Monday, December 7, 2009

8th Doctor - The Cannibalists

Serial 9Z/B – The Cannabis
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' Mechanical Munchies!


Serial 9Z/B – The Cannabis -

The TARDIS materializes on a soggy stretch of beach on the planet Epsilon, famous for being a one-biome planetoid – some planets are nothing but desert, some are nothing but jungle, still more are endless gravel quarries... but Epsilon is unique in the universe for being nothing but uninteresting shoreline. How this can be baffles me, maybe it’s subdivided by lakes or something. I dunno.

The air of this world smells like old car batteries and the Doctor and Lucie decide the best thing to do, all things considered, is pull up a deck-chair and get high off the hydrogen sulfide fumes. Smelly Ed, being sentient gas himself, considers this a highly distasteful act of cannibalism by his companions and storms off over the hill.

"See you in two episodes’ time," Lucie calls.

Parte the First

Smelly Ed is wandering over the hills looking for something to do when he is suddenly attacked by a gang of androids with Sarf Landan accents. Like any Gelth in a gorilla outfit, Smelly Ed responds by snatching up a pump-action shotgun and blowing the motherfuckers away.

After being chased around for a bit, the androids capture Smelly Ed, beat the living snot out of him and then drag him below ground to a secret underground complex of tunnels, caverns and the occasional Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Smelly Ed is tied to a chair with copious amounts of sticky tape as the creator of the androids arrives – a gormless geriatric in a wheelchair called Sir Alistair Miles. This 21st century mad scientist is the sort of loser that couldn’t even get a bit part in The Avengers; indeed, he was so out of touch that he assumed that cyber-crime was just armed robbery only with robots. Thus, he created a fully-functioning android killing machine...


It is monumental stupidity like that which has lead to Sir Alistair Miles being paralyzed from the neck down and reliant on one of Lavros’ old cyberthrones to get around the place. Indeed, given his terrifying cybernetic genius and even more terrifying stupidity, the Time Lords of Rassilon did dump Sir Alistair Miles on Epsilon at the Vulgar End of Time where he could do no harm to anyone but himself.

After six years alone, Sir Alistair Miles has gone slightly peculiar. Despite constantly inviting people to his underground lair for some fine wine and cheesy nibbles party, he keeps slaughtering them all when they disagree with his claims of being "the smartest living being in the cosmos" and NOT being a third-rate Bond villain with an army of androids he regularly has sex with.

In fact, the only reason a passing Dravidian warship hasn’t nuked the tiny planet of Epsilon from orbit is... actually, we never DO find out how the hell Sir Alistair Miles has escaped death so far now you come to mention it. I just guess no one thought him memorable enough to be atomized before now.

Smelly Ed takes an instant dislike to Sir Alistair Miles, but when the crippled megalomaniac demands people call him "Sir Algol", that just causes something to snap and the Gelth vows to blow the mad scientist’s head off at the earliest opportunity.

For his part, Sir Alistair Miles cannot wrap his amazing brain around the idea that people might find a homicidal android-building moron less-than-ideal company and begins ranting in a Hitler-like fashion about everyone else is a freaking luddite who would doom the entire universe to ignorance and superstition.

Smelly Ed replies in the ancient verbal combat of "I know you are, but what am I?" and, unable to think up any kind of witty rejoinder, Sir Alistair Miles has one of his cyborg-android-flunkies take Smelly Ed to a cell, brutally beat him up over and over again, and finally give him "a good old Southern-style poking".

At that point there is a familiar wheezing groaning sound and an art deco wardrobe materializes, and emerging from it is none other than THE RANI HERSELF! Yes, with the Temporal Difference of Opinion tearing apart time, space, life and reality, the Rani has decided she needs some generic android servants to keep her numerous slave planets neat and tidy so the Dustbins don’t use their lethal Shake’n’Vac to sterilize whole solar systems.

Sir Alistair Miles knew the Rani long ago when she was known as Jo Grant and he wasn’t. He’s devastated to discover her new Time Lady status means she has absolutely no interest in sleeping with his fragile and puny body, and when she DOES agree to sit on his knee she breaks his leg in five places.

