rip-Off (Dead Men Walking) -
The Doctor arrives at the WikiBox, despite the fact he was aiming for the planet Thoros Beta. The WikiBox is the official font of all knowledge in the Universe, which transcends all laws of time and space. Straight away he announces his plans to use the WikiBox to enslave the Pussycat Dolls to his whim and that nobody can stop him!
Peri and Sil are confused but try to get some sort of coherent response from the Doctor about what exactly the WikiBox is. The Doctor furiously yells about their stupidity and takes the opportunity to demonstrate his latest "Peri and Sil are complete morons" dance.
He then runs off into the distance, yelling that if he can't find the Pussycat Dolls the entire universe will be in GRAVE PERIL - specifically because he'll be in a sulk and won't bother to help it.
Peri and Sil then set out to explore the WikiBox themselves, and discover that it is populated entirely by malformed, pale, long-haired creatures named 'Ian'. Peri hazards a guess that they're all clones of the original founder, but Ian 4566 tells her that it's just a reeeally weird coincidence and then proceeds to regale her with the numerous funny stories involving one Ian mistakenly talking to another Ian that they thought was in fact a completely different Ian and how utterly funny it was, although, in hindsight, you probably had to be there.
Sil then takes the lead and brutally tortures Ian until he tells him precisely what the WikiBox is and how he can use it to cause an unnecessary amount of pain and suffering while making lots of money in the process.
Ian tells him that the WikiBox is simply a bizarre nexus in the Universe that acts as the graveyards for human thoughts and ideas, and over the years has shaped itself into a suppository of knowledge - it is, in essence, the Open Encyclopedia That Anyone Can [Responsibly] Edit. Sil is disgusted and beats Ian ruthlessly, but soon finds that this place could be a heaven for him as Ian cries in a girlish manner and doesn't know how to fight back. He sets out to beat the weak-willed humanoids until he grows bored.
Peri, meanwhile, has decides to exploit the powers of The Encyclopedia to its greatest extent - firstly by spending half an hour reading up on bands and actors she doesn't like, and then by perusing lists of "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" episodes.
After this gets boring she eventually finds something about a show called "Doctor Who" produced by a man named Russell T Davies...
Minutes later, she is screaming out for the Doctor and charges into him while he's chaining up five near-naked prostitutes, and demands that he provide her with some quality, soul-searching drama.
The Doctor says he has no idea what she means, so Peri elaborates: "I want engaging, well-characterized adventures set in my home city, with soft piano music and lots of scenes of people crying and saying they love each other just like Billie Piper gets!"
The Doctor fumes, and goes on a long, boring rant about how Billie Piper isn't even a real actress, calling her 'a jumped up pop-singer' and roaring that she's in London every sodding story because 'the tart can't act in front of blue-screen'.
He then demands when this will end - does Peri want to run everywhere maniacally? Does she want him to adopt an easily-imitated catch phrase? Would she want to avoid gun-wielding futuristic mercenaries with posh accents and pithy names from now on? Does she want to not be locked in a cell for an entire story?
When Peri answers yes to all of these questions the Doctor is furious, and the argument gets uglier.
Eventually viewing appreciation figures and ratings are dragged into the debate, and Peri is declared the winner when the Doctor loses both his breath and his will to live in the face of diatribes on the 'changing nature of television'.
At first the Doctor weakly protests that he's missing Nicole Scherzinger from his Doll collection ("She's the only one who can sing!"), but then he crumbles and locks his share of the Pussycat Dolls into the TARDIS broom cupboard.
He decides to give her a story so bloody angsty she'll never ask for one again - they're headed right back to her old neighborhood during the funeral of a family friend AND six months after she disappeared and would have been declared dead.
The Doctor laughs evilly in her face, before disappearing from the graveyard to hit on some octogenarian crumpet.
Peri arrives in the middle of the funeral ceremony and is greeted by angry shouts that she is an awful absconding attention-seeking slut that has achieved nothing but make Baltimore look like even shittier a city than it already is - and that's just the priest.
Her mother and 'best friend' Kathy Klaus are much harsher, and the phrase 'seething caldera of STDs' is used more than once.
Naturally Peri runs off in tears, and even more naturally her high school stalker and step son of the deceased Nigel 'Fucking' Verkoff runs after her to console her.
