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Serial 7C/A – The Maid Marian Conspiracy
The Maid Marian Conspiracy
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Arch Archery

Serial 7C/A – The Maid Marian Conspiracy -

In between companions on a day-trip to contemporary Earth, the Doctor decides to hang around the local university campus and tries to hook up with the local football team.

After being badly beaten with homophobic abuse, the Doctor decides to cheer himself up by gate-crashing a Tudor history lecture and shouting abuse at the lecturer and pointing out historical errors.

The lecturer, a senile woman in her 80s called Evelyn Smythe is droning on and on about her illustrious ancestor, Lady Marian Neston – known to the commoners as Maid Marian, heroine of romantic Crusade propaganda merchant Richard I.

Furious at the ignorant revisionist attitude Evelyn displays, the Doctor follows her home and starts hurling molotov cocktails through the windows. Evelyn believes that he's been sent by the faculty to convince her she's gone mad so that she'll retire – and so she gets out her twelve-bore shotgun and opens fire on the Doctor.

The two eventually run out of ammunition and the Doctor offers her a trip in the TARDIS to prove there was a Robin Hood. Muttering something about new-fangled technology, Evelyn follows him. Unfortunately, she neglects to turn off the gas and her house soon explodes.

Evelyn enters the TARDIS with her remaining earthly possessions - toothbrush, aspirin, and a tin of cocoa – and her poor eyesight means the Doctor is spared the "it's-bigger-on-the-inside" he normally has to deal with travelling companions.

The TARDIS materializes in the outskirts of Nottingham village and the Doctor goes off, suddenly remembering how damn effeminate the local Sheriff is and determined to get some. He advises the terminally square Evelyn to stay inside the TARDIS. The stupid old bag instead wanders into the local tavern and starts throwing abuse at the bar staff for not accepting her war bonds.

Nevertheless, Evelyn manages to buy a round for everyone simply by beating the owner unconscious with her walking stick. So impressed are two of the locals, the massive John Little (ironically named Little John – what imaginations those medieval peasant have, eh?) and the saucy Will Scarlet decide to use her as a human shield for their sideline of looting, robbery and general mayhem. Thinking this is a come on from a granny-fetishist, Evelyn agrees.

Using his usual mixture of charm, hypnotism and double-daring, the Doctor soon meets the Sheriff of Nottingham, and his live-in drinking buddies Sir Guy of Guisbourne and the Abbot of Alcoholism. Using a list of Hollywood cliches, the Doctor convinces the naughty trio he is a wealthy landowner who likes flogging poor people and hates Saxons. Actually, I'm not a hundred per cent sure how much of that was an act.

Evelyn has been taken to the cave hideout of Robin Hood and his Merry Men (TM patent applied for) – there's Robin himself, who actually thought himself a sharp-shooting hipster Saxon until he twigged he was a latterday Moses and actually the long-lost Earl of Huntington; Friar Tuck, the violent alcoholic priest; Ralph Gammon, the one-handed ladies' man; and Mulch the Cabin Boy. Oh, there's also a generic Merry Man called Osric who is the one killed in action sequences.

Robin is understandably put out that Little John and Will have revealed their plans and location to a half-blind septuagenarian in return for a free drink. He admits it's unlikely that Evelyn is a spy for the evil Normans, but then, stranger things have happened. Mainly that time King John was impersonated by a singing android.

However, Robin remembers the first time he saw the love of his life. He also remembers helping out the Lady Marian when her carriage broke down, whereupon a strange, wizened old crone prophesized that "he would never die, save by a woman's hand". Robin has unwisely only listened to the first bit of the prophecy, and has only avoided death so far by making sure an endless stream of Merry Men die in his place.

To cut a long story short, he thinks Evelyn is the self-same crone who vanished so mysteriously that distant sunny day. Evelyn, who has dozed off and forgotten where she is, agrees to whatever he says in return for a trip home and a free cup of coffee. Not realizing the old hag is senile, Robin mistakenly believes she has volunteered for a suicidal mission to rob passing traders.

Back at Nottingham Castle, the Doctor and the Sheriff are getting on like a house on fire – specifically a Saxon peasant farm on fire, as the Time Lord is indulging in a little bit of racist pyromania. In return for a nice steam bath with him, the Doctor suggests the Sheriff come up with a complicated plan to give total control of England to King John, a poofy bloke with long girly hair but photogenic enough to be a puppet dictator of some middling European country.

The Sheriff is so impressed he kills the alcoholic abbot with a knife and starts a game of postal chess. He's weird like that.

