Wednesday, November 4, 2009

7th Doctor - A Thousand Tiny Wings

Serial 7Z/E – A Thousand Whiny Things
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Racial Supremacy Isn’t ALL Bad


Serial 7Z/E – A Thousand Whiny Things

Part One

In a piece of republican-style retconning that leaves most right-minded people lying awake at night in a cold sweat worrying about it, this Big Finish reveals that the Bastard did NOT brutally slaughter Liz Shaw and reduce her miniaturized corpse to a creepy doll mascot for his TARDIS console in the classic Pertwee serial "Error of the Autons".

Despite us, you know, seeing it on TV.

Now, this perverse delusion has been hanging around fandom like a bad smell for decades, but it actually turns out that by jingo by crikey it was true! Yes, Liz Shaw had cunningly cloned herself and while her unfortunately duplicate’s matter and tissue was compressed and eliminated, she even more cunningly pretended to be a wall or something. She then ever-so-cunningly attempted to hijack the Bastard’s TARDIS with the sole purpose of changing history and allowing Hitler to win the Second World War! Cunningly!

Yes, Liz Shaw is actually an unrepentant Nazi. Wasn’t that mentioned before? No? Still, after what they did to another beloved companion in The One That Fandom Forgets, Liz is getting off lightly.

Unfortunately her plan to destroy established continuity for that most unforgivable of sci-fi clichés went completely tits-up and now Liz is marooned in the jungles of South Africa in the year 1955 – and even the nebulous and undefined nature of UNIT dating can’t help her now.

Forced to make ends meet as a poorly-paid dishwasher for an all-female lesbian commune of Racist Midwives, Liz Shaw can only curse her bad fortune - and the natives of the Dark Continent, of course.

On top of everything else, she’s stuck in the middle of nowhere with these loses in the middle of the Mau Mau uprising as the jiggaboos vow to take their country back from the British in as violent and psychopathic and dangerous a manner as possible!

Sure sucks to be Liz, huh?

As gunfire echoes through the trees and storm clouds gather around the farmhouse, a strange yeast infection begins to claim the younger members of the commune – conveniently cutting down the number of speaking parts and ensuring this particular audio play comes out distinctly under-budget.

After all the exhausting exposition to set up the plot, the Seventh Doctor finally deigns to arrive in the TARDIS but still takes his own sweet time getting involved in the story. But, once two of the commune stumble across a crippled alien corpse in the bushes outside, the Doctor makes his entrance for maximum dramatic impact and cliché potential exploitation.

The commune are unimpressed with the Time Lord as he is not a soldier, diplomat or even a pastry chef. Irritated, the Doctor gets his own back by gleefully informing them that the natives can now govern themselves and they can all haul their saggy buttocks back to the homeland coz they sure as hell aren’t wanted in Kenya any more!

However, thing are soon kicking off as the Doctor’s path crosses with Liz Shaw once more. After a predictable discussion about UNIT dating, Bilurians, alien sex ambassadors and of course The One About the Eyepatch, Liz finally realizes that the little Scotsman in the linen suit is actually a reincarnated Jon Pertwee!

As you can imagine, things go downhill from hereon in.

After some very lengthy rants about Dr. Mengele, the ethics of torture in the current geopolitical climate and the exact nature of what the Brigadier was doing with that watermelon in his office, the time comes for a cliffhanger – one of the nonspeaking extras has been murdered.

Which one, you ask? Who cares, I reply...

Part Two

As is traditional in these situations, the first fifteen minutes of the episode are entirely taken up with recriminations, accusations, remonstrations but thankfully NOT menstruations.

The Doctor, uniquely channeling the spirit of Hercule Poroit, soon deduces that the mysterious fluttering, whirring sounds heard in the deceased’s bedroom during the last known time the aforementioned deceased wasn’t actually technically deceased but merely "missing presumed alive" COULD be important.

"Then again, it could have been nothing," the Doctor shrugs.

