Serial 9R – Dead Cardiff
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Thirty-Eighth Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' Zoners
D O C T O R W H O
Serial 9R – Dead Cardiff -
As is traditional in these situations, the story begins by reprising the cliffhanger ending of the previous season:
Attempting to ditch Lucie Miller back in Cardiff 2008, the Doctor was supremely annoyed when Lucie immediately went off to do some shopping and he was immediately arrested by police for leaving his TARDIS on a double yellow line in Roald Dahl Plass!
The Time Lord is dragged into the local magistrate’s office, which is for some reason lit by candles and presided by a figure that resembles Bill Oddie in a Groucho Marx false nose and glasses with a judge’s wig. For this parking offence, the Doctor is to be hanged from the neck until he is completely dead!
"The best traditions of Welsh justice then?" the Doctor muses over the cheering crowd...
Parte the First
The Judge turns to the jury and asks them to consider whether there’s ever been such a villain on the face of the Earth, insisting the Doctor’s excuses that he was about to drive on as the lies of a dishonest horse-thieving beggar. The Doctor asks the Judge if he thinks he’s milking it a bit too much.
The Judge reveals he is Judge "Hangman’s Best Friend" Jeffries – or to be strictly accurate, the Judge reveals he ISN’T Judge Jeffries as he is completely ignorant about the life of George Jeffries, his wife’s name or even how many children he had. The Doctor (who one clicked 'random article' on wikipedia) knows the topic inside out and instantly convinces the angry mob that the Lord Chief Justice of Wales is a lying imposter bastard who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bill Oddie.
Hastily, Not-Judge-Jeffries changes the topic and prepares to try the next prisoner – Spring-Heeled Sophie, so named for her tightrope walking abilities and the fact most people for some reason assume she is an inhuman demon prowling the streets of Cardiff. The Judge claims that Sophie is a kleptomaniac and in front of court plants evidence on her person before declaring her guilty and ordering her to be hanged as well, before having the bailiffs beat them both up.
"Violence! VIOLENCE! Death! Hanging! THEY love it! I LOVE IT!" screams the Judge in orgasmic pleasure as the bodies are dragged out of court.
The Doctor and Sophie are placed inside the condemned cell and briefly consider pooling their resources and bribing their way out before deciding to just sit around and flirt with each other. They stop when they realize the rather uncomfortable bench they are sitting on is a Roman snake box filled with flashing circuitry and made of a metal that cannot be found on Earth, let alone Cardiff. Clearly this is a control box for manipulating time streams across the city!
Musing on this for a moment, they then go back to flirting.
Lucie meanwhile, is still looking for a shop where she can shoplift clothes, food, DVDs and maybe some baby products if she can be bothered to remember. However, the brash Northern teenage mum is not the sharpest fang of the cave bear and still hasn’t noticed that this part of Cardiff is pitch dark from some kind of power cut.
At that moment she is nearly run over by a tram but tragically is rescued at the last moment by a passing stranger whose skin and hair are so yellow for a moment Lucie wonders if she has been saved by Lisa Simpson. The woman is, in fact, a munitions worker turned canary-yellow by the unsafe chemical factories and has become known as Yellow Beryl due to her litany of unfunny racist jokes.
Lucie is not particularly curious as to why Cardiff seems to be in the middle of a war with Austria, or why the lights are out, or why there are sirens sounding or zeppelins hurtling through the sky above. Even when Beryl says that the year is 1917, Lucie thinks nothing of it.
Realizing that Lucie is suicidally insane, Beryl drags her under cover as the bombing of Cardiff begins. Lucie finally realizes she is not in the 21st Century and immediately starts shouting abuse at the Doctor because she always blames him for everything as a kind of automatic reflex action.
Beryl tries to cheer Lucie up by noting that the Zeppelins are less like to kill them than the infamous Blackout Killer, a Jack-the-Ripper copycat only without the dramatic flair and he’s also blind and can easily be avoided by the sound of his white stick banging into things.
Just then, a canal mysteriously appears in the middle of the road. Even Lucie can sense something rather odd about this, and Beryl agrees: normally the tide isn’t out!