Meanwhile, the Doctor decides that he doesn't have the patience to meet new people through the dull and cumbersome ordinary channels, so instead engages on one of his favorite pastimes – car-jacking. Pulling out his trusty Magnum .50 he smashes in the window of the nearest passing vehicle, yells his favorite phrase "OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!" and is on his way.
However, to his annoyance, the car is driven by Ms Van Gysegham. She's undoubtedly the right age, but is a friend of Peri's family. The Doctor swears repeatedly and fires his gun in irritation at everything in this city seemingly being connected to Peri's dull relations.
Along with the aforementioned car-jacking, this gets things between the Doctor and Ms Van Gysegham off to the wrong foot, and she deliberately crashes the car into the police station.
The Doctor is immediately arrested and, to his supreme annoyance, is placed in the same cell as a pale, long-haired man accused of murdering Peri's friend's father. He yells to the gods in rage until the police come in and baton him brutally.
The batoning, however, does nothing but reset the Doctor's garbled Continuity Imprimatur, and he suddenly remembers that he decided to be gay for this incarnation. As such his attention is drawn to his cell's co-inhabitant, the equally repugnant-yet-alluring and remarkably effeminate Mr. Jonathan Creek.
The Doctor attempts to make flirtatious small-talk, but is frustrated by Jonathan's insistence on ruminating about the crime he has been convicted of, and ways that it could possibly be explained at a ridiculous last minute twist involving balloon animals and secret rooms.
The Doctor resignedly agrees to listen to this crap, knowing full well that its clearly impossible for him to escape this plot-line. He has a contingency plan, though to save himself from boredom - covering his ears with his hands and shouting out "Lalalalalalala!".
This act of childishness works superbly and the Doctor hears no boring, predictable details about the Gigantic Silver Ghost That's Clearly Made Of Metal And As Such Not Really A Ghost killing people in the graveyard. Or how the Silver Ghost could have been an automaton made by Jonathan's deadly Robot Wars nemesis Grant Imahara.
Or about how it could have just been a suit, wherein was the slightly dodgy bloke Jonathan saw at the pharmacists earlier that day.
Or maybe he'd been carefully stitched up by the letter from Julia Sawalha convincing him to drink that weed killer.
This conversation goes for quite a while.
The wake for Adam Klaus is probably the single most somber and dull wake ever... due to the fact there are currently only two people there: Peri's mother and Kathy.
After the obvious questions about why the hell nobody else showed, the ice-breakers fail to achieve much ("So... your dad's dead?") and the two fade into a listless silence until the topic of what a complete bitch Peri is comes up, and this opens up a huge range of topics, including in-depth speculation on the current size of her vagina.
When Peri arrives, this does nothing to abate the discussion, and she runs off to her room crying.
Moments later, Nigel jumps through a wall, so charged with sexual energy that he has been granted superhuman powers, and wielding half the stock of the local pharmacy.
Peri's mother now realizes that the single most sickening coupling ever is very, very imminent, and so declares that everyone needs to be cheered up, and the best way to do so is a video.
In the record time of five seconds Nigel presents his complete DVD collection, consisting entirely of fetish porn and Blake's 7. Kathy immediately reprimands Nigel, that there are some things that just aren't appropriate at a funeral wake - so they watch the porn.
By a remarkably bad piece of random selection, however, Nigel puts on "Celebrity Magician Hardcore 8", starring the late Adam Klaus. Kathy reminisces about how desperate and shameless her father always was for money, and that he truly ranked among the great beer-bellied porn stars.
Suddenly, the Adam Klaus on the video begins screaming to the camera that his mind is enslaved to an alien life form, that the answer is in the cemetery, and that they should all get off their arses and get down there right now.
Nigel is very critical of the script, and it is agreed that an improvement is made when the ball gag is replaced. Peri thinks that there may be a secret message in Adam's words, but the others say she's just being weird.
And a bitch.
And so on and so forth.
The door to the Doctor's cell is opened, and he is utterly unsurprised to see a shoddily-made clone of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle enter with a flintlock pistol and a cup of coffee.
"Doyle" is understandably disappointed as he was hoping to make quite an impact. He then orders the Doctor to drink the coffee or he will be shot.
The Doctor throws the coffee in "Doyle’s" face, smacks the crockery over his head, takes the pistol and shoots him, before patiently pointing out the flawed logic to the scalded corpse.
