Thursday, February 4, 2010

10th Doctor - Music of the Spheres

Serial CIN4 – Prom of the Grinch
An Alternate Program Guide by Ewen Campion Clarke
From An Entry In The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Spherical Tunes!

"YOA's Discontinuity Guides - Inaccurate But Caring."

Serial CIN4 – Prom of the Grinch -

Furious and distraught at the departure of Donna (oooh, alliteration!), the Doctor decides to compose an angst-ridden poem about his feelings in the belief that is only crap poetry that stops the entire human race from committing suicide during their teenage years. Surprisingly, this plan works brilliantly and within moments the Doctor has forgotten all about the tragic parting of the ways he had and instead focuses on trying to rhyme things with "orange".

Lost in his own genius of composing palindromic haikus with a quill on a parchment, it takes the Doctor eighteen hours to notice all the alarms going off on the console and the TARDIS Cloister Bell ringing like Quasimodo’s on speed. Finally, the Time Lord stops lying on the floor and waving his legs around like a teenage girl in her bedroom and starts acting like the damn God of Time and Space he’s supposed to!

Investigating the problem by shouting "Not now, I’m busy!" at the console a lot, the Doctor discovers a flashing light marked "ALERT, TELEPORT BREACH!" which prompts him to frown and shout "What?!" over and over and over again.

Suddenly, the Grinch appears inside the TARDIS, having finally tracked the Doctor down to take blood-chilling revenge on the Time Lord after he and a certain charismatic young stud from 32 The Parade Dulwich Hill defeated the Grinch’s screams to screw up Christmas forever! Having been abandoned by the rest of the Grinch Griffak Gr’thaaaak and Graak Gang, the Grinch has nothing left in his miserable existence but to end the Doctor’s insanely protracted and episodic life.

However, the Grinch admits he’s really wondering about whether his personal development is being hampered by his psychotic hermit-like existence with nothing in his life apart from determination to ruin Christmas for everyone.

"You know, looking back, it all seems so PETTY!" the green creature sighs, before changing the subject and asking about the Doctor’s poetry, insisting that he really IS interested.

The Doctor gets all bashful and explains he’s just exorcising the eccentricities of his soul and setting them as lyrics to the music of the spheres, the gravity patterns from the planets, sun and galaxies moving around outside filtered through a harmonic filter.

After listening to "Ode To The Entire Dustbins Species My Left Hand Wiped Out One Morning", "10 Reasons That I Am Completely Over Rose Tyler" and "Jings, It’s Been A While Since I Met Some Cybermen, Do You Think That Might Be Significant?", the Doctor and Grinch notice a strange CGI wormhole on the right-hand side of the TARDIS control room where no one ever goes lest they get in the way of the cameras.

"Oooh, now that looks like a space portal," the Doctor muses, adding that it’s probably been hanging in mid-air for centuries but no one noticed because they all tend to stay on the other side of the room. The Doctor looks through the rip in time and space and finds that it has opened up on Earth, inside the Albert Hall during the yearly Proms.

"Typical. Just typical," the Doctor mutters.

However, the Tenth Doctor is never one to miss an opportunity to be incredibly embarrassing and make the audience cringe – and so he throws his poetry through the portal for the orchestra to play while he conducts with his sonic screwdriver.

Tragically, the Doctor’s hopes for "Noble Temp, Lady of Time" to be have its worldwide premiere in front of millions of paying customers is dashed – the orchestra refuse to go along and even if they did, there’s no tune for them to play as no one in 2008 Albert Hall has heard "Ode to the Universe".

Further mischief is afoot when the Grinch suddenly feels his urge to wreck annual celebrations rising. Snatching up a submachine gun from the TARDIS armory (well, a chest full of laser gun props at any rate), the green Grinch dives through the portal and into the Albert Hall to slaughter every living thing he can.

Alas, he has managed to snatch up the one high-range projected energy weapon that was actually just a novelty water pistol. When the Grinch realize all he’s doing is getting a few patrons wet, he realizes how utterly pointless and pathetic it’s all been, collapses and suffers a complete nervous breakdown.

