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So it was Nick Briggs all along...

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Serial 8T – Cardiff
Twenty-Second Entry in EC Unauthorized Guide O' Corduroy
My inexpressible thanks to DIY Sheep, Kathryn Young and the author of Sweet Revenge. Except I just expressed that thanks. Guess it's not so inexpressible all of a sudden. The moment's gone, now. Bugger.


Serial 8T – Cardiff -

Part One – Mind Dames

The latest installment of the distinctly improbable, immoral and very likely ill-defined adventures of Doctor who finds that our hero, the Doctor who, as has already been established, has self-exiled himself to a completely different universe and has committed suicide by blowing himself up rather than winning the distinctly pathetic prize from the Kro'ka's extreme lifestyle show Double The Fist.

This is because the Kro'ka has decided to hand over Adric and Katarina to the Doctor as replacement companions which, is in turn because the Doctor's current companions Charley Pollard and C'Rizz have died extremely horrible deaths, which is turn because of the machination of the frustrated Chumran political leader Excelis following the destruction of her society, which was in turn because a plague of Lustmongers was sent to the planet, which was in turn because....

...and so and so on, back to the initial and highly controversial creation of the Universe.

The Doctor wakes from a dream of fireworks exploding and a redhead eating a banana very slowly to find himself in a metal pod resembling the Millennium Dome, only fuller – here are his erstwhile dead companions Charley and C'Rizz are here as well.

The Doctor's depression spirals out of control as he realizes that he must clearly be in hell to be lumbered with these morons once again. The Time Lord concludes that this strange metal pod is a dark, miserable void on the outer reaches of mental oblivion.

"No, we're in Wales," Charley explains.

"Same thing," the Doctor shrugs dismissively.

C'Rizz explains that their respective traumatic deaths have given them short term amnesia – the only clue to what happened is a large button marked DO NOT PRESS and a sign beneath it saying


The Doctor struggles to recall the last thing he remembers – it turns out to be Charley asking him what was the last thing he remembers. Suddenly the memory of the last few episodes returns and begins to feel queasy before running over to a hatch in the hole and vomiting.

The Time Lord emerges refreshed and with a plan. As the three of them entered this mysterious place via these hatches, they simply must simply return via these same opening. After a few rather predictable double entendres, C'Rizz tries his hatch.

No sooner does he climb out of sight then he drops back into view by another hatch, concluding they are in some giant alien ant farm and that some strange godlike being has chosen the Eutermisan to breed with every single female in the cosmos.

This theory causes the Doctor and Charley to crack up laughing.

Suddenly, the lighting in the dome turns a bit blue, demonstrating the amazing otherworldly powers of the Kro'ka as he rings the afterlife to complain that the Doctor's suicide has ruined the ratings for his lifestyle show. He is ruined!

The Doctor gives the Kro'ka a Full Fist of the Time Lord's own devising – a standard Full Fist with a Full Middle Finger added. He laughs at the host's misery and hangs up. With his show off the air, the Kro'ka's powers are gone for good.

Just as the trio are about to discuss what to do now that they are dead, the Kro'ka arrives in the afterlife, having committed suicide and awarding himself the Full Fist for doing so. He also carries with him one ****ing huge bazooka he calls "Big Emma".

The Kro'ka fires it and the Doctor collapses in pain while Charley and
C'Rizz stand by and do nothing. This is not because of any instruction of the Doctor's, they're just being voyeuristic sadists. Besides, the Doctor's already dead – what can happen to him now?

This logic is now dawning on the Kro'ka as he realizes that the Doctor is completely unharmed and is just screwing with the host's mind.

Kro'ka furiously explains that, due to the bizarre nature of this universe, the Afterlife consists entirely of this room and is a gateway back to the home universe the Doctor came from.

The Doctor, Charley and C'Rizz are delighted to learn all they have to do is escape the pod to return to existence again, but this is diminished by knowing the moment they do so, the Kro'ka will use "Big Emma" on them again and who the hell knows what will happen to them when they die this time?

Laughing, the Kro'ka explains that he hid the Doctor's son's stolen TARDIS in this realm, which he knows only as "Cardiff". The philosophical implications that Wales is the Afterlife shock even C'Rizz and they begin to chase each other around the pod in fast forward to stupid Benny Hill music.

Finally the Doctor realizes how to escape the pod and strikes the DO NOT PRESS button. The pod opens up and his companions run outside into field of placid cows. The Doctor is about to follow when the Kro'ka decides to abandon "Big Emma" and beat the living crap out of the Time Lord. As he weighs 189 pounds and has a lot of sexual tension, the Doctor looks well and truly stuffed.