Jonathan, for the first time in his life, is baffled... though begins hypothesizing that a bloke with a limp who gave him a funny look in Waterloo station is somehow to blame.
Peri, meanwhile, is so devastated by the endless bitching of, well, basically everyone that she's met, she runs off distraught in a desperate bid to reach the TARDIS and escape this never-ending assault against her self-esteem.
Naturally, Nigel is the first to give chase, leaving Kathy and Peri's mother (who apparently has a name) to make awkward small-talk for a few minutes before again decided to chase Peri and make fun of her.
At the same time, however, The Doctor is trying to get Jonathan to somewhere a little more private, so in short everyone ends up at the cemetery.
The instant they arrive their, however, Kathy breaks down in nonsensical hysterics and runs off. Once she is recovered, she can say nothing but "Put another shrimp on the barby".
The Doctor muses that the phrase is familiar enough to possibly be a catch-word from an adventure in his not-too-distant past that he's forgotten for being pretty lame, but he's on the pull right now and as such, really couldn't give a toss.
At that moment, however, the Earth splits open to reveal The Silver Ghost That's Clearly Made Of Metal And As Such Not Really A Ghost!
After a brief moment of terror everyone's eyes adjust to the darkness a little better and they see that it's just the apparently NOT-dead Adam Klaus, wearing a baggy Cyberman suit.
The sight is enough to make Jonathan break down in hysterical tears, crying that he'll never be taken seriously again for not seeing past such a piss-weak disguise.
The Klauses, meanwhile, demand what the hell is going on, and Adam mutters something about being enslaved to a superior being and being needed to take over the world... but also that it's quite a deal harder than he expected and isn't sure he'll be able to make his Toronto tour dates if the hours don't loosen up anytime soon.
While everyone is dumbfounded by these absurd revelations, Adam then goes on to say that he's contractually obliged to kill at least one person per night and he finds Nigel and Jonathan about equally annoying. He flips a coin, looks at the result and says "Sorry Jonathan" before breaking his assistant's neck.
The Doctor screams in anguish and in his leviathan rage punches Nigel's lights out. He then vows to completely destroy whichever functionally retarded alien has been responsible for all this crap.
Adam, meanwhile, despite his brainwashing retains his character, and so immediately goes to his house and watches NBC's "3 Hours of Law & Order Spin-offs", idly asking Kathy if she can work out a way to feed him through his new Cyber mask, preferably during the ad-breaks.
Kathy, seeing the vacant shell transfixed by the television screen, is reminded just how much she actually hated her jerk of a father.
She calls in Peri, so that she can lash out at her again with zero provocation. But now that her wicked mother is absent, Peri hurls back as much abuse, and soon the cat fight drowns out Adam's absent-minded queries about the house's nacho-quotient.
The Doctor, meanwhile, has dragged Peri's mother along to help him find the alien spaceship. This is against her protestations that she isn't her daughter, which causes the Doctor to sneer "You all look the same to me".
As the Doctor explains, the general idea is to look for something, anything, that looks out of place. Naturally it's pointed out that it would be far more logical to have a spaceship that DIDN’T stand out like dog's balls, but as the Doctor points out he has not yet, in all his years of travelling, met any sort of competent alien invaders.
It's only moments later that they see a gigantic penguin statue looming over the cemetery, and the Doctor congratulates Peri for her blossoming talent to point out the blatantly obvious.
Again it's pointed out that she's Peri's MOTHER, but the Doctor shouts for her to get over herself, before running blindly off into the penguin-shaped spaceship which closes itself behind him.
The Doctor travels through miles of bland corridors, and realizes that he's in a dimensionally transcendental time ship, that's exactly the same as a TARDIS but not quite.
Of course, he reasons, he has only encountered one race using highly advanced time machines that they didn't know how to use properly, and only one race stupid enough to deck a slightly camp and unpopular stage magician in a robot suit and believe that it would achieve anything, so he isn't so much as vaguely surprised when he reaches the nexus of the time machine and discovers an STD-infected Cyber Leader.
Meanwhile, Nigel has regained consciousness, and discovers to his horror that it's nearly midnight - the hour when it's usually revealed that his encounters with Peri have all been a dream.
