Thursday, November 27, 2008

Work In Progress 2: This Time It's Personal

1E - The Pretension Society -

CD Blurb
Fleeing an Earth corrupted by passions, cruelty, and hatred, the people of Perivale sought to create the perfect society. They failed miserably, so let's talk about something more interesting happening in Saffron Waldon.

As the twenty-first century dawned, could man overcome his very basic nature? Would Pokémon replace real pets? Is having an unhealthy obsession with a computer game character as valid as having a relationship with a real, living person who CAN'T disembowel mutant ninjas?

When the Doctor and Chris arrive on a world frighteningly similar to our own, since it IS our own, and they find a society about to revolutionized by a wonder drug called Cyberon which can fix permanent brain injury, incurable diseases, bad posture, hangovers, depression, constipation and disco fever. Can the Doctor save a society whose zeal for technological advancement and physical superiority will ultimately lead to their own extinction? Why should he bother? Or will time run out as Chris falls in love with a good looking bearded villain and run off to the Bahamas before the Doctor's very eyes?

But, indulging in luddite paranoia for the briefest of brief moments, what if this wonder drug has its OWN evil plan for the deposition of human kind? Is this the start of dethroning man from his supremacy, to become a secondary being like an ape or an estate agent, subservient to a more efficient and reliable species? Is Cyberon merely an omen of the rise of the Cybernetic Anthropomorphous Machines, metal giants closely resembling the human form, whose muscles of steel and electronic eyes will defeat the unpredictable insect of man?

Or are we just getting a wee bit hysterical?

Plot Summary

We join this eugenics-supporting episode as the Doctor perishes mere moments after setting his ruined TARDIS to go to Disneyworld as Chris tells him to stop being a pathetic weakling and stop dying.

At this point, the Doctor's eyes glow a burning red, convincing Chris he has somehow been possessed by the Devil. This impression is not helped when the fiery red glow spreads from his eyes to engulf his face and body, which then dissolves to reveal a big fat guy with long curly hair and a goatee lying in the Doctor's place!

The new Doctor soon proves dangerously irritating as he absent-mindedly forgets that he has already regenerated, repeatedly gets Chris' name wrong, and takes every chance to insult and ridicule the "total magic-obsessed loser" that was his previous incarnation. In between this he admires his new, rugged face in any reflective surface he can find and starts proclaiming that he has finally achieved physical perfection and could beat Helen of Troy in a beauty contest.

After five minutes of narcissistic patronizing, Chris has enough and declares the regenerated Doctor an "arrogant demon son of a bitch" and punches him repeatedly in the kidneys. The Doctor is more interested in getting out of his singed, blood-soaked and ravaged clothes - and the sight of his naked body terrifies Chris so much she flees into the depths of the TARDIS.

The Doctor meanwhile is more upset to discover that 'perfection' doesn't fully extend across ALL of his new body, and is so ashamed he bangs his fist on the console. This has the twin side effects of causing the crippled time machine to crash land, and the Doctor to break a nail - an injury too much for his delicate constitution to handle... despite the fact the last guy was able to suffer five million volts of direct current without flinching.

Instead, the Doctor nearly loses consciousness from the magnitude of his damaged cuticle and stumbles off after Chris, begging for her to come and save his glorious aspect from such harsh realities...

...only to walk straight into Chris's home-made Wyle-E-Coyote-style man trap involving a tripwire, a noose and the ceiling-high piles of unread issues of Mighty Midget TV Comic 21 Action Magazine. Chris laughs cruelly as the wailing bastard is buried in newsprint that muffles his puny screams for "Melanie and/or Sarah" to show mercy upon his divine salty goodness.

Rubbing her hands with glee at a job well done, Chris tries to find her way back to the control room through the myriad of identically-damaged roundeled corridors. She soon stumbles across the remains of the destroyed Super-Trod (who perished in the episode immediately prior to this one - what sort of fan ARE you?!?), and notices a rather interesting button on its cylindrical body marked CRUSH-KILL-DESTROY and switches it on. Just for a laugh.

Soon the deadly robotic life form is rising up, shaking its mighty metal claws and growling Romanian death threats in its heavily-fractured artificial voice. Leaving the Super-Trod to hurtle around the TARDIS corridors looking for people to slash to ribbons, Chris returns to the control room to watch episodes of The Banana Splitz on the scanner. However, the VCR is like everything else on the crashed TARDIS - completely stuffed.

Annoyed, Chris kicks open the doors and strides out of the wreckage of a police box dropped from a great height onto very hard ground. She finds herself in the grounds of the Bayview Retirement Home for the Terminally Bewildered and the Almost Dead. At this point the plot turns 290 degrees and decides to focus on the plight of a bunch of senile pensioners, some of whom believe they are monkeys, and Chris taking the piss out of their mental disabilities.

Chris is soon mistaken for a staff nurse and within six hours finds herself driving to an apartment she shares with a fit-looking gay bloke named Cosmic Raymond and they discuss her frustrated single lifestyle over a coffee and low-fat yogurt. Chris is impressed at how rapidly her lifestyle has turned around when there is a knock at the door as the REAL nurse and flatmate turns up... so Chris headbuts her unconscious and locks her in the cellar.

Meanwhile, inside the ruined TARDIS, the Doctor struggles to free himself from under all his unread comic books, short of breath, dizzy and unable to focus - yet he's still capable of making truly appalling puns and being incredibly smug, blaming all the imperfections of his new form on that 'stupid, stupid bastard' of his previous incarnation who got himself killed.

The Doctor soon hears the telemetric bleeping sound of the approaching Trod-shaped death machine. As he is too weak and feeble to move, the Doctor lies where he is making unfunny would-be-witticisms.

Outside, at the Home for Decrepit Dementia, the sinister American Tom Leyland from the Touchwood Institute has arrived to test out his newly-developed and patented all-purpose elixir he has named the not-at-all-suspicious "Cyberon". Without waiting to say hello, Leyland is grabbing pensioners and injecting mercury into the back of their necks while cackling evilly to himself. He's so caught up in the moment, he injects some of the staff - from the wheelchair-bound Dana to Chris herself - before he realizes what he's doing. There seem to be no immediate side effects, apart from some of the inmates screaming that shiny silver ghost monsters with stupid jug-handles on their heads are appearing in blue-misted, LSD-CGI-hallucinations that only they can see. Leyland nevertheless insists this is an unqualified success and runs off to the nearest nightclub, BrainStorm, before anyone can stop him.

Chris races after him and after five minutes in a rave party, has suffered such culture shock it has blown her fragile little mind and she immediately falls ass over tit in love with Leyland, who laughs evilly and has a light beer. Together they discuss the future of the human race, the nature of reality, and whether or not Big Brother will really take off in the reality TV genre.

Back at Bayview, several of the residents have dropped dead as their skin turns silver and Dana can now not only walk, she has chosen one of the semi-visible Cyber-ghosts to be her fitness trainer for the next London marathon. She tells everyone that she is being 'lifted by guardian angels', but they're all nuts so they agree with her claims wholeheartedly. At BrainStorm, in order to keep up with hardcore extreme 24-hour-party-person lifestyle, Leyland ducks into the gents to shoot up with Cyberon. He quickly freaks out as all the mirrors reflect Cyberman helmets and the walls start to melt into rainbows. Curiously, Leyland acts like he WASN'T expecting this, which begs the question of why he started taking hallucinogenics in the first place.

Nevertheless, it still leaves him sweaty and approachable for Chris to take him back to her place and spend a night of borderline illegal ecstasy together. Gosh, it's so mature and dramatic and gritty and realistic! It's like This Life with Cybermen! Oh, the future is so bright I gotta see an optometrist!

Meanwhile, the all-night sex session is so draining that Leyland needs another shot of Cyberon. He explains to Chris he only started taking because all the other cool doctors were taking their own drugs, and only needed it to improve his intellect, problem-solving abilities, abstract concept visualization, capacity to retain knowledge and of course make him a better dancer.

When he pops out for some fresh air he finds a silver Cyberman standing in the kitchen, acting like it owns the place. In a booming synthesized voice not at all dissimilar to Nicholas Briggs, it orders Leyland to take another hit so they can talk face-to-silver-moulded-faceplate. Leyland tells the Cyberman to fuck off, which it does in a spooky editing trick the moment Leyland isn't looking.

This proves to be nothing but an excuse to creep up behind the butt-naked Leyland and scare the crap out of him with a similar sudden shocking reveal. After a few more minutes of this, it just gets old and the Cyberman vanishes properly. Chris wanders out, watching her hand move with her Cybus-enhanced LSD vision. She muses that Cyberon is a living, intelligent thing that is using Leyland in order to get it injected into as many brains as possible.

Having deduced the main part of the plot, Chris immediately goes back to having sex with Leyland rather than doing anything about this invasion of Cybermen ghosts who even now are marching around Bayview where the residents who HAVEN'T perished from heart attacks are now fully-cognoscenti members of society.

Books/Other Related Material-
Dr Who - Hypo Full of Love
Doctor Who Increases His Manhood

Dialogue Train Wrecks

Leyland: You will join me, Christine. We will be the first of the New Race!
Chris: What are they?
Leyland: They're the future
Doctor: They're Cybermen.
Leyland: They're the next stage of evolutionary intelligence on Earth!
Doctor: They're Cybermen.
Leyland: They're the Immortal Ones.
Doctor: Hello? They're Cybermen!
Chris: That's good, isn't it? Who doesn't want to be immortal?

Cyberman: Cyberon will not harm you.
Chris: No... I doth must be hallucinating!
Cyberman: Then why are you talking to me?
Chris: ...touche.

Dialogue Gems

Doctor: You're talking science fiction now, not realistic medicine!
Leyland: I know this will be a paradigm shift, I'm not arguing there.
Doctor: Huh? Who mentioned paradigms?
Leyland: But the silicon chip, the airplane, the radio, they were all science fiction once! It's not the Twentieth Century any more. We're due a little science fiction. Now let me inject this mercury into the back of your neck...

CyberLeader: Your sexual contact with Christine means that you have formed an emotional bond. That is not long-term commitment. That is weakness. You must play the field.

Leyland: We've made contact with something better than us - they're stronger, they don't die, they'll cast off this human bodies and reach from the stars. It's been staring us in the face. We've known for years we were about to encounter something better than us. Another form of intelligence, something genetically engineered, even some aspect of the divine. We knew it was going to happen. We ARE it. Nothing can stop us. No one needs to be left behind. Anyone who takes Cyberon will be part of it too.
Doctor: And what if they don't want to take it?
Leyland: Oh. I hadn't thought of that...

Listener Reviews

"MY GAWD!! KILL US - THIS STORY SUCKS." - Kit Peddler & Gerry Davis (2000)

Jym de Natale Speaks!

"And so it came to pass that Jeffrey Coburn fell and his gimmicky incarnation of the Doctor was no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion, as master of the SCADs, and I thought it... good! What wasn't good was that, unlike those regeneration stories from the original TV series, my Doctor wasn't out of it or acting like a maniac for a little while following the change until I get my new and infinitely superior head on straight. I didn't get to do that. Christine did. I was pretty much on the verge of death through the whole thing and that's because the so-called writer of this was having trouble getting my character down, and did an utterly awful job. They should just let me be, rather than expect me to follow some paltry script!

But I enjoy playing the Doctor. It completes me. I bring my gift of audio talent to ALL humanity. I might not have signed a contract, but I'm in this for the long haul, mark my words. How long? How long will I stay? Longer than Tom Baker. Longer than Sylvester McCoy. Longer even than Dave Segal. Fandom is powerless against the might of Jym de Natale! Onwards, forever onwards! To the end of Doctor Who itself! I WILL **NEVER** LEAVE! I'm saying this of my own free will, you know, I'm not being coerced! There's not a gun to my head! I'm a willing participant of the SCADs! THE UNIVERSE WILL SUCCUMB TO ENTROPY BEFORE I GIVE UP THIS PART!!"

Rachel Sommers Speaks!

"My character, against the New Doctor, is sick and tired of this shit. He's more of an arrogant asshole than the old Doctor, but I think Chris will beat some respect into him and make him less of an arrogant asshole. I think she's working out just fine. I like a twisted sexual sadist like that. Hopefully a lot of other people do to... if they know what's good for them. Cause Chris is going to be around for a long time. Longer than this new jerk with the moustache, whose fingers I intend to break and his head I shall repeatedly slam against tables if he annoys me ever, ever again."

Rumours, Slander, and Libel

To replace Jeff Coburn's wild, decadent, hedonistic, magic-obsessed Doctor, it was decided by Douglas Phillips that his successor should be a more sober, old-fashioned Edwardian, aloof, cultured twat obsessed with class. Someone pedantic, boring, alien and with an ego the size of the planet Jupiter. While he admitted that this was a complete rip off of Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor, Phillips pointed out that Coburn's Doctor was originally a rip off of Peter Davison, and look how well that turned out! Married passionately to Jym de Natale, Phillips was convinced that they could ensure that this New Doctor was a man who could stand beside Life and call it "Friend" and NOT be the irritating, pathetic jerk prophesized in The Warlords of Apeshit.

Unfortunately, it was soon discovered that de Natale was completely insane.

This was down to a sinister brain tumor which kicked in remarkably soon after David Segal congratulated de Natale on getting the top job, followed by claiming, "You are not the Doctor until you wrestle this scarf from my naked body - or are you unworthy of a spine?!"

(...and so on...)

This was a double tragedy, as they would be forced to scrap not only the entire cast to prevent re-infection, but also scrap the next years' worth of scripts commissioned for the de Natale Doctor and Christine! Two below-mediocre seasons were now completely unrecordable!

There was The Soul Hunters by Rachel Sommers herself after she stabbed a prospective writer in the bladder. This was a dark, magnificently evil, black and foul tale of the White House being overrun by zombies and lightbulb-headed aliens from Babylon 5.

