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Serial 8B - The Stoned of Venice
Fifth Entry in the EC Unauthorized Program Guide O' Horny Linoleum


Serial 8B - The Stoned of Venice -

Once again, the Doctor has done what he does best; snuck into the British Museum without paying, dared touch something marked 'Do not touch', been attacked by a psychotic tour guide, and been chased up countless identical corridors. However, other patrons of the museum don't seem very pleased about it. As the Doctor and Charley flee for their lives, steps ahead of the angry mob, the Doctor is already planning their next trip, and the thought of a strip-club in Venice pops into his head. Once safely back in the TARDIS, Charley goes complain to Serge about what a screwball the Time Lord is, believing that the seal will even be remotely interested in what she says. However, the Doctor knows their temporary pet will snap sooner or later and pump Charley full of lead. In the meantime, Venice is as good a place as any for Charley to fall in love with some passing gondolier, and better than some...

Part One - The Strange Daze

There is a strange daze over the populace of Venice. The grand marble palaces are wreathed with an odd-smelling fog and the crowd is generally relaxed and aren't particularly inclined to party as if there's no tomorrow, which there may not be. They just don't care. The ruler of the city, Duke Insanity IV, does not wish his subscription to Reader's Digest to be renewed; he is mired in self-pity and melancholy, and can think of nothing else but some nice snacks and wonders if his love Bestseller will eventually come back from the shops as she promised. His curator, Churchill, sighs and reminds the Duke that Bestseller "popped out for some milk" over a century ago and is probably not coming back, and even if she did, she's not going to forgive him easily for gambling away what he could never replace - her life-size baboon statue made entirely out of maple syrup. It is little wonder that she set fire to the gigantic Venetian cannabis crop and cursed him and this city to being stoned forever after such a betrayal. Churchill is concerned with saving the highly-immoral Italian lithographs and other pornographic treasures that remain in the Duke's private collection, but the duke has little inclination for self-abuse and less interest in bathing. The Duke knows his people are getting the munchies, and as he departs for the ballroom, still praying for Bestseller's miraculous return with some Mars bars, Churchill returns to his gallery to spank the monkey one last time.

Charley has never been to Venice, but suspects that the TARDIS has missed the waterlogged city and simply arrived in the Thames. The Doctor quietly changes the subject back to Venitian gondoliers and how attractive they are - a charming and sinister breed, desolate and ruined by day but throbbing sex on a stick by night and not just weird twits playing accordions out of key. The duo emerge into a strong fog and discover that most of Venice has been evacuated. Charley is worried that the city is about to be destroyed by some mysterious calamity, and the Doctor quickly points out that the property rates are no doubt fantastic and it's the perfect place for a young pregnant nymphomaniac to settle down and shag Italians. Suddenly, they come across a drug-addled tramp called Eleanor Rigby. Rigby is far too embarrassed by her name to risk leaving a city of stoned wasters and face a world of people sober enough to crack bad Beatle jokes at her. Soon, the marijuana fog will disperse and the cold turkey will set in. Death and destruction will reign and life itself will be extinguished.

"Cool!" drawls the Doctor.

Charley is disgusted with the Doctor, who was supposed to take her somewhere glamorous and exciting, but instead brought her to a dying city full of high revelers and the suicidally depressed. The Doctor insists that it's all so much of muchness and suggests that ballrooms in every building are more exciting than blackmailing a Time Lord for child support. Rigby gives up and leaves the domestic pair to their wrangling, but she feels sure that they will meet again as story reaches episode four. The Doctor offers to make up for his foolish mistake and takes Charley out to find the last great party at the end of the world... and dump her there.

Catching a passing punt used by the gondolier, Pietro, the Doctor begins boasting how remarkable their host's physique is and how he probably looks even better out of the stripy shirt and straw hat. Charley retorts that if the Doctor finds the idea of gondoliers so damn sexy, he can shag one himself. Pietro shakes his head, realizing that his passengers are genuinely fruitcakes and not simply passers-by driven insane by pot. Being a particularly spiteful and sadistic clan, the gondoliers are looking forward to the end of the Stoned Age, unlike the other drunken and foolish revelers, whose only interest is to see if being sober is as good as all the health pamphlets say it is. They arrive at their destination, and Charley, who was expecting a violent orgy of booze and drugs, is surprised and irritated to find that the Doctor has instead taken her to an art gallery where surrealistic nudes hang on display. Not paintings, but actual models who found themselves reluctant to move from their erotic poses and have stayed like this for years. Charley tells the Doctor that she is just popping out for some tampons, but she has instead ditched him on the spot. Leaving the Time Lord to his insane babblings of relief and joy, Charley goes out with Pietro, but is soon put off by his unusual habit of "cultspotting", where he watches a group of hooded figures who seem to be searching the streets for something and marks down their serial numbers. Pietro is delighted to spot their leader, the High Priest Vincenzo, which is worth 50 points! Awkwardly Pietro admits that there is only one actual cult in Venice, the cult of Bestseller. Charley suggests they do something - anything! - else and offers several immoral acts to Pietro, who is so shocked he decides to take Charley to a hidden place where his people rest and prove he is no longer a virgin...

