Monday, November 30, 2009

The New Adventures - The Dark Flame

Serial SS4 - The Dark Llama
The Dark Llama
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Braxiatel Collections

D O C T O R W H O

Serial SS4 - The Dark Llama


Part One

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor and Ace are shouting at each other again. She yells at him for abandoning her in the twenty-third century to become a psychotic Dustbin serial killer, and he yells at her for fancying blokes whose retina drip with alien mind fungus.

Normally at this point a completely plastered Bernice "Benny" Summerfield stumbles in clutching a bottle of ol' Janx spirit and proceeds to belch, gurgle and generally mock the two most pathetic people she has ever met in her entire life – "Dumb Doctor and Dumber Dorothy" as she unkindly spits at them.

However, this time Benny doesn’t arrive and the argument just goes on and on until it actually gets incredibly weak – like the time the Seventh Doctor didn’t let her eat a mango because he wanted it first, or the time Ace shot up on meth amphetamines and started lisping the word "BOOM!" over and over again in casual conversation.

Finally, the Doctor and Ace realize that Benny has once again tried to ditch her fellow travelers by fleeing to the Orbos research facility, in orbit around the planet Marran Alpha. Since Benny ALWAYS goes there, it is a simple matter to send the TARDIS there.

"Will she ever learn?" the Doctor muses.

Suddenly, the TARDIS receives a spam email from someone called Remnex who claims to be an old friend of the Doctor, despite the fact he’s clearly never met anyone called Remnex before. Expecting lots of bargain basement penis enlargements and spam filters, the Doctor deletes the email (marked "PLEASE HELP ME! THE LLAMA IS BURNING WITH DARK, BLACK FLAMES! PLEASE!") without a second thought.

Ace looks in the Doctor’s contact list and discovers that Remnex is one of three scientists stationed on Orbos, and apparently really IS an old friend of the Time Lord. So the Doctor jabs her in the forehead with his power digit and erases this knowledge from her mind. Who knows how many other faux pas the Doctor is desperate to hide?

As Ace recovered consciousness and tries to remember whether or not she sleeps in the nude, the Doctor broods that Remnex is a maverick child of the new millennium, a wild-eyed loner not content with ordinary ultraviolet light, but rather space-time quantum meta-fluctuation energy – AKA black light, which can be found on most late 1970s prog rock ablums!

It seems that Remnex has paid the price for tampering with such a dangerous energy source! And it also seems that the desperate pleading for help actually WAS some weird spam, since Remnex is alive and well, getting slowly sozzled as he sits on the the observation deck of Orbos, looking out over the dead world Marran Alpha in his pith helmet.

The TARDIS arrives on the station and the Doctor and Ace emerge to collect Benny so they can get back to arguing about angst, continuity, sexually transmitted diseases and evils from beyond the dawn of time who seem to think that VR is a really cool idea.

Spotting Remnex, the Doctor throws Ace out a door and tells her to go and blow up some stuff or whatever it is she does to justify her empty existence, while he and Remnex chat about tele-temporal email accounts.

Remnex admits he doesn’t have one, but has been wondering if it might be a good idea to trigger a black light explosion which would consume all matter in the entire universe.

"That’s not a good idea," the Doctor confesses.

"Oh well, we’ll have to do something else then," Remnex sighs, idly wondering why Mel is not one of the Doctor’s emotionally-scarred, ruthless, military trained warrior women. The Doctor admits he can’t stand redheads as part of the pawns he plays with the Eternals of abstract anthropomorphicism.

Meanwhile, Benny is desperate to get away from the endless canon arguments between the Doctor and Ace – especially after that time they went around demanding she refer to them as "Professor Dominie" and "Alice Ace" – and is willing to join Professor Lomar in a traineeship of ‘post-consumption evacuation facilitating’ which involves dumping lots of rubbish into the waste disposal unit.

Finally, Benny and Lamor decide with their usual wacky inventiveness that rather and waste time and effort turning waste material into the raw fuel that keeps the space station functioning, it would be a lot easier to just use an incredibly amount of energy to teleport all the rubbish to the volcanic, acid-drenched surface of Marran Alpha.

The Doctor discovers that all of the station’s entire research equipment runs from the energy extrapolation of a custard cream biscuit.

The Time Lord declares such a power source dangerously unstable, but the sinister Professor Slyde appears out of nowhere to assure him that it is only a temporary measure – they require a suitable control element existing both inside and outside of time and space, and it is very rare to find a custard cream to THOSE specifications!

So saying, the unpleasant Professor Slyde vanishes in as mysterious and disturbing manner as he arrived.

The Doctor and Remnex agree that Slyde seems a nice chap.

Meanwhile, a bloke called Victor and his comic relief android Joseph are in a quarry attempting to dig up the body of an ungodly warlock that was crucified into the rock of Marran Alpha centuries ago by a mob of intergalactic rednecks.

"I mean, anyone can be a godly warlock," Victor enthuses, "but an UNGODLY warlock, that takes imagination!"

Finally they find the remains of the fanatic, and Joseph points out that you know, messing about with the corpse of a warlock nailed to the seventh gateway to the deepest depths of hell might be a tad reckless.

Victor insists that he knows precisely what he’s doing, just as the skeleton rips free of its restraints and gouges out Victor’s left eye.

"WHO SAW THAT COMING?" puns Joseph, breaking the fourth wall as Victor rolls around on the ground, screaming in agony. "I SEE YOUR POINT," Joseph notes, and replies to the string of abuse with, "OH WELL. AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND ALL THAT."

Victor screams at the android to stop making jokes about his ocular capacity and help them.

"EYE-EYE, SIR," says Joseph, and Victor just groans.

It is then they realizes that the zombie skeleton has buggered off, and Joseph craps himself in terror. And when a mechanoid with no genuine digestive system craps himself, it's generally serious.

A scream echoes out through the space station and everyone runs to the observation deck to find Remnex with an icepick rammed through his head and the Doctor idly wiping his bloody hands. He quickly tells Ace and Benny to claim that an evil cult of space Llamas is responsible for this truly ruthless murder.

Benny is a bit annoyed that, not only did the Doctor seem to know that Remnex was in danger, he also stabbed his old friend through the head with an ice pick for no adequately explored reasons.

The Doctor offers her another bottle of Voxnic if she shuts up and Benny immediately starts prophesizing that the ancient and supposedly-dead cult of the Dark Llamas, who worshipped giant mutant star llamas, have somehow remained active and murdered Remnex.

Slyde appears out of nowhere again and accuses the Doctor, or possibly Ace, or possibly Benny, or possibly Lomar, or possibly himself of killing Remnex to prevent the black light mutually assured destruction experiment from going ahead.

The Doctor shouts that this is a groundless accusation steeped in innuendo, and idly drops the ice pick back into his jacket pocket.

Benny drains the bottle of Voxnic, and, completely pissed, offers to show everyone how the teleport works, explaining it’s not simply some fucked-up Star Trek transporter that destroys you and recreates a version of you at the other end but works on a quantum elastic band principle of blackmailing your molecules to be elsewhere.

Suddenly, she bursts out laughing at some joke that didn't seem funny before now, and falls into the teleport. Ace muses it might be some exotic particle leakage from the transmat system, but concedes it might be the fact Benny is a complete alcoholic tool.

The teleport activates and sends the giggling Benny to the volcanic surface of Marran Alpha with its volcanos and the toxic atmosphere and the continual storms of acid rain and the screaming and the yelling and the burning. Glavin!

"Ob-li-di-ob-li-da," the Doctor says philosophically, providing a totally gratuitous pop culture reference before the episode ends.



Part Two

Ace starts to go off again about the Doctor using his companions as pawns in a chess game against the might forces outside creation, and the Doctor smacks her unconscious and hypnotizes her again so she shuts up for one fucking minute about this "Jan" bloke who gave her the screaming thigh-sweats so badly for 48 hours back in 1992 he left her such a whinging bitch ever since.

Benny wakes up in a quarry on the surface of Marran Alpha and realizes a basic continuity flaw in the script has saved her from the most grossest and agonizing of demises imaginable. She marvels at this and downs another flagon of booze.

She is then chased up and down some tunnels by a skeletal zombie.

The Doctor decides to go and steal Remnex’s wallet for the greater good of the universe, and is incredibly annoyed to discover that Lomar, trying to be helpful, has already teleported the corpse down to the surface of the planet.

"Why did you tamper with the crime scene so stupidly?" the Doctor demands of her, furious.

"It was spoiling the feng shui!" Lomar protests.

On the planet, Benny stumbles over Remnex’s body and throws it at the zombie as a peace offering – however, the demonic energy flows out of the zombie and infects Remnex’s monocular corpse, which returns from the dead.

"I may have only one eye, but it's the land of the blind! Let me remove those pesky retina, Bernice!" the Emissary of Apocalypse drools before chasing Benny up and down some completely different tunnels.

The Doctor is wandering down a corridor when he bumps into the half blind Victor and then, noticing a classified add he will one day enter into the Orbos Routine Daily Circular, dives for cover as Ace charges down the corridor with a chainsaw.

Instead of perforating the Doctor, it is Victor sliced into strips of meat by the insane Ace. The Doctor offers Victor’s severed leg to Ace as a peace offering, then runs for it before she changes her mind. It strikes the Doctor that the leg is parachronic!

After a quick check of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Doctor learns that "parachronic" means "Victor’s leg exists partially outside the space/time continuum" and thus is not a word used often in everyday conversation between normal people.

It strikes Time’s Champion that Victor’s leg is JUST what is required to replace the custard cream in Slyde’s omniversally-assured mutual destruction black light explosion device.

"Lucky bastard," the Doctor scowls, wishing HE could stumble across such artifacts whenever it was convenient to do so.

Telling Ace to guard the leg with her life, or, failing that, just shoot herself through the head, the Doctor crosses to the teleport and uses the neutron flow polarity reverser to transmat him down to the quarry on the planet below.

Meanwhile, the ever-violent Ace decides to run around Orbos beating up everyone she can find on the off-chance they might be belonging to the Cult of the Dark Llama!



Part Three

Finally, Ace gets bored and sets off a smoke grenade just so she can get high off the fumes. In the confusion, Lomar and Slyde run away.

On Marran Alpha, the Doctor teleports into a cell where Benny and Joseph the android are hiding from the Emissary of All Darkness Evil And General Naughtiness.

The Doctor learns that the others are hiding from a decaying corpse carrying a centuries old spirit serving the evil that burns in the heart of every living Llama, the most pathetic cult in the history of the universe.

And sniggers.

Benny points out that the Cult of the Dark Llama were famous for their dinner parties where the followers were gifted with the ability to rise from the grave with the unnatural strength of the undead, and the quarry is now teaming with Jason and the Argonauts-style skeleton warriors who won’t be impressed by mockery or flippancy, but will brutally behead anyone they come across.

The Doctor admits that maybe this IS a bit serious, and they really should try and escape in the TARDIS, as it strikes him that parachronics are caused by incomprehensibly twisted physics from billions of years from beyond the collapse of the universe.

Thus, using it to trigger a black light explosion might be a bit more dangerous than the cosmos-shattering firestorm hitherto indicated.

Luckily, the Doctor has a handy teleport bracelet and so is about to take them back to the space station when living zombie skeletons attack. The Doctor cuts his losses and abandons Benny and Joseph to certain and agonizing death.

However, Joseph announces he has had enough of this shit and goes "I, Robot" Will-Smith-style on the skeleton hordes, smashing them to pieces and using the pieces for xylophone practice.

The Doctor arrives back on Orbos and finds Ace has gassed the rest of the cast unconscious and now subjecting them to inhuman diatribes about how she has issues with her mother, which sets her apart from the rest of the human race, and how an interest in high-impact explosions make her interesting, and not a psychopathic pyromaniac.

