Doctor Who Vs Scratchman Part 7

 

                           Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter

The TARDIS console started to catch fire. In his struggle with the Goblins, the Doctor managed to hurl one over his shoulder with a judo flip, sending it head first into the flaming console.

The Doctor quickly managed to clobber another of the creatures over the head with a piece of furniture that he had tried to block the door with, knocking it off its feet.

The Doctor and the rest of the Goblins were soon thrown off of their feet as the Dragon again started to panic. The monster was being pulled from one dimension to the other. The Doctor in the confusion quickly ran around the console to see if there was any part of it that was still operable, but the whole thing was a mass of fire.

The Tardis was struggling with the Dragon, and the Goblins attack had only weakened her strength. Still she struggled on however, and the struggle between the TARDIS and the Dragon threatened to rip a hole in the time vortex itself.

The Doctor quickly went to one of the roundrels and ripped it off. The Time Lord then tried to redeposit the power from various rooms across the lower deck of the TARDIS, (which caused them to vanish) and into the console.

After a few seconds the fire vanished completely from the console and the TARDIS was in complete control again.

The Doctor then fired a small sample of excess energy left over from the lower decks at the Goblins. It didn’t kill them, but succeeded in knocking the monsters out cold.

In the Inquisitore’s torture chamber meanwhile Elena, Yarox, the villagers and the Goblins were now more focused on trying to escape than fighting each other. The Dragon’s thrashing threw them wildly around the room. One of the villagers was even killed, when he hit his head against the steel walls!

Worse still the portal to the Inquisitore’s hell began to fluctuate and it grow bigger. All of those at the back were quickly swallowed by the portal, whilst those at the front struggled to crawl towards the door, but just as they reached it however the door slammed shut. From the main control room the leader of the Goblins, in a final spiteful act used the last of the power in the Dragon to seal the room shut. He was desperate that the humans would not just be killed in the crash, but have to endure the hell he had come from.

Elena pounded on the door as hard as she could, but it was made of reinforced steel. The portal drew closer and closer, consuming more and more Goblins and villagers. Stanley, Yarox, Sophie and Jonathan all huddled around Elena and tried to help her push on the door, but it was no use.

Stanley in a final act of self sacrifice pushed the others in front of him as the portal drew closer and he was pulled into it. Two of the villagers and Elena tried to pull him back, and with all of their strength. They almost succeeded, but just when they were on the cusp of pulling him free, the portal would grow and engulf Stanley again. On the other side of the portal Stanley and the others could hear the screams of the damned souls of Scratchman’s domain, whilst the heat from the portal was unbearable. As the portal grew larger and larger, Elena realised that unless they let go, they too would be consumed alongside Stanley and with regret she not only let him go, but pulled the other two villagers back before the portal swallowed all 4 of them. The last image Elena saw of Stanley was of him screaming at her for help. His screams from the other side lingered on for a few seconds afterwards, which felt like an eternity for Elena and the rest of the villagers.

Just as all seemed lost the TARDIS suddenly materialised around the frightened villagers. The Doctor couldn’t move the TARDIS until the last second, and had been forced to watch with horror at the sight of the villagers he couldn’t save being pulled into hell. Even when the TARDIS landed around them, not all of the villagers were caught in its dematerialisation field, and a further five were pulled into hell.

Only twenty of the villagers in total were rescued by the Doctors TARDIS, but the leader of the Goblins still screamed in frustration and anger at the sight of any of them escaping.

“Foolish Time Lord” The monster said to itself. “You think you have escaped, but you will still deliver him to this reality.”

The Dragon let out one last agonizing scream before its body vanished in a blaze of fire that spread out over the entire sky of the small island below. The TARDIS only barely managed to escape from being pulled into Scratchman’s hell with the Dragon, but it was far from a smooth landing. The TARDIS simply plummeted to earth from the flames, rather than materliasing. The strain on the old girl had been incredible. Almost all of her power appeared to be drained, though fortunately the reserve banks were still fine. It was the first time the Doctor had been forced to use them however in over 2 thousand years.

“I’m sorry old girl, I really am, but it looks like we did it.” The Doctor said as he gently tapped the battered console.

“We’re fine thanks.” Mrs Tulloch, one of the few lucky survivors alongside her daughter Sophie, said from the back.

Some of the villagers had been knocked out in the crash, but most were thankfully unhurt.

The Doctor quickly left the TARDIS to see if there were any traces of “Scratchman’s” influence, whilst Elena and Yarox tended to the surviving villagers. Many of the villagers however didn’t want to even look at Elena after what happened with Stanley.

“You coward. Stanley was willing to give his life for us and you, you left him.”

“I’m sorry, there was nothing we could do, and if I hadn’t pulled you free, you’d have joined him.” Elena tried to say before more of the villagers cut her off.

Yarox soon came to her defence.

“Don’t you dare call her a coward. I owe my life to her many times over. I can assure you she would have done anything she could do to save your friend.” Yarox protested.

The other villagers weren’t listening, except for Mrs Tulloch.

“All I know is that if it weren’t for this woman, or either of her strange friends my little girl wouldn’t be alive now. We should be thanking them.”

Most of the rest of the villagers weren’t convinced, and even Elena herself wasn’t convinced. She knew that it hadn’t been because she was scared. She had made peace with her own death many years ago. She had to, or else she would never have been able to travel with the Doctor, but she wondered if she had been too rash ironically in trying to protect the other villagers. In truth there wasn’t anything else she could have done for Stanley, but that tiny bit of doubt would sadly stay with Elena for the rest of her life.

Outside the Doctor saw that much of the forest the TARDIS had crashed into had been burned to the ground by the dragon in its death throes. Even though there might still be danger, the Doctor would much rather be out here than deal with the villagers. Though they were his favourite species, the Doctor could sometimes get more than a little frustrated at human beings tendency to lash out when they were scared, and was in no mood to deal with it.

In the distance the Doctor could see a few Scarecrow’s shuffling awkwardly in his direction. They all looked extremely weak however and some of them were even collapsing.

“Please.” One of the Demons whimpered as it crawled along the floor to the Doctor.

“We’re being pulled back into his domain. We can’t go back, we can’t. He promised us peace if we delivered you to him. Please for our sakes Time Lord.”

The Doctor kept his distance from the Scarecrow’s. He knew they wouldn’t last much longer in this reality, but still he wasn’t taking any chances.

“I’m sorry” the Doctor said. “I wish there was something I could do for you, but I had to protect this world.”

“Please, please don’t let us.” The Scarecrow said before it and all of the others around it crumbled into nothing but dust. Their minds or souls had been pulled back into the hell from which they came. It was over. All of Scratchman’s influence had been seemingly purged from this universe and the monster was sealed back in its pit. The cost however had been huge. Another entire universe would still have to suffer under that creature, whatever it was and there was seemingly nothing the Doctor could do to help them.

The Doctor, Elena and Yarox would be forced to spend the next day on the island. The TARDIS was not only in no position to travel, but they needed to make sure there were no more portals left over from Scratchman’s dimension. The villagers didn’t speak much with the three time travellers during their stay. Not only was there still resentment towards Elena, but the villagers didn’t trust or like the Doctor much either. Many feared that he was in league with the Demons, or that he was a Warlock of some kind. The Doctor and Elena and Yarox would help the villagers search the island for other survivors (of which there were sadly none), but other than that they kept their distance.

By the time a team arrived to rescue the villagers, the TARDIS was ready to leave and the Doctor, Yarox and Elena slipped away without even saying goodbye. The story of what happened on the island would briefly become a sensation, though the government would be quick to supply a cover up story. The island would remain abandoned however, with no one daring to ever go near it again.

As the TARDIS hurled its way through the vortex, there was an awkward silence among the three time travellers. Though Scratchman was defeated, the cost had been too high. What troubled the Doctor the most however was the fact that he still had no idea what Scratchman really was. The Doctor could never stand not knowing the truth about somewhere he had visited or a new life form he had discovered, but when it was something that terrified him he couldn’t bare it.

“Well lets hope the old girl will take us somewhere a bit more relaxing next eh” The Doctor said. “I think after that ordeal she’ll probably want a rest for a bit. I’m heading down to the library.” The Doctor said.

In truth the Doctor was wanting to look through his books to see if he could find anything about Scratchman. It would be hard to seperate the myths from the fact, but surely there must be something, he thought to himself. The Doctor was too consumed in his latest obsession to notice the pain his companions were in. He didn’t mean to insensitive, but when the Doctors desire for new knowledge ironically often caused him to overlook what was right in front of him.

Elena meanwhile just wanted to retreat to her quarters below.

“You know it really wasn’t your fault Elena.” Yarox said to her as she left the console room.

“I know you mean well Yarox, but please I just, I just need to be alone.” She replied somewhat coldly to Yarox.

Yarox decided to head back down to the TARDIS’ garden. This tiny, artificial construct was the only place in the history of the universe Yarox had ever felt safe.

The experience had arguably shaken Yarox more than the Doctor and Elena. Yarox had long heard stories about the golden age of humanity from his own time, whilst the Doctor had promised him a chance to see the universe when it was young and healthy.

Now that he had actually visited the past however, he saw that it was full of just as much struggle, desperation and death as his time. It may have looked more peaceful on the surface, but underneath all of the different life forms were still fighting with each other just to survive.

Was there ever a period of peace in the galaxies history? Still as Yarox looked up at an illusion of the Illexian galaxy, he couldn’t help but be captivated at its beauty. Was all of the pain and misery he had witnessed throughout all of time worth it for this?

Suddenly however the illusion began to fade and the roof above quickly turned to fire. As Yarox looked around he saw the trees in the TARDIS garden began to wither and turn black.

As Yarox backed away slowly he heard an all to familiar sound, that he had never hoped to hear again in his life.

“HALT, STAY WHERE YOU ARE! DO NO MOVE!”

Yarox turned around to see two Daleks, the monsters that still terrified him far more than even Scratchman or any of his Demonic minions gliding in his direction, their guns raised and ready to fire.

To Be Continued

 

Doctor Who Vs Scratchman: Part 1:

Image result for tim curry clueImage result for bruce campbell

                             

                               Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter. 

 

John Ferguson hadn’t moved in hours. He sat almost frozen in terror in his rocking chair, holding his rifle up, waiting for one of those abominations to strike at either the windows or the doors.

He couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t made a move? There were hundreds of them in the woods. They literally sprang out of nowhere, like Demons from hell, though they looked more like Scarecrows. Scarecrows with flaming red eyes and clawed hands! John had only barely been able to get away from the monsters on his tractor when they first attacked. He had been forced to leave a young family he had spotted on the other end of the fields, cornered by those awful things against a tree. They had even called to him for help, but he had no choice but to leave. There was nothing he could have done, but the image of the helpless family pleading with him would stay with John for the rest of his life, however long that would be.

John had been forced to abandon his tractor in the struggle. When he tried to drive it through a field,  the monsters quickly swarmed his vehicle, stopped it in its tracks, and turned it over. John was able to crawl out unseen and get a good head start on the creatures into the woods however. Once John made it back to his farm, he noticed the creatures were no longer following him. In fact they were nowhere in sight.

The only village on the island was three miles away and he would have to go through more woods along the way. Ferguson felt it would be better to hold up in his house for the time being until the authorities could deal with this crisis.

Now however several hours had passed and there was no change. Had those things been dealt with? Had they overrun the island? Had they just forgotten about him? There were too many what ifs and eventually it got to the point where John couldn’t take it anymore and he peeked outside.

It was completely pitch black outside, but even with that John was still sure there was no one there. For just a second however he thought he could see his own scarecrow standing in the middle of the field move, and he even shot at it.

“I must be going crazy” he thought. “Scarecrows don’t move. Something made of straw couldn’t lift up a tractor!” This must be some kind of ridiculous prank. The young punks from the village playing a joke on us country folk? I don’t believe in magic”. He tried to reassure himself

Suddenly however Ferguson heard a scream from his cellar, enough to make him jump and drop his rifle. He thought about making a run for it, but where would he go?

Holding his rifle firmly in his hands, John Ferguson ventured into his cellar, more terrified than he had ever been in his life.

John crept down the stairs, pointing his gun ahead at all times. The cellar was pitch black and he could barely make out anything ahead. As he searched around, John suddenly felt something grab him by the leg for a moment before he pulled free. He turned around only to see nothing, though he could hear a hideous, high pitched scream echoing through the darkness. Suddenly John heard the door to cellar slam shut, and he quickly ran back to the stairs, only to see two piercing red flaming eyes at the top of the staircase.

John lifted his rifle. “Stay back, I, I, I mean it. I don’t want to hurt you, but”. The figure didn’t respond, and instead slowly moved down the stair case.

As it got closer John could see that it resembled a Scarecrow, just like the creatures in the woods. Its face was a bag, with red firey eyes with no pupil in the sockets. Its mouth was also twisted into a hideous, rictious grin, whilst its fingers ended in razor sharp, metal claws stained in blood.

Ferguson pointed his rifle right into the beasts chest, but it didn’t back down. With no choice, Ferguson fired at the Scarecrow three times, but the creature wasn’t even phased. It simply grabbed Ferguson’s rifle and snapped it in half.

The monster then dug its claws into Ferguson’s stomach. He screamed in agony and was brought to his knees as the monster twisted its hands deep into his guts. He tried to fight back, but it was no use. The creature was a lot stronger than its withered frame would suggest.

After digging in deep the monster pulled hard tearing out Ferguson’s insides. Ferguson collapsed onto the floor, with the few organs left inside his stomach, dropping out. Everything faded to black, with the last sight the farmer saw being the Scarecrow wrapping John’s intestines around its neck like a scarf whilst smiling and blowing a kiss at him!

Just a few seconds later however Ferguson started to wake up. He wasn’t in his dark, dank cellar however. The place he awoke in was unlike anywhere he had ever been before in his life. The ground was burning hot, the sky was nothing but fire, and the entire landscape around him was completely red, the massive rocks, even the sand. The huge, seemingly never ending lake just behind John however was bright purple. All around were the deafening and pitiful screams of damned souls.

“Where am I, how did I. What is this place!”  John shouted in panic. Deep down, however he knew where he really was. A place that had terrified him for his entire life, but that he never actually believed in until now.

“No, no, no it can’t be. I’m not dead, I’m, I’m a good man. I’ve never done anyone any harm, why am I here!”

Suddenly several hideous creatures began to emerge from behind the rocks in response to John’s anguished cries. They were all roughly six feet tall, with black skin, 6 limbs, 2 arms and 4 legs, as well as two heads. They all had long sprawling tails, each of which ended in spikes, whilst their heads all ended in two spikes at the back. Their faces were long and ended with mouths filled with sharp teeth and three, piercing blue eyes, each with a long thin, green pupil.

The monsters scuttled towards John pushing him back to the very end of the lake. There was nothing John could do to defend himself against the creatures, yet he didn’t fancy his chances in the lake. The farmer tried to run through the Demons, but one of them quickly batted John backwards with its tail, sending him head first into the lake.

The water burned John’s skin. The pain was absolutely overwhelming, and he struggled and struggled to swim back to the shore. The monsters meanwhile were laughing at John’s pain and taunting him. Still Ferguson was determined not to give up. He fought through the pain and paddled harder to the shore, but just as was within a few feet of it, a woman, with a burned, mutilated face emerged from the water in front of John and tried to shove him under. John fought back, but more figures emerged from the waves and started to push him down too. After a few minutes of struggling, they eventually dragged the hapless farmer beneath the surface of the burning lake, where he would remain forever.

“Ah Elena my dear, have you seen Yarox?” The Doctor said as he walked out of the Library.

“He’s down in the garden again as always.”

“Well in all fairness to him, he’s never seen an actual sky before. He’s never seen a landscape or trees or anything but cold, empty corridors and rooms.”

“I’m amazed its taken this long? We must have been travelling for a month.”

“What do you expect? We were at the very end of the universe itself. Besides I told you the TARDIS journey’s are completely random. Still we’ve landed now, can you please tell Yarox while I check and see where. I hope its somewhere nice. You never forget your first alien planet.”

Yarox had spent almost the entire journey in the Doctors garden. The Doctor’s garden was made up of vegetation the Time Lord had gathered from all over the universe, though the sky and landscape were merely just a projection. The Doctor tended to change the projection every regeneration. Yarox however had changed it just about every day since he joined the Doctor and Elena on their last journey.

Yarox how come from trillions of years in the future, in a time when most of the stars and planets had gone. His people were the final descendants of the human race and various other species throughout history. The indomitable will of humanity had helped them endure through countless wars, alien invasions and even home planets and galaxies burning out. By the time of Yarox’s people, humanity and the other species who had cluttered together and interbred into one new race, had finally begun to wonder why they had bothered for trillions of years.

They had struggled and struggled through so much, and what for? To live in a cold, desolate spaceship, still struggling to survive every day, with no future in sight, except to sit and wait for the last sun to burn out?

Yarox joined the Doctor more to escape his awful existence back home than anything else. He was still quite fond of the old man and especially of his companion Elena in particular, who was unlike anyone he had ever seen. In Yarox’s time humanity were a clone race, and there was very little distinction between most people, as they were all created from the same few batches of humans. Most individuality was erased both physically and mentally in the cloning process. It was an attempt to ensure that there would be no infighting during such desperate times. No prejudices, no individual desires, or goals that weren’t for the good of the species were allowed to emerge among Yarox’s people.

Yarox looked exactly the same as his other 10 thousand brothers. Elena who had a single gigantic eye at the centre of her head, and long flowing, orange hair meanwhile, looked like a monster to Yarox’s people when she and the Doctor first visited their vessel (and saved them from the last of the Daleks.) The Doctor who always dressed in the most emaculate, sharp penguin suits was also somewhat striking to Yarox’s people too.

From the start however, Yarox could see that the Doctor and Elena though different, were good people. Granted that was only because they had saved him from a cull. In the far future due to the finite resources, there were regular culls of people. The culls grew larger every year due to the resources depleting.

After joining the TARDIS, Yarox had used the Doctors projector to create images of the skys of all of the worlds his people’s ancestors were said to come from. He’d spend entire hours just staring at the beautiful alien sky’s and imagining what it must be like to set foot on an actual planet.

“Yarox” Elena shouted.

“I’m here, have we landed!” He replied excitedly.

“Yes finally. Who would have thought it’d take so long to journey to the end of time and back” She joked.

“Come on, the Doctor thinks we might have landed on earth.”

“Is it during your time?”

Elena had come from the 31st century, long regarded as one of the greatest periods in human development. She’d told Yarox all about her upbringing and it had utterly fascinated him. Even the more ordinary mundane details such as the fact that she could choose when she wanted to eat, and had parents who genuinely cared for her, fascinated Yarox. He wanted to visit her time more than any other.

“Sorry I’m afraid he thinks we’ve landed during the early 20th century. Its a, eh interesting period in human history to say the least.”

The Doctor waited patiently by the console. According to its readings, they had landed on a small island just off the coast of Scotland. “It will be nice to get some fresh air.” The Doctor said to himself. “I don’t know how he coped all that time cooped up in that dreary ship. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been cosy like you old girl.” The Time Lord said with pride as he tapped the TARDIS console.

“Ah Yarox nice to see you again, I was starting to wonder if I’d just dreamed you travelling with us?”

“I’m sorry Doctor I just had to see all of those different landscapes. They were so beautiful.”

“Yes well now you’ll finally get to see the planet at least some of your ancestors came from for real.” The Time Lord said with a massive smile on his face, barely able to contain his glee. He always enjoyed his companions first trip to an alien world the most.

Outside the TARDIS was a fairly dull landscape. Nothing but a field with a scarecrow stuck straight in the middle. At the end of the field there was a massive forest.

The sky was grey and cloudy and there was also fierce wind in the air. Still to Yarox it seemed like the garden of Eden. He got on his knees and touched the grass for a few minutes.

“I knew you’d like earth. Come on lets see if we can find a better spot” The Doctor said as he headed towards the forest.

