Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
We’ll Miss You It’s always sad when a Doctor Who great passes away, its even more heartbreaking when we lose 2 in quick succession. I was preparing this Issue as a tribute to the late, great Nicholas Courtney when the news came in that his good friend, Elisabeth Sladen, had passed away too. It was a total shock for us fans, as we simply didn’t have a clue that Lis was ill. She kept it to herself and instead chose to spend her time with her family, and even working on the first 3 of next years Sarah Jane Adventures stories. I think that speaks volumes about the lady - everyone who met her said that she was always gracious, generous with her time and was a great promoter of the show. Without people like Lis and Nick keeping that positivity going during those years when Doctor Who wasn’t on the telly, I doubt that people would be interested enough in the program and it may not even have come back, let alone being the hit it now is. We owe them a lot, not just for their performances on screen, but for the time and stories they shared with us, the fans of the program.
Reading all the tributes from fans and television professionals alike, you can see how talented and important people like Lis and Nick are and just shows how popular and important Doctor Who is. People from around the world have been talking, with great feeling, about how much they’ll miss actors, they never met, who inspired them in daily life. I think that’s more than a fitting tribute. We have a few tributes to both Nick and Lis throughout this Issue, along with a review of the opening story of Series 6, as well as all the usual daftness! As mentioned, half of this Issue was written before we heard the news about Lis, so If you would like to send in your tribute, please do so by e-mailing us at the usual address and we’ll include it in the next issue. Cheers and have a great summer! Danny
Amazingly, this Issue wasn’t typed up by a troop of monkeys, with ‘hilarious’ shiny bowties and waistcoats on, brandishing Cuban cigars (well not quite), but by the following fine human beings: Editor: Daniel Gee Contributors: Nicola Pilkington, Eloise Withers-Kilburn, Kass Stone, Thomas Cookson, Alex Giles, Tim Jousma, Claudia Frank, Chloe Hardy, Simon Barnard, Abby Peck, Tony Cross, Glynnis Morgan, Chris Singley, Rob Carpenter, Marked Man and Harry Sedgewick Special Thanks To: Chloe Hardy You can download all the back Issues of the fanzine from the website. We also still have a number of Issue 2’s left, at discounted prices. Check out the site for details! Doctor Who is © BBC and photos, if not credited, are by somebody else. No infringement is intended (although if you sue me for this, you probably enjoy kicking puppies as well. Very cute ones. With fat and everything).
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
Our Sarah Jane For a young girl like me, who saw her episodes in America during the late 80s, Sarah Jane was a welcome change from the women I saw on TV, even on progressive shows. She scoped out the facts, she pushed The Doctor in both incarnations to tell her what was going on and she didn't just run screaming down the corridors - ok, she did, but she did it with meaning. Losing Elisabeth Sladen has hit us all hard. Even in cynical New York City, in a city and country not her own, her untimely death was trending on Twitter. She was us; and we were all Sarah Jane. She paved the way for the "Tough Girls" to follow: Tegan, Peri, Ace, Leela. Without Sarah Jane, there would be no Rose Tyler or Donna Noble or Martha Jones. We've lost a champion for girls, who told us that there was nothing "only" about being a girl and who, like us, loved the Doctor, mourned his leaving, but went right on, kicking ass and taking names. The following are tributes from fans of the companion dubbed ‘the best’. With her strong character and eager smile, Elisabeth Sladen would light up any scene. Sarah Jane Smith, and Lis, will be missed by us all. The Original Who Riot Girl I like to refer to Sarah Jane as the ‘Original Who Riot Girl’. And by that, I mean she was the first companion to show us girls that we didn't have to just follow our men around and serve them tea (really, Jo Grant??) and let them make all the decisions. No, Sarah Jane was tough and ballsy. She was a reporter and she was out to get the story, no matter what cost. Remember what she said in The Monster of Peladon? Thalira: It would be different if I was a man.But I'm only a girl. Sarah Jane: Now just a minute. There's nothing "only" about being a girl, Your Majesty.
ABBY PECK A Childhood Hero – For Decades It’s hard to write this but Lis Sladen is dead. How can it be that the death of someone who is a total stranger can make me cry? It is because Lis Sladen and Sarah Jane Smith are a big part of my childhood and my Doctor Who fan life. Sarah Jane was the first Doctor Who companion I remember partnered with my first (and favourite) Doctor, Tom Baker. When I grew up and became a geek it is those stories from Season 12, 13 & 14 that I continued – and continue – to love. It’s my Doctor Who comfort zone. When I’m in a bad mood it is to those stories that I frequently return. I recently re-watched them all again as part of my quest to watch Doctor Who from the first episode to last & they still hold up well and part of that is the relationship between Sarah Jane & the Doctor; between Lis Sladen and Tom Baker.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 Sarah Jane was introduced as a new companion in Jon Pertwee’s last season. The character was given a strong start and a life away from the Doctor and UNIT. She was an investigative journalist. That gave the character depth but it was Elisabeth Sladen’s performance that made Sarah Jane such a good companion. Barry Letts said that when he auditioned her she was the only actress that could convey fear & bravery at the same time but there was more to Sarah Jane than that and it was Lis Sladen that delivered. So good was the performance and so strong the character that it was Sarah Jane that was paired up with K9 in K9 & Company and then much more successfully she returned to New Who with David Tennant in ‘School Reunion’. Then came ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, which bought the character and Lis to a new generation of children and it can only be a tribute to how brilliant Lis was that she had created a character that she could still play with the same excellence 40 years after her first appearance. Those are some of the facts & they can’t convey how much Lis Sladen meant to me (and to thousands like me). It’s inevitable as you get older that your childhood heroes pass away but it doesn’t make it any easier. Lis Sladen will be missed and my thoughts are with her family. I was going to watch ‘School Reunion’ but that last scene – the ‘my Sarah Jane’ moment – might be a bit too much tonight TONY CROSS
even then, I still couldn’t believe it. Lis was a person who always looked so well for her age and I would never have guessed in a million years that she was ill. But she was, but she kept it private, which I think speaks volumes about the lady. The reaction has been that of shock around the world, as many people, in many countries, grew up with Sarah Jane Smith. Lis didn’t just brighten the day for kids of the 1970’s, she also did it for the kids of today with The Sarah Jane Adventures too. Reading messages from children on the Newsround website, just shows how well this middle-aged lady is thought of. She was definitely someone special. For many, Sarah Jane was ‘their’ companion. My first foray into ‘classic’ Doctor Who was Tom Baker’s first series and watching her and The Doctor wind up Harry, seeing them working with each other to defeat a foe - you could tell exactly why this girl was used as the bridging gap between Pertwee-Baker. Her acting qualities could hold things together and I will defy anyone not to have a lump in their throat when watching the last few minutes of 'Planet of The Spiders'. Just beautiful. Anyone who met Lis has said she was gracious with her time and was a big promoter of the show and Sarah Jane in particular. We owe these people a hell of a lot for keeping the positivity going, when the series was off air and, in some quarters, a laughing stock. Doctor Who fans do take news of their show to heart and it’s been really nice to see all the outpouring of grief, but Lis was private about her news for a reason - that of her family. All our condolences and thoughts should be with her husband and daughter at this time.
A Wonderful Lady Rest In Peace Lis, thanks for the memories. Like many others, I couldn’t quite believe the news. Lis Sladen can’t be gone, surely? It took the BBC news report for it to sink in and
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
A Great Chap
I was sad to learn of the passing of Nicholas Courtney recently, a true Doctor Who great who will always be remembered by the fans of the programme. His character of Brigadier Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was a regular in the series throughout the Jon Pertwee era, from 1970-1974 and made recurring appearances from then on. He was often the stuffy, straight-man to The Doctor and often produced some classic one-liners, with a voice of delivery as smooth as silk. I know it’s a phrase often banded about, but if Nick DID read the phone book - I could sit and listen all day! Nick’s first appearance in Doctor Who, was as Bret Vyon, a character in the William Hartnell serial The Daleks Master Plan, in 1965. It was for the role of ‘The Brig’ though, which he is most fondly remembered. The character first appeared in The Web of Fear in 1968, before taking up a permanent residency in the show from 1970. His last appearance in the series was in Battlefield, in 1989. He took to playing this straight-laced army officer really well, as he and his UNIT team became the family. Even when the show ended, Nick was always positive about it and always had good words to say when it
came back in 2005. He embraced the convention circuit and always had time for fans, understanding why they loved the show so much and his motto of ‘if people happen to treat me with respect, then respect deserves respect in return’ sums up the man rather well. I was fortunate enough to spend a whole day with him once – assisting him at a signing event in London in 2009. Being a fan, I was a little bit nervous at meeting him, but he was an absolute gentleman, very funny and very spritely for his age! (which was a good job really, as I was recovering from a night on the beer. Somehow though, I think Nick understood!) Nothing was too much trouble for him and he greeted everyone warmly and recounted his tales time and time again, without any hint of boredom. I can honestly say that he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met – and with me ‘helping’ him – he needed to be very patient! Just reading people’s comments about him the words ‘nice man’ and ‘a true gentleman’ pop up quite frequently. And that’s exactly what he was. In latter years, Nick did numerous work on audio – that superb voice booming through my earphones made me smile and laugh, as I knew that I was in for a great listen, as Nick’s deep brogue had a knack of making you listen to everything that was happening. He reprised The Brig for a couple of Big Finish Audios, played a cat in the first Bernice Summerfield audio adventure and even a hilarious, camp, fashion-obsessed alien in the series Soldiers of Love! More recently, he played the role of ‘Lionheart’ in Cosmic Hobo’s The Scarifyers series. The series saw him act alongside Terry Molloy, as the pair investigate supernatural goings-on in 1930’s Britian. At times, I rated Lionheart as the character Nick was more suited too – even more so than the Brig! It’s well worth checking out either on CD or on the radio.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 In today’s world, where everyone wants to be famous, Nick was from an era where being an actor was just another job. I would urge you to get a copy of Nick’s autobiography Five Rounds Rapid, or like me, track down a Big Finish Talks Back’s The Nicolas Courtney Memoirs, which is a CD release of Nick reading his book. It really does add more of a personal touch to his stories – and how can you NOT listen to that voice? On a purely selfish side, it’s even more of a shame that Nick won’t be around for Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary, as he was keen at playing his much-loved character one last time. His last appearance as The Brigadier was in The
Sarah Jane Adventures, where he stole every scene he was in. Typical Nicholas Courtney, really! I think it’s fair to say that Nick had a great innings and a very eventful life, judging by the many tales he told. I hope he knew how much he is loved by Doctor Who fans and how much of his work brought so much pleasure to people’s lives. Thanks Nick, we’ll never forget you. Here’s hoping you’re having that welldeserved pint with Misters Pertwee and Delgardo somewhere. RIP DANIEL GEE
Nicholas Courtney RIP This is tribute to the main man of UNIT A warrior and a gent, truly heroic First on the show in 1968 41 years later, he’s still not out of date I’m talking of course about the Brigadier The character that seemed to never disappear On the show, nearly as long as the Doc The Doctor being cheese to the Brigadier’s chalk “Five rounds, rapid”, everyone is saying To remember the Brig and the man who did play him Nicholas Courtney, as he really was known Fantastic chap, through his life he has shown The two will be missed, both character and man Myself of both, always a massive fan Rest in peace, Nicholas Courtney All us Whovians love you and will remember you fondly Laying asleep now in your final bed We all still can’t believe that Nicholas Courtney, the Brig, is really dead. RIP ALEX GILES
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 The Impossible Astronaut/Day of The Moon Review
