One Hundred And Thirty-Eighth Entry in the YOA Unauthorized Programme Guide Finite Imagination Appendix O' Euroskepticism
2D - The Price of Paris -
Set somewhere, somewhen, and with some stuff happening to some people. I could be more specific, but it would just be depressing.
The Doctor encounters a civilization which plagiarizes Orwell's "1984" incredibly badly, like someone that heard that MAYBE Big Brother was named after some literary reference, but was never bothered to get off their arse and check.
No war, no crime, no poverty, no decent toilet facilities, no traffic control, no end of stripy jumpers, berets and bundles of garlic... the makings of Paris. But at what price? I've no idea, the exchange rate is ridiculous. Sex is out of control, "restraint" is an unknown word, and the system is so rigid those that cannot adapt become nihilistic and doze in wine bars and cafes. Can the Doctor and Dara show the French that there's no use living in Paris when you have no English tourists to vandalize it?
Of course, none of this would be acceptable to a Time Lord who laughs in the face of authority, tweaks the nose of dictatorship, drops ice cubes down the vest of dynastic rulership, and just because a community knows no war or poverty doesn't mean he's not going to utterly destroy it in four episodes flat!
Only a band of Existentialists living in the undercity ossuary provide hope to a mediocre plotline which knows no thought. Generic rebels who live off the rats and perhaps each other as they struggle to survive which the Doctor can unite and use as canon fodder in his off-the-top-of-his-head battle against the French President!
After the Doctor maroons the TARDIS for two weeks in the depths of the time vortex to master a single and very simple coin trick, Mark Tryhard is left alone in the company of Dara Hamilton of goes completely and utterly insane.
The Doctor complains that Mark's gibbering screams and mindless vandalism is spoiling his concentration and so decides to travel to a peaceful pastoral planet of primitive rural communities they can offload Mark to become a mythological serial killer.
Instead the TARDIS arrives in France in the 68th century, where Paris has now been placed inside a huge biodome following the incredibly horrific Fashion Wars of the sixth millennium. Leaving Mark to dance madly around the control room, the Doctor and Dara head for the domed city to break in and get some nice cakes and duty free.
Upon gaining entry, the find a robotic-like citizenry who have no concept of "politeness", "decorum", or even "toothpaste" which proves without doubt that French culture truly is indomitable. Mistaken for one of the city's Gendarme thanks to his use of a police box, the Doctor is taken to meet the Commissioner of Public Safety, F.W.D. Clurc, for a bottle of red wine and a romantic dinner.
Meanwhile, Dara attempts to use one of the squat toilets and is mistakenly identified as the main star in Filini's most popular short film "Retrorenegade 93/795 Goes Existential!" Dara is at first going to be taken to an orgy, but is instead assigned to work in a soup kitchen under the care of Chief Hesson who has 89, 6273 other moist, highly experienced teenage girls in his kitchen working under him. Literally.
As he and Clurc crack open another bottle of wine, the Doctor learns that the entire country of France is run on an orderly plan where each meat puppet (i.e. French Person) is allotted so much resources - be it air, food, clothing, contraceptives and KY jelly - and so much work is expected, but in true Parisian faction, they just shag each other all day, each chocolate bread and get nothing done bar a few derivative paintings and a sexually transmitted disease here or there.
So detailed is the plan that every minute of every day is planned for every person, and Committee of Public Safety ensure the number of sexual partners is spread evenly over Paris and everyone still has time to sit back and enjoy sunsets and smell the roses.
Before the Doctor, under the guise of being a foreign exchange student, can order another plate of after-dinner mint chocolates, the mysterious President Jean-Luc Claudius appears on the massive HD plasma television screens that are dotted throughout the city, allowing the ruler who no one has ever met in person to issue instructions and propaganda.
The President contacts Clurc and informs him that the Doctor is an impostor with an expired VISA that is actually a UNIT pass card with a smiley face stamp all over it. The Doctor will be thoroughly debagged and deported, but just in time to resolve a cliffhanger the President learns of a disaster happening at Hesson's Sexy Soup Kitchen of Lust...