He vows that this will not happen tonight, and reasons the solution is to consummate their non-existent relationship this instant. To this end, he hurls himself against a tombstone until he breaks his back and waits for Peri's doting pity - this doesn't happen, however, as Peri, her mother, and Kathy have all insulted one another into full emotional breakdowns and are reliving terrible childhood memories as Adam Klaus tries to ingest some Fanta through his nose.
The syphilitic Cyber Leader explains to the Doctor that he caught hideous sexually transmitted diseases in a massive Temporal Difference of Opinion and is the last surviving Cyberman in existence.
However, he has uncovered the ultimate form of time travel.. apart from a TARDIS. Or a SIDRAT. Or those cool DARDIS pods the Dustbins have. Or the DeLorean from "Back To The Future"...
Before he can finish the complete list of time travel modules cooler than his own, in fact, he breaks down in a phlegmatic coughing fit. The Doctor, actually rather bored with the encounter, uses this time to compose an operetta and cook an omelet.
To his intense frustration, both are utterly awful and he is compelled to savagely beat the crippled Cyber Leader screaming "Look, just what the fuck do you want?!?"
The Leader begins laughing evilly, gloating that the Doctor has fallen right into his trap... before the Doctor threatens to kick even more shades of un-life out of his sorry metal arse. The Leader dutifully explains that his plan was to lure the Doctor to the time machine so that he could cybernise the entire population of earth in 100 000 BC.
The Doctor points out that his recent incarnation can't stand humanity at all aside from the odd good-looking bloke in a cravat, and all the Leader had to do in the first place is ask rather than faffing about with brain-washed magicians and clones of 19th century authors.
The Leader joins the Doctor in a toast of extremely heavy-duty penicillin cocktails as they fly off to annihilate mankind forever!
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Peri, her friends, family, and the entire population of Baltimore have decided that they may as well go the whole hog by dying their hair black and listening to My Chemical Romance.
Back to places vaguely of interest, the Doctor returns to the time machine, merrily announcing that he has eliminated everything that has ever been humanity.
The Leader doesn't question the fact that the Doctor has only been gone an hour and is wearing a Disneyland T-shirt.
Magnanimously, the Doctor agrees to drop the Leader off in present-day Earth, where the Cybermen will no doubt have developed STD-cures capable of cleansing even the Leader's millennia of debauchery. Gleefully the Leader skips to the time machine's doors...
...and falls off the summit of Mt Everest.
The Doctor pauses for a moment to contemplate whether blindly trusting him to set the correct co-ordinates and generally do exactly what he's told qualifies the latest Cybermen plan as one of the worst ever.
He then concludes that he doesn't care, as he comes to the realization that for once he's actually saved the day from an alien menace - albeit a crippled and mentally defective one - and nobody was there to see him do it!
In a rage he immediately sets the co-ordinates to pick up Peri, and then go back to WikiBox – there, they can not only collect Sil, they can also see his truly awe-inspiring heroics...
Peri: Get stuffed!
Peri: I’m not coming with you. I’m staying here, Doctor.
Peri: I realized something today. I can be endlessly abused... and,
and used by people just sitting on my ass at home! There’s a
lot less aliens threatening to rape me every few minutes
Doctor: B-but, but, what about the Ice Caves of Yabbadabbadabbadoo?!
Peri: The Ice Caves can get stuffed as well - I’ve made up my mind!
Doctor: You’ll miss me!
Peri: Yeah, but not much. Bye.
The Doctor is heart-broken - Peri owes him ten dollars!
The Doctor glumly returns to the WikiBox, which Sil has transformed into a totalitarian society overnight. He's very disappointed at the Doctor's arrival, as he was planning on enforcing exploitative trade deals with his neighbours by afternoon tea time and possibly an invasion tomorrow morning, but at the same time realizes he'd be bored of his new world in a weeks' time so agrees its best to leave now.
The Doctor suggests that since Peri is gone, they might as well play Monopoly until they suffer brain failure.
When Sil hears the news that Peri has decided to leave them, he declares instant action must be taken - the bitch owes him TWELVE DOLLARS!
They soon work-out a plan to crash the abandoned time machine into Peri's family home, wiping out all that's left of her family.
In a matter of no time at all, the TARDIS arrives in New York city to pick up Peri as she suffers a complete nervous breakdown. Upon learning the reason WHY the Doctor and Sil are cackling gaily, she starts screaming and runs off out of view.