Suddenly two figures leap into the pod and rescue the Doctor, hauling him out into Cardiff as the pod reforms around the Kro'ka. The Kro'ka is now trapped in this dull metal world – perhaps forever.

On the bright side, for the violent beating he gave the Doctor the Kro'ka has awarded himself two Full Fists.

Part Two – Trekker

Meanwhile, in Cardiff, the Doctor is getting his ears chewed off by his rescuers – alternate versions of himself.

One of the Doctors is a fat, white-haired, moustached man with pince nez in a grey morning suit and has the attention span of a backward three-year-old with an IQ of minus ten.

The other one is a younger, dark-haired uptight prig in a trench coat with stupid Hugh Grant-like hair, he is agonized, self-centred and rather camp ponce.

The remaining Doctor realizes that the complete lack of continuity in this universe has effected him.

Fatso is what the Eighth Doctor would have been like had he ditched Ace and picked up a sexy game show host Kate Tollinger the very next day – before having his mind sucked out by an evil immortal known as the Bank Manager.

Trenchcoat is what the Eighth Doctor would have been if he had taste-tested the New Adventures and NOT dumped Ace at all – and also been machine-gunned to death by an irritable Mother****er astronaut.

With this established, there is an embarrassed pause as our heroes wonder what the hell they are supposed to do.

Climbing a hill, the travelers spy a picturesque Welsh village and thus probably a haven of unemployed junkie prostitutes. The Doctor decides to go and check out the quality of the knocking shops while Charley and Trenchcoat head for the fish and chip shop and C'Rizz and Fatso explore the local petting zoo.

C'Rizz and Fatso, humming Madness songs to himself, wander to the petting zoo and find sheep, a pig and a hungry Bengal tiger. C'Rizz wonders if perhaps he should have just stayed on Zendon writing on-the-pulse poetry and being damn cool, but Fatso laughs in his face and mocks his inability to return home ever.

He then gets bored and, to liven things up, releases the Bengal tiger.

Meanwhile, Trenchcoat is steadfastly refusing to be seduced by Charley as he is far too busy extolling what a wounded soul he is and how horrible the universe is to a kind, loving person like himself. Charley is getting increasingly frustrated as the alternate Doctor starts eulogizing over a broken clock in the fish and chip shop.

When her fourth attempt to 'accidentally' remove his clothing is rebuffed, Charley loses it and smashes him over the head with the broken wall clock – which is now broken a hell of a lot more now.

The canonical Eighth Doctor finds his way to the Slap & Tickle Hostel For Tired Businessmen, certain this is just the place a police box would be placed inauspiciously. However, the distinctly frigid Anne Robinson-style secretary refuses to give him a confusing set of directions to improve his sexual performance.

The Doctor gets bored and runs off into the brothel and soon manages to get lost and asks directions from a passing client with an extremely sore backside. The client insists that this is a local whorehouse for local people and there is nothing for police box fetishists like the Doctor here.

Meanwhile, the Bengal tiger chases Fatso and C'Rizz through the streets of Cardiff, and they finally find sanctuary in a sewer vent. True, there might be giant alligators down there, but at least it will make a change from that bloody tiger.

Meanwhile, Trenchcoat is running for his life, being chased by a Charley glowing red with sexual frustration – at the same time keeping up an endless stream of platitudes that he's not gay, he just doesn't find her attractive. Charley thinks he's bull****ting her. So do I.

Finally, Trenchcoat finds the grease trap of the fish and chip shop and manages to escape through it in one of those bits that you realize hasn't been really thought through by the writer. Charley follows.

Increasingly desperate, the Doctor starts checking rooms for any prostitutes, but only finds a skeletal woman in a rocking chair insisting she really shouldn't be here. The Doctor considers helping her, but she keeps calling him Norman and trying to stab him to death with a knitting needle.

Is she a psychopath? Or just for the seriously kinky clients? The Doctor doesn't know and by now doesn't care. After calling the woman "an aging American drag queen," the Doctor dives through a door marked "WAY OUT", conveniently ignoring the door's prefix of "NO".

The Doctor finds himself in the sewer with Charley, Trenchcoat, Fatso and C'Rizz in a coincidence so utterly unbelievable I can barely bring myself to type this contrived crap.

Anyway, the episode ends with something nasty lumbering down the sewer towards them, arms outstretched and roaring.

C'Rizz wets himself, but, hell, he's in a sewer. Best place for it.

Part Three - Setback

The three separate Doctors combine their amazing mental powers of observation, deduction and rationalization and decide to run away in the opposite direction very quickly and hope it eats Charley and C'Rizz while they escape.

