Friday, November 9, 2007

Pointless Cliffhanger Roundup!

I remember, back when Doctor Who Magazine actually had time to come up with material that wasn't already on Doctor Who Confidential, they did those huge articles on cliffhangers and how they impacted the psyche of the public - Daleks, impossible situations, unveiling duplicates, villains in trouble at the end of part three... And it was complained, at the time, that out of the classic cliffhangers (Tenth Planet 4, Inferno 6, Liesure Hive 1, Caves of Androzani 3, Invasion of Time 4, Remembrance of the Daleks 1...) Paul McGann could never participate.

So, now, between Big Finish spoofs (just did Return of the Daleks!), I present...


The Enemy Within

1. The Doctor's regenerated and lost his mind - but the Master has a new body too, and he knows EXACTLY who he is! The first of these add breaks is a decent enough cliffhanger, leading into the rest of the story - very much a 'what happens now?' rather than 'hah, get out of THAT stick situation!' But doesn't PMG look like a poof as he faints in misery?

2. The Master slams Chang Lee against the console and tells him that if he helps the Master get 'his' body back from the Doctor, then he'll let Chang Lee live. Another drammatic peak rather than a cliffhanger, this is one of the bits I remember from the trailers, just after that chick with the moon for a face. So, memorable if nothing else.

3. The Doctor thinks the newly arrived ambulance is to take him to the Institute of Technological Research. Grace thinks the newly arrived ambulance is to take him to a lunatic asylum. It's actually going to take them to the TARDIS, and the leather clad rapscallion is really the Master! Brilliant sequence too, as the Doctor and the Master have an intense exchange of glances... and he STILL doesn't twig it's his mortal enemy and that's he's walking straight into a trap!

4. After a rip-snorting motorcycle race through San Francisco, the Doctor and Grace arrive at the institute, only for Grace to notice the ambulance is already there - the Master has beaten them to it! The Doctor boggles in a brilliant recreation of most of the cliffhangers of Trial of a Time Lord.

5. The Doctor comes up with a last-minute move to save the entire universe, but as he resets the console, Grace picks up a magnetic clamp and whacks him unconscious. Her eyes are pitch black as she opens the TARDIS doors to allow the Master and Chang Lee to enter. Could do more with what it has than it does.

6. With fifteen seconds left, the Eye of Harmony opens wide and the Doctor can only helplessly scream that this isn't fair as more light spews from the opening. Bit melodramatic for my taste.

7. The Doctor sends the TARDIS back into the vortex and settles down to read his book and listen to his recrods... which then stick. "Oh no, not again!" the Doctor groans in a postmodern manner as he enters another nine year hiatus of television and the theme music kicks off.


1. It's hard to compare the cliffhanger with its original, since it was unfilmed. In the original, Skagra sees a baffling blur of Tom Baker scenes that even I, diehard fan, did not recognize and finally speaks - as we see a freaking big monster on the TV. This time, we get speeded up clips from Phantasmagoria, The Marian Conspiracy and The Fires of Vulcan - which means for some reason Skagra's computer only has clips from Big Finish historicals where the Doctor is getting heckled for being shit at TARDIS piloting. And the TV Krargs are creepier, with their non-humanoid shape, don't you think?

2. The Doctor is caught by the sphere. Definitely crap compared to the original episode, where the Doctor spends fifteen minutes fleeing through Cambridge, violating parking laws, patronizing (in the old fashion sense) some street performers, and running like the wind. This time the Doctor barely manages to spit out, "Holy fuck, a floating beachball is after me!" before the cliffhanger.

3. The Doctor proves he is dead, but the computer decides to suffocate him to check. Now, I think this sequence actually works better for Paul McGann's Doctor, with his boggle eyed "Whoa, maybe I am dead!" vibe being so convincing he tries it again in Zagreus. The computer's chanting of "Dead men do not require oxygen" as everything turns red works just as Adams wanted - would have scared the shit out of kids.

4. The incredibly radioactive Krarg opens a can of whup ass. A definite win for the Tom Baker version as he does his traditional act of staring at the monster like it's some kind of bad acid trip as it marches towards him - and infinitely scarier since the Krarg isn't roaring melodrammatic dialogue all the time. So... this one's crap.

5. The sphere is blown apart, and then turns into SMALLER spheres, instantly creating Skagra an army that loom around the Doctor. Hmmm. Only PMG's version exists, and it makes a damn more sense than TB's, though TB's would probably be better acted. The 70s zombie-style catchphrase of the victims chanting, "The Universal Mind!" over and over again works pretty well.

6. As the Doctor, Romana and K9 head off into the wild blue yonder, the Doctor muses over whether he'll end up a forgotten, harmless old buffer. It works for the Eighth Doctor much better than the Fourth (which is probably why Tom Baker changed it for a long scene where the Doctor and Romana argue over past and present tenses before holding hands).

