new look - biggest ever issue!
K A N W N FA THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM ANDY X CABLE A LOVE LETTER AMY’S CRACK TERRYNATION STREET REGENERATION LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT SERIES 6 REVIEW CHICKEN DINNER
AND MUCH MORE...
10 0 11 0 0 0 2 0
WHY NOT ENJOY A GOOD FANWNAK NEXT TIME YOU ARE VISITING THE BATHROOM?
info Contributors Matthew Holsman Are the right episodes lost? Amy & Rory and Ian & Barbara Tony Jones, Eamonn Clarke Audio Who Andrew Orton The Adventures of Matt & Karen Silence Will Fall & Silence in the Library & Amy’s Crack J.R. Southall A love letter to Character Options Watching Doctor Who Richard Thomas Nick Pope Interview Sci-Fi Worlds Combom Tom Baker facts that may not be true Rex Next Sparacus The Adventures of Ben Chatham Matt Barber The TARDIS is a Television Set
Artists Andy Lambert Mechmaster Mentalfoto Rachel Poole Scott Burditt David Burson Marc David Lewis David Adams Paul Cooke Paul Hanley All your planet are belong to us Shaqui Le Vesconte Cereal Killer - article and design We’ve got it Licked- article and design Matthew Holsman Do you remember the first time? Joe Ford Series 6 Review J.R. Southall Regeneration, Torchwood -Miracle Day Nicholas Peat Twindilemareview Jim Harrington Looking for a Chicken Dinner Ian Williams Love at first sight Combom Rex Next Westley Smith Let’s Regenerate Jamie McCarthy Regeneration illustration www.whatakerfuffle.blogspot.com Paul Hanley, Shawn Van Briesen The Keys of Marinus & The Aztecs David Carey Time Flies David O MacGowan Terror of the Vervoids Andy X Cable Revisitations 3 David Adams Terrynation Street Paul Cooke The front cover FANWNAK 6 is cobbled together and squeezed out by Scott Burditt with not much help from Adric Cabbage. A special thanks to Matt West and David Adams for contributions to Letterbox and Matt Charlton for you know what... Doctor Who and any images used in this publication are ©BBC and no infringement on this is intended. This Fanzine is not produced for profit but for the love of Doctor Who and it’s fans which support it. Any other images remain copyright to their respective authors. Peace and Love. Adric Cabbage
K A N W N A F http://www.fanwnak.blogspot.co.uk
R.I.P BANDRIL & TOMTIT CRAPZINES
Hahahahahaa. Weeeee! I’m getting still getting p*ssed on Champagne months later as I write this my dear friends. Oh, what a masterstroke of mine. If you wonder what I am talking about you’ve probably not read BANDRIL or TOMTIT then. Good. Let me fill you in... Fnarr Fnarr. Well, basically, I’ve been receiving complaints about my rubbish design work in FANWNAK 5, so rather than hire some unreliable designer, I decided it was easier to engineer a hostile take over of two rival Doctor Who Fanzines and use their facilities to elevate FANWNAK back up to the good old days. I’m even re-printing bits of BANDRIL and TOMTITtogether with FANWNAK 6. What a cheeky Bastrad I am! Anyway, now that I’ve taken over all their assets using the sponsorship money from John the Barrowman, I’ve rewarded myself with a £1million bonus for being such a clever dick. Peace and Love Adric
We speak exclusively to the Eleventh Doctor as he delves deep into Amy’s Crack...
FANWNAK: So Doctor, when did you first see Amy's Crack? DOCTOR: I first saw Amy's Crack in her bedroom, when she was a chiId. I saw Amy's Crack again when she was much older. She was a strippergram by this point, and she was only too delighted to show me her Crack. FANWNAK: Have you examined Amy's Crack in detail? DOCTOR: I have examined Amy's Crack in detail, Iike many, many other’s. Amy’s Crack has appeared aII over the universe now, and many people have seen it, touched it, or otherwise been awed by the size of it. FANWNAK: On one occasion you plunged your sonic screwdriver into Amy's Crack. How did that feel? DOCTOR: Yes, I thrust my screwdriver right into
Amy's Crack, and it started to vibrate, intenseIy. Amy's Crack gave off fierce whining noise, too. FANWNAK: I beIieve you once put your whole hand into Amy’s Crack. DOCTOR: Yes, my entire right hand fit perfectly in Amy's Crack, and then startIingIy I pulled out a piece of shrapnel. That was exciting. FANWNAK: Indeed, you recovered a piece of TARDIS from Amy's Crack. Is Amy’s Crack bigger on the inside? DOCTOR: As time has gone on, Amy's Crack has expanded significantly, usually just as I probed it with my equipment. It’s worth noting that the stench given off by Amy's Crack as it got wider was disgusting. FANWNAK: One thing I discovered recentIy was that if you Google 'Amy’s Crack’ you get Iots of pictures of Amy Winehouse. DOCTOR: Yes. Can't think why. Goodbye.
++50th ANNIVERSARY MISERY++
MATT SMITH SACKED IN BBC PLOT
ANGRY: “The BBC can stick WHO up their timey-wimey hoop.”
To:the m From: firstname.lastname@example.org o d Subjec anny.cohen .uk t: CC: C Terminatio .big.cheese a @ Date: roline Skinn n of Matt Sm bbc.co.uk 18 Au gust 2 er, Chris C ith’s Contr hibnall a 012 , Kare ct - URGEN Dear S n Gilla T teven, n As I’m Starbu sure you are numbe cks with Ma perfectly aw tt r of re asons . He is very are, I’ve jus t he wil This is l not b upset at hav come back e com a fr in and sti total disas ing ba g had his c om a meeti c te c ng in ontrac k k for th r a wig for the Baker e o n him regene t termina Cardiff Ba brand to write te y’s .I or ration I look scene d and is citin forward the regene something. suggest for . the reg I’ve fo ration ga to see u s e n to in n d e g wha ry Furthe t they . They tell some marv ration scen rmore m e c e ome u ll e unders I unde p with they are v ous writers you CGI Sh ery ex a . unacc tand he’s ha rstand from perien called Pip a ne Richie e nd Jan ced in becau ptable. How d to make d Matt that yo s se our u u o c e to w h ls ith Art ld him e do y matterse that sh male c hur ou he , so picked e must “ente ast can’t sh think we ke Darvill for th couldn’t sh a Colem , not becaus rtain” our s ag Amanda ep our main e last three g Karen. Is ta R an has y th e s e r e ta of an is th ars. dma at a rs in schoo lgirl in n’t been ca y acting ‘ta ny and all g n anymore. line? New This is totall e case? I st iv le her pa T y It st ‘care for her acti nt’ but bec en opportu is written in ricks has fa Already, a crowd of over If you n a ng llen itie us to er’ oug canno ht to g ‘talent’ eith e he fancie s. Isn’t it? Karen’s co apart g t e s T d four sad fans in their mid ort th ts his er, ntr et som h ething but the fac her. Admitte at’s why sh act instea lady co-sta is, I will ha ew ts dly stirring 60s are standing around v d of w in our he was a le , Jenna Lou as riting th r to bed at e to take Ca s fa h iseb roline is whim e confu BBCtv centre with their n base ian an I am a a d w , do yo sing e ls pisode and you get ay from pro u not tha chainsaws roaring. Soon gay ag o deeply u d s a uc ink? n attra on tim n ctive E tion. That’s e. the me enda? There happy at th they will be dismayed and xecuti e ve Pro the deal. Ma persua mory doesn hasn’t been way the se angry that they have d tt ri ’t chea u ding R a sing es has cer to t... TD2 to le bed ta forgotten that the series come Anyway, if homosexua ken recen I also tl b y l y a o c . ck. Th u w is now actually produced is time don’t cam haracter sin What happe explain ant you to p it up c , to sta a in Wales. The silly sods. , we m e that nice ned to the o y. with th it to me an lso explain C ld ay hav d I hav the las e word e to co anton chap. t serie e a ho ‘Spoile nsider If s in ju rrible s rs’ I w Going s u t s il o l p n h ic e ave yo io out th forward, I ho ur hea n they got simple sente e store A spokesperson for d it p n on a lo e the m c espec ng spik ore than I d e. My kids w ially th s of all thos next series the BBC declined to id e e, do I e e plas make . Oh, and if re trying to tic Da old props a is a return to yo myself comment on the leks. I Finally crysta u reply trust y nd monsters form, and , stop l clear? to o D p , u won rick-te news. However, she avid T includ aid yo ’t e in a u need a , g mome nnantssup sing the p ny of th those silly I’ve had Ma did start sniggering nt bec re e r s b s s rc egging . I’ve g to em for u now fo ause h ot fo Series ne angels a s clear as I put the phone nd why th r is for Free e thinks he’s r a job. I’ve Christophe 7? ma r e frig a g c down. Matt Smith m I no Agyeman oming bac ot him clea Ecclescake nin k. to t comin th also declined to Oh, on g back quit Law an He’s even w g my toilet reatening to e last with a d Orde earing , prob job. thing. comment. Well... le tooth sue us and r th m a e nd If you on my s don’t hands I’ve got a h uit, the idio brush at the to be honest, he make t. A . e ll of a it work 50th a ll I need , Chris probably would nnivers Chibn ary ally wib have if I had With lo b ly is v CC’ed Danny e, bothered to find in to ta wanny ke ove woow his home phone r your oo xx
Furious fans start smashing up their TV sets in outrage over leaked email. •
BY our Stony-faced Reporter
THE WEEPING ANGEL OF MISERY
he 50th Anniversary celebrations of the BBC’s flagship series “DOCTOR WHO, is in tatters this morning as fans awake to the inevitable news that the leading actor has either quit or has been sacked. In this case sacked. Yes. Sacked. Sacked. Sacked. Sacked. Sacked.
Doctor Who fans are up in arms, after a leaked email accidentily found it’s way to a printer, then to a photocopier and then into millions of envelopes which were then mailed out at licence fee payers expense by inept Humans at BBC Human Resources, Floor 12, Londonfordshire.
PAIN Parents of upset children reacted swiftly to the news and started jumping up and down on their new 3DTV sets until they were a fine electronic powder in protest and then mailed the potentially toxic plastic dust to the BBC demanding a licence fee refund and a new TV set. Children as young as three are now running amok on the streets of Britain, smashing up toy shops stocks of Doctor Who action figures and then eating them, potentially choking on the parts.
number. A new campaign to save Matt’s job is probably on the cards but I’ve made too much stuff up already.
LEAKED The email that has caused misery and pain the world over
n a m u H The r o t Fac ickley r t S z e J y B
“Across the countless cases
of a companion coming under a malign influence one stands out more than most: Tegan Jovanka and her battle with the Mara.”
henever a new series of Doctor Who looms large in the television listings there is the inevitable scramble amongst previewers to conjure up reasons why it’s such a successful programme. In amongst the flurry of platitudes, it’s none too difficult for journalists to lay their hands on any number of well-worn phrases, before they might have to resort to somewhat more original vocabulary.
In amidst the clichés, however, there’s at least one comment which is, to my mind, perhaps the single most important reason the series has never lost its special quality – even when selling ice creams at Christmas during the lean years of the late 1980s. In short, it is the way that the ‘human factor’, if you will, is celebrated across the Doctor’s many adventures. By this I mean the positive qualities of the human condition, such as compassion and charity, determination and fortitude; and, at bottom, the capacity to remain unbowed and unbroken despite the most terrible and unrelenting circumstances. There are countless examples of the human factor in the series’ history. More, the concept is perfectly summed up by the Fourth Doctor in only his second outing, when he observes the hibernating humans aboard Space Station Nerva and remarks upon the “indomitable” nature of humanity (The Ark in Space, 1975). It is this aspect of the programme’s storytelling formula which has helped to mark it out as more than just another science fiction drama series. As you can well imagine, when referring to this concept I plan to be rather loose with the adjective ‘human’. A good many humanoids, far removed from any sort of earthly heritage, have championed the values it epitomises, demonstrating that upholding truth, justice and equality is hardly exclusive to the human race. The battle to retain crucial features of one’s humanity – such as freedom of the will – is a common occurrence in the Doctor’s encounters. In Spearhead from Space (1970) we see the human mind gagged and bound only to resurface in the final act in the example of Hibbert. Reduced to the status of a human puppet, Hibbert is controlled and manipulated by the Auton Channing, itself a simple instrument of the Nestene Consciousness. But there’s just a trace of resistance left in poor Hibbert and he finally breaks his conditioning and turns upon his former masters, albeit at the expense of his own life. Hibbert pays the ultimate price for his rebellion, but he dies as a free man – a martyr to the human factor. In the oily Stevens, corporate villain of The Green Death (1973) we find yet another puppet on a string, who somehow manages to preserve a vestige of his humanity. Presented as the stereotypical silver-tongued business executive who promises the earth, Stevens’ will has become enslaved to the utopian designs of Global Chemicals’ supercomputer, BOSS. Set to work on BOSS’ energy project, Stevens’ diminished volition sees him pushing ahead with his orders despite the mounting evidence that he is on the brink of perpetrating an environmental catastrophe. When at last freed from BOSS’ influence (via the Doctor and his hypnosis-breaking blue crystal from Metebelis Three), Stevens’ newly-restored willpower sees him destroy 4
his enslaver and, like Hibbert, his revolt costs him his life. It’s interesting to note the recurring theme of self-sacrifice in the wake of regaining one’s freedom; and the opportunity for redemption which this act may bring about. The treacherous Vural, in The Sontaran Experiment (1975), is shot down in one final act of heroism when he strikes back against his tormentor, Field Major Styre; the same is true of Satellite Five’s all-seeing Controller when she takes her chance to resist the Daleks in Bad Wolf (2005); along with her misguided namesake in Day of the Daleks (1972). Sir Robert, head of the Torchwood Estate (Tooth and Claw, 2006), redresses his initial failure by giving his life in the struggle against the werewolf; and the Dalek-controlled duplicate Stein (Resurrection of the Daleks, 1984) finally demonstrates his free will and courage by activating the self-destruct mechanism aboard Davros’ space station prison, destroying himself and untold numbers of Daleks and Dalek troopers in the process. Surely no finer example of self-sacrifice as a means of personal redemption comes in the doomed figure of Noah; the leader of Space Station Nerva’s sleeping humans. Infected by the parasitic Wirrn, Noah undergoes a gruesome transformation which terminates in him becoming a fully-fledged adult Wirrn and, more crucially, the swarm leader. But all is not lost, and Noah clings to just enough of his human identity to lead the Wirrn into a trap and save Nerva’s colony. Some cases only present the briefest of opportunities for the subject to express their humanity one last time, before they are finally dealt the coup de grace. The deaths of the mutant and later Arthur Stengos, both victims of Davros’ diabolical experiments in Revelation of the Daleks (1985), are a case in point. In their final moments of life these tragic figures acknowledge their terrible condition and understand that death is their only release from it. Their fates are a sorry business, but in recognising their situation a shred of their humanity remains beneath their mutilated frames, revealing the astonishing power of the human mind to persist despite the most humiliating and terrible experience. In Parts Five to Eight of The Trial of a Time Lord (1986) we discover the pride and dignity of the Lukoser, equerry to King Yrcanos, remain intact despite him undergoing terrible surgery at the hands of Crozier, mercenary scientist to the Mentors. Once set free, the Lukoser battles alongside his king against his ruthless captors and ultimately dies a warrior’s death – a just desert for one so unbowed by his torturous treatment. Such courage can also be seen in collective acts. The members of LINDA (Love and Monsters, 2006) resist the loss of their humanity, despite suffering the most awful fate at the hands of the gluttonous Abzorbaloff, and fight back as a team to destroy the merciless alien who threatens ‘their’ Doctor. There is something particularly poignant about the way Ursula Blake and her fellow ‘absorbees’ are able to hold fast to their humanity in extremis, signalling as it does the victory of the human spirit over a force which seeks to consume and degrade that very quality. Some of these victims are, however, far from being the sacrificial type and live to fight another day. In Meglos (1980) the titular baddie possesses a kidnapped human, transforming him into a shape-shifting vehicle for his own vile schemes. Yet Meglos reckons without the power of the human mind to combat such wanton abuse, and his victim continues to struggle against his enslavement until the prickly invader finally quits in the hope of making his escape from the Doctor, leaving his host once more free. The human factor may well come to the fore when battling against all manner of alien possession and mind control, but it is confronted with a still darker challenge in the form of the Cybermen and their deeply chilling means of reproduction. Victims – or near victims – of Cyber-conversion give us a number of subjects who have in one way or another stared down chemical and surgical oblivion to retain their selfhood and the priceless values which come with it. From Toberman (The Tomb of the Cybermen, 1967) to Lytton (Attack of the Cybermen, 1985) to Craig (Closing Time, 2011), the Doctor has witnessed humanity win through against the Mondasian menace in one way or another. Of the examples listed above, it is Craig’s devotion to his infant son which gives him the emotional firepower to defeat the conversion
Illustration by Westley Smith process and escape whilst still very much human. Neither Toberman nor Lytton enjoys such good fortune, however. Both undergo partial cybernetic surgery, but like Craig they are able to stave off the Cybermen’s brainwashing just long enough to fight back against their aggressors and help to bring about their downfall. Yvonne Hartman is another such victim, and one who presents the most astounding degree of resistance. In Doomsday (2006) she undergoes complete Cyber-conversion surgery, the full horror of which can only be imagined. However, seemingly through sheer force of will – aided, no doubted, by a powerful sense of duty – she manages to preserve enough of her original personality to strike down her would-be masters. Her example is really quite extraordinary, and, in much the same way as the Wirrn-infected Noah, it demonstrates how the human factor can survive and resist against apparently impossible odds. Of all the possible subjects to extol the human factor, the Doctor’s companions are perhaps the most impressive. Indeed, there have certainly been enough instances to ponder over the years. Consider dear Jo Grant, for example, who is hyponotised by the newly-arrived Master not long after her first meeting with the Doctor, and very nearly blows up herself along with UNIT’s scientific advisor in Terror of the Autons (1971). The unflappable Harry Sullivan is captured and used as a body template by the Zygons in his last adventure, Terror of the Zygons (1975); and Sarah Jane Smith too spends her final story as a recurring character possessed by the allbut disembodied criminal Eldrad (The Hand of Fear, 1976). Then there is Romana, who is variously infected by alien biology (Full Circle, 1980) and later tortured (Warriors’ Gate, 1981). All three hold tight to themselves and their values and, at the finish, even their volition, despite being transformed into mere instruments by a wicked or simply ruthless enemy. Across the countless cases of a companion coming under a malign influence one stands out more than most: Tegan Jovanka and her battle with the Mara. Christopher Bailey’s refreshingly alternative Kinda (1982) sees Tegan ensnared by a powerful psychical entity known as the Mara, whilst sleeping beneath the wind chimes on the Eden-like Deva Loka. The confrontation between the pair within Tegan’s mind remains unmatched in its disturbingly surreal presentation, ably summing up the
“Surely no finer example of
self-sacrifice as a means of personal redemption comes in the doomed figure of Noah; the leader of Space Station Nerva’s sleeping humans.” incredible strength of mind needed to overcome such a malefactor. At close of play the unfortunate Tegan is not quite free of her serpentine nemesis, however, and in Snakedance (1983) she is once again faced with losing her selfhood to this diabolical force. Tegan’s very personal battle with this creature is pivotal to her development as a companion, and it is no small fact that the power and extent of this encounter emphasises the crucial place of the human factor in the Doctor’s adventures. As ironic as it may sound, it is the unearthly Doctor who perhaps best sums up the qualities and values of the human factor; his spirit of adventure and unstinting championing of the weak and the vulnerable presenting us with the very model of the virtuous person. No force, however terrible, can bend his will or quench his resolve. He is, in short, the human factor personified, and that’s at least one reason why his character and the series as a whole are so appealing to the viewers. 5
At the end of 2011 I asked readers of TOMTIT whether fans of Doctor Who are lucky with the missing episodes. Sadly, this piece of writing went out of date one day after publication. Luckily, this was due to two new episodes of 1960s television being returned to the archives in the form of Galaxy Four: Air Lock  and The Underwater Menace, Episode Two ! With one hundred and six episodes still currently missing from the archives, it’s time for me to ask again:
Are the right episodes lost? O
. ssing ctor Who i m e o th nt on tures of D e m u g adven an An ar Holsm w e h t t BY Ma
Doctor Who fans are completely lucky with what we have in the archives already, the best of everything having survived. The classic, most clear-cut argument for this is 1966’s The Tenth Planet, a four-part serial that changed the shows history forever. It was here that William Hartnell provided audiences with the first ever regeneration, whilst also being notable for the debut appearance of the Cybermen. We all know episodes one to three are intact but that fateful rejuvenation episode still eludes us. But do we really need it? It’s not the finest episode to grace our screens (well, our CD Players if you’re younger than forty-five) and thanks to Blue Peter’s longstanding editor Biddy Baxter, we have the regeneration scene itself. So we’re sorted, right? This same case can be thrown toward other serials of the decade, due to Australian censorship cuts being returned to the archives, giving us the best scenes from serials where no full episode is intact. We have the brilliantly scary Oak and Quill flashing their tonsils at the camera like they’re on a new dentistry-based reality show for the best Fury From The Deep  moment. We also have some gruesome (and rare) action sequences from 1966’s The Smugglers, one of the weaker of the missing stories. So that means it’s not the end of the world if these episodes are the last to return to the archives either, does it? We all have our victims and if I had the ability to safe every story bar one, I’d have to plump for Marco Polo , as the majority of fans hail this as one of the ‘lost classics’. If the serial were to exist, I don’t think it’d hold up to peoples opinions (in the same way 1992’s find of Tomb Of The Cybermen  didn’t), meaning as long as it remains lost, it can maintain it’s high position when it comes to ranking stories in a favourable order. Cast and crew talk about this as one of their favourites and how it’s a shame to be missing due to the lush and colourful costumes, yet this wouldn’t really transfer on a black and white recording and we do have some colour photos surviving from the story. But then I come to a bit of a crossroads with Marco, because such a brilliant cast worked on it and praise their time on that particular adventure, I’d love it back, purely to see them happy after the hours of enjoyment they’ve given to fans like myself. If anything, it’d bring back one of the best TARDIS teams for a final seven-part epic and we’d get to see a real, live monkey in the studio. Monkeys are cool! Every argument needs two clear sides to it, so I have to admit we’re not entirely lucky with these missing beauties. Patrick Troughton is, in my opinion, the finest Doctor brought to our screens and it’s his selection of episodes that have been largely affected. We barely have any complete stories for his era. Mention the word “wiped” to a Troughton fan and you’ll get a punch in the face! Almost the entirety of Hartnell’s twenty-nine serials exist in complete form, yet Troughton only gets six stories where every part is sitting in the archives. How lucky is that? This is the sole worst thing about ‘Doctor Who’. We can debate and argue how bad The Twin Dilemma  is until the cows come home, but no fan of the show can deny how tragic this case is. Six complete serials from twenty-one. Fifty-six episodes from one hundred and nineteen. It’s enough to make you regret paying your television licence if that’s how these shows were treated. To quote my previous outdated article, I stated: “The most significant footage to be missing from the archives is those early Troughton serials. Yes, that’s right, The Underwater Menace  is one of the most important ‘lost episodes’ as Pat was still developing how he would play the role.” 6
Illustration by Paul Cooke
bviously over one hundred episodes from a possible two hundred and fifty three is by no means a devastating loss and I’d trade anything for the chance to gaze endlessly over a complete collection of almost eight hundred episodes, but isn’t it about time we reassessed our view point on these lost episodes of the 1960s and turn our heads to what’s surviving rather than worrying about the lost ‘classics’?
A wonderful bit of foresight, almost as if someone listened to me and went back in their TARDIS to find another episode of this four-parter, meaning we have half of it in our lives again. Many of us won’t see this episode for a good year or two, but we can be thankful we can study more of the second Doctor’s early adventures. But what would an article about these missing stories be without more ‘doom n’ gloom’, so to add insult to injury, Power Of The Daleks  is one of the best written pieces in the shows history and directed by one of the BBC’s ‘powerhouses’, Christopher Barry, a Who favourite. This is where the ‘are we lucky’ discussion comes back into play, as three minutes of this two-and-a-half hour episode exists and they are the best three minutes, We get all the significant scenes (“I AM YOUR SER-VANT!”) as well as Troughton’s TARDIS scenes as he copes with the new persona of his. Despite the distraught state these clips are in, it’s a miracle we have them as they capture some of the magic we are missing. Troughton serves as the unluckiest of Doctors (more unlucky than the ‘fired’ Colin Baker) as from his six battle-hardened survivors, a third of them are seen as terrible stories of the time (The Dominators  and The Krotons [1968-9]) whilst another only seen as average (The Seeds Of Death ). That leaves only three stories that can be watched and labelled as great and one of those is played for too long (The War Games ). The Tomb Of The Cybermen  is the luckiest thing to emerge from the trial for the missing episodes, not being discovered until as late as 1992. Prior to discovery, the serial was labelled a classic, although once found, it didn’t live up to everybody’s expectations. Fast forward fifteen years and it’s seen as one of the strongest stories, not only of the sixties, but also of all eight hundred episodes! One of the things to make fans even more riled, is why a serial like The Dominators, written by Norman Ashby, a pseudonym for the we’re-so-proud-of-it-we-took-ournames-off-it writing team of Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln gets to exist in full when something like ‘Fury From The Deep’ doesn’t get one complete episode? The big disappointment for me is having The Space Pirates, Episode Two  as a survivor plus more behind-the-scenes footage of the, albeit fantastic, model work when it’s a terrible story. Despite it being a Bob Holmes script, the Doctor barely features, giving the impression it was penned for some scrapped sci-fi series and made to feature in ‘Doctor Who’ instead. The entire serial is abysmal and to have one episode intact when I can’t watch Sara Kingdom age to death or Katarina get blown into space in The Daleks’ Master Plan [1965-6] is a disgrace. Mentioning the epic The Daleks Master Plan, it brings about an oddity for my case. I
class the story as an overrated one, twelve episodes for one story is far too much, as the cast have mentioned in some detail over the years (Peter Purves in particular), yet fans seem to love it. If Ian and Barbara didn’t leave at the end of The Chase  this would be another example of the ‘wrong story’ survived, as Master Plan has a lot more going for it. Three episodes exist for this story and they seem to be the wrong ones in peoples’ eyes. We miss out on the episodes where Bret Vyon, Sara Kingdom and Katarina all bite the dust, but we do get Peter Butterworth’s final performance as the ever-brilliant Meddling Monk as compensation. Historians would crave an episode like (Master Plan’s seventh episode) The Feast Of Steven (the first Christmas day episode with Hartnell ploughing down the fourth wall) or (the prequel) Mission To The Unknown  (the only episode to not feature any of the shows regulars) to be intact as it breaks the mould of ‘Doctor Who’ once again, proving how our favourite show is wonderfully flexible. Of course no debate about the missing episodes would be complete without a glance at the attempts made by fans to bring them back into the light. Due to desperate fans with tape recorders, we have all of the one-o-six to listen to, as well as ‘telesnaps’ and photo recons for most episodes displayed in back issues of Doctor Who Magazine, www.youtube.com and www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic. In November 2006 we were given animated versions of episodes one and four of The Invasion  as an early Christmas present, making seven complete Troughton serials, with an animated Reign Of Terror  (four and five) to follow later this year. It’s for things like this that the missing episodes are lucky. Fan reconstructions, animation, colourised episodes and (of course) off-air recordings all crafted by fans coming together show how lucky these episodes are. It’s one of the few real parts of Doctor Who’s history where the fans can unite on one, correct, opinion and that is ultimately why the missing episodes are lucky.
I can’t watch Sara Kingdom age to death or Katarina get blown into space in The Daleks’ Master Plan
A Love Letter to Character Options I f you grew up with the show back in the 1970s (the period during which the original programme was almost certainly at its strongest and most popular), then the options for “playing Doctor Who” in the toy room were pretty limited. In fact, if you wanted a scenario featuring armies of Daleks (and other monsters) ranged against the Doctor, then your best bet was probably to collect the Weetabix cards and play gently. By the end of the 1980s, the series was less popular with children, but oddly enough, Dapol began to release a range of toys anyway, which, for the very first time, included not just Doctors (plural!) and monsters, but also companions and playsets (featuring the TARDIS interior!) too. I don’t know quite how many of these toys would have been bought by or for children, and therefore how many of them actually got played with, but, regardless of some early – and pretty fundamental – errors (a green K9! A five-sided TARDIS console! A twoarmed Davros!), they were a damn’ nice set of toys to be getting (even if the sculpts were pretty elementary, and often veered from the comedic into the parodical). The 1990s saw several sets of more expensive “toys” released, aimed more at the collectors’ market – and in fact were, as often as not, designed to be ornamental rather than for playing with. They’d set you back more than a pretty penny, too. Thank goodness for Character Options, then. When Doctor Who returned in 2005, there must have been quite a few options on the table, toy-wise, for the BBC to choose between. We might have had a series of three-inch-high figures, made from cheap plastic (and with a tendency to “stick” or fall apart), and only including the most popular monsters and the most recent Doctor – and the sculpts and colour schemes might have been pretty iffy, too. Imagine, for instance, if the New Series toys had been designed to the same level of expertise as Dapol’s were, two decades previously. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Instead, shortly after Christopher Eccleston’s run as the Doctor was over, Character Options began releasing their superbly-detailed, nicely sculpted, beautifully coloured waves of Doctor Who toys – and everybody felt like they were eight again. I can’t imagine how wonderful it would have been, had somebody like Character Options been around in 1976, releasing waves of Doctor Who monsters that might have included the Zygons and Pyramids of Mars Mummies, or the Sea Devils and Axons, or going even further back, Ice Warriors and accurately modelled versions of all the different variations of Cybermen and Daleks we’d ever seen on screen. Let alone affordable versions of all the different previous Doctors (with their TARDISes!), in a full variety of costumes and including sonic screwdrivers, walking sticks and recorders ... Oh wait a minute, yes I can. Because Character Options are doing that now, too. There have been a few people (a small minority, I should imagine) complaining online about Character Options; about how the paint-jobs aren’t always quite the same from one figure to another, or about how, occasionally, a Dalek’s eye-stalk might be slightly bent in the box (or rather loose, and prone to falling out). Fair enough. The Character Options toys aren’t perfect. But by the same token, they’re not mantelpiece replicas either, and they’re not costing the fans a fortune to collect (not unless you were to try and buy the whole lot on eBay, all in one go, anyway). They’re just toys; fairly cheaply produced (and equally cheap to buy), and plenty fit-for-purpose – which is for being played with, after all. I don’t mind one tiny little bit that my Remembrance of the Daleks Imperial Dalek drone isn’t quite screen accurate (apparently the Dalek skirt section was redesigned in 1988, and the CO version of the Dalek is moulded from the same 8
base as the pre-1988 Daleks). It’s quite close enough for me – and a hell of a lot closer to the original than Dapol’s ever was. Let’s be honest, for what they are, the Character Options toys are beautifully made – and an awful lot better than we’ve any right to expect. The other major online complaint, is about the tweaks and re-releases, and the way Character Options often seem to be asking you to spend your money twice, on essentially the same toy. There are two answers to this (and neither is the usual, “Well, you don’t have to buy them”). Firstly, the toys are, essentially, designed to be bought by (or for) children. A child is not going to be collecting the whole range (or at least, most normal children aren’t); but children are likely to “wear out” their toys far quicker than an adult collector would. And so Character Options, by keeping versions of the popular Doctors and monsters on the shelves, are basically doing their core market a favour: little Johnnie’s wrecked his Eleventh Doctor figure? Never mind, here’s a new one – and look, it includes a mop and a fez, too! And here, if we replace his broken Dalek toy, we can get this, newly redesigned to be more screen accurate, version instead! I don’t really see the problem. I’ll only buy the tweaked figures if I really want them, and generally speaking, when we’re asked to buy a figure for a second time (because this time, rebuying the figure is the only way to collect that elusive sixth piece of the Pandorica CD set, or because maybe it’s the only way to get another new figure – this time of the companion in her tweaked costume), the new version of the figure we’ve already got will be slightly tweaked anyway (it might include a new version of the Doctor’s jacket, for instance – or perhaps the same jacket, but scrunched up as if it had just been pulled from his shoulders). I don’t even mind that I’ve now got four Character Options Romans. Character Options Romans are a nice thing to have four of. All of which brings us to the second part of the Character Options equation: it’s all about marketing anyway. It’s CO’s duty to themselves to maximise profits. And if, by tweaking and re-releasing figures, they’re also subsidising the releases of figures we otherwise almost certainly wouldn’t have got, then all the better. The fact that the classic series range didn’t do well enough in the High Street might have meant it went slightly “underground” (and into collectors’ shops), but all that means is a few extra quid on toys which we certainly wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy. I don’t mind paying ten pounds for each of the figures in the Resurrection of the Daleks set – because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to buy a Resurrection of the Daleks set at all (and can you imagine being offered a highly-screen-accurate Resurrection of the Daleks set, even at £40, and even just two years ago – let alone five or ten?). No. Bring them on, I say. Let’s have Donna Noble in her wedding dress. Or River Song in a nice evening gown. Let’s have Patrick Troughton in a fur coat (and in a set with a Yeti – or two! – would be nice). Or Tom Baker in his deerstalker. And let’s have 1970-style Silurians, and Ice Warriors with built-in weaponry, and Ice Lords and Tritovores and classic series Sontarans and Venetian fish-vampires and Wirrn and what-the-hell, the Kandyman as well. If there’s the very occasional struggle with my bank balance, I’ll just have to pick and choose the ones I really want. But as long as Character Options are releasing such finely-crafted toys at what is, in reality, a pretty good value price, then I’ll be there in my local Toymaster (or online with Forbidden Planet) with my hand in my pocket and a ruddy great grin on my face. Even if the staff behind the counter are looking at me funny. J.R. Southall
Amy & Rory and Ian & Barbara octor Who’s favourite television couple, (after Peri and King Yrcanos of course), Amy and Rory Pond (nee Williams) have landed themselves in every Whovians heart for eternity. But what if we were to learn their story had been told before? A recent Russell T. Davies discovery had fans across the nation learning the posttime travel adventures of Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright who ended up discovering more of England, as they became married lecturers at Cambridge. But how much of Amy and Rory’s character is a clean slate or did the Doctor really decide to travel with them due to their familiar background? For those not in the know, Ian and Barbara travelled with the first Doctor (William Hartnell) from the show’s opening episode until they finally found a way to get back home in 1965’s The Chase. Whilst never having an onscreen romantic relationship, the pair had a close friendship and one of the strong fan opinions is that they tied the knot after departing the show. There are a lot of obvious similarities to make surrounding the two couples, but the very first one we have to look at is the fact they knew each other before we met them. In the case of Ian and Babs they were fellow schoolteachers-work-colleagues who forced their way into the TARDIS, fretting over silly schoolgirl Susan Foreman. These two formed our ‘link to Earth’ for the first two years of the show back when everything was new and audiences had no idea of Time Lords, sonic screwdrivers and Type 40’s. When we come to the twenty-first century, Amy and Rory provide the same storyline for us. By this point everybody knows the Doctor. He regularly gets seven to ten million viewers, so we require a story where our companions need the Doctor to come back. As a viewer who’d just lost long-time tenth Doctor, David Tennant, we could relate to this. The gap between the broadcasts of The End Of Time, Part Two and The Eleventh Hour felt as painful as little Amelia’s twelve year wait. Of course, everyone knows that Amy and Rory had a relationship before their adult problems with the Doctor began, but theirs differed greatly from that of Ian and Bab’s. Amy was missing something from her life whilst Rory tried his best to fill the childhood void left by a recently regenerated Time Lord. It’s doubtful but possible that Barbara experienced this same problem, yet the little screen time awarded to vast characterisation in the 1960s fails to let us witness any such events. The most common connection, beyond both being married, for these two sets of lovebirds, is how they make the Doctor better. Back when the Doctor was trying to be grumpy and important (like you do when you’re young) he needed saving. It’d be a rare day when we’d witness the Doctor committing an act on par with murdering a native with a rock. Yes, there’s no hiding the Doctor has had to murder again and again (most notably in the Time War or that poor Ogron in Day
Of The Daleks (1972)) but never again would he do it as freely as he did in 100,000 BC (1963). Whilst the first TARDIS couple managed the Doctor over his loathe for all things not like himself, Amy helped the aged Time Lord get over loss. The RTD years carried so many passages of Time Wars and locked away Roses we had them coming out of our ears! So when Smith’s number Eleven came along, it was time to bring in a character who could nurse the Doctor into welcoming new companions aboard the TARDIS once again, rather than doting on the loss of old ones (bar the occasional joke such as Let’s Kill Hitler (2011)’s voice interface. Whilst Amy certainly wanted to travel in the TARDIS, arguably more than any other companion, it’s not true of either of her three co-stars in this argument. With Ian & Babs being thrust into time and space and Rory being taken on a date to Venice, Amy feels like the odd one out, yet she’s certainly made her thoughts clear when it comes to choosing between the Doctor and Mr. Pond, made evidently clear during the events of Rory’s first death in Amy’s Choice (2010). Despite having fun along the way, there’s no denying Ian and Barbara always wanted to leave the ship, grabbing the first opportunity they had to go home, not fretting over whether or not it was a safe method of travel. This matches the belief set by Rory Williams in his first regular spot on the show, 2010’s The Vampires Of Venice, where he demands it isn’t safe, Amy shouldn’t be there and continues to rage against the Doctor’s love for bringing innocents into the mix. A final way to look at these characters proves how our show has moved on throughout the years, maturing with age rather than growing stale. The characteristics I’m talking about lie in how strong these companions are. Through the 1960s, whilst a lot stronger than most female characters in the decade, Barbara always relied on Ian for help to fend off an attacker or save the day. Ian was the clear Action Man of the piece. If we fast-forward forty-five years, Amy can definitely handle herself, even getting in on the action during episodes like The Curse Of The Black Spot (2011). She doesn’t need a nice strong man to keep her company; she just needs a well written one, which she gets in Rory Williams. Rory isn’t seen as the macho look of leading men, a look exhausted during the television of yesteryear, but he is reliable. He’s moved on to become more believable and will become whatever his wife needs him to be, whether that be the Last Centurion or even bearing the married name of Pond. I think the best solution to this question is to look at the man behind the latest magic, Mr Steven Moffat himself. He’s been cited as putting the Who back into Doctor Who. Perhaps the best possible way to capture these three titular letters is to reintroduce the original companions for a new audience. Here we have Amy Pond and Rory Williams playing Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. But does that make River Song the modern day incarnation of Susan Foreman? Maybe that’s the line to stop comparing the past and the future… Matthew Holsman 9
Watching Doctor Who
J.R. Southall looks at how our viewing experience has changed
teven Moffat’s first series in charge of Doctor Who, was the first series since the show came back that I’ve not watched live on transmission. Which isn’t to say there was any great delay before I did, it’s just that they broadcast it at teatime, and so we sky+ it and watched it about twenty minutes later. You can do that now: watch television shows any time you want. It sounds like the kind of thing people used to write science fiction stories about, but these days – and especially for most of the younger generations who’ve grown up as these things became possible – it’s just a matter of course. In these days of repeat showings and i-player and sky+ and television on demand, it’s not just catching up with episodes you’ve missed that’s become easier, but with DvDs and Blu-ray discs and Youtube channels added into the bargain, rewatching favourite episodes has become a relatively straightforward matter. But once upon a time, if you wished to revisit a particular story after its initial broadcast, you only had one course of action.
taRGet Back in the mid-’sixties, when Dalekmania first struck the nation, the BBC found themselves in what was for them an unusual situation, licensing products left, right and centre, all tied in to a little television programme which they must at first have had little confidence in. But in between the Rolykins Daleks and Dalek Pocketbooks and Dalek dress-up costumes, the BBC licensed one product that was to have an enduring significance, the consequences of which would last until as late as a quarter of a century later – and which can be argued were responsible for the Virgin New Adventures, and thus the Big Finish audio plays and the 14
BBC’s own spin-off novels that feature Matt Smith’s Doctor today. It was called Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks, it first appeared in hardback in November 1964 (published by Frederick Muller) and it was a prose adaptation of Terry Nation’s first story for the series. I well remember the very first time I came across the Target books. It was the spring of 1977 (I was eight years old), and although I was an avid and regular viewer of the Doctor’s adventures, I had no idea what a “fan” was, and aside from the occasional annual and toy, I had no conception of the world of Doctor Who merchandising either. But my parents took me one day to the local John Menzies branch in Torquay (for those of you who don’t know, John Menzies – who today concentrate on newspaper distribution – used to be a chain store something very like WH Smiths), and when I paused to look in the children’s books section, I had an epiphany. There in front of me were rows and rows of books featuring the Doctor Who logo: everywhere I looked, images of Daleks and Cybermen and Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker stared back. It was one of the most exciting moments in my then-young life. Of course, as John Nathan Turner asserted, the memory does play tricks: I’m fairly sure now that there can’t have been more than a single shelf of Doctor Who books in that shop at that time. But my eight-year-old self remembers what constituted an entire wall’s worth, and that’s how I choose to remember it, too. And from all of those titles (The Auton Invasion! The Tomb of the Cybermen! The Carnival of Monsters!) I had to choose just one. I stood agog, thumbing through the books for what seemed like hours, my mother pestering me to hurry up and make a choice, and weighed up the pros and cons of each: it must feature the Daleks, it must be from a period I would
Illustration by Andy Lambert
be able to remember (however vaguely) from having watched it on the television (my earliest memory of the series was of a giant black Dalek chasing the third Doctor across a jungle planet), and it should also feature alien worlds and Daleks, definitely Daleks. The cover illustration which grabbed my eye and refused to let go was Planet of the Daleks – written by Terrance Dicks. It wasn’t until I got home and read it that I discovered it was the story from which my very early Doctor Who memory also came. I devoured that book. And I went back every week for more. Doctor Who and the Cybermen was a particularly spooky volume (reading stories featuring Doctors, and especially companions, you don’t have much knowledge of, was a quite different experience: for a start, all bets were off about who might survive to the last page [I didn’t know companions couldn’t die, back then], and on top of that, the identification characters were always more difficult to identify), although The Tenth Planet didn’t seem much cop. And while The Cave Monsters was a great little story and Day of the Daleks a very clever tale (although The Doomsday Weapon was pretty dull), it was the two books featuring the Autons that I most fell in love with – those and Death to the Daleks (another early television memory, and the first book not to include “and the” in the title) when it was released a year later (in what has to be one of the greatest book covers of all time). It all started out when WH Allen were looking to branch out into children’s publishing in the early ’seventies: they bought the rights to the three Frederick Muller books (the Exciting Adventure with the Daleks was augmented in 1965 and ’66 by Bill Strutton’s The Zarbi and David Whitaker’s The Crusaders adaptations), which had been out of print, and republished them through their Target Books offshoot. They were successful enough that the following year, Target organised further television
adaptations of their own. The first handful were properly adaptations of the television stories, occasionally wandering off on sub-plots of their own devising, and only sticking as closely to the televised originals as was absolutely necessary. But eventually, as the authors that Terrance Dicks had persuaded to join him on Target’s books began to lose interest (Brian Hayles, Gerry Davis and particularly Malcolm Hulke were the other three mainstays of the early Target range), and Dicks was left to adapt most of the scripts almost entirely by himself, the quality of the prose fell until it was little more than the screenplay with added character reflections. Not that that especially mattered when you were small enough for the Target books to be the most exciting thing in the world, of course – and even if you were old enough to realise that the writing wasn’t exactly great literature, it didn’t really matter either. The Target books gave you the only chance you had, to “watch” again the stories that had first fired your imagination as a viewer of Doctor Who.
BBC vIDeo The Home Video boom in the early 1980s changed all that, of course, and the BBC were surprisingly relatively quick to jump on the bandwagon (considering some of their other business decisions concerning the Doctor Who range: the original fiction of the 1990s was only brought “in house” after the TV Movie had broadcast, when surely the BBC could have made a lot more money by starting their own range as soon as it became apparent the television series wasn’t coming back). In October 1983, the first Doctor Who BBC Video was released, and there’s an amusing story regarding the selection of the first title to get the treatment. Apparently, with a view to releasing Doctor Who on home video, 15
attendees at the Longleat twentieth anniversary celebration (earlier in the year) were asked two questions: which was your favourite Doctor, and which was your favourite enemy. The results were Tom Baker (it goes without saying), and the Cybermen. Not the Daleks: the Cybermen. This can perhaps only be attributed to the fact that the Cybermen had recently had a very successful comeback (in 1982’s Earthshock), while the Daleks hadn’t been seen on television since September 1979’s Destiny of the Daleks (which hadn’t exactly been their most popular outing in any case). The resulting video was Revenge of the Cybermen, the only Tom Baker story to feature the metal monsters, and a story held in rather low regard by most of fandom; hardly the most auspicious start for the Doctor Who video range! (And to think, we could have had Genesis of the Daleks instead ...) The problem for most fans was that in those early days of Home Video, most cassettes were released for the rental markets, and purchasing prices reflected that. It wouldn’t be unusual to pay upwards of sixty, or even eighty, pounds for a single tape, and Revenge of the Cybermen wasn’t much cheaper. If sell-through prices had remained in parallel with rental prices, then the series’ back catalogue could have set the average fan back several thousand pounds. Fortunately, by the time BBC Video geared itself up to making Doctor Who videos a regular purchase (following a sixtyminute edited version of The Brain of Morbius in 1984, there were only two or three titles released each year until 1990) the prices for home purchasing had dropped considerably. With the occasional exception, the 1980s releases concentrated largely on the two most popular Doctors, and on stories held in the archives in colour, and so most of the stories issued featured Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker in such popular titles as Pyramids of Mars, Day of the Daleks and The Talons of Weng-Chiang. For most people, this was the first chance to have seen any of these stories since their original transmission (with the exception of the now legendary The Five Faces of Doctor Who repeat series in 1981 – which arrived just a fraction too early for most people’s home-recorded tape collections – it was very rare for Doctor Who to be repeated much at all, and certainly never out of synch with the current Doctor), and it was an exciting time. The other aspect of note regarding Home Video was that as soon as fans acquired their first recorder, they began to build up their own collections of Doctor Who stories recorded off the air. The result of this was that for most fans, the Peter Davison era of the programme became as familiar as the Target novelisations (many of which were read over and over again), and the recent BBC Video releases; most fans will have seen Death to the Daleks and The Five Doctors, and read The Auton Invasion and The Giant Robot (not to mention listened to their LP of Genesis of the Daleks) far more often than they will The Dominators, say, or The Mind of Evil or Meglos. I remember the first story that was broadcast after my own family bought their first video recorder was Warriors of the Deep, and so that became the first story that I was able to watch again soon after its original transmission.
tHe WILDeRness YeaRs When it became apparent (sometime in 1990 for most people) that Doctor Who wasn’t going to return to the television any time soon, after Sylvester McCoy’s third series as the character, things could have become pretty bleak. But oddly enough, the 1990s were actually a pretty interesting time to be a Doctor Who fan. For one thing, the BBC stepped up their video releases of the back catalogue, and for another, British Satellite Broadcasting (and then Sky, via UK Gold) began to repeat the series, rather haphazardly at first (and only for those 16
handful of fans who had – or whose parents [in my case] had – the required satellite dish), starting with the early stories – which in a way meant that most fans had more “new material” to watch on an annual basis, than they had ever had before. (My parents weren’t really up to setting their video recorder to catch something on UK Gold at the ungodly hours that Doctor Who was transmitted, though, so they only ever recorded the occasional story for me, beginning with – appropriately – Planet of the Daleks). The late ’eighties and early 1990s were when the pirate video market first began to boom, too. If you were lucky enough to know how to get them, then you could pick up early (and unreleased/unrepeated) stories at a price, generally, of about a pound an episode (you also had to supply your own tape, usually). I well remember standing in my own local specialist shop, waiting for the area near the counter to clear, before sheepishly asking the man who ran the place, “You don’t sell pirate Doctor Who tapes, do you?” The answer was in the affirmative, and I duly handed over £6 and a cassette, putting my name down for Planet of the Daleks. The copies that you got were so many generations down from the original recording, it was often hard to tell what was going on through the fog and the muffled sound. It was a long time before I realised Episode Three was actually supposed to be in black and white, for instance (but only because the BBC had lost their colour copy), because the colour on the
DvD vIDeo And so to the modern age. My waning interest in Doctor Who was rekindled at Christmas of the year 2000, when I bought The Robots of Death on DVD. The BBC had already issued The Five Doctors on the anniversary the previous year, but that was in a rather ugly-looking sleeve, and came without an extras package of any note whatsoever. But The Robots of Death had been a particular favourite story, and the newly redesigned cover and inclusion of a commentary (amongst other things) made it an attractive Christmas present, and sitting there listening to Philip Hinchcliffe and writer Chris Boucher reminiscing about making Doctor Who in the 1970s, revived my interest in the programme no end. I couldn’t wait for other favourite stories to be released. It was to be a fairly long wait, at first. Just as in the early days of the BBC Video line, the early DVD schedule was fairly slow to get going. There were only five stories released in 2001 (in fact, until the series returned to television in 2005, there would be only an average of six stories a year full stop), and the extras, while welcome, didn’t really add up to much. And while Spearhead from Space was a very welcome follow-up to The Robots of Death, the rest of that year’s releases were from the ’eighties (and the TV Movie) – a period of the show’s development I’d had very much a love-hate relationship with – and hardly served to stimulate my re-engagement with Doctor Who. The BBC DVD range (now released through 2|entertain) is a different beast these days, though. As I write, we’re getting closer to the day when all the extant episodes are available to buy in digital form (the Restoration Team have worked wonders, making many of the stories look as though they were only shot yesterday; although I’ll still be keeping my unVidFIREd copy of The Tomb of the Cybermen, complete with its evocative made-on-film look, thank you very much!), and the extras packages have now improved to the extent that Doctor Who, with the depth and breadth of its onscreen history to choose from anyway, now has the most impressive range of DVDs you can buy anywhere. We’re also living at a time when the New Series is released onto disc pretty instantly (or you can wait just a little while for a more extras-heavy collection later on), or can be accessed in one of any number of ways should you miss an episode (sadly making adaptations along the lines of the old Target books entirely redundant, as BBC Books found out with their Sarah Jane Adventures novelisations; ah well). With the introduction of a Doctor Who YouTube channel, as well as illegal file-sharing of course, it’s getting close to the time when any fan has the means to watch almost any story they want, relatively quickly and easily. It might not be as exciting to turn on the television and find Watch showing The Age of Steel for the umpteenth time you’ve seen it, as it was inserting that cassette into the machine and settling down to watch an almost inaudible and unwatchable transfer of The Tenth Planet (or to bring home a copy of Target’s The Dinosaur Invasion and shut yourself in the bedroom for a couple of hours’ reading), but it would be wrong to complain (after all, once upon a time, sitting down to watch something like The Reign of Terror seemed an impossible dream; now, it’s just around the corner); there’s so much Doctor Who making its way into the world these days (audio books, soundtracks, novels – hell, two entire spinoff series!), it’s probably true to say that the series is as popular and as accessible as it’s ever been before. For a Doctor Who fan, these really are the best of times. J.R. southall Illustration by Andy Lambert
pirate copy was so degraded, most of the rest of the story came through as black and white anyway. But those were heady times, and an nth generation copy of The Tenth Planet (even with its fourth episode unrepresented in any way at all – which seemed to make it very unlikely for either a repeat or a BBC video release) was a remarkable thing to own. By the end of 1990, Target also ran out of new stories to adapt into books, and so Virgin Publishing (who bought up the Target range) announced a replacement of their own: original fiction featuring Doctor Who characters – something which had previously only been the province of cartoon strips and short stories in annuals. The seventh Doctor and Ace made their bow in the Timewyrm series of New Adventures, and Virgin soon got to publishing a book a month – two when the Missing Adventures series of stories featuring non-current Doctors was born. For the average Doctor Who, it was now possible to experience (enjoy might be too strong a word; the Virgin Adventures weren’t always everybody’s cup of tea) four times as many new stories a year, as had been produced even during the series’ heyday in the mid-1970s. After the transmission of the TV Movie in 1996 (as I’ve already mentioned), the BBC brought both lines of fiction back into their in-house publishing division, and the line of original Doctor Who fiction that stretches back to John Peel’s first Timewyrm novel in June 1991, is still going strong today.
THE TERROR OF...
R O R R E S T D I E H O T V R E V E H T OF by David O MacGowan
his I must see! Not words one usually hears aired in relation to the third block of episodes in 'The Trial of a Time Lord', but it's the Valeyard speaking, and he's looking forward to seeing Colin and Bonnie mess up. But did they? The story is all too easy to criticise because, well, yes it is frankly pretty rubbish as drama (don't forget, it comes hot on the heels of 'Mindwarp' and its headf***ery). As Doctor Who however, and more to the point a specific type of Doctor Who (space opera) it is a lot of fun. There's only one or two things in it I find genuinely naff as opposed to 'well, they didn't pull that off as well as they could have', and don't worry I will point those out in the article that follows. But I come to praise 'Vervoids' not to bury it. Stick the DVD in the machine and join me onboard the Hyperion 3 as I take you the things I love about 'Terror of the Vervoids'... the game is afoot!