Chalking the murder down to some creepy Mau Mau voodoo shit, the Doctor and Liz decide to cheer everyone up by taking a hacksaw to the corpse so they have some meat to feed the local hyenas. This beautiful domestic scene just shows why Doctor Who has lasted so much longer in the national consciousness than, say, A Year In Provence.

No sooner have the Doctor and Liz found an intriguing tiny blue feather made out of razor-sharp steel then a Kenyan Kitayaga/Mau Mau sympathizer called Josh arrives and politely asks if he can borrow a cup of sugar or a saucer of milk or maybe just seize his country back from the Imperialistic British pig-dog swines?

Finding absolutely nothing about this remotely suspicious, the Doctor and Liz invite him inside for a slap-up grill of South African lentils. By now the second episode is very nearly over, and so another member of the commune is brutally slaughtered by something nasty in the henhouse.

Specifically a flock of tiny, blue, metallic alien tweety-birds.

Well, at least it weren’t the Dustbins again...

Part Three

Over the lentil casserole, the Doctor, Liz, Josh and the remaining feminist canon fodder have a civilized chat about the murderous savages in Nairobi babbling about mountain gods and the laughable idea that negroids can possibly be left responsible for their own affairs.

Around the fish course another member of the commune drops dead of jungle fever, which puts a real downer on things until Liz finds a new bottle of port under the sink. Later, there is much rejoicing as the Mau Mau set fire to neighboring farm houses, providing a much more interesting sunset than normal.

The Doctor suggests they go for a nice afternoon drive in the communal Land Rover but Liz is one hell of a backseat driver and soon they’re arguing again about Nazis and time travel and how fascism is really bad but not actually a bad idea in and of itself, you know, since fascism is essentially about "cooperation" even though fascists themselves aren’t... OH GOD, POLITICS IS SO COMPLICATED AND DULL! THIS STUFF IS EXACTLY HOW LAWRENCE BLEEDING MILES STARTED!


So, what happens in the rest of the episode? Liz calls the Doctor "meaninglessly sentimental" and the Doctor rants that "everybody matters and nobody’s important" while the commune complain "the jungle grows faster than the natives can cut it back" and the Doctor retorts "How exhausting of you, you over-privileged harlots!" and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and...

Oh, wait. Missed a bit. The Mau Mau attack and at some point Liz collapses as she contracts the strange jungle fever crusty infection thingamajig that has claimed all the non-speaking extras.

Yes, a white supremacist serial killer is feeling a bit sick.

What a cliffhanger.

Part Four

The Doctor decides to try and cure Liz because he’s basically just a really nice guy when you get down to it. Since Liz (and the audience) were expecting – nay demanding – the Doctor to put a pillow over her face and suffocating her to death, this causes another argument.

As they’ve wasted THREE WHOLE FUCKING EPISODES on ethical and political debates that would have Dario Fo dozing off into his marijuana hash brownies, the Doctor and Liz go for a stroll in the vague hope that they stumble across a cure.

And, bugger me sideways, guess what? They do!

They find it within a plastic prefab dome, like a Glastonbury portaloo left in the middle of the jungle. This is actually a secret scientific base used by those homicidal blue humming-bird things that have made cameo appearances in every episode – they are the Charles, the unimpressively-named alien avian gestalt who have pecked their way up the intergalactic evolutionary ladder to become what they are today:

A rather dull Doctor Who monster in a rather dull audio play.

Sensing depths, chasms and the abysses in the Time Lord’s mind, the alien Charles realize they are going to be subjected to an endless stream of lectures of debates on the ethics of using South Africa as a breeding ground for bio-weaponry to achieve economic dominance of the galaxies – and after nine hundred and ninety nine of these whines they just can’t take it any more and self-destruct.

Slightly nonplussed, the Doctor helps himself to the Charles’ abandoned laboratory and gives Liz a shot of the alien universal cure for bioengineered diseases. Which just so happens to be a toffee apple covered in cod-liver oil.

