Something resembling a Greek punk version of In The Hall of the Mountain King was playing as I picked up my glass and sipped from it. Oh, the halcyon days of yesteryear when I might have indulged in fruit juice. This is lemon, lime and bitters and mostly water. The various components have begun to separate again so I centrifuge them back together.
I ponder my condition. Is diabetes really curable as the endocrinologist says? Why, sticking so slavishly to their diet, am I left so shagged out I need bottles of energy drinks to stave off unconsciousness? And would Big Finish ever try and get Chris Eccleston to appear in a play but not as the Doctor? Eccles said he'd be into it, and let us remember these are the folk who outstared Paul McGann, Janet Fielding and Tom bleeding Baker. Only their famous ineptitude at resurrection spells is preventing them from summoning Jon Pertwee back into corporeal existence.
A cloaked figure stepped out of the dark smoke and slipped into the booth where I was sitting. In a typical den of thieves like this, somewhere in the Northern Suburbs, such meetings were common. Indeed, that's why there were such an array of booths and tables arranged throughout the bar.
I could tell little about the figure opposite, but something hinted that it was man called Peter whose surname began with a Q. Perhaps it was some kind of extrasensory perception on my part or the big badge pinned to his cloak saying "HELLO, MY NAME IS PETER Q. WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?".
We sat there for a while, saying nothing. After all, what is there TO say?
Eventually, Peter Q seemed to think of something to break the ice. I cannot deny, I was intrigued and leaned forward. What secrets had he to impart? The word "conspire" means to "share breath" which was presumably why Peter was wearing breathing equipment that made him look and sound like a cross between Darth Vader and Christopher Skase.
He spoke but two words. Or, to be exact, one name.
I supped on my tepid juice. There was a name I had not thought of in many moons. Mainly because in my mind he'll always be "Ronald" Mallet rather Kyron, which sounds like a constellation Robert Holmes came up with when he actually meant to say galaxy. But what, dear readers, did this mean?
Ron Mallet had vanished from reality some time in 2007. His websites abandoned, his connection to the DWADs and Who in general left to rot. The massive interview he'd given justifying his wholesale theft and plagiarism of Loose Canon reconstructions still can be found if you look, and overall one gets the feeling that he hasn't been missed. One could only wonder what he'd make of the world today.
The knowledgable stranger had more to say - which was something of a relief as the conversation between us was not in good shape at the time.
"He hasn't vanished," was the next revelation.
I put down my glass. Of course, I'd never honestly considered Ron's waveform had collapsed causing him to blink out of existence. In the fraction of a second I might have devoted thought to the horrid little partisan, I assumed he'd either got over himself or been brutally murdered by his long-suffering fan fiction in a metatextual revenge pact.
Still, give Peter Q his dues, this was a surprise. I'd been expecting more talk of Rudd and Gillard and Carr and Abib. Or at least the sinister coincidence of Richard Armitage being replaced in Spooks by Laura Pulver.
"You sad, opinionated little oxygen thief."
I was expecting more and that was it. It transpired it was an insult of some description, and judging by Peter Q's respirator, he was determined not to lose an ounce of oxygen to anyone, let alone myself.
I've been insulted before, of course. Usually by myself. Frankly, the insult from Peter Q felt very forced. Where was the bile? The hatred? The anger? It sounded more condescending than enraged, somewhere between Sir Richard Richard and Russell Brand. It certainly wasn't imaginative. Perhaps Peter Q didn't think I deserved imagination, which is rather harsh. Everyone deserves imagination.
"I'm not little," I said. You have to admit, I had him there.
Peter Q didn't hear me through his life support get up.
"He simply stopped watching crap."
"And talking it too?" I wondered lightly.
"He's still a vocal and informed critic of the new series!" Peter Q rasped.
I blinked. I assumed the "watching crap" referred to NuWho. Mind you, I was assuming "new series" meant NuWho as well. But surely this argument meant that NuWho WASN'T crap, else Mallet would not be watching it - and he had to be, for how else could be a vocal and informed critic?
But vocal? Where, prey tell, was he being vocal if google couldn't find him?
"He posts regularly on http://retroztv.proboards.com/index.cgi."