OR PART NINE... SETTING THE SCENE We get no less than three intros here – the Trial courtroom and Doctor's narration, the general milling about onboard the Hyperion 3, and the obligatory 80s Tardis scene. The best of these is the Trial narration. The Doctor's words are wonderfully melodramatic as he points out the passengers, before adding, "One... will become a murderer!" And CLANG!!!!! Goes the soundtrack, just to emphasise the point. It's so over the top, anyone honestly expecting serious drama from this point on is not only going to be disappointed, they are seriously deluded. This is Doctor Who as playground panto funtime, with all the cues and signals of drama but none of the boring bits, and added rubber monsters. Many examples of this approach abound in the story – Mel not bothering to look around to find out who switched off her headphones in the gym (when the big window is just behind her), the security guard fiddling with his silly comms device rather than shooting the Vervoid with his gun, etc. So get with the programme! As for the Tardis scene, the Doctor's dialogue is so stupid you have to love it, though as a child I was a bit confused by his making the connection between carrot juice and turning into a donkey (Varos-style??). 18
Good old JNT worked some of his magic here, possibly Kate O'Mara (who genuinely loved her time on Doctor Who) put in a good word and got that other 'Sexy Older Actress'© TM to grace Television Centre for some daft galactic hi-jinks. The result is an extraordinary turn by Honor Blackman as Professor Laskey. She oozes a kind of easy star-factor and clearly enjoys pouring scorn over the other characters, bonding with Mel at the expense of the Doctor, haranguing her weak colleagues and generally wearing varied expressions of annoyance and superiority. Blackman is amazing even when forced to spout such mediocre dialogue as "You appalling dunderhead!" (what is this, the Beano?) Minus a couple of points for the apathetic way she says the important line, in part 4, "I must have been blinded by professional vanity." But it's the end of the production and we can perhaps forgive Blackman for not putting emotion into it. By part 4 the 'whodunnit' aspect of the plot has been forgotten and it's a rush to the finish line.
The first cliffhanger is absolutely, without a doubt, one of THE best in the entire history of the series. It's not just the famous scream that Bonnie Langford delivers in perfect tune with the closing theme music sting, but the way all the parts of the scene come together – the suddenness of the man's death; the electrocution video effect; the smooth camera moves as we see into the moodily-lit Hydroponics centre; and the final creepy shot of the podsucker thingy opening. SCREEEEEEAM!!! BEST CREDIT: Don Babbage
(or Episode Two) THE MANY FACES OF COLIN BAKER Colin Baker's Doctor was asked to be many things during his time on the programme – a bipolar alien, a melancholy philosopher, some sort of agronomy fetishist, a clod-hopping buffoon, a yo-yo dieter... here, we see two very disparate aspects of the 6th Doctor's personality, and indeed Colin Baker's acting style(s). There is idiotic face-pulling aplenty here as the Doctor puffs out his cheeks and exhales air in mock sitcom-style frustration and annoyance, pursing his lips and tossing Demeter seeds in the air whilst Mel and Laskey run roughshod over him. It's the kind of non-verbal acting that seems to be lacking a "wah-wah-WAHHH" trumpet on the soundtrack. And yet in total contrast with that is the way he responds to Laskey's question, "What are you, a comedian?" Look at Colin's face, a soft smile and slightly sad eyes as he replies, "No. More a sort of clown." PERFECT! You can tell the line was written as typical Pip'n'Jane Baker comic bombast (it's followed by another mention of 'On with the Motley') but Colin delivers it as if the Doctor is ruminating on his purpose in life, the eternal idiot, a good-hearted boob who blunders into these situations loudly and colourfully; in short the perfect Shakesperean fool.
Commodore Travers seems an endearingly bored/aggravated space captain, with a neat line in Pip'n'Jane speak ("Cut the sophistry!") and he is the character keeping perhaps the straightest face throughout. He has the most quotable lines, all 'webs of mayhem and intrigue' and 'unmitigated disasters'. Tantalisingly he knows the Doctor of old and takes his presence not only as a given but as an added irritant. He even has a humanising nickname from his captaincy days, 'Tonkers'! The mind boggles. It's Travers' job not only to steer the Hyperion 3 safely home but to oversee a murder investigation – because don't forget, "a man has been pulverised into fragments and blown into space, and in my book, that's murder!" (the man in question, Investigator Hallet, is referred to by the Doctor as "a rare breed... a maverick." Did he have his own TV show? 'Hallet's Adventures in the Highly Organised 30th Century'?).
ANOTHER GREAT CLIFFHANGER!
We've seen a hint of the rubbery Vervoid menace in the murder of dear old Mr Kimbel (think the shower scene from 'Psycho' but with room service and a killer plant-man) but this cliffhanger racks up the body-horror quotient with a superbly edited scene of Ruth Baxter's head lolling to one side covered in hideous veins ... and then one eye opening as Mel screams (again). Even Colin is wearing a gas mask for the final crash zoom, which is nicely out of the ordinary. BEST CREDIT: Tony Scoggo
PART THE THIRD / ELEVENTH / WHATEVER THE WAR AGAINST ANIMAL-KIND BEGINS!! The Vervoids, after a brief ventilator shaft cameo in part 2 and a few POV murders, finally make their glorious appearance. Their look continues to raise comment after all these years. It has been said they resemble giant talking killer vaginas. As research I have examined closely the vagina (the things I do for Doctor Who fanzines!) and can only conclude that if you or anyone you know has a vagina that resembles a Vervoid, seek medical help immediately. As far as I am aware vaginas do not have little yellow stems sticking out of them and a big sort of cabbage thing on the top. Nor, for that matter, are they often heard to say things like "We are doing splendidly!" in either Liverpudlian, Brummie or Glaswegian accents. Anyway, never mind what they look like, the Vervoids themselves are fantastic Doctor Who monsters. They have two ways of killing people – deadly marsh gas and stinger-thingies, and their plant nature means they are completely opposed to all humanity. They're a kind of organic Dalek and they had great potential as villains if the Doctor hadn't committed genocide at the end of their first story (not that it stopped the Daleks or Cybermen, mind). I like the way that near the end of part 3 they give up skulking about in corridors and seem to be wandering the Hyperion 3 with impunity. Well that's what you get when (a) you have a cliffhnager coming up and (b) all the doors just have normal handles, even the ones with big 'Security Personnel ONLY' signs on them.
It dawns on the viewer, well this one at least, that the best actor in the whole production is David Allister as the highly strung Bruchner. In all the buffoonery, his performance stands out as surprisingly real. "Ah... you see the name Laskey in the history books?" Everyone else is playing it as space panto and you know what, that's fine, but Bruchner's simmering anxieties are delivered with 'truth' as they say in the acting world. When he suddenly snaps and attacks Laskey, the immediacy of the act is savage and horrible – this sort of real physical fright hasn't been seen in the programme since 'Inferno'. And speaking of bruchner we have...
ANOTHER GREAT CLIFFHANGER! Bruchner goes mad and takes over the ship, aiming the Hyperion 3 into The Black Hole Of Tomato Sauce (or whatever), courtesy of some fetching model and video-effects work, cross cuts to Bruchner's distraught face, people wobbling about the cafe holding onto lampshades, Mel trying to dodge the murderous Vervoid, and Colin glaring and emoting sternly in time for the final theme music sting. As it is it's great; if it had ended on a model shot it would have been PERFECT! BEST CREDIT: Peppi Borza
PART FOUR / EPISODE TWELVE / THE ONE WHERE THE PLANTMEN SNUFF IT MOGAR-HO! There is something wonderfully dreamlike about the scene where the Mogarians enter the gas-filled bridge and calmly pilot it to safety. This is not an era of the programme especially well-remembered for its sound design or camerawork (auteurs like Graeme Harper being very much exceptions) and yet the rumbling background noise of the ship and the wobbly cameras really do give a sense of 'oomph' to the reality of the scene, which is quite unexpected. Add to that the weird unreality of the calm-as-you-please Mogarians and you have an oddly balletic sequence which suggests that sticking slow-moving actors in faceless spacesuits always ends up with some Doctor Who magic.
THE TERROR OF THE NIGHTMARE OF THE VERVOIDS OF EDEN The whole story has had the feeling of the Tom Baker story 'Nightmare of Eden' and the final episode seems to share much with it – the space cruiser setting, the innocent passengers being killed by monsters, corrupt employees, wibbly video effects in space, a clownish Doctor, the lacklustre direction... and in the Vervoids going on the hunt ("Resume the hunt!") we have Mandrels that can speak. It would be good if the Vervoids had been marauding for the whole episode, like their flared-feet Vraxoin-based cousins, but 18 minutes in we finally get the Vervoid rampage. They look really scary when they pray down upon Mel too, and their death scene is GREAT – some real thought has gone into this, with the infra red flare effects, the magnesium flashes, then the autumnal fading of their dying bodies, complete with wind-breeze sound effects and dying moans. It's actually very touching, and when the Doctor comforts Mel at the end of it all there is a real poignancy to it, lacking in many of this Doctor's earlier tales. And then...
A TWIST ENDING God, Jayston goes for it with relish doesn't it? Get out of this one, Doc. Or at least, try and avoid the crash zoom into the closing cre- oh, too late... BEST CREDIT: Danny Popkin
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! Some of my favouritest bits of what is actually, for entertainment value and surely, what other value do you need?), a very good story indeed. 19
The TARDIS is a Television Set T
elevision critic Nancy Banks-Smith, expanding on the idea that the Dalek represented the pernicious, mechanical ubiquity of the car, suggested further that: ‘the TARDIS was, in fact, a television set’. What did she mean by this? What does it mean now, looking back on almost fifty years of Doctor Who? “you say you can’t fit an enormous building into one of your smaller sitting rooms?” says the Doctor to Ian Chesterton, one of the first human characters we see entering the bigger-on-the-inside TARDIStm . “You’ve discovered television haven’t you?” he continues, “yes” Chesterton replies. “then by showing an enormous building on your television screen you can do what’s humanly impossible” Reason one: the TARDIS is a dimensionally transcendental yet cosy object just like a television set. The TARDIS distorts – it compresses or elongates space. But as an object of fantasy it is also incredibly domestic and reassuring. Today, the image of the police box has become dislocated from how it was seen in the 1960s. Nowadays it means the comfort and security of Doctor Who, back then it meant the comfort and security of knowing that even in the smog-bound city streets the policeman was nearby. The TARDIS, both inside and outside, signifies home: either the safe impregnability of the console room or the cosy familiarity of the blue box. From the beginning of the series it is defined as a place of refuge. In the early stories, separation from the TARDIS is a major factor in the drama. ‘The Daleks’, ‘Marco Polo’, ‘The Keys of Marinus’, ‘The Daleks’ Masterplan’, countless other episodes all somehow contrived to lock the Doctor out or isolate him from his home. The TARDIS, in many stories is both the first and last domestic destination of the characters and the object of desire during the adventure. It is an artefact of escape, of resolution, or rest and of information. It is an object that somehow seems to be simultaneously incongruous and yet also at home in the study of Professor Chronotis in ‘Shada’ or the bedroom of Martha Jones in ‘The Sound of Drums’. Reason two: the TARDIS contains a television set. So the TARDIS physically reflects a fantasy version of the television with its skewed dimensions and its domestic familiarity. But the TARDIS crew are often seen watching television within the time machine. From the Beatles and other notable historical figures on the Time-Space Visualiser in ‘The Chase’ to the junk mail advert for ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’ the TV always seems to be on in the TARDIS. But it doesn’t stop there – when demonstrating to Zoe Herriot the dangers of travelling with him, the Doctor even puts Doctor Who on showing her all seven episodes of ‘Evil of the Daleks’. From the beginning the scanner is more than just a window to the world outside the TARDIS. In ‘The Edge of Destruction’, the scanner shows images of disaster to warn the occupants of a fault; in ‘The Mind Robber’, the scanner shows the TARDIS crew images of home to entice them out; in ‘The Keeper of Traken the scanner shows a tourism video for Traken. The scanner, like the television, offers images of fantasy in the 1960s and 1970s and, in the days before dedicated computer monitors, acts as a display of information in the 1980s. The technology of television and the technology of the TARDIS mimic one another. It is only after the TV movie that the screens leave the TARDIS – instead we get holographic displays and light shows like a planetarium. The notion of the TARDIS as a platform for viewing is embedded deeply in the mythology of the series. We are told repeatedly that the Doctor escaped from his home planet because he 26
was frustrated at the inactivity of his people. Before ‘The Deadly Assassin’, the Timelords are explicitly defined as observers, watchers, cataloguers of history – they even watch episodes of Doctor Who from their courtroom in ‘The Trial of the Timelord’. It’s not difficult to see the TARDIS as a machine packed with the apparatus of this tele-observation – and to think of the average Timelord, sitting in his console room watching events unfurl on the scanner or the Time-Space Visualiser or watching reruns piped through from the Matrix, the repository of experiences and information (a videotape library) on Gallifrey. In a way, in this context the Doctor becomes aligned with fandom: the Doctor is not content to watch the universe from his TARDIS, like a fan he wants to break through to the events he sees on the scanner, he wants to get outside the TARDIS, he wants to get involved. Reason three: the TARDIS doesn’t travel through time, it travels through genres. From the beginning of the series the TARDIS hasn’t really travelled in time. Instead the TARDIS travels through a mediated, televisual concept of time. Once the pitfalls of changing time is removed from the series following ‘The Aztecs’, adventures in the past followed the more conventional narrative form that mimicked the ITC approach to history such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and (starring William Russell) The Adventures of Sir Lancelot. The Doctor travels not through time but through cultural genres. The writers of Doctor Who are poachers, borrowing elements (or entire plots) from popular movies and other television series. In the early 1970s the TARDIS gets stuck on Earth whilst the television gets stuck on reruns of Quatermass: ‘Spearhead from Space’, ‘Ambassadors of Death’, ‘Inferno’, ‘The Claws of Axos’ and ‘The Daemons’ all offer twists, or direct retellings, of the three 1950s serials. This is not a criticism however. Before the advent of videos and DVDs or regular repeats on BBC3, old television series took on a mythic, semi-remembered status. Quatermass in the 1970s was something older viewers vaguely remembered being terrified by, so the Doctor Who stories that drew on them also drew on a kind of Nigel Kneale-esque ‘race memory’ of televised fear. The important thing to note is that by exiling the Doctor to Earth and by taking the TARDIS out of action, the producers of the series limited themselves to a particular type of narrative: when the TARDIS gets stuck and so does the television. After this, the series begins to draw on cinema as well as television. When the Hammer movies began to be shown on the box, Robert Holmes famously started to mine them for stories and imagery. When Star Wars hit the cinema, the TARDIS actively avoids any location or situation that could be said to resemble or compete with the ‘galaxy far, far away’. The new series, with its budget and CGI effects draws more confidently from this wider gene pool. The new TARDIS still travels in genres, so far bringing its crew into ghost stories, whodunits, disaster movies, swashbucklers, sand-and-sandal epics, apocalyptic dramas, future dystopias and romanticised renaissance comedies. The TARDIS is still our way of viewing, of seeing, but instead of showing us television, it’s showing us DVDs and downloaded movies. So the TARDIS is both metaphorically and at times literally a television set. It distorts dimensions, it compresses and expands time, it gives both the characters and us a way of viewing, not the past, but the past as told through screenfictions. The Doctor is not just a mad man with a box, he is a mad man on the box.
Illustration by Marc David Lewis
Matt Barber www.thisismattbarber.co.uk
ALL YOUR PLANET ARE BELONG TO US “Oh no.” Two words Evelyn Smythe never liked to hear out of the Doctor’s mouth but in Sheffield well, she simply wasn’t having it. Evelyn’s rare day-trips to Sheffield Hallam University were the oasis of normality in her otherwise stark-raving mad travels with the Doctor. He claimed he couldn’t understand why Evelyn was so insistent on crossing the expanse of the space-time vortex just so she could check her mail, listen to a handful of voice messages, and pay a few bills - especially when she had the option to put such things off, literally, for ages. But like a lot of things the Doctor said, she knew it was bluster he always took her home immediately (or did his best) when she asked. Evelyn suspected he knew all too well
the value of a proper home. And Sheffield was normal - a place where you could put the kettle on without having to fight your way past vampires and pirates. Which was why one of the Doctor’s “Oh no’s in Sheffield was simply right out. “Evelyn... I think I might have gotten the year a bit... off.” “It doesn’t seem that different.” She looked around at the campus. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary - in fact it looked extraordinarily dull. Not much foot traffic, but then classes were out of session (or should have been if the Doctor had at least gotten the calendar date right). It was a bit odd that none of the pedestrians had backpacks and averaged about 10 to 20 years older than your typical
student and there was the constable wearing the jumpsuit and vest combo... “The fashion... it is rather... 60s.” Evelyn muttered, trying to work it out. “It is the 60s”, the Doctor said. “2069, to be exact.” “2069?” Evelyn gasped. “Mmm...” he nodded. He took her hand and pulled her gently but decisively back toward the TARDIS. “Retro-centennial culture-fads are tiresomely frequent in the latter 21st Century. You should see what 2080s hair looks like.” Evelyn looked bewildered as the Doctor dragged her along. “This is the future? Hardly anything’s changed! Hasn’t there been any progress?” “Well, it’s... clean.” the Doctor said. He seemed to calm down as they 27
neared the TARDIS. “Hmm I suppose it is. And no jugglers or guitar players in sight...” “Oh yes... 2069 was downright... utopian.” the Doctor said absentmindedly, fumbling for the TARDIS key. He opened the door and started to nudge her inside. “Now let’s...” “COMMONHOLDS!??” Evelyn almost screamed. The Doctor closed his eyes and sighed in defeat. Evelyn gawked at a sign advertising affordable luxury housing in what had once been the University’s famous Owen Building. Her eyes darted about... “It’s the same everywhere, every building!” “I’m afraid so.” “Doctor... how can a whole University... ‘go condo’?! Where’s the school?!” He put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Evelyn, there are some things you really don’t-” “TELL ME!” she snapped back. An almost childishly petulant look wormed it’s way across his face. He locked the door again. There was no getting out of it... 2069’s equivalent of Sheffield Hallam was housed entirely in what 28
had once been the Alumni Office. A lone Buckfast-sipping hoodie manned a kiosk advertising degrees in Physics and Engineering like they were Value Meals at McDonalds. Evelyn noted with confused horror the words on the University’s new logo:
SHEFFELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY POWERED BY BRAIN2 The Doctor didn’t wait for her to ask. “Brain2 is a very small cybersynaptic device located in the right ear canal. By now, everyone on Earth has one.” “It downloads information into the brain,” Evelyn surmised, exasperated. “Well, it actually is part of the brain, in a way. It’s a sort of... well, it’s like an external hard drive on your computer. Or an internal. An extra internal. But what’s brilliant is it encodes the downloaded information the same way the brain forms memories, so one instantly has command of the new information. And the really remarkably brilliant thing is that it’s connected to the World
Wide Web. So every human on Earth can “learn” all the internet has to offer in minutes. Universities only exist now for regulated downloadable content in certain subjects, they’re still mandatory for things like medicine. But most people don’t bother with universities if
they don’t have to, because the Web has an open-source repository of information called...” “Wikipedia?” Evelyn sneered. “Erm, well no, actually this one’s called Touchstone.” The Doctor scratched the back of his neck. “It’s fairly similar, though.” “Oi!, you gonna buy something?” the hoodie yelled from behind the counter. He didn’t take his eyes off the match on the telly. “Oh shut up” Evelyn snapped, “I’m tenured faculty. Very tenured.” He finally got off his stool. “Come off it, gran’ma, there’s six blokes on faculty, an’ you ain’t one’ a ‘em. I should know, I’m the Chancellor.” Evelyn almost laughed in his face. “You... are... the Chancellor of the University.” “S’right, just got bumped up, used to be Admin of Humanities.” Evelyn rolled her eyes. “Oh well then I guess you’ll know that the fourth wife of Henry the VIII was...” “Anne of Cleves.” he interrupted. Evelyn blinked. “And... Thomas Boelyn was 1st Earl of...?” “Wiltshire. DUH.” he said, exhaling for cartoonishly dramatic effect. “Y’know what he was from 1511 to 1517, right?” “I...” “High Sheriff of Kent.” he said, turning back to the telly. “On yer bike.” “Utopian.” Evelyn snorted, strutting back toward the TARDIS. “Well, it is”, the Doctor said, trying to keep up. “Crime, poverty, the environment... all sorted thanks to Brain2. It’s also left them culturally frozen. Art... music... even the news was deadly boring. Nothing of interest happened for about a decade.” Evelyn spun at him. “It’s appalling, Doctor. We have to do something!” “It’s part of history, Evelyn! However unsavory the Brain2 era was... it happened. Don’t worry, it ends eventually. Things get exciting again. Why in 2070-” “What ends it???” The Doctor made a face like he smelled something horrible. “Err... you really shouldn’t know...” “Doctor!” He looked a bit ashamed. “I don’t know. Never bothered to look, really.” Evelyn stared at him. He finally sputtered out an explanation. “Evelyn, this is quite possibly the single most rubbish epoch in your planet’s history. I have the entire gloriously mad expanse of time and space to explore. Why would I waste my time on something so... naff?” “Well then, how do you know we aren’t the ones that do something about it?” She folded her arms with a calm air of victory she often did when she had her “QED” moments. The Doctor raised a contradictory
finger and opened his mouth, but realized with annoyed surprise he didn’t actually have anything to say... The TARDIS landed minutes later, materializing with its back directly in front of two massive glass doors. Evelyn stormed out but stopped with a surprised peep. She appeared to be standing on thin air. They were in a building made almost completely of glass, maybe three-hundred floors up. Thousands of office workers stared at her and the Doctor from above and below. She was suddenly very glad she chose to wear slacks that morning. The clopping sound of plastic slippers on glass snapped Evelyn back to her immediate surroundings. They were in a spacious executive office with a beautiful view of Seattle stretching to their right. A scruffylooking man in his 30s, dressed in Bermuda shorts and a bathrobe, walked toward them with a comical shrug. “Dude- WTC?!” Evelyn’s brow crinkled at the unprecedented abbreviation. “W-T-C?”
“I’ll explain later.” the Doctor said, shutting the TARDIS door. “Evelyn, this is Axel Danziger- CEO of Brain2 LLC.” Danziger threw up a hand at the TARDIS. “OMCG, get that outta here, yo!” Evelyn stared him down with a look more suited to a kindergarten teacher than a college professor. “You have a lot to answer for, young man.” Danziger backed up slightly before remembering himself. “Hey man, I got a whole army of ex-Navy SEALS out there- and they’re gonna WTC PWN yer butts!” Everyone turned their heads toward a disorderly rattling noise. It was coming from the two giant doors the TARDIS was parked against, where a platoon of black-armored security guards were making a confused and futile attempt to push them open from the other side. “Oh.” Danziger muttered. Evelyn turned back to him, and he instinctively plopped into his swivelchair like he’d just heard the class bell. 29
She jutted an accusatory finger at him. “You’ve turned an entire generation into knowledgeable idiots.” “Huh?” “Intelligence isn’t about knowing
facts- it’s how you evaluate them. It was bad enough in my day with Wikipedia. Twenty papers every term with the same conclusions from the same footnotes! But-” She barely
managed to stay calm, minding her heart condition. “You’ve turned learning into mindless, homogenized, incestuous trainspotting... and the entire human race into... into... a string of sausages!” Danziger gawked at her with his mouth open, bewildered. Evelyn fell into an embarrassed silence and turned to the Doctor, hoping he’d rescue her. He was vastly more skilled with these sorts of speeches. She was annoyed to see he wasn’t even listening. He was engrossed by a giant replica of the Mona Lisa hanging on a steel wall on the far end of the room. “Doctor, would you like to join in?” “Hmmm? Oh no, you’re doing fine,” the Doctor said, waving a dismissive hand over his shoulder. “I’m more interested in this.” “Uh... why?” Danziger said, sitting up a bit. “An entire building made of glass, and you hang one picture against the one area that isn’t transparent.” The Doctor hooked his fingers under the edge of the frame and pulled. The painting swung away to reveal a large computer bank that looked indisputably alien and out of place. Danziger looked very nervous. Evelyn shook her head. “That... might be the most appallingly cliched thing I’ve ever seen.” The Doctor nodded sideways at Danziger. “Told you it was a naff era.” He ripped off an access panel and started shoving wires aside. Danziger jumped up. “Whoa-whoahey, don’t touch that!” Evelyn saw what looked like a laser gun sitting amongst Danziger’s clutter of desk toys. She snatched it up and pointed it at his chest. “Don’t move!” “That’s a game controller, Evelyn.” the Doctor said, not looking away from the mess of wires in his hands. “Well...” Evelyn stammered, throwing the gun back to Danziger. “Just sit down and SHUT UP, then!”
Danziger slumped back and rubbed his eyes like he had a migraine. “Man, this is such a bummer.” The computer suddenly made an ominous popping noise, causing everyone, even the Doctor, to jump. He looked in horror at what looked like an instant message flashing on the computer’s large screen:
them, by insinuating themselves into any forms of interactive media they can hack into and dumbing down the culture. They usually attack around the time races develop online gaming, though I’ve always had a pet theory they might call into the occasional radio talk show...” The computer “popped” again...
TH: WTC? STEP BACK N00B! “Teh Haxxorpwn,” The Doctor
TH: HAXXORPWN R TEH ROXXORZ! BTCO! “That language... shouldn’t the
gasped. “I should have known!” Evelyn blinked. “The-” “Teh,” the Doctor corrected, diving desperately back into whatever he was doing with the wires. “Teh Hack-sor-pone?” “Mmm. A very unpleasant species from the Crab Nebula. Not particularly violent, in fact downright cowardly when you confront them head-on. So they take out potentially competitive civilizations, or “noobs” as they call
TARDIS be translating it?” Evelyn asked. The Doctor took a moment from peeling a wire casing with his teeth. “Well... she does her best to. It’s not easy filtering that much inconsistent spelling, profanity, and emoticons.” “The TARDIS has a profanity filter?!”
Evelyn nodded at the screen. “What’s that!” “Shut The Cruk Up.” the Doctor said, a bit embarrassed. He looked over at Danziger. “Let me guess- Teh Haxxorpwn are the brains behind Brain2. They gave you the blueprints for it. And they’re the moderators for Touchstone. All you had to do was take the credit.” Danziger threw his hand up, rolling his eyes. “Okay, okay- busted.” A new buzzing sound emitted from the computer- something like an alarm. The screen flashed red:
TH: DIE N00BS!
The Doctor frantically ripped off another access panel. “It’s a kill-signal. They’re crashing the network. The whole world will be plunged into helpless stupidity! There’s only one thing to do...” His fingers pounded the keyboard 31
like jackhammers-Evelyn worried for a moment he might break it. Finally he dropped back to his knees and grabbed a wire from each of the two access panels, trying to tug them together. He found to his dismay that they couldn’t quite reach... “I really must rebuild that sonic screwdriver,” he said, pinching one exposed wire with one hand... And then did the same for the other. The surge knocked him unconscious before the screen exploded, but Evelyn told him later that it was rather spectacular. The Doctor found upon awakening that Evelyn had had the sense to drag him into the TARDIS and shut the door. She was hovering over him with a worried look. “Oh, thank God,” she said. He got up and dusted the soot off his ruined blue coat. “My thoughts exactly. If this’d happened to my other
coat, I’d be inconsolable.” “Doctor... what did you do?” “Well, I permanently disconnected Teh Haxxorpwn from Brain2’s administrative network. I suppose you can say they’re... banned.” “That must have been tricky.” “Actually, no. The tricky part was shutting down and rebooting.” He rubbed some soot off his face with his cravat. “The whole thing’s running in ‘safe mode’ now. Earth’ll have Brain2, but it won’t be able to update. It’ll become increasingly irrelevant over time, and humanity will be forced to look to its own ingenuity again.” “Or they’ll just devolve back into apes...” Evelyn snorted. The Doctor smiled. “Well, I did have time for one last revision to the Touchstone database. I updated Brain2’s own entry, and laid out exactly what it is -Teh Haxxorpwn, Danziger- everything! And don’t
worry, if it’s on Touchstone, people of this era will believe it.” Evelyn leaned over the console. “But... these people are sheep, Doctor. Even if they know what Brain2 really is... will they have the wherewithal to do anything about it?” The Doctor looked down and absentmindedly typed a new set of coordinates. “Well... one hopes. History would seem to say so.” Evelyn smiled slightly. “Though actually...” the Doctor muttered, flipping the dematerialization switch, “they are on the brink of nuclear war in fifteen years.” Evelyn’s smile fell, but the Doctor slipped out of the room before she could say anything. She stared at the ceiling for a moment and silently counted backwards from ten. She shook her head and let out a long, exasperated sigh. “OMCG.”
DALEK INVASION 2012 The Sci-fi Convention !
Leaflet design by David Adams
urn up, wander around, go to the staged shows, have your photo taken with one of the people in costume, look at the display props, get an autograph from one of actors who are appearing and, of course spend far too much money at the dealer’s stalls. It’s the last part where I come in. I’m one of the ‘Dealers’. I’ve been selling sci-fi toys and figures for about a year. The last convention we attended took place at The Fleet Air Arm Museum near Yeovil in August. I was especially looking forward to this one as it was dedicated to Dr Who. The ‘Dalek Invasion’ has been a regular event over the past few years. It gets better with every year. However, being a ‘Dealer’ does put the whole event in a different context – have you ever considered what it’s like for those people who run these stalls? Well, for us the event started MONTHS ago, with helping to advertise this event, not just through our shop, website and through social media– after all, the more people who turn up, the more people there are who are there to buy from you. There was also the vitally important gathering and acquisition of Dr Who toys, figures and other such memorabilia. Not an easy task when you specialise in the rare collectable figures, and the ‘older’ items. However, in this case the collecting gods were smiling down upon us, as an old school friend had decided to sell off most of his collection, which we managed to buy and provided the bulk of our stock. Of course, buying is one thing but then there is the other task of checking what you have and pricing it up in a way that is attractive to the public. And so after what seems an age, the long awaited day arrives! With our car packed with stock we head to the Museum where we are signed in, and shown to our pitch. The public are not due in for another two hours, giving us plenty of time to set up our stall, move things around and take the allimportant pictures which will be loaded up to Facebook and our website. With this done, we have a chance to catch up with our fellow dealers (and friends) who we see regularly through the South West Sci-fi convention circuit. A quick glance over their stalls, which inevitably results in a few purchases as well as the latest news about upcoming events, what they are generally up to in their lives and the speculation on how busy the show will be. Similarly we get the chance to catch up with the ‘Costume Players’ and Dalek Operators before getting ourselves in position ready for the doors to
be opened to the public. Then we wait nervously for people to appear, and keep our fingers crossed that they are ready to spend. With well over a thousand people on the first day we are kept busy with good sales. Happily a number of big, bulky items are among the first to sell, which is always a relief as it means we don’t have to take them home again! My secret weapon for sales at this convention is ‘The Fez’, which I managed to pick up a number of. Fez’s are cool – and worn by the Dr (7th & 11th) and are cheap! So, slowly but surely, the pile of them goes down and the public soon becomes divided, those with my fez’s and those without! Inevitably, during the event, there are those things which go wrong. People see things they like and want to buy, only to realise they do not have enough cash with them. To make matters worse the Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to work meaning Paypal payments via out laptop or Smartphones can’t be taken, resulting in a few lost sales. One woman makes a snide comment about the autographs we are selling as being fakes or photo copies. In response I sharply tell her that they are all genuine and issue her a copy of our strict autograph policy. She mumbles an apology and goes off with her tale between her legs. Then of course we have the mixed blessing of children, yes, they are our best customers but also can cause so much trouble! A number of them decide to almost throw themselves at our stall, causing the two tables and garage shelving filled with stock to rock. There is also the problem of little hands picking up and grabbing at the stock. A packet of ‘Tardis Goo’ is almost opened and one ‘little angel’ decides to lean on a carded Cyberman figure almost crushing the plastic bubble. Another child spends ten minutes grabbing and touching everything in reach, before we ‘politely’ send him on his way, of course the adult who brought him to the event is nowhere in sight. The one thing that is a strange phenomenon is the fact that there is absolutely no rhyme or reason as to what will and will not sell. Our loose, fully complete and working large remote control K-9 (with the batteries) which we thought people would be fighting over, eventually sold in the latter half of the day. Then there is the mystery of our plush Adipose. Our fellow dealers were selling them at £20, while ours were £15, they all sold out while we ended up taking a few of the little blighters home with us! Then, all too quickly, you realise that it’s suddenly getting very quiet and a look at your watch confirms that the first day is nearly over. So, very quickly we make a count of the money taken, which confirms that it was a good day. Then it’s a quick run round to see how our fellow dealers did and to catch up with the Cos Players before we pack up our bits ready for the off. But of course this is a TWO day event, so we know we get to do the whole thing again tomorrow – with the added ‘fun’ of having to pack everything up and taking it home! Mind you, all things considered, it beats a REAL job! David J Smith ADVERTISEMENT
The Cult TV Fanzine
COMING SOON... If you are a lover of CULT TV, then you’d better have a cold shower, put your best shirt on, slap some Old Spice round your mush and prepare to fall in love with the new CULT TV Magazine “CSO”. When you take out Issue 1, you will find that she is packed with all your favourite obscure shows and long forgotten gems and you will both get on like a house on fire. So, kiss goodbye to all your spare time as you will spend hours reading and re-reading our articles, as CSO is a full on Nostalgia fest. However, be warned... as you delve into the pages you will soon discover that when you’ve finished it, you’ve mysteriously grown a beard, realised that the weekend is now over, it’s Tuesday evening, you haven’t eaten for days and your boss is having Hoops. CSO is exclusively available by ordering direct from the publishers. By cutting out the middle men, it means you don’t have to stand outside the Newsagents banging on the door demanding the latest issue in the freezing cold rain in your pyjamas. Your new fancy piece will see you soon... So like us on Facebook today!!! 33
nick Pope Binnall of America and UFOMystic Richard Thomas interviews former MOD UFO investigator nick Pope
hich stories in particular do you think have influenced your sci-fi work the most? Although my two sci-fi novels are - on the face of it about alien invasion, I wanted to get away from a onedimensional good versus evil conflict. I wanted to blur the lines and make people think about the moral issues. While it’s difficult to nail down particular Doctor Who stories as an influence, a central theme of morality run through the show as a whole. I guess the idea of the military being in the frontline is common to my novels and to any of the stories featuring UNIT.
nICK POPe Author, journalist and TV personality Nick Pope used to run the British Government’s UFO project at the Ministry of Defence. Initially sceptical, his research and investigation into the UFO phenomenon and access to classified government files on the subject soon convinced him that the phenomenon raised important defence and national security issues, especially when the witnesses were military pilots, or where UFOs were tracked on radar. While working on the MoD’s UFO project Nick Pope also looked into alien abductions, crop circles, animal mutilations, remote viewing and ghosts. He is now recognised as a leading authority on UFOs, the unexplained and conspiracy theories. He does extensive media work, lectures all around the world and has acted as presenter, consultant or contributor on numerous TV and radio shows. www.nickpope.net
Genesis of the Daleks is often rated the alltime classic Doctor Who story. Why do you think this is so? A number of reasons. Tom Baker was one of the greatest Doctors and the three way dynamic between the Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Harry worked very well. The Daleks have always been popular villains, so the story was bound to appeal. But Genesis was more than just another dalek story - it was the story of the creation of the daleks and the central question of whether the daleks could be instilled with a sense of morality, or destroyed, made this a ‘high stakes’ story. Other highlights included the introduction of Davros and the Doctor’s moralizing over his right to destroy the daleks. Finally, I think people enjoyed the parallels with the Nazis: a brutal, militaristic society in a total war. Genetic experiments. Genocide. The uniforms and the salutes. All this and more was present, with Davros as Hitler and Nyder as his Himmler.
After Genesis of the Daleks, the Daemons is often said to be the best of the classic Doctor Who adventures. the way this and other classic stories like the Pyramids of Mars tied erich von Däniken’s theories into Doctor Who makes for an interesting mix of mythologies. What do you think of this? I think it’s very clever. It was tapping into the popularity of such ancient mystery books in the Seventies, largely started by von Daniken. The Nazca lines get a mention in Death to the Daleks, as I recall. And we can’t have mention of The Daemons without quoting the Brigadier’s classic “Jenkins, chap with the wings there, five rounds rapid” line. Doctor Who and the silurians came out in 1970 the same year as Ivan t. sanderson’s Invisible Residents: the Reality of Underwater UfOs was first published. Do you think it might just be possible that another intelligent species like the silurians or sea Devils could have evolved right here on earth? In other words what do you think of what UfO researchers call the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis? Well, I hope these monsters are brought back at some stage! I reference the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis a fair bit in my first sci-fi novel, Operation Thunder Child. There are plenty of USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) reports and many UFO sightings where an object is seen over water, so who knows? I’m not hugely attracted to the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis, but I certainly can’t rule it out. And as the saying goes, we arguably know less about the deep ocean than we do about the Moon or Mars.
a darkness “andThere’s a poignancy about his stories that I like
Why do you think the Daleks continue to be so popular with younger audiences? With CGI and a bigger budget, we can have more sophisticated-looking daleks and more of them. And now we have the fix to the ‘they can’t get up the stairs’ issue. But again, I think the popularity reflects the fact that they are the ultimate Doctor Who villains: aggressive, ruthless, persistant and without any pity.
Whose your favourite Doctor and why? People often ask this and ask the same question about James Bond. Popular wisdom is that the answer is usually “the first one you saw”. I started watching when it was Jon Pertwee, but eventually I came to prefer Tom Baker, who until recently was my favourite. But Doctor Who is now so polished that Christopher Eccleston took over the top slot ... until David Tennant joined. David, to me, is the best Doctor. I just think his acting is brilliant. He perfectly portrays the sadness, the loneliness and the detachment that are so central to the Doctor’s character, but also the strength and sense of purpose. He brilliantly shows the audience the quiet “fury of the Time Lord”. Personally my favourite Doctor Who adversary has always been the Cybermen. the Moonbase, tomb of the Cybermen and the Invasion are easily some of the best black and white stories, which is loudly echoed in the new series. What do you think it is about them that still scares children so much? 34
I think there are parallels with the Daleks. People like the continuity of villains that return again and again. It gives the writers a chance to develop themes that couldn’t really be included in a one-off story, such as the wider evolution of a race. But the idea that they were once humanoid, but transformed themselves into these cyborgs is scary. It’s a case of “they’re like us ... but not like us”. Something green with tentacles is obviously alien, but maybe the Cybermen are a little ‘too close to home’.
Doctor Who and the silurians ends tragically with the Brigadier blowing up the silurian base. As someone who used to work for them, hypothetically how do you think the MoD would deal with a species like the silurians or sea Devils in the real world? Obviously I can’t discuss specific details of Rules of Engagement, but in general terms I think I can say that if attacked, we would respond with proportionate force. However, in any contact with an extraterrestrial (or cryptoterrestrial) civilisation the key strategic objective would be to open lines of communication and facilitate peaceful contact. Secondary objectives would include information exchange, with a particular emphasis on science and technology. When the silurians returned in the new series in the two-parter the Hungry earth / Cold Blood. they were changed quite a lot, do you think they were still the same “earth Reptiles” we first met in 1970? I think they were different, but I think it worked. In a sense, this is exactly what happened with the Cybermen; the appearance had changed - as had the back-story but while purists may have taken offence, most people were either unaware of the change (in the case of younger audiences unfamiliar with the original) or weren’t bothered by it. It’s OK to be nostalgic, but one shouldn’t be wedded to the past. Doctor Who is often at its best when reinventing itself. In the Ambassadors of Death, Great Britain not only has a manned space program but also already sent men to Mars. As someone with an interest in space how close was this to reality at the time? This story was broadcast fairly shortly after the Apollo 11 moon landing, so there was immense public fascination in anything to do with space, coupled with a feeling that we’d all be holidaying on the moon by the end of the century. Those within
Illustration by Mechmaster
government, however, would have been well aware that a manned space programme was quite beyond the UK at the time, both in terms of technical capability and, critically, finance. We still spend far too little on space, given the huge benefits to be reaped in terms of resources and knowledge. What did you think of Derek Jacobi’s and John simm’s portrayals of the Master in the new series? Both are brilliant actors and both were excellent in different but complementary roles that brought out that mixture of charisma and menace that defines the character of the Master. The scene where John Simms dances to the Scissor Sisters song “I Can’t Decide” was outstanding. What do you think of steven Moffat’s writing of Doctor Who? There’s a darkness and a poignancy about Moffat’s stories that I like (e.g. the “she’s ghosting” scene from Silence in the Library) and another thing that appeals is that he’s a writer who deals really thoughtfully with the philosophy of time travel.
Would you like to write more sci-fi yourself? I’d love to write more sci-fi and at some stage, a third novel to follow the previous two. But I’m too busy with TV and promotional work at present to write another book. Operation Thunder Child was previously optioned by Carnival Films and a screenplay was written, but the project stalled. Operation Thunder Child and Operation Lightning Strike are currently being looked at by a major Hollywood studio, with a view to making them into a blockbuster sci-fi movie. What do you think of steven Moffat era so far and how do you think it compares with the RtD era? Steven Moffat is building on RTD’s excellent work, while not being afraid to take some big decisions of his own (e.g. resting the Daleks) and move the show forward in his own vision. The key to this has been the development of River R I C H A R D Song - a character he created - who is fast becoming one of the besttHOMAs: loved characters in the history of Doctor Who.
Richard Thomas is a freelance feature writer specialising in Fortean subjects. Richard has written for high street magazines, including Alien Worlds Magazine, Paranormal Magazine and UFO Matrix Magazine. He is also a blogger for UFOMystic and Binnall of America. In addition to writing about the paranormal and unexplained, Richard also writes a column entitled “Big Day Out” for the South Wales Evening Post, Wales’ largest circulation newspaper. www.richardthomas.eu. Richard is the author of ParaNews published by Bretwalda Books.
stories like spearhead from space, Ark in space and the Lazarus experiment seem to have been heavily influenced by nigel Kneale’s Quatermass serials. Quatermass experiment before he became the Doctor. Why do you think nigel Kneale’s fiction continues to inspire writers even today? I agree that some of the Doctor Who stories have been influenced by Quatermass, probably because some of the Doctor Who writers watched Quatermass when they were younger. Quatermass and his British Rocket Group even get namechecked in a couple of Doctor Who stories. There are clear parallels between the two shows and in particular the idea of a clever, moral but quirky character facing down all manner of alien threats, despite the odds being stacked against him. Sci-fi is arguably dominated by big budget Hollywood movies, so Kneale’s work (like Doctor Who) appeals to us because there’s something very British about it. Do you foresee any new esoteric mysteries becoming a part of the sci-fi canon, much like abductions and face on Mars have? Well, the disappearing bees got a mention in Doctor Who recently and all sci-fi writers will keep an eye out for real life mysteries. I think the big one to watch is 2012 and the associated mysteries and theories that surround the Mayan calendar. The sci-fi movie 2012 will be released next year and I’m sure the whole 2012 issue will crop up in other sci-fi books, movies and TV series.
What have you thought about Matt smith’s portrayal of the Doctor? David Tennant was always going to be an extremely hard act to follow, but I think Matt Smith is excellent. His Doctor is among the best portrayals yet. He captures the essence of the Doctor very well: part eccentric, part misfit, part warrior, part adventurer someone with companions, who is always alone; someone moral, but responsible for so many deaths. Someone with secrets, some of which will probably never be revealed. The only difficulty with a good portrayal of such an iconic character is that the actor will be snapped up for even bigger roles, and/or won’t want to stay long, to avoid being typecast.
Perhaps the most controversial redesign has to be that of the Daleks. Do you think they should be changed back? I’m not resistant to change, and in many cases it’s a good thing, but in this instance, I don’t think it works. The new multi-coloured Daleks just don’t look as threatening, is it coincidence that Steven Moffat has decided to rest the Daleks for a while? The official reason is that he thinks they’ve been over-used and that people won’t be scared of them if they see them defeated time after time. Maybe so (though the answer to that is to give them some victories), but one wonders whether the reaction to the redesign was a factor as well. If you were ever approached by either the BBC or Big finish to write a Doctor Who story what do you think you would suggest? Having had two sci-fi novels published and being currently involved in creating and developing a series for the BBC, I’d jump at the chance to write a Doctor Who story, or to have some creative input in the show. I don’t want to be too specific in my answer here, as it’s something I’ve thought about seriously, so I’m not going to give much away. Suffice to say, I’d push a few boundaries, break a few taboos, push the darker themes and up the fear factor as much as I could, pre-watershed. 35
Revisitations 3 DVD Review I
have been given a review copy of a DVD which is weird because up until three weeks ago I’d never been able to play a DVD so they’re new to me like when new flavours of Pringles turn up in the same colour tube as the old Enhanced Picture Quality flavours and you buy them and they taste wrong and when you take them back they won’t give you your money back because you ate the Pringles. Except with this DVD I didn’t pay for it because they gave it to me for free which is amazing because they don’t even know me. So now I have to review them or they’ll want them back or make me pay for them or something and I really need the money so can’t afford to pay for them. The story is called “Revisitations 3” which is weird because I haven’t heard of that story. The packaging is rubbish. There’s no box or case and the discs are just in little plastic sleeves which don’t even have pictures. I doubt anyone would buy them if they saw them on a shelf in HMV or Asda or Galaxy 4. I am going to draw my own pictures for the sleeves and stick them on using sellotape or blu-tac or something. Actually I think that’s meant to be “Sellotape” because it’s a brand name and the boy who told me to write this said I had to get things like that right and I suppose “Blu-Tac” is the proper name for blu-tac as well so I also got that wrong, but I’ve got to fill up a certain amount of words so won’t go back and change it now in case I don’t have enough words when I’m finished. When I put the first disc in it turns out they’ve sent me the wrong story which is just as well because I never saw the first two parts of “Revisitations”. While I waited for the disc to load up and for the menus to play through I made myself a sandwich which was tuna and sweetcorn which I’d mixed up with mayonnaise and it was really delicious. I also made myself a cup of tea and washed up the things I’d used to make the sandwich. Then the menu came on. The story they sent me I’ve already seen. It’s called “Robots of Death” and it features the fourth Doctor who’s played by the actor and bohemian Tom Baker. In this story his new friend is Leela and she’s very pretty and doesn’t wear many clothes because she’s a savage and has a knife and thorns and a yo-yo. The story is really really good because it’s not made by Graham Williams and it’s not black and white either. Also it’s not a new series story because there’s no kissing in it. There is crying though because Zilda is sad that her brother’s dead and Poul cries because one of the robots has got a bloody 36
by A n
hand. It turns out it was Dask all along. Sorry if I’ve spoiled it for you but I’ve seen it before. The next disc was a story called “The Tombs of the Cyberman” and it was in black and white and had Patrick Troughton as the Doctor and it was boring so I turned it off. I put in another disc and it looked like it was going to be the Cyberman story all over again but instead it was just lots of boring programmes about Cybermen and there were people talking and trailers for another story and I just didn’t like it at all. They never used to fill the videotapes with rubbish like this. I hope they don’t charge extra for that disc because it’s not really fair on any boys who buy it thinking it will be great. I tried another disc and it turned out to have “The Three Doctors” in it which features three Doctors and mainly the third Doctor who was played by the panel game host and entertainer Jon Pertwee who Grab a copy of Andy’s new Doctor Who book at later played a www.miwkpublishing.com scarecrow in a television programme for little children. I watched some of this story but it was confusing because the second Doctor, played by the impish Patrick Troughton, was wearing a bright blue shirt and his shirt wasn’t blue in the Cyberman story it was white and they got this wrong and it’s wrong to get things wrong because people don’t always know they’re wrong and it made me cross so I turned it off. I’m very glad I didn’t pay for these DVDs because they aren’t what they said they were and they were all pretty boring and I’ve got them on video anyway. Hopefully I’ve managed the 800 words I had to write for this Black and White and Boring and you like it.
