Monday, December 7, 2009

8th Doctor - The Company of Friends (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor: Short Trips & Casual Shags
Doctor Who & The Negative Continuity
Celebrity Historical Monthly # January 1872 (the one with the nude centerfold of Mary Shelly and the sonic screwdriver)

Fluffs – Paul McGann seemed unbounded for most of this story.

"November. A cold, dreary day. I’ve created a monster - me! I’m literally pouring out of my size ten dress, I’m 32 and still no sign of marrying a tedious posh tosspot in publishing! All by myself... don’t wanna be... all by myself..."

Goofs –
The Doctor makes a big deal to Fitz that he is completely new to this entire timeline and has absolutely no idea about Sabbath or the total annihilation of Gallifrey and the Time Lords, and basically Fitz should just act like the Doctor is a total amnesiac. Two seconds after this, the Doctor reminisces about an early BBC novel where Sam Jones kept contriving to rub her naked breasts over his face. Either the Doctor is becoming assimilated into this new version of reality, or annoying granola chicks called Sam Jones keep trying to seduce him now matter WHAT universe he finds himself in...
There are plenty of OTHER continuity flaws in this story, but as long as they leave the anoraks sobbing and bashing their heads against the ground, howling in misery, well, then all the better in my opinion.

Fashion Victims -
Mary Shelly’s waist-length hair, white face-paint, eye-shadow, black lipstick and nail polish, black string vest over a sleeveless black T-shirt with a vampire fang logo, black wrist bands, fishnet stockings, all demonstrate this woman is the true origin of all future Goths.

Technobabble -
The Past Eighth Doctor explains to Mary that his future self was able to regenerate without changing his appearance because he "managed to use the onrushing energy to heal himself before siphoning off the remainder into a handy bio-matching receptacle, namely his earlier temporal version".
The Present Eighth Doctor assures Mary that this is total bullshit as he remembers making this crap entirely off the top of his head at the time when HE was the Past Eighth Doctor.

Links and References -
The Doctor finds working with Benny Summerfield so utterly tedious he starts to refer to her as "Mila" and asks if the pollen-induced illusions are starting to effect the communist Dustbins yet?

Untelevised Misadventures -
What do you bloody reckon?!?

Groovy DVD Extras –
Another 78 hours of audition scenes featuring Sherri and Terri; Compassion; Destrii; Charley; Lucie; Alex; Todd; Rita; Jadi Morok; Kroton the Cyberman; Ssard and Stacy; and pretty much EVERY companion from every possible Eighth Doctor continuity ever!
Well. Except for C’Rizz, obviously.

Dialogue Disasters –

Doctor: He’s a me-that’s-yet-to-be. You see, Mary?

Fitz: What, like – you go from the world where shrimp don’t exist to the world where it does, have a look at whoever you’re lumbered with from the books or the comics or the audios, and if they’re any cop you stick with them until all the contracts are signed and they get their names in the opening credits?
Doctor: Never has a theory been brought so penetratingly to life.

Mary: When I first met Percy, he promised me a life of adventure – we would run away together like characters from a romantic novel! He abandoned his wife and his child to be with me, and we braved reporters from the Daily Mail following us everywhere calling us "scum". But, well, I was just so horny.
Doctor: You were sixteen, it’s to be expected. Heh. DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE TEENAGE IRRESPONSIBILITY!

Izzy: That issue of 2001AD is going to be mine! You hear me? Mine!
(Izzy laughs dementedly for a full minute.)

Doctor: I know where we are – it’s Tambora, 1815 as the volcanic ash in the upper atmosphere discolors everything blood-red...
Mary: You DO know you’re wearing sunglasses, right?
Doctor: I am? Oh. Yes. [takes them off] That’s better.

Doctor: Izzy, I’m sorry, but I’ve seriously got much better things to do than hang around with you while you shout very loudly early-90s slang and compare absolutely everything to simplistic fantasies – I can’t even show you the Medusa Cascade without you banging on about the title sequence to Battlestar Galactica...
Izzy: Aw, come on! The TARDIS might not have a holodeck but beggars can’t be choosers, right?
Doctor: OH, FUCK OFF!

Fitz’s seduction of a newsreader:
"Whoaaaa! Get away, you ugly old cow! No! NOT IN THE FACE! Ow! Come on, we can talk about it. Speako Englisho? Arrrrgh! Oh, yeah, that’s it baby, treat me rough—— OWWWWW! Geddoff... Oof! Help!"

Benny: Doctor, it’s me! Bernice Summerfield!
Doctor: ...nope.
Benny: Benny? I’m from the twenty-seventh century. I’m an archaeology professor, I traveled with the Doctor for a very long time in your seventh body?
Doctor: Not ringing any bells.
Benny: The planet Heaven? We fought the Hoothi, a race of monsters who looked like giant... um... mushrooms. We had dozens of new adventures all across time and space, too broad and too deep for the small screen!
Doctor: You’re really not narrowing it down...
Benny: When you regenerated into this rather dashing body with the long hair, we met up in 1997! Big spaceships over London, the Ice Cream Vendors invaded, we defeated them.
Doctor: "We"?
Benny: Well. Mainly you, as ever. At the end of that, he dropped me off back in my native timezone and we, er...
Doctor: What? "Shook hands and said goodbye"?
Benny: More like, "fucked like rabbits".
[Long pause.]
Doctor: Me and you?
Benny: Uh-huh.
Doctor: Right. So... was I going through a period of very low-self-esteem at the time?

Mary: Percy doesn’t believe in fidelity, he been having an affair.
Doctor: Mmm. Well, he’s got a point. I mean, if you have a second child that doesn’t automatically diminish the love you feel for your first child – why should he love you any less because he also loves someone else and respects you enough to be honest?
Mary: He’s having an affair with my sister.
Doctor: ...ah.
Mary: My half-sister!
Doctor: OK, that is just sick. Let’s kneecap the pair of them, huh?

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: I hate to mud-wrestle teenage girls in warm baked beans... Actually, that’s not true, I revel in it.

Izzy: This is just rubbish! I don’t need sexual initiation to give my life meaning, I’ve got the whole of Star Trek: The Next Generation on VHS to keep me happy...
Doctor: Ahem. I’d like you to meet Destrii Anatos.
Izzy: Oh. Um. Hi.
Destrii: Hi.
Izzy: So, um, what do you do for a living?
Destrii: [lustful] Whatever you want.
Izzy: [eyes widen] ...eep.
Doctor: Destrii’s a pros... I mean, a professional sex counselor.
Destrii: Would you like to come upstairs with me?
Izzy: No thanks.
Doctor: [to Destrii] Scuse me. [to Izzy] Look, the choice is between a life time of being wracked with obsession over mindless trivia – or a night of wild sexual pleasure with a beautiful woman.
Izzy: Well. I’m not sure.
Doctor: JUST GET YOUR COAT! YOU HAVE PULLED! Honestly, the only reason Joss Whedon isn’t spinning in his grave right now is because it’s 1988 and he’s a decade away from writing Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

Doctor: There you go. Budge up. Tight in here.
Benny: Yeah. If you just move your leg so... yeah.
Doctor: Hang on... I’ll put my arm...
Benny: Ow!
Doctor: Sorry. You sure this is how we did it last time?
Benny: YOU’RE the one who’s into this Tantric stuff, not me!

Polidori: All we need is a mob of villagers with flaming torches!
Byron: Oh, how unforgivably clichéd!

Doctor: Why on Earth would you ever want to travel with me?
Fitz: Well, I want to see just how big life can be, how a skinny little no one like me could make a real difference...
Doctor: Is that all?
Fitz: Well, it IS a fantastic way of impressing the birds!
Doctor: Hmmm. Promising. Very promising.

Mary: My husband and my sister find sadistic amusement in my being aware of their relationship. The irony is that Claire is really in love with Byron. She’s carrying his child and Lord Byron? Lord Byron is in love only with himself.
Doctor: Shee-it. And I thought MY life was a crack-fueled soap opera...

Valhalla: This rock is fifty million years old. After so many millennia of solitude, it isn’t fair to expect the world to give up its secrets easily.
Benny: I’d have said "it’s like looking for an unidentified needle in a very dark haystack," but you were a lot more poetic just then. Avoided the clichés. Mostly. What are you doing?
Valhalla: Getting rather annoyed with your never-ending smug sarcasm, to tell you truth.
Benny: That’s always happening to people I talk at! It’s uncanny!

Mary: I’m not following a word of this.
Present Doctor: But we shouldn’t be here, in the same place, at the same time.
Mary: Why not?
Past Doctor: Because it’s terribly embarrassing, for starters!

Benny: I think so. This isn’t the first time I’ve been trapped in a collapsing pocket universe being stalked by some semi-visible unknown creature. God, it isn’t even the second!
Doctor: Yeah, very impressive, I’m sure. How about you try something completely new – like shutting the hell up from time to time?

Mary: Hmmm. Can I just point out one little thing? "Frankenstein" is the name of the doctor, NOT THE FUCKING MONSTER!

UnQuotable Quote -
Izzy: Save us from the belligerent newsagent!

Viewer Quotes -

"Three thumbs up!" – Circus Freak Quarterly (2011)

"I think Izzy's Story is my other favorite! Jemima really makes a 2D
character into a fully rounded 3D one with nipples and navels and body hair! CHRIST! Izzy! Izzy! Izzy! Let me add my voice to the chorus begging for her salty goodness! Her boobs are definitely the two I demand more of! I salivate for her naked skin! Yes, yes, yes, YES!"
- Nigel Verkoff cracks under the strain of sexual frustration (2011)

"I could virtually see the panels on the page in DWM!"
– rejected slogan for the 'Heroin Really Screws You Up!' campaign

"The Eighth Doctor and Benny need to team up more often! I’ve written lots of stories when they do! Stories with lots of angst! Angst is still cool, right? Right? Hello? Anyone?"
– Nick Walters (2010)

"Benny’s audition was strangely satisfying, like a long, slow fist up the arse. I’m trying the other sexual perversions in a few days. Unfortunately this is a very busy week for me, as I am going up before the Old Bailey because of committing unnatural acts with a baboon, so the timing’ bad... but so am I. A very, very bad girl. Oh yes."
– Sick Sad World Employee (2009)

"McGann acted his socks off in that one! Seriously, can he come and collect them? They’re stinking up the studio!" – Gareth Jenkins (2009)

"The Fitz story was rather awesome except for Matt DiAngelo, who I thought was bloody awful as Fitz. Stupid cockney accent and he can’t act. The amount of lines he slaughters is cringe-inducing – and if anyone knows about cringe-inducing acting inability, it’s me!"
- Chip Jamieson (2011)

"Izzy is my favorite companion and to hear her for the first time with that monologue... Let’s just say I punched the speaker and denied the existence of God Himself." - Katy January (2012)

"I'm intrigued about where people are getting these twenty-five minute stories from; episode one alone is almost thirty-six minutes long, which is longer than a single episode of "classic" Doctor Who and only six minutes shorter than a typical episode from the more recent television series. The other episodes clock in at over thirty minutes each. I have no life." – Andrew Pixley (2010)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace — and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. This is EXACTLY why Big Finish is going nowhere while the Welsh series goes from strength to strength!"

Paul McGann Speaks!
"Big Finish? Why are we back here at Big Finish? Who are all these people? What the fuck is going on? The last thing I remember was ordering four triple vodkas and a banana daiquiri..."

