Monday, November 2, 2009

7th Doctor - The Angel of Scutari (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related –
Dr Who & The World Wide Web of Fear
The New Doctor Who Adventures: Nitwit
Doctor Who Discovers... the Internet

Fluffs – Richard Griffiths seemed hung up and strung out in this story.

"Resistance is obviously... what’s the word?"

"Is this the point where you explain your cunning plan?"
"Nonsense, that’s Scene 42!"
" it is. My fault. This is scene 24. Getting ahead of myself..."

Sam Tollinger reveals "Noel Coward rapes dinosaurs" in episode three.

Goofs -
How the hell did the cliffhanger to episode two get resolved?!
Kate claims that she is a crack shot with any given firearm, which contradicts numerous anecdotes of her being unable to hit the side of a barn at a distance of an eighth of an inch. Is she in denial? Or is she talking about her increasingly obvious drug addiction?
If the Doctor can pass himself off as incredibly awful DJs, then surely incredibly awful DJs can pass themselves off as the Doctor. Has the Touchwood Institute been stalking Tony Blackburn all this time by mistake? Does this give credibility to Lenny Henry’s claims that Delbert Wilkins is the Twelfth Doctor?!
How can the Rani communicate with computer programs in Pig Latin?
If the Chillys can stop Kate from running outside, how can she escape them after being dragged inside? Were they just bigging themselves up or were they, like all students, too drunk and stoned to write their essays let alone successfully capture a cat burgler?
Since Shagg can find Sam by using light sensors, why doesn’t he use that information herself, rather than just programming local systems to react? What a lazy bastard! I bet he eats KFC too!
The Doctor describes himself as "flexible and adaptive" in his sex life, which is hard to take given the difficulty he has getting in and out of the TARDIS doors every day...

Fashion Victims -
Mein Gott, zose Chillys dress like madmen, donner unt blitzen!

Technobabble –
The last time the Doctor tried to build a remote control for the TARDIS he suspended the TARDIS in a bottle of cooking oil, and covered in a thin solution of saline and Kate’s blood.

It didn’t work but it was "bloody good fun" anyway.

Links and References -
The Doctor notes his prior battles with the Great Narrator in The Adorable Tellytubbies, The Tub of Cute, The Plaid of McCrimmon, Tally-ho... the Tellytubby, The Spoof of the World, Millennium’s Bend, Cuddly Desires, and lots of other pissy adventures no one remembers or even likes, if they’re honest about it.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Seventh Doctor and Ace briefly bumped into the Rani and Shagg when they were making ends meet in the Albert Square CIN pantomime, forced to appear with the cast of Eastenders at gunpoint.

Actually, this WAS a televised adventure called "3-Dimensions in Lime", but it is considered as shameful and non-canonical as the Star Wars Holiday Special 1978.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The Dominitemporal Services Film adaptation of the story which, for the public’s mental well-being, had all the sex, violence, swearing, kinky mechanical aliens, the Doctor, his companions, the TARDIS, the TARDIS’s tennis partner, their tortoise Alan and so much more cut out of it. The result, "Short Circuit" is only memorable for the following line –

JOHNNY 5: A coherent plot is not a malfunction, Stephanie.

Dialogue Disasters -

Shagg: Don’t try anything clever, Doctor! I’ve discovered that "Nom De Plume" is NOT your real name!

Sam: It’s just a dodgy investment scam!
Kate: No, father! There is nothing "dodgy" about education! And there’s nothing at all "dodgy" about the New World Hippy Bollocks University of Lower Manchester by the Robert Maxwell Memorial Trust!

Brigadier Bambi’s attack plan on the Teletubbies -
"Jenkins! Chap with fur - fire when ready!"

Doctor: You can’t trust the Great Narrator! He’s tried to conquer the Earth on countless occasions through the Tellytubbies!
Random Cultist: Maybe, Doctor, but what he wants is what we all want.
Doctor: Oh, and what is that?
Random Cultist: A brighter, happier, cleaner future! A future that doesn’t smell – and with the skidmarks on the INSIDE! With his help, we may achieve it...

Student: Spare a bob for a powerful young psychopath, miss?
Kate: I beg your pardon? A psychopath?
Student: Yes, miss. A poor, huge youth. Almost completely unable to control his murderous impulses, sir. Oh, oh, I can feel it building up!
Kate: Feel what?
Student: The senseless violence! Another dreadful outburst is on its way! Quick, give me some cash, it’s the only thing that helps! Oh shit, here comes the red mist...
(Kate hastily gives him some loose change.)
Student: Sorry, not enough. Oh, this is a bad one! Give me some more!
Kate: How much?
Student: To be on the safe side of THIS one? Everything you’ve got.
Kate: Why don’t I just run away while there’s still time?
(Kate runs away.)
Student: You think someone can survive on a student grant nowadays?! Where’s your sense of charity? You heartless bitch!

Doctor: Trust me my dear, I know what I’m doing.
Bambi: Really?
Doctor: Not a bit. Still trust me?
Bambi: Never did in the first place.
Doctor: Ah, clever.

