Saturday, May 31, 2008

Speaking Confidentially

With time weighing heavy on thy narrow shoulders until the BBC finally get round to showing off Silence in the Library, I find myself looking through my download library for something else for my parents to watch. Doctor Who Confidential, mayhaps? Well, what have I got...

BLINK - Do You Remember the First Time?
With Blink hardly featuring him, David Tennant takes over the whole program for one week only and he shows off his prodigious video cam skills, as he demonstrated throughout 2006. This guy has a job for life on television, even if he does quit in 2009. Thus, our hero is strolling around the BBC Television Centre that the Goodies tried to destroy at least twice a week with his awestruck companion, Steven Moffat, their quest to simply find out why Doctor Who is so powerful that it makes its fans want to make it. Some answers are offered, but as ever it quickly becomes a clipshow as the fans Tennant meets reminisce about how it scared the shit out of them, and what they've been doing since. So, with vox pops from RTD, Gareth Roberts, Mark Gatiss, Nicholas Briggs, Barnaby Edwards, and of course, Steven Moffat "the man who made his name in television by writing about dysfunctional relationships in the 21st Century but really wanted to write about malfunctioning spaceships in the 51st". Blink hardly gets a look in, bar an interview with the actors behind Sally and Larry, and the Moff himself explaining, with visuals, that he ripped off his annual story. Soon, though, the whole thing becomes one glorious youtube clipshow, with lots of nice juxtapositions (the Dalek production line of 1966 becoming the Cult of Skaro 40 years later, similarly the Cyber Controller making an entrance in both) and showing off how utterly unfunny and rubbish Dead Ringers is when it comes to its favorite program. Nev Fountain proves completely useless beyond saying he's a fan, while Jon Culshaw shows he's quite good at impersonating ANYONE except David Tennant (his Colin Baker's rather impressive), and let us be honest - out of the pair of them, it's always Nev who screws up. The Sideshow's casual references of the show were a love letter compared to Dead Ringers' "it's too loud, too spoiled, crap, camp and only wankers watch it" approach. Mind you, they gave Torchwood the right bollocking it deserved... For the first time since Season One, Confidential is willing to acknowledge something existed before Rose, so this clipshow is really quite good.

Best Musical Number: the final montage with Thanks For The Memories screaming around monster shots, Doctor shots, gratuitous babe shots, shots that went horribly wrong, shots that went amazingly right, shots the public will never forget, shots we hope the public will never remember, and even Paul McGann!

UTOPIA - Ello Ello Ello
This episode starts a new tradition with the title sequences being solely reflective of the episode in question, thus meaning you can't spot any future episodes in the generic montage - and also meaning that, for example, they can show John Simm regenerating in the console room without spoiling it (since it's shown after the question). The title refers to the Holy Trinity of Jack, Yana and the Master - or John Barrowman, Derek Jacobi and John Simms - and this week we get a decent balance between background and recording, with Graeme Harper doing his usual enthusiastic work. John Barrowman gets a lion's share of the ep, while skirting around actually anything to do with Torchwood (continuing RTD's anti-spin-off agenda), and it's generally good viewing, as we get to linger around sets and finally see all the details that simply aren't obvious in New Who cause it moves so damn quickly. Yana's armchair and grammophone, Chantho's model rocket ships, the noticeboard for loved ones at the start of the silo, the Futurekind Initiation Rites which gave the Chieftan that rather distinctive facial tattoo, the total and complete Mad Maxx freaks they hired to be Futurekind (serious, no makeup required). There is, of course, a whacking great lack of discussion over the Master, but this IS a three parter, and there's even a nice nod from Harper that if Tennant ever does regenerate, it won't automatically be the 'standing up firework' business - he was intending something different for the Master until logistics intruded. So that's good.

Best Musical Number: Smells Like Team Spirit montage about Jack, Yana and the Master. Clue's in the title.

THE SOUND OF THE DRUMS - The Saxon Mystery
With the opening scene showing the cliffhanger, it's clear you've meant to watch this ep, which is focussed on the Master of old, the Master of new, the Saxon story arc and Freema Agyeman's stunt driving skills. Between David Tennant's "I guessed who it was in The Keeper of Traken!" and RTD cheerfully noting he was full of shit about him not liking the character, there's a veiled apology for the Torchwood arc in Season 2. Because it wasn't an arc, it was an advertisment for a new show, and RTD wishes that he could have been subtler (more TW-bashing) like Saxon, an arc so subtle few notice that a) it first gets referenced in Aliens of London and b) you need a freeze frame to get half the references. The fact there aren't references in every episode, but rather different references (the Face of Boe, the Chameleon Arch, for example) also make it cleverer than shouting a buzzword at the viewers every week. There's also a fair bit of discussion about the New Master and why he is like the Joker, rather than Moriarty - mind you, the fact Moriarty was an unseen manipulator means that the Master is more like him in these episodes than ever before... It also goes to show the entire world that Freema Agyeman was not "farmed out" by anyone, since cast, crew and production team are utterly in awe not only of her acting talent, but ability to become a supreme stunt driver in half an hour. It's so amazing, Barrowman took his reading glasses off (and boy does he look odd in them...)

Best Musical Number: The cover of Mad World playing as we see a reshoot of the cliffhanger in slow mo.

A story mainly focussing on special effects, from the CGI Old Doctor (trust me, it could have been a lot worse, as one of the 'Yoda' rip off designs shows) and the awkward-looking David Tennant covered in marbles, shoved in front of a green screen and told to emote to someone who isn't there. The design of the Toclafane is gone into (but curiously enough, their nature is never discussed, or even why RTD makes them the most pessimistic foe ever), as is the Doctor's ascension to godhood (DT was well pissed off that it involved him dangling on wires all afternoon), and the aftermath of the departures of Jack, Martha and the Master (the later nicely undercut, with RTD, Tennant and Agyemen marvelling at the emotions of the scene, ending with Simms awkwardly noting he had Tennant's manly stubbly chin jammed into his eye throughout). Despite the length of the special and of the episode, I was surprised at the lack of mention of Lucy Saxon, or Leo Jones or Torchwood or the Face of Boe or the fucking Titanic. It just dissolves into a "See Ya Later... Maybe... Martha"

Best Musical Number: Lift Me Up as the Doctor flies around the room and the Master has a complete nervous breakdown.

TIME CRASH - Confidential
With the sequence last only as long as the episode itself, there's not a lot to go into here - bar David Tennant's continuing culture shock at playing his childhood hero meeting his childhood Doctor, Peter Davison musing on the fact his Doctor is generally overlooked because even when he was PLAYING the Doctor, there were half a dozen other shows on air with his pleasant open face being shown simultaneously. RTD notes this is the first time he came to recording rather than sleeping in (it was a Sunday) and Steven Moffat continually marvelling at what the hell he can get away with.

Best Musical Number: Young Folk over the DT/PD photoshoot.

VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED - Confidential At Christmas
With sleigh bells and snowflakes added to this episode, I have to say I came away from this liking VOD less than before. The episode is focussed a lot more on in front of the camera than behind it, and RTD doesn't give a single damn word allowing an insight into why he wrote such a downer or what the hell he was trying to do with the Titanic. Killing off Astrid is glossed over in everything other than Tennant having to snog her, then snog thin air and edit it together. Oh, and them noting that the Doctor HAS to be a completely miserable and lonely wanderer, because in RTD's words "it looks good". Yeah, thanks for that. Despite the wealth of material, Kylie doesn't say much (managing to look even older than Astrid, who is ancient compared to how she normally looks anyway), and her uber-fan manager tears his hair out trying to find all the links betwixt Minogue and Doctor Who, coming across less as a fanboy and more as a pathetic tryhard. There's a lot of work on The Stowaway and its various incarnations, including trying to make up for the lack of Confidential episodes for the last two Christmas Specials. All in all, this is a dispiriting episode. Not only is VOD a depressing tale, but no one involved has anything to say about it beyond "Oooh! Kylie and Titanic!"

Best Muscial Number: The closest there is to be had is The Stowaway. Kylie's soundbites don't impress.

And noble it is! Donna and Catherine Tate return to give the show a kick up the arse, with RTD clearly delighting at NOT having to do Rose again, allowing him freedom to do his rightly-lauded window mime scene. The plot of PIC is, to be honest, pretty slim, so the show focusses more on behind the scenes. The 'window cleaner thing plummeting to its doom' is given a good deal of cover, especially when you realize most of it was CGI and stunt doubles and that bit where the Doctor and Donna try to break the window was done entirely by computer. There's also the problem that the bloke who played Donna's dad died between rehearsals and filming - fair enough that everyone thought it would be rude to simply recast, but the fact is Wilf's dialogue is exactly the same! The only change was "dad" to "gramps", but Bernard Cribbens still steals the show with his deadpan "This is the most amazing day of my life" as he stands around the kitchen set doing absolutely nothing - it may not sound as hilarious as it is, but it works, as does Phil Collinson noting how much he loves the character of Wilf, and his relationship with Donna. YANA. Meanwhile, Sarah Lancashire shows she CAN act, and the stuffed toy Adipose used for the scenes are a definite merchandise tie in, while that fat lady (forget her name) reveals she's actually skinnier than she appears, and was wearing a vest that inflates to show Adipose moving under her skin. On a final note, RTD draws everyone's attention to Rose's cameo. Then laughs in our faces at the thought he might spill the beans... odd that he doesn't do the same gag elsewhere...