The occupants of Fish Custard Towers partied as hard as double Giro week, at the news that Doctor Who was back on the telly - and didn’t it look the part? The decision to film in America was justified by those opening shots of Monument Valley, scenery which even a quarry in Wales can’t give you. Having such vast scenery gives the episode a scope (or a ‘massive background’ if you’re not up on technical terms – I’m not, I had to Google it) to play to, basically - it looked like a film. Thankfully, this ‘film’ was directed by Toby Haynes, so we had the best of both worlds – the look of a Hollywood film, with a quality director at the helm! The story itself was your typical Steven Moffat script – lots of scares with some time-play thrown in. I’m no AA Gill, I can’t insert myself up my own arse for a start, so I’ve found reviewing this a little bit difficult, as there have been lots of plot threads that have been laid down and are just waiting to be tied - but you won’t hear me moaning about it (more about that later!), but the story itself was pretty decent enough, so I’ll give it a go. After receiving invites, Amy, Rory and River meet The Doctor in Utah, were they chat and go for a picnic. The Doctor gives them a cryptic clue about ‘Space 1969’, then someone in a spacesuit emerges from a lake and shoots The Doctor – WHAT! Okay, this wasn’t a surprise if you had read Doctor Who Magazine or had seen certain pictures on the BBC website - why they went out of their way to spoil it, is beyond me. Immediately we’re on the wrong foot (well those who haven’t been spoiled anyway) The Doctor can’t be dead? But he is. That’s him burning on that lovely-looking lake. I won’t go into Amy seeing a mysterious figure, because I can’t remember it. I’m sure you all know what happens next, this isn’t Pick Me Up Magazine and repeating the plot is a bit tedious, but suffice to say that this is a pretty decent opener for the series. The Silence are genuinely creepy creatures, not just in the way they look, but what they actually do (make people forget/control people). It’s not just the setting in America that adds a different feel to it, as mentioned - the production values look amazing, hopefully having BBC America as a coproducer for these first two episodes will free up more money for the rest of series. Then again, it might not please Trevor Eve. The rest is the same old Doctor Who we know and love – dark and funny at the same time, with well-realised characters thrown in. Canton (Mark Sheppard) was magnificent and I’m sure we’ll see him again and even Nixon seemed pretty decent. Even the minor characters are wellrealised, the likes of Dr Renfrew - you can just tell by his face that something has been done to
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 him. Even the two chaps who are talking to The Doctor, after he breaks into Apollo 11, have their own character - you could easily write spin-off fan fics for them based on their few minutes (please don’t!) There just aren’t many shows that put this much empathises into minor characters, which helps you to relate to them and invest your thoughts in them. And don’t get me started on River, who is now surely becoming one of the most interesting characters to have ever graced Doctor Who? So Amy might be preggers? I’m not going to go into my speculation, because I know I’ll be wrong. In fact, everyone is going to be wrong! Who’s that little girl? I have no idea, but I really hope its not River, or The Rani! I don’t see why this girl has to be anyone we’ve already met, why can’t she be someone random, someone new? The speculation from fans is utterly hilarious and I kind-of wish they weren’t being serious, but they are. The Moff certainly knows how fans work and credit to him for winding them up and ‘confusing’ them. I’m sorry, I don’t buy that any fan who sat through last year’s finale, people who CAN understand Ghost Light, are confused by this. I know some new viewers to Doctor Who and they understood that it was part of an on-going story, so why can’t you? It just frustrates me when people offer up half-baked criticisms on things which haven’t been played out to their fullest yet. It’s like watching the first two episodes of The War Games and saying ‘it’s too complicated. I don’t understand what’s going on’. A Doctor Who series is now one on-going story - I’ve gone on record in this fanzine as saying I think Steven Moffat should give the story arc a rest. I still think he should (for at least a year) but it’s clear he isn’t going in that direction and as long as he keeps it interesting, I don’t mind. But ‘what about the casual viewers’ I hear you say. It’s clear that this story was a ‘hook’ to pull them in for the entire series, following the story which has been laid down right from the moment when Future Doctor got killed. Will it work? Time will tell, but I believe it will intrigue people, rather than turn them off. Maybe it’s the sign of the times, where Reality television, or poorly-made soaps are stuffed down our faces and it’s all we watch? Moffat is trying to offer us something different to watch on television, something with intelligent writing, coupled with high production values and I for one will always be behind him for attempting just that. DANIEL GEE
The Doctor Some days he puts on airs and graces, Other days he'll be nothing at all, He hides his cares behind wise faces, But if he ever crumbled, the skies would fall. He takes his time with steady gazes, Or he'll drag you along clinging on to your hand, He lights up my mind with his stories of places, Of the castles and kings he has turned into sand. Sometimes I long for never-ending, Because I allow myself to forget, The guilty truths of the time that I'm spending, And the years that have flown by too fast to regret CLAUDIA FRANK
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
Doctor Who: (Re)Generation movie was to have Doctor Who on American television. The movie had to do two things. One, it had to keep the Doctor Who faithful in America happy. The fact that they chose not to reboot the show but use the show as the basis th to show the regeneration of the 7 th Doctor into the 8 Doctor was one of the nods towards the small (at the time) but faithful American fans.
The original series of Doctor Who signed off with Sylvester McCoy as in the Doctor in 1989. While all signs pointed to the show being over, the BBC promised that the Doctor would be back. There a few attempts at bringing Doctor Who back, with only two actually making it to air. The first time was in 1996, a coproduction between the BBC and the Fox Network. The second occurred in 2005 with Russell T. Davies taking over the show with the blessing of the BBC and starting the whole experience with the episode Rose. What kept the Doctor from returning for so long? Why did the Fox television movie fail while the show helmed by Russell T. Davies survive? Letâ€™s go over both the television movie and the episode Rose to get some answers. The Doctor Who television movie debuted on the Fox Network in America on the 14th May 1996 (actually it made its debut on the Canadian network, CITV, on the 12th May 1996 - Ed), it was what is called a backdoor pilot. If the television movie had been successful, then they would have turned the show into a regular series on Fox. While the show would have been shown in Great Britain, the main point for the television
The problem with taking that route however was that a large portion of the story would be incomprehensible if you were not a Doctor Who fan. Starting off with narration from a character you donâ€™t know talking about a bad guy they know nothing about being executed by unseen space aliens the majority of the American public knew nothing about was the wrong way to go. Remember, the goal of the television movie was to get a new Doctor Who series started in America. While the show had a rich history of characters to draw upon, the fact that they chose to force such large amounts of backstory into such a short period of time was confusing at best, even for someone who knows the history of the show. Another major part of the television movie that would throw people off if they were not aware of the history of the show was the fact that it contained a regeneration. Again, the focus of this television movie was to get a show started on an American television network. While Doctor Who had an American audience, it was not large enough at that time to help not only get a new American show greenlit but keep that show on the air if it did make it to series. In other words, the producers had to attract new viewers in order to get the show on the air. By force feeding so much backstory and tossing in a regeneration to boot, you can see how
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 someone unfamiliar with the show would be confused by what they were seeing. Contrast that to the episode Rose from series 1 of the Russell T. Davies show. You hear nothing about backstory from the Doctor’s past. You first see a young blond woman. You see her get up, spend time with her boyfriend, and finally spend a day at work. We only meet the Doctor after Rose is under attack. Even then, you just see this quirky guy who calls himself the Doctor help her out and he’s gone before you know it. It’s only till the halfway mark of the episode where you have Rose discover something about the Doctor when she first entered the TARDIS. That was done perfectly. You can compare it to the cantina scene in Star Wars Episode IV. Rose entered a new world and our knowledge of the backstory of the Doctor came as she discovered it. We didn’t have characters sitting back doing narrations about stuff that happened twenty years previous that most folks may have been unaware of. So while RTD was reverent of the Doctor’s
backstory, he introduced it to the audience in such a way that new fans to the show would not be overwhelmed. I don’t dislike the television movie. For what it is, it’s pretty good IF you know the history of the show. With Paul McGann as the Doctor, you feel regret that he wasn’t able to get a proper time as the Doctor on television cause his character was so fascinating. But the movie failed because it was not an introduction. This story would have been good as a mid-season story on a proper television show. The producers spent too much time forcing in as much references to the backstory of the show that they failed to entice new viewers to watch. Their loss was RTD’s gain. Russell was able to find the tricky balance of keeping the hardcore fans happy while enticing new viewers to watch and get to know the history of such a great character. And the rest, as they say, is history.. TIM JOUSMA
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
The Scarifyers When people sum up the career of Nicholas Courtney, the role of the Brigadier will always come to the fore. However, for the following few pages I’m going to talk about some of his most recent work. Work which made me admire his character as much as The Brigadier (sacrilege, maybe. But I don't care!) In 2007, ‘The Nazad Conspiracy’, the first story in the Scarifyers series, starring Doctor Who alumni Courtney and Terry Molloy, hit the shelves and eventually, the airwaves on digital radio station, BBC7. It was there I first heard the story and immediately fell in love with it. Think of it as The X Files set in 1930’s Britain, with two gentleman in their ‘advanced years’ investigating strange goings-on. There are Doctor Who references aplenty, but the characters of Lionheart (Courtney) and Dunning (Molloy) stand out really well and you’ll quickly forget that these two were in Doctor Who. Both the characters are contrasts. Both are utterly hilarious. Lionheart is the straighttalking one, who despite being in the twilight of his life (hope you don’t mind me saying that, Mr Lionheart!) can still dish out a good beating to a criminal half his age. He also remains very sharp too, which for an ex-policeman, is very rare indeed! (That’s a bit controversial! – Ed) Dunning on the other hand, is the bumbling Professor who likes to write horror stories. He seems to be a hit with ladies of a certain age and is able to get himself involved in some funny, yet deadly, situations. Terry Molloy is able to deliver a very soft voice for the role of Dunning and it’s so far removed from that of Davros, that you just wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s actually Terry Molloy! (Not that Terry isn’t a softly spoken chap, rather than a murderous dictator, if you’re reading this, Terry) What impresses me most about these stories, is that they are able to pull you into the world of The Scarifyers and you very rarely leave it until the end of the story - which is always a plus when you listen to stories on audio! Sometimes it’s too easy to get distracted and you find yourself wondering what is going on, but The Scarifyers makes you listen to every second. Despite being set in the relatively-historical 1930’s, the series is able to draw upon other historical backdrops and characters and include them into its stories. Rasputin featured in Nazad, whilst The English Civil War played a major part in For King and Country, the third Scarifyers adventure. I’ve always enjoyed these types of stories, because apart from giving the characters something different to react to, it also offers the listener a bit of education too! All the characters are well-realised and paint such a vivid picture of the period. Some of the regular background characters include the likes of Caldfield-Brown, who is your
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 loveable upper-class buffoon, whereas Aleister Crowley (another real-life historical character!) is the bizarre, oddball ‘warlock’ who helps out Lionheart and Dunning from time to time. Interestingly, both characters are played by David Benson, notable for playing Noel Coward in ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ (Big Finish fans may know him as Panda, from the Iris Wildtyme series). But there are many other great performances in the series, the likes of Brian Blessed, Nigel Havers and Lesile Philips guest-star. I would strongly recommend to anyone to listen to at least one Scarifyers adventure. There are Doctor Who and Cult TV references aplenty, but the quality of the stories and the humour alone is more than enough to make you enjoy it.
