Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fact of Fiction I: Aliens in the Orchid House

Reprinting the much-lauded analysis of the most infamous tales of Chatham for the immediately abandoned ICBM (Intellectual Chatham Ben Magazine) project... and also thanks to toyline_assembly for the plug.

"Fuck that for a game of soldiers - I'm having another drink!" The Youth of Australia returns to 2005 and discovers to his horror that sparacus started as he meant to go on...

Aliens in the Orchid House

"Another timemachineman's holiday..."

Mark Goacher, better known as "sparacus", is now an international celebrity thanks to his insane and bigoted persona but also because of his unique (lack of) talent when it comes to fan fiction, in particular his own utterly unloveable creation Benjamin James Sebastian James Chatham. But it is easy to jump to the mistaken belief that it was the Chatham saga that propelled sparacus to to fame - in fact, Ben is (by modern standards) almost entirely ignored in his first season, and stories confined to a few paragraphs. Could such brevity really have kicked off the Sparaverse phenomenon? Far from it, for the phenomenon was actually begun some months earlier, with an ongoing piece entitled Aliens in the Orchid House, which was for sparacus what Spearhead from Space was for Robert Holmes: a one-way ticket out of obscurity.

Never before had a piece of fan fiction garnered so many replies, and never before had any fic - regardless of quality - be forced into the "adults only" area of the forum away from innocent eyes. Such scandal and drama naturally made more and more people read it, and also converse with the completely unashamed and manifestly borderline illiterate author. Upon completion, Aliens in the Orchid House went (by 2005 Whovian standards) viral. Text files of the saga spread across the net, some as warnings for how strange online trolls could be, or how bad writing can become, or simply celebrations of such lunacy.

Sparacus rarely returned to this Carry On style script format, preferring to go for more mainstream and coherent plots (and yes, that is a measure of how off the wall his debut tale was), but the roots... or maybe rot... of Aliens in the Orchid House had set in. Almost every story following it would feature badly-characterized regular, rampant misogyny, full-frontal hardcore gay sex, the brain-damaged misuse of classic series monsters and, of course, Adam Rickitt having wild gay sex against his will.

It's the story that started it all.

Oh, how I hate it so.

The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler emerge from the TARDIS to find themselves in a wooded forest, whereupon the Doctor heads off to scrounge some food.

  • Sparacus' claims this was a serious work of drama are immediately undermined by the Doctor's first line: "No shit sherlock! OK lets go and have a poke about outside," cueing a crap double entendre from Rose.
    Quickly setting the scene for his work to come, the Doctor is a rude, insensitive hedonistic pleasure seeker who considers anyone female or common to be a non-functional retard - especially a common female like Rose, who he immediately dubs "a daft moaning tart". In fairness, Rose is portrayed as an irredeemable brain-dead chav from the start, asking stupid questions, shouting random words and unable to concentrate on anything other than sex - meaning she is arguably the most consistent character in the Sparaverse, as she remained as such into The Christmas Invasion (ii) through to The Shadows of Christmas.
  • The story is filled with grammatical and spelling errors throughout, but one can only assume some of the dialoge is written phonetically, unless "cadge a bite to eat" is some Colchester expression the world has overlooked.

Elsewhere in the woods, a society girl called Daphne Blandische and a "caddish American businessman" Rex Mortram are having sex in the open, whereupon Daphne spots something in the trees and screams.

  • Such unhygenic and uncharacteristic sexual congress for the 1920s is justified by Daphne finding the open air "romantic", but she is quick to warn readers of the dangers: "Ouch - mind out - a thorn's just stuck in my back."
  • Rather unsubtly, sparacus skips over any description of the heterosexual love-making, preferring to tell us the thing Daphne sees is "ALIEN" and she "SCREAMS" in block capitals as if to take our minds off the filthy straight couple and their vile knotting and gendering like toads in a hole ((c) William Shakespeare)...

Hearing Daphne's scream, the Doctor reluctantly agrees to investigate when they bump into Daphne and Rex, who believe the Time Lord can help them deal with the voyeuristic creature Daphne spotted.

  • In a spectacular goof, Daphne knows the Ninth Doctor as "Doctor Who" and instantly trusts him, though the previous episode made clear the Doctor had no idea where or when he was. The theory this is some paradoxical meeting ala River Song is discounted as the Doctor suddenly knows his location and has no interest in how the natives know who he is or why they call him "Doctor Who".
  • If Daphne's horror at the harmless alien observer is odd, Rex's "the bighter was watching me give her one" is odder still from a 1920s American.

Daphne reveals the alien creature was ugly, ginger and had red eyes. Rose is horrified at the description, thinking it is a hungover Chris Evans.

  • A very unsubtle and unfunny dig at Billie Piper's first husband - and why would Rose (or even Billie Piper) be scared of him anyway?
  • The Doctor assures Rose it cannot be Evans as it is 1926. Has he forgotten about time travel? Probably, yeah.

The Doctor is uninterested and insists on going to the "hall" for food and beer.

  • The Doctor knows about Blandische Hall without being told. In the previous instalment he relied on the TARDIS sensors to detect a "big house".
  • The name of the family, "Blandische" recalls "bland", rather neatly summing up the characters and sparacus' life mission to make characters as uninteresting and one dimensional as possible.