The Way-Past-Imperfect Doctors by Julio Iglesias, which would be unique in a multi-Doctor story featuring the same incarnation all over again. Over forty-seven separate versions of the Doctor played by de Natale would fight the evil Curtis and save the entire universe twice!

Then there was The Chimera's Shame, the traditional "set entirely in the TARDIS with no other characters trying to tell an incredibly cheap ghost story ripped from the pages of Doctor Who Magazine" tale. Oh, we REALLY missed out here, as Andrew Beeblebrox's second script for the SCADs had a great role for Frobisher the Penguin, while no one noticed the fact the Doctor kept calling Chris "Peri" or referring to himself as "the cat who walks alone"!

Then there was the even more traditional "character wakes up in everyday Earth convinced the entire series is nothing but a disturbed dream but turns out actually be in VR as part of some evil alien plot" story which everything from Stargate: Atlantis to Charmed had tried to pull. I'd like to say that Iglesias' second story, Memorandum, was in any way or new or interesting but as we all know, it's a complete lie and Farscape cut its teeth on crap like this.

Following this was the amazing, the incomparable Vids of Time! Whereupon Chip Jamison does a 'funniest home video' compilation of SCAD stories, comparing them with all the bits of the genuine series he doesn't like. The fact that he accidentally destroys the universe after trying to work out if Countdown to Armadillos is better than Death Comes to Tom is just the icing on this rancid cake of day-old pus!

The last commissioned story for the de Natale Doctor is only spoken of as a myth; a dark fable; a horror tale, told across the flickering embers of a midnight fire, wherever hardened fan audio enthusiasts gather to drink fermented vegetable products and compete in tales of blood-chilling terror!! The legend speaks of Time's Champignons, an attempt to turn the Patrick Troughton story The Dominatrix into a fifteen-episode-long epic.

The Doctor and Christine discover a peaceful alien race of toga-wearing weaklings is under attack by a ruthless space empire of whom we see only their psychotic ruler - Dara Hamilton! In desperation to escape, the aliens try to build a time machine which does absolutely no good whatsoever apart from padding out the first five episodes as the Doctor and Christine end up flung back in time to follow a scene-by-scene remake of the first Hartnell story, only with more shouting, exposition, and the leads refusing to do a damn thing. Around episode eleven, a rebel leader turns out to be the David Segal Doctor, who sells out the aliens to Time Lords who intend to kick some serious ass. The Doctor and Christine then go through a series of Sliders-style parallel universes, with an amazing cliffhanger as they are arrested for loitering in a McDonalds without ordering any food. Finally, episode fourteen manages to condense the entirety of Mistrial of a Time Lord into one thirteen-minute monologue, where the Doctor decides the time has come for him to go back in time and shoot Rassilon from the Patrexes Book Depository. The last episode would have the Doctor explain exactly how the hell this could help anyone in any way whatsoever, before he realizes that he'll just end up wiping out his entire species and destroy two thirds of the universe in a time paradox. The Doctor then discovers that while they've been doing absolutely nothing for the last fifteen episodes, the situation has resolved itself and gives a long speech of congratulation which bores Chris into a coma! know, maybe we didn't miss out much after all.

When it was told to him that he was to be replaced, even though they didn't actually HAVE any replacements, de Natale called a press conference. "Okay, I just been told by these... humans... that I am not wanted here. I have but two questions. Not true, I have dozens, but most can be answered with 'They have small penises and live in their mother's pad'. The two I must ask, however, are these: What do my weight and mustache have to do with anything? And if I'm so utterly deranged, why do the public keep begging ME to be the Doctor?!"

The journalists were rather baffled at this, as they had turned up in the belief de Natale was actually running for mayor and was going to make hard stances on tax reform and immigration. Instead he was banging on about some crappy sci-fi fan audio series that he had been thrown out from for being too damn weird.

"I don't mind negative feedback," de Natale continued, fighting off the invisible bats that kept getting caught in his hair as they tried to drink his blood. "As a professional, both actor and stuntman, I learned long ago that opinions are like assholes - everyone has them, and they all stink, yet serve a purpose. But to be so mean-spirited about it is so needless. Besides, almost all the other reviews of me are much more positive. I know people like this personally. People who would not watch the new Battlestar Galactica because it wasn't the old one. People who wouldn't watch Enterprise because it "...threw Gene's ST Bible out the window!" and "...doesn't have Star Trek in the title!". But they didn't get nasty or personal about it!"

By now, not even Phillips and Himinez knew what the fuck he was talking about, and everyone began to wander off, leaving de Natale standing in the middle of the town square, without any trousers, handcuffed to a goat, and continuing to rant about how good he was. He was last sighted fourteen months ago, still standing there, still being boring. The goat, however, had long since escaped.

"Oh, and in case you see this yourself Benji, for the record, since you seem to act like a true Doctor Who fan, you should know that the Doctor's personalities have always been modeled after the actors playing them, at least in part. I am arrogant, but only to the point I can back it up. Like my Doctor was!!" he was last heard screaming at a lamppost. "But I digress. The producers will go through puberty and actually kiss a girl (or boy, as the case may be, the dirty little homo fuckers) someday, and the won't have to be such a little toad anymore. And my vengeance will know no bounds! THIS WILL BE MY FINAL VICTORY! THE DESTRUCTION... OF THE SCADS... THEMSELVES!!!! ACTIVATE THE REALITY BOMB!!!"


In the meantime, it was desperate that a new Doctor was found to properly replace de Natale while the media liaison officer performed 1984-levels of retconning to make it clear that de Natale was never a real Doctor but an insane, violent half-way incarnation like the Watcher, the Valeyard or Whitnail & I. His appearance as a fully-fledged Doctor in Warlords of Apeshit was cunningly revealed to be a group hallucination since the de Natale Doctor never actually did anything to advance the plot or said anything useful at all.

Potential replacements for de Natale meanwhile included Rupert Booth (who turned it down as he was 'out of their league'), Barbara Benedetti (refused on the grounds she and Sommers were rival Homecoming Queens at high school), David Nagel (turned out to be David Segal using a cunning pseudonym), Aaron Toman (turned down the part when he realized he would not actually be playing every single character and there would be no crossovers with Monkey Magic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Discworld), Mark Kalita (who, upon realizing how bloody stupid everyone at the SCADs were, started his own fan audios, DAMN Productions), Matthew Chambers (immediately joined DAMN Productions by mistake), and Nicholas Briggs... who just laughed at them all hysterically for around twenty-nine minutes and then threw a molitov cocktail into the recording studio as he strolled, still laughing, into the sunset.

The only thing left to deal with was to give the brand new one-off Doctor a brand new one-off title sequence. de Netale did not want the usual 'head and shoulders forming out of the ungodly horrors of the time matrix' bollocks that all other Doctors had. Instead, he decided the credits should involve a full-length shot of him grooving around the TARDIS control room, sophisticatedly leaning on his cane as lights pulsed behind the roundels, dry ice swirled, and members of the KKK in the background performed the theme tune. And as the new incarnation pirouetted around the time machine, he did sing... sing... SING!!!!

The End of an Error

As a new age dawned, dark rumors began to spread of Doctor Who having the utter temerity to return to the world of television, casting the SCADs back into the shadows of little-known and unliked fandom. Word began to reach Phillips that some strange Neanderthal pervert by the name of "Rusty Davis" would get his diseased talons on the franchise and make it impossible for the SCADs to fit in out of sheer spite, while others claimed that "Rusty Davis" had no idea the SCADs even existed and wouldn't care if he did.

"I like Doctor Who," Phillips announced at an emergency press conference inside a cardboard box known to a select few as the Fortress of Solidarity. "And I like RTD and hope he will write for the series because he will give me an endless supply of examples of how NOT to write a story. He is not and never has been capable of writing anything beyond magical Scooby-Doo-ending mess. I see stories always taking place on Earth, or Parallel Earth or New Earth and NOTHING ELSE! The wanky feldercarb from those Virgin Books NEVER HAPPENED, but they'll make TV adaptions of the really awful ones!! I see duff nonsensical stories, I see shallow individual episodes relying on running around and a frantic pace to make up for the fact that there is very little plot, I see lazy set pieces, I see a crad pop star companions harder to get rid of than the flu, I see fracking cute companions played by BLACK women called 'Free Ahemen', I see RIVERS FOAMING WITH BLOOD!"

And lo, his disciples started to look at each other in confusion as their leader continued to scream hysterically from within the Fortress of Solidarity. "You thought that movie with Sylvester McCoy was bad?!? Well get ready for Dustbins being talked to death, gasmask zombies with sloppy writing misunderstanding the concept of cloning, stories devoted ENTIRELY to farting aliens who sing and then die by magic! WHAT A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF HUGO-NOMINEE ARROGANCE! BAFTA STANDARDS ARE TOO LOW! Wirting, erm, I mean 'writing', is an ART! AND I AM AN ARTIST! I JUST DON'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS TO PROVE IT!"

At this point, the SCAD followers completely lost track of what he was ranting on about and started to light up cigarettes and talk amongst themselves as boredom set in.

"While RTD's mediocre wirting, I mean, 'writing', is of the Lowest Common Denominator type," Phillips continued, now drooling uncontrollably, "and all that bollocks about him being given OBEs and the Dennis Potter Award for absolutely incredible and fantastic wirting, ah, 'writing', that makes Harold Pinter blush is simply tabloid gossip!! The thought of him writing most of Doctor Who unsettles my stomach, kind of like too much junk food and not enough substance. RTD will make us suffer horribly! RTD is a great fan, but not a great writer, just like JST was a great fan, but not a great producer... Now, me? I am a terrible fan, a brilliant producer, and holier than thou! I think this is one of the nice things of being a Yank, I don't have any of that baggage that weighs down people in Bri-ton! I only do what the rice krispies TELL me to do! It's very simple, DON'T write crap like RTD, and they will worship you! I DON'T HAVE TO BE A GOOD WRITER TO RECOGNIZE A BAD ONE! As far as Doctor Who is concerned, allowing the SCADs complete creative, editorial and manifest control is LONG OVERDUE!"

By this momentous development, absolutely no one was listening.

"I will vary the stories and won't dive off the cliff of fanwanking like RTD! Doctor Who does best with continual change! Doctors should not last more than a few years! Fresh blood keeps things fresh! And I will remain producer FOREVER! As YOU are NOW, I once WAS! As I am NOW, so YOU shall BE. ARE YOU PREPARED TO FOLLOW ME?!?!"

It was at this point that Phillips finally collapsed from oxygen starvation, having been unwilling to poke any air holes in the Fortress of Solidarity. Since no one else had been able to fit in the box, the rest of the cast and crew simply listen to Phillips' muffled voice and assumed that the sudden silence was a dramatic pause and not, as it eventually transpired, the producer choking to death on his own carbon dioxide. No one else could be bothered to replace him, a quick round of musical chairs was held to determine the new Executive Producer of the SCADs for the first time since 1991...

...was David Segal, who immediately knitted himself a new scarf to celebrate.

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Professional.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blake's 7 - Let it END!

I am going to finish this. I am definitely going to finish this. Oh god, it hurts so bad. Argh. Doesn't this sum up how utterly awful the audios are? When I can't even finish listening to them as part of a deliberate attempt to review them? Even less crap ones like When Vila Met Gan, I could only take a few minutes at a time. To listen to it and then go back would be impossible. Yet I watched Killer three times this week!

When is there going to be that TV movie, anyway?

The story so far: Gizzy and Servalan finally twig that the Liberator is run by Roj "Beyond Insane" Blake and his band of cutthroats and decide open a can of asswhup 11. Unfortunately, Blake's gang of cutthroats are sick and tired of the total asshole in charge. This truly demonstrates the difference between End of Days and Blake; in one, the leader is killed by his most devout follower in a tragic misunderstanding; in the other it's one asshole killing another thanks to their complete lack of HR skills.


CHAPTER FIVE: Safe Harbour

"I don't want to spend the rest of my life dead just because Blake wants to fight a holy war with the Federation! I know his type. All high ideals, big talk and never mind the collateral damage!"

Vila 2.0 is bitching again and while he gains points for sounding genuinely troubled for once, he loses points for taking Gan for a long walk down the Giant Space Corridor to bitch in private rather than making everyone listen like good old Vila 1.0. The trouble is, Gan doesn't give a shit about Vila's righteous indignation. Which does rather rob the plot of some momentum. Are we supposed to sympathize with Vila or Gan? Inaction or indifference? Are we - terrifyingly - supposed to applaud Blake for his blackmail? "You make me sound like an idiot when you put it like that," Vila pouts. "You don't need my help in that department," Gan retorts, sacrificing what little consistent personality he has for the sake of a quip.

I don't mind that in surreal comedies (like for example when an intellectual like Manny Bianco loses the power of rational thought for a decent gag), but this is supposed to be character drama. So you get the characters RIGHT and don't change them on a whim!

AhHAH! We meet again, Evil Lunatic Script Editor, my old nemesis!

As Vila points out this poor bit of scripting, Gan rather worryingly refuses to believe that the lying scumbag in charge is in any way wrong and mindlessly chants that the Federation is corrupt and thus everything is justified. Vila reminds him that "everyone is corrupt", which is the sort of thing you'd think Gan would remember what with them being both hardened criminals on the run - even without When Vila Met Gan to contradict, this is very bad. It's like Vila and Gan have been replaced by bitchy exposition droids, and why does Vila claim to have such insight into Blake when a) he's only known the guy a few days and b) so has Gan, so there's nothing special he can say to have spotted as Gan would have spotted it as well.

"They murdered my wife," Gan says with all the passion of someone trying to read fine print, revealing that his pointless loyalty to Blake is a hithertoo unmentioned and completely unforeshadowed desire to completely destroy the Federation. Odd how his career plan was 'become a farmer and marry an ugly woman' last week and when even in a society composed of prisoners, never felt any need to bitch about the Federation. In fact, all the signs are he considered his punishment just!

