Sunday, December 6, 2009

8th Doctor - Grand Theft Cosmos

Serial 9M – Grand Theft Auto: Cardiff, 1898
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Forty-Second Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' GTA Mission Packs


Serial 9M – Grand Theft Auto: Cardiff, 1898 -

Parte the First

While idly walking around the upper balcony of the TARDIS control room, the Doctor finds a curious metal headset hanging from the ceiling. Trying to work out what it’s for, he tricks Lucie into placing the barbaric Alice-Band on her head and presses the jagged controls.

Lucie immediately starts screaming in agony and as she writhes around, the Doctor smacks his forehead. "Oh yes, I remember! It’s a Chameleon Arch for rewriting Time Lord DNA to go deep undercover – I can’t believe I forgot it was for. I wonder what species it’s set to?"

The process comes to an end, and the Doctor discovers every cell of Lucie’s biology has been rewritten by the device and now in body and soul she resembles Tara Palmer-Tompkinson. The true essence of Lucie Bleedin Miller is now contained in a funky novelty fob watch and the process can be reversed in a puff of CGI simply by opening it. As you can imagine, the Doctor doesn’t have any plans to do that for a while.

"So this device," the Doctor broods over the fob watch, "transforms you into a clone of famous British television personalities? How in the name of Rassilon’s speculum can that POSSIBLY be useful?!"

After an hour of Lucie/Tara NOT demanding for her MP3 player, hurling abuse at the Doctor for not worshipping her, or violent hormonal rages, the Time Lord realizes that this is the best thing to happen since he first met the annoying, duck-voice teenage girl. He is now free to roam history once more without fear of ridicule that he’s a pathetic train-spotter with no friends! Never again does he have to duck having notebooks and pencils thrown at him whenever he shows any interest in technology beyond battery-powered sex aides!

"DAMN IT!" the Doctor screams in ecstatic joy. "I JUST LOVE HAVING A NORMAL COMPANION FOR ONCE!!"

So the Doctor pilots the TARDIS to Cardiff in the year 1898 where the secret Touchwood underground electric railway has – due to a cockup in the paperwork – been made freely available to the Welsh to use as public transport. The Doctor and Tara board the train as it hurtles at twice its top speed at 67 kmph! If that wasn’t impressive enough, Tara doesn’t laugh at him for knowing or caring about this fact nor does she start droning on about her school excursions with her revolting friends from her sickening excuse of a childhood or even put in an MP3 player to deliberately fuck up the Web of Time for a laugh.

True, Tara may be a cocaine-addicted, chain-smoking, tone-deaf "it girl" wearing nothing under her trenchcoat... but at least she can talk like a normal human being and isn’t so unspeakably nasty be around all the time. Yes, the Eighth Doctor and Tara will be the best of companions! I mean, you may think Donna Noble is the greatest regular who ever was, but that’s just peanuts to these two! Ahem.

This well-adjusted duo decide to head to the dining car and get stuffed on period railway food and are soon eating whelk and chips with a Welsh art dealer with the unfortunate name of Frederick Simonson-Says and Tara takes pity on the poor sucker by just calling him "Simon". See? She’s THAT nice to people! It’s uncanny!

The Doctor, Tara and Simon are soon engaged in a very informed conversation about art, that they find fascinating and all us mere cultureless yobs find amazingly tedious. Things only get interesting when Simon chats about how he wants to give recognition to the greatest Welsh artist who has ever lived but for some reason hardly anyone seems to know about:

"Chester Tortellini!"

The Doctor bugs out his eyes, slams his butterknife through the tabletop and starts to shudder violently. "Nope, never heard of him," he mumbles while Tara agrees that Tortellini’s work IS streets ahead of any of his contemporaries – even though every last one of his works seem to have been destroyed in mysterious circumstances, but Simon is proud to own the two last pieces that HAVEN’T vanished off the face of the Earth and one of them is in fact on this very train!

"Oh good," the Doctor smiles, casually biting a chunk of out of his wine glass in a not-at-all-stressed manner.

Just then some random period extra runs in and reveals that there’s a thief aboard the train and has stolen Tortellini’s work. The Doctor is massively relieved until Simons explains he took a fake artwork aboard the train specifically to trick any thieves. "You’d be amazed how often people keep trying to steal or destroy his work," Simon explains. "It’s better to be safe than sorry."

Tara agrees, but all the Doctor can communicate is a painful Basil-Fawlty-type whimpering of despair.

Elsewhere on the train, the inappropriately-named Karen Nicegirl bludgeons random passengers to death with a frozen chicken as she fights her way to the carriage door and jumps from the moving train onto the back of horse charging along side the track. It is being ridden by severe leather-clad biker moll woman in sunglasses: the Headhunter incarnation of Ace!

Karen bitches that the original plan was for Ace to be piloting a hover-surfboard from Back to the Future II, but Ace decided it was much too camp – besides, you need to keep expenses down when stealing priceless artifacts from established history.