The Doctor is no longer as good at breaking into museums as he used to be, but he is respectful enough of the kinky models to convince Churchill to give him a guided tour. The Doctor is particularly fascinated by what appears to be a woman sitting on a horse eating a banana, and is appalled to learn that the Duke is unwilling to let them get naughty postcards of the artworks. According to Churchill, all the Duke ever does is count his varicose veins, snort mucus through his left nostril and ask if his lost love Bestseller can buy him some biscuits. There is nothing remaining of her but an infamous adult publication which is rumored to show her mounting a Dustbin. Churchill is hounded day and night by fanatics who believe that he's hoarding this magazine somewhere in his gallery - and to his immense regret, he isn't. As far as he is concerned, Bestseller died a hundred years ago; the Duke is only alive now because of his bewildering decree to put the clocks forward a century for the sheer hell of it. Churchill is also disturbed by the Doctor's fascination with this story, and by his claim that he's seen this all before at the Cannes Film Festival, only much better. As he tries to usher he Doctor out of his gallery, the Doctor brings him up short by claiming to have a vast library of naughty comics which he can search for "Venetian Sluts With Marrows, Vol. 2, Ish. 33". However, just as he catches Churchill's attention, he realizes for the first time that Charley has been using these mags as lining for her litter tray - he refuses to let her foulness touch the TARDIS plumbing as a matter of principal. He thus rushes off in search of a kebab, with the suddenly desperate Churchill at his heels.

Pietro takes Charley to a ramshackle dwelling where the gondoliers rest and plot against the complacent upper classes who treat them as nothing more than dull-witted transport - and find the place deserted. Pietro hastily explains that, living in constant doped air does strange things to the mind and suggests that half the population of Venice is just a drug-induced hallucination. One look at Pietro's dungeons and dragons collection and soiled sheets and Charley begs for release. Pietro agrees on the condition they rise up against the oppressive self-indulgent Duke for a hundred years and bloody well play an April Fool's gag on them. Charley agrees, anything, just let her out of this madhouse where a "Parental Advisory Lyrics" poster has its own shrine for being TOO cutting edge.

As the increasingly desperate Doctor searches for some all-night takeaway, Churchill tries to lure him back to the gallery with tales of young cheerleaders. As fascinating as the story is, the Doctor is more concerned with finding something to eat, and before Churchill knows it, night has fallen. He's as lost as the Doctor is in Venice's twisting and deceptive streets - everything beyond the red light district is alien territory to the both of them. Suddenly, the Cult of Bestseller emerge from the shadows and explain that they are equally lost and desperate for some confectionery. Vincenzo is triumphant; as it was meant to be, Churchill is now his captive, and will bear witness to Bestseller's front page kinkyness...

Part Two - The Stoned of Venice

Charley, meanwhile is - and I apologize if my language is excessively technical on this point - mega pissed off and no mistake. Although she developed a vague interest in Pietro when he suggested dressing up and role-playing and going to a party of kinky freaks, she has instead been forced to wear a traditional Middle Earth frock while Pietro puts on some big ears and furry feet. As they head into the ballroom, Charley wonders why fate couldn't have been kind enough to be drugged during proceedings. Pietro replies that he has nothing but contempt for the waiting revelers, who dance, feast and drink with no thought for the gondoliers who have suffered under a century's rule by a weak, self-indulgent duke. Charley points out that at least they have some kind of social life.

The Doctor and Churchill awake in studio - specifically, the Underground Lair Of An Evil Cult Set A) Dungeon Cell with mandatory wobbling walls. The Doctor, high and dangerous, simply rips down one wall and steps through into Underground Lair of An Evil Cult Set B) Most Holy Sanctum! It's the last night of whacky-baccy, they're surrounded by danger and dark secrets, and much to Churchill's horror, the Doctor is in a tutu. There's corruption here, and he's the man run away in the desperate hope it will all sort itself out. Churchill may think him nuttier than squirrel **** but it's a viewpoint which has stood him well so far. The Doctor promptly tries to steal the props, including a broken clock and a polystyrene coffin painted gold. Inside he finds several plastic bags full of white powder, which he insists he must return for the TARDIS for analysis - and possibly some white wine and good company. The Doctor closes the coffin again -- mere moments before Vincenzo and his cultists burst from their tea-break in to find them already half-way through the scene: the Cult of Bestseller is making a soap-u-mentry about the Munchies of Venice and the Doctor and Churchill have RUINED the whole fly-on-the-wall feel of the piece. Rather than put them to death immediately, Vincenzo gives them a chance to save themselves; they must re-take the scene and then infiltrate the Duke's palace and steal Vol. 2, Issue 33 of Venetian Sluts With Marrows to win the prize and come back next week. The weary Churchill insists once more that there is no such issue, but the Doctor innocently claims that Churchill was using it himself in the ducal apartments. This is just what Vincenzo wants to hear - well, apart from Churchill's disgusting habits - and he triumphantly orders his production crew to return to location.