Up at the hall, Sir Reginald Blandische is getting drunk on single malt while upstairs the chauffeur Clive is in bed with a young blonde aristocrat called Alistair.

  • In a common but forgivable error, sparacus makes the classic mistake that "blonde" is a unisex term. It isn't. Females are "blonde", males are "blond".
  • Alistair is the first character to get a cast list. Sparacus immediately lays his cards on the table with the script direction "to only be played by ADAM RICKITT". The fact the first words Rickitt's character says are to beg another man to "give it to him" shows the rather pitiful wish fulfillment sparacus has with the actor, a trait that never quite leaves him.

There is a distant scream and Alistair, believing his sister Estelle could be in danger, considers abandoning the sex session to investigate but is persuaded to remain in bed with Clive.

  • Without a trace of irony, the origin of the scream is listed as "screamer", whose dialogue consists of the word "SCREAM!" in block capitals.
  • Just why is an aristocrat and his sister staying at the hall? Outside material from sparacus shows that Estelle is a friend of Daphne, but this is never revealed in the story itself. Alistair's suspicion that there maybe a "horrific creature" lurking within the hall murdering young women is also never expanded upon. Is he in on this conspiracy?
  • The distinctingly ungentlemanly Clive's retort of "Who the fuck cares! Lets have another shag - me balls are like rocks." was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as the OG mods were concerned and the whole thread was taken out of the public domain.
  • Alistair's first major speech is practically an audition piece for Ben Chatham: "WHAT! How could you! Do you mean to say that you're asking me to choose between helping by beloved sister Estelle who at this moment might be being brutally murdered by some horrific creature that lurks within this sinister old house OR another steamy sex session involving tongues, thongs & honey?" He concludes with the perfect Chathamesque decision of "Oh well, sex it is then."

The Doctor, Rose, Daphne and Rex enter Blandische Hall as another scream is heard.

  • The Doctor breaks the fourth wall for an "aside to camera" where he notes a stuffed fox resembles Chris Evans. This is one of the few times such a one-liner would not have "canned audience laughter" following it.
  • Another fetish of sparacus appears with notes that there is an "ornate Tudor hallway" - Tudor architecture is regularly observed and critiqued by characters in the Sparaverse, even when they're running for their lives, but here it recieves no comment.
  • The script cannot make up its mind if the location is a "hall" or a "house". Presumably the author never gave a shit.

The Doctor dismisses the scream and searches for the drinks cabinet when they encounter a ragged and bedraggled butler.

  • Bizarrely the butler is left out of the cast list in the opening episode, even though he's got more dialogue than the rest of the guest cast.
  • The Doctor's description of the screaming as "obviously some poof shagging upstairs" is another defining trait of sparacus tales - any character who isn't bissexual is a full-blooded homophobe. Interestingly the Ninth Doctor is the latter, but the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors are the former. Apparently. Could this be because the author didn't fancy Christopher Eccleston?
  • The Ninth Doctor is apparently fond of "Gallifrey Snowstorm" cocktails (which can be mixed with Earth alcohols, which is rather unlikely), yet in the previous episode was after a "pint". His ravenous hunger has been forgotten too.

The butler drops dead before he can explain what attacked him. Uninterested in the death, the Doctor continues his quest for booze.

  • This moment destroys any credibility this is a serious attempt at a Doctor Who story.
  • The Doctor's dismissive eulogy of "what the butler saw", is a reference to seaside amusement machines that allowed the user to voyeuristically watching recordings of women taking their outer clothes off - seemingly the driving theme of this story, as the reader is left watching 1920s fops having sex. Well, read one line sentences and imagine the rest. Not for nothing has Aliens in the Orchid House been dubbed "a one-handed wonder".

Upstairs Alistair and Clive continue to bonk each other senseless, unaware a tentacle is reaching around the door and fondling them.

  • The description of "moonlight shining on Clive's manly chest" is the first clue this story is taking place at night.
  • Alistair is once again described as "played by ADAM RICKITT", just in case anyone forgot.
  • The "passionate lovemaking" is not the sordid kinky depravity promised in the previous chapter. Not that I, for a second, am disappointed by this.

The pair finally register the hideous tentacled monster attacking them.

Alistair flees downstairs to warn the others of the alien thing.

  • How exactly did Alistair escape? Why did the monster let him go? Where is Clive? None of these are answered, nor does Alistair show any interest in the dead butler or the two strangers sipping drinks downstairs.
  • Alistair's casting is once again restated. Sparacus was making damn sure we knew Rickitt was in this story.

The Doctor refuses to investigate the "dark, old and sinister" house.

  • Rather like Alistair, the Doctor seems to know more than he's saying, instantly guessing what the creature looked like and the nature of the house.
  • The Doctor deduces that the alien isn't a Dalek because it is a green translucent octopus like creature. Which is rather similar to a Dalek mutant, isn't it? The Doctor's casual dismissal of his ultimate enemies again shows how little attention sparacus was paying to the television series at the time.
  • This is the shortest episode so far, and up against stiff competition.

Later that night, everyone has gone to bed.

  • What?! Despite the fact there's an octopus monster on the loose, one of the household staff is dead and another injured? What has happened to Sir Reginald? Didn't anyone remember to check on Estelle? This level of stupidity beggars the imagination...
  • An ominous thunderstorm has begun for no apparent reason.

The Doctor sneaks into Rose's bedroom and gets the "daft cat" to join him in exploring the house.