Sil wearily says he will follow her and shuttles into a yellow taxi cab and tells the swarthy, hairy, smoking driver to "follow that hooker!", but tragically the driver does not speak English. Worse, seeing the slug in the backseat gurgle and scream at him causes the driver to have a paranoid fit and drive the cab over the nearest bridge, screaming that the devil wants his soul.
The Doctor is left alone by the TARDIS, both companions lost in the depths of New York and no idea how to find them!
After a moment, he crosses to the nearest phone box and looks through the phone book to locate some cheap private detective to can sort out his problem for him, and the one with the penguin logo marked AVAN TARKLU, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR looks mighty interesting...
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Is Unspeakably Cruel To Hot Teenage Girls
Doctor Who: The Raping (Kinky Canadian Porn Editions Only)
Jonathan Creek and the Baltimore Robot Zombie From Outer Space
"Why Women Are Scum! Especially Peri!" by B. Chatham
Janice refers to Pasadena as "Baltimore" on three occasions, on several others "Hicksville Ohio". Are these perhaps nicknames for the town, or is Janice just a complete moron when it comes to basic geography? And just why does Channel VNTR screen BBC24?! What were they thinking?
So the Cyberleader can issue orders to Cyberman through space and time, but can't monitor what the Doctor is doing right outside the time capsule? What the HELL are they thinking?!?
Despite the ridiculous amount of continuity references to the adventures Peri has had, Eminem’s time on the TARDIS is never referred to once. I wonder why?
Peri refers to Jonathan Creek as being a "blue" (Democrat), but in the 1980s TV networks had Democrats as RED – Republicans are blue! Of course, maybe Peri is making some subtle time travel gag about the US 2000 election, the first time anyone called people by the colour of their political party... WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?!?
The WikiBox uses "reverse Al Gore bias generation".
Links and References -
Nigel Verkoff admits he hasn’t been so let down since he failed to gain entrance to the Diabola Club in "Fan & Phantasmagoria".
The Sixth Doctor unwittingly foreshadows "The Best Wife" when he suspects that the argument between Peri, Janice and Kathy is only the biggest cat fight in THIS universe.
This story leads directly into the Sixth Doctor’s first comic strip adventure, "The Shit Stirrer", where he first encounters Frobisher while fighting the evil Baron Silas Greenback!!
God, I am so pathetic to even KNOW that...
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Cyberleader’s time capsule is hinted to belong to the Bastard, and was stolen while he was visiting a Starbucks on a planet destroyed by fire in the Temporal Difference of Opinion.
Groovy DVD Extras -
The edited plot line featuring Peri’s evil twin sister, Chloe, and how she made a fortune for herself by selling Adam Klaus on eBay as a novelty towel holder.
Dialogue Disasters -
Conan-Doyle: I’ve brought you some coffee.
Doctor: Well, that’s very good of you, but I didn’t ask for any.
Conan-Doyle: I brought you some anyway.
Doctor: Not today, thank you.
Conan-Doyle: You should drink the coffee.
Doctor: Oh, I should, should I?
Conan-Doyle: Drink the coffee. Drink it.
Conan-Doyle: Drink the fucking coffee, you Time Lord bastard!
Doctor: Hmmm. A partially-dismantled silver android, funereal black décor, chests full of riches throughout all time and space, with framed photos of Jo Grant on the walls, a few buckets of fish, a beach ball and the complete DVD collection of The Brittas Empire. I wonder who could own a time capsule... like this?
CyberLeader: So, Doctor, we meet again.
Nigel: Just you and me, Peri. And some chocolate. And maybe a circus midget riding a three-legged goat. Let me know if this is getting a bit kinky? You don’t mind if my sister joins in, do you?
Peri: Yes, I do!
Nigel: Well, she wouldn’t be up for it anyway, so no hassles. So, er, exactly why DO you wear all that pink lycra? Inquiring minds want to know. And more importantly, so do I...
Cyberman: There is nothing to screw. You will sleep with us.
Doctor: So I just lied to him and he fell off Mt Everest. Pure genius, wouldn’t you say, eh, Peri? Peri, what is it? For God’s sake, Peri, stop blubbering! It’s not like you ever actually NEEDED a family to enjoy traveling through time and space, basking in my magnificence... Peri? STOP YOUR DAMN WEEPING!! I’m trying to ELUCIDATE already!! Honestly, your world is so SMALL and PETTY, you cramp my style, you really do! Arrogant, me? Arrogant? ARROGANT?! HOW DARE YOU, SAH?! DAMN YOUR EYES, PERPUGILLIAM!! DAMN YOUR BIKINI! DAMN YOUR BLESSED PECTORALS!!