Then, the skeleton hoards teleport up to the space station, now lead by Joseph, who is so bad ass he now controls the Cult of the Dark Llama after grinding up the previous Emissary into salmon-liver pate.

The Doctor laughs cruelly, certain that at any moment, Benny will arrive with some expendable space marines and blow up Joseph and save the entire universe!

Joseph points out that if she does, she’ll have to wait another twenty four and a half minutes, providing a totally gratuitous breaking of the fourth wall before the episode ends.


Part Four

Joseph orders his skeletal followers hold Ace down while everyone takes turns to beat her up and shout "JUST GET OVER IT, YOU NUTTER!" very loudly.

The Doctor begs Joseph to let him have two turns, but is turned down on the grounds he gets to do cruel psychological stuff to Ace all the time, and this might the only chance for the others.

The Doctor goes into the corner and sulks, before bitching about blowing up Fargo and Dustbins with ancient Gallifreyan super weapons and idly wondering if he IS the Other, or if Lance Parkin is talking absolute rubbish as per usual.

Meanwhile, Slyde finally works out what everyone managed to do ages ago and realize that if Victor’s severed leg is plugged into the black light convert so it can trigger the incomprehensibly destructive forces at their command.

Benny arrives and offers herself in a gratuitous sex scene for Joseph to gloat the way only an evil possessed butlerbot possibly can.

The Doctor snaps that Benny was going to cut it a bit fine, and then, for no apparent reason, activates the explosives and the Dark Llama energies begin to seep over the Orbos station in a cheap negative effect that is actually incredibly expensive CGI that only LOOKS like a cheap negative effect for nostalgia value.

Yes, the Doctor has doomed every corner of time and space!

Again!

Ace gets up and beats the Doctor unconscious with a neutron blaster, and everyone runs away – including Benny, much to Joseph’s annoyance, and he grumbles that they’ll all come crawling back to him.

Joseph then has a fit of existential angst as he realizes that maybe, just maybe, he is a brain in a jar somewhere and the entire universe is nothing more than the daydream of a bug on a tree.

Joseph writes a bit of agonizing poetry and rips out Victor’s Leg, causing a massive explosion that solves the entire plot in one very loud sound effect.

The Doctor, Benny and Ace marvel at the reset button ending which has left Lomar and Slyde nice, cuddly, piglety creatures who love flowers and peace and not war and pollution, while Remnex dies peacefully in his sleep. And a pick axe through his eye, but it was sill peaceful.

The trio leave in the TARDIS for some gratuitous foreshadowing to the Benny Summerfield spin-off range as the Doctor intends to make Joseph a recurring character.

Moments after the TARDIS takes off, the Doctor and Ace start arguing again and Benny cracks open a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

"I love this job!" the Doctor muses. "I just hate everything else!"


Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Versus Lucio Fulchi The Eye-Gouger
The New Doctor Who Adventures: Dark Llamas!



Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed to be off his face in this story.


Goofs -
Slyde notes that the Dark Llama Emissary needed a strong, firm, young body... so logically Slyde went out and chose the decrepit septuagenarian with half his skull missing.


Fashion Victims – Ace’s casual, wet look body armor.


Technobabble -
Black light explosions are controlled by a iso-chrontic crystal, a forced generated tachyon super-conductor, time sensitive element.

And severed legs.


Links and References -
The Doctor and Mel were on Remnex’s "Skull Duggery Buggery" mailing list after they accidentally handed out their email addresses at a really wild party on Mogaria.


Untelevised Misadventures -
The New Adventures. Give or take a few bits of "The Highest Scientists", you really haven’t missed much.


Groovy DVD Extras -
A music video of Britney Spears "Oops I Did It Again" when the Doctor realizes he has accidentally kick started the end of the universe.


Dialogue Disasters -

Just in case you hadn’t noticed the title, it gets mentioned once or twice during the course of the story...

"BEHOLD THE COMING OF THE DARK LLAMA!"

"The Dark Llama never dies - somewhere, somehow, it ALWAYS survives. The Dark Llama can NEVER be extinguished!!"

"She has given herself to the Dark Llama! You know this to be true!"

"You don't understand the power of the Dark Llama!"

"I’m afraid not my dear lady, for you see I ALSO belong to the Cult of the Dark Llama!"

"The Dark Llama is terribly powerful and therefore terribly important!"

"Perhaps now you believe in the power of the Dark Llama!"

"OH GLORIOUS DARK LLAMA, FALL ON THIS COSMOS LIKE A SHROUD!"

"I may have the body of a feeble human, but I have the mind of the Emissary of the Dark Llama!"

"Prepare to die, Doctor! For I hold the power of the Dark Llama!"

"You STILL don't understand the power of the Dark Llama!"

"Silence dog, lest the Dark Llama grip your little mind so hard that it will crush it like a soft fruit!"


Dialogue Triumphs -

Lomar: Don’t antagonize them Bernice, the butler’s a nutter!
Benny: I should say so! The bastard’s given me water instead of vodka! AND he wanted a tip!


Joseph: What have I done?
Remnex: Signed your own deactivation warrant!
Joseph: I thought you just wanted an autograph!


Benny reacts with total credibility on being confronted with a zombie -
"We’ve not been seeing each other long enough for me to meet your mother!"


Doctor: Sleep is for Chelonians!
Joseph: That’s the second-funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Mind you, the funniest thing I’ve heard was when a blind cripple was diagnosed with leprosy... Guess you had to be there.


Doctor: I never trust people who hide behind titles.
Benny: But you hide behind a title!
Doctor: Ah, but I never said I trusted me, did I?



Doctor: The Web of Time can look after itself – it's the spider I want.
Ace: Why?
Doctor: Mainly as a cheap bit of foreshadowing to Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass.



UnQuotable Quote -

Doctor: Ace! Dorothy! Waaaaakey-waaaaaakey!!!


Viewer Quotes -

"Great. More Benny and New Ace. Where’s Roz and Chris, eh? Or Fitz? Or Anji? No no, focus on the most pathetic, irritating and above all overused companions of the New Adventures, why don’t you? Never mind the art and genius on display from BBC Books! I HATE YOU ALL!"
– Stephen Cole (2004)

"Benny has got nothing on Lara Croft... mainly because she’s too busy swigging Croft’s original sherry. The irritating, wisecracking, endlessly sarcastic, alcoholic slapper." – Katy January (2000)

"I’m so tired of your feeble witticisms, Summerfield. Can’t you think of anything serious to say?" – Paul Carnall (2007)

"I’m rather fond of numbers. This is the 42nd release of the main Big Finish range and their 50th overall Doctor Who release. Since it’s Number 42, it explains life, the universe, and why the New Adventures are overhyped fanwank not worth the toilet paper printed on. Since it’s Number 50 it shows that Big Finish still can’t pull their finger (or similar extraneous body part) out of the NAs, so I’m getting out now! The rest of these bastards can burn in hell!"
– Father James O’Malley (2003)

"BEWARE... THE DARK LLAMA... IT’S SHITHOUSE..."
- The Doctor Who Audio Rankings (2005)



Psychotic Nostalgia -
"The Dark Flambe? Oh, Dark Llama! What a heap of shit THAT was."


Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"It’s lovely to work with Lisa, because then I have two companions to heartlessly manipulate, alienate, discard and scorn in my endless quest to play chess on a million boards and give monsters nightmares! Which is why the plays I’ve enjoyed most are those when the Doctor’s alone. It stops all this New Adventures Dark Doctor shite from being rammed into the script like a fist up your backside..."


Sophie Aldred Speaks!
"It's lovely to see Sylvester again. Just briefly before he left the studio again... still, who can blame him when presented with this crap? It’s well twisted that the BBC allows them to do this at all."


Lisa Bowerman Speaks!
"Is this a Doctor Who? Sorry, I never know which series I'm in until I see the actual CDs... Yeah, this story really was about moral dilemmas, and the very nature of cult followings, which I think is quite relevent in this day and age. Anybody who believes in Ancient Time Llamas is rather worrying, when you think about it."



Trivia -
There are plenty of possible ways to resolve the origins of Joseph the computer in this story with the one portrayed in the Benny Summerfield book range. But all of them would have to rely on the Seventh Doctor being a devious little git.


Rumors & Facts -

Is there any point in listening to this story?

I've listened to it twice and I still don't know.

Four acolytes of Evil. Three mad scientists. Two companions. One Doctor. And a partridge in a pear tree.

The Dark Llama is a story which – like cheap air travel or declaring a recession – is both tediously predictable and deeply unsettling. Tediously predictable because the exact same plot could be heard in Big Finish’s previous installment, Necrophilia and deeply unsettling because they seemed to think that no one else will have noticed,

Since all Big Finish were giving all the thoughtful and atmospheric stories to Peter Davison and all the confident and experimental stories to Colin Baker, it was only logical that Sylvester McCoy got all the stories that were artless and painful to the ear.

Baxendale flipped through the catalogue and decided to rip off pretty much every other Big Finish story he could, and so came up with a space station full of corridors, an underground cavern full of corridors, a strange cult to run up and down corridors, a strange ancient alien god trying to take over the universe to yell at people to run up and down corridors, and a Relic to be at the end of it all.

He was supremely confident that no one would notice the similarity to Necrophilia, the Excelsior trilogy or The Soundman – and anyone that DID notice were the kind of wankers he didn't want to know socially in the first place. Anyone that noticed the similarity to Image of Ken-Doll could also, in his opinion, fuck off home as well.

After ensuring that all the villains were pointlessly evil and all the cliffhangers were variously predictable and unimpressive leading to a completely fudged ending. All the villain’s dialogue was lifted wholesale from other stories, and not good ones either.

He then ruthlessly removed all the witty and engaging surprises to be saved for something decent, Baxendale promptly decided to start trafficking in the cutthroat world of "Goodnight Sweetheart" memorabilia.

Uncertain as to how high the bar was when it came to script-writing, Trevor Baxendale decided to aim as low as he could, partially to ease himself into writing for audio, and partially because he felt really lazy that day. Ultimately, Baxendale simply rewrote his Fifth Doctor novel Fear of the Llama and, since no one has actually bothered to read it, no one realized until now. Bwahaha.

As Baxtendale himself notes, "Hindsight is a wonderful but unforgiving sexual position." No, I don’t know what it means either.

Gay Russell decided on a whim that, after going through all the hassle to create Reservation of the Scourge, a Big Finish story set during the ‘golden age’ of the New Adventures books, they hadn’t done a single story with the line up for thirty whole releases. So, for no other reason, it was decided that The Dark Llama would be the second such story – and, would you believe it, it was the last?

Russell also decided to create an origin story for the Benny Summerfield regular Joseph the Annoyingly Literal Computer, despite the fact he already had a perfectly good one in Justin Richards' "Tears for Fears for the Oracle". This, it was later discovered, was just to piss off the fans and hopefully make them buy the new story. And let’s be honest, no other reason would have been forthcoming.

Sylvester McCoy found the script so unbearable he could only stay one day in studio to record it and even then required copious amounts of laughing gas, pizza and Fizzade Cola, and fled the recording as soon as possible.

Ultimately, The Dark Llama proved so bitterly disappointing, so bland and so uninspired that further sidesteps into the worlds of the New Adventures were abandoned and instead, more spin off ranges were commissioned – a new series of "Dustbin Umpire", as well as "Gallifrey: 90210", "Doctor Who Unsoiled" and "The Penultimate Brain".

It was to be just ANOTHER fatal mistake Big Finish had made.