It seems that Dara has been talking with Hesson's 89, 6273 concubines and was trying to persuade them that she is really hot and popular and while the life of a mindless drone is not the life for any human, all the girls here should immediately kowtow to her beauty.
The President monitors this conversation and, after checking it will not lead to either pillow fight or teenage lesbian orgy, orders the entire soup kitchen sold to Madam Selway's House for Wayward Promiscuity. Upon realizing she can't hold a torch to any of the other high class sophisticated prostitutes, Dara escapes into the sewers and Hesson follows in the hope she trips and drowns.
In the Paris Ossuary, Dara and Hesson eventually meet up with a group of 738, 1249 Existentialists who live in the underground led by Roland the Rat. There, Dara stirs them up into actually rebelling against the Gendarmes by doing a floorshow and singing "Life Is A Cabaret Old Chum". The Existentialists prefer their nihilistic skulking around in the undercity living off of rats and cointreau, but decide to form a good old fashioned lynch mob on the grounds real socialism is just social realism backwards.
Dara has no idea what they are talking about, but nevertheless her and her army sneak into Paris via one of the squat toilets outside the Immigration Centre where the Doctor's rousing rendition of "I Love The French, BUT..." is not helping his case or letting him get some cheap wine for Le Shuttle.
As the Existentialists head into the Centre to free the Doctor, the Gendarmes easily trap them with a few strips of DO NOT CROSS banner which stops them dead in their tracks. Depressed by such stupidity, the Doctor uses some scissors to cut down the barrier, and he and the rest of the American eurotrash escape again.
The Doctor decides it's time to overthrow the President once and for all and immediately takes over Dara's rebellion and clips her round the ear for thinking, even speculating, she might have the brain cells to actually do something useful. Dara threatens to tell everyone about some of the dark incriminating secrets the Doctor accidentally revealed in his post-regenerative delirium and the Time Lord laughs uproarishly, tells Hesson and the rest to wait outside, and threatens to snap Dara's neck if she even tries that.
Stuff happens and the Doctor and Dara finally meet the President who turns out NOT to be a large computer whose orders were to meet the needs of the people of the city, and - in the mind of a computer - the only way to meet the needs of the people is for the people to be completely controlled. He's just some really irritating control freak.
The Doctor tells the President that the French will always need an intake of easy foreigners to swindle and seduce, and that the only time when a Frenchman has no needs is when he no longer exists.
The President assumes that the Doctor was speaking philosophically, but the Time Lord insits that seriously, killing the whole population of Paris would be the perfect way for the President to fulfil his function.
Hesson and Roland the Rat are a bit pissed off the revolutionary leader is trying to destroy their city, but the Doctor shuffles his feet and explains he was kinda getting a bit bored, and now he can have fun saving Paris from being blown to smithereens.
As the President primes a handy nuclear warhead named Big Emma which he keeps around the place just for this sort of emergency, the Doctor and Dara realize they've left the rescue a little bit late and flee in the TARDIS.
However, they have forgotten about the criminally insane Mark who has taken up rabbit breeding in their absence. As he chases the Doctor and Dara around the console with a switched-on chainsaw, the out of control TARDIS appears inside the bio dome and flies around like a Spanish flea before striking the Eiffel Tower, which topples over and squashes the President before he can press the red button. This orgy of violence and destruction is just what Mark needs to release his frustrations and he returns to normal.
Now the French - no longer "meat puppets" - have their own lives back, the Doctor and Dara decide they best leave before the clueless inhabitants realize the highly-regimented, automatic society is destroyed and that they have no idea how to cope without a fascist dictator running life for them.
As a parting gift, Mark releases his pet rabbits out of the TARDIS to make life that much harder for the French as they struggle to fend for themselves.