The Doctor easily charms the fey mummy's boy John and accuses Launchant, King Richard's appointed regent while he's off in the Cruel Sades desperate to get lucky, of being foreign. As Launchant's name sounds a little bit foreign he is immediately flung into the Tower and John seizes control of the country.

True, this sort of operation would take months of careful preparation and years of controlled tactical know-how, but as this is a Doctor Who story it's achieved within minutes of the Doctor suggesting it. Go figure.

As the Doctor enjoys a nice steam bath, he learns that the Sheriff is getting quite worried about Guisbourne – who has started stalking Saxon girl of the decade Lady Marian Neston. Her uncle, Sir Kenneth Neston was trying a eugenics experiment and plans to breed the Normans out of existence. However, the fact he is a clinically-insane alcoholic that smells like a gibbon's arse has scuppered this plan, as has Marian's cunning ploy of vowing to stay a virgin for as long as Richard is at the Cruel Sades.

The Doctor suggests they arrange for King Leopole of France to kidnap King Richard and thus force Guisbourne to confront the fact that she's just playing hard to get and is already lusting after ex-Earl of Huntington, Robin Hood. Meanwhile, King John is getting all wishy-washy and hoity-toity and decides that he will pay a ransom to Leopole, but it will actually be a payment to keep Richard under house arrest and maybe buy him a nice of easy pleasure at a brothel.

So, the payment is arranged and carried off into the forest with the lovelorn Guisbourne providing a token escort. However, Robin, his men and the increasingly-bewildered Evelyn are present. Robin explains that the whole 'rob from the rich and give to the poor' thing is just really good PR work. As the money he steals are taxes from the poor diverted into the Sheriff of Nottingham's pockets, when he returns the cash it just gets taken from them again but this time it goes straight to King Richard. In fact, ever since he discovered he was Norman, Robin now despises the Saxons for the scum they are. Indeed, the only reason he's helping out Richard is he is trying to get back into his good books and rescind his exile and outlaw status after the "What the hell are you doing, you red-haired pervert?" incident one drunken night.

The dazed Evelyn wanders up to Guisbourne's entourage and asks them for directions to the nearest bus stop. So utterly confused are they that they are taken totally by surprise when the Merry Men attack. Unfortunately, Osric and Will are ruthlessly slaughtered. So pissed off is Guisbourne that he goes to Marian's place and skewers her uncle like a shish kabob. Bizarrely, this does not improve their relationship.

Robin Hood gets the proper ransom money away to release Richard (who will be, no doubt, mightily disappointed) and gives the Merry Men the afternoon off while he challenges Guisbourne to a duel. Unfortunately, Osric is stabbed and killed, but Robin manages to defeat Guisbourne and reclaim his house, girlfriend and nice china.

Rather annoyed, the Sheriff asks the Doctor for advice. The Doctor suggests they use the old smear campaign tactic and murder the extremely popular Bishop of Durram and blame it on Robin Hood. Unfortunately, the pig ignorant locals aren't quite sure what he looks like – and it is Osric, Ralph and Mulch who are hanged in his place.

For the remaining Merry Men, things are looking bleak – Evelyn has a rather bad cold which has killed Osric and Friar Tuck, and also managed to infect Robin. Little John finally kicks her out, and manages to fix her hip at the same time.

Richard returns to the country and immediately deposes John, who is forced to become a village idiot as penance. John's Council of Fawning Creeps is broken up and the Doctor and the Sheriff flee for it, only to trip over Evelyn, who is stumbling around in the undergrowth looking for her car keys. The Sheriff is caught by Richard's men and sentenced to death, while an increasingly-ill Robin decides to crash out at his newly re-instated Huntington Manor.

The confused Evelyn follows him and decides to make some special flu medicine from some local herbs. Unfortunately, she's as blind as a bat without her glasses and accidentally poisons him instead. Refusing to spend his last few minutes of life with Evelyn, Robin runs out into the forest only to bump into the Doctor – who is complaining bitterly about the fickle finger of fate ruining a very promising relationship.

Unable to escape this tirade, Robin gives up and dies.

The Doctor finally meets up with Evelyn and, annoyed, returns the arthritic old bat to the TARDIS and tries to return her to the 20th century. Instead, they arrive on the day Robin Hood first clapped eye on Lady Marian. Mistaking Robin Hood for River Pheonix, Evelyn mutters some weird voodoo sh*t and wanders off.

The Doctor hates this causal nexus psychobabble and determines to drop Evelyn off at the first spot he can. However, since the TARDIS is as reliable as a broken prophylactic in a Dutch dyke (oo-err), it seems that once again, the Doctor has acquired a new companion.