Suddenly bored to death with the time traveler’s complete stupidity, Beryl wanders off and leaves Lucie to find out her own salvation. None the wiser, Lucie decides to try and DRINK the river so it will therefore no longer be an obstacle. So absorbed in this monumentally crap plan, she is unaware of a strange figure is lurking in the shadows not far away, sniffing the air and chuckling to himself, his stick tapping away on the ground!
(For those who haven’t been paying attention, it’s the Infamous Blackout Killer I mentioned not more than three paragraphs previously. For fuck’s sake you lot, pay attention!)
Back in the bits of Cardiff that seem to be in the 17th Century, the Doctor and Sophie share a post-coital cigarette and discuss where they should go to dinner, and Sophie knows of a lovely little restaurant called Temple to the God Mithras that only serves roast beef.
Just then the bailiffs arrive, beat up the pair again and drag them to the gallows while idly noting they rather like his leather coat. There they meet the Hangman, who also resembles Bill Oddie in unconvincing period costume and makeup. The Time Lord accuses the 'finest hangman in Cardiff' of being a hairy little frustrated popstar and celebrity from the 1970s, and not surprisingly Bill Oddie takes offense.
Furious, Bill Oddie rips off his stupid hat and period costume to reveal a purple flower-patterned trouser suit with an "I AM A GOODY" T-shirt and starts making incoherent squawking noises. The Doctor wonders if this attempt at a solo career has gone horribly wrong.
Bill Oddie reveals that they are not in some giant alien experiment, nor are they in some extra-dimensional prison. This is, in fact, one of his more vivid lemon-sherbet-induced psychotic vision which the TARDIS has somehow, against all the laws of reality, materialized within. Nevertheless, even though technically none of this is happening, he still intends to kill the Doctor.
As the two prisoners are about to be hanged, the quick-thinking Doctor makes a farewell speech which happens to be identical to singing "The Funky Gibbon" at the top of his voice. The crowd join in on the chorus and the whole execution yard starts to blur and ripple.
Bill Oddie is unable to fight the musical beat and is soon singing the song like everyone else, allowing the Doctor and Sophie to easily escape and, for a humorous conclusion to the scene, opens the gallows trap door underneath Bill Oddie, sending the rockstar/birdwatcher plummeting to the ground in some unsubtle slapstick.
Meanwhile, Lucie races through the dark streets chased by an invisible killer in a scene that doesn’t really work on audio but is done anyway. Finally, her stupidity costs her as she trips and sprains her swollen ankles and finds herself trapped in a dead end with a psychotic Bill Oddie with in a dirty mac with a white stick!
To her incredible luck, the Blackout Killer is (as was previously established) blind and as he calls out and tells Lucie no one has ever escaped from him so far, he falls into the canal and drowns.
As Lucie looks for a bridge across the river, she stumbles across parts of Cardiff that resemble the 17th Century! Actually, that probably WASN’T worth the exclamation mark, was it? Just then, Lucie spots the Doctor and Sophie paddling down the canal in a stolen canoe, heading for dinner at the Temple of Mithras eatery.
The Doctor spots Lucie, moans with disappointment and urges Sophie to keep paddling for all she’s worth. The irritating blonde clucks after them, and finally trips and falls into the canoe as it heads underground into the deep blackness of the weevil-infested Cardiff sewers.
Back at the gallows, Bill-Oddie-pretending-to-be-Judge-Jeffreys finds the unconscious Bill-Oddie-pretending-to-be-a-hangman and kicks him awake. The two soon have a huge argument that leads to violence until they both fall down dead.
The TRUE Bill Oddie, however, resplendent in his huge flat cap and braces as befits a Grand Master of the deadly Lancastrian martial art of Ecky-Thump, watches events from his drum clinic and over a nice cup of tea decides to cast the time travelers into the time when Cardiff was caught in the middle of a war between two mighty armies – one silver, one bronze, fighting a battle in the heavens.