Best Musical Number: The intro with Ray of Light fights with the original opening sequence to the episode, where the Doctor and Donna are accompanied by Austin Power's theme tune.

It was filmed in Italy! I had no idea! But this ep proves it beyond a doubt as everyone heads there to use the sets but, alas, they've trusted the van with all the props and outfits to the a Baldrick wannabe that gets lost trying to do shortcuts, thus meaning when they finally arrive there is hardly any time to set up for the episode and thus all the wonderful shots of the city are missed. With recording more or less unavailable - and absolutely no discussion on writing the story, Catherine Tate or the Pyrovilles let alone The Fires of Vulcan - David Tennant takes charge and buggers off to the REAL Pompeii to take a tour of the place. As Tennant notes, Pompeii would be the coolest place in the world... as long as you're not a slave, and the lines between him and the Tenth Doctor do blur, especially as he expressionlessly studies the display of the corpses unearthed. Including a newborn baby. Powerful shit and no mistake, like the fact that Vesuvius's eruptions get worse and worse the longer the gaps between eruptions. The less it rumbles, the worse it will be when it finally blows. And the exploding shot of Vesuvius in the ep is the REAL Vesuvious, can you believe. I thought it was stock footage... a great ep, ruined only by Phil Cornwall acting "oh so funny" and demanding his own spin off from RTD to replace Torchwood. A clue, Phil? No.

Best Musical Number: the barndance fiddle as the incompetent lorry driver goes on his world tour and visits ANYWHERE except Italy...

PLANET OF THE OOD - Oods and Ends
Well, let's hope that a certain A Stephens shuts the hell up as this episode can't even begin to apologize for the Doctor's Ood-intolerant behavior in The Satan Pit, though for some reason they don't agree with his belief the Doctor mudered every last motherfucking one of them. All of which interspersed with breakdancing Ood extras; the fact the ice planet was just a quarry; DT's disturbing disire to "chew an Ood"; Graeme Harper sitting on the console, acting like he owns the place; a good-old-fashioned clipshow about telepathy/possesion/magic/actually-what-the-hell-is-the-theme-again? as we see the sentient sun, the Master, the Gelth, the Sycorax, the Family of Blood, Cassandra, Carrionites, Bad Wolf, the daily download...; another montage about bumpining into aliens and other culture shock stuff; everyone noting how bloody great it is for Donna not to worship the Doctor like the other companions; the giant brain was actually a huge pile of cardboard boxes; DT noting that the denoument is right out of Ellan Adgar Poe with Halpen becoming an Ood; RTD (and Harper) being revolted at the transformation; and the reveal that the BBC did step in - originally Halpen vomited tendrils directly into camera, but that was too much... Awesome. Still dunno why the writers aren't being allowed to discuss their own material though. And no mention of "your song must end". Yet.

Best Musical Number: I Fought The Law as the Doctor runs from the giant claw. But the telepathy montage comes a very close second. And Nobody Knows over Tim McInnery and Ood Operations. Actually, this whole ep was just musical numbers... that title really IS appropriate.

Unsurprisingly, there is little to say about the episode, so much more focus is put on "evil SatNav" (the aspect that is discarded by the plot first chance it gets) and how "adult" the opening is (adult = nothing to do with the story anyone is expecting). With Helen Raynor's brain power used up (and no writers bar RTD being allowed to talk), the episode focusses on sinking cars and pumping out gas and that business where some kinky extra sits in a bath of goo (said bath is from Fires of Pompeii, believe it or not, and the goo WAS EDIBLE!!). There's the shocking revelation that Evil Martha's expression as she emerges from the goo was down to the fact she'd swallowed the muck and needed to throw up, while we discover the secrets of the paint-on bra (last spotted in Gridlock). Freema's as enthusiastic as ever (oh how fans hate that), and we actually get clips from Torchwood (in the exact same way John Barrowman DIDN'T use last year - more proof that season 1 ain't canon!) interspersed with everyone discussing at length the opening scene with Donna and Martha and the complete lack of cat-fights. DT also notes that the Doctor's dislike of UNIT is specific to his incarnation, which is a retcon only a true fan like him could come up with. The Sontarans merit barely a clipshow compared to Sylvia and Wilf, the latter of which RTD is so pleased to use after being unable to add him to Martha or Donna's family. And why does the Director look so much like Paul McCartney?!

Best Musical Number: Dispiritingly, it's the trailer for next week...

Christopher Ryan finally gets some screentime and I'm shocked to discover he's a little old man! Well, his voice sounds like a little old man, and the change to Stahl's voice is quite a surprise. However, Ryan gets no mention of being in the show before, or in The Young Ones, and there's a really nasty suggestion that he was only cast cause he's the only decent actor they know that is so short (and, really, he seemed so normally proportioned at Scumbag College - are they ALL ruddy midgets?!). Sontaran makeup fills up a whacking great chunk of this episode, as they finally get the clipshow they deserve, and even Elisabeth Sladen and Colin Baker turn up to big them up. Odd how In A Fix With The Sontarans and Invasion of Time are never discussed when they are the stories most featured in the clipshow, but I do like how the clip of Stike choking is presented as an outtake rather than part of the story itself. There's also lots of tedious focussing on two-second shots like "Sontarans fall over from offscreen explosion" and "Sylvia shatters windscreen" which had to be done by a bloke in drag. This is kept only bearable by Commander Storr speedily narrating things in a most un-Sontaran fashion while in full costume, and RTD laughing how "utterly ridiculous" Rattigans' plans are, and Donna worship,.

Best Musical Number: Without You showing Donna's greatest moments - five stories and already so many!

THE DOCTOR'S DAUGHTER - Sins of the Fathers
Helen Raynor was allowed to make a few utterly unnecessary grunts over her story, and this week is Stephen Greenhorn who is disturbingly similar to James Nesbitt as Hyde with the huge dark staring eyes and the accent. This is a pity as I'm under no delusions that Greenhorn is not someone to turn to for a deep and meaningful plot. The Lazarus Experiment worked because it was a simple plot with arc heavy running through it, and trying to marvel at anything beyond the idea of Jenny (COUGH!COUGH!Trenchcoat did it!COUGHCOUGH) is a waste of time, except maybe they were scared of Greenhorn following them home and killing them. I know I was. The episode is padded out by a remix of Time Crash Confidential, and interviews with Miss Moffet herself (ironic how she spends the whole episode looking like Buffy but behind the scenes is a dead ringer for Willow), and how bloody difficult the gymnastic scene was, and how shockingly unconvincing the stunt double was in real life. I mean... eww! This is also nicely counterbalanced by absolutely everyone admitting "yeah, this is a complete rip off of The Last of the Time Lords, just with a more heterosexual bent", but RTD never once justifying why this is needed. Caus, unless Jenny returns, this is a waste of time, people. And originally the Hath had dialogue! I know! Bugger me!

Best Musical Number: I'm Not A Soldier, commemorating all the outright hypocrisy from the Doctor as he goes hardcore military on the ass of anyone who gets in his way.

Gareth Roberts is here in all his egg-shaped, slightly-too-similar-to-Tom-Baker-to-be-comfortable glory as they strip down the murder mystery, revealing all the things I never noticed (like WHY the murderer chooses those specific victims), and the way titles are scattered through the dialogue, and also that David Tennant's dad plays one of the suspects! There are some fun outtakes and DT brags about how he got the actress to play Christie and how people should listen to him more. Pity, but Christopher Benjamin and Felicity Kendall get sweet FA what with Graeme Harper bemoaning how damn difficult it is to film a murder mystery and a clipshow of historical celebrities on show (including The Crusades - happy yet, Larry? No? Good), and a guest appearance by Christie's real-life grandson whose opinion of the fact his grandmother was attacked by giant wasps and kidnapped by Doctor Who is sadly never revealed. The difficulties of the giant wasp in a lake are revealed, as is the poisoning scene with the Doctor which stresses out Harper and everyone a lot more than you'd think - seriously, is it THAT difficult to get DT another pinstripe suit?! The vintage car chase is even funnier without the drammatic music and editing as the Doctor and Donna shout dialogue urgently at each other then fall silent for minutes on end as the cars inch painfully forward, and the competition between Tennant and Woolgar to master these strange engines is great fun.

Best Musical Number: the chase scene ending with DT's stoic "at least I didn't break it..."

The trailer for Silence in the Library is even worse than the one in the episode proper, can you believe. Space suited people jogging around a set as everyone says "Oooh! Darkness! SCARY!" doesn't even hold interest, even AFTER trying to read The Book of the World...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Well, I'M stoked...

"Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark," muses the Doctor as he sweeps a torch through the darkened library, Donna at his side. "But they're wrong. Because it's not irrational."

Wilfred Mott looks at the night sky in horror. "They're going out... oh my god... the stars are going out!"

And they are.

A familiar blonde with a big, big gun strides through the ruins of a street as explosions go off.

"Rose is coming back. No matter what's happening, isn't that good?" asks Donna by the TARDIS console.

The Doctor looks up. Meets her gaze. And then a giddy expression crosses his face. "Yeah," he gasps.

"The real world is a lie," says the black man in spectacles. "And your nightmares are real."

"Not everyone comes back out of the dark," the Doctor tells Donna as they run through the library, slamming doors as skeletons in gleaming white spacesuits emerge from the shadows, firing blue rays.

"It's coming for me!" screams a helpless some as a spacecraft is buffeted out of control.

"Stay in the light!" the Doctor shouts.

"Stop it! Why are you doing this?!" wails Donna, in a suburban park.

"Don't you play games with me," the Doctor snarls. "We're going to get out of here, I promise!"

Daleks. Lots of Daleks. Aboard the Valiant. And in control.

Rose Tyler looks upwards, unfazed. "Right. Now we're in trouble."

The TARDIS is ablaze.

"And it's only just beginning," concludes Rose.

In the heart of the Dalek stronghold, there is something new. Something like a Dalek, but from the midsection upwards is lost in darkness, bar a spot of blue light at the top.

"It's coming, Donna," says Rose quietly. "It's coming from across the stars. And nothing can stop it."

"What is?" demands Donna, finally losing her patience.

Rose looks at her, scared stiff. "The darkness..."

Silence in the Library

Forest of the Dead


Turn Left

Eye of the Storm

Journey's End

SNEED: Echoes in the dark.
GWYNETH: The things you've seen. The Darkness.
MICKEY: See, they've known about aliens for years. They just kept us in the dark.
DOCTOR: Mickey, you were born in the dark.
DALEK: I can ... feel... so many ideas, so much darkness.
ANGELO: It's almost dark.
MICKEY: It was dark!
ROSE: Where are you from, the dark ages?
RICKY: I bet they can see in the dark—
DOCTOR: You, Mr Connolly, are staring into a deep, dark pit of trouble.
DOCTOR: A living shadow in the darkness.
ELTON: But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It's so much darker.
DOCTOR: No light, no dark, no up, no down.
DOCTOR: The Racnoss come from the Dark Times, billions of years ago, billions.
SWALES: It's dark.
FLORENCE: You're quite the funny man. And yet, I think, laughing on purpose at the darkness.
LILITH: The Eternals found the right word to banish us into deep darkness.
DALEK: Humankind is weak. You shelter from the dark.
DOCTOR: Yeah, I found one of your experiments. Just left to die out there in the dark.
TALLULAH: There ain’t nothin’ more creepy than a theatre in the dark.
DOCTOR: The only creature who might have led you out of the darkness.
VOICES IN THE WATCH: The darkness is coming... keep me away from the force and empty man...the last of the Time Lords, the last of a wise and ancient race... Hold me. Keep me safe. Keep me dark. Keep me closed. The time is not right.
MARTHA: Sometimes when you look in his eyes you know - you just know that there's something else in there. Something hidden. Right behind the eyes, something hidden away. In the dark.
DOCTOR: There was a time when the universe was so much smaller than it is now. A darker, older time of chaos.
TOCLAFANE: We have to escape. Because it’s coming, sir. The darkness, the never-ending darkness. The terrible, terrible cold. We have to run and run and run!
MASTER: You should have seen it, Doctor. Furnaces, burning. The last of humanity screaming at the dark.
DOCTOR: The wind is felt most keenly in the dark.
LUCIUS: Ah. But what is the dark, other than an omen of the sun?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Mad Larry The Pirate King Impression

Would YOU let THIS MAN near YOUR beloved childhood television institution?!?

. . .


Monday, May 19, 2008

Doctor Who - Dining With WASPS


In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy...

Today's dark question of blood-chilling terror is: what if Gareth Roberts suffered a complete nervous breakdown and was left an unfunny, over-inflated egomaniac determined to take the piss out of absolutely everything? What if, in short, Gareth Roberts underwent a Jekyll-and-Hyde-style transmogrification into Nev Fountain? Have we ever seen them in the same room? David Tennant sure hasn't...

The opening scenes of the episode forced this unwanted concept into my mind sans lubricant as the TARDIS arrives at a country house and the Doctor and Donna emerge and see how quickly they can piss me off. Following the painful bit which demonstrates the TARDIS prop was never taken to the house where the rest of the story was filmed, and what's more the false console room inside fell over, meaning we can see the inside of the police box roof before you reach the console room... and there are leaves on the police box! Jesus. Did no one notice this? Like the prat behind the camera?

"Never mind the planet Zog, a party in the 1920s, that's more like it!" giggles Donna, instantly requiring someone to punch her in the face. Or at least the person responsible for that dialogue. For fuck's sake! It's not even FUNNY! Oooh, what would you, average viewer, rather watch? An alien uprising on another planet or some twats called Colonel Peach and Reverened "Mark Gatiss stunt double" Golightly. And, no, those are the actual names of these retards. If they said anything remotely amusing, I can forgive this, but I'm left as I was at the start of Kath and Kim wondering "Why the fuck am I watching this? Am I supposed to laugh? Cringe? Nod my head knowingly? Why should any of this deserve my attention?" Especially the fucking vicar, who has been nasally pissing me off since Christmas last year.

What's this? Professor Peach (or was it Colonel? You see the trouble? I DON'T CARE!!) is in the attic looking through papers and talking to himself as he blandly exposits how exctied and secretive it is. ANY JOKES WOULD BE WELCOME, GARETH! ANY AT ALL!! Then, of course, he gets thumped to death by a giant wasp. "I say, what are you doing with that lead pipining?" Peach asks. Shuting you up, hopefully. "That's impossible!" Try anyway...

And the credits start with me having completely and utterly lost any desire to watch further on. It's The Idiot's Fucking Lantern all over again. You get a decent story progression, then suddenly it gets completely abandoned with a suffocatingly smug historical - and ostensibly a comedy. A comedy! From Gareth "The One Doctor" Roberts? How could it fail? Don't ask me, but it just did. There is only line in the pre-credit sequence that counts as a joke... and it's shithouse. Unless we're supposed to fall around laughing at the fact everyone is a 1920s stereotype with a pathetic name and the Doctor and Donna, having completely lost any of the wonder in the first five episodes are now, Smug Time Tourists... Why am I even wasting time downloading this shit?

Don't get me wrong, I want to like this. Robert's The Shakespeare Code is one of my favorites and he gets the Blackadder-style version of the past done brilliantly, like The Fires of Pompeii, but not the utter contempt for any kind of reality as in The Kingmaker. My hopes are raised in the idea that the location is in glorious sunshine rather than the bleached, overcast atmos the BBC seem to think existed until the 1970s. Everything else was threatened with rain and everyone looked like they'd just been bitten by vampires. Did anyone else watch The Ruby in the Smoke last night? Shit, wasn't it? I mean, Billie was wonderful and the dialogue sparked, the characters worked... but who had the lobotomy before dubbing it a detective story? Billie Piper spends the entire story having random people wander up to her, tell her conflicting stories from the past, and vanish. I was left utterly confused, especially at why psycho Julie Walters just stops mindlessly knifing people and reads out her autobiography before drowning herself, or why the other serial killer in the story does the same thing before Billie shoots him through the bollocks, only for him to escape... why the hell was he killing people if he is the Kerry Packer of the Triad Underworld? What was a recovering Opium addict, Trevor Cooper and Robert Glenister going to threaten him with? I have to say, I feel stupid even asking since every five minutes in the story someone sat down and said, "Let me tell you more of the story we couldn't be arsed to film" before dying... The most inept, cack-handred crap passed off as 'mystery' I've ever seen. Who adapted it? Sparacus?

Speaking of the fishy one, his presence stinks up this story which, as he just HAD to point out, reminds of his seminal work (never has that phrase been used so completely accurately before) Aliens in the Orchid House. Not as crap, of course, because it simply couldn't be. But somehow Mark Goacher's claiming it as his own, plus the most nauseatingly stupid pre-credits sequence since the last one (A clue? FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!!!), mean I'm tempted to give up on this. I haven't felt so disenfranchised since Something Borrowed was inflicted onto the world by the similarly-reliable-seeming Phil Ford.

Maybe it'll get better. But then, why should it? This is the same bloody show that assumed for a disturbingly long period of time that The Doctor's Daughter would work perfectly as a complete rip off of The Last of the Time Lords. The same producer who assumed everyone would be glad he would all but take it off the air every four years. The same corporation so retarded they interrupt the show with the Eurovision Song Contest.