HWOOD MIRACLe DAY
Illustration by Westley Smith
he first series of Torchwood, while well-intended, was a bit of a mess in all truth. Designed as a more ‘adult’ version of Doctor Who, it actually began by going full-tilt towards the schlockier end of the market, while at the same time feigning pretensions towards meaning. It was Russell T Davies’ first real misfire as a television executive, and although the latter episodes of both the first and second series began to get the balance a little more right, and while Torchwood itself was an entertaining enough televisual diversion, the series divided opinion and even a move from BBC Three to BBC2 could do little to assuage the headscratching of disappointed viewers. Part of the reason for Torchwood’s bemused reception was undoubtedly the Welshness of its Cardiff setting. For although Doctor Who, along with many other programmes, had been successfully based in the area, it’s an undeniable truth that the accents and mannerisms of the Welsh don’t travel quite so seriously as other regions’ idiosyncrasies, and the parent programme had always taken pains to disguise its base of operations as other parts of the nation, if not the universe. But Torchwood was very open about its location, and about its nationality, and this made for a programme that it was very difficult to empathise with. The unlikeable characters didn’t help; the Captain Jack of CF1 is a very different beast to the man who’d travelled to the Game Station with the Doctor. Between’s Jack’s American brogue and the broad accents of the majority of the rest of the cast, there was a very odd mixture that was difficult to assimilate. But the BBC1 five-nighter Children of Earth in 2009 moved Torchwood firmly out of Wales and into the world of mainstream television. If the first two series had been a live-action, ‘tech-ed’-up variation on Scooby Doo, Children of Earth was a Quatermass for the modern generation, with a Big Idea supported by believable character motivation and sub-plots that were worth engaging in. Sacrificing the suburbs of Cardiff for the murky milieu of Westminster politics, and for once with an ambiguously moral resolution that questioned the central characters’ humanity while simultaneously reinforcing their human qualities, Children of Earth was a huge success. Having stepped up a channel with every new year of its existence, the only place for Torchwood now to go was abroad. America itself beckoned. And so we arrive in 2011, with Miracle Day. Co-produced by Starz and shot almost entirely in the States, the latest instalment follows the Children of Earth model by telling just the one story across its entire ten episodes, rather than a series of discrete self-contained adventures. It’s questionable how badly Starz wanted Torchwood compared with how badly Russell T Davies wanted Starz; although the series had had some relative success in the America (outperforming Doctor Who, at least initially), the truth is the company hadn’t approached Davies with a view to moving the series across the Atlantic, so much as Davies had moved across the Atlantic looking to initiate an entirely new series, and had found the Americans were only interested in what he was already making. Looked at like this, Children of Earth probably ought to have been Torchwood’s natural end (the story itself seems to suggest as much), and its resurrection is an act of necessity rather than being born out of any enthusiasm to keep the series running. Does Miracle Day suffer from being something of an unwanted child, then? Almost certainly. There’s a fantastic idea at its core, the eponymous ‘Miracle Day’ itself (in which suddenly, overnight, death removes itself from the agenda), and under the production regime of Children of Earth, there’s no doubt that this idea would have been central to both the plot and its resolution, and would have been examined in-depth with the sub-plots forming a natural course of the story. Instead, Miracle Day exhibits all the symptoms of a programme for which the premise and the reason for its ► 45
TORCHWOOD MIRACLe DAY
existence are at odds with one another. Instead of being a show about a team of alien investigators saving the Earth from otherworldly peril, Miracle Day is the story of team of CIA investigators going rogue and finding themselves up to their necks in a team of alien investigators saving the world from otherworldly peril. And it’s a very slow process. You can see how it might have worked. With a series of distinct stories supporting an over-arching plot (which in fairness is, I believe, what the writers were partially aiming for), the two-plus month transmission span might have been considerably more bearable. This is, after all, how a show like Battlestar Galactica managed to maintain an audience across five years while ostensibly telling a single story, and Children of Earth’s singleplot serial was condensed into a run spanning just 97 hours from first episode to last. And Miracle Day begins strongly enough, with the arrival of Captain Jack being given an almost mythically iconic treatment, to parallel the mythic nature of the central premise. Thereafter, things quickly fall apart. Episode Two, Rendition, is an exercise in treading water, its conclusion (the joining forces of Rex and Esther with Jack and Gwen) the point at which the first episode should have closed. Miracle Day is essentially no further advanced after its second instalment than it was after its first, and in a series which promises both mystery and adventure, to include what is essentially a ‘bottle’ episode so soon into the run – stalling on both the mystery and the adventure, in other words – is a serious error of judgement. An almost suicidal mistake, in fact, with the audience now preparing itself for what they’re being led to believe will be a very long haul indeed. It’s not surprising so many of them bailed. Which is a shame, because with some serious editing and with a slightly more objective approach to the material, Miracle Day could have been great. The central premise itself is fantastic, and some of the other ideas that are thrown in along the way could have been equally brilliant. Sadly, none of them are examined in enough detail to really shine; the idea that nobody dies is explored only in as far as it needs to be to show a world in which the authorities have taken killing people under their purview, and memorable scenes (like the Soulless, in their garish-but-scary masks; or the revelation in episode five as to what the internment camps are really for) are thrown into the mix and then as often as not forgotten about, or sidelined in favour of yet another redundant subplot. There’s an undercurrent of nastiness, often unnecessary in nature, running throughout the whole piece too, from Oswald Danes the unrepentant child rapist and murderer (a bizarre but appropriately unhinged performance from Bill Pullman), to the brutal non-deaths we keep repeatedly being shown once the Miracle Day of the title is in fullswing. It’s telling, in this age of the shock tactic, that both the main characters who actually do get killed off during the course of the serial are female and fairly passive. If it weren’t for the inclusion of writers like Russell T Davies and Jane Espenson on the show, all of this would begin to look suspiciously like misogyny. It’s also a shame that even when a great episode like Immortal Sins happens along, the lion’s share of which is set in the past, with Captain Jack’s younger self a visitor to the Little Italy of 1927 (and finally Miracle Day discovers a sense of pathos, exploring characters and emotions that you can believe in), it’s all for nothing: Immortal Sins sets up a defining character and a situation that ultimately have little or no relevance to the rest of the story, and even lays the foundation for contradictions to come. And that’s one of Miracle Day’s biggest problems; not only are plot-threads left dangling, never to be picked back up, but certain characters’ behaviour alters at the whim of the plot (especially the new American regulars), and particular aspects of the story – that we’re told in no uncertain terms are fixed – are later contradicted when it becomes necessary so to do. Rex Matheson’s resurrection, Jack Harkness-style, in the closing scenes of the final episode, is in direct opposition to what we’ve previously been told should happen. None of this would be quite so suicidal for the show if the resolution made any sense. After ten weeks of failing to properly introduce the antagonists and their motivation, much less the reason why the Miracle Day itself is happening, The Blood Line fudges the entire issue. It seems there’s a giant alien vagina running right through the centre of the Earth
(including its core!), and somehow that’s what’s causing all the problems. That the giant alien vagina then begins to act like a cheap computer terminal, taking instructions from individuals and then dispersing the effects across the entire planet, beggars belief no more or less than anything else we’re expected to take on trust in episode ten. It’s a crazy, illogical, and entirely self-destructive way to end the series: instead of solutions, we’re left with more questions; instead of villains, we’re shown something incomprehensible; instead of a conclusion that is satisfying enough to make up for the two or so months we’ve spent arriving at this moment, what we get instead is like a cross between a cheap b-movie resolve and something from Flesh Gordon. The weird thing is, this is in keeping with the Torchwood of Series One; the unfortunate thing is, it’s like something from the wrong end of Series One. Those early episodes of Torchwood, like the best b-movies, knew the importance of brevity. And that’s something that Miracle Day lacks in spades. So, where does Torchwood go from here? In Rex Matheson, played by Mekhi Phifer after a fashion that suggests a character who is the most unlikely of CIA recruits, there’s a figurehead for the series should it wish to remain trans-Atlantic (and there’s a sequel written into the final sequences of Miracle Day too, should such an outcome occur; albeit one that would involve one of the less interesting and least three-dimensional aspects of the series). The dwindling viewing figures, both at home and abroad (and whichever way around you wish to employ that equation) suggest another BBC/Starz coproduction is unlikely, however. And it’s hard to see the BBC funding a further series on their own, given the belt-tightening measures they’re currently being forced to endure. There’s no way to top this latest series, oddly enough (except in terms of quality), and it’s doubtful that Torchwood would wish to start behaving retrogressively. Russell T Davies himself must be desperate to move on, by now. So this is likely the end of the road for Torchwood, which is a shame. Children of Earth, which would have been a far better place to end the series, has shown what Torchwood is capable of, and although Miracle Day was ultimately a lot of fun – a mostly enjoyable watch – it’s the unsatisfying nature of the series which has led to its being so entirely missable. If the attempt to cross the Atlantic hadn’t led to some of Torchwood’s main themes being almost entirely sidelined (the ‘alien’ aspect of the series barely gets a look in until the giant vagina shows up, and that must have been a pretty big shock for casual viewers who’ve never experienced the series before, given how up until this point they’ve mostly been watching The Fugitive meets a pretty terrestrially-concerned XFiles), the foundations for something schlocky and fun could have been laid. But Miracle Day probably took itself too seriously, and the silliness of its conclusion sits uneasily with the nine weeks of television that had gone before. Ironically, the idea of nobody dying was easily big enough to sustain the ten week run; the shame is that this idea was never thoroughly explored, and used only as a backdrop for a story that seemed thoroughly inconsequential by comparison.
Illustration by Westley Smith
“there’s an undercurrent of nastiness, often unnecessary in nature, running throughout the whole piece”
love at first sight HO ELSE IS GEARING uP FOR THE BIG ANNIVERSARY, OR IS THAT JuST A SILLY quESTION? Fifty years! That’s a heck of a landmark (almost as old as my other half…ah, bless). But as I write this, towards the end of 2011, another birthday has just passed by, one equally as important to us fans of a *ahem* “certain age” - one that afforded me my very first opportunity of seeing Doctor Who’s first ever story: 100,000 BC…or An unearthly Child as it was known to those of us back then in the years BP (that’s before [Andrew] Pixley). I’m of course talking about 1981’s The Five Faces of Doctor Who repeat season - a time when, for a few scant weeks the BBC’s second channel was the place to be for those of a like mind. On that dark Monday evening in November I’d no real clue what was waiting for me (much like those watching eighteen years before, I suppose). Oh, I was a big Doctor Who fan alright, but I hadn’t much of a clue about the early years of the show. Fandom was in its infancy back then you see (the Doctor Who Appreciation Society had been around for a few years, but for someone like me living out in the sticks its existence had managed to completely pass me by); Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly had been out for a while but I’d been forbidden from buying it in the early days by my grandmother with whom I was staying at the time and who, even back then, could see how obsessive I was becoming about the show (thank God she’s no longer around to see my last bank statement…the one in which £350 was paid out to those lovely people at Big Finish), which meant I missed the issue two archive on “An unearthly Child” (thankfully I was back home by issue five and able to ask my friendly local newsagent to put a copy aside for me from then on, or at least my aunt was); there was nowhere near the amount of reference books as there are today (although Jean-Marc Lofficier’s biblical programme guide was out, yet tantalisingly brief in its plot summary - “Two teachers, a police box…blah, blah, blah…ooh, look a caveman!”); and the home video market was still a few years off (so I
was still under the impression that Revenge of the Cybermen was an absolute classic). I think the novelisation had been released shortly before the repeat, but I wouldn’t be able to get my mitts on a copy of that until a trip to a little while after it aired. So there I sat, in my Auntie Maud’s front room, lights off, television turned onto BBC2 a good ten minutes before it was due to start just so there was no danger of missing a single second of what was to come, tape recorder positioned as close to the speaker grille as possible to capture every moment of this most magical of occasions - my aunt under strict instructions not to cough, move (she had a bit of a rackety rocking-chair) or breathe if she could possibly help it. And that creaky old story from so long ago just blew me away. Is this really how it all began? It was like suddenly discovering a previously unseen door in an entirely familiar room and finding behind it a whole new world to explore - similar to the one I knew, but completely uncharted. In fact, every time I watch it I still get a tingly shiver creeping slowly up my spine (almost mimicking the opening visual whoosh of the title sequence), partly because it’s just so damn good but also undoubtedly because I’m all too aware now that this was the beginning of a journey that still continues today, of a show that’s been by my side all my life (which probably has quite a lot to answer for from a psychoanalytical point of view) and always will be… So, in celebration (and in preparation for my blog…theinebriatedanorak.blogspot.com… sorry for the shameless bit of self-promotion) I pop in the DVD and re-watch the very first episode. Oh my. Those first few seconds! Of course, by 1981 I’d known a couple of different title sequences. It’d all started off for me with the Season 11 Pertwee “split scan” one in ‘74, which then morphed into the Tom Baker “for every fanboy of a certain age these are the definitive opening credits” one the following year, before finally ending up most shockingly of all with the (then) most recent Season 19 “whizzing through the stars with a not quite right theme tune” one. But this earliest “strange, wobbly, white firework launching itself a bit unsteadily up the television screen”…erm…one, accompanied by the ‘dum-de-dum, dum-de-dum, dum-de-dum’ of what is by now surely one of the most famous television theme tunes of the small screen EVER had me spellbound from the off. For me, Doctor Who’s a whole package, and always has been. Right from the music/pre-credits sequence all the way through to the moment when the director’s name appears/the end credits shrink to allow a stereotypical BBC posh bloke announce some shite with Graham Norton in it is about to follow, I’m just in the zone. Transported miles away from such mundane worries as work, money and not being able to remember where the living 47
Illustration by Paul Cooke
room door is (Note to self: I think it could be in the shed). And from hereon in it’s like hurtling down a snowy bank on an old tea-tray. What a rollercoaster ride. So thrilling! And so scary! A policeman poking about in the fog as the maudlin sound of a church bell tolls in the background, infusing the whole episode with an almost funereal air (as if it’s portentously mourning the lives the soon to be introduced Ian and Barbara will be forced to leave behind thanks to the sinister old Doctor’s reckless and selfish actions); the strange sight of a police box humming to itself in the corner of a junkyard (I’d just like to point out to anyone under the age of senility that even back in 1981 police boxes were considered relics - the fuzz were all zooming around in their brand spanking new Ford Fiesta’s, or whatever - but all us kids knew exactly what they were of course thanks to Doctor Who itself! Hurrah!); Coal Hill School - one of those strikingly modern comprehensives that became ever more prevalent from the mid Sixties onwards - a beacon of hope and achievement for the masses back then, but full of rather scary children who wear their ties with unfeasibly large knots in them by our day and age and who insist on playing their f-ing music on the bus for all to hear (I’m getting old, aren’t I); the Magnificent Barbara Wright and her equally wonderful colleague, Ian Chesterton; Susan Foreman, a strange girl who likes playing the air-guitar and acting a bit weird. Waris Hussein does such a good job. And he was so young (I can just imagine rehearsals…’No, no, Mr Hartnell, Waris isn’t the tea boy, he’s the director’). Before we know it, the two teachers are sitting in a car down a dark, deserted ally. They’ve followed Susan home (well, either that or they’re dogging); home in question being the strange junkyard we saw at the top of the episode. Flashbacks to more of Susan’s oddness (class sizes were clearly much smaller in 1963. Susan’s only consists of about six. I also see her fellow female classmates are, how should one put it…um…rather well developed “up top”, aren’t they! I wonder what they’re being fed for school dinners? Has Coal Hill has been infiltrated by an alternative band of Krillitane intent on giving the next generation of British women unfeasibly large chests by coating their chips and boiled cabbage in some dodgy cooking oil?). Barbara thinks something terrible is going to happen. Then we’re inside the yard. No sign of Susan. But wait. Who’s that coming? At last, it’s the Doctor. But why’s he being so rude and nasty. Why doesn’t he play it a bit more Peter Cushing-y, then the teacher’s wouldn’t be so suspicious. Too late! Susan’s called out. She’s inside the police box. Ian and Barbara force their way aboard. OMG! And before we know it we’re back at the very dawn of mankind, in the sort of place one might expect Doug McClure to have a holiday home. The journey’s started… …and history begins. I love Doctor Who. Ian Williams
Do you remember the first time? A fan-made story about falling in love with ‘Doctor Who’
ike most fans, I can remember the
one hundred and fifty stories out there,
first time I ever watched ‘Doctor
I’d only seen four in isolation! so off I
Who’. And the second. And the
trundled to W. H. smiths (back when they
third! I often put the reason I became a
were good) to search for anything I could
fan down to one thing.
find to do with this show. I came back
My first vivid memory is seeing Jon
with a faulty copy of an unknown story
Pertwee clamber around some caves for
three times before settling for ‘the three
the entire episode (I also thought there
Doctors’ , due to my love of the UK
was a thirty minute scene with Blofeld’s
Gold Pertwee, but this time he had two
face obscured in ‘On Her Majesty’s secret
other Doctors with him. Result!
service’ ). since I became ‘a fan’ I
I devoured the story and the DvD
realised this was ‘Dr. Who And the
extras, snorted at the lady from ‘Blue
silurians’  and the BBC 1999
Peter’ [1955-present] who told me I
repeat, following on from ‘spearhead
wouldn’t be able to understand the tale
from space’ [also 1970]. I remember
without having seen all the episodes to
enjoying the show, but sadly my time on
date and found a new love. I was a
the show was a short one, as I missed
troughton fan now! And all this was
one of the next episodes.
shortly before a new series was launched
It would then be a couple years before
Illustrations by Westley Smith
I fell in love with the show again, as
in 2005. Wow, was that fantastic timing or what?
UKtv Gold aired a special fortieth
I’ve always believed the defining
anniversary weekend, showcasing an
factor in this case to be luck. All the
entire serial per Doctor. I was only
stories I originally watched are deemed
allowed to watch one story so I plumped
‘classics’ but what would’ve happened if
for tom Baker, being the only name I
I’d turned left? What if those episodes
knew (surprisingly not Jon Pertwee!).
had been ‘the twin Dilemma’ ,
this time, I sat down for 1975’s
‘Warriors Of the Deep’  and ‘the
‘Pyramids Of Mars’ and I was trapped.
Ark’ ? I did a bit of fan-research for
this was the one that really cornered me
this topic and found major fans who
into a new world; there was no escape
remember their interest first becoming
captured by ‘terror Of the vervoids’
the weeks from then were spent
 and ‘the Christmas Invasion
waiting for the weekends when I could
 (both brilliant in their own right)
set my video player for 6am(!) every
so perhaps it isn’t luck?
saturday and sunday for a ‘Doctor Who
I suppose the point I’m trying to prove
Omnibus’ where I struck lucky again. this
is that the powerful, playful presence of
time I caught two in a row and it was the
the Doctor will always fight his way
man from the caves again. ‘the Daemons’
through bad scripts, poor direction and
 and ‘the Curse Of Peladon 
shoddy budgets to reach the heart of a
were viewed back-to-back and have
child, because he is the defining, magic
always remained some of my favourites.
aspect of this show in all of his eleven
But my fix wasn’t satisfied. I needed
incarnations. And that’s the true reason.
more! Little did I know there was over
sci-fi Worlds I
first became a fan of Doctor Who when my father bought me a video of Genesis of the Daleks. Written by Terry Nation, the 1975 Tom Baker adventure tells the story of how the Doctor's greatest enemies, the Daleks, were created s a millennia ago on the war m o h dT devastated planet Richar Skaro by the evil genius Davros. To this day it is my favourite Doctor Who story and as a child it triggered my first major interest in science fiction and the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. I am often asked what first triggered my interest in UFOs and the paranormal. It seems like I've always had at least some interest in these subjects, but if I had to narrow it down to one single thing it would have to be watching repeats of Doctor Who on UK Gold while I was growing up. The writers of the classic series would often take inspiration from UFO and paranormal literature and in its original 26 season run, everything from black eyed grey aliens to the lost city of Atlantis and the Loch Ness Monster would make an appearance. One of my favourite examples of how the classic series borrowed from authors in the esoteric ream is another Dalek story written by Terry Nation, the Jon Pertwee adventure Death to the Daleks. In this story, the Doctor is drawn to the planet Exxilon, where he must outwit the native savage Exxilons and a crew of stranded Daleks in order to survive. The Exxilons look similar to the classic grey type aliens popularised in Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which is interesting because the story was first broadcast in 1974.
“It was Doctor Who's fault I became a UFO and Paranormal author.” Also Terry Nation seems to have taken a lot of inspiration from Erich von Däniken's 1968 best seller Chariots of the Gods. At one point in Death to the Daleks, the Doctor goes as far as suggesting that the ancient Exxilons, who we learn were far more advanced than the primitives we see in the story, travelled
to Earth and taught the Peruvian Incas how to build their great temples. Erich von Däniken's ancient astronaut theory was also referenced an earlier story, The Dæmons, in which the Doctor tells us that another advanced race of aliens, on this occasion from the planet Dæmos, came to Earth 100,000 years ago in order to help mankind's development as part of a scientific experiment. Mars anomalies also featured in Doctor Who. In Pyramids of Mars written by Robert Holmes the Fourth Docor tells us that the ancient Egyptian Gods were inspired by a race of powerful aliens called the Osirans, the last of whom, Sutekh the Destroyer, is imprisoned in the Great Pyramid of Mars.Very strangely, however, the famous NASA photos of the so-called "face" and nearby "pyramids" were not taken until 1976 .... a year after this story was broadcast. Another classic mystery explored in Doctor Who is lost city of Atlantis which the Doctor visits twice in the series. into a number of Doctor Who stories. In The Dæmons, after learning about the many atrocities mankind has committed against itself, Azal, last of the Dæmons, warns the Doctor that:
Grab a copy of Richard’s new book at www.amazon.co.uk "My race destroys its failures. Remember Atlantis." However, if Azal was implying he destroyed the lost city, then he must be mistaken because this isn't what we're shown in the following year's Atlantis story The Time Monster. In this adventure the Doctor travels back in time before Atlantis was struck by disaster and we learn that Atlantis was part of the Minoan civilisation, which is a real life theory still advocated by some archaeologists today. In an earlier Patrick Troughton story, The Underwater Menace, the Doctor discovered that some Atlanteans had survived the sinking of Atlantis and had continued to live beneath the waves in isolation from the rest of humanity into modern times, which is interesting because one theory advocated about UFOs by researchers is that the unexplained objects come from beneath the sea rather than outer space. The theory that UFOs originate from Earth was first introduced by the Zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson in his book Invisible Residents: The Reality of Underwater UFOs. In the book the author speculated that perhaps an advanced aquatic non-human civilisation may have evolved right here on the Earth, much in the same way as the Silurians and Sea Devils in Doctor Who did. Coincidently perhaps, Doctor Who and the the Silurians was broadcast the same year as the book was published, in 1970. Sanderson was also well known for his books on cryptozoology, a word Sanderson himself coined in the early 1940s, in particular, books on Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents,Yeti, and Sasquatch. All of these creatures, in some form or other, would make an appearance in Doctor Who. Most famously, in Terror of the Zygons, the Doctor encountered the Zygon Skarasen at Loch Ness, Scotland. Clearly the Loch Ness Monster. The Yeti, of course, turned up in two popular Patrick Troughton stories, The Abominable Snowmen and its sequel The Web of Fear, both written by the team of Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln. The latter would go on to co-author the controversial 1982 best seller The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
RICHARD THOMAS is a writer specialising in Fortean subjects, conspiracy theories and science fiction. Richard has written for several high street magazines, including UFO Matrix, Mindscape and Paranormal Magazine. He is also a blogger for the website binnallofamerica.com. His latest book 'Sci-Fi Worlds - Doctor Who, Doomwatch, Battlestar Galactica And Other Cult TV Shows' is available from Amazon.co.uk.Visit Richard Thomas's website at www.richardthomas.eu
Illustration by Rachel Poole
Doctor Who Series 6 Review by Joe Ford The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon Written by Steven Moffatt Directed by Toby Haynes
n expensive attention grabbing two parter with a wealth of beautifully realised and memorable scenes. However, its far from perfect and The Impossible Astronaut is unhappily one of the most awkwardly paced and frustratingly plotted Doctor Who episodes of all time that holds its audience at a distance by trying to be too clever for its own good despite the astonishing sequence of the Doctor’s death. Regardless of strong performances and witty lines, by the end of the first episode I was distinctly unengaged simply because the plot progression was so haphazard and headache inducing. It almost feels sparkling like Steven Moffatt is trying a little too hard to live up to his own Dialogue: reputation of being a clever sod. Day of the Moon is far more attractively written with less emphasis on continuing plot ‘A Timelord’s body is a miracle. Even a dead one.’ threads and more interested in having its own identity. ‘Even by your standards this is cold…’ Amy’s visit to the orphanage is heart stoppingly scary in ‘You were invaded a long time ago. America is occupied.’ places and I love pretty much everything about the insanely ‘Welcome to America!’ – Canton pumping lead creepy Silence creatures. Everything builds to an exciting into a Silence! ‘You’ve just raised an army against and (here’s that word again) clever conclusion but leaves yourselves and now for a thousand more questions lingering than the entire series of Twin Peaks. generations your going to be ordering them to destroy you This is a deeply flawed two parter but has too many fantastic every day.’ scenes to deny that it grabs your interest and hurls you into the new season with some confidence. River is always welcome, Amy seems so much more likable, Arthur Darvill is finally given material that shows what Rory is made of and holding it all together is Matt Smith’s phenomenal performance as the Doctor. The Impossible Astronaut earns a 7 and Day of the Moon a 9 so overall this schizoid stunner gets: 8/10
The Curse of the Black Spot Written by Stephen Thompson Directed by Jeremy Webb
throwaway, with far too many faults to be a memorable episode. The Curse of the Black Spot fails to match up to the quality of previous attempts at this sort of thing in seasons four and sixteen. There is too much reliance on storybook clichés, the direction is quite sparkling flat and tired and there is a real sense of a budget that cannot quite pull Dialogue: this off. Matt Smith feels perfectly at home in this setting and Hugh Bonneville gives a grand turn as Captain Avery but I was very ‘What kind of rubbish Pirates disappointed with both Amy and Rory who feel perfunctory and are you?’ awkwardly characterised. The episode lurches into a very different story after half an hour which takes all the potential threat of the ghostly siren and gives it the least menacing payoff imaginable. Big Finish pulled off a pirate adventure which was both tragic and hilarious and in comparison The Curse of the Black Spot is simply average fare, not much substance and not much style. Mildly entertaining in spots but instantly disposable: 4/10 63
its not the sort of Doctor Who that I want to be watching. My score is mostly for the terrific production values, some quirky new characters and that phenomenal final scene which ranks up there as one of the best revelatory moments the show has ever given us. But then what do I know, my partner Simon and my mum loved it: 5/10
The Doctor’s Wife Written by Neil Gaiman Directed by Richard Clark
ou find me another show that can feature a living malevolent asteroid that sparkling tears the souls out of time ships and personifies them in female form so it Dialogue: Written by Steven Moffatt can eat the shell of the ship. The Doctor’s Wife is unlike anything we have ‘Putting Hitler in the cupboard…’ Directed by Richard Senior ever seen in Doctor Who before and it ticked every single box of what I think kicks – that did make me chuckle, especially coming from Rory. ass in the series. Its dark, twisted, imaginative, funny, clever, emotional and satisfying. ‘Berlin on the eve of war…a nd breathe. There is literally no moment Another thing I love is that the episode looks lavishly expensive and yet it doesn’t whole world about to tear itself apart’ – can’t we watch to pause through Let’s Kill Hitler as we pour its money into soulless set pieces but in where it that story at another lurch from one incredible set piece to the counts; the glorious junkyard on an asteroid, juncture? sparkling next, one jaw dropping idea to another. With a few the extra rooms in the TARDIS, the Dialogue: niggly reservations this is far more my cup of tea than A graveyard of TARDISes. Every line Good Man Goes to War because whilst it once again favours a hip atmosphere over is gorgeous, the ideas are brilliant ‘And then we discovered it wasn’t the Robot King after all but the real one. Fortunately I was able to a dramatic one it does give real shape and satisfying development to the story arc (that Neil Gaiman is a genius) reattach the head.’ Ugh! I’m glad we weren’t present in and focuses on providing a really good time which is what Saturday nights revel in. and the music kicks some that adventure! ‘Biting’s excellent! Its like kissing only there’s a winner!’ Smith, Gillan and Darvill deliver wonderfully baffled performances and make this serious ass. This is the ‘Where’s my thief?’ piece a bubbly delight to watch, although Alex Kingston lets the side down with episode where the Doctor ‘I’m a madman in a box without a box and I’m stuck down a plughole at the end of the universe on a stupid old junkyard!’ her unpersuasive portrayal of the rebel River but I fear that has more to do with manages to build a working ‘You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go!’ ‘No but I always the writer squeezing her into an unsuitable role (she is far more believable as an TARDIS out of hundreds took you where I needed to go!’ – that is probably my favourite moment in Doctor Who ever. It struck a chord with my far more than enigma). Moffat can marry great ideas and great drama (Forest of the Dead, of different models and he the tears at the end because it was perfect pay off to all of those The Doctor Dances) and it would be wonderful if he could remember the latter doesn’t care that it is wayward adventures in the TARDIS that ended up exactly where he was needed. but at least he doesn’t seem short of the former which this season thrives on. impossible. This is the ‘Oh my beautiful idiot. You have what you have always had. Let’s Kill Hitler is fast paced, witty and overflowing with creative concepts and I episode where Amy and Rory You’ve got me.’ ‘She’s a woman and she’s the TARDIS!’ ‘Did you wish was applauding on its first broadcast. Its only when you sit down and think about it are menaced through the ships really hard?’ that cracks begin to appear but I could never be too hard on something this corridors by a disembodied voice ‘Fear me, I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords’ ‘Fear me, I’ve killed all of them.’ inventive and confident: 8/10 that eats TARDISes. This is the episode where the Doctor gets to talk to his most faithful friend and tell her how much she means to him. It’s something to be treasured Written by Mark Gatiss forever: 10/10 Directed by Richard Clark
Let’s Kill Hitler
The Rebel Flesh & The Almost People
Written by Matthew Graham Directed by Julian Simpson
erry Nation writes a script for the 2010s full of acid leaks, doppelgangers, radiation and fake Doctors! Actually Matthew Graham wrote it but you would forgiven for thinking that somebody associated with the shows early years had been involved because this is old fashioned storytelling, told at an old fashioned pace. The story is crippled immediately by a lack of identifiable characters – none of the regular guest cast appealed to me in the slightest so that left no hope for their Gangers. Jennifer in particular is a hopeless character, atrociously performed and characterised and dragging Rory into a dead end subplot that makes him look more like an idiot than a hero. Had all this been condensed down into one frantic episode it might have been made to work but dragged out to an hour and a half it plays the same tricks over and over until even (naff) monster effects and (underachieved) paranoia seem tedious. Another damaging factor was the direction and editing, some scenes that should have flowed beautifully are discordantly chopped together and there are an amazing amount of scenes with agonisingly long pauses as if they are asking us to pass judgement on how boring it all is. The last scene is such a shocker and is so frighteningly depicted it puts the rest of the story to shame and I really liked the way that they kept the focus on the Ganger Doctor to disguise the fact that this story was actually all about a fake Amy. The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People doesn’t pass any of the criteria that I expect from good Doctor Who – its not funny, imaginative, scary or entertaining. Its an ugly, outdated, unpleasant story which for me proved astonishingly unlikable: 4/10 ( it would have been a 3 if it wasn’t for some mild atmospherics and that knockout of a final scene)
Dritten by Steven Moffatt Directed by Peter Hoar
sparkling Dialogue: ‘I’m Melody. I’m your daughter.’
noisy, empty, expensive spectacle, A Good Man Goes To War is the TV equivalent of a Doctor Who movie and proves to be as fast paced and shallow as I would expect a big screen bonanza to be. A few moments of choking emotion aside, this is all spectacle and bluster, an average piece of storytelling pretending to be something more epic. This is the second episode in a row that hasn’t floated my boat but has concluded on a jaw dropping cliffhanger that has left me with the illusion that I enjoyed it more than I did. It is good telly; sensational, glossy and dramatic but 64
Illustration by Andy Lambert
A Good Man Goes To War
his kicks off a run of three relatively standalone high concept episodes and is the weakest of the three because it doesn’t have the emotional kick of The Girl Who Waited or the constant innovation and development of The God Complex. There is a great idea at the heart of Night Terrors (being trapped inside a dolls house) but once that has been revealed it is pretty much all atmosphere and running about and very little substance for the second half of the episode. Low key isn’t always a bad thing but here it feels positively insignificant and matters aren’t
helped by the choice of child actor who fails to convince in every scene. The director works overtime to create some suspense and to his credit the imagery is very strong, both in and around the flats and especially once we enter the skewed world of the dolls house. Matt Smith’s Doctor is a joy to watch at this stage but Amy and Rory are about as vacuous as they have ever been and are showing signs of having outlived their usefulness. There are some creepy moments in Night Terrors (the dolls are a real fright) but if you skip this one you are hardly missing out on anything special and by the end (especially that vomit inducing injection of twee syrup at the end) I had lost interest: 5/10
The Girl Who Waited Written by Tom MacRae Directed by Nick Hurran
uch a weird episode and I don’t Dialogue: know how to judge it. The first ‘Don’t you lecture me. Blue Box man third is the most boring 15 flying through space on whimsy. All I’ve got, all I’ve had for 36 years is cold hard minutes of series six because it is all reality. So no I don’t have a sonic screwdriver overly complicated set up for the last because I’m not off on a romp. I call it what it is, a probe. And I call my life what it is…hell.’ ten minutes of drama. You can literally ‘All those boys chasing me but it was only hear the plotting gears grinding into ever Rory.’ ‘I’m going to pull time apart for you.’ place to get the Doctor, Amy and Rory ‘Amy you always say cooking where they need to be to provide that Christmas dinner you wish there were two of you!’ humdinger of an emotional climax. Whether by design (it is supposed to be a sterile medical facility) or because they were saving money for Moffatt’s expensive finale it is also one of the few new series episodes that feels cheap (that bloody Millennium Centre again). Interesting ideas are tossed in the air but jettisoned in favour of the characters. Although there is an awful lot of dull running around to be had too. However, when The Girl Who Waited gets it right it gets it really right and the horrific choice that falls on Rory at the conclusion grabs hold of your heart and crushes it until your eyes bleed with tears. The older Amy is a great character, bitter and angry and unwilling to give the Doctor any more chances which is what makes his decision to slam the door in her face when she tosses all that resentment aside and decides to leave with them all the more heartbreaking. Darvill, Smith and Gillen have never been better than at that moment and it’s great to see them hitting such an emotional high when they are about to be split up permanently. How to rate an episode that tests my patience this much and yet manages to score such a coup with its characters in its closing third? It feels unfair to score an episode that hits the series’ emotional high point (except The Doctor’s Wife) this low but there are too many surrounding details that let it down: 6/10
The God Complex
Written by Toby Whithouse Directed by Nick Hurran
‘Did you just say its okay we’re nice?’ ‘The most invaded planet in the galaxy! Our anthem is “Glory to…insert name here”’ ‘We’re lining all the highways with trees so the invading forces can march in the shade with is nice for them…’ – that’s ddball is a the most Douglas Adams line not written by Douglas Adams that label that I have ever heard! ‘This is a cup of tea’ ‘Of course, I’m British. This is how we cope has been with trauma. That and tutting’ – my partner Simon, says something directed at any kind of similar all the time, at least about the tea. ‘Offer a child a suitcase of sweets and they’ll take it. Offer Doctor Who story someone all of time and space and they’ll take that too. Which is that deviates from the why you shouldn’t.’ ‘I took you with me because I was vain. Because I wanted to normality of ‘aliens be adored. Look at you – the glorious Pond. The girl who trying to invade Earth’ waited for me. I’m not a hero. I really am just a and the ‘Doctor interferes madman in a box. And its time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams its time to with history’ and tries to stop waiting’ – Smith will break your explore something a bit more heart with this scene.
creative and offbeat. The God Complex certainly falls into that category an takes its place amongst the successes of the genre (The Mind Robber, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy) rather than its failures (The Celestial Toymaker, Paradise Towers). It just goes to show what a creative director can bring to the show because with its single location and fairly naff monster this is clearly the cheapie episode of the year but cut together this fast and cleverly it is extremely easy on the eye and the minutes fly by. It’s a clever premise that allows for moments of psychology, some really bouncy dialogue and a wrenching twist that knocks the Doctor for six. Oddly, considering it is the one episode that isn’t dealing with the ominous foreshadowing of his death this is in my mind the best portrayal of the Smith’s Doctor since the last complete standalone (The Doctor’s Wife) and a lot of the criticisms of his character make a lot of good sense. I much prefer this to the previous high concept episode because it doesn’t have to needlessly complicate its set up in order to cash in the emotional payoff and it winds up being a whole lot more vibrant and pleasurable to watch. It starts off as a standalone but turns out to be the most satisfying arc story of the whole season. A superbly performed ensemble piece that stands up very well to repeated viewing and I would be very happy to see more intelligent, emotive tales of this standard next year: 9/10
Closing Time Written by Gareth Roberts Directed by Steve Hughes
‘Alright, don’t have a go me ybermen in the fitting room, the Doctor in a just because I don’t know the names!’ – I don’t know why gay relationship and a baby that wants to take that made me laugh so much, over the world – we are definitely in Doctor I think its Corden’s sulky Who sitcom territory here! Closing Time turned out to delivery. be the biggest revelation of my rewatch of season six because I didn’t think much of it upon transmission but with the benefit of hindsight there is actually plenty to enjoy in this episode. Unlike much of the season it is a light affair and its packed full of jokes and great lines that are far funnier the second time around. Stripped of Amy and Rory, the Doctor is a joy to be around, witty and wonderful as he translates baby speak and flirts with Craig and Smith’s chemistry with Corden is once again a delight to watch. The only thing that really annoyed me was how totally rubbish the Cybermen were but lets be honest they have long since been the butt of Doctor Who’s joke. One of these days somebody will write a scary, psychological masterpiece for the Cybermen but when he is squeezing them into an episode full of cutie wutie babies and jokes about Britain’s Got Talent, Gareth Robert’s mind is clearly on other things. It’s a shame that their dreadful treatment should put such a dent in the episode because otherwise this is exactly what we needed, an amusing breather before the dramatic finale. Closing Time is flawed but I was surprised at how much this sitcom style Who kept me smiling and although he is probably too busy I certainly wouldn’t object to him being a full time companion: 7/10
The Wedding of River Song Written by Steven Moffatt Directed by Jeremy Webb
sparkling Dialogue: ‘He always made us pour an extra brandy in case you came round one of these days.’ ‘My friends have always been the best of me.’ ‘She would like to go out with you for texting and scones.’ ‘You embarrass me!’
hat a curious beast The Wedding of River Song is (hate that title!) because it fails to be the climactic finale that was promised whilst still telling an enjoyable story. Mind you, I remember a time when all a season finale had to be was an entertaining story so it doesn’t do anything wrong on that score but considering what we have been promised over an entire season I can understand if people found this…anti climactic. Although, you have to remain alert this is a very nicely structured piece with the Doctor relaying his story 65
to Churchill through its first half until we reach the point where all of time stopped which paradoxically kick starts our story from the point of the Doctor’s death and its aftermath. As usual Moffatt is juggling 400 ideas and has seemed to have taken a gentle dose of mind altering drugs before sitting down at the keyboard but this time we are talking about the Doctor’s death (or what was supposed to be the Doctor’s death) and if weird shit didn’t coalesce around his demise it would feel as though the universe had shrugged away our hero. Besides, it is entertaining weird shit with some startling imagery (a steam train heading into a pyramid adorned with AREA 51 on a sun kissed desert) and imaginative world building. This is pretty much the epitome of Moffatt madness with him getting so many things spot on (goodbye Brigadier) and a few (not irredeemably bad) things wrong but on the whole providing an energetic, colourful and creative finale. Let the madness end now though and lets get back to some good drama: 7/10
wimey for their own good and wishing the show would wrap up the arc so it can get on with telling good stories as it has done week in week out for over 40 years. I find that the arcs were just about perfect during Davies time with emphasis on the running storylines woven into the standalone adventures discreetly but not so much that they dominate them (the bees, the planets disappearing and Doctor/Donna were all great examples in series four). I also find that Moffatt’s stories written during the Davies era are my favourites of his (the Angel two parter in series five is my only exception) and rather than focussing on telling a good story he is far more interested in hopping about all over the place, telling non linear narratives, throwing away inspired concepts on one scene wonders and being a bit too smart (and by that I mean ‘with it with da kids’ rather than intelligent) for his own good. He’s a fantastic storyteller but seems to have gotten it into his head that a story cannot be told unless it encompasses hundreds of locations, time periods and lots of cocky dialogue. Every one of his stories is full of standout moments this year but I don’t think a single one holds together as a piece of storytelling. My point is that there is so much detail that you have to keep up with this year, if you miss one of the pivotal episodes you are pretty much screwed. There are rapid clips at the beginning of most episodes trying to keep you up to speed but they go past so quickly you’ll give yourself a headache trying to take in the years worth of plot in a minute. It’s unfair on those who want to dip in and out of the series. I know plenty of people who gave up this year (hardcore fans and casual viewers) simply because the show became too unwieldy to handle and that’s a shame because there is great stuff in here. I don’t want to rant too much because I don’t think Doctor Who has ever looked as good as it has this year and with Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill giving standout performances (in some places despite the material) and the story has always been worth following (if you have the stomach for it). I just feel that the focus now needs to be on good old fashioned storytelling (some decent historicals would be a start) and less of the schizophrenic Doctor worshipping approach. And judging by the Doctor’s comments at the end of this episode (which I really appreciated) I think that might be the case. Series six has been a schizophrenic affair; bold, dramatic and creative on the one hand and patience straining, inconsistent and complicated on the other. Now this tightly structured type of season has been attempted (and at times succeeded) lets not try it again. Season average: 6.5/10
“I know plenty of people who gave up this year”
Illustration by Andy Lambert
hould Doctor Who have such a heavily structured arc playing out over a season? Does the show lose some of its identity when telling one long story rather than individual ones? Or does the show feel out of date when telling standalone adventures without some over arcing momentum to keep viewers watching? All very good questions and I’m not sure where I fit in to it all. Series six has been such an oddity for me. At times it has touched on absolute genius (The Doctor’s Wife) and at others it has felt as if it is losing its magic because it wants to be flashy/geewhizz/smart all the time and doesn’t give itself time to breathe and tell stories and allow its performers to act (because anybody can act like a smart ass). Despite that I have been intrigued in how the central arc has played out with some knockout shocks along the way (the end of The Almost People, A Good Man Goes to War and the River twist in Lets Kill Hitler certainly qualify) and they certainly gave a sense that the show was building to something momentous. I’m not sure that with this episode they pulled that off but I certainly cannot fault the ambition of Steven Moffatt and his writing team. My partner Simon has found himself drifting away from the series in the standalone episodes (he couldn’t bear Night Terrors or Closing Time) but was on the edge of his seat during the arc pieces (he loved the opening two parter, the middle two parter and this episode). It had the opposite effect for me as I found the Steven Moffatt scripts my least favourite of the year, too flashy and showy and wibbly wobbly timey
Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts have had chance to build the procedure into the programme’s mythology. Jon Pertwee into Tom Baker is the first regeneration that both the production team and the audience at home can accept as a natural part of Doctor Who’s fictional development, rather than as something that has been resolved out of necessity, due to an outside imposition (the actor leaving the part). It’s a brilliant conceit, and Doctor Who is probably the only television show that could have pulled it off. It’s hard to say who very first came up with the idea, and how far back into the programme’s history. Once you know about The Celestial Toymaker, it seems almost a case of manifest destiny that Hartnell should be replaced sooner or later – but it was the choice that was finally made that decided the programme’s ultimate destiny: it could have been another, older actor, essentially playing the “same” Doctor but with a different face, but they went instead with a younger actor, playing a “rejuvenated” Doctor; and in itself this set a further challenge: should the younger actor play a younger version of the Hartnell Doctor, or strike out in an entirely new direction? The genius of the decision was that those responsible took the latter course. The first change of Doctors must have come as an incredible shock to audiences of the time, and the second – particularly due to the way in which it happened – equally so. So how did regeneration as a concept become such an established idea by the time of the third? It’s probably down to Robert Holmes. By inviting a writer like Holmes to write Pertwee’s debut story, Terrance Dicks seemed to be asking by Jam Illustration
y ie McCarth
PPARENTly, in March 1966 (less than two and a half years after Doctor Who first arrived on television!) producer Innes lloyd and story editor Gerry Davis hatched a plan to replace William Hartnell as the Doctor. If the plan had gone ahead, when the Doctor returned to corporeal existence at the end of The Celestial Toymaker’s fourth episode The Final Test, it would have been with a new actor in the role. This seems scarcely believable now, and would, had a change of heart not occurred and Hartnell been retained in the role, have changed the future of the programme irrevocably. Wouldn’t it? Well, perhaps not necessarily. During the ’sixties, the various production teams on Doctor Who actually took very little notice of the way their predecessors had run the programme, and “internal continuity” was limited in the extreme (just witness the number of examples of the central character being referred to as ‘Doctor Who’ rather than ‘the Doctor’, during Lloyd’s producership) – in fact, this was almost part of the way
REGENERATION the show was created: a kind of built-in “failsafe” mechanism, as it were (there didn’t need to be any internal continuity, apart from at its most basic with the three or four central characters, with the TARDIS landing in an entirely new location, both geographically and temporally, at the start of every new story). So there’s nothing to say that The War Games would have been any different had Patrick Troughton assumed the part of the Doctor in The Gunfighters instead of The Power of the Daleks. In The War Games, you see, Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke (along with producer Derrick Sherwin and director David Maloney) were, to all intents and purposes, doing something entirely new. The word “regeneration” wasn’t created to describe the process, until much later in the day; once the general public had accepted that the Doctor would change on a regular basis, in fact (both as part of the fiction of the show, and also as part of the behind-the-scenes process that was necessary to keep Doctor Who on air every time its lead actor’s contract wasn’t renewed). In The Tenth Planet, the Doctor had “rejuvenated” his “old body”; and in The War Games, the Time Lords took matters into their own hands and forced a process of change upon the character. Planet of the Spiders is the first time we actually see the change occur as the result of a life-threatening injury – by which time 72
for trouble; although there was nothing in Holmes’ first two Doctor Who stories that would suggest he would go on to become the writer who would most openly flout the convention of not talking about the Doctor’s background, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that by giving him the chance to start down the road of doing just that (Spearhead from Space, by its very nature, requires at least a little sketching in of the regeneration process, both for the viewers and for the other regular characters in the story itself), a writer of Holmes’ character would eventually allow his mischievous nature to get the better of him. By the time Barry Letts’ regeneration story Planet of the Spiders rolls around, Robert Holmes has had half a decade in which to cheerfully mention anything and everything about the Doctor’s past that might have popped into his head. After Dicks had taken the decision to name the Doctor’s race, as a way of demonstrating just how ultimate is the sacrifice that the Doctor must make in The War Games, in The Time Warrior, Holmes goes on to name the Doctor’s home planet as a throwaway remark. It’s worth commenting upon, that an era of the programme that is most widely regarded as its “safest” (due in no small amount to the fact that the Doctor is stranded in the Home Counties for the better part of its duration, surrounded by the largest team of regular
Illustration by David Burson
What to do when your lead actor leaves
characters that the show has ever seen), is also the era in which the Doctor’s background, hitherto upheld as one of Doctor Who’s biggest mysteries, is most casually bandied about. The Time Lords themselves, after such a mystical introduction in Patrick Troughton’s final serial, become little more than a running joke throughout Jon Pertwee’s tenure, with more stories than not seeming to contain at least one scene in which the third Doctor grumbles about them, rather as you or I might have moaned about a somewhat overbearing maths teacher. Once the idea of regeneration is established as a running concern, then – as part of the television programme Doctor Who’s storytelling armoury – the interesting thing is how future production teams deal with the concept. Barry Letts, at the end of Jon Pertwee’s time as the Doctor, gives his leading man a big send off in a story which takes the concerns Letts had as a producer, as well as the themes and techniques that had becomes established during the period, to their logical extreme. Pertwee’s dashing leading man, with a love of gadgets and unusual (not to mention high-speed) vehicles, bows out in a story in which the better part of an entire episode is given over to what is little more than an extended car chase. Any number of characters and situations echo those we’ve already seen during the previous five years (Cyril Shaps’ Professor Clegg almost seems like Letts-era default character, the scene in which he’s introduced surely written simply to give Nicholas Courtney and Jon Pertwee one last chance to chuckle before the end – and the entire village on Metebelis III seems like the logical extension of any number of “yokel” characters that have turned up since the Seeleys in Spearhead from Space). And Letts’ Buddhist parables, that had previously been kept (mostly) in the form of homilies recited by the Doctor, become the central inspiration behind the regeneration itself. At once a “Greatest Hits” package and an example of Barry Letts pushing his ideas to the limits, then, Planet of the Spiders (while not being Doctor Who’s greatest moment) is at least what audiences clued-in to the programme’s concerns would have expected. And the third Doctor dies a heroic death, even if (true to Letts’ Buddhist principles) it is chiefly because of his own flaws. How different the fourth Doctor’s demise in Logopolis would be. In Planet of the Spiders, his predecessor absorbed an impossible amount of radiation, triggering the change; in Logopolis, Tom Baker falls off a ladder. Well okay, not quite. But Tom Baker was the longest-serving of all the Doctors, and after seven years in the role, when it came time to regenerate, you would have imagined a bigger send-off than Baker got. It’s not like they didn’t try: Christopher H Bidmead’s
other regeneration in Planet of the Spiders, when K’Anpo and Cho-Je turn out to be one and the same); if so, that seems indicative of the rest of Bidmead’s storytelling skills, as Logopolis is brimming with ideas that either don’t add up (no pun intended), or just don’t go anywhere. It’s a shame that Tom Baker had to leave the programme in such a low-key manner; his Doctor was anything but low-key. Better was to come for his successor, Peter Davison’s fifth Doctor. Although he might not have been the most beguiling and charismatic of Doctors, the fifth was at least the most overtly heroic. And such is the manner of his death: at last given the chance to write a Doctor out of the programme (rather than writing a Doctor in), Robert Holmes crafts a regeneration story that plays to the current incumbent’s strengths (something Christopher Bidmead singularly failed to do) – a feat more remarkable given that Holmes hadn’t worked on Doctor Who for the previous five years, and had certainly never written for Davison’s Doctor before. But The Caves of Androzani is full of scenes that could have been written specifically for Davison to play, and although it might not be Doctor Who at its most witty or profound, it is still a very satisfying way for a muchloved character to depart: saving not a universe or a planet or a population, but sacrificing himself so that his companion might live. Caves might suffer by having the Doctor incidental to most of the action, but its third cliffhanger and final few minutes are everything that Tom Baker should have had, as eerie as his own regeneration might actually have been. But the best thing about Davison’s regeneration is in how straightforward Holmes makes it: in Logopolis (and Castrovalva), Bidmead overcomplicated the change (and its aftermath) to a ludicrous degree; in The Caves of Androzani, Davison simply collapses, and changes. It’s a lesson that then-current script editor Eric Saward would have done well to have learned. Incumbent producer John Nathan Turner gives every impression of being a person who would allow his ear to be bent by his right-hand man when it came to actual story-telling conceits, and although introducing a new Doctor one story before the end of a series seems on paper like a brilliant idea, with the resulting story The Twin Dilemma, they botched it completely. As far back as The Power of the Daleks, it was established that after a regeneration, it would take the new Doctor a certain amount of time to adjust to his new self. Jon Pertwee spends much of the first episode of Spearhead from Space in a hospital bed, and it takes an episode or two before his character really begins to bed in, too. In Robot, Terrance Dicks has a lot of fun with the idea of Tom Baker’s new Doctor “finding himself” – but only for an episode, and then Dicks (and Baker) gets on with the story.