The New Adventures - The Shadow of the Scourge

Serial SS1 - The Reservation of the Scourge
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Summoning

D O C T O R W H O

Serial SS1 - The Reservation of the Scourge -


Part One

The TARDIS has returned to the far-flung backwater planet of Earth. Specifically, Kent. Even more specifically, Newmansgate. Narrowing it down even further, the Pinehill Crest Hotel. To be exact, on the roof. On Tuesday 15th of August, 2000.

Ace and Bernice 'Benny' Summerfield are more troubled by the Doctor's choice of apparel than their dull landing point. For the Doctor is wearing his Greenpeace T-shirt, a garment which spells death and destruction of the old order wherever he happens to go wearing it. Whole doomsday cults and religions have started based around the blue-and-green dolphin images of that T-shirt.

The Doctor insists that it's just a coincidence he's wearing that T-shirt, as his tampering with the primal forces of creation activity today is distinctly low-key. While in his second incarnation, the Doctor watched the police head for this hotel on a routine job about a dead body found in a hotel room. All the time travelers have to do today is kill that bloke before the police arrive.

With Benny and Ace miming how cracked in the head they think the Doctor is, the trio take the lift down to the foyer of the hotel. By an astonishing coincidence, a homeless man catches the lift with them and by the time they reach the foyer, Ace's Space Fleet Dustbin-Shagger techniques have killed the old man and left no trace of violence.

As the police have just arrived, the trio leave them to examine the body while the Doctor decides to book rooms for himself and his companions under the name of Ursula Andress, and experiences a moment of dizziness, a moment of confusion, and a moment of falling flat on his arse screaming about an evil from the dawn of time.

The Doctor suspects there is a time experiment being conducted elsewhere in the hotel. Checking with the desk he discovers that the hotel has been booked by three separate conventions – a knitting workshop, a New Age Hippy Crap discussion and also the mysterious Time-Fucker showroom of temporal accelerators.

The Doctor realizes they must investigate the knitting workshop immediately - if they can't stop it, the human race will be consumed.

Smiling politely, Ace and Benny slowly back away from him and then run off in opposite directions. The Doctor runs after them, protesting that he won't get them killed this time and he has really stuck to his promise of not doing the 'evil chaos theory butterfly' speeches at the drop of his hat.

Ace hides in the Time-Fucker showroom and Benny in the New Age Hippy Crap discussion and the Doctor reluctantly decides to investigate the knitting workshop.

After fifteen minutes, Ace is bored, Benny is thirsty and the Doctor is waiting patiently for someone to drop their stitch and unleash a hideous form of anti-life on the universe.

After half an hour, Ace has dozed off, Benny has gone to the bar and the Doctor has knitted himself a new question-mark pullover.

After two hours, the Doctor meets with Ace and Benny in the bar and admits he's obviously wrong about this threat to stability of the multi-verse, and offers to take them to the planet Deathtrap 18.

At that moment, Dr Penbroke is shocked as his patented Time-Fucker begins to repeatedly hump a vacuum cleaner.

Electricity Turtle, guru of the New Age Hippy Crap discussion is shocked to discover her lava lamp now possesses a gloating, evil voice that begins to tell her to go and get a job and stop scrounging off social benefits and selling dope.

And in the knitting workshop, knitting needles start to work by themselves and swathes of knitting and crochet block all the exits, cutting off the hotel from the outside world.

The Doctor is delighted. This coming-of-the-apocalypse shit is just what he was hoping for, and warns Ace and Benny that anyone with a smiley face stamp on their hands is evil and should die. They ask him how the hell he knows this and the Doctor tricks them into looking the other way as he prances wildly into the depths of hotel.

Meanwhile, the vacuum cleaner and Time-Fucker have exploded, the remains mutating into a hideous robo-stick-insect that begins to chant, 'REPENT, SINNERS! REPENT, SINNERS!' as an earthquake shakes the hotel.

Meanwhile, Brian Damage of the Avon beauty products is swallowed whole by the knitting and re-knitted into another humanoid insect creature that begins to chant 'JUDGEMENT IS NIGH! JUDGEMENT IS NIGH!'

The Doctor arrives in the foyer, and tells Ace and Benny that everything's going according to plan. The Bridgehead and Demi-Leader of the Scourge (the machine and the knitting) are fully-formed, and the Doctor gets out a can of Mortien to blast the smeggers into oblivion.

"Until the Leader pierces this dimension, these losers are weaker than Harry Potter and Frodo's lovechild," the Doctor assures them, just as the homeless corpse explodes to release the Scourge Leader.

"Ah. Bugger," the Doctor admits. "OK, plan B."

He steps forward, gets down on his knees and begs for his miserable life, handing over a deed of transfer for the Earth and its contents he printed for a laugh one afternoon.

The Doctor has sold out the Earth!

Benny sighs and pays Ace the fiver she now owes her.


Part Two

It is now physically impossible for the human nervous system to disobey the will of the Scourge. But Ace is in such a bitch of a mood, she just doesn't care and heads for Penbroke to berate him for not de-sexing both the Time-Fucker and the vacuum cleaner beforehand.

Benny suggests that the Doctor is just PRETENDING to side with the aliens and they are doing exactly what the Doctor wants by falling for this elaborate ploy, but Ace cuts through this posturing – Benny just wants her fiver back to buy some more booze.

With the Scourge now in absolute control of every living thing on Earth – bar, for some reason I'm sure is on a website somewhere, the Doctor, Benny and Ace – the Scourge decide to start killing anything that moves in horribly bloody ways.

Meanwhile, the Doctor asks the Scourge leader and bridgehead for a reward for handing them Earth on a plate – a pair of X-ray glasses that will allow him to see ladies in their underwear. Such a request is, however, characteristic of what they know of him. They've done a lot of research on the Doctor since they first encountered him having naughty dreams in the astral plane.

The Scourge have plotted to conquer this Universe and manage its resources more efficiently ever since they first became aware that its population was the Scourge's primary food source, and when they searched time and space for a suitable invasion point, they found the Doctor waiting with his offer, along with a sign advertising McDonalds.

They are well aware of the fact that he often defends the human race by leading its enemies into traps, but he brags that he's often much more sexier and cooler than those he fights. Only a foolish species wouldn't see his traps coming, and the Scourge are, of course, nothing like that at all.

The Doctor breaks down in sniggers at this, composes himself, cracks up again and pooh-poohs the idea he was going to kill the lot of them at the earliest opportunity and just has accidentally screwed-up and is now trying to make the best of it. He would also like a bicycle to go with his X-ray specs.

Ace discovers to her horror that there is nothing on TV apart from knitting patterns. However, flipping the channels she just catches The Doctor's Tea-Time Explanations, where he explains the Scourge are emotional parasites who live on depression, despair and inner demons of lesser beings, like humanity.

Benny realizes the presence of the Scourge automatically removes any such responsibility for humanity's actions, and starts drinking all the whiskey she can find. If she's not helping, it's all the Scourge's fault, not her's.

The Doctor also explains he's left the Mortien canister in the hotel's ventilation system which should kill the lot of the stinking little creeps. And the Scourge too if he's lucky.

At that exact moment, the Scourge gets a phone call from the fiery hell dimension they call home – the pubs are shut and the Scourge army should be at the hotel any minute.

Just then, the army bursts into the hotel and the knitting falls away to let the Scourge out into Earth and the universe. Everyone – including you – are immensely screwed.

The Doctor feels certain he can sort this out, possibly manipulating or perhaps even reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. Just then, he notices the smiley face stamp on his wrist and starts gurning.

Ace and Benny start screaming.


Part Three

The end of the world is delayed by bad weather – the Scourge had not counted on English climate conditions, and decide to suspend Armageddon until the following morning and the Doctor begins to sing.

Ace orders Benny to strike her on the ears, bursting her eardrums so she will not be able to hear the Doctor's show tunes. The TARDIS medical bay can always put her right later for continuity fan wankers. Benny reluctantly does as she asks, and it's one of the most painful things Ace's ever gone through -- and one of the stupidest things Benny has ever been asked to do.

Ace and Benny lock the yodeling Doctor in a broom cupboard and run away very quickly. Ace stumbles across a passing hotel porter and believes he is working for the Scourge. She ruthlessly breaks his neck. Benny does try and explain she's wrong, but Ace can't hear a word being said and continues to murder innocent passers-by. Finally, Benny gets bored and stops trying.

The Doctor, meanwhile, is psychotically angry that neither Ace nor Benny have realized his horrible singing is in fact the only way he can tell them how to defeat the Scourge without the giant tone-deaf praying mantises noticing.

Ace decides to go and escape in the TARDIS and so uses a Space Fleet Dustbin-Opener to break into the lift shaft and climb up to the roof. Benny lets her go, unable to be arsed to explain she could just use the stairs instead.

A Scourge soldier chases her up to the roof, and a second one is already waiting at the TARDIS. Ace kills both of them without breaking sweat and leaves in the TARDIS.

Inside the Doctor's mind – which resembles an echoing quarry full of tasteful furniture, the As-Yet-Unborn-Eighth Doctor heckles the Seventh for being such a monumentally-stupid Scottish screw up. The similarly Scottish As-Yet-Unborn-Tenth Doctor goes for the Seventh's defense, and no one is prepared to listen to the As-Yet-Unborn-Ninth Doctor's sound advice, because he has Manchester accent and that's the only accent more ridiculous than a Scots one.

Benny has hidden inside a bedroom and is systematically emptying the minibar within.

The Seventh Doctor turns to his previous selves for help – the First Doctor has some advice, but has forgotten precisely how to communicate this and starts grunting, "Hmm? Chesterfield?" to himself.

The Second Doctor says the Seventh should just blow up monsters straight away, and starts making penguin noises.

The Third Doctor advises the polarity of the neutron flow be reversed.

The Fourth just stares at the Seventh Doctor in confusion.

The Fifth is too busy being nailed to a tree for daring to be nice to people to help, and the Sixth just says, "Get out of this one, smart arse!"


Part Four

It seems that a desire to make the Sixth Doctor look like a moron is the most powerful emotion in the universe. The Seventh Doctor smashes the mental defenses of the Scourge and communicates with Ace, who is now piloting the TARDIS to another time and place.

The Doctor has to use the TARDIS nanites repair Ace's eardrums, rearrange the interior of the time machine and restock the food machine before Ace is willing to discuss helping him. The Time Lord must burn his Greenpeace T-shirt and replace it with a new T-shirt saying "I Am An Incompetent Anarchist With A Question Mark Fetish".

The Doctor reluctantly agrees and Ace programs the console to do something incredibly clever. I mean, very clever. We're talking something so clever that Douglas Adams would be impressed and Stephen Hawking would need diagrams. That's how clever it is.

And something that clever simply cannot be understood by mere mortals and thus while it APPEARS that the writer has absolutely no idea how to get out of this mess and has just chosen a truly pathetic plot device of dues ex machina, it is in fact, perfectly dramatically appropriate.

After five minutes of weird, distorted TARDIS-like wheezing and groaning the police box reappears in the foyer with the Scourge and all trace of their reservation in the hotel erased.

The Doctor and Benny run inside the TARDIS and it takes off, but not before the Time Lord is stripped naked and all his possessions burnt by Ace, who already has a special T-shirt printed for him.


Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Mysterio ia Hotella of Certain Demise
Doctor Who: The Scourge Is Crap In Bed (Canada Only)
The New Doctor Who Adventures – The Hotel Reservation of Deuteronomy's Epistle To The Romans And All That Virtual Reality Shite
'What Have Humanity Ever Done For Us?' by the Scourge Leader


Goofs –
If the Scourge are so utterly bad-ass and cool, why did they agree to let the Doctor help them invade Earth? Couldn't they do it on their own? And they needed the deeds to the property? What a bunch of wusses! Bring back the Vardans, I say, the Scourge are crap!