Storm Warning

1. The evil Seth Efriken Rathbone is bitching at his helpless roommate when suddenly a vortisaur (a striped pterodactyl) punches its way through the window and shrieks. Points for surprise, since we were all geared up for a cliffhanger two minutes ago when the Doctor casually mentions the R101 is doomed to explode any minute and kill every single loser aboard.

2. The Doctor and Charley's bonding is interrupted as the 1930s air ship makes its rendezvous with something descending out of the sky above. Since Charley can't describe, the Doctor explains: "It's a flying saucer." As images go, it's damn iconic.

3. OMG! The British Empire is trying to take over the alien Triskele! OMG! Rathbone's shot the Lawgiver! OMG! Uncreator Prime is now free to anal-rape humanity into submission! OMG! Uncreator Prime was controlling Rathbone all the time! OMFG! Rathbone's shot Charley! OMG! Uncreator Prime has told his pets to kill everyone! OMG! The humans are scared! OMG! The monsters are roaring! OMG! They're... still... roaring! OMG! The episode is FINALLY over! Only fifteen minutes since the dramatic peak... and for some reason the space ship has a sound effect that sounds like the new theme tune cliffhanger scream. So everytime you expect the music to start, it doesn't. At all.

4. The Doctor discovers that Charley was destined to die in the airship. I mean, REALLY destined to do that. Thanks to his new pet, Ramsey the Vortisaur, he realizes that saving this cute blonde teenager will tear time and space apart... unless, you know, he just snaps her neck and puts her in the wreckage... at which point Ramsey calms down. The Doctor realizes he's going to have to kill her! But as he tries to tell her, Charley assumes he's shyly asking her to come with him, not realizing the Doctor isn't so desperate for blonde teens until he next incarnation. The Doctor puts off this plot thread and they fly off into the sunset. For now. Oooh. Intense, even now...

Sword of Orion

1. Some random dude in a spacesuit is looking at the TARDIS when a blood-drenched Cyberman staggers into view and does some stoned karate chops. Er... whoopee. Cybermen, huh? Didn't expect that. If I hadn't looked at the cover. Or been told, "Buy this! Cybermen!" And the fact, it's EXACTLY the same as the opening scene, and the Doc and Charley are perfectly safe... maybe on TV I might give a shit. Maybe.

2. The Doctor finally twigs after two episodes that Cybermen are in this story. Meanwhile, on the ship, the Cybermen wake up their Leader... except they don't. Well. Great. Odd thing is, the AV version is identical, but works better because that irritating space trumpet echo is allowed to play the full tune - the 1960s Cyberman music from Tomb, so it sums up the scene better. And isn't so irritating.

3. The other blonde jailbait teen in the story, Chev, is looking for her sugar daddy Grash, and is caught by a Cybermat who zaps her. Even though the Cybermat can't kill her, just hypnotize her. And no one is in any real danger. In fact, the Cybermen aren't even on the ship. Who... the hell... cares?

4. The Doctor broods over the beginnings of a new Big Finish spin off... and then demands a cup of tea because Nick Briggs is using an old script he can't be arsed to rewrite. Not quite as 'I'm over that horrible event' as Horror of Fang Rock, and twice as distasteful.

The Stones of Venice

1. The Doctor and Churchwell are surrounded by cultists who, under the commant of their loony leader Vincenzo, render them unconscious. Vincenzo then gloats at camera pointlessly. It may LOOK dumb on paper, but it really works in context. Really.

2. The Doctor and Churchwell are being rowed down the canal to the palace when the fish people gondoliers attack the boat. Churchwell has a panic attack as they are flipped overboard to be, in his words 'dragged down to the DEPTHS!!' Again, this should be shithouse, but it works.

3. Vincenzo opens the coffin... and it's empty. His cultists start wailing like Gumbies, and as dawn breaks the Doctor and Charley realize that Venice is completely fucked. Cliffhanger brilliance.

4. As the Doctor punts the gondola back to the TARDIS, Charley jokingly threatens the Doctor to never ditch her for a century. "How could I do that?" the Doctor retorts, before adding softly, "You're my best friend." And we remember his To Do List is kill her. A chilling ending that unsettled me at the time, even before I twigged that whole plot thread. PMG rocks. As does this story.

Minuet in Hell

1. The Doctor is about to have his mind electronically sucked out of his brain, which will then be lobotomized. Pargeter refuses to listen to him, and switches it on... and the machine explodes. Poor editing means we trip over the cliffhanger before we know what's going on, and some cut and paste from Planet of Lies means the reprise is even more confusing than before...

2. The Doctor realizes that Nicholas Briggs knows more about his life than the Time Lord does. Briggsy laughs and notes - "You're not the Doctor, my poor, insane friend. I AM!" And... despite every instinct... you believe him. Don't worry, in the original AV, Briggsy suffered the exact same thing. Some loser can edit it together so there is the whole argument played just by Nicholas Briggs. The same loser than edits Dalek Empire. Nevertheless, a kick in the bollocks of a cliffhanger.