“It’s a brilliant conceit, and Doctor Who is probably the only television show that could have pulled it off ” Logopolis sees the return of the Doctor’s (Robert Holmesintroduced) arch enemy, the Master, and a story in which the entire universe is at risk (and an entire third of it is actually destroyed). But there’s something really quite parochial about the finished product, almost as if the ideas were running away from the writer and he couldn’t quite keep up. The Watcher, a foreshadowing of the Doctor’s doom, might have worked had it not been for the manner in which the Doctor dies, but it seems rather odd that a Time Lord would have to send a ghostly version of himself back through time, to oversee a regeneration that occurs as the result of falling off a building. It makes equally as little sense to send the Watcher back to warn the soon-to-regenerate Doctor about the Master’s plan, and have the Doctor then discover what the Master’s up to at the same time as the audience does; perhaps the character is there to represent how big a threat the end of the universe really is – but again, that seems just as big a surprise to the Doctor as it does to the viewer. In all likelihood, Bidmead probably just thought it was a smashing idea, and wrote the character in accordingly (oddly enough, it’s not that far removed from the
With Castrovalva, Christopher Bidmead (yes, him again) establishes a new tradition, in which it takes the entire story for the newly regenerated Doctor to get a handle on who he is, and during the course of which, it seems there’s every chance the regeneration might “go wrong”, with the Doctor seeking all kinds of help from whomever and whatever is at hand (surely undermining the uniqueness and alienness of the character?), before finally – at the very end of the story – revealing himself with an aphoristic quip for the audience’s benefit, that might almost be directed straight at the camera. Eric Saward was so in awe of Robert Holmes’ talent, he simply let him get on with telling Peter Davison’s regeneration in The Caves of Androzani, a regeneration that benefitted no end from this lack of interference. With The Twin Dilemma, it was decided that not only should the new Doctor be unstable, but that his new character begin life as an at times positively villainous force. This was clearly one too many an imposed idea for previously 73
unproved (in terms of Doctor Who) scriptwriter Anthony Steven to deal with, and the story is all over the place. Worse was to come: given that The Twin Dilemma was the only illustration of the sixth Doctor that anybody had to work with before the twenty-second series went into production, rather than ironing out the wrinkles and allowing the new Doctor to establish his new identity after his first story was finished, much of the unstable Doctor’s character was “accidentally” carried over into the new batch of stories, and Colin Baker (an otherwise highly capable actor)’s interpretation of the part remains (largely because of the scripts) inconsistent, at least for the next year. It doesn’t help that Saward apparently thought the actor miscast, and by the end of Season Twenty-Two seemed to be actively undermining the character. If that was Saward’s intention, then he carried it out so well, we don’t really have a regeneration story at all for the sixth Doctor. Following Baker’s sacking from the series, a regeneration was hastily written in to the precredits sequence of Season Twenty-Four’s opening story, and if Peter Davison’s regeneration seemed relatively straightforward in The Caves of Androzani, and Tom Baker’s rather underwhelming in Logopolis, then a bewigged Sylvester McCoy falling on the floor and regenerating in Time and the Rani trumps them both. Fortunately, Pip and Jane Baker’s resultant story, while it makes great play of the new Doctor’s absentmindedness and befuddlement in his new body, at least seeks to reinforce the character’s good nature, heroism, and overall genius. They might be (unfairly, in my view) maligned by a large portion of Doctor Who fandom, but the Bakers at least understood who the Doctor was and what he stood for, and after a period in which both these things were open to question, Time and the Rani actually comes as a welcome relief. When Doctor Who returned to our screens with Rose in 2005, writer Russell T Davies got the (lack of) change just right: he introduced the companion first and then the already-regenerated new Doctor through her. There were a couple of inside jokes about how recent the regeneration might have been (but nothing that any entirely new viewers need to have been too concerned about; and if they didn’t know the Doctor was capable of changing his body, there was a whole half hour’s worth of introductory programme immediately before the main act – not to mention comments from their parents – to explain it to them), but the regeneration itself remained resolutely off-screen. No such luck with the 1996 TV Movie. It’s well-documented elsewhere how the biggest problem with an already highly problematic production, is the apparent need to show the change between the seventh and eighth Doctors onscreen – in what was, after all, supposed to be an introduction to an entirely new audience of what the show Doctor Who was all about. And the regeneration itself (while forming quite a large part of the narrative) is necessarily dealt with rather early on in the story, allowing as much time as possible to be spent in the company of the new Doctor. Fortunately the aftermath of the regeneration doesn’t take up too much screen time either, with much of the last hour of the episode given over only to comedic business regarding the new incumbent’s personality taking hold, rather than having to witness the kind of breakdown that the fifth Doctor suffered. If it was necessary to show this change during the TV Movie, at least it was done as concisely as possible. The fact that the TV Movie was made essentially for a foreign audience, meant that the change from Christopher Eccleston’s ninth Doctor to David Tennant’s tenth, was the first time that such a regeneration was attempted with the entire weight of the classic series sitting on the current production team’s shoulders. When Russell T Davies and company took over Doctor Who in 2005, they weren’t just making a modern show for a modern audience, but they were doing so with not only the collective consciousness of gathered fandom watching their every move, but also the “folk memories” of two generations or more of television viewers. Every decision the new production team made would be pounced upon and analysed to extremes. So Davies’ first regeneration in charge would be an incredible test of the new series’ mettle. But lessons had been learned. The story that the regeneration would be consequent to, was big and bold and emotionally charged (a proper finale, in other words), but the regeneration itself (which was intended to be a surprise to the audience, after all) wasn’t incorporated into the narrative, instead being appended to it as an entirely separate, but quite natural, coda. So on the one hand, the regeneration story had import in its own right (the resurrection of the Daleks!), while on the other, it wasn’t suffused with a sense of the impending change, and – unlike Logopolis thirty years previously – suffering under the weight of its own over-expectation. The episode that followed, The Christmas Invasion, went in completely the opposite direction, although quite deliberately so: knowing that the world 74
was watching, Russell T Davies used his first post-regeneration story to play with the audience’s expectations of what the new Doctor might be like, and put him in bed for the first two-thirds of its running time. It was almost like a Castrovalva for the new generation of viewers, except while in that case, the Doctor’s plight was played as a weakness (getting the new Doctor off on quite the wrong footing), in Tennant’s debut, the post-regenerative trauma was played as an interlude, while the anticipation of his eventual resurrection was built up to extraordinary levels. “Did you miss me?” asks the new new Doctor as he steps out of the TARDIS, fully-formed and ready to deal with the situation. He might as well have been asking the audience at home. It’s a confident moment, both for the character and for the production, and as filled with self-knowing as Colin Baker’s line about change at the end of The Caves of Androzani. Sadly, by the time of Tennant’s departure in The End of Time, such selfconfidence had been allowed to slide into over-confidence, and the tenth Doctor’s final story is, like several of its predecessors, riddled with a sense of its own importance. Which is not to say that there isn’t fun to be had along the way (there’s plenty – which in itself is rather unusual for a regeneration story), or that The End of Time isn’t a half-decent story in its own right (there’s plenty of good stuff in there, even if some of it seemed a little over-familiar by this stage of Russell T Davies’ Who); and for those who were willing to look for them, there were subtle references to each of the previous regeneration episodes, too (Tennant’s fall from the Vinvocci spaceship mirroring Tom Baker’s at the end of Logopolis, for instance). But Davies rather seemed to run out of inspiration in his last year in charge of the show, instead concentrating his dramatic efforts on the Doctor’s foreknowledge of his impending doom, and Davies’ decision not to include the Daleks in Tennant’s swansong (in what would have been the most natural turn of events, after all) left the story feeling rather slighter than the build-up it had been given, even with the return of Gallifrey and the Time Lords arriving on top of another Time Lord’s resurrection (the Master, of course; Time Lords rising and falling all around, then). The one innovation this time around, was the tenth Doctor’s “reward”. Mirroring the flashback sequences that the fourth and fifth Doctors had bowed out on, the tenth Doctor instead climbs aboard the TARDIS for one last round of short trips, paying brief calls on all the companions (and other noteworthy characters) who’ve been so important to him during this incarnation. It’s a fantastic conceit, and the most logical of progressions in modern television, that takes the emotional charge of those 1980s flashbacks and magnifies it by several degrees. Best of all is the low-key manner in which it is achieved, for Davies was getting a name for the bombastic nature of his series finales; instead David Tennant’s Doctor bows out with grace and dignity. The solution to the much speculated upon (and rather portentous) “four knocks” theme was just as dignified. There’s nothing heavy-handed about the following story’s introduction of Matt Smith, new showrunner Steven Moffat’s first Doctor. Aside from the odd post-regenerative spasm, and a running joke – borrowed from Russell T Davies’ introduction of the tenth Doctor – about not knowing what kind of man he is yet, the eleventh Doctor just gets on with saving the world, in a slight and frothy episode (that again borrows heavily from the previous era). Given previous Doctors’ first outings, it’s an absolute relief to spend time in the company of the new man, in a witty script that makes light of the change while never shying away from advertising what it’s doing (the “eleven Doctors” sequence at the end ensures that any doubters’ misgivings are dealt with). Let’s hope that when it comes to writing Smith out, Moffat’s touch is just as sure. There’s always going to be a certain amount of pressure on a regeneration story, and their authors are always going to be tempted to make the screen story seem as important as the production event itself. But if anybody’s learned anything from previous regenerations, it’s that the change in Doctor shouldn’t overshadow the ongoing series. Since 1974, regeneration has been an established element of the Doctor Who mythos, and when the onscreen fiction draws attention to it, the programme veers too far into the territory of melodrama (there’s nothing wrong with melodrama in Doctor Who; it’s when the programme makes itself the melodrama that things turn ugly). Doctor Who is a fun series, aimed at a family audience, but stories like Logopolis and (occasionally) The End of Time almost seem to forget this. The lesson for future scriptwriters ought to be: don’t build your story around the regeneration, but instead make the regeneration emerge naturally out of the story. Robert Holmes understood this, and so did Russell T Davies at the first time of asking. We can only trust that those who write the next regeneration (and the one after that, and the one after that) do too. J.R. Southall
Looking for a
n e k c i Ch inner D by Jim Harrington
AMBLING. I was always told it was a mugs game. Never a truer word spoken. Even so, I was still putting my money on the sport of Kings. In fact, I used to put ALL of money on it and that was the problem. Studying the form was my only interest in life. It was an itch that I just had to scratch. The bookies loved me. The wife and kids hated me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid... They said I had so much potential when I was growing up at school but i discovered beer and pissed it all away after my father died. How I managed to keep all my gambling debts secret from everyone I will never know. I’d even turned to petty crime and dodgy deals to hide my addiction. It had got so bad I started robbing Swiss Rolls from the local shop just so that I could afford to eat. Cake and Beer, I convinced myself that was all I needed. It kept me full. It got me through the day.
never had the appetite to eat breakfast or even my dinner because of my addiction. It all saved me vital cash. Cash. God, I never had enough of it. I remember that once I nearly got into trouble with Terry at work for nicking his money. I said that I was actually looking for a pen but found a tenner in his overall pocket. Anyway, I promised him I would give it him back the next day. That was a close escape I can tell you! I don't suppose anyone will miss all that electrical cabling I robbed from the crazy electrician that came to work that day either. It was worth a few bob. Oh yes, it was worth the risk. Anyway, to me it was just yet another "hot" item I had to keep in my garage for a bit. When it came to actually putting the money on the meetings I had tried every trick in the book and a few I had made up too. I'd backed just the favourites, names that mean things to me and with very variable results. I knew that ultimately I could never actually walk away with the cash as the bookies always win. It didn’t matter to me though. I still needed that special "buzz" you get when you feel lady luck is on your side. I used to lay down £20 notes to win whenever I got a hot tip from a guy called Mike the Fish. That strange gravelly voice on the end of the phone that kept my head above water. Will I ever know who it really was? Our phone conversations were truly mental. I wonder if his nickname was true? Could he really drink me under the table? I suppose I will never know. He told me to back “Creosote” at Brighton at 4.30 p.m. as he is good over fences. “Dusty Carpet” was another good one at 5.00 p.m. that he told me “won't be beaten”. Mike usually knew his stuff. Trouble is, if he was wrong... Well, I really hated it when the place pot I had going went down in the first because of him, it ruined my whole bloody afternoon. Sometimes lady luck would be with me, guiding my hand away from fumbling with myself in my pocket and instead I’d open my wallet and put down a fiver and I'd be on my way out of the bookies with £200 at the end of the day... only to blow it all again the next. Funny, how as you watch the money go, you take more risks to try and desperately win it all back. I just needed to walk away a winner... Thing is, it was much easier for me to be gambling actually at the bookies as I just couldn’t
afford to be caught on the computer at home because it was just too tempting to look at Russian granny porn inbetween the races. I can't count how many times I've had to pull the plug out to stop the tirade of viruses that surely followed one’s nightly pursuits. I said to my friends down the pub "I'm in a living hell. Next, I will be selling my arse... if I don’t pack it in." Despite this warning to myself, I didn’t stop. I still continued to make pathetic excuses to the wife that I needed to get shaving cream but instead I got off down to the bookies while she thought I was off to ASDA and the whole sorry saga would start all over again! I just needed a break. A winning horse with a big payout would do it. A bang on dead cert. The jockey, would find it so easy, he’d be reading a book and having a glass of wine. I wasn’t religious but I prayed for this equine saviour. But I just couldn’t seem to win anymore and my debts were piling up. I was going to end it all before the wife did... It got so bad, at one point I even tried to drown myself in a cup of tea. I really thought no one could help me stray from the road to oblivion that I had carved for myself... but then the miracle happened. I was about to throw myself off Runcorn bridge when a young mad man appeared out of nowhere and claimed he could help me. He said that simple hypnosis would cure me of my gambling ill and after one session with him I would do one last bet and never look back. I had nothing to lose. He promised me I could have my life back. I was expecting he'd use a pocket watch on me but instead, he took a what looked like a space-age torch from his pocket which made a noise like my wife's vibrator. He shone a bright green light in my face and then I fell into a strange dream-like state where he told me a fantastical story about a planet called McCririck 5 which was entirely inhabited by robots that modelled their appearance exactly on the Horses on Earth... Then... well, I must have blacked out. When I awoke, in my hand I had a blue envelope. Inside it was a slip with a bet on for £11,011, the number 11 and a time, 5.30p.m at Fontwell Park. I never saw him again after that glorious day. I’m now both wealthy and cured of my gambling ill and I once again have the love of my wife and kids. He saved my life. Mind you, he said he was a Doctor after all.
“I'm in a living hell. Next, I will be selling my arse...”
Illustration by Paul Cooke
Katie Ryan, Shakey Jake and Keith Smith. The intention was that these characters would be highly varied and not typical bland stock television types, so Katie Ryan takes ‘feisty’ to is absolute limits. Shakey Jake is a hippie who openly smokes dope. I am not interested in writing about characters who are sanitised for some middle-class TV executive’s notion of what appeals to a ‘modern audience’. I’m more interested in difficult, awkward, fallible people. Ben’s adventures are usually earth-based which I openly admit stems from my love of Pertwee-era Doctor Who stories such as ‘The Green Death’. As a history graduate, I also like Ben to face real historical characters; hence his encounter with Henry VIII in ‘Planet Waves’ and Napoleon Bonaparte in ‘Chateau of Death’. Some of Ben’s stories involve the occult. This stems from two things. Firstly, I love both ‘The Daemons’ and ‘K9 & Company’ and believe them to be two of the finest Doctor Who stories. Secondly, I totally disagree with the attitude of modern TV companies that themes such as ‘Black Magic’ and the occult are too controversial to include in children’s television programmes. Utter twaddle. Kids love that kind of thing. Some of my stories are written in the present tense not the past tense. Some readers find this annoying however I use the technique to deliver pace and I like it. Finally, of all the stories I have written, two stand-out as personal favourites. One is a non-Ben Chatham Doctor Who story, “Acorn Man”. The other is “Lord of the Reedy River” where Ben Chatham encounters Robin Hood and his merry men.
Operation Delta: Meet the Team The Ben Chatham stories feature a range of characters who work for Ben’s organisation Operation Delta. Here is a brief guide to some of them.
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM Written by Sparacus The Origins of the Ben Chatham Stories
t all began in 2005 after Series 1 of the revived Doctor Who had been shown. I started writing my own ‘alternate’ NuWho story outlines and felt that the Doctor needed another companion as well as Rose. I wanted this companion to be a twenty-something, attractive young man. I also had in mind the ex-Coronation Street actor and pop star Adam Rickitt who I felt (and still feel) would be perfect to play this character. Hence Ben Chatham was born. Initially, Ben was a traveller in the TARDIS with the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler. Right from the start I tried 76
to make Ben into a modern kind of hero. Meaning someone who has faults and issues, yet still saves the day. Ben can be awkward, self-pitying, snobbish and dismissive of others. Yet Ben still makes the effort to do the right thing when it counts and saves the earth many times. Eventually, I decided to reduce the Doctor Who element in the stories and develop Ben Chatham spin off stories as a franchise in itself. The first of these stories, “Operation Delta” introduced an organisation which investigates alien/paranormal/occult related incidents and its operatives Corinne Shaw and Paul Farraday. Later, Ben came to lead this organisation and Operation Delta became synonymous with the Ben Chatham stories. As time went on, new characters were introduced and Ben built up a team. These included Kyle Scott,
Ben himself is in his mid-twenties and is an Archaeology graduate from Cambridge University. He grew up in rural Wiltshire, near Pewsey. His parents are Alastair and Catherine Chatham. Alastair is a former conductor with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and businessman. His mother runs a market gardening business. Both are active within their local Conservative Party. Ben himself works as an Archaeological consultant for several organisations including Cambridge University. In “Chateau of Death” it was revealed that Alastair Chatham had an affair with the French actress Madame Camboux and that Ben has a 19 year old half- brother from this relationship named James Bartlett. Ben also had a sister who has died and Ben has taken on her son (Ben’s nephew) Craig Chatham as his ward.
CRAIG CHATHAM Craig is Ben’s 17 year old nephew and ward. Ben’s late sister had major problems with drugs. Craig follows the emo youth fashion and dresses in black with dyed black hair. He listens to bands such as ‘My Chemical Romance’ and writes poetry which often dwells on themes such as suicide.
ISOBEL An attractive female alien who has humanoid form and resembles the actress Hannah Murray.
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus She is highly sensitive and finds the world a harsh and frightening place.
JAMES BARTLETT James is Ben’s 19 year old half-brother, the son of Alastair Chatham and Madame Camboux. He is a blonde haired attractive student who is openly gay.
KATIE RYAN A feisty archaeologist in her mid-20s. Katie physically resembles her namesake, the pop singer Kate Ryan. She is a no-nonsense modern woman who takes no prisoners and says what she thinks. She is secretly in love with Ben and shares Ben’s dislike of banality and the lowbrow.
KYLE SCOTT A young former gang member from London in his early twenties. Kyle was brought up on a council estate by his heroin addict mother whom he loves. His estranged father Barry walked out when Kyle was very young. As a teenager Kyle made a living from petty crime and random muggings. Meeting Ben Chatham changed his life and he now lives with Ben in the latter’s Cambridge apartment. Kyle enjoys rap music and is a major fan of Eminem.
‘SHAKEY’ JAKE REYNOLDS Jake is in his late 30s/early forties and formally worked as recipe manager for the Fox’s Glacier Mint Company in Leicestershire. He has several degrees, including Chemistry and Electronics and was a professional student for years until tuition fees were introduced. Jake assists Operation Delta with all things technical. Jake enjoys 60s music particularly Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. He has long hair and physically looks like a member of the rock band Jethro Tull. He enjoys cookery, particularly cake baking and has a number of special recipes which he describes as, “mind blowing man” and “like a far out trip.”
CORINNE SHAW AND PAUL FARRADAY Corinne and Paul were the first members of Operation Delta that Ben met, before Ben became leader of the organisation. Both are highly professional and business like. Corinne once slept with Ben and would like to do so again. She and Katie Ryan have a fractious relationship due to their mutual desire for Ben. Paul physically resembles the actor Michael French and is the solid lynchpin of Operation Delta.
KEITH SMITH A relative newcomer to the Operation Delta team. A geeky anorak in his late 20s/early 30s who is obsessed with UFO conspiracy theories and alien encounters. Keith keeps a massive personal database. Physically Keith is a tad overweight and wears thick glasses.
LUIGI MARINONI Ben’s 18 year old Italian servant whom he first employed in “Peril in San Remo”. Has since moved to England to work for Ben full time.
BARRY TUCK Loud, brash, foul-mouthed and uncompromising, Barry is not a character that is easy to like. He is descended from Friar Tuck due to the latter’s affair with a medieval milkmaid named ‘Loose
Nell’. Barry cracks bawdy jokes, propositions any woman he sees and is generally offensive and obnoxious. He works part time at the Mermaid Wine Bar in Cambridge where he enjoys insulting the customers and swearing at his colleagues. Barry also performs in pub bands and writes his own songs such as ‘Ringstinger Blues’. He enjoys football, curry, and, in his own words, “shagging fit birds”. Physically he resembles the actor Johnny Vegas. CHIARA SMITH Chiara is a friend of Ben’s who appeared in several stories and assisted him. She has since moved away from Cambridge. LIN SANG A young Thai Ladyboy who has recently been travelling with the 11th Doctor. Met Ben Chatham in “The Wedding of Ben Chatham” and joined the Operation Delta team.
OPERATION DELTA Part 1: New Age Ben Chatham, a 25 year old archaeology graduate from Cambridge, had decided to take a break from travelling with the Doctor and Rose, having felt stifled and disturbed by the intensity of Rose’s feelings for him. He was sitting in his apartment flat sipping a brandy and listening to Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ when the phone rang. It was an old friend from University Steve Best was in a stressed state and asked to come round and see Ben urgently. Steve was also an archaeologist and has been working on the excavation of a Neolithic barrow site in Wiltshire. He wouldn’t say what the problem was but he sounded panicked and afraid. He slammed the phone down on Ben after saying that he’d drive over in the morning. Ben was concerned and went to bed worried. In the morning, Ben was sitting in his dressing gown listening to Bowie’s ‘Low’ album waiting for Steve to come round but Steve didn’t arrive. Instead Ben received another phone call - it was Steve’s distressed and emotional girlfriend who told Ben that Steve had been found dead - stabbed to death in a frenzied attack. Ben was shocked and set out to drive to Wiltshire to see what had happened for himself. When he arrived he got into a row with the police outside Steve’s flat who would not let him in. As he was walking away in an angry state, a woman approached him and said that she had information for him concerning Steve. She introduced herself as Corinne Shaw. She offered to drive Ben to her apartment to discuss what had happened. In the car she revealed that she worked for an organisation called OPERATION DELTA - a top secret government agency set up to investigate strange or paranormal incidents considered too off the wall for regular organisations . She revealed that Steve had been working for them as some strange paranormal incidents had been occurring around the barrow excavation site - dead and mutilated animals, strange lights in the nearby church and hooded figures seen. As she talked and drove down the winding country lane a car came up behind and tried to drive them off the road. After a dramatic chase Corinne evaded the other car and they arrived at her flat, shaken. As they were about to enter the flat they were met by an authoritative looking man who introduced
himself as Paul Farraday - Corinne’s boss in Operation Delta (played by Michael French). They all went up to the apartment and over a brandy, with Philip Glass playing in the background, Farraday explained to Ben that Operation Delta suspected that Steve had been murdered because he found out something about the strange sightings and activity around the barrow dig. Steve had suspected that the activity was linked to a group of occultists who had been holding black magic ceremonies in the area of the barrow. Next day, Ben set out to visit the occult bookshop in the local town to probe for information. He went in and saw it is run by an elderly Lady in a wheelchair and her strange overweight son. Ben asked if they know anything about the barrow dig occultists but was met with evasive answers. He stormed out and drove to Steve’s flat where he found the door open and a police Inspector named Peniman searching inside. Peniman started to probe Ben with questions and adopted a lofty manner. Ben was angered and stormed away determined to investigate the barrow site. That night Ben arrived at the barrow site after spending the day researching the occultists to no effect on the internet. As he walked round the fenced off site he heard a noise coming from a spinney in the distance. He set off to investigate and as he approached he was shocked to see a group of hooded figures in a circle. One held up a goblet and drank from it as the others chanted. Suddenly they all gasped as something moved out of the trees behind and approached. It wore a robe but seemed to be covered in fur. As the occultists screamed a blow hit Ben on the back of the head. He fell...... Ben woke up in hospital with Corinne & Paul Farraday by his bed. He was upset, distressed and tried to tell them about the creature he saw. However Corinne told him to rest and Paul placed a hand on his shoulder. Ben could not rest and sat up in bed, his smooth chest reflecting the hospital lights. He insisted on discharging himself and ran out pursued by a worried Corinne & Paul. They grabbed him & insisted on taking him to Corinne’s flat where he lay on the sofa distressed. Corinne relaxed him by putting on Bowie’s ‘Heathen’ album. Next day Corinne and Ben decided to pay another visit to the occult bookshop. As they entered, something struck Ben as odd but he didn’t know what or why. They found no one by the counter so they went into the backroom. They were horrified to see the elderly shop owner & her son lying dead - their throats slashed open. Symbols were painted on the walls in blood and there was a dead cat lying beside them. As Corinne started to phone the police on her mobile a voice behind then said, “Put down the phone - you are both under arrest”. It was Inspector Peniman!!!! Part 2: Power of Illusion Ben and Corinne were being held at the police station and Ben was being questioned by Peniman. He insisted that he & Corinne didn’t murder the bookshop owner and her son and recounted how they discovered the bodies. Peniman seemed to accept this however, his tone remained distant and menacing throughout the interview. He stared at Ben rather blankly and made vague references to people interfering in matters they don’t understand getting hurt. Ben felt extremely uneasy. The police released Ben and Corinne and they went back to Corinne’s flat - having firstly rung Farraday who duly arrived. They all went up to the flat and opened a bottle of Merlot, while the sound of Morrissey’s ‘Viva Hate’ album played in the background. Farraday told Ben & Corinne how he had been to see his boss Dr John Prentice head of 77
Operation Delta and responsible to the Home Secretary. Prentice had revealed that he had received info on the booksellers several weeks before and Farraday was angry that this was not passed on to him. The booksellers were part of a neo-pagan group called the ‘Sons of the Dawn’ and had been holding Wiccan ceremonies and circle rites in the local area. He also revealed how he had obtained the name of the head of the group from Prentice - a certain Professor Scott a lecturer at the local medical school. Next day, Ben headed off to the medical school to confront Scott while Corinne & Paul Farraday drove to the barrow dig site for another look around. At the barrow site Corinne was walking through the grass when lights seemed to start flashing through her brain. She collapsed as a kaleidoscope of strange colours and visions permeated her consciousness fluorescent animals, the sound of a clock ticking and a strange bright light almost blinding with intensity which she felt that she could hear as opposed to see. Through the hazy juxtaposed images and sounds she finally made out the sound of a flute playing a cyclical repeated tune. Gradually she emerged back into consciousness as Paul leant over her calling her name urgently. Meanwhile Ben was sitting in Professor Scott’s office in the medical school and questioned him about his pagan group and activities. Scott was open but sardonic in his replies. He told Ben how ordinary people had been indoctrinated by 2000 years of Christianity into seeing nature worship as threatening and evil. He leant towards Ben and told him that he looked like a typical stiff and repressed Christian type. Ben was hurt and offended and leant away to wipe a tear from his deep, mysterious eyes. Scott laughed sarcastically and offered to pour Ben a glass of single malt to which Ben flashed him a look of anger and demanded to know whether Scott and his group were responsible for the deaths of the booksellers & Steve Best. This time Scott was angry, “Do you think we murder our own earth brothers and sisters” before hinting menacingly that death comes “on swift wings” to those who offend the disciples of Herne. At the barrow site, Paul Farraday was comforting Corinne after her fainting experience. However she still wasn’t quite right at all and kept chanting the word ‘Arouat’ ‘Arouat’’Arouat’ over and over again as well as “Earth, water, fire and death, met in a garden wide and fair” , “Earth water fire and death, met in a garden wide and fair.” Paul helped her to her feet and began to lead her back to the car when he caught sight of something moving in the far distance between two trees. It seemed like a large animal, covered in fur but Paul couldn’t quite be certain. It disappeared over a hill. They got into the car and Paul began to drive Corinne home however as they drove through the windy lanes Corinne suddenly grabbed the steering wheel and in a frenzy drove the car off the road and it crashed through some woodland undergrowth and came to a blunt halt. Meanwhile Ben had left Scott’s office and returned to Corinne’s flat where he was taking a shower. The water dripped down his smooth chest as he rubbed soap all over himself, his skin glistening. As he washed, he thought about Rose and the Doctor but dismissed the thought and grabbing a towel covered himself and went to pour an absinthe, the sound of Bowie’s “Wild in the Wind” playing in the background. As he sipped the drink the door slowly opened. A figure slowly walked into the flat and soundlessly walked up towards the back of the sofa chair where Ben sat, his damp blonde locks dripping water. The figure held in its hand a gun and its fingernails resembled claws. It had nine fingers.......... 78
Part 3: Labyrinth Corinne slowly regained consciousness and found that she was trapped in the car with smoke coming from under the bonnet. Frantically she shook Paul Farraday who was unconscious with a wound on his head pouring blood. Paul came round and moaned. Corinne was shouting at him to help her get the door open - slowly he started to push the door on his side it opened and they fell out - Corinne helping Paul to stagger away from the car which by now had flames coming out of it. As they staggered away it exploded and they fell to the ground shaken but largely OK. Later back at Corinne’s flat Paul was sipping a glass of claret, his head bandaged, while he & Corinne sat on the sofa listening to Ben’s CD of Philip Glass’ Violin concerto. Corinne told Paul that she couldn’t understand why she acted as she did and drove the car off the road - it was like some powerful force or mind was controlling her. She kept seeing visions of a man with long white hair laughing contemptuously. Paul reassured her but said that he was worried about Ben. He seemed to have vanished and his towel was left strewn across the floor yet his clothes were still in the flat near the sofa where he had been sleeping. Corinne agreed that it was odd and they poured themselves another glass of wine. Paul thought that he should phone John Prentice but it was too late and he was too tired. Slowly he started to move his foot up and down Corinne’s leg. Corinne moved closer to Paul and slowly they kissed as their arms entwined each other. Overcome with desire for a man she had long found attractive Corinne started to tug off her clothes..... Slowly Ben returned to consciousness and started to make out figures surrounding him. However the room was bathed in a kind of green fog and all he could make out through the haze and his own semiconscious mind were a number of figures leaning over him and mumbling what sounded like animal noises. They seemed to have green scales and reptilian eyes. Ben tried to move his head but found his body in a state of paralysis. Sheer terror overcame him and he screamed inside as the figures shone strange lights into his eyes. He passed out again. The following morning Corinne had got up early leaving Paul asleep in her bed and she went into the kitchen to pour a glass of orange juice when the phone rang. The girl on the phone introduced herself as Carly Rhys-Howard, Steve Best’s girlfriend. She said that he had been contacted by John Prentice, Head of Operation Delta, who gave her this number where she could contact ‘operationally active agents’ of the organisation should she have any information and where she could find Ben Chatham. Corinne informed her that Ben wasn’t there and this seemed to agitate Carly who said that she needed to speak to someone now in person. Without prompting Carly gave Corinne the address of the house she was staying in and begged her to come round. Suddenly, the phone went dead. Corinne decided to let Farraday have a good sleep after his injury in the crash and set off in Ben’s car to the house. Meanwhile in a field in the Wiltshire countryside Ben was slowly waking up. His head throbbed with pain and he felt tired and very cold. He was naked and slowly pulled himself to his feet, the bright morning sun glistening on his smooth, luscious chest. He raised his head and sniffed the cool morning breeze like a dappled deer. Slowly he began to walk through the grass towards the nearest stile and made his way through the next fields until he came to a country road. Exhausted he collapsed on the road .As he did so a car approached - it was Corinne on her way to the house where Carly was staying. She rushed out of her
car and cradled Ben in her arms. Ben mumbled something about being abducted by strange beings and Corinne helped him into the car, her hands grasping his smooth, strong arms. She decided to drive on towards Carly’s house as she was almost there. Shortly they arrived at a large country house with a sign which says ‘Birchwood House’ - the name Carly had given. Carly had said it belonged to the Wiltshire Archaeology Research Society and she & Steve Best had been staying there. Corinne stopped the car and helped Ben out. She rang the doorbell. No one answered. After several rings she pushed the door - it opened and she helped Ben in. Lying Ben on a large wicker chair in the entrance hall she shouted ‘Hello’ & ‘Carly’. No one came. She ran upstairs looking for anyone who might be at home. As Ben lay on the chair he heard a loud scream coming from upstairs. It was Corinne’s voice. Ben staggered to his feet and moved towards a door looking for help. He opened the door but the room was pitch dark. He entered it and the door slammed shut behind him. He was in total darkness. Slowly a strange laughter started. Strange kaleidoscopic lights started flashing and the hovering figure of a clown’s face stared down on Ben before vanishing. Then he saw the image of a horned animal like a goat. However it was standing on two feet and wearing a purple cloak. He heard the sound of chanting - Herne Herne Herne Herne. Ben was terrified as lights started flashing again all around him. The chanting had changed to ‘Isis Diana Hecete Demeta, Isis Diana Hecete Demeta and a strange green haze filled the room. Then all turned pitch dark again. Ben was alone, naked and cold in a pitch dark room. Slowly he heard what sounded like distant footsteps faint and indistinct. However the footsteps started to get gradually louder. As Ben sat with his head resting on his knees the strange, menacing footsteps got closer, getting louder, louder, louder............ Part 4: Mindbender Ben was locked in a dark room in a large house ‘Birchwood’ that he & Corinne had been lured to by Steve Best’s girlfriend Carly. Having witnessed an array of strange & disturbing images and sounds he now heard the sound of footsteps getting louder, louder, louder..... “Who is that? Look I know you’re there…” Ben shouted. The footsteps stopped. A torch was switched on and Ben saw the face of Inspector Peniman. “Hmmm. I think its time for us to have a little chat don’t you?” Peniman said tersely. “Who are you? What is all this?” Ben shouted. Peniman inserted a key into the door which opened out into the hallway of the house. “Come on my young friend. Let’s talk in more civilised surroundings” he said in a sinister tone. Ben reluctantly followed Peniman into the main house and Peniman poured them both a brandy .Ben put on a dressing gown Peniman threw to him. They sat on the large antique chairs in the main room and Peniman smiled sardonically. “There is no need to worry about your friend Corinne Shaw. She is quite safe. You have no idea what you have stumbled into have you? The police team I work for have been investigating a whole range of paranormal activity in this area for several months now. Each has been accompanied by a mixture of unexplained deaths and... well unexplained mental breakdowns. We think that some kind of organisation is involved in an elaborate hoax.” As Peniman spoke, a door opened and in walked Carly, followed by a tired looking Corinne.
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus “What happened?” Ben asked Corinne. “SHE happened. She hit me with a vase.” Corinne replied. Peniman interjected: “Lets not argue about trivia. The fact is that I believe that Operation Delta is involved in a covert plan to convince the authorities and locals here that Wiltshire is awash with alien abductions, strange phenomena of all manner of description and general craziness.” This angered Ben: “*angry* But why the hell would Operation Delta be behind this? Why would they kill Steve?” Ben pointedly asked. “*icy stare* To justify their existence and possible expansion.” Peniman replied. Corinne looked up: “Oh come on. This isn’t the former Soviet Union or something. We are a secret government organisation yes but within a democracy - do you think I’d deliberately crash a car and risk death just to make all this look convincing?” “Yes.” Ben stared at Peniman and shook his pretty head: “Just hold on a second. How can you explain the fact that earlier I was being held in some kind of laboratory and examined by... by things that looked reptilian?” Peniman threw up his hands: “Hallucinogenic drugs? Make-up? Any number of explanations. But certainly not invaders from Mars *chuckles*”. Corinne was angered: “Oh I’ve had enough of this. You lure us here - she hits me and you do God knows what to Ben and then I have to listen to this guff. I’m phoning Paul *fumbles with her mobile*”. “Feel free Miss Shaw. I can’t prove anything yet of course. But I think young Ben here needs to know what he’s dealing with in your little organisation. And don’t be angry with Carly Ben - like you she wants to know what happened to Steve.” Carly looked up: “Stay here with me Ben - I have the full run of this house - the archaeologists have all gone to Cambridge for a conference and won’t be back for days. You can’t trust these people” she pleaded. Ben stayed firm: “Look I can’t believe that Corinne & Paul are involved in this” he stated. Peniman interjected: “Suit yourself Benjamin. *a man walks in*. Ah here’s my Sergeant - he’ll be staying here tonight to protect Carly. I suggest you stay here.” They poured another brandy and sat for a while in silence until Paul’s car drew up. Corinne got up to leave. “You coming Ben?” she asked. “I think I’d better stay. Look its not that I don’t trust you but Carly needs someone to be here not just the police. We’ll talk later.” Corinne felt annoyed: “*put out* Nice to know you trust us. Bye then.” Corinne left. Later, Ben and Carly were sitting on the rug by the fire talking about Steve Best “ .... And do you remember the time he started getting into Buddhism and meditating & stuff?” Carly asked. “*laughing* yeah - what was all that about?” Ben replied “He was always so enthusiastic about everything. *Carly looked down sadly* I miss him Ben.” “Hey - *puts his arm round her* Don’t get upset again. Think about the time you had together.” Carly began to cry “Hey - don’t cry *giving her a hug*” “Oh Ben. I feel safe with you. Since Steve died everything has been just too much.” Carly rested her head on Ben’s shoulder and looked up into his eyes. She imagined him throwing off his shirt and kissing her with passion as her hands explored
his smooth chest and worked round to his firm back. “Kiss me Ben. Let’s make love” she pleaded. Ben looked shocked and let her go, turning away. “I... I can’t.. I’m sorry. Not with you…” Carly looked hurt: “But... is it Steve. You think it’s too soon after Steve died?” Ben looked down: “It’s more than that. I really like you Carly but.... well you were Steve’s girlfriend and I was his.…” Carly looked uneasy: “What is it you’re trying to say Ben?” “I’m sorry Carly. Look you have a right to know. Me and Steve - we were more than just friends at University. Oh - look I like both guys and girls okay. And Steve was an amazing lover.” Carly pulled away, shocked and angry: “No..... NO.... *she got up* You mean he slept with you? I was going out with him when he was at University. I waited for him and all the time he was..... he was.…” She rushed out of the room and Ben gave a deep sigh. He lay back on the rug but was alarmed when he heard the front door slam. He realised that Carly in her upset state had run out of the house. He rushed to the door and opened it: “Carly... CARLY….” he shouted. It was raining hard and Ben couldn’t see her so he went to get his mobile and rang Corinne. At Corinne’s flat she & Paul were sitting listening to Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’ and enjoying a glass of Merlot. The phone rang and Corinne answered. “Ben..... slow down... what’s happened..... she’s gone .. where? Ok - well come over. *puts down the phone*” Corinne turned to Paul: “Its Ben. That stupid girl has run off out into the rain and Ben is worried that she might get harmed. Apparently that policeman who was supposed to be guarding them was watching TV and didn’t stop her idiot.” Paul smiled: “Oh she’ll be ok - let Peniman deal with it”. Corinne was annoyed: “No. Come on Paul we need to sort this. You’ve only had a sip or two so you can drive.” They left the flat and started driving over to the house. In the car Paul began to act strangely. He slowed down and stopped. “What’s wrong?” Corinne asked him. “ I... I don’t know. Feel kind of strange.... mindbender... oh no.. ashtar ashtar — haslet morth crealto no no aspk neacra……” “Paul, you’re making no sense. What’s the mindbender?” Suddenly Paul passed out completely and Corinne dragged him over and got in the driving seat herself. Meanwhile Ben had gone out looking for Carly in the rain. His white shirt was sticking to his wet skin and the moonlight shone on his blonde hair. “Carly... Carly..” he shouted. As he ran through a field towards a spinney he heard a growl and a scream “Oh my God, Carly…” He ran towards the sound and saw a large ape-like animal leaning over a motionless Carly. Its teeth glistened in the moonlight and it turned and ran. As Ben approached he was horrified to see that Carly’s throat had been ripped out and he knelt beside her blood-soaked corpse in a shocked state........... Episode 5: Dark Shadows Ben, Corinne and Paul had all returned to Corinne’s apartment after an intensive grilling by the police over Carly’s death. Ben was sitting with his head in his hands, devastated at the night’s events. He blamed
himself for Carly running out into the night however, Corinne reassured him that it wasn’t his fault. Ben described again the creature that he saw - a large, hairy beast - ape like but with large teeth. Corinne said that she was convinced that much of what they had experienced stemmed from mind manipulation in some way however, she believed Ben when he said that the creature they saw was real. Paul, who had recovered from his lapse of reason, poured Ben an absinthe and told him about an email that he had received earlier in the evening before the Carly incident blew up. “It’s from this guy who has been working on and off with Operation Delta for a few months now - Mickey Smith.” Ben lifted up his head in shock: “Oh I know him. He went out with Rose for a time a girl I know…”. He decided not to bore Paul with tales of his travels in the TARDIS and let him continue. “Mickey has been researching unexplained phenomena in the London area and he claims that he has hacked into the computer system of ‘Ashtar Electronics’, the company that are sponsoring the archaeological dig at the barrow site. Mickey became suspicious because of their huge leaps in technological advancement which apparently some associate of his called the Doctor thinks is impossible without... well alien assistance. Anyway, Mickey claims that they are indeed in possession of alien technology - resulting from some form of extra-terrestrial crash near Cromford in Derbyshire six years ago. It was before me and Corinne were recruited for Delta by Prentice.” Ben looked concerned. He knew that if the Doctor is involved, even fleetingly then something serious was going on - especially since a few deaths have occurred as well. Paul then told him that Ashtar Electronics had a plant in Wiltshire, just outside Swindon. Indeed it was their main plant which they had just moved into from London. Ben was adamant that they go now to check it out. Paul & Corinne tried to dissuade him as it was the early hours however reluctantly they agreed to go. It was getting light when they arrived and the plant was already up and running. Security wouldn’t let them in without a pass but Paul, thinking on his feet, said that he was the guy who hacked into their computer system and read all of their private files a while back - such as the one about the electronic systems of the crash near Cromford’. They were promptly surrounded by security men and marched off into the plant. Inside the plant they were placed in a holding room and waited silently until two men arrived. One introduced himself as Sir Digby Sotheram - head of Ashtar Electronics. He stared menacingly at them and told them that they would shortly be joining ‘the ranks of the dead’. However the other man - younger and rather thin looking - put a hand on his shoulder and said that they had better wait until ‘the boss’ arrived. After they had gone Corinne ruminated on who this ‘boss’ might be if it wasn’t Sotheram who was in full control. Ben angrily kicked at the door in frustration. He sat down, his blonde locks falling over his face and touching his rose-petal lips. He thought of Rose & the Doctor travelling through space and time and wished that they were here to help. Suddenly the door flew open and there, standing before them was........ ....... John Prentice - Head of Operation Delta!!!!! Paul and Corinne were dumbfounded as Prentice grinned sardonically at them. 79
“Hello again colleagues,” he sarcastically sneered. “It seems that we are about to come to the end of your term of employment.” Prentice then revealed that Operation Delta was simply a cover for his own sinister political ambitions. Prentice was non-other than the Lord of the Servants of Herne, head of a neo-pagan black magic cult that had covertly infiltrated every top organisation in government. Using technology gleaned from a crashed alien craft in Derbyshire his organisation had been creating all manner of false phenomena incidents via mind altering beams of energy which replicate the effects of a psychedelic substance and the results of injecting alien DNA into animals. Ben was incensed to think that the creature that killed Carly was man made. ‘Why?’ he angrily asked. ‘Power’ Prentice replied. He explained how riding on the fear generated by the unexplained phenomena he was about to be promoted to being in charge of every government security agency - MI5, MI6 - the lot! As head of Operation Delta he would be the only choice. Obviously Operation Delta itself couldn’t actually be allowed to get anywhere near the truth, ‘why do you think I chose a pair of nohopers like you to employ’ he sneers at Corinne & Paul. Once in charge of security - Prentice planned to lead a coup and take over the UK. His fellow occultists in the armed forces would ensure their compliance. ‘Then there will be a new dawn for Albion’ he boasted , ‘The spirit of the horned God will rule these isles again and the power of the runes will spread to America and beyond’. “He’s mad” Corinne whispered to Ben. “I gathered that” he replied. Prentice grinned at them. ‘Tonight however you three will learn the true meaning of sacrifice’. After Prentice left the room they pondered what that last statement meant. “He’s going to kill us in some form of ritualised pagan sacrifice” Ben told them. “I studied pre-Christian beliefs as part of my Archaeology degree - I have a first by the way. We could be skinned alive and our skin worn by the high priest or even burned alive in a huge wicker structure.” Corinne was concerned and leant on Paul’s shoulder. Later that night armed men came and escorted Paul & Corinne away. Ben was left waiting for a while and then the men returned for him. They grabbed him and tore off his outer clothing and dragged him outside where he was shocked to see Paul & Corinne tied to wooden stakes with a wicker structure placed over them resembling a giant saucer shaped space ship and a bonfire underneath. Ben was spread across a huge stone altar and Prentice appeared wearing a helmet with horns on it and a black gown. ‘Oh mightily Herne - God of the trees, the wind and the forest. Accept this sacrifice.’ He lifted a knife out of his gown and raised it over Ben.......... Episode 6: Nemesis As Prentice lifted the knife over Ben a beam of light shot into him and he fell down. However the light only caught him a glancing blow and he staggered away wounded. Then further beams shot at the hooded figures about to light the bonfires around Corinne & Paul and they also fell. Ben turned his head around to see where the beams of energy came from and he was shocked to see a metallic dog-shaped object approaching followed by a middle-aged woman. The woman ran up to Ben and started to untie his hands. ‘Hello, I’m Sarah Jane Smith and this is K9’. 80
‘You mean... that clockwork dog thing?’ Ben replied. ‘Oh K9 is much more than clockwork aren’t you K9? ‘Sarah exclaimed. “Affirmative, Mistress” Ben and Sarah quickly untied Paul and Corinne and they all ran off towards Sarah’s car before any of Prentice’s men still inside the building could work out what had happened. K9 had stunned the guards so they were free to leave the grounds. Back at Corinne’s flat, Sarah explained how Mickey Smith had contacted her as well as Operation Delta regarding his suspicions as having met her via the Doctor he remembered her reporting and investigative skills. She had been investigating Ashtar Electronics for weeks. She and Ben shared anecdotes about the Doctor and a bottle of Shiraz - Sarah told Ben that the Doctor travelled with a girl called Rose now - a clingy young thing all over him; ‘ I know’ replied Ben. ‘I invited her to Paris for a weekend break and next thing she wouldn’t let me have any space at all. I found it overpowering’ Ben sadly complained. Paul interrupted, reminding them that there was still the problem of Prentice in the Ashtar Electronics plant - they had to get back there to stop him getting away as there was still the possibility of him initiating a coup. Corinne suggested that she and Ben wait at the flat and ring UNIT for support while Paul, Sarah & K9 set off to deal with Prentice. Paul reluctantly agreed and they set off in his car. At the flat Corinne called UNIT and gave the phone to Ben who explained the situation. Corinne then sat down next to Ben who was tired and exhausted from the day’s events. A Philip Glass symphony played in the background. She asked Ben about Rose and he explained sadly how he was still hurt after breaking up with Steve when he was travelling with her and the Doctor and although he wanted her like crazy he knew that he wasn’t ready for the full commitment Rose demanded. “She took advantage of you” Corinne said and Ben nodded his head sadly, his beautiful eyes full with tears. “Have some more wine” Corinne suggested, pouring Ben a large refill. Ben confessed that he felt guilty about Carly but Corinne assured him it was not his fault: “She wouldn’t accept you Ben - for who you really are. You must be strong though”. Ben agreed. They then listened to Geri Halliwell’s ‘Strength of a Woman’ while finishing off the wine then Corinne led him upstairs to her bed. Meanwhile Paul and Sarah were back inside the Ashtar plant and as they entered the building they were confronted by two of Prentice’s men who K9 promptly shot. They then searched for Prentice and found him in a strange looking control room. Before K9 could shoot him a sliding door slammed shut and the dog was locked out with Sarah & Paul alone in the room with Prentice and his armed men who pointed their guns. Prentice laughed sardonically: “I have already telephoned my allies in the armed services. Soon the whole of Britain will be in my hands. The new golden dawn awaits and you will all perish like vermin - ha ha ha ha ha ha”. Suddenly there was a huge bang - the door flew open and in burst UNIT troops who shot Prentice’s men before they could react. Prentice threw himself to the ground shrieking, “Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me”. He was led away - a broken figure. The UNIT commander stated that acting on information received from Ben Chatham they got here just in time and had also prevented an attempted coup by a minority of army officers. Sarah looked at Paul: “Ben has saved the day -
he’s truly special isn’t he?’ Paul agreed. The following day, Corinne and Paul said goodbye to Sarah & K9 outside Corinne’s flat. Ben had a rucksack on his back as he was off to get the train back home to Cambridge and Sarah was giving him a lift to the station. They all agreed that Operation Delta, now headed by Paul, would be in safe hands and that Sarah would keep in touch. However it could all have been very different if Ben hadn’t been there to solve the mystery. They all gave a collective cheer and started to sing ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow ‘ as Ben smiled and blushed. THE END
EARTHSPAN Part 1: Shadows and Impressions Ben and his new boyfriend Charles are enjoying a weekend break in London and are spending the afternoon in the Tate Modern. Ben has developed an interest in the Dutch modernist Hans Climt due to encouragement from Charles and they are enjoying the exhibition of his work. “See the subtle use of overlaying in this” Charles points out as they stare at Climt’s ‘Midnight Motion’ and Ben is transfixed by the luminous, shimmering colours. As they stare at the picture however Ben is overcome by a strange feeling he seems to see a medieval knight riding out of the painting towards him and the sound of someone whispering his name menacingly over and over again. He feels dizzy and sinks to his knees - Charles desperately asking him what it wrong: “Its Ok - I must just be a little tired or something” Ben replies Charles helps him to his feet and insists that they go for a coffee in the restaurant. Charles orders Ben an espresso and himself a cappuccino and Ben insists that he is ok: “Actually Charles there is something I’ve been meaning to tell you. When we get back to Cambridge I’ll be leaving almost immediately for Tellbury in Somerset to take part in a major excavation of a Saxon burial site. It means I’ll be away for at least a month and I know that with your exhibition and stuff you’ll have to stay in Cambridge.” Charles looks up from his cappuccino and smiles: “Great news Ben, you go and enjoy it. All of this experience adds to your CV of archaeological experience”. Ben looks away secretly disappointed with this response and feeling that Charles should be more upset that they’ll be apart for a month instead of seeming to be happy. His deep eyes fill with tears and he hides this with his hand. “Hey, are you ok Ben?” Charles asks. “Oh yeah, don’t concern yourself on my account” Ben snaps and finishes the espresso in sombre mood. The next day, Ben is still in a dark mood as he drives down to Tellbury, repeatedly listening to Bowie’s ‘Sense of Doubt’ on his car stereo. Charles hadn’t even bothered to ring since he left. As he arrives at the village he parks near the church and walks to the small B& B where he will be staying and knocks the door. A middle aged woman opens it with a round face, dark hair and oddly piercing eyes. “Oh - pleasant days ahead sir! I’ll take your bags. My name is Margot please address me by this and no other name. Please enter this domicile.” Ben finds her manner rather disconcerting, however he enters the house and is shown upstairs to a nice, but sparse room with a wardrobe and neatly made bed. “You will reside in this room. The bathroom is next door. You will be happy here, we are discerning. It is good to be discerning. No foreign elements are
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus allowed”. Ben is a tad taken aback by the last comment and it about to challenge the implications of it however Margot has gone downstairs so he puts his bags down and starts to neatly unpack his expensive shirts and £600 jacket which he gently hangs in the wardrobe. When he has unpacked and used the toilet he decides to go and ask Margot about breakfast times and other details. He goes downstairs hand hearing the sound of plates being moved finds the kitchen. However as he enters he is shocked to see dead rabbits and hares hanging from a gigantic hook in the ceiling above the sink - around eight of them, blood oozing from slashed throats. Margot looks up; “We kill all of our own meat in this house. We eradicate vermin.” She picks up a shotgun and waves it at Ben - it missing his face by a couple of inches only. “If you aren’t close enough they survive the pellets. Then manual eradication is required. They often shriek - it is important to ignore this. Would you like a nice cup of tea and a homemade scone?” Ben is somewhat concerned but puts her manner down to West Country eccentricity: “Oh... Er… yes please. It’s been a long drive”. As he sips the tea in the dining room he hears the sound of footsteps coming downstairs and children laughing. Two youngsters enter - a boy and girl, both around 11 or 12. “Oh you are a guest. We hate guests - you’d better do as we say or we’ll stab you.” the boy says. “Gouge your eyes out and chew them up” the girl adds and they both laugh. Ben is annoyed but decides to ignore them. The boy isn’t having it: “Lower forms of life are vermin. You ****” (they both giggle at this word). “****, ****, ****” they chant and the boy moves over towards Ben, grabs the tea and cracks the cup down on Ben’s head. Ben shouts angrily as Margot comes in : “ Etar , lemarko , destrali” she shouts at the children. Their manner suddenly changes and they walk up to Ben sheepishly: “Kind sir, my name is Harry and this is my sister Maria. We are delighted to welcome you to our home. Pleasant days are ahead.” the boy says. Ben looks angrily at Margot who reassures him: “The children need adjustment leeway. You must understand this. Breakfast is at 8 am sharp. Nutrients are essential to sustain life”. Ben is perplexed. Later in the afternoon Ben is grateful to get away from the bizarre household as he drives to the dig site to have a look around. As he drives down a leafy country lane the car starts to slow down and stop by itself. Ben is frustrated and concerned as he tries everything to start it up again. Suddenly he hears the sound of horses hooves and he looks out of the car window to see a group of men on horses dressed in chain mail. He assumes they are returning from some kind of medieval fete however as they approach the car they begin to shout and one of them hurls a large metal axe at the car - it smashes through Ben’s windscreen - just missing his head as he ducks down. Terrified and covered in glass he looks up as another dismounts and aims a lance straight at Ben’s head… Part 2 : Sign of the cross Just as the man moves to throw the lance at Ben’s head he and the others start to fade and vanish and the lance disappears mid-air. Ben wait’s a moment, stunned and confused however after he has composed himself he gets out of the car to have a look around. The lane is deserted except from the sound of birds in the trees and the rustling of the leaves in the warm breeze. He looks about in the undergrowth at the side of the road for signs of horses hooves however he sees none however he does notice that the roadside hedge is full of ripe blackberries and not wanting to miss the