"That time Boudicca turned up to kick the crap out of the Romans should do the trick," Bill Oddie muses – and, while Lucie tries to assert her alpha female dominance over Sophie, the underground lock gates open, and water floods into the sewers, threatening to drown them all in gratuitous slow motion!
Parte the Second
Luckily, however, the Doctor remembers they are in a boat and thus able to white-water-raft their delectable derrieres to safety as the current carries them... straight over a waterfall. As they plummet into watery oblivion, Lucie remembers a boyfriend she dumped who tried to kill her in a similar manner while pretending he was interested in extreme sports, and idly wonders if she screwed him before he left.
The trio are lost in the murky spray, kind of like that far superior cliffhanger in the made-of-awesome TV series of The Borrowers with Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton. Ah. Nostalgia. Anyway, the Doctor, Sophie and Lucie are washed up in Roman Cardiff.
Before they even regain consciousness, some contemporary Welshmen drag their bodies to a 70-foot tall Wicker Man. Lucie is initially optimistic as although she has seen the film she wasn’t really paying attention and assumes this is part of Celtic foreplay that involves sexual intercourse through the walls of hotel rooms. The Doctor rolls his eyes and wonders if being burned alive as part of a Celtic sacrifice might come as some kind of relief.
Boudicca’s Incredibly Arch Druid arrives: it is Bill Oddie in white robes and a flaming torch singing a bubblegum tune about the Almighty God of the Sun before he sets fire to the wicker structure and the omnipresent mob cheers in bloodlust.
At this moment the Doctor realizes that not only is none of this real, he has a sonic screwdriver and Sophie is an accomplished tightrope walker with a lasso! They’re spoiled for choice on how to make a daring escape and they just need to work out which one allows them maximum opportunity to watch Lucie burn to death.
The Doctor zaps away the floor of the Wicker Man and together with Sophie, fly-fox their way down a lasso-ed zip line to the city gate and arrive, perfectly safely, on the ground 70 feet below. The Doctor dusts himself off and confirms that nothing is broken...
...and then Lucie lands right on top of him, nearly killing the Time Lord there and then. It appears that by escaping the Wicker Man, the Doctor and Sophie have caused this whole part of the hallucination to collapse and thus have saved Lucie’s life in every way possible.
Incredibly-Arch-Druid-Bill-Oddie laughs sinisterly at the Doctor’s misery, before Lucie claims she is horrified by the pop singer’s hideous appearance, but Bill Oddie thinks she looks like an anthropomorphic duck on growth hormones, so it’s all so much of muchness really.
Deeply pissed off, the Doctor aims his sonic screwdriver at Bill Oddie and threatens to trap him inside his cliched imagination for the rest of his goody-goody-yum-yum life! However, Bill Oddie seems disturbingly excited by the idea and positively urges the Doctor on, getting right in the Time Lord’s face and screaming "GO ON THEN YA NANCY! DO IT!!"
The Doctor responds by kneeing him in the bollocks.
As Bill Oddie falls to the ground, sobbing, the Doctor and Sophie must have a tear-jerking departure. He is a Time Lord pushing a thousand years old caught in the middle of the Last Great Temporal Difference of Opinion, whereas she is a passing thought in the mind of Bill Oddie. Thus, pausing only for a long a sophisticated kiss, they part company forever. She leaps atop the rooftops of Cardiff as her natural domain, while he tries to sneak away without Lucie following.
Alas, she’s got hold of his leg and refuses to let go, even after the several hours it takes to get back to the 2008 section of the dreamscape where the TARDIS still sits on the double yellow line, covered with parking tickets. The Doctor unlocks the door and tries to shake Lucie off, but she simply smiles dreamily and tells him how much she totally loves him and his wacky adventures.
True, it’s just a moment of temporary insanity brought on by Lucie’s raging hormones, but the Doctor is an incredibly soft touch for flattery and allows her inside his ship once more and they take off with the whole wheezy-groany-flashy-fade-away shebang...
At that moment in a second-hand railway station, the real Bill Oddie snaps awake and gives a grin that could be an entrance to hell itself. "We could make a mint out of those two!" he murmurs evilly in a voice more often associated with Bananaman cartoons, and across the room shadowy figures nod in agreement.