Peri: We’ve met the Cybermen before, mom...
Janice: Oh, who CARES what you think, you arrogant bitch?
Peri: Why does no one love me?
Kathy: Because you’re so ugly to make people physically ill!
Janice: Yeah, that’s it, start crying, you dirty whore!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: Honestly, I don’t know why it takes you so long to get ready, it’s not as if you end up wearing much!
Sil: Oh, very bloody clever.
The Cyberleader on Jonathan Creek:
"I knew you would not be able to resist investigating. It is part of your nature. You duffel-coated geek, you."
Doctor: This is all some sort of game to you!
Nigel: Yes! The Game of Love – the purpose of a man is to love a woman and the purpose of a woman is love her man, and it started long ago in the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve "Baby, you’re for me!" So come on, Peri, let’s start today, come on, Peri, let’s play – THE GAME OF LURRRVEE!!
Doctor: [to Peri] He does go on, doesn’t he?
Adam Klaus: This is a message... FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!
Doctor: 1984... it’s never as good as the book!
CyberLeader: Perhaps. But Miami Vice rocks!
Doctor: Police Academy rocks more!
Doctor: "Put another shrimp on the barby"? Why do people keep saying that to me?!
CyberLeader: You believe your emotions make you stronger. They do not. They make you easier to manipulate. Emotions are a weakness! That is why my ex-lovers will never take me back unless I am ALL Cyberman – with a bit of animal thrown in. I am one of the last. The Temporal Difference of Opinion have destroyed most of my race. Only a few of us remain. I WILL have a long-term sexual relationship with all life on this planet!
Doctor: You really ARE desperate for some, aren’t you?
Viewer Quotes -
"Yes, Lister sure makes Peri a far more rounded, interesting and believable character. And then gives her a complete nervous breakdown since her entire family hate her passionately, and the few months without her were the happiest of their lives and most likely would have welcomed death rather spend time with her. Oh, why must Lister make us cry so? I had tears building in my eyes... and that is not easily achieved without electrodes! I AM A MAN, DAMMIT!" - Chris Hale (2007)
"The Ripoff is a story I never thought we would see but is one I am very glad we did. Well, not so much see as hear. You know what I mean."
- Katy January (2006)
"The concept of zombie Cybermen is a very creepy one at that. But it’s been done much better by, ooh, off the top of my head, uh, me? Yeah. I did it first. Whole sequences of Cybermen bursting out of graves and forming an army in the moonlight. Last time I ever submit anything to those bastard. There’s even a bit where the Doctor drinks a glass of cyanide with no ill effects whatsoever! The Ripoff was an apt name!"
– Brad Connors (2006)
"Ultimately, The Ripoff left me feeling pissed off and pondering the millions of better things I could have done with my hard-earned £14.99... And why? Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor, THAT is why! They got Jeremy... Lindsay... Taylor to play me. ME!!! He’s a white man for fuck’s sake! And he can’t act! He destroyed any illusion that he had the slightest talent back in Heartbreak High when he gave us a quadriplegic who could do fucking SIT UPS!! Then Neighbours... NOW THIS! JLT, you are my NEMESIS!! I’LL DESTROY YOU! I SWEAR I’LL DESTROY YOU FOR THAT ATROCIOUS PERFORMANCE!"
- Nigel Verkoff (May 2006)
"Like all Season 22 stories, people die needlessly, violently, suddenly, and often randomly; the Doctor is too busy worrying about the big picture to give a rat’s ass about the innocent; continuity references galore; corrupt officials; the villains are struggle to come up with a halfway-decent plan to restore them to their former glory before Eric Saward got his gore-soaked fingers on them; the Doctor falls into a trap and is sidelined for the whole story; the adventure mainly occurs in the B-plot... GODDAMNIT, THIS STORY KICKED ASS!"