Grimly, Sir Alistair Miles decides to stop trying to put the moves on the Rani before he loses any more pints of blood and offers to sell the Time Lady his androids in return for a pension plan, immunity from prosecution, and also maybe some kind of Time Lord maguffin that will restore his youth and vigor or somesuch bullshit like that.

Sir Alistair Miles bigs up his army of androids who aren’t so much "indestructible" but more sort of "explode at the slightest provocation", and can only be controlled by shouting commands through a handy loudspeaker. In fact, in the fight with Smelly Ed alone, half his force of droids were torn apart and he’s now down to half-a-dozen. However, Sir Alistair Miles is insanely overconfident and has incredibly high hopes for his new creation, an indestructible tin man who looks a bit like Gort from "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

This ultimate robot is called "Gabor" after a certain Hungarian beauty queen and screen actress from the early 20th century. Who got married nine times. Who appeared in The Naked Gun, The Beverly Hillbillies and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Who is called Zsa-Zsa Gabor. It’s a kind of in-joke. Sort of. Funny. Yeah.

To demonstrate how badass Gabor is, Sir Alistair Miles has it Greco-Roman-wrestle one of his normal androids, which immediately explodes. The Rani points out he’d probably have more androids if he didn’t keep deliberately destroying them.

"Oh yeah?" Sir Alistair Miles croaks. "If I’m so stupid, if I’m so senile, answer me this then: how come I wired up a hidden neutron bomb inside Gabor that will explode and destroy the entire planet if I die?"

The Rani admits she has absolutely no idea why he did this.

"Oh, that’s a pity, I’d hoped YOU could tell me..."

Leaving Sir Alistair Miles to puzzle over his own suicidal insanity, the Rani pops down to the cell to discuss with Smelly Ed his imminent demise and just why oh why a cloud of sentient pink gas in a gorilla-gram outfit is fighting androids on a planet composed entirely of wet English shoreline?

It then strikes the Rani that she doesn’t really care and so she strides off to leave Smelly Ed to get gutted like a pig by the android guard with a sharp knife...

Parte the Second

The outlook is bleak for Smelly Ed – beaten half to death in an inescapable cell in the heart of an underground complex teaming with walking death machines and an android about to fillet him like a Taiwanese fishmonger on acid...

How can our olfactory companion got out of THIS one?!

Well... basically he just grabs the android’s head, rips it off its shoulders, tugs out its innards, constructs a crude electromagnetic picklock that breaks out of the cell and then wanders off since all the other androids are on a tea-break or something.


Bit of a letdown, all things considered.
In Sir Alistair Miles’ bachelor pad, the clever cripple and the wretched Rani watch this on the super-futuristic widescreen plasma TV screen. The sudden reversal in fortunes and the fact that Smelly Ed is now wandering the underground base with a very large knife after blood can only mean one thing:

Sir Alistair Miles is completely and utterly screwed!

Like any mad scientist with a persecution complex, Sir Alistair Miles automatically fills his colostomy bag and announces it is time to send his last remaining cyborg android thingies to hunt down Smelly Ed! True, the wheelchair-bound genius loves his robots a lot, but he loves not being gutted with a knife even more.

Smelly Ed effortlessly destroys the two of them with a random wooden plank that happened to by lying around the place.

Clearly, the time has come for even MORE extreme measures than before and so Sir Alistair Miles decides he must ACTIVATE GABOR! Well, activate him a bit more than he is already, since Gabor spends all his free time standing on rocky promontories staring out to see and brooding that he is unable to get stoned.

Alas, the Doctor and Lucie have stumbled across this unstoppable death machine and have been patting him on the back and making sympathetic noises about the poor sod lacking a chip that allows him to get high.

This humiliating sight is the last straw and the Rani decides she’s had enough of this drivel. Ducking into her art deco wardrobe TARDIS, she returns to the front lines of the Temporal Difference of Opinion where things aren’t quite so silly.

Left alone to face the music, Sir Alistair Miles decides his number one priority is... to have a nice long soak in his en suite Olympic swimming pool, nibble on a cucumber sandwich, drink some lemonade, do some Sudoku and then have a quick nap.