Yarox was a little confused by the Scarecrow. It didn’t look like a real person, but then again neither did Elena. When they reached the edge of the forest Yarox asked the Doctor about the strange figure in the middle of the field.

“That, that man back there, he looks like he’s tied up, should we not help him.”

The Doctor laughed. “Don’t worry he’s not real. Just a bag of straw to scare off some primitive animals. Nothing more.”

“But I saw him move!”

“What?” The Doctor said, preparing to believe it, considering the type of things he’d seen. The Doctor quickly ran back to the scarecrow and examined it.

“You must have been mistaken Yarox. It really is just a bag of straw. Come on”

Yarox still wasn’t convinced. He was sure that just for a moment he not only saw one of its arms move, but its eye sockets flash red! Still he felt it was best for the moment not to question the Doctors judgement.

The trio wandered through the Scottish woods for about 20 minutes or so, not encountering anything particularly interesting. Though Yarox was still marvelling at the sights around him. He must have spent 5 minutes staring at a small robin in the distance before the Doctor and Elena noticed he wasn’t behind them.

“Finally some signs of life” The Doctor bellowed. The trio had stumbled upon a small cottage, surrounded by a field.

“It looks boarded.” Elena said, somewhat concerned “Whoever’s in there doesn’t want anyone coming in

“Well even more reason to investigate. Come along.” The Doctor replied.

“Are you crazy? Whoever’s in there could shoot you before you get within ten feet of it.”

“True, but if that house is boarded up, don’t you want to know why? Whatever they want to keep out is roaming the woods, it could be round any tree.”

The Doctor approached the house slowly calling out to anyone inside. When he reached the door however he saw it was open.

“Looks like it was broken into. I just hope that whatever did this isn’t still inside.” The Doctor, Elena and Yarox investigated the house. Inside it was seemingly deserted, but most unusually there was a line of straw from the door that led to the cellar.

“Please don’t go down there. You won’t want to see it”

The Doctor, Yarox and Elena looked around to see a young girl, no more than 13, hiding behind a nearby sofa.

The girl was a little taken aback at Elena’s single eye, but Elena quickly reassured the girl that she was here to help.

“What’s down there?” The Doctor asked.

“The remains of old Mr Ferguson. Those things they, they tore his guts out. They left him to rot.”

“What things?”

“The Scarecrows.”

“Scarecrows?” The Doctor said?

“They suddenly came alive. They attacked us. Me and my mum and dad we were on a picnic when those things, they.” The girl started to sob, and Elena hugged her.

“Please don’t cry, you’re safe now.” Elena said as she tried to comfort the young girl.

“No, no they’re all around. I managed to run away, and I’ve been hiding in here for the last few days, but I hear them. Every night, they shamble about in the woods. I hear them howling and screaming, wondering when they’ll come for me. They…”

She paused for a few seconds.

“They what?” Elena asked gently.

“They said they were from hell itself. When they dragged me and my parents away, they told us they’d burned in the fire, and that we would too.”

“Where’s hell?” Yarox asked.

“Its a mythological place where the souls of the worst people go when they die. I like to keep an open mind, but I’ve always found the concept rather fanciful.” The Doctor said as he clutched his lapels.

Suddenly the the trio were alerted by a screeching noise from outside.

“They’re here, they’re here” the little girl screeched as she hugged Elena more tightly.

The Doctor looked outside to see 4 Scarecrows standing in the field. The creatures eye sockets were flaming, whilst their claws were solid reinforced steel.

“We have been waiting for you. You will free our master from the pit and he will burn this earth to cinders.” One of the monsters chanted as the other three cackled.

The monsters advanced on the house, with two breaking their way in through the windows, and another coming in through the door. Elena tried to overpower the monster that came in the front door but it was no use.

She kicked it in the chest, but it didn’t even make it flinch. She tried to punch it in the face, but she burned her hand off its flaming eyes.

“Get her out of here now, get the girl to safety” the Doctor said to Yarox as he tried to fend off one of the Scarecrows with a chair only to be hopelessly overpowered.

Yarox however couldn’t leave the Doctor and tried to grab the Scarecrow from behind. Unfortunately another one of the beasts grabbed Yarox from behind and lifted him into the air. He kicked and kicked at the monsters chest, but again it didn’t even phase the monster.

In desperation the Doctor ripped the bag from the Scarecrow’s head. Underneath was a hideous, rotting face. Most of the flesh looked burned off, its hair was thinning, whilst one of its eyes was missing. Its teeth meanwhile were broken and rotting which it revealed as it smiled.

The Doctor tried to punch the monster in its rotting face, only for his fist to go straight through its head. The monster laughed at the Doctor before throwing him into a wall. It then tried to ram its claws into his chest, but the Doctor quickly dodged the monsters attack and used his body to ram the Scarecrow into the monster attacking Yarox.

Elena meanwhile was able to overpower her Scarecrow by flipping it over her shoulder out of the front door.

The little girl had sat at the back, too terrified to make a move against the monsters, or even run away in case more of the creatures were waiting outside.

The Doctor Elena, and Yarox ran towards the little girl. The three Scarecrows were blocking the door and the only way out was down into the cellar, or up the stairs. The Doctor chose the latter option, but as he ran up the stairs, he could see the 4th Scarecrow waiting for him at the top, smiling whilst licking the blood from its claws.

With no choice the Doctor told them to get back to the cellar, but the little girl refused to.

“We have no choice, we’re surrounded” Elena said to the screaming girl, as the monsters on both sides closed in on them.

The Doctor had no time to argue and so he simply ran down the stairs to the cellar, knowing his companions would follow.

Down in the cellar the Doctor could see the rotting remains of the house’s former owner. The young girl couldn’t look at it. She had known Ferguson in life. He and her father were great friends, and he even used to babysit her. She couldn’t bare to see him like this for a second.

The Doctor noticed a window at the top of the cellar.

“Quick get the girl through that window. I”l hold them off.”

“How on earth will you” Elena said, before the Doctor cut them off.

“I’ll win them round with my charm just like I did you two, now go” the Doctor said firmly.

As the Scarecrows came tumbling down the steps to the cellar, Elena didn’t question the Doctor any longer and crawled through the window. She needed to make sure there were no monsters outside waiting. Yarox then helped to push the girl through the window, before following whilst the Doctor stood in front of his companions as the Scarecrows drew nearer.

“Now then you told me that you were waiting for me?” The Doctor said with a faux confidence and bluster to cover up his fear as he clutched his lapels.

“What may I ask for?”

The unmasked Scarecrow spoke.

“Our master, Scratchman was sealed in the pit millions of years ago. He has been clawing at your reality, peeking into its dreams, stealing souls. Now he will finally walk this earth thanks to you.”

“Scratchman?” “You mean…. the Devil?”

“That is what you would call him. He has always been our master. Though he is the master of you all.”

“What on earth do you mean?”

“You are all destined for his pit one way or another.”

“Well if that’s the case why does this Scratchman fellow need to come here then? Also what about heaven? If there’s a hell, then shouldn’t there be a heaven?”

“Heaven is a lie told by the master to give you all false hope that you can escape his grasp” the monster sneered.

“Well that’s a rather bleak view to have of life.” the Doctor said in an awkward, humorous tone.

“Still whoever your master is I don’t intend to help him escape. Judging from you lot, it seems whoever locked him in the pit had a good reason too. I’d thank them if I could.”

“Stop wasting time. The Master waits.” The unmasked Scarecrow shouted as it attempted to grab the Doctor, who quickly ducked and grabbed John Ferguson’s rifle from the floor and shot at all three monsters to no avail.

The monsters laughed at the Doctor who backed into a corner.

“The Master awaits. You will suffer for making him wait longer than he needed to.”

“You should tell Scratchman that’s no way to get people to do him favours.” the Doctor replied before shooting at the ceiling above the Scarecrows burying them under rubble for a few seconds. The Doctor quickly ran past the monsters to the window.

As he climbed through it however, one of the monsters, the unmasked Scarecrow jumped up and grabbed the Doctor by his foot as he was almost clear. The Doctor tried to pull free, but the monsters metal claws dug deep into his ankle. Fortunately however Elena and Yarox quickly came to the Doctors aid. It was still no use however, as the strength of the Doctor and his companions combined was no match for the monster. Elena quickly grabbed the Doctors gun and started to hit the Scarecrow over and over again. She didn’t hurt the monster but she distracted it long enough for the Doctor to wiggle his foot free and kick the monster in the chest knocking it back into the other Scarecrows.

“Thank you” the Doctor said as he rubbed his foot.  “We need to get back to the TARDIS now”

“Please, find my parents” the young girls cried.

“I will do all I can for them” the Doctor said. “I just need to get you back to the TARDIS. You’ll be safe there while I look for your parents, and figure out what is going on.”

“What do you mean the TARDIS?”

“You’ll see when we get there. Come on.”

The Doctor and his companions quickly ran back the way through the woods. It was beginning to get dark and more and more Scarecrows were crawling around the woods. The Doctor and his companions kept hidden from the monsters behind several trees. Elena pointed her gun at one of the brutes as it wandered closer, in their direction.

“No, it won’t do any good, trust me. We need to be cautious” the Doctor said as he crawled through the undergrowth, careful not to alert any of the Demonic Scarecrows.

The foursome managed to crawl their way back to the large field where the TARDIS was.

“That blue box?” the young girl said perplexed?

“Trust me its a lot tougher and bigger than it looks. You’ll be safe in there.” The Doctor said confidently.

The foursome ran across the field when suddenly a metal hand came bursting out of the ground and grabbed Yarox by the foot, causing him to trip.

The Doctor turned round, only for two more sets of metal hands to burst out of the ground in front of him.

Several more metal, clawed hands came bursting out of the field all around the Doctor, Elena and the girl.

The Doctor looked back into the woods to see several more Scarecrows emerging from the woods, brandishing their claws, roaring and hissing. Dozens of Scarecrows suddenly came bursting out of the ground.

The Doctor quickly grabbed the gun from Elena and used it to knock the nearest Scarecrow in front down by hitting the monster’s legs with the butt of the gun.

The Doctor then used the butt of the gun to hit the monsters hand that was grabbing Yarox by the foot until it eventually released him.

The foursome quickly bolted into the TARDIS, slamming the doors shut before the Scarecrow’s could follow.

The monsters clawed furiously on the door screaming at the Doctor to let them in.

“Fool you could flee to the end of the universe and he’ll still claim your soul. You’ll have to die one day!” One of the Scarecrow’s shouted.

The little girl was so scared of the monsters taunts that she almost hadn’t noticed how massive the inside of the TARDIS was compared to the tiny blue box she’d seen in the field.

“Don’t worry. None of them can get in here now. We’re safe, for the moment at least.” The Doctor assured the young girl as he checked the console.

“What are you looking for?” Elena asked as she hugged the young girl.

“Signs of an interdimensional disturbance. Those monsters said they wanted me to free their master from the pit wherever that is.”

“Its hell.” The young girl shouted.

“Well wherever it is, I think its most likely another universe. Those creatures whatever they are, must have created a rip into our reality. I might be able to track it here.

The Doctor messed around with the controls for a few minutes. whilst the monsters continued to shout and claw on the doors.

“What is this place?” the young girl said somewhat frightened.

“Its a time and space machine.” Elena said to the girl.

“A space ship? Are you, are you aliens!”

“I’m not. I’m as human as you. Well more or less” Elena said. “Yarox is part alien, and the Doctor over there is an alien, but don’t be scared he likes humans.”

“They’re my favourite species alongside the Therons of Venus” the Doctor said proudly as he adjusted the controls.

“Humans have better music, but Venusian food is better.”  He joked, though none of the others were exactly in the mood for humour.

“Aliens and Demons? I can’t believe this is happening she said.”

“Well trust me those things out there are aliens too. They’re dishonest about where they came from, but well hopefully we can find out the truth.”

“Ah, I’ve located it. There’s a tear on the other side of the island. Just as I thought. It looks like its splintering. Very soon there will be more rips on our side.” The Doctor said as he left the room.

“Where are you going?” Yarox asked.

“To whip up something to severe those monsters from whatever’s projecting them into our reality. When I unmasked one of them in the house, my hand went through it. They’re projections. Projections given enough of a boost to affect this reality, but that’s all they are. If I can interfere with them then we can stop the monsters. Come on, you can help me. Better than just sitting here and listening to those things moan.”

The others followed the Doctor, though just before she left the console room, Elena looked on the scanner. She could now see what looked like hundreds of Scarecrows all amassing outside of the TARDIS.

“I hope he’s right about those doors holding” she thought to herself.

On the other side of the island meanwhile the Scarecrow’s had almost finished their blood ritual.

“Please, please stop.” Mary one of their sacrificial lambs begged as the leader of the Scarecrw’s sliced into her stomach again.

“Why, why are you doing this” she pleaded, only for the Scarecrow to laugh at her pain.

The Scarecrow’s claws suddenly became red hot.

“No, no please” Mary screamed as she struggled to get free.

Fortunately just as the monster was about to sink its burning hot claws in, a red whirlwind appeared in the sky, causing all of the Scarecrows to bow and chant in unison.

“He has come forth. Oh praise him!”

To Be Continued

 

 

 

Doctor Who: The Fire of the Daleks: Part 7

Image result for dylan moran

Asica got on his knees and begged the Dalek not to shoot.

“Please, I’ll do”

Before he could even finish the Dalek screamed “EXTERMINATE” and tried to fire. It proved to be a mistake however as the ships securty system paralysed the Dalek and the ray it had fired in mid air. The Dalek hadn’t even thought about the security system. In its arrogance it didn’t think that the Heglozians had any weapons that could threaten it. The ship however represented the absolute pinnacle of the Heglozians technology.  The Dalek tried to break free from the field but it was no use. Asika quickly pulled the gun from the Daleks socket and shot it dead.

The former king then quickly made his way to the control room where he fired several rays at the Daleks in the cave, destroying them all and saving the Doctor, Dana, Zoella and the others.

“You’re quite safe now” He said confidently through the speaker. “Doctor, Dana, Zoella and her boy. You can all come into the ship. The rest of you can stay here. With your allies the Daleks.”

All of the rebels except the leader started to beg the King to take them with him.

“How pathetic. You all spent so long trying to kill me, now you expect me to show mercy? You fools helped to doom our world.” Asica said with disgust,

“Hes right.” The Leader of the rebels said much to the others shock.

“Not about us dooming Heglozia. He did that. He’s right that you shouldn’t beg this monster for any clemency. This monster who sent thousands of men, women and children to their deaths for just trying to survive? Who was going to abandon his own people like a coward? We’ll find a way to survive this without him.”

“You won’t.” The Doctor said bluntly.

“None of you will if you don’t stick together. I have a plan, but you’re going to all have to help me. I’m not saying it will work, but its our best bet.”

“You don’t know anything about us” The leader said to the Doctor. “We survived against his troops and thugs for years, we can evade the Daleks until our forces rebuild.”

“You won’t” The Doctor replied. “I know the Daleks. Unless they see some value in you as a slave labour force, they’ll make sure nothing, even the smallest microbe survives on a planet they’ve invaded. Clearly they don’t think there is any value in the Heglozians. If they did we would have seen them gather more of you up into groups of slave labour, or as test subjects.” Dana winced at the last part, having remembered some of the gruesome sights she’d seen in a Dalek lab on a previous adventure with the Doctor.

“They’ve just slaughtered every member of your kind they’ve seen. The Daleks will unleash a weapon, very soon that will ignite the atmosphere of this planet. The air itself will burn. I’ve seen planets the Daleks used this weapon on. Barren rocks, with poison air. If you took one breath, even thousands of years later your insides would still cook. So many of these worlds were once teeming with life just like this one, but you’d have never known.”

“You’re lying” The Leader said. “No one would destroy for no reason. Also why wouldn’t they unleash this weapon already?”

“They do have a reason. Whilst they may not see you as having any value, I’d wager they want your world as a weapons factory. By poisoning the air they’ll make sure that no one can infiltrate their weapons factory. The only reason they haven’t let the weapon loose already is because they enjoy crushing other races. Its all a Dalek lives for. In between battles they don’t feel anything. Slaughtering others is the only time they ever feel alive.”

Zoella’s son hugged her in fear at the Doctors words. Zoella didn’t even try and lie to the boy that everything would be okay.

“Once they’ve had their fun killing you in droves down here, they’ll retreat to their mother ship fire their weapon. As soon as we see the monsters retreat then its all over…. Now do you see who your real enemy is?”

“What can we do?” The leader said.

“Use this ship to pick up as many civillians we can and get as far away from here as soon as possible” Asica said through the communicator.

“Your ship wouldn’t make it to the atmosphere. Even if it did, every inch of this galaxy is crawling with Dalek warships that can outshoot and outrun you.” The Doctor said.

“We have one chance.” The Doctor continued. “If we can fly your ship into the Dalek mothership we might be able to destroy it. There will still be Dalek war ships all over the galaxy, but bringing down their mothership will destroy their weapon and might make the monsters think about their next attack. It could give us the time we need to get the last survivors out of here in my TARDIS.” The Doctor said.

“Your what?” The Leader asked.

“Its a ship that can travel through time and space. I don’t have time to try and convince you, trust me its real and its your only chance to escape the Daleks.”

“How are we supposed to fly this vessel into the Dalek mothership? We’d be shot down before we had a chance?” The Leader said.

“Maybe not. The mother ship is the only Dalek vessel on this planet. It’ll be hovering in the sky. The monsters love to show any survivors after their invasion the weapon that will destory their world going off. The rest of the Dalek forces here are just soldiers. They think so little of you that they didn’t feel the need to waste any ships except for the grande finale. We might just be able to blast our way to it.”

“We have to get Misaca somewhere safe.” Zoella said. “I’m not having him in the middle of a fight with the Daleks.”

“We don’t have time.” Misaca interrupted. “Those monsters could burn this planet at any second. You can’t put me above everyone else.”

“The boys right”. The Doctor said. “Besides the safest place is with us. In the time it takes to get to the TARDIS, those monsters could have already set the bomb off. There’s no where else he can hide.” “I promise I won’t let those monsters harm him.” The Doctor said more gently to Zoella. She still wasn’t happy about bringing Misaca along, but the former soldier knew she had no choice.

As the rebels entered the craft the Doctor tried to tend to Zoella’s wounds. The Time Lord was amazed she was still standing. Her nose, her arm, and several ribs were all broken. Her body was covered in bruises and nasty cuts too, one eye was completely black, whilst her lips were cut and swollen and many of her teeth had been knocked out from the rebels torture. Still Zoella shoved the Doctor away.

“We don’t have time remember?” She snapped.

“Yes but if you keel over dead in a few moments you won’t be much use to us either. We need all the help we can get.”

“I’ll be fine. Trust me I wouldn’t miss the end of the Daleks for anything.” Zoella said before turning to the rebels leader.

“Once this is over, I’m going to kill you.” She spat in his face. The leader tried to look unscared, but he was clearly quite shaken.

One of the other rebels meanwhile laughed at Zoella’s taunts which caused her to punch him in the face,  knocking out several of his teeth and sending him crashing to the floor.

The rebel got up and tried to fight back, but the Doctor and Dana restrained both the rebel and Zoella. ” You fools. Even now you can’t work together?” The Doctor said. “If you don’t you’ll die, in agony and with the death of your species on you conscience.” The rebel and Zoella realised the Doctor was right and called it off… for now.

GIVE YOUR REPORT!” The Dalek supreme barked at its subordinates.

“THE FINAL CITY HAS FALLEN! THE FEW SURVIVORS HAVE SCATTERED!”

“EXCELLENT! THE FINAL CLEANSING OF THE PLANET WILL BEGIN! ORDER ALL DALEKS TO RETURN TO THE MOTHERSHIP.”

“ACCORDING TO REPORTS FROM THE ORIGINAL DALEK SCOUT, THERE WERE SIGHTINGS OF A BLUE BOX ON ONE OF THE SCOUT SHIPS!”