  • It seems the Doctor's earlier reluctance to interfere was a cover to put all the murder suspects at ease. Or else sparacus forgot about that plot thread. Either option is credible. This is also one of the few times the Doctor is with a female companion in their underwear and doesn't demand to have sex with her - sparacus is of the belief that any straight man is a guiltless nymphomaniac, later citing this theory as proof the Eleventh Doctor was gay for refusing Amy's advances in Flesh & Stone.

With a flickering candle, the Doctor and Rose creep around the darkened corridors, passing Daphne and Rex having sex in their bedroom.

  • The Doctor seems to use a candle rather than, say, a torch, simply to make things more gothic and dramatic.
  • The idiotic chav Rose at one point berates the Doctor, insisting "she doesn't touch drugs". Thus making her the most clean-living person in the story and, interestingly, the one treated with the most contempt. Later stories would make it clear anyone who avoids alcohol and such stimulants is a boring and untrustworthy character.
  • The Doctor claims to have once shared a lift with "two Zygons and the Meep", which was very tense. Why this would be tense is never explained, and sparacus makes a goof of describing the furry homicidal maniac as "the Meep" rather than "Beep the Meep". This is like referring to Davros as "the Kaled".

Finding nothing of interest downstairs, the snoopers investigate the Orchid House and find Alistair and Alec the gameskeeper having sex. The alien attacks them

  • After five episodes, the titular Alien in the Orchid House appears for no apparent reason other than to provide a cliffhanger.
  • Alec is another character not mentioned in the cast list, odd since the characters of Sir Reginald, Estelle and Davinia have all been ignored!
  • The graphic descriptions of "lovely tongue action" and Alistair "giving good head" show sparacus was making the best of the story's exile to the adult section of the forum.
  • Alistair shows a typical sparacassian mind-overrided-by-lust. Despite the fact his last lover was attacked by an alien monster, his sister is missing and there is at least one killer in the house, he decides to have sex with the gardener in the middle of the night during a rainstorm - showing not only suicidal insanity but a contemptuous lack of morals as well. The crucial difference between Alistair and Ben, of course, is that Alistair is actually enjoying himself.
  • This is the first time Alistair's casting is not mentioned in an episode. By now we were presumably credited enough information to remember this fact ourselves.

The Doctor spots the monster and immediately identifies it as an "Axoid" from Drexler III, an uncontrollable carnivore that shouldn't be on Earth.

  • The name "Axoid" more than a little recalls the insatiable tentacled Axons. Sparacus has little originality when it comes to alien names or races, reaching a true peak in Lord of the Reedy River with a "Tasmerileptil" - it's just like a Terileptil, only not copyrighted.
  • Further evidence the Doctor was playing dumb? The Doctor being able to instantly identify an alien and summarize its life cycle in a single sentence for plot reasons is another strong trait of the Sparaverse. Later, Doctor-free stories have to jump through hoops to get the alien monsters to offer their own wikipage entries to passing strangers for similar reasons.
  • The Doctor doesn't make a move to save Alistair - given the fact the creature has apparently attacked Estelle (Alistair's sister), Clive (Alistair's lover) and the butler, is it possible it is actually trying to assassinate the fop and anyone close to him? If so, letting it consume Alistair might end the carnage after all.
  • The final, badly-spelt and contradiction-filled speech is worth reprinting: "Oh shit - its an Axoid from planet Drexler III. They have a voratious appetite for anything that lives & moves. But how dd it get to earth - they're dumb primeaval beings!!!!!!"
  • For the first time, the script directly addresses the audience: "Want to know how the Axoid got to earth? Whether Alistair & Alec escape? Find out LATER folks!" This marks the first use of the irritatingly familiar and American nickname sparacus would use on his readers.

The Axoid attacks the Doctor, but smashes through the glass front and out into the grounds.

  • For the first time individual scenes are noted in the script. This is scene 2. Presumably the previous five episodes were a reeeeallly long scene 1.
  • The Doctor doesn't seem interested in a homicidal alien wandering the grounds at all, telling the others "well that's him gone." From the author's mind, maybe..
  • The ruthless alien killer is bizarrely referred to as "daft" and "lumbering" in the stage directions.
  • Rose "Dim Tart" Tyler's stupidity is an excuse for the Doctor to restate the alien's origin. He now believes something "more intelligent and deadlier" is behind the Axoid's appearance on Earth. Given the new series' theme of random matter falling through time with no agenda in Dalek and Torchwood, this seems unusually paranoid, especially as there is no sign either intelligence or death beyond what the Axoid has done.
  • Alec calls Alistair a "numbnut", an insult that becomes the defining trait of Spartha Jones in Death in the Cloisters.

There is a shriek from within the house that Daphne identifies as old Nanny Hawkins being murdered.

  • Where the hell did Daphne spring from? She was in her bedroom screwing Rex a moment ago! Where is Rex, anyway?
  • The sudden introduction of a new character simply to be killed off shows sparacus had completely forgotten about Estelle and Davinia, Daphne's good friends who are also ostensibly in the story.

The group enter the drawing room to find Scaroth standing over Hawkins' corpse.