Especially when it turns out they haven’t stolen the diamond they were after but actually a rather oddly-shaped lollipop. Ace admits that she thought this might happen as it was a particularly obvious ploy, but didn’t expect Karen to be so bloody stupid as to fall for it. As punishment, Ace gives all Karen’s lunch to their horse, and tells her to think faster if she doesn’t want to die of malnutrition from now on.

Back on the train, Simon waffled on about his collection of Tortellini works he intends to display at the National Museum of Wales: a commissioned portrait Jesus on the golf course; a homage to Botticelli’s Venus in the shower room with all her girlfriends having a damp pillow fight; and Tortellini’s only known figurative sculpture – it depicts Tortellini himself, complete with huge angel wings, body-builder physique and terrifyingly large genitalia.

Tara idly keeps a photo of the statue for her own private purposes as the Doctor giggles hysterically and predicts that an exhibition of this work would revolutionize the entire view of human artistic progression, and then repeatedly begins to headbutt the table.

The moment Simon pops out to use the facilities the Doctor moans and bares his soul to Tara. "Chester Tortellini is an obscure 17th century
artist and the only reason he’s obscure is because I do my level best to keep the bastard that way!" he sobs. "Ever since I bumped into him at Bognor Regis I’ve had him discredited and destroyed any samples of his work I – or eBay – could possibly find!"

"...why?" asks Tara reasonably.

"Well. Reasons. Good reasons. Tortellini isn’t human, for one. And he was trying to become Pope by deed poll. You can’t just forgive something like that, can you? Oh, and his works, they tend to... warp the fabric of reality... change the people that look at them... and stuff. Look, Tara, the guy just simply bugs me, OK? Do I NEED a better reason to screw up his life?"

Tara suggests that, since Ace is clearly after Tortellini’s work, they should just chill out and let her steal it. But the Doctor refuses to have one of his totally random vendettas undercut by his unruly granddaughter and thus decides to approach the situation calmly and rationally and make an informed decision.

After a few minutes’ thought, the Doctor decides to bugger it and just steal the diamond before Ace and Karen can instead, then laugh in their faces. Just for the sheer hell of it, you know?

"Plus, we might be able to sell it to them for a profit," Tara points out cleverly. Christ, I love her.

Retreating into the TARDIS, the Doctor relocates the time machine to outside the art gallery in question. Tara points out that the noise of time and space rending apart will mean they can’t land inside the museum and start nicking things without alerting everyone, but the Doctor has pulled scams like this before – all they need is for the TARDIS to be carried into the museum and put next to the Tortellini collection so they can nick all the works in one go.

Tara wonders HOW they’re going to get Simon and his pals to stupidly carry a police telephone box into the art gallery and the Doctor admits he was kind of hoping SHE would be struck by inspiration at this moment cause he has absolutely no idea how to do it.

Luckily, Tara just happens to have a cunning plan and puts it into action – by swooning at the feet of the nearest security guard and wails, "Ooh, are you a common crook? Take what you will but don’t hurt me! Oh thank heavens you’re not a petty thief; I just came over all faint! Stay with me, you awfully good young man! You seem to be a very pleasant gentleman who looks like he could give a young girl a good time and make me feel a great deal better! Please, kind sir, could you help me make my way to a hotel room, I fear I shall succumb to sexual frustration and fall again without your assistance!"

Meanwhile, just around the corner, Ace and Karen are watching all this and sniggering uncontrollably. Karen wonders why a 21st century It Girl is slutting it up in the late 1890s but Ace notes that if they stopped to try and justify EVERY weird thing they witnessed, there just wouldn’t be enough hours in the day. Chalking this one down to experience, they continue their naughty plans...

In the local hotel, Tara gets Anders the security guard totally plastered on free booze and he spills the beans that only three extras are guarding the gallery as absolutely no one in their right minds would ever bother to rob a Welsh museum, but nonetheless it’s a responsible job making sure all the valuables get locked in the same poky broom cupboard and gives Tara incredibly detailed directions to get there.

As the drunken guard tries to get to first base, the Doctor kicks down the door and introduces himself as Lord Jethro Smythe, Tara’s psychotically-violent insanely-jealous skull-crushing guardian who is determined to maintain his ward’s purity and innocence no matter HOW many filthy Welsh punks have to die in the process.

Anders sensibly dives out the window to save his life while the Doctor reflects it’s been ages since he’s had to even PRETEND he gave a crap about his female companions associating with young men unescorted. "I mean, with Charley I’d have been wasting my breath and I never gave a crap what happened to Lucie or Lizard Boy..."

Outside, Anders has landed very hard on the ground and is trying to extract shard of window pane from his flesh without agitating his numerous compound fractures any further. His date have gone horribly wrong, Anders very stupid wonders aloud how things could POSSIBLY get any worse?