As you can tell, I've pretty much lost every single iota of confidence I had in these ham-fisted "professionals". Maybe if they stopped banging on about how fucking perfect they were every single chance they get, because get this, BBCWales, you fool NOBODY. A conglomerate of Lemon Bloody Colas, the lot of them and as for Karen Beesto...

....and back again!

Hoooboy. Blood sugar must have been low then. All in all, I can still see where I was coming from (coz if I couldn't, no one else will), and that pre-credit sequence is still ten types of crap and the zog line should be shot through the head, but Gareth Roberts, he's never been could with pre-title seqeunces. Look at Attack of the Graske or The Shakespeare Code. Just doesn't work for him.

Once we get into gear, the story's sense of humor establishes itself, starting with a nice moment when Donna asks the Doctor "Flapper or slapper?" and the Doctor takes a moment to reply, clearly not sure which answer she wants. Then the obligatory "No, no, no, don't do that, no" to when his companion tries to indulge in local patter (so good Martha got it twice!) and the "we're not married" gag, they mingle with the guests. How old is Christopher Benjamin anyway? He looks only slightly greyer than he did in Talons of Weng-Chiang? Was he made up to look older than he was or something? Felicity Kendall... well, might be UnAustralian, but she's aged better than Kylie, but I will refrain against all my automatic responses and not lovingly describe her posterier. But I saw The Good Life - it deserved greatness!

Donna finds this set up as unbelievable as I do, which gets her back in my good books. Agetha Christie and a bunch of 1920s socialites have been invited to a party and this is the day Christie vanishes off the face of the Earth and reappears ten days later with amnesia at a hotel in Harrogate (complete with Family Guy cutaways to Christie standing beside a sign saying THE HARROGATE HOTEL... just in case it wasn't clear). But, gazooks, Professor Peach (yeah, I care know) has been found dead in the library with a bit of lead piping, and it takes all of Donna's bladder control not to piss herself laughing at the very idea of such a dumb idea as Agetha Christie caught up in a murder mystery parodying her own work.

Of course, no one has an alibi... bar the Doctor and Donna... and so they are interrogated by the Doctor and Christie with laughingly camp flashbacks (complete with ripples and harp music) which get sillier and sillier. The vicar says he was alone in his room, and we see him alone in his room. The young cad says he was alone in the grounds, and we see him and the manservant skipping hand in hand. Felicity Kendall says she was having tea, and we see her swigging down bottles of hootch and staggering out to meet the Doctor and Donna and recites the entire opening scene as the Doctor shouts HE KNOWS! HE WAS THERE! The young spinster says she was in the loo at the time, and we see her laughing evilly and shoving bullets into a handgun. Henry Gordon Jago goes one better: he says he was reading a military diary, and we see him flipping through 1920s porn. His past self in the flashback reveals it was reminding him of his days in the army, and the flashback Jago has ANOTHER flashback to being in a music hall watching cancan girls... the Doctor takes even longer to shouts how irrelevent this is - and it is flashback Jago who apologizes, not the 'real' one having the flashback! The Doctor bemoans this and slumps down, before having his OWN flashback, to when he was hunting an insane computer through the forrests of Belgium armed with bows and arrows... and Christie points out that this isn't particularly relevent either.

Awesome. It might sound stupid, but it's awesome.

Donna meanwhile, finds a bedroom mysteriously locked for 40 years. No sooner does she break in, the nostalgic sounds of bees buzzing (bees are disappearing, you know, story arc) becomes the less enjoyable sound of a giant wasp smashing through the window and chasing them around the place. The Doctor realizes that the giant wasp is camoflaguing itself as one of the humans. "There's nowhere to run!" the Doctor shouts as he follows the giant wasp (odd how we automatically assumed from the trailers he was being pessimistic about their chances against giant wasps rather than with the upper hand) and, when the wasp ducks down a corridor, screams "SHOW YOURSELF!"

The entire speaking cast emerge from doors all along the corridor, in unison, and look at the Doctor in confusion. As the man himself says, "That's not fair."

But it is incredibly amusing.

And I think the butler did it. I have no evidence bar the ominous music wherever he appears, but it could just be a gag, like that Funky Squad episode where it turns out the butler DIDN'T do it... which in turn makes the entire plot ridiculous because he's the only person who COULD have done it. Oh, the wit!

Meanwhile, no sooner has the Doctor explained the story title for anyone not paying attention, he realizes he's just been poisoned with cyanide. This sequence is SLIGHTLY disappointing for me as it makes a Trenchcoat story uncanonical (for the record, a brilliant bit where we learn Time Lords are immune to cyanide, so the Doctor downs a whole glass with a psycho grin to the bloke who tried to poison him). The other, far more serious thing, is the resolution. If you read The Love Invasion, Roberts' comic strip the first episode of which was published in the month-long era before Eccleston quit, the Doctor gets a lungful of poison gas but survives by eating a chocolate and chicken sandwich, allowing his biochemistry to fix itself. This time, the Doctor's been poisoned and ransacks the kitchens to make a cocktail to cure him. Oh well. If I can cope with A Groatsworth of Wit AND The Shakespear Code, I can cope with this... actually, do I cope with those two contradictory portrayals of Shakespeare? Other times... and this is a rip off of Doctor Vs Doctor, too! Damn you, Steven Moffat, one slow day and you convince all authors to rip off their annual stories...

It's still very funny. DT must have a more screwed up pallet than I do to cope with a stew of gingerbeer, anchovies, walnuts and lemonade... and CT must be damn professional to snog him during such a repast. Oh yeah. Doctor Donna snog. Trust me. It works. And oddly enough, just at the cliffhanger mark of 23 minutes... and I think this has a bit more in common with The Chimes of Midnight than I was expecting. Not that that is in any way a bad thing...

And see? They COULD have used Bessie for The Sontaran Stratagem!! DON'T YOU DARE DENY IT!

All in all I liked that, even though it's pretty much cut and paste from all of Roberts' earlier works, especially the finale where the Doctor muses on how people are remembered - it works when it's the Ninth Doctor's last scene in the comic strip, seems a bit gratuitious otherwise. And, oddly enough, it actually was very much like Ruby in the Smoke. Except it made sense. And had a giant wasp. No Billie Piper, but nothing's perfect.

Next Time: sod all.

Next Next Time: "Donna, stay out of the shadows."
It had to happen. Moffat would drop the ball sooner or later. Well, to be fair he probably hasn't, but this is the single worst trailer for an episode I have ever seen in my entire life. Not only did it leave me with absolutely no desire to watch Silence in the Library, it made it look like something I should actually avoid. The Doctor and Donna arrive at the Biggest Library Ever (wow, ripping off a Moffat short story, what are the odds?) and everyone's dead. Because of evil shadows. And some skeletons in space suits. And a giant tampon who needs acting lessons stat. Booooooooooor-iiiiiiiiiiing. Worst of all, the trailer actually makes a certain internet nutter look credible with their bitching that this is a Benny Summerfield story hastily rewritten... I mean, annoyingly cocksure female "Professor" archaeologist and an intense spectacled Time Lordy bloke doesn't AUTOMATICALLY mean "Benny and Brax". Does it?
I'm sure Moffat will kick my arse inside out. Maybe. Not that he has good form with two parters. But in any case, one thing is certain. That trailer was complete shit.


Sunday, May 18, 2008


...or, the "what happened after Blake" that's sat in my mind since 1986...

BLAKE’S 7 501: "In The Company Of Madmen"


The foggy blue planet of Gauda Prime hangs in space, alone.
We zoom in on the planet. As we do so, we hear the
distorted, dreamlike sounds of a conversation.

(V/O, dist)
He’s sold us, Avon. All of us. Even

(V/O, dist)
Is this true?

(V/O, dist)
Avon. It’s me. Blake.


The voices continue to be heard, strange and unreal as we
move through the woods. It is raining heavily, and mist
wafts between the trees. We move through the forest.

(V/O, dist)

Have you betrayed us? Have
you betrayed me?

(V/O, dist)
Tarrant doesn’t understand!

(V/O, dist)
Well, neither do I, Blake!

(V/O, dist)
I set all this up!!

(V/O, dist)
... yes...


Black and white to indicate it is a flashback. The dialog is
still distorted and while alarms are clearly going off, we
cannot hear it. To the left stands ROJ BLAKE and ARLEN. In
front of them stands KERR AVON holding a long plasma rifle,
aimed at BLAKE. Behind AVON stands VILA RESTAL, DEL TARRANT,

Avon, I was waiting for you --

BLAKE steps forward toward AVON who raises the gun and fires
three times. BLAKE’s reactions are mixed into each other as
if the three shots are happening simultaneously. The effect
ends as, mortally wounded, BLAKE falls forward. He grabs
AVON’s shoulders stay upright, and stares blindly into
AVON’s horrified face.


BLAKE loses his hold and falls to the floor, lying on his
back, staring up at the ceiling, quite dead. Gunfire and
explosions are heard. Just over the cacophony:

(V/O, dist)

AVON’s head snaps up, leaving his daze. We can now hear the
blaring alarms. He looks around and sees black-clad,
helmeted FEDERATION TROOPERS entering the gallery from the
various entrances. As they enter, they raise their guns to
train them onto AVON. He turns, seeing more and more
TROOPERS arrive, and sees all the others are lying lifeless
on the floor, all apparently dead. The TROOPERS are closing
in around him, guns aimed at his head. AVON turns a complete
circle. He is completely surrounded.