The Dalek Supreme knew exactly what that meant. Unlike all of the other Daleks here, it had actually encountered the Doctor before in a war with another race of creatures known as the Askirons.

The Askirons had been a race of war mongering conquerors in their own right. When the Daleks attacked, no other race in their galaxy was willing to help them. The Doctor however did eventually convince the others to unite against the Daleks and even supplied them with weaponry. Though the Doctors forces won in the end, the Askirons were wiped from the face of the galaxy whilst the casualties among the other races were in the billions. Many of the planets never recovered, and due to the loss of life and resources descended into barbarism. What had once been a proud alliance of several thriving, advanced civilisations became a scattering of desperate, dying worlds.

The Doctor and the Supreme Dalek regarded the war as being one of their darkest days, albeit for very different reasons. This marked the first and only time the Dalek supreme had lost a war.When it heard that the Doctor was here it felt, for just an instant an emotion that it was not used to. Fear!

“IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE”. The Dalek Supreme said to its subordinates. “THERE IS NOTHING THAT EVEN THE DOCTOR CAN DO NOW! ORDER ALL DALEKS TO RETURN TO MOTHERSHIP! HEGLOZIA WILL BE CLEANSED!”

In the Heglozian city named Resteria below, which had been reduced to mostly rubble the Daleks began to fly from the slaughter. Many of them didn’t want to leave until they had exterminated all of the civilians, but the monsters dared not to disobey orders. Due to Resteria’s massive population there were a few more survivors from the attack, though it was still only a couple of hundred out of city of millions.

The men, women and children below crawled out of the flaming ruins, staring up at the Dalek mothership which deliberately came into view among the last surviving Heglozians on the planet.

None of them had any idea what the Daleks were planning, but whatever it was they all knew that there was no one and nothing that could stop them. This was the end for Heglozia. They were witnessing the death of their civilsation, of their entire race.

Suddenly out of the blackness of the sky came a strange vessel, unlike anything any of the Heglozian survivors had ever seen before.

“What is that?” One of the young survivors shouted?

“Whoever it is if they’re smart they’ll turn around and flee. No one can stop the Daleks.” One of the older men from the back said.

“We’ve reached the mothership Doctor. Its just like you said. They’d be near the largest city to get a good audience. Monsters.” Asica who was in the pilot seat said to the Doctor, who along with Dana was on the lower deck mucking around with the engine.

“The Daleks are all retreating back to the ship. We don’t have much time.” The rebel leader said over the intercom.

“Damn we have less time than I thought. Don’t do anything until I say understand.”

The Doctor was tinkering with the engine of the ship to use it as a weapon. The Doctor hoped that if he coud create an energy overload when the ship hit the Dalek vessel, the combination of the power in the Dalek engine (which he was very familiar with due to experience) and the explosion of Asica’s vessel would vaporise the Dalek ship completely, taking out their weapon and all of the Daleks who had returned to the ship.

Doing so would be extremely difficult however as not only would they have to reach the ship, but they’d only have a few minutes to flee in the escape pods. Normally the Doctor would be happy to sacrifice himself to stop the Daleks, as would Dana. Here however there would be no point if the Doctor died. He was the only one who could use the TARDIS to take the survivors away to safety. If he didn’t another Dalek mothership would be there within a day and burn the world.

“Doctor, the Dalek mothership is moving towards us.” Zoella said in panic.

“Well its not perfect, but it’ll just have to do now.” The Doctor said with regret.

“I hope this works Dana. It has too.”

Asica flew the ship straight at the Dalek mothership. The monsters were completely taken aback at first that the Heglozians weren’t just fleeing.

“IT IS THE DOCTOR! ONLY HE WOULD CHALLENGE US! DESTROY THE SHIP! DESTROY IT!” The Dalek Supreme barked..

Asica’s ship managed to swerve past some of the Dalek rays whilst landing a few hits itself. Ultimately however they didn’t even dent the motherships hull. The Daleks meanwhile managed to land a few hits on Asica’s ship which sent it hurling back through the air.

“We’ll never make it”. Dana said as the Doctor started to adjust the engine.

“I need to try just one thing.” The Doctor said in desperation.

“Asica, Asica! Come in.”

“It’s okay we’re still here Doctor. Got thrown around badly though. One more hit and the hull will be pierced.”

“I know. I hoped we might be able to catch them off guard by charging at them. I’ve deposited some of the energy from the engine into the canons. It should give them more power, but only for three shots. We’ll also have even less time to escape now.  Finally I also can’t guarantee that we won’t blow up when you fire, but it seems we don’t have a choice….. Good luck”

The Daleks fired at the vessel again, with Asica only barely managing to avoid the blast. This time however Asica fired at the mother ships main weapon. Not only did it destroy it, but the explosion shook the entire Dalek mothership and knocked it backwards.

Asica wasted no time and got two more blasts in, causing massive explosions.

“Careful if it crashes the bomb could go off.” The Doctor shouted.

“ALERT, ALERT, VESSEL COMPROMISED, WEAPONS SYSTEM DAMAGED.”

“THE HEGLOZIAN VESSEL IS HEADING TOWARDS US.”

“ALL DALEK FORCES LEAVE MOTHERSHIP AT ONCE! ATTACK THE HEGLOZIAN VESSE! DESTROY IT!” The Dalek Supreme shouted.

Hordes of Daleks began to emerge from the mothership, but this time Asica’s vessel had the advantage. Its fire power was far more powerful, and the Daleks rays were only able to produce minor damage. Asica’s vessel was the most powerful the Heglozian race had ever built; so many resources had gone towards building it, it would have drained their world completely to build just two! Whilst it still wouldn’t stand a chance against the Dalek fleet, against this one mothership it might just win.”

The crowd of Heglozian survivors below started cheering and shouting. Most of them knew it was too early to claim victory, but they couldn’t help but cheer at the sight the seemingly invinicible Daleks being blown out of the sky.

Asica blasted dozens and dozens of Daleks who hurled themselves at the ship. Below the Doctor and Dana who watched from a monitor even started cheering.

In that moment the rebels, Zoella and Asica forgot all of their differences as the former King blasted his way through the army of monsters to the now vulnerable Dalek mothership. They all huddled together, feeling confident that the King of all people would be able to finish their hated enemies. Zoella in particular after having spent so long fighting against the Daleks relished in their deaths. Not all of the Motherships weapons had been knocked out, but Asica’s vessel was easily able to avoid the blasts from its other, lesser canons now.

Just as victory seemed to be within reach however, one Dalek emerged from a blast that had knocked dozens more out of the sky. A Special Weapons Dalek.

“Asica, Asica, don’t try to fight it” The Doctor said in terror at the sight of the Special Weapons Dalek that he knew only too well.

“What is that creature?” One of the rebels said.

“Its a Special Dalek. I didn’t think they’d developed that model at this point in their history. Please be careful, its blast is comparable to 100 normal Daleks and its armour is practically indestructable. Just fly past it.”

The King tried to oblige, but the Dalek was too fast. In a matter of seconds it was completely out of sight.

“Where’d it go?” The King said, scared out of his mind.

“It doesn’t matter just move.” Before the Doctor could even finish the ship was rocked by an explosion that threw the Time Lord and Dana across the room.

“Doctor? Doctor?” Asica said in panic. “You need to rig up more power from the engine to the gun like before.”

“I can’t its too unstable. The ship will blow up if I do it.” Suddenly the ship was struck again, only this time the engine began to explode. The Doctor and Dana were forced to flee the room.  The ship went whirling through the air, as more and more parts of the hull either exploded or went flying off.

“Destruct in 3 minutes.” The security system said.

“We’ll never make it to the Dalek mothership now.” The leader of the rebels said grimly.”

“Yes we will” Asica replied as he desperately tried to get the ship back into focus. Several more Dalek scouts began to gather around the ship and fired on it. The ship’s shields had been damaged and it was now vulnerable to even ordinary Dalek fire power.

The Doctor and Dana quickly rushed to the upper level.

“We need to get out of here. This ship will never fly now.”

“No! I’m not leaving now” Asica shouted. Suddenly the control panel exploded which sent Asica and two of the rebels flying across the room. One of the rebels was killed right away whilst another was helped up by two of his comrades. Asica was severly burned and though the Doctor tried to help him, it was obvious there was nothing he could do for the former king.

“Please” he said whilst struggling not to choke on his own blood. “Just go. I don’t want to live to see my planet die. I’m sorry, I hoped in the end it would, would all be.” He collapsed before he could finish.  A further explosion came from the back of the room. “We need to go now!” The Doctor said as he hurried the rebels, Dana and Zoella down the corridor. There were more explosions however and the two rebels at the back carrying their wounded comrade were consumed by the flames.  More explosions further down the corridor knocked the Doctor and the others off of their feet. Zoella briefly became separated from her son as the ship shook and she fell off her feet. Misaca tried to run to help his mother, but a further explosion rocked the ship and knocked the boy on his back.

Just as the boy tried to pull himself up, several large pieces or rubble fell from the ceiling and crushed him to death. Zoella quickly ran to her son and tried to pull the rubble off of Misaca’s corpse, and burning her hand in the process.

Dana deseperately tried to pull Zoella away, but the former soldier didn’t want to be saved when she saw her sons lifeless, broken face under the rubble. “LEAVE ME” She shouted. “I’m not leaving him!”

The Doctor quickly intervened and used a Venusian Karate neck pinch to knock Zoella out. “I’m sorry but we don’t have time to argue.” The Doctor then picked Zoella up over his shoulders and ran down the flaming corridor with the others. They reached the escape pods, but more rubble started to fall from the ceiling. Dana quickly pushed the Doctor out of the way of a shard, but others were not lucky. Three more rebels were crushed, leaving only their leader and two more.

The Doctor managed to open one of the doors with his sonic screwdriver before the flames completely engulfed the room. Inside the pod was very small and they could all barely fit in, but the Doctor managed to eject the pod in time.

Unfortunately as soon as the pod left the crashing ship it was set upon by three Dalek scouts. The Doctor tried to evade them, but the Daleks managed one lucky shot that sent the ship spiraling out of control. The Doctor however was able to make the pod smash into one of the Daleks, knocking it out of the sky and scattering the other two monsters. The Doctor then piloted the ship to the TARDIS, with the two Daleks in pursuit

Asica’s ship meanwhile went hurtling into the ruins of the city and consumed it completely in flames. The last sight the few hundred surviving Heglozians of the city saw was the flaming wreckage of the vessel they had hoped would be their salvation.

“EXCELLENT” The Dalek Supreme said. “THE HEGLOZIAN CRAFT HAS BEEN DEFEATED.”

“DALEK UNITS REPORT ONE POD HAS ESCAPED! TWO DALEKS ARE IN PURSUIT”

“IT MUST NOT ESCAPE! ORDER ALL OTHER DALEK UNITS TO RETURN TO MOTHERSHIP! THE WEAPON WILL BE DETONATED AT ONCE!

The two Daleks continued in their pursuit of the pod. The mothership would protect all of the other Daleks from the bomb. It didn’t even need to leave the atmosphere its hull was so strong. The two Dalek scouts however would not survive the blast, but they didn’t care. The monsters could take no risks in letting the Doctor get away. The Doctor flew the pod as fast as he could, but the Daleks managed to get several more shots in. The pod crashed just as it came into view of the ship the TARDIS was contained it. Fortunately it was only twenty or so feet from the ground, but the monsters soon swarmed the wreckage and started to fire at it.

The Doctor quickly opened the hatch, but the rebels leader and his two subordinates foolishly ran out ahead of him only to be instantly gunned down by the Daleks. The Doctor meanwhile used his sonic screwdriver to destabilise the engine of the pod, which would cause it to explode. The Doctor carrying Zoella, and Dana quickly jumped out of the pod, with the Daleks firing at them. The two time travellers evaded their enemies blasts whilst the Daleks who flew closer to them were quickly caught in the exploding pod.

“Doctor we failed” Dana said. “We.” Suddenly she noticed the Doctor was distracted by something in the distance.

Dana looked up and saw, over the horizon a wall of fire sweeping across the entire land. The Daleks had detonated their bomb! The Doctor, (carrying Zoella) and Dana ran towards the Tardis which was still in the wreckage of the ship they had originally crashed in. The bodies of the soldiers the first Dalek had killed had been simply left there to rot.

The Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to try and locate the trap the original Dalek had placed around the TARDIS door. It only took him a few seconds, but they felt like hours for Dana as she stared at the flaming wall consuming everything in its path. The flaming mass came within a mere 40 or so feet of Dana, just before the Doctor pulled her into the TARDIS and shut the doors.

Inside the TARDIS Dana took Zoella down to the medibay, whilst the Doctor began to work the controls. The Time Lord took one last look at Heglozia on the scanner before taking off and saw nothing but fire. The planet had literally been turned into hell. In less than an hour the Daleks fire would spread across every single square inch of Heglozia. There was no chance any life forms on the planet could survive that.

“THE WEAPON HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED!” The Dalek Supreme said. “CONTACT DALEK CONTROL THAT WITHIN A FEW HOURS THE PLANET WILL BE READY FOR CONVERSION INTO A WEAPONS FACTORY.”

“WHAT NEWS IS THERE OF THE DOCTOR!” The Dalek Supreme said to its subordinates.

“WE LOST CONTACT WITH THE DALEK UNITS JUST BEFORE THE BOMB EXPLODED. IT DOES NOT SEEM LIKELY THAT HE WAS ABLE TO REACH HIS SHIP!”

“IT IS OF NO IMPORTANCE” The Dalek Supreme said, not sure if it meant it. “THE TIME LORD FAILED! HEGLOZIA IS OURS! WE ARE VICTORIOUS!”

The Doctor simply sat in the console room for the first few hours after the ship had taken off. The Doctor had known about the ultimate fate of Heglozia since they had first arrived. He had visited the galaxy the planet existed in, the Mysorika Galaxy many hundreds of years later in its timeline.

At that stage the Daleks had converted every single world of the galaxy into factories, where the monsters would create more weapons that would enable them to destroy millions more worlds like Heglozia. The Doctor had been sent on a mission to sabotage a super weapon they had been building on one of the planets. For all he knew it could have been Heglozia itself in its future. There was no difference between any of the planets when the Doctor visited the galaxy.

The Doctor had hoped to save some of the Heglozians by taking them to another world. He had failed them just as he had failed to save millions of other planets. How many billions of worlds where there like Heglozia with their own histories and cultures that were obliterated in an instant by the Daleks and lost forever that he knew nothing about? How many of the worlds that he had visited over the years and never returned to again had the Daleks found?

In spite of all his victories against the monsters over the centuries, the Doctor would always carry a sense of guilt when dealing with the Daleks as he given up possibility the only opportunity to destroy them at the time of their birth. Tonight was a gruesome reminder of the consequences of his decision all those years ago.

Dana meanwhile had taken Zoella down to the medibay herself where the bays AI took care of her. Zoella was sedated with drugs whilst the system set about repairing her injuries and resetting her broken bones. Dana was just worried about what would happen when Zoella woke up. For her sake more than anything else. As horrible as it sounded, Dana wondered if perhaps it would have been better to let her die on Heglozia. How can someone expect to live on after their world was gone? How could Zoella forget the sight of her sons corpse staring back up at her completely helpless.

What Dana had seen herself would stay with her for many years to come. Every time Dana closed her eyes she saw the flaming inferno Heglozia had become. She had seen many things on her journey’s with the Doctor, but never such senseless cruelty and destruction. Dana just hoped that she would never have to encounter the Daleks ever again.

 

The next Doctor Who story will feature my version of the 10th Doctor. We will return to the 9th Doctor at a later date, but the point of this series is to run through all of the alternate versions of the Doctor from his 9th life on. The next story will be an adaptation of Scratchman. It will be released in 2 weeks.

 

 

 

Doctor Who: The Fire of the Daleks: Part 6

Image result for dylan moran

(Sorry about the delay, its been a hectic week and there will be some updates soon.)

The Daleks slowly cornered Zoella and her child from both ends. Zoella pushed her little boy against the wall behind her, hoping that the Daleks might miss him.

“EXTERMINATE” the monsters shouted in unison, only for one of the creatures at the back of one end of the tunnel to suddenly explode. As the others turned around they too were beset by a barrage of death rays, fired by the rebels. Two of the Daleks at the back however managed to fire back and took down at least five of the rebels at the front, forcing the others to retreat. Fortunately however Zoella quickly fired her gun at the two Daleks blowing them both to pieces.

The few surviving rebels approached Zoella.

“Don’t worry” their leader, a young woman said as she dropped her gun.

“We’re not going to harm you.”

“Wish I culd say the same to you”. Zoella said as she shoved her gun into the young woman’s ribs, prompting the others to raise their weapons.

“You captured my son, threatened to kill him and helped bring these monsters down on us. You’re no better than the Daleks.” Zoella said in anger and disgust.

“We don’t have time for petty grudges now. Those monsters are all around.”

“A pity you didn’t realise that a few hours ago”. She said.

“We need to stick together. Our leader is in trouble. The Daleks have cornered him.”

“You mean the man who captured my son?” Zoella said.

“Its not just about him. He found a ship in the depths of the castle. One your king was going to use to leave us all to the Daleks. It can take us out of here, but they’ve cornered him and the others. We have to save the ship.”

Zoella was so overcome with rage she felt like shooting the rebels for asking for her help, but just as she had always done before the soldier repressed her emotions. She knew the rebels were right and that there was no way she could get her little boy out of this without their help.

“Okay I’ll help for his sake, but I warn you. If any of you lay a finger on my son you’ll be begging for the Daleks to find you first.”

The Doctor, Dana and Asica had managed to make their way to just outside the castle. They had mostly kept hidden, with the Doctor taking care of any Dalek troops that had found them.

Along the way the two time travellers and the former monarch could see that all of the nearby cities and towns had been completely levelled by the Daleks. The bodies of men, women and even children littered the lands all around them. The Doctor, Asica and Dana had also witnessed the Daleks, from the skies gun down hundreds of civillians fleeing from the cities.

There was nothing the Doctor, Asica and Dana could have done to help them. If the Doctor fired at one of the Daleks, then an entire fleet would have descended on them. As hard as it was they had to focus on themselves for now.

Outside of the castle were 4 Daleks circling the gates. The Doctor might have been able to take them down with his gun, but he didn’t know how many more were on the castle grounds.

“There’s more than one secret passage into the castle.” Asica said.”Theres a chance those monsters won’t have found one of them.”

Several more Daleks started to fly over head.

“ALL BUT ONE OF THE CITY’S HAVE BEEN CLEANSED! THERE ARE STILL REBELS SCATTERED IN THE NEARBY WASTELANDS! FIND THEM! FIND THEM!” One of the Daleks shouted as all but one of the monsters below began to fly over the wastelands.

The Doctor, Dana and Asica slowly crept behind some rocks, with Asica leading the way to the secret passage. The trio came upon was looked like a large boulder, standing in the middle of nowhere. It was soon revealed however to the Doctor and Dana, to be a hatch; as Asica adjusted some hidden controls causing it to open.

As the three stepped in one of the Daleks spotted them. “HUMANOIDS DETECTED ADVANCE, ADVANCE”

Asica quickly shut the hatch behind them, but the Dalek soon blew it open. The trio ran down the corridor whilst the sound of the Daleks above rang in their ears.

“ALERT, ALERT, HUMANOIDS ON THE LOWER LEVELS ALL DALEKS DESCEND.”

“Its okay they won’t find us, that was the only entrance” Asica said, only for several walls and the roof to blast open revealing more Daleks. The Doctor fired at the Daleks taking several of them down whilst Asica and Dana ran ahead. They soon took shelted behind some pieces of rubble as several Daleks covered the nearby areas.

“What are you waiting for? Shoot them.” Dana said.

“There’s not that much power left in the gun” the Doctor said.”The gun gets its supplies from the casing. I can either shot a couple of shots, or use one on full power that should get them all in one swoop, but I don’t know if now is the time to use it. ”

“What’s the big deal just shoot them and steal their guns?” Dana asked.