3. Charley, wearing kinky leather Evil Willow Goth bondage gear exposing most of her flesh, is then thrown through a star gate into the depths of hell where a demon will steal her sweet virginal body and do nasty things... Nigel Verkoff says, "WHY THE FUCK WASN'T THIS ON TV?!?!"

4. Charley is puzzled by some of the signs and portents, but the exhausted and generally knackered Doctor tells her to chill and promises to show her the cosmos. A reworking of the ending of Survival, with his own 'worlds out there' speech, this could quite easily have been the last time Paul McGann played the Doctor. Poignant, even though we know he went on and on and on...

Invaders from Mars

1. Don and Ellis hurl Ellis' stooge Mouse into... I dunno. A tank or something? It's never really explained what it is, how big it is, or how you can collect guns out of it, or throw people inside. Anyway, the thing inside eats Mouse. Dramatic 1930s radio music plays for a long time, then the credits roll in. Pathetic at the best of times, the DWM edit without the 'period' shit, er, music made it much better. Worst cliffhanger so far.

2. The Doctor effortlessly reunites Glory Bee with her uncle. Who says he doesn't have a niece. The Doctor, showing criminal stupidity, gormlessly goes, "You know, HER!!" a lot until Jessica Stevenson suddenly starts talking in a ridiculous Russian accent and announces she is a spy. Right. So. A Russian spy is relying on a Private Eye? And, er, where are the fucking invaders from Mars I've been promised?

3. Er... hard to remember. Oh yeah, the camp Cosmo Devine (or 'Miserable Faggot' to quote the characters) reveals he was working with the NAZIS! Yes, contradicting every single scene before now! And then that tank we have so much trouble visualizing is full of TWENTY big monsters, not one. Uh... so? Not a good cliffhanger.

4. Simon Pegg gets to be the 'stunned local watching TARDIS take off'. With more ridiculous music. The End. I don't like this story. Not at all. Best part was the trailer for the next story...

The Chimes of Midnight

1. The Doctor and Charley realize that the frozen in time Edwardian House is going to unfreeze very soon. They flee back to the TARDIS as time goes into freefall... and Edith the Maid is screaming. Creep-y.

2. The Doctor realizes that as the clock strikes the hour, their invisible enemy is able to interfere with events and kill people alone. Thus, he urges the staff to stay together as the clock suddenly hurtles towards midnight, but they refuse to listen. "It could be ANY ONE OF US!" the Doctor screams but it's too late... Similar to Sapphire & Steel 5: episode 5 but so good I forgive it.

3. The Doctor abandons the House and its occupants to their miserable existence in the time loop, insisting to Charley that he couldn't help them or they'd be trapped... and then the TARDIS starts to melt away, leaving the Doctor and Charley back in the kitchen. It's too late - they're already trapped in the house. Forever. Similar to the very last cliffhanger of Sapphire & Steel, but steal from the best.

4. The TARDIS takes off and Edith sings to herself as Christmas finally arrives. In context, the best thing ever.

Living Legend

1. Charley refuses to let the Doctor attend the World Cup festivities until he cleans up the alien technology and he bitches that she is very convincing as a Time Lady. Charley eventually twigs she was insulted. Still, what do you expect from a DWM freebie? And, yes, it IS canon.

Seasons of Fear

1. The Doctor and Charley flee back to the TARDIS but Charley decides to stand in the doorway and watch as the invisible shockwave destroys the Roman fort outside... Arbitrary at best. Surely the cliffhanger should have been the fleeing Roman legionaries being bushwhacked by a Dalek?

2. Sebastian Grayle and the Doctor are fighting on the rooftop only for Grayle to realize his evil plan has fallen to bits. Moments later, they both scream. The end. Uh... turns out one of them just went hurtling over the side of the castle into the moat. Bit of a visual cliffhanger there, Cornell...

3. After millennia, Grayle has succeeded and his evil masters have arrived on Earth in a silver pod. The Doctor gulps, realizing exactly WHO he has been up against all the time. "We are the Nimon!" roars the leader, before zapping the Doctor with his laser yellow horns. The acronym WTF was designed for this. The BBC forum page liquefied in what would later be known as 'squee!'

4. The two incidental characters are doing their traditional 'marvel at the TARDIS taking off' when what appears to be a butt naked Charley possessed by the spirit of the Mara arrives and destroys the terrified victims before vowing to hunt down the REAL Charley Pollard. This thing teleports away, leaving nothing but silence. No theme music. It just ENDS!!! Disturbing? Hell yeah.

Embrace the Darkness

1. Charley's life pod docks at the Cimmerian Base, shrouded in darkness, when she is met by Ferris and Orlensis. But, for some reason, they can't see her, or the dim light from her life pod. As they approach, Charley realizes why they can't see her - their eyeballs are missing... I dunno if it works better on audio or TV...