After pointing and laughing at the stricken Grinch, the Doctor flips a suitable control on the console and the Grinch is sucked first back inside the TARDIS and then banished to the other side of the galaxy where he can live to fight another day and prove incredibly annoying to an ex-companion in their own spin-off series.

Meanwhile, the Albert Hall audience are just getting their act together when suddenly it is simultaneously invaded by Cybermen, Snotarans, Jundoon, Ood before Lavros himself arrives via emergency temporal shift. Deciding to take a break from plotting the end of the universe, Lavros murders and replaces the conductor before starting "The Fanfare for the Common Man" with his usual flair.

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor realizes emerges into the swirling snow and what appears to be the film set of The Sally Lockheart Mysteries but actually turns out to be Victorian England at the beginning of Autumn. After poking fun at all the ridiculous fashions, poor hygiene standards and dubious close harmony singing of passing girl choirs, the Time Lord decides to start making allusions to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the amusement of precisely no one.

"DOCTOR!" screams a nasal American voice in the distance and, eager for the distraction, the Time Lord grins like an idiot and races off to find out who calls for him.

The Doctor soon finds the source of the annoying squealing: a redhaired woman in her late fifties wearing a PVC school girl outfit. This horrific sight is almost but not quite enough to distract him from the unseen horrors breaking out of the warehouse.

Despite him clearly standing right in front of her and telling her to get to safety, the silly bint continues to stand around yelling "Doctor! DOCTOR!" like some broken novelty blow-up doll.

"Jings, no need to shout, I’m standing right here!" the Doctor tells her, slightly unnerved at her decrepit form and unconvincing Cockney accent that makes her sound like a stroke victim. "It’s me, I’M the Doctor! Just the Doctor. Hello!"

"Oh! My! God!" Dara the faux schoolgirl exclaims. "That is so totally a lie! I can’t believe you just lied to me! You can’t be the Doctor! There can only be ONE Doctor! Oh, I am like SO hot right now!"

Suddenly a new player arrives, an unshaven American with an afro haircut wearing an electric blue Zoot Suit and a long multicoloured scarf and immediately tries to take charge in a pathetic and self-aware manner using random Tom Baker quotes.

"Hey, hang on a sec, who are you?" demands the Doctor.

"Me? I’m the Doctor!" the newcomer retorts. "Simply the Doctor! The one, the only and the best! A Time Lord’s got to do what a Time Lord’s got to do!" he booms before the warehouse doors burst open and he offers the slavering beast within some jelly babies.

"Sounds like someone needs to get laid," the Doctor muses. "FAST!"

Next Time...
"This creature, it like, just, came out of the shadows. It was, like, totally random and made of silver and stuff."
"They’re my gimps in metal bondage gear."
"What manner of lust slaves are they?"
"Cybermen. Now bend over."
++ You-will-undress. ++
"What the hell do the Cybermen want?"
"Who the hell cares?!"
"We are going to put the 'industrial' into the Industrial Revolution!"
"Is it too intellectual for your high-speed brain dead audience?"
"You pathetic fan geek!"
"Merry Michaelmas to you too."
...The Michaelmas Imposter...

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who & The Bewildering Waste of Time
Dr Who: Pointless Lead-Ins To The Christmas Special Anthology
Doctor Who DVD Box Set: The Grinch Waltzes

Fluffs - David Tennant seemed non-functionally imbecilic in this story.

"Just remember. Music isn’t just orchestras and popstars and special people with downloads and albums and concerts. It’s you! Because the music is all around you! When you’re on your own, just close your eyes. And you can hear it. Music. Inside your head. Coz everyone’s a musician. Everyone’s got the song inside them. Like the Bastard, he’s got the entire output of the Rogue Traders blaring through his brain twenty-four seven, it’s why he went mad and keeps trying to take over the universe. So... music is evil. Actually, this speech ended up in a completely different place to where it started out. Yeah... Bye!"