Before the words have finished leaving his lips, Ace and Karen drag him into an alleyway and use a buzz saw on his skull to cut his brain open. Ace takes out a psychic screwdriver (which, she assures the audience, she is a "dab hand" with and kiddies should not try this at home) and starts reprogramming Anders’ mind.

Ace explains to Karen that she could have bought a Sidlerian Memory Brainwave Rewriter, but this is easier, more reliable and above all cheaper. Indeed, it’s all technically Karen’s fault as all the funds Ace would normally use on funky alien tech are now Karen’s wages. Karen thinks performing back-street brain surgery in a genuine back street is simply unsanitary, but Ace points out that they can’t afford the cleaning bill if they performed frontal lobotomies in the hotel room.

Nevertheless, after five minutes of amateur neural surgery, Ace finishes up with Anders – he is now programmed to forget he ever met the pair but will obey their instructions instinctively and believe everything they say. Ace congratulates her surgery – no one would ever suspect that Anders has had his brain removed, shampooed, rinsed and put in back to front. There’s not a single scar.

OK, Anders DOES now believe he is Elvis Presley and is unable to speak beyond the words "cream cheese", but Ace is convinced no one will notice. After all, Elvis won’t be born for another 37 years and cream cheese IS a popular dish in 1890s Cardiff. Anders wanders off back to the museum, striking funky poses on the way.

"Let’s just hope there aren’t any pesky time travelers who might notice him and rumble us," says Karen, and Ace tells her to shut up and stop tempting fate.

In the hotel room above, the Doctor and Tara discuss their plan now they know when the artwork will arrive and which broom cupboard it’s going to be thrown into when no one will be looking. The Doctor considers extrapolating the perception filter option on their TARDIS keys, turning themselves invisible so they can just wander in and nick Tortellini’s work, but that sounds far too much like hard work.

Instead, he and Tara get drunk and the Doctor tell her about the time he met Robin Hood when he was courting the Sheriff of Nottingham. Unlike Lucie, Tara doesn’t keep interrupting and mocking the concept of a morally-sound thief and idolizing her own perfection. And this is a good thing, really.

The next day, Simon is hanging around the front of the gallery having a crafty smoke when Tara skips into view and explains she wants to sell an item of interest to the artistic community. "Yes, the infamous bigger-on-the-inside police telephone booth from the Great Exhibition near fifty years previously! The one Wellington himself wouldn’t shut up about that killed the French diplomats!"

Simon is delighted – and so he should be, as this bit of objets d’art isn’t just a painted-blue optic illusion, but also ties in with that other Eighth Doctor story, the appropriately-entitled Other Lies! With such internal continuity fitting together neatly, Simon is prepared to discuss cold hard cash in return for it, and immediately has it manhandled into the broom cupboard.

But if Simon had bothered to look upward during his brief tour of the time machine he would have seen the Doctor hanging upside down from the Chameleon Arch, humming the theme tune of Mission: Impossible to himself as he Trojan-Horses his way into the museum. Actually, it’s rather childish and embarrassing now I come to think of it.

Almost as shameful is finding out that Karen is ALSO humming the Mission: Impossible theme tune to herself as she creeps onto the roof. This is particularly stupid as she wants to be at the cellar and going up to the top floor isn’t exactly the quickest way to get there. "I know this building upside down!" she justifies to the audience, breaking the fourth wall completely. "Or was it back-to-front?"

Unaware of just how idiotic her partner in crime is, Ace arrives at the museum and launches into her side-splitting Belinda Neal impersonation, shouting "DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" and announces herself as Dorothy of Perivale, and storms into the museum.

She barges into Simon’s office and sees Tara Palmer-Tompkinson being paid a generous amount of triangular Welsh notes in return for the blue police box being carried towards a boot cupboard. As one of the few characters in this story NOT completely retarded, Ace realizes the trollop before her is an associate of her grandfather, the Doctor!

"Well," she says at length, "THIS is awkward."

Parte the Second

Since he’s not basically stupid, Simon suspects that the two women know each other... an impression strongly founded when Tara dropkicks Ace with a blow to the head and runs off. "Mmm, it seems her family are of lower quality than she claimed," Simon muses. "It just makes her more endearing, really."

Lucie runs over to the TARDIS and dives inside, explaining to the Doctor that some posh bird from Europe has turned up blown their cover by recognizing the TARDIS. Checking on the console monitor, the Doctor is mildly surprised to find it’s Ace!

"Oh, don’t worry about her, Tara," the Doctor assures his companion, "she’s probably playing a long con or something. Leave her to it – we have painting to vandalize and diamonds to steal!"

By the time the Doctor and Tara leave the TARDIS, they spot one of the guards – the one who acts like Elvis and keeps chanting the words "cream cheese" suddenly grabs the Black Diamond and throws it to Ace and Karen (who’s finally turned up) and they both laugh evilly.

"Oh, that’s just taking the piss!" the Doctor complains.