“I’d have to use the gun on a lower setting for that. At a full blast their casings would be completely destroyed along with the guns. I’m not sure if we have enough shots left on lower power. Even if we did the chances of me outshooting all those Daleks, well.”

“So use up the last shot” Asica said impatiently.

“We might need it.”

“We need it now.” Dana said firmly.

The Doctor still wasn’t sure. He tried to think of another way for them to slip past the Daleks but there didn’t seem to be.

“Okay” He said reluctantly. “If we are defencless just when we’re on the brink of safety, don’t blame me.” The Doctor jumped out and fired at full blast at the Daleks before any of them could react. The entire room filled with green, lethal radiation which caused the Daleks casings to break open and the creatures insides flesh to sizzel, and boil. It became so intense that the Doctor could feel the gun burning in his hand. Once it was over the Doctor investigated the casings to see if anything could be salvaged. They were completely destroyed, and the guns had even melted. One of the Dalek mutants was still alive however, albeit barely.

It raised its feeble tentacles to the Doctor in a feeble attempt to choke the life out of its most hated enemy. The Doctor didn’t even bother to move he just stared at the monster for a few seconds.

The Doctor hated the Daleks more than anything else, but there were times were even he couldn’t help but pity them. They were creatures who had no say in what they wanted to be. Their destiny’s were chosen for them, by one man, Davros. He turned them from creatures who could think for themselves and conditioned them to wage a senseless war against the rest of creation. In a way they were victims of his as much as anyone.

As the Doctor stared at this helpless creature in its last few moments of life, he thought about how this was probably the first ever time the creature was feeling the air on its withered, frail body. He also thought about how no one would care about its death, not even its own kind.

Asica, Dana and the Doctor quickly headed down a nearby corridor before more of the Daleks could emerge from the tunnels.

“Where are we going” the Doctor asked. Asica didn’t answer, but the Doctor pressed on again and Asica stopped.

“There’s a ship below here. One that we built if the Daleks ever breached the defences of our world. It was designed to get a few of us out of here.”

“A few?” Dana said with disgust.

“I didn’t want to have to use it believe me. It was a last resort to make sure that some of our species would escape.”

“What about Zoella?” Dana asked.

“I’m afraid we don’t have time for her.” Asica said he continued down the corridor.

“NO!” Dana said loudly, not caring about the Daleks. “We are not leaving anyone behind.”

“You stupid woman the palace is crawling with Daleks! The ship has weapons we can fight back if we get to it first.” Asica said.

“The Doctor intervened. As much as he hated himself for admitting it, Asica was right. There was nothing they could do for Zoella. Not yet anyway. The ships weapons could perhaps give them a more even playing field.”

“We’re not going to abandon her. I promise Dana, but he’s right. We don’t have any weapons. We need to find the ship.” The Doctor said firmly.

Reluctantly Dana agreed and the three quickly went down a near corridor leading to the cavern the escape ship was kept. Unfortunately however not only where there several Daleks guarding it, but just in front of the ship, the Doctor, Dana and Asica could see the Daleks torturing several of the rebels including their leader.

The monsters were electrocuting them with their sucker arms.

“WHAT IS THIS MACHINE! ARE THERE ANY MORE LIKE IT! ANSWER” The rebel leader was cowering and pleading with the monsters to stop.

“I never thought I’d pity those rebels.” Asica said with regret. “Its completely surrounded. We can’t get in.”

“I’ll have to distract them” The Doctor said.

“You won’t survive.” Dana said trying to stop the Doctor.

“If I don’t do this none of will, while I’m giving them the roundaround you.” Suddenly the Time Lord was interrupted by the sound of several gunshots. Zoella and the rebels had also made their way into the cave. The fact that the Daleks had become preoccupied by the Doctor, Dana and Asica had allowed Zoella and the rebels to evade the monsters.

The rebels shot at the cave’s roof causing some of the Daleks to be buried. The Daleks however managed to quickly dispose of most of the rebels, sending the survivors including Zoella hiding behind nearby rocks.

“Come we have to move now” Asica said as he pushed past the Doctor and Dana to get into the ship. The two time travellers followed, but one of the Daleks noticed and fired at them. It missed but the Doctor was still thrown off his feet.

Dana ran back to help The Doctor, but the Dalek cornered them.

“EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!”

Zoella noticed her two former companions and jumped up to try and shoot the Dalek to gain its attention, but her weapon’s rays simply bounced off of the Dalek.

Asica meanwhile made his way into his ship. Not even noticing that his companions weren’t with him. Heading for the control room, as soon as he opened it however a Dalek emerged and cornered him against a wall.

“EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!”

To Be Continued

Doctor Who: The Fire of the Daleks: Part 2

Image result for Dylan MoranImage result for remembrance of the daleks

 

“You mean to say that none of them survived? It can’t be”

“I’m afraid so Asica my liege. The entire world of Meliscor is completely gone. We are the only survivors of the galaxy now.”

The king felt like giving up. All of the sacrifices and atrocities that had been carried out in his name, all those years of suffering had seemingly been for nothing.

“We can’t possibly hope to fight the Daleks off on our own.” The King said.

“No sir we can’t. This means we shall have to resort to the final option.”

“I prayed it wouldn’t come to this, but our race must survive and surrender isn’t an option.” The King said with regret.

Asica had been ruling their world throughout most of the war. His father Leri, though an effective and just ruler had struggled during the early years of the war with the Daleks. Leri chose Asica out of all his children replace him during the war because he believed Asica was the most heartless, and therefore the best to deal with the horrors ahead.

Its true that Asica was always the hardest out of all of his siblings, but even he had not been prepared for the Daleks. Asica had been forced to send billions of young men and women away to their deaths, ravage his planets resources, starve his people and force them to work themselves to death. As a result the king was the most hated man on the entire planet, but there was really nothing anyone could have done differently. It had only been through Asica’s ruthless actions that his world had held out for so long, but now it appeared that it was all for nothing. Or maybe not.

The only hope for the Heglozians was to try and get a select group of their people away from the galaxy in a spaceship that had been constructed over the course of the last few years. This plan, called the final option had been prepared during the last few years when most of the planets fell to the Daleks.

In spite of the devastating losses, the King still hoped he’d never have to implement the plan. Not only did he not want to abandon his people, the plan also had a very slim chance at succeeding anyway. Asica would have to essentially use most of his soldiers to distract the monsters, whilst he and the select few fled. The Daleks would most likely pick up a ship fleeing the solar system anyway, but if there were enough vessels distracting the Dalek war fleet.. it might just slip by. There is no way that all of the men would abandon their post around the planet however. Furthermore if the public found out about the ship, they would do all they could to stop it from leaving.

There were regular attacks on Asica’s central command from various different groups of rebels, all with their own reasons for hating Asica.

Those in the poorer areas who were forced to work night and day, whose husbands, wives, daughters and children were dragged away to fight viewed Asica as a glory hound who cared about defeating the Daleks rather than his own people. They wished he would surrender to end the conflict. (Having no idea that surrender was not an option.) Others meanwhile viewed Asica as an incompetent leader who wasn’t doing enough to stop the Daleks. Others believed that he needed to be stopped due to the damage he had inflicted on the environment, which they believed was worse than anything the Daleks could ever do.

Whatever the case most people on the planet wanted him dead. It was hard for Asica to even get loyal body guards. The only way he could ensure their loyalty was to promise them that their families would not be called on to fight the Daleks, and that they would be given a place on the escape ship. This meant that many of the elite who had been originally chosen however would have to be replaced and executed to prevent knowledge of the plan from being leaked.

Whilst the people were divided into different groups, desperate to try and take control from Asica. The knowledge of the ship would most likely unite them all against him.

Even if the ship did manage to escape its own people and the Daleks, all of the planets in the entire galaxy next door were seemingly inhospitable. There is no way they would have enough supplies for most of the crew to survive the journey, let alone trying to terrorform a planet.

Finally the vessel which would have to travel faster and further than any of their other ships had not even been tested yet. There was no way to test it. For all Asica knew, the ship would explode as soon as they tried to take off.

Asica contemplated simply ending his own life now. Better that he thought than to order millions of young men and women to sacrifice themselves to the Daleks whilst he and the elite fled like cowards.

“No” the king thought to himself. “I have a duty to our people. Some of us must survive. We can’t let hundreds of thousands of years of history and struggles end like this.”

Just as Asica was about give the order to implement the final plan however, another guard came bursting into the room with a look of horror on his face.

“My liege, we’ve just had report that one of our vessels escaped the massacre of Meliscor. It crashed right in the centre of the badlands.”.

“Where there any survivors.”

“We don’t know yet.”

“Well I’m afraid we have more important matters to discuss if you’ll.”

“I’m afraid sir there was…. There was a Dalek on board.”

Asica’s blood ran cold.

“How, how could it get by.”

“We don’t know yet, but there is a possibility that it may have survived and be loose on the planet right now..”

“Send a team to the badlands to be sure. The possibility of a Dalek on this world and the fact that we are the last survivors means the final option must be implemented.”

“Doctor, Doctor wake up”. Dana roused the Doctor after the debris had fallen on him when the ship was struck by the missiles. Together they then shifted the boulder off of Zoella.

“Quick we have to get to the safe room.” Zoella shouted. The Doctor could not disable the trap the Dalek had placed on the lock of the TARDIS in time and more rubble had fallen in front of the TARDIS anyway.

Their chances of survival in the safe room were still very slim, but it was their only chance. The corpses of Zoella’s team still littered the room. Dana could barely look at them, but Zoella showed no emotion. Zoella had seen entire worlds burn by this point. The Doctor similarly had seen so many people, even entire races fall victim to the Daleks that he was sadly used to it by now.

It soon became apparent to the Dalek that the ship could not be redirected, and so the monster quickly followed the trio to the safe room

“YOU ARE TRAPPED” the Dalek shouted as it fired at the three cornered humanoids. The downward trajectory of the ship however quickly sent the Dalek flying back to the other end of the room

The safe room survived the crash, but it was blown to the other side of the wreckage. The Doctor, Dana and Zoella had managed to hold on, but when it finally hit the ground all 3 were knocked out cold.

Zoella’s right arm was broken in the impact, whilst the Doctor suffered two broken ribs.

Dana was the luckiest in the crash as she only had a few broken fingers. The Dalek had been thrown out of the room into the rest of the ship meanwhile.

The Doctor was the first to wake up.

“Dana.” the Doctor said as he roused her and clutched his ribs. “I take it we’ve landed. Not my smoothest landing, but not my worst either.”

Zoella started to wake up. Unlike the Doctor she didn’t even take notice of the pain.

“Where is the Dalek.” She shouted

“First let me see if you’re all right.” Dana asked as she tended to Zoella.

“We need to find it. We can’t let it loose.”

Suddenly the room began to shake again.

“Its the military. They’re destroying what’s left of the ship. We have to get out of here!” Zoella said.

The Doctor climbed out first. The entire room had been knocked on its head with the door facing up the way. In the sky above the Doctor could see the Dalek flying through the air and fighting with several smaller fighter ships. None of them were able to land a hit on the Dalek however it was so fast. The Dalek meanwhile was able to bring down each ship with just one blast each.

“It won’t take it long to finish them.” The Doctor said. Dana followed him, but Zoella couldn’t because of her arm. She tried to fight through the pain, but it was too much even for her. The Doctor reached down and with Dana’s help pulled Zoella up.

The Doctor, Zoella and Dana jumped off of the wreckage while the Dalek was distracted with the last of the fighter jets. Below however the trio were confronted by several soldiers pointing guns at them. There must have been over 50 there in total.

The soldiers attention was quickly diverted to the Dalek as it flew overhead. The soldiers much like Zoella’s crew were frozen with terror when they first saw the monster. They had heard so much about the Daleks, but up until now had been lucky enough not to meet one.

“EXTERMINATE” The Dalek screamed as it fired on several of the soldiers. The rest started to scatter whilst firing back at the Dalek. The Dalek didn’t even bother to dodge their attacks, as the rays simply bounced off of its casing.

“AIM FOR THE EYEPIECE” The Doctor shouted in desperation. None of the soldiers even acknowledged him however. They had never felt so helpless and just fired blindly in fear and desperation.

As the Doctor continued to try and warn them, one of the soldiers hit the the Doctor over the head with the butt of his gun. The Doctor was knocked out cold and the soldier responsible quickly pointed his gun at Dana and Zoella before they could come to the Time Lord’s aid.

“Come with me now. The King will want to speak with you himself. NOW!” He said as he hoisted the Doctor over his shoulder. The soldier took Dana and Zoella away on a small vessel whilst the rest of his platoon desperately tried in vain to bring down the Dalek.

The Dalek seemed to take its time in killing the soldiers. It could have wiped them all out in under a minute, but it prolonged their deaths for as long as it could. It let the final soldiers ammo run out on its casing, before cornering him against a rock. The Dalek simply stared the petrified soldier down for a few minutes, bringing him to the very limit of his terror before exterminating him in cold blood.

All a Dalek existed for was to destroy all apparent “lesser life forms.” Whenever they could they would savor a kill.

As the Dalek headed across the wasteland it tried to contact the mothership through its own in built communicator.

“COME IN MOTHER SHIP, COME IN.”

A voice came in, though the line was very weak and crackling.

“GIVE YOUR REPORT.”

“I HAVE MADE IT TO THE HEGLOZIAN SURFACE! THE SHIELD WILL BE ELIMINATED IN DUE TIME!”

“EXCELLENT! ONCE THE INVASION HAS ELIMINATED MOST OF THE HEGLOZIAN FORCES THE PLANETS SURFACE WILL BE CLEANSED THROUGH FIRE! HEGLOZIA SHALL BE A NEW.”

The line started to break up.

“A BLUE BOX HAS BEEN SIGHTED ON THE PLANET! ALERT ALL DALEK UNITS!” The drone said, only to be met with more static before the line cut off. It was hard for the signal to be broadcast through the forcefield, but the Dalek knew its task and set about accomplishing it.

The Doctor awoke in the King’s room. Asica had asked they be brought to him as he always liked to shame traitors himself. In his own mind it was his way of getting back at his own people who had decried him as a monster for so long.  The Doctor awoke to both Zoella and Asica screaming at each other.

“You should have stopped him. You’ve doomed our entire planet.” Asica screamed at Zoella.

“Well dooming our planet is nothing you haven’t done.” Zoella said back “You’re a weak man. You always were. A semi competent leader could have helped to save at least one of the planets in this galaxy.”

The Doctor interrupted. “Excuse me, hate to be a bother but could you direct me to a large blue box?”

“Doctor.” Dana said. “The Dalek it, it killed all of the soldiers. Its loose.”

“Yes thanks to you three.” Asica snapped.

“Excuse me, we just arrived in this galaxy. We didn’t know anything about your war until 30 minutes ago! Now please can you tell me did your men find a blue box from the rubble”.

“Those men rescued you from the monster you brought here, and all you care about is some trinket” Asica shouted.

“You’re the leader here am I right? In that case those men died in your name, not mine. Also that ‘trinket’ is actually a complex, space and time machine that can get you and the rest of your people out of here. Its called the TARDIS and from the looks of things its your people’s last hope.” The Doctor said boastfully.

Asica was silent for a few minutes.” I know you are not one of us.” He said. When the Doctor and Dana were brought in, their bodies were scanned which instantly revealed that they were not only not of this world, but of this galaxy. “Did the Daleks create you?”

“Oh not this again look I already went through this with her. I’m a time traveller.” The Doctor said impatiently

“Did you cross entire galaxies just to taunt a dying race.”

“I crossed billions of galaxies to get here, but I am not lying when I say I can help you. Please we need to stop that Dalek first, and then get your people out of here while the forcefield still holds.

Asica wasn’t sure what to think. As far as he knew time travel was an impossibility, yet if the alien was telling the truth then he couldn’t ignore a chance to help his people.”

“What do we have to lose” The king said in a somewhat pessimistic tone. “Your ship can it take off right away?”

“Yes. It can go anywhere, to another world, another time. We can make as many stops as we need.

” You will accompany a team to the wreckage to fetch this blue box if what you say is true. We will deal with the Dalek itself.” The King said.

“Well that’s the thing I have some experience in dealing with these monsters if you’ll only listen to me.” The Doctor said.

“We’ll see if you’re telling the truth about this vessel first. The Daleks are our priority. We’ve been fighting them for longer. I’m not going to listen to a total stranger about the biggest crisis we’ve ever faced.”

“You two” he said to two soldiers. “Take him back to the wreckage. Zoella and the other alien will stay here.”

“No” the Doctor said. “They both come with me.”

“You’re wasting time” Asica said. “I won’t hurt them I promise, but you wouldn’t expect me to give up my only leverage?”

“Just go” Dana said. “He’s right all the time we spend here arguing, the more the Dalek gets a lead on us.”

“If only that fool would listen. With his resources I might be able to whip up a weapon against that monster.” The Doctor thought to himself as he was carried away.

“Its over.”

“Finally! Even I couldn’t take it another second. No one deserved to die like that. Not even a man like him.”

The man is question was Tyresia, leader of the terrorist origanisation Heglozia First. Heglozia First were devoted to ending the war with the Daleks in order to preserve the planet. They foolishly believed that their leaders were just as responsible for the conflict as the Daleks, and hoped to persuade them (through violent means.) To settle their differences with the Daleks.

Their most heinous crime had been the sabotage of a war vessel, the Osteria, which caused it to explode before taking off. Over 2000 young men and women were lost their lives in the explosion. There were no survivors. Tyresia had himself orchestrated the sabotage.

Nevertheless Tyresia’s own executioners could not help but pity him in his final moments. The lack of resources meant that they were not allowed to use guns and waste ammunition to execute the prisoners. Instead a lethal form of chemical called Ixeri was used, which would kill its victims slowly and painfully over the course of several hours. It wasn’t just a lack of resources as to why this chemical was used however. The king wanted it to be used as a form of terror. Any disloyalty to the king was met with execution by Ixeri.

The executioners had been forced to slaughter many innocent men and women. When Tyresia had been brought in, for once they were happy at the prospect of executing someone who deserved it. Still now that the grissly deed (that had taken over two hours) was done, the two executioners had instead come to the conclusion that no one deserved to die from Ixeri.

“The king should be made to see just how that poison eats people from the inside.” One of the executioners said as he carried Tyresia’s putrid, stinking corpse from the table.

“I sometimes think it would be better if that entire forcefield just collapsed on us.” The other said as he mopped up the mess created during Tyresia’s death throes.

Suddenly the two men were alerted by screams. The executioner carrying Tyresia’s corpse dropped it and ran to the window. Outside to his horror he could see the guards one by one falling to a Dalek.

“My god one of the Daleks is here.”

“What? That’s not possible? What would it want here anyway? To kill all our criminals?”

“”I don’t know but we have to get out of here now!”

The two men were not soldiers. The only reason they were in this position was to avoid having to fight in the war. Every day they regretted it and contemplated going off to fight against the Daleks and die an honourable, yet completely pointless death. Ultimately however their fear of the Daleks always won out and they instead decided to sacrifice more innocent lives in the hopes that they could wait out the war. (Regardless of how hopeless that seemed.)

The two men ran down the long corridors filled with prisoners, most of whom were there for minor crimes, such as stealing resources to feed their families.

Most of the prisoners were asleep, but a few were woken up by the commotion. One of the prisoners a young man reached out and grabbed one of the executioners as he ran past. He managed to pull the executioner right up to the bars and hold him in place by placing his arm around his neck.

“Please help me” the executioner shouted to his friend, who without a seconds hesitation ran away.

“You coward. We were in this together.” He shouted after his former comrade.

“Tell me, what’s going on? Why are you two leaving? Where are all the guards? Answer me!” The prisoner shouted.

“There’s a Dalek outside. I don’t know what it wants, but its coming in here.”

“A Dalek that’s not possible, unless our forcefield’s down. If it is, why bother running?”

“What else can we do?”