Goofs -
The Doctor’s casual disposal of the Grinch lead to him rematerializing inside my tumble dryer in the laundry. Normally I wouldn’t complain, but this is the one evil green alien monster that actually has a grudge, so sending him to my place was reckless and nasty. Last time I ever PAY for your merchandise, Dr Who you bastard!

Fashion Victims -
It says so much that the Tenth Doctor is the most somberly-dressed out of the entire cast, doesn’t it?

Technobbable -
The Doctor reverses the polarity of the neutron flow for the first time since the last time he did it. Which was probably back in The Lazarou Experiment, but I can’t be certain. Why the hell do I have to do all the freaking research, anyway?

Dialogue Disasters -

Grinch: This is so fucking unfair.


Doctor: Oi! Get out! Jings, I try and take ONE afternoon off and...
Grinch: You are my nemesis Doctor! Now you must die!
Doctor: I don’t care, Grinchy boy! I’m taking today off – now out!
Grinch: What?! It’s taken me three seasons to catch up with and I get the one day you’re off? Man, karma’s a bitch!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: What are you actually going to do, Grinch? Run around the world causing trouble? Stealing sweets? Making smells? Jings, I had to deal with the destruction of reality itself yesterday! Well, sod off with you to the other side of the galaxy then, I cannae be bothered...

Lavros: This Royal Albert Hall will become the new palace of my Dustbin Umpire. And you humans will become my obedient slaves. Let the music of destruction commence. Start with "The Ride of the Valkyries"!

Doctor: You there, young lad! Come hither! I want to talk to you.
Urchin: I’m sorry sir, I’m late for classes – if I don’t make my final bell today, the Headmaster warned that he shall tan my hide Indian Red...
Doctor: Look, you spotty little prick, you’ll obey your elders and march your worthless little arse over here! Jings. Anyway, small boy, could you tell me what day it is?
Urchin: You stopped me in the middle of a busy road to ask me that tosh?
Doctor: [laughs pleasantly] No-no, young suckling. What I meant was, "What special day is this?"
Urchin: Well, it’s Thursday, if that’s what you mean. About 8:20 in the morning. Look, are you some kind of Mormon?
Doctor: No-no-no! Well, it’s not important, then. Is it the 29th of September?
Urchin: Why yes, it is! The feast of St Michael!
Doctor: Michaelmas, as I thought. See ya round, ya little drug addict.

Dara: Oh! My! God! Time travel’s like, so totally random!

Doctor: This is the sound of the universe...
Grinch: It sounds like Tales of Brave Ulysses by Cream.
Doctor: I know! Funny isn’t it?

UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: Encouraging Boy! Charming boy! Frightening Boy!

Links and References -
This story is a brain-damaged sequel to the BBCi interactive episode "Attack of the Grinch" and the Sarah Jane Misadventure tale, "A Funny Thing Happened to Sarah Jane".

Untelevised Misadventures -
"I love the Proms! I was at the very first Proms in 1895 – I played the banjo and I was shite. They booed me out and banned anyone from ever playing the banjo at the Last Night of the Proms ever again. So I let them all get destroyed by the Snotarans the following week. Just goes to show that the only people who can’t take criticism are critics. They don’t cope well with a bendalypse warhead up their jacksies, either. And as I said to Beethoven, 'Genius is never recognized inside its own lifetime,' and he said, 'Pardon? Look, Doctor, piss off, will you? I’m trying to score here!'"

Groovy DVD Extras -
The ability to dub in the live audience participation and pantomime bollocks so the Doctor doesn’t spend two minutes shouting "I CAN’T HEAR YOU!" at thin air.

The Spite of Sparacus -
"Prom of the Grinch just proved to be a completely unnecessary, badly-acted, poorly-written, total cop out! A waste of time, effort and money and to be honest, nothing actually happened. It was my favorite episode of the year!! A reminder of just how good New Who could be without Donna or any such ovary-carrying unsmoothe brood whore. Of course it broke the fourth wall to a degree and it’s generally a bit like watching a theatre production, but watching it as a clip from YouTube doesn’t satisfy. True, RTD didn’t WRITE it for the bootleg YouTube audience, but this is an irrelevant point."