Suddenly, the one Tortellini artwork no one has tried to steal – that 12-foot-tall statue of Tortellini himself – starts making strange noises and starts to come to life. Deciding that this development is too shit-your-pants-spooky, Ace and Karen run for it, leaving Elvis the guard to use his pelvic thrusts to defeat the statue.

The statue rips "Elvis’s" head off his shoulders and tosses the corpse to one side, leading the Doctor to pronounce that "The King is dead!"

In the confusion, however, Tara kicks Karen in the head and steals back the Black Diamond and runs off. Ace decides she is getting too old for this shit and uses a can of Nitro-9 to blow up the statue and leaves everyone except her dazed and concussed.

Grabbing Karen and Tara, Ace reclaims the diamond and flees in a waiting carriage outside the art gallery and ride off into the night, laughing like madmen, and curiously evoking a cliffhanger from The Talents of Wong-Jing. Which is never a bad thing to do, in my humble opinion. Season 14 rocks.

Back in the ruined art gallery, the Doctor and Simon finally regain consciousness and the Doctor awkwardly apologizes for the actions of his pipe-bomb-wielding ex-granddaughter. As Simon is badly concussed and half-conscious, the Doctor decides the best thing to do is tell him the entire truth and hopes he buys it.

Simon, amazingly enough, does... though he IS more convinced by the 12-foot statue reforming, T2000-style and then lumbering off towards the local Touchwood Hub railway station. The Doctor decides that the time has come to kick bottom and he and Simon run into the slightly singed and partially buried TARDIS...

Ace, Karen and Tara are, in fact climbing aboard the 12:08 to Russia. Ace reveals she’s brought Tara aboard partially to act as insurance when the Doctor catches up and partially because she and Karen are quite interested in finding out what happened to "that Miller bimbo" and whether or not it was painfully disgusting?

Tara cannot help them, and sighing, Ace decides she might as well explain the whole evil plan to her. "I get a real nostalgia buzz doing it, for some reason. Plus, I always like to get feedback and constructive criticism wherever possible."

"Why don’t you ask my opinion?" Karen complains.

"There are many reasons. The first is, you’re a complete moron. The other reasons are too complicated for you to understand."

"Oh. Fair enough then."

"See what I mean?"

Ace goes on to explain that she has been hired by the infamous Goodies Inc to steal this precious Black Diamond – for it is not a mere jewel, but actually a bigger-on-the-inside dimensional bolt-hole compressing an entire self-sustaining universe a little under three light-years across into the size of a, well, a Black Diamond.

There is a sudden flash of light an elderly Italian-looking git is miraculously sitting in the compartment with them. He looks around in mild confusion and asks why he’s been summoned and Ace says she’s here to offer him a job. Tara asks who the strange man is and after checking that he’s still on Earth, he introduces himself as...


(Trust me, it works in context)

Tortellini explains, "I can understand your confusion. After that nasty business in Bognor, I just got sick of being persecuted by that Doctor. I decided to pack it all in since my plans to become pope were untenable, and just rule my own universe for a couple of centuries. I designed it myself you know. And I’m my own work critic, it appears, since it was dull, boring, tedious and the breasts on the nymphs were never practical. They just kept falling over and suffocating themselves all the time. Frankly, I was thinking of returning to reality anyway, and it’s nice to see young ladies with normal endowments for once. Would you like to strip naked and pose for some naughty postcards?"

Ace shakes her head. "I’m here to offer you a job on behalf of Goodies Inc. as official court artist for the Emperor Moby of new Korn empire. He’s aware of your particular sexual abnormalities and you’d receive very substantial concubines. Oh, and can I have the diamond? I know these Graxnix stormtroopers who would love to have it. They can collapse the universe inside into energy to power their time-shifts so they do some real carnage in the Temporal Difference of Opinion!"

"Sure, whatever," Tortellini shrugs. "Like I care!"

Tara, being a compassionate human being, is disgusted at this rampant genocide, but Karen spots a blue police box materializing on the platform and gets the hypnotized train driver (who now answering to the name Elvis Presley and crooning "cream cheese" at passers-by) to set the train in motion immediately.

The Doctor and Simon emerge from the TARDIS to see the train pull out from the station and swear mightily. Luckily, as this is 1898 and the train will take a good fifteen minutes to reach its top speed of 65 km per hour, they can easily stroll after the runaway train and leap aboard with no undue effort whatsoever.

Simon points out that the Doctor could easily have left him on the platform and got away, and the Doctor smacks his forehead repeatedly and headbutts the wall again and again.

Karen spots the Doctor and Simon and tells the others. Tortellini moans in abject despair and begins to headbutt the wall. "THE Doctor? Oh what a certain crushing inevitability!"

Since they can’t just teleport to safety without technobabble causing the Black Diamond to turn to warm tapioca, Ace decides to stick it out on the train and blow Tara’s head off if the Doctor gives them any trouble. Ace and Karen apologize for this, as it would be much easier if it was Lucie Miller they were threatening to kill, since everyone hates her guts anyway.