This seems to be complete and suicidal insanity until Smelly Ed enters the control room and discovers that Sir Alistair Miles has Uzi sub machine guns fitted to his wheelchair, and he opens fire on our pungent hero the moment he steps through the door!

Alas, Sir Alistair Miles is a monumentally awful shot and only manages to succeed in blowing his widescreen TV before his wheelchair-machine-bazookoids jam completely.

After a rather long and awkward pause, Smelly Ed decides to cut the crap and decides to cold-bloodedly-drown a helpless cripple and then decides that, on the logic that if the CREATOR of the unstoppable death machine can drown, so can his evil creation!

Using the handy quadraphonic sound system, Smelly Ed orders Gabor to jump on a cliff into the water and die. Amazingly enough, this easily-confused, non-water-proof android decides to do just that rather than pose on rocky promontories for the rest of eternity.

The Doctor and Lucie watch Gabor sink like a stone as Smelly Ed cackles insanely over the communications net about how he went totally Bruce Lee on a defenseless old man. Who couldn’t walk.


"Yeah Lucie?"

"I think it might be best for us to NEVER piss Smelly Ed off ever."

"Good call, Lucie."

Next Time...
"Out of all my achievements in this incarnation, I think destroying the Church of Scientology is the most impressive!"
"Our strangely-adorable Geiger Counter is too cute to lie!"
"They’re silly rubber spiders. Without wishing to boast I think we can outwit them."
"Fish in a barrel-time, Mr. Travolta!"
"Our cute novelty Geiger Counter is always trustworthy!"
"These are SO going straight onto eBay!"
"Don’t be a fool! Our feedback would plummet!"
"Burn this sucker!"
"Cute Geiger Counter, how I love your little face... how you glow red in the presence of veta particles... oh, they shall write slash-fics about our love..."
"BOOYA! How do you like the story arc NOW, bitches?!"
...The Eight Years...

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who: Man of Iron, Spliff of Steel
Dr Who Discovers Cybernetic Autonomous Machines ON DRUGS!!
"Do Androids Get High On Electric Mary-Jane?" by Dick K. Phillips

Fluffs – Paul McGann seemed to be mellow yellow peril in this story.

"Call me... ALGOR!"
"Al Gore? The man who single-handedly invented the internet?"
"Um. No. I was punning on ALGOL. You know. The language computers spoke back in the 1980s?"
"...That is fucking lame."

Goofs –
Not content with wiring up a beach full of speakers, wiping out his entire cyborg army, and attaching neutron bombs to random objects, and then flirting with the Rani even though he KNOWS what a backstabbing psycho he is, Sir Alistair Miles can’t even care and maintain a couple of machine guns?! He’s supposed to be a genius!
More evidence that this "evil genius" was in fact a "mildly annoying non-functional retard", why did he build the ultimate robot complete with laser-reflection, inbuilt neutron bombs and go faster stripes but NOT water-proof the bastard?! Or any of Asimnov’s basics like "don’t dive into water since you can’t actually float"?
Gabor’s neutron bomb, set to "Earth-Shattering-Kaboom" levels, produces a mild spout of water when it detonates. A few litres of sea water can hold back a gigantic neutronic explosion? I mean, I’ve heard of 'heavy water', but come on...
Smelly Ed intends to kill Sir Alistair Miles with a pump-action shotgun. But can’t, because his hand is a bit sore. He CAN, however, do an Olympic gymnastic routine to leap across a swimming pool, spinning the cripple in his wheelchair and throwing him into the pool, diving into the pool afterwards, drowning AND snapping his neck simultaneously. But not using a shotgun. That would require TWO hands.

Fashion Victims -
The Rani’s nose stud, fur-lined Wellington boots and crotchless leather spiked underpants on the outside of her dressing gown.

Technobabble -
Gabor threatens to "R3VARS3 TEH WE3D OF DA N3UTRON FLOW" at one point.