Pietro and Charley burst into the grand ballroom and Charley announces that she is Bestseller and she's sorry about the delay but the traffic on the main road was awful. She also claims that she's thought it through and yes, the Duke was right: a gigantic syrup statue of a baboon isn't the most practical or pleasant of bathroom toiletries. The stunned the Duke orders his wasted guests to return to their entertainments, neatly glossing over the fact none of them are conscious enough to eavesdrop. When Rigby suggests that the Duke would have to have more testicles than brain cells to believe this **** from Charley, he loses his temper and points out that it's Murphy's Law - the legends are so utterly unbelievable and cliched they just HAVE to be true. Besides, inhaling pure dope as he has for the last century, he can barely recognize his own reflection, let alone his lost love. Nevertheless, he now has a handy human shield for when the revelers become ravenous tomorrow morning. When Rigby suggests just getting a huge fricken gun and blowing the heads off everyone who dares approach him, the Duke refuses because the bananas are dipped in silicon. Charley realizes that the Duke is still just as demented as he was a hundred years ago.

The Doctor and Churchill are now riding the Cult of Bestseller's ecumenical mode of transport - a deluxe model inflatable wombat stolen from Duke Insanity IV's private vault. Churchill points out that for the last night before the apocalypse, his life is turning to total **** around him. The Doctor is more concerned about the fact he might bump into Charley and fears she might start their "relationship" all over again to listen to Churchill's incessant bitching. He reminds Churchill that they are, for want of a better plot, on the Duke's side - they aren't doing a suicidal mission for a reality TV show, but are being herded towards safety, or at least a chance to lock themselves in the art gallery as planned. Churchill snaps, insisting he didn't fight on the beaches and the streets just so he could be told to shut up and be reasonable by some idiot dressed as Lord Byron.

Pietro and Rigby drag Charley kicking and screaming to Bestseller's apartments and find the rooms apparently untouched after a century. Pietro and Charley find themselves oddly disappointed; there're no interesting posters, furnishings or mail-order abdomen-slimmers. In fact, they come to the conclusion that Bestseller must have been the most utterly boring and predictable woman in the whole of created time. Rigby huffs at this, suggesting that being a duchess isn't all debauchery, debasement or even debauchery in the basement! When the others sensibly ask how the hell she would know, Rigby tells them to mind their own damn business.

Despite the baffling topography and complete lack of any sense of direction, the cultists and their unwitting accomplices are almost at the palace. It occurs to the Doctor to wonder why the cultists are so determined to get their hands on the porn mag, but Vincenzo will say only that they require it to keep the dads watching between infomercials. The Doctor has fought apathetic audience ratings before and knows it to be a wearying experience, but it's generally best to take them totally by surprise with a shocking, pointless and easily-resolved cliffhanger. So saying, he pops the "rubber dingy" with a safety pin and the Doctor, Churchill, Vincenzo and countless screaming priests plunge into the depths of the canal...
Part Three - Irritation

Naturally, all the speaking cast escape this hideous death and, with the canal now stuffed to the gills with dead cultists, it is now only ankle deep. Vincenzo admits that this development should improve their audience share again, and leads the others into the palace to confront the Duke Insanity IV and maybe get a little nookie from the more attractive revelers. The Duke just giggles to himself as the new arrivals talk to him, but when he learns that Vincenzo is a TV executive, hastily sit up, straightens his crown and tries not to look into the camera. Vincenzo explains that the doco's format requires the Duke to make a live appearance and congratulate the lucky cult member who gets to keep Bestseller's autographed remains and some Doctor Who pieces of cardboard. In all the hurly-burly, they pay little attention to the Doctor's attempt to change the subject to the art in Churchill's gallery because the weird painted models in compromising positions are far more interesting than the plot the surrounds them in his opinion.

As the episode has started, Rigby decides that they should return to the party; they may as well spend their last night on Earth enjoying themselves. But Pietro smugly informs her that he will not die as he wears the Nosestud of Calabria Ngentob, the most powerful Artifact in all of Middle Earth. At this point, Charley and Rigby shake their heads and walk out, throwing the argument downstairs into even more confusion. Is Charley, as Vincenzo suspects, a member from a rival reality TV show (Extreme Venice 3000) pulling a similar stunt? Is Vincenzo's production crew merely a hallucination from the hemp fumes, as Rigby postulates? Is Churchill's belief that the whole thing is being masterminded by the Duke correct? Or is it, just as the Doctor grunts, a way to pad out 25 minutes adequately?

The Duke has had enough; he takes a knife and cuts Vincenzo's toenails. This utterly bizarre behavior shuts everyone up for three whole minutes as they watch on in total disbelief. Rigby is disgusted with them all, which isn't particularly surprising. The Doctor is more concerned with Charley's strange behavior and whether he should skip town now or wait and confirm that she wants to shag Venetian royalty for the rest of her life. The Duke ignores them all and prepares to storm off to the corner shop and get his own damn snacks, but Rigby warns that this will only cause worse indigestion. However, the Doctor, Charley, Vincenzo and Churchill go with him on the condition he drop them off at the TARDIS, studio and art gallery respectively.

The Doctor, meanwhile, is brooding on the fact the cultists are another bunch of mad fanatics who worship a body which isn't even there. Is this a biblical parody? The Doctor doubts that the writers are that clever, and suggests it's a variation on the lose/lose formats of reality TV. He also tries to rationalize the malfunction clock: is it going backwards deliberately so it ticks down the hours to destruction, or is it just a cheap prop?