Using their mighty powers of rudeness and the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor and Simon easily make their way through the crowded compartments to the carriage with the rest of the speaking cast. "THIS is the Doctor?" marvels Tortellini. "You looked very different on the last occasion we met – did you do something to your hair?"

Simon is amazed to see the real life Tortellini and, rather unhelpfully, demands an autograph before the time travelers can begin hostage negotiations. Finally, the Doctor is allowed to ask Ace and Karen not to shoot Tara in the head but Tara – noble and virtuous girl she is – is more concerned of the fate of the diamond universe that Ace intends to break down into fuel and sell.

The Doctor is delighted! At last, a companion who DOESN’T criticize the idea of pocket universes inside diamonds as being derivative from Men In Black and insulting absolutely everybody!

Horrified at Tortellini’s acceptance of this genocide, Simon can only ask, "Whatever happened to you, man? You used to be cool!"

Tortellini is far more troubled about the Guardian he created to watch over the diamond while he was inside it. Ace realizes he’s talking about the statue and explains she blew it up with a pipe bomb, but trails off as heavy footsteps are heard on the roof above.

Suddenly the entire ceiling caves in as a mighty stone fist smashes
Through, and the terrific shape of the statue sticks its head inside to shout at Ace to hand over the motherfucking diamond! Tortellini tries to order the statue to back off, but like all pretentious artists, he naively assumed that his artworks would worship him. However, two hundred years in various galleries have made the statue see Tortellini for the derivative piss-artist he is!

The statue wants the diamond so Ace sensible throws Karen at it and runs for her life, only to be tripped over by Tara in an Avengers-esque moment of cat fight glory, before punching the Headhunter repeatedly in the face. After admiring the girl fight, the Doctor throws the diamond to the statue and asks him to bugger off please?

The statue happily takes the diamond and fractures it, spilling the little pocket universe into the gap between realities where it can exist independently in a massive 5-D upload. This is represented with a funky wahwah noise with lots of reverb.

Tortellini is a bit pissed off with this, since he’s a total control freak who hates for his worlds to continue without him ruling them. Simon declares Tortellini a complete asshole and knees him in the groin until the artist falls into a coma.

Now free from all his obligations, the Guardian decides to hang around in the wild Welsh woods and see if he can meet up with the stone trolls reputed to live near Brecon.

Now decidedly bored, the Doctor tells the battered and bruised Ace and Karen to take Tortellini and get the hell out of his sight before he gets angry. "You thought I was joking when I threatened to give you a jolly good smacked bottom?" he roars. "Well, think again!"

The duplicitous duo hop off the train, dragging Tortellini aboard Ace’s TARDIS (still disguised as a black minicab with freakishly huge monster truck wheels). In the red-and-burgundy interior, Ace bitches to Karen that she’ll have to avoid the 41st century and the Graxnix from now on – but at least they’ll have the fun of serious what the notoriously fickle Emperor Moby does with Tortellini when he gets bored of the unimaginative artwork...

Back aboard the train, the Doctor thinks they’ve done enough for
Today and Simon fancies a spot of dinner in the restaurant car. The Doctor hopes they haven’t missed suppertime.

"What IS the time, anyway?" asks Tara and, before the Doctor can stop her, flips open the fob watch to check the time. Instantly there is a pulse of orange light that envelopes Tara, turning to a white glare that fades to reveal the bloated Lucie Miller standing there in a frock, holding an empty fob watch and, all in all, looking confused.

"What the bloody hell just happened there?" she boggles.

The Doctor stumbles off to find himself a drink, swearing violently all the while, leaving Lucie behind demanding someone tell her what is actually going on.

And while this jolly escapade has been going on, the Time Lords’ most powerful ally (the Gelth of Gelthos) have fallen to the dark force behind the Dustbins – the Moxx of Baloon, who encourages the four-dimensional war to boost ratings for his higher evolutionary docudrama! Then, to keep the viewers interested, the Moxx destroys the Dustbin’s fifth fleet as it wages war on the people of the Delicatessen Galaxy and allows Jean-Paul Satre to liberate the Delis.

Sequences like this just convince me RTD is right and the Temporal Difference of Opinion is really not worth showing to the populace.

Next Time...
"Ha! Look at this place and save me the hassle of describing the linen tablecloths and the fizzy water in crystal glances!"
"I could murder some pickles and raw sewage right about now."
"Hideous fetus-like warlords from the deepest, murkiest fathoms... I hate babies, even the ones who don’t grow up to be Richard E Grant."
"Great. The Doctor. AGAIN! Why don’t you just leave us alone?"
"Tarrant! What was that?"
"A monster from 1976 resurrected out of sheer Tom Baker nostalgia."
"They’re called the Bygones. Quite appropriate, really."
"Oh my god! I can’t see my feet anymore!"
...The Bygone Who Sold The World...