Vila once again points out how badly written Gan is this week, so the big guy goes and sulks. And, no, I'm not making this up. Avon then appears right behind Vila, who is terrified as they are in a huge corridor stretching for miles and logically it should be impossible for him to sneak up on them. Or something. I dunno. You think a professional theif in a dangerous environment might have better instincts. I mean, do we really need another "Eeep! Avon, you frightened the life out of me!"? It would have been better had Vila calmly told Avon to come out of the shadows and reveal he knew the guy was there all along - it's what Vila 1.0 would have done.

Avon 2.0 then does what he does best - misquotes one of the lesser known Avon lines ("How long?" "Long enough") and act ridiculously coy and suggest "the Liberator will be best served by a regime change". Because saying something like, "I'm a free man and I don't have to do what Blake says" would just be camp, wouldn't it?

Meanwhile, Jenna is technobabbling about superluminal horizons. As far as I can tell she's saying "Hit the brakes before we crash into the sun," which, I feel confident, that everyone could work out on their own. Why is it she vomits technobabble but is so coarse and blunt the rest of the time? ELSE! You got some splainin ta do! She's also very annoyed that Blake is worried there might be another ambush, so she's forgotten her obsession with double-checking everything to do with space travel. Christ, C'Rizz was more level headed than this cow. Blake explains that his paranoia is based entirely on Unseen Adventures at Rigel and "High Tower" where the Federation were ready, waiting and fully cocked. Jenna - now easily rivalling Blake as Biggest Loonbag in This Show - puts it down to bad luck, even though there was no possible way for the Federation to know where they'd be heading. Jenna instantly assumes that Blake fears that Gizzy was able to put a homing device on the Liberator. Which is nice and neat and, oh wait, why haven't they checked that with Zen already?!

Gan drops by and asks for updates on bitching, and Blake reveals he has another theory - one of his crew is betraying him to the Federation. Oh, the chutzpah! No wonder this is on audio, it would smash through TV screens. You kidnap a bunch of people, patronize them, blackmail them, and then blame THEM for every time your stupid plans fail and cause mass slaughter. Full fist, Blake! FULL FIST! It then strikes Blake that maybe, just maybe, Gizzy isn't a complete moron and knowing that the Liberator is down on supplies might be looking for more. Blake instantly goes from "theory" to "this is fact" with no intermediate state at all. "He knows where we're going and he's covering every single bolthole!" rants Captain Paranoia to his bewildered cohorts. "He must have half the fleet out here on interdiction duty!

Blake then has the brilliant idea of switching off all the power, and as Jenna patiently explains that this will cause them to fall out of the sky and crash, Zen reveals that the solar system ahead is actually packed to the gills with Pursuit Ships (well eight of them in silent running mode). Why are they only visible now? Er. Well. No idea. Blake reveals to the awestruck Gan and Jenna that HE'D lay a trap like this, which is why he was able to predict it. Only took him three attempts of blundering into the exact same trap, apparently. Jenna then gets stroppy that, what with this being a trap, they're running out of places to hide. Day-am woman, when did you suddenly want to hide? Less than a minute ago you refused point blank the idea the Federation were any kind of threat whatsoever. And, given the huge freaking weaponry the Liberator has, why don't they nuke the ships while they're in "quiescent mode" and get on with it?

Blake refuses Gan's suggestion of fleeing to the only viable alternative - the frontier - because he's certain that playing hide and seek with the Federation will eventually turn up some place they can hide. "We have to!" booms Blake, having gone from mindless paranoia to seasoned military strategist to psychotic optimist in less time than it has taken me to TYPE those words.

Did James Swallow write anything this week? The ELSE reigns supreme!!

CHAPTER SIX: Seeking Sanctuary

"Any other bursts of blinding genius, Blake? No? You surprise me."

With a strange wheezing groaning sound, the Liberator jumps into hyperspace whereupon Jenna... turns off the engines. Surely this is kind of bad? Considering it's a death sentence in normal space, what the hell happens in hyperspace? At the very least they'll stay exactly where they are and not move a sodding inch, and they want to do that because that's why they're in hyperspace in the first place. Right? Oh wait, Jenna says that they can plunge into oblivion for ages before they actually have to do anything. Well, that explains everything doesn't it, as she bitchily turns on the intercom and basically demands, "any of you grunts got any better ideas?" and switches off before anyone can answer.

"Any other messages?" asks Blake idly. "Just the one, just like before," says Jenna. Er... what?

Meantime, Avon is clearly getting a kick out of scaring people in the Giant Corridor and decides to pop up right behind Blake to scare the shit out of him. Why not? Blake hastily explains he was going for a long, long, long walk to gather his thoughts (a conservative estimate, methinks) and when Avon - acting as creepy and obsequious as anyone can imagine - offers to help, Blake reveals he's been trying to look up on his A to Z for any space garage not surrounded by the cops. One drawback: Gizzy will be waiting for them. Avon notes that "The Commander does show a certain kind of dogged cunning... quite atypical for a Federation fleet officer." Which begs the question of why the Federation is still in power when they refuse to let anyone with brain cells run the military. Yet this does explain Servlan "Take My Brain" 2.0.

"He's made this personal," whines Blake unhappily. Jeez, you insult him in front of all his men, blow up his space fleet and threaten to topple his society and the guy doesn't see the funny side? No wonder Blake is such a man of the people when he has such superb powers of deduction. Especially since there's no evidence whatsoever that Gizzy is alive, let alone in charge of the Federation response. Not only are we leaping to conclusions that Gizzy is their enemy, we're basing his entire psychological profile on that false premise!

Clearly as underwhelmed with Captain Paranoid as I am, Avon suggests they pack in this foolish crusade and putting them all in a galaxy-wide siege to the death. Blake bitches and asks if Avon has a better idea, which is rather redundant as the entire series is one long testimonial to the fact that, yes, Avon ALWAYS has a better idea than the useless twat of a main character. Avon points out that running desperately back and forth the galaxy fleeing the Federation will get them killed, but Blake has a cunning plan: "I won't let that happen."

Avon stares at him. "I'm sure you believe that," he says kindly, in what is the funniest line of perhaps the entire franchise.

Since they agree that running around will get them killed, Avon suggests they hide at the frontier world until the Federation stop looking for them while Blake has his heart set on a huge epic space battle. "WE HAVE TO MAKE A STAND AGAINST SERVALAN! DON'T YOU SEEEEE?!?" Captain Paranoia rants.

Avon stares at him. "Now who's making it personal?" he asks politely.

Definitely Swallow writing this bit. Blake 2.0 is clearly portrayed as an incredibly stupid suicidal maniac, but at least we're not expected to mistake it for brilliant terrorist charisma. Blake, realizing what a total idiot he is, shouts at Avon to stop picking on him and runs to the Bridge to get Jenna to tell him if anything interesting has been happening in the thirty seconds since they last spoke. She doesn't, so Blake lists his top three possible destinations and Jenna says they're all crap - even the one from The Daleks' Masterplan (which, since it was a molten slagheap of volcanos and lava beds, is reasonable I suppose). Vila gets told off for Gan when he points out how monumentally retarded their beloved leader is, so he actually comes up with a better plan than Captain Paranoia who no doubt longs for a blade to cut off his fingers.

Vila's Cunning Plan: they go to a dead solar system called Eos and use the abandoned space dock there. It's not even a spooky dead solar system, just a ghost town after the company owning the dock went bust and didn't demolish the facilities they left behind. As it's been officially covered up, hardly anyone will think to protect it and no one will expect Blake to go there in the first place.

Deeply, deeply hurt at how damn pathetic Vila has shown him to be, Blake immediately claims that Vila is a traitor leading them into a cunning Federation trap. But Avon, Jenna and Gan agree that it is an incredibly brilliant plan and ignore Captain Paranoia. As Blake's inferiority complex grows worse and worse, I wonder why it will take eleven hours to get to Eos via hyperspace? Isn't hyperspace supposed to take the edge off? Especially as Eos is incredibly close to where they are in the first place. Mind you, space is big. Really big. You won't believe how absolutely huge it is. You might think that it's a long way down to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space...



As the Liberator wheezes and groans through that mysterious region where space and time are one, Avon has noticed that baffling message chat between Blake and Jenna and asks Zen to explain what the hell is going on. It turns out that Blake is sending unknown messages to an unknown person. Avon decides that he has had enough of this shit and at Eos he and Blake will have a showdown. Oh, how I look forward to Avon scattering Blake's entrails across the galaxy. It's enough to make me want to listen to the next episode!

CHAPTER SEVEN: Insurrection

"I won't flatter your ego by pretending this comes as a surprise."

The Liberator docks with the Eos station and Blake immediately heads out to try and prove he is in any way useful and or relevent, ignoring Jenna's remarks the platform is all old and rusted and likely to fall apart. Moron. Gan follows and they all insult Vila for being spineless - despite the fact that without him they'd still be running in circles being chased by Space Commander Gizzy, the bunch of ungrateful jerks. As the skutters go out to do whatever it is they do (isn't the Liberator supposed to be dry-humping the platform by now?) and Gan and Blake get in the way, Jenna has anothe schizophrenic moment and goes from calling Vila a lazy coward to a backstabbing traitor. Meanwhile, Blake and Gan pass the time by quoting bits of random Douglas Adams as they realize that a rusting ruin isn't exactly the perfect place to get supplies.

To pad out the episode, they then turn to admiring the "glass-spinning hornets" of the skutters as they, uh, do stuff which seems to involve eating everything they see, chewing it up and spitting it out in lots of nanobotty goodness. Oh, how Blake marvels at this and forgets the fact that every first aid box does exactly the same thing, which is why he's not the guy with nine fingers. With the Liberator finally getting that whacking great hole fixed (which hole? no idea), Gan and Blake can cause chaos and death wherever they want to! YAY!

This proves to be the last straw. Since the fully-repaired Liberator can take off over a minute before Blake and Gan can come back and get them all killed, Avon and Vila decide it is time to set sail for Freedom City! Jenna, showing her usual razor sharp instincts just says "Ay-varn" in increasingly loud and annoyed volume rather than doing a damn thing about it, and the tragedy is I half-remember what's going to happen next. Jenna realizes rather too late what the hell is going on as Vila reveals he actually DOES have a spine and won't automatically obey everything she says. Poor Jenna. Not.

As Captain Paranoia instantly blames Avon for being abandoned (OK, he's right, but he has no reason NOT to think Zen has gone psycho again), does Jenna send the Plothole to rescue Gan and Blake? Does she tell Zen to re-dock? Does she even try to contact Blake? Does she just stand where she is yelling at Avon and Vila to explain what the hell is going on? Not even that! She does FUCK... ALL. No, I tell a lie, she goes absolutely batshit insane. And not in an intertaining 'trying to mudwrestle India Fisher' sort of way. "You don't control this ship," she shrieks, despite the fact he's doing that right in front of her, "it just allows you to THINK you do!"

None of this stops Avon from effortlessly proving the intellectual and ethical superior of everyone else in the show. True, Gan and Blake are stuffed, but they can easily find part of the platform with life support available and though they cannot escape right away, there is communications equipment and Blake's resourceful insanity. It is, to coin a phrase, a better deal than others would give. It's easier to survive and escape than Cygnus Alpha. Indeed, Avon would be completely within his rights to shoot Jenna dead (oh... if only...) since she is completely useless, but is willing to keep her on as pilot.

Since Jenna is so utterly loyal, and righteous and trustworthy she...

...contacts Blake and tells him he's screwed. Which I think is a bit uncharitable as even Blake 2.0 and Gan 2.0 could really work that entire business out for themselves.

CHAPTER EIGHT: Divided Loyalties

"Oh, this ship is a marvel, isn't it? Tailor G-fields, the fastest drive I've ever seen... I don't think I'm willing to let you take over just yet, Ay-varn. I told you before, this ship doesn't answer to you. The Liberator is ALIVE, it's willfull and moody. You just have to know how to talk to it."

Things get off well as Blake and Gan struggle to ensure we have no sympathy for their plight and big man Gan hurls abuse at Vila for abandoning the guy who has mocked and ridiculed and bullied him (not to mention apparently been responsible for getting both of them shipped to a penal planet for the rest of their natural lives) while Blake is simply in denial and convinced everything will sort itself out if they just chill out. As Avon says - "An optimistic evaluation, Blake, but sadly the wrong one. That's the problem with men like you, Blake. You refuse to see the harsh reality of the situation even when it's staring you in the face."

After being told that his fascistic attitude and bullying manner have lead to his crew turning on him, does Blake adapt his strategy? Of course not! Showing a stupendous mastery of diplomatic skills, Blake immediately starts screaming that free will is an illusion and that none of them have any choice but to do what Blake says as part of the supreme plan of universal destiny! The Liberator and symobilism and shit and I honestly cannot be bothered to waste another iota of my time listening to Blake's ranting. I'd rather watch The Idiot's Lantern in a Clockwork Orange get up forcing me to see every scene, with sticky tape over my mouth so I would be forced to swallow my own vomit.

"Oh, spare me the rhetoric!" moans Avon in genuine-sounding pain. While he's not exactly a decent substitute for Paul Darrow, he's the best audience identification figure I can think of on audio. Come on, everybody: AVON 2.O SPEAKS FOR ME!

Realizing that they're getting nowhere trying to bamboozle Avon and Vila into submission, the cunning Blake and Gan turn their attention to Jenna the Flaxen-Haired Schizoid Space Babe and try to trigger one of her incredible personality shifts. They point out that Avon cannot be trusted after he decided to ditch people who repeatedly betray him and refuse to trust him, while still leaving them with lives and liberty! Actually, come to think of it, this isn't much of an argument either, is it? Still, it seems to work as Jenna replies that she "understands the gravity of the situation". Now, just for a moment, think on that phrase. Have you EVER heard ANYONE use it without making a crap joke about their present situation, which involved gravity?