  • Scaroth of the Jaggeroth was the memorable green one-eyed alien from Douglas Adam's 1979 story City of Death. A cultured and intelligent being and the last of his race, a rematch against the Ninth Doctor would certainly be an intriguing idea... not that sparacus does anything with the idea. What Scaroth would be doing murdering old women on a dark and stormy night in Blandische Hall is later explained as random homicidal urges. Well, it's hardly going to help him restore the Jaggeroth race, is it?
  • There would be another, similarly ham-fisted attempt to sequel City of Death in Chateaux of DEATH
Scaroth recognizes the Doctor, and explains that he has been disguised as a guest in the Hall: "that whisky sodden Sir Archibald Phibes".
  • Presumably it was while Scaroth was disguised as Phibes he met the Ninth Doctor and realized his true identity, as there's no other reason to assume the big-eared Northerner in the leather jacket is the same person he will meet in Paris 1969 or Florence 1500. As Phibes never appeared in the story before now, we are forced to assume this must have been in another visit from the Doctor when he first met Daphne. Or else it's a whacking great plot hole.
  • Scaroth explains that the Doctor's "plan to eliminate him" failed (rather odd, it was Scaroth's own bulter Herman who tried to kill him, the Doctor never once planned to "eliminate" anyone) and Scaroth was "thrust into an eclipsical interactisational time loop vortex, reuinited with all my splinters, their memories united into my new whole persona" - presumably the result of Kerenksy's time machine exploding in Scaroth's "death" scene - and "thrust" forward to 1926 (logically it would be BACKWARD from 1979...). However, since City of Death showed that past versions of Scaroth could communicate with future ones, this complicated backstory is unnecessary - the 1920s Scaroth could fulfill the plot functions quite well. All sparacus has done is, in effect, create a completely new character and given it an old name!
  • Is Scaroth's obsession with the word "thrust" to make up from the lack of recent shagging in the plot?
  • Scaroth's retort of "Untrue!" became sparacus' own catchphrase whenever any logical flaw was pointed out.

Scaroth denies all knowledge of the Axoid though.

  • "Nowt to do with me love. I'm just a mad old alien who now & again fancies a bit of random killing," Scaroth insists, dropping completely out of character as either a Jaggeroth survivor or a drunken knight of the realm. Still, he did say he's got a new persona...
  • Did Scaroth murder the butler? In fact, how did he murder Nanny Hawkins? He has no weapons of any kind!
  • None of the inhabitants of Blandische Hall seem interested in the fact one of their guests is an unrepentant alien murderer who has just killed Daphne's grandmother. At the very least you'd expect Alistair to ask if Scaroth had bumped off Estelle!

The Doctor lets Scaroth get on with his pointless murdering and they all retire to bed. Again.

  • Scaroth is not the only one now completely out of character. Is this supposed to be another bluff by the Doctor, or simply "the rule of funny"? Either way, despite the Doctor's insistance there is a deadly intelligence at work at the spooky house, everyone's happy to get a bit of shuteye.

Alec and Alistair are soon shagging again.

  • Alec has seemingly forgiven Alistair nearly getting him killed, something he was very angry about in the previous episode. Obviously looking like Adam Rickitt makes people forgive anything... unless they are New Zealand magistrates and the charge is shoplifting.
  • Is there something wrong with Alistair? That's four sex acts since the story began, and two of them were interrupted by his lover being attacked by an Axoid out for blood! You'd have thought that sheer physical exhaustion alone would have caught up with Alistair by now!
  • Presumably the two are having sex indoors as it's now safe of Axoids. A rather dangerous presumption on their part.

Suddenly the Celestial Toymaker steps out of the wardrobe.

  • Presumably its coincidence this fey villain 'comes out of the closet' when he sees two men having sex.
  • First appearing in the William Hartnell story of the same name, the Toymaker has had a remarkable off-screen life - the official sequel The Nightmare Fair, the audio The Magic Mousetrap, the book Divided Loyalties and the comic strips The Greatest Gamble and Endgame. Given the Doctor's mention of the Meeps, this story considers DWM comic strip canon, so it would be rather nice to find out how the Toymaker escaped his impossible situation he suffered after his encounter with the Eighth Doctor...

The Toymaker asks the two young men to join his Celestial Toyroom, but when Alec yells at him, he disappears.

  • Presumably sparacus was ignorant of the toyroom's destruction in Endgame or maybe he just didn't care. Either way, it seems odd the Toymaker has survived intact the Time War which apparently wiped out all the higher elemental beings.
  • Why would the Toymaker want Alistair and Alec to "join him"? This is completely against his usual modus operandi, where he challenges innocents to a game they can easily play but cannot win. Also, given his obsession with the Time Lord, it beggars belief the Toymaker isn't after the Doctor.
  • The Toymaker's inexplicable cameo does have a precedent, as his mindgames with Tegan, Nyssa and Adric in Divided Loyalties show.
  • Alec loses any trace of being 1920s working class as he calls the Toymaker "a filthy old perv" with sex toys. His description of the Crystal Guardian of Dreams as "an old poof" is rather hypocritical as well.
  • The idea of the Celestial Toymaker being a randy old elemental deviant was used first... and better... in Charles Daniels' The Sexual Toymaker.

Alistair rushes to inform the Doctor, who boggles at the presence of the Toymaker.

  • The Doctor has genuinely retired for the night. So much for the cunning plan subtext.
  • "What the fuck is he doing here?" demands the Doctor of the Toymaker. No answer is given, but considering he was convinced there was a devious and deadly intelligence behind the Axoid's appearance, the Toymaker is an obvious suspect.