opportunity he busies himself for a while picking some and putting them in an old carrier bag he fetches from the car. As he does so he hears the sound of a car approaching and hears it slowing down. A young woman of about 25 leans out the window grinning at Ben: “Hey : there’s some even riper ones further on a bit. How quaint to see blackberry picking nowadays”. Ben thinks her a little rude but grins: “Fresh organic fruit is hardly quaint anymore I’d say. Anyway - I’m just passing through on my way to the Saxon archaeological site - I’m to be working there”. The girl laughs - “Hey you must be Ben Chatham - I’m Katie Ryan - project manager at the site - its my first real posting, and yours too I understand.” Ben is surprised - he expected her to be older, having corresponded with her via email a few times. They drive onto the site and as they arrive two of the excavation team are engaged in a furious row with the local vicar, an elderly man with long white hair and a stubbly chin. He is waving a cross at them and shouting furiously: “You won’t listen you fools. Carry on and you’ll unleash more of the forces of evil. He that is the beast will come and set forth a reign of terror with the false prophet at his side - the false prophet of the vanity of worldly education. Arm yourself with the true knowledge of the Lord before it is too late”. “Push off grandad” one of the youthful excavators says and moves to continue his work but the vicar grabs his arm: “Listen to me before it’s too late”. Ben and Katie get out of their cars: “Oh no - it’s the mad vicar again” Katie says: “He’s been here every day of the dig ranting and raving - its time the church pensioned him off or shunted him to the funny farm or something. He thinks the dig in unleashing the armies of Satan - riding around in medieval costumes and planning Armageddon. I’ll get rid of him….” “NO wait!” Ben exclaims and runs up to the old man. “Sir ... My name is Ben Chatham. I’d be very interested to hear what you’ve been seeing around here.” The vicar looks at Ben with a desperate look of gratitude that someone at last will listen: “The horsemen. More than four - many horsemen. With armour - armour crafted by the Devil. They ride around here and that’s not all - women - nuns appearing in the village and vanishing before our eyes - more tricks by Satan. It all stems from here disturbing what has been buried for hundreds of years.” Ben assures the old man that he believes what he is saying and will talk to the others. Later that evening, Katie has invited Ben round to her rented cottage for an evening meal and Ben, having no desire to hurry back to Margot’s place, obliges. Ben has told Katie all about the incident with the knights in the lane and she doesn’t believe him. Ben feels bemused: “Hey do you think I’d make something like that up? Listen there are plenty of things I’ve done that you wouldn’t believe like time travel for instance in a time machine”. Katie stifles a laugh and Ben looks angry. “Hey I’m sorry Ben lets change the subject. Tell me about you, are you single? Ben tells her about his relationship with Charles, welcoming a sympathetic ear. He concludes sadly: “You see I just don’t think he cares, not in the way I do. Me being away for a month means nothing to him, he hasn’t phoned once. I even told my parents about him they didn‘t know I dated guys as well as girls. They don‘t exactly approve but I did it because he‘s special. And then he does this.” Katie sympathises: “That’s gay men for you - a few shags and its on to the next one”. This time Ben is furious : “Oh I’ve had it with you. First of all you don’t believe me about what happened in the lane and then
when I tell you about Charles you make all gay men out to be promiscuous. I’m out of here”. He jumps up, knocking over the wine, and makes to leave. As he does so however, Katie grabs him and kisses him full on the mouth: “You know you want it. I can make you feel like a real man for a change”. Ben slaps her and storms out, his eyes filling with tears. He sits in his car for a while, thinking of Charles before driving back to Margot’s place. When he arrives at the B&B he finds Margot in the hallway as he enters. “Young man there is a parcel for you. It arrived after you left - special delivery . This is irregular. I find it strange. It’s in your room.” Ben goes upstairs and finds a large box. He is confused as he told few people he was coming here, Charles, Paul Farraday, his parents, the Doctor and that’s it. He gets one of his archaeological tools to wrench open the box. As he does so he hears a whirring sound and sees a familiar metallic dog shape: “K9”? “Affirmative, Master. I am K9 Mark 5. Present from the Doctor, Master” Part 3: Deadly Experiment The next morning Ben has a nice relaxing shower before going downstairs for breakfast. As he rubs the water off his toned, muscular body he gazes as K9 sitting in the corner and thinks he might come in useful at the dig site. “Are you capable of analysing the age of archaeological objects?” he asks the machine. “Affirmative, Master. My memory banks contain a full download of all available earth archaeological knowledge and I have a full inbuilt carbon analysis system. The Doctor knew you would appreciate this technology.” Ben gives a smile. At the breakfast table downstairs, Ben feels uneasy as Margot serves him a decidedly greasy looking full English with the egg swimming in fat. “Excuse me, but this isn’t what I asked for. I didn’t’t want bacon just one sausage with egg, beans and tomatoes. And this egg is overdone”. Margot looks blankly: “Said protein rich nourishment is prepared in the manner to which I am accustomed. It is highly irregular to personalise and vary the contents of said nourishment meal.” Ben is irritated: “Look I’m paying to stay here, surely this entitles me to decide what to have for breakfast. And I wasn’t going to say but all of this is swimming in grease - it looks disgusting.” Just then the children appear and rush in. The boy picks up a fork from another table and throws it at Ben grinning: “Silly cunt. We hate you cunt. Die.” Ben has had enough: “Ok forget it I’ve had enough. This is the worst place I’ve ever stayed in and you are totally irresponsible letting these brats run around throwing things at guests.” He storms out angrily and loads K9 into the car before driving off to the dig site. As he drives off he thinks of Charles who still hasn’t rang him. Picking up his mobile he tries Charles’ number but Charles’ mobile is switched off…. Arriving at the site, Ben walks up to the excavation trenches and sees Katie chatting with two bearded archaeologists, one of whom he recognises as Professor Martin Brysdale from the popular TV archaeology programme ‘Window to the Past’. He walks up to them and turning his back on Katie he greets Brysdale and chats about the excavation and archaeological matters. Katie smiles sardonically. As they chat, Brysdale explains that this might be one of the most important Saxon sites since Sutton Hoo: “We were lucky to get the go ahead to excavate it fully though given the objections from that place over there.” He gesticulates towards a distant building 81
complex set amid the rolling countryside. “That is Techfield Research Centre, they own the fields next to this site, though fortunately not this one. They specialise in medical research using animals and the company bought a farm in the middle of the countryside to develop as a relatively hush hush way of avoiding the animal rights brigade. They claimed that our dig would attract too much interest and too many visitors to the area - of course they didn’t have a leg to stand on. If you ask me they’re too secretive - no wonder the anti-vivisectionists resort to breaking in places like that.” Katie jumps in : “Well actually I think they have no choice , given the level of violence these animal rights nuts are capable of.” Ben prefers to ignore her and get straight into helping out the excavation of the site. He gets K9 out of the car and lets the dog use his censors to find the location of artefacts much to the amusement and bemusement of the other excavators. After working all morning, Ben decides on a pub lunch and hearing that there is a local just a 15 minute walk away in the nearest hamlet he sets off on foot, enjoying the country walk. As he walks along the lane he spots what looks like a man in the distance running in the middle of the road and stopping occasionally for breath. As he gets closer he sees that the man is covered in blood and, feeling concerned, Ben runs towards him. The man collapses into Ben’s arms mumbling incoherently: “I…. can’t… its just evil whats happening there…..the research centre…. Got to stop Blunt before he …. He’s insane…” As he talks a car approaches fast and screeches to a halt. Two men get out and one of them thwacks Ben across the face while the other bundles the injured man into the back. Then they drive off at speed. Dazed and confused, Ben trundles on towards the pub. Inside he makes straight for the gents to wash his cut lip - and asks the landlord to phone the police on his way there. In the gents, Ben gazes into the mirror - the cut is a bad one and blood has dripped down all over the collar of his expensive white shirt. Angrily Ben begins to wash the wound when he hears someone enter the gents and approach from behind. Turning around he sees the landlord - who stands staring at Ben blankly. “Are they on their way, the police I mean?” Ben asks. “Said minor public servants will not be arriving, for they have not been called which makes their arrival unlikely”. Ben is horrified to notice that the landlord’s eyes are changing colour - turning into the green eyes of a cat. Hair appears on his face and his mouth extends and opens to reveal huge talons………. Part 4: Creatures of Tomorrow The creature moves in towards Ben its mouth widening displaying huge yellow talons and its predatory eyes staring intensely. Ben tries to move away but the creature grabs his arms, its claws stabbing into Ben’s arm. However just as it lunges its mouth forward to bite Ben’s smooth white neck the door jolts open and a red beam of light strikes the beast in the back and it howls as it collapses to the floor. It then reverts to its human form. Ben sees K9 trundling into the room and is surprised and relieved: “Hey, the Doctor didn’t say you could do that.” “I took the precaution of following you Master. I sense danger here. My life form analysis scanner and database indicate that several of the life forms on the dig site and in this village are not of any single recognisable earth species”. Ben is confused: “What do you mean - not of any single recognisable earth species?” “Sensors indicate said life forms are of earth origin but consist of DNA from several earth species”. Ben is even more confused however before he can quiz K9 82
further he pulls out his mobile and starts to call the police himself however he stops before he finishes the call. Ben fears that the regular local police might not be appropriate for this case - either part of what is clearly some form of conspiracy or unlikely to believe that the man K9 killed was a creature of some kind. He decides the best course of action is to get out of there and think and, instructing K9 to follow, runs out of the pub and back to his car. Loading K9 into the passenger seat he drives away from the site at speed. “K9, you say that these creatures have DNA from several earth species. Do you mean like some kind of cross bred human- animal?” “Negative - analysis indicates some other process involved other than standard breeding process. Technology involved not of earth origin”. Ben is concerned: “And is Katie Ryan one of these creatures?” “Negative Master. Sensors indicate said person fully human.” “Of a fashion…” Ben mumbles to himself. Having driven around for hours to clear his head, listening to David Sylvian’s ‘Secrets of the Beehive’ , Ben decides that rather than heading back to the B& Be he’ll drive back to Katie’s place, after all she is probably not part of the conspiracy and whatever his personal thoughts on her are he will need assistance in solving this mystery. Arriving at her place she is surprised to see him and welcomes him in: “Ah - you can’t resist me after all” she quips. “Look Katie, I’m here because something seriously wrong is going on in this area and I need your help. I realise that you will have problems believing some of what I’m going to tell you but please just hear me out.” Calmly and surely Ben explains about the man on the road, the creature in the pub, K9 and his info, the Doctor, alien encounters - the full works. Katie listens carefully with a deadpan face and when he’s finished says: “So let me get this clear; you travelled with an alien in a time machine who sent you a robotic dog which claims that there are creatures roaming around the area which are half -human half animal and one attacked you in the pub toilet”. “Yes” Katie’s face suddenly breaks into a huge grin and she starts to laugh uncontrollably much to Ben’s annoyance. She puts her hand on Ben’s knee and strokes his leg: “OK - wind up over. I mean you’re far too gorgeous to be a nutter but a wind up merchant is fine by me” and she continues laughing. Ben is deeply offended and storms out, his eyes filling with tears. He takes K9 out of the car and orders him to follow him back in. Katie sits upright surprised as she sees K9. Ben instructs the dog to confirm that he is a robotic gift from the Doctor and just for good measure gets him to blast Katie’s tacky turquoise vase sitting on the shelf to smithereens. Once convinced of at least some of Ben’s story Katie suggests they look at recent events calmly and come up with a plan of action. Ben explains once more about the strange medieval knights and the injured man bundled into the car mentioning a man called ‘Blunt’. Here Katie stops him: “Hang on- that must be Colin Blunt - Managing Director of Techfield Research Centre - you know the Medical experiments place we were talking about earlier. He’s the one who gave us so much stick over the archaeology project - claimed it would draw too much attention and interest to the area and enhance his centre’s profile in the eyes of animal rights people. As if archaeology projects ever get much decent space in the media.” Ben thinks for a minute: “Clearly there’s more going
on in that place than just medical research. I think we need to investigate.” Ben & Katie drive to the dig site then walk on foot to the perimeter fence of the Research Centre, accompanied by K9 . They use the dog to cut a nice big hole in the fence and scramble through. As they poke around outside the building looking for a way in K9 stuns a couple of security guards. Ben notices a window open and he & Katie drag a wheelie bin round to underneath it and climb up it and through the window. Falling down on a hard floor they find themselves in a pitch dark room. Scrambling around they can feel huge objects all around them. Katie finds a wall and feels for a light switch. Eventually she gets lucky and flicks the switch…… they are horrified to see a series of huge column shaped containers - each containing a hideous distorted travesty of the human form - half animal in features with distorted limbs, fins or claws and bulbous staring dead eyes, each one pickled in a light green liquid……. Part 5: Conspiracy of Terror Katie forgets herself and screams however the door is already being flung open and a series of armed men enter the room and surround them. Ben is incensed: “What the hell is going on here? What are these…. These creatures?” he demands angrily, however a burly security guard grins and moves his face into Ben’s personal space: “I think its time you met the boss.”. He moves round and jabs his gun into Ben’s back hard as Katie is also shoved forward. They are marched through a series of white, clinical corridors towards a closed door and the security guard knocks: “Bring them in”, a voice shouts and Ben & Katie are ushered in. Behind a desk sits a thin, middle-aged man in a suit with receding hairline and glasses. “Ah , how appropriate that you should join us voluntarily” he says to Ben, “I realise after what you witnessed in the pub that I would need to… shall we say invite your company and you happening to drop in like this is so much more civilised than vulgar compulsion. Care for a drink?” He gesticulates towards a small drinks cabinet. Ben is furious: “Now look here Blunt, I assume you are this Blunt anyway, what the hell is…..” “Oh come now young Ben, shouting is so unnecessary. Relax, have some brandy - it’s a curative. I expect the specimens which you saw were a tad shocking, but you need to put aside such feelings in the face of the sheer enormity of what we are about to achieve here.” “I don’t want your stinking brandy, I want an explanation!” Ben shouts “What the hell were those things?” Katie chips in. Blunt gets up from his desk, walks to the drinks cabinet and pours himself a brandy. “I do envy the young in some ways. Everything is black and white, good or bad. Its only later that you see things in shades of grey. The people who protest against my research centre view me as an animal abuser, a monster. Yet to me animals are so superior to humanity in lots of ways - not knowingly deceitful, cruel - creatures of instinct doing what nature tells them - no malice, no deviousness. You see its not just physical illness that I aim to cure here. It’s the illness of original sin!” Ben and Katie look confused and Blunt smiles. “Imagine a mankind that is pure - pure in mind and spirit. That doesn’t kill unless it needs to for food, that has no concept of greed - eats only what it needs to eat - has no knowledge of good and bad - in short is innocent! That has the body of a man but the mind and purity of the animal. Imagine a world still green and
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus unspoilt filled with such creatures - a return to the Garden of Eden! Imagine that!” Katie whispers to Ben , “This bloke’s a loon” Blunt laughs; “A loon? Hardly appropriate for the man who can make this happen - that can return the earth to purity. Those creatures that you saw - they were failed attempts - but what I have created is the perfect animal. I take an animal and augment it with the DNA of a human being. I won’t bore you with the details but the process - Enhanced DNA reproduction augmentation- is unbelievably difficult but you see I had help. Have you any idea how many alien artifacts and wrecked space vehicles have fallen into the hands of our government? All ultra-secret of course but my organisation was an exception to the normal rules in this respect - I mean if any alien technology can be used to cure disease…. And so I’ve made huge advances. I can create an animal that is superior to humanity”. Ben scoffs: “Oh and I suppose you intend to create an army of these things and hope they’ll take over the world or something” Blunt looks offended: “Please Ben, don’t mock me. I am well aware of the impossibility of that. No - there is a far easier solution. We intend to send the new people back to a time when the earth was still green and weapons primitive. With modern weaponry they will have an easier task in eradicating the old stock and the earth will be pure again.” Realisation creeps over Ben: “You have been experimenting with time travel - the medieval knights I saw…. More results of your alien technology…But hang on - you can only bring people OUT of the past not send them back yet - am I right?” Blunt scowls: “A problem yes - and only as far back as the medieval period. And even then only for a short time and then they transfer back. I need to send the new people back much further to make eradication of the old stock simpler and I need to keep them there. In short I need further help. And that is where YOU come in.” Ben is concerned. Blunt continues: “I mean the Doctor. A very elusive figure I understand. However you don’t get the level of governmental trust and high access that I have without learning of him. I need his help and his knowledge. And you young Ben can bring him to me. A stroke of pure luck brought you here but as soon as we learned of your presence from Margot the pieces fell into place. You contact him, beg him to come on a matter that can save the earth. He arrives and we use him to do just that - save the earth from the pollution of humanity!” Katie shouts angrily: “I don’t believe a word of this you’re insane. Ben ?” Ben looks at her and shakes his head; “Insane he may be but the Doctor is very real. However I will never contact him on your behalf.” Blunt smiles: “Ah Ben. The one thing I do know about the Doctor is that he rarely chooses ruthless and callous companions. If you don’t get him to come here I will bit by bit alter the DNA of young Katie here’s body - slowly she will ache from every cell - then the pain will start - an entire body wracked with sub-cellular cancer augmented with technology that will keep her alive and conscious through every agonising moment for as long as I need to. Can you imagine the sound of the screams? And I will do it.. Unless you comply….” Part 6: Rage & Deliverance Ben pleads with Blunt in order to make him see the madness of what he is doing:
“Look even if you were able to send those… creatures back in time it won’t work. They’re unstable - look at that Landlord - I clearly saw him reverting back to animal form. Whatever sick changes you’ve made to the DNA hasn’t created a permanent state. And even if it did - do you honestly think that getting those things to eliminate early man with modern weaponry would create a better future? They’re as aggressive as we are - more so probably. Arm a tiger with a developed brain & guns and it will go on a killing spree”. Blunt is unmoved: “I have no time to waste listening to this negative chit chat young Ben. Do as I ask and contact the Doctor. Or Katie here, how can I put this, will assist us with our research.” Katie pleads with Ben not to do it but he pulls out his advanced looking mobile and begins to call the Doctor. However before he can do so the glass in the window of Blunt’s office smashes open and a familiar figure bursts in - K9 - who has levitated up and flown through and proceeds to zap Blunt’s associates although Blunt is quick enough to dash out.” “K9” Ben exclaims, hugging the dog, what made you follow?” “Standard programming is to wait 30 minutes if given instruction to stay without set time limit Master”. “Well there’s no time to lose – let’s get out before Blunt & his flunkeys come back”. Ben, Katie and K9 climb out of the window onto the grass below and run for their lives as security men run after them shooting. K9 zaps a few of them before they get through the hole in the fence and to the car and drive off rapidly - the tyres screeching. In the car Ben uses his special mobile to contact UNIT HQ. Back at Techfield Research Centre, Blunt & his associates are in Blunt’s office, where the latter is raging. “You fools , by letting Chatham escape you’ve ruined years of careful planning. In a few hours this place will be crawling with armed soldiers - only one thing for it.” He lifts up a panel at the side of his desk and presses a green button. “One thing I can achieve it to cleanse as much of this area as possible of old stock”. His associates look worried. Ben & Katie have returned to Katie’s flat and Katie pours Ben a glass of Chardonnay as they discuss recent events. Ben assures Katie that UNIT will soon be swarming on the Research Centre however he still looks worried. Katie asks if its because of the augmented human/animal hybrids. “No , I’m sure the authorities will do the best they can for them. No its nothing to do with any of this … its Charles. He still hasn’t phoned me and his mobile is permanently switched off. I can take a hint - its over. And I’ve no idea why” Ben’s eyes fill with tears and he buries his face in his exclusive arran sweater. Katie moves over and puts her arms around him. “Its Ok Ben, just let it out. He doesn’t know what he’s losing - you deserve better.” She begins to kiss Ben’s smooth neck. Suddenly they hear a screaming sound coming from the street below and frantic wails. Ben jumps up and rushes to the window where he sees a woman lying on the ground and a large wolf -like creature tearing at her throat. Ben yells for K9 and the dog levitates downstairs after him as he rushes out. The creature looks up and lurches at Ben however K9 shoots it down just in time. As Ben & Katie listen they hear
screaming sounds from all around - and animal grunting. “Oh God, all the creatures are reverting and going on the rampage. Do something K9”. “Affirmative Master” Just as K9 heads off top help the sound of military vehicles pierces the night as UNIT arrives in force and several helicopters approach. In the pub the landlord & barmaid have reverted to huge tigers and the bar area is littered with corpses as blood spatters over upturned glasses. UNIT troops shoot at the fleeing creatures and bring them down. Ben is relieved that the troops are here: “They’ll soon sort all this out now. Let’s go and finish the wine”. However as they go back into the flat someone rushes in behind them from the side of the building and pushes a gun into Katie’s back, holding her by the neck. It is Colin Blunt. “Keep moving into the flat. Come on or she gets it”. They move into the lounge and Blunt orders Ben to sit down before throwing Katie beside him and waving the gun at them. “You have no idea what you have ruined do you. Over twenty years of planning and preparation, a chance to create a new world”. Ben is angered: “You’re insane. Your plan was to destroy mankind in favour of genetically mutated and unstable creatures driven insane by your modification and tampering. You’re just another lunatic who is willing to kill millions in the name of some misguided notion of perfection.” Blunt stares icily at him: “Well you won’t live long to enjoy your victory young man.” He steadies the gun and points at Ben’s head however just in time the door flies open and as Blunt turns round to see the UNIT soldier Katie throws a glass of wine in his eyes and punches him hard as he drops the gun. Later on, Ben, Katie and the UNIT Commander are sitting in Katie’s lounge enjoying a glass of single malt. “Well thanks to you Ben the whole thing has been cleared up. All of the creatures are dead as far as we know and Blunt is in our hands. His flunkeys set fire to the research centre so all his records and equipment are destroyed - no bad thing really.” Katie smiles: “You’ve saved the world Ben. How does it feel?” Ben blushes as she runs her hand through his hair. When the Commander has gone, Katie & Ben lie together on the sofa listening to Radio head’s ‘Kid A’. Ben looks sad: “Katie - look I do like you and I’m sorry about the other night. Its just that I love Charles and I need to get back tomorrow and find out what’s going on.” “Ben - please don’t get angry with me again but its pretty obvious what’s happened. He’s moved on to someone else. He’s had you. It’s what gay men do.” Ben is angered and sits up: “Look why do you keep saying stuff like that? I’m sorry but its time I left.” However Katie grabs his arm and stares into his eyes: “Hey look I’m sorry. It’s late. Stay the night Ben. Do you think that he’s sat all alone tonight? Well don’t you do either.” Ben looks at Katie and sinks back down. They kiss passionately………. THE END 83
THE LINDIG VALLEY MYSTERY Ben was alone in his Cambridge apartment sipping an absinthe and drifting in and out of sleep on the sofa. He was listening to Nico’s “The Marble Index” and trying to forget his latest pull Milo, who had turned down Ben’s offer of another date. However just as Ben drifted into sleep, his mobile rang. It was Katie Ryan: “Ben, Ben... you there? I can’t explain now but you must come... please. “ Ben was frustrated at being disturbed: “Oh what is it? Look Katie I’m not in the mood ok.” “Ben, I’m at the site I told you about the other day, in Lindig Valley. Something strange is going on here. I ... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.........” Ben was now intrigued: “Hello? Katie? Are you ok?” There was no reply and Ben was alarmed. Katie had sent him a long email a few days before about her trip to Wales with a small team to excavate the site of an old monastery in the remote Lindig Valley. He tried ringing her back but she didn’t pick up. Just then the door rang; it was Ben’s friend Chiara. “Hi Ben, I wondered if you fancied lunch in the Mermaid Bar.” Ben explained to her what had just happened and that he must drive to Wales and see what had happened. Chiara agreed that this was the best thing to do and volunteered to come along. They jumped into Ben’s rare vintage car and sped off, the wind blowing through their hair. Chiara stared at Ben and thought he was looking particularly radiant today: “You look so cool with the wind blowing through your golden hair like that Ben” she said. “I Know I do” Ben replied with a smile. After a long drive and a few stops along the way, they were soon driving through the fresh Welsh countryside. Ben was slightly disgruntled as Chiara had insisted that they stop at a Little Chef a while back: “... not only was the food as bad as I predicted but it was full of lower-class children” He complained.” “I often wonder why the general sump breeds so profusely. They cannot like the children they produce or they’d spend more quality time with them”. However Chiara smiled: “Oh Ben, you should try to loosen up and not let these things get to you. Put the music back on.” Ben put Bowie’s “Tin Machine” back on and they enjoyed the music blasting out and the countryside passing. Eventually Ben turned down a narrow country lane: “I think we’re not far now. Let’s ask this local”. They stopped next to a rustic local carrying a spade: “Hi. We’re looking for the village of Lanfridigg in the Lindig Valley. This is the Lindig valley isn’t it? Are we far from the village?” The local scowled:” And who might you be boyo?” “I’m Ben and this is Chiara.” “Well I’d go back home if I were you. We don’t much like strangers around these valleys boyo. “ Just then the man’s face contorted with a look of pure terror. Coming down the road in front of them were six monks in full habits with hoods up. “No, No I wasn’t talking to them....” the Welshman pleaded however the monks all stared at him. A stream of red light emanated from their eyes and hit the man who screamed and fell. 84
Ben didn’t wait for the same to happen to them and he raced the car away, narrowly missing the monks on the thin lane. They entered the village shortly afterwards. Finding no one around and the shop closed they drove on towards the dig site. Chiara was unnerved so Ben let her have a swig of brandy from his bottle in the glove compartment. At the site, Ben found it deserted. They were just about to leave when they suddenly found themselves surrounded by monks. One of them lifted a staff and hit Ben over the head. Then they dragged Chiara away and carried a dazed Ben to a cave entrance and down some underground steps. Ben roused round to find himself in an underground temple with incense burning and monks chanting. A strange priest-like figure approached with a golden mask on: “Why have you come here?” Ben was angry: “Who are you?” The figure gestured to the monks to leave. The figure lifted the mask to reveal....The green face of an amphibian creature with bulging eyes and fish-like mouth. “I am Zeno of the Zenathon. I came here on a scouting mission to explore this planet and discovered the hidden monastery of the Cestian heretic sect. It was easy to convince them that I was Jesus, reborn as the son of nature and the green world. For many years this sect has been hidden here, perfecting their use of psychokinetic power. In other words mind over matter. I found this very useful. “Ben was angry: “What do you want here?” “We want this world. Even now my scout ship is landing in the city of Cardiff. Soon the whole fleet will be here.” Ben was shown a monitor screen where an alien ship was landing in Cardiff. Shoppers ran as the space ship mowed them down with laser blasts. Several girls were hit and the flames spit and crackled through their hair as they fell down in burning heaps. Chiara tried to hit the alien however a beam of energy from its eyes restrained her. They were thrown in a cell with Katie Ryan. In the cell, Ben found that his mobile was useless. “We must play along with it and catch it off guard.” Chiara suggested: “Wow, idea of the century.” Katie muttered, “I didn’t know Ben was bringing one of his trainees”. “I’m not a trainee archaeologist, I’m his friend.” Katie was irritated: “Ben’s friends usually have a degree at least of sense, not to mention looks.” Ben intervened and told Katie to shut up as he had an idea. He took out a small bottle of absinthe from his pocket and poured it under the door. Then he borrowed Katie’s cigarette lighter and set it alight. As the flames rose outside, the monks opened the cell door to see what was going on and Ben, Katie and Chiara overpowered them. They rushed out and raced down the cave, clambering over rocks, eventually getting out. They all jumped into Ben’s car and sped off, as the crazed monks emerged from the cave after them. Ben drove to Cardiff where buildings were ablaze as the aliens roamed the streets on a killing spree fighting street battles with Torchwood and the arriving UNIT forces. The aliens had the upper hand, however Ben raced up to the UNIT commander with an idea. The commander radioed Cambridge Dept of Ecology. Several hours later a UNIT helicopter was spraying the city with a yellow liquid and the aliens started dying. The UNIT Commander turned to Ben: “It’s working.” Chiara was puzzled: “What was your idea Ben?”
Ben smiled :”Oh its simple. I have an interest in ecology and I know about Cambridge doing research into finding an antidote for Hatchkov’s Disease, which is killing frogs & newts in asia. I knew they’d have some of the virus and since the aliens are amphibians....” Later, Ben, Chiara & Katie were enjoying a drink in the Mermaid Wine Bar. Chiara laughed: “Well it’s been an interesting day but I’ve gotta go. Up early tomorrow”. As she left, Katie scowled: “You haven’t been trying to hit on her have you?” Ben was annoyed and had a Fox’s Glacier Mint to calm down. He felt his mind floating as translucent colours swirled through his consciousness in a kaleidoscope of ambience. Then he got up and went home, leaving Katie to finish her drink alone. THE END
THE CULT OF QUEXECOSTAL It was Saturday evening. Ben sat alone in his apartment sipping an iced tea and listening to Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’ album. Katie Ryan was away on an archaeological project and Ben was alone, thinking about his poor luck in relationship matters. His phone bleeped and he saw that he had received a text from a female friend named Tara asking if she could come round ‘to hang out and listen to some music’. Ben groaned to himself and thought that there must be more to do on a Saturday evening than this. He steeled himself, texted Tara back saying ‘Not tonight’ and determined to go out. There was a new gay club in town,’Heaven’s Above’, and Ben decided to give it a try. He put on some nice expensive clothes, sprayed himself with excusive ‘Odour a la Plature’ and set off into the cool evening air. Arriving at the club, Ben saw a crowd of young guys buzzing around the entrance and going in. It was a cold night and several were dressed just in thin white T-shirts and tight jeans. Ben chuckled to himself and followed them in, thinking that the club looked a tad scabby but needs must. Inside the loud dance music blasted out and Ben found it all rather unpleasant. He bought a double Martini on the rocks and sat down where he could have a clear view of the young guys on the dance floor. As he was sitting there, a girl came and sat next to him: “Hi. I’m Chiara. You here on your own?” Ben was puzzled: “Yes. I’m Ben by the way. I presume you’re with your girlfriends’. Chiara laughed: “Oh no, I’m straight. I’m with some gay friends from uni, male friends. I do like coming to gay clubs, it’s less intimidating for a girl in some ways.” Ben frowned: “Well it sounds weird to me. How are you going to pull a bloke in here? And you’ll attract female attention.” Chiara laughed again: “Not all women go out just to pull. Anyway Ben, have you seen anyone you fancy?” Ben looked at the dance floor: “Yes. That young guy in the purple shirt with the highlights in his hair… I wouldn’t mind spending the night with him.” Chiara laughed again: “Oh I know him; he’s one of my friends, Milo. I’ll introduce you.”
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus Chiara leapt up and dragged Milo over and introduced them. Ben looked into Milo’s dark eyes and they begin to chat. Milo was in his final year at Cambridge studying ancient history and they had a chat about Mayan culture. After a while, Ben needed the toilet and headed off while Milo got the Martinis in. In the gents, Ben was irritated to see several camp teenagers laughing and pointing up at something. Looking up he saw a used condom draped over a cubicle door. “That’s not funny,” Ben snapped, annoyed, and hearing grunting noises from another cubicle he stormed out and found Milo at the bar: “This place is too noisy and lowbrow. Let’s go somewhere else.” Milo suggested his place and, agreeing, Ben & he left. On the way out he found Chiara and they exchanged phone numbers: “I’ll tell you how good he is in bed,” Ben said grinning. At Milo’s penthouse apartment, Ben was delighted to see a well-stocked bar. Milo poured him an absinthe and they lay across the leather sofa, kissing. Eventually Milo led him to the bedroom. As they went in, Ben was puzzled to see that part of the room was partitioned by a purple curtain. Ben was curious: “What’s behind that?” “I’ll show you” Milo replied and he drew the curtains back. Ben was disconcerted to see an altar with the gold-coloured statue of a large bird on it. Suddenly two more guys entered from the other room and grabbed hold of Ben, forcing him down onto his knees: “Behold the image of Quexecostal. All must kneel to him. “Milo shouted as the statue’s eyes began to grow red: “What the hell is this?” Ben shouted: “Bend, bend to the will of Quexecostal” Milo and the others chanted as a red light shot out from the creature’s eyes and onto Ben’s head. Ben screamed as the life force within him is consumed by the light. As the light consumed Ben, the door flew open and a shocked Chiara burst in: “What the hell.....” Shocked by what her friends were doing to Ben she feistily grabbed him, dragging him out of the light, while karate kicking Milo and the others. She knocked Milo into the wall and gave him a rabbit punch while the light retracted into the statue. Ben was dazed and semi-conscious but alive. However an image formed and materialised in the room. It was of a bird like creature standing on two legs with an elongated, hideous face: “I am Quexecostal, last of the Quallufax. Long ago after the Andromeda wars I took refuge in this statue to hide on this primitive planet from out victorious enemies the Hex. Now I have consumed enough cellular energy to return. My disciples have brought me many creatures to consume. “ Chiara was shocked: “H... How? They would be missed.” A dazed Milo laughed: “We used mostly renters we picked up in London. Lots of young men disappear in London every year. Of course our Master leaves no bodies to find.” Quexecostal flexed its wings: “Soon I will control the minds of all humanoids on this planet and enslave them.” Light beams emanated from the creature’s eyes and
hit Chiara , however she just managed to lob a table lamp at the gold statue. It knocked its head off and Quexecostal screams. “No no. Transference not complete.” The creature had not fully transferred from the statue and breaking it in this transitory stage destroyed Quexecostal and sent his atoms into the ether in a hazy swirl. Milo and his friends screamed as they were released from the creature’s mind grip. A few days later they were all sitting in the Mermaid Wine Bar enjoying a drink and a chat. “It’s lucky you dropped your mobile in the club after we exchanged numbers or I’d never have followed you to Milo’s place” Chiara told Ben. Ben smiled: “Yes, you certainly saved the day for all of us Chiara, though I don’t usually appreciate being followed to my pull’s place by women. How did you learn karate moves like that, it must be hard for a girl?” “Oh I did martial arts classes when younger.” “Well you picked it up surprisingly well” Ben added. “You guys are so funny” Chiara laughed. Ben, Milo and the others all propose a toast to Chiara and they all clink glasses. “Here’s to Chiara” they say in unison. THE END
WITCHBONE Ben was spending some time at his parent’s house in rural Wiltshire, while his parents Alastair and Catherine Chatham were enjoying a cultural holiday in Florence. He was alone in the house on Halloween enjoying a quiet night in lying on the sofa in front of a hot log fire with a glass of Merlot and a DVD of ‘The Exorcist’ when there was a knock on the door. Ben answered it to see three children who were trick or treating. Ben was annoyed: “Look it is totally irresponsible for you to do this kind of thing. I blame your parents.” “You gonna give us any choccie bars or not?” one of the urchins said. Ben responded by closing the door. He could just make out a shout of , “tosser” before an egg hit his window and exploded. Ben was annoyed but his mobile went off and he answered it to find that it was Katie Ryan who said that she was in Wiltshire visiting Avebury and asking if she could come round. Ben reluctantly said yes as he wished to get her off the phone and go out and wipe up the egg. When he went outside his foot kicked something soft underneath the window. He looked down and was horrified to see that it was his parents’ cat - lying dead with its head ripped off. Hearing giggling behind him he was shocked to see the urchins laughing, their mouths covered in blood as one chewed on the severed cat head. They ran off but Ben in his shocked state pulled himself together and chased after them through the village and past the church, however they darted into some bushes by the side of the road and following them inside Ben found that they had vanished. Walking back towards the house dazed, Ben heard strange chanting coming from the church. Curious, he looked in through the door and was shocked to see a group of figures in black robes drinking blood from goblets and kneeling before an inverted cross. “Satanists” whispered Ben and he ran out of the church only to run straight into Katie. “Hey what’s up Ben. I’ve just arrived in the car - hey you’re shaking.” Ben explained about the Satanists in the church and the cat incident and insisted that they return to
the house and call the police. However as they were walking along they were confronted by a trio of hooded figures with scythes who moved in on them. Running for their lives, Ben & Katie rushed through the village and over a style into a field. Running through the field and into a spinney they stop to catch their breath. Suddenly a hand touches Ben’s shoulder. Turning around he was horrified to see an old man with dark holes where his eyes should be and maggots crawling out of them. Katie screamed and they ran again until they reached a clearing. Katie was terrified: “Hold me Ben” she asked. As Ben hugged her she opened her mouth and grinned her teeth extending into fangs! Quickly she bit deep into Ben’s pretty white neck and Ben screamed as he felt the blood being sucked out. He writhed with terror and then he………. WOKE UP from his Halloween dream on the sofa. THE END
THE ZRANTI BEAST It was a cold, wet day in February. The rain lashed at the windows as Ben Chatham sat alone in his Cambridge apartment sipping an absinthe and reading the Daily Telegraph. He was at a low ebb due to recently having broken up with his boyfriend Carl. Ben took another sip of his drink before he angrily threw the glass across the room, his dark, dreamy eyes full of tears. “He was not worthy of my love” he muttered to himself. Suddenly the phone rang. Ben was surprised to hear that it was an old friend from university Chris Jennings, a science graduate. “Hi Ben, long time no see. Look, I know this might seem a bit odd, but can you come round now. I’m still living in the same house.” Ben found this an unusual request as he never liked Chris that much, he was a friend of a friend, and Ben disliked his sarcastic manner. He tried to get out of it: “No”, However Chris was insistent: “Please Ben. Look I know this might seem strange coming out of the blue like this but I’ve heard about your interest in... well the extraterrestrial. I need to talk to someone. Please.” Ben was still reluctant: “I never liked you. I presume this is a wind up. Goodbye.” He slammed the phone down and went back to his sofa. The next day, Ben was shocked to read in the local newspaper, the Cambridge Echo, that Chris had been found dead in his rented house and that it was a suspected murder. Feeling slightly guilty he headed round there in his vintage car and found the place sealed off and crawling with police. Luckily he had contacted Torchwood who had fixed it with the police for Ben to see the house. He was intrigued to see it full of sophisticated scientific equipment. A burly policeman informed Ben that Chris had died of a massive dose of microwave energy, “As if he’d been put in a giant oven.” Ben was concerned and he calmed himself by having a Fox’s Glacier Mint. As its cool vapours permeated his consciousness, Ben found himself floating on turquoise clouds, a kaleidoscope of colours circulating around. Later, while inspecting the back garden, he saw strange burn marks in the grass almost footprint 85
shaped. Meanwhile Chris’ girlfriend Tara had turned up and was making an hysterical scene and shouting at the police. “Look what happened to him, why aren’t you telling us anything.” Ben offered her a mint and told her to ‘deal with it’. Tara slapped him however, when she then collapsed in floods of tears she let Ben hug & console her: “Look, I am extremely sorry about the fact that you have lost Chris. However you are quite an attractive girl so you’ll acquire another boyfriend in due course.” “I don’t want anyone else, just Chris” she answered bitterly. “Just get over it”, Ben advised. Tara squeezed her breasts against Ben’s smooth chest. Ben took Chris’ journal which he found on a desk and he and Tara went to the Mermaid Wine Bar for a drink and to calm down. Reading the journal, Ben found that Chris was working on a device to transmit microwaves huge distances in an instant, beyond even the Milky Way. Tara added that Chris had told her that he was onto something that could revolutionise space communication. Ben was worried. “What if something transmitted back.... some kind of force?” Suddenly there was a scream from outside. Ben & Tara rushed out and saw a strange glowing, translucent thing walking down the street transmitting energy which was burning people. Tara screamed and Ben shouted “Run” as the thing moved towards them. They ran as cars spontaneously combusted. Ben told Tara that Chris must have inadvertently brought an energy creature to earth. The thing walked into a McDonalds and people in it caught fire, screaming in agony. A group of children ran out on fire and collapsed in smouldering heaps in the street, smoke coming out of their eye sockets. Ben suggested that they head back to Chris’ house for an answer. Running round the block they managed to get back in the house and found more of Chris’ papers. It turned out that by reversing the polarity of Chris’ machine they could reverse whatever effect it has had. Ben flicked the requisite switches and the thing disappeared. Later, back at Ben’s flat, Tara and he are lying on the sofa enjoying a drink. Ben had told her about himself and his failed relationship with Carl. Tara was crying over Chris. “Look, I know you’re gay, but I really can’t bear to be alone tonight...” “That’s ok, stay here.” They kissed and then Ben led her to the bedroom..... THE END
LORD OF THE REEDY RIVER Part 1 The Tardis landed in a forest clearing, the sunlight gleaming down in shafts through towering trees. “So where are we?” Ben asked puzzled. The Doctor had paid a visit to Cambridge earlier that day and met with Ben and Kyle in the Mermaid Wine Bar. Ben was feeling down as his boyfriend Anselm wasn’t replying to his texts and the Doctor had decided to invite him to re-join the Tardis team, bringing Kyle along. “Who knows”, the Doctor replied to Ben, “I set the year to random. It is more interesting that way. Its earth though.” Donna frowned: “That’s rather irresponsible. What if we’ve landed in 86
the middle of World War Two or something?” The Doctor was unimpressed: “Ah that’s nothing. Been there & done that with Rose. You know the attractive companion.” He opened the Tardis door and strode out, breathing in the sweet forest air. Meanwhile, in nearby Nottingham Castle, the Sheriff was pacing up and down looking worried. “What is all this nonsense Gisbourne. You say you’re men are too scared to go out into the forest looking for Hood and his men in case it gets dark? Dark? Ye Gods man, what are they, men or mice?” Sir Guy was adamant: “You don’t understand sir. The thing... it comes out of the river at night. Some say that it’s a demon conjured up by Hood and his men with their pagan rituals. The bodies are always mashed to a pulp. The peasants won’t leave their straw huts after dusk.” The Sheriff scoffed: “Ha, superstitious Saxon knaves! It’s probably just a wolf. Still, make sure you keep spreading it around that it’s a forest demon conjured up by Hood. The villagers are all against him now. Soon we’ll have him and his not so merry band all hung & gibbeted. Ha ha ha ha.....” The Doctor, Donna, Ben and Kyle were walking through the forest. The Doctor was whistling to himself. “Look, have you any idea what year it is?” Donna asked. “How should I know you daft old cow. I’ve told you, I set it at random.” “Hey, who are you calling a daft old cow?” “Obviously you since I’m talking to you.” Meanwhile, Kyle and Ben were talking: “So have you ever been to this Doctor’s home planet like?” Kyle asked: “It no longer exists. Destroyed in a war. Gone. He’s the last of his kind.” Suddenly the Doctor heard something and ushers them to a halt. “Shhhhh. I’f I’m not mistaken we are surrounded.” “Who by?” Donna asked: “Oh I dunno. But I suspect we are about to find out...... Jumping down from the trees were the outlaws, led by Robin Hood who strode up to the Doctor with a grin on his face....... Part 2 Robin (played by Jonas Armstrong) strode up to the Doctor with a roguish grin: “And who might you be friends?” The Doctor grinned: “Oh I’m just the Doctor and this is Donna, Ben and Kyle. And you are?” “Robin’s the name. Now if you just empty all of your pockets, you can be on your way.” Ben stepped forward: “Hey, am I right in thinking that you are Robin of Loxley, or Robin Hood to the locals.” Robin gazed into Ben’s dark eyes, transfixed, “That’s right”. Ben smiled: “Amazing. Look we are from the future, the 21st century. You know your life has become a legend, where it’s hard to separate myth from reality. And yet here you are standing in front of us.” Robin looked puzzled. The Doctor whispers to Ben: “I think the concept of time travel is something he’ll need a fair while to get used to.” Ben emptied his pockets and Robin held up a packet of Fox’s Glacier Mints, showing them to Will Scarlett: “What have we here?”
Ben smiled: “They’re mints. You’d love them, but they haven’t been invented yet. Try one.” Robin opened one suspiciously and moved it slowly to his mouth, dabbing the end with his tongue. He felt a mellow sensation and saw a vision of the forest spirit. However suddenly there were shouts and they turned to see the Sheriff’s men running towards them. Robin and his men pulled out their trusty bows and fired a volley of arrows, however some of the attackers got through. One went for Robin with a sword, however Kyle had quickly picked up a sword from a dead attacker and he lunged at Robin’s assailant. Robin was able to escape and fire more arrows, while the Doctor used Venusian aikido to disarm two assailants. Suddenly there was a scream from in the woods and a growling noise. The Sheriff’s men stopped in their tracks, petrified. “Its getting dark... the creature. Never mind Hood, let’s get out of here.” As the attackers ran, Robin and the Doctor headed to where the scream came from and saw a bearded old peasant with his throat ripped out. The Doctor examined the body, looking worried. “Nothing on earth at this time in History could have left these bite marks.” Part 3 Later that evening, they were all sat round a campfire eating roast wild boar. Robin told the newcomers all about the creature that emerged from the river at night. “.... it all started after the light came from the sky. Will saw it plunge into the River. The villagers are terrified, and blame us. Tis’ the Sheriff’s doing.” Meanwhile, Ben was sat by himself, fiddling with his mobile. Kyle went over and took him some of the meat. “You alright Ben?” “Do I look alright? I can’t stop thinking about Anselm. You know he was offered that job in Canada and was going to take it if I hadn’t told him he should put his relationship first. Now he resents me for stopping him going. Selfish bastard.” Meanwhile, in the dark forest, something was moving slowly through the undergrowth. It sniffed the air then moved on, its fur stained with blood. It sensed food nearby. Slowly it pushed by bramble until it found an opening. It saw Donna’s back as she sat by the fire. Steadily it prepared to pounce, its eyes widening and its claws extending....... The creature moved towards the opening in the bramble and prepared to pounce on Donna, its mouth slavering. However Donna got up and asked for a knife to cut some more meat off the boar carcass. The creature, seeing the wider group, slunk off back into the undergrowth. Meanwhile, in Nottingham, a solitary knight clad all in armour approached the castle. As he reached the drawbridge he was met by the Sheriff’s guards. He asked in a low murmur to see the Sheriff. When they laughed and refused him entry, he pulled out a silver phaser device and killed them. He strode into the castle...... Back at the campfire Little John and Will Scarlett were telling stories of their exploits in the forest, much to the amusement of the other merry men. However Robin was subdued and Ben moved over to him: “You look how I feel”, Ben sympathised, “Want to talk about it?” “The Lady who I love, Maid Marion, is being held against her will in the castle and forced to court the attentions of Sir Guy of Gisbourne. I am trying to think of a fresh way to get ourselves into the castle
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus and rescue her before it’s too late.” “I’d imagine it already is, he’s probably slept with her already. I suggest you focus on the more serious matter of what this creature is and how we can help you restore your credibility with the local villagers.” Suddenly a portly, round figure in a friar’s habit (played by Johnny Vegas) ran into the camp all in a panic, flapping his hands *canned audience laughter*: “Come ye quickly. It’s another body in the woods. I was taking a nap under a tree and I awoke to see a large furry thing feasting on it.” The Doctor jumped up grinning: “You must be Friar Tuck! I’ve always wanted to meet you. I’m the Doctor. Now lead the way.” However the Friar’s eyes were focused on the food: “You could have come and told me that the boar was ready, I’m starving.” Much the miller’s son glared at him: “We knew there wouldn’t be any left for us if we did, you fat bastard.” *canned audience laughter*. “Hey who are you calling a fat bastard, you knave?” Tuck exclaimed. “You…. You fat slug!” Will Scarlett shouted at him. They all laughed. “I’m not fat. I’m just heartily built” Tuck protested. Will glared at him: “No you’re not, you’re a fat hog. And you’re a fat hog because this hole *points at mouth* is bigger than this hole *points at backside*. *canned audience laughter* The Doctor intervened: “Ok pack it in. Come on, let’s see what’s afoot.” They followed Tuck into the woods and found another peasant, however although he had a few bite wounds he was still alive. “It’s old Catweazle the magician” Robin exclaimed .”Come tell us what happened.” Robin gave Catweazle a drink of mead from his trusty rams-horn and the old man coughed and spluttered making puffing noises: “Aye tis the spirits... puff ... spit... Twas when I was hunting for food for Touchwood my familiar. The thing it pounced, aye twer brown an furry. But the sight of yon Friar scared it off.” “He’d scare anyone, the fat slug” Will Scarlett exclaimed *canned audience laughter”. “Aw stop that” The Doctor intervened, “This is serious. It’s time to pay a visit to the river....” Meanwhile, at Nottingham Castle, the Sheriff and Sir Guy were having an enforced audience with the solitary knight. “I serve the Dark Lord. I come to ask for your assistance. We need strong men to help us restore our vessel. In return, we offer you weaponry more advanced than anything on this planet......” Part 4 Within the castle, the Sheriff considered the Knight’s offer: “And how do we know that we can trust you? Who is this Dark Lord of whom you speak? I serve only Prince John.” The Knight lifted up its visor to reveal a completely featureless android face: “As you can see I am not from this world. You have no choice but to enter our deal.” The Sheriff gasped. Neither of them noticed a shadowy figure eavesdropping behind the door, disguised in an old woman’s shawl. It was Maid Marion. Back in her garret cell was Sir Guy, unconscious having been clonked in the head with a water jug. “You must escape fair Marion”, her accomplice Nellie the old handmaid said: “And tell Robin of this devilry.”
Down at the riverside, the Doctor, Ben, Donna & Kyle were poking about in the reeds and the undergrowth: “What are we looking for Doctor?” Donna asked. The Doctor tuts: “How the **** should I know? Footprints, bodies, spaceships who knows.” Kyle spotted an area of disturbed bank: “Ere Ben, Doctor, cam and look at this. It looks like the earth has been worn away by something crawling in and out.” Ben wasn’t impressed: “I doubt it. More like some boat has hit the side.” “But the soil is flattened not cut into” Kyle protested. “Don’t argue Kyle. That said you have a point.” However as they gaze at the worn away bank, something stirred beneath the water and emerged, dressed in a black uniform and wearing a helmet. It fired a laser shot at Kyle and Ben which just missed: “There’s only one thing to do in a situation like this,” the Doctor mused, “RUN”. Arriving back at Robin’s camp, they found that Marion had arrived and told Robin of the Sheriff’s meeting with the ‘devilish thing’. Robin explained to the Doctor : “Hmm interesting. However there are more pressing matters. There is a creature following us. Take defensive positions!” However it didn’t arrive and they realised that they must have shaken it off. “Why did you lead it straight here?” Will Scarlett moaned: “Obviously the Doctor knew you would outnumber and subdue it. Please engage your brain before your mouth.” Ben commented. The others laughed and thwacked Will round the head. The Doctor frowned: “This is extremely serious. That creature is something I have not encountered before.” Later they were all lying around the campfire trying to get some rest. Robin and Marion were canoodling. Ben gazed at them and then away, his beautiful dark eyes filled with tears: “Look at them. It makes you sick. She’s got him wrapped around her finger.” Kyle threw some wood on the fire: “Don’t be like that Ben. I know that Anselm bloke has upset you.” Ben wiped his eyes: “There’s no way I’m texting the selfish **** again when this is over. He’s not worthy of my love.” “Ben, don’t take this the wrong way like, but don’t you think you expect too much from these blokes. What about give and take? You know there’s always probs to get through in any relationship.” Kyle replied. “Oh and as if you would know anything about relationships. Do they bother with such things on your estate? Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that Kyle. I’m just upset. “. Meanwhile, within Nottingham Castle, the Sheriff was nursing the head of a disgruntled Sir Guy. “You’re a useless knave Gisbourne. Letting a Maid get the better of you.” Suddenly there was a crash and a bang and the mysterious knight strides back into the castle, this time with his Lord, dressed in black. Slowly the Dark Lord raises his hands and lifts off his helmet to reveal an alien, amphibian face with globular eyes carnivorous teeth....... Part 5 Gisbourne and the Sheriff reeled back in horror: “What in God’s name is it?” Gisbourne utters. The creature eyes them haughtily. The Sheriff roused:
“Stop shaking Gisbourne you gutless snape. *addressing creature* er how can we help you?” The creature spoke: “As my android has already informed you, all I require is some manual labour from say twenty or thirty of your vassals. And some lifting equipment. In return I can offer you knowledge that will set you above everyone else on this world.” The Sheriff grinned: “Its a deal.” Next morning, the Doctor, Ben, Kyle and Donna woke up to the sound of forest birds. Sunlight glimmered through the trees as the merry men washed their faces in wooden buckets of river water. “What a delightful morning, the sounds of nature all around us.” Ben mused. Donna frowned: “Well I’d much rather have spent the night in a comfy bed than on that hard ground.” Kyle was already up and brought Ben & Donna some food in a wooden bowls: “Ere Ben, I brought ya sam of these oats & nuts.” Ben looked at it unenthusiastically: “You’d eat anything. Still I suppose its organic.” Suddenly a familiar figure came running into the midst of them, his hands flapping about: “Pfffffft hssss ‘tis devilry pssssst brutal slavery pssst hfffft”. Much was irritated: “Look Catweazle, can’t you slow down and stop huffing and spluttering?” “What is it old friend?” Robin asked: “Tis the Sheriff, eye tis he. His men have rounded up yon village men, aye one an all. Put them to forced labour down at yon river, lifting ye very river bottom. And theres a vile beast with them.” Catweazle pulled a large toad out of his pocket: “Now now Touchwood, stop wriggling.” Donna *whispering to Ben*: “That tramp keeps a toad in his pocket, foul.” “Agreed.” Ben replied. The Doctor stepped forward: “Well I suggest we go and see what they’re up to.” Down by the river, the TARDIS team and merry men hid in the undergrowth watching as the creature and sheriff directed the terrified peasants in their work. Primitive lifting equipment was moving a large metallic shuttle craft vessel out of the water. “Oh no.” the Doctor whispered. “What is that thing?” Ben asked: “That Ben is a Tasmerleptil. Never seen one in that uniform before which is why I didn’t recognise it before. This is worse than I expected. They come from a distant planet of evolved reptilian and amphibian races such as the Terileptils and Palpaleptils. This lot are particularly nasty, sending out scout ships to search for primitive worlds to conquer. That shuttle craft must have crash landed in the river and they’ll be a mother ship somewhere in earth’s orbit waiting for this guy to report back.” Ben was concerned: “And what happens when he gets his craft repaired and communicates back to the ship that this is a medieval era culture down here?” The Doctor frowned: “Invasion........” Part 6 Suddenly the Tasmerleptil’s sensitive hearing picked up the sound of murmuring from the bushes: “We are being observed!” The Sheriff drew his sword: “After them you dogs!” The Doctor shouted ‘run’ and everyone fled, while 87
Robin and the merry men fired volleys of arrows into the Sheriff’s oafish vassals. Back at the camp, Ben was enjoying a goblet of mead with Alan-a-Dale and Will Scarlett while they all decided what to do next. Kyle was being shown how to hold a bow by Little John. “We must convince the Tasmerleptil that the earth is too difficult a place to try and conquer” the Doctor pointed out. “Why not just kill it?” asked Robin: “I could hide in the bushes and send an arrow through its eye”. The Doctor was unconvinced: “That will just bring the rest of them straight here. No we must be more cunning and subtle.” “How about if we destroy its ship, convincing it that we have the technology to be more than a walkover in any invasion?” Ben suggested. The Doctor jumps up: “Of Course! Excellent thinking Ben. They decided to rest until morning, Ben enjoying a nightcap of mead and gazing lovingly at Robin, who had Marion entwined in his arms: “He’s gorgeous. Wasted on her” he said mournfully. Donna smiled: “Never mind Ben. I’m sure you won’t be single too long, a nice looking lad like you.” “True enough” Ben replied. “However that doesn’t help me tonight.” Donna gazed into his dark, ocean-deep eyes: “You could always come over here Ben *winks* and let me comfort you.” Ben was disconcerted: “I don’t think that would be a good idea. I presume you aren’t getting any?” “I’m a single woman. I was badly let down by a guy around the time I first met the Doctor. During the Racnoss affair. Ben? Ben?” Ben had fallen asleep. Next day they are all up with the lark, Ben & Kyle joining the merry men for a skinny-dipping wash in the river, the water rippling against Ben’s smooth torso in the shimmering morning light. Alan-A-Dale sidled over to Ben and they both enjoyed a quick feel of each other’s genitals in the water. Meanwhile the Doctor and Donna were left at camp with Friar Tuck who was cooking breakfast over the fire, eggs sizzling in a large pan. “Hey that’s a neat frier you’ve got friar” the Doctor quips *canned audience laughter* Suddenly, a large furry creature shot out from the undergrowth, like a cross between a stoat and a bear. Donna screamed as it pounced on the Doctor, teeth slavering…… Part 7 The creature lunged towards the Doctor’s throat , its gaping & ravenous mouth opening. However just in time an arrow swishes towards it and slammed into the creature’s eye with a squelch, eye matter spatting over the Doctor. The animal let out a howl and collapsed dead. Robin strode manfully out of the bushes: “It’s fortunate that I returned from the river just in time. What is that foul beast?” The Doctor examined it carefully and then a sense of realisation permeates his mind: “Of course....” “What is it Doctor?” Donna asked: “I can see now why I didn’t recognise this thing the first time I saw it. This Donna is a Jarosan. The Tasmerleptils feed on these things on their home planet, swallowing them alive. They normally grow to about 6 inches in length. One must have escaped from the ship when it crashed.” 88
Donna was puzzled: “But why the hell is this one so huge then?” “On their home planet the Jarosans eat smaller creatures of a very low protein content. Its metabolism is completely alien. Whatever its been feeding on here, mice or voles have caused an abnormal growth occurrence.” Meanwhile the Sheriff, the Tasmerleptil, Gisbourne and his men were holed up in Nottingham Castle after their encounter with Robin and the outlaws. The alien was pacing up and down ranting: “I must return to my ship. I have important messages to communicate with my people. You must escort me back and ensure that those rebels are repelled and eliminated.” The Sheriff put on his best crawling voice: “Of course sir, of course. I have a fresh contingent of men ready to leave with us. Er when can we be given the information that you promised?” “When my task here is complete” the creature retorted. Back at camp, Ben, Kyle and the Merry Men returned from the river refreshed and renewed. “What a gorgeous morning, the smell of freshly cooked food wafting through the greenwood.... unbeatable.” Ben mused. After a quick breakfast and some mead, the Doctor suggested that they focus on the issue of the alien ship. “What we really need is to think of how we can destroy that ship. With the Family of Blood all I had to do is get inside and tweak a few knobs, however I suspect this might not be so easy.” Much nudged Will: “I suspect Ben likes to tweak a few knobs as well” (chuckles from the Merry Men).” We have some exploding powder” Robin chipped in: “The Sheriff had two barrels of it in the Castle and we lifted them one time.” “It’s a shame that you haven’t invented guns to go with it yet” Ben observed. “Nonetheless this is excellent!” the Doctor quipped, grinning. An hour later, using materials from the TARDIS and the gunpowder, the Doctor had rigged up a decent size bomb. “Ok folks! Let’s rock” he said with a grin. They strode down towards the river however the Doctor suddenly let out a yelp of pain and almost dropped the bomb. His foot was caught in a primitive metal rabbit trap. “Oh its one of old Catweazle’s wretched traps, he’s always leaving them around.” Robin said. They freed the Doctor and he hobbled on. “Ok now keep quiet. That thing might be around here or inside the ship. One of us needs to sneak in and leave this bomb in the bowls of the ship. Move this dial here to red and you have 30 seconds to get out before kabang! Obviously I can’t hobble in. Anyone volunteer?” “Ere I’ll do it” Kyle said. “Rather him than me” Much whispered to Will. Kyle took the bomb and ran into the ship, the others waiting anxiously. Suddenly they heard rustling behind them and the Tasmerleptil emerged from the bushes with the Sheriff just as Kyle appeared back in the ship doorway. The creature pulled out a laser gun and fired at Kyle who fell backwards into the ship. “Oh no, the bomb is about to go off” Donna exclaimed. “Looks like he’s a gonner” Much observed...... Part 8 Kyle fell back into the ship after being blasted with the Tasmerleptil’s laser gun, with only seconds to go before the bomb explodes.