William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant appear in this story as psychic manifestations of the incarnations of the Doctor when the first three are dead, the next two refused to appear in Big Finish and the last two had yet to be cast.
It may not be impossible for this to happen, but it is very, very improbable I think you'll agree.

Benny locks herself in one staff bedroom for the last two episodes, but somehow has managed to drink all the booze in the hotel while not leaving said staff bedroom.
Maybe this is some strange side effect of spiraling dimensional anomalies, or maybe Benny is just a good multi-tasker – all I know is that I wish I could do that!


Fashion Victims –
Yup, guess Ace really DOES have a glossy black battle suit for absolutely everything.


Technobabble –
Dr Penbroke's Time-Fucker works on 'fucktational universes' created by 'hard-on radiation' generated by its quantum adjustments. Oo-er.


Links and References -
Benny makes a note in her diary to jump the bones of the Eighth Doctor.


Untelevised Misadventures -
Several months ago in the Doctor's timeline the Time Lord visited a guest house where Penbroke was staying and stole his complimentary towels, soap and the hotel bed.

In one of his incarnations, the Doctor snorted a line of cocaine and thought he was a sponge fisherman called Spirios for three years (the memory of this part of his life is lost forever in this story at the Doctor's insistence).


Groovy DVD Extras -
A special video clip where the Doctor Who theme music played on a sitar by Ravi Shankar as Paul Carnall runs back and forth throwing flowers on Dustbins and Cybermen.


Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: As my old friend William Shakespeare once said, "Hey, you! The short Scottish bloke in the hat! What the hell are you doing wearing my wife's underwear?"


Leader: We tire of this dance, meat puppets.
Doctor: Okay, no more Tango. LET'S DO THE SALSA!!


Demi-Leader: Pitiful humans. WHO can save you now?
Doctor: I think that's my cue.


Scourge: Run. Cry out. We are the Scourge, and we will devour you.
Penbroke: ArrrrRGH!
(The Scourge eats him)
Scourge: Told you RUN and cry out, not just cry out, meat puppet.


Scourge: We are human failure. We live in the gap between what you are and what you could be.
Ace: I'm not human.
Scourge: Oh. Off you go then.
Ace: Hah! Sucker.
Scourge: Damn! Hey, wait a minute! Come back!


Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: I'm the Doctor, I always win... I'm the one the monsters are afraid of. So tell me - are you getting scared yet?
Policeman: Not really sir. Can you breathe into this bag, now?


Electric Turtle: Fear prevents us from doing anything, but love stops the fear.
Benny: Wow. You're an idiot.


7th Doctor: Well, Doctor, any advice?
(A long pause)
4th Doctor: What the FUCK am I doing in this brain?!! This isn't my brain! Where are the badgers? Answer me that!
7th Doctor: Never mind.


Viewer Quotes -

"A bold, frantic flight from so many conventions of the television series. With cracking dialogue, some gruesome set pieces and real emotion at its core, Scourge is an accomplished realization. Wait a minute! The central notion is human dismay being an alien fabrication – this is complete crap!" - Extremely Fickle Review Monthly (2000)

"Christ on a bike, Ace, haven't you heard of EAR PLUGS?!? No need to perforate your own eardrums! Still, I do like women with high pain thresholds. Bwa-haha-ha. Thwack!" – Nigel Verkoff (2004)

"A drawback? The plot – or lack of one. Alien nasties who can take over the bodies of others are trying to create a bridge between their dimension and ours to allow an invasion force to attack Earth. Whoop-de-friggin-doo. Bet THAT'S never been done before and, if it has I bet it didn't take two hours of runaround and technobabble to save the day. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who think Doctor Who stopped in 1989 - and those who think it just stopped being on the telly. I'm in the former category, so... this CD is crap."
- Gay Russell (2000)

"When I heard they were making audio versions of New Adventures, I was over-joyed. Who needs books when we can listen to audio with proper actors and everything?! I immediately set fire to my New Adventures collection and laughed aloud as it burned! On reflection, it may not have been a good move."
– Precipitous Ed (2003)

"New Adventure, eh? How baroque. Nice to arrive sensibly for once! Ground floor. Horror, tragedy and mysterious deaths. There's a time experiment going on in a hotel in Kent? Then instantaneous travel between this universe and others will become a reality! I offer you the unconditional surrender of the planet Earth! GAAHAHAH! SPIDERS!!"
- John Preddle during his nervous breakdown caused by fluctuating Doctor Who canon (2000)

"Despite the scripting, acting and sound design, I can't say that I really enjoyed this one. It harked back too much to an era that I didn't particularly like, and to a series I have not really enjoyed."
- Mary Whitehouse (2000)


Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I'm glad my spirit guide Ohm got mentioned in this story. He's real wacky guide of ghost, going round convincing people they have supernatural powers and then running away just when they are about to show other people. Ohm's great. But don't offer him pig's blood."


Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"Well, I don't know much about the books or Bernice's character, really. Is Bernice going to be in all the others? God, I hope not. Because nearly every story we do has someone new coming along anyway. What usually happens to Sophie and me is we arrive, we get split up, we each get a new companion, and then we meet at the end and lie through our teeth about what we get up to. It's quite different in Doctor Who."


Sophie Aldred Speaks!
"I've enjoyed having Bernice around, although it's slightly different because she obviously has a relationship with the Doctor, and there's a real familiarity there. Of course that's a bit weird because I haven't really read the books, more sort of burned them."


Lisa Bowerman Speaks!
"Yeah, I have a good dynamic with Sylv and Sophie, cause we were all in Survival back in 1989. Sylv kept in touch with me ever since, always asking if I'm wearing the fur knickers from that story. Nine times out of ten I am. I do like Bernice, though. Well, someone has to."


Trivia -
The Reservation of the Scourge is based on a true story. Just not a very interesting one.


Rumors & Facts -

At the end of 2000, times were bad for Big Finish. With the economy on the downturn and Who-centred apathy at an all-time high, things were just getting far too expensive for a four-episode full-cast audio drama to be recorded and released every month.

Every conceivable attempt had been made by Gay Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellory to reduce costs. Already the idea of releasing the stories both on cassette and CD had been abandoned, and now every Big Finish story was being burnt over Nicholas Pegg's rapidly-diminishing music collection. Covers were now ripped out of Dreamwatch centre folds and blurbs made up from letters cut out of spare BBC Books. Actors were no longer paid, but drugged unconscious when not required. Big Finish moved the significantly cheaper Skylight Studios in Kennington because Nu Groove studios had started to use the word 'rent' in sentences.

Gay Russell realized the only way to save any more money was to stop commissioning any new scripts. Thus, the next twelve releases would include the Oddly Visual stories The Mutant Phrase, Vulgarity, Bored of Ironing and Inuit in Hull by Nick Briggs. Failed Tom Baker proposal My Last Duck Egg by Paul Magrs and The Unholy Error by Rob Shearman. Mark Plate's never-used 5th Doctor werewolf story Kamelion Gets Mange. All of these stories had initially been laughed out of BFP.

However, with the next release still undecided, Russell turned desperately to Paul Carnall, who had been implying he would definitely get out of bed and hand over his Seventh Doctor proposal any year now. Carnall took pity, and handed over the story.

Russell was shocked to find this wasn't a Big Finish proposal, or even an audio script or even a script at all – just an unpublished New Adventure for the Seventh Doctor, 'New' Ace and Bernice Summerfield. Considering Russell's own pathological hatred of Virgin Publishing material after his Third Doctor epic The Legacy of Paddington was mistakenly published as a New Adventure, it shows how desperate the producer was to accept The Summoning of the Shite.

There was not enough time to re-write the story, and so although the thirteenth Big Finish story was stuck in New Adventures land, a few changes were made at the insistence of the cast and crew.

For a start, the hotel was no longer hosting a Doctor Who convention. The Seventh Doctor did not wear Tom Baker's scarf throughout the story, claiming it was a parting gift from college (presumably when he was expelled for that incident behind the TARDIS sheds). There was also to be a plot AFTER the end of the first episode. The character of Johnny Chesterton, Village Policeman was also abandoned.

When it came to renaming the Buffy-style metaphorical monster, the Shite, Carnall screamed that it was only this element of the script holding him back from clinical depression. That and his lifestyle of all-night sex, drugs and rhythm and blues.

The story was dubbed The Bedroom of the Scourge, and finally The Reservation of the Scourge. Russell had the story's production code changed to SideStep1 to divorce this particular story from the rest of Big Finish canon. He later allowed there to be a sequel and, just to piss Carnall off, didn't let him write it.

Recording went quite well until the scene where Bill Bailey was interrupting in his knitting by one of the Scourge, played by Peter Trapani.

As he considers knitting an extremely masculine art, Bailey took offense to being disturbed and began to viscously beat Trapani over the head with Lennox Greeves until buckets of cold water calmed him down.

Bailey offered no defense for his actions other than to say, "What the fuck are you looking at, gibrony? You want a fight? Huh, do you? Bring it on, then!! Ooh, I've dropped a stitch!"

Bailey was ultimately diverted into working on Bernice Summerfield plays rather than mainstream Doctor Who. Without the constant diverging of cash into hospital bills caused by Bailey's violent mood swings, revenue for the company increased ten fold and soon new scripts were becoming affordable.

The uncontrollable juggernaught of Doctor Who lurched onwards.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

7th Doctor - Alixion (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related –
Dr Who and the Bank Manager of Doom
Doctor Who Versus Big Bad Beetle Bugs
Beetlemania (Over-Excited Entomologists Editions)

Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed to go cold turkey in this story.

"Ah, thank clergymen for smart god."

"Prey, be seated. Oh, wait, did I say 'prey'? I meant 'pray'. You know, religious incantation. I wasn’t saying you’re all food for a stronger predator at all. No way. Why would I want to say a thing like that? No, no, no. You’re not prey at all, especially not for any giant flesh-eating beetles. Not that denial is suspiciously specific in any way, shape or form - look, I’ll come in again..."

"Nothing would give us greater pleasure, but as you’re offering, I’ll have to put off nothing."

"Oh, Doctor, you have gone down hill. Whatever happened to the man who destroyed whole species for the greater good? He would never have let me got this far. But Time won’t have her champion for much longer. Oh this terrible waiting... Who would have thought a mere 80 minute television serial could have so much padding within it? Just get to the death scene already!"


Goofs -
What happens to all the beetles? Do they starve to death? Or do they start eating their own shit to make themselves clever enough to find a way out of that mess? Or does the new Doctor actually eat them all to sate his new ravenous hunger? Oh the bitter irony!
The Doctor’s post-regenerative eyesight - either that guy was totally smashed for the final scenes or he has a serious eye problem. It looked as if he was seeing the world from the bottom of a vodka bottle. People would lurch in and out of sight with an alarming randomness. No wonder he couldn’t pilot the TARDIS all those years - HE COULDN’T SEE THE DAMN BUTTONS! It’s a wonder the Doctor can even find the door...


Fashion Victims -
The Bank Manager’s ceremonial tinfoil helmet with coat-hangers sticking out of it at 90 degree angles and lime green PVC robe, and thoroughly deserves all the Doctor’s crap "it’s hard to break the habit, isn’t it?" jokes for three episodes.


Technobabble –
The Doctor explains he can regenerate decayed or diseased tissues by a triple helix DNA of self-replicating biogenic nano-molecules: "It’s a metamorphosis, like a butterfly... or Madonna."