Simon Barnard Interview Simon Barnard is the creator/producer/director/writer of The Scarifyers, along with his friend Paul Morris. We put some questions to the man himself, who very kindly agreed to answer them! Hi Simon! How did the idea for The Scarifyers come about?
commentary, and liked his voice. Turns out he was in the Archers!
My proper job is a radio documentary producer, formerly for Radio 1. I was a bit bored making documentaries about pop stars, because some of them aren't all that bright, so I thought I'd make some audio drama in my spare time. I'd heard some Big Finish and knew that I could do something that would be technically as good. And talking of Big Finish, it puzzled me why their UNIT series had been set in the present day - I wanted to hear the Pertwee-era UNIT tackling aliens without the Doctor around. So that was partly the inspiration for the Scarifyers.
From script to CD release, how long does it take to produce a single Scarifyers adventure?
The castings of Nick Courtney and Terry Molloy were perfect. Did you always have them in mind whilst creating the series?
Was the character of Lionheart based on The Brigadier, or Nick himself?
Nick Courtney, yes. He'd always been my favourite actor in Who, and the Brig my favourite character. The Scarifyers was really written for Nick, so if he'd said no then the script probably would've gone into a drawer somewhere and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Terry I heard narrating a DVD
Ages. Scripting takes months, as me and Paul (my co-writer) only get together on an irregular basis to discuss in our local pub, and after a couple of pints our notes don't make much sense. Then we record in a day, I edit the speech over the next month, give it to the sound editor who works on it for several more months... so maybe six months in total. But we only release one a year because we're quite lazy.
The Brigadier, as I'd never met Nick before our first day of recording. But after that first story we started writing it more for Nick, based upon his performance and fondness for beer. Will we ever get to learn Lionheart's first name? A Far East Bookmaker is putting pressure on me... Maybe in the next story. Or maybe not.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 Is it fair to say that The Scarifyers is more comedy/horror than science fiction? (And if so, was it a conscious decision to distance the stories away from sci-fi, because of the obvious cast links?) It wasn't a conscious decision, but I'm just as much a comedy and horror fan as sci-fi, if not more so. I'm just as fond of Hammer films and The Avengers as Who, as you can probably guess from hearing the stories. So I just wrote what I liked, really. Besides, I find it hard to write anything that isn't comedy - Paul and I have just finished writing a Benny Summerfield for Big Finish, which despite our best efforts reads a lot like a Scarifyers episode. The cover art by Garen Ewing is superb. Have you ever thought about adapting The Scarifyers to comic book form? It's been suggested now and again, but Garen's far too busy writing his 'Rainbow Orchid' comic (which if you haven't read, I strongly recommend you do - it's wonderful, and not too dissimilar to the Scarifyers). Of course, if any other top comic artists want to have a bash, let us know!
Did you always want to set the series in the 1930's? No, it was originally set in Victorian times, but ended up set in the '30s because the first story was about the return of Rasputin. And that turned out to be a very good thing - there was a strong belief in the supernatural and spiritualism post WW1, larger-than-life characters like Aleister Crowley and Harry Price were running around, having cars and phones makes things easier plot-wise, and WW2 is on the horizon. But it's not so modern that we can't get away with Paul's trademark fruity dialogue. For King and Country is my personal favourite, mainly because of The English Civil War theme. Have you thought about doing more stories that involve a major historical event? Perhaps taking the series into the Second World War? More likely minor historical events! Number 7 centres around a real historical figure, number 8 may well do too. After that, who knows? I'm reluctant to take the series beyond 1938 though, as that'll take it into different territory. So MI-13 will probably stay stuck in 1938 forever...
The Scarifyers is available on CD or MP3 download from http://www.cosmichobo.com The series is also often repeated on digital radio station BBC7
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Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
Amy Pond: Classic Companion
Right Karen, lets nail this scene. When you see a monster, scream your head off
No! NOT YET!
No, no, no! We’ve not started to film yet! That’s only the lighting man!
Scream Karen. Now! Do it now! Karen? KAREN?
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
Thanks. Brilliant. that because I say 'brilliant' all the time? Or the Doctor does?' 'Er...', I replied. But RTD was already racing on. He shot off a few more friendly words and I was done. I managed to blurt out a final, heartfelt 'thanks!' before stumbling out into the cold, South Bank night. Two words. Whole worlds of meaning. Relatively eloquent in daily life, I had fallen at the first hurdle. Dammit!
A couple of years ago I attended an 'in conversation' event with Russell T Davies to promote 'The Writer's Tale'. The National Theatre was packed and the queues for his book signing were immense. We were herded into order and, to keep the line moving, were issued with post-it notes on which to write our requested dedication. This was our chance to have RTD cement in black felt tip all of our thoughts and feelings about Doctor Who in one pithy phrase. I dried. I could think of only one word… Brilliant When I finally reached the man himself, I was greeted in a jovial manner. “Ooh, 'brilliant'. Brilliant! Is
So, just in case RTD occasionally dips into Fish Fingers and Custard this is what those two words really meant: Thanks for bringing back Doctor Who. Thanks for not it messing up in such a spectacular manner. Thanks for reminding me that it wasn't aliens or time travel that made me love the programme – it was its wonder at the universe in all its marvellous and horrible glory. Brilliant doesn't mean pure, unalloyed good. Brilliant people can be blinkered, lack empathy and bulldoze their way through the world. But brilliant people inspire us all and achieve exceptional things. The Doctor holds up a mirror to humanity and proclaims it 'brilliant'. My Doctor was Tom Baker. A hard taskmaster. He could be unforgiving, demanding and capricious. He was someone that my eight-year-old self would be desperate to impress.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 Perhaps that's why Doctor Who in all of his incarnations leaves me wanting us to live up to that 'brilliant'. Being considered 'brilliant' is a responsibility. Being considered 'brilliant' by the Doctor sets a standard that I would love to be able to meet. Greed, fear and paranoia abound in this marvellous and
horrible universe, but so do generosity, imagination and love. I don't know that I can personally achieve exceptional things, but I guess I'll just have to make a start. Thanks. Brilliant. CHLOE HARDY
There’s A Voice In The Blackness There’s a voice deep in the blackness, A haunting whisper that echoes in the corners Strange words, with meanings lost to time, But the warning is received, passed on and understood, Something is coming. Through the cracks. Silence will fall. And one of them will die. Dark hours lie ahead, Perhaps, the darkest of all, Not everyone comes back when they venture out into the night And yet they will not tell their secrets, Not even to save their souls, You cannot ask why. Trust the unknown darkness, And consider, Maybe, That it’s time to stop running But what will happen if you do...... I cannot tell you the answers, For you’ve known them all along. Just, don’t look now, Or else you will forget. But, forgetting what, exactly? So. A beginning. And an end. And a long, winding road Through the quiet and the shadows, Where the monsters in the fog are real,
And the eyes that watch you are old eyes. Silence will fall. And don’t play games with him. Ever. You think you’re halfway out of the dark... Just you wait, Doctor, just you wait, The darkest part it yet to come. And when it does, you’ll know. A good man will die. And the silence. The silence. Will fall. There’s a darkness hanging over the world What you know, and what you don’t know Will be tested in such ways, Tricked played on your mind, on your memory Perhaps all you thought was true, Is just a mere illusion.... Where we’ve never ever been Time to rise before you Fall so much further Whole other world on the other side of the mirror, Voices whispering through the cracks in your house, Corner of your eye. Something glimpsed GLYNNIS MORGAN
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Invasion of The Dinosaurs I loved Dinosaurs when I was a kid, many kids do. I’ve no idea why, I very much doubt kids would be smiling and waving at an actual T-Rex who wants to bite their head off. I blame ‘The Land Before Time’ cartoons for making them cuddly, loveable and less likely to rip your flesh off, causing your blood and guts to splatter on the ground like raindrops, which would result in Don Lockwood doing his camp dance, making you wonder how on earth Lina fancied him. But I digress… 1974 saw Doctor Who delve into the genre for the first time (you can’t really count Cave of Skulls etc) and effects aside, it’s a pretty decent story. The Doctor and Sarah return from their travels to see London deserted (which is very odd, as London is never deserted. Not even when you stumble back to your hotel at 4am, after a skinful of beer, and can’t get back to sleep because there are STILL cars on the road and the window won’t shut. Or maybe that’s just me?) It turns out that the city has been deserted as there are ‘monsters’ on the loose, which of course, turn out to be Dinosaurs! It was a very brave attempt by the production team to do a story on this scale. The effects, as mentioned, look laughable today and would benefit from any CGI the Restoration Team can give it, when it’s finally earmarked for release. To be honest, the effects look a lot better in the black-and-white episode 1, I’m actually in half-a-mind to plead with the Restoration Team to de-colourise the other 5, to make it look better! The plot is twisted and the motive laughable, but that’s what supposed-terrorist plots must seem like, to those who don’t share their views. I found the downfall of Captain Yates a little hard to believe though (although with him following a superior officer, maybe I’m being a little bit harsh) but I really enjoyed Sgt. Benton’s role in this (as he was given something to do in a story, instead of hovering in the background, looking bewildered!) and his faith in The Doctor (his face when asking The Doctor to ‘overpower him’ is hilarious!) I really enjoyed the performances of General Finch (who is very much a pantomime villain in this!) and Sir Charles Grover, who I knew was a wrong un’ right from the off (DON’T GET IN THAT LIFT! Sarah didn’t hear my shouts of warning at the television though. Maybe because it was in 1974? Or maybe I should just grow up?)