Well, that tradition isn't broken here as Jenna turns up the gravity and sucks Avon and Vila to the floor. Zen cheerfully explains what she's doing and Jenna takes this as absolute proof of her insane theory that the ship is still a free-thinking thing after Avon lobotomized it. Um, if that was the case, why haven't you all been hotwired into the computer, you insane bitch? And, seriously, you sound EXACTLY like Chip Jamison. It's spooky... meanwhile we get the first "Shut up, Vila" from Avon, but it's not as impressive a put down as we're used to. Mainly because it's normally saved for something better than, "I should have known better than to listen to you!" as a retort.

Anyway, the Liberator goes back to collect Blake who, give him his dues, is the only one to remember that Vila and Avon are being slowly crushed and saves them. Gan then decides to beat Vila to death (oh, what a lovable man he is! I sure hope HE doesn't die horribly... very soon... like now...) but Blake stops him because... er. Oh yes. He needs Avon and Vila. No idea why as Vila has shown no skills in pickpocketing, lockpicking or drink-mixing and Avon's computer skills are clearly worthless. Nevertheless, Avon earns more points by not turning into a pathetic bitch and instantly trying to get into Blake's good books. "How magnanimus," he sneers, voice dripping with as much contempt as I have for this series. You know, Salmon's not bad as Avon when he gets material vaguely worthy of him.

Blake starts bullshitting everyone that he deliberately allowed Avon to stage his takeover in order to demonstrate that Avon couldn't actually beat him. Vila doesn't believe Blake for a moment - not that he wouldn't be that stupid, or manipulative, but that he actually was competent enough for his plan to work. "There are no failures, only more data," Blake quotes from Engineering School (snigger, yeah, sure). Blake then goes on telling everyone that the builders of the Liberator did not think in terms of a chain of command (what gave it away? When Zen killed Mezin?) but Avon points out that Blake is extremely lucky Jenna didn't leave him behind. "You're a smarter man than me, Avon!" wails Blake petulantly, "But you didn't win today because you DON'T UNDERSTAND PEOPLE!"

Avon stares at him for a long moment and then turns to the others. "And you really think he's the better man to follow?" he asks, incredulously.

The general consensus is "until something better crops up". Realizing he isn't going to get a better vote of confidence, Blake tells the skutters to eat the rest of the platform and tells everyone to get out their address books for anyone useful, who needs their help, who can help them and most importantly are gullible enough to do whatever Blake tells them too. Gan tries to follow up this truly impressive display of chutzpah by trying to guilt-trip Vila about abandoning the guy who's made his life a misery throughout the audios. "I thought we were friends!" You didn't think at all, you fucking idiot...

And so, the second four-part story of Liberation comes to an end. Vast improvement overall, with its consistent portrayal of Blake as a total jerk and everyone acknowledging he is a total jerk. All we need are for him, Jenna and Gan to die horribly, Vila to be recast and Cally to turn up, and this series will be on the up...


"In his day, Nikko Valentine was a radical activist and a real old bruiser. He's been a thron in the Federation's side for years. Sounds like he needs our help!"

The final 'mini-arc' of B7E begins as we find out who Blake was sending mysterious messages to. Of course, in the old series anyone doing that was immediately placed under suspicion by the whole crew and tended to go insane, but here Blake is allowed to do whatever the hell he wants without telling anyone. Jesus. I had a good feeling off the previous story which at least confronted Blake with what a stupid bastard he was. Tragic. It turns out - in another apalling bit of exposition clearly showing ELSE has come back from lunch - that some guy called Niko has been sending Blake spam emails or something about how his planet's government has become the bitch of the Federatio and complete takeover is imminent. Can you see my pulse quick? CAN YOU?!?

Blake of course is trusting a guy he has never met before in his life on a planet he never heard about. But they SAY they're not a Federation trap, and that's good enough for Captain Paranoid. Is it because Avon's black? You seem to trust everyone else unconditionally. Funny that. Oh, and some garbed jargon - omicron level is apparently the new "lockdown". Presumably nicked from the TV series where it was simply the AC/DC for the teleport. I'm shaking my head in disgust at this stupidity and missing the point, but I best stop before I snap my neck like Bill Crosby in that Family Guy episode.

Oh, hello, Gizzy! You're actually the one smacking round Nikko and luring Blake into a trap! In an episode CALLED "The Trap"! Bugger me sideways, I did NOT see that one coming from before this audio series was announced, no siree... Still, Gizzy is keeping it consistent unlike most people in this universe and has decided to not waste time constantly updating everyone as to his badass plans. After all, if he wins, he looks incredibly cool. If he doesn't, no one knows. They're finally showing someone evil and corrupt who ISN'T a non-functional retard in this series. Though he still has Adam Garcia as his stooge for some reason.

As the Liberator wheezes and groans towards... er... whatever the hell this planet is called, Blake finally deigns to tell Avon what the hell he's been up to. Avon simply stares at him and gently explains that this is a trap so unsophisticated Wile E Coyote would piss on it. Blake cunningly reveals that he KNOWS that, because Nikko's gratuitous omicron reference is actually code for... "lockdown". Eh? You mean, he kept his story straight and ergo is a traitor? Well, I guess that's how Blake's mind works given his treatment of Avon, who laughs his head off when Blake tells him he is needed to go and walk straight into the trap...

AVON: Oh no. It's your battle, not mine, Blake. Or do you still think I'll steal the Liberator when your back is turned?

BLAKE: You're an objective eye...

AVON: You mean I'm a "clinical, cold-hearted bastard who understands the nature of evil better than you"? No. Sorry. I'm staying put. Fresh air has a corrosive effect on my lungs.

BLAKE: And because I trust you, Avon...

(Avon laughs hysterically.)

BLAKE: OK! OK! But at least I know where I stand with you...

(Avon keeps laughing at him...)

Blake gives up and decides to tell the others as Gizzy gets more space chat with pursuit ships and stuff. Aparently he now has control of the planet Nikko's on, and has ordered every... single... pursuits ship in the entire galaxy to head there for the ambush. Ooh, maybe the rebels will all die horribly? I never thought that could turn into an uplifting story resolution, but there you go. Learn a new thing every day. Meantime, Blake tells bosom buddy Gan about his secretive insanity. He thinks Blake is an idiot. So does Jenna, and Vila but Jenna and Gan get to play the "shut up, Vila" game as the thief quietly points out what a bunch of fucking hypocrites they are rushing around helping the oppressed while simultaneously oppressing him.

Since Jenna seems to believe that Blake is actually just popping down the shops to meet someone by the deli, she asks him to get some more fuel and thinks no more about it. What? MORE fuel? How much does this bloody ship need? Didn't the whole Eros trip fix it? Doesn't the Liberator generate its own fuel? Zen has clearly decided that the crew are all morons and ignoring them. Even when Avon tells him off, Zen keeps pausing as though he's more interested in doing sudoku than the involvement of the crew. Good for you, Zen, I know exactly how you feel. Oh and apparently the amazing Liberator is incredibly fuel inefficient. "This ship drinks more than Vila," Gan mutters. Fuck off and die, Gan.

With the now ominously-distracted Zen piloting the Liberator to... this place. Fedras or something. Even the name of the planet sounds like "Bitch of the Terran Federation"! Meanwhile, Gizzy (who is sounding more and more Richard Armitage) gets a report about Garcia about a mysterious wheezing and groaning coming from the edge of the solar system, but it's not Liberator because... hang on. That's not Simon Pegg, is it? It sounds like him doing his Michael Caine voice from Shaun of the Dead. They got Simon Pegg and DIDN'T make him Vila?! That has to be without doubt the most stupid thing I've heard in all these audios put together!

...So yeah. Zen's acting odd and there appear to be a fleet of other Liberators loitering around the place. Private Dexter, do you think there may be some kind of connection betwixt the two? Dexter? What's that? Oh, he's gone to cheer himself up by watching Something Borrowed with the volume cranked up. Shellshock, don't you know. Anyway, the Liberator materializes in "sector 11" and zooms in towards the trap where Gizzy is waiting. Hang on, I thought sectors were huge! There seem to be around twelve in this solar system and if this solar system is so fricken big, why is the Liberator going so quickly?! GAH! STUPIDITY! SENSELESS STUPIDITY!

CHAPTER TEN: Collaborator

"Always the same patter, 'it's easier if we help ourselves'..."

Right. Blogger completely nuked my review of this episode and I am so thoroughly pissed off with everything that I am not going to listen to it again. A quick summary of what I had to listen to.

Avon and Blake board the Plothole to fly to Fedras. Jenna asks Zen if there's anyone hiding in the solar system. Finally he bothers to say yes - 57 civilian craft hiding in perfect attack formation. Jenna is a fucking retard so she sends the others on their way. Gan suddenly demands that the hithertoo unmentioned armory full of handguns be shared amongst them, but not Vila because only a convicted murderer with super human strength can be trusted with loaded firearms. Why does he want a gun now instead of the rest of the series? No idea, maybe because Gan is a fucking retard. Jenna has another change of personality and says no one is allowed alien firearms aboard an alien spaceship. Vila points out how utterly inconsistent her personality is, so they ignore him.

Meanwhile, Gizzy's plan is working brilliantly until Servalan kicks down the door and demands to know why Gizzy hasn't been returning her calls. She wants to see the Liberator for herself - so she'll watch on a monitor here rather than a monitor at her luxury apartment. Servalan is a fucking retard.

Finally, Zen gets it through Jenna's ridiculously thick skull that 57 civilian craft all identical is slightly suspicious, like the fact that the 58th civilian craft looks just like a Federation battle cruiser. Jenna immediately starts screaming for Blake over the comm, and Gan has to point out that they're silent running and have switched off. So Jenna starts screaming for Blake to pick up the damn phone. Is this helpful? No, because fucking retarded Jenna has now let Garcia record her voice and identify her... so... they weren't actually identified earlier? So Vila's righteous fury at having been blackmailed is a complete waste of time?


(Oh, if anyone is offended, it's my blog and I'm not in a happy mood. Get over it.)

The Plothole lands on Fedras but because Blake is randomly switching between completely paranoid and frying pan enthusiast, decided to land a ridiculous distance from the rendezvous, so they are forced to run there through the open as Blake mocks Avon for the fact this is the first time he's ever been off Earth and is scared of some passing grass-munching eight-legged antelope - the B7E fanbase, probably. Nikko arrives and lures them to a trap, bitching that the Federation is sending in troops as peacekeepers (wow, ripping off Farscape, how Freudian). It turns out that Blake and the Liberator are now famous - yeah, right, because they left all sorts of witnesses alive to big them up after they triggered two 9/11 civilian massacres. And the evil corrupt Federation forget to put up a media blackout. ELSE is a retard. Avon accuses Nikko of being a traitor and he says he's a double agent who intends to steal the Liberator for the People's Army of Fedras or somesuch bollocks. Then Gizzy turns up and Nikko snivels like mad to try and spare his life.

Gizzy helpfully exposits that Blake and Avon are completely surrounded and just as the atmosphere starts to get even vaguely compelling, Servalan turns up and starts being so coy and camp and "ooh, dahlings, I always act like we're actually at a dinner party" and JUST SHUT THE HELL UP!

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Tactics of Deceit

"You're old news. Other public enemies need their moment in the spotlight too, you know."

The end is nigh. It's not here yet, but it's nigh. Blake and Avon are caught in the most predictable ambush since Hostage, while Gan, Jenna and Vila are being stupid, irritating and useless in the Liberator which is a shame as it hasn't even been ambushed yet. And there's a huge space fleet of Liberators no one has given much thought too, which I think we can all agree is a particularly stupid thing to do.

I do not give a tinker's cuss about what happens next. Audio drama FAIL.

In order to ramp up how epic this all is, there is for the first time a Doctor Who style cliffhanger reprise as the three minute long episode loses EVEN more time by repeating more of Servalan's punch-my-face awful dialogue. Or maybe it's just the way she says it. Like so many of B7 2.0, it's all superficial. You don't for a moment think that Servie 2.0 is anything except the stupid pampered Mariane Twanette who is as totally clueless as she acts. Blake rolls his eyes when it becomes clear Servie wants to do the old Dr. Evil villainy rather than just shooting them right here and now. "She wants the ship," Avon explains patiently to the moron that is his leader. "Everyone wants the ship!" Blake complains like a six year old.

Servalan asks Avon who he is and is told: "Kerr Avon, Lunar University Lauriette in Computer Pyschology," which I pray to god is an attempt at humor. Gizzy patiently explains that Avon is a criminal as well, since Servalan's too bloody stupid to work it out herself. Blake protests that, yes, he is hanging round with the scum of the universe, but... apparently they're honest. Unlike Servalan. Yes, that justifies hanging round with thieves, smugglers, murderers and crooks. They don't work in the government. With a gift for debating like that, it's no WONDER Blake is so feared by his political rivals...

On the Liberator, Jenna reads out a list of different space ships. That's supposed to impress us. I think Gizzy saying "every ship in the fleet" was more impressive than a long, tedious list of frigates and 'rape your momma'-class battle cruisers. Still, the long, long list seems to reveal to Gan that they are ever so slightly stuffed. Vila asks for yet another time why they aren't running for their lives. Jenna suddenly realizes this is a brilliant idea and abandons Blake and Avon to certain death - which is perfectly excuse, unlike that time the damn dirty Avon underhandedly left Blake and Gan to certain boredom and eventual rescue. Oh, Jenna, you are so wonderfully hypocritical, can you please die? Maybe when Gan becomes the spandex-clad Cat Strangler and kills you? Wouldn't that be nice?