Links and References -
Doctor: If I’ve got to go regenerate again, go through that miniature death one more time, I want it to be on my own terms!
Kate: What’s it like? Regenerating I mean?
Doctor: The first time I don’t remember, I was unconscious after a mass Cyberman roggering. The second time... I don’t want to talk about. Let’s just say the expression "scarecrow gangbang" was used and move on. The third time, I was unconscious after too much disco.
Kate: The fourth time?
Doctor: Atypical. There were some strange time and energy effects involved. Plus I’d just been shot through the hearts after an all-nighter of caffeine and kinder eggs.
Kate: But, you know, what does it feel like? Is it good or bad?
Doctor: Good... in the same way that having sex with household appliances very, very fast is a good feeling, until POW! Like being shoved through a window with a delicate part of your anatomy in the pop-up toaster. That’s what it was like the fifth time.
Kate: What about the sixth time?
Doctor: Unconscious. Mel, an exercise bike and a skull fracture.
Kate: How does it feel? Do you feel good because you realize you’re not going to die?
Doctor: No. You feel awful, because you KNOW you’re going to die. Again. In an excruciatingly embarrassing manner. With a bit of luck I won’t be awake for the next one either. I’ll just step onto a landmine or something and still retain SOME kind of dignity...


Untelevised Misadventures -
Kate bitches that the Doctor’s been in a right mood ever since he wiped out the Cybermen on Monday with trillions of civilian casualties – after all, that sort of genocide usually cheers him up.


Groovy DVD Extras -
A cut sequence from the final episode where the Doctor and Kate nearly get eaten by a beetle but only manage to escape by running up lots and lots of corridors. I myself cannot believe such a vital moment was removed from this incredibly intricate plot.


Dialogue Disasters -

Manager: I need your knowledge.
Doctor: I need it, too!
Manager: Oh, that’s what they ALWAYS say!

Doctor: And keep your eyes open.
Kate: For what?
Doctor: Well, anything interesting. And it always helps to keep your eyes open. You don’t bump into as many stalactites that way. Come on, my dear. Best foot forward.
(The Doctor trips and falls flat on his face.)
Doctor: Don’t. Say. A fucking. Word.

Galen: [agonized] I have finally got all I ever wanted – inner peace! In one afternoon, you and your friends seem determined to ruin it at any cost! You assholes! You’re worse than Richard Dawkins!

Manager: You’re living on borrowed time.
Doctor: Borrowed time is better than no time at all.
Manager: Tell that to a librarian. MWAHAHAHA!

Kate: Surely we’re not going to leave the monks to be slaughtered?
Doctor: We can but try!

Galen: SHUT UP! My entire life has just gone to hell in a hand basket, all thanks to you! So – just – shut – up!
Kate: I sense hostility, Galen. Do you want to talk about it?

Doctor: Just what exactly are you playing at?
Manager: A game with high stakes, Doctor.
Doctor: And how high are they?
Manager: Higher than you can comprehend. And you’re not playing any more. You’ve won the booby prize!
Doctor: ...you actually think you’re being witty, don’t you?

New Doctor: Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, but the cow has failed in its first attempt at a moon landing! That’s one small step for a cow, one giant leap for the beef industry... MOO!


Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: You can’t win, Manager. If you strike me down, I shall become more eccentric than you could possibly imagine.

Kate: So who is this evil mastermind?
Doctor: Oh, he follows the same pattern. Genius with a deviant childhood, forced to eat liver, too much vitamin A, becomes ambitious, develops a taste for power. Before you know it they're trying to take over the universe and looking for someone to gloat at. Of course, sometimes they just become bank managers. And sometimes BOTH!

Manager: O creator of all, who made us flesh and blood and immortal interest rates in your credit rating, we give thanks for the annual chance you have given us to find the one true tax dodge, the path of extended overdrafts. As we eat our food to live another day, please don’t let a giant green alien bug tear us to pieces before the close of business, for that would be rather inconvenient not to mention messy.

Doctor: Changes come slowly in human beings. Imagine what it’s like to know you might wake up, suddenly, completely different; with a new face, with a new personality! Suddenly you like jazz instead of opera; suddenly you can’t stand pears when you used to love poires en douillon; suddenly you’re convinced you’re a penguin or you’re seeing gay porn that you never used to see...
Kate: It’s not my fault you’re going to regenerate! Don’t blame ME for your screwed-up alien biology...

Richard: Your usefulness remains the same, alive or dead. The amount of elixir will remain constant.
Kate: Elixir? What’s that got to with me?
Tim: Well, we’d like to tell you, but we are all sworn to secrecy.
Kate: You’re also not supposed to talk at all!
Time: What can we say? We pick and choose which vows we uphold.
(Paul picks up a chainsaw and switches it on.)
Paul: ‘Thy shall not kill’, for example. Never believed that.

Doctor: I see the faces of every death I’m responsible for every time I sleep. Every enemy, every friend I’ve lost, every innocent I’ve failed to save. So I stopped sleeping and started taking amphetamines instead! Lateral thinking or what? Sometimes I’m appalled by my own recklessness. And other times I just giggle at it.

Kate: So, do you have a partner or something?
Doctor: How can a member of one species really know how a member of another species mind works, or how they think or feel? You’ve no frame of reference: you can only make assumptions and have beliefs. And without a common frame of reference, those are most likely to be utterly wrong.
Kate: So you’re single.
Doctor: Yes.
Kate: You know, it’s probably more down to you being a secretive little asshole with a superiority complex than just being an alien.

Doctor: All the universe is a stage, Kate. Acting’s not enough for me. I like to direct. Or improvise with some spoons and a mime act! I’ve been the manipulator for too long, moving the pawns, the chess-master. I’ve spent so long formulating my own schemes that I’ve missed the fact that there are others better versed in the art of deception and deceit. I also forget to take out the bins on garbage day.
Kate: You are definitely one high-maintenance boyfriend, aren’t you?

Doctor: I started to tire of chess a while ago. These days, I seem to be playing hopscotch.
Manager: That was a stupid mistake.
Doctor: I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones.
Manager: ...give me strength.

The Seventh Doctor’s parting words:
"Ah, lost sanity, I remember it well... Wait, my mind plays tricks! Thou art the final neural switches that will allow mind of mine to come home to roost! But wait, these will not be my thoughts, these are the thoughts of a simpleton, albeit a hideously overweight one. Oh vile vessel of future incarnations, take flight and do not leave me looking like the fat guy from Pie in the Sky!"


UnQuotable Quote -
New Doctor: Regeneration may LOOK all glowy, magical and cathartic, but believe you me - it stings like a bitch!


Viewer Quotes -

"Not bad, I suppose. A little overwrought, perhaps? But it’s a better exit than I ever had. A bang on the head, I ask you..."
- Colin Baker on the Seventh Doctor’s regeneration (2003)

"I can’t think of anything to say."
- Cameron J Mason (2010)

"Whoa. Death by Brain Bleach! Subverted HARD!"
– average TV Tropes response (2010)

"An infuriating combination of the spellbinding and the excruciating as Sylvester McCoy brings a sense of gravitas to the role which he never quite managed before, but only when he’s bound, gagged and locked in a padded cell away from the rest of the cast." - Jo Ford (2009)

"I can’t help but love this story. I think it’s awesome, even with its strange fetish for insect fecal consumption! Okay, the story is lame, but it showed the groundwork laid for a potential spin-off product of Bug Shit Energy Drinks. Stupid, but charming." - Sarah Palin (2010)

"The witless and childish Addiction shares its faults with the worst of 80s stories! The universe is inescapably savage, human beings at their worst, heavy-handed continuity references, annoying and unlikable companions, an emancipated Doctor, and the Bank Manager is a common creep... Where is the sublime maturity, damn you? WHERE? The Seventh Doctor should travel with Romana, not some schizophrenic, neurotic and often deranged trollop!"
- Thomas Cookson (2010)

"Sylvester McCoy gets hung out to dry! Lunatics have called it his best performance as the Doctor. Bollocks is it!" - Ken Campbell (2011)

"Very witty, old man. But I’ve seen the future, and you’re not it."
- Paul McGann on Richard Griffith’s Eighth Doctor(2010)

"You wouldn’t see Richard Griffiths always moaning to his current companion about how great Kate was and how much he misses her, or being really sneering and playing 'look at that freak' with the aliens, or using the TARDIS as his companions' personal taxi service whenever she wants to go pick a fight with her mum's ex-boyfriend. Oh, RTD, you bitchy, obnoxious spoilt childish control freak, you may have nothing whatsoever to do with this repellent excess, but I hate you anyway!"
- Thomas Cookson (later that week)

"I still can’t think of anything to say."
- Cameron J Mason (a few minutes later)


Psychotic Nostalgia -
"DO YOU WANT TO SEE MY KNICKERS AGAIN, ESTER?!"


Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"All my stories as the Doctor have such variety and interest and, thanks to the mysteries of television we can do thinks that are brilliant and wonderful and when it finally comes on television it’s some completely random bollocks about me fighting a man made out of liquorice allsorts or getting drunk with King Arthur who turns out to be the Brigadier! What the hell happened there? Still, four years as the Doctor was just about right. My one regret is that I never got to go back in time and prove that Richard III was a really nice man – but, flipping it round, at least I didn’t have to be in that Nev Fountain story like poor young Peter Davison. Narrow escape there! Hah, no, I’m not ashamed to be part of Doctor Who. Unlike SOME people, eh, Rich?"


Richard Griffiths Speaks!
"Oh, go away you Scottish troglodyte."


Julia Sawalha Speaks!
"There is a theory in drama that all you need is one REALLY good bit and people will remember that, forget the crap bits and go away raving about it. Actually that is not really a theory, I just made it up. However it IS true. Just like green alien slime from the Earth's core, this story grows on you. But fortunately doesn’t turn you into a hideous slavering monster. Quite a common complaint, that."


Trivia -
An abandoned special effect would have the Doctor’s famous question mark umbrella become an exclamation mark umbrella whenever it sensed danger but this idea was abandoned for fear it would make the audience think the Doctor’s umbrella was becoming sexually aroused in such life-or-death situations.


Rumors & Facts -

Addiction’s place in history is assured on three counts – it ends the Seventh Doctor’s era, concludes the Cartmel Master Plan and finally answers the question of whether your bank manager is pure evil from beyond the dawn of time who must be destroyed at any cost.

By mid-1990, Sylvester McCoy was strongly reconsidering his career choice – since he was now working as the main character in a TV series that the BBC refused to broadcast and, indeed, were only making as part of an incredibly intricate tax dodge. He was similarly underwhelmed at the huge fan demand that he return to the role specifically so he could be killed off in the first scene of a story and regenerate into "the cool guy from Granada’s Sherlock Holmes".

McCoy’s decision to quit was yet another horrible burden placed upon Producer John Satan-Turner, since he was just about to sneak out the back door and catch a one-way plane to Singapore finally freeing himself of this unending torment when McCoy spotted him. It was quite clear that not only were they have to go through the pointless rigmarole of recording Season 27, they also had to culminate everything in a massive climax to regenerate the Seventh Doctor!

Luckily, careful fund management and the fact they hadn’t bothered to waste any cash on sets, costumes or special effects since no one would be watching meant that 20% of the season’s budget was just lying there, waiting to be used on this season finale... or, more practically, be used on McCoy’s farewell party and make it five times as rowdy, drunken, and likely to attract police attention than Tom Baker’s farewell bash which had been dubbed "inciting a riot on an international scale contravening numerous anti-terrorism laws."

Initially, the final story of the season was going to be The Bellhop Inheritance written by Andrew Kearley. A long time fan with neither writing experience or social life, Kearley was chosen mainly because he utterly HATED the Sylvester McCoy era and Andrew Cartmel’s attempts to turn the Doctor into a quasi-mystical heartless arch-manipulating super hero right out of Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN (albeit not a bright blue nudist). Whatever his numerous faults, Kearley could be guaranteed to write the script absolutely free as long as he got to "restore the Doctor to his true, heroic and Jon Pertweesque self" and destroy any remaining sense of mystery in the show.