2. The evil Cimmerian particles wash over the rescue ship, which begins to break down. The Doctor grimaces and admits that the reason WHY this particular mystery hasn't been explained is because everyone who finds out the truth is killed. Uncomfortable, to say the least. Good cliffhanger.

3. The Doctor has single handedly created a new sun, saving the space ship and its crew. But now he realizes he's accidentally exposed the really-quite-nice Cimmerians to their ancient enemies - who are even NOW returning to the solar system!! Dramatic, but a lot of the plot from this point on doesn't quite make sense.

4. Charley beats a guy at Checkers. Yeah, not the most brilliant of episode endings...

The Time of the Daleks

1. Using some funky chemical, a couple of clocks and a mirror, the irritatingly insane Learman has created a time window to watch the original performance of Julius Ceaser. The Doctor shouts that the fact her scientific advisors are Daleks suggests some bad shit is happening - and he's proved right as the mirror melts away and an army of Daleks sweep out, chanting, "WE ARE THE MASTERS OF TIME! WE ARE THE MASTERS OF TIME!" Really rather ridiculous when you think about it, and only really saved by it being the Eighth Doctor Dalek cliffhanger we always wanted. Except, the Daleks were already in it. So... damn.

2. The Daleks lose patience and start a Blake's 7 finale style shoot out. As the humans scatter and start dropping in slow motion, Charley is blasted by a Dalek at point blank range, screams and falls - cue the Doctor screaming, "CHARLEY!??!" Edited too quickly to appreciate. I mean, it's ZAP! ZAP! ARGH! Zap! Charley! ZEEOWOWW!! On TV, terrifrying. Here, not so good.

3. The Doctor realizes that a nuclear bomb is about to blow - the explosion will hurtle out through the time mirrors into the vortex where the Dalek battle fleet will then blow up, ripping time to shreds. If anything survives, it will be the Daleks, and in the position to rewrite history so they were always the winner. "This is the end of history and the beginning of the time of the Daleks," the Doctor whispers... and it would be SO cool if it turned out that ANYTHING in this cliffhanger was remotely relevent to the rest of the story.

4. The Doctor has a dictator's daughter to take home, an 8-year-old Shakespeare to return, and also Charley is spewing out time energy. He has NO idea what to do about that. A very weak and abrupt ending. What idiot was editing the cliffhangers?


1. Attaching electrodes to her clammy naked form, Charley is turned into a gateway of time and space. The space station from Trial of a Time Lord hurtles for the gateway, despite the Doctor's protests that Charley could be killed. Romana insists they're goooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiingggggggg throoooooooooooooooooooughhhh... and it doesn't work as well as in Ground Zero part three.

2. The Doctor insists that the world-TARDIS they are on HAS to be a fake, because otherwise that means that Rassilon is still alive and even as he speaks, Rassilon's hologram appears and confirms all their worst fears. Rather a rubbish cliffhanger, but there was no more room on the CD, so...

3. Sentris (AKA Evil Ghost Slutty Charley) explains that Vansell is going to return to their universe with a time bomb that will destroy Gallifreyan continuity, and there's sweet FA the Doctor and Romana can do about it, because the Neverpeople are hungry for their histories... cue muchos screaming. Very drammatic, except Sentris is so camp you wanna punch her/his lights out. Bastard.

4. Charley wakes up in the ruins of the TARDIS where the ill-looking Doctor is coughing his lungs out. When she tries to help him, he decks her and shouts that when the time bomb when off, he absorbed all the anti-time. "I am NOT the Doctor - I have become... ZAGREUS!" he screams, leaving only the crackling of anti-time. We had to wait eighteen... fucking... months... to hear what happened next. Twas the last time we ever put our trust in Big Finish EVER.


1. In a hologram simulation populated by the cast of the Fifth Doctor era, there is some explosions and screams and Charley and a vicar played by Peter Davison narrate how screwed they are. Except, of course, none of this is real. So we don't give a shit. More interesting for the Howell theme music.

2. Charley wakes up in Wales with a vicar (Pete), a pedophile (Sylv) and a vampire (Col) who explain they are in a remake of The Five Doctors. The Horn of Rassilon blares into the 7th Doctor theme tune. And I lose even more of my will to live.

3. The Doctor pilots the TARDIS into the Divergent Universe, trying to stay cheerful, not realizing that Charley has smuggled herself aboard and is whispering to the TARDIS not to let on she's become a creepy psycho stalker bitch. Scary... for ALL the wrong reasons.


1. The Doctor and Charley are stuck with each other, and so, holding hands, they walk off into the light to see what waits for them. Soon, their footsteps are lost to the hiss of the light. Like most of this story, it isn't a cliffhanger, but a pause...

2. The Doctor and Charley are forced to eat the amoeba corpse to survive, even if it's poisonous, knowing they are doomed anyway. Just like part one of The Masters of Luxor, really. Only better. Needless to say, the sounds are lost to the hiss of the light.