Book(s)/Other Related -
Dr Who Discovers The Fin De Siècle Is Very, Very Boring
Doctor Who & The Cardiff Job
Ace’s Cosmic Capers

Fluffs – Paul McGann seemed armed and dangerous in this story.
"It is 1898 and I am but a woman, in an age where attempting to read the morning newspaper is forbidden on pain of having one’s ovaries spontaneously combust..."

Goofs –
**WHAT** grand theft auto!?!?

Fashion Victims -
It turns out Lucie is several cup sizes larger in her normal body than her Tara Palmer-Tompkinson form, so when she shifts from the latter to the former, there is some "popping out" involved. Heheheh.

Technobabble -
Tortellini’s artwork is soaked in "disposable flatulence energy" that the sheep-like public mistake for exciting innovation.

Links and References -
The Doctor decides to try the Chameleon Arch himself in "Human Nature", but only manages to turn his MIND into that of Hugh Grant, not his body. The Bastard, however, easily transforms every aspect of himself into Sir Derek Jacobi two episodes later in "Dystopia".

Untelevised Misadventures -
It was the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe who first encountered Tortellini’s artwork and, when they realized it actually looked WORSE than what the Doctor was wearing, vowed to save the world from this tat, a quest all his subsequent incarnations have continued. The Fourth and Second Doctors also got involved for the sheer hell of art theft and dressing up as a gallery cleaner respectively.

So, yes, this is ANOTHER sequel totally reliant on a previous story no one in the entire universe has seen. Hoo-bloody-hooray.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The outtakes where Lucie/Tara is played by Nicholas Briggs and the Doctor by Katarina Olssen. I can see why these extras were included, but not why the original material existed in the first place. Dear God, Big Finish – HAVE YOU NO SHAME?!?

Dialogue Disasters –

Doctor: Only once person could steal that diamond!
Tara: Adam Worth?
Tara: AJ Raffles?
Doctor: No, Ace and Karen Nicegirl!
Tara: Who?
Doctor: My estranged regenerated granddaughter and that woman Lucie was regularly mistaken for by the Time Lords.
Tara: It isn’t ringing any bells.
Doctor: Alien war machines? Cybermen? The Magician? You were wearing that blouse with all the rainbows on it and that denim jacket?
Tara: Oh THEM!
Doctor: Yes! The question is: what are they doing here and now?
Tara: Stealing the diamond, maybe?
Doctor: ...BRILLIANT!!

The Doctor on Ace’s new career path:
"What a tremendously tedious job you have!"

Simon: I acquired this statue for the gallery three years ago. I’ve examined it extensively and with reference to sketches made by Tortellini, I can confidently verify it as his work. He never ONCE mentioned the bloody thing walked! I can’t believe no one mentioned something like that, can you?!

Karen: A universe stuffed inside a single crystal? Like I haven’t heard that one before!
Ace: Sorry. Hope you weren’t expecting anything more original.
Karen: It just better not be on a cat’s belt, that’s all I’m saying.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Simon: The thieves have stolen a decoy!
Doctor: So where’s the genuine article?
Simon: Ah, I’d prefer not to reveal that.
Doctor: Don’t make me torture it out of you, Simon!
Simon: ...what?
Tara: Hahaha! Nothing! Oh, what an interesting table cloth!

Karen: We’re gonna rip his brain out in an alleyway?
Ace: Unless you can think of a way to get him up to the hotel room unconscious without anyone noticing or querying it, then yes? Can you think of a way?
Ace: There you go. Don’t say I never consult you.
Karen: You never consult me.
Ace: No DON’T say that.
Karen: Oh. Sorry.
Ace: Give me strength.

Doctor: I should have realized!
Karen: Yeah, that WAS really dumb of you!
Doctor: Oh shut the hell up, Karen! You’re as bad as Lucie nowadays! Stupid cow...

Ace: I shoulda known you’d set your tart on me!
Tara: I’m not going to rise to that.
Ace: Oh. You aren’t? Well that’s no fun, is it?
You can be awed later.

Stuart: I say, that’s my steak you’re treading on!
Gordon: AND there are bits of roof in my wine!
Stuart: Oh, for an honest British kebab...

Anders: It’s a secret, you see. I haven’t seen it, but it’s shaped like a diamond and it’s a sort of shiny black colour which MIGHT be why its called the Black Diamond... ere, Ms Palmer-Tompkinson, this Merlot takes distinctly of sodium pentathol!
Tara: Oh? Well, it must have been corked in the bottle.
Anders: Mmm. Mustabeen... is that the floor rushing up to meet my face?
(He collapses unconscious.)

UnQuotable Quote -
Tara: But darling if I didn’t ask the dumb questions, you wouldn’t have
the smart answers, now would you?

