Monday, December 7, 2009

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!!!

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