This epic story restored the Doctor’s impulsive idealism via cunningly being a word-for-word plagiarism of Planet of the Spy-Spoofs, The Invasion of Tim, and Death Comes to Tom. This would reveal that at the exact same moment Andrew Cartmel began script-editing the TV series, the Doctor would be possessed by the Satanic Powers of the mysterious Bellhop who ruled Ancient Gallifrey with Rassilon and Omigod. In desperation the Doctor uses his good pal Sean Connery to drain out his True SelfTM as a completely separate and independent individual...

...who immediately beat the Seventh Doctor to death, smashing his skull in with a twelve-pound lump hammer and causing him to regenerate into the Eighth Doctor who acted, looked and thought as if 1973 had yet to actually occur.

Alas, Kearley proved unable to pen the story as he began to foam at the mouth, demanding that "the Pertwee era is the only constant" resurrecting old hat and retreading old ground like the Bastard, UNIT, the Great Narrator, and the companion being a 1960s dolly bird with the IQ of a duvet cover. Kearley was finally hauled out of the production office by men in white coats. His screams of "FOOLS! Breadth and depth are POINTLESS! Doctor Who must be narrow and shallow for the TV screen! MY HOVERCRAFT IS FULL OF EELS!" were eventually muffled by chloroform.

With that plan stuffed, another fan fic writer with a pathological disgust for the Seventh Doctor was chosen – this time it was some hack by the name of Misha Lauenstein. Lauenstein’s suggestion for the season finale was Best Enema and was basically ripping off a rather mediocre Lost in Space episode.

In this story, the Bastard returned and very stupidly “flush” all of the evil out of the Seventh Doctor into a homicidal, mass-murdering, clown-molesting clone of Sylvester McCoy who immediately tried to assassinate President Flavia at the Gallifreyan Book Depository, before kidnapping geriatrics from retirement homes and making them his sex slaves. Meanwhile, the Bastard and the Seventh Doctor would roshambo each other until they fell over Niagra Falls and regenerated into Robin Hood and a random female prostitute respectively. After an awkward morning after at the VD clinic, the two enemies went their separate ways and experimented with cross-dressing.

Seemingly out of options, it was decided to rely on Return of the Animus Adversary And Its Time Weapon On A Race To the Court of Intrigue For A Viking Encounter – an epic five-episode story that combined the talents of Ben (Rememberin’ to Take Out The Dustbins) Aaaaronovitch, Big (The Chess of Fenric) Ian, along with Donald (The Piss Takers) Cotton, Jon (The Mascara) Lucaratti and Bill (The Weird Planet) Sutton in one gigantic complex across all of time and space.

The story concerned the Doctor and Ace discovering a salmonella outbreak in contemporary London is actually down to aliens. This proves rather boring, so the dimension-transcending duos catch a lift on a giant spaceship heading for the warzone between Dekk and Hendra IV where some other aliens are arguing, whereupon the Wine Peddler, some Slurpies and a radioactive toilet roll combine in an alliance destroy all of time and space before Ace accidentally explodes her stockpile of Nitro-9, killing absolutely everybody and causing the Doctor to regenerate into his next incarnation.

The fact that this story had been written, let alone considered for production, shows what depths of depression and despair the Doctor Who production team had fallen into over the last year.

Luckily... VERY luckily... hell, borderline-miraculously... there was one other script around, Addiction by Robert Mukherjee. Mukherjee first pitched the idea of a religious order dependant on insect fecal matter in 1989, but the story idea required much work to shape it to the required format and also decide which sort of bug crap would be the most thematically appropriate.

Used to the freedom of theatre and uncertain what one of these new-fangled "script editors" was, Mukherjee took some time to mould his ideas and approaches in accordance with a producer’s overview and the specific needs of a slot in a season. Alas, by the time he’d finished it, Doctor Who had been taken off the air. D’oh!

Mukherjee was pretty pissed off about this, having spent ages re-treading the narrative ground of Doctor Who rather than using the formulaic essence to come up with a story best described as "Bertie Basset Takes Shit From No-One only more blue-coloured". Mukherjee had spent ages coming up with the ultimate nemesis for the Seventh Doctor, a sinister human being who was highly manipulative, ahead of the game, with an insight into events and a love for cocktails, a mastermind character best described as "the Bastard only if he was bank manager played by Bob Monkhouse".

There were some strong feelings that maybe everyone was being overly harsh on Return of the Animus Adversary And Its Time Weapon On A Race To the Court of Intrigue For A Viking Encounter, and maybe they should consider working with what they had.

Cartmel remained confident over Addiction; he had always been keen on avoiding stories where the Doctor and companion arbitrarily arrived on different planets and strange beings running up and down lots of corridors – so one can only wonder what the hell he was thinking commissioning a story based SOLELY on that premise. Apparently, as long as there was a "dramatic core" involved, he could break his own rules as much as he liked.

Out of Addiction’s drunken collage of chase sequences, battles of wits and a sneaking suspicion that all energy drinks come from the asses of invertebrates, something approaching a proper plot appeared. Alas, Mukherjee ultimately went entirely overboard with originality and overturned the entire format of the show by killing off the Seventh Doctor and replacing him with the Richard Griffiths incarnation. Since this was precisely what the production team wanted, they weren’t fussed – though they were slightly annoyed that some hack writer was telling THEM who to cast as the Eighth Doctor.

"Richard Griffiths has those eyes!" Mukherjee would tell anyone who would listen. "Eyes that see more than what they’re looking at! I KNOW WHEREOF I SPEAK!"

The production team were apparently so taken by Mukherjee’s deranged enthusiasm they immediately decided to make the Griffiths the Eighth Doctor in lieu of the other more-qualified candidates like David Troughton, Edward Peel-Smith, Robert Hardy or Danny la Rue. Well, there might have been another story behind their decision, but I can’t be arsed to research it and, hell, Mukherjee sounds convincing to me.

Some people complain the Griffiths Doctor is lightweight compared to McCoy, but you can’t ALWAYS be a planet destroying sad sack can you? Sometimes you have to take pleasure in the little things like food, shoes and having it off with some fit blonde behind the catering van during filming. I know I do.

Addiction would prove to be, by far the darkest story of Season 27. OK, it was a downright parody of everything Doctor Who stood for and based entirely on the premise that Bob Monkhouse cracking one liners as very unconvincing animatronic beetles chase people up and down corridors, but it was VERY POORLY-LIT. Hence, while it may not have been incredibly disturbing and outlandish, it WAS dark.

This three-part story was not only the final story for Sylvester McCoy, but also for JST and Andrew Cartmel – intending to either get work on BBC2 that would actually get broadcast, like adaptations of Derek Tanguye’s sexual memoirs, or else die in a suicide pact. JST’s final decision as producer was to tell Richard Griffiths, an actor he had first considered for the role as the Doctor almost a decade earlier, to stop blocking the goddamned doorway already and allow people to get through.

JST made a touching farewell speech when the final scene was recorded: "In the words of the Doctor, this is the end, the contract has not been renewed. My record-breaking involvement with Doctor Who is at an end after ten long years... NOW LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU UNGRATEFUL ANORAK-CLAD WANKER SON OF BITCHES’ BITCHES’ BASTARD!"


Season 27 Wrap-Up -

When the BBC took Doctor Who off the air but continued making it, no one sane thought that the ratings share would improve. But then, when was anyone sane working at the BBC? The fact that the show was now giving out a steady performance of 0 viewers rather than see-sawing in popularity made many dub Season 27 "a significant year of rip-roaring success" – but, unfortunately, it had still somehow faded in the public’s affection since they hadn’t seen it for two years.

By December 3, 1990, production manager Ian Fraser was made Doctor Who’s tenth and final producer by virtue of everyone else having buggered off ages ago. Fraser was confident that, as the head of a "newly-repopularised" series, the only way could be up and was certain that he would achieve global fame, stardom, and anorexia nervosa!

Fraser felt little need to modify JST’s repertory team of designers, directors and other personnel – mainly because they’d all left as well and he was the only one in the studio. Meanwhile, press statements from the BBC were increasingly vague; not only were they unwilling to comment on what was happening to Doctor Who, they weren’t prepared to admit that Doctor Who had ever existed. Why, the argument went, should they put any more effort into in-house production when

a) many of the BBC’s most successful shows were now made independently?
b) no one was willing to make the fucking show anyway?

Ultimately, it would be over twenty years before the recordings of Live Aid, Thin Ice, Sale of the Century and Addiction were released to the public. Dedicated followers were grateful that, having survived Survival, the Seventh Doctor finally had a farewell story! Hang out a bunting! Declare a holiday! Build a dome! Or not.

No longer does some inconclusive guff about cheetahs end the original classic series, but now viewers have scenes that define Doctor Who in the public eye – well, apart from Dustbins and Cybermen at war, evil moving statues, and David Tennant sleeping with 80% of the audience. Apart from that, ask anyone and they’ll tell you about aliens at Stonehenge, cat burgler assistants, and... no, wait, still talking about RTD. I give up.

Even fans forget about these stories, which started off the show’s fourth decade with shite Monty Python gags, Ice Cream Vendors, an evil bank manager and a sci-fi free thriller of drug smuggling and armed sieges so unrealistic they made Edge of Darkness look like The Bill. Frankly, I’m glad no one saw these till now and if I could, I’d make sure no one ever did! TRENCHCOAT IS CANON, FUCK IT!

Finally, since 1988, script editor Andrew Cartmel had been rewriting what was left of the mythos of Doctor Who to make it appeal to people like Alan Moore, Stephen Baxter and Noel Edmonds. Writers from Mark Plate to Big Ian to Ben Aaaaronovitch found themselves inducted into a strange Masonic-style order known as the Cartmel Masterplan, which would change Doctor Who forever.

After three years of basically being given a pile of Sandman comics with orders to "rip this shit off", Cartmel realized that Season 27 would be his last and all of his Masterplan merely amounted to a few weird mutterings about the Seventh Doctor being Cthulu Jones, had murdered his prior incarnation with a lethal electric joy-buzzer, and that Time Lords never had sex because some old woman put them off the idea of biological reproduction forever (apparently based on a painful childhood memory of Cartmel’s, and designed to make Who fans feel a bit better that they can never get laid).

Thus, the final scene of the story would have a final glimpse of the Seventh Doctor and his dealing with the Gods of the Time Lords, a scene that revealed entirely what the Cartmel Masterplan REALLY was a career plan to get headhunted as script editor for Casualty. Everything else was just poppycock to keep everyone else baffled!


Excerpt from "Doctor Who And The Addictive Asteroid" Episode 3:


(Setting: The Doctor wakes up lying under a tree in verdant countryside beside a lake. Birds flutter in the trees and rabbits hop through the bushes. He looks around, startled.)

Doctor: What do I look like? Have I been dead long?

(An attractive young Goth chick with unnaturally pale skin in black top, jeans and silver ankh chain is leaning against a tree.)

Death: It’s about time, wily raven. I’ve waited long enough!

Doctor: Death? I’m dead? After 964 years in the business? How undignified! I’ll never hear the end of it! Funny, dying didn’t hurt as much as last time. I must be getting good at it...

Death: You might be dead now, but Number Eight has taken your place. The Doctor’s not done suffering yet...

Doctor: Goodness, what do you Eternals think I’ve been doing down there? Watching Emmerdale Farm? I’ve suffered enough!

Death: Oh, you haven’t seen half of it. They’ve got big plans for your new manifestation.

Doctor: How big, Grim Reaperess?

Death: They’ll write tragedies on what happens. You, however, the Seventh Doctor, have a burial plot all picked out in the Land of Sacrificed Cult TV Icons. Your ass is mine.