Trenchcoat launches in a soliloquy about how his whole life is wasted running away from unspeakable horrors he can't face and how his relationship with companions is often referred to (usually accurately) as temporal pedophilia.

Fatso just shouts with laughter as he finally gets the "when is a door not a door" joke. That's been bugging him for years.

A man named Wayland then appears and explains that the monster is kept in the sewer system to protect the central computer terminal that regulates the day-to-day necessities of life for the city from deceitful alien engineers who offer to help the people of the city only to infiltrate every aspect of their daily lives.

Trenchcoat thanks him for explaining this, and then throws him to the monster to eat while the gang escape up to the surface and find themselves in a police station, where, standing as part of a Police Recruitment Week display for 2005 is the TARDIS.

The Kro'ka is waiting for them, having tried to charge his way into the police box. He wants to use the TARDIS to tamper with history and get his show back on TV, and is prepared to torture and kill the Doctor. The Doctor points out that the Kro'ka is on his own and the Time Lord has four accomplices.

Unfortunately, those accomplices have already fled.

The Doctor takes this on board and runs away, back to the monster in the sewer hoping that the Kro'ka will be stupid enough to follow and the two adversaries will kill each other. But the Kro'ka doesn't.

Trenchcoat, meanwhile, has been brooding on how unfair life treats the kind, the virtuous and those who look dead cool in a trenchcoat. He is then attacked by the still-free Bengal tiger.

The others continue running, pretending not to hear his screams for assistance as the big cat starts to maul him.

Just then, the Kro'ka appears in his exploding Fistmobile and captures Fatso and prepares to torture the secrets of the TARDIS out of him.

But Fatso is a Doctor even bigger than the Kro'ka and Charley and C'Rizz watch on with detached enthusiasm as the Kro'ka has seventeen colours of **** kicked out of him by the alternative Time Lord...

Part Four - Cardiff

Charley waits for a half an hour before deciding that the Kro'ka is probably about ready to give up now as Fatso systematically breaks every single bone in the ex-TV-star's body.

She and C'Rizz decide to give up and find their Doctor, who at least they can put up with for more than five minutes at a time. Soon, however, they discover the layout of the city of Cardiff is ludicrous and the inhabitants are unable to perceive them consciously, although on some level they’re aware enough not to bump into them.

It's a Welsh thing. I don't get it either.

Meanwhile, the Doctor escapes to the surface and the Minotaur tackles the Bengal tiger and they manage to eat each other. Not sure how, but not even Trenchcoat feels able to brood over this disgusting spectacle.

Finally, they bump into the Doctor's companions and realize that they are in Cardiff, the land the Kro'ka spoke of. As this was established half-way through the first episode, it's a bit hard for me to get worked up about this plot point.

With the Kro'ka strapped to a table and being electrocuted by the furious Fatso, the others arrive and laugh at the irony. If this was being televised, it would probably rate quite well.

This enraged the Kro'ka, but underestimates what Trenchcoat Doctor is capable of – he has purloined "Big Emma" and before anyone can stop him he blows the Kro'ka to pieces. Only the host's sunglasses survive.

The three Doctors, Charley and C'Rizz return to the police station where the TARDIS is hidden – or rather, the one that died in Schizo and is in the afterlife with them.

Leaving the ludicrously armed Trenchcoat Doctor to fight it out with Fatso Doctor over who gets REG's TARDIS, the BF trio return to the time machine. OK, they are now trapped in the universe of Cardiff, but at least they're out of the damn lifestyle show.

As the TARDIS fades away, the Kro'ka finds himself back in the pod once more. Here, the ruthless TV executive, Nicholas Briggs is waiting for him...

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who – After Life by Tony Attwood
Thod Wocor – After Wife by Lt. Loony Toad (Confusing Anagram Edition)
See? I Told You So! By Jean Paul Satre

Fluffs – Paul McGann seemed awake for most of this story
Richard Griffiths seemed to be pining for the fjords for this story
Edward Peel-Smith seemed as dull as corduroy during this story

"Now I have you in my power Doc'Tor. Ahh now I have a silly voice you fear me... TIME... LORD. You will suffer unimaginable pain and all sorts of horribleness. Mwa ha ha ha."
"What is he on, Doctor?"
"No idea, C'Rizz. Why?"
"I want some."

Goofs –
That cover, for starters.

Fashion Victims –
C'Rizz day-glo lemon Viking outfit.

Links and References -
The Doctor bitches at length that of how he wish he could have stayed an immortal sex-god on Gauda Prime ("The Twice-A-Night Kingdom") or just as a stoned ex-university student beating up C'Rizz for a laugh ("The Actual Mystery of Beer").