3. The Doctor is now so desperate to escape, he asks Charley to slit his throat open with her broach. "Do you trust me?" he asks. "I love you," she says simply. And then the Doctor's screaming...

4. The Doctor finally has a way out of his prison, but is scared to go. Charley promises to go with him, and even though they don't NEED to, they still hold hands as they walk off to see what waits for them. You see, RTD? It's called SUBTLETY!! But this is a real cliffhanger, because after this, things go downhill...

The Creed of the Kromon

1. The Doctor, Charley, C'Rizz and a giant badger called the Oroog are in a spaceship taking them inside Alpha Sphere, the dominion of the Kromon. C'Rizz proves what a popular companion he is by miserably bitching that they are all doomed. Well, sure, THAT makes me want to keep listening...

2. C'Rizz discovers his wife L'Da is now a giant slug giving birth to lots and lots of little baby slugs and she begs him to blow her brains out. Wimpering manfully, C'Rizz does that. Yeah. I NEEDED to hear that...

3. The Doctor, who appears to have been brainwashed and turned evil like all Philip Martin scripts, builds a TARDIS for the Kromon. Well, it turns out he really built a huge cannister of Nitro-9. Bang. Yay. Only one episode to go...

4. The Doctor and Charley, now accompanied by C'Rizz, are shifted into another zone by their invisible tollmaster the Kro'Ka, not realizing they are being placed in a brand new experiment. Don't be fussed, this idea is never referred to ever again... If I was going to rewrite a BF audio, it'd be this one. The worst of the range, definitely the worst PMG ever had to suffer.

The Natural History of Fear

1. Hooboy. OK. Uh... the Editor (Paul McGann) is revising the personality of a prole housewife (India Fisher), to keep this Orwellian nightmare world free from people asking questions. However, as they scan her mind they get a collection of sound effects which point to the prole HAVING AN ORIGINAL IDEA. This could mean the end of civilization as we know it!! This could be a good thing as I have no idea what's going on...

2. Honestly cannot remember. At all. Probably Paul McGann screaming, "Your state loves you!"

3. The Editor believes that somehow the mind of the Doctor has been placed in the body of a nurse (India Fisher) and he is trying to destroy the 1984 land. The Editor is determined to stop him, even if he becomes a bigger terrorist than the Doctor herself!

4. Turns out the Editor isn't the Doctor. Or even just the body of the Doctor. He's just a guy. With four arms. Like everyone else. And the Doctor left a copy of his memories so this Light City could have a cultural revolution. The end. Couldn't they have been a bit nicer and done the "You don't have two hearts!" thing instead? No, we're told that everyone in Light City has four arms but no one mentions it until now. Not even the Doctor and Charley when they bump into them. Not my favorite story. My head hurts.

The Twilight Kingdom

1. The Doctor and a lady soldier are in the middle of the rebel camp when Vila, I mean, Major Koth arrives and orders their entranced latest recruit to shoot the lady soldier through the head. He does. And now it's the Doctor's turn. As he babbles for his life, the soldier takes aim and... Bit like Caves of Androzani, really? Not that that's ever a bad thing.

2. The Doctor and Charley are held at gunpoint by two rebels on a rocky island surrounded by a sea of what Charley calls 'shit-flavored blood' (charming girl). One of the rebels starts to swim through it when the liquid turns to acid and dissolves him. The remaining rebel (who probably has a name) is furious and decks Charley, who falls into the 'water' as the Doctor looks on helplessly... the resolution is easy to spot.

3. The Doctor and Janto find a cave splattered with human remains, and the corpse of Vila, er, Koth. What the hell is going on, they wonder, as they see two identical severed heads of Koth growing out of the stone wall - and cheerfully welcome the Doctor to join them... Twisted. Just the way we like cliffhangers.

4. Charley and C'Rizz move into the interzone, but the Kro'ka holds the Doctor back, suspecting the Time Lord is searching for something more than just his missing TARDIS. "Rassilon," the Doctor hisses darkly, and strides into the dimensional flux. Works better on audio, but as season cliffhangers go, is below David Tennant gurning in the TARDIS control room...

Faith Stealer

1. C'Rizz is having an astral trip listening to some Gregorian chants when it is interrupted. C'Rizz's sanity walks out of the room, slamming the door behind it and he relives killing L'Da... except SHE is the one killing HIM! The cliffhanger effectiveness is ruined since we're kinda hoping Lizard Girl succeeds.

2. The brainwashed, sleep-deprived C'Rizz is marching with the Lucidian cultists when he spots Charley. Now completely out of his skull, he mistakes Charley for L'Da and cheerfully throttles her, gasping, "it's a MIRACLE!!!" Would be more effective if this trick hadn't been pulled off in a previous story. But a good one, all things considered.