Books/Other Related Material-
Doctor Who Versus Existentialism
Dr Who - Eurotrip (Canada Only)
"They multiply faster than Tribbles!" Rabbit Breeding for Star Trek Fans
Links and References -
So horrified by the fact his companions fell for the Bastard's appalling impersonation of him in "A Polygon", the paranoid Doctor locks off the TARDIS console to give him exclusive control to the time machine and hides the fizzy drink machine.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor once woke up stark naked in the middle of the Houses of Parliament.
Dialogue Train Wrecks
Dara: Quite literally, Paris.
Doctor: But at what price?
Walter: Look at us! Herded around like cattle, told to go here and do this and be that... The dogs have it better than us! I tell you, I'm thinking about going... EXISTENTIAL!!!!!
Hesson: You can't be serious?!? But Walter, you're fed, clothed, taken care of, every need you have is fulfilled! The Existentialists have none of that! Here, we have life!
Walter: This isn't life! It's existence!
Hesson: You're one of them already!
Doctor: So, tell me. Who is the leader of this rebellion the President spoke of?
Dara: Uh... I am, Doctor.
Doctor: YOU?! DARA?!? In charge of this lot?! The one who seems to have all the Gendarme running around in a tizzy? YOU?!
Dara: Yes, Doctor. I'm totally popular and cool, cause, I'm like, so hot. Who else could pull off that kind of rebellion?
Doctor: Hah! Stealing packets of chips from a vending machine, you call THAT a rebellion?!
Dara: It SO is! It is a brilliant rebellion and I'm not sorry about it!
Doctor: SORRY?! Is that what you have to say for yourself?! SORRY?! Course you should be sorry! There's been no carnage, no collateral damage, civilian casualties or anything! "Rebellion", indeed! I'LL show you how to run a rebellion if I have to wipe out the entire French nation!
Doctor: Sometimes you have to burn your hand to learn that the stove is hot. Or, you know, you can check the dial. Or just look at it, cause they orange turn bright orange. Or you can spit on it and see if it sizzles. There are many ways to learn that the stove is hot. But only one way GUARANTEES third degree burns.
President: It is the heart and soul of our community. It is what defines us. Take a look around you. It is through the program we are all able to live in harmony with each other and with nature. Through the program, everyone's needs are met! Don't you think?
Doctor: I, sir, do not have a program! Well, not since 1989...
Doctor: I love the French!
Dara: You LOVE those bastards?! Why?!
Doctor: It's just...
I like to walk
Along the rue de San Lagare,
Where man can live
And love without a care!
I fill my lungs
With air that's fresh and clear!
Then I like to walk along
The rue de San Lagare!
I like to stroll
Along the Centre de Pompidou!
Comes sweeping into view.
Dara: [Interrupts] What's the Carapel?
Doctor: The Eiffel Tower.
Doctor: Where was I? Oh yes...
All say "Bonjour Miseur,
I'd like to walk with you
Along the Cote d'Azur."
I love the French...
Dara: ...Even though they're arrogant?
They laugh aloud
When you order a croissant!
They come over here
And for it we won't forgive 'em.
First they steal our jobs,
And then they steal our women!
Doctor: Yes, they do, don't thy?
Dara: And our bloody men! And our sheep!
Doctor: Yes... actually, the French ARE a bunch of assholes, now I think about it.
"The acting was brilliant - even thought it's obvious that Sheri Devine provides half the voices in a ridiculous Allo Allo accent, it still seems as though there were several actresses in the studio if you take the right amount of heroin! It was a great idea to have a Doctor Who story in which a single computer can control an entire community, which must be why they've done it a million times before! One day, the situation is bound to occur in real life, just on statistical possibility! A nice glimpse into the future - and it don't have no Frenchies in it! BACK OFF, BRUSSELS!" - Gareth Evans (2001)
"This the best story ever! It's a total rip off of The Fun Makers and File to Doomsday, but with a different Doctor and companion! Plus, the sound quality is atrocious to boot! Great, great, great!" - Isaac Poulton (2007)
"A great addition to the entire Doctor Who community assuming you hated that community and wanted them to suffer like the souls of the damned. If I personally had a choice to make one of these SCADs into a visual adventure that would drive RTD to suicide, this would definitely be in my list for consideration! I'd recommend this one to anybody I hate!"