There is a scream from Rose's room, where she is being throttled by a green tentacle. The Doctor doesn't bother to rescue her.

  • The anti-Rose misogyny reaches new heights as no one so much as lifts a finger to help her, and indeed they sadistically watch as she suffers.
  • A truly surreal exchange occurs at this point. Alistair shouts, "Something's strangled Rose!" whereupon the Doctor replies with uncharacteristic and very unhelpful pedantry: "Actually that statement is factually innacurate as since said companion of mine is still alive then logic dictates that the use of 'strangled' instead of 'strangling' is a grammatical error on your part driving the meaning of your sentence into the sphere of technical innacuracy." When Alistair suggests the Doctor stop bitching about phraseological mistakes and help Rose, the Doctor retorts "Hang on - I'll just pop to the loo for a pee & then I'll sort it out."
  • Sparacus' obsession with letting others know of toilet habits would become one of his better known quirks, especially when he started posting on his laptop from a gentleman's convenience.

After a toilet break, the Doctor makes a vague effort to save Rose by cutting at the tentacle with a small penknife. When that fails, he decides to stab Rose until she frees herself, whereupon the Doctor berates her for "whining".

  • Rose's assailant is finally identified as an Axoid, presumably the same one, which immediately returned and attacked the house. So the Doctor's belief it was gone is shown to be utter bullshit.
  • The story's hatred of Rose cranks up a notch as her best friend not only takes bathroom breaks instead of saving her, but stabs her repeatedly when she's in trouble and then tells her off for complaining (not to mention the subtext that Rose could easily have escaped on her own if she'd tried). This cruelty would continue throughout Sparacus' later serious works, including killing off her mother for "being a chav", culminating in the revelation the Doctor deliberately marooned Rose in Pete's world because "she had a fat arse".

Alistair shoots the Axoid with a shotgun, causing it to vanish into thin air.

  • This is a surprisingly heroic and positive action from Alistair, and arguably the first in the story. Shouldn't he also blow a hole in Scaroth as well?

"Now I think its time for some serious investigations," the Doctor announces. "Scaroth, the Toymaker, the Axoid - these things should not be here."

  • A vague return to normalcy ends the episode. Clearly Rose's tentacle rape and stabbing was the most interesting thing in this installment.
  • It's only taken ten episodes and two corpses for the Doctor to take things seriously...

The Doctor gathers all the survivors downstairs.

  • This is apparently "scene 3".
  • The routine "gather suspects together to solve a mystery in a mansion" is a cliche, but sparacus insisted when a similar event occured in The Unicorn and the Wasp by Gareth Roberts that it was a deliberate homage to his work. Sadly, the fact there was a motive to the murders, the gay couple treated sensitively, and the fact the characters were written competently, all suggests otherwise. Sparacus later attacked Roberts when the latter's distaste for online forums became apparent.
  • Estelle and Davinia make their first appearance, and we discover Clive is alive after all. Sir Reginald makes his second appearance in the entire story, "enjoying a nice glass of finest single malt". The inappropriate alcoholism and pointless description of the "finest" vices would become a trademark from Operation: Delta onwards.

"It's a queer business," the Doctor sumarises.

  • Scaroth has apparently disappeared along with the Toymaker and the Axoid.
  • Sir Reginald's first line of dialogue is not exactly worth the wait. "Well well my good man and what do you think is behind all these goings on. What?"

The Doctor concludes that all three were illusions planted into the minds of those present.

  • Rose is told off as a "dim tart" when she objects to the idea people disappear. It happens all the time if they're in debt, according to the Doctor.
  • Alistair loses the last trace of period verisimilitude as he exclaims "You mean that old toymaker bloke and the monster wern't real? Fuck me - they ruined two quality shags!" Um, three, surely? Or was one of the shags rubbish?

As Clive, Alec and Alistair decide to get drunk and have a threesome, the lights go out and there is a scream.

  • Alec has become "Alex" for some reason. He's back to Alec in the next episode. Similar nominative problems would strike Anselm Ashford/Axford/Asforth/Axforth from Winter of the Lost onwards.
  • "Someone has been like SO murdered!!!!!" exclaims Rose in a baffling and unexplained attempt to be 'yoof'.

Daphne has been stabbed in the chest by persons or persons unknown.

  • More misogyny from the author there. Of the original cast, only the two women with speaking parts have been in serious danger, and both of them stabbed.
  • Why is Daphne killed? The cast list says she would inherit the hall, suggesting that someone would kill her to gain the Blandische estate - but no one seems to want the sinister mansion as anything other than a shag pad.
  • Notably Rex has vanished from the storyline by this point, so there is no one to complain about Daphne's demise.

Rose, Alistair, Clive and Alec scream in unison while the Doctor yawns with boredom.

  • Bizarrely her father Sir Reginald doesn't react. In fact, he seems to disappear as well - along with Estelle and Davinia. In fact, everyone who might have been concerned about Daphne's demise has been completely forgotten.
  • "What a bright spark you are. You have a great future at MacDonalds," the Doctor sneers at Rose in a scene clearly showing the author's mindless prejudice and hatred for the working class, and clearly divorcing this story completely from the series by RTD. The Doctor goes onto mock Rose's complaint about his behavior as "what a load of old bollocks!"
  • Rose suggests the house is evil and someone is possessed, but this comparatively-original idea is never taken up. Sadly.