Links and References -
The Doctor’s repeated screams of "INHALE!" are a direct shout-out to one of his earliest adventures, The Stoned of Venice (Serial 8B).

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Rani’s wacky adventures since Romp with the Rani (Serial 7D) included setting up an underage brothel for Tetraps, becoming Vice-Chancellor of the New World University, and guest-starring in a 1993 charity telethon for Children in Need.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The full-length original 'Companions of Dr. Who' novel "Smelly Ed: A Terrible Odour", read by Billy Connelly.

Dialogue Disasters –

Lucie: A gigantic android death machine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.

Sir Alistair Miles: I was never blessed - or cursed - with much of a sense of humor when my life is at stake. Or indeed when my life is not at stake. This is, I believe, a major part of my failure to make it as a stand-up comedian.
Rani: That and the fact you’re in a wheelchair.
Sir Alistair Miles: I don’t get it.
Rani: You’re a cripple. You can’t stand up. To be a stand-up comedian.
Sir Alistair Miles: Oh. Yeah. That’s true.
(three hours later)
Sir Alistair Miles: Hah! Stand up! Hah! I get it!

Doctor: For once in your life, Eddie, you’re the main character in a Big Finish story, so make the most of it. This once is the only chance you’ll ever get.
Smelly Ed: Hah! I got a hell of a lot more screen-time under RTD than YOU ever did, ya gonad!

Gabor: The organic has unorthodox protrusions here... and here...
Lucie: Ooh! You’re a lot more good at foreplay than my last boyfriend!

Smelly Ed: You’re a dead man - whoever you are!
Sir Alistair Miles: My name is Sir Alistair Miles.
Smelly Ed: I don’t have to know your name to kill you!
Sir Alistair Miles: Drat. I hadn’t considered that possibility.

Sir Alistair Miles: You came to kill ME??
Smelly Ed: Well, since you ask... yeah.
Sir Alistair Miles: B-but that, that’s IMMORAL! Barbaric! My intelligence is indispensable to the human race! Are you prepared to destroy anyone who invents anything you do not approve of? Would you kill Copernicus because you don’t like telescopes? I suspect, that if a man’s leg should be gangrenous, your remedy would be to cut off his head! YOU ARE AN IMBECILE!
Smelly Ed: I’m not the one provoking my assassin with insults am I?
Sir Alistair Miles: Fuck! You’ve got me there!

Doctor: Nothing which gives people hope is stupid. Except religion. HAH! DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE DOING RICHARD DAWKINS IMPERSONATIONS!!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Rani: It is a privilege to wait on genius. Provided one does not have to wait too long. And that the genius isn’t a total retard with the IQ of a used teabag who builds robots out of used toilet rolls and sticky-back plastic. Now I come to think of it, this isn’t really that much of a privilege, is it?

Gabor: Bong water is your ally.

Sir Alistair Miles: What do you know about robotic engineering?
Smelly Ed: know that at one time, you were considered a genius.
Sir Alistair Miles: I *AM* a genius!!
Smelly Ed: An EVIL genius.
Sir Alistair Miles: That must, surely, depend upon your point of view?
Smelly Ed: No it doesn’t.
Sir Alistair Miles: Doesn’t it? SHIT!

Smelly Ed: I can take drugs, or I can leave them. But they don’t really get me high if I leave them, so it’s just more efficient to take them, when you think about it.
Lucie: I’ve never had any trouble with drugs, but I do have trouble with people who take drugs. Like customs men, for example.
Doctor: Drugs aren’t habit-forming, Lucie. And I should know, I’ve been addicted to them for millennia!

Smelly Ed: Sir Alistair Miles is almost certain to release Gabor. That’s his perfect creation, his indestructible robot. You’ll have to keep Gabor out of my way.
Doctor: And how are we supposed to do we do that? What with him being "indestructible" and all.
Smelly Ed: That’s your problem. I have other things on my mind.
Lucie: You don’t have ANY suggestions, then?
Smelly Ed: You can try waving a white flag and pray you got the right religion. Ciao!