Viewer Quotes -

"Edward Elizabeth Hitler doesn’t yet strike me as a DEFINING voice in the Doctor Who world, more a sort of drunken obscene phone call from the Lamb & Flag, but he has quickly become one of the most reliable sources for sex, drugs, jugs, rock-and-roll and scripts so loosely-plotted they void their bowels on the bathroom floor – and that’s exactly what we get with Grand Theft Auto: Cardiff, 1898, the hideous shit-stains of Eddie Hitler. The diarrhea of a madman, in fact."
– Richie Rich (2008)

"Ace rocks. Tara rocks. Lucie can go to hell." – Eve Markson (2008)

"Oh, how I long for a gothic six-parter devoid of this usual pleasant light-hearted romp! Why do people insist on snappy, witty, clever and enjoyable stories as the highlight of the season? I don’t listen to Doctor Who to ENJOY myself! I want the Bastard fighting UNIT and chemical plants dumping craploads of toxic waste in infant schools! The golden age of Who requires innocent lower-class children having their faces ripped from their bones!" – Mark Goacher (2008)

"If a recording exists of Nick Briggs doing all the other voices in the play... then I’m not remotely surprised." - Sarah Ferguson (2008)

"Probably the best of this series so far, it was a riot with lashing of unnecessary violence and an overabundance of religious intolerance and racial hatred! Or am I talking about Cronulla? I get confused."
- Claire Hooper (2008)

"This is the first Eighth Doctor story I’ve heard. I thought it was pretty good. It could have been better of course. I found it lacked subtext. And Paul McGann isn’t canon, anyway." – Alan Stevens (2009)

"The highlight was definitely the bits without Lucie. Screw Sally Sparrow, it’s Ms Parker-Tomkinson I’ll weep over!! Oh, Tara, baby, please come back! I need you, girl! Oh, baby, I’m so sorry... don’t leave me again, baby, come back, I’m sorry, come back!"
– Nigel Verkoff shamelessly plagiarizes the heartbreaking ending to that episode of Buffy where Willow gets an unwilling sex change into the man who killed her girlfriend because out of context it might make him sound all passionate and sexy (2008)

"Unlike Harpo Marx, here is a man whose voice was born for audio!"
– no idea I just really wanted to use this retarded quote

"Why are you all staring at me like that all of a sudden? You’re looking at me like I’ve gone mad or something! How dare you all! I have a degree! Don’t you respect me?" – Mark Goacher (2008)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"There seems to be a running theme this year of "created" communities being isolated somewhere - the "dead" Cardiff, the island community in
Brave New World, and the pocket universe included here - although no-one on the production team seems to discuss this being deliberate. You know why? Because it’s NOT deliberate! It’s all a random collection of cliches that just happen to coincide! GOD DOES NOT EXIST! Now put the toothbrush down, Nick. Seriously..."

Paul McGann Speaks!
"Working without Sheridan this time was kind of like working with blue screen, green screen, all the colours in the eye of the duck. But it’s one of the things you get used to, you get used to farmyard animals in the recording studio. Playing a love scene to a hole in the air is surprisingly more difficult to do than playing a love scene to a duck. Or a dead rabbit, as I found out doing Nature Boy. It’s a very sort of Blitz spirit where you all muck in, even the poultry. Was the Bastard in this story? I honestly don’t remember, so I’ll let the anoraks sort it out. You know what, folks, you’ll never know what the hell I’m actually talking about! YOU’LL NEVER KNOW!"

Sheridan Smith Speaks!
"I have a clinical phobia of Grand Theft Auto after a walking accident in Saffron Waldon, so they had to lose a lot of the mindless violence, prostitute murder, gangland warfare and criminal interaction. But they refused to change the name. I got so traumatized I actually had to record it separate from everyone else, in a cardboard box down by the motorway with Nick Briggs telling me what to say. Looking back at it, maybe he wasn’t the most trustworthy of folk to do that."

Eddie Hitler Speaks!
"As a writer, it’s very easy to unconsciously repeat yourself – especially after what I drink on a Friday night. You think you’ve had a brilliantly original idea and then the next thing you know, that 'brilliantly original idea' was to vomit up those last 86 pints of mild onto a policeman and challenge him to ram his ASP up your bottom. Yeah, in the cold light of day, when you’re in the police cell with blood on your hands and a baton up your arse, you find yourself wondering what the hell is wrong with your life. And then you write it down and turn it into a brilliantly topical Doctor Who audio adventure. Sigh."

Trivia -
Following the release of this story, BBC Wales received a record 10, 2070 abusive telephone calls demanding to know why Russell T Davies had not yet requested Edward Hitler "the master of the one liner and the best Big Finish writer ever" to take over as head writer of the TV show. This lead to the public declaration that Steven Moffat was going to replace RTD and "bald alcoholic loons in glasses need not apply".

Rumors & Facts -

With its quasi-historical eurosoup setting a lazy comparison would be Paris Sucks with its reliance on the affairs of artists, potential fun with temporal anomalies, breaking in and out of a chateau and people hitting each other over the head. It’s not quite as good or timeless as that (obviously – I don’t see Lalla Ward in schoolgirl outfit in THIS story, do you?) but it focuses on etiquette and people’s inability to focus on anything that doesn’t specifically affect them. Never mind the great living statue knocking holes in the roof of the dining car, what about the bits of masonry falling in my soup? How American!