After twelve minutes trying to get the ducal barge moving, the cast just get out and walk. Charley explains what a hideous time she's been having but is sure she can trick the Duke into marrying her, then kill him so she can take over Venice and make it truly the hellish deathtrap that Pietro assumes it to be on principal. The Doctor thinks this is the best possible outcome and tries to talk sense into them all; why don't they work together to find a credible resolution to the plot while he runs for his nearby ship and gets to safety while everyone in Venice dies horribly ever after? Nobody listens, and the Doctor decides to go back to the Duke's wine cellars and empty them out of sheer spite.

As the remainder enter the studio for Vincenzo's program, they discover he has far more contestants than the duke had dreamed, and Vincenzo forces them all onto the main set where the casket waits for the lucky winner. Despite this photo opportunity, the Duke refuses to stick to the script - he will not glorify the flying goblins who have taken over his shoe cupboard. As Churchill tries miserably to make sense of this latest statement, a hush falls over the studio as Pietro, the lucky winner, gets to open the casket. It's empty, but Pietro simply assumes that the prize is the Ring of Geldron which turns everything invisible, and thanks Vincenzo profusely. The audience aren't fooled and storm the set. As everyone is dragged down by the rampaging mob of drug-crazed Italians, Vincenzo shouts, "And now, a word from our sponsors!"

Part Four - Shave back

The advertisement for "Dustbin Cocaine: Mmmm, That's Good Cocaine" sadly finishes AFTER Charley, Pietro, the Duke, Vincenzo, Rigby and Churchill escape the total carnage in the TV studio and thus prevents us founding out how the hell they survived. Vincenzo and the Duke are at each other's throats from mary-jane withdrawal, and the latter suddenly becomes desperate to eat a lentil sandwich. Vincenzo realizes that the best lentil restaurant in Venice is, conveniently, the one place he left his escape helicopter for just this sort of emergency. Only Bestseller's appearance on a porn mag can save them now, as by providing it they might at least fulfill ONE of Vincenzo's advertising promises and calm the mob who is, even now, at their heels. To Churchill's shock, the Duke admits that there is such a publication, the only memento she allowed him to keep. He set fire it and used it to light up a joint - and action that, in retrospect, doesn't seem 100 per cent clever. Charley feels that it's too late and that they should fight to the death over who gets to escape in the one-man helicopter - hopefully, the Survivor-style slaughter will quiet the audience long enough for the winner to flee for their life. The Duke refuses to take orders from a lemon sherbet such as Charley, and they return to the ducal palace out of a lack of any original plot development.

The palace is deserted but for the Doctor, who is ransacking the apartments for all he's worth. At this sight, and with every one running around trying to find a 100 year old porn mag to please a most-likely-non-existent audience, Rigby snaps. SHE is Bestseller - and, although a hundred years have passed LEGALLY, she's only been missing for forty hours and cannot believe the lunacy that has occurred simply because she took a long walk. Vincenzo bows down before her and, much to her disgust, asks her if she would like her own sitcom "Spoonbending with Miss Nude"? The Duke demands his pint of milk and gets a slap in the face.

The Doctor has had enough and suspects the viewers have as well. All he wanted to do was dump his psycho-stalker girlfriend in a city full of weirdoes, and it turns out that she's the most well-adjusted of the lot of them! An insane duke, his boring lover, their randy arts minister, a part-time hobbit full time gondolier and a TV executive determined to get a BAFTA for it all are not worth his - or indeed anyone's - time. All that is happening now has been caused by the will of two people, and it's up to those two people to stop it. But Bestseller refuses; she has damned the city quite thoroughly, but the Doctor just yawns and suggests she simply reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. Bestseller remarks she hadn't thought of this particular course of action and pops out to do just that. The Duke reveals the truth: he IS the polarity of the neutron flow! With this revelation, he cackles insanely, assumes the "teapot" position, hops in the corner of the room and drops dead. "He died as he lived," Churchill eulogizes. "A total ****ing lunatic, through and through."

Pietro is the first to notice that the palace seems to be spinning, and when the Doctor pulls aside the curtains, they see that the sky is full of smoke - the stock of illegal grass is burning again and the people of Venice will soon be stoned off their arses once more. Vincenzo flees, taking with him the remains of the duke, no doubt to start a whole new sitcom based around him. Churchill wants to know the fate of his porn collection, but he can wait; he doesn't want to end up like Pietro, an obsessed wanker. The Doctor, pleased with the outcome, suggests the first thing the new regime does is create a spatio-temporal barrier that will prevent the TARDIS from arriving in Venice ever again.

Stealing Pietro's gondola, the Doctor punts back to the TARDIS at top speed. Charley has smuggled herself aboard, however, and, as they reach the police box, neither can quite believe that all of this fuss and mythology is COMPLETELY TYPICAL of Venice and in no way at all out of the ordinary. Charley vows she will never abandon the Doctor like Bestseller did the Duke.

The credits roll over the wailing Doctor bashing his head against the TARDIS again and again.