Lisa Bowerman Speaks!
"From an actor’s point of view, it’s rather relaxing that Benny responds to everything in the exact same way, as a drunken lay-about who swears a lot and bonks a lot of men. And she did it all before Lara Croft became popular. Now, I never actually READ any of the New Adventures, but who the hell cares? I don’t need to be told how to play this part – I’ve been doing this for TEN LONG SODDING YEARS! I’m like Dot Cotton in Eastenders only much funnier, sexier and with slightly-more-credible supporting characters. She knows the character she’s created inside and out, and so do I! I’m a bit of a tragic Eastenders fan, if I’m honest. I am passionate about it, but for the right reasons. There’s absolutely no point in doing it otherwise – look at Glee fandom, for example."

Matt Di Angelo Speaks!
"Obviously I was a fan of the earlier Doctor Whos, like... um... Frank Spencer. But I like the later ones, too. Especially that one that’s on TV at the moment played by, you know, that guy, the guy who does that thing with the... robot screwdriver dog thing. I love that. I applied to be in the TV Doctor Who in Wales, but, um, I couldn’t. It would have been the one with, you know, those monsters that kill people in that way everyone... talks about, you know? The crying blinking angel things, yeah, them... OK, OK, I admit it: I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. I’ll just shut up from now on."

Jemima Rooper Speaks!
"I was only in those recording booths for five minutes before the death threats started. I didn’t feel self-conscious and found myself becoming so annoying even my own parents were disowning me. It’s this amazing skill I have to drive people into psychotic fury. I think my Russell Tovey would be a better Doctor than Matt Smith. See? Even YOU’RE reaching for something to bludgeon me unconscious!"

Julia Cox Speaks!
"I like mixing up time periods and genres, as it means you can make really massive mistakes and say it was all deliberate. I’ve got away with murder, figuratively speaking... well, once literally, but we don’t need to go into that, do we? We do? Oh, well, the body’s buried in the New Forest, if that’s what you want to know."

Eddie Hitler Speaks!
"Er, yes, I am very, very happy that Mary Shelly is the new companion. I am, for joy, jumping. In real life, Mary was confident and outgoing and wrote a book about a socialist zombie stalker rather than some crap about knitting. She’s the perfect replacement for Lucie. Now will you please stop bothering me? I am TRYING to get RID of this HANGOVER!!!"

Trivia -
This is the first mainstream BF release featuring the Eighth Doctor but NOT featuring Charley "Bury Me In A Y-Shaped TARDIS" Pollard. This factor could be the key reason why this story sucks.

Rumors & Facts –

It had been two years since Paul McGann had taken his leave of Big Finish Productions, instead teaming up with fictional alcoholic sociopathic Edward Elizabeth Didgeridoo Catflap Hitler to forge a brand new series of audio drama on BBC7 internet radio with feisty Northern companions, 50-minute episodes, and a theme tune that could curdle milk on the other side of the continent.

Big Finish had given up all hope of seeing McGann again until one day both he and Hitler stumbled into the studio, pissed out of their minds and uncertain as to which one of them was supposed to driving the invalid scooter they had stolen from a weak-willed pensioner. The pair had just completed work on their third BBC7 audio series and had decided to take the rest of the year punishing their evil livers as a form of crude, pagan celebration.

It took eight weeks for McGann and Hitler to recover from the resulting hangovers, and it was in this period that the surviving creative forces of Big Finish (producer David Richardson, script editor Alan Barnes, and a small Yorkshire terrier called "Bobby") realized they might be able to get the Eighth Doctor back with the company and thus screw even more money out of the gullible Whovian fan-base.

And, by jingo, by crikey, they were right!

With Lucie Miller occupied having threesomes with the Bastard and his nubile masseuse on television, it was clear the Eighth Doctor would require a brand new companion to accompany him on his audio adventures through time and space and Cardiff. The problem was no one could think of any suitable candidate beyond Charley Pollard ("only this time COMPLETELY shaved!" as a certain N. Verkoff was quick to clarify).

And, as often happens with these unprofessional amateurs, discussions soon turned into a furious, spiteful, screaming argument about what did and didn’t count as canon. Even after the lengthy sequence in the 40th Anniversary story Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass (where the Doctor breaks the fourth wall completely to inform us that none of the books, comics or audios are canon and frankly no one would give a shit even if they were) this was still a sore point for debate.

After thirteen days straight of shrieking things like "INTERTEXTUALITY MY ARSE! HUMAN NATURE CANCELS OUT THE BOOKS! NO RETURNS!", all concerned conceded that the Eighth Doctor’s non-audio forays meant that there were plenty of companion characters on offer. Why bother creating a new character when they had books and comics to do all the hard work?

In the tradition of other commercial and artistic disasters as the Fifth Doctor’s Interesting Times, the Sixth Doctor’s 300 and the Seventh Doctor’s Twenty-Four, it was decided it was time for the Paul McGann to get his own "four short stories on two CDs" special.

But instead of just getting different writers, there would also be different companions, with each episode effectively auditioning Lucie’s replacement and the winner getting their ugly mugs on the cover art of future releases and maybe even a pay rise of up to THREE magic beans.

After much discussion, debate, debauchery and debagging, a shortlist was drawn up – representing the Virgin New Adventures would be Benny Summerfield, who already had her own spin-off series so there was no hassle about actually casting her. Plus, in the infamous finale to the NAs, Benny had got completely pissed on champagne and violently seduced the Eighth Doctor on the last page. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the ONLY interesting thing anyone remembered about her.

Lance Parkin, exhausted after working non-stop on five series of Benny’s spin off adventures, said "Sod it!" and handed in a standard runaround on the grounds that the lower quality made it more special due to the high standards of the Summerfieldverse. Besides, Benny had been around for eighteen years and even Steven Moffat couldn’t think of anything interesting left for her to do.

From the long-running and damn-well-said-on-screen-to-be-kosher comic strips of Doctor Who Magazine would be Isabelle Sinclair (AKA "Izzy Somebody") whose every appearance had been penned by Alan Barnes himself. Barnes was on record as saying that "anyone who doesn’t read DWM comic strips and know who Izzy is has no kind of life whatsoever and should be humanely gassed". This was rather ironic, as this demographic would be the only ones NOT to notice how atrociously-written Izzy was by her own creator.

Since there wasn’t a suitable actress already playing the companion, Barnes and Richardson had to find one – so they got the shortlist of actresses who failed to get the part of Rose Tyler and from these chose the one who most resembled Mick Jagger. Only one actress met this criteria, that self-pitying Bridget-Jones-wannabe from Lost in Austen who was about ten years and three stone out from playing the character from the comic strips.

It was decided to play to Jemima Rooper’s strengths and make Izzy even MORE annoying than she already was. The actress rationalized this on the grounds that Izzy’s forbidden lesbian lust was slowly driving her insane, while the writer is STILL puzzled at complaints about the characterization. We can only assume that all those comic strips must have portrayed Izzy as far a nicer and friendlier individual than she was actually intended to be.

For the third candidate, the BBC EDA range offered up Fitz Kriener, who was notable for being the only male companion the Eighth Doctor had who was NOT a psychotic armor-plated lizard with no sense of humor.

Steve Cole had created Fitz by spilling some coffee on his keyboard and creating the sentence "Robert Carlyle meets Adam Adamant and Vila Restal as a mixed-raced GI Joe"... which was immediately ignored by every other writer, instead preferring a lazy sexist guitarist stoner – the role model of many a DW author.

Chosen to play Fitz was Matt de Angelo after an exhausting process of watching "Hustle" episodes and picking the one with the most convincing Cockney accent who could do a dark, brooding tale of angst and misery. Cole then wrote some lighthearted comic nonsense, in order to "stretch the acting ability of that goddamn meat puppet".

Finally, Jonathon "Psycho Killer Qu'est Que C'est" Morris decided he was utterly sick and tired of Barnes' oh-so-tedious habit of having the Eighth Doctor big up his 'historical-celebrities-with-benefits' relationship with Mary Shelly, until he was talking more about her than he did the bloody Dustbins and it was time for the truth to be revealed – the Doctor was talking total crap and Mary had no idea who he was.

Casting Mary took even LESS effort than casting Izzy and Fitz, as they simply cast the same actress appearing in the film "Gothic Shenanigans" which Morris just happened to be plagiarizing in the first place. Thus, Julie Cox was chosen, an actress who had been unable to play any parts other than Lord Byron groupies following being traumatized by watching episodes of Doctor Who in her childhood.


All four writers delighted in the fact that, since the stories were showcasing the COMPANIONS rather than plots, they had free reign to be as simplistic, un-engaging, paper-thin and outright piss-poor as they liked. Morris in particular enjoyed abandoning any attempt to make 19th Century authors sound like anything other than some trust-funded English literature students who would talk demonstratively in pubs and try to be terribly bohemian all the time. The fuckwits.

Of course, the choice of new companion was obvious before they had even started recording. Lisa Bowerman was too busy to be a regular, the cast and crew had to be physically restrained whenever Jemima Rooper dared speak and Matt di Angelo turned out to only have attended recording to distract everyone while his fellow grifters stole everything they could get to sell to fans at profit.

Whereas Julie Cox gave a wonderful performance, conveying compassion, intelligence and a desire for a new life all in a mere 18 minutes of airtime. Yes, this three-dimensional character was best acted, better written, and not a smug hammy twat like the other candidates. Finally, they said, a companion WORTHY of Paul McGann.

Plus she was happy to work for minimum wage.

As far as the public were concerned, they only had the vaguest ideas of who Fitz was, they outright despised Benny as a spot-light-stealing harridan and no one recognized Jemime Rooper’s character as the same Alysson-Hannigan-type chick from the comic strips.

In the unlikely event Big Finish would have ever given a rat’s ass about the opinions of their customers, they would STILL have chosen Mary Shelly. Yes, a real-life historical character was a more credible choice for an ongoing companion than anything the spin-offs had come up with after over a decade.

I despair, I really do.

On the bright side, we can take comfort in the fact we’ll probably never hear any of those other losers ever again!

The only thing left of any notice is that they finally got rid of that god-awful Ron Grainer in a blender style mix-tape of a theme tune and replaced it with a musical number by Izzy Sinclair. True, it’s completely bewildering and irrelevant for three of the four episodes, but for 25 minutes it does make a KIND of sense...

"Fish Girls Make Me Wet" by the Stockbridge Lesbian Alliance

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne
And it tastes just like water from the estuary
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and
In a light blue voice she said "Destrii"

Well I’m not the world’s most physical girl
But when she squeezed me tight
I very nearly hurled
Over Destrii! De-de-de-de-Destrii!
Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
Why she looks like a haddock
And talked like a woman
Oh my Destrii! De-de-de-de-Destrii!

Well, we drank salt water and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
And said "Little Isabelle – can I call you Izzy?"

Well I'd left home just a week before
And I'd never ever kissed a woman before
But Destrii smiled and took me by the hand
And said "Little girl I'll make you a woman!"

I pushed her away! I walked to the door!
I fell to the floor! She went down on me!
And we both moaned in ecstasy!
Well, that's the way that I want it to stay!
And I'll always want it to be that way!
For my Destrii! De-de-de-de-Destrii!

Well I'm not the world's most passionate chick
But when I looked in her eyes, well, who need d...
DESTRII! De-de-de-de-Destrii!
Girls will be fish and fish will be girls
It's a mixed up muddled up shook up world
Except for Destrii! De-de-de-de-Destrii!