As the TROOPERS cautiously move even closer, AVON looks down
at BLAKE’s body. BLAKE stares sightlessly up at him. AVON
places his feet on either side of the corpse, standing over
him almost protectively. AVON finally lifts his head up once
more. The TROOPERS are a wall around him.

Suddenly, the alarm cuts out, leaving only the gentle whir
of the tracking systems in the room. AVON casually raises
his rifle. The TROOPERS tense. AVON, aiming his rifle at
head height, braces himself for the shot. An eerie smile
spreads across his face, then hardens into a grimace.


Color and normal sound. We see a close up of AVON’s
impassive face as we hear a roar of different gunfires that
suddenly ends, leaving silence. He closes his eyes.

You still haven’t tried to escape.

He opens his eyes again. We see AVON is lying on a bunk in a
square room, staring up at the ceiling. The bunk is the only
furniture, but the decor shows it is part of the GP base. On
the other side of room, KORRELL leans in the open doorway.
She is relaxed and calm, arms folded.

It’s been seven days. The door is
open and I am unarmed. Most people
would at least attempted to escape
by now.

AVON doesn’t look at her as he speaks.

The trap is too obvious.

Is it?

To run, you need somewhere to go.

True. And you don’t seem to have
that possibility. At present.

AVON frowns slightly at this, but does not take his eyes
from the ceiling.

You have all the cards. You make
the move.

KORELL smiles at this.

All right. Let’s talk about you.
You have had no thoughts of escape
for the past seven days. Why?
Because you are looking inwards.
For the second time in your life,
only the second time ever, you have
too much to think about.

Is that a diagnosis?

No. Nor was it a question. You have
been living on a knife edge, just
avoiding death. You could stand the
constant pressure, but could you
stand the memories when they come
flooding back? The memories of the
people you trusted, perhaps?

AVON still does not look at her.


The people you trusted, the only
people you trusted in your entire
life. They betrayed you. Anna
Grant, for instance? You nearly
died for her as I understand it.
And she was an agent of Servalan.
Or maybe she was an agent for
someone else? After all, no one
knows. All we know is what she
wasn’t... she wasn’t loyal, she
wasn’t truthful, she wasn’t worthy
of your love. And she wasn’t dead.

She is now.

And so is Blake. You admired him.

AVON rolls his eyes in vague amusement.

You pretended to despise him, but
you must have agreed with him and
his purpose. You wouldn’t have
ended up on this planet for any
other reason. Would you?

Blake was a fool.

But he was a fool that you knew. A
fool you thought you could predict.
You thought wrong. In the end, you
couldn’t be sure.

A long pause.

Did Blake betray you?

Is that a question?

This time? Yes. A real question.

AVON smiles.

It’s an interesting theory.

Am I right?

It’s just a story.

A true story?

More or less.

AVON levers himself upright, turning to sit on his bunk,
looking straight at KORELL for the first time.

What do you want, Korell?

There’s no hurry. We’ll talk

AVON’s voice holds a hint of desperation.

I’d like to tell you now.

KORELL studies him for a moment.


She turns and leaves the cell. The door slides shut
smoothly, blocking the view of the corridor outside. AVON
sits, staring at the door. His expression changes to one of
satisfaction. He lies back down on the bunk.



Servalan’s personal space craft is positioned in space.
Another, larger space ship is docked with it.


Three MUTOIDS sit at the flight controls in the middle of
the deck. SERVALAN sits at her control console to left of
the flight deck. Before her stands ARLEN, now dressed in the
uniform of a trooper. She stands to attention, helmet under
her arm. A fourth MUTOID stands nearby.

You were on the planet, Commander?

Yes, Commissioner.

What were your orders there?

To remove the prisoners held in the
compound and return them to Earth.

SERVALAN is slightly surprised at this.

Why Earth? Were these prisoners
particularly important?

ARLEN looks slightly awkward.


Yes, Captain?

For some time, the planet had been
used by enemies of the Federation.
We had them under close
surveillance and had infiltrated
the command structure.

And what form did this command
structure take?

When Open Planet policy was
introduced, normal Federation laws
were abandoned, leading to a number
of criminals arriving to take
advantage. When the policy was
terminated, law enforcement
operations were set up to round up
and execute those criminals.

So any criminal elements using the
planet as a gathering place would
already be being dealt with?

That is what seemed to be
happening. However, the rebels were
using the cover of one of the
bounty hunter operations to attract
other dissident elements to their
base. They would capture criminals
at large on the planet and, if
suitable, recruit them. They
falsified records so the criminals
would be listed as dead, while
keeping them at large to plan a

And who was it that infiltrated
this underground organization?

Myself, Commissioner.

You, Commander?

I ensured that the dissidents were
unaware the rest of my force was on
the planet. At my command, we
stormed the silo they were using as
a base. All the rebels were to be
rounded up, and those that resisted
were executed on the spot.

SERVALAN does not look impressed.


Yes, Commissioner.

And who were these... great
outlaws? That senior officers of
the Terran Federation had to rush
half way across the galaxy in order
to have them arrested?

ARLEN looks slightly smug.

The leader of the rebels,

Who was...?

Blake, Commissioner.

SERVALAN stares at ARLEN for a long moment.

Roj Blake?

Yes, Commissioner. He was the major
political criminal on the
Federation’s wanted list for...

Don’t tell me about Blake,
Commander. I know more about him
than you were ever told.

A pause. SERVALAN is much calmer now.

Did you actually see him?

Yes, Commissioner. I spent much
time with him undercover. He was
one of the false bounty hunters
that captured me, believing me to
be a suitable ally.

And was Blake taken captive?

Not exactly, Commissioner.

SERVALAN’s voice is like cut glass.

Then what, "exactly", Commander?

Blake was shot repeatedly from very
close range as the troopers
arrived. I supervised
identification of the body. Roj
Blake is a dead man.

He resisted arrest, then?

We didn’t shoot him, Commissioner.
He died before my men even entered
the silo. He was shot by one of his
rebel allies.

Which ally?

His name is Kerr Avon,

SERVALAN cannot hide her surprise.



AVON lies on the bunk, seemingly asleep. There is a
scuffling noise from the closed door. Instantly, AVON opens
his eyes, wide awake. He sits up. He mutters to himself.

It seems I misjudged you, Korell.

He gets to his feet and crosses to the door, and presses
himself against the wall to the left of it, drawing his arm
up for a karate chop. The door slides open.

A TROOPER stands in the doorway. AVON’s expression shows his
surprise, but he still makes his move. Before the TROOPER
has stepped into the cell, AVON strikes him in the stomach.
Letting out a muffled groan of pain, the TROOPER falls
forward to the floor. AVON crouches down and slips his arm
around the neck of the TROOPER, getting him into a headlock.

AVON glances at the open door and the corridor beyond. No
one else. He tightens his grip on the TROOPER’s neck, as the
TROOPER instinctively tries to pull the arm away. AVON
tightens his grip further, but speaks quietly.

The wrong type of movement on your
part could have serious

The TROOPER stops resisting, intimidated.

It would be helpful if we could
talk. Take off your helmet.

AVON slackens his grip, while still holding onto the
TROOPER, who gently pulls off his helmet to reveal a
familiar face underneath - albeit with a stubbly beard and a
look of terror in the eyes.


VILA grimaces.

Since you know who he is, you might
want to let him go.

AVON smiles and does so. We see a SECOND TROOPER standing in
the doorway, holding a sidearm aimed at AVON. VILA scrambles
away from AVON as far as he can.

Hello, Soolin.

Keeping AVON covered, SOOLIN takes off the helmet.

It’s bad manners to threaten the
lives of those who’ve just freed
you from a Federation cell.

It was rather hard to tell who you
were through those uniforms.
Although I should have recognized

VILA glares at AVON, annoyed.

Yes! You should have!

You thought he was the usual
Federation thug?

He doesn’t quite have that
aggressive authority which is their
hallmark. As for you...

AVON starts to rise.

Slowly, Avon.

I’m not the one with a gun.

You’ve just demonstrated that
doesn’t count for much.

You also demonstrated how you’ve
turned into a homicidal maniac with
a tendency to kill people on your
own side!

I have nothing to gain from harming
either of you.

Very comforting. We rather got the
impression you wanted us all dead.

There are a number of locks between
here and the outside world. Vila
can open them quicker than the
average guard. And getting past the
guards is easier with a gunfighter
- especially the best there is.

I’m flattered.

Don’t be.

Well, you don’t need to worry about
the locks between here and the
outside world, they’re all done.

What about the guards?

We won’t be bumping into any.

You killed them all I suppose?


I doubt it was Vila who did it.

I didn’t have to kill anyone. This
place is deserted.