- Dave Restal (2005)
"A story that ditches Mark and focuses on Dara over the Doctor and makes us hate her more. Whoopee. All in all, there's nothing particularly exciting or original here. The Price of Paris? The Fun Makers did it better. Still, at least they're not COMPLETELY plagiarizing stories any more. Just generically plagiarizing..."
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (Dec 2003)
"One of the most Anti-French Doctor Who stories in a long time, The Price of Paris is a shining example of good science fiction with a strong foundation to it is not necessary to be a closed-mind little racist. There may have been other "French Are Assholes" stories before, but the sheer intensity of xenophobia in Paris makes one pause to think, and then trash the nearest embassy. Some frightening parallels can be found in this story and what many people are saying is happening to society today, but only if you and they are simultaneously complete morons. Sheri Devine really gets to annoy as Dara in this story. The Doctor, pretty much being regulated to the background for most of the story, allows Dara to fuck up any interesting bits. We also get to see Dara really IS just fluff, being unable to hold her own at all when so much as a vending machine jams. The mad bitch, you gotta love her!" - The Jeffrey Coburn Handbook (2005)
Jeffrey Coburn Speaks!
"I was vaguely distracted by The Price of Paris. There was a lot of depth to it, one of those stories which made you think what utter bastards those sex-obsessed Nazi collaborators are. And I thought it was a good debut story for the Doctor. Yes, A Polygon was the first story to feature the new Doctor, but the first story is always fraught with the problems of regeneration and the fact it was still David Segal playing it, so this was actually the first chance to get to see the new Doctor. I know. What a fucking liberty.
Paris was an excellent story for my Doctor to shine. Just a pity he didn't. And I don't understand why they cut Mark Tryhad out of the story. I heard Peter was very pissed off by that, and the rest of us were pissed off that we had to put up with Dara instead.
This would have been a great story for him to be in rather than Dara - but then, I can't think of a story so bad it would work better with more Dara action. But those crazy, crazy bastards wanted Sheri and I to do our thing, assuming that the fact all concerned hated the character of Dara would be easily overcome if we put up with three times more of her than normal. A third character who you DIDN'T want to die would have been too much, apparently.
I didn't really agree with that. Neither did the rest of the English-speaking world.
Peter is an excellent actor, but I admit that I've always felt sorry for him because he was typecast due to the type of voice he had: deep and commanding. So he would always get the "executive officer" parts, which is really a pity as he does such a broad range. That time I accidentally rang Telephone Sex Gardening Division, and he was there in Turnip Use 101. The man's a genius.
I'd say that even the writers were afraid of Peter's character, as Mark Tryhard was so commanding a presence that he would detract from everyone else around him. I mean, Peter could easily announce that his trousers were made of the skins of dead barracudas and you'd BELIEVE it! He could come up with any old shit off the top of his head and always be totally convincing. That's why there are a couple of stories where Peter had only a cameo appearance - he was actually not supposed to be in them at all, but he was so good he'd just turn up, knock over a few tables, call everyone retards and somehow it was so in-character and credible it just HAD to go in!
All that stuff going psycho in the TARDIS? Completely improvised. You'd never guess."
Rumours, Slander, and Libel
As 1994 began it occured to Douglas Phillips, Thrice-Endowed Supreme Master Producer and High Overlord Commander of the Doctor Who Audio Series and Admiral of the Self-Congratulatory Marshall Fan Base Chamber that he had created a brand new Doctor and a brand new companion and after a whole year hadn't done a new story with either of them.
Thus it was decided to get a new story to showcase the magician obsessed version of the Doctor and his immature school girl slut bimbo bitch companion Dara, who speaks only of her own hotness and is not even a percentage as attractive, intelligent, brave or popular as she endlessly boasts.
The other companion character, Mark Tryhard was deliberately ignored as the actor Peter Hinchman was so professional and believable he was making everyone else look like the incompetent time-wasters they really were.