Outside the Dalek had slaughtered almost all of the guards. Only 4 out of 50 in total remained. As the last 4 survivors ran for cover the Dalek hovered about twenty feet in the air and blasted a hole in the prison wall before entering. The Dalek made its way into the room the main generator was kept in. The generator controlled all of the doors in the facility. It was also capable of electrifying them if the prisoners got too close.

The Dalek killed two of the three soldiers guarding the generator, (with the other fleeing in panic) before placing its sucker arm on the generator. The 4 soldiers outside regrouped and continued to fire desperately at the creature to no avail. The soldier who fled returned. Having given into his fear for a moment, he returned in shame to try and make up for actions. The guard attempted to grab the metal monster from behind and pull it off the generator, but he wasn’t able to move it a fraction of an inch!

The Dalek was able by linking its own software with the generator to override the electronic locks on every door in the prison and open them. Once it was finished the Dalek spun round, knocking the soldier off its back.  The Dalek then exterminated the last of the guards below, before turning to face the guard it had knocked down, who it cornered against a wall.

“HUMANOIDS KILL HUMANOIDS. THE DALEKS ARE UNITED THAT IS WHY WE ALWAYS TRIUMPH!” The monster said before exterminating the guard and leaving the area.

The criminals were easily able to overrun the few remaining guards in the prison who they literally tore apart with their bare hands. The executioner who had been abandoned’s neck was broken by the criminal who had restrained him. The other executioner meanwhile was beaten to death by a crowd, made up of people whose loved ones he had either personally killed, or people he was due to execute. Though the executioner fought back at first, he soon realised it was pointless and gave in to the prisoners. In his final few moments he was relieved more than anything else to finally be free of the nightmare his existence had become.

To Be Continued

Doctor Who Season 18 Review

Image result for Tom Baker season 18

(This article is from a friend of mine named Laurence Buxton. I have decided to showcase some of his writing here. Let me know what you think, and enjoy.)

DOCTOR WHO. SEASON 18 REVIEW. By Laurence Buxton 2019.

Season Credits : –

Produced by John Nathan-Turner

Executive Produced by Barry Letts

Scripts edited by Christopher Hamilton Bidmead

THE LEISURE HIVE

Written by David Fisher. Directed by Lovett Bickford

Plot

The Doctor and Romana cut short a less-than-successful holiday on Brighton beach and decide to head to the famous Leisure Hive on the post-apocalyptic planet Argolis. They soon find themselves caught in a political powderkeg, where the natives are at risk of being manipulated to sell the Hive by a breakaway group of their mortal enemies the Foamasi. Meanwhile a militant young Argolin, Pangol, is looking to use the power of the Hive’s Generator, tweaked by the Earth scientist Hardin, to form an army of doppelgangers to destroy the Foamasi. The Doctor must not only convince the suspicious Argolins he is not behind a sudden murder in the Hive, but find a way to reverse his accidental rapid ageing and to prevent all-out war breaking out between the Argolin and the Foamasi…

‘The Time Lord’s looking his age all of a sudden – is the party over for Doctor Who?’

Review

Following the popular, if shortened and rather frivolous season 17 ( after shooting of the troubled Shada production was finally abandoned ) few could have expected the massive changes that Doctor Who, under the stewardship of JNT and Christopher Bidmead, would incur. With the departure of producer Graham Williams and script editor Douglas Adams the undergraduate humour that had begun to slip in during s16 was firmly vewtoed, and so when the series reappeared there would be very little, apart from the continuing presence ( for now ) of Tom Baker and Lalla Ward on board the TARDIS, to link it to what had gone before.

Not since season 7, with the introduction of Jon Pertwee, colour TV and UNIT, had there been quite as many fundamental changes to the on-screen realisation of Dr Who. Gone was the time tunnel sequence that had been a staple of Tom Baker’s time on the show; gone too was the ghostly howl of the theme tune, to be replaced by a ‘travelling through the stars’ opening segment and a more haunting, phased and up-tempo ( often referred to as the ‘disco’ ) arrangement by Peter Howell. Both seemed to be aimed at dragging the series into the 1980s, and it only took a brief look at the sets and special effects in the trailers to realise that the standards of both had done the same.

Even more changes are clearly signified by the opening scene, ones which give a chilling notice of intent for a gloom-laden future for the season, and for the Doctor personally, especially when compared to the previous year’s. The knockabout first moments of season 17 (Destiny Of The Daleks) on board the TARDIS had seen a coughing K9 being teased by the Doctor about having ‘laryngitis’, whilst Romana casually tried on a succession of new ‘bodies’ and ‘styles of dress’ – the latter including Baker’s – with the Doctor sniffily passing judgment on each. In The Leisure Hive, the opening titles to part 1 are followed by a plaintive and wistful synthesiser score accompanying a very lengthy pan across a notably out-of-season, windswept Brighton beach – all flapping deckchairs and abandoned beach tents. The camera finally alights on the Doctor, alone, wearing a vampire-like variation of his famous outfit, and slumped as if dead with his hat over his face. Even the apparent attempts to inject humour into this startlingly forlorn scene with the arrival of Romana and K9 sit disconcertingly with the viewer (the Doctor’s apparent narcolepsy, K9’s ill-advisedly going into the sea to ‘fetch’ a ball for Romana, and exploding) and with their referencing of decay and death seem to bode ill for both the titular hero and his trusty metal dog in series 18. More of which in future reviews…

The Leisure Hive, a story rumoured to make wry comment on the declining status of the British tourist industry, is nothing if not convincingly brought to the screen, with a gloss and sheen that was then new to the production, with evocative shots of the planet’s surface. The directing and camerawork from Bickford is certainly distinctive, and with the use of editing the Foamasi come across as an effective menace, when depicted as shadows, claws etc. This effectively increases the tension levels through the opening episodes, where a breakaway group of the Foamasi (originally envisaged as a kind of alien Mafia) are breaking their way into The Hive. They are also, unfortunately, rather too portly when viewed properly to convince as being able to disguise themselves as humans (as with Julian Glover’s head being the ‘disguise’ for the Jagaroth in series 17’s City Of Death). Hence the close-ups and single-camera work used here by Bickford, who unfortunately ran over budget and was not asked to return to the program.

There are also a certain amount of pacing problems with The Leisure Hive, notably in the first half, where events such as the landing of Mena’s spaceship, and the aforementioned pan along the beach are perhaps allowed to run on for rather too long and test the viewer’s attention span before the story, let alone the season, has really got going. Another oversight is the moment where Hardin’s shifty financier, Stimson, is fleeing from a Foamasi and leaves his glasses on the floor which are promptly stepped on and crushed by the alien – whilst a suitable conveyor of the ill fate which is about to befall him. However the likelihood of him either not noticing or at least trying to retrieve them stretches credibility, and a more convincingly edited sequence would at least have shown why he did not try to get them back. Apart from what is shown from the later shots of the Foamasi, however, the costuming and casting in The

Leisure Hive are generally strong, and the political scene on Argolis is well-realised through the many conversations by the major players in the boardroom. The theme of characters such as Morix and Mena displaying their mortality ( through the ‘buds’ dropping off their heads and visibly dying as this happens ) links in well with the grim themes of entropy and decay not only in the Argolin world but season 18 generally, themes that set the season a league away from what had gone before in light-hearted stories like The Horns Of Nimon and The Creature From The Pit.

Other aspects of the production are more hard to fault. Peter Howell does the incidental music for The Leisure Hive, and he does a good job at initiating a very different, austere synth soundtrack for the season, a clear step away from what had previously been heard on the show. Howell also went on to score the likes of Meglos and though obviously varying from story to story, the haunting style of this background music adds much to stories such as State of Decay, Warrior’s Gate and particularly Paddy Kingsland-scored Logopolis. There is a balancing during the suspenseful and serious scenes of high-pitched drone and lower, clanking ominous sounds. The opening pan along Brighton beach is perhaps the most distinguished moment, however, the aforementioned mournful melodies finally lightening with the ironic burst of “Oh I Do Like To Be Before The Seaside” upon the glimpse of the Doctor. Nonetheless the underpinning of the action with pensive, minor-key synthesized motifs will form another navel-gazing element of a downbeat season.

It is noticeable that this more serious atmosphere is partly induced by the changes in the dialogue, which are certainly noticeable in this story – as well as the removal of Baker’s physical pratfalls of series 17 there are noticeably fewer wisecracks made between the Doctor and Romana, and the concentration is now on not only political but scientific wording : discussions hinge here on the likes of tachyon recreation generators, anti-baryon shields, and so on. This would gain the show criticism by some long-term reviewers for being rather distant and clinical, and for fans of David Tennant’s more recent portrayal of the Doctor there are no vague ‘timey-wimey’ style explanations here.

Not as accessible to a casual viewer as in the past, perhaps, but there are at least strong and more serious performances from most of the guest cast. David Haig, well-known now for playing comic supporting roles alongside Hugh Grant in the likes of Four Weddings And A Funeral and Two Weeks’ Notice, shines as the increasingly militant and deranged Pangol, convincingly developing the character from apparently good-humoured tour guide to hate-filled fanatic, and making his ultimate defeat suitably poetic. Adrienne Corri also puts in good work as the dignified and wise Mena, and Laurence Payne, who would go on to appear as the ambitious scientist Dastari in the Colin Baker story The Two Doctors , plays the short-lived Chairman Of The Board, Morix, who desperately wants to finish the negotiations over the Hive before his imminent demise. Nigel Lambert also has plenty to do as Hardin, and forms a trusting bond with Baker’s Doctor. There are also great cliffhangers to part 1 ( where the Doctor is apparently dismembered by the Generator ) and part 2 ( where the Doctor emerges from the machine prematurely aged ).

Following on from the notorious ‘commentaries’ which accompany the DVD releases, much has been made of the tensions between Tom Baker and other cast members this season, which, coupled with the apparent after-effects of an illness that he caught in Australia, bring a world-weariness to his performances that had been totally lacking in previous years. Coupled with the need for him to play an aged version of his character, complete with long beard and sad eyes, Baker suddenly seems far more subdued, less comic ( even the ‘arrest the scarf’ comment he makes on being accused of Stimson’s murder is glossed over ) and even when not aged by the machine his portrayal here comes across much more consciously autumnal – when K9 ‘dies’ from going in the water at the beginning he continues to snooze, remains seated during his conversation with Romana and falls asleep again before she has finished. The more mature, less garish and more stylised black and burgundy version of his ‘costume’, which Baker allegedly did not approve of, arguably adds to this sense of decline, as well as his occasionally gaunt appearance, broody demeanour and slightly greyer hair. On the issue of his superbly-realised ‘aged’ appearance after entering the Generator special mention should go to make-up artist Dorka Nieradzik, and Baker’s increasingly drained, wistful and desperate performance has garnished great praise, for all the rumours of bad behaviour on the set.

Then of course there’s poor old K9, with his original voicer John Leeson back in the fold. With his indisputable logic and lethal lasers, the ‘metal dog’ had been such a useful ally to the Doctor and Romana in the past, particularly in season 17, but here he’s pretty much sidelined in scene one after his dip in the Channel – a deliberate ploy from the new production team that would become a regularity until the character was written out later in the season. The character had been seen as too easy a way for the heroes to escape from potentially difficult situations, hence lessening the danger and heightening the humour, and so spends much of s18 being mistreated, repaired or generally being out of action. If there were such a thing as the ‘Royal Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Droids’, then they would have had a field day with the majority of stories in s18.

The Leisure Hive represents a dour new direction for Who under JNT and, more temporarily, Bidmead. Technobabble takes over from titters, longeurs from laughs, and the fact that the show struggled for viewing figures up against the more light-hearted sci-fi of Buck Rogers is perhaps not so surprising in hindsight. In fairness however the serial, whilst containing one or two costuming and plotting issues, and whilst rarely remembered as either a fun romp likeCity Of Death or a gothic masterpiece like Talons Of Weng-Chiang, did at least allow the show to develop

greatly away from the sometimes farcical tone of the previous show. It also establishes the themes that would, in some form or another, encompass the entire season.

MEGLOS

Written by John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch. Directed by Terence Dudley

Plot

An old friend of the Doctor’s, Zastor, requests that he visit his planet of Tigella (one of two planets in the Prion star system, the other being Zolfa-Thura) to help investigate why the Dodecahedron (the source of their power) is fluctuating. The problem is compounded by the fact that their society is split into two tribes – the Savants, who have used its power scientifically, and the Deons, who believe that the Dodecahedron has been passed down from the god Ti. However, the TARDIS is trapped within a time loop by the last remaining Zolfa-Thuran, a cactus-like Meglos who has enlisted the help of some Gaztak mercenaries, led by the grumpy General Grugger and the impulsive Brotadac, and forces an Earthling to merge with him to enable him to take the Doctor’s identity. The Doctor needs to free himself and Romana from the time loop, stop Lexa and the rest of the Deons from launching a coup, prevent his own execution at Lexa’s hands and stop Meglos and the gaztaks making off with the dodecahedron.

‘A talking cactus, a devilish Doctor doppelganger – is Douglas Adams back on board?’

Review

After the serious introduction to the new season with the dramatically different The Leisure Hive, Meglos appears on paper to be a surprisingly quick return to the more whimsical, not to say fantastical style of storytelling of s16 and particularly s17. A talking cactus with aspirations to steal an immensely-powerful device and disguising itself as a diabolical double of the Doctor, whilst enlisting the help of a semi-comic selection of blundering space pirates. On the face of it, a return to the light-hearted entertainment of the show’s then recent past.

However Meglos touches on themes which had always been central to Doctor Who, in particular the battle between science and religion – here represented by the scientific Savants, led by Deedrix and the fanatical religious figures of the Deons, led by Lexa. This is slightly at odds with what could have been an unusually knockabout and daft adventure in the gloomy season 18. Inevitably the Deons are shown to be stubborn and struggle to listen to reason, though like the Savants ultimately their intentions are noble, and whereas in the past a race of scientists has not always managed to co-exist with others – note the strained ‘union’ between the Sevateem and the Tesh in the season 14 story, “The Face Of Evil” – at least there is a genuine chance of co-operation after the heroic death of Lexa and the destruction of the Dodecahedron.

Typical to the season, however, there are also themes of society being in decay and needing a revolution or change, and the attempted sacrifice of the Doctor by the increasingly powerful Lexa links back to rituals in stories such as The Power Of Kroll, where not only is such barbarism is shown as primitive, xenophobic and closed-minded, but the Dexans’ increasing dominance actually allows the pirates to make off with the Dodecahedron. Once again the Doctor arrives at the correct time, as unbeknown to the Tigellans Meglos is launching a plan that will take advantage of the Time Lords’ friendship with Zastor, and curiously it is Meglos’ abuse of the Doctor’s privileged position that, having threatened his life, allows him to bring down the threat to the fractured society and help it develop.

In fairness the suspicion of the Doctor is on this occasion understandable, due to the very convincing impersonation by the human-melded Meglos, even though it is never really explained why the villains needed to go to all the trouble of obtaining an apparently random human earthling was needed for this rather than a local Tigellan. It is also not convincingly explained how Meglos performs many of his actions in this serial, from the shrinking of the dodecahedron to the piloting of the spaceship, to the sealing the doors shut to prevent the Gaztaks from looting the ship, to the notorious ‘Chronic Hysteresis’. not to mention how the character is able to give the appreciative Brotadac the Doctor’s coat for good keeping.

On the subject of the titular villain, Tom Baker surpasses himself in the role of his own adversary, contrasting nicely even with his now more subdued – and occasionally grouchy, note the opening scene in the TARDIS – Doctor. Having already proven his ability to play an ‘evil’ version of the Doctor by briefly doubling as his robot imposter in “The Android Invasion”, Baker is asked here to play both the Doctor and the main villain for most of the story, and in doing so provides it with its ‘draw’. Baker steals the show every time he is on-screen as the villain, whether roaring “I am Meglos!” at Karris, shouting “Patience!” at the excitable but dim-witted Brotadac or coldly stating, “We mustn’t disappoint the Tigellans” to his co-conspirators, upon first appearing to them and the viewers in the Doctor’s guise. The actor’s excellence keep the strange premise grounded, and provides the unusual but excellent cliffhanger to episode 1.

Baker is great too at subtly enhancing the Doctor’s softer, warmer qualities when he pretends to be the disguised Meglos in return. The spiky green make-up for the actor as Meglos fights against the Earthling trying to exert his independence from him is excellent, and as on the Leisure Hive the production values are strong, including the scenes toward the stories’ climax where the Doctor and Meglos are locked away together as there is not the usual superimposing problem of having the same actor on screen twice. Indeed the two characters are immediately personally distinct in every way, which again stands as a compliment to Baker’s ability, even it renders the obvious subterfuge on the viewer less convincing than expected – there’s rarely a moment of doubt as to which ’version’ of the Doctor is which. Still, whatever criticisms Baker had of the changes made to Doctor Who for his last season, the first two stories in particular give him a great chance to play outside the normal constraints of the Time Lord’s character.

Unsurprisingly then it’s the lead actor’s show, but there are other strong performances. Lalla Ward is given plenty to do as Romana – note her curious reaction in the opening scene in the TARDIS when Baker states “First things first – but not necessarily in that order”, and it’s good to see K9 get a serious run-out after his ‘cameo’ in the opening scene of The Leisure Hive, though the metal dog is no sooner repaired than he runs out of power and is demeaningly kicked by Grugger. Stand-out among the guest cast is the surprise return of former Who star Jacqueline Hill (a rare case of an actor/actress who had portrayed a former companion, in her case Barbara Wright, returning in a guest role), giving a three-dimensional performance and instilling some genuine debating skills into the character rather than portraying her as just a two-dimensional ranting religious zealot – she even heroically lays down her life for Romana. Crawford Logan and Christopher Owen are also committed as Deedrix and the ‘possessed’ Earthling respectively, although Bill Fraser’s role as the grumpy, blustering Grugger is something he had by now been rather typecast in, after similar roles in comic films alongside the likes of Frankie Howerd. Though intended as mostly comic relief, Frederick Treves is mostly as annoying to the audience as the coat-obsessed Brotadac as he is to his fellow schemers, whilst Edward Underdown’s Zastor sadly fails to convince as any kind of leader even before his attempted deposing by Lexa.

Again the production values are more convincing than in then recent years : Meglos’ spaceship is clinical but convincingly high-tech, and the contrast between the white of the Savants and the red attire with black headgear of the Deons is simple, but striking. Perhaps for budgetary reasons the dodecahedron is shielded from the audiences’ view whilst still in its larger form, however, and its underwhelming ‘detonation’ at the end, to the chagrin of the squabbling villains, is a rather throwaway ending to the serial. There is also a fairly unconvincing sequence at the end of episode 2, where Romana is chased and apprehended by the Gaztaks, led by a shrill and rather unthreatening Brotadac, and once again the production team’s attempts to convincingly recreate the surface of a vegetative world look over ambitious, although it is still far from the worst ever seen on the show.

Peter Howell handles the incidental music for the story, and for the most part does very well at supplying apt atmospheric touches to different occasions and situations – the eerie rattle musical cue for Meglos immediately grabs the audience’s attention whenever he appears, which combined with Baker’s unblinking and stern-faced portrayal is the highlight of the serial. There is also the use of stately music in the early Debating Chamber sequences establishes the society well, and the increasingly fast-tempo use of ‘chanting’ vocoders in the sequence where Lexa is attempting to sacrifice the Doctor builds to a tense climax as the rope burns away.