Tragically, Zen is still suffering from narcolespy so his stuttering and faltering answers form the expression "the System is ready". Which isn't ominous at all. Since escape is out of the question... or maybe just Jenna and Gan have forgotten they just resolved to escape thanks to their autodelete memories and the ELSE, Jenna decides to go machine gun crazy and kill them all. "If they want a war, they just got one!" Jenna squawks, quoting the more memorable and touching scenes of Babylon Five in a stupid gung ho moment of mindless slaughter. Definitely ELSE writing this bit. Wait, the enemy are firing 'plasma thrusters' as Gan explains. Zen is unable to do his catchphrase as he's got completely bloody sick of this and switched himself off.

Oh... if only...

As the Liberator gets nine colours of shit kicked out of it (with ELSE helpfully making sure there isn't any new dialogue, hence Vila's "I don't mind 'rough', it's fatal I'm not too keen on!"), Jenna is still able to make a pursuit ship turn "nova" at the cost of what little acting talent she has shown so far. You thought she was bad before, check out her 'excited bloodlust' which sounds like a Solenoid Robot from Rojer Ramjet. More explosions, more hits, Zen still refusing to do anything, and Vila saving Gan's life because one of them isn't a worthless prick. This goes on for a while.

Back in the quarries of Fedros, Servalan asks if the Liberator as powerful 'as they say'. WHO says? Gizzy? Didn't all the footage on youtube of it raping a space station and nuking a battle fleet suggest to Servie that it WAS? She also is completely ignorant of Blake's gang, but that could be characterization on her part rather than bad scripting. Could be. Probably isn't, but it could be. Servalan bitches that one ship, no matter how powerful, cannot tip the balance of power, but Blake smacks her down by pointing out if she really thought that she wouldn't be a panting crazed bitch demanding the keys, would she? At last, confronting someone stupider and more foolish than he is actually gives Blake the slightest of edges. All he needs is to lobotomize everyone else in the story and he might become tolerable.

Meanwhile, Nikko is boring Avon stupid with justifications of how, even though his resistance group consists of Nikko only because everyone hates him and thinks he's a nutter, he was right to betray Blake on the offchance the most powerful ship in space WASN'T caught by his arch enemies. Avon finally shuts him up by explaining that he doesn't care that Gizzy threatened to kill Nikko's imaginary girlfriend Deborah (?!??), and will happily snap Nikko's neck the first chance they get. Just as Avon 2.0 was starting to work, ELSE instantly turns him into a mindless vengeance machine. This is Avon, not Gan you idiot! The real Avon would have told him to shut up and that was it while he obviously worked out a plan to escape.

Then it turns out that Gizzy is so in touch with the operation that no one has known about the huge space battle occuring in the sky above them. Blake has to ask what the big flashes are before anyone notices it in the first place. Jesus Christ. "What are you doing to my ship?!" squeals Servalan like the useless tool she is. She really IS a brain dead aristo bimbo in this version. How depressing.

Meanwhile the-guy-who-must-be-Simon-Pegg reports that the Liberator's blown up half the enemy ships. Garcia suggests they get the biggest FU missiles they've got, throw them in the vague direction of the enemy ship and hope they blow themselves up. Avon's critique about the military seems more and more insightful. This suicidal plan manges to damage the Liberator and, since atom bombs didn't work, Garcia suggests they use pissy blue lasers to finish it off. Tch. And they only just finished fixing the damn thing. At this rate they're going to spend more stories repairing the Liberator than doing anything else.

Things are finally looking up as Jenna's console blows up and she loses consciousness and lots of blood. Vila puts Gan in charge as big man finally realizes he is a complete moron and totally unable to do a single damn thing so he shouts at Zen for help. Even though you'd have thought if Zen was going to help, it would be before the ship was smashed to pieces. And because Gan is so trustworthy and has a spine, he immediately gives up and whimpers pathetically that they are all screwed.

Die, please.


"And people don't matter? You're all the same, all crazed with power!"

"Clearly, there's no end to your stupidity!"

"It's SEVEN actually. If you count Zen. And the ship."


I've had to listen to thirty-six of these bloody things. The next time anyone thinks I have it easy, just remember that.

Basically, sweet FA has changed over the course of the previous episode except the pursuit ships actually have been firing instead of just lurking evilly. Adam Garcia and Maybe-Simon-Pegg note that the Liberator is completely and utterly stuffed, so now is the best time for them to stop and reload because obviously nothing can possibly go wrong, can it? At that moment, Gizzy rings up and explains that the Bitch in White wants the ship salvage so the, er, "failure in communications" which meant everyone thought she wanted the Liberator blown to smithereens excuse is stuffed. Ah, Gizzy, even as he fails to stop the plot being predictable, he has more personality than everyone else around him.

Blake is told to tell his utterly-trustworthy-and-obedient crew to surrender, which is rather odd as it's thoroughly established they're so screwed they wouldn't be able to even BLEED on their enemies as they die. Blake therefore refuses and Servalan tries to be clever, using her criminal genius to point out they're not in the House of Commons but he's actually a prisoner with guns pointed at his head. Thanks, Servie, that needed to be told. Everyone would be really confused otherwise.

Gizzy sighs and, once more, takes his brain dead superior to one side and explains that just because she asks an insane, frying-pan-wielding suicide bomber to capitulate it doesn't mean they automatically will. Blake is confident however, that the Liberator is the perfect bargaining chip despite Avon's best efforts to make him realize they're screwed. "She's desperate for the Liberator, it's her ultimate power accessory - she hasn't stopped salivating since she arrived," Blake observes in a true ELSE moment. Nikko at this point starts pointing out that the rebels and the rulers don't care about the common working man and Blake is as bad as his enemies. No one listens to him, as Blake protests that HE is a person too and should be given respect.

To prove his point, he immediately gives up and agrees to hand over the Liberator - the others will ceasefire on the condition Blake and Avon are allowed to escape with their lives. Aw, Blake, you're so gallant and honorable, doing what Avon was going to do to you except condemning your comrades to death and leaving a super weapon in the charge of your mortal enemy. You're a role model for children everywhere.

Hang on, when did they get teleport bracelets?

The Liberator refuses to respond to Avon's attempts so Avon decides to get in the Plothole and fly away, leaving Blake as security. Gizzy blows Nikko's head off after he starts yet another speech. Bout time too. In the confusion, Blake kidnaps Servalan and drags her aboard the Plothole (pissing off Avon, for whom things were really starting to look up) and the Bitch in White can only roll her eyes at this and point out how utterly stupid Blake is as he delays taking off so he can trade EXTREMELY pathetic cliches with Gizzy ("They can't get away!" "I beg to differ!" OH SHUT THE FUCK UP, BLAKE!). Avon sighs and points out they're fleeing in the hope the Liberator hasn't been blown up, in yet another bit of nicked dialogue (from Volcano, this time, and oddly enough a line from Tarrant... ELSE, why?!?)

With Servalan as a hostage, Gizzy can't order Garcia and MSP to open fire, and instead they have to arrange boarding parties to storm the stricken vessel, and this time he's in command. Because, you know, this is personal. Mind you, it might be better for his career than sending disposable red shirts to rescue Servalan. You just know she'd remember that and she's insufferable enough at the best of times.

Aboard the vessel in question, Jenna is a coma (close enough to death to work for me) while Gan is being more depressing that Niel Pye with low blood sugar as Vila is left to try and sort this mess out. Blake and Avon turn up and Gan immediately bitches at them before revealing that things aren't as doomed and lethal as he has been whining about for the last ten minutes. Jenna is now merely unconscious and "will be fine" and the damage "isn't serious". Christ, I hate you, Gan. Avon meanwhile introduces Servalan to Vila: "She'll be slumming it with us tonight."

Zen finally switches on and he's in a mean mood. Sealing off the flight deck, trapping everyone, Zen announces that he's rebooted and the whole "nice guy" circuit has been bypassed. After everyone shouts at Zen for a while, Avon finally says "save your breath, no one's listening any more", which is an expression that should be framed and hung up in ELSE's office.

Meanwhile, Garcia and MSP realize that that huge fleet of Liberators... is actually a huge fleet of Liberators. Wow, Gizzy worked that out three episodes ago you retards! And "huge fleet" now means "five". Who immediately blow up the ships of the fleet the proper Liberator hadn't already. That's over thirty seconds of lasers firing and explosions. Boring padding, so it must be time for the season cliffhanger. Blake is horrified at the destruction of the Federation fleet (wow, you were happy enough to do it throughout the series) while Avon is mightily pissed off that the System can crack his firewall.

A hologram appears in the room and starts talking to everyone. "We are the System. We are One. You have something that belongs to us."

...sigh... Wow. The alien invasion that EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER has been predicting throughout the series happened. What an amazing twist. And it turns out the Liberator was build by the Borg voiced by a ring modulator. Amazing. I mean, because a massive space battle is much more impressive and audio-friendly than Redemption, isn't it? ELSE strikes again, going back to rewriting whole episodes and turning them to shit...

To Be Continued... whatever...

In conclusion... it's a mess. What did you expect me to say? ELSE and James Swallow fight to try and turn the last third of this season into something halfway decent, like Adrift desperately trying to justify Something Borrowed. The Eros Station segment is the best part of the audio adventures I've heard - there's a clear plot, a twist that isn't signposted and the characters behave like real people. Blake is a nutter, he is treated as a nutter. Avon is a genius, he acts like a genius. The Liberator is sentient, it acts sentient. But it's all ruined. Why the hell doesn't Avon just snap Blake's neck if they hate each other so much? It's not like the brotherly rivalry they had on TV. The difference between Gareth Thomas and Derek Riddel's portrayals of Blake is one is actually charismatic to cover up his obsession and increasing insanity. No one in their right mind will fall for Blake's soap boxing, which is why no one on the ship does. Except... they all follow this man they all think is nuts, and who isn't even clever like Avon, ala Season 4. ELSE is ruining this series - how the hell else do you justify twelve episodes of Vila bitching that he doesn't trust the Liberator a damn inch and then totally ignoring a crisis to list Zen and the Liberator as members of "Blake's 7". Laugh? I never started.

With your stories cut into three minute segments, things are always going to suffer. Why bother. Why the fuck bother, answer me that? What the hell good is served by these bite sized segments bar the fact that I can review them individually without my skull exploding? There have been 36 of these bloody things and the show still hasn't got over it's feel of "dodgy pilot ep". Why kill off a main character if no one cares or mentions it again? Why go to such trouble to make Zen nice if you're going to turn him evil again right away? Why rip off TV episodes you clearly have no interest in? The cast, bar Dobro, have all found their feet but they can't do anything with the trash they're given. Servalan is supposed to be an evil genius, so what's the actress supposed to do with a script that paints her as a clueless princess? Yet at the same time she does all the things an evil genius is supposed to do, like take charge, berate henchmen, come up with audacious schemes... Every character seems to have two modes and flicker back and forth. Every time Travis is a ruthless and clever soldier, he turns into the pussy-whipped stooge of Servalan. Whenever Gan becomes the moral majority, he becomes a mindless berzerker who just wants to smash things. On the rare occasions Vila acts like Vila, he quickly becomes a camp old Jewish twat who spouts quotes. Blake is the only one to remain steady - a stupid, mindlessly optimistic man with a chip on his shoulder and all the leadership of Chris Lilley.

You know what the difference is between Mr. G and Blackadder is? One's an idiot with an inferiority complex in the real world and the other is the only intelligent person in a historical reanactment. That's why we like Blackadder. Why we want him to win. Because he isn't stupid. He's unlucky. He thinks on his feet. And he fundamentally realizes that no one - NO ONE - cares about him because they're all wrapped up in their own problems. Mr. G assumes everyone loves him and he can do whatever he wants. And when they don't he has a tantrum and then has to chicken out, refusing to accept whenever evidence is thrown at him.

This is the Mr. G of cult science fiction. It has the skeleton of a successful format and some decent actors and expects to win with no effort whatsoever. And the worst part is, it's right. Just as Mr. G gets off scott free and is never judged by anyone for the insecure asshole he is, this show gets plaudits.

Odd how absolutely no one has reviewed it bar those soundbites I quoted earlier, huh?

Maybe it's because all the normal people didn't listen to it. Which is a pity. Because when it's the easily-pleased idiots who worship Summer Hieghts High and demand more, they're heard because no one is around to point out how stupid this all is. Well, B7 Enterprizes, I sat through it all. You didn't fool me and I've got proof, which I've posted here. I really am not sure I even want to hear this amazing second season they've got planned. I'm not even sure it would be worth clicking "download" for. But if I don't point out how stupid and retarded it all is, then no one will...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Work In Progress

"Can You Pwn The Devil?"

(Note: Set between 'The Warlords of Apeshit' and 'Divine Aura # 4')

* * * * *

If God is the creator of the universe and capable of infinite miracles and goodness; then surely the Devil is capable of infinite equal and opposite. And did God banish Lucifer because they were more alike than God had always admitted to himself? Was God insecure? If so, what about? If he is so insecure, is God really the right man for the job? Does anyone really care?

That's how the Doctor had always reasoned it when mormons accosted him.

The Doctor sat alone in his vast cathedral-like library alone. That's twice as alone as he'd normally be, in his special library that differed from his normal, smaller, less-cathedral-like libraries. And he wasn't actually reading anything, he was simply sat quietly. Alone. I did mention alone, right?

"Dara, would you excuse me?" he said, which was rather odd considering he was alone. "I just need some time to myself. I'll be in the library so for once in your horrid and misbegotten life, do me a favor and please don't disturb me."

This kind of odd statement had in recent weeks proved to be not quite so odd coming from the Doctor. Because he was odd at the best of times and often made completely random requests to thin air when no one else was looking.

* * * * *

Dara held the Doctor in so low a regard that she was assured that he didn't even have a tenth of a clue as to how deeply he cared for her, even though she often needed to be reminded who the guy in the magician outfit was twice a day.

She was too busy being in love with herself. She completely adored herself. Now, there's a statement that could raise a few eyebrows, if the owners were in a strange mood and raised their eyebrows at the very slightest of provocation. And assumed that these people are somehow reading this and are amazed at her egomania. Are they reading this? Did we just break the fourth wall? Crap. Still, we best establish a context here: she loved herself as she would her idol, her role model.