Peter Q, satisfied I had taken the point, rose to his feet and dissolved in the smoky darkness, leaving me with a rubbish drink and the nagging feeling that my novelization of The Whispering Forest was never going to get me laid. My novelization of Planet of the Dead, however, would get me sauced to Marakesh and back, but Stephen Cole's generic runaround? Not so much. Oh well, there's always a wierd customer.
Still, I now had info about Ron Mallet - a mere two years after I'd last even mentioned him in passing. And that was "mentioned him in passing". It was about four years since the Youth of Australia had MST3K'd his ass.
Was he still writing Sixth Doctor stories? Reviewing Big Finish? Describing in totally unnecessary detail how BBC Wales only got to produce Doctor Who because Russell T Davies kept giving Michael Grade blowjobs in order to use the revival to destroy the show forever? I did always wonder if he noticed Colin Baker's full-bodied support of the new show, which is not exactly secret and was noted quite clearly during his Australian tour back in 05 (together with a love for the Doug Anthony Allstars that, at the time, made me doubt the workings of my own brain).
I cracked open the sub-etha net on my vortex manipulator and sought out the coordinates Peter Q had given me before returning to Dorium Maldovaar for a new set of testicles. The screen lit up with a crude forum site against a wallpaper of cut-and-pasted kaliedoscope pictures. The Silver Smurfer (one of the names Mallet went under when fandom at large declared a jihad on him) seemingly ran the place.
"Classic Dr Who versus the new series" seemed as good a place as any to start.
To me there's no comparison between the original and new series.
While better resourced the new series is a pale imitation of the original. Thin plot lines, soap opera character development, a terrible theme and shitty performances. If there was ever an example of standing on the shoulders of genius and offering nothing (or very little) that is new and innovative, this was it.
Odd that. He seemed to be quite enjoying the new series when he was posting on DWRG...
I wanted so much for the new series to be good... but unfortunately RTD and Moffatt have tried to appeal to the lowest common denominators.
Sex has been used to 'make it more accessible' at the expense of concepts and plotting.
Failed badly, considering the flak Series Fnarg-plus-one got for being so confusing.
I also can't watch a show where a character talks about sticking his penis into a block of concrete that used to be his girl-friend.
Well. Good for you. Of course, that's in no Who episode I know about. Unless you're suggesting Elton Pope was so poorly-hung it would fit inside such a shallow recepticle. The fact is he was talking about kissing poor... um, what was her name? You know, Moaning Murtle. Ester? Was that her name? Oh, who cares?
Surely Love and Monsters was the lowest point in television history?
Unless Chris Lilley was in it, that seems rather difficult to believe.
Love and Monsters was Episode 10 of Season 2 of the new series. It was basically a fingers up to older fans who had started to go at him for desecrating a beloved institution from their youth.
...I thought it was actually about mocking Ian Levine. And it shows amazing foresight on RTD to write a story like that before anyone had had a chance to "go at him".
Still, why not? Holmes did something like that to the tax office...
It's very strongly suggested in the story that central character (not the Doctor as this is the first 'Doctor-lite' story) Elton Pope as played by actor Marc Warren, continues to have a 'love life' with what's left of his girl-friend who has been transformed into a face on a garden tile.
He says "we have a bit of a love life" and Ester? Eliza? her, she says "never mind that, get to the story". Considering how chaste their relationship was, and the amount of effort it took for Elton to ASK HER OUT TO DINNER, that he'd be bragging about oral sex on a video blog is rather unlikely, don't you think?
'Suggestion' is the cowardly way RTD got away with lowering the tone of the show to make it appeal to 'the youth demographic' and small animals. It's also suggested earlier in the season in 'School Reunion' that the third or fourth Doctor had a sexual relationship with Sarah Jane Smith.
Um. No. Must have missed that. Mickey calls her the Doctor's "ex", but I never saw the scene where the Doctor boasted to Rose about doing Sarah over the TARDIS console while he made Harry videotape it ("I say, old thing, I think I deleted the bukkake shot..." "HARRY SULLIVAN IS AN IMBECILE!!!")
Unless, of course, Ronny is mistaking Charles Daniels' version of events for the genuine article and (let's all be honest here, people) who hasn't done that?