There’s no one in this silo, except

AVON is troubled. He doesn’t know how to react.

How did you scare them off, Avon?
Threaten to give a lecture to the
assembled masses on the subject of
your ego?

If I’d wanted them to leave, I
would have discussed yours for
maximum effect. Where are Dayna and

Not here. We’ve checked all the

Do you know if they’re still alive?

You mean you actually care? It
looked to me like you wanted us all

Dead or alive, they’re nowhere in
this silo. At least not any more.

Unsurprising. It’s been a week.

A week since you unleashed
universal mayhem. And in all that
time there hasn’t been a single
ship landing or taking off.

AVON gets to his feet.

What were you doing out there in
the meantime? Counting trees? Or
drinking every drop of adrenaline
and soma within a radius of twenty

VILA stands as well.

And what the hell have you been
doing for the last seven days,
Avon? Playing patience?

I’ve been held prisoner.

By whom? There’s no people here,
Avon. No guards, no Federation, no

No food.

What about Korell?

And who might Korell be?

A civilian woman with long hair.
She was here, in this cell, one
hour ago!

SOOLIN and VILA exchange a glance.

Well. We haven’t seen her. Maybe
you’ve gone mad, Avon? Again, I

Or maybe she was a ghost?

AVON turns to look sharply at SOOLIN.

Or maybe you are.

SOOLIN smiles knowingly at him.


As before. ARLEN stands before SERVALAN.

Commander Arlen, if your takeover
of Blake’s silo was such an
"unqualified success" why didn’t
you complete the roundup and
identification of the bodies
according to your orders?

It was at that point that we were
attacked, Commissioner.

I see. By whom were you attacked?

The fighting had only just stopped
when there was a gas attack from
outside the compound. It was Aoline
97 which can maim instantly, and as
a standard precaution...

You evacuated the silo right away?

Commissioner Sleer, by retreating
we were able to avoid the attackers
without further loss of men.

SERVALAN rises to her feet. ARLEN stays at attention, facing
the console even as SERVALAN moves from behind.

You lost only five of your troopers
in the entire operation, Commander.
And because you didn’t lose a
sixth, that somehow is supposed to
justify you abandoning your
operation without even seeing your

Commissioner, the security systems
inside the silo clearly showed it
was under attack from an
overwhelming force.

Of course they did, you fool, you
were the overwhelming force!

The alarms were deactivated once we
had control and were inside.

And did you ever wonder who these
mysterious attackers might be?

I assumed they were more rebels,
Commissioner. Reinforcements
summoned by Blake to protect the
silo perhaps?

SERVALAN moves behind ARLEN, who continues staring ahead -
the Comissioner’s voice drips with sarcasm.

Yes, it’s just possible that was
the case.

Blake was dead and so were most of
his rebels - and since our primary
orders were to ensure Blake was

And he was eliminated?

Yes, Commissioner.

SERVALAN returns to her seat.

Then where is his body?

As I reported, Commissioner, we had
to evacuate and there was no
opportunity to return to the

So the body is still presumably on
the planet?

ARLEN takes a breath to stop her biting back.

Yes, Commissioner.

So there is no proof? Only your

Commissioner Sleer...


You may go, Commander.

ARLEN salutes and walks across the flight deck to the
airlock on the far right. SERVALAN addresses the attending
MUTOID, but doesn’t look at her.

Call up information from Data
Central. Bring me a complete
analysis of the frontier planet
Gauda Prime.

Yes, Commissioner.

And have it sifted for references
to "Blake", "Avon", "Orac",
"Scorpio" and "teleport".


As before. AVON sits on the bunk. VILA in the corner. SOOLIN
in the doorway, still with her gun aimed at AVON. He has
been talking for a while.

For the past six days, the routine
never varied. Twice a day, Korell
would arrive here with food. She
would allow me to exercise up and
down the corridor, then attempt to
make conversation.

Is she pretty?

AVON blinks, distracted at the left-field question.


Oh, well, what a surprise. We get
to starve in a beaten-up freighter
for six days, while Avon here gets
to be interrogated by a beautiful
woman - assuming you call this
luxury "interrogation"?

I call it "psychological warfare".
She was playing mind games with me.
She deliberately set up
contradictions of a prison with
only one unarmed guard, unlocked
doors, no security cameras in the
cell, no brutality, keeping me in
total ignorance of what was going
on... just waiting for me to crack.

It’d be enough to drive you insane.

If you weren’t already.

I decided to pretend it was
working. At her next visit, when
she thought I was at my weakest and
could finally make me submit, I
could escape.

What exactly did she want?

She wanted me to tell her where I
hid Orac.

And she thought the best way to do
that was waiting until your
conscience got the better of you?

She sounds as mad as you are, Avon.

Speaking of irrational behavior, is
there any particular reason we’re
staying in this cell?

Where else is there to go?

The outside world as you call it is
saturated. It’s the rainy season,
and rainy season means rain.
Non-stop endless rain...

Spare me the weather report.

It’s warm and dry in here.

What about the rest of the silo?

There’s a price for you being
allowed to find out, Avon.

Which is?

We want Orac.

It’s our one chance to get off GP
and we intend to take it.

AVON studies both of them carefully.

All right.

And don’t think we’ve forgotten
what happened a week ago.

AVON doesn’t reply but gets to his feet.


AVON emerges from the cell, followed by VILA and SOOLIN. He
looks left and right, then chooses left. They follow.

You don’t want directions?

I prefer to trust my own judgement.

After all, when has it ever let you

AVON’s expression hardens, but he says nothing. VILA and
SOOLIN do not see it.

If my route is different from
yours, anyone relying on me to
follow your directions will be
sorely disappointed.

VILA is offended at the implication.

You think this is a trap, don’t
you? That we’ve sold out.

It’s difficult to tell who you can
trust these days.

That’s just charming, that is.
Maybe starving outside would have
been the better option, maybe we
should have stayed out in the rain
for another week and died? Would we
be worthy of trust then?

AVON doesn’t reply but continues down the corridor.

You’re wasting your breath, Vila.


AVON emerges from one of the entrances to the right of the
gallery, stopping short in mild surprise at finding the
control centre so quickly. There is no sign of shootout that
took place; all the bodies are gone, and the systems hum and
titter to themselves.

Cautiously, AVON moves from the walkway into the lower area.
He approaches the patch of floor Blake died on. There isn’t
even a bloodstain. VILA and SOOLIN arrive. They watch as
AVON turns in a circle, repeating his actions in the last


Black and white. AVON turns in a circle, surrounded by
troopers. Interspersed we see AVON shooting a TECHNICIAN
attacking TARRANT, shooting KLYN, shooting BLAKE over and
over again. The dying BLAKE grabs hold of AVON. He speaks,
but we hear VILA’s voice overdubbed.

(V/O, dist)


As before. AVON is back in reality. VILA looks around the
gallery, sound gloomy and slightly afraid.

What happened here?

You tell me.

We were lucky. We survived.

AVON doesn’t seem to know what she’s talking about.



Black and white, voices distorted. The alarms are going off.
AVON is staring, catatonic, at BLAKE’s corpse on the floor.
VILA, SOOLIN, DAYNA and TARRANT stand beyond him. ARLEN is
covering them with her handgun. There is a distant

Be so kind as to drop your guns.
All of you.

VILA, SOOLIN and DAYNA toss their clip-guns to the floor.

You and this nest of rebels are now
prisoners of the Federation. Your
friend Blake said he couldn’t tell
anymore who was Federation and who
wasn’t. He was right. He couldn’t.

TARRANT smiles at her.

You’re a Federation agent?

I’m a Federation officer.

Keeping his hands up, VILA ducks around AVON and moves
toward ARLEN talking reasonably.

Oh, now, look, I’ve never been
against the Federation! I mean,
I’ve only ever been along for the
ride. I’m not even armed. You can’t
kill me! I’m completely harmless
and armless!

As he speaks, DAYNA ducks down and scoops up the nearest
clip-gun. Before she can aim it, ARLEN fires. DAYNA is flung
back against TARRANT and SOOLIN, dropping her gun.
Devastated, VILA turns and slams his fist down on ARLEN’s
hand, forcing her to drop the gun. His fist instantly swings
up into her face, knocking her backwards. As SOOLIN and
TARRANT lower DAYNA to the floor, VILA snatches up ARLEN’s
discarded gun. He glances at her unconscious body.


He straightens up. A gunshot rings out, and VILA reels
backwards, letting go of the gun as he falls lifeless to the
floor. Behind him we now see a TROOPER standing on the
walkway, holding a smoking sidearm.


As before. AVON turns to VILA.

And how exactly did you "survive"?

Instant reflexes. I was never shot.

You mean you hit the deck as soon
as the firing started?

Something like that. No point
hanging around being heroic. Not
twice in one day.

Was Dayna killed?

She was injured. We didn’t get a
chance to see how badly.