8th Doctor - The Company of Friends (i)

Serial 9Z/C – The Company of Jerks
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' Come Back Lucie All Is Forgiven!


Serial 9Z/C – The Company of Jerks -

This most special of stories begins where the last one ended, with the Doctor – gripped by an insane fury at Lucie Miller daring to dump HIM before he could dump HER – piloting the TARDIS straight to the front line of the Temporal Difference of Opinion.

It soon becomes obvious this was a particularly stupid thing to do.

The Doctor has just enough time to realize this before the TARDIS is caught by friendly fire of vitreous energy blasts that corrodes the very fabric of time itself, destroying the puny strands of canonicity that divide one aspect of the Whoniverse franchise from each other!

Gripping the controls of the TARDIS, the Doctor watches in horror as causality blanks out like a pissed comic book artist forgetting to finish putting drawings in all the little outline boxes...

The Company of Jerks 1/4 – Benny Summerfield’s Audition

The Doctor finally blanks in to discover, to his horror, he has been cast to the mortal coil of the New Adventures continuity where everything is so bloody right-on, PC and angst-ridden that even fanwank comes with a complimentary Greenpeace badge.

There are many clues as to his new location in the multiverse – the slightly smaller periodic table, the artron grain of the time continuum, oh, and the TARDIS has popped into existence right next to Professor Bernice Surprise-Surprise-Ole-Biscuit-Barrel Summerfield!

What the hell is Benny doing in the middle of a coal mine on the ancient world of Epsilon Minima, I hear you ask? Well it turns out she’s being paid the gross national product of three solar systems carrying out an archaeological excavation and, like the professional she is, Benny is standing out being sarcastic and smug in equal measure. Oh, go back to your own spin off you malignant whore!

But if Bernice is irritating, that’s nothing compared to her employer who’s entry in "Who’s Who" consists solely of "very messianic to the point where it just stops being funny". This is Countess Valhalla who runs her business plan of "higher understanding" entirely on the "forbidden knowledge" of "ancient texts" she gets on her mobile phone.

Having drilled with lasers through countless layers of rock for a full five days (that’s two days more than Tony Robinson’s Time Team would do!), Benny, Valhalla and her idiot comic relief stooge have discovered a 50-million-year-old TARDIS key which can be used as a homing beacon to draw in the TARDIS it belongs to.

Which is the Doctor’s TARDIS, just in case that wasn’t already so freaking and unnecessarily obvious that it makes your head bleed.

No sooner has the Doctor been brought up to speed with the events of the last three paragraphs when Valhalla calls in her security bots to seize the TARDIS. And so the Doctor and Benny run up and down some corridors – because after six score and ten NA novels, writers STILL can’t think of anything cleverer to do than this hokey escapism...

The Doctor and Benny finally get a chance to talk and cover a multitude of topics – including the fact the Doctor isn’t the manipulative twat of the NAs so he hasn’t come here with a vast Masterplan up his sleeve; Valhalla’s robots are props reused from an early Jon Pertwee serial no one likes; and that after ten years of spin-offs throughout all time and space, all Benny has to show for it is a rather freaky-looking illegitimate son called Peter.

Benny then points out that since Valhalla wants the TARDIS for nefarious purposes, it probably was a bad idea to run away and leave the time machine with her. Especially as she has the damn key.

However, there are more corridors to be chased down and this time, in the interests of variety, it’s by lions instead of robots.

Back at the TARDIS, Valhalla shows the monumental idiocy of all true super-villains and pressed every button she can find marked "DO NOT PRESS" until weird shit happens and her odious comic relief’s right hand is reduced to two years old. As he is a serial masturbator, this would now count as corrupting a minor and the nameless goon is immediately arrested as a sex offender by some passing Jundoon.

"Random," observes Valhalla, and keeps pressing buttons.

Outside, the mine tunnels vanish and are replaced by some stock jungle background sound effects – which the Doctor justifies dramatically as being the coal mine billions of years in the past. In order to keep the wibbly-wobbly ontological-wonkoligical-paradox fetishists happy, the Doctor throws his TARDIS key into a fern so it will one day be dug up by Benny and thus cause this entire mess in the first place.

"Yeah. No masterplans at all," Benny deadpans.

The Doctor muses on the point – are TARDISes enslaved? Should sentient beings be harnessed by anyone, even a Time Lord? Can such oppression ever be justified? Is Valhalla just an idle rich bitch with absolutely no clue what she’s doing who’s never even SEEN a TARDIS before, let alone actually been inside one?

That last one seems the best bet, so he drop-kicks Valhalla unconscious and resets the defaults on the console, saving the entire created omniverse in as un-involving and convoluted manner as possible and all the while Benny grumbles that she won’t get paid, even after all the trouble she took to prepare an invoice.

The Doctor decides he needs a week on the spa planet of Hedonex in Galaxy VII, where five-handed masseuses work in caves forming natural saunas, where rainwater tastes like champagne and there are springs of warm scented baby oil on permanent offer.

Unfortunately, he realizes that Benny fully expects him to take her with him, giving her the opportunity to blather on and on about herself stuffing up the tranquil atmosphere of the holiday?

Mercifully, it is around this point that the timelines shuffle and everything blanks out once again...

The Company of Jerks 2/4 – Fitz Kreiner’s Audition

Reality finally settles down and the Doctor standing in a bizarrely-decorated TARDIS control room where a hung-over Indian woman is screaming abuse at him for a variety of reasons ranging from getting her geeky boyfriend stabbed to death and vaporized under the engines of a launching space shuttle to the fact he didn’t warn her drinking Bactrian cocktails would make her nasal hair fall out.

The Doctor listens patiently to this litany of tirades, then smashes her head against the roundeled wall until she falls unconscious. At last able to enjoy some peace and quiet, the Time Lord checks the console room and finds the TARDIS is on the planet Entusso.

Entusso is so amazingly identical to Earth in the ethnographic present I’m tempted to think it’s not an alien planet at all but merely some ghastly misprint in the script. Either way, the world outside is obsessed with television and unusually prone to high-profile alien attacks every four weeks or so.

Unsurprisingly, someone is making a big fat profit out of this and that someone is AIDS – Alien Invasion Defeating Services. It’s an unfortunate acronym, but the paperwork’s signed now and they’re stuck with it. AIDS is the rapid-response extraterrestrial call-out service you MUST choose because there are no other alien-fighting companies on the market... at all! Let alone ones offering planetary protection at such reasonable prices.

"If you know bog-all about alien life forms but are a paranoid xenophobe pessimist with a valid credit card, get AIDS!" proclaims the spokesman for the organization, an incredibly-detailed hyper-animation which looks just like the Doctor.

The real Doctor is furious that his likeness is being used for advertising purposes on ten thousand infomercial channels and HE ISN’T GETTING ANY CASH OUT OF THIS!

There’s also the possibility AIDS are actually some overture to an alien invasion, scamming the people of Entusso so they’ll unwittingly lure anti-alien activists to their untimely doom. Either way, AIDS needs to be stopped and the Doctor get his royalties for endorsing their foul, detestable organization!

But before he can even leave the TARDIS, the scanner displays a special edition of An Incoherent Affair hosted by Gem Weston who has an exclusive interview with a git called Fitz Kriener - space traveller
and close compatriot of that world famous enigma, the Doctor.

"Or rather, as he sensationally claims today, Fitz Kreiner is the power behind the Doctor’s frock coat and the REAL thwarter of alien plots both here on Entusso and beyond."

While spectacularly failing to seduce Gem on screen, Fitz reveals that the Doctor is actually an out-of-work actor called John Smith who acts as the public face for Fitz’s alien-defeating schemes.

"You see, I’m the planner, the master strategist – saving the day but shunning the limelight. I had never planned to come out with the truth. But having seen the adverts John’s made recently, well if anyone’s going to get paid for saving the planet, it’s gonna be me, you dig?" Fitz explains, fondling her thighs lustfully.

To prove his wild claims, there follows some archive footage of Fitz and the Doctor fighting the evil alien Trods and, while it might LOOK like Fitz is the one screaming in terror, wetting himself and begging the mighty Time Lord to save the day it is, in fact, COMPLETELY scripted exchange which Fitz planned to the finest detail.

Fitz warns viewers that 'John Smith' is unhinged and deluded to the point he believes he is the planet-saving do-gooder and even endorsing AIDS out of this demented philanthropy! In order to hire a new stooge, Fitz immediately sets up a 1800 number for the public to ring in with donations to the organization Citizens Against Stellar Hostilities, and Fitz happily accepts any checks made out for "CASH".

The Doctor realizes that, in this timeline, he travels with a failed guitarist from the 1960s with a severe personality disorder (though the apparent speech impediment is actually just an atrocious Sean Connery impression) who has done a total hatchet job on the Time Lord’s reputation to cheat the Entusso public out of their hard-earned cash!

"I like this guy already," the Doctor muses.

Storming off, the Doctor eventually arrives at AIDS HQ and is immediately beaten up and gassed before being stripped naked and nailed to a crucifix in the interrogation room where he is met by Commander Helen Femur, professional rabid-alien-killer and the founder of AIDS.

Femur announces she no longer needs the real Doctor to appear in ads for them at extortionate prices, as they have built a convincing android duplicate out of an old cola vending machine, a mop head and a cardboard-cut-out of Richard E Grant.

Not only is RoboDoc much easier on the budget, he also pays for himself twice over as a combined singing telegram and stripper at business functions!

"That’s not how I operate!" the Doctor wails unhappily. "I hate karaoke in public! I never set myself up as your gigolo!"

Femur however intends to use RoboDoc to denounce Fitz as a delusional nutter (not too difficult a task, all things considered), and convince not only the people of Entussa by all sorts of slimy alien bastards that this world is defended by the Doctor and AIDS!

And, rather proving a point at how poorly-defended the planet is, it turns out one of the cleaners at AIDS is in fact one of those self-same slimy alien bastards and has gone on a killing spree, slaughtering everyone he comes across in a rabid bloodlust fever.

"Hey, remember yesterday you asked me for the definition of 'irony'?" asks one telephone operator before he and his fellows are reduced to nasty little puddles of toxic guano.

As the alien monster lumbers towards the Doctor and Femur, Fitz (who has been thrown out of the TV studio and a restraining order placed upon him by Gem Weston) bursts in to save the day... by having a humiliating panic attack and hiding behind RoboDoc.

Just then, the alien trips over its own tentacles and breaks its own neck, leaving the day completely saved by nothing more than blind luck and poor OHS compliance.

Never one to waste an opportunity, Fitz immediately turns on his so-called charm and tries to get into Femur’s ridiculously-tight pants and offers to endorse AIDS, restoring the organization’s credibility, making Entussa wake up to extraterrestrial threats and, more importantly, end up swimming butt-naked in a shit-load of money!

The Doctor is left on the sidelines, totally ignored as Fitz "Intergalactic Man of Mystery" signs a lucrative contract with AIDS as their official spokesman, promising to tell the world about how his maverick genius and the resources, reliability and sheer bra size of Helen Femur have saved the day again.

Grumbling at what a hammy bastard Fitz is, the Doctor is thankfully ripped out of the interstitial nexus and sent hurtling into another dimension altogether before he can be humiliated any more than he already has been during this story.