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who and the Mists of Madness
Doctor Mysterio el Loco Mary-Jane
The Joint Venture - Use of Recreational Drugs on Inferior Life Forms

Fluffs - Paul McGann seemed as high as a kite for this story.

"I command you to infiltrate the foolish Duke's ridiculous sacrilegious ball!" ...what? He was SUPPOSED to say that? Seriously?? Get away!

Goofs –
Despite all the laws of god and man, this story was considered suitable for release into the global community

The Doctor insists that they have arrived in Venice in the 23rd century, but everyone else in the city acts like its the 13th century. Is the Doctor that bad at counting? And why is Winston Churchill there? He wasn't alive in either time zone!

When Churchill observes "It's like some awful premise for a Spanish telethon," the Doctor replies that "Most things are, in my experience," which doesn't take Sick Morning, or, indeed, the rest of Doctor Who into account.

Fashion Victims –
The Sacred Cult of Bestseller requires every member to wear Gumbie outfits from Monty Python, but it should be pointed out Vincenzo manages to wear that Mickey Mouse Headdress with a certain flair.

The Doctor's gondolier sex-slave outfit.

Fashion Triumphs –
The Elf Queen outfit that is obvious three sizes too small for Charley

Technobabble –
The Doctor uses 'cerebral neutralizer' when Charley announces that she is continuing to travel with him. To us mere mortals, it looks like him pouring scotch down a funnel into his throat.

Links and References -
Whilst examining the Duke's collection of living nude models, the Doctor double takes and demands "Zoe? What the hell are YOU doing here?" and the model replies, "It's a living."

Untelevised Misadventures -
The story begins at the end of a previous adventure that was not televised. Are you happy now?

Groovy DVD Extras -
75 hours of material cut for timing reasons, usually showing Paul McGann and India Fisher either feeling each other up or cackling insanely at the thought of "Hash Brownies". There is also a cut sequence from the fourth episode where the Doctor tie-dyes his cravat, announcing that Ozzy Osbourne's drug-addled ravings have suddenly become "oh-so-clear".
Dialogue Disasters -

Charley: Look at the state of my underwear! It's all seen better days. I'd be ashamed to have armpits like this. No wonder it's deserted.
Doctor: Oh, for the love of god, shut up.

Chruchwell: Ya know, once upon a time I used to be somebody! Then what happened? I coughed up, I spilt the beans, and the next thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire! But I could have been someone. I could have been a container.

Doctor: Let's travel in style! Let's raise a glass as we steam down the canal! And before the world ends, it turns completely upside down!
Charley: Oh, no, he's been at the shoe polish again!

Duke Insanity IV: You don't think that our dealer could save us?
Churchill: I do not think anything could save us, Mr. Looney.
Duke Insanity IV: Just as well. I need to do my chicken impression.

Doctor: I don't know what I like, but I know pornography when I see it.

Vincenzo: A love affair that could lay waste to a whole city. Don't you think it's fantastic?
Doctor: No - but then, I hate these reality TV premises, so I'm probably not your demographic.

Duke Insanity IV: Where have they gone? My guests! My people! They have fled!
Churchill: Actually, they're still here. You're talking to the wall.
Duke Insanity IV: No matter. I must eat the chandelier!

Doctor: I tell you, Eleanor, I'm something of a God in the bedroom department. I don't tell people my name - it gets a bit tiring hearing the same thing being shouted at the ceiling, time after time. Isn't that right, Charley? Charley?
Charley: I faked it, Doctor. It seemed the easiest way.
Doctor: Oh, sweet Jesus, no... [begins to cry] "Swing low, sweet chariot..."

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: For God's sake, Charley, stop playing with your baubles!

Pietro: Your friend the Doctor seems to be causing the ruckus.
Charley: Oh, big ****ing surprise.

Churchill: They say that the beauty of her radiant form drove the Duke mad with passion.
Doctor: She must have - what do you call it? Banged him like a dunny door in a cyclone?

Churchill: Are you Elvish?
Pietro: No, I'm a hobbit, fatso!

Charley: They loved each other in the end. After everything. They knew they had to die together. Right at the bitter end.
Doctor: Fine! No more post-1930 films for you. I've had more than enough Leonardo DiCaprio to last me for two regeneration cycles!

Doctor: Oh, come on. Let's get out there - you heard what she said! There's a party going on out there! A last, desperate carnival... One really fantastic, apocalyptic knees-up! Would you consider missing that for all the world?
Charley: Doctor, I can take a hint... what is the hint?

Vincenzo: Let the dog see the rabbit. Now, I pronounce you man and wife. Next week on Celebrity Pets' Big Brother Weddings From Hell, well see a nervous meercat groom demand to know why WE won't get the raccoon to the church on time!

Doctor: Just what have you been up to since you ran out on me, Charley?
Charley: I was knocked out, blindfolded, banged up in a cellar and ritualistically abused by a gang of dwarves. I'm having a wonderful time!

Doctor: As for you lot, I don't even carry money - I don't need it. And I must say I think you treat your visitors here very shabbily indeed! British Museum, my arse!