3. The nasty psychiatrist is attaching electrodes to poor C'Rizz's head, only for it to open up and a crystal slide out, booming it is Miraculite and All Shall be Saved! A nicely apocalyptic round up to the C'Rizz Torture Trilogy, giving him some screen time for the first time since he joined.

4. The Doctor effortlessly suggests a way to rebuild society but C'Rizz thinks he's being a wee bit hopeful. "Oh, have a LITTLE faith," the Doctor grins. In context, this is amusing. Trust me on that.

The Last

1. The Doctor meets Charley lying flat on her back in a hospital bed. He idly chats about stuff until the unnervingly calm Charley reminds him she is fucking paralyzed for the rest of her life.

2. C'Rizz finally arrives at the flooded bunker with his entourage of bedgradded nuclear war survivors. But, as we are to discover, only C'Rizz can see them - he's surrounded by ghosts of those who DIDN'T survive... Well, it startled the hell out me.

3. Having apsychic glimpse from Charley, the Doctor realizes his now horizontal companion is in danger, but when he and C'Rizz get there... it's too late. Excelsior has smothered her with a pillow and she's very, very dead. And at this point we get suspicious.

4. The Doctor wakes up! It was all a dream and everything has ended happily instead! OH GOD THAT IS THE WORST ENDING IN THE HISTORY OF EVERYTHING ANYWHERE ANYTIME EVER!!!!! Since Excelsior's seagull-like voice is agony on the ears, hearing her victory speech for the sixth hundredth time does NOTHING for me!


1. The Doctor, Charley and C'Rizz break free of the Kro'Ka and arrive in a field of cows on Caedroria, the home base of the Divergents. One small problem... there are now three versions of the Doctor - the normal one, the stoned three year old one, and the one with dimensionally trancendental PMS! Well, did YOU see that coming?!

2. The three Doctors and two companions find themselves in a maze... and the roaring in the distance suggests it's one of those ones with a whacking great monster in the middle. Cool.

3. The 'Tigger' Doctor tries to reason with the Kro'Ka, who finally reveals his true form. Whatever it is. It's not a giant frog, though. Oh well. It starts to probe the Doctor's mind, and the episode ends. I've heard worse.

4. It's only taken six stories since he joined, but C'Rizz finally gets to do the 'it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!' schtick as the TARDIS takes off from Caerdroia... on TV we'd cut to a shot of Rassilon laughing incredibly evilly. Thank god we're not on TV.

The Next Life

1. Rassilon appears in an illusion where Charley is nattering with her mother, and then tells Charley's mother that he controls Charley's mind. Except he doesn't. So, er... well... yeah.

2. Keep easily blames the Doctor for killing a girl called Jamberiebud and the locals want him dead. Yeah, like the 900 year old Time Lord hasn't dealt with crap like this before. Rubbish.

3. Paul Darrow IS the father of C'Rizz. Or maybe just being religious and priest like. Either way, he says 'my son' and we are supposed to gasp. I gasp. In incredulity this is supposed to motivate me.

4. Perfection explains that she has a chance to repopulate the universe, and she wants to do it with the Doctor. Well, it would be different, if we didn't know he was escaping this universe in two episodes time cause he needs to look like Christopher Eccleston next Saturday...

5. C'Rizz sells out the Doctor to Rassilon. No, REALLY?! You mean, he did what he considered doing in part one? AMAZING! Is this over yet?

6. The TARDIS lands in a metal room and the trio emerge to see if they are back in their own universe - they are: the next room contains Davros and an army of Daleks. BRILLIANT! Oh, the terror we felt, fearing that this might be a kind of sight gag and wouldn't actually be a proper story...

Terror Firma

1. The Doctor realizes that Davros is now completely nuts and splitting into two personalities. Charley realizes that New Skaro is 20th Century Earth. C'Rizz and Gemma realize that they are not alone in the undersea tunnel. And that bunch of annoying wankers having a party are doing the Hokey Pokey and the episode ends as they chant, "That's what it's all about!" Yeah, VERY clever, Lidster - now you've done that gag you can write something that DOESN'T suck.

2. The Doctor realizes that Davros has somehow done something to his mind, and at the Emperor's needling, the memories come back - not just C'Rizz and Charley and the Divergent Universe, but before that, to when he travelled with Gemma and Samson. "I REMEMBER!" the Doctor screams, horrified as Davros laughs nastily. Mmm. Guess you need to be there.

3. Gemma leads C'Rizz into the undersea base where the French Resistance is based... only to discover that it is full of Daleks. C'Rizz understandably assumes that something terrible has happened, but there's no mistake: the Dalek ARE the French Resistance... Well, that makes sense of everything, doesn't it?

4. Aboard the TARDIS, C'Rizz is trying to catch up with his sleep, only to hear the voices of those he's killed - L'Da, Gemma, a Roboman and even a Dalek - pestering him. They're quite happy, since when C'Rizz killed them, he saved their souls in his mind, keeping them safe forever. As C'Rizz dozes off, he admits that, one day, he might have to "save" his best friends the Doctor and Charley. Don't worry, none of this is relevant till Absolution...