The Company of Jerks 3/4 – Izzy Sinclair’s Audition

The Doctor snaps back into existence on the village green of Stockbridge, a quiet, sleepy English town and more dangerous than laser surgery carried out by heroin-addicted howler monkeys in the middle of a category-5 tornado!

The Doctor immediately turns to run when he bumps into a geeky 18-year-old girl with her hair in that ghastly This-Life-Style brunette-with-blond bangs and bright purple lipstick. In this reality, the Doctor is accompanied by a girl called Izzy, but unfortunately MUCH louder and irritating than the Izzy we may once have known.

Izzy shouts and rants and generally exposits that the Doctor has used his mighty time machine to take her back to her home town in the late 80s – not to solve the mystery of the flying cigar over Wells Wood or the cattle mutilations at Old Man Harvey’s farm, but to buy an extremely-hard-to-find edition of 2001AD, a period piece overflowing with page upon page of badly-drawn mindless violence.

"Well, Doctor? What do you think?" she asks.

"I think... I think it’s time you got laid, Izzy. Seriously, this sexual frustration is clearly driving you stark staring mad..."

Izzy screams at him he is missing the inherent, extremist satire in a comic that spells "kids" with a Z. "It’s got subtext!" she shrieks, waving a pop-out-eyeball taped to the front cover.

The Doctor shakes his head, wondering if Izzy getting a right royal seeing-to might snap her out of her strange obsession where a missing comic rate rates higher than visiting Atlantis, taking tea with Jack the Ripper or watching John Howard lose the 2008 Federal Election!

Izzy protests that she has absolutely no interest in boys, and when a well-fit eighteen year old blonde would rather be a self-described 'comics nerd' instead, well that can only mean she’s the biggest dyke outside of Holland water reservoirs!

"No hassle," the Doctor assures Izzy. "I know plenty of cute chicks who’d bang you like a dunny door in a cyclone. Did I ever tell you about this blond I knew called Charley...?"

However, Izzy is so far into the closet she has Narnia as her postcode and, despite the clear fact denying her Sapphic tendencies is clearly giving her a nervous breakdown, she storms the nearest newsagents to get her prized 2001AD comic!

Ironically, the only issue has been reserved by Izzy’s past self (or the "weird kid who is so obviously queer it’s tragic" as the newsagent absent-mindedly refers to her) and Izzy’s grip on reality slackens even further as she starts babbling about her comic collection.

The newsagent and the Doctor watch on in horror, both in agreement that this poor human wretch needs hot girl-on-girl action immediately, and since there are at least three gay pubs in Stockbridge, it’s not as if she’s got any excuse. I could make a cheap joke about her being the only gay in the village but... no. I won’t.

Just then two MIBs enter the shop, smash the place up, steal the all-important comic book and then leave. "This is just fucking typical!" Izzy rants, now seemingly believing the MIBs were bit-part characters from a Judge Dredd strip.

"Seriously," the Doctor protests as she drags him out of the shop, "I think you MEDICALLY need sex right now, Izzy..."

His beyond-frustrated companion insists they use the TARDIS to find another copy of her beloved juvenile trash, having absolutely no interest in the bizarre MIB activity they witnessed. Izzy is now so insane she believes the Doctor is the tooth-fairy, so the Doctor decides to not waste any more time.

The TARDIS re-materializes in Soho’s red-light district where the Doctor bodily drags Izzy into the nearest lesbian brothel. This particular whorehouse was recommended him by a former companion, Destrii Anatos the fish girl who is living a simple but rewarding life on Earth in 1988 since her home planet got destroyed.

Izzy, in the demented belief she’s at a comic book studio, tries to offer her portfolio to the numerous prostitutes she encounters. "It’s all girly!" she protests as they undress her, "Where's the pathos?"

The Doctor pops to a café, orders the finest wines known to humanity, picks an argument with the waiter, gets thrown out and returns to the TARDIS to find a very flushed and dazed Izzy slumped outside the front door of the brothel, singing "I Can’t Decide" to herself.

"Well, I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed," Izzy says. "It’s just wrong, alright? A whole world of wrong! Girls shouldn’t bonk other girls! It’s the law! Isn’t that right, Ms. Thatcher?"

The Doctor’s hopes fade fast that his new companion will stop behaving like a retarded child with a horrific nerdy obsession. The only difference between Izzy and the other selfish, obnoxious, nasal-voiced, bespectacled geeks is... um... oh! She’s got nice skin.

"Bloody hell, Izzy, are you ALWAYS going to be this excruciating?! Even I can do better than a two-dimensional stereotyped nerd!"

Vitreous time burns the Time Lord into another continuity, and the Doctor thankfully takes his leave of this shouty, whiney closeted homosexual plunging depths of stupidity that make him pine for Lucie Miller herself...

The Company of Jerks 4/4 – Mary Shelly’s Audition

The ruined TARDIS has crash-landed outside a villa on a dark and stormy night as thunder rumbles, lightning flashes, and in the distance a wild cat does woof. As such, the weather perfectly suits the Doctor’s mood as he stumbles towards the front door.

For this is the Villa Diodati in 1816, and in the ancient traditions of cheap horror films yet to be made, a bunch of irresponsible horny 20-some-things have decided to crash by the shores of Lake Geneva and tell each other ghost stories. After all, what’s the worst that could happen apart from a pre-make of the Friday 13th movie franchise?

Our hapless gang consists of

- Percy Shelly, a junkie snob man-slut

- Mary Shelly, his Goth-chick wife

- Claire Clairmont, her bimbo stepsister with a stupid name

- Lord Byron, a club-footed asshole beatnik poet with a pet bear (not a fetish or anything, he actually has a psychotic grizzly bear as a domestic pet)

and John Polidori, the designated driver and token geek.

As they do the traditional party games like "Drink 8 Bottles of Absinthe And Read A Chapter of Tolstoy Without Mixing A Metaphor" until one o’clock in the morning and Percy freaks out, the Doctor knocks on the door asking for help.

Mary Shelly answers the front door, the Doctor is mortified – he’s been boasting about being an old pal of Shelly’s to every respectable and disrespectable time traveler he knows and now he’s bound be caught out. Deeply embarrassed, he introduces himself as "Dr. Casanova Fronkensteen" and pretends to pass out.

Unfortunately, lying unconscious and vulnerable in front of junkie loonbags like Byron and Shelly is NOT a wise course of action. "It appears we have a corpse on our hands and I propose an experiment after the manner of Signor Galvani!" Shelly laughs insanely.

Still feigning unconsciousness, the Doctor’s confidence that the drunken stoners are joking about electrocuting him with piano wire and a lightening storm. Polidori notes that this is an outrage against nature and degenerate, abject madness – which only succeeds in encouraging the others all the more!

"The tempest is upon us! Come, god of Thunder, unleash your elemental fire! Lightning - the fundamental force of the universe! The ether! The spirit! Strike! It is I - the modern Prometheus! THE PUNT-POLE IN THE GONDOLA OF LIFE!"

The Doctor decides he is completely bloody sick of this and rises up to give Percy Shelly either a stern-talking-to or a vicious kicking to the testicles when suddenly POW! ZAP! KA-BLAM!

The Time Lord is left a scorched, half-melted zombie by a blast of lightning which, oddly enough, pisses him off slightly. He deals with his discomfort by smashing apart every bit of furniture he finds and tries to rip out the entrails of Byron and Shelly, like Charlie Sheen on an all-night bender.

"A demon, an abomination, a blasphemy against creation!" shouts Polidori, rather emphasizing the Charlie Sheen similarities.

Finally, the Doctor gets bored trashing the villa and stumbles back to the TARDIS. Being the only person at Lake Geneva NOT a total fuckwit, Mary follows him to see if he’s feeling a bit less homicidal. All girls like bad boys after all, and you can’t get badder than a semi-decomposed psychotic zombie, can you?

For her part, Mary quite likes the ruined TARDIS which looks rather like a nightmare of buckled girders and crumbling masonry which appeals to her nihilistic pretensions.

Breathless and struggling, the Doctor manages to get the warped and buckled console to send a distress signal. However, even assuming anyone hears it, who is willing to bother to come to save the Doctor from his hideous injuries?

After wallowing in self-pity and misery for a few minutes, the Doctor finds that Mary’s tied him up with some high-stress cables from the console. Mary is mighty kinky and this sort of S&M bondage appeals to her. Unfortunately, this makes the Doctor go ape-shit once again.

"There’s no pleasing somebody," Mary muses glumly, before running for her life out of the TARDIS and back to the Villa Diodati.

Back there, Mary tries to explain the situation to her friends who (typically enough) immediately try to strip her naked and ply her with booze. As the ferocious Doctor tries to break through the window, another police-box-shaped TARDIS appears out of thin air.

OK, kids, this is where it gets complicated.

Since no one else in the cosmos would bother to come to the Doctor’s rescue, thus the Doctor himself comes to the rescue – specifically a version of the Doctor from the very beginning of his eighth lifetime when he was traveling with Sherri and Terri.

Thus, the Past Eighth Doctor is a bit bewildered to find a bunch of 19th Century gothic celebrities hiding from his future self who is answering to the name of "Frankenstein".

The Past Doctor confronts the Present Doctor, intending to induce some sort of somnambulistic trance. He attempts this by trying to calm him down with a soothing Venusian lullaby version of Seal’s "Kissed By A Rose", and when that doesn’t work, he settles for violently head-butting the other Time Lord unconscious.

The Past Doctor is far from pleased to learn from Mary and Polidori that they will electrocute him at some point in his future time-stream for nothing more than shits and giggles. He also accuses Byron of "stealing my look" and threatens to four-dimensionally sue the ass off the total bastard the first chance he gets.

Realizing the end of the episode is rapidly approaching and he really better get his skates on to resolve the plot ASAP, the Past Doctor runs down to the Present Doctor’s smashed-up TARDIS and replaces its vital power source – with a fresh Panasonic battery! Immediately the time machine is restored to its proper organic-funk-coral-groove style and the TARDIS comes to life once more.

And, thanks to that slightly-creepy isomorphic symbiotic pseudo-sexual relationship the Time Lords have with their time machine, the self-repair starts to effect the Present Doctor, who begins to regenerate!

The Past Doctor, Mary, Percy, Claire, Polidori, Byron and his pet bear gather round the bedside, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Ninth Doctor as the Eighth glows with golden light and begins to metamorphose like melting wax, forming and shifting and healing until, at last...

...he looks exactly the same as the Past Doctor.

How can the Doctor regenerate without changing his face? Is it a bizarre side effect of crossing the dimensions while infected with vitreous time? Is the universe itself holding the Eighth Doctor’s time stream in check because there are more badass things for this specific incarnation to do? Is it just that Big Finish can’t afford an actor of Christopher Eccleston’s caliber?

Yeah, it’s probably just the last one now you come to mention it.

The Present Doctor recovers consciousness. "Oh no, I remember - this happened before, didn’t it? The other way round? I was you! And now, I’m the other one! How wibbly-wobbly and timey-wimey! A temporal foxtrot backtracking through history! DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE ONTOLOGICAL PARADOXES USED AS DUES EX MACHINAS!"

As the two Eighth Doctors argue about which one of them is the older version or the younger version, Mary snaps that the two of them should just shut up and get the hell out of here because even getting smashed on laudanum and absinthe is more entertaining than this cross-temporal stand-up comedy monologue.