Sir Alistair: Now! Now you shall see my masterpiece as I demonstrate Gabor's power, power that will soon be yours! All right, you may not have seen one test of Gabor’s powers - you are about to see a different one... once he stops singing about dope. And soon, very soon, you will see his power! Any minute now. Yes. Any minute...

Lucie: Have you thought of what to do?
Doctor: Yes, Lucie, I have. When this Gabor creature appears, we must offer it the joint.
Lucie: ...go on!
Doctor: That’s it. It’s very simple. We let Gabor see us, and then we offer it a puff and hope it doesn’t kill us.
Lucie: Is that the best idea you can come up with?
Doctor: [takes a drag] Baby, it’s the ONLY idea I can come up with! I have yet to meet the man - or machine-made man - that I can’t get completely blitzed on drugs!
Lucie: I think you’re about to!

Sir Alistair Miles’ famous last words -
"No, wait! WAIT! Don’t kill me! Mind you, I can’t but admire your single mindedness. Or Simple mindedness, perhaps I should say! Hahah! Oh... my god! OH MY GOD! No! NOOO!!!"

Smelly Ed: Yes! YES! Oh, let me taste your tears, Sir Alistair! Mmm! Your tears are so yummy and sweet! Oh, the tears of UNFATHOMABLE sadness! Mmm! Yummy! Hahah! I drowned him in his own bath! HAHAHA! His hard drives have been defragmented beyond recognition!

UnQuotable Quote -
Sir Alistair Miles: I’ll say just one word - fuck!

Viewer Quotes -

"Legalizing marijuana was a great move! Productivity is up, crime is down and the ratings for Doctor Who are through the roof!"
– Brian Griffin (2009)

"I needed aspirin." – Kathryn Anderson (2000)

"I was able to foresee just about every plot development across the two episodes and the story’s resolution was particularly unsurprising, though at the end of the day this did not bother me all that much given the fact that I was the one that wrote it." – Paul Darrow (2010)

"So... the files were contiguous... thus providing more efficient
disk performance? I find this very difficult to believe."
– IT support hotline operative (2009)

"I love this McGann season waaaaay more than the previous ones."
– some ungrateful bastard who takes McGann for granted (2012)

"The Doctor has Human Genetic Content, does he? That’s going to open up a can of worms. Let’s not open that can, the worms will get everywhere. I hate worms. That’s why I keep them in cans."
– Rebecca Bullman (2009)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I love characters with no redeeming features, which is why I’m such a fan of Lucie Miller. This is her last proper story. It’s almost like all the candles and chanting have finally appeased all of the dark lords of Ashgotoroth and my wishes have been granted. Or it could just be a freaky coincidence."

Paul McGann Speaks!
"Ah, The Cannabis. You know, on the Sid & Nancy Scale, I’d rate this story one Cheap BBC Special Effect Of An Exploding Android. So a lot better than that one Mark Gatiss wrote, right fandom?"

Sheridan Smith Speaks!
"This story is so out there, it’s almost entirely escapism. It’s a kind of therapy, this job. Not very successful therapy, of course, but it keeps you lot off the streets for a few hours."

Eddie Hitler Speaks!
"Oh, for crying out loud, let’s talk about something that ISN’T actually Doctor fucking Who for a change! JUST FOR ONCE! Is that too much to ask? IS IT? OH GOD!!!"

Trivia -
This story is the least memorable of all Eighth Doctor stories. Indeed, it was so forgettable that when the Outpost Gallifrey Poll for Least Memorable Eighth Doctor Story was cast, no one remembered it enough to make it one of the choices.

Rumors & Facts -

First there was The Stoned of Venice, then The Rhyme of the Dustbins, The Actual Mystery of Beer, Faith Dealer, Sail Away, Tell Me Lies and The Skull of Sobriety. And now, continuing the decade long repeated meme of the Eighth Doctor and his companions finding new and experimental recreational drug use on a variety of carbon-based life forms reached its natural conclusion: STONER ROBOTS!!!

The Cannabis continues the excellent eclecticism of the season, following the gruesome bizarreness of The Space Goat with a story SO barking, SO wasted, SO over-the-counter-in-Amsterdam, that I for one get the munchies just THINKING about it!