Viewer Quotes -

"Inoffensive fun. Until those two American fans turned up. And then it stopped being inoffensive and became VERY offensive indeed."
- Bill Clinton (2008)

"Well, that was a waste of time. Tennant reads his poetry to the Grinch, runs around Albert Square, bumps into an American psycho Tom Baker fan and then it’s over!" - Succinct Reviews Weekly (2008)

"That was fun. And a little bit mad. But mainly awful. And a lot underwhelming. And cheesy. I need to see this on widescreen!"
- Nigel Verkoff (2008)

"Oh my god, out of the entire pantheon of Doctor Who monsters it seriously the GRINCH they choose to bring back? Why not Sad fucking Tony and pour some REAL salt to the wound. I am severely disappointed. I’ll still watch it anyways though... I have no life." – Random Fan (2007)

"Prom of the Grinch demonstrates just how ridiculously OTT the Beeb’s obsession has got with that Welsh filth passing itself off as Doctoe Who. In more sensible times, the idea of the annual highbrow Sir Henry Wood Proms featuring a performance of music from a TV series would have been thought preposterous, but these, it seems, are not sensible times. To introduce the whole sorry affair, Davies wrote a short cameo featuring Tennant’s Doctor conducting a Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performance of a piece of music he had composed and accidentally allowing a member of the evil Grinch race to slip through to Earth. Give me fucking strength." - Gabriel Chase (2009)

"Make it stop! PLEASE! Just make it stop! I think I’ve GONE BLIND! My god, I think I’ve just been shamed to death! MAKE THE BAD PROGRAM STOP!! This torture is against the Geneva Convention – IT’S LIKE CHINESE WATER TORTURE FOR THE BRAIN! Minutes? This has gone on for HOURS! Please, this is beyond a joke... My brain has turned to mush! IN THE NAME OF GOD, MAKE IT END!! Oh, it’s over. Thank fucking god. IT IS OVER! Oh, in years to come, Who fans will huddle together at conventions and whisper, 'I survived the woeful Prom of the Grinch without imploding... did YOU?'"
- the fan next to me at the convention during this screening (2008)

"If you say another word I will fucking kill you."
- me to the above fan when he finally let me speak (2008)

David Tennant Speaks!

Russell T Davies Speaks!
"This season was filmed over 11 long months, from July 2007 to May 2008 – and the exclusive scene that you’re about to see, as part of this concert, was filmed on our very last day! Does it show? This footage has never been seen on television, or anywhere else – you’re the only ones to see it! Unless you were at the Albert Hall. In which case it might ring a bell. And indeed it might be a lot more enjoyable if you were at the Albert Hall seeing it live rather than watching it on bit torrent or YouTube or whatever. I suppose it was a bit nasty of me, fobbing off the masses with a min-episode I specifically wrote to be impossible to enjoy out of its original context, but then you ungrateful fan bastards complain when I DO write something you can enjoy out of context. Fandom, tsk, I’ve got no sympathies at all... what, are you STILL here? Bugger off and donate some money to Children in Need!"

Trivia -
The fact the Doctor is seen wearing his blue suit for the TARDIS scenes lead to no less than 31, 497 separate and clearly uncanonical fan fic stories being written explaining that THIS Doctor was in fact the human clone chap who had ditched Rose to concentrate on writing poetry.

Rumors & Facts -

They say the world won’t end because this story doesn’t fit neatly into continuity. But do we really want to take the chance?

Of course, a two minute story is unlikely to raise expectation and, if anything lower them even further. Of course, if Steven Moffat wrote it, we’d all be praising to the skies. Especially if it featured the Temporal Difference of Opinion in its entirety, with À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu thrown in for good measure. Probably best to just file this under "Expectations, Spectacularly Unrealistic".