"You do have a point, Mary. His very presence could cause a paradox of cataclysmic proportions," says one of the Doctors, and then kicks the other in the bollocks. "Now get out of here before I do something that will have disastrous consequences to the web of time!"

"Fine!" squeaks the other Doctor. "And when I get to be you, I will take great pleasure in kicking myself in the testicles!"

"Yes, I will, won’t I?" the present Doctor agrees. "Now, get out of here, and look after yourself – I won’t always be around to save your lilly-white backside, you know!"

"But I’M the one who saved YOU!"

"So you know exactly what I’m talking about!"

Mumbling that "future me scares me", the past Doctor hobbles off to his TARDIS and leaves his present self to chat up Mary. For her part, Mary wonders how she possibly could make some money out of this truly demented weekend.

"You could turn it into a novel," the Doctor suggests, "Something the newspapers could dub disgusting, depraved and appalling, perhaps? The sort of thing that gets reviews saying 'I have never seen such nudity! Who on Earth wants to see lesbians and John Barrowman’s arse?'"

Downstairs Polidori is telling Shelly and Percy they are a bunch of drug-addled wankers and he wants no more to do with them, Shelly is reminding Polidori he gets paid to help with their sordid whims, Byron is suggesting another game of Grizzly Bear Roulette, and Claire is desperately trying to get Byron to acknowledge the fact he’s got her pregnant and the fact he finds her boring won’t cut much ice with the child support services, will it?

Mary listens to the losers rant on and asks, "Well, the drug-crazed degenerate celebrity holiday’s not really working out, so..."

"Travel with me in the TARDIS? Be my companion in the entirely-platonic-no-strings-separate-sleeping-arrangements sense?"

Mary nods.

"Oh well, guess we can’t have everything," the Doctor shrugs. "Still, hopefully this way you won’t get knocked up like the last two... but I should warn you, Mary, I have insanely high standards and I’ve already turned down three applicants in as many episodes! Frankly, I’m not sure ANYONE deserves a life of adventure, marveling at the perversions available across the universe. On the other hand..."

This is the girl, who combined sex and suicide pacts (she prefers laudanum to flintlock pistols), who eloped with a married man many years older than her on donkey-back, who had to put up with the entire English celebrity circle telling her "Serves you right for dressing like a tart, you harlot!" when she had a miscarriage, who keeps internal organs from ex-boyfriends as keepsakes, and who lost her virginity ON HER MOTHER’S GRAVE.

Quite frankly, the Doctor may never again find someone who makes HIM look positively normal in comparison! Plus, given how screwed-up her life will become on Earth, the danger and horror experienced aboard the TARDIS can only be a considered one last chance for a relaxing break.

And so the Doctor and his new companion depart for future adventures involving the same old crap like Cybermen, Exxons and King Harold at the Battle of Hastings until Big Finish finally stop making this crap.

8th Doctor - Death in Blackpool

The Michaelmas Special

An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke

Serial 9W – The Michaelmas Special
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' Xmas Atmos


Serial 9W – The Michaelmas Special -

Aboard the TARDIS, Lucie demands for reasons not entirely clear to anyone (not even herself) that their next destination be Michaelmas 2006 in the town of Blackpool. The Doctor is not entirely comfortable at the idea, given all the nasty things that happen in that appallingly common seaside fun palace – if it’s not Sexual Toymakers on the rampage it’s musical murder investigations starring David Tennant.

Nevertheless, since there’s a chance in hell of getting Lucie out of his life forever, the Doctor and his gaseous pal Smelly Ed decide to take the risk and immediately program the TARDIS to head there.

Inexplicably... or very explicably if you think about it... the time machine instead arrives in Cardiff, mere weeks before the events of the far superior "The Girl Who Never Was A Virgin" where the Eighth Doctor and Lucie first met each other!

The Doctor suggests they leave right now before they interfere with events leading up to their first encounter and thus create a temporal paradox the size of Lowenstoff that could risk the universe itself. Lucie, however, is insistent – she wants Michaelmas at home with her revoltingly lower-class extended family of consumer whores, alcoholics, pedophiles, bulimics, sad-act James Bond fans in an orgy of poorly-ventilated drunken boredom and Only Fools & Horses repeats.

She then notices everyone is staring at her. "What?!" she snaps.

Shaking his head in disbelief, the Doctor and Smelly Ed head off to the nearest drinking den – the Maiden Singapore wine bar, where Charley Pollard will one day leave the Doctor an insultingly erotic "Dear John" note. Gripped by future nostalgia, the Doctor starts to sob and shout at passers-by "That is should come to this?!?" at the top of his voice.

But things soon get worse as it turns out that this is the watering hole for the Miller clan – her boring, ghastly parents, her overweight aunts and worst of all her identical twin sister Joey Ross! Upon clapping eyes on her sibling, Joey immediately turns on the wine bar’s juke box... and Lucie collapses screaming in agony.

The Doctor looks on in amazement at this Lucie-Miller-kryptonite that leaves his companion writhing in agony on the ground. "James Blunt! Of course! Why didn’t I ever think of that?"

Smelly Ed (dressed in an inconspicuous and rather creepy Santa outfit) wonders exactly why the sisters are trying to kill each other, and we learn that Joey and Lucie have been mortal enemies ever since Lucie let Joey’s boyfriend fall into a fatal diabetic coma because he refused to go down on her in a Wimpy’s Bar - this was especially harsh given that he was only five years old at the time!

Desperate to escape the soulless cacophony of James Blunt, Lucie stumbles out of the wine bar... and straight into oncoming traffic where she is hit by no less than thirteen separate cars before being left in a broken and bleeding heap.

"It looks like this is going to be a VERY merry Michaelmas!" the Doctor and Miller clan cheer and toast each other.

Lucie is rushed to Albion Hospital – or rather, her body is. In a plot twist rather unimaginatively dragged out of Ghost Dad, Lucie’s spirit has been knocked clear from her own body and now she is invisible and intangible, and unable to bully, seduce or insult anyone at all.

"I AM IN HELL!!!" Lucie shrieks miserably.

However, Lucie is quickly able to content herself that she can at least marvel at her own gorgeousness when she finds herself approached by a strange pale figure with curly hair wearing a duffel coat. Those of the audience with even the vaguest of attention spans will realize is none other than Joey Ross’s date – JONATHON CREEK!

However, Lucie does not have the vaguest of attention spans and assumes that Jonathon Creek is Saint Peter himself, come to take her to Heaven where she can rule the afterlife and become god of all that is seen and unseen for the rest of time!

"Um, no," Jonathon Creek says, a bit put out. He is, in fact, a Bygone Warlord who has disguised himself as Alan Davies under a cunning pseudonym and has infiltrated the Miller family so he can finally capture the Doctor and get the ultimate acting job! And, before anyone can write in and complain, Jonathon Creek (or Eggnog to give him his true Bygone name) found out about the Doctor and Lucie during the events of "The Bygone Who Sold The World" set back in the 1980s.

There, you anoraks satisfied NOW?!?!

Eggnog intends to destroy Lucie’s superficial excuse for a soul and take over her body in the ultimate bit of method acting – but Lucie’s impossibly-oversized ego is simply too damn strong!

"Nothing is going to change once you’re dead!" Eggnog shouts at her. "Well, your family is going to finally be free of all the cringe-worthy embarrassment you inflict on them, your friends will have to update their facebook accounts, maybe they’ll even have a street parade to celebrate a world without you in it..."

Lucie laughs in his face, convinced Jonathon Creek is just a drug-induced hallucination based on her self-destructive urges and secret, shameful enjoyment of QI with Alan Davies in it.

"All the pity in the world won’t help you! Your brain shut up shop and foreclosed on your body long ago!" Eggnog screams and drags Lucie through the astral plane back to the Maiden Singapore. "Actually LISTEN to other people for once and who knows what you might discover!"

Back in the real world, the Doctor is chatting to the Millers and suggests selling off Lucie’s body parts and organs to 51st Century backstreet harvesters like his old friend Bi-Al.

Lucie watches on and is emotionally devastated at the realization that her family aren’t remotely interested in her fate and even worse are actually able to enjoy their puny and pathetic lives WITHOUT HER BEING THERE TO GIVE THEM MEANING!!

"Ahah! Body-snatching is for life, not just Michaelmas!" cackles the evil Bygone, but before he can crush her consciousness with his metaphysical bare hands the Doctor and Smelly Ed drunkenly dunk "Jonathon Creek’s" head in toilets of the wine bar for a laugh. Unfortunately they take it too far and the mop-haired magic geek drowns with a urinal cake in his throat...

Lucie’s spirit eventually returns to her body and she wakes up in the gutter as Joey pours petrol all over her, cackling insanely. Screaming in anger, Lucie kicks Joey in the head until she falls unconscious and stumbles off into the night.

She eventually bumps into the rather tipsy Doctor and Smelly Ed, who are having a manful farewell scene outside the TARDIS as the Gelth ex-policeman becomes the Millers’ new lodger and odor-eater. Spotting Lucie, the Doctor unsteadily turns around to tell her that in no uncertain terms he is finally going to leave her behind.

However, before he can say a word, Lucie shouts "I’m not coming with you! I don’t want you to travel with me any more!"

"You don’t mean that!" the Doctor exclaims.

"You lied to me! Everything’s changed! Now I’ll never be able to trust you again, not properly like! You filthy beggars actually think you are worthy of existing without me to justify you all..."

"You can’t dump me! I’ve been trying to get rid of you for THREE WHOLE SEASONS and you suddenly decide on a whim to leave! HOW IS THAT FAIR?!"

"Too late now!" Lucie snaps. "You’re nothing but a memory now!"

"Then remember THIS, you whining bitch!" the Doctor says and smashes his beer bottle over her head, then storms into the TARDIS. "Next time you get possessed by a classic series alien from the 1970s, don’t come crying to me, you miserable whore!"

As Lucie picks bits of glass out of her skull, the police box wheezes and groans, fading away and leaving her alone by Mermaid Bay. But then, a few seconds later, the TARDIS reappears and out stumbles a dazed-looking bloke in ill-fitting Edwardian clothes. But this not some regenerated Doctor but in fact his most deadly and homoerotic of recurring enemies – the Bastard!

Yes, this could be the beginning of a truly disturbing relationship...

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Loses Lucie!
Doctor Mysterio ia Anthropomorphic Duck il Exuant
The Basics of Diabolical Plots by A. B’Stard

Fluffs – Paul McGann seemed to be festive for most of this story.

Goofs –
Lucie Miller gets a better departure than either Leela or Mel. How can that POSSIBLY be fair?

Fashion Victims -
Lucie’s dignified departure is slightly undermined by her wearing an open-backed hospital gown. In Mermaid Bay. In December. On the actual cover of the CD.

Oh well, we get to see her nipples get all hard, so it’s not all bad.

Technobabble -
"Cross-temporal multiple trans-genetic dissonance" is what allows Sheridan Smith to be brilliant in Jonathon Creek and absolutely eye-rollingly godawful on audio Doctor Who.

Links and References -
Bastard: I have come from the end of all things, the death of the universe, humans reduced to savages under empty and starless skies, never to be lit by starlight, moonlight or sunlight again! I have crossed the ruins of a thousand civilizations and I tell you with absolute certainly there is no God, no heaven, no hell... But it won’t STOP! Don’t you hear it? The Rogue Traders? CAN’T YOU HEAR THEM?!