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 As mentioned, this was the beginning of the break-up of the UNIT team. It was a little sad, as we’ve had nearly 4 years of them at this point and I don’t think the character of Mike Yates had been developed much. Of course he would redeem himself in the almost-magnificent swansong for Pertwee, in the shape of ‘Planet of The Spiders’ but that’s another article for another time. Although I must give kudos (or as it was called in my day – a pat on the back) to the producers, for having the irony to make Sarah a very vocal ‘feminist’ - then had her screaming at every opportunity. Genius! And anyone still rubbishing this episode because of the effects the quote at the end was very apt, “The cause of pollution is greed – not oil” just sums Doctor Who up – not much money for effects, but brilliant at writing and delivering meaningful lines. This now brings me to the main point of this article, basically – I want to see Dinosaurs back in Doctor Who. We have the technology to pull it off and it would make a cracking Christmas episode! Let’s get rid of the tedious Christmas clichés for once and let’s see people being eaten by viscous prehistoric monsters! The kids will love it! Come on Mr Moffat - you’re mates with Spielberg and Lucas, surely you can drop them a line, get a discount on something? You’re a big believer in the profitability of Doctor Who worldwide, I’m sure BBC Worldwide can flog some dinosaur merchandise, get some cheap plastic Stegosauruses, or something? Just think of those children who will be genuinely scared. It’s what you want at Christmas, not Daleks, Cybermen or Flying Sharks! Let’s rest this fluffy, lovely feeling we get at Christmas, because, just like in real life – it doesn’t last. Being scared does last though - can you just imagine the terror that a decently-CGI-ed/animatronic T-Rex would have, when it attempts to eat your favourite characters? You could even start the story off as a fluffy Christmas episode, then it goes downhill from there (in a good way!) I’ll be waiting for your e-mail, Mr Moffat! DANIEL GEE Interesting fact: Did you know that the serial number for Invasion of The Dinosaurs is WWW
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Why I Watch Who It’s always the same question; it’s the answer that has finally changed. “What the fuck are you watching? What is this “Doctor Who” I keep seeing you talk about on Twitter?” asked my sceptical friend the other night over drinks. “You never talk about the Kardashians anymore. River Song? Silents? Bowties? That show sounds so stupid.” All I could do was blush, shrug and smile. But I made no apologies then and I make none here now. I have thrown off any pretense of “coolness.” I will no longer pretend to be someone I’m not. I won’t be in the closet anymore. I am a Doctor Who fan. Lest you start thinking that I jumped on this bandwagon just because everyone else in the world now has, thanks to Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat’s brilliant reboot, with flashy CGI effects, some babelicious female companions and a story arc that makes “Lost” it’s bitch, I fell in love with this very strange and very addictive show over 20 years ago. To make a long and tragic story short: I was 13, out of sorts, bad home life, acting out in ways that 13 year olds shouldn’t. One night, after a particularly disgustingly debauched and drunken evening in a downtown apartment with some random older guys, I snuck into my dark and angry house at 2 am and decided, in typical 13 year old dramatic fashion, to end it all. I hated my life and I hated myself. But first, I thought, I’ll just see if anything good is on TV. I turned it on only to see the most bizarre show flickering across the screen - and just like that, my life changed. I watched, confused, as the action in front of me played out in something called “Planet of
Fire.” Who the hell were these people? Why was everyone running around, freaking out about some weird triangle? Why was this guy called “The Doctor?” He didn’t seem to be doing anything particularly medical. People kept going in and out of a disappearing and reappearing blue box and being completely dramatic on a beach. This kind of stuff didn’t happen on “The Cosby Show” or even the uber-adult and super-boring “LA Law.” At the end of the show I went upstairs to bed, baffled, my mind swirling - but any thoughts of killing myself had quietly slipped away. The next Saturday night found me home, a little stoned on cheap pot that I smoked earlier down by the train tracks with more unsavory characters, but back in the TV room in time to see that evening’s episode. I couldn’t help but be intrigued. What would happen next with that cute guy with the weird celery stick and funny accent? I watched, my mouth open, as he suddenly took a turn for the worse and died - only to be replaced by someone else claiming to still be The Doctor! Jesus, it was so blatant. “This isn’t how they changed Darren York into Dick Sargent on Bewitched,” I said to myself, even more confused than before. But I had to tune in again the next week to find out: what was going to happen now? Was the curly haired guy in the weird coat (just what did people wear in Britain?) really The Doctor? Would he still travel around in the TARDIS? Would there be more adventures to come? Most importantly, was Peri ever going to get dressed? And just like that - things started to change. My illicit nights out with people twice my age began to dwindle, my selfharming behavior, which had reached a crisis point, lessened, and even my failing grades started to slowly right
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 themselves. I didn’t want to go out and lose myself in doing the wrong thing and acting out; that wasn’t what The Doctor would do. Stealing and getting wasted seemed to take a backseat to wondering about what was going to happen this week on Doctor Who. Whoever handled the programming in America in the 80s and 90s did a shitty job and the show jumped erratically from Davison to Colin Baker to Tom Baker and then to the Holy Trinity of Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee. I didn’t understand about missing episodes or the Key to Time or why the Time Lords had such a crappy attitude towards The Doctor or anything like that. There was no internet, so there were no forums, no people squawking about “spoilers” on Twitter. I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was watching, because I had a reputation to uphold of “tough, cool girl” and I was so afraid that people would make fun of me. I was alone, but that was okay. My imagination, which seemed to have dried up when I started drinking the vodka from my parents’ liquor cabinet to numb everything around me, ran full force and I spent hours thinking about the characters I had grown to love and find comfort in. In short - I learned to be a kid again. Life at home was still a constant nightmare and I seemed to always be one phone call short from being sent to juvenile hall or a psych ward, but my existence had meaning now. Maybe it was the escape factor - wasn’t The Doctor himself running away from an unsatisfactory life on Gallifrey? I think it was that plus the undeniable fact that The Doctor was a father figure, teacher and best friend all rolled up into one constantly regenerating package. My own father continually told me I was an idiot and a failure. Who wouldn’t want to run away with a guy who was always 100% on your side? Time moved on. Inspired by the actresses I saw each Saturday night, especially Nicola Bryant and Elisabeth Sladen, I got into acting, and found I had
a modicum of talent and therefore a more communal way of escaping. I was still a bad girl - but now I was a bad girl with hope. And then, like a dream, Doctor Who slowly faded away. There were no more new episodes, I knew that now, since I was able to shoplift - and eventually buy, since The Doctor would never steal - Doctor Who Magazine issues from the local comic book store. The BBC had signed its death warrant. But I continued to live. I went off to college with better grades and a reputation as an actress instead of a delinquent, never mentioning to a single friend about this show and what it had done for me, for fear of being laughed at. I even moved to London after graduation, inspired by watching week after week of Britain's Greatest Rock Quarries and Corridors - but never said a word, even though I understood that everyone had grown up with the series. One time, I was with a group of friends, wandering in some exhibit, and we came upon a replica of a Dalek. “That’s a Dalek,” one of my friends said to me snottily, in that “You’re an American and know nothing” tone I was so tired of hearing and they were all a little shocked when I snapped,”I know what a Dalek is, you asshole.” I didn’t explain further. Doctor Who was my secret weapon, my quiet retreat. I didn’t want to share and put myself at risk for being judged. And I didn’t even know how to share. Try saying out loud, “This kids’ program that was on in the UK, a country where I didn’t even grow up, really saved my life and made me believe in something when there was nothing.” Go ahead, try it. See how stupid you feel? I went through some further tough times - a disastrous relationship, a nasty little drug habit, some very bad moments. Looking back, I wonder if any of this could have been prevented or at least mollified if I had been able to indulge in my adoration for Who. I don’t know. I do know that I never once mentioned The Show in a stormy six-year relationship,
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 simply because I knew this ex wouldn’t understand and worse, would tease me and make me resent something that I had once loved with all my heart. I didn’t have the same strength I once had. I only had a distant memory of The Doctor who had once been able to bring light even in the darkest moments and I missed him. And then with a sudden start, he was back. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like having a loved one in a coma for years - only to have him sit up suddenly, gasping for air, announcing to the world, “I’m alive and I now have a huge budget!” Again, I was quiet in my love for the NuWho with my friends; but this time, I told my new partner (and now fiancée), who was sweet and supportive and understanding when I explained that our Saturday nights for the next few months needed to be spent at my apartment watching a show she’d never heard of and that completely confused her. It helped to be able to finally gather my courage and say, “This is what saved me and I think this is what makes me a better person - and therefore a better girlfriend to you. I know it sounds weird, but you have to trust me.” Recently, I discovered there’s a whole world out there of info - and mis-info - for formerly closeted fans like me. My longneglected Twitter burst into life when I hesitantly typed out, in 140 characters, “Hello, I’m new to this, but I love Doctor Who.” Suddenly, I was part of a family. And I don’t use that word loosely. Who fans are a family. We bicker, we disagree, we gang up on each other, we live on opposite ends of the earth. And then when something tragic happens,
like Elisabeth Sladen’s untimely death, we come together to mourn and support each other - just like a family. We share theories, stories, and sightings, hopes and dreams, our hard times and our good times. I’ve started to relax my selfimposed silence and allow myself to admit that yes, this show has made a difference to my life and to who I am. I feel fulfilled and happy. I am looking forward to raising future children who are unabashed Who fans and teaching them that with The Doctor, there is a better way to live, to stand up for what’s right, to shout just as loud as that big bully trying to back you off a cliff. All my life I have been searching. Searching for acceptance, searching for love, searching for whatever it is that makes me tick. I thought I had found it in drinking and drugs, then in running away as far as I could, then in relationships with people who treated me badly. But like Dorothy Gale (another great timeand-space traveller), the answer was here all along, right in front of me at home. Yes, I know it’s just a show, the actors probably think we’re all insane and some people take it too far. But in a world where evil triumphs over good far too often, where 13 year old girls are scared and sad and have no hope, where adult women turn to what’s bad to make them feel good, The Doctor is always there to make things right. He takes us into his TARDIS - all colors, all shapes and sizes, all sexual orientations, all religions and nationalities, all of our faults and all of our failures - shuts the door, tells us to hang on tight, bangs on that temperamental console, and shows us a better way of life.