Scaredy Cat

1. Despite the Doctor's protests, the scientist set to work on the poor alien Neanderthal, only to trigger an explosion that turns into the form of a little girl chanting, "Scaredy Cat! Scaredy Cat!" over and over again. This SHOULD scare the crap out of us, but the fact the 'little girl' is a fifty year old woman sounding in need of a good slap, coupled with the fact it is shown in the dullest manner ever, ruins the cliffhanger. Nul points.

2. Charley enters the basement to find herself trapped with the droll, charming bloke who has been providing Hitchhiker's Guide-style cutaways throughout the story.... so, what? I hear you ask. And, frankly, my dear, I don't have an answer.

3. The attempts to zap droll, charming bloke have linked him up with the morphogenic fields of the planet, thus making him God. This is bad, apparently...

4. The TARDIS takes off. That stupid bint is saying "Scaredy Cat!" over and over again. The end. They could have fit that on one CD, but no, they ripped me off. AGAIN!

Other Lives

1. Proving themselves the arseholes Euroskeptics believe they are, the French ambassadors steal the TARDIS and it dematerializes, marooning the Doctor and his companions at the Crystal Palace. Surprisingly effective, considering we KNOW it's going to be reversed by the end of the story.

2. The Doctor has been locked up as a thief when a woman who sounds like India Fisher comes to rescue him... except it's not Charley, but a woman called Georgina Marlowe who is CONVINCED he's her husband. Does the Doctor manipulate her deluded emotions to escape jail, or stay where is? Gazooks!

3. The Doctor's finally getting used to having Georgina as his misses when some passing nutter threatens to slash open her throat. Hmmm. I wonder who could possibly save her? Maybe the renegade Time Lord who deals with this every five seconds? Poor.

4. Georgina meets her estranged husband... who actually IS a doppleganger for Paul McGann. She tells him to lose the beard and anyone who has seen the cover will agree whole heartedly. A surprising post-credit sequence, and not so badly done.

Time Works

1. In a frozen moment in the future, Charley and C'Rizz discover time has stopped a second before the Doctor is beheaded by a soldier. Even as they wonder how the hell they can save him, a sinister ticking and tocking is heard... sorta like the Clockwork Droids in Girl in the Fireplace. Too visual to work as a decent cliffhanger.

2. Remember that future where the Doctor is about to get his head cut off before time freezes? Well, here we go again, boys and girls... Nice in concept.

3. The Doctor realizes that the Clockwork Men have frozen time, brainwashed everyone to attack him, and set time in motion so he is now being hunted down like a psycho version of A Hard Day's Night. Again, Lyons, TOO VISUAL!!

4. The Doctor decides to chuck a sickie tomorrow, so they can all party tonight. Tell it like it is, baby.

Something Inside

1. As Charley and C'Rizz run after the Psikes, the roaring brain worm is right on their tails! Since the fractured storytelling of this story means we know exactly what's going to happen does steal a little bit of the tension here. Very mundane.

2. The Doctor is plugged into the mind-mincing machine and the evil bastards running the cube, in a very cruel and nasty cliffhanger - since it's either the Doctor who goes under the knife or quietly-bleeding-to-death C'Rizz. And we're past the flashbacks, so all's good.

3. The Doctor has the knowledge Tessa needs to use her powers to heal C'Rizz, but if they telepathically link, the brain worm could jump in and kill everyone. The Doctor insists they have to take the chance and... ARGH! DON'T STOP THERE!!!

4. A rather depressed Doctor, Charley and C'Rizz leave into the TARDIS, condemning Latch and the brain worm to starve to death inside the Cube. Very bleak.

Memory Lane

1. The Doctor struggles to explain to Charley that the TARDIS has been stolen by an ice cream man and strapped to the roof rack of the ice cream van. Greensleeves fills the air. Might have had more of a punch if, you know, it wasn't spoiled by all the trailers and previews.

2. The Doctor, Charley, Kim and C'Rizz are having a civilized chat when the ceiling falls in. Random or what?

3. The Doctor has been placed in a false reality that leaves him in a happy nostalgia fantasy - which, rather embarassingly, involves him hanging around the TARDIS with Charley and C'Rizz awestruck at his brilliance at defeating some loser by reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. Nice twist the plot.

4. Kim and Tom decide to go to bed rather than watch a repeat of Star Begotten. ... Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.


1. The TARDIS starts to melt and C'Rizz falls through the floor. The Doctor and Charley barely blink. Uh... not particularly good, and points off for ripping off Nick Walter's Dominion.

2. The ruler of the planet explains that actually this is Hell. But it isn't. It's just a nasty place that totally by chance could be mistaken for Hell. Basically, it's like the cliffhanger of Genesis of the Daleks two being "This is Skaro". I mean, WE KNOW THAT ALREADY! Jesus, slow on the uptake, are we?