The Doctor was very much her least-favorite chauffer. There's never any "romance" or anything else which might suggest the faintest of emotional connections. They were barely close travelling companions, certainly not comrades in arms and to say that they were the best of friends would cause both to collapse in paroxysms of hilarity. Dara cared for no one but herself. And that kind of love was special, deep. Her faith in her own incredible hotness was unshakable, and above all she was convinced her naked body drove everyone crazy. Which it did, but Dara assumed it left menfolk insane with desire, rather than nervous wrecks trying to rip their own eyeballs out to end the Lovecraftian horror they were witnessing. It was only the Doctor's incredible Time Lord brain that kept him going when she deliberately stalked the strange man, jumping out from behind doors and furniture, inflicting her horrors on him.

After twelve days of non-stop Benny Hill chase sequences, the Doctor still hadn't tried to kill himself or ravish her, and she assumed he was a strange old man who was past it. To her, anyone over the age of 24 was ancient, and thus she concluded the Doctor was dead from the neck up and extra dead from the waste down. Why else would a man in a time machine with a goddess like her not spend every hour of every day sexing her continuously, but instead be more interested in rabbits up his sleeve. And when she told people this - often people who had no idea who she was or why she was talking at them - she would literally mean it, even though it sounded like she was confused about "rabbits in hats" and "tricks up sleeves". Oh, what a retard she was!

Whenever they had been on some madcap adventure to save the universe, there were occasions when events and circumstances had hit home very hard for her. Like that time she stubbed her toe. Or the time the Dustbins bombed humanity back to the Stone Age and converted the survivors into brain-dead flesh-eating zombies. Or that time she got that not-so-fresh-feeling in the middle of a hostage situation. Or that time her mascara ran.

"Nil desperandum, fair Dara, for I shall show the wonders of prestidigitation, never fear your smile will be clear," the Doctor would say, his face beaming with such radiance. Then, with a few flicks of his wrist he would repeatedly slap her round the face in a bid to get her to crack her skull open until she lay, bleeding and unconscious on the floor. He would then sod off and check out some magic shows, never without a smile brought on by ABH on her person.

That was the Doctor she knew. Mind you, there was the total sad-act in the scarf, though. He was also a Doctor she knew. And that grey-haired twat in the Napoleonic gear. Or the fat, hairy, moustached lazy cunt with a walking stick. She knew a lot of Doctors, now she thought of it.

But recently she began to think that her Doctor, the magic geek, had become a totally psycho. Instead of merely groaning, "Oh, fuck, you're STILL alive!" and running away in the mornings when he saw her, he had started to simply chloroform her unconscious whenever she spoke. Just the other day she had woken up in the middle of the night to discover she had been doused in petrol and the Doctor crouched at the end of the bed, trying to light a match and muttering "Burn! BURN!" to himself. It was amazing how tolerant she was, really. Still, they had been through a lot. It was true, the Warlords of Apeshit had taken a lot out of him, but he had faced gods before. He lived with HER divine radiance for crying out loud. What was so different now?

As ever, Dara's deep-rooted psychosis made it utterly impossible for her to accept what a malodorous bitch she was and thus she would need to find a scapegoat for her own actions - and she knew exactly who to lay the blame on:

The Bastard!

An evil twisted man who this time had gotten away three times over without once sleeping with her. This boiled her blood to the core. He had invaded her mind but gone absolutely nowhere near her body, no, he had saved that for the Doctor, he done untold damage. But she always wondered...

Didn't he think she was hot?!

* * * * *

"How does he get away with it?" the Doctor would ask himself constantly about a variety of people, from the President of the United States of America to a passing taxi driver. "How is it that wherever and whenever we go, he's there, with that dark-bearded face pulsing with unceasing evil? OK, he's regenerated into a ginger-haired twit with a completely new face, but it's a face that had haunted my dreams. In the few times that I do sleep. So it doesn't actually haunt me at all. Why the hell am I driveling on like this?" he wondered to himself. But he didn't answer. No one did. He was alone. Did I mention that?

These thoughts would constantly revolve again and again in his head which is what "constant" means now I come to think of it. And the more the Doctor thought, the more angry he became, and he didn't want Dara to see that. He was not going to give the bitch the satisfaction. He had long held the conviction that, since he regenerated right in front of Dara's eyes and the bimbo hadn't even noticed, the dominant factors of his new persona had formed an image, and he didn't want to shatter that image. Not that Dara would notice. Or care. In fact, he could shatter it every single day and no one would be any the wiser. For the love of Led Zeppelin, all this constant skulking in secret was probably doing him no good either, but it was the lesser of two evils. He didn't know what the greater was, but statistically speaking, it was very likely it was the lesser if you looked at it to the right angle.

That last thought sent a shiver through him, which was really stupid as the thought barely made sense, let alone was worthy enough to be scared of. Had someone had just walked over his grave, twelve times over? Who the hell was this wanker pacing back and forth on his grave? Didn't they have something better to do? Were they illiterate? Could this disrespectful myopic malinger not see the gravestone marked "THE DOCTOR, A FRIEND TO THE EARTH!"?!

More thoughts and memories bobbed to the surface of his mind in that nebulous activity known as consciousness. There were a lot of things that the Bastard had said on Dead Parrot 5 in the games of the Apeshit, about his plans and schemes being not so far grandiose as those of the Doctor. And what frightened the Doctor more was that the guy had actually believed that cheap chat-up line; he had even said to himself that he could almost forget how great the sex was... ALMOST forget, that is. But the Doctor shrugged it off. That was another problem for the Bastard to discuss with his psychiatrist. The point - if indeed, there WAS a point - was, when would their next encounter to be? Actually, that was less of a point and more of a question. Oh there would be one, there would always a fight between them usually once every other season. Wherever you find the Doctor, you will find the Bastard. Or the Dustbins. Or Cybermen. Or Trods. But it had always confounded the Doctor as to how the Bastard had survived.

At one point he would always just see the Bastard escape to safety, laughing in knowledge that he had confounded the Doctor and UNIT in their prudish, melon-fetishist ways. But those were younger and far more innocent days of unargued canonicity amongst the fan base. The next time they met, the Bastard was a crippled emaciated creature resembling a sea-bound mammal. But how did he do it? How the hell does a life of crime lead to you turning into a sea-lion?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Horror of Rod Island

I'm just posting this to get a record of the disturbing and hilarious story my dad just told me about his misspent youth which seems to have inspired more than a little of The League of Gentlemen.

It was 1973 and my dad was on an early work for the dole scheme that involved him and two other reprobates being sent to the distant and disturbingly backwater Rod Island. The trio would unit at Rod Point at 6 in the morning and then be shuttled across to the island by the caretaker in a little tinnie boat, whereupon they spent the next three hours having cups of tea and sandwhiches.

The job was simple - go across to the field beside the warehouse, currently used as a playground and dig up the equipment and then smash the concrete plugs around the base of the poles. Dutifully, the trio did as they were told but quickly discovered that they were expected to take all day cracking the concrete. The senior of the group - a conniving bastard alcolohic in his mid-40s - worked out that if you whacked the poles, the vibration would resonate the concrete more effectively than whacking the concrete itself. Ergo, a few whacks on the pole would equal forty or fifty whacks on the concrete and they could do a day's work in ten minutes.

Being true Australians, the gang immediately decided to do absolutely bugger all for the rest of the week and do a solid hour of work on Friday afternoon and thus fulfilled the true spirit of the 70s by getting completely drunk and stoned and chilling out at the taxpayer's expense.

However, this halcyon enjoyment came at a price.

For next to the field was a lighthouse whose keeper was a very strange man whose wife was hideous. I mean, seriously ugly. No oil painting myself, I have to say that if my dad think she was abhorrent than she probably resembled Davros' passport photo. The lighthouse keeper took his duties even LESS seriously than the work for the dole gang and spent all day and all night getting incredibly drunk and at one point on the second day came over to speak to the gang. He passed out. They went home. They came back the next day. He was still there. Finally he recovered enough and explained the reason he turned to alcohol.

He was totally impotent and worse, his wife's insatiable sexual desires (which made up for her disgusting aspect) had merely increased. Unable to satisfy his wife, the upset lighthouse keeper had turned to drink. But now he saw three younger, virile men and desperately tried to bribe them to have sex with his wife. They would have been suspicious at the best of times, but they KNEW what she looked like and no amount of sob stories could convince them to risk it.

The lighthouse keeper wandered off and the next day returned with a heap of incredibly filthy pornography that nowadays would have got him arrested and put on a police register somewhere. He explained that it was perfect to turn on the male of the species while his revolting wife did the nasty and tried to show off his magazines to the gang, who were so scared by now they started to actually do work so they could avoid the lighthouse keeper. Soon he started offering them money, promising them riches beyond the dreams of avarice.

By Thursday the lighthouse keeper had bought a heap of condoms, sex toys and disturbingly foreign lubricants. By Thursday afternoon he was on his knees, desperately pleading for them to help him. "You're still young!" he shouted. "The scars will fade! You can forget about what you see! You can still get on with your lives! PLEASE!" he wailed.

On Friday afternoon, the third and hithertoo-unmentioned member of the gang finally snapped and agreed to come round to the lighthouse on Sunday afternoon. He was promised good food, good wine, music, company, and he accepted. My dad and the coniving bastard never returned to Rod Island, and the good Samaritan never left it...

...OK it's not a perfect narrative, but real life rarely is, capice?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If *I* Had Written The King's Demons...



(We see two dogs eating bones, munching.)

DOG 1: Mmm. Nice bones.

DOG 2: Hah! To think that I am reduced to this! I, who was once adored by one and all... I, Tom Baker, reduced to the state of a dog in a cutaway sequence in the Young Ones!

DOG 1: This isn't the Young Ones. Now, shut up and eat your bones.

DOG 2: Ahhhh. Anyone can eat a bone, but to eat it INTERESTINGLY...

DOG 2: SHUT UP! Whoops! Camera's are on.

(We pan across to see a truly convincing and stunningly expensive castle interior. Stop giggling. It worked on Black Adder, didn't it? Now, our cast: King "Kong" John; the neon-orange Sir Gilles Estram; Lord Ranulf; his jailbat wife; and their castrated son, Nigel.)

RANULF: How's the peacock's vomit lentils, my liege?

KING: (MUNCHING) As thrilling as picking the weevils out of biscuits. (EYES WIDEN) OH MY SOVERIEGN! RANULF?!?! Are these lentils South African??

(Ranulf eyes his food, worried)

KING: I'm not paying you to eat black men!

RANULF: You're not paying me at all, goatee-face! Look, I know we're the bestest of mates ever since you took that tapestry of me with Sally the horse, but COME ON! You ask for all my cash on a highly-dubious grounds - yeah, no tax dodging on religious grounds - THEN, you invite yourself round for dinner and go an insult the catering!

KING: (SNARLS) Why not? I'm King! I'm King and you're not anything!

RANULF: What is your problem, Johnny boy? Or, as we in the Senior Echelon know you... LITTLE John?

(The King spits out a mouthful of food. We hear one of the dogs shout and complain, demanding the director say cut. This ends with a distinctly anachronistic gunshot)

RANULF: (LOOKS UP) What the hell was that?

KING: (QUICKLY) Nothing. Oh, look. Yellow custard dripping from a dead dog's eye. Is that desert?

RANULF: Well, if you want it, Kingping, have a go!

KING: Oh, dear. I've lost my page in the script. Er, Estram, where were we?

ESTRAM: You inzult ze king.

KING: Thank you. You, King, are a total... wait a minute! I AM the King!

ESTRAM: (SIGHS] Ee inzults ze king.

KING: Did he? The bastard! I demand satisfaction!

RANULF: Tough! I gave you my Rolling Stones collection AND my record player - why do you think we only have that tit in the corner playing an accordian?

ESTRAM: Zat is not an haccordian, it iz ze lute.

RANULF: WHAT? Where did the accordian go?!

KING: It was needed for vital war efforts. Look, Ranulf, I don't like you. So... DIE!

RANULF: (SCREAMS) It wasn't me!! It was... Nigel!!

(Dramatic music. Ranulf points an accusing finger at Nigel, who blinks)

NIGEL: What?

ESTRAM: Very well. YOU inzult ze King?

NIGEL: King? What King?

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Over there, dear. Honestly, I do wish you'd pay attention.

NIGEL: That's not the King!

ALL: Oh, yes he is!

NIGEL: Oh, no he isn't!

ALL: Oh, yes he is!

NIGEL: Nah, he's not! He is, in fact, a metal man who can change shape being controlled by -

(Estram gags Nigel, grinning through gritted teeth)

ESTRAM: Er, he inzults you, my liege. May I kill him ritualiztically?

KING: Yeah, sure. Knock yourself out. I'm off to get wasted.

RANULF: You can't do that?

KING: Can't I? Fine! I'll do it tomorrow!

(The King goes to sleep. )

RANULF: (CONFUSED) Uh... Ok. Um, goodbye son. You weren't mine, anyway.

(Ranulf walks off. Nigel blinks as Estram unsheathes a sword.)

NIGEL: Um... can I have a last request?

ESTRAM: Yes. Your last request is that you can have a last request.

NIGEL: (PLEASED) Oh, ta very much.

(Estram swings his sword...)

(The next day. To give Nigel a sporting chance, the King has decided to have an old-fashioned-but-actually-cutting-edge jousting match. A bunch of bored extras and a dead dog sit in an audience between two tents. The King arrives and kicks the dead dog away, so he can have a good seat. The tents open. Estram emerges in black, nerehu-style battle armor with a black stallion foaming at the mouth. He mounts his steed (stop sniggering) and raises his sub-machine gun. Nigel emerges. He has a cereal box jammed over his head and holds a boomerang as he mounts his unwheeled tricycle.)