There are also welcome touches of humour peppered throughout the tale, surprisingly for this more austere season, although fan reaction to these is often exaggerated due to the notable absence of comedy in the other stories. Furthermore, unlike the latter stages of the Williams era some of them actually seem to have been in the script originally, and those that do appear more improvised and natural are a little more tightly-edited and not allowed to get out of hand. That said, there are more unguarded moments that appear to have been allowed through – the previously mentioned one from Lalla Ward in the opening TARDIS scene, where she clearly winces, and one from a giggling Baker in the initial scene of the ‘time loop’. Other jokes, where Zastor chides Deedrix for being argumentative or during the Chronic Hysteris – which was itself widely criticised as being part of padding to increase the story from 3 to 4 parts – where K9 addresses the Doctor as Mistress, are dealt with in a more deadpan fashion that would have been the case in the past. The previously mentioned long-running joke about Brotadac’s obsession with Meglos’ discarded coat which he ends up wearing also works as a metaphor of changed identity, along with Meglos’ adoption of the Fourth Doctor’s persona, the fight for control of the Earthling and the spooky moment where the Doctor ends up facing his doppelganger. That comes immediately after the belly-laugh moment where the Doctor witnesses Meglos being winded and apprehended, opining “Ooh nasty – that could have been me!” before exactly the same fate happens to him seconds later. “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” states Baker upon facing his double, a sequence that briefly harks back to the ready wit and fun of the previous season.

But whilst not nearly as bleak as other season 18 stories such as The Leisure Hive, Warriors Gate or particularly Logopolis, Meglos also continues the former story’s theme of society stagnating, and the impasse between the Savants and the Deons in the opening debate being mirrored by the TARDIS crew being trapped by the Chronic Hysteris. The famous, endlessly-looping short sequence of comic events (the Doctor tripping over, Romana’s casual exasperation), which the crew escape by deliberately performing it out of turn, is regularly remarked on as a comment on the show’s former failings under the Williams era. It’s possible to imagine JNT and Bidmead saying Romana’s repeatedly circling opening groan of “Oh blast – here we go again!” to the previous season’s similar frolics, but here the sombre incidental music, and the way that Baker and Ward’s previously lightheartedness changes to real concern at the possibility of being stuck in it forever, makes the threat more unsettling than comic. This feeling is reinforced when a serious-faced and malevolent Baker subsequently appears as the transformed Meglos has been criticised for having a lightweight conclusion, and the comments are valid. Overall, though, is still a very enjoyable adventure in the classic Doctor Who mould, with generally strong acting and with its less downbeat mood it breaks up the more weighty stories that make up season 18, and one featuring a very impressive dual role from the still impressive Tom Baker. The next three stories, making up the E-Space trilogy, would see a return to a more thematically-rich style of storytelling.

E-SPACE TRILOGY

FULL CIRCLE

Written by Andrew Smith. Directed by Peter Grimwade

Plot

The Doctor tries to take the reluctant Romana back to Gallifrey, but pass through a Charged Vacuum Emboitment. Despite the scanner showing that they are on their home planet, they have actually landed on Alzerius, containing people whose origins are from another planet, Terradon. There is a schism between the crew who wish to take off in the Starliner (led by Three Deciders) to return to Terradon and a band of outcasts who reject the oligarchy of the Deciders. When the Mistfall descends, strange Marshmen start to emerge from the swamps, and spider-like creatures start to hatch from eggs that have come from the Riverfruit that make up part of the colonists’ diet, and the outcasts take refuge on board the Starliner which puts the crew at further risk. As well as trying to prevent Romana from devolving when she is bitten by a spider the Time Lord tries to discover what the connection is between the the spiders, the Marshmen and the crew, and just how long they have been preparing to leave Alzerius…

‘The Doctor and Romana immediately regret entering E-Space – and on top of Adric there are Marshmen for them to deal with, too…

Review.

It’s off into E-Space we go with the Doctor, for a trilogy of very different adventures : an evolutionary tale, a Hammer horror homage and an experimental mind-bender. Full Circle, the first of the trio, harks back in some ways to the ‘sympathetic monsters’ and moral dilemmas of early Pertwee-era Who, despite the higher production values and extra sheen. Furthermore it adds an extra twist to the genre as well as another element of variety to an already varied season, with the revelation that the Marshmen, and the Marshspiders before them, are ultimately the same race as the crew – and the circle of life will continue unabated unless drastic change is made.

Full Circle is the first story by the then 18-year old Andrew Smith, and it has to be adjudged a success, never gaining cheap criticism over the years in the manner of either the ‘derivative’ vampire tale State Of Decay or the ‘overly-complicated’ or ‘baffling’ Warriors’ Gate, with Smith’s scripts proving remarkably multi-layered and mature for the author’s age. The story also succeeds in introducing the unlikely ( and unpopular ) future companion of Adric in a subplot, where the adolescent fruitlessly endeavours to prove himself to his brother Varsh and his friends in much the way that the Starliners’ crew try to prove to themselves that they are not trapped on Alzerius. This determination to gain respect would be a characteristic that, whatever one thinks of the character and Matthew Waterhouse’s performance, would define the character through to his surprise exit in the Davison years.

The atmosphere is definitely murkier than the more ‘straight-ahead story’ of the preceding Meglos. The idea of Mistfall clearly fills the locals with a sense of dread, and the spooky music during part 1, including electronic drums and pan-pipe style synths as well as the usual minor-key motifs, enhances the menace of the bubbling swamps. Moreover the Doctor himself is fairly slow to get to the scene, too late to save Decider Draith who is chillingly dragged into the swamp whilst accosting Adric. The idea of being locked away on the sterile Starliner for up to ten years is shown as being almost as much of a punishment as being left outside during the Mistfall, and the irony that the crew have never learnt to fly the fully active Starliner seemingly condemns them to their needless fate, the same as befell the previous 40 000 or so generations.

There are strong central performances to enhance the clever concept, too. Baker shows charming little flashes of humour: when he meets the Marsh Child “How odd – I usually get on terribly well with children!” or flashing the now-rare grin when the Deciders introduce themselves to him, “And I’m the Doctor!”, quiet inquisitiveness in the opening two episodes, his usual unpredictable reactions to events, one amusing telling-off of Adric upon a crowd of Alzerians emerging from the TARDIS, “What is this, Noah’s ark!?” and finally roaring his dismissal of the Deciders’ flimsy moral self-defence after the Marshchild’s death, “Not an alibi – Deciders!” make this another strong outing for his portrayal of the Time Lord. But it’s Lalla Ward who gets the plaudits this time, coming into her own away from Baker’s Doctor. Here we see Ward able to play a more assertive yet nuanced version of Romana – witness her cheerful admonishment of Adric for asking her to touch his wounded knee – acting despondently upon hearing that she is wanted back on Gallifrey, during the quietly intimate scene with Baker in her quarters on the TARDIS, or the scene where, with the help of Adric, she disarms Varsh and points the knife at him before calmly handing it back. But the piece de resistance is the moment where she gets possessed by the spider – just as Baker got to play against the preconceptions of the audience in previous adventures, here it is Ward’s turn, and she rises to the occasion.

One of the accusations always levelled at the classic series of Doctor Who is that it contains wobbly sets and rubbery monsters, but here the season again defies this – if only to a point. The Marshmen arising from the swamp represent a dramatic (if unfortunately curtailed) climax to part 1, and the Marshchild comes across as a genuinely innocent and sympathetic character whom the audience immediately feels sorry for. As a contrast, however, the scuttling spiders are far less realistic, and Romana’s initial dismissal of them seems a more appropriate reaction than her subsequent terror. However the interiors of the Starliner are minimalist but effective, and the Inquisition chamber beautifully balances the black and grey décor with the gold of the Deciders, whilst the make-up for Romana’s ‘possession’ is also a winner.

One aspect of the production that becomes apparent from here on in, and would become an even more noticeable problem during Davison’s tenure as the Doctor, however, is the ‘costuming’ of some of the regulars. Whilst Romana here appears in a strikingly different red gold and white apparel as opposed to her ‘sailor’ outfit of the first two transmitted tales, the Doctor’s attire, though stylish, distinctive and more urbane than his previous ‘random collection’ of clothes, is by now seeming to be as much a ‘uniform’ as clothes of choice. Whilst Davison’s Doctor’s inflexible cricket garb and Colin Baker’s notorious multi-coloured coat when playing the role are worse intruders in this sense than the 4th Doctor’s’ burgundy outfit, JNT’s stating that this was for merchandising reasons only half-convinces, and has given rise to speculation that this was also an attempt to ensure that Baker played the Doctor as a dramatic part and not simply as an extension of the more comic side of his real-life personality. In any case, considering how many times the Doctor lands on a planet or spacecraft and is instantly threatened or ‘tried’ for a crime by suspicious individuals, coupled with the amount of clothing that we have seen on several occasions within the TARDIS, it makes little sense that he would now ensure that he or his companions would look even more out of place than usual, and therefore place themselves in immediate danger and hinder his investigations. In the near future, Adric’s off-yellow and grey ‘pyjama’ outfit becomes a particularly hideous example of this once he stows away on board the TARDIS, in this adventure.

On the subject of Adric, Matthew Waterhouse gets a great deal of bad press for his performance here as Adric, and his general attempts in the future at trying to display the character’s often contradictory qualities of intelligence and well-meaning kindness whilst being naïve and desperate to impress. Actually his performance in Full Circle is not too bad, displaying a pragmatic side (when he advises that Romana look outside the door rather than look for technological ways of surveying the surface of the planet), brief moments of burgeoning sexuality (the aforementioned scene with Romana), bravery (when he helps Romana fight off the River people), and ironically reacting more calmly and naturally to the Doctor than in later adventures. He still finds himself on the receiving end of a fair few Baker broadsides throughout the adventure, however, as does Romana, and commentaries on the E-Space trilogy box-set have proved rather candid on the deteriorating communications on-set at the time – such as Baker allegedly not looking at his co-stars during takes if riled. Perhaps more pertinently during his time on the show, the character’s occasional sulks or ill-considered wilfulness, such as one which indirectly leads to Decider Draith’s death, hindered his would-be allies and greatly alienated viewers, right up to the character’s final story.

Of the rest of the cast, Richard Willis impressed many as the more headstrong Varsh, by some way the best of the actors playing the Outlers and unfortunately casting a shadow over the appointment of Adric as companion, and the death of his brother saving his life would be rather glossed over for much of the mathematician’s time on board the TARDIS. George Baker is probably the best of the Deciders, although Leonard Maguire impresses as the ill-fated Draith. The musical accompaniment, like many this season, is of a high standard, particularly the Church organ-style music during the ‘Decider’ scenes on board the Starliner.

The subject of resistance to change, or an (in)ability to adapt is a key theme to Full Circle. The Marshmen are observed by Romana as adapting to their new environment quickly when she admonishes Varsh and the others; in contrast are the inhabitants of the Starliner, who in some cases show a struggle to develop without the Doctor’s assistance – take the scene where the three Deciders each expect the others to come up with a solution to the Marshmen invasion. There is a neat moment where the Doctor remarks to Adric that “we’ve come full circle”, which his new companion remarks is what the scientists have observed – which can be compared with the Chronic Hysteris sequence in Meglos . Ultimately the two remaining Deciders are forced to make a decision on whether the Starliner stays and their race continues to go full circle or leaves, and evolves, and the fact that they depart Alzerius – albeit with a little prodding from the Doctor – provides the positive resolution to the story. Apathy is defeated, though the theme of stagnation and disinterest would again surface during the E-Space trilogy (Warriors’ Gate).

Full Circle is another strong story, well-directed by debutant Peter Grimwade and with plenty of opportunity for both Baker’s Doctor and Ward’s Romana to shine in a well-written script that disproves the addage that first-time or ‘fan’ writers cannot come up with the goods. The addition of Adric’s ‘boy genius’ to the TARDIS crew would allegedly cause ructions on-set, but the theme of change prevalent in the tale is particularly apt here – with the arrival of Adric, the process of change had begun of the crew themselves. By the end of the season the Doctor, Romana and K9 would all, like the crew of the Starliner, be gone…

E-SPACE TRILOGY

STATE OF DECAY. Written By Terrance Dicks. Directed by Peter Moffatt

Plot

Still trapped in E-Space The Doctor, Romana, K9 and the stowed-away Adric arrive on an unnamed planet. They are surprised to find that it is almost feudal, and note that the villagers are in fear of the ‘Three Who Rule’: elusive beings who dwell in a nearby Tower, and with the help of their guards, the Habris, seem to be behind the annual disappearance of a number of the younger villagers. Threatened by the Lords’ guards and the mysterious ‘Wasting’, the adventurers look to investigate the reason why the corpses of the missing villagers are drained of blood, whether the Three Who Rule and the Tower itself are linked to a spaceship which once landed there, and whether a long-standing enemy of the Time Lords could be behind the current state of decay…

‘It isn’t just the young stowaway on the TARDIS who’s’ proving a pain in the neck…’

Review.

“It’ll be dark soon” notes Romana towards the end of the first episode, and this observation highlights not only the ethos of the gloomy march to oblivion of season 18 of Doctor Who but more specifically the phobia of creatures that fear the sunlight. And the fact that State Of Decay is the title is something of an irony, as not only is the story about a society that has become something of a regression but the story itself is something of a throwback, being as it is a rewrite of an adventure initially intended to take place in the Gothic days of s15.

During the earlier days of the Tom Baker era classic monsters from film and literature had been the subject of homage successfully. His very first story (Robot ) was a tip of the hat to King Kong, and another of his earlier adventures (The Brain Of Morbius) was clearly inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. So why not take the vampire legend and put that unique Doctor Who spin on it too?

Of course Gothic Horror such as The Brain Of Morbius had been successfully done during the Hinchcliffe era, and even when not featuring any kind of horror genre-related villain, it had been a defining feel of early Tom Baker stories such as series 12, 13 and 14. Indeed, an early form of the serial had been submitted by Terrance Dicks back in 1977 during the Hinchcliffe era called The Witch Lords, and was intended to open series 15, but due to a clash with a BBC adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula the claustrophobic, lighthouse-based story Horror Of Fang Rock (which was perhaps even more horror-inspired) was commissioned instead. With hindsight, then, one can see such a story fitting in well to that period of Tom Baker’s tenure.

The title and theme of State Of Decay slot more appropriately into this entropy-obsessed season, however, and encapsulate the general theme of societies in decay, decline and regression. The Doctor’s conversation with Camilla and Zargo in the second episode highlights this, as does his subsequent chat with Romana where he deduces that the vampires are the original crew of Hydrax, and that the ‘throne room’ was once the spaceship’s control booth. The planet is clearly in a state of devolution, obvious from the scene where the Doctor talks of ‘consonantal shift’ explaining the changing of the Three That Rule’s names over a great period of time and the fact that the control room is now a throne room, and from the moment the villagers produce communicators and other hi-tech devices yet, as in Full Circle, are unable to explain what ‘the Wasting’ actually is. Once again, such self-destructive traditions and fears are questioned by the Doctor upon his arrival, and by doing so he prevents a society from stagnating – ironically causing the literal ‘wasting away’ of the Three That rule when he slays the Great Vampire.

Another theme that rears its head is the easiness of waiting for things to improve rather than taking risks to ensure that they do. The scene where Tarak, Kalmar and the others argue in the dwelling highlights a theme that was particularly noticeable in the previous story, Full Circle, where the crew of the Starliner showed an unwillingness to learn how to launch a perfectly functional Starship, actually sabotaging it to avoid doing so. Kalmar admits he is prepared to put off any revolution for several generations if necessary, and apart from Tarak the others agree that it is ‘too soon’. The acquisition of knowledge is seen as the greatest power in a society like theirs, as Camilla remarks to Zargo, and this is backed up by Tarak’s remarks to the others about the importance of the Doctor. It is no coincidence that Aukon comes across as the most knowledgeable of the vampires and is also effectively their leader.

The planet is realised onscreen as largely a plush and convincing environment, and the ‘covering up’ of high-tech equipment among apparently mediaeval settings is convincingly done, enhanced by the sometimes occasionally archaic incidental music, whilst accentuating the spooky threat of the vampires. The use of location filming during the first episode gives the chance for a surprisingly relaxed-looking Doctor and Romana to stroll through genuine flora at dusk, and the moment where the bats (aka ‘The Wasting’) bite the Doctor and fly over them could be straight out of a classic Hammer film. The superimposing of a bat over Aukon during episode 1 shows a stylised touch which previous Who had rarely attempted, and is a memorable image which removes the need for stilted information dumps. Clothing-wise the more stylised, two-tone black and burgundy Baker fits in perfectly here, of course, despite seeming a little more chipper than at certain other times this season. There is an ominous moment the moment we first see the Doctor in the TARDIS, however, where Romana is concerned at his pained expression, which seemingly doesn’t bode well long-term for this incarnation of the Time Lord. Baker’s Doctor had always been famous for almost cheerfully enduring physical pain in early stories like Arc In Space, or dealing with being menaced by monsters in tales like Nightmare Of Eden in farcical fashion – not any more.

Adric has a rather strange adventure here, however, showing ‘Artful Dodger’-style cheekiness (which was originally how the character was envisaged), but his inward and easily malleable nature makes him less than sympathetic. Within moments of being caught entering the villagers’ dwelling he is helping himself to their food and their son’s coat, though with hindsight it’s a shame that he didn’t continue to wear this more natural looking garment during his time on the show instead of his horrendous yellow ‘pyjama’ outfit. Furthermore the Alzerian later displays turncoat-style behaviour in apparently acquiescing to become like the Lords, and gives an unconvincing explanation to Romana about fooling them into a false sense of security. Whether due to Waterhouse’s performance or a conflicting script, Adric’s behaviour during this adventure never convincingly comes across as anything other than self-serving, even though he does eventually attempt to slay Zargo towards the end of the tale as the Time Lord and Lady are threatened. This portrayal of the character contrasts with the more plausible attempts he made to help the Doctor and Romana in his debut story Full Circle. K9 finally gets to have a less battering adventure of his own here, a rare event this season, and delivers a cutting summary of Adric in the TARDIS upon discovering the stowaway – “Immature humanoid – non-hostile.”

Characterisation is generally inconsistent in this story, sadly. Ivo, head of the village, shows equally unfathomable motives throughout, going from acceptance of any uprising to betraying it. This is unfortunate when the humans are clearly shown to be the oppressed and disadvantaged peoples of the planet, ruthlessly preyed on by the Lords. More appealing by far is Arthur Hewlett as Kalmar, with his quiet subversion evoking memories of Timothy Bateson as Binro the Heretic in the Key To Time adventure The Ribos Operation, and Thane Bettany as Tarak, who in contrast to his peers shows the charisma and the bravery to defy both the Three Who Rule and the once loyal villagers who now serve under Habris and his guards. On the subject of the Lords, Emrys James is imposing and entertaining as the dominant Aukon, though his dominant performance does reduce Rachel Davies’ Camilla and William Lindsay’s Zargo to the role of hissing, bickering sidekicks whenever he is present.

There are other quite noticeable flaws. The on-screen realisation of the Great Vampire is a disappointment almost on the scale of the Skarasen in Terror Of The Zygons, and the rocket going straight up and then straight back down to pierce its heart, is poetic but truly corny. The use of blood as ‘fuel’ over such a long period of the time raises the simple question of why has it not evaporated or gone bad, being organic, not to mention the fact that the planet’s population now seems extremely meagre for them to continue plundering. Considering how the peasants’ society has regressed over time it is surprisingly easy for the Doctor to get them up-to-speed with the high-tech equipment, and it is equally surprising they have not destroyed or thrown it out once it became useless to them. It is also difficult to work out what the ‘perks’ of becoming a guard are, as the Three That Rule still threaten to feed them to the great one upon the slightest failing, and show no concern when informed that they are dying.