“Looks like he’s a gonner” Much observed. “Oh no, Kyle” Ben shouted, “Cover me” he yelled across to Robin. Ben shot forward and into the ship while Robin and Little John fired volleys of their swishy arrows at the Tasmerleptil & Sheriff who ran into the bushes. “They’re both gonners now” Much whispered to Will. After a tense few seconds, Ben emerged from the ship, carrying an injured Kyle as fast as he could. As he staggered away into the grass the ship exploded behind him, flinging him to the ground. Kyle was moaning, stunned. “Its ok Kyle, its ok. You did it” Ben exclaimed, grasping his injured friend in his arms. Emerging out of the bushes, the alien was incensed by the sight of his burning ship: “This infernal planet is neither ready nor worthy of our attention.” “But what about our deal?” The Sheriff exclaimed: “Ha, do you think that matters?” The alien spat out. The Tasmerleptil then pressed the button on his automatic wristband signal device. In the alien mother ship the transporter room received the signal and beamed the creature back on board. Shortly afterwards, the ship left the earth’s orbit and shot out into space. Back at camp, The Doctor and Donna were being treated to a massive outlaw feast of roast wild boar and homemade bread. Much played on a stolen lute . “I could get used to this” Donna said: “well apart from the accommodation.” “And the leprosy” the Doctor chipped in, “Never forget the leprosy.” They grinned at each other and clinked goblets of mead. Friar Tuck was sitting under a tree enjoying a massive leg of pork all to himself. Will Scarlett glared at him: “Are ye going to share any of that with us, you fat toad?” Tuck threw a lump of gristle at him. “Greedy slug”, Much the Miller’s son exclaimed. *canned audience laughter*. Meanwhile Ben was tending to Kyle who was recovering from being stunned by the gun: “Look Kyle... this is hard for me to say but... well I know I haven’t really shown much appreciation for what you’ve done and I just want to say that you were brilliant today , risking your life like that. And.... well I like having you around.” “Thanks Ben” Kyle replied weakly. The Doctor stood up and addressed the group: “I’d just like to thank Ben for saving the earth with his idea of blowing up the ship. To Ben!” (He raised his goblet) “Er I think you ought to include Kyle in this” Ben exclaimed: “Ok, to Ben and Kyle” “To Ben and Kyle” the others shouted, raising their goblets and rams-horn cups. THE END
CAVES OF OBLIVION Ben Chatham was lying languidly across the sofa in his apartment eating strawberries and listening to Radio head’s “Kid A”. He flicked his thick blonde hair out of his eyes and threw down the book on the archaeology of the Shetland Isles that he had been reading. As he did so, Kyle Scott walked in carrying a
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus tray of cups, milk & coffee: “Thanks Kyle. I’m bored out of my skull. I think my head will solidify at any moment.” Kyle grinned: “Oh cam on Ben. You were goin’ on yesterday about lovin’ all the peace & quiet with Craig & Isobel bein’ away stayin’ with your folks like.” “Well yes, I’m hoping they’ll have Craig for the whole school holiday and give me some space. However look at me Kyle. My love life’s in ruins, I’m bored with everything and to cap it all there have been no new cases for Operation Delta for weeks. You know if it wasn‘t for you being here I really would be fed up. I do like having you around you know. ” Ben dipped another strawberry into the cream and elegantly ate it. “Hows about we do sommat together today Ben? Theres a new bowling alley opened in town” Kyle remarked. Ben frowned: “I am not going ten pin bowling Kyle. Such places are only one step up from dog racing and other chav sports.” Ben got up and went to his computer, checking his email. Instantly Ben was sprung out of his melancholy: “Hey there’s an email here from Jed! Jed Braithwaite, one of my university friends. He’s an archaeologist as well now.” Ben read the message: Hi Ben, Hope you are well, long time no see. It would be great if all the old crowd from Cambridge could meet up again some time soon. We only seem to meet up at weddings and the unfortunate funeral. Anyway, the reason for this email is to pick your brains. I’m currently working on an excavation in some caves near Brangem in the Derbyshire peaks. Something very bizarre is going on. We have discovered several chambers within the cave complex which are decorated with strange paintings of what look like space craft yet can’t be as the chambers have been enclosed for centuries. There are also unusual metallic objects here and some strange crystals. The crystals are light blue in colour and radiate a luminous glow. Oddly they emit a very faint sound , as if a violin is being played in the house next door……….. Ben stopped reading and looked at Kyle: “Well it looks like we have a case now Kyle. Come and read this!” Kyle came over and started to read the email. Ben pointed at the line about the crystals: “Those crystals sound exactly the same as those on Alzaneran 4 surrounding the Museum of the Crystal Caves. How the hell could Alzaneran crystals be here on earth? That planet is in another galaxy and the Clanac Empire of which it was once part never expanded anywhere near this one. Unfortunately the Doctor is off on his travels so we’ll have to investigate this ourselves.” Ben read on: Our dig has been complicated by the disused mines that link onto the caves. The shafts are partly flooded and very unstable and dangerous. Two days ago two 16 year old lads helping on the dig vanished. They are both staying at an outdoor pursuit centre near here; their instructors agreed to let them work on our dig for educational purposes. Ben I fear that they have fallen into a flooded caven or something. There is going to be an almighty fuss over this and the whole project could be cancelled. Obviously I’m devastated about the two lads however if the authorities close down this project then we may never find out what else is down here. I know you & your organisation have connections. NB: I’ve sent a link with a map of the area. I hope you can come soon.
Jed Ben leapt up excitedly: “Kyle there is no time to lose. We’ll pick up Jake & Katie and drive to Derbyshire immediately. I’ll text Corinne Shaw & Paul Farraday as they are in the midlands on another matter and it would be good to touch base with them. I fear that the disappearance of those boys may be no accident and that extraterrestrial forces are at work.” A few hours later, Ben and Kyle were driving up to Derbyshire in Bessie, on loan to Ben from the Doctor, while Katie & Jake followed behind in Ben’s own vintage car. In the back seat of Bessie is K9, whom Ben & Jake had managed to fix using instructions left by the Doctor. Ben was listening to ‘Moonage Daydream’ by David Bowie as the wind blew through his luscious golden hair. “Its just great to be driving along on a warm summer day like this. Wouldn’t you agree K9?” Ben asked. “Affirmitive Master” K9 replied. Kyle fiddled in his pocket for his phone and started to text. “Don’t do that Kyle. Not while we are in the car.” “I ain’t driving, you are!” Kyle replied. “Its distracting me. I now have the urge to text myself but cannot because I’m driving. It is like waving temptation in my face.” Kyle threw down the phone. Later on they all arrived in Brangem at the outdoor pursuit centre, which had been doubling up as the base for the archaeological dig. Jed (played by Rupert Hill) was waiting outside to greet them along with an older man in his early forties and a woman in her late twenties. Ben jumped out of Bessie and embraced Jed: “Hey it’s good to see you. It’s been a long time.” “Too long Ben. I’ve missed you. We really need to keep in better touch.” Jed replied. Ben introduced Kyle, Katie & Shakey Jake. Katie was struck by Jed’s boyish good looks and felt an instant attraction to him. Jed stared at her, mentally undressing her however, he felt it best not to appear too full on so moved the conversation on: “Ben this is Jim Harries, head of the centre here and this is Lisa, one of the instructors..” “Any news about the two kids like?” Kyle asked. “Nah. The police ‘av given up”, Jim replies, “they’re gonners. Its bin a bloody nightmare. I’ve just ‘ad the parents of one of em on the phone whinging and the other lot are already up here & staying at the pub. This is all we bloody well need.” “Isn’t there still a chance they’re still trapped?” Ben asked. “Nah they’ve ‘ad it lad. Don’t look like that, I’m from Yorkshire and I say what I bloody well mean. I’m as sorry as anyone about this but accidents happen. Now no doubt some bloody no win no fee legal do-gooder ‘all try an get a fortune out of us. This place’ll go.” “The caves intersect with a whole network of unstable mine shafts. And when it rains they flood out. It poured last night” Lisa added. Ben turned to Jed: “What about these crystals Jed? Can I see them?” “In here”. Jed beckoned them into the centre. They followed him into a hall which was full of labels laid out with archaeological finds being washed and boxed. Jed opened a box and lifted out a blue crystal. Ben instantly felt a strange pulsating feeling throughout his whole body and the room seemed to go hazy and pulsate. He heard a strange sound like a violin and his legs gave way. Ben felt himself floating through a great darkness however something materialised before him. Strange luminous beings in
white robes and with indeterminate facial features. He sensed that they are warning him of some great danger, yet did not know why. Ben woke up to see himself surrounded by the others. Kyle wiped his forehead with a damp tissue. “Wh…what happened.? No I remember…. That crystal. That IS a crystal from Alzaneran 4, I recognise that sound. They have never had that effect before though.” As he spoke, the door opened and in came Paul Farraday & Corinne Shaw of Operation Delta who had just arrived . “Are you okay Ben? What happened to you?” Paul asked. Meanwhile Katie stared at Corinne: “Nice to meet you again Corinne. You’re looking good, its surprising how well an older woman can , how shall I put this, scrub up!” Corinne smiled sardonically and flicked her hair to one side: “You’re looking good yourself. Well all things considered…..” Ben intervened: *getting up* I think we need a proper team meeting. I think there is something very very dangerous going on here. The earth may be in mortal danger”. Ben convened a team meeting in the lounge of the centre. Lisa brought in a tray with coffee, bourbons and fresh cream. Corinne was concerned about Ben who was very tired after his experience: “Ben, I think we need to explore your experience and pool ideas as a group. Can you tell us exactly what you saw in your mind?” She sipped her coffee in a businesslike manner and lighted a cigarette. Ben held his head in his hands: “It was very strange…. Surreal. I saw the beings in white and although they said nothing, I had a sense of great power. I just knew that they were warning me of something. Corinne I just have this feeling that those I saw were of the Clanac.” Ben replied. Paul Farraday leant forward: “The Clanac?” “The Clanac Empire was one of the largest benevolent alliance of planets to have existed in the known universe. Their huge expansion was due to the appeal of their incredible artistic culture and perfectly planned and efficient economy. They never used wars of conquest. Like all Empires, it eventually broke up, however it left behind a most fascinating archaeology . The Doctor recently took me to the Museum of the Crystal Caves where it is housed.” Paul sippedhis coffee: “I think our first priority should be to explore the cave where the boys vanished, dangerous or not.” They decided that Ben, Katie and Corinne would explore the caves while Paul & Jake analysed the crystals. Later, Ben and the others were preparing to enter the caves with Jim & Lisa giving a brief introductory talk about the cave system and its labyrinthine meandering passageways. Jim was rather short-fused as he’s just had an altercation with the father of one of the missing boys: “Now I’ve just had that bloody trouble maker threatening us with legal action. The last thing I need is any other bugger going missing so just follow me and do as I bloody say.” He led the way into the cave, with Ben and the others following. As they stumbled in the dim, dank cave, Ben chatted to Corinne: “It’s good to see you again Corinne. I’ve had a hard 89
time recently what with splitting up with Anselm and then there is the whole saga of Nathaniel that you don’t know about. I could do with getting it all off my chest.” Corinne smiled: “Your chest is perfect as it is Ben. Seriously though, are you sure that you know what you want? I mean don’t take offence but your relationships with men always seem problematic.” Katie was extremely irritated that Ben was having a conversation about such personal matters with Corinne. She faked a stumble in the dark so that she plunged forward & jabbed her torch into Corinne’s back. “Ow…. Hey watch it” Corinne shouted. “Oh I’m so sorry. I lost my footing” Katie replied. Meanwhile, back in the centre, Jake & Paul had set up a makeshift lab. Jake poked at a crystal: “Hey this is like wow man. It has a structure of amazing density. I dig its strange sounds.” Paul used a welding torch on one and the crystal suddenly glowed and pulsated. It shot out a brilliant white light which zoomed into Paul’s head. He collapsed onto the floor. Dazed he looked up to see the light continuing to emerge from the crystal, but this time it formed a strange mist. Strange alien figures appeared in the mist before vanishing. Meanwhile, in the caves, Jim called on the group to listen up: “Right, this turning here leads into the mine shafts. We should be alright as its low tide, but they are prone to the odd roof cave in.” As he spoke, Corinne gave a gasp. They turned around to see two figures emerging from the mine tunnel. It was the two boys, however they were bathed in a strange, eerie glow and their eyes shone a luminous blue. The taller one spoke: “I am Asiron. I am your guide to the knowledge of the Clanac. There is danger. Great danger. The dark ones come………” Ben leapt forward and grabbed the boy by the arm: “What have you done to this boy? Why are you inside his body?” The possessed boy’s eyes glowed a bright shining blue: “Have no fear. I Asiron and he Alteron have not harmed the earth waifs. They will be returned to you. We are here from the great sleep to bring you knowledge, but also a great warning. The dark ones approach………” Suddenly there was a rumble and a crash. “Great scott, it’s a rockfall” Jed shouted. “Run for it team!” Ben shouted, ushering the boys out of the way of a large rock. Katie and Corinne scrambled after Jed & Jim who led the way: “It was outrageous that you ever allowed caving trips in here at all” Corinne stated. “Look love, we’ve found the kids okay so just shut it” Jim shouted back. Back at the centre, the scramble out of the caves had been too much for the boys, who collapsed unconscious. They were put to bed while Ben held a team meeting in the lounge. Paul Farraday suggested a course of action: “Clearly we cannot tell their families that they’ve been found yet as they are under the alien presence. At the moment they seem fine in the physical sense, bar the blue-glowing eyes and unconsciousness”. Jim was annoyed: “Well what about the bloody whingeing parents on 90
my back?” “Look Harries, there are more important things going on here than your damn legal situation” Ben replied. Jake strummed his guitar several times and looked up: “Like earlier in the lab when Paul was inspecting the crystals and had visions. Man I felt something too. I sensed two sets of vibes, one benign and one deadly. The crystals man they’re groovy, they’re ok. But there’s something out there…. In space... Bad energy.” Paul agreed: “I sensed the same thing. I believe that those crystals are containers of some kind which house the knowledge and images of an entire civilisation.” “The Clanac Empire….” Ben added: “ The Clanac must have visited earth many centuries ago. But why? Essentially we can’t do anything until they can communicate again through the lads. I suggest a chill break.” During the break, Ben enjoyed a drink with Paul & Corinne, while Katie and Jed got close on the sofa watching a repeat episode of Inspector Morse on the lounge tv: “So how long have you been working with Ben?” Jed asked. “On and off for several years now, both on archaeological projects and on … well the extraterrestrial matters. How about you? Do you have a girlfriend?” “Not at the moment.” He winked at Katie and slid a hand inside her blouse. “In that case you’re on. We’ll watch the rest of this & then go upstairs” Katie replied, groping his buttocks. Suddenly, there was a strange howling sound from outside. Looking out the window they saw a huge wind had started up. A tree was blown over and crashed onto the centre roof cracking a window. The tv went off and there were a series of huge bangs as telephone poles blew down. One of the boys appeared at the door, blue eyes glowing: “They are coming: the dark ones. We have a short time to impart our knowledge. Or great destruction will befall this place and the sea will swallow everything….. Just as before……” Ben stared at the possessed boy as the wind howled outside: “Then tell us your knowledge now. What are the secrets of the Clanac Empire? And who are these ‘Dark Ones’?” The boy stared at Ben: “Many centuries ago we visited your world. Our Empire was based on the provision of enlightenment and knowledge and we were eager to seek out new frontiers to expand to and develop. We were not a culture of conquest but a culture of mutual benefit. At the time we the Clanac elders had just entered the stage of deliverance.” “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Katie feistily asked: “We had found a way to transcend death & exist as pure mental energy. Our scientists had discovered the crystal caves and unlocked the inner energy of the crystals. The crystals enabled us to abandon our dying bodies . They also brought us the ultimate in selfdevelopment; it seemed that all our negative qualities that our culture had suppressed but never destroyed, such as hate and anger, just disappeared from our thoughts. All that remained was…. Was love.” “Far out man!” Jake commented. The Clanac continued:
“We came here to give your primitive culture a helping hand. We brought knowledge and wisdom to one of your early civilisations; you know it as Atlantis. Our hope was that the Atlanteans would spread this wisdom all over the earth and that in time this planet would join our Empire. We even brought some of the crystals here and hid them in various locations around the globe such as this cave; our gift to you.” Jake lighted a spliff and played ‘Atlantis’ by Donovan on his guitar. Ben was irritated: “Jake, please refrain from that. *to the Clanac* None of this explains why your Empire collapsed or why you have taken over those boys. Please explain these matters.” “Forgive us. We occupy these bodies as a mode of communication. The earth boys are quite unharmed. We need to warn you of the dangers of the crystals. As long as they remain buried they are safe. Away from fresh air & sunlight . However your people found these crystals and several were removed from the site by your archaeologists.” “So what? We needed to analyse them properly” Jed commented.” What we Clanac didn’t realise was that all that negative energy inside us had to go somewhere. It was taken within the crystal itself, amplified and then eventually thrown out in the form of destructive energy and the Dark Ones. They are our inner hatreds made massive. Our Empire collapsed because of violent destructive weather, explosions and …. And the monsters that the negative energy gave force to. Whole planets were ripped apart.” “And now this destruction is starting here” Ben said in horror as the wind outside got stronger and uprooted another tree. Meanwhile, in the village, an elderly couple were driving down the road as the wind got stronger. “This wind is getting worse Percy” the woman said. Suddenly they saw a fallen tree in front of them and Percy stopped the car. “We’ll have to walk the rest of the way Mabel. Then phone the bobbies about this tree”. Another telephone pole blew down. “This is like in the war Percy. We was happy then. I remember when the jerries dropped that bomb on the gasworks and they brought all them bodies out. Some had no ’eads left on. And all we ad to eat was a tin of sardines a month but we was happy”. “They were good old days Mabel, none of them hoodies about.” As they got out of the car, a sense of deep fear gripped them as a dark shadow approached. The shadow enveloped them and ripped them to shreds. Then it advanced towards the pub……… Back at the Centre, things were tense. “So what the bloody hell do we do then. Just sit here & wait to bloody die?” Jim Harries exclaimed. Ben took charge: “I suggest we keep calm. We need a considered strategy or otherwise the earth is indeed doomed”… …….. “What kind of bloody strategy then? Huh? What?” Jim replied. “Please calm down. It is already in hand. Kyle and K9 will accompany me into the caves where we will return the crystals. However before we leave, we will need dynamite and lots of it.” “They have plenty of that in the quarry two miles from here” Jed commented. “OK Jed, you will need to risk going out as well. Drive to the quarry and obtain some. If they object, show them my Operation Delta card”. Ben passed his card to Jed.
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus “Brave Jed” Katie whispered, squeezing his inner thigh. Later, after Jed has returned with the dynamite, Ben, Kyle & K9 set out in Bessie for the caves. In the back of the car with K9 was a box with the crystals in. The wind howled all around the car and debris blew about in the swirling air. “Ere this wind is getting stronger. I dunno whether we’ll make it, its enough to blow the car over” Kyle remarked. Ben studied himself in the car mirror: “I’m more immediately concerned about the mess its making of my hair”. Ben passed his hand through his luscious blonde hair trying to keep it in shape. Arriving near the cave entrance, they disembarked and Kyle struggled through the wind with the box and with a package containing the dynamite. K9 went first into the cave. As they entered, dark, clawed shapes began to materialise. “It’s the dark ones taking material form. Blast them K9!” Ben shouted. “Affirmative Master!” K9 replied, shooting at the shapes. They vanished and Kyle and Ben rushed quickly through the dark passages. Eventually they reached the excavation site. Kyle threw down the crystals and started to set up the dynamite, “This should blast the whole roof down like. Enclose these things here under rock.” “That’s the idea Kyle. How did you learn how to use explosives by the way?” Ben asked. “Oh my mates did a bit of safebreakin’ once & showed me how” Kyle replied. “For pity’s sake, I wished I hadn’t asked” Ben stated. As they rushed out of the caves, the dark shapes began to form again and a shaking started like an earthquake. “Those things are trying to trap us in here Kyle. Run faster” Ben shouted. They rushed out of the entrance & K9 blasted the roof of it causing a collapse. “Now for the real explosion” Kyle shouted, grinning as he pushed the detonator. There was a massive explosion and the whole cave collapsed, encasing its chambers in tons of rock. The wind stopped howling and all was calm. “Excellent work Kyle! The crystals will remain harmless as long as they stay there.” Meanwhile, back at the centre, the two boys were standing in the lounge, their eyes glowing blue. One of them spoke: “You have successfully returned the crystals to their safe abode. Soon we will return to them and sleep. The threat from our dark side is over. However, before we go, we offer you a gift.” He stretched out his arm and opened his hand. Inside was a cube. “Within this cube is our message to humanity. It contains the esoteric wisdom of the Atlanteans. Give it to the one called the Doctor for he will know how to access it.” The boys then collapsed and their eyes returned to normal. They woke. “Hey, like where are we? We was like in the caves and now we are like here.” “You were possessed by aliens you little crap. Your own fault for bloody well wandering off” Jim replied sternly. Jed and Katie made an excuse to go upstairs. Finding one of the dorms, they put a chair against the door and got down to it on one of the beds.
Later, Ben and his team were discussing the case in the Mermaid Wine Bar. Ben held the cube in his hand. “Well, I look forward to touching base with the Doctor again soon. I wonder what knowledge and insights are contained within this. Anyway, I propose a special toast to Kyle and K9 for their major role in saving the day here.” They all raised their glasses to Kyle and K9, the latter sat up on a chair. Katie and Jed held hands under the table. Later as they chatted, a familiar song played on the jukebox. It was Michael Jackson’s “Ben”. “Hey Ben, they’re playing your song” Corinne stated. Ben looked sad: “Do you know that Michael once sang this song to me personally. The Doctor once took me & Rose to one of his concerts in the TARDIS and afterwards we met him. He told me I was a very special person and sang this for me.” “That’s lovely Ben” Corinne replied, “It is so sad that the King of Pop is no longer with us. I suggest we have another toast; to Michael Jackson!” The team raised their glasses once more and Corinne sang “You Are Not Alone”. THE END
THE CREEPING SAND It was a warm, sultry summer afternoon. Ben Chatham was sitting on the beach alone in his thoughts. It had been two days since he bid farewell to the Doctor after returning in the TARDIS from the 15th century alone. He slowly massaged more sun tan oil into his smooth and shapely legs, letting the sunlight glisten on his perfectly formed limbs. As he closed his eyes and sank into a whirlpool of melancholy he heard a group of people approaching. Looking up, he saw Katie, Kyle and Jake and gave a groan: “What are you lot doing here? I said I wanted time on my own”. “Ere don’t be like that Ben. We thought you could use some company” Kyle replied. “Well you thought wrong”, Ben replied, putting on his exclusive £800 sunglasses. Katie opened up a hamper and started laying out some food: strawberries and cream, champagne and cucumber sandwiches. She looked at Ben: “Still sulking about your now ex-boyfriend Nathaniel I see. Look he told you straight that he needed to stay behind in the 15th century to provide for his mother and younger siblings. Get over it.” “Oh shut up Katie” Ben replied, massaging more oil onto his arms. Jake meanwhile had rolled a cigarette on his guitar and stared out to sea: “It’s like the sea is kissing the earth mother. Far out man, far out.” “Oh dear God, you do talk some ****e” Katie exclaimed. “Hey it’s true. Just look at the water and loosen your mind. Let the shimmering of the light on the waves enter your uptight soul and set it free” Jake replied. Katie laughed scornfully: “Get your hair cut” she shouted .Ben was irritated: “Look, the last thing I need right now is you lot bickering around me. I’ve been let down and I need time to myself”. Kyle picked up a dish of strawberries and took them to Ben: “Oh cam on Ben, we’re just worried about you that’s all.” Kyle was wearing beach shorts and Ben was
struck by how attractive his friend looked. He smiled for the first time in two days: “You look far better without those awful clothes you normally wear.” Suddenly there was a scream from way down the beach. They looked around and see a group of people disappearing underneath a wall of sand. It is as if the sand had taken on a life of its own and eaten them alive. Ben was concerned: “What the hell? Some alien force or energy life-form is alive within the sand. We need to get out of here sharpish. They all leaped up, knocking over the champagne and scrambled up the beach, however Kyle gave a shout “Ere guys, ‘ang on. Look!” They looked around to see........... ........... a film crew approaching as several stuntmen were dug out of the sand. One of them shouted out: “Excuse me, would you mind moving. You’re getting in the background. We’re filming scenes for a new Sci-fi series: “Earthwatch”. Ben was annoyed: “That’s it. You lot can do what you want, but I’m off to the Mermaid Wine Bar for an absinthe”. THE END
PLANET WAVES The Doctor, Martha Jones, Ben Chatham & Katie Ryan are returning to earth in the TARDIS after a trip to Alzaneran 4. The Doctor had wanted to show Ben the legendary Museum of the Crystal Caves, the largest depositary of archaeological finds and techniques in the galaxy. As the TARDIS lands, Ben’s mind is still buzzing: “That was simply fascinating Doctor. The lost civilisation of the Clanacs must have been amazing given the wealth of material there. And some of the technology used to date those things was phenomenal.” The Doctor grins: “I’m like pleased you were impressed like. Hows about we take another trip later to actually see the Clanac Empire.” Martha interjects: “I think a rest is in order from this archaeological business. Some of us have a limited interest in such matters.” “Well you don’t have to come. You are clearly someone who has little sense of intellectual curiosity” Ben points out. Martha scowls: “That is a stupid thing to say. I simply have different interests to you. Why is it all men are overgrown fourteen year olds?” Ben is irritated and does not reply. The Doctor meanwhile is making a call on his mobile to a friend from Facebook: “I was like ‘yeah’ and she was like ‘how come’ and I was like ‘yeah’ and she was like ‘no kidding’ and I was like ‘well mingin’ and she was like…….” Suddenly the TARDIS shudders and everyone has a complete sense of confusion and displacement. Time seems to freeze and then accelerate then freeze again. “Whaaaaaats happpennnnning?” Katie shouts Quickly the time displacement stops and things return to normal, however the Doctor is frantic and leaps around, fiddling with the TARDIS controls. “What is going on?” Ben asks. The Doctor frowns: “That was a mega time displacement fissure. For a few moments the natural flow of time was completely thrown off balance. Someone or something is using primitive time travel equipment.” Martha frowns: “And is this dangerous?” 91
“Of course its like dangerous. Potentially it could indicate an attempt to like change history in which case we get the mingin’ Reapers . Or a time rupture could occur .” The Doctor slams his hand on his floppy-haired head: “Ah interesting. The source of the energy lies somewhere near London. Hampton Court Palace in fact.” Within minutes the TARDIS lands in the grounds of Hampton Court. Fortunately it is in the bushes so none of the tourists milling around notice it. Ben is intrigued: “I love visiting this place. So much History and heritage is bound up here. Not many of the original Tudor rooms remain however the Queen Anne & Georgian rooms are superb. Many people believe the original Palace was built by Henry VIII whereas it was actually a gift to him from Cardinal Wolsey.” The Doctor is impressed: “Excellent background info Ben. Let’s try and find the source of that time displacement.” They set off in search of the energy. The Doctor has a device in his hand which detects residual energy from time travel. They walk across the grounds, stopping to look at the Great Vine, the largest grape vine in the world. Entering the building, they purchase tickets and enter the main palace complex: “£12 entrance fee? They must be damn well coining it in!” Katie complains. They enter the Tudor hall and the Doctor stops in his tracks. “This is like weird. The readings say that the energy is like coming from below us.” Suddenly everyone begins to gasp: “Hey its GAS… choking….” Martha shouts. They all fall to the floor fighting for breath……… Gas starts to fill the Great Hall at Hampton Court as the Doctor & Ben shout at everyone to get down as gas floats so it is safer at ground level. The Doctor then looks frantically around: “Will everyone like just be quiet for a minute… SHUT UP” he yells. As the noise dies down he senses the sound of the gas emanating from a grill at the side of a far wall, under a large tapestry. Quickly he scrambles on all fours to the grill, yanks down the tapestry and covers the hole. Meanwhile most of the tourists have managed to get out of the room and the Doctor & his companions scramble out. A short while later the Doctor & Ben are examining an air vent outside the Palace building along with Sir Alistair Mount the head of the Hampton Court management team: “It is clear that whoever is responsible for this hooked up some kind of device or pipe to this vent” Ben says, pointing out some deep marks on the wall and metal grill. The Doctor is listening to the Scissor Sisters on his IPod & dancing around: “.. ‘take your mama out all night..’….. oh er yes Ben I agree.” Martha frowns: “Switch that damn thing off and listen properly. This is serious Doctor” “I say, what kind of chaps would want to do such a thing”, Mount interjects, “this is the third incident in a week. First there was the fire in the Queen Anne wing and then a beam fell off the roof of the chapel and hit two American tourists. One woman is still in hospital. There’s no alternative; I’m closing Hampton Court to the public until further notice.” The Doctor frowns: “I think that like answers the motive question. 92
Someone wants this place closed like.” “I suggest we hang around here after it’s closed and do so surreptitiously. Then we wait for whoever it is to make their move. It could be criminals after the priceless tapestries” Ben suggests. “Excellent thinking Ben” the Doctor replies, “however I think that the motive at work here is like more threatening than just theft. Consider the interference in the flow of time we like experienced.” The next day, the Doctor and the others, together with Mount, are hiding out in the kitchens waiting for something to happen. The rest of Hampton Court is closed and deserted apart from a couple of security guards at the gate. Katie Ryan is looking around rather anxiously: “And how long exactly are we supposed to just wait here for?” she asks. “As long as it takes” Ben tersely replies. “Well I don’t like the atmosphere in here without the tourists and staff around. Its rather spooky.” Ben frowns: “Oh come on Katie. Do you think that the kitchens are haunted or something. Actually there is a gallery in the palace that is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Catherine Howard however that is nowhere near here.” “Catherine Howard?” Ben is astounded: “Do you mean to tell me that you don’t know who she is? Henry VIII’s fifth wife? My God Katie you really are pig ignorant at times. She supposedly haunts the gallery where she was dragged away screaming from Henry after he decided to have her executed. You’ll be telling me next that you don’t know who Thomas Cromwell was.” Katie is annoyed: “Of course I’ve heard of fucking Cromwell. He led the Roundheads against Charles I”. “That was Oliver Cromwell! For pity’s sake, I think even a mollusc knows that Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s right hand man for most of the 1530s. Welcome to the world of the dim.” Katie is angry: “Oh fuck off Ben.” The Doctor intercedes: “Can we like stop the squabbling. I like just heard something dudes.” They all go quiet as a whirring noise is emanating from somewhere near. “Well bless my soul, that is coming from the cellars” Mount exclaims. The Doctor leaps up and grins: “Well come on, let’s Explore!” He dances a little jig while singing Scissor Sisters lyrics before draping his arms around Mount: “Show me the way Sir Alistair” he says grinning. Mount leads the way down some stairs to the old Tudor cellars. It is dark, damp and empty. Something shuffles in the darkness and Mount shines his torch at…. A rat. “I hope there’s a damn purpose to this. This place is lousy with vermin” Martha exclaims. Suddenly the noise starts again and coloured lights start flashing. Moving into the next chamber of the cellars they are shocked to see a sophisticated wall of equipment and a raised platform structure. The Doctor frowns: “It is as I like feared. This is a sub-interfacing time transporter. These should no longer exist. Someone or something is trying to break through from another time…………… The machine’s lights flash and a strange translucent glow appears. Slowly a series of figures take shape; a tall obese man dressed in jewel
encrusted velvet and two young men brandishing swords. The Doctor looks on horrified: “But this is like impossible….” “He looks like Henry VIII” Martha exclaims. “It is Henry VIII and I think we should like run!” the Doctor shouts. They all run out of the cellar room and Mount leads the way up the winding Tudor stairs. However as he does so the old man puts a foot wrong and topples backwards, bringing everyone else down with him. They fall down into a mangled heap at the bottom of the stairs. “You stupid old fool” Katie shouts in anger. As they look up, they see the two young guardsmen standing over them, their swords raised. “What this amounts to is that Mount’s wrong foot has added to our mounting problems. We like have a mountain to climb now”, the Doctor wittily quips. Shortly later they are all sitting in an underground throne room, accessed via a secret doorway in the cellar. Henry sits on his throne enjoying a massive plate of turkey drumsticks served with flagon of red wine & some quail’s eggs. He is attended to by large group of servants. “Henry clearly sent the servants first to prepare things before his arrival. What we experienced in the TARDIS was presumably the effects of a later group of them arriving” Ben observes. “Good thinking Ben” ,the Doctor replies, “this is all wrong though. I’m like so concerned as to how like the Henry dude came by this technology.” Ben strides bravely towards the King: “So how have you managed to travel through time. Who is assisting you in this?” He feels a hand on his shoulder pushing him to the ground: “Kneel before the King, knave! And do not speak lest he addresses you first or your head will be forfeit” shouts a burly servant. Henry looks up: “Who is this worm? And these others?” The servant grins: “Shall I get the block ready sire?” The Doctor strides forward grinning: “Oh we’ve met before Hal. I can call you Hal like? I’m the Doctor. Nice new face and superior locks but still the Doctor!” Henry scowls: “So ‘Tis true! My allies warned me that you could change your face. *To servant* Make this churl kneel!” The servant whacks the Doctor round the kneecaps with a large staff and he falls. Martha and Katie are angered. “Leave him alone! Why are you here and who the hell are you in league with?” Martha demands. Henry grins: “Who is this fine spirited filly? We hope all wenches are this comely in this age. She should be lively between the sheets as we get between those strong thighs *Henry begins to salivate* pounding away ….” Spittle dribbles down Henry’s beard: “And this other wench is even shapelier.” Katie is annoyed: “I have no intention of ending up like your unfortunate wives.” Meanwhile Mount has made a run for it, dashing through the doorway, however he is soon brought back by the guards. Henry looks up, his small piggy eyes hard & cruel: “We see that an example needs to be made. This old man will do. ORF WITH HIS ‘EAD!” The Doctor and the others look round in horror as a block is produced by two servants and an executioner enters wearing a mask and carrying a huge axe. Henry
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus beckons him over: “Here’s three gold sovereigns, now ensure that you take five chops to get his ‘ead orf”. Katie is angry: “You sadistic old bastard.” Henry laughs: “Such spirited fillies, ha ha .” “Look, I cannot let you do this. This is like pointless” the Doctor exclaims. “You’re behaving like a vulgar gangster rather than a member of the royal family” Ben adds. Henry stares at Ben: “Truly this knave is so pleasant of face he is as comely as a girl”. Mount starts to shake and plead for mercy: “Get his ‘ead orf” Henry shouts. The guards force Mount onto the block and the executioner lifts the axe. “NO!” shouts the Doctor, however the axe falls, slicing into Mount’s neck, severing sinew & bone. Four chops later & the head is fully off, blood cascading out. “You should not have like done that ! You’ve made this personal now. I’m gonna stop you and your stinking allies” the Doctor shouts. Henry laughs: “ha ha, you Doctor are in no position to threaten. I think its time that you go to the block as well. ORF WITH HIS ‘EAD, HA HA HA HA…..” The Doctor his manhandled towards the block, the executioner grinning……..
dress for me and some fine silk underwear *drooling at the mouth*”.
The Doctor is dragged towards the blood-soaked block as the executioner grins sadistically. However as the Doctor is about to be forced down, Ben strides forward and bows before the King: “Sire, I must plead that you don’t go through with this. The Doctor could be useful to you alive, we all could. He is a Time Lord, an alien not of this world. He has great knowledge that could be of value. “Henry thinks for a second then gestures to the executioner to halt the proceedings: “Tis true that my allies have spoken of one called the Doctor. A great alchemist no doubt. He may indeed be useful in my quest to regain control of our realm.”
Meanwhile the Doctor, Martha & Katie contemplating recent events: “What the hell does this all mean Doctor?” Martha asks. “I like fear that some alien force are using Henry as a way of controlling this country after launching an invasion. Why Henry though? And how did they get control of time travel technology? None of this like makes sense. “The Doctor is worried and his floppy hair falls into his face. Suddenly the door is flung open and Henry stands in the doorway glaring: “The one who is called the Doctor will come with me!” “Why not us as well you fat old perv?” Katie shouts. “Tame that shrew! You Doctor will come hither. My allies wish to converse with you......”
Henry orders the Doctor, Martha & Katie to be confined in a cell within the underground complex, while he holds back Ben for a consultation. Ben kneels before the King. “Pray converse with me a while, young knave. What is your name?” “It is Ben Chatham sire”. “Ah Ben. Tis a fine name. You’re looks are most beguiling. Tis true that thy skin is as appealing as that of a pretty wench.”Henry leans forward and strokes Ben’s face. “When I am King again in this time, I would that you serve me as my manservant. “Ben decides to try and coax some information out of Henry: “Please sire, I am curious. How do you come to be here in this time?” “My allies rescued me at the point of death in 1547. They used their medical knowledge to restore me to health and to bring me to this time. They also ensured that this underground complex was constructed and made ready for my return. They told me that my dynasty would die out by 1603 as my children would themselves be childless. However by bringing me to this time they offered unto me the chance to reclaim my realm and continue my dynasty. “Ben is curious: “Who are these allies and what is in this for them? “Henry frowns: “So many questions young Ben. Please, no more for now. *Stroking Ben’s hair* I would that you wear a
Later Ben is led to a cell of his own by a young servant of Henry’s. “Here is your room Sir. The king asked that you be kept away from your friends” the servant says. He is a young man of around twenty with dark hair and slim features. Ben notices his melancholy eyes: “You don’t look too happy to be here I must say. Presumably you were given no choice. What’s your name? “I am Nathaniel Welbourne and no I had no choice. My father was executed for being a papist and I thought it may harm my family more if I opposed the King’s wishes to bring me here. Besides, I had nothing to stay for. “Ben feels deeply attracted to the young man and puts his hand around his waist: “I find that hard to believe, a good looking boy like yourself. “Nathaniel pulls away: “Sir, in my time love between men is punishable by execution. “Ben smiles: “Not in this time. You have much to discover here Nathaniel.” Nathaniel looks worried: “But I’m afraid for you sir. You have caught the King’s eye. I fear he may want you for himself in this new time of yours. If he catches you holding me as you have just tried to do it may be the block for us both.”Ben smiles: “Then we’ll just have to make sure he doesn’t catch us” *he pulls Nathaniel towards him and they kiss*.
The Doctor is led by Henry and his guards though the winding passageways towards an ante-chamber: “My allies await you in this room. I must now attend to other matters”, Henry states before lumbering off, using his walking staff due to obesity and an ulcerated leg. The Doctor is ushered into the ante-chamber which is aglow with strange lights and equipment. The Doctor pokes about a bit at the equipment and then looks up worried: “This is like Time Lord equipment. Show yourselves like”. Suddenly, there is the sound of giggling and two children emerge from behind a metallic control panel, one a boy of about ten and a girl of around eight. “We are Time Lords. I am Tremath and this is my sister Astellata. You will serve us as you are a grown up. “The Doctor is shocked: “How the hell did you escape the Time War? This is impossible.” “It is not. Our parents were on the High Council. When they realised what was likely to happen they broke all of the rules to save us. We were placed in an orb and hidden in the void. The void ship was programmed to re-emerge into this universe. “The Doctor is puzzled: “But like why all this business with Henry VIII and earth. This like so makes no sense.” “We were lost in the void for so long. It was dark and cold. We want some fun. We are Time Lords and every
other race are our playthings. We will alter time and kill things.” “Killing things is fun” the girl adds. The Doctor grimaces: “The void has like driven you insane. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. Your parents were wrong to do what they did. Let me like help you. “The crazed children giggle: “He wants to help us. You will serve us. Our parents were on the High Council. You are our slave”. Meanwhile, Ben and Nathaniel are lying in each other’s arms in Ben’s cell bed. “I want to lie with you forever. That was so good” Nathaniel says, kissing Ben’s smooth cheek. “You certainly have the magic touch. You can tell you haven’t had any for sometime” Ben replies. Nathaniel is curious: “So tell me more about this time. Do you have a lover? Does it matter if you are caught?” Ben stares at Nathaniel’s dark eyes, “Life is much more free than in your time. I am single at the moment. My last boyfriend never appreciated me, but that has happened before. Everytime I want commitment from a guy they let me down. “Nathaniel holds Ben close: “I won’t let you down”. Suddenly they hear footsteps and Nathaniel hurriedly gets up and pulls on his loose clothes. The door flies open and Henry VIII bursts in. He looks at Nathaniel: “What are you doing in here, knave? “Nathaniel stammers: “Jjjjust... just questioning the prisoner sire. “Well go and do something else. NOW!” Nathaniel leaves and Henry walks over to Ben, smiling. He rubs his hand down Ben’s smooth cheek and pulls the bedclothes down a little. “There is something about you young Ben. Most pleasing and comely. I’ve brought you a present. “Henry empties a bag onto the bed, containing a dress and some fine silk undergarments. “Please put these on for me. You wish to please your King surely.” He ruffles Ben’s hair, drooling at the mouth. In the ante-chamber, the Doctor is trying to reason with the Time Lord kids: “Look, you are not yourselves. The void has harmed you, but I can help. “Tremath scowls: “You will serve us. After we finish with earth you will find us other planets to play with. You will give us your TARDIS.” The Doctor frowns I will not. Now like please listen to reason. I don’t want to have to harm you. I cannot let you play with the earth like a toy.” “You have no choice.” Tremath gestures and the guards grab the Doctor and hold him down while Tremath kicks him in the teeth. His sister giggles: “We will put Henry VIII back on the throne. We plan to use this equipment to send waves of Theta energy over the planet, which will kill over 2/3 of the humans. In the confusion we will unleash Henry’s army which is waiting to be transported over. It’ll be so much fun to watch”.......... In Ben’s cell, King Henry grins with delight as Ben puts on the clothes : “God’s teeth, you tempt me young Ben, you tempt me....”Henry runs his hand up Ben’s leg, caressing his smoothe inner thigh. Suddenly the door bursts open and Nathaniel rushes in. “How dare you interrupt me churl! There’d better be a good reason or your head will be off within the hour” Henry shouts. “Sire, sire, we are under attack Our allies need to see 93
you immediately in their ante-chamber” Nathaniel answers. “God’s death! This will have to wait. *winks at Ben* I’ll be back as soon as I can.”Henry lumbers out and Nathaniel rushes over: “Quick, we have to try and hide. I lied to the King, however I could not bear the thought of his debauched hands on you.” Ben changes quickly into his real clothes: “I will be eternally grateful that you saved me from a good rogering by Henry VIII.” He pulls a packet of Fox’s Glacier Mints from his pocket and has one to calm his nerves. He offers one to Nathaniel: “What is this strange tablet?” “Fox’s Glacier Mints are the finest sweets of our time Nathaniel”. Nathaniel puts the mint in his mouth and a strange calmness overwhelms him. The walls seem to be awash with a kaleidoscope of swirling colours Truely this is a strange taste. However we must hide Ben.” They rush out and through the winding underground passages: “Actually, there is real help on the way Nathaniel. I’ve texted my organisation Operation Delta” Ben states, as they hide in the coal room. Meanwhile, Kyle is driving to Hampton Court in Ben’s car, accompanied by Shakey Jake and Anselm. “I still don’t understand why we cannot simply contact the proper authorities. We require UNIT support on this. This is most undiscerning” Anselm states. “Ben insisted we didn’t do that like. ‘e sounded real strange on the phone, ‘e was sayin’ ‘enry VIII had ‘im an the Doctor in cells an that if UNIT tried to storm the place they could be killed. Weird innit” Kyle replies. “Hey man, this should be a real groovy trip. Like far out!” Jake states, lighting up in the car. “Do you really have to smoke in here? I dislike it” Anselm complains. “Hey chill man chill.” “One does not need to put up with this. However one wants to make it clear to Ben that I will not be pushed out of this organisation just because he cannot accept that I am with Simon now.” “Hey man, no one is pushing you out man. Have a drag of this *offers roll up to Anselm*” “I don’t want the filthy thing you scruffy hippie” Anselm shouts. Kyle intervenes: “Ere look, will you two stop bickerin’. Ben may be in real danger and us fightin’ won’t help.” Back in the ante-chamber under Hampton Court, the Doctor is trying to reason with the children when Henry VIII rushes in: “God’s teeth, pray tell me about this attack we face. I’ll get my army armoured up and we’ll engage the traitors!” Tremath looks puzzled: “We are not under attack. You have been misinformed human King”. Henry is furious: “Whaaaat? Twas that lying churl! I’ll have his head for this!” The children laugh, “Ha ha, you truely are an amusing human huffing and ranting. We find you endlessly entertaining” Tremath says. Henry is about to respond but he bites his tongue and storms out. As he leaves he spots one of his leading courtiers the Duke of Norfolk: “I promise you Norfolk, as soon as we have control of the realm and no longer need the help of those mocking urchins, they are going to die the same way as my two unfortunate uncles did in the Tower of London.” 94
Meanwhile the Doctor is trying again to plead with the children: “Look I can help you . Your minds are traumatised, however I can use the TARDIS and its restorative energy.” Tremath grins: “We need no help from you grown up. Grown ups destroyed our world in their war. We want fun. We are superior and will use this stupid planet for games. Then others. You will help us find them. “The Doctor frowns: “I will not help you in any way. That is a cast iron promise.” Astellata scowls: “Kill him Tremath”. Tremath pulls out a gun and points it at the Doctor............. Tremath points the gun at the Doctor’s head but resists shooting it. He grins: “No, I won’t kill him. I have a better idea.” He calls over two of the Tudor guardsmen and they escort the Doctor to the cell where Katie and Martha are being kept. The guards fling the Doctor in and the children stride in after. Tremath points his gun at Martha: “Now, you will give us the key to your TARDIS and a list of similar planets to this to have fun with or I kill this female human.” His sister giggles. Katie scowls: “Look you rancid little tyke, I’ve a good mind to give you a clip round the ear.” “You call my brother names again and we’ll kill you” Astellata moans. “Shut it you cross-eyed little trog” Katie spits out. Astellata grabs the gun from Tremath: “Right, I’m shooting that one now”. However as she grabs it, Martha dives for it, while Katie gets hold of Tremath and pulls his arm behind his back. “Stop them” Tremath shouts to the Tudor guards, however they stand completely motionless and let the children be overpowered. A familiar figure then appears in the doorway: Henry VIII together with the Duke of Norfolk. “Thank you fine ladies. You’ve saved us the task of turning the tables on these urchins. We have mastered how to use the machine which will wipe out enough people to allow us to subjugate the rest and no longer need help. You will be held here until your beheadings.” “Look, why don’t you just return to your own time? The Doctor will take you back” Martha exclaims. Henry grins and gives her buttocks a quick feel. Martha slaps him: “Such spirit in a wench is most amusing. However I don’t want to go back to the 16th century when I can be master of this one. Now I must return to a filly of a different kind.” Henry licks his lips and thinks of Ben. Meanwhile, Ben & Nathaniel have escaped from the coal house via a shute used to shovel the coal in from outside. Emerging into the light, they find themselves outside the main wall and see Kyle and the others arriving in the car. Ben strides towards them: “There is no time to lose. We must plan our assault on the palace. Two alien children have brought Henry VIII back from the past and he plans to return himself to the throne”. “Far out man!” Jake comments, chewing on a piece of flapjack. Ben pulls Nathaniel close and strokes his hair: “This is Nathaniel.” Anselm scowls angrily: “So you’ve wasted time chasing guys instead of solving this Ben. One is disgusted.” “Don’t speak to me like that. You cheated on me when we were in a relationship. You’re a serial liar.” “That is completely unfair Ben. I told you everything, that it was a one off and a mistake. I promised I’d never see Simon again as I loved you. But you were so horrible to me. You drove me to Simon. I still want
you”. Ben scowls: “Nathaniel is better in bed” Ben replies. Back in the palace, King Henry is enjoying a banquet and has invited the Doctor & the girls to join him, hancuffed and guarded. Henry stuffs his face with chicken legs, pork crackling, beef, lard and a hunk of venison while a lute-player plays ‘Greensleeves’. Lifting a goblet of wine, he grins: “Now for the entertainment. I have found a new jester!” A door opens and in walks.............. ............. Barry Tuck(played by Johnny Vegas) dressed as a court jester: “Right you bunch of ****s, here we are again *noticing Katie* Hey its you again love. Hows about sitting on my face and wriggling?” Henry roars with laughter. Katie scowls at Tuck: “Don’t be like that love. Its like they say, one up the bum, no harm done.” The Doctor protests loudly at Tuck’s sexist humour however Henry roars with laughter so much that his face turns beetroot red: “Tis good Master Tuck, tis good. However now for the hilight of the banquet. Bring me the royal remote. “Tuck brings Henry a remote control device. He grins: “All I have to do is press this red button and the planet waves will envelope the planet and wipe out a third of the population”........... Henry is about to press the red button when a door bursts open. Ben and his team rush in waving swords borrowed from the Hampton Court armoury display. Kyle lobs a stone at the King which hits him on the head, knocking him off the throne. The guards rush at them and a swordfight ensues with Ben and Kyle taking the lead: “Its a good job I had fencing lessons as a youth” Ben exclaims, running through a rough looking guard while Kyle wrong-foots one and bashes him on the head with a flagon of ale: “This is great innit”. Meanwhile, Anselm hands his sword to the Doctor: “I am not experienced with this mode of combat” “No worries *grinning* I am” the Doctor replies, lunging at a guard. Henry revives and tries to grab the remote, however Martha sees this and stamps on his hand while Katie kicks him in the teeth: “Get away from that you beardy old lech”. Barry Tuck tries to help Henry: “Hey love, that’s my boss...... ahhhhhr”, falling back as Katie punches him: “And you can shut it you sexist slug”. Jake borrows the lute-player’s instrument and plays “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead while chewing a piece of flapjack. Meanwhile the Doctor & Ben have found a large control panel by a far wall: “Ha! if I push this button here and pull that lever there it should reverse the Time journey and send this lot back to their proper age” the Doctor exclaims. Henry hears this and shouts: “No no, please. I am King Henry VIII, Supreme head of the church in England. I command you to stop.” The Doctor smiles: “And I’m the Doctor, supreme head of.... of... oh who cares”. The Doctor pulls the lever & pushes the button and Henry and his men dissolve and vanish back to their own time. Later, the Doctor & Martha are on the planet Solanta 3 speaking to Grand Professor Zantra , a tall, green reptillian dressed in formal robes: “I am truly grateful that you have agreed to take on Tremath and Astellata and educate them to your
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus highest standards” the Doctor states.” We are pleased that you are familiar with our reputation as the leading planet of educational learning in the galaxy” the Professor replies. “Oh yes. And your reputation for the firmest discipline” Martha adds. “Oh yes. Here we have no interactive Krypton boards or group activities and other dumbed down approaches. Just good traditional methods *the Professor waves his cane and twiddles with the thumbscrews*. Tremath and Astellata gulp. Meanwhile, Ben and his team are enjoying a drink in the Mermaid Wine Bar and discussing recent events. Ben is very withdrawn and stares at his glass of wine before gulping it down. “Hey, are you okay Ben?” Kyle asks. Ben is irritated: “Obviously I’m not ok Kyle. The Doctor acted so quickly I had no time to get him to stop and work out how to send the others back and not Nathaniel. I’m not sure that I can forgive him.” “The Doc did say that there was no other way, it was all or none like”. “Oh just shut it Kyle, you’re not helping” *gulps another drink*. Tears fill Ben’s eyes and he buries his head in his hands on the table. Meanwhile, Barry Tuck arrives with a tray of drinks, sporting a black eye. “Here’s your ****ing drinks. Get em down your necks. Anyway *pointing at eye* this **** reminds me of a gag, what do you say to a woman with two black eyes?” “Like what man?” Jake replies: “Nothing, you’ve already told her twice” Katie leaps up and lamps him in the good eye: “Well now you’ve got two black eyes yourself Tuck” *pours drink over him as he falls to the floor*. THE END
CHATEAU OF DEATH Part 1: Aix Ben Chatham was relaxing on the sofa enjoying a glass of one of the most exclusive French absinthes available. Opposite him lounged a still beautiful and immaculately dressed woman in her early fifties who smoked a cigarette with elegant grace. Ben congratulated himself on deciding to take up the offer of Gisele Camboux, the successful French actress and a friend of his father, to stay with her in her Chateau on the outskirts of Aix-En-Provence in the south of France. Madame Camboux was intrigued by Ben: “So tell me darling, what made you decide to visit me again after all this time? You know I simply adore you and yet you wait so long?” “I’ve had one of the most stressful weeks of my life. First of all there was the problem with Jake being arrested for selling mushroom flapjack to the woman who runs the canteen at Cambridge police station. Apparently the uniformed officers spent the next two days staggering around the streets of Cambridge seeing turquoise flowers in the sky while two CID officers set up a peace camp outside the station lavatory. I had to use Operation Delta’s special status to get him off.” Madame Camboux smiled: “Oh how drearily bourgeois of them. Here in France we expect our police officers to relax a little.” Ben continues: “Then I had a chance meeting with an ex of mine Charles in the Fitzwilliam Museum. I expect he was visiting friends in Cambridge as the last I heard he’d emigrated. I tried to talk to him and he just said ‘Hi
Ben’ and walked off. No attempt at conversation at all”. Ben’s dark eyes fill with tears and his golden fringe falls over his face. Madame Camboux goes over and hugs him closely, stroking his hair. “Poor, poor Ben.” As she does so, a young man of nineteen enters with another bottle of absinthe. It is Piers, Madame Camboux’ young boyfriend, a model from Paris. Piers stares angrily at her comforting Ben: “Hey what is going on? Why do you hold him so close?” Madame Camboux looks up: “Don’t be jealous darling. Ben was upset.” Piers is petulant: “You make me very upset by hugging this English boy.” He throws a glass at Ben which just misses and storms out. Meanwhile Katie and Kyle are taking Craig and Isobel round Aix-En-Provence to see the city. Ben wanted to use the holiday to broaden Craig’s interests a little. Having looked at the Cathedrale St Sauveur they were about to go to the Musee du Vieil Aix. Craig is unhappy: “This is not stirring my interest. I’m bored and tired.” Katie frowns: “Oh stop whining. I’d have thought you’d love gothic cathedrals. You’d certainly like French poetry, you being such a moody, depressed youth.” “Yeah but me and Isobel just want to go round on our own. Then I might appreciate stuff without you slagging it off”. Katie laughs sardonically: “Ha, you’ll be laughed at by the locals because of that ridiculous emo get up . The youth of Aix are immaculately dressed, they don’t skulk around in black.” Kyle intervenes: “Ere just leave him alone alright. Let ‘im and Isobel go round on their own an’ we’ll find a bar or summat”. “Which means I’ll be stuck in Aix all afternoon alone with a chav. Great!” Katie retorts. Back in the Chateau, Ben has gone to his room fetch a bottle of 1865 claret that he had bought for Madame Camboux as a present. As he fetches it out of his bag he senses someone in the room behind him. Before he can turn around he feels a blow to the back of the head and then the darkness rushes over him..... Part 2: Tension in the Chateau The darkness slowly lifts from Ben’s mind as his consciousness emerges from the caverns of silence. He perceives himself to be lying on the bed as Madame Camboux caresses his head and strokes his hair: “What.... what happened?” Ben asks confused. “Giselle the maid found you unconscious on the floor. I cannot imagine who could have done this to you and in my home.” Giselle enters with a poultice which Madame Camboux applies to the lump on Ben’s head. She looks at the maid: “Summon all the other servants immediately downstairs, I wish to speak to them”. “Yes Madame” Giselle replies, sheepishly leaving. Ben looks around the room, his head throbbing: “I’m not sure that one of your servants did this. More likely to be that Piers after how he spoke to me earlier. I fear you spoil him Madame.” Just as Ben speaks, Piers arrives in the doorway. “What is this? Why do you accuse me? I know nothing of this. This english boy is trying to turn you against me.” Madame Camboux looks up: “Nonsense Piers. Please don’t make another scene.