Doctor: I don’t wish to be rude, Death, but I *was* hoping for some rest.

Death: Well, if that’s what you want. Or...

Doctor: ...or?

Death: ...or maybe we could spend the next chunk of eternity making out like pre-pubescent rabbits?

(The Doctor stares at Death for a long moment.)

Doctor: (Clears throat and checks no one is watching) D’you think that Time might be disposed towards a threesome, mayhaps?

Death: (Shrugs.) Only if Pain gets to watch.

(The Doctor leaps to his feet and takes Death’s arm.)

Doctor: Oh, why not? Mind you, Death, it *has* been a long time... Will you promise me something?

Death: What?

Doctor: *Don’t* be gentle with me.

Death: Oh, we won’t.

(The pair walk off towards the lake silhouetted by the setting sun.)

7th Doctor - Alixion (i)

An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Serial 7P/4 - Addiction
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Evil Insect Elixir

D O C T O R W H O

Serial 7P/4 - Addiction


Part One

Aboard the mighty time-ship TARDIS, the Doctor stalks up and down with the slow realization he’s finally run out of master-plans and intricate schemes battling the higher forces of creation and tricking evils from the Dawn of Time into blowing themselves up with some old Gallifreyan antiques the Doctor picked up at a car-boot sale on Dronid.

Desperately, the Doctor scans his 500 year diary for someone... anyone!... to begin a massive chessgame with innocent bystanders as pawns and the whole universe at stake, but he’s done them all. The ancient wolves of Fenric, the reconstituted Dustbin Umpire, Bertie Bassett, he’s been there, done that, angsted about it and acted like a complete bastard with a question mark fetish.

Worse, his new companion Kate Tollinger is beginning to twig at what a pathetic and uninteresting loser the Doctor is when he’s not acting as Time’s Pimp and defending the laws of the universe. In mad desperation to restore some of his street cred, the Doctor quickly finds one last entity in all of time and space who is so downright evil, monstrous and callous they need the Doctor to go out of his way to destroy them utterly to every last molecule:

"My bank manager!" the Doctor vows darkly.

Being an upper-class, pampered rich bitch, Kate has never had to suffer the pain and humiliation of trying to extend an overdraft with no credit rating whatsoever. But even SHE thinks this mindless vendetta against some tweed-wearing git for not forking out a few mazumas for the Doctor to neuter his robot dog is fool hardly and beggars logic.

The Doctor assures Kate that he’s not talking about some nonentity from a small branch of GalactaBank on Ursa Minor, he’s talking about the Brotherhood of Darkened Time, an order of druidic monks who wear cloaks and burn incense. Who also happen to be the finest accountants in all of creation and the only ones stopping higher evolutionaries like the Time Lords of Gallifrey from being arrested by the Shadow Proclamation for massive financial irregularities.

Proving his point, the Doctor immediately pilots the TARDIS to the Head Office of these outer-space bank-tellers – and arrives on a far distant asteroid honeycombed with tunnels and passengers like a worm-ravaged apple core. Kate is slightly unimpressed by this badly-lit underground maze of deserted and dusty passages, but the Doctor points out it’s a relief they’ve not arrived on a Monday morning when the place is REALLY busy.

Completely ignorant of the giant beetles scuttling in the shadows with their giant glowing red eyes, or of the mysterious hooded figure stalking their every movement, the Doctor and Kate wander around looking for a reception desk – idly noting the mysterious scratches in solid rock and the odd smell of rotting human flesh.

They finally notice the mysterious hooded figure who’s been walking behind them after he clears his throat very loudly and shouts "HEY, I’M RIGHT BEHIND YOU, YOU UNOBSERVANT TOSSERS!!!"

This turns out to be Brother Galen, a rather stressed accountant of the Brotherhood who shows signs of a truly cocaine-fueled superiority complex. Having listened to the Doctor and Kate waffle on for ages, Galen knows exactly who they are, where they came from, why they are here, and the Doctor’s inside leg measurement. It is only later the Doctor realizes neither he nor Kate mentioned such a measurement, and grows secretive and suspicious. Well, slightly more than usual, anyway.

Galen leads them to the Main Office – a Gothic church filling a cavern at the heart of the asteroid, lit by burning lanterns. It’s got a whole CS Lewis vibe to it, and Galen explains that this monumental architectural folly was constructed in a few hours by his fellow monks who were, like him, on a speed-crazed frenzy of efficiency.

It transpires that all of the Brotherhood of Darkened Time have their mental faculties expanded and their perceptions heightened by a delicate combination of a strict monastic lifestyle and very hard drugs. The end result is a bunch of coke-heads doing tax returns in perfect silence with pen and ink in quiet contemplation of the galactic stock exchange while their leader, Bank Manager Koporahn, grooves to ABBA’s "Money, Money, Money" played over his Hatichami Compact Disc Jog Person in the main study hall.

Using all their self-control, the Doctor and Kate manage to stop giggling too obviously at the sight of all these pathetic monks in silence twitching and sniffing white powder, while also noticing the beetle-shaped logo designs absolutely everywhere.

Finally granted an audience in the Bank Manager’s private office, the leader of the Brotherhood of Darkened Time immediately starts offering the time travelers’ a small forest’s worth of pamphlets about how hip and cool they’ll be to join the order of cosmic fiscal analysts.

The Doctor and Kate eventually get a word in edgeways and explain they are not new members to this incredibly suspicious and unconvincing religious banking scheme, whereupon the Bank Manager tells them in no uncertain terms to "get the fuck out of his life" and stop wasting his precious time.

Galen explains the Doctor is in fact a dissatisfied customer, and the Bank Manager reacts with a truly cruel and unusual punishment: he gives the Doctor a guided tour of their primitive abode, showing him the unhygienic toilet facilities, their small vegetable garden, their soul-crushing work which forces them to take massive amounts of cocaine to keep them going in an order where no one can talk or make friends or make love on top of the photocopier at an office party...

The Doctor and Kate are soon reduced to tears – but whether these are tears of sympathy or outright boredom we will never know! The Bank Manager has everyone have a complimentary can of "Beetle Juice 5000" energy drink (described by the World Health Organization as "Your Midlife Crisis Wake-Up Call" that gives a caffeine buzz of no shorter than eleven days and a resulting comedown of twenty-seven years).

The Doctor and Kate immediately make a run for it, checking the handy office layout map above the front door to navigate their way back to the TARDIS – only for Kate to continually insist that they’re going the wrong way and wandering deeper and deeper into the asteroid.

Finally the Doctor’s resolve cracks and he listens to Kate, who turns out to be absolutely right. However, this means that the map at the church was completely wrong – and designed to trick unsuspecting travelers straight into the forbidden caverns beyond.

The Doctor is amazed: this is clearly a clever trap which means that he has finally met a manipulative bastard as callous and morally bankrupt as himself!

"JACKPOT! Oh, if only Ace could see me now!" he whispers in awe.

Kate meanwhile points out that the Bank Manager can’t be THAT clever if he allowed her to drink the magical "Beetle Juice 5000" that, like all other members of the Brotherhood of Darkened Time, allows her to use more than 10 per cent of her brain power and thus remember the correct route back to the time machine.

Thus, not only is the Bank Manager as ruthless a chess master as the Doctor, he’s also got exactly the same awful bad luck and incredibly terrible contingency planning.

"Oh, this just gets better and better!" the Doctor cackles evilly, rubbing his question-mark umbrella with sinister glee.

But then the moment is ruined as he promptly trips over the bones of a monk picked clean by the nasty alien beetles that absolutely everyone in the audience have noticed patrolling the caves and even now are watching from the shadows while Sylvester McCoy does one last pratfall in his time as the Seventh Doctor.

Completely unaware of the mortal peril that they’ve just avoided, the Doctor and Kate race back to the monastery to make a complaint about the appalling health and safety standards on this asteroid. In order to communicate in a society where no one may speak, the Doctor forces Kate to wear a sandwich board with the words "ONE OF THE MONKS HAS DIED HORRIBLY – RUN FOR YOUR LIVES" written on it.

"Do you really think this will help the situation?" asks Kate.

The Doctor shrugs. "Who cares?"


Part Two

In their second interview with the Bank Manager, the Doctor notes that it’s rather convenient that the poor monk what got killed happened to be part of a cult that ensures he has no friends, family or indeed anyone that might ever notice he’d gone off for a walk and then been filleted like a Taiwanese chicken nugget.

The Bank Manager stares at him for a long time before quietly asking the Doctor, "And your point being?"

Realizing yet again he is finally confronting an enemy that WON’T suddenly blab all their evil plans at the slightest of provocations, the Doctor decides to play the long game. Or at least as long a game as he can get out of these painfully-under-running three-parters!

Deciding to tried and true methods, the Doctor suggests he and the Bank Manager go for a nice picnic in the dark catacombs outside leaving Kate to loiter around in the church looking for clues and stuff to justify her presence in the story.

In what could be a cunning bluff... or a REALLY cunning double bluff... or a NOT-AT-ALL cunning triple bluff... the Bank Manager agrees and he and the Doctor skip off, hand-in-hand, into the darkness while Kate quickly comes to the conclusion she doesn’t actually give a damn if any of these druggie accountants live or die anyway.

To pass the time, the decadent safe cracker immediately decides to break into the tiny communal vegetable garden and then wreck it as though it belonged to Blue Peter.

There she discovers what looks like an illegal distillery being run by none other than the Doug Anthony Allstars – a stand up comedy punk band from Australia whose mere presence in this story at all destroys the faintest hints of logic and credibility it may have once possessed.

So taken aback by this narrative black hole, Kate is taken completely by surprise as the three musicians beat the crap out of her and tie her to the chair, intending to make her a key ingredient in "Beetle Juice 5000"! Alas, for the purposes of dramatic tension, they are unable to explain what the hell they’re on about before Brother Galen clubs them unconscious, unties Kate and they run away through a secret passage.

The DAAS trio recover and muse on the deep irony that the rules of their order means they have no idea WHICH monk came to Kate’s rescue, so they’ll just have to dope themselves up with "Beetle Juice 5000" until their heightened perceptions make them work out the truth. Whereupon they can steal his ration of cocaine!

Meanwhile, the Doctor and the Bank Manager are creeping up a tunnel when the Doctor unleashes his final masterstroke – he has absolutely NO plan of any kind whatsoever! Which means, of course, that the Bank Manager cannot POSSIBLY have a contingency plan... unless, of course, he was expecting the Doctor to try and kung-fu-kick him to death while screaming "MORE TEA, VICAR?!?" in a strange falsetto.

Finally the Bank Manager cracks and offers to explain the whole evil plan, revealing the Brotherhood of Darkened Time was relocated to this asteroid as part of a complicated scheme to refine "Beetle Juice 5000" – once all the monks are addicted to it, the Bank Manager will use their mighty financial powers to make it THE energy drink of the new millennium and the Bank Manager will be filthy, stinking rich.

The Doctor nods at this diabolically ingenious scheme... before realizing that it doesn’t actually make the slightest bit of sense! How do yuppie accountants "refine" energy drinks? And how does making them solitary faceless monks help? And what does all this have to do with the things eating people on this asteroid?

Alas this has all been a cunning ploy to distract the Doctor while the Bank Manager drop-kicks him into a deep dark pit full of giant buck-toothed beetles that tend to rip human beings apart and strip their puny pink flesh from their weak little bones!

The Doctor gurns in suitably appropriate mortal terror.


Part Three

Luckily, there’s one more episode to go, so the Doctor quickly tries to talk his way out of the problem by making small talk with the ravenous alien beetles. Amazingly enough this works long enough for the Doctor to climb out of the pit and punch the Bank Manager in the kidneys until he falls into the pit instead.