Thus begins the most brain damaged story arc in Doctor Who’s long, over-complicated and scandalous history...
"Strap yourself in, lower your standards and prepare for... Top Gear!"
"You are one rubbish shag, Doctor. It’s all boys with toys and middle age blokes with fast cars, innit?"
"Are they TRYING to start a ratings war?"
"There are cars and there are cars and there are... CARS!!"
"Pay attention to me!"
"Who’s the guy with the bald patch and the flared jeans?"
"We’re beyond mocking Jeremy Clarkson now!"
"Oh my god. I never thought I’d hear that again. Laughter at one of my jokes. That means only one thing. I’m actually being funny."
"Go, go, go! Now, now, now!"
"Some say he is actually Charles Daniels in a crash helmet. Others say he’s really from the planet Zovirax. But we know him as... the Stig."
Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Visits Wales And Thinks It A Dud London
Doctor Who and The Bill Oddie Odyssey
The Goodie Files: Bill Is A Raving Loony
Fluffs – Paul McGann seemed apologetic for most of this story.
"Oh illustrious serpent so serious, whose scales shine like the sun, reveal to me the origins of your creation! Failing that, get me something decent to drink, there’s a good minion."
There was no suspense, no tangible threat of any merit, no drama - no comedy even, and the new theme arrangement would seem to consist of someone at Big Finish getting drunk and thinking "what happens if I play all the different sound effects at the same time". It’s the weakest release for quite some considerable time, especially disappointing considering the writer. That’s more than enough goofs in my opinion, especially as we haven’t started on what a pile of crap the plot is...
Why does the theme tune start whenever Bill Oddie starts laughing like an insane ex-scoutmaster? Is it supposed to signal a cliffhanger? Did this story originally have 595 separate cliffhangers in the director’s cut? Did the director’s cut also have a better resolution to the plot as well, or does "Doctor kicks villain in the balls and runs away" somehow more satisfying than reversing the polarity?
Why do the Cardiff police cover the TARDIS in parking tickets rather than clamping it? Don’t they have anything better to do with that space time rift running through the city?
Fashion Victims -
Lucie’s one-size-too-small "Revolution In The Head" Beatles T-shirt.
"DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE INVERSE ORTHIPOSITRONIC DESTABILIZATION!!"
Links and References -
The Doctor thinks affectionately of that time he met a She Devil who looked exactly like Charley Pollard (The Twice-A-Night Kingdom).
Untelevised Misadventures -
At some point, the Doctor tried to rid himself of Lucie by giving her an overdose of drugs, sealing her up into a body bag and dumping it in the sea, just off California. But this cunning plan did not work.
Groovy DVD Extras -
An alternative take where Lucie is left in the burning wicker man to die horribly in the inferno. With optional commentary by Nigel Verkoff, Neville Chamberlain and Norman Gunston.
Dialogue Disasters –
Doctor: Earth is so alive. Only Cardiff is dead.
Lucie: A shag, a shag, my kingdom for a shag... Ooh! This look promising! Well, Yellow Beryl, I think I’m getting a little closer to getting my leg over!
Doctor: Lucie. Sophie. We are inside the mind of Bill Oddie!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: Of all of England’s tourist destinations, Cardiff is the one most associated with boredom. Anyone that visits its bed and breakfasts usually suffocated on the smell of kebabs and the truly awful baked beans. The locals have mind like sewers. They stink. I hate the Welsh. I mean, I’ve been trapped in this town since 2004. If I’m not entitled to slag it off, then who the hell is?!
Sophie: So what about me? What do I do?
Doctor: What do you WANT to do?
Sophie: I was thinking about what you said about the Karma Sutra...
Doctor: Being the heroine?
Sophie: Yeah! "The Bedroom Adventures of Spring-Heeled Sophie"!
Doctor: It’s a far better spin off idea than anything featuring K9, I’ll grant you.
Sophie: Course I’ll have to do all the positions, but I reckon it can’t be too hard...
Doctor: Wanna bet?