KING: Well, this all seems pretty fair. Let's GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!

RANULF:I beg your majesty! Take my goods, my lands, my chattel, even the robes I stand but spare my only son!

KING: You taking the piss?

RANULF: What? I'm being dramatic!

KING: OK. I want your castle, ALL your cash, your jailbait wife AND the clothes you're wearing.


KING: AND your lucky gonk.

RANULF: WHAT? Never! Let the runt die! I shall NEVER surrender my lucky gonk.

KING: Yeah, well, you look crap naked anyway.

JAILBAIT QUEEN: He's right, you know, dear.

RANULF: Shut up! You too, Little John!

KING: Ok! Let's start spilling some blood!

(Estram begins charging straight towards the prone Nigel.)

NIGEL: Wow. I'm dead.


(Suddenly, a police box appears in mid air and drops on top of Estram, crushing him and his horse. Nigel gets up, feeling cocky and begins to kick at the legs of Estram that sprout from beneath the box.)

NIGEL: Huh? HUH? You wanna piece of me? Huh? Not so clever now, huh? LOSER!

(Inside the police box is... The Doctor, Tegan Jovanka and Vislor Turlough, all looking bored and depressed as they drift from "exciting" Black Guardian trilogy to "thrilling" 20th anniversary special. The time rotor slides to a halt.)

DOCTOR: There we are. A perfect landing.

(They are thrown to the floor.)

TEGAN: Where are we?

DOCTOR: I'd say Earth.

TURLOUGH: Why would you say that?

DOCTOR: Because, unlike some stars, I read the script. (CHECKS CONSOLE) Yes. Earth. March 4, 1215. Wow, we were so close! I'm very proud of the TARDIS this time.

TURLOUGH: We were aiming for Trion, December 6, 2891!

DOCTOR: (STARES) Yes. Hmmm. Twelfth century, Earth... We're probably in Tokyo.

TEGAN: Could this be a Black Guardian trap? Are we about to die? Is entropy inevitable??

DOCTOR: You know, it's these little moments of optimism that make you so freaking loveable, Tegan.

(Tegan opens the scanner. It shows a close up of a huge kettle.)

TEGAN: It's... a kettle.

DOCTOR: That's what YOU think. It's obviously some wierd alien menace invading Tokyo. Without Godzilla or Mothra, Earth's greatest defence is me! Thank God I've arrived in time! (HE PUTS A LAMPSHADE ON HIS HEAD) Right. Just test the telepathic translator circuits... Ahem. Ah, I ram Chinese if you prease... Yup, that's working. Let's go.

TURLOUGH: Hey! The scanner's jammed on the shopping channel.

(He bangs the console. The picture changes to Nigel strutting back and forth, trying to look cool.)

DOCTOR: My God! The evil kettle has transformed into Geekatron! Quickly, we must AWAY!

(He runs straight for the door. Which is closed. The Doctor bounces off it and falls over. Tegan sighs and opens the doors. She leaves, as does Turlough. The Doctor lies on the floor.)

DOCTOR: (ANGUISHED) Come back, please! Oh, my ankle!!!

(Outside, Nigel is playing up to the crowd.)

NIGEL: Oh, yeah! Who's the man! Who's the man? I am invincible! Nigel the conquerer! Nothing can faze me, the Duke of Deliciousness!

(He turns around just as the door opens and Tegan and Turlough emerges. Nigel whimpers and faints, wetting himself. Tegan and Turlough turn around and notice the King. They wave.)

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Who are they, my dearest?

RANULF: (LICKS LIPS) Who cares? That chick's showing her legs!

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Yes, I hate it when streakers invade jousting pitches.

RANULF: (LEERING) Yeah, whatever. Hey, Johnny? Can I have the chick if you can kill the boy?

KING: Sounds fair.

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Um, am I the only one slightly put out that these two wierdoes appeared out of nowhere in a blue box that fell for the sky? (LONG PAUSE) Well, obviously I am.

KING: (WAVES) Hello, Tegan! Long time, no see, baby!

RANULF: You know these sexy interlopers, my liege?

KING: Hell, yeah. Get me a guitar someone!

(Tegan and Turlough approach the King.)

TURLOUGH: Do you know him, Tegan?

TEGAN: Never met him before. Well, there was that time at the school dance, but... No. He couldn't have been THE King John. I assumed that he was really Elton John.

TURLOUGH: You're wierd, you know that?

TEGAN: Hey, I don't spend my evenings talking to a piece of crystal shouting "I'VE CHANGED MY MIND! PLEASE! GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE", do I?

TURLOUGH: Huh, I don't want to KNOW what you do in your evenings, sicko.

(The King begins to play "Devil Woman" on a lute. Mysteriously, he has turned black and has grown a huge afro in the way only Kings can. He segueways into "Black Magic Woman.")

RANULF: Wow. If there's a subtext to this, I have no idea what it is!

KING: (REVERTING TO TYPE) Guys, gals, idiots of all ages...

IDIOT: Are you addressing me, sir?

KING: Yes. My friends, these are my pet Demons I won off Lucifer during a game of three-handed crib. By the way, did I mention I drink goat's blood for breakfast?

(The Doctor limps from the TARDIS)

DOCTOR: Hah! The evil Geekatron has taken us to England! Tokyo is saved! And it's all down to me, or my name's not Doctor...

(The Doctor is promptly cut off as the police box falls on top of him. He is standing so the open doorway falls over him. His top half thus punches through the rear wall of the tatty police box prop.)

DOCTOR: Whoops. Are we going again, John? No? Oh... AGH! MY OTHER ANKLE!

(Estram gets to his feet, swaying slightly. His eyes glow red and he is foaming from the mouth.)

TEGAN: He doesn't look friendly.

TURLOUGH: It's that orange beard, Tegan.

TEGAN: Yeah, boy is it fake. Is that the fashion around here?

TURLOUGH: Hmm. Shave him and he'd look like an angel, I'd bet.

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Well, Estram's an angel? If you can't believe a demon, who can you believe?

RANULF: (DROOLING) Yeah, whatever.

KING: Hey! Doctor! Come over here! I've got some jelly babies! You can bite their heads off!

TEGAN: I thought he'd gone off jelly babies.

KING: Has he? OK. I've got you some normal babies! You can bite their heads off!


(He walks up to the seats, still wearing the TARDIS prop. He knocks over most of the cast as he sits next to the king.)

TEGAN: Doctor, you don't REALLY eat babies, do you?

DOCTOR: Not the cute ones. So... Who are you again?

KING: I am King John.

DOCTOR: You are not! I have met King John, I know King John and YOU, sir, are no King John!

KING: I am so!

DOCTOR: King John looks like Ford Prefect wearing a dress!

KING: Yeah, well, I hate to break this to you, but The Legend of Robin Hood is not canonical.



DOCTOR: (DEPRESSED) Shit. Still, should have had my suspicions when I saw Robin without his beard leading the Vanir on Terminus. And Friar Tuck as an Edwardian Sailor. And seeing Little John as a policeman in Victorian London. And I never realized until now, but Sir Guy of Guisbourne was a dead ringer for Harry Mailer, who's plain dead. And Captain Hawkins was the spitting image of the Sherrif of Nottingham, I now recall. And it was written by Robert Stewart Banks...

KING: OK! Ok! You're alienating viewers?

JAILBAIT QUEEN: We've still got viewers!

KING: SHUT IT, BITCH! Right, where was he?

ESTRAM: I was about to behead ze spoilt brat, King John.

KING: Oh, yes. I remember now. Behead the runt!

(Dramatically, the Doctor whirls to face Ranulf, knocking over the cast members who have only just managed to stand up again.)

DOCTOR: Lord, you're not going to let your son die, are you?

RANULF: (EYES ON TEGAN) Mmmmmmmmm. Sweet, sweet candy.

TURLOUGH: How did you know that guy was the other guy's son?

DOCTOR: Family resemblance.

RANULF: You mean he IS my son? (TO JAILBAIT QUEEN) You naughty little slut!

JAILBAIT QUEEN: I didn't want to disappoint you!


(Dramatically, the Doctor whirls to face the King, knocking over the cast members who have only just managed to stand up again.)

DOCTOR: Your Majesty, please - shut this man up!

KING: Please, call me Kameleon.


KING: Whoops. Nothing. What do you want?

DOCTOR: Let's cancel the whole contest and get wasted on cheap cider.

KING: I LIKE that plan. Sir Gilles! Down boy!

ESTRAM: Never! This runt's pissed all over my shoes!

KING: I said stop!

ESTRAM: Never! I am the... crap. OK. OK, damn it!

(Nigel, at this point, chooses to regain consciousness and opens his eyes to see Estram holding the sword above his head. Nigel faints with a squelch.)

ESTRAM: AGH! I'll never wash this out! Ach!

(Estram runs off, wiping invisible filth from him. The King rises.)

KING: OK, everyone. Time for lunch. And a quick rundown of those points: my best friends are demons. Right. What's for starters? I feel like braised baboon buttocks in a delicate white wine sauce.

(The King and his entourage leave. Ranulf taps the Doctor on the shoulder. Dramatically, he whirls to face Ranulf, knocking over the cast members who have only just managed to stand up again.)

DOCTOR: Yes? I suppose you want to thank me for saving your son?

RANULF: Anything but, blondy-boy. Tell you what, call it quits if you take my son with you, demon-dude.

DOCTOR: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Well, I've been needing some cannon fodder - er, I mean, company since Adric carked it. Failing that, I could always use him as target practise. OK, pad out this two episode story and you got a deal!

(They shake on it. A man in a dressing gown arrives and rips the police box off the Doctor.)

DOCTOR: Oh, thanks, Tony. Hey, what are you doing here? I haven't seen you since Time-Flight!

MAN: (ROLLS EYES) Just passing, Pete.

(Inside the castle, the camera man slowly roasts inside the fire place as he attempts to get some interesting camera angles. Already, he is smouldering. The cast enter.)

DOCTOR: Nice castle. Norman, would you say?

RANULF: No, I'm Fitzwilliam. I don't know any Normans.

DOCTOR: (RUBS EYES) For Christ's sake...

(Nigel runs up to them.)


DOCTOR: I just saved your life, you ungrateful wretch.

NIGEL: Dude, I could have SO defeated that French Knight. I had him on the ropes.

RANULF: Oh, sod off you annoying little virus! And change your armor!


(He runs away again)

DOCTOR: Ah! Just like the good old days with Adric. I love such stimulating discussion.... OK, Tegan, get me my shotgun. The moment has passed.

TEGAN: Where's Turlough?


TEGAN: You know? Ginger wierdo in odd clothes?

DOCTOR: Adrian Edmonsen??

(Meanwhile, Turlough is standing beside a window.)

TURLOUGH: Oh, man. I could have been someone, you know. I could have been someone. I could have been a container! And what do I get? A one-way ticket to Serial 6W! What did I do? I acted evil and broody, tried to kill the Doctor, betrayed him the Black Guardian and the next thing you know, I don't even have any dialogue! If only they'd kept the story with the space whale...

NIGEL: Shut up, you annoying git! You're under arrest!

TURLOUGH: On what crime?

NIGEL: For looking prettier than me!

TURLOUGH: You arrest a lot of people, don't you?


TURLOUGH: What guards?

(An extra arrives.)

NIGEL: Damn the King for dwindling our men-at-arms.

TURLOUGH: Yeah, sure. I believe you!

NIGEL: That's it! Take him to the torture chamber! He is charged with looking out a window!

TURLOUGH: I gave up Blake's 7 for this?? Give me strength...

(Back in the set, Ranulf confonts his wife)

RANULF: You said you had it off with Sir Ponceby The Imbecile's idiotic half-brother!

JAILBAIT QUEEN: (SHRUGS) Yeah. I just didn't get knocked up that time.

RANULF: You mean... you mean that miserable little shit is REALLY my son?

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Fraid so, daddy-o.

RANULF: GOD DAMN IT! Sir Gilles Estram!!!

(Estram approaches, visibly sticky-taping his beard on)

ESTRAM: Bonjour Misour Fitzwilliam?

TEGAN: Wow! A real Pakistani at court!

RANULF: Estram? Throw this harlot in the dungeons!

ESTRAM: Um.. OK. Uh, ze King just sort of ordered me to do zat very thing.

RANULF: Well, good on him! I never want to see this slut again! Or at least until I'm so drunk and horny it doesn't really matter. Do it!

(Estram leads the jailbait queen away, surreptitiously groping her).

TEGAN: Hmm. A Pakistani Knight at court.

DOCTOR: Yes. How odd. Almost...

(Very drammatic music)

DOCTOR: ... SUSPICIOUSLY odd. I sense there is a plot here.

TEGAN: Well, you're doing better than the writers, that's for sure.

DOCTOR: Hmm. If I remember my history right, King John should not only LOOK like Ford Prefect in a dress, he should also be signing the Magna Carta five minutes from now.

TEGAN: Doctor, your memory sucks.

DOCTOR: That's a total lie, Harry! My memory is fine!

TEGAN: You can't even remember what your own name is.

DOCTOR: Sebastian.

TEGAN: (SHOCKED) That's your real, scary Time Lord name?!

DOCTOR: (CROSSES FINGERS) You bet your arse, my Aussie airhostess.

TEGAN: Well. Fancy that. Hmm. Turlough's disappeared.

DOCTOR: Oh, good. Let's bugger off, then.

(Ranulf dives in front of them with a sword.)


DOCTOR: ...what?

RANULF: You're not leaving here without taking that blond thing with you!

DOCTOR: My hair?! OK. I'll take my hair, scary person.

RANULF: No, the boy. You've got to get him out of here before word spreads!

DOCTOR: Oh, don't worry. All this crap about us being demons should knock that story onto... oooooh, page 3 at least!

RANULF: (SHEATHES SWORD) Fair enough. Have you bewitched the King?