Confident he's almost solved the mystery, the Doctor announces he needs more clues.

  • ...what? Such contradictions are common in sparacus' work, but inside the same sentence is extreme, even for him.

Later they all retire yet again, so the young men can have a "spit roast".

  • Despite the fact there's a murderer on the loose and they are likely to be interrupted by more wierdness? It's clearly the misogynistic author at work, as such stupidity would never be tolerated if a WOMAN suggested such an idea.

There is a metallic sound and the threesome scream in the belief a suit of armor has come to life.

  • Why?!? Apart from anything else, they know it's probably an illusion.

In her room, Rose is attacked by a Zygon and screams.

  • It's possible the Doctor's reference to Zygons (from the 1976 story Terror of the Zygons and later the audios The Barnacled Baby, Homeland, Absolution and The Zygon Who Fell To Earth) was foreshadowing this event, but highly unlikely.
  • Despite the fact it's probably an illusion. And, considering how often she's been attacked, wouldn't it be smart for Rose NOT to sleep alone? Maybe go back to the TARDIS?
  • A disturbing attempt is made to appeal to the hetrosexual demographic: "Rose is in bed dreaming of a sexual encounter with David Beckham involving football shirts & fishnet stockings".

Later that night, the Doctor gathers all the survivors yet again to the drawing room for port an explanations.

  • Surely it's morning by now?
  • There is strong evidence that sparacus had completely forgotten his previous installments. The Zygon, the suit of armor, Daphne's murder, all have been ignored and the cliffhanger as well.
  • This is apparently "Scene 4".

Rose is bored by the Doctor's pompous introduction.

  • Is it a clue she's a Zygon? Or maybe just tired from having her sleep interrupted every five minutes by an alien monster and a rubbish version of Cluedo?

Just as the Doctor is about to identify the evil force behind events, Jessie Wallace enters.

  • Jessie Wallace (born Karen Jane Wallace) is best known as playing Kat Moon in Eastenders (a role she had just left). It's unclear whether this is meant to be a character played by Wallace, or the actress herself somehow transported back to 1926. Either way, the implication that a talented and popular actress is a dark and evil force continues the clear hatred for successful women in this story.

Jessie Wallace reveals she is, in fact, a Slitheen.

  • A rather odd revelation, since Wallace (voted sexiest newcomer) is hardly fat enough to be a Slitheen in disguise.
  • Pedantry compells me to point out that sparacus is under the delusion that "Slitheen" is the species name, despite the clear on-screen demonstration that this is a family title and not the species name (Raxicoricofallapatorian).

The Slitheen, Popdeeeeesalica, reveals she is the last survivor of the family, only for the Doctor to beat her unconscious with a bottle of scotch.

  • More violence against women...
  • Presumably the Doctor's anctics were inspired by the scene in Rose where he uses a champagne cork to attack an Auton. Interestingly, sparacus continually ignores the scene in World War 3 (and later The Lodger) where the Doctor instantly throws up whenever he drinks alcohol. He is unaware or uncaring that Boomtown and The Monsters Inside made it quite clear the Slitheen family was huge and, for there to be a "last of the brood" would require a galaxy-wide jihad to occur...
  • Just how did this Slitheen end up in 1926? Why did she disguise herself as Jessie Wallace? How does she know about the Doctor and Rose? Why didn't she emerge from her skin elsewhere and then charge the Doctor instead of giving him time to prepare (is she still too young to learn such lessons?) She is clearly real rather than illusion! Not even a fig leaf of an explanation is offered.

"Oh no not more friggin shaggin," the Doctor moans as strange laughter fills the house and a figure materializes...

  • Sparacus does not identify the figure. He's clearly making this up as he goes along by now.

The whip-weilding Rani materializes and announces she is transporting an army of aliens to Earth to plunge it into chaos.

  • The Rani is the second character bar Alistair to be cast. She is "played" by Liz Hurley.
  • The Doctor continues to insult women for being stupid, rather odd considering how high his opinion of the Rani was in her three TV appearances. The Doctor shows no interest in how the Rani could have survived the Time War.

The Rani demands the Doctor kneel before her and kiss her feet, which he does willingly. Rose tells everyone to run.

  • Although Rose is now clearly speaking for the audience with her disgusted "this is no time for your pervy foreplay!", why run? Alistair has a shotgun. Shotgun beats whip.
  • This is the first occasion where the Doctor becomes a sexual pervert under sparacus' writing. It will reach ludicrous levels over the next five years, with the Eleventh Doctor paying Thai ladyboys for sex in Day of Xiaxian.

Rose knocks the Rani out with a vase and everyone flees through a darkened passageway and find Captain Jack Harkness in bed with Young Ned the groom.

  • What is a bed doing in the middle of a darkened passageway?!
  • Rose knows who Jack Harkness is, yet he did not travel here by TARDIS. This story seems to be set both before and after The Empty Child! Yet, Rose is apparently shocked at the idea Jack might have sex with other men. Continuity mistake or just another dig at Rose being a chav without a degree?
  • Ned is "played" by Declan Donnelly.
  • More woman-hatred can be found as the stage direction for the Rani describes her as a "daft trollup". Rose is also described as "feisty" for the first time, an all-purpose adjective of abuse sparacus uses against all female companions.