Sophie: Mmm. Chapter One – "Doing It In The Dark With The Doctor! The love-making prowess of this remarkable being compiled by the only one who was there..."
Doctor: I know what I like and I like what I hear...
Lucie: Oi. What about me?
Sophie: What ABOUT you?
Doctor: Are you still here, Lucie? Piss off, there’s a good girl...
Doctor: Who am I addressing?
Bill Oddie: You will adress me as... Ee Bah Goooom.
Doctor: "Eh Bah Gum"? I’m not calling you "Eh Bah Gum"!
Bill Oddie: Ecky-Thump!
Lucie: For fuck’s sake, stop waving that black pudding about ya daft twat! You could have someone’s eye out with that!
Bill Oddie: That’s the idea. Ecky-Thump!
Lucie: Ow! Shit! That hurt!
Doctor: That actually looks fun. Can I have a go.
Lucie: Doctor, don’t you – ow! Keep away from me you freaks!
UnQuotable Quote -
Lucie: Oooh, I love me whiskey, me. Who cares about birth defects?
Viewer Quotes -
"I think this is a clinching point actually. How can someone who
listened to Lucie Miller and decided to put her in an official professional product be allowed to run this whole range of Who stories when they've proven themselves to have no creative sense or integrity at all? A problem felt within the entire sad range at the moment. Personally, I consider knocked-up companions to be a guilty pleasure. I know Lucie’s a messy tart but I can’t help being uncontrollably aroused by her confinement." – Nigel Verkoff (2009)
"NOO!!! HOW DARE THEY FIRST THEY GIVE US THESE CRAPY NEW COVER DESIGNES NOW THEY GET RID OF CHARLIE AND PUT THIS TERABLE ACTRESS IN AS A COMPANION. SHE IS GOD ALFAUL. I dont mind the 8th doctor being seperate from the rest its just that I CANT STAND HER. I HOPE THAT SHE LEAVES SOON AND WE GET SOMEONE DECENT IN." – Psycho India Fisher Fan (2008)
"Yes, how dare they? How dare they indeed? Tch. Life can so be terribly, terribly unfair sometimes."
- Official Big Finish Response to Psycho India Fisher Fans (2008)
"I still don’t understand why we can’t have a full Doctor Who series where David Tennant is standing trial for his role in the Temporal Difference of Opinion, and then tell the story as a flashback with Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith... WHY IS THIS NOT HAPPENING? Is it RTD’s massive gay Welsh ego? IS IT?!?" – Random OGer (2008)
"I did really enjoy it. Rather reminiscent of The Wank Games, except I didn’t have a bloody clue what was happening. I’m sure I enjoyed it, since I forgot about it almost immediately. I liked Sophie, though. Too bad she couldn’t be a companion. Frankly, Lucie makes me pine for the heady, classy days when C’Rizz was as low as we could go."
– Andrew Beeblebrox (2008)
"Why do they sideline the main companion Lucie and replace her with Spring Heeled Sophie and then NOT keep her as main companion? Are they just mocking us with false hope?! I know she’s just a cipher of a companion in interesting clothes, little more than a sounding board, but she IS a figment of Bill Oddie’s imagination! What did you expect?"
– Ewen Campion-Clarke (2009)
"It’s a bit like the audio equivalent athlete’s foot - the longer I listen to it, the more irritating it gets. It sounds messy and unfocused, and the theme music is much worse! That arrangement is just plain awful and I find it hard to believe in BF HQ that they listened to it and thought it would be acceptable. GET RID OF THIS APPALLING ABOMINATION AND QUICK! Poor Delia will be turning in her grave, assuming she’s not dead yet. Me farting the theme tune would have been better! When will Briggos the Destroyer realize how unpopular everything he does is and just GO AWAY!" - Dave Restal (2008)
"It’s nasty. Make it stop Big Finish. Please."