After Hostile Takeover, Eddie Hitler wanted to pull off a criminal heist. But that’s neither here nor there, though it DID provide a possible idea for a story to write while he hid from the police.

Hitler’s story idea was a criminal tale involving the banter of Oceans-Eleven-type thieves, blowing the doors off safes, robbing banks and all sorts of cool stuff Doctor Who had never done before. Or at least not done well previously. For Hitler’s plan was to use this Doctor Who story to plan out the perfect crime under the cunning disguise of hokey escapism for sci-fi nerds.

Originally Hitler wanted this story to be an opening four-parter semi-futuristic blag with the return of Ace the Headhunter and Karen Nicegirl for no other reason that it saved a lot of time and effort coming up with characters. But not wanting the fuzz to suspect anything undue, Hitler chose a later slot to work on the plot – which, at the time, focussed on gangland mentality in relation to stealing a laptop full of hardcore pornography from contemporary Stockholm with a boat.

However, the rest of the production team – totally unaware the story was a dry run for raiding two million pounds worth of diamonds from Masters and Johnson’s without the cops finding out – pointed out that any half-sensible time traveler would go back in history to when everything was a lot less sophisticated and easy to steal.

Hitler couldn’t argue with the logic of that, but since he didn’t actually have a time machine to hand at the moment it meant that he’d have to call off the entire bank heist. Depressed, Hitler found solace where he could – in pints of larger, the arms of Nasty Linda the prostitute, and in the delights of Grand Theft Auto computer games.

After playing GTA2 for approximately thirty hours straight, Hitler was convinced that all he needed to do was find Anywhere, USA by the year 2013 and three weeks and become King of the City by any means necessary and he’d be set up for life. Thus, he decided his story could be "Grand Theft Auto: Cardiff" as a tribute to the secular Welshness of the new TV series and plan out his conquest of the business, residential and industrial districts. Hitler’s plot concerned the Doctor and Lucie storming a mental institution, the Elvis-themed DisGraceLands trailer park and a combined Krishna temple and nuclear power plant as they fought off the criminal gangs the Zarbi, the Monoids, the Snotarans, the Boord, the Protons and the Hare Krishnas!

However, no one was quite sure that dramatizing a PC game as an audio drama was a good thing to do – not only were there all those legal problems and rights disputes, but it was really, really pathetic to use PlayStation console games for plots rather than coming up with their own. What’s more, due to severe childhood traumas, Sheridan Smith refused point blank to take part in car-stealing, telephone-answering, gang-coordinating, police-avoiding, SWAT-Team-massacring, pedestrian-slaughtering kill frenzy. In a fit of pique, Hitler fired her and wrote in the beginning of the story to introduce a brand new companion called Tara Palmer-Tompkinson. Tragically, the only actor they had to play the new companion was Nicholas Briggs and before the day was over Hitler was hastily writing Smith BACK into the show as fast as he could.

By this time however, it was quite clear that the whole "GTA vibe" needing toning down as, apart from everything else RTD thought it was a brilliant idea and planned to use it at some point in the following twenty-five years. Thus the cliffhanger where the Doctor and Ace the Headhunter entered a church to save their game, only for the Doctor to realize he’s lost the $50,000 required and the voice of God to shout "Damnation! No donation, no salvation!" had to be lost, as well as the scenes with Tara commandeering a tank and Karen Nicegirl tricking civilians into entering a bus, driving them to a meat processing plant and having them all turned into dog food. Many drafts of the script kept the famous Hare Krishna Orgy sequences though, until RTD decided he wanted some of that action for himself as well.

With the story set in the nineteenth century, all the occasions where the Doctor and/or Ace ran over pedestrians without stopping or breaking had to be relocated to horseback, and then dropped altogether as trampling people to death just isn’t the same on audio. The high number of Elvis impersonators at Chernobyl Docks were written out as well, though one survives in the finished story, which kept the "Grand Theft Auto" title out of sheer bloody mindedness.

Tragically, the finished result comes across as the most boringly typical and traditional Eighth Doctor adventure available – alien art thieves, living statues, stolen paintings... EVERYONE DOES THAT! I can think of no less than 24, 097 separate audios, comic strips and full-length tie-in novels dealing with the exact same topic. But, no, I’m NOT going to list them here. YOU work it out, bitch!

Basically, if you think your life NEEDS a witty heist caper with Paul McGann, the TARDIS in an art gallery, returning villains and the Doctor saving an entire... albeit pathetically small universe... but outwitting absolutely everyone and everything, then Grand Theft Auto: Cardiff, 1898 is the story for you.

And IF Grand Theft Auto: Cardiff, 1898 is the story for you, my friend, then you very probably require some immediate and intensive psychiatric help. Good luck with that, weirdo!

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