The young ones lapped it up and the older fans squirmed, either left or told themselves it wasn't true (like Jonathan Blum).
Or spent the next five years obsessing about three seconds of dialogue on an opinion forum...
Instead of showing faith in the younger demographic to have sufficient members of intelligent people that could appreciate well plotted innovative sci-i/fantasy we got increasingly nauseating does of Fantasy/Soap.
...wow. I didn't think anyone remembered it after THE FUCKING DALEK/CYBERMAN WAR!!!!!!! which seemed more interesting at the time.
And if you didn't like it under RTD you hated gay or black (fill in the minority blank here) people. Under SM you simply 'don't get it' and are part of the world that's against him.
Yeah, cause Jabba the Moff (to give him his preferred moniker) really is a paranoid obsessive, too afraid to leave the house in case he meets someone who disagrees with him and is convinced Mad Larry is in the bushes with a bowie knife.
Actually, that last one may not be so paranoid.
It's no coincidence that fans like Garry Russell and Stephen Hill have distanced themselves from Doctor Who over the last several years.
HAHAH! Gary Russell? Who got a job with RTD in 2009, quitting Big Finish specifically so he could get closer to NuWho than ever before, script editing everything in sight, writing the epic Wilf-Mott-versus-the-Mandragora-Helix novel and doing another encyclopedia? As for Steve Hill, he's been too busy banning me to care about the direction
As for Matt Smith, he's simply too young to look credible in the part.
You gotta love Ronny. He's not one to be superficial, as he always saw past Sixie's coat...
He's a talented actor but his call up was a couple of decades too early.
So instead of getting talent now, we should wait for TWENTY YEARS?
If the show had been done right, McGann would have returned for a year and handed over to Eccleston or Bil Nighy or someone around that age bracket.
Except McGann refused point blank the idea. So, that was never going to happen, was it?
A 'Doctor in Love' premise would never have been considered by any producer of the original series.
Apart from Verity Lambert. And Barry Letts. And JNT. Who all did it on screen.
Even feelings between companions was down-played.
"Were". Not "was". Try for English.
That was an option but RTD went the easy way and simply wanted more 20 something women or gay men to watch the show (like most of his others). Just because someone was a fan in their youth doesn't mean they're qualified to 'reinvent' an institution.
So who is qualified? Would their initials be RM by any chance?
RTD's vision is a reflection of the gay sub-culture that took control of the concept from the New Adventures period on. There was plenty of sex and violence and it was realyl very un-who and a bit sad.
"Un-who." It sums up so much of this argument, doesn't it?
My only consolation is that Big Finish have a lot more respect for the concept and have resisted taking the easy soap route (not that their audience would buy it).
...you're really not listening to it, are you? I mean, seriously? Listen to Graceless, Loups-Garoux, hell, anything by Nev Fountain...
McGann has continued to be an excellent radio Doctor on BBC7.
Which are meant to ape the RTD era. Hmmm?
There is lots of humour and the relationship between the Doctor and his companions is a lot more frank and 'modern' in a sense... but it is still actually Doctor Who.
That's nice isn't it? Heh? Nice? Remember that? Being happy about things? Instead of whinging and moaning like Eyeore with syphilis...
My guide is that if you can't picture any of the Doctor's saying some dialogue or in a situation in the new series, its a good guide to the fact that they've lowered the bar. William Hartnell would never have said 'But I can't bear to lose you' any more than Sylvester McCoy.
Hartnell would never have said "The proof of the pumpkin is in the squeezing!" any more than Sylvester McCoy would have said "You'll both end up as a couple of cinders floating about in Spain!" either...
Can you imagine Patrick Troughton's head appearing from under a woman's dress as Matt Smith's did in the first episode of the last series of the new?
Actually yes. In fact, if we're talking about Troughton the man in real life? The sex machine giggilo that made Frazer Hines look like a choir boy at the time? Yes. Definitely. I can also picture Troughton wearing a woman's dress and flirting with prositutes. Because he actually did that in The Highlanders. One of which was his companion at the time.
But then again, if we all thought the same way, it would be a boring world with nothing to argue about!
Yeah, cause arguing is such a wonderful passtime.
I switched off the screen and waited patiently for Peter Q's inevitable return.