Pausing momentarily to wax philosophically about how two equally-matched mental opponents have to resort to low-brow physical violence to resolve anything, the Doctor runs off very quickly indeed.

The Bank Manager meanwhile has a funky aftershave that stops the beetles tearing him apart and he sends the ferocious invertebrates after the Time Lord – but giant starving beetles are actually really rubbish at being blood hounds and go in entirely the wrong direction and scuttle into the church.

Yes, it seems the Bank Manager has made yet another fundamental mistake and sent the very hungry death monsters into an all-you-can-eat monk buffet and unsurprisingly they "forget" about his rules for only eating monks who wander into their territory.

This leads to some truly kickass scenes of monks getting shredded limb from limb by roaring flesh-munching insects, some of them snatching up female monks and flying around the room while biting her head off, and this amazingly cool bit where a monk hides behind a curtain but there’s already a beetle there and it rips his arms off... I swear, it’s only beaten by the bit where the only surviving monk makes it to the front door, opens it, and there’s this drooling beetle waiting right outside the door and it totally swallows him in one bite. Infuckingcredible.

...

What? I can’t enjoy insectoid monastic carnage all of a sudden? Screw you, so-called moral guardians! I’m maladjusted am I? Well, define "well-adjusted" you bastards!

Ahem.

The Doctor meanwhile, as is often the case in these sort of adventures, bumps entirely by accident into Kate and Brother Galen, and they alone survive the inevitable beetle massacre. The fact they are the main characters with speaking parts helps too, if you want to be completely meta-textual about the whole thing...

Creeping into the cavern next to the vegetable garden, the Doctor finds sacks of weird gunge that is the principle ingredient of "Beetle Juice 5000". "This goo," the Doctor soliloquizes, "WHAT’S IT FOR??!"

Deciding that the safest place to hide while the human population of the asteroid are drastically reduced, the Doctor, Kate and Galen hide in TARDIS. There, the amazing technology of the TARDIS console BBC Micro reveals the horrible truth – not only is the main ingredient of "Beetle Juice 5000" made entirely from the shit of the giant green beetles on this asteroid, but...

"BEETLE SHIT IS PEOPLE!!!" the Doctor exclaims in horror.

After the requisite Soylent Green jokes, everyone gets back to the plot. It turns out that if a beetle eats someone smart, eating that beetle’s excrement will make YOU smart. Thus, the Bank Manager has been letting the beetles eating smart people, using the beetle shit in "Beetle Juice 5000" to make people MORE smart, then feeding them to the beetles, over and over again in a cycle of ever-increasingly intellectual fecal matter consumption!

The Doctor is awestruck at the audacious manipulation of this Machiavellian scheme, while Kate and Galen are just incredibly nauseous about the whole damn idea.

The Time Lord realizes he is up against a foe that actually might be dangerous enough to finish off what Dustbins, Cybermen and Ice Cream Vendors could never dream of... and he might even kill the godlike Seventh Doctor and all!

"The Bank Manager may be able to sacrifice the Brotherhood of Darkened Time to create the elixir of pure mental power," the Doctor proclaims, "but I can whip up a complete revolution in under 25 minutes and bring down the entire infrastructure of the Bank Manager’s evil plan!"

However, it quickly strikes the Time Lord that all the monks have been eaten, so there isn’t anyone left alive to whip into a people’s army and fight for the Doctor. This revelation takes the wind out of the Doctor’s sails, but then he hits upon a completely novel plan:

"Of course! If the beetles have eaten all the monks, then I’ll just have to get the BEETLES themselves to rise up against the Bank Manager – that can’t be too difficult, can it, Kate?"

Kate, for her parts, thinks the Doctor is a "completely deluded little Scotsman with a barely-suppressed death wish" and leaves him to his suicidal attempts to promote socialist equality amongst a hive of man-eating monster insects.

Huffing, the Doctor strides to the pit of bugs and politely asks, "Could I interest you in a brand new lower intestine, sir or madam?" and in moments is taking tea with the hideous sluggy Hive Queen.

One thankfully-unseen sequence later, the Doctor is strolling towards the bloodstained ruin of the Church with an army of socialist beetles behind him. There they find that the Bank Manger and his sole surviving followers (unsurprisingly, the DAAS trio, who are the only remaining speaking parts from the Brotherhood of Darkened Time) are stocking up huge amounts of "Beetle Juice 5000" cans into a bitchingly cool planet hopper parked out the back of the church.

Easily capturing Kate and Galen, the Bank Manager demonstrates both his amazing chess master skills but truly badass credentials by shooting his remaining monks to make them confess where the Doctor’s got to – an act of lateral thinking and sheer nastiness that even Kate Tollinger, daughter of a bloodsoaked gangland boss, can appreciate.

As the Doctor and his army of beetles close in, the Bank Manager unveils his lethal and rather unwieldy doomsday device composed entirely of empty "Beetle Juice 5000" cans and some bubblegum. This dastardly mechanism does exactly what it says on the tin, and unfortunately the tin says "MIND RAPIST – GUARANTEED TO SUCK YOUR BRAINS OUT AND LEAVE YOU A CATATONIC LUMP OF FLESH".

Knowing that the Doctor will most likely be expecting him to start on his companion, the Bank Manager uses the Mind Rapist on Galen instead, but this double bluff proves slightly less than in any way helpful as the now-vegetable-ized monk knew nothing of any use whatsoever!

The Doctor arrives and the Bank Manager cunningly claims that this all part of his plan and all the Doctor has achieved is to tidy up all the loose ends on the asteroid. The Doctor retorts that this is precisely what he wants the Bank Manager to think, as he has been using the Bank Manager all along to affect the evolution of the Beetles. The Bank Manager retorts that this is just another layer in this onion of intricate villainy...

...anyway, eventually the Bank Manager threatens to blow Kate’s head off with a pump-action sawn-off shotgun. "Is THAT part of your plan, Doctor? Huh?"

The Doctor agrees that it is, which is why he’ll surrender himself to the Mind Rapist, allowing the Bank Manager to drain the Time Lord’s knowledge and use it to conquer the universe which is pretty much on the Bank Manager’s long-term goal list. In fact, he’ll conveniently put on a straightjacket to make it that much easier.

The Bank Manager asks precisely HOW the Doctor could possibly turn this situation to his advantage – and then realizes. "By all the Gods of Purgatory... HE HAS REVERSED THE POLARITY OF THE NEUTRON FLOW!" the Bank Manager exclaims in horror.

Yes, the Mind Rapist won’t suck the Doctor’s mind out through his eyeballs but instead grant him all the powers of a God of the Fourth, to create and destroy all of reality at whim.

"Why didn’t I think of doing that?" the Bank Manager explains, and then reverses the reversed neutron flow polarity and then activates the Mind Rapist, and its deadly force ravages the Time Lord.

"If anybody’s thinking of rescuing me – I suggest THEY GET THEIR SKATES ON!" the Doctor screams desperately, writhing in his straightjacket as his lives, his very consciousness is sucked away...

...and burnt onto a compact disc the Bank Manager pockets quickly pockets for future mischief.

Then, suddenly, the Doctor’s eyes pop open, glowing with abominable light. It turns out the little Scottish Time Lord has actually known precisely what he was doing all along – while everyone was arguing he drank an entire keg of "Bug Juice 5000" which has increased his mental power 100 times, and even after the whole Mind-Raping business has left him with godlike powers.

The Elixir-fueled Doctor laughs evilly, as the sugar buzz from a keg of energy drinks leads the Time Lord into what can only be described as "a voyage to trip-out city". Falling through strange geometric patterns and swirling clouds, the Doctor sees a hideous shadow rising above him: his Inner Fuckwit, brought to the surface by imbibing chemicals "too broad and too deep and way too illegal for the small screen".

"YOU ARE EVIL!" booms the monster. "YOU UNRAVEL TIMELINES AND JEOPARDIZE YOUR COMPANIONS! YOU CAUSE UPSET AND GRIEF, USE PEOPLE LIKE TOOLS, ACT AS THOUGH THE COSMOS IS YOUR GAME BOARD TO PLAY ON AS YOU WILL... AND SERIOUSLY, WHAT IT IS WITH THE QUESTION MARKS?!"

Facing the deepest, darkest facet of his own psyche, the Doctor promptly gives it a two-fingered salute.

This final battle between the Doctor and his own obsession to defeat evil abruptly ends as, out in the real world, the Time Lord suddenly goes cross-eyed and smoke starts to pour from his ears. Then he falls over and blows some saliva bubbles.

The Bank Manager takes a moment to come to terms with this latest of plot developments. After prodding the Doctor with his toe a few times, the evil mastermind comes to the conclusion that the Doctor ISN’T faking and is genuinely insane following the curb stomp battle from confronting what is rotten within himself.

"Which means, I win!" the Bank Manager laughs. "Plus I know more than you’ve forgotten! HA!"

To be on the safe side, the Bank Manager throws the gibbering lunatic into a confinement cell, just in case this is some final cunning stratagem. He then runs for his planet hopper spaceship, cackling, "The Doctor is finished! Forever! He’ll never be the amoral chess player on a thousand boards ever again! IN YOUR FACE, CARTMEL MASTERPLAN!"

Kate watches the space hopper take off, hurtling through a secret passage leading out of the asteroid and into deep space, and reflects that all in all today has been a rather strange day.

Aboard his ship, the Bank Manager quickly slides his CD-ROM into his navigation computer, granting him the secrets of time and space and power all of known creation...

...when the DAAS trio, a bit pissed off with all his murder attempts, promptly jump him, snap his neck, sing a little song, and accidentally send it hurtling through time and space to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean during the era of the First Great and Bountiful Human Empire.

Back on the asteroid, Kate is left alone as the completely insane Doctor babbles incoherently at the walls of his cell. "I fear I have lost my marbles!" he gibbers. "My plot is losing it! All of my eggs are in a strange basket and the square of my hypotenuse is nowhere NEAR the square of my other two sides! Oh cruel fate, I have made my escape but my mind is running amock!"

Finally sick of this inane chatter, Kate gags the Doctor to shut him up giving her a chance to emote and reflect how the Doctor has lost a battle against the evil in himself and been left so completely destroyed, an empty man with no trace of a soul left...

It is around now she discovers that the Doctor’s cellular contractual renewal handily covers "losing mind" as well as "damaging body" and the gagged-and-straightjacket-ed Doctor is twitching like a mordant epileptic watching that dodgy episode of Pok√©mon.

Suddenly, the Doctor’s skin glows a blinding white as he shifts, ripples and distorts inside his straightjacket which rapidly becomes too small for him. The rotund, grey-haired maniac breaks free of his gag and straightjacket – a completely new man.

Unfortunately, he’s not much saner than the last one.

"Waitress!" he yells at Kate. "Waitress! Getting a bit peckish in here! Could DO with a FEED! Waitress?!" he shouts and, convinced he can smell some poached salmon, immediately runs off out of the church back to the TARDIS, screaming for hors-d’oeuvres at the top of his voice.

Kate rushes after him, rightly guessing her chances of survival will be better with the fat psycho demanding "mutton dressed as lamb with mousse dressed as Marie Antoinette for desert" are higher than loitering around an asteroid of ferocious man-eating insects.

And so the story ends with the disturbing sight of the new Doctor, painfully squeezed into the old Doctor’s golfing gear, kicking the TARDIS console and screaming, "WHEN SHE GOT THERE THE CUPBOARD WAS BARE SO THE POOR MONGREL STARVED TO DEATH!!" at the top of his voice.

"Fear not this foul play, Kate," he adds, popping on a pair of pince nez spectacles. "For the game is not yet done until the final BARB ratings are tallied!"