3. Uh... well... no... that's not it. Some bad stuff happens. Maybe with C'Rizz. Or a giant amoeba. I completely forget.

4. The Doctor is completely over the death of C'Rizz and tells Charley in his best 'shut the fuck up' voice that he has learned that companions are finite and he can deal with it. So Charley says she quits and is leaving, even if that means returning to a burning zeppelin. And, suddenly, we're back to the quality of Scherzo. Wow.

The Girl Who Never Was

1. No idea. Probably the Cybermen turning up.

2. No idea.

3. No idea. Might include Charley since it's her final story.

4. No idea. But ideally it'll be just like the end of Doomsday as the heartbroken Doctor realizes some noisy tart has appeared out of nowhere in his time machine.

Blood of the Daleks

1. The Doctor discovers two disturbing facts - one, an evil scientist has transferred his very male brain into a hot sexy lab assistant's very female body, and two, s/he's started building Daleks in his/her laboratory. These cut-price Louis Marx friction drive Daleks are told to exterminate the Doctor and they do JUST THAT! Surprisingly unengaging given the subject matter.

2. The Doctor and Lucie are stuck with each other because otherwise the TARDIS will not move a sodding inch. "Fantastic," grumbles the Northern tart. "What-EVAH!" the Doctor sneers at her. Cool.

Horror of Glam Rock

1. The Headhunter turns up and realizes she missed the Doctor and Lucie by that much... AND?!?

Immortal Beloved

1. Lucie intelligently makes a point that the next generation of Gods could be as bad as the last lot. Whether this 'the end or is it?' or Lucie actually using her brain is the cliffhanger is open to debate.


1. The Headhunter wakes up from a coma and realizes her brilliant trap to catch Lucie has failed. Again. She vows vengeance. No, no, carry on, I'm just yawning...

No More Lies

1. The Doctor, sickened by the fact they've dumped a genius like Nigel Havers into the most pathetic and predictable sci fi plot in the history of everything ever, returns to the TARDIS and realizes he doesn't know where Lucie is. Whether because he is terrified of losing his hot blonde teen of the moment or whether because the TARDIS is now marooned is not clear, but he just starts screaming "Lucie! You got some splaining to do!" Well, maybe not that last bit.

Human Resources

1. The Doctor gleefully tells Hubert that he is screwed, and the defenceless inhabitants of this planet are going to get their revenge... until the doors open to reveal the 'defenceless inhabitants' are Cybemen... I mean, duh? Human Resources? The Cybermen on the cover? The press statement that TOLD you Cybermen were in this story? A brilliant cliffhanger ruined by 'spoiler amnesia' - the irrational belief that ruining a surprise in every way somehow means you should be surprised.

2. With the ongoing plot themes resolved, the Doctor offers Lucie another trip in the TARDIS, which causes her to have a childish argument over the Doctor admitting he DOESN'T hate Lucie's guts (though if he didn't, he sure does now). The ending is supposed to ambiguous over whether or not Lucie stays with the Doctor but... tragically... it's all too clear what happens next.


That felt... pointless.


Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Great stuff. Good to see that you agree with me on Next Life - I found it incredibly bizarre listening because it seemed that episode 2 was the only one to even HAVE a cliffhanger... well, save 6, but then you can't really count a final episode cliffhanger.

I'm curious to hear Creed of the Kromon now - I find it hard to believe PMG could have a story even worse than Next Life..

Youth of Australia said...

It is terrible. Philip Martin hands in his script for Mindwarp with "Sil" crossed out and Kromon added, giggling, "They'll never notice! THEY'LL NEVER NOTICE!"

Big Finish never used him again.

It is without doubt the worst Eighth Doctor story. Definitely a contender for worst Big Finish story ever.

The best thing in it is a giant badger who doesn't talk much, for fuck's sake...

Still, I think I've worked out how to put more than one story on a disc, so I could do you most Eighth Doctor stories on one DVD...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Big Finish never used him again.

Not exactly imperical evidence - I mean, they never used Phil Pascoe again but -Ish is well good.

Still, I think I've worked out how to put more than one story on a disc, so I could do you most Eighth Doctor stories on one DVD...


That would be awesome. Zagreus, Next Life, Scherzo and Venice are the ones that I already have. But I WANT KROMON!

Anything you want in return? I burnt you a DVD with some stuff on it butkept forgetting to mail it. You seen Clerks 2 yet?

Youth of Australia said...

Not exactly imperical evidence - I mean, they never used Phil Pascoe again but -Ish is well good.
No, but its worth noting.

That would be awesome. Zagreus, Next Life, Scherzo and Venice are the ones that I already have. But I WANT KROMON!
Anything you want in return? I burnt you a DVD with some stuff on it butkept forgetting to mail it. You seen Clerks 2 yet?
No, so, yeah.

I'll get you the DVD at the next convention get together.