Some stories it is hard to really take a firm view on, and The
Cannabis is now certainly amongst their number. In fact, this wacky tale of drug-dealing robots is so unlike most of Big Finish’s Doctor Who output that it is hard to weigh it against its peers on a like-for-like basis. But, what the hell, let’s do it anyway!

It was halfway through the production of Season 35 that it came to the attention of the production team that they actually had a new companion in the form of Smelly Ed, the lobotomized sentient pink cloud introduced in The Vengeance of Moby and prophesized to be there at the end of the Eighth Doctor’s life as depicted in 2005’s "Ruse" by RTD.

Eddie Hitler and Paul McGann had been so utterly pissed during production, they’d completely forgotten about this development and assumed that Alexander Siddig was in every story because he couldn’t find his way out of the recording booth. But in 2009 a letter to Big Finish set them right:

i really liked Smelly Ed. an interesting and thoroughly likable character. lots of potential. i think he'd be a perfect secondary companion for 8 and Lucie. it would tweak their dynamic enough to
keep things fresh, without changing it so much that its ruined.
actually, i'm surprised BF haven't conceived a gaseous companion yet.
a lot easier to have a robotic main character on audio than tv.
Doctor, go back and get Smelly Ed!!!!

yours sincerely Alex Siddig's agent

Thus, Eddie Hitler decided the time had come for a story to truly showcase the character of Smelly Ed rather than having him be a random deadpan snarker in a monkey outfit wandering around the story throwing up terrifying quantities of witty ripostes as if he’s spent an evening fellating Don Rickles.

However, both Hitler and McGann were entirely out of ideas for the season and wracked their brains for up to minutes at a time before hitting on the ancient formula that in times gone past great writers have always turned to for comfort:

...they nicked an unmade TV script in the public domain and lied through their teeth about it forever more. Well, it was either that or a script by Ron Mallet, so let’s be grateful for small mercies.

The script nicked was a never-made 1981 script for Blake’s 7 by Paul Darrow entitled "Man of Iron", which was long rumored to discuss the sex life of Orac the computer. Ironically, Orac never appears in the script and the story’s main plot twist is about an impotent android longing passionately for electronic Viagra to make it "harder than a quadratic equation".

In the landscape of 1980s British science fiction, this was forward-looking and intelligent. In 2009 it was just plain weird and a little bit naughty. Thus, McGann suggested they stick to the drug angle of so many Eighth Doctor audios and it was all sorted.

One thing that I can say for certain though is that The Cannabis is nothing if not a Doctor Who story, a Doctor Who story based on such a retarded premise and laden with such wit and absurdity that the two episodes are sure to bore those who are not usually willing to entertain stories that are pegged this far towards the extreme end of the series’ format. This is major-league fucked-up and no mistake.

Hell, it ends with a robot singing about marijuana for Cliff’s sake!

"I WISH I CUD GET HIGH!!11!1 LOL" by 5a-5a Gabor

I fight in time wars and break all the laws
The ultimate killing machine
I can rip off arms using just my charms
And I despise every human being

But when I get some peace I can’t find release
To chill out my circuitry
So I turned to stuff organics huff and puff
But it does absolutely nothing for me

I snort and sniff every grain and whiff
Of every kind of stuff in my databanks!
I smoke marijuana and old bananas
Mixed up in some crude oil tanks!

I can chew it! But no matter how I do it
I can’t reboot my mind!
It isn’t fair I’m still aware...
DAMMIT life is so unkind.

I’m so despised I’ve been ostracized
So I’ve turned to Time Lords
Is there anyone who can turn me on?
And stop me being so bored?

Well the Doctor came to me, said he’d guarantee
He could fuck me up in a day!
Well he did his best but now I’m all depressed
Coz he made me feel kind of... gay!

I wish I could get high! I can’t do it although I try!
No matter what I roll, I still can’t lose control!
No matter what I’ve used, I just don't get confused!
Why can’t I take that trip so folks will say I’m hip?
I tried sniffing coke but the bubbles get up my nose!
Oh why oh why can’t I get high?!

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