DOCTOR: Does it matter?

RANULF: Not really. If only he wasn't the real King! Then I could nail him to the table and shove his damn lute where the son doesn't shine.

DOCTOR: Well, if it makes you happy, I think that the King... (LOOKS LEFT AND RIGHT FURTIVELY) ...may be an imposter.

RANULF: Great!

DOCTOR: You see, the real King has long girly hair and this amazingly fake crown and no beard. Never trust anyone with a beard, that's what I say. Who was the last bad guy we met with a beard, Tegan?

TEGAN: (SHRUGS) How should I know? The Master?

DOCTOR: There must be someone else. Who else had a beard?

TEGAN: Um, the Monitor?

DOCTOR: No, he was good.

TEGAN: That bloke on Deva Loka who thought he was in Carry On Up the Kyber?

DOCTOR: No, he was good, too. What about moustaches?

TEGAN: Oh, the Cranlieghs had nice moustaches.

DOCTOR: No, they were good. Who was evil that had a moustache?

TEGAN: Um, that soldier guy we fought the Cybermen, but he was good. And that airline captain, but he was good. And Kalid, but he turned out to be the Master. And Shardovan, but he was good. The Portreeve had a beard, but he was the Master. That stallholder guy I possessed had a beard, but he was comic relief, if anything. And the Brigadier, of course. And that nice Vanir guy. And this guy standing in front of you has a beard. Oh, and that Pakistani knight -

DOCTOR: OK, some theories don't bear close examination. Let's get pissed, OK?

TEGAN: What about the plot?

DOCTOR: What ABOUT the plot?

TEGAN: Oh, who cares?

(The Doctor ruffles her hair condecendingly.)

DOCTOR: That's my temporary assistant (until a 36-DD American babe turns up, anyway).

(Meanwhile, Turlough is being stretched on the wrack. Nigel laughs cruelly.)

NIGEL: Ha-ha. Hah-hah. Ha. How do you like THIS, carrot top?

TURLOUGH (BLISSFUL) Ecstacy, mate. Sheer, bloody ecstacy!

NIGEL: (DEFLATED) Is that good?

TURLOUGH: Oh, you betcha! Man, I thought I'd be a hunchback after all that crawling on Terminus. This is pure, unadulterated pliesure! How much do I owe you?

NIGEL: Who is the wierdo in the cricketing gear?

TURLOUGH: Peter Davison. Anything else?


(Dramatic music that makes up an embarrassing lack of material to pad out the episode.)

TURLOUGH: Not... THE iron maiden??

NIGEL: Yes... THE iron maidenn!!

TURLOUGH: Great! I've got all their aulbumns!

(Two guards enter with an inflatable woman. Nigel doesn't notice.)

NIGEL: Let us see how well demons suffer! You will fill her!!!

(Turlough eyes the inflatable woman)

TURLOUGH: Whatever turns you on. This "capture-and-torture" routine is SO working for me!

(Nigel turns and notices the woman. He yelps.)

NIGEL: What the hell... Where did you get that??

GUARD: Under your bed, sire.

NIGEL: (HUSHES HIM) No, no, I mean... I wanted the iron maiden. Clue is in the "iron" bit? You know, torture box full of spikes!

GUARD 2: I thought that was a journalistic invention and thus, anachronistic.

NIGEL: Guards! Fix that irregularity in the script!

GUARD 1: Uh, Ok. (SQUINTS AT CUE CARD) "The mysterious French Knight Sir Gilles Estram brought this thing with him called an iron maiden, what we do not know whence it has came."

NIGEL: Good boy. Now, where is it?

GUARD 2: The French Knight took it so he can show it off.

NIGEL: (INDICATES INFLATABLE WOMAN) And THIS is the best you can do??

GUARD 1: Well, your mother's in the next cell.

NIGEL: (FOLDS ARMS) Well, she'll just have to do.

TURLOUGH: Thank you, god, thank you so, so much, you beautiful Trion deity, you!!

(In the main set, everyone is eating. The Doctor is flicking his forkfulls of food at the Iron Maiden sitting in the middle of the room.)

TEGAN: Uh... Doctor. Why are you doing that?

DOCTOR: It's my homage to Gilbert and George.

TEGAN: It's a hideous torture device.

DOCTOR: Ah, but is it art?

KING: ENOUGH! Get me a lute, somebody. Karioke time!

(Outside, Estram watches lighting crews gather up bits of police box.)

ESTRAM: OK, lads. Put it back together when we get to studio... Oh, no, we're filming.

(A red-haired man arrives on horseback arrives.)

ESTRAM: Oh, no, not ANOTHER redhead! This cannot bode well. Who the hell are you?

GEFF: I am the cousin to the owner of this castle what whose name I have just forgotten.

ESTRAM: Get away.

GEFF: Silence, knave - I am Michael J Jackson!

ESTRAM: Pull the other one.

GEFF: It's true!

ESTRAM: Do a moonwalk, then. Go on!

GEFF: Not THAT Michael Jackson, you retard grass-munching frog!

ESTRAM: Why have you interrupted this standard two-parter, Thriller Boy?

GEFF: I have returned from meeting the King as he signed Magna Carta.

ESTRAM: Oh, really? How interesting. Uh, I mean - WHAT? The King is here!

GEFF: Born on eagles wings? Strange things are afoot! Has the King alighted to Ranulf's castle on angel wings? When I left the King in London four hours ago. Can there be two King Johns???

ESTRAM: My God! This redheads more intelligent than all the production team put together!

(He knocks Geff unconscious with a mace.)


ESTRAM: (SHRUGS) Well, fancy that. It IS Michael Jackson.

(The funky King is playing a guitar.)

KING: Odd socks, Odd Socks,
There is no even pair.
I can't even blame the washer
Caus the fault is not in there.

I pin my socks together
I tie them with some string
I staple them with metal clips
While still upon my feet.


But somehow one still goes missing
The odd one's now long gone
I search and search, look everywhere
Under the couch and behind the chair
No luck, All I have cannot be spared
I have no pair to spare.

Odd socks, Odd socks
There is no pair to spare
I can't even blame the washer
Caus the fault is not in there.

I've tried hand washing
Drip drying,
Tying them in knots
I've even put them in Estram's vino
But nothing seems to work
And I end up with all odd socks.

I even placed a wanted ad
Pleading for some help
I've asked that they be returned to me
By twenty-five past three
But I received no answer
No reply has come
So I am left to contemplate
My red and green striped ones

Odd socks, Odd socks
I know I'll never find
These renegades, these runaways
For these poor bare feet of mine.

TEGAN: Wow. I don't know about you, but I really want to donate all my earthly goods to the Crusade.

DOCTOR: Wow. You're an idiot.

(Estram enters with Geff.)

DOCTOR: My god! King Richard! It's you!

KING: (WORRIED) Oh, feck!

GEFF: I am not King Richard.

DOCTOR: Yes, you are - I'd remember that ginger beard anywhere. Remember? We were on that boat when Robin Hood risked his life to tell you that that meddling monk was carrying a dagger and wanted to kill you?

KING: For the last time, Doctor, this is DOCTOR WHO, not THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD!

DOCTOR: Oh, yes, I keep forgetting what crap I have to work with. You gotta admit, it's a damn nifty plot trick if the REAL King Richard turned up and found a FAKE King John. So, Mr. Jackson. Jackie... Jacko... Jack... Ja... J... What you up to?

GEFF: I was four hours out from London...

TEGAN: Wow, that's good traffic. Even for the 20th century.

GEFF: ...having just left the King and I find this obvious fakery in his place.

ESTRAM: Hey, that's not in the script!

GEFF: I know, but Pete's come up with such a good idea, I've decided to adlib.

ESTRAM: That's it! Let's drown the bastard in marzipan!

GUARD 2: We're out of that.

ESTRAM: Boiling oil?

GUARD 2: We've got some cooking sherry.


(The Doctor leaps to his feet.)

DOCTOR: Stop this.

KING: Why? It's just Michael Jackson for Cripe's sake. He'll be dead in part two.

DOCTOR: But you can't execute someone before desert. Especially after that song.

KING: Oh, well, I'll sing another one then.

TEGAN: Doctor, what have you done, you idiot??

(In the cell, Turlough and the Jailbait Queen are sharing a cigarette. A cue card lies nearby, unattended. It says ISN'T IT LUCKY THE MYSTERIOUS FRENCH KNIGHT WAS SHOWING US THIS ODD CUSTOM OF "SMOKING" TOBACCO. Nigel is sulking.)

NIGEL: How dare the guards chain me up "for a laugh"! Ooh, they be cruising for bruising!

TURLOUGH: Baby, this is brilliant.

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Will you stop then, your jackdaw meanderings and stay with me?

TURLOUGH: Hmm. Stay with you and that runt over there, or travel through time and space enjoying S&M tortures and tons of guilt-free sex... Ah, the agony of choice. No wonder the Doctor has so many companions. If he'd told me about this before hand, that crystal wouldn't been down the pan in no time.

NIGEL: Mother! You dishonour me.

TURLOUGH: That wouldn't be difficult, would it?

NIGEL: Silence, demon!

TURLOUGH: That's UNCLE demon, to you, young whippersnapper.

NIGEL: I shall have my revenge!

JAILBAIT QUEEN: Do you remember, my son, that time the wise old sage worked out who was your biological mother by offering to tear you apart and share you equally?

NIGEL: Yes, and you begged the other woman have me rather than let me die!

JAILBAIT QUEEN: No, I just didn't want to be lumbered with HALF of you, let alone all.


TURLOUGH: (KISSES QUEEN) Tell it to someone who cares, buster.

(Nigel sighs and turns to the inflatable woman.)

ESTRAM: Can I kill Jackson, now that you've created the right ambiance, my liege?

TEGAN: Anything - anything! Just make him STOP singing!

(The Doctor approaches Estram)

DOCTOR: How dare you sir! I demand satisfaction!

ESTRAM: What have I done to you, Monsiur Doctor?

DOCTOR: (SHRUGS) Nothing, really. I just really hate the French!

TEGAN: Doctor, you can't say that! It's racist!

DOCTOR: Heck, I'm not human, who cares? I'm allowed to hate Daleks and Cybermen, but not the French?? The French, whom I should point out huge clusters of baby's eyeballs that dangle from the ceiling like bunches of grapes and THAT'S considered a delicacy! And they kill tourists, hang them upside down from helicopters with cheese wire before you can become a citizen of France! And then they are ritualistically slaughtered...

RANULF: Yep, that sounds pretty racist.

DOCTOR: No, because the French aren’t actually human.

GEFF: Why do you REALLY hate them, Doctor? Really?

DOCTOR: (SIGHS) Because... because, my friends, they killed my second-best friend. My pet budgerigar, Rover. You see, one day, he was flying over Mururowa Atoll, when they were doing their nuclear testing and... (SOBS) he got cancer. Cancer of the testicles! (WEEPS) And this was all that’s left!

(He delves into his pocket and pulls out a dusty chicken nugget.)

DOCTOR: All that’s left of Rover - a radiation-riddled testicle. (SOBS) Poor Rover.

(He absent-mindedly takes a bite from the nugget as he wipes away his tears.)

DOCTOR: What kind of people would let a poor little budgie get testicular cancer like that? Huh? Answer me that! Well, I demand satisfaction! Gimme a sword!

(Estram hands him a sword. It is made of plastic and has a TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE logo on it.)

DOCTOR: Thank you!

RANULF: Doctor, reconsider! If not for yourself, for ME! If you die, I'm stuck with my son.

DOCTOR: I won't be defeated, Sir Ranulf!

RANULF: He is reputed to be the finest swordsman in France!

DOCTOR: Fortunately, we are in England.

(The King claps his hands)

KING: I decree this castle is now officially on French soil until the completion of the swordfight.

DOCTOR: (CRIES) Oh, I am so utterly SCREWED!

TEGAN: Pull yourself together, Doctor! Think of Rover! Think of Adric! Think of the money!

DOCTOR: (NODS) Of course, you're right! En guard!

ESTRAM: Thanks for the warning!

DOCTOR: Thrust!

ESTRAM: Parry!

DOCTOR: Thrust!

ESTRAM: Parry!

DOCTOR: Thrust!

ESTRAM: Parry!

DOCTOR: Use the chandellier!

(Estram turns his blade upside down and uses the handle to tap the chandelier. It wobbles)

DOCTOR: Good enough, now thrust!

ESTRAM: Parry!

DOCTOR: Thrust!

ESTRAM: Parry!

DOCTOR: Thrust!

ESTRAM: Parry!

DOCTOR: Thrust!

ESTRAM: Parry!

DOCTOR: Thrust AND parry!

(The Doctor disarms Estram and easily snaps the sword.)

ESTRAM: (TERRIFIED) Oh no! Raw plastic! The horror!

DOCTOR: Die! You French freak! DIEEEEEEEEEE!

(He stabs Estram in the gut. Estram collapses. The Doctor does a little Mohammed Ali shuffle.)

DOCTOR: OO! Stings like a butterfly, floats like a bee!

(On the floor, Estram's face blurs, glows and changes to become...)

DOCTOR: Ah, Tony! There you are! (FROWNS) Wait a minute - why are you wearing that black beard?

(The regenerated Estram raises a short stubby black rod.)

RANULF: Mmm. Kinky!

TEGAN: That's no sex toy, that's the tissue compression eliminator!

RANULF: Mmm. VERY kinky!

DOCTOR: My god! You're the Master! So, the writers found some ludicrous excuse to save you from an impossible situation YET AGAIN! What do I have to do to you before the writers start paying attention and try and fit storylines together? Burn you to death? Freeze you in time? Turn you into a cat? WHAT?

MASTER: (EVIL, DIABOLICAL LAUGHTER) It's worse than that, Doctor! This story may only have one more episode to go - but I'm booked to appear in The Five Doctors.


(End credits begin)