– Official SCAD spokesman (2008)
Psychotic Nostalgia –
"Played through headphones, Lucie Miller is loud, oppressive and somewhat jarring, so all this pre-natal tension hasn’t dented her colossal ego and severe personality disorder! I hate it when they dumb down companions like that. Remember what happened to Eminem? No? Neither do I and that is exactly my point. I can’t believe Lucie gets a giant burning wicker man and Eminem gets a Pertwee sequel with Paddington Bear and Alpha Sintauri. How the fuck does that work?!"
Paul McGann Speaks!
"It’s a great little script isn’t it? I’ve always got time for scripts involving me being seduced by Clare Buckfield. Mind you the original script had my use my cravat instead of a sonic screwdriver. A cravat! What a ponce! I hope anyone who wears a cravat of their own free will dies horribly. But this season is going to be slightly LESS retrained than last year. Timelines, simultaneous actions in different centuries, car chases, death and destruction, but THIS time a lot less Nicholas Briggs. We’re keeping that nutter to an absolute minimum. And if the audience appreciate, well, that’s nice but truth be told we were more worried about ourselves than the listerners."
Sheridan Smith Speaks!
"I did a radio play set in a stately home once and we went in an actually stately home. they were following us around with microphones. Big Finish puts you in an isolation tank but I prefer that. It’s easier to act in sensory deprivation. Especially when you’re starkers. But there are so many of these stories, Ewen luv, I just get lost in them. You gotta be more specific. I mean, when was it and who did we kill and where did we bury the bodies afterwards, you know?"
Eddie Hitler Speaks!
"Cardiff has this vast sweep of history that makes it as interesting and bizarre as any alien planet, and I suppose to do it just it needed to be conveyed by MORE than four people doing a number of different voices, and why was Bill Oddie doing this? Bill Oddie stupid in my opinion, but I’m only in this for the cash. I might be a thieving little Fagin, but at least I’m honest about it, unlike old Barnaby 'Insides of a Dustbin' Edwards, eh?"
This story was accepted at the first draft. Did you spot that?
Rumors & Facts -
Twenty long months had come and gone since the first BBC7 radio series of the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller had proved the greatest weapon in ITV’s vast arsenal of ratings-booster ploys.
The second series of audios was notable in that, unlike the TV series, there was NO blizzard of publicity, NO already-infamous Radio Times cover, NO previews in all of the major newspapers, NOT ONE fantastic billboard ads in which it looks like the TARDIS was coming on to you, NOT A TRACE of radio and cinema advertising, NO red tops filled with spoilers, and a distinct LACK of BBC Breakfast interviews all week. There was NOT a press launch with Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith or Nicholas Briggs, and even if there was you WOULDN’T find any leaked camera-phone footage of it on youtube.
In fact, only the most up-to-the-minute and dedicated fan would even know that their WAS another series and that Paul McGann’s era hadn’t come to a final end with him being arrested for parking the TARDIS badly in Wales. Even Doctor Who Magazine was uncertain as to whether the season of audio plays was real, let alone knowing when it would be broadcast on internet radio. And considering said plays had been already released on CD by Big Finish six months prior, this really shows how much esteem the new adventures of the Eighth Doctor were held in by all concerned.
Occasional script editor and full time alcoholic Eddie Hitler was furious at the poor reception of his previous season. Well, to be precise, he wasn’t too fussed about no one liking the Eighth Doctor and Lucie stories, but he DESPISED the fact people preferred the adventures of the Tenth Doctor on high definition digital television. Taking this as "a personal slight against the House of Hitler", the bald lunatic immediately vowed to beat RTD at his own gain.
Up to three minutes of research later, Hitler was convinced he knew the secret to RTD’s power. After a quick glimpse at wikipedia, Hitler noticed that RTD often homaged, stole or generally made reference to the comic strips of 1980s Doctor Who Weekly Monthly Magazine. Thus, thought Hitler, if he used TWICE as many comic strip concepts in the next season, it would logically be TWICE as good as anything RTD could possible come up with.
The hairless psycho then went one further and decided to actually GET one of those comic strip writers, Pat "Godfather of British Comics" Mills to pen a story for the Eighth Doctor and Lucie. After his brilliantly successful stint on the era of the Fourth Doctor, K9 and Sharon Davies (which IS canon, you bastards), Mills was promptly fired and forced to make ends meet by trying to convince the Doctor Who production team to make one of his unmade strips into a TV adventure.