Kate: The whole city’s fouled up. The computer inter-net’s virally infested!
IT Guy: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Dialogue Triumphs -

Shagg: Let me explain again. He’s vanished. His program’s ring-fenced. He can’t deprogram himself. This... is an EX... PARROT!!

Doctor: It’s over, Rani! Why don’t you just surrender now and save us all a lot of bother?
Rani: Surrender? You really don’t understand, do you? The Great Narrator is coming and your puny resistance is a minor inconvenience to be swept aside. He will recreate this world in his own image!
Doctor: And that’s a GOOD thing, is it? A world populated by mindless zombies, slaves to a war-mongering dictator? I’ve seen your brave new world and it’s nothing to write home about. Hell, it won’t be any noticeable change from how things are NOW!

Shagg: We’re dicing with death on the information superhighway to hell!

Great Narrator: You know nothing of this blind, empty outer darkness where I am bound - it is unendurable! You think Swansea’s bad, try this wilderness! Oh, only my willy keeps me from despair, such shape, such symmetry, a form shaping out my future AND impressing the girls! I grasp its form and substance...
Rani: Dear god, can’t you do that in private?!

Doctor: Hello, my name is Cthulu Jones! That’s DOCTOR Cthulu Jones, but you can call me CJ your DJ on your number one station and I’m kinda glad you chose to be with me today because we’re going to be playing you a whole lot of new musical biscuits from the Sons of Gordon Gecko!

UNIT Grunt: The United Nations is un-contactable. The Defense Secretary’s on vacation in Mauritius. The Home Secretary’s missing. And John Major was last seen on the Isle of Wight.
Bambi: What was he doing there?
UNIT Grunt: Well, we drugged him unconscious and handcuffed him naked to a bus stop.
Bambi: Why?
UNIT Grunt: ...why not?

Sam: The only thing worse than being shot is listening to that song, Flowers In The Rain by the Move. My god it was awful. I’ll take being beheaded by the Tellytubbies any day...

Great Narrator: What’s going on?
Kate: YOU’RE the big narrator. You tell us.

Cavendish: You can find any information or data on the information superhighway – from the Bible to pornography, from serious discussions of politics to the speeches of Ronald Reagan. Mind you, I find them very easy to confuse, especially if you type in "Mary Magdeline Goes Down In The Oval Orifice"...

Kate on the Great Narrator’s Tubbycustard Web -
"Oh very nice. Do you do floral displays as well?"

Shagg: I will be acting as your captor-liaison contact point. And the gun in my right hand is loaded.

Doctor: Well, listeners, the weather outside is cold but that’s ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW! Because the weather in the studio is HOT! HOT! HOT! We want you to feel fine, we want you to feel good about yourself and remember – IT’S GOT TO BE FUNKY!

TV Producer: Christ, what the hell’s going on out there? The license-payers complain we spend too much time speculating, but how else do you cover the end of the world? Get Kate Adie to summarize Armageddon AFTER the event? It will NEVER get the ratings...

Doctor: I always have a finely detailed and well thought-out plan.
Sam: Okay, so what is it?
Doctor: Well, how should I know? I’m improvising as I go at the moment!

The moving final soliloquy from the Doctor –
"Nothing lasts forever. Oh, come along, you lot! Cheer up! Worse things happen at sea. Besides, what is it exactly that you have to lose? You come from nothing, you go back to nothing – so what have you lost? Nothing. Nothing will come from nothing, you see? Cheer up, Kate my child. Give us a grin. It’s the end of the bloody series! I said to them, Brigadier, they’ll never make their money back..."

UnQuotable Quote –
Rani: Be mean. Be rich. Be greedy.

Smartarse DWM Preview!!
"The last story of the season was Mark Plate's Network, featuring the return of Sam Tollinger, Brigadier Bambi, the Rani, the Tellytubbies and the Great Narrator.

It was shit. The End."

Viewer Quotes -

"It would be foolish to see the production as a mere rehash tribute to the old 1960s Tellytubbies stories, but as god is my witness... I AM THAT FOOL!" - Gomez Addams (1993)

"An odd twilight air hangs over the story. Its main characters are
long past their prime and in thrall to their past lives. The future is presented as something to be feared, in the sinister shape of the Chillies and the new university. Peculiarly unsettling."
- unsigned suicide note (2001)

"Dreamwatch will hate it." - TV Zone (2008)

"It’s worth noting that a friend of mine worked on this story (yes, really), and that without his participation, it might have never happened. But it’s OK, I’ve since forgiven him. Well, he was young at the time, and he needed the money." - Danual Murray (1994)

"A story from my favorite tele-box series that never got made at the time? Polish my wing-nuts and call me Joseph! Guess what, folks? I’m so excited that my nipples are tingling with joy! This is more exciting than the omnibus Hollyoaks on a Sunday morning after a night out in Grimsby! Let’s get grooving!" - Brian Butterfield (2002)

"'Computer flu'? Heh. How quaint." - Bill Gates (2010)

"The storyline regurgitates wearisome, predictable plotting that Dr Who is littered with; apparently this Information Super Highway is going to catch on, as if any normal person can do real, proper work with one of those new fangled computational devices! PREPOSTEROUS!"
- (2009)

"Beep-beep-beep. Oh no heavy, the coins keep coming out! Beep-beep-beep. Even the telephone hates me! Beep-beep-beep. I wish there were no machines and everyone led a pastoral existence! Trees and flowers don’t deliberately cool you out and go beep in your ear!" - Neil Pye (1982)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"By 1984, three species of Tellytubby were formally identified and classified: the Meer-Tubby and the Woo-Tubby are related to flatscreen televisions, while Tubby Depraversii is more like a rubber fetishist and notoriously sexy. There are examples of the latter in London Zoo, at least until one got rabies after being bitten by Margaret Thatcher."