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Random Thoughts Which Would Make (New) Series 4 of Doctor Who Better The Poison Sky - General Staal is caught in his underpants, ‘up to no good’ with Donna’s Mum (The beginning of) Forest of the Dead - Donna is found alive and well, sipping tea and chatting to her cousin – Melanie Bush! The Stolen Earth - Jack counts heads and wonders whether or not he’s ‘had’ as many people at the same time. Fires of Pompeii – Someone mishears Phil Davies’ character and instead of actual ‘Rock Monsters’ we get the much-maligned, (I hesitate to use the word ‘band’) The Jonas Brothers. Thankfully they burn in the volcano. Very slowly. The Poison Sky (again) – A proper technical advisor is brought in to show extras how to act like proper soldiers. Plus an explanation is put in The Doctor and Donna encounter The Vashta Nerada the script, as to why UNIT berets have gone from green to red and why nobody is wearing one correctly. The Stolen Earth (again) – The cast list is slashed in half, in order to save enough money to get David Tennant a proper meal. Turn Left – Somebody tells Donna that Leeds is actually quite nice. In fact, it’s a lot nicer than London (even before it was destroyed) Partners In Crime – One of Miss Foster’s Henchmen actually speaks and the story spends 10 minutes insinuating a sexual relationship between the pair (the two Henchmen, not Miss Foster - this is a RTD script after all!) Midnight – An extra 10 minutes reveal that the person banging on the shuttle was Donna, after over-doing it at the wine buffet. Again.
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An Actors Life With Harry Sedgewick
The editor of this piece of shit has been badgering me about doing another column so here I am. To be honest, I think Doctor Who is rubbish and only took the role of one of clowns from the story ‘The Greatest Show In The Galaxy’ because I was skint. But seeing as I’m trying to get myself immersed in Whodom (or whatever name you smelly, geekytypes call yourselves) I’d thought I’d make a bit of effort - so I watched Series 1 of the new Doctor Who on DVD. I’m still going through it, but I’m loving it so far. Just finished Aliens of London/World War Three and the direction on there is superb. Take a bow Keith Boak! The actors looked like they were having the time of their lives on the set too! I’m about to start the episode ‘Darlek’ and I’m looking forward to seeing these robots very much!
When I was a young actor (I still can be – I’m an actor after all) we had to work for a living. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated at these little shits who seem to be able to walk into work because they have a rubbish haircut. You look on your telly now and not one of the bastards can do a proper RP accent. I recently watched the American ‘Wills and Kate’ movie, which was utterly brilliant. They got the accents spot on – as everyone knows, the only people in England (it isn’t called the UK in America - as Wales , Scotland, Northern Ireland and anywhere outside London don’t exist) that matter are the ones who can speak RP! They know the market those Yanks! My congrats to Wills and Kate by the way, I used to do a bit of work for Prince Andrew and his chums…but never got an invite!
Another reason why I want to get myself back into Doctor Who (apart from the monetary gain – you lot are suckers for that kind of thing!) is to tell my side of the story, about me being cut from my Doctor Who episode. It’s something I’ve looked into via the courts (I had an audition for Law and Order – not the American remake – the British one) so I think I’m pretty clued up in that aspect. Now I just have to think of which settlement I choose! Maybe I’ll demand to Matt Moffet (the writer of Doctor Who) to let me have a role in the series? Or maybe I should just screw the BBC for money, like Jonathan Powell did when he made Eldorado.
The Impossible Astronaut was pretty decent I’ll admit. I still don’t think Matt Smith is handsome enough to be The Doctor though. I do like Matt Smith however, as like me - he isn’t blessed with good looks, but is an incredible actor. A lot of ugly bastards are great actors. Look at David Tennant – a great looker (with very nice teeth!) but he’s about to appear in a remake of Fright Night, which was utter shit when it first came out. Roundabouts and swings, the acting game is, my dear readers! Harrison ‘Harry’ Sedgewick currently divides his time between working in glamorous European hotspots such as Faliraki, Benidorm and Southport. He lives in Manchester with four goldfish and his Mum.
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This essay will discuss the ethics of Remembrance of the Daleks, and the Doctor’s destruction of the Dalek homeworld Skaro. Remembrance of the Daleks is a fondly regarded story. Back in 1988, the show had been in a shocking decline, and Remembrance of the Daleks seemed the great white hope. Back then fandom would be prepared to elevate anything to greatness to rekindle hope in the show. However even fans who hate the McCoy years tend to make an exception for Remembrance of the Daleks. I like Remembrance of the Daleks and I have fond memories of it. I first saw it age 11, during Christmas 1993. It was in a tin set alongside The Chase, with carefully detailed tactile indenting that made it a must pester mum to buy. My mum was trying to wean me off my Whoobsession and thought the tin was overpriced, and she suggested instead getting a friend to tape the story off UK Gold and getting my rebellious teenage sister to shoplift an empty tin from Woolworths. Eventually she caved in and bought it and on Christmas day I watched it and lapped it up.
I’d had the story spoilered for me earlier that year by DWM’s Dalek summer special Archive, which was frustrating, yet also reassuring. At 11, Dalek stories frightened me, so knowing in advance what was coming was comforting. The archive was vaguely worded, so there were still nice surprises for me when I first watched Remembrance. I was fooled by the Davroslike red herring, and genuinely shocked when it’s revealed it’s the schoolgirl. When Ace fought the Daleks with a baseball bat, I was surprised how robust and invincible the Daleks proved. The archive also couldn’t do justice to the first cliffhanger or the climax where the Doctor makes Davros completely lose control. Remembrance was mind-expanding stuff at 11. The Doctor’s discussion with the Jamaican cafe owner of how ‘every great decision creates ripples’ is a great scene that works across the board both then and now, (although at 11 I missed the ‘it’ll be twins’ line). Anyhow with the story being so rated and being so held as the great white hope, the Doctor’s destruction of Skaro isn’t often condemned, but for some fans it’s a bone of contention. Many fans are baffled as to why the Seventh Doctor’s planet destroying is
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 never condemned, when the Sixth Doctor was rendered a pariah for dunking a few Varosian brutes into an acid bath. Certainly Remembrance of the Daleks gets away with a lot that other stories were severely penalised for. It’s as ridden with continuity references as Attack of the Cybermen, but is nowhere near as damned for it. But then Attack of the Cybermen was very aimless and confused. It starts promisingly in the urban setting, but that has nothing to do with the main story as the location quickly shifts, proving the story isn’t really about anything. Also Lytton changes from a cold-blooded killer who led his fellow criminals into the Cybermen’s trap, to being suddenly a ‘misunderstood’ hero. Now if Lytton was written as a confused Dalek replicant who’d broken his programming and wanted to find a new identity, this probably would have made for a tragic ending where the Doctor laments the ‘misjudged’ rogue. Instead the only way the story can think of to get the audience on Lytton’s side is through the handcrushing scene that supposedly symbolises Lytton’s ‘penance’, in keeping with the 80’s Robocop, Die Hard macho philosophy of ‘pain builds character’. Remembrance of the Daleks however is much more focused and confident, and the continuity references convey the story’s sense of endgame, and emphasises the Doctor’s experience and wisdom in a way 80’s Doctor Who rarely did. I’ve shown Remembrance of the Daleks to first-time viewers who followed and enjoyed it fine. Infact one friend said that she much preferred the story’s intrigue and mystery to New Who’s blatant overstatement. Demonstrating that when a story is well-written and focused, the characters are strong and the stakes are high, it can hook the viewer no matter how little backstory they know. When I first saw The Empire
Strikes Back, it didn’t matter that I knew nothing about Star Wars beforehand, I was absolutely hooked by its characters and its unrelenting chase and I instantly wanted to see more. So in terms of the Skaro controversy, it seems good writing can overcome the questionable morality of its hero. I’m all for stories where the Doctor’s morality is questionable. Frankly I worry when fans and writers paint the Doctor’s moral authority as unquestionable. I’ve always questioned the Doctor. When I was 11, I didn’t accept the Doctor’s stance in Death to the Daleks that the Daleks were equally entitled to the cure to the space plague that was ravaging their empire. Likewise in City of Death I was sympathetic to Scaroth and saw the Doctor as the story’s villain for working to stop him saving his own people, until the twist revelation at the final climax. By questioning the Doctor, the viewer learns about their own morality from an early age, and good writing should always challenge the viewer and make them think. That’s why I love Revelation of the Daleks. Colin’s morally dubious Doctor is in his element in the story’s uncertain morally grey universe where even a war criminal like Davros can become the galaxy’s saviour, eradicating famine and disease, and where Orcini, a ruthless assassin becomes the hero by going beyond any scruples the Doctor would have. In speculating on the future possibilities of medical science, it’s a throwback to Doctor Who’s original forwardlooking and utilitarian ethos, the days when every scene was well-crafted and evocative. Colin’s Doctor shines, whether holding the dying mutant’s hand or being outraged at Davros’ extermination of the body-snatchers who were regarded contemptuously by the other characters, suiting Paul Cornell’s notion of the Doctor holding every life as important. His confrontation with Davros has real bite, and even his discreetly kicking Orcini his gun is a gem. It’s challenging, essential TV without judgement that’s needed more often in these bleak days of
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 Jeremy Kyle and makeover shows.