Duke Insanity IV: Do go on, Doctor. I have no idea what you are, but you reek of vanilla.

Doctor: What kind of nutters made you two the rulers of this city??
Bestseller: Yes, it is a bit of a reign of error, isn't it?
Doctor: Are you trying to be funny?
Bestseller: Yes.

Charley: Well, that's my sense of social justice piqued.
Doctor: Don't be so bloody self-aware, Charley. This isn't Farscape, you know!

Churchill: Are you Elvish, Doctor?
Doctor: No. I'm more of a Hendrix man, myself.

Charley: I hate museums. All these little men telling you to keep your hands to yourself and then they get offended when you try a little executive relief!

Doctor: The sound of distant Pink Floyd albums. I wonder if they're into free love as well? They usually are, that type... I JUST LOVE THIS DAMN PLANET!

Charley: My parents will be very shocked when you take me back.
Doctor: Your parents are ALWAYS shocked. You turned up for your seventh birthday party drunk on cheap cider and threw up on your mum's Harrods nightie. Then, when the drug squad arrived and promptly strip-searched the clown they brought for the party...
Charley: How do you know all this, Paul?
Doctor: Oh, I do my research.
Charley: You mean "stalking"?
Doctor: NOT during a take, India!!

Doctor: And the clock chimes out for the munchies of Venice!

UnQuotable Quote -

Charley: That's it then. It's lunch.

Viewer Quotes -

"Stay away from the canals, you brain-dead maggots! STAY AWAY! DO YOU HEAR ME, YOU BASTARD? STAY - AWAY - FROM - THE - CANALS!"
- some bloke on the street when I mentioned the name "Venice" (2002)

"On first glance, The Stoned of Venice contains a many long drug-induced rambles which must have looked fine on paper, had they ever been written down. This being a Paul Magrs script, it's broken and uses magic rather than technobabble, making a bewildering parallel to the rest of Doctor Who. The structure isn't up to much; the cliffhangers are tacked on, characters just move back and forth between locations chatting (except at the climax, where they stand around chatting). Not a lot really happens, and when it does, the events are overwhelmed by the dialogue. Which is unfortunate, then, as the dialogue is more Abbot & Costello than Shakespeare and the cast just adlib for the majority of the story. No matter, the Doctor and Charley are back to maximum fanwank, bar one slip. Did young subjects of George V really use the phrase "fan-dab-a-doozy"? Did they? Well, fancy that then." - Tri Sumi (1997)

"The story, if nothing else, is imaginative and diverting. Like a rhinoceros using a nerf ball as toilet paper. Only more pointless and less well-thought out. After so many BBC novels full of blood, torture and deadly serious issues, it's a novelty to experience a story in which the Eighth Doctor enjoys himself rather than getting stripped naked, beaten up and tortured. So, obviously this cannot be canonical in any way, shape or form." - Bob McCallif (3002)

"Where were the ****ing aliens?" - Average 11 year old response (2000)

"I noticed that most of the characters in this story seem partly aware that they are players in a story and that the Doctor's insight into what might happen seemed as much informed by dramatic structure as history or science. Then I realized that the actors were just stoned out of their heads and switched off."
- Jacqueline Pearce (2003)

"Where were the ****ing Quirks?" - Average Creator of the Quirks response (1969-present)

"This is a slightly different to Sick Morning and Bored of Ironing. In those two scripts there were plot, consistency and logic. Nothing similar is used here, as the Doctor throws himself into the story, waxing lyrical about sexy gondolier and not even thinking of leaving until he's had stolen some duty-free wine. The interaction between McGann and Fisher is wonderful, perhaps the best aspect of the story; it's the only one that makes it abundantly clear someone is paying attention throughout the script."
- Angus Deaton (2001)

"It's people like the dull, humorless rebel-cum-trade unionist Pietro that make you understand why Britons voted Conservative for 17 years." - Saffron Monsoon (2000)

"While The Stoned of Venice may FEEL very different and perhaps, at a stretch, innovative, it is unmistakably Doctor Who. The science-fiction equivalent of genital warts." - Patrick Snob (2004)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"This story took Doctor Who away from its scientific norms and promoted the use of magic. There's no such thing as magic, you know. I mean, honestly. It's just a dull excuse to sacrifice a goat and snuff drifters. I mean, we all nod and act tolerant, but really, what society is crying out for nowadays is truth, blood and death. If you want to slit the throat of a virgin and use their skin as a duvet, go for it! But at least have the dignity to admit it's on your own bat and not to satisfy some pagan deity who has better things to do."

Paul McGann Speaks!
"It's funny to think that if the TV Movie had got the right numbers in America, then I'd be out there, working with quality scripts and star performers of the highest caliber. I'm not sad, though. Not really. Suicidally depressed, rather than just 'sad'. I don't think 'sad' does it justice. There's no value in regrets like that. But there are no values in the crap I'm doing now, so I find there's a nifty symmetry. When you work on in the American film industry, it's such a rarefied atmosphere. You shoot a scene and then it's back to your trailer or dressing room on your own. I'd forgotten what ****ing agony it is to be stuck with a crowd of hammy has-beens who continually insist they have some kind of acting ability. I tried to hide in the green room, or go for lunch in the pub. They followed me! That pub was in the next county and the bastards followed me in a couch and charged me for the fare! Michael Sheard was the worst, though. He kept licking my hand saying, "You don't taste like the others". But I'm stuck here. I signed a contract - stupid date rape drugs in the Guinness. I'm not falling for that again!"

India Fisher Speaks!
"Working with Paul McGann really was a dream come true for me. Well, apart from those cheese-shaped pillows and that endless supply of chocolate sauce, but then my dreams are pretty vivid. Some people can get a little worried when they meet someone who they've been a fan of for some time, just in case they don't live up to expectations, but Paul needn't have worried. I was everything he'd believed, but better-looking and completely shaved. We clicked instantly and constantly, and I remember Alan Barnes screaming at me "Stop clicking your stupid fingers! It's ****ting us all to hell!" Dear Alan. His groin made a delightful crunching noise as I exerted my vice-like grip around his dearest possessions. He speaks in a falsetto now and may never walk again. No one can keep a straight face when this wheelchair-bound chipmunk squeaks, "Please, I'm begging you, take this seriously - for the fans' sake!" Hahah. Wanker."

Michael Sheard Speaks!
"I'm reliably informed by the voices in my head that only Nick Courtney has worked with more Doctor Whos than me. And he had the advantage of playing the same character all the time, the lucky scrote. I've had to slave away in bit-parts from the day the show started. From "Monoid Victim 2" to "Renegade Dustbin Agent Victim 1" to "Passing Motorist Who's Neck Is Crushed By The Bastard For A Laugh", not to mention the non-speaking roles! I'm waiting by the phone even now for Russell T Davies to come to senses, the mad queen. The last Doctor Who I did was The Stoned of Venice, and I'll be shot if I get this wrong, but I think I'm right in saying he's a million-year-old blue whale that took a bad number and has to impersonate Mr. Bronson from Grange Hill. Um... why is that young gentleman aiming a gun at me again?"

Trivia -
The Doctor and Charley can be seen playing "Strip Scrabble" in episode one. Although this is not scripted, Charley is quite obviously playing to lose. Heh, heh.
Rumors & Facts -
Opinion is divided on this story. There are those who love this story more than life itself and ultimately dying of starvation viewing it repeatedly; and those who disagree. It is on record that those who don't disagree quite like the story.

An established psychotic and theoretical absurdity, Paul Magrs (who added a G to his last name in order to irritate journalists) had been pitching a story to Big Finish about Venice being destroyed since 1999. This began after he visited the city and was mocked by a gondolier for his 1998 book "The Starlet Empress." Thus, he decided that Venice would be a perfect place for Doctor Who to utterly destroy with the casualness of crushing a dandelion. He pitched more or less the same storyline for a multitude of Doctors under various titles including "The Empire of Assholes", "Shark Repellant", "Die, Venice, Die!", "Going Down", "Absurd Degree" and "Please, Please, Please, Sink". Finally, after the subplot of an invasion of Iris Wildthymes being scrapped and the main characters being defined as the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, Magrs began to script "Stone The Venetian Crows, The Misses Will Never Believe This Un".

Magrs, who dressed in a radiation suit and frequented crypts in his insane desire to be seen differently from his fellow writers, delighted in complex and fractured narrative structures, mainly because he was unable to perceive chronological time due a brain disorder from eating too much spaghetti. In fact, Magrs would later admit that "the whole concept of linear existence was a new one on me". In order to restructure the script accordingly, the author spent three weeks without sleep, trapped in a hotel room with coffee machine and a ventriloquist's dummy in the shape of Jean-Paul Satre. Three gallons of coffee, fifteen kilos of cigarettes, twelve litres of vodka and three miles of pacing back and fourth later, Magrs considered setting to work on STVCTMWNBTU.

Three months later, the completed script for STVCTMWNBTU was reviewed by Gay Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellery and found to have a number of minor flaws. For example it was written in Braille - and contained countless spelling mistakes. At several points during the narrative, at least one character screams "This is DIFFERENT, you literary critic WHORES!" for a variety of reasons. There was not so much a plot, but a shopping list that featured a mad Duke, Dracula, Romeo and Juliet, Max Ernst, Heathcliffe, Jules Verne, Cathy, Casanova, John Ruskin, Miss Haversham, Illyria, Judy Garland and Liza Minelli have a fistfight as they drown in the middle of a costume party and complained that the price of Pinot Gringio had increased extortionately.

JHE dubbed it "the usual silly old camp nonsense" and suggested that the main characters (two tourists, Den and Angie, going to Venice in the mid-1980s and then drowning) be adapted for the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. Magrs replied that if he just added such reasonable things as the TARDIS, monsters, the population of Venice or indeed anything perceivable by human eyes, it would just the be the usual media trash that littered twenty-first century Doctor Who. At this point STVCTMWNBTU was renamed "Pathetic Expectations". However, a small blood clot formed in Magrs brain leading him to smile serenely and adjust the plot.

The script was finally approved as "The Stoner's Lagoon" just as it was made clear that there was going to be a brand new series of Eighth Doctor adventures. Russell re-commissioned "The Stoner's Lagoon" so they could "demonstrate to Paul McGann was Big Finish were about" - i.e.: total laxity and last-minute panic. Out of mild sadism, McGann agreed on the condition that the script be written top-to-bottom for him in one day. Also, he demanded that his latest stalking case be given the companion role and not be simply generic but also a real person. The Doctor and companion were to be given separate but inter-linking story lines that didn't detract from the plot proper.

Magrs smiled happily and sat down at the typewriter and did just that. He managed to save a lot of time by cutting down action sequences and plot development. Episodes two and four were compacted down into two lines of dialogue from Churchill: "Oh, Doctor, they're attacking us!" and "Well, fancy that, we're still alive!" It was generally assumed that any one anal enough to be interested in what was surmised by these sentences would no doubt be writing fan fiction to fill any gaps in the storyline. Also, a new plotline involving copious amounts of marijuana was introduced, coincidentally at the same time one P. McGann paid a large amount of money directly into Magrs' bank account.

Taken totally by surprise at the fact they had completed the script, McGann was put down for four four-episode stories which would feature the return appearances of the Brigadier, the Cybermen and Michael Sheard and a linking theme involving an extremely aggressive seal. A legal writ was served to Big Finish Productions by the mysterious Mr. McGann of Liverpool, demanding that the first story to be recorded would require the compulsory use of class-B drugs to the main cast. As such, the newly-re-titled The Stoned of Venice was now bound to yield a rich, magical stage of narcotic necromancy. Michael Sheard was cast as the Duke Insanity IV, and was prepared for the role by being locked in the smoke-filled studio two days before recording began. Unfortunately, this lead to Sheard chewing every single part of the scenery - not by appalling acting, but in trying to sate his ravenous hunger. Russell had hoped that Sheard's effeminate, flute like voice would be ideal for the raw emotion in the script without ever letting us forget this is a grandiose, sensational character. Shows you how wrong you can be at that age, huh?

Magrs also gave an echo of McGann's treatment of him in a story where the Eighth Doctor visits a world in perfect order and whips it up into a storm for his own selfish reasons, name dropping to the point of arrogance, poking his nose in where it isn't wanted, pulling his finger out only to shove it back in again somewhere even more uncomfortable, speaking up in the face of the logic and never listening to any sense. And when he isn't doing that, he's spending all his time trying to be liked and going on about how cool he is and winding up every single character in the story. As Miss Rigby so beautifully puts it "Why don't you sod off, Paul?"

The story is notable in history as the only production that never required any retakes at all. Actually, it is reasonable to assume there are quite a few cock-ups and bad special effects that merited another go, but the director Nick Pegs, was quite happy with the story and is regularly heard giggling in the background. The producers found the story so amazingly cool and wonderful, they decided to make this the first story shown of Season 28. The story was accidentally put on third and thus alienates continuity even more so as it is the first time Paul McGann and India Fisher worked together, and much of their adlibbed dialogue consists of the Doctor continually chatting Charley up, despite the fact that she is pregnant and preparing to sue him for child support.

A final note concerns the insane title to episode four - "Shave Back". Since practically every fourth episode of Doctor Who involved blowing the whole place up or teleporting into another realm for the duration, he decided that he would keep the characters EXACTLY where they were and not blow up anything at all. As he regained his senses, he realized that to be in any way convincing, episode four would now have to last forty-six seconds and that included a long tortuous rant by Charley that she should now be allowed to use the TARDIS toilet block. Frantically, he added a completely new subplot: that Bestseller had, in fact, headed off to the shops in order to by a safety-razor to shave her legs after her lover had used up the last one cutting the length of his tongue. This prompted the Doctor to start singing the haunting love melody of "Change the Blades," which was cut for timing reasons, thus making a nonsense of the title and Magrs' timing abilities. The altered music was played over the end credits of all four episodes instead and much richer they were for it. Not.

Change The Blades (I Need To Slit My Wrists Now)
By Paul McGann and the Timelords

"Four inches of blackening tar
Clogging up your pores.
And twelve Euros' worth of
Woolworths soap,
To leave him
Smelling like a horse.

This palace smells like
A brothel
Where there's no... one... about
I'm definitely high off of something
And I don't believe
I can get these stains out.

You've got to change the blades,
Shave away your sorrow.
Change the blades,
Shave away your sin.
Change the blades,
Take this bimbo offa me.
Change the blades,
Carve away my skin.

Well, I've had it up to here
With your arid, barren wasteland,
Making the mother of my child
Look like the face... of... perversity
I should have... stuck... to England
All I wanted was to dump her
At the first opportunity
Then perhaps maybe I could escape to
A bizarre... ceremony... of lust!

You've got to change the blades,
Shave away your sorrow.
Change the blades,
Shave away your sin.
Change the blades,
Take this bimbo offa me.
Change the blades,
Carve away my skin.

****, this script is ****
I can't cope with this so-called plot
Just a rip-off of poor Fellinni
And no-one seems to care a jot.
Just where is this so-called contract
That I'm supposed to have signed?
It's got the Mark of McGann beside the X
Oh, how I curse that dotted line."

Surely you can't want to