David Bowie Versus The Space Wale has a more intricate and complex history than most royal families, but suffice it to say it was never accepted. Well, if it WAS accepted, it never got made. And if it GOT made, it never was screened. And if it WAS screened, I never saw it. And if I DID see it, I obviously wasn’t paying attention.
Pat Mills was more than happy to write for Doctor Who again, though he had some concerned that his very visual style of writing would not easily fit with a solely audio story, and would require a wealth of imagery to titillate the imagination. Unsurprisingly, just using the WORD "titillate" was enough to convince Hitler that Mills was the right man for the job, even IF the plot ground to a halt in an unsatisfying ending since Mills couldn’t think of another way to end the story.
Convinced that this "perfectly serviceable romp of the kind which wouldn’t look out of place in one of those anthology annuals put out by Marvel in the 90s" would revive his fortunes, Hitler immediately sampled a wine festival, followed by an ice cream parlor, followed by a cell in the local police station and then another cell at the nearest branch of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Emerging from this and stumbling around the place like some kind of evil dervish, Hitler stumbled back to the Big Finish Moat Studios in the belief it was some kind of wife-swapping party. He then purchased twelve bottles of Old Spice from Jason Haigh-Ellory and demanded a brand new story arc based entirely on a random BF story – specifically Doctor Who and the Goodies starring Colin Baker and Maggie Stables.
And why not? The central idea of Mills’ story is a good one - which is probably why it was already used in The Wank Games and that Virgin Missing Adventure Anagram, and in the right author’s hands, the wisecracking Lucie Miller might comes across as a poor man’s Donna Noble rather than a rich man’s Lucie Miller.
The new season would ultimately be released in the COMPLETELY wrong order on a whim from Hitler. Since everyone would be expecting them to start off with Hitler’s own Grand Theft Auto, then Margrs’ Bygone story, then Skull of Sobriety, Top Gear, Brave New World, Dead Cardiff and the season finale, that was obviously what they should NOT do.
Out of all the stories of the season, Dead Cardiff lacked focus, resolution, and anything to grab the attention and needed editing more than it needed to be released – it was the last thing they should have used as a premiere, with its uncanny ability to use a multitude of different time zones as glorified corridors the Doctor and Lucie could run up and down, and this was precisely why Hitler chose it.
"Never give the ungrateful bastards what they want!" was how he summed it up – ironic as Dead Cardiff was written to continue from the end of Hostile Takeover and, had it remained as the penultimate story of the season, would actually have confused and irritated even MORE of the audience than it ultimately ended up pissing off.
But despite all his best efforts, however, the Eighth Doctor range was still seen as having its own identity as a Big Finish product rather than something that shops could mistake for coming straight out of BBC Wales. Hitler decided that the new McGann season STILL wasn’t imitating the new series to an incredibly detrimental degree and a last minute change was needed.
And so, for the first time since The Actual Mystery of Beer, there was no half-assed cack-handed pop tune in place of the traditional unpredictable, laid-back simultaneously slightly sinister and mysterious theme tune. This was, to say the least, a massive step backwards that offended listeners everywhere.
To make up for its long absence, the new rendition was actually two different versions of the original version played seconds apart and cruelly merged together, bubbling and reverberating together in a very annoying way that really adds to the atmosphere of total compromise and lack of imagination that would be the hallmark of this season. This brilliance was achieved when a tone deaf two-year-old was loose on the BBC website Theme Music Mixer to create a random and disjointed retrograde 1970s nostalgia premature ejaculation.
The washed out main melody, played by a finger on wet wine glasses, was so timeless, effective, non-linear - but above all recycled - that it made reviewers from SFX to Doctor Who Magazine shriek "What is this shit for the theme music? Have they checked out WhoMix.com?!"
I myself think that, with its commercial and creativity-free ability to make me irritable and disappointed at a wasted opportunity, Big Finish could not POSSIBLY have chosen a more suitable or appropriate musical accompaniment for its stories.