Richard Griffiths Speaks!
"Yes, Doctor Who is very unusual. Treasure it because from now on this will be your yardstick for all the work you do. Every job for the rest of your life will either be better or worse than Doctor Who and I’m sad to tell you that very few of them will be better. I have nothing else to say to you, you puddle of loose bowel water."

Julia Sawalha Speaks!
"The director gives good, er... direction. And he looks like a walrus!"

Trivia -
This is not the worst ever story about the Great Narrator and the Tellytubbies. That is "Where Best Friends Are Made" by Arnold T Blumberg, quite possibly the most atrocious fan fiction since Kyron Mallet was removed from the land of mortals.

Rumors & Facts -

Much to the annoyance of our oh-so sophisticated adult palettes, somewhere inside most of us there’s still a childlike part that causes our eyes to be drawn towards any story title featuring the word "Dustbin" and away from any story that even hints at being remotely historical or educational. And that’s why the most ambitious of all Doctor Who stories, bringing back no less than three former companions as well as an old enemy, its accompanying monsters and a guest character was always going to be more interesting than any crap about Florence Nightingale and her primitive hygiene standards!

Before RTD, this was epic to the nth degree and no mistake, and the result is that Network is, on occasion, almost competent! Indeed, it’s quite the modern, cutting-edge, techno-thriller – at least until you actually press play and then words like 'modern' and 'cutting-edge' will soon dislodge themselves from your thoughts...

Director Ken Bentley had overseen the 2009 trilogy of Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex stories for Big Finish and, free from Briggos the Destroyer, had lead to a time of great advancement, peace and prosperity. The cast and crew were united in the beautiful harmony of friendship. In such an environment Big Finish could have created the finest and best-crafted material in their decade long history.

But instead they decided to stick to the old "remake unfilmed 1990s scripts for the Richard Griffiths Doctor" approach instead, a stratagem ironically devised in the dark ages of despair and chaos when Nicholas Briggs was the executive producer. But, the adventures of the Alt-Eighth Doctor and Kate Tollinger were damned popular and Sylvester McCoy fancied a longer lunch break, so they went with it.

Chosen to end the 2009 trilogy was Network, a script originally to end the first series of the Griffiths Doctor with a backlog of continuity that most reasonable people would describe as "scary": not just the usual Sam Tollinger, but also the Rani, Shagg, Brigadier Bambi, the Great Narrator, the Tellytubbies, UNIT, Sarah Jane Smith, K9, Victoria Waterfield, Father Jack Hackett and the cast of Drop the Dead Donkey.

Exactly what moron told writer Mark Plate it would be a really neat idea to pen the final story to a 30-year-old story arc composed of stories hardly anyone had seen and with all but two episodes destroyed by the BBC? Most experts agree it was Jonathon Powell himself, trying to create a story EVEN WORSE than Battlefield: Earth that would DEFINITELY get the show cancelled right there and then.

Fortunately the story would not be made on TV or, indeed, in any form for twenty years. It just goes to show that some things really don’t improve with age including preposterous characters that strip the story of credibility, hopeless and hokey performances, trite dialogue and anything involving Chris Lilley.

Doctor Who in the nineties would thus leave us with unanswerable questions like "will my telephone explode?", "will my car start driving itself?", "is that photocopier trying to kill me?", "does anyone suspect I’m a sexually-ambiguous homicidal maniac from East Anglia" and "why did I waste my hard-earned money on this when I could have got that DVD boxset of BUGS for less than a fiver?"

This is a story that notes that the rapid advances in technology mean a rapid advance in dependence on said technology and how easily both could be compromised, rather like The Wank Machines or The Ice Cream Vendors or 2001: An Arse Oddity. In fact, this story doesn’t actually have an original idea in it, now you come to mention it.

Network simultaneously manages to be unoriginal, uninspired and inane – which is a neat trick when you think about it. The idea of the internet as a metaphor for a spider’s web is a miraculous intellectual achievement, isn’t it? Oh, wait, it’s utter bollocks!

Frankly, all the ignorant knee-jerk social commentary about the dangers of computers to modern society would have been utterly stupid in 1990. In 2011, it was the equivalent of "Save the Trilobite" fund as both pointless and insulting the audience’s intelligence. Oh, and public education turns youth into monsters beyond anyone’s control? Mein gott this is some subtle satire there, comerade! As if the Rani could do more damage to the world than the Tory government anyway...

Oops, little bit of politics there. My name’s Ben Elton, goodnight!

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