- Ron Mallet (2007)
"Yay! The Doctor says 'This is a murder investigation! So I want to go and see The Rocky Horror Picture Show!' As drinking games go, I am now legally entitled to drink myself to death! Oh, GOD, HOW I HATE MY ENTIRE LIFE!!" – E. Campion-Clarke (2005)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"If you bury the corpses with their iPods, wait three days and dig them up, they become Cybermen. Even if the iPod is set on random! Oh, I can smell it in the air, right now... bouillabaisse! Magnificently EVIL bouillabaisse! Bouillabaisse from the depths of hell!!"
Colin Baker Speaks!
"I was most relieved when the new series turned out NOT to be completely and utterly ghastly. Unfortunately, every time something new and interesting occurs in Doctor Who, it resonates through and suddenly everyone is stealing the idea and claiming it as their own! Honestly, how many more times must I suffer character-led drama by people who have no ideas what characters are? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with event-led drama as long as you haven’t done the exact same event every single play for the last six months, but rarely do I get that privilege. Still, at least I got to hang out with Claudia Christian, which I applaud wholeheartedly. She’s much fitter in real life."
Nicola Bryant Speaks!
"How much pain can you dump on Peri in one story?! I mean, there were many hints in Mammaries of Fire that she was an unhappy teenager who ditched her family in no time flat to tour the Canary Islands filming interviews for MTV. It’s really quite clever how Dave has linked so many stories together in a well-thought out script... except, well, the script exists to torment the crap out of me. I mean, Billie Piper never had to put up with crap like this, did she? I wasn’t thrilled by her episodes in the new series... just envious."
Rumors & Facts –
I think we can safely say that Russell T Davies' contribution to Doctor Who had a large influence on this story which is why it’s called "The Ripoff", I guess.
Dave Lister’s very first submission to Big Finish had been a story for the Sixth Doctor and Peri. And his second submission. And his third. And his fourth... Finally, in March 2006, only seven years later, Big Finish Producers Gay Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellery decided to actually LET Lister write a story for that particular Doctor/Companion combo which hadn’t been used for four years.
On the condition it fitted in part of the "Rogue Cyberman Tech Companion Angst" anthology started back in 2004 and then completely forgotten about for the next two years. Lister would have to pen the final two installments, and only one of them would feature the Sixth Doctor and "sweet and perky" Peri.
Unfortunately, Lister was becoming increasingly highly-strung. His most recent story, the Eighth Doctor/Dustbin epic "Terri’s Firmer", had been slagged off by countless respectable and disrespectable reviewers in the belief he had simply stolen all the ideas from RTD.
This was NOT the case, and it was rapidly becoming obvious that RTD was ripping HIM off instead, and recently decided to steal the idea from Lister’s masterpiece, "Bastard", of the amnesiac Bastard being mistaken for a kind and gentle figure who would go crazy-ass evil psycho at the end of the story.
Thus, Lister instead decided to genuinely rip off RTD – even if the fan reviewers heckled him, he’d at least have the satisfaction of wiping the smile off RTD’s smug, spectacled face!
Lister took his inspiration from "Alias of London", whereupon Rose Tyler returned to the life she had left behind and realizing her actions have had repercussions on others. Peri would awkwardly be reunited with her horrible mother and estranged boyfriend many months after departing, while the Doctor bumps into a bunch of clueless alien body snatchers.
There would also be pointless reference to the Temporal Difference of Opinion, lots of pointless domestic scenes, lots of pointless references to pop culture (in particular the Pussy-Cat Dolls). There would also be blatant emotional masturbation and 45 minute episodes.
It was at this point, Lister remembered he was writing a story for Doctor Who of 1985, and thus there would also have to be gruesome violence, mindless killing, and continued misogyny against the companion for being American and female.
Lister was surprised at how easy Peri-bashing came to him, and later deduced that he was unleashing all his pent-up RTD frustrations onto a helpless fictional character who he ridiculed, bullied, beat up, tormented, orphaned and smacked down as she continually shouts "FANTASTIC!" in a variety of ironic situations. Since Peri was such an unhappy teenager she had become a Video-Jockey in Lanzarote, it was easy enough to extrapolate a horrible and demented home life for her.
It soon became obvious to Lister that RTD was ruining his life in every way possible – in particular causing Doctor Who to suffer a zeitgeist of popularity that killed Lister’s favorite TV show "Jonathan Creek" stone dead. This was the main inspiration for the sequence where the Cyberman rises from the grave (representing RTD’s resurrected Doctor Who) to snap Jonathan Creek’s neck (representing what Lister and many more fans wanted to do to the scum that dared pen the episode 'The Coonskin Cap').