But of course the problem with mid-80’s Doctor Who, the period that preceded Remembrance of the Daleks, was that it went beyond morally ambiguous to morally confused. Much of this had to do with producer JNT’s neurotic approach of making each new Doctor’s character a contrast and backlash to the previous one. This backlash approach also involved JNT blacklisting the show’s past writers, which smacked of insecurity about his authority being undermined. In their absence the show gradually failed to understand the Doctor’s character and quickly lost a sense of direction. The Doctor ceased to be an intelligent hero with a moral mission statement, and became a grotesque, ineffectual parody of script editor Eric Saward’s passive aggression, and JNT’s narcissistic fixation with courting disaster and wrongheaded decisions against impossible odds to make himself into the hero or victim against greater struggles. Indeed the shaky and aggressive conception of the Sixth Doctor and particularly the strangulation scene in The Twin Dilemma smacks almost of Munchausen syndrome (deliberate damage done to gain adulation for mending it). However I blame the BBC first and foremost. They had given the job of producer to a man who lacked the full-rounded qualifications and experience, and they showed poor faith in him by appointing Barry Letts as his initial overseer (which probably prompted JNT’s decision to blacklist past writers and aggressively reassert his authority), whereas a fully qualified producer with their full faith would ergo be unlikely to have anything to prove. At its worst mid-80’s Doctor Who had degenerated from being a show about historical moments and human endeavour into nihilistic self-destruction. Often resembling exploitation cinema: cold, leering direction; blatantly
derivative plots; contrived, ugly money shots; shallow, volatile antiheroes, an appetite for excessive regurgitation and destruction; and an angry, humanity-hating, nihilistic ethos. Perhaps it’s why 80’s Who is treated as exempt from serious critical analysis or artistic evaluation. Instead fan criticism usually focuses on production faults or specific design flaws like the Myrka or Colin’s coat and makes that the issue. It’s irrelevant that if big budget sci-fi like Aliens or Empire Strikes Back depicted its heroes as criminally negligent appeasers who ensure the deaths of everyone they were meant to protect, like Warriors of the Deep did, the audience would feel like victims of a tasteless practical joke, no matter how good the production values were. Conceivably those stories could be seen as somewhat braining up the exploitation genre with intelligent social commentary. Like Terminus’ frighteningly believable depiction of exploitation and dehumanisation, and society’s capacity to render its unwanted underclass invisible and forgotten. Resurrection of the Daleks’ opening is practically a surreal fringe theatre satirising police brutality. Vengeance on Varos is loaded with angry socio-political content from its prophetic vision of reality TV gone mad, to how the prison system’s inherently antithetical to rehabilitation by cultivating only spiritual decay, and its brutalising effect on both prisoners and guards. Varos isn’t a world that suffered cruel tyrants happen to it, Varos itself happened to them. But they’re rather too hopeless and uncompassionate to feel like the Doctor Who we know and love, and their leering, contrived unpleasantness makes the Doctor come off badly as a hero. They also say little about humanity’s darker side that Genesis of the Daleks hadn’t already said with better moral clarity. Remembrance of the Daleks isn’t that removed from Eric Saward’s angry social commentary, harsh, unforgiving justice and misanthropic antihero Doctor who looks down his nose at humanity. But it succeeds by keeping Davros in the background and giving the Daleks a proper overall goal to
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 direct their single-minded determination towards. Something they lacked in the Saward Dalek stories. Just compare it to Resurrection of the Daleks’ excesses. The story’s so unfocused, so fixated with showing human beings at their worst that the Daleks might as well be absent. They’re certainly not at the story’s heart or centre. Indeed the story’s gory, excessive destruction of the Daleks completely cheapens their robust invincibility. Admittedly the Daleks in Remembrance aren’t so frightening, the focus is less on scares and more on action. But conceptually the Daleks come across sharply. The Daleks here feel tangibly alien and inimical to human life, boiling with obsessive hatred like a dog with a bone, perpetually irritated by the humans and their own genetically deviated brethren. Only the laws of causality preventing them from succumbing to their urge to annihilate our planet. Having two different Dalek factions hating each others’ genetic differences perfectly depicts the absurdity of racismthe same uniformed race of fascists split into two and possessed towards hating and destroying each other. We also have the human fascists, Ratcliffe and Mike, and they’re both presented as sincere and almost well-meaning in their convictions. Mike is concerned for his white working class brethren in hard times and fears an influx of immigrants. Ratcliffe reminisces bitterly on how he was imprisoned for voicing his politics, which even had me at 11 questioning when racial tolerance conflicts with the right to free speech. But Ratcliffe was clearly a dangerous man, dismissing the battle computer’s caution that there’ll be many casualties and deaths by remarking “war is hell”. He clearly doesn’t care about anyone, only about his cause. His speech “someone who knows when to be lenient and when to be harsh” is perfectly timed with the massacring of his men. He never
anticipated becoming a victim of his own philosophy. Indeed the story’s message isn’t merely that ‘racism is bad’, as that sometimes it’s a philosophy that even happens to good people. The story overall captures a fear of change that’s perfectly suited to both the 60’s setting and the Doctor pondering how his actions might “create ripples”. Alan Stevens however criticised this story for both the destruction of Skaro, and how those fascist characters meet with the most harsh justice- arguing that the story’s destruction of such characters, without exploring the prospect of rehabilitation, is no better than the characters’ own intolerant belief-system. But harsh justice is hardly uncommon in Classic Who. Indeed John Peel based his novel War of the Daleks around preventing Skaro’s destruction through convoluted ret-conning, whereby the Daleks found out about the events of Remembrance by raiding Earth’s Ministry of Defence records during their 2167 invasion, then planted Davros on another world before he was revived, fooling both Davros and the Doctor that they’re on Skaro in Destiny of the Daleks, and so resultantly the Omega Device destroys that world instead. And incidentally, the Movellans were Dalek creations and the entire MovellanDalek war was a sham. So the Daleks created the Movellan virus and destroyed vast legions of themselves in Resurrection of the Daleks just to fool Davros? For a book intended to re-establish the Daleks at the height of their 1960’s power, it actually renders them neurotically self-destructive and pathetic. I personally don’t believe the First Doctor set the Hand of Omega to destroy Skaro before he even visited the planet or knew who the Daleks were. He probably left the device behind only for safe keeping. I think the Seventh Doctor only instructed the device to destroy Skaro when he infiltrated the renegade Dalek base and started patting the devious little device, probably giving it
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 telepathic instructions. In Destiny of the Daleks there’s clearly no Thals living on Skaro anymore, otherwise the Daleks wouldn’t have needed to ravage the galaxy for their slave labour. But many fans still consider the Doctor destroying the Daleks on Skaro an aberration. Apparently the “Do I have the right?” scene in Genesis of the Daleks ‘proves’ the Doctor would never commit genocide. However that scene isn’t the Doctor’s mission statement, it’s a moment of doubt. Later in the same story he changes his mind and goes back to finish the job. McCoy’s era is both praised and reviled for taking the Doctor into a darker, ruthless direction, away from his previous straight-laced pacifism. But the Doctor was never a pacifist, and certainly wasn’t above wiping out his enemies in Power of the Daleks or Terror of the Zygons. Infact if you skipped from Brain of Morbius or State of Decay to here, the Doctor’s actions probably wouldn’t seem half as shocking or radical. The problem is having the regressively pacifist appeaser Fifth Doctor inbetween. JNT wanted Peter Davison to be a complete contrast to Tom Baker’s overbearing, seemingly invincible Doctor. Thus the Fifth Doctor became neutered and weakened. Many fans praised how making the Doctor fallible created dramatic uncertainty about whether the Doctor would succeed or fail (many fans miss the childhood scares so much that we actually want the Doctor to lose), seemingly forgetting about Tom Baker’s more downbeat stories like Genesis of the Daleks and Horror of Fang Rock. But in Davison’s case, instead of breeding uncertainty, it pushed certainty too far the other way, making the Doctor’s failures so contrived and deliberate against all cognitive reasoning, it robbed the show of any point.
It’s a question of if you buy Warriors of the Deep’s idea of the Doctor being a pacifist appeaser who’d place the invading hordes’ lives above the humans they’re massacring (even after one human woman takes a bullet for him). Personally I don’t. It’s a story based on completely suicidal actions and stances, whilst anyone who suggests doing the sensible thing is demonized for it. It also argues self-contradictory Doctorish traits at once- alien detachment to death and compassionate sanctity of life- to justify his artificial moral indecision. The Doctor’s given an abundant ‘kill all the invaders’ gas at his feet and still fails to save anyone. Surgically removing every heroic and pragmatic instinct the Doctor has had for 20 years, overwriting his ruthlessly pragmatic actions in The Seeds of Death and Pyramids of Mars. Reducing the strong-willed, free-spirited Doctor into a puppet was spirit-crushing to watch. But in Orwellian fashion, this new version is the past and always has been. When the Doctor’s actions and motives are this delusionally oblivious to the massacre happening around him, the show becomes a soulless, corrosive anti-drama where story events no longer affect our hero, and saving the day becomes utterly devalued. Rendering the fiction unbelievable and pointless. Back in Genesis of the Daleks, the Doctor threatened to shut down Davros’ life support systems and sounded like he meant it, revealing a dark, unpredictable ruthless streak to the Doctor that would cross the line when he deemed it necessary. Resurrection of the Daleks ruins this when the Doctor predictably chickens out from executing Davros. That appeaser Doctor would probably have willingly told Davros that future information about Dalek defeats without any coercion, and would let the Daleks keep the tape recording out of warped pity for those poor doomed Daleks of the future. JNT had overworked himself to keep driven on a demanding show the BBC weren’t giving support to, and such singular
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 overworking often cultivates narcissism and blurs someone’s judgement for the worse. As well as being chemically run, JNT thrived on self-engineered crisis management and the adulation of fans, tabloids and ‘yes’-men. Given JNT’s relationship with fandom tarnishing the show, I think fandom’s been blaming and crucifying itself ever since. But by Remembrance of the Daleks the BBC had restricted the show to four stories a year, which had possibly turned things around. Lifting some workload off JNT and perhaps creating a more recharged, easy-going production environment. It’s perhaps why JNT and Andrew Cartmel had a far better, receptive working relationship than JNT and Eric Saward. Gone was JNT’s suspicious-mindedness or selfdestructive crash and burn approach. JNT was no longer left to his own devices, and through this team effort the show improved, regaining its purpose and direction. Remembrance of the Daleks finds JNT and Cartmel firmly on the same wavelength, with Cartmel’s mandate for political, fast-paced drama, and JNT wanting a nostalgic Delta and the Bannermen-esque pop-culture rompsomething slightly grubby, retro and carnivalesque whilst conjuring folk memories of the show’s history. Whilst those are just broad strokes, Cartmel and Aaronovitch gave it all a pulse, detail and a beating heart. It’s a self-assured champ of a story, confident enough to rewrite its hero’s history and be playfully intertextual. Many fans would discount McCoy’s atrocious first season and declare Remembrance of the Daleks where his era really begins. It’s fast-paced and self-sustained, and perfectly cleans the slate. Infact you could skip straight from Logopolis to here and it would feel seamless.