Following the completion of the BBCi 2005 Christmas special interactive episode which STILL isn’t available to people outside the UK (legally, anyway, heheheh), David Tennant was so impressed with the idea of the Tenth Doctor having the Grinch as his mortal enemy he wrote a sequel: Revenge from the Grinch. RTD gave Tennant a dazzling smile, promised to use the script as soon as possible and then forgot about the whole thing for the next three years.

However, when Doctor Who was chosen to be the focus of the 2008 Last Night of the Proms, it became obvious that they required a special mini-episode for live performance and they needed it yesterday – and the only one to hand was Revenge of the Grinch. On the bright side, this meant that RTD could finally fulfill his promise to use Tennant’s story (a particular piece of blackmail he’d held over the actor since 2005) but on the downside it required the return of the Grinch, the Dustbins, the Cybermen, the Jundoon, the Ood, the Snotarans and even Lavros!

Nevertheless, there was nothing else available to twist into a demonstration that music could take any shape or form, go anywhere, reach anyone and make better people of us all. So he just had to stop crying like a bitch, suck it up and embrace the pain. The mini-episode was hastily filmed on Saturday, May 3, 2008 on the last day of filming for the fourth season of Neo Who. Indeed, Tennant had to be dragged back from Catherine Tate’s farewell disco, which explains the Doctor’s ever-so-slightly-off-his-facedness in the finished product.

It was screened to the Royal Albert Hall audience on Sunday, July 27th that year and featured some of the most ridiculous audience participation since Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist was adapted by Mick Molloy and Tony Martin – including an amazing moment when a cellist brutally beat up the Grinch when he appeared live on stage with a water pistol. The audience considered this harsh and unusual slapstick violence... which really should have been carried out on Justina Robson during her fevered rantings during the interval some few minutes later when she went on for about 120 minutes about how shit Doctor Who was and why she was so much better.

60, 000 people had seen Prom of the Grinch, but most refused to discuss it and it was unique in NOT being instantly uploaded to YouTube or certain bit torrent sites within minutes of being screened. Truly, this would be a unique, one-off Doctor Who experience and if you missed it, well, tough shit!

But when Children in Need struck Doctor Who yet again for its annual charity drive, RTD had the cunning master plan of getting them to simply repeat Prom of the Grinch on the BBC for the first time, pretending it was an all new episode. To make sure it got past the lawyers, RTD added the first scene from the Christmas special, The Michaelmas Imposter, to the end of the episode so it legally counted as "new and original".

But while this was legally accurate, it was anything but truthful and many a conspiracy theorist became convinced that this stupendously awful episode was so horrible that David Tennant quit after receiving such poor material. The fact Tennant had made his decision two years previously was quietly ignored by those who ranted that NO ONE born of human woman could make Prom of the Grinch good, whether it was written by a different writer or starred a different Doctor, it would’ve STILL been the same horrible story.

The rest of us just beat those naysayers up when no one was looking and go on with enjoying our lives and donating to charity at gunpoint by bandaged teddy bears with only one eye.

Meanwhile, David Tennant continued his baffling desire to sing in every episode. Well, I guess it WASN’T particularly baffling this time round, what with the whole thing being about music, I suppose. In fact, it was incredibly fitting. This episode would be poorer without it!

"Noble Temp, Lady of Time" by the London Philharmonic Orchestra

A lonely old man in a police telephone box
Fights the satanic powers of the night
And when he defeats them he tells the stupid apes
"Jings, relax, everything is alright."

I close my eyes (I close my eyes),
And drift away (and drift away),
Into the time vortex
As I softly say (I softly say),
A silent prayer (a silent prayer),
As Time Lords do (as Time Lords do).
Then I start to daydream,
My daydreams of you.


I can’t help it (ba da bom bom bom),
I can’t help it (ba da bom bom bom),
If I sigh (if I sigh).
You don’t remember (ba da bom bom bom),
That we said (ba da bom bom bom),

And it doesn’t matter all these things,
Could only happen in my dreams.
ONLY in dreams, in beautiful dreams,

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