Back at the house, Josh turns out to actually be a traitor after all and he rapes, maims, amputates and ultimately murders the rest of the commune. In fairness, they DID provoke him by stealing his people’s lands, enslaving them and then having the gall to ask "What did we ever do to you?" when the natives fought back.

Meanwhile, the Doctor returns to his time machine. Liz considers staying in the 1950s and trying to create the Fourth Reich from scratch and then innocently asks if she can finally accompany the Doctor aboard the TARDIS since she never got a chance to on TV?

Now, anyone with two brain cells to rub together would think twice about giving a Nazi access to a time machine and the whole of human history without any conditions or parole, but the Doctor seems utterly convinced that nothing can go wrong.

"Perhaps an alternative perspective on morality and the passage of time will be beneficial for you?" the Doctor wonders.

"Don't patronize me, you Scottish chauvinist bastard!"

"Don’t call me a Scottish chauvinist bastard, you anomalous bitch!"

"Don’t call me an anomalous bitch, you hypocritical manipulator!"


Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Versus Some Pretty Little Birdies
Liz Shaw: P.R.O.B.E Up The Arse
Politics, Religion, Urinary Tract Infections and Other Subjects Not To Be Discussed At The Dinner Table Etiquette Guidebook

Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed fowl in this story.

"Say 'antidisestablishmentarianism'."
*a strange guttural grunting*
"That’s close enough."

Goofs -
The Doctor mentions meeting "Frank L. Baum" and not "L. Fank Baum". Many fans believe that is incontrovertible proof that this story actually takes place in a divergent time line when Baum’s parents realized that "Lyman" was a pretty pathetic first name and better as a middle name. Many more fans believe that this is incontrovertible proof that no one does any research for these damn things.

Fashion Victims -
"You saw someone wearing a iridescent turquoise silk dress in the middle of the rainforest? Let’s hope they can play bridge as well!"

Technobabble -
"The heat and humidity of Africa causes bacteria and viruses to evolve quicker than anywhere on the planet, crossing species boundaries from animals to humans and becoming more virulent in the process. This is clearly down to deadly pestilential energy particles – well, that and the locals bumming chimps..."

Links and References -
Liz was great pals with those whacky Nazis in "Silly Nemesis".

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor once got into an argument with Frank Baum about how moneys with wings weren’t technically "monkeys". Baum settled the argument by dousing the Doctor in petrol and setting him alight.

Groovy DVD Extras –
For a completely unknown reason that is beyond the understanding of several notable search engines, there is a special animated introduction of the Luftwaffe carpet-bombing Africa. It’s like the start of "The Comic Strip Presents..." only with more napalm.

Dialogue Disasters -

Denise: This isn’t Nazi Germany!
Lucy: No, if it was, the natives wouldn’t be allowed to revolt.
Denise: Oh Lucy, there you go, comically missing the point again!
(Everyone laughs, Police-Academy-style, for thirty-seven seconds.)

Liz: I’m not going to be distracted by simplistic moralizing... Ooh! Look! A cabbage white butterfly!

Doctor: The history of humanity is a history of abuse by the more powerful directed against the less powerful!
Liz: And is it different out in the stars, Doctor? Is it all peace and light out there?
Doctor: Yes. Yes it is.
Liz: Oh. Well, I guess you have the moral high ground then.
Doctor: [evil laughter]

Liz: You don’t need to be Werner Von Braun to master basic rocketry principles for the Nazi War Machine. But it DOES help.

Sylvia: What composer ever considered using the sound of gunfire as an accompaniment to his music?
Lucy: Tchaikovsky used cannons in the Eighteen Twelve Overture.
(Long pause.)
Sylvia: ...piss off!