"Never miss an opportunity as the rentboy said to the bishop!" Jack explains.

  • This kicks off some truly awful humor in this story, usually from the Doctor - "well, roger me with a wine bottle", "give the lad a swift one up the jacksy...", "owwwww eeeeee ooooooo bugger!", "it's coming into my face!" "been there, done that!" These atrocious one-liners were eventually compiled into The Sparacus Joke Thread by sparacus himself. The thread was closed and deleted by mods, purely for quality reasons.

Alistair and Alec are hiding in a wardrobe from the moving suit of armor, which turns out to be the Doctor playing tricks.

  • Sparacus has clearly lost all hint of plot, apparently resolving the cliffhanger to part eleven.
  • Alistair justifies his fear of the suit of armor, believing there to be a ghost.
  • Adam Rickitt is credited again.

The Doctor explains he is wearing the armor to protect himself from "stinking aliens" and urges the others to help him rescue Rose from the Rani.

  • ...but the Rani's unconscious. And some old armor is unlikely to stop a woman who can turn people into trees.
  • A clear mistake, the Doctor refers to "Daphne" as if she's still alive. And it turns out she is.

The Doctor then trips and falls down some stairs, crushing the Rani.

  • Described as a "daft bint" in the stage directions.
  • "Well that armour's dampened her ardour," the Doctor announces. Presumably sparacus thought that was witty, since it's definitely not the sort of thing the Ninth Doctor would say.

Daphne arrives and complains about the messy corpse the Doctor has left.

  • There is no explanation how Daphne came back from the dead, only that she is "smoking a cigarette from her ultra-expensive Edwardian cigarette holder."

The Doctor apologizes and orders Rose to "escort the Rani back to the TARDIS and dump the old trout in 13th century Mongolia and strand her there."

  • ...because the Rani can't possibly cause mayhem there, can she?
  • It is unclear if sparacus has forgotten if the Rani is dead or had her regenerate.
  • Rose has appeared from out of nowhere to be bullied. Jack and the others have apparently vanished to be replaced by "assorted servants".

Rose protests that the aliens and chaos will still be left behind to attack people, but the Doctor insists he doesn't care. Daphne is more concerned about the orchids and everyone rushes to inspect them.

  • Daphne's sudden deranged lust for her plants is odd, considering she showed them no interest when the Axoid destroyed the glasshouse. Then, given the Axoid was an illusion, the place should be intact...

There they find Jack having sex with Adam, who was brought back in time to alter the course of human history by the Rani.

  • Why does the Rani want to change human history? True, she had that aim in Time and the Rani, but that was to alter the evolution of the dinosaurs - certainly not a lot that a computer geek rutting in 1926 greenhouses is going to achieve.
  • Adam is now, apparently, gay.
  • Adam is credited as Bruno Langley. This all suggests that only people sparacus fancy merit casting decisions. So... he wants to bonk Liz Hurley then?

There is strange pulsing noise from outside the orchid house: a huge spaceship lands.

  • Jack hints he has had sex with Rose, and then manages to embrace Alistair. Adam has vanished again!
  • In a massive retcon, sparacus twigs he killed off Daphne episodes earlier and explains that the character we've been calling Daphne is actually "Cordelia". Who Cordelia is and what's she's doing is not explained. Presumably she's married to Sir Reginald (who reappears at this point).

The Rani emerges from the ship, cracking a whip and threatening to kill everyone.

  • Despite being dead in the hall. Apart from her being "revived and reviled", there is no explanation for her presence.
  • Sparacus' respect for the character is clear in her dialogue. "Cackle Cackle Cackle. Did you think I thought of this scheme all alone? You're about to meet my friends and before this night is over you will all be dead as a putrified muffin and the human race enslaved. Cackle cackle cackle." It makes the Doctor's description of her as "masterful" seemingly a criticism of laughing, ill-thought out supervillains. Or maybe this is further evidence that the Ninth Doctor is (in sparacus' eyes) into bondage and domination.

With no apparent chance of survival, everyone runs away into the house and start having sex. Jack and Rose do it "doggy-style" in the master bedroom while Alistair goes on the sofa with the chauffer.

  • Either Sir Reginald has two chauffers or Clive has changed his name to "Rex". Or has sparacus lost track of which character is which?
  • Adam Rickitt is credited yet again.

The front door is kicked in.

  • Like so many other cliffhangers, this is never resolved.
A strange pulsating sound is heard.

  • Presumably this is a different sound to the spaceship made.

Rose goes to see what it is.

  • More positive action from Rose, who gets nothing but called "fiesty" for her trouble.
  • Jack tries to lure her back to bed by repeating Alistair's speech: "You mean you'd rather go out there and be accosted by some mad rampaging aliens rather than stay here and enjoy a hot, steaming sex session involving tongues, thongs & honey?" Insultingly, it's implied that Rose would have abandoned the Doctor and the others if she had actually heard the invitation.

Rose is attacked by Nairoids from the planet Huxar. For some reason. So she beats up up the "ugly mingers".

  • These newcomers are "hideously ugly green skinned slimy aliens with pulsating warts and three eyes... dressed in waistcoats and green trousers." The Doctor later calls them "Nairods": "They're too dim to do anything without help - like the time they tried to invade the planet Ooompah 3 in Zetar galaxy only to find that it had been swallowed up by the cuniolinga nebula the year before." Cuniolinga swallowing nairods is a very obvious double entendre, but not a very funny one.
  • The Doctor actually compliments Rose for the first time... because she used physical violence. He believes she'd "love" to see the carnage of Agincourt.