Thus, a four episode story was commissioned from Robin-Mary Manseth, who had previously penned a David Segal story named "The Lust Colony". Unlike the majority of SCAD writers, Manseth didn't simply plagiarize Doctor Who scripts, but diversified into Blake's 7 as well. Thus, her strengths were ostensibly utopian surroundings with dark secrets that must be stopped and was so completely typical of Doctor Who it might as well have been ripped off from The Fun Makers, The Protons, The Mysterious Sandwich, The Macrame Terror and 8041 Paradise Towers, The Long Haul...
However, in the six years since her previous story, Manseth had become addicted to British alternative comedies, and thus become obsessed with slagging off foreigners, in particular the French. Manseth was determined that Coburn's Doctor would be given a solid, traditional story where he could show off his new persona and also remind everyone that it's Great BRITAIN, not "Great France", and the Frogs were illegally taking credit for inventing the windbreak, chocolate biscuits and the South of France.
Since the first season of Coburn's Doctor was devoted to not only establishing the new Doctor but also his companion, Manseth "wanted Dara to have a real meaty part as well" which she could "suck on before you could blink" and leave the character "working up and down the tongue-swirling" dialogue which would "carress and massage like a pile driver" the story into "a frenzied need, the likes of which no one would ever feel before".
Manseth saw in Dara the chance to give the companion something "more to do than just allow the Doctor to show off his wisdom", but also demonstrate her "lucious body" that would prove a real "battle of the bulge" that "came at Bruges and came at Agincourt", leaving the audience "animalisticaly sensual" until they were "shaking and shuddering" as the metaphor was "willingly accepted" in "an orgasm lasting for a full minute or more".
Manseth lit up a cigarette, and worked out a plot entitled "While We're On The Topic, The French Are A Bunch of Bastards" where the Doctor and Dara arrived in the Algarve to discover they were expected to pay fifteen hundred quid to enjoy no electricity, no running water, lots of Frenchies, with nothing to do except covering themselves in Mazola and lying around in the surf with bits of string and garlic up their bums.
The Doctor would lecture Dara that a quick trip down the A3 to a nudie beach on Brighton to suffering pneumonia after a quick dip in the lugworm infested brine was far better than the coach trip to the competition in Nice.
For the first time in the history of the SCADs, the incidental music and sound effects were not ransacked wholesale from a BBC soundscape album, but actually by Karl Jackie, a Russian ex-convict who did not believe in linear time and spoke a language later identified as "backwards double-Dutch with a strong Cantonese accent", who provided the voice of the President of France and also fried chips during the recording of every scene, leading to the belief the sound quality is awful when in fact it is crystal clear.
Manseth later rewrote The Price of Paris with even more anti-France propaganda and submitted it to the BBC, who decided to steal the title for their next full length uncanonical Tenth Doctor and Rose novel and the actual plot itself was abandoned in favor of ripping off a random Blake's 7 episode. The irony smacked Manseth down for months.
Nevertheless, The Price of Paris remains groundbreaking for its use of the companion. Too often getting very little to do, they ask questions so the audience can know what is happening, they move the plot along and sometimes provide a second story line, and hardly do they do anything of substance.
But here, finally, the audience are confronted with someone like Dara who was able to be a totally loudmouthed, unlikable, hypocritical bitch, who cannot think and act independently of the Doctor simply because she cannot think or act in the first place, and compensates by being irritating and pushy.
The Price of Paris really gives us a chance to see who Dara is - the same grating bint who was in the last two stories, and her attempt to strike out on her own, bringing together the Existentialists in their hatred of her, allowing the Doctor to lead them to victory against the President of France who has controlled everyone's lives for so long speaks volumes to her snobbish cynicism and insane, almost God-like stupidity.
Truly, the SCADs have created a companion so preposterously unlikable she makes the main cast of Touchwood look like a bunch of endearing, enjoyable professionals - a feat that the BBC TV series, simply never managed and probably never will.