The scene coincidentally set just before Christine’s murder:
Christine: Rum-te-tum-te-tum-te-tum, rum-te-tum-te-tuum-tum!
Liz: Stop singing the theme tune to The Archers!
Christine: I’m not!
Liz: Yes you are!
Christine: No, I’m singing Barwick Green, written by the Yorkshire composer Arthur Wood in 1924.
Liz: ...that IS the theme tune to The Archers, you daft bint!
Christine: Is it? Thought it sounded familiar. Rum-te-tum-te-tum...

Denise: Is she dead?
Doctor: Yes. And I fear this is just the beginning. Of episode two.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Liz: I hate to sound like a cliché...
Doctor: Then don’t!
Liz: Oh. All right then.

Lucy: Where are the servants when you need them?
Josh: Outside setting fire to things!

Doctor: Ah, the English upper classes. Unable to do anything without help, but still convinced they’re superior to everyone else.
Denise: CHAV!!

Liz: The tragedy of National Socialism is that the concept of a benevolent dictator has lost all credibility. It’s palpably the best form of government – IF you choose the right dictator. Oh, this time they must have BOTH testicles undamaged if we are to triumph!

The classic scene where the Doctor and Liz are reunited -
Doctor: Miss Shaw, I presume?
Liz: I had a feeling we would meet again, somewhere, somehow.
Doctor: Oh, I never had any doubt about it, Liz. Remember rule one of Big Finish Productions – fanwank increases.
Liz: At first it was a certainty, then a hope, then just a dream. A dream in which you were much taller and looked like Worzel Gummidge...
Doctor: What’s all this I hear about you lusting after changing history because this reality is some kind of monstrous mistake?
Liz: The Second World War ended in a farcical victory for Britain! When the Fourth Reich emerges to take its rightful place leading the world and I WILL BE THE NEW FUHRER OF THE HUMAN RACE!
Doctor: ...I’ll take that as a "yes" then. Wow, I always thought this was just Gay Russell and Jim Mortimore talking crap, but you really ARE politically challenged to an insane degree! Not even Steven Moffat is insane enough to believe anyone has the right to just reorder reality the way they want...
Liz: Not the way I want. The way it SHOULD be. Sieg heil!
Doctor: And will you make the trains run on time?
Liz: You say that as if it’s a BAD thing to have a predictable transport system!
Doctor: That rather depends on how you make the trains run on time,
and what happens to the drivers who are late.
Liz: You obviously haven’t spent much time on British Rail, Doctor.

Denise: One man, parachuted alone into the dark heart of Africa to reach an accommodation with the rebellious natives... Hang on, isn’t that the plot of "The Gods Must Be Crazy II"?

Liz: I don’t think there’s any such a thing as a "good" epitaph. How
do you sum a person's whole life up in a few well-chosen words?
Christine: What would you want them to say about you?
Liz: That I exterminated some serious Jewish arse!
Christine: [sighs] Yes, I’d be happy with that as well.

Doctor: There are many ways of getting to the same destination, and often the best one is not the most straightforward...
Liz: Oh, for crying out loud! Just ask for directions!

Denise: Only three of us left alive? How could we play Bridge then?
Sylvia: Denise, my dear, I rather think we have bigger concerns than getting a four for Bridge.
Denise: I know there's a revolution going on, but I don't think we should let that be an excuse for letting our standards slip! We are British, after all!
Liz: *You’re* not. You’re German.

Liz: Dinner is up!
Doctor: [impressed] That was fast.
Liz: That’s how to manage a household full of vegetarians, Doctor. No debate, no negotiation, no milk of magnesium and tepid bath water - just an instant and overwhelming response! Your suggestion of a washing up rota will degenerate into a mass of squabbling housemates and minor civil wars. No order. No cohesion. Just chaos and mould growing in the tea cups! THIS IS WHERE YOUR MILK AND WATER WORLD LEADS!
Doctor: I sense this is NOT the moment to ask what’s for desert?

Sylvia: According to today’s Radio Times, if the world is ever incinerated in a superpower nuclear conflagration, BBC Radio Service promises to continue transmitting a programme of light classics and recipes to an audience consisting entirely of mutated cockroaches.