The Doctor believes that the Nairoids have been brought here by some outside force.

  • Sparacus has completely forgotten he just established the Rani was behind it all.

Later that evening, Rose, the Doctor, Adam and Cordelia are looking for clues and find Alistair having sex with Jack.

  • By now it's obvious the author has run out of plot and is using the same gags over and over again.
  • One memorable line is Cordelia hearing Alistair climaxing: "Oh my - someone is terribly hurt. How impossibly thrilling!"

Even more later that evening, the TARDIS crew, Alistair and Cordelia are eating cheese and drinking port. Rose concludes the Nairoids, the Rani, the Celestial Toymaker, Scaroth and the Axoids were all working together.

  • Rose's attempts to sort out the plot are predictably mocked by the Doctor who tells her "not to but in".
  • This circular plotting where our heroes sit around doing absolutely nothing beyond eating, shagging and drinking becomes a watchword for the Ben Chatham adventures.
  • Now questions must be asked: who killed the butler? Who killed Daphne? If the Axoid and Scaroth were illusions, then their victims must still be alive? Where have the other characters gone? What happened to the Zygon? What has happened to the Rani? Just what was the ginger pervet in the first episode? Is anyone still reading?

The Doctor concludes that a "trans-dimensional, post dimetrical descriptifier" is hidden somewhere in this house, drawing these random villains here. Cordelia announces such a gadget is in the orchid house marked "trans-dimensional, post dimetrical descriptifier".

  • Not only are we supposed to believe Cordelia was stupid enough not to think this was relevent, but the entire cast didn't spot it during their earlier visits.

They rush out to find Jack and Adam having sex in the orchid house again.

  • It's tempting to think sparacus is evoking the Pertwee era by using the same cliffhanger over and over again, but it's clearly just lack of imagination.
  • Rose is yet again described as stupid as, despite the last eighteen episodes, she assumes some sexy grunts are down to alien monsters rather than gay sex.

Rose tells Jack off for shagging next to the dues ex machina, and the duo obligingly leave. The Doctor reverses the settings of the device to summon up the evil force controlling the gadget. It is Harrison Chase.

  • Harrison Chase was the villain in the Tom Baker story The Seeds of Doom, an insane botanist who was killed when he fell into a composting machine, torn to shreds and then reduced to fertiliser. Sparacus considered this "presumed" dead. Thus, the idea of a return for the character - let alone him suddenly becoming a reality-manipulating supervillain - is the moment any doubt sparacus was extracting the urine leaves the building.
  • Rose loses all the IQ points she had at the start of the episode: "Is he the bloke behind all this?" "Is the Pope a Catholic?" "I dunno. I know he's religious, he'd 'ave to be wouldn't he the Pope?"

Chase explains he was rescued by the Rani and together with her distracted the Doctor with confusing aliens aliens while they built "organic sub-molecular motion enhancing transmogrifier".

  • Why not build the doohickey in another time and place instead of riskily constructing it in an orchid house? Why not just kill the Doctor and Rose? Why would the Rani rescue Chase anyway? HOW did she do that when Chase was pulped in front of the Doctor and Sara Jane without them noticing?

This gizmo turns all the orchids evil, and Chase intends to be "King of all Orchids".

  • There is some more subtext as "tentacles" are "thrust forth" towards our heroes.

Cordelia urges her "darlings" to turn against the "vulgar little man", which they do, flinging Chase into the transmat thingamagig and teleporting away. Jack then destroys it with a handy grenade.

  • Knowing Jack Harkness, it's best not to ask where he kept that grenade.

The teleport apparently sent the Rani with Chase into an "inverse" dimension for all eternity. Rose suggests they all party.

  • Because they've all been living like monks until now.
  • Rose shouts "wicked!", demonstrating sparacus' increasing disinterest in the character. He can't even remember if she's Ace or not.

Later that evening, a "full-blown flapper" party is underway.

  • Thankfully the last time this is done.
  • Daphne has been restored to life so she can dance the Charleston with Rex (it is unclear if this is the chauffer or the caddish American) and Rose is having sex with "Alex" (Alec?) while Captain Jack, Adam and Alistair have an orgy upstairs. Sir Reginald, Clive, Estelle, Davinia, Nanny Hawkins, Young Ned, and all the other characters are not mentioned at all.
  • In 2007, sparacus embarked on a sequel entitled Return to the Orchid House. Featuring the Tenth Doctor, Spartha Jones and dubious amounts of canned laughter, the duo arrive at Blandische Hall and meet up with Daphne, Rex, Cordelia and Sir Reginald. Spartha is sold to Sir Reginald by the Doctor as a sex slave, and knocks back port as she is repeatedly raped by the men of the house. This seemed to be the last straw for the mysterious blogger allowing sparacus to use, which was immediately closed down and deleted. Sparacus created a new blog, but none of Return to the Orchid House survived.
  • A spiritual sequel to Aliens in the Orchid House, a play entitled Orchids in June, was released by sparacus in 2009. Henry James provided a much better version of the same material within minutes.

Next Time: Lord of the Reedy River.

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