Lister thus ordered the production assistant to cast Stuart Milligan and Alan Davies as their alter egos Adam Klaus and Jonathan Creek respectively – but, tragically, the assistant was busy and Nigel Verkoff was filling in that day.
Verkoff refused to participate unless his character appeared in the story as Peri’s major love interest, since he had just managed to sell his virginity on eBay and planned to use the money to bribe Nicola Bryant to, in his words, "pop them out one at a time".
Lister cunningly agreed, but tricked Verkoff into casting Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor to play Nigel Verkoff instead of Verkoff himself – who was then escorted out of the building and thrown into the canal where Lee Binding was foraging for new socks.
With the combined factors of Nigel Verkoff, Jonathan Creek and Adam Claus in the plot, Lister was confident that his complete lack of research into Peri’s home town of Pasadena, or American culture in general. Thus, he wrote as if it were occurring in downtown Liverpool and got some losers on Outpost Gallifrey to add Americanisms like "Kentucky Fried Chicken", "prom", "Madonna", "sleepover", "Dallas", "plastic surgery", "coffee" and "seething caldera of STDs" to make it seem more like Nightmare on Elm Street and Michael Jackson's Thriller.
This in turn allowed Lister to overcome yet another of his numerous personal demons – Cyberphobia, a crippling fear of the Cybermen on a purely psychological level. Mind you, being scared of an armor plated killing machine ripping out your spine to use as catgut in a tennis racket is a rather reasonable phobia, all things considered.
Lister ensured that the story now only featured two Cybermen – one, a brain-fried, incredibly sickly lunatic that falls off Mount Everest; the other Adam Klaus dressed up in a home made Cyber suit who is later blasted out of existence off screen. Both are sidelined so much you wonder why the hell there’s a Cyberman on the cover, they play so little part in this hellish entourage of RTD-hatred.
Similar disgust affected David Darlington, who refused to waste his precious time composing music for such unoriginal dirt, and so nicked the Dead Koalas theme song "When Kansas Is Keen" played at random moments to cover awkward silences as the plots demanded, the rest being backed by vintage Keff McCulloch. Many were amazed at how different this string-based sound design was from Darlington’s usual work, which goes to show you that people in general are complete morons.
This aggressive apathy effected the editing of the story by Alan Barnes, who refused to do any of it. The play was rapidly claimed to be "aping the format of season 22 with forty-five minute episodes", not because the script was overlong. Which would be a good point - if they the "45 minute episodes" didn’t clock at over seventy minutes apiece.
Gay Russell, as ever, dubbed himself director of the story, and rapidly remembered he didn’t actually care – and in order to add a painful believability to the production forced the cast to rub raw chili into their eyes and act while standing on hot coals.
He also decided to tie the end of the story to the beginning of the Sixth Doctor’s comic strip career – which, thanks to the intense hallucinogenic drugs writer Steve Parkhouse was on, lead to set in the depths of New York and the Sixth Doctor alone, stalking a mesomorphic private investigator known as Frobisher The Penguin.
True, this totally screwed up Big Finish’s hardcore rule, often enforced on pain of having your head being ground up with a potato masher, but Russell was beyond such concepts, and his insane hatred of his own production team was almost as great as his enmity to the rest of the human race.
With work on The Ripoff completed, Lister was left with the unenviable task of working out the final part of the "Rogue Cyberman Tech Companion Angst" trilogy, and find plot threads to continue – but this was even more difficult since all the ideas were just tacked on to make Peri cry, and not super-amazing-well-thought pay-offs.
Some may say that The Ripoff is terrible, turgid, leaden, slow-like-treacle with a wretched double ending waste of time. Others may call it utterly terrible, confused and confusing pap, filled with soap opera meanderings that made you want to throw myself in the canal. While it is said the story never ever seems to get out of first gear before crashing to a halt. Then there are those that suggest poor dialogue married with some pretty average acting by the supporting cast makes this the worst BF release of the year.
And then there's the fact that this is only a third of the story. The other part, the one which everyone was looking forward to, took place earlier and will happen later, while the incredible conclusion was well known before anyone twigged it was the final part of a trilogy.
That's part of the beauty of Doctor Who, its time-traveling antics, and the truly messed-up scheduling of its Big Finish audios.