Doctor: I’m not sure about anything. Certainty is the first step towards dictatorship...
Liz: You never stop, do you? JUST SHUT UP ALREADY!

UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: Some of my best shags have been hairless apes.

Viewer Quotes -

- a typically understated reaction from Nigel Verkoff (2009)

"Superb cliffhangers! Not an iota of imagination! Not even anything approaching a plot! It really suits the leisurely atmosphere of decadent, alcoholic racism!" - Lord Munkton (2010)

"I wasn’t sure about the return of Liz, but the dynamic proves to be an interesting one, and makes a welcome change from the normal Doctor/companion relationship with all the heavy-handed political arguments and removing any shades of grey so there’s just a simplistic Nazi equals evil plot and... hang on, I just convinced myself this is crap! Broken down into its base level, this story utter shite!"
- Olive Penderghast (2012)

"I really enjoyed this! It kept reminding me of It Ain't Half Hot Mum!"
- Michael Crawford (2011)

"Maybe I'm just too tired of Doctor Who overall. You know, the alien invasion stuff, they appear, find a reason to stay and not evacuate in TARDIS, cure others in TARDIS, and the rather staid alien stuff as well as the plots that seem plodding after so many adventures on tv, comics, novels, etc. It’s all too much! My brain is finite! CHICKEN is finite!"
- Tasmin Grieg (2019)

"Liz is a terrific, nuanced character who is so complicated and pragmatic that whatever her overarching goals and allegiances she becomes a true antihero. I prefer Katy Manning though. Brain-dead blonde bimbos are so much easier to write for."
- Mark Gatiss (2003)

"Looking forward to the next one."
- someone who thought this one was crap (2009)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I was fascinated by Nazism. The fact that Klein is challenging the Doctor’s ideology at all is great but the fact that she’s a NAZI is even more fascinating. Nazis are so fascinating! And only the Seventh Doctor would be fascinating enough to have a Nazi for a companion. To see how this works out will be fascinating, and it makes the whole thing so much more... oh, what’s the word? That’s it! Fascinating!"

Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"This is an interesting story to do, because I was a kid back in the 50s and I remember the Mau Mau rebellion! I remember, going to bed scared because of the news warning us all about these upstart nignogs wanting to rule themselves! Oh, the PR spin was amazing that they turned these noble savages into horrible creatures... and I thought the story would reveal the Kenyans actually WERE these undead psychopath monster things! But no. It was some hummingbirds instead. Shame."

Caroline John Speaks!
"Of all the roles I’ve had over the years, I have little fondness for megalomaniacal Nazi time traveling über-bitch. Mainly because she wasn’t the character I played back in the 1970s. I seem to be the only one to notice she WASN’T a psychotic Hitler groupie and actually just an omni-disciplinary scientist with a weakness for miniskirts. Oh well, it’s either doing this or another tour of 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?' on Broadway again..."

Trivia -
It is revealed that Paul Cornell programmed the TARDIS medical nanites with his own political beliefs – so they are unable to operate on any life forms who aren’t members of Greenpeace. This is why the Doctor regularly dies in the console room and has to regenerate.

Rumors & Facts -

In 1970 it was decided that Zoe Heriot’s short-lived replacement, Dr Elizabeth Shaw, simply wasn’t working out as a companion. She was a clear and present intellectual threat, her hair kept changing colour without rhyme or reason, she refused to scream and sprain her ankle on cue and Caroline John herself was just as bad. Frankly, Jon Pertwee was a bit scared of someone who, upon finding out she was pregnant, stole Bessie and started a police siege before diving into a dam, all the while firing a shotgun and screaming "YOU WON’T TAKE ME ALIVE, COPPERS!" (though that’s nothing compared to what Billie Piper did in similar circumstances, it’s true...)