State Of Decay is not perfect and with its use of hypnotism, mind-reading and other vampire cliches, seems a little out of place in a season heavy on science, but it remains a stylish story even today, for sure, and though criticised for being something of a derivative horror story given the Doctor Who treatment, it is nonetheless watchable and reinforces the themes of the season as directly as any of the stories without being too heavy-going. Those who criticised the story for perhaps lacking much under the surface or for being too simple would soon see the flip-side of the coin…

E-SPACE TRILOGY

WARRIOR’S GATE

Written by Stephen Gallagher. Directed by Paul Joyce ( assisted by Graham Harper )

Plot

At the point where N-Space and E-Space meet, a time-sensitive Tharil named Biroc escapes from a slaver cargo vessel holding others of his kind, and hijacks the TARDIS which, like the slave vessel, has become trapped there, near a gateway. He warns them that the slavers are following him and that they cannot be trusted. The Commander of the slaver ship, Rorvik, is determined to recapture Biroc who has been navigating them, and is becoming increasingly irritated at both the entrapment of his ship and the rest of his crew’s apparent disinterest in escaping. The Doctor will need all of his wits to investigate a mysterious gateway and an abandoned banquet hall nearby, utilise a number of mirrors which provide passage for time-sensitive aliens, avoid the threat of the malfunctioning Gundan robotic knights, rescue the captured Romana from Rorvik who believes her to be time-sensitive too and intends her to replace Biroc, and prevent both the slave ship from diminishing the Gateway into nothingness and its captain from misjudging the power of the mirrors and destroying everyone…

‘Who knew E-Space could get so complicated’?

Review.

One of the fascinations of Doctor Who, particularly in its’ ‘classic’ days, was the sheer range of its types of storytelling, and s18 had already encompassed this – a sly satire on the culture and holiday business ( The Leisure Hive ); a fantastical ‘villain with delusions of grandeur’ tale ( Meglos ); a pacifistic and environmentally-aware precautionary tale of evolution ( Full Circle ) and a homage to the horror genre ( State Of Decay ). With the 5th story to be released chronologically, however, season 18 went one stage further, with a bizarre tale of time-travelling reformed aliens, cruel and listless humans, mysterious mirrors and mystical castles, which showed influences from sources as diverse as Jean Cocteau, Stanley Kubrick, C S Lewis and Mervyn Peake.

Warrior’s Gate , though utterly distinct from either, ranks with The Mind Robber during the Patrick Troughton era and Ghost Light during the McCoy era as one of the most experimental serials in the show’s history, featuring concepts that would baffle any first-time viewer. Furthermore, faced with the need to convincingly wrap up the E-Space trilogy (which had had little bearing on the previous adventure other than the Vampires had fled there to hide from the Time Lords), return the Doctor to N-Space and plot the departures of both Romana and the now long-suffering K9, it would need to include a convincing reason why they would choose this moment to depart. Not only did the writer succeed in doing this, and expanding on the themes of season 18 as a whole, but they managed to create a world like no other in the Doctor Who canon – the Tharils, the mirrors, the gateway, the abandoned hall, the shrinking dimensions and the time winds are all strikingly original, to an almost daunting degree when all are presented at once.

Once again the Doctor finds himself faced by a pseudo-tyrant, in the form of the blustering and impatient human Commander Rorvik, “We’re back in nowhere” mutter the crew near the beginning of the story, and this sums up the quandary they find themselves in, and Rorvik’s desperation to escape. In typical series 18 fashion it is not so much the prospect of death but that of being trapped or regressing which seems to breed even greater apathy and fear of action in both the time-sensitive Tharils (represented most strongly by the noble yet enigmatic Biroc), who are clearly being mistreated and even killed, and their new masters the privateer crew. The theme of devolution is present in the Tharils once being masters but now being slaves, and that of apathy is evident not only in their failure to rebel until the Doctor and Romana arrive, but also in the crew who show little urgency to escape E-Space, although their inertia is not wholly condemned by the fact that as the Doctor says to Biroc, “sometimes it’s best to do nothing, if it’s the right sort of nothing.”

In many ways it should be possible to have sympathy for the crew for the literal and metaphorical limbo they find themselves in, despite the casual cruelties they inflict on their former masters. “Nowhere to go and no way of getting there” remarks Rorvik sourly to the crew at one point, and they say nothing. In many ways the void the crew are in, trapped between N Space and E Space, reflects their state of mind. This sense of aimlessness then ensures that they remain trapped, their lack of personal progression being displayed in their concern with maximising their bonuses rather than escaping the void. Following on from the theme shown in the likes of Meglos of individuals failing to evolve and going round in circles (the Chronic Hysteresis), and the same thing happening to societies in The Leisure Hive, Full Circle and State Of Decay, Warriors’ Gate takes the extra idea of the oppressors becoming the oppressed – with the Tharils having been defeated by their then ‘inferiors’ rising up and defeating them with the aid of the Gundans. The decay of the Tharil civilisation after that revolution ties in with the idea presented in State Of Decay, where the fortunes of the oppressed are actually declining the longer they allow the current state of affairs to continue.

“It’s always darkest before the storm” says the Doctor, linking to Romana’s comment about night being about to fall in the previous story, and though the murky huts, darkened ‘tower’ and gloomy wood of the previous story are stylistically completely opposite to the well-lit spaceship, white void and fantastical castle behind the Gateway, there is a similar underlying bleakness about this story. The Doctor himself seems to have developed something of a death wish, where he nearly pushes a button that would have destroyed the TARDIS in the first episode and recognises that chance is in itself not an explanation for what he could have done. When he faces apparent decapitation by the Gundans he seems, at times, strangely resigned to his fate, albeit cheerful when he is not ultimately killed. In fact this story could be seen as the ultimate encapsulation of the Doctor succeeding by being ‘passive’ – such as his aforementioned comment to Biroc, his tolerance of Biroc and acceptance of a logic which is alien to him and finally his opposing of Rorvik’s rashness in trying to escape E-Space, even though it is something the Doctor himself wishes to do.

Lalla Ward, generally considered to have steadily improved as an actress since her initial Doctor Who appearance as Princess Astra in The Armageddon Factor, puts in one of her finest performances, and so whilst her departure at the end to stay with Rorvik in E-Space has been signposted – both by her comment in Full Circle to the Doctor and her earlier remark to Adric that she and the Doctor may soon be going their separate ways – it is a curiously rushed scene when she and K9 depart, with the Doctor’s comment, “You were the noblest Romana of them all” standing in sharp contrast to the increasing discord that Baker and Ward’s relationship was going through at the time. As for poor K9, after his more dignified treatment in State Of Decay he’s back to being abused with a vengeance here: overheating, running out of power, getting kicked and thrown away all in the same story. To literally add insult to injury he is even belittled by Adric! It’s difficult not to see this constant belittling of the character as being alienating to the children who were intended to be his fanbase, and for the character’s sake it is good to see his suffering end as the Doctor orders him to stay with Romana and the Tharils.

Surprisingly in such a ‘puzzle within a puzzle’ story, characters such as Aldo and Royce provide effective and accessible humour, and the two succeed in grounding what could have been a grim and incomprehensible story with some down-to-earth observations and their general laissez-faire attitude, and their cowardice only goes further to ensure that they will not escape from the gateway. Kenneth Cope puts in as reliable a performance as ever as the more level-headed, no-nonsense Packard, the perfect foil to Clifford Rose’s irascible Rorvik. Even Rorvik himself is not a stereotypical villain, however, as his frustration is understandable when surrounded by the apathy and counter-productive attitude of the crew, and the fact that he causes his crew’s death by the hot-headed action in trying to blast away is an irony in a season where inaction is often seen as the worst thing to do. As he himself remarks caustically to the Doctor “I’m finally getting something done!” It is a bleak conclusion to a tale where all the humans

are apparently killed in the inevitable blastback, regardless of whether they agree with Rorvik’s rash but understandable action.

Warrior’s Gate is undeniably complex. Whilst well-made with remarkable effects and brimming with intriguing ideas its mixture of mind-bending science, surreal fantasy, satirical comment and comments on self-destruction, slavery and cycles of oppression make it unlikely to top a fan’s favourite poll, and it is certainly a story that requires more than one viewing due to its density. It is also not only the end of the E-Space trilogy but the end of another era for the Fourth Doctor with the departure of long-standing companion Romana and the even longer-standing K9, and with Adric now the sole companion on board the TARDIS the Doctor prepares to return to N-Space – where an old enemy awaits…

THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN. Written by Johnny Byrne. Directed by John Black

Plot

The Doctor and Adric return to N-Space and are visited on the TARDIS by the aged and infirm Keeper Of Traken, who states that he has perceived a great evil within his potential successor Tremas and his family – wife Kassia and daughter Nyssa. Although Traken is a planet where decency is paramount, the arrival of an evil life form, calcified on arrival by the essential ‘goodness’ of the planet and now known as the Melkur, leads to the mysterious deaths of a number of citizens which are blamed on the Doctor and Adric. The Melkur has also taken control of Kassia by means of a collar, and is manipulating her in order to become Keeper himself and gain access to the source. Who is the Melkur, and why do they wish for control of the source?

‘Anthony Ainley makes his Doctor Who debut – and there’s barely a cackle in sight…’

Review

With Tom Baker’s time on board the TARDIS now drawing towards an end (it was during the filming of this serial that it was announced on the BBC that the Liverpool-born legend would be leaving the show), Season 18 continues its remarkable range of different adventures with the almost Biblically-themed Keeper Of Traken. And for the role of the snake in the garden of Eden, there can be only one long-standing adversary of the Doctor to fit the bill – the Master.

The tale of Traken is ultimately especially grim, of course, as the Master – the real force behind the evil, calcified Melkur – manipulates the people of the ‘utopia’ of Traken to not only ascend to the throne but to steal the body of the wise and open-minded Tremas, who seemed to represent a better, more astute future for Traken, and ultimately to lead to its destruction in the following episode. The corruption and destruction of the planet by the satanic Master (note the number of references to not looking into the Melkur’s or the possessed Kassia’s eyes) would of course go on to form part of a similar plot of the David Tennant story, “Utopia”, carried over into the following two episodes which concluded season 3 of the new series. Here, however, his ultimate aim is to obtain a new, healthy body, the audience being deliberately misled to think that his aim is universal domination and Jacobean-style revenge on the Doctor – though with the now more malevolent than ever Master, neither of those motives are far away either.

The season’s themes of entropy and decline cast a shadow over Traken from the beginning of the story, in the image of the dying Keeper in the TARDIS, the initially unexplained death of the old man in the grove, the notion of the Melkur immediately being pinpointed as an all-pervading evil corrupting the ‘absolute goodness’ of Traken; the still hideously-wizened figure of the Master, skulking in the Melkur and reaching out to seize the body of Tremas (an anagram of Master) in the very final scene, and the ominous fact that the clock’s hands on the Master’s newly-disguised TARDIS in that scene are at five to midnight, boding ill for the final story in the series. Curiously there is also the theme of rebirth and change after a low period, as evidenced by both Traken and the Master’s restorations by the end of the story – a theme which becomes evidenced again in Logopolis through the Doctor’s own fate.

Whilst the behind-the-scenes documentaries have often pointed the finger at Tom Baker being less than satisfied in s18, he seems calm here, and at times quite warm towards Waterhouse. In the opening scene he discusses the wonders of N-Space to Adric and even puts his arm around the young Alzerian, and shows the full array of the 4th Doctor’s emotions – humour, bafflement, empathy, grace, brief indignation, a tendency to ramble and absent-mindedness, along with a greater awareness of his incarnation’s limited timespan. “I know that feeling” states the Doctor when the aged Keeper makes a remark about feeling his age. Although Baker is clearly looking older he puts in a lively performance here, getting his famous humour into his performance when captured. “I wonder what we’ve done this time”, he whispers to Adric, and ponders aloud to his captors if they are the welcoming committee and knocks two of his opponent’s heads together with the obvious but effective quip, “two heads are better than one”. Yet he also enhances the threat of Melkur where he admonishes Tremas for wanting to keep his honour intact rather than give him the master plans so he can help save Traken.

Intriguingly the other more recent theme that had come up in Season 18 : that of changing one’s course of action rather than simply keeping the status quo not always being for the better (in Warrior’s Gate) is again referenced here, with the consul’s willing adoption of Kassia as the new Keeper proving as ill-thought out as Rorvik’s suicidal decision to try and blast free of the Gateway in the previous story. Unfortunately the combination of the apparently ‘nice to each other’ Traken peoples being generally extremely suspicious of outsiders and willing to pass death sentences on even each other quickly may try the patience of those who are supposed to sympathise, whereas in Warriors Gate, of course, the ship’s crew were led by the stories’ main villain, Rorvik. One also has to wonder why the Traken people are so convinced of the Doctor and Adric’s ‘ultimate evil’ when unlike the Melkur they have not calcified upon arriving in the grove.

Anthony Ainley, who became so maligned for his occasionally OTT performances as the Master during the Davison era, has been uniformly praised for his rounded portrayal of Tremas in The Keeper Of Traken. His compassion, knowledge of science and shrewd good judgement helps him form an immediate empathy with the Doctor, and his decency is reflected in the warmth of his daughter Nyssa (played by Sarah Sutton) whose pure-heartedness contrasts greatly with the weak-willed desperation of Kassia, who has fallen under the thrall of the Melkur. Nyssa, who would soon become a surprise long-term companion on the TARDIS, has greater character development here and in Logopolis than in many of her subsequent stories with Davison’s Doctor, due to the more obviously personal effect that the Master/Melkur’s machinations have on her. Roland Oliver’s performance as the pragmatic Proctor Neman, looking at monetary gain for himself until his shock execution, is also impressive, though it is another indictment of Traken’s supposedly virtuous society that such a corrupt character has become so prominent. John Woodnutt is as entertaining here as the self-assured and seemingly politically-astute Seron he was in dual role of Forgay/Broton in Terror Of The Zygons , and even adds a touch more fruitiness to the role this time around, and proves his good intentions as he begs Kassia to reject the evil within her.

Even Adric’s many detractors confirm that Waterhouse is on good form here, too – forming an effective double-act with future co-companion Nyssa which mirrors the Doctor-Tremas partnership. Sheila Ruskin’s Kassia is more hit-and-miss, however. She is overly histrionic in the scene where following the Keeper’s death she denounces the Doctor and Adric as the culprits for the recent evils on Traken, even considering the Shakespearian tragedy that the character is central to – her love for her husband and wish for him not to suffer and playing into the Master’s hands. Geoffrey Beevers makes up for this, however, as the silkily-evil and Iago-like Master/Melkur, although as a downside the untreated voice of the Master lacks the echoing resonance of the Melkur’s, and is less effective as a result.

To complement the well-thought out society of Traken there is an appropriately-stagey (but well-realised) combination of Elizabethan-style sets from Tony Burroughs, with the right array of lighting to denote the time of day when outside, and though the grove does not look like anything other a set in itself, it is attractive and imaginatively designed, with the off-white form of the Melkur proving a strong, contrasting image. Roger Limb’s soundtrack, though not perhaps the best of the season, is steady and stately without being too intrusive, and the costumes etc, in a range of subdued reds, blues and greys, provide a society into which the Doctor’s flowing burgundy garb fits in well, though the same can hardly be said of Adric’s attire.

The Keeper Of Traken is one of the more consistently-highly rated stories from season 18, a dark scientific fairy tale with tragic overtones but without the tone of utter gloominess that pervades the following Logopolis. Though looking a little wearied Baker is back to his energetic, more spirited and humorous self, but the arising of the Master, the time on his TARDIS’ clock-face and the mentions of “time running out” during the story are an ominous portent for what is about to happen…

LOGOPOLIS. Written by Christopher Hamilton Bidmead. Directed by Peter Grimwade

Plot

The Doctor, alerted to oncoming danger by the ringing of the Cloister Bell in the TARDIS, decides to head to Earth to measure an original police box as part of a scheme to fix his chameleon circuit with the help of the peoples of Logopolis. However the Master has materialised his TARDIS on board the Doctor’s, and due to his psychotic tendencies the deaths of a number of Logopolitans, whose chanting of a series of complex numbers keeps the entire universe in check, interrupts the process and threatens the whole of creation with entropy. Robbed of several of its workers Logopolis decays dramatically, followed by the Traken Union, and the Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and accidental new companion Tegan Jovanka join forces with the Master to prevent universal annihilation. Can the Doctor’s old nemesis be trusted even now, however, and who is the strange ghost-like figure that keeps appearing?

‘A ghostly grim-reaper and a black-clad blackheart – is time almost up for the Doctor?’

Review

The curtain finally comes down on the Fourth incarnation of the Doctor after seven hugely successful years, in what is unquestionably one of the gloomiest stories in the canon of the series. As season 18 is not exactly a barrel of laughs even at the best of times, Baker’s forlorn face, the ultimate encapsulation of the entropy theme and the utterly desolate feel all make Logopolis seem a fitting season finale, if not necessarily a wholly-satisfying end to a once so jocular incarnation of the character.

It is Tom Baker’s performance that naturally takes centre-stage here, and Matthew Waterhouse’s constant questioning and repeating his phrases in the TARDIS during the earlier scenes has to be endured as a minor distraction. As in The Keeper Of Traken there is an initially warmer rapport between the two now Romana and K9 are no longer on the scene yet Baker looks tired, drawn and fearful throughout, in a manner never seen before even in this more sombre season, and before long he is snapping his impatience with Pertwee-like fierceness. Ironically one of the rare moments he smiles (apart from the brief flash of those familiar teeth as he suggests a tour to Earth to measure a police box) is as he lies ‘dying’ at the bottom of the Pharos research Tower. Thus even in death he achieves victory – even as the Master has achieved one of his aims (the destruction of the Doctor) the Doctor succeeds heroically in foiling the Master’s opportunistic attempt to seize control of the Universe. It also allows Baker to depart in a manner appropriate to his often larger-than-life legendary portrayal, after a season where the theme of decay seems to have had a quietening effect on his character too.

The idea of entropy comes to a head here, both explicitly – Baker directly addresses this in his first scene in the grove, noting the decay of the TARDIS, as does Adric to Nyssa, and entropy is openly discussed as Logopolis visibly decays, coupled with the more subtle but noticeable ‘decay’ of Tegan’s car – looking battered and getting a flat without the means to replace the tyre (the spare is flat too) – drawing parallels with the now inadequate nature of the TARDIS. Of course the universe’s peril from the Master’s ultimate plan seems to indicate the decay and destruction of everything, and the shrinking of the TARDIS in part 3, with the Doctor still inside, also foreshadows the ‘shrinking’ of the universe, as does the miniaturisation of the Master’s victims with his Tissue Compression Eliminator. This ties in with the downsizing of the Gateway in Warriors Gate, along with the shrinking power of the respective sources inMeglos and The Keeper Of Traken, and the forthcoming ‘death’ of the Doctor is cleverly referenced during the ‘mini-TARDIS’ scene as, trapped inside, he sees his companions looking down at him, desperately calling his name.

Logopolis has a wary standing amongst long-term fans, however, many of whom criticise certain plot holes, notably when the Doctor is in the TARDIS and debates ‘flushing out’ the Master in his own TARDIS, and the ending of the story at the Pharos Research tower, where the Doctor and the Master are supposed to be working together to prevent the utter destruction of what is left of the universe. Adric’s bafflement at block transfer computation, and at why the Doctor needs to go to Earth to find a police box in the first place, is understandable, too. The decision by the Doctor to flood the TARDIS has also been particularly condemned in such a science-heavy season as being deeply improbable, although it does fit in with the title character’s apparent death-wish, previously seen in Warriors’ Gate. The fetching of Nyssa from Traken is another such issue, as is the fact that the police immediately deduce that Vanessa and the policeman are dead, even though the only ‘evidence’ of this are two tiny doll-like figures – and one has to wonder who called the authorities in the first place. Finally there are the logistics of the Master’s deranged plan to hold the universe to ransom from on board the research tower, which bearing in mind that the authorities are still a factor is flawed in the extreme – one suggestion put forward by reviewers is that the Master might have been playing a cruel practical joke on the Doctor, which is made to look unlikely by his subsequent concern and panic when the Doctor goes outside to disconnect the cable.