Like a live-action roleplaying game, this new Doctor becomes suddenly a grandmaster player, discovering commanding, manipulative traits he never realised he had, and taking control, changing the entire game’s direction with a few choice decisions. That’s the Doctor to me. Not the cosy peacenik Doctor, but the untrustworthy dangerous Doctor of Hartnel’s era, the true, conscious soul of the character, with complex, unpredictable thinking beneath his sanitised image. Not an automaton bound by his own rules, but a conscious, real hero who decides his actions and changes his methods based on the stakes. Just like how in Dalek, Christopher Eccleston’s discomfortingly belligerent Doctor suddenly becomes justified. In Genesis of the Daleks, the Time Lords foretold the Daleks would one day wipe out all other lifeforms, becoming sole rulers of the universe, and that was never resolved. So the Doctor’s actions in destroying Skaro were probably necessitated. Sometimes the ‘darker’ Doctor’s business bothered me. Curse of Fenric showed him playing on Ace’s fears of rejection and absolutely devastating her, which I sometimes think influenced fandom to become prone to tribalistic internecine psychological warfare. In Silver Nemesis, making the Doctor a demi-God completely diminished all credibility and dramatic tension, as he literally waltzed through the ineffectual, gullible Cybermen. Here however the Doctor must tread very carefully, and whilst he has the perfect scheme, it’s entirely reliant on his enemies acting a given way and that’s where the difficulty lies. Infact at various points his Doctor is shown as fallible after all, whether it’s his “I think I might have miscalculated”, or his obliviousness to both Mike’s treachery, and the sinister schoolgirl. But he really does seem to be playing with fire like never before. He warns of Dalek surveilance equipment “capable of spotting a sparrow fall at 15,000 kilometers”. But then he goes and provokes the Daleks and Davros anyway.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 When the Black Dalek spies his calling card, I relishhed the cheeky audacity of the Doctor, and again when he’s taunting Davros when he’s holding a weapon that could crack open the planet like an egg. It’s riveting and makes for truly volatile drama. The confrontation with Davros is superb, really getting across how both of them are now sick of and determined to destroy each other. Terry Molloy masters Davros’ frightening, volatile nature. It beautifully connects with the hypothetical virus discussion in Genesis of the Daleks. The Doctor knows how far Davros will go just to feel powerful. Now he’s making sure he pushes him that far. The Doctor gets Davros to press the button himself just to be sure that Davros is beyond reason and really would go that far. His coldly snubbing Davros’ pleas of pity at the device’s unstoppable vengeance is brilliant. Ironically the doomed Daleks become pitiable, still diligently manning their stations reciting a panicked countdown to their own destruction- it’s almost mistakable for an admirable display of martyrdom. Fans have sentimental attachment to Skaro. But in 1988 it was a foregone conclusion that the show would end soon, so I think destroying Skaro was justified in bringing the Dalek saga to conclusion. Likewise when the Doctor’s burying the Hand of Omega with the blind vicarlovely metaphor for humanity’s obliviousness, I feel a lump in my throat. It almost represents the show itself being put to rest, the final rites, making peace with itself, but also, like Ace diving through the window from an exploding chemistry classroom, going out kicking and screaming. It ends perfectly on Mike’s funeral. Even at the funeral, Harry the cafe owner is
welcome but his Jamaican friend isn’t. And contrary to RTD’s claims, the Doctor does stick around and look back, even staying for the funeral. Ace’s question “we did good didn’t we?” is perfectly suited to the church setting, a place of penance. There’s a real sense of the uncertain future beckoning now, but perhaps a safer future without the Daleks. The church doors close on them, unwelcoming, restoring the Doctor to the outsider. I’ve loved Big Finish’s Dalek Empire series and Terror Firma, but I like to think this is the Dalek saga’s proper end- where the universe becomes a safer place, and the series can feel properly ended and complete, so I can treat the New Series as a separate entity from Classic Who. There’s death and destruction, no cop-outs, no sense of it being just a titillating (or irritating) advert for itself. It has a completeness and finality, never shying away from mature issues or costly moral decisions. The Doctor commits the actions that back up his tough talk, and the continuity references emphasise the Doctor’s rich experience and wisdom. All things New Who’s shied away from. Occasionally Parting of the Ways or Rise of the Cybermen suggested New Who wanted to be about the pitfalls of our wants, how nothing lasts forever, and championing beautiful selfless acts for the greater good, even in our Darwinist, individualistic world where go-getting avarice and cut-throat bitchiness is fashionable and “no-one votes for sweet”. But Journey’s End was clearly only about spoiling the teenage viewers, giving them everything they wanted, with Rose’s ‘happy’ ending betraying all character logic. Pitched at viewers who think if the Doctor and Rose were together, all would be right with the world. Remembrance of the Daleks shows how Classic Who was about how there’s a lot not right with the world. THOMAS COOKSON
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
The Fish Custard Guide To Personal Hygiene How To Shower Like A Whovi-Woman
Check bathroom to see if it’s clean. Make sure there’s enough shampoo and conditioner. If not – pop to the shop quickly Take clothes off and place neatly in a laundry basket Walk to bathroom in a long dressing gown. If seen by husband/partner – cover up any exposed flesh and run into the bathroom Look at body in mirror, complain about getting fat Get in shower. Look for facecloth, loofah, sponge and pumice stone Wash hair with coconut shampoo, with 95 added vitamins Condition hair with coconut conditioner, with 95 added vitamins Wash face with crushed apricot facial scrub, until sore Wash entire body with Ginger Nut body wash Scream loudly when husband/partner turns on the hot tap downstairs, so the shower goes cold Turn off shower. Wipe everything down, so shower is clean Get out of shower and wrap yourself in a 20ft towel Put another towel on your head, tie into a turban Check body for any spots – attack with tweezers if found Return to bedroom in long dressing gown. If seen by husband/partner, cover any exposed flesh and run into the bedroom
How To Shower Like A Whovi-Man
Check to see if there’s any shampoo in the bathroom. If not, soap or washing-up liquid will suffice Take clothes off and walk to bathroom naked. If seen by Wife/Partner, grin and nod knowingly at her Look in mirror, suck in gut to admire manly physique Get in shower and find soap Wash face and armpits Have a wee in the shower Rinse hair and body for 30 seconds Get out of shower and dab yourself with a small towel, before throwing it on the floor Leave shower curtain dripping on the floor, as well as the wet towel Return to bedroom naked. If seen by Wife/Partner, pose for her Put the same clothes back on
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
A Pint of Bitter, Trev? Taking time out from working on the new Waking The Dead spinoff, with his production company (how many television actors CAN afford their own production company?) Trevor Eve likes to have a pop at successful BBC shows. One of them being Doctor Who. His comments have resurfaced again recently, so we enlisted our very own forensic detective to sum up the case (see what I did there?) “They're obsessed with it. It gets all the budget and all the attention” Trevor Eve So Trevor Eve has had a go at the BBC for giving money to Doctor Who. Funny how times change isn’t it? The show needed the money in the 80’s but was never given it and eventually died a slow death. Trevor’s program, Waking The Dead has ended after 11 years, which is the catalyst of his outburst. Has Trevor not thought of this being a good thing, for a drama that passed its sell-by date 3 years ago? (his own admission, by the way) The reason why Doctor Who has so much money thrown at it (read this carefully Trev. Hope you don’t mind me calling you that by the way) is that it makes so much money for BBC Worldwide, who in turn give profits back to the BBC to fund more programming. I suppose you would be happy with them raising the cost of a television licence, Trev? Doctor Who has a massive domestic and international market - I’ve just been in my local supermarket, browsing at Doctor Who Easter eggs and birthday cake for goodness sake. Now when they come up with a Waking The Dead, blow-up doll that sells by the millions, then you can have a moan Trev. (And so will I…) Don’t get me wrong, I rate him as an actor, but this outburst just stinks of jealously because his (reported) £1 million per-year meal ticket has been taken away. He even said that his program should have ended in 2007, straight away painting him as someone who’s there just for the money. He then goes on about the fact that ‘nothing can exist unless it achieves financial rewards’ - all this said when he was promoting a new series on ITV, who NEED their programs to be successful to pull in more advertising revenue. So in reality (not Trev Eve World) his argument doesn’t stand up, as most BBC shows don’t sell that well aboard anyway, but it doesn’t matter as no potential advertisers will become disinterested. Doctor Who appeals to everyone, of every age, every gender and every nationality, which is
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 why it’s successful. And anyway, Doctor Who makes the money, so it should take some of it back to improve itself, surely? With Doctor Who being successful aboard, it has opened the door for other British dramas to be watched around the world (Some people may even be watching Waking The Dead because of Doctor Who, Trev. Ever thought about that?), how many of you reading this have checked out other British shows because of Doctor Who? Just think about it Trev - would the BBC even attempt at making big budget drama if Doctor Who wasn’t a success? Trev even refers to Doctor Who as a ’40 year old children’s program’, yes Trev, there’s a reason why its 40 years old and still going. You play (sorry, played) a detective – you work it out. There will be a point in the future when the BBC will be ‘less-obsessed’ with Doctor Who, but they will continue to develop new and original drama because of the success of that children’s show that started in 1963. Or maybe this rant is because you want to be in Doctor Who, Trev? Is that it? Are you jealous? Thought you might be. THE BASTARD SON OF PETER BOYD
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
Doctor Who Cliché Bingo!
When you hear someone talking about Doctor Who, see if you can tick off all the tedious clichés. The first person to do so will win a copy of John Levine’s Autobiography ‘Shouting Loudly: I WAS IN DOCTOR WHO, YOU KNOW!’’
I Hid Behind The Sofa
Daleks Are The Doctor’s Greatest Enemy
I Cried When David Left
It Was Rubbish In The 1980’s
Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Doctor. Doctor Who? Exactly
Everyone Who Watches MUST be a Geek
The old Cybermen are rubbish
The Doctor and His Stripy Scarf
It Has Rubbish Effects
It’s Wibbly, Wobbly, Timey Wimey
It’s A Children’s Show
David Tennant Is My Favourite Doctor
It’s An Event
I Was So Scared, I Watched Through My Hands
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
FIVES Rounds Rapid 5 Top Brigadier Quotes • “Chap with the wings there – five rounds rapid” • (To Capt. Yates’ offer of a dance): “Kind of you Captain Yates. Think I’d rather have a pint” • “Oh dear. Women, not really my field” • “You know just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets” • (To The Doctor) “Splendid fellows all of you”
5 New Series Things That The Brig Wouldn’t Stand For • UNIT Soldiers marching wrong • UNIT Soldiers who can’t dress themselves properly • UNIT Soldiers being given a good hiding by Sontarans • Female UNIT Soldiers wearing their hair long • David Tennant crying 5 Top Sarah Jane Episodes
5 Names David Tennant and Georgia Moffet Should Have Called Their Baby • Rose • Davina • Abigail • Tegan • Jenny 5 People That Little Girl Can Be • Amy’s Daughter • River • Jenny • (Get this:) Somebody random • The Rani (only joking!)