Ben is just confused.” Meanwhile Ben notices that the wine is missing: “Its gone. The bottle of 1865 claret I bought for you as a present. It’s worth over £150. *looking at Piers* What have you done with it? You are clearly a thieving freeloader.” Piers kicks over a chair, tears streaming down his face. “This is not true.” Meanwhile Katie and Kyle are sitting in a street bar in Aix enjoying a cold beer each. Katie feels relaxed: “This town is very beautiful. Its a shame that England doesn’t have the same civilised drinking culture that the French have. Too many of your type spoil it by binge-drinking on vodka.” Kyle sips his beer: “I ain’t a vodka drinker. Never ‘ave bin”. “I suppose we’d better make a move. Ben asked me to do an errand for him before we go back” Katie comments. “What?” “Return to that exclusive wine shop where he bought the claret for Madame Camboux. He spotted a bottle of finest Duke de Richelieu absinthe and wants it to take home, along with some 1932 Chateau de Bomboux red”. As she speaks, Craig and Isobel appear. “Ere ‘ave you two had a good look round?” Kyle asks. “We found a peaceful French cemetery where we sat and wrote some poetry” Isobel replies quietly, her delicate eyes looking at Craig. Later the four of them arrive at the wine shop. It has an old fashioned exterior with a range of expensive old wines in the window in dusty bottles. The sign reads: “Pierre Rouseac: Vintage Wines” in French. The door is ajar yet there seems to be no one in the shop. Katie strides in: “Hello? Anyone here? Mr Rouseac?” Suddenly she sees a body on the floor, blood oozing from its head. Kyle and the others enter and Isobel faints. There is a noise from the cellar below the shop. “Ere you lot stay put and I’ll see who’s down there” Kyle whispers. Slowly Kyle descends the cellar steps. As he enters the cellar he sees a man with a goatie beard ferreting around among the wines as if searching for one in particular. He hears Kyle and spins round brandishing a crowbar. Kyle decides that attack is the best form of defence and launches himself at the man, knocking the crowbar out of his hand. The man lands a punch on Kyle’s mouth then grabs a bottle of wine which he smashes. He goes to glass Kyle however Kyle knees him in the scrotum and grabs his face in the Chelsea bowl-lock. As he does so, he is shocked to see the man’s face some away in his hand revealing wires and robotic mechanics. The robot pushes a shelf of wine bottles into Kyle and staggers out and up the stairs towards the others............ Part 3: Piers Under Suspicion The robot rushes up the stairs and into the shop. Isobel shrieks and faints and Craig gets pushed to the ground as the crazed mechanical being crashes through the shop door and lumbers away. Kyle rushes up from the cellar: “Is everyone ok like?” “What the hell was that thing?” Katie asks. “It was searching for summat down there. Looks like we’ve found another case.” Katie is not amused: “I hope Ben was not aware that anything like this 95
would happen when he sent us here. I dislike being kept in the dark about cases. Craig is comforting Isobel who is waking up: “Oh stop pampering the simpering little trout” Katie exclaims. “Hey don’t talk about Isobel like that” Craig sullenly replies. He strokes Isobel’s hair: “She’s just jealous ‘cause you’re better looking than her.” Meanwhile back at the Chateau, Ben is lounging on the sofa, stroking Madame Camboux’s cat Sebastian who purrs in a refined manner. In his other hand is his mobile and he is mid-conversation when Madame Camboux enters the lounge: “...... and we can all just turn up and give our names...... thats very generous of you David...... and we get pride of place at the after show dinner.....thanks...... you are honoured to invite me?.... no its me that is honoured..... thanks again David”. Ben puts down the phone, a big smile on his face: “That was David Bowie. He is playing an exclusive one off show in Paris in two weeks and I’ve been personally invited along with all my team. He says that he longs to see me again.” Madame Camboux lights a cigarette: “That is good. I have interviewed all of the servants and all deny knowledge of the theft.” Ben frowns: “I still suspect Piers. How did you meet him?” Madame Camboux smiles: “When I’m staying in Paris I get attention from a lot of young men who wish to succeed in the film industry. Piers is desperate to act and I promised to use my contacts to get him parts. While I get his parts so to speak”. Ben frowns: “So he is using you. I knew it”. Madame Camboux elegantly draws on her cigarette: “Ben darling, you must refrain from petit bourgeois moral constraints. I was always telling your father that. To be honest though I am starting to tire of Piers. It may be time to, how shall I put this, trade him in for a new model”. As she speaks, Ben’s mobile rings. It is Kyle, who informs him of the events at the wine shop. Ben is very concerned and looks at Madame Camboux: “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I suspect there is an android in this Chateau. Is Piers entirely normal?” Madame Camboux stares at him blankly. Ben goes on: “Look, I know this is going to sound bizarre but I have experience of dealing with androids and aliens. I used to travel with someone called the Doctor in a time and space machine. Look I know how weird this sounds.” Madame Camboux smiles: “Ben darling, I don’t want to shock you but I know the person that you speak of. A long time ago I travelled with him too for a short while. We met in Paris. He said he was on holiday and that his partner Romana was off at some art gallery. We journeyed in his TARDIS”. Ben is shocked: “For how long?” “Oh just a few trips. Eventually he wanted to continue his travels with Romana. However he did give me Sebastian as a parting gift. He is a space cat. His intelligence is far beyond that of earth felines.” Ben stares at Sebastian: “Madame, I suspect a connection between the stolen wine and this alien cat. It is too much of a coincidence. Could Piers be an alien android sent to kidnap Sebastian?” Sebastian looks concerned. 96
Suddenly there is a scream from upstairs. Madame Camboux drops her cigarette: “Oh no that was Piers. Someone is attacking Piers........” Part 4: Androids of Terror Ben and Madame Camboux rush upstairs as they hear a loud thud coming from one of the rooms. Ben flings open the door to see Piers sat on the end of his bed shaking with shock. The wardrobe door is open and a corpse lies on the floor, its glazed lifeless eyes staring upwards. “I… opened the wardrobe door to fetch a jacket and.... and this thing fell out....” Piers stammers. “It’s Francois, my butler. How odd. He brought us drinks only ten minutes ago” Madame Camboux exclaims. Ben feels for a pulse on the corpse: “Madame, this man has been dead for hours, maybe days. The cadaver is stone cold. I suspect that an android has taken his place. It seems odd that the body was hidden in here. Maybe Piers is in on it.” Piers stares angrily at Ben, tears streaming down his face: “Why do you say that? Why? You make me so sad. You want me out of here so that you can have Madame to yourself. You are so attractive that you will get what you want.” Ben goes over to him: “I assure you that I have no designs on Madame Camboux. I apologise Piers, I can see now that my suspicions are unfounded. And you are very attractive yourself. I find the French accent alluring” Ben replies. Piers rests his head on Ben’s shoulder. “I think we should go downstairs and tackle this android. I have this” Madame Camboux exclaims, holding up a small, petite silver pistol. Slowly they creep downstairs and into the lounge, where ‘Francois’ is clearing up glasses. “Don’t move or I’ll shoot. What is your purpose impersonating my butler?” Madame shouts, holding the pistol. The android leaps forward, grabbing her arm. The pistol goes off, breaking a vase. Ben and Piers try to grab him and as he flails about, Sebastian leaps up, swings on the light fittings and jabs him in the eyes with his rear paws. The android falls back and its head hits the fireplace emitting a loud bang, sparks & smoke.” Ben examines it: “The thing is dead. Good work Sebastian.” Sebastian chuckles to himself while Madame Camboux inspects the broken vase. Later, after the others return back, Ben holds a team meeting in the lounge. Craig is finishing off a poem while Madame Camboux gives Sebastian a saucer of absinthe and a dish of exclusive smoked salmon & caviar cat food, 50 euros a tin. “Are you sure you should be giving that animal alcohol?” Katie tersely exclaims. Sebastian takes a mouthful of food and feigns a sneeze, sending food splattering all over Katie. “Oh ****, does that thing do that all the time” she shouts. Isobel goes over to Sebastian and strokes him: “Poor little cat, he’s got a chill. Poor little thing”. Sebastian goes to scratch his ear and accidentally on purpose scratches Isobel’s hand, deep grooves. She screams. Sebastian chuckles to himself. Katie sits next to him and gives him a nudge: “Ok pal, I think I get you. I suggest we call a truce. You and me could really get on.” Sebastian chuckles to himself. Ben asserts himself:
“OK its time to focus. Enough of this banter. What we know is that a group of androids is after wine, probably a specific bottle. Have you bought any wine from that shop Madame?” “Oh yes. Most of the stock in the cellar is from there. However the Francois android has no doubt searched through all those. Although I do keep a couple of bottles under my bed in case I fancy one in the night” Madame Camboux replies. Ben grins: “That’s it! The android may not have thought of searching there....” However as he speaks the door flies open. Two completely faceless androids walk in holding guns............ Part 5: Ben Finds Romance The androids speak in a cold, emotionless tone: “We seek the rejuvenation liquid. Give us the liquid or die.” Craig is bored. He nudges Isobel: “What’s it on about?” Isobel cowers. Ben is annoyed: “We have no idea as to what you refer. Presumably you are after a bottle of wine. Who sent you?” The android remains motionless: “We seek the rejuvenation liquid. It was disguised as wine. It was mistakenly sold to the shop from whence this house purchases wine. This was an error. Errors are unfortunate.” Katie stands up: “Look you metallic moron, we don’t know what you’re droning on about. Who sent you here?” The android grabs her and points the gun at her head: “Give us the liquid or this female human will be rendered non-functioning”. Sebastian chuckles to himself. Madame Camboux walks to the door: “Please come with me. What you seek may be under my bed.” One of the androids follow her upstairs. Meanwhile Ben slips something into the other one’s jacket pocket, which it doesn’t notice. A few minutes later the android & Madame Camboux return. The android has a bottle of wine in its hand: “This is the designated bottle. We will return it to our Master. Do not speak of this visit, you will not be believed. Furthermore it may result in us returning to render you non-functioning”. Ben notices the label on the wine: “That was supposed to be an 1876 Rievaux Valley claret. £800 a bottle. It’s outrageous that Madame has been sold something else.” The androids leave. Later, Ben is upstairs in his room discussing recent events with Piers: “..... and so I slipped a signal device into the android’s pocket. My phone can now pinpoint exactly where those things have gone to.” He shows Piers his phone which has a detailed map of Paris on it. Ben zooms it in to show the exact house where the androids are. Piers is impressed: “That is an amazing phone. I’m sorry I was so rude about you Ben. I thought that you wanted to take Madame from me. You are so beautiful. I now dream of English boys.” “Why do you stay with Madame Piers?” Ben asks: “She promised to help me with my acting career. She will speak to casting directors on my behalf”. “You’re using her. However let us not argue over that.” He kisses Piers. Meanwhile Ben has sent Katie and Kyle to investigate the house where the androids went to.
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus Katie’s phone also has the map facility. Sebastian has come along with her, at Madame Camboux’s insistence, perched on Katie’s shoulder. Arriving at the house, Sebastian notices an open bathroom window. He leaps onto a drainpipe and climbs up & though the window. He then runs downstairs and unlocks the back door with his paws, being clever with them: “Hmmm. Madame Camboux was clearly right to insist we bring you. You’re a tad more useful than I’d have thought.” Sebastian purrs. Kyle pushes open the door and they enter. It is a large house and pitch dark inside. Kyle fumbles around for a light switch. Suddenly the lights are switched on and there stands an android, pointing a gun at Katie’s head........................................ Part 6: Enemy from History The android speaks in cold, metallic tone: “You will come with me. Our Master is about to be rejuvenated. You may be useful to him. If not you will be rendered non-functioning”. Kyle and Katie are led down some stairs into a cellar. Sebastian has hidden under a sofa and he slips out, upstairs and out the window, scampering off back to Madame Camboux’s house. In the cellar is a mass of electronic equipment and several androids are adjusting dials. A series of tubes lead into a large coffin-shaped tank. Kyle can see that there is someone inside however his view is obscured by the androids. One of the androids has the bottle of wine: “Our Master came to this world centuries ago. He was being hunted for so called crimes on Exoploris 9. He found it necessary to go into suspended animation, disguising the rejuvenation liquid in a cheap wine bottle. However this liquid went missing. Investigations revealed that in 1876 it was transferred into a bottle of expensive wine as part of a scam to pass off cheap wine as exclusive Rievoux Valley red”. “Very French” Katie whispers to Kyle. Kyle frowns at her. The android continues: “However now at last we have located it. Our Master will be rendered functional again.” The android lifts the bottle and pours it over the figure in the tank. The figure starts to move. Slowly it lifts itself out of the tank........... Meanwhile back at the Chateau, Ben and Piers are lying in Ben’s bed. Ben runs his hand through Piers’ hair: “Look I’m sorry that I was so suspicious of you before. I find it easy to think the worst of people after all the times I’ve been let down.” Piers looks up: “I’m sorry as well for being so jealous. But why do you say you’ve been let down?”. “All of previous relationships have ended because the other person was not fully committed to it. I need commitment. I was a very lonely teenager because my parents don’t approve of my sexuality.” Suddenly the door bursts open and Madame Camboux stands staring at them. Ben is horrified. “Look... I can explain...” Madame Camboux smiles: “You don’t have to do that Ben. I was tired of Piers and am happy to pass him on to you. In France we are grown up about such matters. I was always saying that to your father when his conscience bothered him...... oh I’m saying too much..” Ben is concerned; “What? Madame are you implying that you any my father were....... no this can’t be true.” “We will talk later Ben. There are more pressing
matters. Sebastian has returned home in an agitated manner. He gesticulated with his paws that your friends are in danger.” Ben sits up: “Then there is no time to lose.” In the cellar, the figure in the tank sits up. It turns towards Kyle and Katie who are puzzled and horrified to recognise the face of........ ..............Napoleon Bonaparte....... Part 7: Shadow of the Guillotine Napoleon stares at the people in front of him. “What is the date?” “Its 2010. You have been in suspended animation for nearly two hundred years”, an android replies. Katie steps forward: “What the hell is going on here? Who are you really? You obviously aren’t a real Frenchman”. Napoleon looks her over: “Who is this woman. I find her alluring. Things are stirring.” “She is our prisoner, as is the male. Shall we render them non-functioning?” the android replies. “No. *addressing Katie* My real name is unimportant. Here I am Napoleon and Napoleon I will stay. I will learn fully about this time and then rebuild my empire.” Katie scowls: “You are deluded. Things have moved on since the 1800s. Your concept of warfare will be obsolete”. “You underestimate me madam. I am familiar with developed warfare techniques. I was once consulted by the Sontaran Empire for useful tips. That is the measure of my military genius”. Napoleon moves closer to Katie: “I have an overwhelming desire to caress your left buttock madam. However I will resist this urge.” Meanwhile, Ben and Piers have arrived outside with Sebastian. Ben is wondering whether to just kick the front door in when an elderly French bag lady approaches and grabs his arm: “Spare some change?” Ben frowns. “Unhand me madam, I’m Ben Chatham!” The ‘bag lady’ whispers to Ben: “Look, I’m actually Inspector Lefagie of the Bureau de la Aix. I’m in disguise. We’ve been watching this house for weeks. Strange equipment has been ordered. We suspect terrorists.” Ben is relieved: “Well I welcome your help. However there is more to this than that. I suspect an alien plot.” Lefagie picks the lock and they all creep into the house. Piers accidentally trips over a stool and two androids appear. Sebastian leaps onto a sideboard and kicks a flower vase over an android with his back paws. The water gets into its works and it fizzes and collapses. In the cellar, Napoleon hears the commotion. “That must be the police. We will make a quick exit I think. There is a secret tunnel from this house to the centre of Aix. From there we will make our escape to Paris. *to an android* Does this age have motor vehicles yet?” “I’d take the train if I were you. The service is very efficient in France, unlike the UK. However I’d rather you let us go first.” Katie sharply comments. Napoleon stares at her: “My wife Josephine was most unappealing. You however have more shapely features”. They escape down the secret tunnel. Kyle tries to overpower an android, however he is restrained.
Napoleon stares at him coldly: “You are surfeit to requirement. As soon as we get to Paris, I will arrange for you an appointment with the guillotine.................” Part 8: A Shock for Ben Napoleon leads the others out of the tunnel via some steps. They emerge in an alley in Aix where a car is waiting with blacked out windows. Kyle & Katie are forced into the car, then Napoleon and the androids get in and it speeds off. “So why like would an alien who’s given advice to Sontarans wanna come to earth in the 1800s and fight what you’d recon was primitive warfare? Birova comedown innit?” Kyle asks. Napoleon turns round, his expression cold and emotionless: “You have no conception of how dull life became on my world. Our society had advanced to the point of having a world government and devolved local decisionmaking for those who wanted it. Our economy was run by computers in a manner that ensured plenty and equitable distribution of resources. Our society was free of internal wars and military commanders like myself were just kept in case of external attack. However our planet’s position was of little strategic value to the likes of the Sontarans and Rutans. I had little to do. I longed for war and excitement. When our government found out that I’d been advising the Sontarans they declared me a criminal. Going on the run was exciting, but not nearly as fulfilling as arriving here, on a planet where men still fought battles. The smell of gunpowder and the screams of the injured were magnificent.” Kyle frowns: “So basically you get off on bloodshed and war”. “You say that as if it is a negative thing. Without war life is dull and tedious. Men are born to fight.” “As long as you ain’t on the front line yourself I’ll bet” Kyle comments. “I find that remark disrespectful.” Meanwhile Ben and Piers are exploring the house. They find the cellar with the tank. “This is intriguing. Whatever was in that tank was clearly of alien origin.” Ben photographs the tank with his mobile and then sends the pic to Torchwood with a brief message. “Hopefully Torchwood will have seen something like this before”. “Who is Torchwood?” Piers asks. “They are a group who investigate alien phenomena” Ben replies. Piers looks sad: “You must lead such an interesting life Ben. I am stuck here in Aix and Madame Camboux has done nothing for my career. I went to two auditions last month but nothing came of it. *noticing a wine rack* Hey there are some really old bottles of claret here.” Ben examines the wine and pulls a plastic Harrods bag from his pocket: “We’ll take a couple of bottles as ‘evidence’ *winks at Piers*”. Sebastian meows and points at a door with his paw. Ben opens it and stares down at some steps: “Its highly likely that these steps lead to some secret tunnel out of here. Drat. They’ll be miles away by now.” Later, Ben, Piers and Sebastian have returned to the Chateau. Ben and Piers are lying in each others arms on the sofa enjoying the claret while Madame Camboux shows them one of her old films on DVD. Suddenly, Ben’s mobile bleeps. “Is that this Torchwood group” Piers asks. “No but this is even better. Kyle has managed to 97
surreptitiously send me an alert. His phone is one I gave him that has all the sophisticated features of mine. We can now trace his location. At the moment its on a road heading north.” Madame Camboux switches off the tv: “Darlings it is late. How about we all retire to bed; to the same bed.” Ben frowns. “Oh don’t look so bourgeois Ben. In France we are open minded about a bit of ménage a trios.” “Madame, I have no desire to share a bed with a woman who earlier hinted that she had done so with my father” Ben snaps angrily. Madame Camboux is insulted: “Oh you English are so straight-laced. Your father was just the same and all the time worried that your mother would find out”. “So it is true then! Madame I am disgusted with you and him. My father has always lectured me about family values and so forth and now I discover this. I always thought he was inflexible in his views but not a hypocrite. I presume you tired of him.” Madame Camboux lights a cigarette: “Not exactly. We ended our affair when I became pregnant”. Ben is stunned: “What?......................” Part 9: Family Secrets There is a shocked silence as Ben waits for an answer. Eventually Madame Camboux speaks: “Forget I said that. It is late.” “How the hell can I forget something like that. I want to know about the whole damn thing” Ben shouts. Madame Camboux elegantly draws on a cigarette: “Your father and I had a brief but passionate relationship. I became pregnant. It was highly inconvenient as I was at a crucial stage in my career.” “So you got rid of it?” Ben asks. “Oh no. Well not in the sense that you probably mean. The child was adopted. Problem solved.” Ben is furious: “What? Problem solved? So I have a brother or sister out there and don’t know about it. Well? Was it a girl or boy?” “Please calm down Ben you are becoming rather excited. Very un-English. Your father arranged the adoption in England. The boy would be about nineteen or twenty now” Madame Camboux replies. “You mean to say you can’t even remember his birthday” Ben states. “Oh it was a long time ago. I find such sentimentality very tiresome.” “You disgust me Madame. And my father. I intend to return home when this is over and tell him exactly what I think of his hypocrisy” Ben shouts. “Your father was a very considerate lover. Far more exciting that Piers.....” “I don’t want to damn well know. I feel like vomiting already. Have you any idea what happened to your son?” “Why would I? All I know is that he lives in England and your father sends him money on the quiet. He established some form of contact via the adoption agency.” Madame Camboux relies. Ben is livid: “I am absolutely disgusted with the old lecher.” Meanwhile, Kyle and Katie are probing Napoleon as to his intentions: “So what is your aim once you get to Paris?” Katie asks: “That is a very interesting question. I intend to use my androids to take over the country again. Then start a war of conquest.” Napoleon replies. 98
Back at the Chateau, Ben is alone with Piers who is comforting him: “This is just awful. I’ve been decieved all my life.” “It is terrible Ben. Let me hold you and take away your pain.” Piers responds. “Tomorrow we will set out to find Kyle and Katie. But when this is all over I intend to confront my father”. “What about your brother?” Piers asks. “I’m not sure. I would like to meet him however I don’t want this person to have any claim on my father’s estate and establishing contact may be a mistake. I will have to think it over.” Back in the car, Kyle launches a bid for freedom. He grabs an android and twists its head while Katie removes a shoe and whacks Napoleon over the head with its sharp heel. The car swerves and crashes into a tree................ Part 10: Endgame Kyle recovers quickly having sustained only bruises however he sees Katie slumped beside him with blood pouring from a head wound. Napoleon is also recovering, however the androids have sustained major damage in the crash and are smoking wrecks. Kyle reaches for the door however Napoleon pulls an 18th century pistol on him: “Not so fast”. “Katie’s injured like. We’ve gotta get her some help” Kyle replies. “Ha! You think I care about her. There is an empire to build. I will call for a back up team of androids. Until they arrive you stay here.” Meanwhile, Ben is driving fast through the French countryside in pursuit of Napoeon’s car. Madame Camboux’s revelations had left him restless and unable to sleep and he decided that immediate action would take his mind off things. Piers, Craig, Isobel and Sebastian are also in the car. “So when am I gonna like meet my other uncle?” Craig asks. “Just shut it Craig ok. I wish I’d refrained from telling you now” Ben snaps. “Why shouldn’t I meet him. He’s like so my family as well” Craig replies. Ben ignores Craig and drives on through the dimly lit French lanes. Craig slumps into a morose sulleness and turns up his Ipod, listening to My Chemical Romance and Korn. In Napoleon’s car, Kyle makes a bid for freedom. He grabs Napoeon’s arm and wrenches it sideways and in a move known as the Daganham twist tugs it sideways so it dislocates the shoulder. Napoleon yelps with pain and drops the pistol. Kyle picks it up: “You try anything mate an you’re dead meat”. He starts to examine Katie’s head when a car draws up and then another. Its the androids and Ben who have simultaneously arrived. The androids shoot at Ben’s car and Ben and the others leap out, hiding behind the vehicle. Fortunately Ben arrived armed having borrowed Madame Camboux’s antique pistols. He and Piers fire at the androids, taking one out, its head expoding. Napoleon makes a bid for freedom and dashes out of the car clutching his injured arm and straight into the crossfire between the androids and Ben. He is gunned down: “France before all!” he shouts, then dies. Kyle aims his pistol at an android and blows a hole in its chest. It collapses to the ground and bursts out in flames. Finally Sebastian leaps onto the final android’s head, driving his claws into its mechanical eyes. Unable to see, it stumbles around until Ben blasts it in the chest.
Several days later, in the Mermaid Wine Bar, a battered but recovering Katie is being treated to greek salad with hummus and pitta bread by Ben. Piers, Kyle, Craig and Isobel are also there. “I think we should all raise a glass to Katie for making a swift recovery” Ben announces. Katie frowns: “Don’t draw attention to me in this state”. They finish the wine anyway and Ben decides to order another bottle. He gestures and along comes Barry Tuck the waiter. As Tuck arrives, he notices Isobel: “*nudging Craig* Hey five minutes with her and I’d be up to my nuts in guts”. “Just serve us another bottle of chardonnay Tuck” Ben tersely comments. Barry notices Katie: “Hey what happened to you love? I’d still let you sit on my face and wriggle mind”. Ben stands up: “Tuck you are being a bore. Now please just get us our wine and refrain from any more verbal elucidations”. “Alright pal keep you’re hair on.” Tuck goes to get the wine and quickly returns, plonking it down next to Isobel, taking time to lean over her and look down her front. Later, Ben has had a few too many and is becoming maudlin: “... all the times he has lectured me about family values and there he was carrying on with a French tart. He made me feel so guilty about myself. I’ll enjoy seeing his face when I tell mother.” He throws a glass across the table. Piers tries to reason with him: “Ben do you think its a good idea to tell your mother? May it not cause even more hurt?” “Oh what the hell do you know about it.” Ben slumps down across the table. THE END
DEADLY NIGHTSHADE Ben was lounging languidly on his sofa in his exclusive Harrods silk dressing gown. His Italian houseboy Luigi brought him coffee and croissants on a silver tray: “Would you like anything else Mr Chatham?” Luigi asked, as Ben’s mobile started to ring. “No thank you Luigi (patting Luigi’s bottom), just answer that damn thing for me. I’ve got a bit of a headache.” Luigi picked up the mobile and answered it: “Hello..... er who shall I say is calling?.... Miss Ryan?... hey what’s the matter.... oh no, where are you? Miss Ryan? ... you there Miss Ryan.....” “What the hell does she want Luigi?” Ben asked. “The phone has gone dead. I’m worried sir. She said that she was surrounded by zombies and then the phone cut off”. Ben laughed: “She’s obviously drunk Luigi. Katie can knock them back like a trooper when she goes clubbing. Then she throws herself at some man. Pathetic really”. As Ben spoke Kyle entered the room: “Ere Katie ain’t bin clubbin’, she’s on a case. She went down to Somerset with Paul Farraday and Corinne Shaw like. To investigate reports of strange deaths. Some place called Wilton Russett.” As Kyle spoke, Ben’s door buzzer went. Luigi answered it: “This is really weird. There’s no one here only this stuff”. Kyle had a look: “Bleedin’ ell. Someone’s left a dead bird ‘ere an a letter like.” Ben reluctantly got up and had a look: “This is disgusting. It looks like a dead raven. *Picking
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus up a sprig of some plant* And this Kyle looks like Belladonna”. “Bella what?” “Belladonna Kyle. Do keep up. Otherwise known as Deadly Nightshade. The druids believed that placing a sprig of Belladonna next to someone’s door invited demons to attack and kill them. This is a threat Kyle. Especially since today is Halloween.” “Ow do you know all this stuff Ben?” “For one thing I am educated Kyle and in addition my mother has an interest in folklore, specifically the folklore of Wiltshire. I am now concerned that this is connected to Katie’s case and that she is in real danger. There is no time to lose; we go to Somerset.” A few hours later, Ben, Kyle and Luigi were driving into Wilton Russett as the autumn night drew in and the darkness fell. There was a dank mist all around and the musty smell of fallen leaves. “Ere the place looks deserted Ben” Kyle observed. There were several lanes of cottages and large rural houses with carefully tended gardens. At the end of one was a large church. As they drove down the lane there was a piercing scream from within the church. They stopped the car and rushed towards the church door. Entering the building they saw a candle burning on the altar and next to it the body of a naked woman with her throat ripped out. Blood was oozing down the side of the altar: “I think we need to call for backup” Ben exclaimed, however as he did so, two figures emerged from behind the altar. They were young men with gouged out eyes and greying flesh, one carrying a meat cleaver and the other a large kitchen knife. “¤¤¤¤ me.... zombies!” Kyle shouted. They ran out of the church but as they did so Kyle let out a scream. Ben and Luigi turned round to see a blood drenched Kyle with the cleaver buried in his head. Kyle fell down dead and they turned and ran towards the car, however they reeled back in horror as they saw a semi-decomposed figure sitting in the driving seat and holding up a sickle. Turning, they ran towards a large house at the end of the lane with its front door ajar. Running inside they slammed the door shut. However, turning round Ben let out a gasp. There on the sofa was the corpse of Katie Ryan, her dead eyes staring into space and large stab wounds on her body. They rushed back out of the house only to see a group of zombies walking down the lane towards them. One of them rushed forward and grabbed Luigi and stabbed him repeatedly with a large knife. Luigi’s lifeless body slumped down. Ben managed to run out of their way and threw himself over a barbed wire fence into some woods. However he saw a large, dark figure in front of him, wearing a cloak. The figure stepped forward and opened his mouth, revealing long fangs. Ben ran back out of the woods and over the fence only to find himself surrounded by the zombies. They closed in on Ben from all sides and one of them raised a meat cleaver over Ben’s head................... ........................ And then they all started laughing and ripped off their face masks. It was the Operation Delta team, Paul, Corinne, Keith Smith, Shakey Jake, and the others. The ‘vampire’ emerged from the woods and pulled off his false fangs and teeth to reveal Operation Delta new boy Adam Wooten. Katie, Kyle and Luigi all got up and ran towards them laughing. “Whaaat the hell is going on?” Ben exclaimed, shaking. “We thought we’d lay on the best, scariest surprise Halloween party ever for you Ben” Katie shouted. “Ok, people, lets get the Party going!” Corinne shouted. The lights went on in the nearby pub and Barry Tuck emerged from the doorway:
“Right you ¤¤¤¤¤... the barbies are lit. Come an get the booze!!!!!!” THE END
THE GHOSTS OF PEVERSHAM STATION Ben Chatham drifted languidly in and out of consciousness as the train pulled out of Waterloo station. In the seat next to him Katie Ryan inspected her make-up in her exclusive silver face mirror while opposite them Craig Chatham was listening to My Chemical Romance on his iPod. Ben slowly opened his eyes and sighed: “You know I can’t believe that this is what my life has come to. The highlight of my week is travelling to Somerset merely to help supervise a minor excavation of some Anglo-Saxon lost village.” Katie took out her lipstick and added a fresh layer: “Oh come off it Ben. You love this sort of thing. Since when has any archaeological project not fascinated you?”. Ben flicked his floppy golden hair out of his dark eyes: “I just feel lost Katie. My life seems just to constitute existing. I’ve got no relationship and no faith that any future one will amount to anything solid. Even my work investigating alien phenomena with Operation Delta has become a repetitive chore. What is the point? Just what is the point?” Ben’s eyes filled with tears and he stared out of the train window at the cars passing by. “You are just at a low ebb Ben. The best advice I can give you is just to pull yourself together” Katie exclaimed as Kyle Scott meandered his way down the train carriage carrying four coffees. “You took your time!” Katie muttered. “There was a mega queue like” Kyle replied. Ben looked unenthusiastically at the coffee that Kyle placed before him and, lifting the lid, took a small sip. He grimaced: “This is absolutely disgusting. We are travelling first class and yet we still have to fetch our own coffee and make do with this rancid concoction. I will be complaining to the company as this is not the kind of service I expect. There is not a waiter in sight. I thought that a relaxed train journey would be a nice change given that my car is in for its service. Yet we get this shoddy treatment.” As Ben spoke, the door to the carriage opened and a man and woman entered with a teenage girl. A train guard shouted after them: “… yeah its ok, go and sit in first class. Second is chocca and I don’t like to see folk ‘avin to stand”. Ben slammed his coffee down: “This is appalling. Those people are being allowed in here when they’ve only paid for second class.” As the family sat down, Ben stared at them. The father was stocky and in his forties and the mother was caked in heavy make-up and an obvious fake tan. Their daughter was wearing a pair of silver shorts and a little pink top with ‘Porn Star’ written on it. Ben frowned: “That family are banal vulgarity personified. The girl is allowed to dress like a prostitute while remaining oblivious to the fact. Meanwhile I imagine the parents own their own small business running a cheap hotel or some equally commonplace service.” Katie laughed: “You do crack me up sometimes Ben. Spot on in your analysis I expect.” Kyle grimaced:
“Ere you two don’t know naffin about ‘em.” Katie laughed: “Oh come on Kyle. Look how the dad is stuffing his face with crisps. He no doubt thinks that dim little tart is his little princess while his wife is no doubt the classic pushy mum with no class.” As the train rushed on through the countryside an elderly man approached from behind them: “Excuse me. Would you mind asking your son to turn his music thing down. Only its frightfully distracting.” Katie scowled at him: “He isn’t our son, he is Ben’s brother you stupid old git”. Ben was annoyed and shot Katie an angry look: “I apologise for her rudeness sir.” “Don’t you apologise on my behalf to this senile old fart”. “Oh shut up Katie. This is tiresome.” Ben nudged Craig who removed his earphones sulkily: “What?” “Turn your ipod down Craig!” “Like why?” “Like because if you don’t one of us will like deck you” Katie spat at him. The old man looked worried: “I’m terribly sorry, please don’t upset the poor boy. He’s so delicate looking. He reminds me of my old Eton friend Percy. He died in the war.” Ben looked up: “You were at Eton in the 1930s?” “Oh yes dear boy. Reginald D’Mandeville is the name.” “Not THE Reginald D’Mandeville? The well known writer of occult novels?” Ben asked. “Oh yes dear boy. I must say its so charming to travel with such lovely company .” The old man stroked Kyle’s chin, who grimaced, before departing back to his seat. “Disgusting old fruit” Katie snapped . It was dark when the train pulled into its first station. For some reason the lights in the station didn’t seem to be working and Ben could just about make out the word ‘Peversham’ on the notice plate. Suddenly the train guard rushed into the carriage: “I’m sorry but you all need to get off the train. Engine fault.” “Oh this is ridiculous” Ben shouted. “It ain’t my fault mate” the guard replied. “I’m not your mate. I detest being called ‘mate’” Ben shouted back. They all exited the train and a dank, cold, wind was blowing round the station. It was pitch dark and drizzling with rain. “Why the hell are the damn lights not working in this station? Its intolerable” Ben exclaimed. “Ere don’t get all narked like. Theres a waitin’ room over there I can make out the sign” Kyle said. “Shut up Kyle. However we will enter said facility out of the cold” Ben replied. Ben, Kyle, Katie, Craig, the family and old Reginald D’Mandeville all headed towards the waiting room. The door looked extremely old however it creaked open and a mouldy smell hit them. “Ere it stinks” Kyle exclaimed. “I often think the same thing about you” Katie replied. “Ere I ain’t dirty. I has a shower a day”. “Which your natural chavvy odour soon negates” . Ben intervened: “Desist from bickering you two. Its pitch dark in here, can someone please locate the light switch.” “There ain’t one in ‘ere I don’t fink” Kyle answered, feeling the wall. “Hey, theres an old hurricane lamp here. Does anyone have a lighter?” the father of the family group 99
asked. Kyle handed him his cigarette lighter and the oil lamp was lit. They all let out a gasp. The room was decorated in old 1940s wartime posters. One said “Make Do and Mend’ and another was about keeping your gas mask with you. “Bleedin’ ‘ell. Its like this room ain’t changed for sixty odd years” Kyle said. Reginald grinned: “Oh how utterly charming. I remember rooms like this from when I was young. They were such good days. Until my friend Percy got called up into the army. He died in Burma fighting the wretched Nips.” “Were you called up as well?” Katie asked. “Oh no madam. I was let off due to my weak constitution. I did work as a field medic. Such lovely boys, the soldiers.” The young girl shivered in her skimpy top and silver shorts: “I’m like cold.” “We’re like not interested” Katie snapped back. “Don’t you talk to my little princess like that” the father shouted at her. Ben and Katie looked at each other and laughed. Ben offered to shake the man’s hand: “Lets not get off on the wrong foot. I’m Ben Chatham. The Ben Chatham. And you are?” “Alan Bridgeford. From Chelmsford mate. This is my wife Linda and daughter Poppy.” “Do you by any chance own a cheap hotel?” Katie asked. “No. We run a computer software company”. Ben and Katie laughed. “Near enough . Vulgar new money”. Alan looked puzzled. Several minutes passed and they all sat on the creaky old seats waiting. Craig stared at Poppy’s legs and for a moment considered having a quick feel before thinking of his girlfriend Isobel and counting backwards from a hundred to take his mind off sexual matters. Suddenly Alan stood up: “I’m going to see if the train’s fixed yet”. He bounded out only to rush back in quickly: “Its gone! The ruddy train’s gone!” Ben, Katie and Kyle rushed out and although it was dark and foggy they could see that the train had vanished. “Oh this is just great. We’re damn well stuck here” Katie shouted. Ben got his mobile out: “I’m ringing Operation Delta HQ. Also, Torchwood and UNIT. I will demand immediate transport provision.” However, he stared in anger at the device which couldn’t get a signal. “Mine’s nor working either” Alan said. “Nor mine. This is friggin’ ridiculous” Katie shouted. Suddenly there was a massive scream from the waiting room. They rushed back in to see Poppy cowering in the corner sobbing and shaking. “It was…. Was….horrible….” she mumbled. “What was? Did Craig feel you up?” Katie asked. “No… it was over there… in the corner….. Man with no eyes... and blood…….” Craig frowned: “I am divorcing myself from this banality and from Katie’s tiresome accusations. I will compose a poem about my separateness”. Reginald started to wail and cry: “Pppp Percy, Percy….. It must be Percy……. The Nips gouged his eyes out in a prisoner of war camp.” Suddenly, there was a knock on the waiting room door. Ben opened it and stared in horror at the figure in the doorway. It was an army officer with an arm missing and bullet holes in his uniform. The figure slowly vanished. “That looked like…..my father has a photograph of his uncle, William Chatham. He died in the war while 100
commanding the troops in the liberation of Belgium. Reginald approached Ben and ruffled his hair: “Oh my dear boy, both of us have seen someone we lost in the war. Let me comfort you.” Katie scowled: “Leave him alone you old perv before I fetch my dinner up”. Suddenly a cold chill blows through the room and the door creaked open again. This time a handome young soldier aged about nineteen walked in. Ben stared into his eyes and felt an instant mutual attraction. “Shall we try to find somewhere private in the station before you vanish?” Ben asked. However, the figure slowly faded away. Poppy started to scream and Katie gave her a slap. Alan Bridgeford jumped up: “You bitch! You ‘it my princess”. He went to grab Katie but his wife pulled him back: “Leave her alone Alan. We’ll get Reggie Boy an’ Stevie to put ‘er in ‘ospital when this is all over”. Ben meanwhile stared at his mobile and smiled, radiantly: “Have no fear people. Although my mobile device cannot get a signal, it is augmented with Time Lord technology. Thus I am able to contact the Doctor and initiate the furnishing forth of his advice.” Ben phoned the Doctor and spent some time in the corner talking, then walked elegantly into the centre of the room. “I have a solution to this mystery people. We are caught in what is known as a residual time loop interface. The Doctor and the Master both tried to land their TARDISES here at the same time, some years ago. This created a residual loop from the 1940s where they were both travelling from. However, the Doctor’s TARDIS has an app that can remove the problem. He is going to send it down my phone”. Ben held up his phone and a brilliant flash of light shot from it and everyone closed their eyes because of the light. When they opened they were sitting in a modern railway station waiting room with the train waiting outside. The guard came in: “OK folks the problem is sorted. Please come back aboard”. Katie jumped up: “Before we get back on, I propose a round of applause for Ben who sorted this out”. They all applauded Ben and sang ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” as they got back on the train, apart from Craig who considered such a song to be uncool and banal. THE END
ACORN MAN Katie Ryan slowly woke up, the sights and sounds of a spring morning slowly permeating her consciousness. She heard the sound of birds all around and smelt the sweet morning dew around her head. She slowly lifted herself up, fighting the pain in her head and legs. She saw Ben’s vintage car just ahead of her, turned on its side in the ditch, and she remembered the crash. “Ben…. Ben you alright?” she shouted. “Yes…I’m OK” Ben replied. Ben pushed the door of the car open and staggered out. “What… what the hell happened Katie? My beautiful car is utterly ruined!” Ben’s dark, dreamy eyes filled with tears and he sank to his knees. Katie frowned at him: “Oh man up Ben! This is all your fault. One moment we were driving along the lane fine and then you had some kind of fucking turn and started rambling
incoherently and swerving the car. Have you been taking something?” Ben flicked his luscious golden hair to one side and stared at her angrily: “I resent your tone and implication Katie. I… I just can’t remember what happened.” Several days earlier Ben and Katie had travelled to Somerset on behalf of the South West England Archaeological Trust to join the campaign to save the Besberry Rings. The site of Neolithic earthworks and several barrows, Besberry Rings was threatened with development due to the proposed SUE (Sustainable Urban Extension) which would see the village of Besberry extended with 2000 new homes. Ben was due to meet the local MP Sir Roger Hennessy and council leaders to put the Trust’s case and hand them his academic article on the site’s archaeological significance. Now Ben and Katie staggered to their feet and looked at the fields around the lonely country lane. They saw a spinney in the distance and heard the sound of a flute. “There is someone over there in the trees. I suggest that we request help from them” Ben stated. “Who the hell plays a fucking flute in the middle of some trees?” Katie said angrily. However Ben had set off walking towards the spinney. As he got closer to the sound he began to feel dizzy and then collapsed. Katie felt a strange chilling sensation and ran to where the flute playing was coming from, driven by an irresistible compulsion. She saw a scruffy young man sitting cross legged counting acorns. “I am the acorn man” he said to her and smiled. His teeth were all black. Getting up, he reached out a hand which had long black fingernails and clawed at Katie’s face. The compulsion suddenly ceased and she ran. Ben awoke to find himself in stables, lying on straw. He had no idea how he had got there . He saw a girl with long dark hair who he thought was sleeping. Turning her over he saw that her eyes were gouged out. Reeling back in horror, he saw her get up and lunge towards him. He ran outside to find that he was in a busy city street. Turning back he saw only a brick wall. Staggering through the street, Ben felt nauseous and could not speak. All around he heard laughter. Katie ran back to where Ben’s car had crashed into the ditch and saw Ben standing by the door. Relieved she ran towards him. He grinned, displaying black teeth: “I am the Acorn Man” he said, pulling from behind his back a meat cleaver. Katie screamed as the Ben lunged towards her. She ran. Surrounded by complete darkness now all around him, Ben was locked in a mind battle. He sat cross legged summoning up all of his mental energy. “You will submit” a voice said. “Never” Ben replied The darkness gave way to the sight of a rain drenched city street. Ben felt himself running again, the wind driving the rain into his eyes. He collapsed outside a bus shelter. An old lady with a shopping bag walked up to him. “Are You alright dear” she said before kicking him in the ribs. She walked off. Ben saw the street change into a sandy beach with seagulls picking at discarded rubbish. It began to rain again, but now the rain was blood. Meanwhile Kyle Scott and Corinne Shaw drove rapidly through the Somerset countryside, Kyle narrowly missing a farmer on the road as he sped along.
THE ADVENTURES OF BEN CHATHAM - Written by Sparacus
“Submit” a voice said, however Bens mind was too strong. Summoning up all of his psychic will, he fought back against the intruding entity. He felt the presence retreating from his mind. Ben and Katie awoke, this time for real, lying in the damp grass. Kyle and Corinne ran over towards them. Ben explained that a psychic presence had been trying to destroy them. “I had no idea what it was at first. Then I remembered something that Sarah Jane Smith taught me the last time I met her, you know one of the Doctor’s former companions. She taught me the Astermeth Technique.” “What the fuck is that?” Katie spat out. “It’s a means of regaining mental awareness and control when under psychic attack. A form of mental discipline. There are occultists who are able to project their will into the minds of others and use it to destroy them. The Astermeth Technique is the best means of defence.” Corinne frowned: “That’s what we came to warn you about. There is something sinister about the developers behind the Besberry project. There seems to be no data on them whatsoever online. And several campaigners opposed to the project have been found dead under mysterious circumstances.” Katie was annoyed: “So what? None of that implies the involvement of occultists.” Corinne gazed loftily at her, sensing her advantage: “If you’d let me finish Katie instead of, don’t take this the wrong way, displaying your usual crass ignorance then I’ll elaborate. Kyle discovered that both of the dead campaigners had been found semi-conscious muttering about demons before they died.” As they spoke, an elderly lady approached, tramping across the field in Wellington boots. “Are you alright dearies?” she asked. “Do we look alright you daft old cow? We’ve had a crash!” Katie shouted. “Oh I know dearie. I’m Mabel by the way. I saw it all from me little window in the cottage over there.” She pointed to a run down little house in the distance. “If you saw it all then why didn’t you phone for help?” Katie asked. “Oh I don’t go in for all this modern teletexting and internecht and wat not.” “Why don’t you just piss off you senile old bat” Katie yelled. Ben grabbed her arm and pulled her to one side: “Katie what the hell is wrong with you? We are
a professional organisation and you can’t just swear at an old lady like that.” “Oh take off your halo Ben. She’s an annoying old bag. And I’m sick of Corinne as well. She’s a passenger in the team”. Ben frowned: “Katie I suggest that you end this ridiculous feud with Corinne and desist from swearing at elderly ladies.” Mabel approached them: “I don’t mean to interrupt dearies, but I think you ought to know something. Watch”. Mabel held her hands up to the air and a harsh wind started blowing. She began chanting in old English and Ben saw a young man emerge from the spinney. He walked towards them and Ben saw that is was the same young man as before, with black teeth. He held out his hand which was full of acorns: “I am the acorn man!” he said. Suddenly he threw the acorns up in the air…… Several hours later, Ben and the others drove up to a large house. They pushed the front door, which was ajar, and walked in. Entering the library they saw an old man slumped dead at a desk. All around the room were books on the occult. Ben recognised Gabriel
Decavenar, the UK’s leading black magician. In his dead hand were three acorns and a sprig of woodbine. “Its just like the old woman said...” Katie whispered. “Yes, the white witch. It’s a good job she was of a forgiving nature after the way you insulted her.” “Well how was I to know that she had roused the spirit of the earth in the form of a young man to defend the sacred Rings from destruction?” “She sensed that the developers had employed Decavenar to destroy opponents of the project using psychic projection. He then tried to twist the image of the young man to destroy us. Yet her power was stronger than his and his negative energy was turned back on himself.” As Ben spoke, a young man walked away from the house and dropped three acorns out of his hand before slowly fading away……………… THE END About Acorn Man Acorn Man was originally written as a short piece of Doctor Who fan fiction featuring the 10th Doctor and Donna Noble. It is presented here, entirely re-written, as a new Ben Chatham adventure. We hope you have enjoyed The Adventures of Ben Chatham!