Anthony Ainley’s performance here is a curious one, too, the actor following up his superb portrayal of the kindly, reasonable and honourable Tremas with a Master who, though bearing a general resemblance to that of Delgado’s, is altogether more psychotic and malevolent, and whose schemes are far less rationally-based. This is not Delgado’s ruthless yet oddly gentlemanly crook, nor is it the wizened, wraith-like figure of Pratt/Beevers, desperately clinging to the remnants of life and gleefully inching closer to rejuvenation. This is a character who as well as taking that extra silver of pleasure from the suffering of others, that Pratt and Beevers displayed, seems to have an almost impulsive, ever-cackling evil, one which if left unchecked would not only threaten his own life but the decay of the entire universe. If that weren’t enough, the Master then cannot help but threaten to continue the destruction of all life unless they subject to his will, and his giggling near-collapse at the delight of holding such power suggests total psychosis and a more unfocused megalomania than ever seen before from the character. The Doctor’s subsequent astonishment at this unhinged behaviour (famously exclaiming “You’re utterly mad!” when his nemesis makes his latest plan clear) is rather contradicted by his earlier comment to Adric. “He’s a Time Lord. In many ways we have the same mind.”

Davison’s initial trio of companions are all together by now, with the loud-mouthed Tegan becoming an occasionally reluctant and complaining presence on board the TARDIS. Janet Fielding’s portrayal of the character is notably at odds with the good grace of previous passengers, and the first scene where she screeches at Tom Baker for an explanation (and his pained expression as she does so) is a moment of surprise humour in a doom-laden tale. Despite the fact the character went on to become, like Adric, one of the more criticised companions in the show’s history, and despite the fact that her dialogue with Aunt Vanessa is rather clumsily geared at making sure the audience know she is a flight attendant – her emotional reactions to events – whether berating the crew of the TARDIS, talking openly to the Monitor about the joyless lives of the Logolopitans or learning of the death of Aunt Vanessa – provide some genuine, believability and humanity to a miserable and sterile story, though her costume is no better than Adric’s. Matthew Waterhouse’s performance, however, is sadly not as strong here as in the previous story, hectoring Baker’s Doctor repeatedly in the opening stages and his OTT greetings of Nyssa seem forced – almost suggesting a potential attraction from the former towards the latter, though any potential relationship which could have humanised the characters never did come to pass. On a positive note, John Fraser provides gravitas as the welcoming, dignified and ultimately terrified Monitor, conveying the scale of doom in part 3 as entropy overwhelms Logopolis.

The sets are again of a high standard. The Master’s TARDIS is a clever variation on the traditional model, with a devilish red tinge to the outer panels, and the cold, sterile sets for Logopolis, described by the Master as “a cold, high place overlooking the universe”, are well-lit and suitable for an austere story such as this. Paddy Kingsland creates an ethereal, haunting score, notably during the scenes where the Doctor first sees the Watcher across the road and later on the bridge overlooking the Thames, and this sets the mood for the gloomy adventure ahead along with the dignified incidental music when the Doctor first arrives on Logopolis. The chicken-guitar funk music where the Doctor, the Master and the companions are attempting to get into the Pharos tower is a little less successful, however, rather breaking the consistent mood of the story even bearing in mind that something more up-tempo was needed for the chase scene.

Finally, after the Doctor’s ‘life flashing before the eyes’ moment clinging for dear life to the tower, and seeing his old enemies – the Master, a Dalek, the Pirate Captain from The Pirate Planet, a Cyberman, Davros, a Sontaran, a Zygon and the Black Guardian – comes the regeneration scene on the ground beneath. There is a similar ‘run-through’ of his companions – Sarah-Jane, Harry, Brigadier, Leela, K9, and the two Romanas – looking down at him and calling his name as well as the present and correct trio, and an effective use of special effects (unlike the moment where the Doctor is supposed to be hanging from the tower, and the badly choreographed reactions of the companions who ‘watch’ him fall) where the Watcher, now revealed to be a transitional stage between the 4th and 5th incarnations of the Doctor, merges with him in a flash of green and then white light. “It’s the end – but the moment has been prepared for” gasps Baker, with a triumphant expression at odds with the Master’s apparent ‘slaying’ of him, before the fresh-faced Peter Davison sits up wordlessly in his place. The theme of change referenced here in the constant ‘regeneration’ of the Master’s TARDIS (and the Doctor’s attempt to do the same to his ), and the clearing of the decks (the jettisoning of Romana’s room) is complete, with the once-inconceivable changing of the lead actor.

Logopolis, then, gives Baker a memorable (if not always for the right reasons) send off. It is a sombre, doom-laden final goodbye for an actor in the part of the Doctor, who will probably always be remembered as its most popular. It does well in bringing the themes of entropy and decay which had seeped through all the stories of season 18 to the forefront and to a conclusion, and with the regeneration of the Master to compliment that of the Doctor (whose own instability would not be cured until the end of Davison’s first transmitted story Castrovalva), hinted at the show’s future, where the two’s fates would be as interlinked as they were in Pertwee’s day. Whether one approves of all the changes Nathan-Turner had made during the season, there was little doubt that the show which concluded with Davison now in the role of the Doctor had completely evolved to enter the 1980s.

THE END

Why I Want A Doctor Who Meets Scratchman Film

Related image

Doctor Who Meets Scratchman was an idea for a Doctor Who movie originally dreamed up by 4th Doctor actor Tom Baker and Ian Marter during the filming of season 12.

Its premise would have seen the 4th Doctor, Harry and Sarah land on an island off the coast of Scotland where they would battle living scarecrows, before discovering that the Scarecrows were minions of Satan himself, called Scratchman!

The Doctor and his companions would then travel to Scratchman’s home dimension, where they would encounter other mythological figures such as the Greek God Pan and the Ferryman of the dead, Charon.

The finale would see the Doctor, Sarah and Harry battle Scratchman inside a giant interdimensional pinball machine!

The film came very close to being made towards the end of the 70s, but sadly a lack of funding and the release of Star Wars eventually brought an end to Baker’s plans to bring the Doctor to the big screen. Over 40 years after it was first conceived. Tom Baker and Ian Marter’s screenplay was finally adapted into a book, written by Tom Baker and James Goss, released in January 2019.

Personally however I still think the idea could work as a film. Scratchman to me is the perfect Doctor Who story. It combines horror, science fiction and surrealism together to create a truly unique adventure.

In this article I will give my opinion of the 2019 novelisation of Tom’s script, run through why I want Scratchman to be adapted, what I would like from said adaptation, and who I would like to play the Doctor, his companions and the titular villain.

Why Scratchman has potential

Image result for doctor who meets scratchman

Doctor Who Meets Scratchman could still work as a film, even after all this time, as it has a suitably epic story, potentially stunning visuals and a fascinating, terrifying villain in the form of Scratchman.

Scratchman is an ancient being from another universe who feeds on psychic energy. His hunger is so great that he eventually consumes each universe he visits.

Scratchman is a sadistic monster that enjoys reshaping each universe he overruns into a hideous hell dimension. He twists aliens into his Demonic servants and torments them until he gets bored and moves on.

This disturbing scene from the 2019 novelisation where Scratchman forces several of his minions to commit suicide by throwing themselves into a firey pit, shows the full extent of the torment he inflicts on his minions.

“You’re one of the new arrivals aren’t you? You’ve caused so much damage. You have cost the lives of so many of us.’ ‘I’m dreadfully sorry about that’, said Harry sincerely. ‘Don’t feel too bad, the creature said,’ but clearly didn’t mean it. ‘We are just memories of life, twisted into something to amuse our master. You’re thinking of fighting back, of escaping-but really, you’ll just cost more lives and you’ll end up like one of us- sooner or later. Sooner in your case.’ ‘Thank you,’ said Harry. ‘And then nothing awaits you but milleia of service as one of us, and finally, as fuel for him.’ ‘Fuel?’ ‘We must keep his dreams aloft.’ The creature nodded miserably. ‘If I were you I’d save myself the torment and jump now.’ ‘Will it be quick?’ Asked Harry? ‘No,’ the creature said, ‘but it will at least be over.’ And it launched itself into the air, dived down into the sulphurous pit, gave a single cry, and burst into flame.”

The current universe Scratchman inhabits resembles hell from various religions, with figures such as Charon existing. However the creatures are given somewhat modern and humorous twists; with Charon now being a down on his luck cabbie who drives people to their final destination and Scratchman’s chief torturer being a lazy giant lizard.

Scratchman has destroyed billions of universe throughout all of time, but now he sets his sights on our reality. He has been attempting to enter our universe for centuries and has been able to project his thoughts into our universe for centuries too, influencing humanity, and giving rise to myths and legends about the devil. Scratchman has also been able to pull the minds of people from our universe into his own to torture them, giving rise to myths about Charon and the afterlife.

The whole point of doing a film version of a long running television series is to do something that you couldn’t do on tv. Scratchman still fits that criteria. Even with the improved effects of New Who, the visuals of the Underworld would be too grand to do on the tv shows budget. Also the images of people being tortured and damned in hell would perhaps be too frightening and violent for the tv audience. Scratchman could up the horror ante from even the Hinchcliff era.

A problem I have had with the 21st century version of Doctor Who is that overall it’s somewhat more toothless than the original. The 1963-1989 classic era of Doctor Who regularly pushed the boundaries in terms of its violent content and provoked extreme controversy. At times the original Doctor Who was almost a horror series as much as a sci fi show.

Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, which has the potential for some really terrifying ideas and set pieces could help restore Doctor Who’s reputation as a horror series.  Indeed Doctor Who Meets Scratchman is arguably one of the darkest Doctor Who stories ever made.

Though the Doctor does defeat Scratchman, he fails to save the entire universe that Scratchman took over. The Third Doctor story Inferno was always one of the most terrifying stories for me as a child because the Doctor failed to save the earth. It was an evil, alternate version of the earth, but still seeing an entire world actually burn on screen was utterly horrifying.

Now imagine seeing the Doctor fail to save an entire universe!

Worse than that however, the universe Scratchman has taken over has been ravaged by him to such an extent, that he is the only thing that is holding it together. Therefore in order to save his universe, the Doctor has to sacrifice another!

Scratchman is even by Doctor Who standards a huge threat. He is an individual villain that can consume entire universes, and has slaughtered more people than the Daleks, the Master, and the Cybermen combined.

The story also pushes Doctor Who to its limits in terms of how surreal it is. A story with living scarecrows, the Devil, Greek Gods, and giant pin ball machines, even by Doctor Who standards is somewhat unusual.

Nevertheless it still stays within the limits of what Doctor Who can be. Scratchman is not actually a supernatural creature. He is still an alien, and the world he lives in is not actually the afterlife, just another universe.

Also whilst its true that the idea of the Doctor fighting the Devil has been explored in the television story The Satan Pit/The Beast Below, a lot of other ideas in Scratchman are still new territory for Doctor Who, such as the concept of hell. The finale featuring the Doctor and his companions being trapped in a giant pinball machine would still make an absolutely spectacular and surreal sequence too.

With a decent budget I think Scratchman could still be a unique, imaginative, and scary Doctor Who story that truly goes beyond what the tv series would be capable of.

My Opinion Of The 2019 Scratchman

Related image

Personally I wasn’t that keen on the recent adaptation of Scratchman. The first half of the book, which stays closest to Tom and Ian’s original script is fantastic. There are some genuinely chilling moments and the story plays out like a classic Phillip Hinchcliff era gothic story.

Sadly its from the second part on that the book starts to lose it. I suspect in this part of the book, co-author James Goss’ input became greater, as it doesn’t seem to match Tom’s style.

The second section of the book is done more in the style of New Who. Leaving aside the fact that I am not a big fan of the 21st century version of Doctor Who (certainly not compared to the original.) The new style also does not fit Tom’s Doctor at all.

Rather than be just a bumbling traveller with great improvisational skills like in the original series, the Doctor is rewritten in the book to being an angry lonely god. The way the Doctor defeats Scratchman by creating illusions of all the monsters he has faced on his travels is exactly the type of thing I’d expect to see in a Moffat script.

Its an attempt to big up the Doctor (with Scratchman commenting that no one could stand against all of the creatures culled from the Doctors mind) that goes against the logic of the story. Scratchman is a creature that has eaten entire universes! How on earth could the Doctor, who has only explored part of one universe, have possibly have seen anything that could shock Scratchman?

Scratchman 2019 also plays on the idea of all the Doctors being different people, and the Doctor never wanting to change. This is again something that New Who pioneered during the Tennant era. In the classic series the Doctor was never scared of regeneration. Troughton’s Doctor does protest, but once they tell him that he can choose what his next face looks like, he says “that’s not so bad”, showing that they are all meant to be the same man underneath. Making all of the Doctors into different people, destroys the Doctor as a character overall, as it now essentially turns him into a title passed onto 13 different characters.

Scratchman 2019 also features pointless cameos from other Doctors, which I feel drags the story down into fan fiction territory.

Something as large as the first 4 Doctors meeting (even if it is only scarecrow copies of the first three) should not be crowbarred into a story that is not about that, and was never intended to be about that.

Worst of all however is the fact that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor appears. Now I freely admit that I am not keen on Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor. I feel her casting was pandering and Jodie whilst not a terrible actress, is somewhat lost in the role.

Still sticking such a controversial version of the Doctor into a story that she was never intended to be in seems like a mean spirited taunt to Jodie’s critics on behalf of the co-author, James Goss. (I very much doubt that it was Tom’s idea to include Jodie. Remember Tom is a man who refused to be in The Five Doctors as he didn’t want to appear with any other Doctors. Tom also always jokingly responds “OTHER DOCTOR” when fans ask him who his favourite other Doctor was. I very much doubt with this in mind that he would go out of his way to include other Doctors in a story that was only ever intended to feature his Doctor.)

Fair enough not everybody hates Jodie, though I think its fair to say that she is not one of the most popular incarnations of the Time Lord to say the least.

Image result for doctor who rotten tomatoes

Still this is not like someone having a line up of all the Doctors and Jodie’s critics getting angry at her being included at all.

This book was a chance for old school fans to enjoy a new story from the most popular Doctor of the original series, that Jodie was never a part of at all. James Goss however wouldn’t even let us have that. He has such contempt for classic era fans that he had to force the revival into it, and the most controversial aspect of the revival too, regardless of how out of place it seemed. It sullied the entire book for me.

Its a shame as well as the second section of the book contains the most wild and imaginative aspects of the story, but Goss’ tampering with Tom and Ian’s ideas lets it, and consequently the entire story overall down.

The subsequent film adaptation would in my opinion have to leave out cameos from all the former and future Doctors, focus on the other universe and its history, how it tried to fight and ultimately fell to Scratchman, the Doctors dilemma in having to destroy another universe to save his own, Scratchman’s influence on human history, and the various monsters in his universe. All of these ideas are only touched upon in the 2019 version, as the story seems to be more concerned with focusing on analysing the Doctors character instead.

Who Would I Cast

Related image

For a hypothetical film version of Scratchman I would like to see Julian Richings as the Doctor and Dana Delorenzo and Colin O’Donaghue as his two companions.

I have mentioned all 3 of these actors before as being my ideal Tardis team. I think Julian would be perfect as an old school, alien, distant, no nonsense Doctor, based on his stellar performance as Death in Supernatural.

See here.

The Doctor

Dana Delorenzo and Colin O’Donaghue meanwhile are both actors with prior genre experience, (Delorenzo was one of the stars in the cult series Ash Vs Evil Dead) whilst Colin starred as Captain Hook on Once Upon A Time for 6 years.

And his companions

Colin and Dana would both be very physical companions who would make a great contrast with the more cerebral, cold and elderly Doctor.

All 3 actors together would bring a very different dynamic to the story than Tom, Sarah and Harry would have done, but that’s okay. You could never replicate the chemistry those three characters had, so it would make sense to try something new.

Julian’s more serious Doctor could help play up some of the horror aspects, whilst Dana and Colin could at the same time allow a chance for there to be greater action in the film.

I have mentioned in the past that I would prefer to see an alternate sequel to Classic Who that ignores New Who and a Scratchman film could serve as quite a good pilot to this hypothetical sequel.

Personally I think it would be for the best if they ditched Jodie’s era which is already failing hard next year, gave the show a rest for a few years; and then produced Doctor Who Meets Scratchman with Julian, Dana and Colin in 2023 for the 60th anniversary, followed by a new series with that cast.

As for Scratchman personally I would like to see Bruce Campbell play the role. Bruce Campbell is a horror icon best known for playing Ash Williams in The Evil Dead franchise. He has played a few villains in his long career such as Assault on Dome 4, as an evil Witchfinder in Charmed, and as Ash’s evil counterpart in both Army of Darkness and Ash vs Evil Dead.

In my opinion Campbell would be the best choice for Scratchman as he would be able to inject enough humour into the role. Part of what makes Scratchman such an effective villain is his twisted sense of humour. Campbell has a real talent for being able to blend overt horror and comedy together almost like no other angle.

When he wants too Campbell can be menacing as seen in Ash Vs Evil Dead when his evil counterpart brutally murders and taunts Amanda Fisher, or in Army of Darkness where the evil version of Ash rapes Shelia! (Which may be the most disturbing moment in any of the Evil Dead movies.)

Also its known that Tom Baker wanted Vincent Price to play the original Scratchman. Price even expressed interest in the role. Thus it would make sense to get another legendary horror actor to play it today.

Scratchman!

I would also have Scratchman survive the Doctors attempts on his life (as was planned in the original script by Tom and Ian) so that he could then recur in the series as another major enemy of the Doctor. I think there is enough in the Scratchman character to bring him back for later stories. (If he were to be played by Bruce Campbell then that would just be all the more reason to bring him back! Its a scientific fact that you can increase the enjoyment of something by the inclusion of Bruce Campbell.)

For the role of Charon, I think Mark Hamill would be an excellent choice. Hamill’s talent as a voice actor could allow him to come up with a suitably unique and creepy voice for the ferryman, or cabbie of the dead.

For the role of Mr Tembel, the Lizard who attempts to torture the Doctor by boring him to death, I think David Warner would be an excellent choice. Aside from being an all around excellent actor, Warner’s role as the inept, useless torturer would be a nice contrast to one of his most famous roles as the Cardassian torturer in Star Trek The Next Generation. It would also give him a chance to show off a more comedic side as well.

Finally as for the role of Mrs Tulloch, the mean spirited woman in the village, I would cast Lucy Lawless. Lucy Lawless who is best known as Xena is excellent at playing villains. In this hypothetical film version you would have to expand Tulloch’s role so as not to waste Lucy. I would have her rather than simply be killed, be turned into a Demon by Scratchman and be one of his main servants in hell chasing the Doctor and his companions.

Lucy would make an amazing Doctor Who monster. She’s already proven she can play really horrific, vicious monstrous characters as seen with Ruby in Ash vs Evil Dead, and the various times Xena was turned into a Demon, Vampire etc.

Related image

Mrs Tulloch

My Own Version Of Scratchman

Regardless of whether or not we will ever see a version of Scratchman on the big screen, I will be doing my own adaptation of the story as part of my own alternate sequel series. I wanted Scratchman to be canon to my series that ignores New Who, as I wanted to use the character of Scratchman as a recurring foe for the Doctor, but sadly I can’t use the 2019 version due to the inclusion of Jodie’s Doctor.

So instead I will be doing my own version. (I will not be using Tom’s Doctor as I obviously could never hope to write his Doctor as well as he could.)

My version will be released in weekly instalments over the Chirstmas period in 2019. Think of it as being this years Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Big Finish’s Scratchman

Related image

Finally regardless of whether we ever get a film version, I think that Big Finish should adapt Scratchman as an audio story. I’d love to see Tom and Lalla Ward appear in it. As for who could play the audio Scratchman, personally I’d love to see William Shatner play the villain. I realise that casting would probably never happen, but still imagine how sensational it would be to see Tom Baker’s Doctor fight the Devil played by Shatner himself!

With Lucy Lawless as a Demonic Mrs Tulloch to complete the cast, Scratcman could be the best Big Finish audio story yet. Please if you’re reading this Nicholas Briggs, make it happen!

(Though please for the love of god keep Jodie out of the audio version. No more Stalinist revisions of the shows history. I’m just saying trying to crowbar the most polarising version of the Doctor into every aspect of Doctor Who history, isn’t going to make us love her.)

Thanks for reading and let me know if you think Scratchman could ever work as a film, and what you thought of the recent adaptation.