• The Time Warrior • The Ark In Space • The Seeds of Doom • The Hand of Fear • Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane 5 Alternative Names For The Silence • The Perverts • The Easily Defeated • The Gentlemen • The Actually Quite Loud When It Has A Bee In Its Bonnet • The Oh. Is That It? 5 Other Nick Courtney TV Appearances
5 Quotes That I’m Sick of Hearing • “Doctor Who has become like Lost” • “RTD is rubbish, he’s done nothing for Doctor Who” • “Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey” • “River is The Rani” • “You shouldn’t use Comic Sans”
• The Avengers • Only Fools and Horses • The Two Ronnies • All Creatures Great And Small • Then Churchill Said To Me
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
An Original 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory Story By Kass Stone
The iguana in the cage hissed at The Doctor as the Time Lord popped his head around the corner. He was stooped down on one knee, peering out from the alley way down the side walk. Vendors were selling everything from luchadore masks and straw hats to machetes and bullwhips. Every shop had a cage with iguanas for sale out front. Apparently they were quite the popular snack. At the end of the street, pass the sidewalk taverns, vendors, pharmacists and chintz shops were a line of Mexican army troops. A heavy machine gun was mounted behind a barricade of sand bags. From either side stretched a line of small, indian soldiers carrying M16s. They were called up from Chiapas or one of the other tropical states to guard the border from drug cartel gunmen looking to break through into America or to shoot it out with members of other gangs looking to do the same. Behind the soldiers was the bridge that passed over the Rio Grande into Texas, where custom officials rifled through your bags in search of drugs or guns. After the customs check were smiling, happy faces on vacation or going on a low rent adventure into a Mexican border town. It was perfectly safe as long as your overfed American rear-end got back over the bridge before sunset. The Doctor liked this town, Nuevo Progresso. He had been through it several times in the past. Unfortunately, he forgot all about whose toes he stepped on the last time he paid a visit. The owner of those toes currently held his friends captive and was on the hunt for him. The Doctor refused to be captured on anyone’s terms but his own. The coast was clear. The Doctor stood up, smoothed his clothes, adjusted his bowtie and ran boney fingers through messy, floppy hair in what appeared to be almost a single jerky motion. He darted out of the alleyway and across the street, dodging a mule cart, a bus and a gringo on a Segway. Once across the street, The Doctor tried his best to blend in with a group of teenagers milling around an elote stand. He began searching his pockets for pesos with which to buy one of the cheesy, spicy cobs of corn on a stick, when he heard the sound of screeching wheels. A sleek silver sports car had come to a sudden stop just in front of the stand. Behind the wheel of the tiny, missile like convertible was the hulking form of El Feo. The man appeared to unfurl from behind the driver’s seat. It was like watching a redwood spring into full maturity in a matter of seconds as the massive wrestler rose to his full 7’8’’. Giant muscles rippled under the stylish suit he wore. Sunlight glittered off of the black sequins covering the top of his mask while intense amber eyes stared out of the gargoyles face on the front. “Doctor! You cannot run from me,” announced El Feo as he stomped towards his prey. “El Feo,” The Doctor began, but he could not finish as the reigning champion luchadore grabbed him by the throat and tossed him into the narrow back seat of his car.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 Amy and Rory winced every time El Feo flexed his muscles. The giant posed and presented his superhuman physique as a lackey applied oil to his bronze skin. A number of fanged and horned dwarfs scurried about the small, outdoor arena, setting up and tearing down. They reminded Rory of demonic Oompa Loompas and he was about to tell his wife so when she began to speak to The Doctor. “He is going to kill you, Doctor,” hissed Amy. “He’s a monster!” “You could get seriously hurt,” offered Rory. The Doctor smiled at his traveling companions. He knew this was rather insane but so far he could not find a better way out of the situation. “It’ll be all right. I can handle this guy,” assured The Doctor. “And, if I do get hurt, Rory here is a doctor - almost.” “All of this because you embarrassed him like 20 years ago? This guy can really hold a grudge,” said Amy. “What did you do to him?” “I helped him stop an Aztec mummy from conquering Mexico City with an army of demonic dwarfs and undead wrestlers. His fiancé had too much to drink at the party that was held in our behalf and declared that she was in love with me. El Feo took this as a personal insult and has waited 18 years to exact his revenge,” provided The Doctor. “He chooses to exact his revenge in a wrestling ring,” asked Rory. “What else would you expect him to do? He is a professional wrestler! And, he built this rather lovely arena here behind his mansion. It would be ludicrous to expect him to challenge me to a sword fight or foot race or something,” said The Doctor. The seats were filled with a strange assortment of spectators. There were several luchadores dressed in suits but still wearing their full head concealing masks. They had names like Lobo, El Toro, El Conquistador, El Santo Rojo and El Muerte de Juárez. The wrestlers were accompanied by stunning women with killer bodies sporting flashy jewelry and big hair. The rest of the seats were occupied by local politicians in tuxedos, high ranking military officials in formal uniform and local businessmen dressed in flashy suits and heavily greased back hair. Everyone had looks of pure joy on their faces except one spectator sitting across from El Feo’s corner. This was Yesenia, El Feo’s wife. Her regal, beautiful face wore a gray, ashen colour. She had on a black shroud like dress and kept her sad eyes on her feet. When El Feo entered the ring and dropped his robe to reveal his oiled physique, the audience went wild. Amy watched the local hero flex and primp in his tiny black trunks and tall boots. She arched her eyebrows in approval and then remembered The Doctor would be in the ring with him. “He looks like he can eat you alive,” pleaded Amy. “Nah, he’d cook me first. I’m sure,” said The Doctor as he climbed through the ropes and into the ring. Acting as The Doctor’s corner team, Amy and Rory climbed up onto mat with a bucket of water, stool and first aid kit.
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 “You should really reconsider this,” began Rory, but he was cut off by being hit in the face with the bathrobe The Doctor was wearing. The crowd burst into laughter when they saw The Doctor’s lanky, boney figure inside an overlarge, green singlet. The Time Lord did not let the derision faze him and waved to the crowd as if he did not hear them. As he waved, the straps of the singlet slid off his shoulders and down his arms – causing even more laughter amongst the spectators. “I always thought this wrestling business was all for show, but this guy is taking it very seriously Doctor,” shouted Rory. “This is suicidal!” The two combatants were brought to the center of the ring and a small man in a black and white striped referee’s shirt and quickly ran through the rules of the match and then just as quickly leaped out of the way. The bell rang for the match to commence. El Feo circled The Doctor, clenching and unclenching his fists. The Doctor feinted a leap to the right but this did not fool the “People’s Champion”. He reached out with one massive hand and grasped The Doctor by the face. He then lifted his opponent into the air and then tossed him across the ring into the ropes. The ropes acted like a sling shot and sent the Time Lord flying backs towards the champ. Amy and Rory covered each other’s eyes when El Feo clothes lined The Doctor, sending him crashing to the canvass gasping for air. Amy glanced over at Yesenia and saw her biting the palm of her hand as tears flowed down her cheeks. El Feo was working the audience by flexing and stomping his boots. They screamed at him to finish off his “pequeño guero” opponent. The giant pulled The Doctor up to his feet by his hair, causing the Time Lord to scream out. Yesenia in turn closed her eyes and began to pray. The champion balled up his fist and was about to knock the time traveler’s teeth out of his head when he suddenly bellowed in anguish. Between his left finger and thumb, The Doctor held the wrist of the hand El Feo was grasping his hair with. The luchadore let go of Time Lord and dropped to his knees. The Doctor then delivered a karate chop between the big man’s shoulder blades that laid him flat on his stomach. “It’s all about pressure points,” The Doctor shouted proudly to the Ponds. “It’s an old Venusian Akido hold. Very effective!” The Doctor let go of the wrist and was about to pounce on the prone wrestler’s head when Yesenia burst from her seat. “Not my El Feo,” screamed Yesenia as she ran into the ring and began slapping The Doctor away from her husband. “Leave him alone, you brute!” El Feo managed to roll onto his back. Yesenia knelt beside him and held his big head in her small, fragile looking hands. “Yesenia, you choose me over The Doctor? You do not love The Doctor,” El Feo asked weakly. “Estúpido, I never loved The Doctor. I just wanted to make you jealous all those years ago and, well, I still do. I’m so sorry. The Doctor doesn’t mean anything to me!”
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5 El Feo pulled Yesenia to him and they shared a long, passionate kiss that sent the audience cheering and applauding. The kiss seemed to invigorate the big man and he leapt to his feet, tossed Yesenia in the air and caught her in his arms. The spectators rushed into the ring tossing flowers and taking photos. Nobody noticed The Doctor and the Ponds sneaking out of the arena. The three friends sat at a bar in a restaurant/saloon/tattoo shop named Ernesto’s, eating tacos and sipping a local beer called Tarántula. “All’s well that ends well,” said The Doctor in between bites of taco. “I think it was awfully sweet, but what would you have done if she didn’t really love him,” asked Amy. “Would you have beaten El Feo and become the new champion,” teased Rory. “Oh, I was never going to pin him and take the championship,” The Doctor said with a wave of his hand. “What do you mean,” asked Rory. “Rory,” asked The Doctor, “don’t you know all of this wrestling stuff is fake?”
UTAH OFFICE OF EDUCATION Dear Sir/Mom, This consent form has been issued because of new legislation, law H5N1, which requires a parents permission to use our School Buses. Just sign the permission slip below and send it in to us ASAP. Yours, T. Silent, Administrator I give my permission for my child ___________________ to use the School Bus provided by the Utah Office of Education. I understand that the bus may pick up random British people and drive into the middle of nowhere, for no reason at all. In the event of an emergency, I swear by almighty god (or Hulk Hogan) that my child knows the lyrics to ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’, just in case a nut, with a plaster over his nose, abducts the bus. We reserve the right to distance ourselves away from any lawsuit which may arise. Signed __________________________ Name of Attorney ______________________
Fish Fingers and Custard Issue 5
The Real Person in that spacesuit 40