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Seventh Doctor's treatment of Ace in the original Season 27 could have lead to him gaining a new companion called Kate Tollinger (Julia Sawalha), and then regenerating into a fat, flatulent git with attention deficit disorder. This Eighth Doctor (Richard Griffiths) has been scooped from discontinuity during a story called "The Cross-Dressing", where he and Kate were discovering a primitive alien society held in the iron grip of High Priest Julian Clary.

The Seventh Doctor's treatment of Ace in the New Adventure novels could have lead to him trying to pass through one too many doors of perception in a smoke-filled room just before dawn. The stoned, wasted Doctor would have dubbed himself the Elfin Digger and got shot dead when he accidentally destroys a Mother****er outpost. The Eighth Doctor (Edward Peel-Smith) eventually lost Ace in an art gallery and began an underage sexual relationship with a French prostitute called Fayette Cologne (Wynona Rider). He was time-scooped from the adventure "The Gods of Serious Foreplay", where he was force-feeding two FBI agents hallucinogenic mushrooms for fun and profit.

Groovy DVD Extras -
'Get C'Rizz', a shockingly realistic computer game where C'Rizz is trapped in a maze surrounded by hideous, face-hugging, acid-bleeding, chest-bursting spider monkeys from Uranus who kill him in bloody and quite unnecessarily-painful ways. You can either be C'Rizz and lead him to his death, or be the monsters that rip him apart (the version I sure as hell prefer).

{Note: I cannot be arsed to differentiate which Doctor says which particular dialogue. Go and listen to the stupid thing yourself, loser. I'm not here to make up for your woeful lack of perception!}

Dialogue Disasters -

Charley: I'm naked! Don't you care?
Doctor: I'm still me. I still care. Just not that much.
Charley: You're gay, aren't you?
Doctor: I am not gay! Just... complex.
Charley: What-EVER. Poof.

Kro'ka: I am not interested in your petty adventures, but unfortunately, the viewing public are; the weak, spineless dogs! THEY MAKE ME SICK!!
Doctor: Such a winning personality, he ought to run for his life.
C'Rizz: Why?

Charley: Be careful.
Doctor: Aren't I always?
Charley: No, you're not – as the maternity service on Gallifrey will readily attest!

"All this corridors look the same to me."
- C'Rizz, the second before Charley breaks his knees.

Doctor: I'm allergic to computers. And haddock, for some reason.

Charley: You look like a Victorian rake off to the opera!
Doctor: I shall take that as a compliment.
Charley: And did you know that they're sending a satellite to photograph the other side of you?
Doctor: I shall take that as a cruel and unusual insult. Prepare to die, bitch-whore.

Doctor: Clearly I have the brains, that one got the brain damage, and what did you get?
Doctor: The Porsche.
Doctor: Damn it! I wanted the Porsche!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: Charlotte Elspeth Pollard, I am neither young nor romantic. If you intend to seduce me... Ah, go on, then, do your worst. You're not dealing with an amateur here.

C'Rizz: Why are you laughing at my naked body, Doctor?
Doctor: I'm not laughing, I'm sneering! A distinction perhaps too subtle for you.
C'Rizz: Phew, that's all right, then.

Kro'ka: You are an arrogant fool, Doctor. This is another universe. It contains forces you've never dreamed of, pain you have never imagined, perverse sexual practices you could not conceive of, and accents you can never hope to master convincingly!
Doctor: Eh-bah-gum! Ecky thump! Ecky thump!
Kro'ka: See what I mean?

Doctor: When I play bondage games, I usually prefer role-playing. Would you like to see the pink room? I know I would.

Charley: Imagine it, Doctor! You could be shot by a living plastic doll and turn into a skinhead northerner in a leather jacket with a for shouting 'Fantastic!' at in opportune moments as you lust over a blonde Earth girl with no musical talent whatsoever as you travel through time... and space... and Cardiff.
Doctor: Your imagination seems to run to the hackneyed.
Charley: Don't blame me, blame RTD!
C'Rizz: Hey, that rhymes!
Charley: Shut it, C'Rizz! I'm trying to foreshadow here!

Kro'ka: You know, I admire you... You have courage and integrity, you fight evil fiercely but are capable of mercy. To save a universe you chose permanent exile from everything you knew at the cost of one of your senses. You are truly heroic. In fact, I think I'm falling in love with you.
Nicholas Briggs: You're still fired.