Black and white. VILA is lying on his back beside ARLEN, a
stunned look on his face. His looks around, then he quickly
closes his eyes. Meanwhile, SOOLIN raises her reclaimed
clip-gun and fires. The TROOPER falls dead as TARRANT, now
also armed, heads up onto the walkway.

A second TROOPER breaks cover from the right side of the
gallery, behind the others. He raises his rifle and fires at
SOOLIN. Shocked, she spins, tumbles and falls to the floor
as TARRANT moves and shoots the TROOPER, who collapses.

SOOLIN is lying sprawled on the floor, clearly in a lot of
pain and unable to move. She struggles to keep a grip on her
clip-gun, but only manages to push it away.


AVON looks down at the spot where SOOLIN fell.

You must have been very lucky to
survive a lethal charge.

Who said they weren’t using stun

Why would they bother? They had no
use for any of us alive, and they
weren’t even expecting us to be in
this silo in the first place.

The blast didn’t strike me dead on,
it was still enough to put me down
and keep me there. Basic first aide
was enough to save me.

Maybe that was their plan? They
shoot everyone, pick the ones they
want to stay alive and let the rest
die. They would have wanted Blake
alive, might have got him too if
you hadn’t taken the initiative.

And who exactly gave you that
crucial medical aide, Soolin? The

No, it was me.

And how did you manage to do that,
and escape without detection?


Black and white. AVON is still staring at BLAKE. TARRANT
shoots the TROOPER who shot SOOLIN, and runs down the steps
towards AVON. A third TROOPER emerges from the doorway
directly behind TARRANT.

Avon --

The latest TROOPER raises his rifle and fires. TARRANT
jerks, grimaces, and crashes backwards onto the steps,
dropping his gun in the process. AVON looks up, startled at
the noise as the TROOPER trains the rifle on AVON. Another
alarm goes off as other TROOPERS arrive.

VILA peers through narrowed eyes as a TROOPER roughly steps
over him to close in on AVON. The thief’s hand falls to land
near Arlen’s discarded gun.

SOOLIN’s eyes are narrowed too, but on the point of passing
out. With difficulty, she tries to peer up at what is
happening, but cannot move.

AVON is now surrounded. The alarms cut out. VILA takes hold
of the gun. AVON raises his own rifle. SOOLIN closes her
eyes. AVON smiles, grimaces and fires.

A control panel directly in front of AVON takes the blast
and explodes in sparks. Instantly the lights flicker and
dim. AVON dives for the cover of Klyn’s console as the
TROOPERS start firing. Two of the TROOPERS are accidentally
blasted by their own side and collapse. The others look
around, confused in the gloom at AVON’s sudden
disappearance. VILA raises the gun and shoots the nearest
TROOPER in the back. The fall, letting off their own gun in
the process and yet another TROOPER falls.

As the remaining TROOPERS turn to see what is attacking
them, AVON emerges from behind the console and fires again.
A TROOPER collapses beside TARRANT’s body. VILA is crawling
along the floor for a side corridor. Running footsteps fill
the air as more TROOPERS head for the gallery. AVON rises
from under cover and shoots a TROOPER, then runs for the
walkway. The remaining TROOPER shoots at AVON but misses,
causing a small explosion off a pillar.

The lights finally flicker on to full strength as VILA ducks
and sprawls himself against the wall, as if he slumped there
after being shot. Three more TROOPERS enter, as AVON fires
again, then flees the gallery. The TROOPERS follow.

For a moment, the gallery is still. Vila opens his eyes to
see, just in front of him, SOOLIN struggling to get up,
obviously in pain. VILA scrambles over to her, gingerly
avoiding BLAKE’s corpse.

Are you all right?

(dist, in agony)
Do you really expect me to say

Come on, let’s get moving and find
some place to hide!

What about the others?

VILA is about to reply when a TROOPER arrives from the far
left entrance. VILA quickly aims and fires the handgun, and
the TROOPER falls backwards. VILA turns back to SOOLIN.

Come on, move!

He helps her up and they hobble past TARRANT further into
the base. Two more TROOPERS appear, spot the fugitives and
open fire. Luckily, VILA and SOOLIN are able to turn the
corner and escape the gunfire.


AVON runs down the corridor, to run into three TROOPERS
marching the other way. The stop as they see each other.
AVON aims at them, when a TROOPER right behind AVON raises
his rifle and uses it as club. Struck on the back of the
head, AVON cries out, drops his weapon and falls limply.

We fade to black before he hits the ground.


Fade up.

And when I regained consciousness I
was in that cell. Not long after I
met Korell for the first time. So
what happened to you after you
crawled away from the action?

The silo was a death trap. So we
got out of it first chance we got.

Between your stupidity and Soolin’s
injury, that is rather unlikely.

Like I said, Avon. First aide. We
found a medical unit and patched
ourselves up. It didn’t take long
and then we managed to get out the
main hatch and out of the compound.

In the middle of a siege? Even more
unlikely. I doubt you’d even have
the time for Vila to break out.

What do you mean? I can open in
seconds what takes the
manufacturers four weeks! Even when
they have the key!

Once we were outside, we looked for
shelter. The nearest ship was the
best bet. Once we were safe inside,
I switched the rear viewers on to
see what was happening.

What was happening?

Not a lot. It had started raining.
A few flyers on the far side of the

Any idea who they where?

No. They might have been
Federation. They might have been
Blake’s friends evacuating. They
might have been Tarrant and Dayna
for all we know.

After that, there was a freighter
take off, from the other side of
the compound, then... nothing.

There was something else though.


It’s nothing. And whatever it was,
it’s not here now.

And what was it?

Hard to say. I think it might have
been some kind of space craft. It
was on the other side of the silo,
through the rain it was difficult
to work out any details.

Describe it, then.

It looked round. Sort of like a
sphere. And it was huge. It also
disappeared after a while and we
haven’t seen it since.

VILA leans on a railing, scowling.

Quiet as the grave.

Did you see any of the troopers

Just corpses of them.

Were they all dead?

We didn’t ask them. Conversation is
never up to much when you’re dead.
It’s hard for them to explain
things. You might have noticed that
when you shot Blake.

So you didn’t see anyone alive. Did
you hear anything?

Hear anything? It was commando
country out there! Hundred of
bounty hunters across the planet,
armed to the teeth, shouting orders
at each other on the communications
channels! Then, after a while, they
just... stopped.

Then what?

Then nothing. It all went silent.

That ship’s communicator, could it
have been faulty?

Equipment failure? We’re not
stupid, Avon, we checked for that.
It was working fine. And we double

There wasn’t much else to do.

AVON turns away from them.

It doesn’t make sense.

I’ll tell you what doesn’t make
sense, Avon. What doesn’t make
sense is you blowing holes in the
one person who could have got us
out of the mess you got us into!

AVON ignores them. VILA’s arm shoots out and grabs AVON’s,
holding him in place. AVON doesn’t look at him.

We nearly died, Avon. For all we
know, Tarrant and Dayna are dead.
We have no ship, no friends and no
clue what’s going on. We’re worse
off than we were on Terminal and
surprise, surprise, look who dumped
us all in it!

He betrayed me, Vila.

No. He didn’t.

He was...

VILA roughly pulls AVON around.

He was trying to explain to you
what was going on. This whole thing
was a cover for the rebels! He was
pretending to be a bounty hunter -
what else would he have been doing?
Just what did you expect him to be
doing on this crummy mudball?

Forgive me for not trusting the
judgement of a fourth class
reprobate with the intelligence of
a brick. What proof do you have
that Blake’s "rebellion" wasn’t a
lie to lure followers here for him
to betray?

Blake didn’t betray us!

Then where did the troopers come
from, Vila? Why did Tarrant say he
betrayed us? Why didn’t he explain?

You shot him. Several times.

So would you, Soolin - or are we
supposed to follow a hired killer’s
moral high ground?

We’re certainly not going to follow
yours, Avon. You’re more trouble
than you’re worth, and if anyone
betrayed us that day, it was you.

So do we shoot you, Avon? After
all, you’ve set a precedent.

Kill me and you never find Orac.

And is that why you hid it from us
too, Avon? Just when exactly did we
betray you? What did we do for you
not to trust us?

He doesn’t trust anyone, does our
Avon. Why should he? It’s not like
he’s done a single damn thing in
his entire life to earn it.

VILA steps closer to AVON.

You know, I might have forgiven you
for shooting Blake. I might have
accepted you trying to throw me out
of an airlock. I’m not saying I
would have liked it, but I might
have come to terms with it. But you
thinking you were in the right,
that you were the innocent party in
all this? You don’t get to do that.
Not any more. No deal, Kerr Avon.
No deal. Understand this.

VILA speaks almost in a whisper.

You deserve to be betrayed.

AVON stares at him, and seems to start to speak for a
moment, but then stops. He turns and glares at Soolin.

Shall we go?

In your own time. Preferably now.

To be continued....

Friday, May 16, 2008

For Fuck's Sake Gabriel Chase 2008!!

Yes, our favorite sociopathic eccentric oddball has AGAIN updated his fevered rantings - BEFORE Season Four is over! I wonder why?