Lucie: Yeah, course, whatever turns you on.

Untelevised Misadventures -
Trying to break the ice at a rather dry party at the Raj, the Third Doctor and Jo Grant flew a magic carpet over the Kyber Pass.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The alternative ending to the sequence where Lucie wakes up and finds out the entire story had been a dream and then finds the entire cast of Two Pints of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps in her shower.

Dialogue Disasters –

Lucie: What’s this? Give Lucie a downer day?
Joey: Works for me.
Lucie: Ow!

Eggnog: As Jonathon Creek, I’d still just be a no one stuck on 21st century Earth, creating magic tricks for a Scottish tossbag magician pretending to be an American... but as Lucie Miller? As the Time Lord’s comedy sidekick...? OOOH BOY!!!

One of the numerous Random Northern love ballads -

Doctor: I’m no superhero, you know. I don’t have x-ray ray eyes, I can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound...
Joey: But you travel in time and space! You’ve got two hearts! You travel in a magic box that’s bigger on the inside!
Doctor: Hmmmmm. Guess I *am* pretty awesome, aren’t I?

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: Well, old girl. Just you and me now. Sherri and Terri are gone. C'Rizz’s dead. Charley’s gone. And now Lucie... DAMN IT I JUST LOVE BEING ON MY OWN AGAIN! YEEE-HAAAAAAAAH!

Joey: You know Banshees? A wailing spirit who foretells the death of someone living? You see, it’s not trying to frighten the living, it’s just screaming out in irritation hearing your stupid duck-type voice!

Lucie: You’re drunk!
Lucie’s Mum: Am I?
Lucie: You’ve been drunk for six years!
Lucie’s Mum: Only at Christmas!
Lucie: And Easter! And Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring!
Lucie’s Mum: Curiously enough any time I have to spend with you – starting to notice a pattern yet, Lucie?

Lucie: That’s Lucie with an "IE!" Not "Y"! I’m not from the chuffing home counties you know!

Jonathon Creek: Fear me! I am the cloud to every silver lining!

Doctor: You’re a totally vacuous, unpleasant harlot!
Lucie: [smugly] Aren’t I just?

UnQuotable Quote -
Barmaid: Three pounds twenty, pet.

Viewer Quotes -

"Boy, that was bleak. Boy, that was depressing. Boy, that was painful. Boy, that was a very downbeat exit for a great character. I really liked Joey Ross a lot and think she deserved a bit better than that Jonathon Creek fellah. Oh well." – Julia Gillard (2009)

"I merely asked, 'What’s so bleeding great about Lucie Miller?' and he replied, 'Well she’s not Charley Bleeding Pollard for a start!' and so I was forced to beat his skull in with a baseball bat. Extenuating circumstances, I’m sure you’ll agree, m’lud."
- Nigel Verkoff’s defense plea to the Crown Criminal Court (2008)

"This reminds me of the sort of teen angst one reads in high school literary magazines." – random Twilight Fan (2010)

"Sheridan Smith leaving?? NNNOOOOOOOO! These stories are the only thing that stop me pining away and die when David Tennant’s not on TV! I’m feeling faint! I’m having a geek evangelical moment! Somebody stop me for I start speaking in tongues! TOO LATE! Mo for o shop o fo lo ro..."
– Callisto Restal (2009)

"This was the best BF in ages, in my humble opinion. I loved it."
– Groucho Marx (via Ouija board)

"Nothing Alan Barnes has ever done or ever will do can hold up to Paul Magrs. Only by using Margrs’ characters does anything improve."
- Paul Margrs (2009)

"And, you know, I really feel sorry for the Doctor. He gets so close to all these friends, and they walk away whenever he doesn’t live up to their idyllic image of him. He tries to tell them he’s not perfect, but when he proves to not be perfect, they just leave. Poor guy. And those that understand he isn’t perfect and stays anyway, they get torn from him. Now give me your wallet or I’ll blow your fucking brains out."
– a surprisingly erudite and violent mugger (2012)

"As for The Michaelmas Special, I believe that the tone deaf and the clinically insane quite liked it. Me? I loved it. Oh dear, foam is dripping from my lips again..."
– bloke who keeps letting Chris Lilley make TV shows (2011)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"That was painfully dull, I’m afraid, rather like being struck around the head with a meat tenderizer. Lucie deserved better. I bet she’d be into some proper S and M. Oh, I can imagine her just now with a mouth gag, sprinkled with fresh cow manure as a strange midget in a gimp mask shoves lengths of bamboo right up her... excuse me, I need to go to the lavatory very urgently. Bye!"

Paul McGann Speaks!
"Moving? This piece of derivative yuletide shlock? Rubbish! Don’t you HATE these people? You know what, I can only apologize for my colleagues’ staggering lack of writing talent. This should never have happened - or my name’s not Paul John McGann! And I’m not just saying that because I’m really a completely different McGann brother covering for Paul this week, no siree..."

Sheridan Smith Speaks!
"It’s really sad and I was really frustrated with it. They finally give me a proper character to play and then I’m out on me elbow! Oh well, apparently if I can arm-wrestle Jason Haigh-Ellery blindfolded, they’ll bring me back in a couple of years’ time as part of an epic ongoing Dustbin story arc. Hey, it worked for Billie Piper."

Eddie Hitler Speaks!
"Domestic misery! Family secrets! God I hate Christmas! It’s why I tend to blank out in front of the telly for the period, and that’s what this story is – a 60-minute ceasefire from Christmas goodwill! I’ve no regrets about writing out Lucie. She’s got her pride. If she stayed with the Doctor, she’d just be betraying herself – not to mention the massive backhander RTD gave me so the continuity would link up..."

Trivia -
A tired and emotional Russell T Davies once claimed that the Ninth Doctor’s Northern accent was because he’d adopted the speech patterns from Lucie Miller. He then claimed he had invented the question mark. Then he claimed I was looking at him in a funny way and so he gave me a right punch up the hooter.

Rumors & Facts –

Ah! Tradition! Tradition is important because human beings are basically unimaginative, repetitive creatures clinging to mundane routine as they try to impose some kind of order onto a cruel and random universe that cares not an iota for their rationality!

Thus, when Russell T Davies’ dodgy spellcheck meant the 2005 Christmas episode of Doctor Who was accidentally named The Michaelmas Evasion rather than The Christmas Invasion, people automatically decided that from now on every single Christmas themed episode would be named "Michaelmas" instead. God, it’s morons like that who force Stephen Fry to write the Book of General Ignorance!

But when it was decided that the Paul McGann series of audios also include special seasonal, uh, specials, that they should also follow the tradition of being named "The Michaelmas Something". This, however, delighted Alan Barnes who had a pathological hatred of Christmas and regularly murdered orphans, carol singers, Santa Clauses and indeed anyone who looked at him in a funny way during December.

So, the first ever Michaelmas Special would actually – get this! – be set at Michaelmas rather than Christmas like everyone expected! That shut their big fat mouth for five seconds, especially when it became apparent that this would be the last story for Lucie Miller as a companion to the Eighth Doctor.

To be honest, Lucie had been running out of steam pretty much since her opening scene – and the fact BBC Wales had stolen the character and made her villainous consort to the regenerated Bastard for the 2007 season also meant there was less and less to do with Lucie. Even her disgusting love affair with Owen Harper had done more to help Touchwood than add any new layers of characterization to Miss Miller. Even Sheridan Smith herself was of the opinion she was robbing the character of Smelly Ed vital screen-time to establish himself as a companion.

What’s more, Smith had lost a drinking competition with Tom Baker and thus had to forfeit by appearing in a West End production of Legally Blonde. Peter Davison was also in the cast, and oddly enough, for the exact same reason. The only difference was that Davison could commute to Big Finish to do audio plays and Smith couldn’t be arsed.

Thus it was decided to have Lucie leave – either it would provide the season with a delightful and life-affirming conclusion... or it would depress the undying fuck out of everyone. Either suited Alan Barnes as he fired napalm at the Christmas shoppers going to Harrods.

Of course, Lucie’s departure would have to be quite different to the effective and understated Charley Finale. But not something as hugely impressive as, say, C’Rizz turning into a clone of Felicity Kendall before being atomized as he climaxes having sex with Charley. So it had to be clever, sad, poignant and emotionally-satisfying yet at the same time weak, slow and all in all pretty uninteresting.

The trouble was that Charley and C’Rizz had distinct personalities and backgrounds, unique origins, attitudes and expectations whereas Lucie (and let’s be fair to her) was an annoying blonde slapper who sounded like a Manchurian duck. Did she have any kind of life or childhood beyond dry-humping Burn Gorman? As Barnes, Eddie Hitler, Paul McGann and even Sheridan Smith thought about it they realized that even Sam Jones from the BBC Books had more of a personality than an automated insult-dispenser flashing her tits at alien monsters!!

After three pints musing that Lucie was actually pretty rubbish a character and basically a confused excuse to have Sheridan Smith on the premises, Hitler realized the only way for a modern, down-to-earth companion with a sassy sense of humor could depart the show would be a hit-and-run, Bygone-mind-rape identity crisis ideally involving as much female public nudity as was humanly possible.

After another three pints, everyone else agreed.

After another six pints, everyone else woke up in a skip on the Isle of Dogs wearing each other’s underwear and being confronted by a strange man from Marrakech who cheerfully informed them that "Mr. Saunders is ready with the turnips for you!"

Somewhere between those two events the story was actually recorded and isn’t it impressive that the cast and crew can now produce an entire audio play out of sheer muscular habit even when pissed out of their teeny tiny minds – and what an audio play!

Ultimately, The Michaelmas Special is a story with many lessons about modern life. The universe doesn’t need to be in peril for you to lose a recurring character. Always accept death and loss with dignity. Try not to murder English people when they are compelled to shout the words "IT’S CHRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISTMAS!" at you like it actually is more than a meaningless catchphrase of consumer-driven paganism propaganda.



Farewell Lucie Miller, you really annoying duck-voiced bint. One can do no better on this occasion than quote the amazing scene - which admittedly is totally redundant if you haven’t watched the 2007 NuWho finale by Russell Tiberius Davies...

(The Bastard staggers out of the TARDIS.)

Bastard: Jings! Cardiff! Of all the places in the universe, FUCKING CARDIFF?!? And not even 19th Century Cardiff! At least there Touchwood is halfway competent! Jings, I’m getting nostalgic for that old doomed Isop galaxy right about now! Crushed in the collapse of reality feels almost like promotion... I mean, 2007?! What the HELL can I do in 2007? Oh, well, only one way to find out...

Lucie: Doctor?

Bastard: No, not the Doctor! Who the hell are you?

Lucie: I, mate, am Lucie Bleedin Miller!

Bastard: OK, Lucie Bleedin Miller, I find myself in need of a half-decent concubine after seventeen years of only having blue cockroach girls to flirt with – think you can help me? Believe me when I say you’re in high demand!

Lucie: Gimme one good reason!

Bastard: [shrugs] I’m the Doctor’s mortal enemy and have a truly fantastic and diabolical plan to totally screw up his life forever.

Lucie: ...gimme TWO good reasons!

Bastard: Oh, go on, then! I’m calling, calling all lovers and calling all heroes! Fight the fight and victory will save us from ourselves! Oh, Lucie Bleedin Miller, together we are amplified! Now, I’ve got a spare piece of psychic paper and a broken sonic screwdriver... let’s a rob a bank! Oh, and I really want to get back to the whole global domination thing, I have SO missed that! Today, Cardiff, tomorrow the world! I’ll be Prime Minister by the next election! Better start as an MP first, though... that’s the price we pay!