Barry Letts and the rest of a production team put a restraining order on John and went to work creating a suitable airhead girl to replace her. The character of Liz was written out in the harshest and most unpleasant of ways – casually revealed to have been murdered by the Bastard and reduced to doll-sized corpse on the dashboard of his time machine. This was the nastiest meta-textual treatment of both actor and character until Charlie Sheen did... stuff.

However, once Doctor Who was off the air fans began to speculate – based on absolutely no solid evidence whatsoever – that Liz had survived, and instead redefined herself as a butch, pipe-smoking lesbian paranormal ghost hunter. By 1994 this belief was so prevalent that full-length fan movies were being filmed on the subject.

These was forerunner to Touchwood in they had a bisexual ex-companion leading a preternatural research bureau fighting a series of clichéd threats in Middle England. The only real difference was that the P.R.O.B.E. series was gang-raping The X Files rather than anything Joss Whedon had written in any form at all ever.

After dealing with a haunted lunatic asylum, a demonically-possessed private school for murderous poofters, a genetically engineered Mark Gatiss and that demonically-possessed private school yet again, the government decided they were wasting their money, forcing Liz to become a Bilurian prostitute who was killed six months later in a New Adventure novel, having died from an ST entitled "Agent Yellow".

Ironically, when BBC Books took over rumors began to spread that Liz was not dead this time either and had somehow survived again...

For the 2010 trilogy of Seventh Doctor Solo stories, it was decided to change the usual and self-explanatory format of the Doctor being companionless by giving him a companion. "That sounds rather clever, doesn’t it?" asked script editor John 'Call Me Askran, Bitches!' Ainsworth, who suggested said companion would be Liz Shaw.

Thanks to the general inefficiency and idiocy at Big Finish productions, everyone had the confused idea that Liz Shaw was a Nazi – mainly because her last TV story, Infernal, showed a parallel universe where Liz Shaw... wasn’t a Nazi. But wore a very fetching eyepatch.

Writer Andy-Pandy Lane was delighted at this idea, since it would force the Doctor travel with someone ideologically opposed to everything he believed him, a companion who he would hate and despise creating unexplored dramatic and narrative opportunities. OK, it wasn’t remotely original, but it worked for Lucie Miller, didn’t it?

Thus the challenge was to write a story where a homicidal Nazi was one of the more sympathetic and likeable characters, so Lane decided the best thing to do was do a remake of The Mist. This turned out to be a bad move as Lane had never seen The Mist and had absolutely no idea what the film was about, except it was rather depressing and, um, had some mist of some kind.

The next logical step was to copy John Carpenter’s The Thing except replacing all the stuff about shape-shifting omnivore aliens to lots of diatribes about the political benefits of socialist reform. Alas, Big Finish were right out of all the sound effects required for such a story – no clanging hatches, no wailing blizzards, no crunching of reforming flesh and bone, no Kurt Russell impressions...

They DID, however, have about eleven and a half hours of SFX pertaining to hummingbirds. Since Lane possessed an insane hatred for that particular avian species, coupled with a paranoid belief they were humming from caffeine they had stolen from his cup, it was obvious to rewrite this intimate, claustrophobic Nazi-glorifying thriller so that hummingbirds were portrayed as the Ultimate Evil Itself.

Indeed, this unreasoning antipathy of the animal kingdom lead to the other writers of the trilogy, Jonathan "Fuck Off" Clements and Steven "Huh?" Lyons, to rewrite their own stories so the Ultimate Evil would be portrayed by dung beetles and bipedal cyborg sharks respectively.

A Thousand Whiny Things was recorded and, by a staggering coincidence, the entire guest cast had played the main characters in the 1980s TV series Tenko. Thus, all the fascist support and misogyny went down much better than it would have normally, with everyone chuckling at delight at the plot twist that the bigoted matriarchs were right to stab any strangers in the back while the naïve Doctor got them all into trouble.

Heh. Differing moral standards are funny.

But one thing still puzzles me - how the hell did those birds build and fly an interplanetary spaceship? Huh? Answer me that!

No comments: