Serial 8G - The Crime of Fright Night
Twelfth Entry in the EC Unauthorized
Program Guide O' Dead Piranha
D O C T O R W H O
Serial 8G - The Crime of Fright Night -
Part One - The
Charley is systematically taping over the Doctor's galactic compendium of late-night horror flicks. Devastated,
the Doctor explains that these slasher films are vital research into the mindset of a sociopath and is just the sort of thing
that will keep them alive when, upon leaving the TARDIS, they are confronted with a strange, enigmatic, chainsaw-wielding
figure whispering, "Come out, come out, little peegs!"
Charley believes the Doctor is talking out of his arse and tells
him so. They agree to have a bet - and the Doctor offers a moth-eaten, moldy ten pound note to prove his point. Then, they
land the police box at a beaten-up, run-down service station in the middle of nowhere. Utterly deserted - apart from the Marx
Brothers - the Doctor is already rubbing his hands with glee, predicting there is no doubt some looney in a hockey mask waiting
around every corner determined to destroy them in a quite-unnecessarily-painful-and-messy way.
But there isn't.
out by narrative conceits to actually DO something, the Doctor decides to chat with the Marx Brothers, establish why people
are always going out about the mysterious FOURTH brother when there were five of them, and ridicule the plot of "Room Service".
The Marx Brothers defend themselves by saying that everyone has an off-movie but that any flick that allows the actors to
swig gallons of cocaine mixed with lukewarm milk of magnesia can't be ALL bad - however, they're as stumped about the fourth
brother thing as anyone.
The clock suddenly whizzes around really fast and Gummo dryly comments that someone should
really fix the chronometer as the effect is frankly irritating. Then, he drops dead, a jukebox jammed into his spine. The
Doctor and Groucho agree that the ex-brother was foolishly skinning a pheasant when this horrifically-domestic incident happened
and speak no more about it until the next episode.
The clock does that annoying spin thing again and the pinball machine
seems to come to life. Chico remarks he was thinking about playing it - if so, then this bit of time distortion has shown
that, while he may be a diva on the piano he is **** at stopping a ball from sliding into the gutter. Then, for no obvious
reason, a dolphin apparently drops out of thin air and breaks Zeppo's neck.
Part Two - The Crime of Fright Night
Doctor suspects that Zeppo merely slipped and fell out of a window, and is frankly surprised when Charley announces her belief
that they are being hunted down by an unseen opponent. The Doctor would dearly love to add this to his reasons for keeping
his slasher films, but frankly no one remembers the other two brothers, and so the plot continues to do sweet F.A. for another
"Time," the Doctor finally deigns explains in his usual bell-bottomed certainty that totally belies the fact
he's high on something illegal and about to swear that you're his besht mate, "is like a corridor. Which is fricken' depressing,
really. I spend most of my life in corridors, and it turns out that Time itself is just another one of the bastards. And,
like all the corridors I seem to end up in, it's grey. And wobbles like cardboard. Because the Corridor of Time has been built
by vengeful prop men, the whole Set of the Universe could collapse at any moment - and, as has been proved so often, in the
fight for survival there are no re-takes!"
When Charley asks him what the flying **** this has to do with anything,
the Doctor replies, "Nothing, really. But it is SUCH a cool concept, don't you think? Have you ever thought about live organ
transplants? Amazing, huh?"
Charley decides enough is enough and plans to ditch the Doctor and leave in the TARDIS.
The Doctor is caught in a hideous dilemma - should he try and stop her, or sit back, content in the knowledge the preggo whore
has left him for good?
Part Three - Rhyme Thought
To the cheer of all male viewers and a hell of a lot of female
ones, Charley never makes it. The remaining Marx Brothers put on their Sunday best and announce that they are NOT the Marx
Brothers but unpaid extras from the "House" movie series. "Curiouser and curiouser," the Doctor murmurs, not having the slightest
clue what they're talking about and cursing himself for not picking up a discount DVD set in 2075 HMV for his collection because
he knows - he just KNOWS! - that he would definitely have won the bet by now if he had.
The Trio Who Aren't The Marx
Brothers (TTWATMB, or TWATS for short) challenge the Doctor and Charley to games of wit and intellect to win their freedom
from this unimaginative void. The Doctor decides to play "What's My Line" from the movie Groundhog Day and Charley suggests
Cluedo. This stupifies the TWATS as all they know how to play is travel-scrabble and lose easily, prompting another torrent
of abuse from Harpo.
Part Four - Vital Murders
For no real reason, a minstrel appears and - to everyone's great
annoyance - begins to sing "Drakmere", an old Clannad song used in Robin of Sherwood. The cast team up and drown the bastard
as the clock whizzes around again, proving some point or another.
The Doctor and Charley return to the bet, arguing
about whether or not this entire four-parter has anything to do with their bet and, if so, who exactly won it. Charley snogs
him to shut him up and he agrees to rid his entire DVD collection if she just watches a crap 1980s flick called Fright-Night.
Five minutes into the story, Charley has run off in terror - only for the Doctor to discover her "crime": his priceless upholstered
camphor-wood sofa is now soiled beyond repair...
The Doctor can be heard swearing constantly as the TARDIS fades away.
Doctor Who & The Crime of Fright-Night
Doctor Who - The Repeat of Doom
The notorious Channel
41 Sci-Fi interview with P. J. Hammond, only for the interviewer to realize that they are actually interviewing Rob Shearman
Fluffs - Paul McGann seemed a bit elemental in this story
Harpo speaks in this story and we learn the
reason just why he usually communicates via car horn - his overbite, stutter, drooling problem and Tourette's syndrome are
We are supposed to be intrigued by the strange car-horn honking noise that pervades
the place before Harpo arrives - yet it is, I think you will find, the sound of a penguin violently breaking wind being played
When Charley screams at murder of the sink plunger, she is quite obviously supposed to run, hug and sob
at the Doctor to displace her anxiety. Instead, she begins to molest Harpo, who struggles to grope her and remove his trousers
at the same time. Nevertheless, the other actors continue their dialogue, reassuring Charley that everything is all right
as long as the stays with the Doctor. At this point, the Doctor just shakes his head and walks off the set, the camera following
him as he moves and begins to scream abuse at the production assistant, who pokes him in the eye with her ballpoint pen.
time is wasted as the actors desperately try not to snigger at Harpo's makeup and continue with their lines.
Harpo has clearly managed to piss off the make-up ladies as his nose is covered in lipstick and has enough
blusher to be mistaken either for a New Romantic, a victim of domestic violence, or both.
in this story as, no sooner as the Doctor explains that they are caught in a Domini-Spatio-Temporal Viaduct, then half the
episode is taken up by him trying to explain to Chico that there is no duck involved in this situation in ANY way.
and References -
The Doctor bemoans the simple shag in Sick Morning that has lead to this hideous state he know finds himself
in. He admonishes himself for not dumping Charley in "The Stoned of Venice" and "Inuit in Hull".
The Doctor refers to the adventure in the pre-credit sequence of "The Stoned of Venice" - where Charley downloaded the
Doctor's collection of internet porn into the Star Wars Defense Program, unintentionally foiling an Cyberman attack when the
repressed foes couldn't tear themselves away from their laptops and conquer the Earth
Charley helped the Doctor steal
a first edition of "Oliver Twists - The Confessions of a Chimney Sweep" from Charing Cross Blockbusters by flashing the attendant
and then running like hell. "I've seen it all before," the Doctor explains - though, frustratingly, WE haven't! The Doctor
and Charley recall standing on 'alien nudist beaches'. Well, they ASSUMED the aliens were nude...
Groovy DVD Extras
The complete script of the story with "Sapphire and Steel: Adventure 6 by P. J. Hammond" crossed out and "Doctor Who
And The Crime of Fright-Night by Rob Shearman" scribbled next to it. Adjusting the tracking control of your remote, it becomes
"Doctor Who And The Unholy Error by Rob Shearman", "Doctor Who And Gobbledygook by Rob Shearman", "Doctor Who Unsoiled: Headline
by Rob Shearman" as well as an unsolicited submission for BBC Books called "Doctor Who - Repetition of Repetition of Repetition
of Doom by Rob Shearman".
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: Sapphire! Take time back!
The words are being scratched directly into the wood!
Harpo: Who are you talking to?
Charley: Cosmic Raymond, my invisible
Harpo: Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Backing away slowly, now...
Doctor: Who ever heard of the butler doing it?
I've never had any complaints.
Doctor: Shut it, Charley! I'm trying to stick to the script here!
Gummo: He was most
particular about what I could do to you with my knitting needles.
Doctor: Oh, really?
Gummo: Yes, well, I could knit
you a jumper, crochet you a pair of socks, I'm even working on a long, multi-coloured scarf...
Doctor: Oh, no, I'm not
falling for THAT one again!
Charley: You have designs on my plum pudding.
Chico: Well, I am a'bit hungry, it's a-no
"American Pie" fetish or anything, yunnerstand?
Charley: Oh, how dull.
Dialogue Triumphs -
is a very stupid gnome - he may not have known it was impossible when he did it.
Doctor: Look, he was wearing Charley's
knickers and that's a fact!
Charley: Even the best amateur detectives in London require some privacy to do their sleuthing.
OK, Charley, now that may be a valid point but that's still no excuse for locking me out of the TARDIS while you have a nice
fetishist role-playing game!
Chico: The clocks they're jumping forward, but we're staying where we are. Time as slipped
a groove, wouldn't ya say, boss?
Doctor: Do you know, I think I'm going to stick my neck out and say it's just another
case of ****house continuity?
Harpo: Oh, Groucho - to be killed by your own brother Gummo. Or Zeppo. Whoever he was,
if-f-f-f you catch my drift - YOU DAMN, LYING SON OF BITCH-WHORE! MAKE MEE! MA-KE MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Groucho: Hmph! Charlotte,
you should keep a civil tongue in your head and not in mine! [long pause] On the other hand...
The Doctor finds another
excuse to avoid Charley -
"How does the TARDIS expect us to enjoy a good fondle when we can't see anything?"
Charley, I hate you. Without you, the entire crew of the Vanguard would have survived. Without you, the curse upon Count Insanity
IV would have been broken. Without you, I would be shagging my way through the scooby-gang in Sunnydale. Without you, the
Cybermen would have conquered Earth. OK, bad example. But without you, the attendant at Charing Cross Blockbusters would not
need counseling. And without you, I would be a strolling bachelor rattling around the TARDIS have eye-examinations with the
Cinnamarians, my life strong as a gorilla but supple as a nerf ball!
Charley: Um, who are the Cinnamarians?
Oh, forget it, lard-arse.
UnQuotable Quote -
Doctor: I JUST LOVE BEING AN ELEMENTAL!
Viewer Quotes -
stuff, a great build of adventure with the first episode reminiscent of episode one of "The Spam Museum". Wait a minute. That
can't be right. Oh my god, what the hell am I doing out of rehab?"
- Robert Lindsey (2003)
"Damn it, I thought that
we'd got away with that one. ****." - Cyber-Emperor Krang (1998)
"I cannot think of a Doctor Who story that has entranced
and enthralled me more. Apart from Mammories of Fire. And Hand of ****. Then there was the Robots with Breasts. Well, pretty
much anything with Leela in it. You know, I can think of a dozen Doctor Who stories that have entranced and enthralled me
more. This is really rather crap isn't it?" - Ewen Campion-Clarke (2002)
"For all Doctor Who's SUPPOSED sense of terror,
Sapphire and Steel far outstripped it by depicting nightmare situations one could not run away from - and merely recalling
its cliffhangers still brings me out in goose bumps. A series about time travel SHOULD be like Sapphire and Steel, but when
I found out they'd ripped it off, I spilt blood for the first time AND IT WON'T BE THE LAST, MIND!"
- P. J. Hammond's agent
and/or stalker (2000)
"The mystery perhaps owes too much to the author's previous work. Oh, who am I kidding it IS
the author's previous work with a cut-and-paste job done on it between Big Macs!" - Rob Shearman (2006)
"The plot of
The Crime of Fright-Night is a mystery: both fascinating and disturbing to a rational mind. Or, to put it another way, it's
the dog's bollocks and no mistake!" - Andrew Beeblebrox (2003)
"Paul McGann is everywhere in this story. I can't get
away from him. It scares me. This is a truly frightening production. It really gave me the shivers what with that evil laugh,
the ominous clock chiming and the truly freaky main star coming at you left right and centre. It sure gave me the willies."
Richard E Grant (2007)
"I'm unsure why Harpo Marx should be a trigger such fear in us, but he does - from Tom Baker
to the time Alf impersonated all five brothers, I find the air seem to groan and warp, emphasizing the sheer WRONGNESS of
a curly-haired blond retard honking and bonking anything in sight."
- Chairman of the Harpo Marx fan club (1987)
actual mechanics of the threat - not to mention the atmosphere, magic and terror - are gibberish, but that doesn't matter
one iota when Charley strips. Which particular story am I talking about? Who cares?"
- Nigel Verkoff (2000)
Shearman has provided another brilliant script, that glories in atmosphere and mystery. Where does he get them from? And why
won't he tell me?" - J.K. Rowling (2005)
"Rob Shearman's script gives the audience some thinking to do - the lazy,
crazy bastard! I don't watch Doctor Who to engage my brain! I watch it to ogle Charley, get high, and contribute to the world's
overall supply of methane!" - Father James O'Malley (2001)
"Casting and performance are never less than ideal, and
with the Doctor being given far more texture and zest than ever before; the villain being a memorable evil and the remainder
of the characters giving the cast of Ghormenghast a run for their money. The story is blatant in its allusions, but it would
be churlish to hold this against it when the end result is so wonderfully distinctive. In conception and realization, this
is as perfect as Doctor Who has ever been... Wait, we ARE talking about The Crime of Fright-Night, aren't we? The one with
Tom Baker on Gallifrey and the Bastard being a sea lion? No? What the hell is The Crime of Fright-Night about, then?" - Iris
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Sometimes, if you just listen - switch off everything that makes noises, and
sit in the deep, dark silence of nature - you can hear a clock. Sniggering. If there's anything that this story proved, it
was that it's not just MY clock doing that. It's ALL the clocks. Watching you. Giggling. I think I'll go and sacrifice a goat.
That always cheers me up. Wanna come? I'll show you my scar!"
Paul McGann Speaks!
"The Crime of Fright-Night? I've
had better. In fact, anything that isn't Rob Shearman's work. Of course, I say 'his' work - he's a guy who basically creates
the same text over and over. I mean, if it was a self-pagiaristic way, maybe we could deal. But generally they're nicked from
other TV shows that have nothing to do with Doctor Who. I know for a fact that the script we got was originally for "Birds
of Feather", I was playing Tracy and India was Sharon. I've always thought India was more of a Dorian Gray character - that
is, the one in Birds of Feather rather than Oscar Wilde's Blake's 7 rip-off. One cut scene had Charley being worshipped by
the Marx Brothers as a god so they could reuse the "big talking bird" gag again. On paper, the catalyst-paradox idea of Chimes
would probably seem pretty abstract and dryly intellectual but I saw it on paper and laughed out loud. What utter dribble.
At this point, you could be forgiven for thinking that I'm on a mission to give The Crime of Fright-Night a right slating,
because I am. Still, what can you expect from a guy who's family motto is 'I Am Nothing I Am Nobody'? This script was frothy
India Fisher Speaks
"A lot of people think Shearman creates his paradox from the phantasmic logic of feeling
rather than the strict nut-and-bolt logic of sci-fi, or even bog-standard rationalism. Nope, it's just down to bad grammar
really. I mean, the whole angle of the Marx Brothers turned up because of a spelling mistake in the storyline. Still, I've
had worse scripts. I suppose spending episode four sitting on a couch The Shining, Psycho, Suspiria, The Blair Witch Project,
Dracula Prince of Darkness was better than going back to Dead Ringers. I remember when Paul complained that there wasn't much
tragedy in this plot, Rob screamed 'YOU WANT TRAGEDY? I'LL SHOW YOU BLOODY TRAGEDY - HERE'S TRAGEDY TIMES ELEVEN SHOVED INTO
A BLENDER AND SERVED TO YOUR MOTHER ON TOAST!' and then they added the bit where I soiled the sofa. Very tragic. Paul sobbed
when he read the new scene, he really did."
This is the third eighth Doctor story that has him screaming
"For God's sake, woman, we've got all night! What are you trying to do? Kill me?" at the stroke of midnight. This previously
occurred in Doctor Root & The Enema Within and The Stoned of Venice.
Rumors & Facts -
The Crime of Fright-Night is almost certainly
the most perfect script so far provided for the Eighth Doctor and Charley - which shows you just how crap the rest of Seasons
28 and 29 are. There is a dead-on depiction of the Doctor and Charley from Shearman, which is amazing, considering the fact
the dialogue is unaltered from material written for the characters of Sapphire and Steel. Bizarrely, despite the fact he gets
no opportunities to smile, demonstrate his lust for life (or just lust in general), show off his wits, charm, stamina, flashes
of brilliance and perfection of last-minute rescues, the Eighth Doctor is given every chance to shine. Maybe, as Paul McGann
says, it's just they way he tells them - and we're total ****ing morons for not noticing the difference in his acting range.
Shearman writes effortlessly by just snatching any passing script that catches his interest - particularly ones that features
exquisitely rhythmic dialogue where characters speak in turn as if they were being operated by the same, unseen puppeteer.
The reason why he does this is from Shearman's early days in writing when he met a man called George de le Arachnid, who had
his own unique way of making people laugh - drilling holes into their skulls and pumping nitrous oxide straight into their
brains. After de le Arachnid was arrested and put safely behind a desk in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Shearman realized
that mindless repetition of dialogue made what few jokes there WERE seemed like pure, comedic genius even though they were
just breaks in the otherwise-uninterrupted tedium.
In true Doctor Who fashion, this story was commissioned before anyone
knew about this neat psychological ploy, or that The Unholy Error would actually turn out to be good. The Producers Gay Russell,
Jason Haige-Ellery and Jacqueline Rayner were just too lazy to ask for a new writer or indeed a new story. In fact, they were
quite prepared to let Rob Shearman write every single story of the new season.
Quietly going mad, Shearman examined
the stories of the Eighth Doctor's first season and noticed a pattern - there was not a single, solitary original thought
in the whole series. It was either taking the piss of shows like Buffy or The X-Files, or just re-writing its own scripts.
Having come across the cornerstone of the Doctor Who writer's guide - "SHAMELESS PLAGIARISM IS ALWAYS FUN UNTIL THEY CATCH
YOU" - Shearman bought a script from P. J. Hammond's Sapphire and Steel, ran it through a "find and replace" to put in the
Doctor and Charley and was able to structure out of this a whole season of stories.
Finally, when Gay Rustle finally
regained his supply of ritalin, they decided it was probably a bad idea to give Shearman total control of Doctor Who. He was
already frothing at the mouth and would repeatedly switch off his computer, unplug it, then head butt the monitor, squeaking
"WORK, YOU BASTARD, WORK!". Calming him down with some chloroform, the Big Finish production team rapidly began using his
scripts, but only one of them actually ended up being used in Season 28 after all. In revenge, Shearman began to deconstruct
each of his scripts, removing more and more individuality and Doctor Who elements until any episode was interchangeable with
any other. Indeed, soon he would just change the name of a script and hand it in as a totally new submission and, in 2005
was dubbed "The Terry Nation of The Twenty-First Century By Royal Appointment." Two hours later, this title was stripped from
him by hoards of angry S & S fans and ol' P.J.H. himself.
Unsurprisingly, the norms of Doctor Who are subverted
by this old ITV script - the story itself doesn't even begin until episode two and is resolved half way through episode three.
Rather than being driven to stay by the opportunity of a shag, or dumping Charley, the Doctor is quite happy to out sit eternity
if he wins ten pounds from his companion and gets to keep his horror flick collection. When he does attempt to leave at the
end of Part Three, it's obvious he won't succeed because the story has another episode to go and so we get twenty-five minutes
of the Doctor and Charley slowly walking up to the TARDIS, nattering on whatever's on their minds, entering the police box
and then dematerializing. And somehow people still seem to love this... "terrifying" adventure. Nevertheless, the conventions
of Doctor Who are inserted clumsily in the narrative - most notably the Chris Butcher method of writing and filming the story
entirely in the author's apartment. The soundtrack is a character in itself - vague, fussy and constantly treading over other
actor's lines and shamelessly mugging at the camera. The rising chorus at the end of each episode evokes a nightmare sense
that something awful is going to happen, usually that the story is being continued next week.
There are also some cock-and-bull
explanations about why things are happening like this from the Doctor, some underwear-dropping by an increasingly large Charley,
and gratuitous cameos from the Marx brothers. All of these were added very late in the story as Shearman admitted he hadn't
even READ the script he was plagiarizing, and was, all in all, more concerned about a plum pudding that was looking at him
funny than sitting down and creating a perfectly-structured and cohesive story when he had no idea where he was going.
The Crime of Fright-Night manages to divorce itself from any similarities with The Unholy Error through it's title, which
is, I am assured, completely different.