(Arm in arm, Lucie and her new sugar daddy wander off into the night.)

Lucie: So what’s your name, anyway?

Bastard: Just call me the Bastard. No, A. Bastard! Alan B’Stard! Yeah, ooh, that is INSPIRED! Significant, sophisticated, pop culture referencing, and just subtle enough for no one to twig for at least a thirteen-episode story arc... DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE FORESHADOWING!!!

8th Doctor - The Eight Truths (iii)

Book(s)/Other Related -
Dr Who: Cardiff of the Spiders!
The Enlightenment of Lucie Miller The Annoying
The Quatermass Conclusion That All Hippies Are Evil (1979)

Fluffs – Paul McGann seemed to be arachnophobic for most of this story.

One of the cultists recognizes Lucie as "the new face of Loriel!!"

Goofs –
The Doctor stuck with Lucie as a companion rather than Kelly. Sweet Jesus, is there ANY kind of logic to that?
Um... isn’t the Handjob of Moby still following Lucie around? Doesn’t that mean if she stays anywhere for more than five minutes, won’t a bright green sun materialize and incinerate everything? Or has the stellar manipulator finally developed standards and dumped her?
Ace the Headhunter tells the Spiders she is completely immune to rubber spider bites, so how come she died from them? Was she bluffing? Did she just assume that NO ONE could die from silly rubber spider bites? Was she just allergic to rubber?!?

Fashion Victims -
The tinfoil hats. And tinfoil underwear.

Technobabble -
The Doctor can survive being attacked by 638 furious cult members thanks to the "Inverse Conservation of Ninjutsu Strength" principle.

Links and References -
The Third Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and Austin Powers first encountered the silly rubber spiders of Meetmeinbedin 3 in the classic 1970s story, Planet of the Spy-Spoofs (Serial ZZZ).

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 also encountered some silly rubber spiders and defeated their second invasion of Earth by playing on the spiders’ one weakness – a love of deep-pan meat-lover’s pizzas!

Groovy DVD Extras -
The Director’s Cut of "Battlefield Earth", just in case you might be thinking this story is a bit harsh on Scientology. Just remember the cinematic crimes THEY committed FIRST!

Dialogue Disasters –

Kelly: That was your friend?
Doctor: No, that was Lucie. But she definitely didn’t seem like herself.
Kelly: Being inside that place turns a lot of people weird.
Doctor: Another thing that turns people weird is having their minds taken over by incredibly intelligent rubber spiders!
Kelly: ...please tell me that’s just a non-sequitur.
Doctor: It isn’t.
Kelly: You’re not saying that hyper-intelligent spiders are taking over the entire planet and establishing a hive empire of total evil?
Doctor: No... but now you come to mention it, that WOULD explain a few things, wouldn’t it?

Sangakkara: Ah, kiss my chuddies, man!

Marvin: They’ve opened my eyes!
Rob: Mine too!
Karen: All they want is our happiness and in return all they ask for is our mindless slave-like obedience!
Doctor: No, no, no, wake up you useless bastards! You’ve been brainwashed! YET AGAIN! That psychic shit has seeded this thought into your minds, you have to fight it...
Karen: I pity him.
Rob: His is an empty life.
Marvin: And you can’t expect salvation if he talks like this!
Karen: It’s our duty to put him out of his misery.
Marvin: Sadly, we must agree with you.
Doctor: Wait, before you kill me...
(The Doctor goes insane, fists whirling and shouting various ninja things as he charges the Scientologists and leaps through the air, feet first, Bruce-Lee-style.)

The Doctor discussing the plot of The Quatermass Conclusion:
"Gosh! Evil Aliens In Lying-to-Human-Allies Shocker! Palace Prepares Statement!"

The brutally emotional regeneration scene –
Ace: Oh, this is just typical, this is... I was finally getting used to this body and everything!
Karen: What are you talking about?
(Ace glows brightly)
Ace: Wow... can you see that unicorn?
Karen: What unicorn?
Ace: The one next to the talking rainbow. Can’t you see it?
Karen: No!
Ace: It’s REALLY pretty... you’re missing out! You know... I didn’t know rainbows could touch... or unicorns were so smooth... I think it likes me...
(Ace glows brighter and brighter)
Karen: What’s happening?!
Ace: No idea...
(Suddenly there is a brand new Ace lying on the floor.)
New Ace: Oh, wow. Did that, like, just happen?
Karen: What? Who are you?
New Ace: Hmm? Oh, er, I’m like... Ace. Or was it Susan? Oh wow. I totally, like, cheated death, dying but coming back from the place best friends are made, just as it, like should be. Random.
Karen: You’ve turned into a total moron!
New Ace: So I have. Oh, wow.

Doctor: Why did you shout "GIRL POWER" when we were charging them?
Kelly: It just... seemed the thing to do?
Doctor: Please don’t do it again. It’s very off-putting.
Kelly: Why?
Doctor: It reminds me of The Vicar of Dibley.
Kelly: Oh. Say no more.

The Doctor confronts John Travolta:
"Don’t try to justify what you’ve been doing! You’ve been breaking people down and brainwashing them! Worse, you’re responsible for some of the worst atrocities Western Cinema has ever witnessed!"

Karen: Lucie!
Lucie: Keep away from me, Karen! I’ve got, like, a sonic thing in my pants and it’ll totally mess you up! And not in a cool, day-glow-sex-toy kind of way either!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: The giant spiders of Meetmeinbedin 3! I thought they’d been destroyed, but it seems I’m always making that mistake when it comes to the less-copyrighted 1970s nostalgia villains...

Lucie: All praise the Great One! WORSHIP ME, PATHETIC MORTALS!
Smelly Ed: She’s in awe... of HERSELF?
Doctor: So what else is new?

Possessed Karen: Is this the only body there is?
Ace: I’m afraid so. Why, what’s wrong with it?
Possessed Karen: It’s just a bit... short. That’s all.
Ace: Oh, in THIS era of Earth History it’s considered very attractive to be short. Like Kylie Minogue – a real pygmy, but everyone loves her.
Possessed Karen: Oh. And the acne-ridden skin?
Ace: Very much the in-thing, style-wise.
Possessed Karen: And the third nipple?
(long pause)
Ace: Ah...

Lucie: I want to be fawned over, not worshipped. There IS a subtle difference. I just keep forgetting what it is, like.

Sangakkara on the silly rubber spiders:
"I’m told it’s another charming example of British amateurism. Which is marvelous for the people who find this amusing, but rather a kick in the teeth for anyone expecting half-decent production values."

UnQuotable Quote -
Kelly: Was that IT?

Viewer Quotes -

"The wide-eyed cults-peak just creeped me out to no end. I’m expecting Tom Cruise to sue the Doctor and Lucie any minute."
– Trey Parker (2009)

"I have high hopes for this one. Eddie Hitler hasn’t let me down yet. If you're reading this Steven Moffat, Eddie Hitler should definitely be writing for the TV series, and I would be more than happy to look after Karen Gillan. I bet she’s got a smashing blouse on. I’m also the Duke of Kidderminster AND EXTREMELY RICH!" – Richard Richard (2009)

"Kelly Westwood is to Lucie Miller what Donna Noble was to Adric."
– Bruno Langley (2010)

"The only reason BF are giving different names to episodes is so they can pretend it’s a different story and justify selling it as two separate releases at £22/£18 rather than releasing it as a two-CD set
at £15/£13 (and make the subscription rate look more of a saving)!"
– One Who Knows (2009)

"I can’t rave about this enough. So I won’t even bother trying."
– Efficiently Concise Media Reviews (March 2010)

"I didn’t find anything particularly memorable or engaging about this episode. In fact, I might have actually forgotten to listen to the damn thing. Oh well, who cares? I hate my life..." – Dave Restal (2010)

"This is the audio-only sequel to Planet of the Spy-Spoofs that we HAD to have!" – SadFanWanker99 (2009)

"Why the hell would a hyper-intelligent spider from another galaxy have a Northern accent? Surely it would have the received pronunciation of 1970s Meetmeinbedin 3 inhabitants? Oh, and if anyone repeats the lots-of-planets-have-a-North gag, I shall bludgeon them unconscious!"
– Russell T Davies (2010)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Also I wonder how many fans will comment on the Doctor apparently eating a cheeseburger. Perhaps it was on Orbis that he stopped being a Vegetarian? What do fish people eat anyway? Each other? Doesn’t that lead to Mad Fish Person Disease? Of course, I’ve had no mental problems consuming human flesh... but then, I’m not entirely human. It says so on my census form under 'Any Other Information'. So. Yeah."

Paul McGann Speaks!
"Apparently everyone remembers the One with the Silly Rubber Spiders, but I never saw it. Nor do I want to. In fact, we were chatting about Jon Pertwee and how much things have changed since then. The stories have changed, not just in their form, but also in their spirit over the decades. And perhaps – I don’t want to make extravagant claims for these stories, which are what they are but perhaps they reflect us, the times we live in. That’s the beauty of this kind of fiction, isn’t it? We can rip the shit out of Scientology as much as we like!"

Sheridan Smith Speaks!
"I have a massive fear of spiders. I’m scared of anything that creeps and crawls – daddy longlegs, tarantulas, Jonathon Ross... ew, the mere thought of it is making me itchy."

Katarina Olssen Speaks!
"It’s a bit of a finale for me, which is a bit sad... but maybe it’s a good thing. I never thought that Ace the Headhunter would go for three years. I just sort of assumed they’d be able to come up with original ideas, but considering this story is based on some background props in two episodes of a 1974 story no one likes, I guess 'original' is not a word you look for in this series. These fans are so confident in their writing skills and think they actually are completely infallible, in control and professional all the time... when they’re not. They’re actually quite annoying, if I’m honest."

Eddie Hitler Speaks!
"Sanjeev Bhaskar is the first person to appear in Big Finish with an OBE. Which is incredibly pathetic, when you think about it. Mind you, Sanjeev Bhaskar is also the first person to get an OBE and flog it on eBay to pay for a Happy Meal..."

Trivia -
This story actually paints the Church of Scientology in a positive light. Well, certainly in comparison to the Fifth Doctor story Singular Angularity (Serial 6P/C), anyway...

Rumors & Facts –

Since late 2005, the BBC Wales production of Doctor Who had been under siege by something hideous and terrifying, something that caused petrifying fear on the faces of those unfortunate enough to witness it – something that could only be called Sparacus "Flamingo" Jones. A strange creature wearing a sequined bodystocking with diaphanous head fins, googly fish eyes and a sad clown frown, this ex-Colchester history-professor, sexual deviant and absinthe abuser had decided to marry his twin obsessions: 1970s Pertwee-era Doctor Who and Adam Rickitt the failed Corrie soap star, failed pop singer, failed politician and now exiled to New Zealand and known by the locals as "the Kiwi Cheese-Stealing Vagabond of Olde London Town".