Illustration by Paul Cooke
“Don’t you think you had better slow down a bit Kyle? You’re not a boy racer now” Corinne said. Kyle frowned: “Ere you sound just like Katie. You two are like becoming the same.” Corinne was bemused: “I am nothing like her. I don’t throw myself at anything in trousers like a desperate slapper” Corinne said icily. “I just ‘ope we can get to Ben in time an’ tell ‘im what we’ve found out” Kyle said. All of a sudden he slammed on the brakes and the car screeched to a halt. “What the hell are you doing, trying to kill us both?” Corinne shouted. “That was Ben’s car like back there in the ditch” “Oh shit….”
eagerly booked and waited for my ticket and the chance to meet my idol in person.yes. None other than KAREN GIllAN aka AMy PONDlIFE was coming. I had to change my pants at last three times that night. Although I just turned them inside out at one point as Mummy hadn’t washed them.
e es to b d. k i l o h gge an, w ggest f KER” get’s ta i b ’s K A A FANWN a “HUGE WN s a known
Unfortunately, the day started off very badly when I realised that Karen Gillan wasn't attending the Official Doctor Who Day in Liverpoolshire, so the money I diverted from the Big Finish fund for the chloroform was a complete waste of time. Now I won’t get to hear the obviously exciting spin-off series with that bloke off Upstairs Downstairs. Sadly, the cardboard cut out of her in her Policewoman’s uniform that I was now dragging around with me was also pointless. I’d have dropped it except Mummy had spent a long time sticky back plastic-ing it for me. Wipe clean. Worse still, the convention turned out to be in some arse end of beyond called Hoylake. Half a pissing hour it took for me to get there carrying my holdall of Big Finishes to get signed for Ebay. I had to travel up and down three flights of stairs!! I threw it down the final set as I couldn’t be arsed carrying it and shattered my “Doctor Who and the Pirates”. At least Colin ‘Maxil’ Baker isn’t at this convention; he’s already done fourteen this year. I think he thinks I’m stalking him. By time I eventually got to the bloody place, I’d missed Polly’s panel. That scrummy Dexter guy from Fantom Frights was there trying to flog me an Anneke Wills Out of Focus book. Unfortunately for him, I’d much rather he was flogging me! Next up, Ryan Giggs brother Paul introduced “The Greatest Panel in the Galaxy”. Chris ‘Lovejoy’ Jury was surely the highlight with his funny stories about the show even though he looked nothing like he did in Lovejoy. Andrew ‘Don’t ask about Bergerac’ Cartmel came out with an absolute corker that him and JNT used to call getting the big name stars into Doctor Who “starfcuking”. I snorted my Ribena right up my nose I tell you. Bellboy and some others I didn’t recognise then played their music. Either it was really good or I got hypnotised. I’m not sure which, as I found myself buying a bloody CD of it! There was no food at this do, so I was well glad that Mummy had done me some potted beef sandwiches and a Wagon Wheel. I gave that to Sophie ‘Ace’ Aldred but she didn’t seem too appreciative. I’d only had one bite out of it. It’d gone off. Revenge for the McCoy years! Mark ‘Turlough’ Strickson was amusing with his stories about life in the outback. He didn’t seem to appreciate it when I tried to get him to talk about Doctor Who.Y’know, what we paid for. Only kidding. He loves to talk about Doctor Who and spoke at length about JNT. Which..was.. a.. shame. Leela then came on stage and not in the leotard either which was a complete disappointment. It’s like Nicola ‘Big tits’ Bryant not wearing the hot pink top or Tegan not wearing the boob tube. What’s wrong with these people?? Still, she was talking about Tom ‘It’s him with the scarf’ Baker’s hate of her and how he has mellowed. I knew this of course as I’d bought all the Big Finish series and pre-ordered the next three years worth. Subscribers get SO much more .. debt. The final guest of the day who turned out to be Colin bloody Baker after all that. I had to hide in the toilet for most of it because I was feeling ill at the thought of listening to him for forty-five minutes. Lots of people were laughing though. I wasn’t aware he was funny but I stopped watching after The Five Doctors anyway. It was all getting very silly. And that was that. Everyone went home. I had arse cramp from being sat on the toilet for an hour. Except I turned a corner and got stuck talking to Colin Baker. Awwwkward. Demanded something from me to sign so I had to get that torn copy of “Doctor Who and the Pirates” out. He only bloody well broke into song. My poor ears. Dedicated it as well so I can’t sell it. Unless there’s someone else called David Agnew out there..? I then proceeded to get lost trying to find the station. Andrew Cartmel was still driving around in his car looking for people to flog books too. He invited me back to his hotel room at the Hoylake Premier Inn. Cartmel was telling me all about his Masterplan as he was fanwnaking me off. Wasn’t all he did either. Sophie Aldred, Bellboy and Chris ‘Lovejoy’ Jury were bound and gagged in the cupboard. Mummy had to use a whole tub of Sudocreme on me that night. Starfcuked. David Agnew
was with a gasp of excitement I realised that the Official Doctor Who Day (Ed – actually called Who in Hoylake) was coming to Merseyside – my hometown!
ying ’s” enjo R E K A “WN NWNAK ably. A F f o h A bunc argains. Prob 1b £ their WHO at HOYLAKE was held at JACK RABBIT SLIMS in Hoylake, Wirral on Saturday 28th July 2012 and FANWNAK was there....
Starfcuking in Hoylake 103
he Doctor burst into the TARDIS, slamming the door closed behind him, and with his elbows ﬂapping as madly as his hair rushed up the ramp to the console, to ﬁnd Rory and Amy perched on the railings as he arrived...
“Oh!” he said, stopping dead. “Hello Doctor!” Amy and Rory chirruped. “Oh,” said the Doctor again, apparently at a complete loss. “Weren’t you expecting us?” Amy asked. “You didn’t think we were dead, did you?” asked Rory. “You didn’t think we were really dead, did you?” Amy repeated. e Doctor paused. “Yes,” he replied, eventually. Rory and Amy laughed. “Oh come on now Doctor,” said Amy. “You should know better than that,” added Rory. “But, but...” the Doctor stammered. “We’ve been in worse situations,” said Rory. “Yes,” said Amy. “Remember the Silurian City?” “Never thought I’d get out of that one alive,” said Rory. “You didn’t,” muttered the Doctor. “And yet here I am,” Rory continued. “I could pinch myself.” Amy pinched Rory. “Hey!” said Rory. “Or what about Stonehenge?” Amy said. “I thought I was a goner for sure.” “You were,” the Doctor mumbled. Amy elbowed Rory in the ribs. “Hey!” said Rory. “Killed dead by my own husband!” Amy giggled. “Well I was an Auton at the time!” Rory laughed. “at’s no excuse!” Amy chuckled. “And what about that time in the TARDIS?” Rory continued. “When you just left me there to age to death?” “Speaking of aging to death,” Amy added, “I might bring up the incident at the Kindness Centre...” “Oh the Handbots,” said Rory. “Well that was your own silly fault.” “And I suppose you’re going to tell me it wasn’t your fault when you died on the pirate ship?” Amy asked him. “No more so than when I got turned to dust by those old folk when you were supposedly going into labour,” Rory admonished her. “Well you’ve died more times than I have,” Amy chided. “Well I’ve had a more exciting life than you have,” Rory answered back. “Ponds!” the Doctor suddenly bellowed. Amy and Rory recoiled into silence. “We’re here,” said the Doctor. While Rory and Amy had been talking, the Doctor had piloted the TARDIS to a new destination. “We’re here?” asked Amy. “Where’s here?” asked Rory. “You haven’t brought us to the Crystal Mountains of Moonintrot ﬁnally, have you?” asked Amy. “No,” said the Doctor. “Oh,” said Amy. “ought not, somehow.” “What about the Laughing Seas of Bapabapa?” asked Rory. “Have you ﬁnally brought us to the Laughing Seas of Bapabapa?” “No,” said the Doctor. “Ah,” said Rory. “Didn’t think so, somehow.” “So where are we?” asked Amy. “Follow me,” said the Doctor, and he turned and headed back down towards the TARDIS doors. Amy shrugged. “Follow him,” she said to her husband. Rory lowered himself to the ﬂoor. “Don’t we always?” Rory and Amy followed the Doctor down to the TARDIS doors. “So?” Amy asked the Doctor. “East of Java, West of Sumatra,” the Doctor said. “e 28th of 106
August, 1883.” Amy shrugged again. “Sounds like it ought to be familiar,” she said. “e Doctor certainly thinks so,” Rory told her. e Doctor swung the doors wide open, and a wave of hot air blasted into the TARDIS. “Krakatoa,” the Doctor said, “the day after Volcano Day.” Amy and Rory peered out of the door. e TARDIS was hovering in mid-air, several hundred feet above a recently exploded volcano. “Sheesh it’s hot,” Rory said. “Why’ve you brought us here?” asked Amy. “Something you wanted to show us?” Rory asked. “I don’t how how many times I’ve seen the pair of you die,” the Doctor said. “Nearly as many times as we’ve seen you die,” Amy replied. “e museum,” said Rory. “Nazi Germany, the beach in Utah...” “I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the pair of you die,” the Doctor said, “and yet I can never quite seem to get rid of you.” Amy and Rory looked at one another, standing in the TARDIS entrance, the Doctor just behind them, and frowned. “I just need a little peace,” said the Doctor, and with the gentlest of shoves, he sent Amy and Rory toppling out of the TARDIS and falling towards the pool of recently exposed lava below. “I just need a little peace from my companions,” the Doctor whispered. e Doctor stood in the map room of Hitler’s bunker, and glanced nervously around him. It was the dead of night, and for once, the map room was quiet. In the darkness, the Doctor could just make out some bunting unravelling from the ceiling. As he crossed the room, his boots crunched on some forgotten confetti. e Doctor stole a look at his watch. 2.06am. April the 30th, 1945. “If I know Adolf,” said the Doctor, “I shouldn’t be disturbed just now.” e Doctor arrived at the far wall, which was home to an enormous painting of the Fuhrer. e Doctor leaned in towards Hitler’s crotch, and listened intently to the painting for a few seconds. “Tic toc, Hitler’s c*ck,” the Doctor mumbled. “What secret are you hiding in there?” e Doctor smiled. “I mean, apart from the obvious missing testicle.” Suddenly the Doctor jerked his head back and stared at the painting for a few seconds, in the dark. e Doctor involuntarily rubbed his right hand over his left wrist, and then snapped his ﬁngers in exclamation. “Eureka!” he whispered. e Doctor was staring at the watch painted onto the Fuhrer’s own wrist. “Six minutes past two,” the Doctor whispered. “I might have guessed.” e Doctor looked behind him and made a judgement call. “Ah to hell with it,” he said. “Nobody’s going to miss this today.” And with that, the Doctor lifted the bottom of the painting and let it crash down to the ﬂoor behind him, tearing itself on the tables and chairs as it landed. And hidden behind it, the Doctor had revealed a safe built into the wall. e Doctor leaned in and began to turn the dial. “e sixth of the second,” the Doctor muttered to himself. “And 19 and 12, I presume.”
e Doctor dialled the combination into the safe. “Eva Braun’s birthday.” e Doctor stopped, and smiled. “No, not Eva Braun! Eva Hitler! Yesterday is the day she married him...” e Doctor’s smile turned to a frown. “... And today’s the day she dies.” e door of the safe fell open with a click. “Herr Doctor,” came a voice from the doorway. “Ist dass wirklich Sie?” e Doctor whirled around. Standing behind him, in the semidarkness and silhouetted in the frame of the door, was Adolf Hitler, his trousers around his ankles. “Aber Sie haben nicht im Alter von einem Tag,” Hitler breathed, uncomprehendingly. “It’s been twelve years for you, Adolf,” the Doctor said, reaching into the safe behind him. “But it’s only been a matter of weeks for me.” e Doctor looked down to see what he’d retrieved from the safe. “Ah, that’s the one!” he exclaimed, and bolted for the door. “Halten Sie an!” bellowed the Fuhrer, attempting to give chase but coming a cropper and crashing to the ﬂoor as his legs became entangled in his lowered trousers. “at was close!” the Doctor told himself as he ran. “Almost too close!”
Companion Peace By Steven Muppet
e Doctor stood safely back in the console room, the doors closed behind him and the time rotor rising and falling to indicate the TARDIS was in ﬂight. He smiled to himself. “So the stories were true, Adolf,” he chuckled. “I wonder about the Albert Hall though.” en with a burst of energy, the Doctor turned and leaned into the console, spreading the paper that he’d stolen from the Fuhrer’s safe open in front of him. “And what have we here then? ... Yes, yes, coordinates of some kind. Don’t recognise them though...” e Doctor stood bolt upright and made a decision. “No harm in going there though, I suppose. What’s the worst that can happen?” he asked himself. e Doctor tapped the coordinates into the console and leaned back. e time rotor shuddered to a halt almost immediately. “Am I here already?” the Doctor asked. “But that only usually happens if it’s somewhere I’ve only just been...?” With a frown, the Doctor descended to the doors and opened them – – and Amy and Rory fell crashing into his arms. “at was a dirty trick!” bellowed Amy, picking herself up and battering the Doctor with a series of slaps. “What?” said the Doctor. “Of all the nasty, mealy-minded...” Rory added, shaking his head. “What?” said the Doctor. “Did you want us to think that you were really getting rid of us this time?” Amy yelled. “WHAT?” said the Doctor. e Doctor turned and looked out of the open door. e TARDIS was hovering on its side in mid-air, and the Doctor could just make out another TARDIS dematerialising from a similar position some way in the distance. Suddenly he became aware of an intense heat. “Krakatoa?” he whispered to himself. “e day after Volcano Day,” Rory said, with a grump. Amy stopped slapping the Doctor in shock. “You mean to say you didn’t know?” Amy shouted. “You didn’t know you were coming back for us? You’d have let us fall in, in, in there?” “Um um um, no, of course not!” the Doctor said. “Of course I knew! Don’t be silly, of course I did.” “You’d just have let us die!” Amy yelped. “It wouldn’t have been the ﬁrst time,” muttered Rory. “No!” exclaimed the Doctor. “No, don’t be silly! I came straight here after I pushed you out – there. Straight away. I came to rescue you. It was all a trick, do you see? A little joke! Because you were talking about dying – a little joke, do you see?” Amy folded her arms and scowled at the Doctor. “You came straight away?” she asked him. “Yes of course,” he told her. “You’ve changed your bow-tie,” Amy told him. 107
e Doctor ﬂustered and stroked his bow-tie. “It only took a few seconds,” he said. “All part of the trick. To trick you into thinking I’d been oﬀ and done other things in the meantime...” “You’ve cut your hair,” Amy told him. e Doctor ﬂustered and stroked his hair. “e TARDIS did it,” he said. “It’s a – a thing she does. Only takes a few seconds, all part of the trick.” Rory had climbed to the console area, and was standing by the time rotor. “You’ve got a new companion,” he said, and Amy and the Doctor turned. Sure enough, there was a short, dark-haired girl standing next to Rory and yawning and stretching in her light pink pyjamas. “Nice time in Berlin, Doc?” the girl said. “Oh, have we got guests?” “Who’s that?” bellowed Amy. “It’s – it’s... Well, never mind who it is!” e Doctor raced up to the console and picked up the map, thrusting it into the brown-haired girl’s hands. “Go and get some clothes on,” the Doctor said, ruﬄing her hair. “And take that with you.” “Go and put some clothes on?” the girl said, almost to herself, but she turned and left the console room. e Doctor’s hands raced over the controls for a second, and the time rotor started its ascent before just as quickly stopping again. “What have you just done...?” Rory asked. “Doctor...?” bellowed Amy. “Something ... special,” the Doctor whispered, and he ran back down to the still-open doors. e TARDIS was now hovering on its side in mid-air above the recently-erupted Krakatoa once again, and in the distance the Doctor could see another TARDIS materialising above it. As the Doctor watched, the other TARDIS’ doors opened and Amy and Rory came tumbling out towards him. With a wheezing and a groaning, a second TARDIS began to materialise right next to the one the Doctor was standing in, but with a blast of hot air from below, the two TARDISes bumped against each other and rocked backwards. Amy and Rory fell right through the gap between them. “No!” screamed the Amy in the console room, before fading away to nothing. “What?” screamed the Rory in the console room, before he too faded away into nothing. “Phew!” said the Doctor, slamming the doors shut before turning and running back up to the central console. “I didn’t think that would work!” e brown-haired girl reappeared, this time fully-dressed. She did a small twirl. “What do you think, Doc?” she asked him. “How do I look? And where have those people gone?” “ey’ve just ... gone,” the Doctor said. “You look ﬁne, but – well, you can go and get them oﬀ again now.” e brown-haired girl smiled. “Sure thing,” she said. e Doctor and the brown-haired girl stood gawping in the doorway of the TARDIS bedroom, slack-jawed and open-mouthed. “I thought you said they’d gone?” the brown-haired girl said. Rory and Amy were sitting on the bed. “I ... thought they were,” the Doctor mumbled. “Well they didn’t go very far,” the brown-haired girl pointed out. e Doctor stared at Amy and Rory. “How do you do that?” he said, at length. “Ach well,” said Amy, with a smile, “I have something that you haven’t got.” “And what’s that?” asked the Doctor. “is,” said Amy, and smiling at Rory, she reached inside her pocket and pulled out a tiny piece of rock. “What’s that?” asked the Doctor. “Pandorica Stone,” said Amy. “Keeps you alive,” said Rory. “Forever.” Amy smiled. “Great, isn’t it?” said Rory. “I’ve got one too. Amy gave it me.” Rory reached inside his pocket and pulled out his own piece of Pandorica Stone. “I want one,” said the brown-haired girl. Amy smiled sarcastically at her. “You don’t even have a name, dear,” Amy said. 108
“Yet,” the girl replied. “Touché,” said Rory. “Where did you get it from?” the Doctor asked Amy. Amy smiled. “I’ll explain later,” she said. “Harrumph!” harrumphed the Doctor, and turned and walked out of the room. “So,” said Amy, smiling sardonically at the brown-haired girl. “You’re my replacement, are you? You’re a little – short.” “Well you’re a little ginger,” said the brown-haired girl, and she turned and followed the Doctor out of the room. e brown-haired girl entered the console room, to see the Doctor performing a complicated series of calculations on the TARDIS computer. “Can I get a piece of this – this Pandorica Stone?” the brownhaired girl asked. e Doctor looked up. “Wouldn’t you rather get an actual name, ﬁrst?” the Doctor asked her. “What are you doing?” the brown-haired girl asked. “Something very complicated,” the Doctor told her. And with that, he ﬂicked a switch. “ere,” the Doctor said. “Done.” “What have you done?” the brown-haired girl asked. “Gone,” the Doctor said. en he leaned back, and smiled. “I’ve jettisoned the TARDIS bedroom,” he said, simply. “You’ve jettisoned the TARDIS bedroom?” the brown-haired girl repeated. “But where will we...?” “I’ve jettisoned the TARDIS bedroom,” the Doctor repeated. “And Rory and Amy with it. It’s a thing I can do, jettisoning rooms from the TARDIS. is way, at least if they can’t actually die, at least they’ll be gone. Come on!” e Doctor stood up and took the brown-haired girl by the hand. “Let’s go and see if it worked!” e Doctor and the brown-haired girl stood in the TARDIS bedroom doorway. In front of them, instead of the TARDIS bedroom, all they could see was the swirling blue and gold of the Time Vortex. “It worked!” said the Doctor. e TARDIS was in ﬂight. e Doctor was standing over the console, performing maintenance checks and keeping an eye on the TARDIS’ progress through the Time Vortex. e brown-haired girl was sitting on the steps beside him, wearing nothing but an extremely skimpy night-dress, and playing with her hair. “Where are we going?” the brown-haired girl asked him “Any place in particular you’d like to go?” the Doctor asked her. “Don’t care,” the brown-haired girl said sulkily. “I just want a piece of that Pandorica Stone.” “Oh come on now,” said the Doctor. “What do you need that for?” e brown-haired girl muttered sullenly, “So that I don’t age and die. I’m going to get older, and you’re not. I don’t want to get replaced like they did,” she added. e Doctor grinned. “I could never replace you,” he said. “You don’t even know my name,” said the brown-haired girl. e Doctor was about to answer, when there was a knock at the door. “What?” said the Doctor. “at can’t be right. We’re in free-ﬂight, through the Time Vortex. Nobody could be knocking at the door out here.” “Oh really,” said the brown-haired girl. With a confused look, the Doctor descended to the TARDIS doors and opened them. Amy and Rory stumbled in. “You don’t get rid of us that easily,” Amy said. Rory grinned and ﬂashed his piece of the Pandorica Stone. “Surprise!” he said to the Doctor. “Oh bollocks,” the Doctor muttered under his breath. “Constantly resets the universe too,” Amy said. “So you can never, ever die, and you can never, ever disappear.” Amy and Rory ascended to the console section. e brown-haired girl threw them a tired look. “Still here?” Amy asked her. “He hasn’t replaced you yet, then?” e brown-haired girl pouted.
“She’s irreplaceable,” the Doctor said, joining them at the console. “You don’t even know her name,” Rory pointed out. “I see he’s got you in a nightie,” Amy said, to the brown-haired girl. “Had me in a nightie on my ﬁrst time too.” “Doctor, is that true?” the brown-haired girl asked. “Amy! Is that true?” Rory repeated. “No of course not,” the Doctor and Amy insisted. “Harrumph!” harrumphed Rory and the brown-haired girl. “I think a little trip should do us all the world of good,” said the Doctor, turning to the console. e TARDIS doors opened, and the Doctor, Amy and Rory, and the brown-haired girl emerged. “Where are we?” asked the brown-haired girl. “Leadworth,” said the Doctor. Rory and Amy sighed. “Leadworth?” asked the brown-haired girl. “Where’s Leadworth?” “It’s where Amy and Rory come from,” explained the Doctor. “Great,” the brown-haired girl said. “So what are we doing here?” “I’ve got a surprise for you all,” the Doctor said, and before anyone could say or do anything, he slipped back into the TARDIS and slammed the door shut. With a wheezing and a groaning, the TARDIS dematerialised. “Bastrad,” said Amy. With a wheezing and a groaning, the TARDIS materialised again. e door opened, and the Doctor emerged, River Song beside him. “Mother!” she exclaimed, spotting Amy. “at’s your daughter?” exclaimed the brown-haired girl, looking at Amy Pond. “I’ve got news for you,” Rory told the brown-haired girl, “that’s the Doctor’s wife.” “Uh-oh,” said the Doctor, and before anyone could say or do anything, he slipped back into the TARDIS and slammed the door shut. With a wheezing and a groaning, the TARDIS dematerialised. “Bastrad,” said the brown-haired girl. With a wheezing and a groaning, the TARDIS materialised again. e door opened, and the Doctor emerged, Rory and Amy’s friend Mels beside him. “Mels?” exclaimed Amy. “So who’s that now?” asked the brown-haired girl, bewildered. Rory pointed at River Song. “She’s her,” he said, as if that explained everything. “She’s her?” said the brown-haired girl, confused. “I’m confused.” “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” said the Doctor, and before anyone could say or do anything, he slipped back into the TARDIS and slammed the door shut. With a wheezing and a groaning, the TARDIS dematerialised. “What’s he up to?” said Rory. With a wheezing and a groaning, the TARDIS materialised again. e door opened, and the Doctor emerged, a baby in his arms. Amy and Rory looked at the baby in horror. “What’s going on?” asked the brown-haired girl. “Why are you two looking so horriﬁed? It’s only a baby.” Amy and Rory looked at one another, and then back at the baby. River Song squealed with delight. “Oh! What a cute baby!” she exclaimed. Mels squealed with delight. “Oh! What a cute baby!” she exclaimed. Mels and River Song crowded around the Doctor, to get a closer look. “Don’t touch the baby!” Amy bellowed. “Don’t touch the baby!” Rory cried. But it was too late. “Why ever not?” said River Song. “It’s such a cute baby,” added Mels. And before Amy or Rory could stop them, River Song and Mels reached out and tickled the cute baby under its tiny cute chin. ere was a blinding ﬂash of light. e Doctor was holding the baby, Amy and Rory were standing with their arms folded and looking very cross, and the brown-haired girl was standing in her nightie, looking cold and confused. “What just happened?” asked the brown-haired girl. “A trick!” Amy said, angrily. “He tricked us, the Doctor tricked us,” Rory said. “You see,” said the Doctor, “I knew these two would never leave the TARDIS. I should have realised earlier. But I tried to get rid of them any number of times before. Any number of times.”
“And so now they’re going to leave because of this – because of this baby?” asked the brown-haired girl. “Yes indeedy,” said the Doctor. And he handed the baby to Amy. Amy looked down at the baby. “You can’t do this,” she told the Doctor. “Oh but I can,” the Doctor replied. “She’s your baby, you chose to have her.” “But I didn’t know!” Amy exclaimed. “I didn’t know a thing about it!” “Nevertheless,” said the Doctor. “You weren’t using protection, and this is what happens when you don’t use protection.” “She is rather cute,” said Rory, leaning in. “But now we’re going to have to bring her up,” moaned Amy. “Precisely!” beamed the Doctor. “If I can’t get rid of you any other way, then I’m just going to have to leave you with the baby.” “It’s worth it,” said Rory to his wife. “It’s the one thing it’s worth stopping travelling for.” “Humbug,” said Amy, looking down at the baby. Rory smiled. “She is rather cute, though,” Amy begrudgingly admitted. e Doctor took the brown-haired girl by the hand and led her quietly back into the TARDIS. With a wheezing and a groaning, it disappeared. “We can do this, you know,” said Rory. “Pah,” said Amy, but smiling. “It’s not all about You, You, You,” Amy’s husband said. “Bastrad,” said Amy, with a big grin. “So you’re married?” the brown-haired girl said, as she and the Doctor stood over the TARDIS console, deciding where to go next. “Nope,” said the Doctor. “But that bloke said that that woman – the one that girl claimed was her daughter – was your wife?” “at’s right,” said the Doctor. “But then you’re married,” said the brown-haired girl. “Nope,” said the Doctor. “Not any more. River Song, and everything she ever was and ever will be, has now been erased from the timelines.” “Erased from the timelines?” asked the brown-haired girl. “Yup,” said the Doctor. “A fresh start, with a new baby. A new baby Melody, who’ll grow up to be someone diﬀerent, someone who’s not River Song.” “I don’t follow this at all,” said the brown-haired girl. “Don’t worry, you’re not supposed to,” said the Doctor. “And another thing. What is my name?” asked the brown-haired girl. “I don’t know,” said the Doctor, with his ﬁngers crossed behind his back. “When I found you, you’d lost your memory – so I never did ﬁnd out. Maybe one day you’ll remember.” “How did I lose my memory?” asked the brown-haired girl. “It’s not like I wiped it or anything,” the Doctor said quickly. “I didn’t think you had,” the brown-haired girl said. “Ah,” said the Doctor. “Well I didn’t.” e brown-haired girl paused. “I’m going to bed,” she said, and turned and walked away. “It’s been a long and confusing day.” “I’ll join you in a minute,” the Doctor called after her. He turned to the console, and started ﬂicking switches. “Better make a new bedroom,” he muttered to himself. e Doctor leaned back and smiled. “at should do it.” Just as he was about to turn and follow the brown-haired girl to bed, the Doctor stopped as a thought occurred to him. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a photograph. On the front, a slightly fading picture of the brown-haired girl grinned back at him. e Doctor ﬂipped the photograph. On the back were some words. A date, followed by a short sentence: “Come and ﬁnd me Doctor, it’s really boring here,” the words said. And then there was a signature. “Nyssa.” e brown-haired girl called out from inside the TARDIS somewhere. “Are you coming to bed or what?” e Doctor stuﬀed the photograph back into his pocket. “Coming,” he called back. Steven Muppet 109
The FANWNAK team of reviewers take a listen to random official audio adventures of everyone’s favourite Timelord. No, not The Rani or The Master, The Doctor of course! As ever, a huge “thanks” to the BBC and Big Finish for not sending us any free review copies. Probably, because we couldn’t be bothered to ask...
Audio Who Destination: Nerva Tom Baker is back... Reviewed by David Bruntnell ★★★★★ Listening to Destination: Nerva called up some vivid memories. When I started with the audios, I avoided the Peter Davison titles, assuming that he’d sound too old (a strange prejudice in hindsight). My first Fifth Doctor CD was Primeval, and it epitomised the filmic energy that Big Finish can achieve. Mature, but mostly like his younger self, Davison thrived in the format. Tom Baker is similar. There’s a clear age difference, and a perceptible hesitation at times – the stealthy house scene aside – with his “Run!” at the cliffhanger being fairly comical. In other moments, particularly amid the action, he’s closer to his Seventies episodes, and it’s easy to forget the white hair and be transported. Baker comes into his own as the Doctor intercepts Foster, and this incarnation is fiercely critical of those around him. It’s as if he’s scolding children to prevent them being hurt. I like Baker’s delivery as the Doctor is fending off Hooley, and the badgering of McMullan is vintage stuff. Perhaps what is reduced is Baker’s power and vigour, and the nod to his “big effort” is surely a pun. This is not a comeback for Louise Jameson, but was refreshing for me as I last heard her in Zagreus. I very much like the scene where Leela supports the demoralised Foster, and how she interacts with the Drellerans. At the end of Season 14, I’m not keen on the superior Doctor: an austere Higgins to Leela’s Eliza. Destination: Nerva thaws the relationship while retaining an edge, and there’s a balance between the characters in resolving the situation. The Lost Stories recapture several eras. Here, the initial sting is pure Dudley Simpson and the ‘adventure theme’ 110
brings Geoffrey Burgon to mind. When the Doctor and Leela arrive on Nerva, the music harks back to the original stories, and the ‘howl’ as McMullan offers his hand is Wirrn-like. As with modern expressions in the script, the mix of contemporary and retro music is displacing; at the end of part one I remembered Tom Baker’s Shada narration, accompanied by the incongruous Keff McCulloch. Making up for the xylophone at the climax, Jamie Robertson’s piece at 12:37 is inspired, and you can feel Nerva revolving. The Drellerans are slightly obscured by the battle, but the vocal modulation indicates their real nature, which the name “Aeolus” echoes. Untranslated, they’re like Ra’s minions in Stargate, and they come over as imposing, bear-like, and with colour that recalls Earth Girls Are Easy…! The conference in part two was a key point for me, as I imagined a sense of scale and the creatures looming over the companions – the Fourth Doctor suddenly free of the constraints of budget like his Big Finish counterparts. As the Epiderm takes hold, effects likewise cloud the Craske/McMullan speech. The flesh cascade is familiar, but conveys the horror of the mutations, and Lord Jack preying on the crewmen is menacing. Elsewhere the Drudgers are simply heralded by a gentle humming and the teleport manages to shake its Star Trek parallels. Leela’s knife-swooshes sound like she’s throwing, rather than wielding the weapon, so less could definitely be more in this case. On the cover, repeating octagons are applied in a revision of the TV designs. These work best in framing the protagonists, but the indifferent-looking Foster conflicts with the moody BBC shots. The booklet’s centre image is a witty play on the tagline, though its use again on The Renaissance Man (with subtle tweaks) precludes the usual illustrations. When a return to Nerva was announced,
I considered the writer’s options. Both screen adventures involve alien revenge and an infection and I guessed that a supernatural concept might break the pattern. Destination: Nerva was therefore disappointing, and felt recycled: the carriers are akin to The Invisible Enemy and the Epiderm mirrors The Ark in Space. It also bothered me that Nerva failed to crystallise – Roger MurrayLeach’s curving corridors are so enduring that a description would have been beneficial. Plus, Leela barely reacts to being in space, despite a perfunctory trip outside. Lord Jack and his crimes (think The Rescue) require a huge leap of faith. That the humans could so quickly get over first contact, master the alien ship – and that’s just for starters – is science fantasy and then some. I’m reminded of the shielded Spitfire pilots of Victory of the Daleks, leaving orbit in an age when Earth had never been seen, without an ounce of awe or trepidation. In addition, the story risks caricaturing history and its oppressors, notably with Lord Jack’s address in part two. I appreciate that Jack’s meant to be arrogant and affected, but Tim Treloar falls into parody. Nicholas Briggs sources references and dialogue from previous tales, and the ones from The Talons of Weng-Chiang are satisfying and lock this story firmly in context. He writes so well for the regulars that the repetition of the Doctor’s “favourite species” comment is passable, helped by Tom Baker’s remote approach. It’s a bit silly that the Doctor says “Let’s surprise ourselves” then asks Leela where she’d like to go; odd that Leela recognises an umbrella, and tolerates the dress (I thought provided by Litefoot). The “mechanicals” are an astute homage to the period, with shades of Enlightenment. Kim Wall portrays Hooley’s transformation brilliantly, evoking Noah’s disturbing fate on the “Ark”, and Tim Bentinck is diverting as the petrified Jenkins. McMullan’s infiltration of Nerva is quite irritating,
regardless of Sam Graham’s successful rendition. The sergeant uses a cajoling and seductive tone, inducing hypnosis, but because of the crassness of the character it all goes off-kilter. Craske finds him attractive, and though it’s unclear whether this is part of the control, it’s good that Leela detects and fights the malign influence, aided by sharp sound design. Brief as it is, Foster’s soliloquy establishes the doctor’s background, which made me think of Event Horizon. However, the transition from sorrow to sarcasm is uncomfortable. The trouble with Foster is that she’s disengaged, and this puts Raquel Cassidy in a black hole. In the new series, the ubiquitous line “Who the hell are you?” has seemed like a device to instantly up the drama, but is often flat and saps an actor’s credibility. Lumbered with glib phrases like this and “make a difference”, Foster exemplifies this issue, and her acerbic personality becomes a drain on the peril. Summary I didn’t warm to the sixty-minute structure of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, so I was dubious when the Fourth took up the mantle. My impression is that this story and its characters suffer from the lack of time. Amongst a comedic skeleton crew, only Tim Bentinck’s Moreau sounds competent, and with further exposure and less pastiche, Lord Jack could have had mileage. An extended visit to a functioning Nerva would have been preferable, as this is something we’ve yet to witness.
Apparently, tom Baker has recorded even more Doctor Who flavoured audios at www.bigfinish.com (Right, that will be at least £15.20 for that blatant plug - ed.)
A nOte tO tHOse veRY nAUGHtY PIRAtes If you enjoy the following reviews, why not actually purchase these audios rather than using Bittorrent software and dodgy forums to download these for nothing? (Right, that will be at least another £15.20 for that too. Kerching! - ed.)
Blackout Powerful or power-cut?
Recorded Time and Other Stories
Reviewed by Tony Jones www.redrocketrising.wordpress.com
Reviewed by Tony Jones www.redrocketrising.wordpress.com
★★★★★ A BBC Audio for the 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory as read by Stuart Milligan (who played Richard Nixon in The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon) set in New York City at the time of one of its (historically accurate) blackouts - this one being November 9th 1965. Written by Oli Smith who wrote the 11th Doctor audio Runaway Train which I thought was very poor. I wasn't expecting a great deal from this release...
★★★★★ Who'd have thought, Big Finish have now reached 150 main range releases. I would have said monthly except they release two every September meaning that there are actually 13 releases per year. Back to the point; I thought I would draft a review in honour of this milestone for which Big Finish broke into a Seventh Doctor trilogy with this collection of four short tales featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri. For those of you in a rush the simple review is all four stories are brilliant; if you have more time please do hang around...
Summary Well I was very pleasantly surprised as to how much better than Runaway Train I found this story of aliens in New York in the 60s. No timey-wimey stuff just a solid tale of a threat to the population, alien abduction of a cab driver, an updated version of spontaneous combustion (but with ice if that makes sense) and several chase scenes. A couple of times it seemed it might overlap with the plot of the current TV show (in terms of an alien reminiscent of The Silence and the death of the Doctor) but it didn't. For me the main flaw was that too much dramatic tension relied on the Doctor, Rory and Amy apparently about to die from an unstoppable alien poison. Nice idea but we know they won't die, so that rather defeats the object! Good: • It was nice to start from a solid US style alien abduction for some reason • The reading from Stuart Milligan gave the characters distinct voices • New York felt convincing and for me a lot more so than the Big Finish Invaders from Mars version • Great scenes in the water pumping station • A nice chase sequence with motorbikes and street cleaners • Great mint-snow (listen to find out!) Not so good: • The resolution was rushed a bit and relied a lot on an element of bluff • How the Doctor first knew to meet with Clint the Cabbie was not explained • In reality the November 9th blackout covered a lot more than just New York (Mr Pedant!). This has rectified the balance as far as Oli Smith goes!
Summary Comparing with for example 45, Company of Friends or Demons of Red Lodge this is a great success; those other collections suffered (in my humble) from having one weaker story, a best story and two somewhat variable stories. Actually now I think harder I would say actually one favourite, one poor and the rest of the stories somewhere in the middle. No doubt you have your own opinion! The Stories In order of appearance: • Recorded Time (by Catherine Harvey): Back in the court of Henry VIII and the Doctor needs to keep Peri out of the King's clutches before history has to record an extra queen. Meanwhile Anne Boleyn (played really well by Laura Molyneux) is keen to salvage her place in history before she is replaced (and beheaded) all due to the interference in history of the King’s court scribe. A historic story with jibes about the Doctor's coat, mysterious alien artefacts and I also enjoyed how the Doctor was disappointed at meeting the king in person. Needless to say history ends up on track in the end. • Paradoxicide (by Richard Dinnick): although the main twist is pure Who – a bit of time travel sets up the situation that leads to the bit of time travel – this tale really packs in the plot and worked really well for me though they did lose an entire civilisation in the middle which is the kind of carelessness that you think the Doctor would avoid. • A Most Excellent Match (by Matt Fitton): so how does one work Darcy, Heathcliffe, the d'Urbevilles and other assorted 19th century novels into a Dr
Who story? The answer is here - a tale of dodgy virtual reality as peddled by the wonderfully played carnie Cranton. In this tale we have classic dialogue, mental foes and the Doctor proposing marriage to Peri! Yes it all happens here, step right up folks! • question Marks Philip Lawrence): possibly the best of the four this tale finds the Doctor, Peri and three other survivors of an unknown catastrophe fighting to survive impending doom with no memories and no idea who might be a killer or a saviour. The captain of the vessel is the wonderfully named Destiny Gray played equally wonderfully by Raquel Cassidy who coins the title name from the Doctor's shirt collar markings. The ending is very clever and cannot be even hinted at! So now having gotten to the end I think it is clear that my favourite is question Marks which manages to be intriguing and poignant. I also didn’t spot the ending so full marks to Philip Lawrence.
Magrs work if so it failed for this listener • The look-alike of the Doctor is the arch villain (or is he!) but dies quickly before it gets too complicated – what was the point? • A general sense of drifting around focussed on dialogue rather than coherent plot. Almost pantomime ‘we’ve just teleported in to capture you at useful moments in the plot both as a set-up and as a rescue. More No Hope than New Hope I’m afraid.
The Silver Turk Reviewed by Eamonn Clarke www.britishinvaders.com
Serpent Crest: Tsar Wars Reviewed by Tony Jones www.redrocketrising.wordpress.com ★★★★★ Before I start I have to admit to disliking more of Paul Magrs work than I like; I didn’t like Hornet’s Nest if that helps you peg where my thoughts lie, though did like his Eighth Doctor tales Horror of Glam Rock and The Zygon Who Fell to Earth I even liked Stones of Venice which I know others don’t. I picked up this first volume, Tsar Wars, of a new Fourth Doctor series called Serpent Crest with trepidation, would it be a hit or a miss? Read on to find out… Summary Despite the tremendous title of Tsar Wars, this tale of robots / look-alikes / housekeepers / rebellion failed to work for me on several levels and I struggled to complete it as I was forever waiting for it to move from ‘setting up plot and characters’ to ‘settling down and developing’. I could have forgiven a lot of the complaints below had they been confined to the first five minutes or so. This all feels rather harsh – there were some good points. Good and not so good In order of appearance: Good: • Lots of good performances from both the human and robot characters • The setting was convincingly realised. Not so good: • Tom Baker was so far OTT in places as to sound disconnected (roll on the Big Finish adventures in 2012). As was pointed out to me he seemed to be playing himself rather that the Doctor • The Mrs Wibbsey housekeeper in space unmoved by what is happening fell flat as an idea. Maybe this is a deliberately style element to Paul
★★★★★ The Eigth Doctor, Mary Shelley, and Cybermen? What a prospect, and I’m glad to say that this doesn’t disappoint. In a stroke of genius, Big Finish have given the Eigth Doctor Mary Shelley as a travelling companion. As this four part story begins the Doctor has just whisked Shelley away from that famous meeting at the Villa Diodati in 1816, and taken her to the Vienna Exposition in 1873. Amongst the wonders she encounters there is a curious, metallic automaton who defeats all comers at Checkers and Chess. This is a clever nod back to the history of a real automaton known as the Mechanical Turk. However, unlike the original, there is a dark mystery lurking beneath the Turban and bandages of the Silver Turk. Summary Before long the Doctor is struggling to prevent some of his oldest foes from taking control of the city, and indeed the planet. As the cover image suggests these are first generation Cybermen from the days of the Tenth Planet story, allowing Nicholas Briggs to give us a fantastic vocal performance as he replicates their peculiar, discordant sing-song voices. And, of course, the meeting between Mary Shelley and creatures who are part organic and part machine allows for some clever parallels between the Cybermen and the monster that she will create in Frankenstein. The moment when she is taken prisoner by a disabled Cyberman and starts to sympathise with its plight is particularly chilling. McGann is very good as the Doctor and gets to make a knowing joke about the wig he sported for the film. He is ably backed up by Julie Cox as Shelley, and by the familiar voice of David Schneider as a helpful taxi driver. Big Finish are renowned for their sound design and this production is no exception. In fact, the only fault I can find with this is that the Eight Doctor is saddled with my least favourite version of the classic theme tune. The Silver Turk is available on CD or by digital download. If you are looking for an introduction to Big Finish then Mary’s Story is available for 99p. This prologue recounts the Doctor’s first meeting with Shelley and also serves as a perfect introduction to the joys of the Big Finish audio adventures. 111
Free, full cast, unofﬁcial Doctor Who audio adventures
andril Productions is a new internet community based producer of unofficial Doctor Who (and more) audio plays. There is a website detailing finished productions and also a Facebook page which both can be found by searching for “Bandril Productions”. All of the completed plays are free to download and the first play to be completed by recording individual lines by a process called Networking, is an Eighth Doctor story called Pieces of Eight, written by J.R. Southall. All of the Bandril audio plays aim to follow the televised series continuity, rather than B.P. splitting off and creating their own versions of the Doctor. Therefore, each Doctor is played by an impersonator. However, this does not extend to the companions which can either be established or new whilst still fitting in to televised continuity. In Pieces of Eight, which is set just after the events of the 1996 TV Movie, the TARDIS brings the Doctor, still saddened at having been rejected by Grace, to a perfect English village green in the spring of 1908. Or does it? Is it really 1908, and is it really England? And just Who is the mysterious stranger known as Stream, the only other occupant of the village? The Doctor endures a baffling series of trials before he can get to the truth with tests delivered to him by a variety of unexpected but familiar faces... The story stars Scott Burditt as the Eighth Doctor with Grant Foxon, Philip Fairweather, James Maton, Paul Jones, David Nagel, Steven Hill, Kurt Bergeron and J.R. Southall. The Doctor Who theme, incidental music, editing and sound effects are by Westley Smith withith additional editing by Scott Burditt and Paul Jones. Using a combination of characters lines recorded from PC Microphones, to Digital Dictaphones has resulted in a completed play. The hardest part of constructing a play by this method is that it can be difficult to second guess the response of the person you are supposed to be talking to. To get around this, the plays are done as a read through by one of the members of cast, and sent out to each performer, who then records their own lines and these are then edited into the read through until the play is completed. This isn’t an ideal way of working but it does work... However, should the opportunity arise to actually meet up and record lines, this would be preferred. On, the plus side, the contributors to the plays can span the globe leading to varied and interesting characters. If you would like to help out Bandril Productions in any capacity, please contact them via their Facebook Page. Actors, Script writers and production staff are all wanted to increase output and shorten the length of time it takes to complete each story. Story submissions may even even include unproduced TV classic stories. If you’d like to contribute as and actor you will need a high quality microphone with a pop filter and a quiet room. Although Bandril Productions aim to create full cast audios, there are opportunities for narrated stories too. One of which called River Song’s Bedtime Story has been produced as a freebie for FANWNAK Issue 6. 112
Plays currently in production (Please note, details subject to alteration)
THE HAPPY MAN 3 x 25 minute episodes written by Stephen Muppet The Seventh Doctor comes face to face with an old adversary...
JOURNEY INTO TIME 1 x 25 minute episode Journey into Time was the first episode of a Doctor Who Radio series written by Malcolm Hulke from Stanmark Productions that was actually recorded in 1966 but then the tapes have been sadly lost. The Doctor was played by the late Peter Cushing but nobody knows who played the other actors and it's anyone's guess as to what it originally sounded like.
EXTERMINATE! 3 x 50 minute written by Andrew Tomlinson In 1989, a national treasure was taken from the airwaves by a cruel and heartless broadcaster, despite a failed attempt at a revival some years later, it wasn’t until the 21st century that someone had the great idea to bring it back… but what if it had NEVER gone away? What if Doctor Who had stayed in production these past twenty odd years in a two-decade-long downward spiral of reduced budgets and increased viewer apathy? What if Season Twenty Four was only the beginning, and not the beginning of the end...
Plays in post production DOOMWATCH Survival Code 1 x 50 minute written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis The missing DOOMWATCH episode Survival Code, (see www.doomwatch.org) that closed Season 1 (ep.13) has been reconstructed into a new full cast audio production. The TV version may be lost forever but working from the surviving Camera Script (which in itself would have differed slightly from the transmitted version) a new version has been created. The audio drama of Survival Code features a totally new cast as listed below: Dr. Spencer Quist - played by Philip Fairweather Dr. John Ridge - played by David Nagel Tobias Wren - played by James Maton Colin Bradley - played by Ian Williams Pat Hunnisett - played by Julie Norton Air Commodore Parks - played by Ian Williams Wing Commander - played by Grant Foxon Geoff Harker - played by Matt Charlton Toni Harker - played by Milly Corbett Sam Billings - played by Lee James Sands Commander Sefton - played by Scott Burditt The Minister - played by Tony Diana Len White - played by Ian Williams Chief Supt. Charles - played by J.R. Southall 1st Man on the Pier (to deal with the bomb) - played by Ian Williams It is not known if there was any incidental music for Survival Code but as this is a new production, a new score has been composed by Tony Diana.
Letterbox Oh god, FANWNAK is still alive? W.T.F? I suppose you’d better email Letterbox at email@example.com and have your say. If you can be arsed. Every Dalek Ever! What a load of bozwollocks. I didn’t see these cardboard cutouts anywhere in Asylum of the Daleks, or the Marx ones!! Mr R. S. Hole Germany Hello, I’m the Eighth Doctor. No you’re flippin’ not. No sooner does BANDRIL fanzine close, then Bandril Productions appears and starts making full cast audio dramas featuring Scott Burdict. God, he’s so rubbish. Who is he anyway? Mr P. McGannicus Leicester
Where is all the Season 7 coverage then? Or are you just happy with reprinting all your old crap again. Mr S. Tatingtheobvious Finklefordshire Doctor Who film? Fcuk Off. Mr Mo. Fo Walesfordshire The postman just pushed something about 6 inches long with a glimpse of red poking through the folds... I pulled it eagerly and it came loose in my hand. Coincidently, he also delivered to me FANWNAK 5. I look forward to receiving next months large package. Miss She. B. Cummingtonweekly Chippingsodsbury I was born in the 80s and am good at
R A T S TER LET f py o e co 3 e r A F NAK WINFANWevery ! for Letter r Sta
A classic example of why Farcebook needs updating... Mary Tamm is dead – 109 people LIKE this. What the French Connection UK is WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!!!!! What next? Adric is coming back? Bet you won’t LIKE that one... Mr Adric Alzarius Cabbage Wet Cardboard Box, M6 Junction 19
maths... DADDDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYY Mr Adric the Second Feltumshire My girlfriend and i both enjoy your magazine so much,have you considered a WNAKER of the Month section? If so i have enclosed several naked pictures of my girlfreind for your perusal. Mr Soapy Bumwash Nakedfordshire I am writing to strongly protest about your endorsement of Sparkly Barrows by John the Barrowman in Issue 5.On the advice of your publication and some degree of nagging from my other half, I purchased said item and after an initial
euphoria and delight from my wife, the constant in and out via the back door has resulted in a great deal of scraping and mess. So, perhaps some sort of rubber should be fitted to the sides of the item to allow easier and safer entry. I feel other purchasers should be aware of this problem and until such time I am content to remain outside in my shed with your otherwise excellent mag and do everything I enjoy by hand again. Mr A Titiusmarch Allotment 14 Dear Adric, Where can I purchase Issue 2 of BANDRIL and TOMTIT. Mr Richard Head Birmingham
twindilemmareview Stolen Last night everything in Tom Bakers house was stolen, and replaced with a identical copies, Tom is aware of this conspiracy. Fire Alarms Tom Baker is keen to sell a selection of smoke damaged ﬁre alarms he bought on eBay. Everything Tom Baker knows you can’t have everything, storage becomes a real issue. Dreams Tom Baker is very careful when
appearing with other Doctor Who actors, he is afraid he will cut himself in the remains of their shattered dreams. Beer Tom Baker would stop drinking Beer, but he's not a quitter! Circles Tom Baker says "To avoid people walking around in circles, never nail one of their feet to the ﬂoor." Sweets Tom Baker says "Stealing sweets is like taking candy from a baby!"
++++Coming Fall 2023++++
Rex Next S
tarz entertainment announced
yesterday an innovative sitcom development "rex Next" - based around a character from the popular Starz tV series torchwood Miracle Day. It's one year after torchwood Miracle Day and the world has returned to normal, rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) has left the CIa and torchwood, and has taken a job as a guard in a maximum security prison, and everyone’s gay - except rex! With ru Paul as the governor, it’s a recipe for adult comedy you will not forget in a hurry!
Hello, boys and girls! Welcome to Doctor Who at the Rainbow House! What a lot of a fun and joy we have planned for you today. Why look over there, children - it’s our new friend, Colin Baker! Hello, Colin! Why, today you look a bit down in the dumps, Colin - you’ve taken the “rainbow” motif a little too far in that coat, you silly sausage! Oh my goodness, now you’re shouting at the top of your lungs at anything that moves and just tried to strangle Peri. I think someone needs to spend the next three episodes on the naughty stool... Let’s see how Peri’s doing - what a lovely blouse you fashioned out of deckchair material! Now all the boys and girls at home won’t be able to take their eyes off you... no matter how hard they try. Let’s see how long you can go without screaming the house down; remember, every time you deafen someone with a screech, God kills a kitten. What’s that, a knock on the door? Why I think
by Nicholas Peat
that’s our new friend, Mestor the giant slug. Let’s open the door and have a look... <opens the door, takes one look at Mestor and immediately drops to the floor, p*ssing self with laughter> I’m... I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me. It’s just... even Play School could make something better than this. Oh, we’re running out of time today! Just enough left to say hello to Womulus and Wemus, the Wooden Twins who live in the forest with all the other planks. Hello, boys! Come on children, let’s wave at them! Thank you for stopping by the Rainbow House today, children! What have we learned today? We’ve learnt quite a few new words and what they mean: “abysmal”, “worst ever” and “sharkjumping”. See you next time, where that nice Mr Grade will tell us ALL about his plans to make the show even better in the next few years!