More than fifteen years after the original series expired, and nearly nine after the abortive plan to conquer America, Doctor Who returned to British television via the BBC's Cardiff studio amidst a hail of publicity.
Aw. He's being reasonable!

However, any traditionalists expecting a revival of the familiar format were in for a shock.
Uh... how many traditionalists HONESTLY expected it to be identical to the old format?

Seriously, I cannot remember a single person expecting that.

The version of Doctor Who brought to the screens by writer Russell T.Davies, whose previous British sci-fi offering had been the six-part children's serial Dark Season in 1991,
Ahem. AND Century Falls.

was as different from the original as could be imagined.
Police Box, Daleks, Cyberman, Sontarans, Time Lord, cliffhangers, companions, historicals, future stories, UNIT, comedies...

Very much a child of its time, Davies' Who was a slick, fast-paced visual spectacular, relying more on extravagent special effects and celebrity guest stars than plot content.
This would REALLY hold more weight if you had actually WATCHED an episode, GC.

In place of a series of stories broken down into twenty-five minute episodes was a collection of forty-five minute installments, most self-contained, some forming halves of longer narratives.
Like Season 22. So even traditionalists could cope with that.

The style of the new series was based very much upon that developed in the series of original novels published by Virgin and BBC Books, which had managed to alienate most of the show's traditional fans but found favour with a host of new devotees grounded in over-elaborate American sci-fi serials, whilst the visual side owed much to the American pilot, in particular the design of the Tardis interior (also reminiscent of the Tardis seen in the Sixties' films - the doors being visible from the inside for instance), the opening titles and music, and the overall dark, brooding atmosphere.
Fuck, that is a long sentence. If the books were so unenjoyable, how come they lasted for fifteen years? And you cannot even realize that TARDIS is an acronym, therefore capitals? And dark, brooding atmosphere... did you miss Season 12-14? Or 22? 25-26? Most Hartnells? Give me a break...

Playing the part of a newly-regenerated Doctor in the first series was Christopher Eccleston, whose character was portrayed in a style reminsicent of Colin Baker's portrayal during the "Mindwarp" section of The Trial of a Time Lord, being frequently arrogant, sometimes condescending, often cowardly, and strangely reluctant to commit himself to resolving crises.
Sorry, shouldn't that just be "Colin Baker's portrayal" if you're going to be THAT superficial? Why single out "Mindwarp"? The story when the whole point is that even the SIXTH Doctor doesn't act like that?

Accompanying Eccleston was pop-starlet and gossip-column regular Billie Piper as London shopgirl Rose Tyler.
Stay calm. Don't kill him.

Typical of the times was the writers' rather annoying habit of turning every drama production into a soap,
I honestly am baffled why you have a link from that word saying Pamper yourself with our all natural soap, sugar scrubs, and herbal balms. Our body friendly natural bath products will promote healthy skin starting the very first day you try our products.

I mean... it's hardly helping your argument is it?

leading to Rose's mother and boyfriend appearing in practically every episode,
Out of the series' first thirteen episodes, they appeared in six episodes. So that's seven without. In the second series they appeared in seven episodes. With seven without. Does "practically" mean "not nearly"?

whilst even her supposedly deceased father appeared twice.
Three times, but why let facts get in the way.

Nevertheless, the new series was an immediate hit with the "Harry Potter" generation of under-twelves and twenty-somethings (most of whom didn't know any better!), despite provoking only lukewarm responses from the likes of former Doctor Peter Davison and former script editor Chris Bidmead.
Except Peter Davison appears in it and publically supports the show and the lead. You keep skipping that bit, don't you? The fact all the living Doctors thought the show was great is avoided as well, I note.

Eccleston bowed out at the end of the first series, "to avoid being typecast", to be replaced in a hurridly rewritten final episode

by David Tennant who, like Eccleston and many of the production team, was a member of Davies' unofficial entourage of favoured actors and technical staff.
You're not paranoid, are you GC? The fact Tennant was a lifelong fan of the show with a CV to prove it means nothing. HE WAS A GROUPIE!!

Tennant made his official debut in an hour long Christmas special, which more than anything underlined the difference between 1960s' TV and its 21st Century counterpart.
It was in colour. And had monsters. And actually was watched. And there was the concept of regeneration. And UNIT. And forty-years of social and technological development. Is that what you're saying, GC?

Back in 1965, a Doctor Who "Christmas Special" (the Feast of Steven episode of The Dalek Masterplan) was more an accident of scheduling than a positive decision to celebrate the Festive Season.
Then why did the first draft have the Christmas special written in?

Forty years later Christmas specials were a necessary obligation of every serial screened by the BBC.
No. They're not.

A second series followed in Easter 2006 with Piper departing for fresh projects at the conclusion of an explosive finale involving Daleks and Cybermen, both of which had been revived with an eye on the lucrative toy market.
Cause no one ever thought of toy markets since, ooh, 1964? Does "Dalekmania" ring a bell, shithead?

Also revived was the character of Sarah-Jane Smith, played as ever by Elisabeth Sladen and accompanied by the John Leeson-voiced K9, both of whom were central to a Davies-penned spin-off series for the junior TV market.
Yes! Vile, disgusting commercialism perpetrated by that sexual deviant! Not a bit like the wholesome K9 and Company, a brilliant masterstroke by that butch hetero JNT... the fact Davies only script-edited one episode and didn't write for any of them is similarly ignored. I mean, it's not hard to check wikipedia to find the facts, is it?

Also spun-off was Torchwood, a more adult-orientated sci-fi series based in Cardiff and featuring the character of Captain Jack Harkness from the latter half of the first series.
Come on, you had a free shot there! Tear them to shreds, I won't stop you!

Replacing Piper temporarily in a second Christmas special was Donna Noble, played by the Trendies' favourite BBC comedienne, Catherine Tate, who, thankfully, desisted from using any of the monotonous catchphrases from her trendy (and relatively unfunny) BBC3 sketch show,
GC is clearly a deciple of Donna. She's got more kudos than the rest of the series put together.

before making way for the more permanent medical student Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman, in series three.
Who wasn't really BLACK! Oh, wait, you edited that out? Did you? Naughty boy!

Like Rose, Martha had most of her family featured on a regular basis as the show proved seemingly reluctant to stray too far from Earth or its parallel-universe analogue.
Wait. Three episodes were on the parallel universe, and just in the second series. That's about as reluctant as you can get. And there are at least fourteen stories set off Earth, and half a dozen set on alien planets! Still, at least you aren't saying Rose is stuck on New Earth any more...

Series three also featured the return of another old foe in the form of the Master, played by a John Simm fresh from the triumph that was Life On Mars.
No bitching about the beard? Or dissing Derek Jacobi? You don't complain at all!

Martha (and Agyeman) was farmed out to Torchwood at the end of the third series to make way for Donna Noble's return as a permanent fixture
Sigh. Why do I bother.

- presumably because Catherine Tate was worth more gossip column inches than Agyeman -
So why didn't they keep her for season three, fuckwit?

inbetween which pop princess and former Australian soap star Kylie Minogue
Why the link? Seriously?

starred in the third Christmas extravaganza.
Fourth. Remember?

Having outraged traditionalists in series three with the portrayal of a Dalek with a personality striving to become a human being - which is rather like a modern human attempting to regress to becoming the Missing Link between humans and apes
What a brilliant idea for a story!! And "outraged traditionalists"? WHAT? "Annoyed YOU" is what you mean. Find a review of Daleks in Manhattan slagging it off. Easy. Finding one saying "Daleks becoming human? RTD must DIE!" is a lot harder.

- series four provided fresh controversy in featuring the Doctor's daughter, played by Peter Davison's actress daughter Georgina Moffatt (Dariel Pertwee presumably being otherwise engaged or not thought to be high-profile enough).
...who? Dunno why you complain about that?

Whilst Susan had referred to the Doctor in the original series as her grandfather, it had never been established whether this was a biological fact or merely a term of endearment, with many fans leaning towards the latter.
No, they didn't...

This highlighted the cut-and-dried stance of the new series, where everything had to be explained in simple terms, every fact had to be documented, cross-referenced and adhered to, and nothing was left to the individual viewer or writer's imagination.
HAHAHAHH! Oh, man, you really HAVEN'T watched the new series! And you haven't watched The Doctor's Daughter either...

In addition to this, series four witnessed the return of the Sontarans, now resembling a cross between the Vogons from the TV adaptation of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and former EastEnders psycho Ross Kemp,
I don't disagree... but surely that's what they're SUPPOSED to look like?

as well as cameo returns for Freema Agyeman's Martha Jones and Billie Piper's Rose Tyler. With the show forced to take time-out in 2009 to allow David Tennant to appear in a theatrical run of Macbeth, it remains to be seen if it will return for a fifth series.
HURRAH! He finally noticed it will be shown in 2009!

All we need now is for him to realize that the fifth series has been commissioned! It was comissioned at the same time we were told about the hiatus!

And if you're reading this, Gabriel Chase, I fucking hate you.