For years, longer than Tennant had been the Tenth Doctor, Jones had been demanding that Doctor Who abandon its new cult status and become serious, gravitas-fueled sociopolitical drama which basically meant an endless series of stories set in Cornish fishing villages with archaeological digs and corrupt chemical plants run by evil corporations. But more importantly the Tenth Doctor was to be given a love of Gothic architecture lectures, Venusian Aikido and psychotic addiction to Benjamin James Sebastian James Chatham, a whiny self-hating emo loser who styled himself as a world-famous sophisticated amateur archaeologist who spends all day listening to Bowie and getting drunk on absinthe.

Finally, after numerous death threats, assassination attempts, and Adam Rickitt’s repeated statements that he despised Doctor Who, science fiction, playing homosexuals and having honey licked off his naked chest by Colchester history teachers in their late 40s, Jones finally accepted that the world was not yet ready for Ben Chatham on Welsh television. Instead, he decided to pester the hell out of Big Finish.

Determined to have his work recognized by the most famous and influential range: Eddie Hitler’s Eighth Doctor spin-off starring Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith and whoever the hell it was who played Smelly Ed. Jones approached Hitler at the local pub, the Slug and Sandwich, about letting Jones – borderline illiterate with a pathological refusal to take any kind of writing advice – pen the epic season finale for the third series of Hitler’s magnificence.

Jones’ idea was a story entitled simply "Dildo", and began with the tigers at London Zoo eating small children, tossing their bodies around like rag dolls of gazelles, biting deep into the flesh of their head. Then some Welsh cows go bezerk in an infants school and trample them to death, while a pack of wild pitbull terriers attack the SuperSave Supermarket in Camden, soaking the ice on the fish counter in blood as they rip the throats out of customers...

Eventually, this mindless blood-soaked carnage would take a back seat in the plot, which involved Ben Chatham the famous superhuman cultured AntiChav who all men and women find sexually irresistible and who all world leaders immediately get down on their knees and worship visiting a well-maintained Victorian rehab clinic for heroine junkies. Ben struts around the place, miraculously healing the sick and inspiring the scum of society like Amy Whitehouse or Pete Docherty to take an interest in exclusive Columbian Blue Ridge Coffee.

Just then, a random cat tries to claw Ben’s eyeballs out of his skull – but this is something of a usual occurrence and Ben casually snaps its neck with his amazing godlike strength, which provides ex-addicts with a new Christian religious direction to detox their own dreary souls. Flicking his golden hair from his dark eyes, and musing that other people merely exist just to get in his way, Ben extols the virtues of Fox’s Glacier Mints, hardcore hallucinogens he forces down the throats of the recovering addicts, causing them to float down turquoise rivers, seeing the elfin spirits of the forest, and finally die choking on their own tongues.

But it turns out that the entire clinic is a trap run by the evil rubber spiders of Meetmeinbedin 3 and their incredibly powerful red dildos of all power!

Ben takes a little time to realize this, of course, as he discovers one of the clinic patients is none other than Nicola Chatham, his long-lost sister. Despising her in their childhood for her being allowed to sleep with boys while HE was forced by social conventions to put up with ovary-possessing brood-mares, young Ben convinced his parents that his sister was a junkie prostitute lowbrow slut and had her thrown out of the house, cut out of the family will, and systematically destroyed any and all letters Nicola sent to her parents in despair.

Ben locals Nicola and tells her in graphic detail how he ruined her life and that she deserved it all for being so damn popular with his parents and "causing all sorts of hassle". He also blames her for the fact none of his boyfriends can stand him for more than three days before emigrating, so he has an exclusive and very expensive French assassin shoot her dead.

Ben then sends a text message to UNIT HQ and, what with him being a famous saver-of-all-human-civilization-with-a-massive-penis, the emergency services are entirely at his beck and call turn up at the clinic for no real reason. Luckily, as there IS an alien conspiracy involving giant rubber spiders, so UNIT blow up the place and kill everyone inside.

Ben is utterly devastated: in the conflict, he gets a tear in his jacket, which cost £900.

He spends the rest of the story lying on the sofa in a dressing gown, downing a bottle of finest French absinthe and sobbing uncontrollably at the tragedy of what happened to his jacket.

Jones also noted there might be a B-plot where the Doctor and Lucie investigate all the wild animal attacks, get bored, go to the Tate Modern, bump into the Touchwood gang, get kidnapped by hooded cultists working for the spiders and trying to destroy civilization with giant red dildos – but none of it was really important and could easily be cut to focus more on the fascinating scenes of Ben Chatham.

Having listened to this pitch, Eddie Hitler finished his pint and then knocked over Jones’ glass of absinthe into the fish-creature’s lap and set fire to both of them. Leaving Jones to run around, aflame and screaming, Hitler returned to the office though Jones would later tell everyone that this did NOT actually count as a rejection, really, when you think about it. Hitler later told everyone that it bloody well WAS a rejection, which Jones insisted was "an unsubstantiated assertion", whereupon Hitler beat him to death with a cricket bat.

Clearly if Hitler wanted a tense and dramatic season finale – or at least something that wasn’t an offense to all intelligent listeners everywhere like last year, anyway – he’d have to do the bloody thing himself, and for the first time in the Eighth Doctor era a series would end in a story set in Cardiff in the ethnographic present. Admittedly, this novelty would wear off RAPIDLY in the future, but still...

In order to ensure that Jones’ pitch would never be accepted by anyone else, out of sheer spite Hitler decided to do his OWN Meetmeinbedin 3 giant spider story – which legally meant no other BF story or BBC Wales episode could use such a plotline. Cackling evilly, Hitler decided he’d make Lucie possessed by the evil aliens in exactly the same way she was in practically every other story she was in.

"Hey, it beats twisting her ankle every week!" Hitler pointed out.

The title was eventually changed to The Eight Years in celebration that this was the eighth season of adventures that Paul McGann had played the Doctor in since the year 2000. Of course, he’d technically been the Doctor for four years before that, but The Twelve Years Including Books And Comic Strips was never seriously considered as a suitable title for a story of this nature.

Being as it was at the end of production, and all concerned shagged out after long squawks, the cast and crew were prone to adlibbing uncontrollably and breaking the fourth wall. As more and more people dropped completely out of character to complain that "this is all very similar to that Quatermass movie, isn’t it?" Hitler decided to run with this concept and revealed the spiders’ entire evil plan was based on a Nigel Kneale miniseries about hippies being scum.

This was doubly ironic, given that at absolutely no point had Hitler seen The Quatermass Conclusion and was in fact plagiarizing The Lust of the Time Lords by RTD and Silence of the Librarians by Steven Moffat. But you didn’t hear that from me, right?

Hitler was also eager that the story arc conclude with the Doctor forced to confront the destruction of his adoptee home world (you know, the one with the lesbian fish girls that never actually got a name) with Lucie Miller revealed as the agent of destruction with her nauseating links to the Handjob of Moby.

Unfortunately, he had a bit too much to drink one Friday lunchtime and completely forgot to write that bit in, and so the Doctor comes across as incredibly blasé about the entire situation.

The Eight Years ties up all the threads (heh-heh, spider-type joke) with the neatness that only a bunch of drunken audio hams with an obsession for "Peep Show" and continuity references, and even give the long-running character of Ace the Headhunter a noble and surprisingly stirring death scene. True, killing her off just as she was finally becoming recognized by fans as the Big Bad of the Eighth Doctor was kind of lame... but at least her new brain-dead bimbo incarnation explains how someone so lethally badass could become just another casualty in the Temporal Difference of Opinion, right?

Furthermore, the victory over the silly rubber spiders is wonderfully uplifting – with humanity in unison celebrating what a bunch of rabid, foam-at-the-mouth self-destructive psychopaths we all are! You don’t get THAT kind of self-awareness from Russell T Davies, do you?!

I unequivocally recommend you all sit yourselves down with a packet of Dr Kargs and a hearty brew, and enjoy the superb performances; the first-rate production; and a story so very good and so very now that it beggars belief its writer hasn’t been snaffled by the television series yet. And not because of the large amounts of money being paid into my off-shore savings account by a certain E. Didgeridoo Hitler, no sir!

Season 35 Round-Up –

2009, the year when the global financial crisis destroyed such deserving TV series as Robin Hood, Primeval, Eleventh Hour and... er... Touchwood. The year when even the BBC couldn’t afford to make thirteen episodes of Doctor Who, let alone screen it any kind of logical pattern so we got one episode at Easter and three out of order during the New Year Festivities.

Surely THIS was the moment that the Eighth Doctor audios moved in for the kill? Released over the magical interweb one half-hour installment at a time, on Saturdays, completely free to the British public during the normal period David Tennant should be gurning at Dustbins on TV... how could this possibly go wrong?

All it needed was a series of big, sexy adventures.

Ah, you see? The slight flaw in the plan becomes ever more obvious.

Of course, any reasonably impartial person would note that this season was far superior to Season 34, with better stories, actors, monsters, special effects and sound design. Trouble is, finding a reasonably impartial person is damn difficult, especially after the shitstorm of The Vengeance of Moby (now internationally recognized as a crime against humanity itself).

After THAT, no matter how strong and excellent the new season was, no one in their right mind was going to listen to Season 35. Luckily few – a VERY few – Doctor Who fans are in their right mind and so these tales of excitement, fun, and engaging brilliance were not overlooked. But was this series sexy?


This series was as erotic as Rik Mayall in soiled underwear dancing on a hotel bed while Ian "Molly" Meldrum beat him unconscious with a Logie on "Countdown". Incredibly un-sexy material, I think you’ll agree.

This season cunningly went without using Dustbins, Paul Magrs, or Briggos the Destroyer. But very un-cunningly, it keps that utterly dreadful - dare I say minging? – assault on the ears they pass off as a theme tune! Yes, apparently the millions of complaints of this atrocious a mishmash of sounds were taken as some crude reverse psychology and everyone LOVED the fact that not only had Big Finish thrown away the unique arrangement for the Eighth Doctor, but also replaced it with the sound of Nick Briggs bashing his head on a keyboard for thirty seconds!

This horrible "Delia Derbyshire in an actual blender" abomination of annoying and painful sounds which, at one time, was the theme to Doctor Who – which was, after all, voted "by far and away the worst version of the theme tune ever dear god it is horrendous" by Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith and Edward Hitler THEMSELVES – was kept!

However, in the desire for artistic balance, I have found ONE positive review of this bloody awful boatload of unforgivably sparse nothing brutally reverberating every single bastard note until none are left standing that makes normal folk want to claw their faces off and scream at god for the mercy of clown horns and ABBA mash-ups...

"I absolutely adore the theme! Its really psychadelic and cool in my opinion! I really wish the tv theme was like this!!"
- Ian Levine (2009)

Which, when you think about, it just a way of saying that the theme is AWFUL, BOMBASTIC, CRASS AND UGLY to those who circle the pastures of reality! Truly, if one thing ever unites mankind as a whole it will not be class, creed, ideology... it will hatred for this energy-less blender remix that ambles about in random sounds for 45 seconds then arbitrarily ends for no real reason.

Make it stop. PLEASE! MAKE IT STOP!!!


With the format of RTD’s Doctor Who copied to the point of a gritty, crying-on-the-inside-addicted-to-amphetamines-on-the-outside Doctor travelling with a feisty butch girl stereotype in 45-minute episodes in the peak ratings period of the BBC year while Murray Gold music blared from every nook and cranny, only ONE thing was needed to complete the transformation into a perfect segue towards the BAFTA-winning TV series. Well, TWO things, actually, but since Eccleston wasn’t interested, they only had the inappropriately-named Christmas special tradition to go for...

will return in