Doctor: Of course I'm not all right, I'm being mauled by a Bengal tiger! Why does such horrible things happen to me? What have I done to deserve so terrible a life? Oh, fate deals me blow after blow – and NOT like that, Charley! Why do animals attack me! Why not Fatty over there?
C'Rizz: Because they would need to build up escape velocity once they've killed him.
Doctor: You're cruising for a bruising, buster.

Doctor: I'm the most law-abiding person you could ever hope to meet.
And if you believe that my little friends, I've got some magic
beans in my pocket for you.

UnQuotable Quote -

C'Rizz: I may talk crap, but I always know what I'm talking crap about.

Viewer Quotes -

"It is a-MAZE-ing-ly good! This story possessing even some kind of point to it filled me with ecclesiastic joy! And the cows! Any scene with cows in it is alright by me, cuz cows are funny! Why? Oh, they just are. You can't go wrong with putting cows in a scene."
- Robbie Coltrane (2005)

"Upon listening to Cardiff, I decided to kick apart my CD player and strangle the milkman. I contacted Big Finish and demanded that, unless certain demands were met, I would stop buying their product and encourage both of my friends to do likewise. I made it clear that there needed to be more directors for stories; shorter stories as every Eighth Doctor audio in the past two years has been longer than my attention span; the companions be more interesting; no more story arcs; and much better covers too. Big Finish's reply was simply, 'Get ****ed, wanker!' so I have decided to keep buying their CDs just to screw with their teeny little minds." – some guy (2004)

"Cardiff's cover is the worst I've seen in yonks! What do you mean, I've missed the point? Are you arguing with me? No? Good. Otherwise, I would have to beat you." – H.G. Nelson (2045)

"I can think of a million ways to get a better story than Cardiff. And Zig-Zag-Gay Ass. And Credo of the Moron. And The Actual Mystery of Beer, The Twice-A-Night Kingdom, Faith Dealer and The Lust. Hell, I'm better than all of you people! BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP ME! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!"
- the dying words of Pope Jean Paul II (2005)

"I really enjoyed the idea of the afterlife being Wales. No idea why. Some kind of mental condition, I suppose." – Andrew Beeblebrox (2000)

"C'Rizz is starting to behave more and more like a disgruntled designated driver at a really good party: like the bit where he was standing around nursing both a grudge and a tepid glass of lemonade while the Doctor was snorting cocaine through hundred dollar bills off a Charley's tits, Fatso was dancing on the furniture and Trenchcoat was bitching to the waitress about the time Fayette found all that internet porn in his laptop. I'm not quite sure what relevance that scene had with the rest of the plot, though." - DIY Sheep (2004)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I can't believe that alien masterminds still use mazes. Everyone knows the ball of thread thing by now! That's why I always strip naked my victims before throwing them into the maze, and make sure it's pitch dark. It's a bit rough on my pit bull, Squeaky, but it makes a change from the mutilated cattle the saucer people leave him."

Paul McGann Speaks!
"I was wide awake for this story. After my performance in Faith Dealer, the director, Gay Russell, had taken to prodding me with a sharp stick so I could engage with the script. He also rescheduled the recording to after lunch so I wasn't always preoccupied on whether or not I'd paid the parking meter. And they fed me bowls of coffee at a time so I didn't sound hung over. But they still couldn't make me give a damn!"

India Fisher Speaks!
"I love surreal stories. I've screwed over reality, so why not screw over surreality as well?"

Conrad Westmaas Speaks!
"This is C'Rizz's sixth adventure. Everyone complains it feels like six life times and that it's six lifetimes too many. Still, C'Rizz poetry skills really get put to the test in Cardiff, with the Doctors all over the place, so it's up to C'Rizz to keep his wits about him and keep things together. Pity he's so unutterably ****e at it, though."

Trivia -
Steve Foxx also did the sound design on this story – hence the intense use of screaming guitars, masculine grunts and the Double The Fist theme music whenever the Kro'ka is speaking.

Rumors & Facts –

The genesis of this story began when, unable to think of any Who elements he had not yet raped, pillaged and tortured, Gay Russell suggested they just nick any old Doctor Who annual and turn one of the board games within into a story.

The next step was to get someone with such a reputation for brilliant scripting and characterization that if the story was a success, Big Finish would be commended for good taste; but if the story flopped, no one could blame them for expecting better work.

Not realizing the machinations of the cynical and twisted minds behind this enterprise, Lloyd Rose (she's a girl. Seriously) was introduced to Gay Russell by Paul "Shagger" Carnall.

Initially she refused point blank the idea of sullying her brilliant work via associating with Big Finish. How Carnall convinced her is a mystery to this day.

Rose duly penned a proposal entitled Doctor Who and The Revenge of Charley. The story featured the Eighth Doctor and C'Rizz enrolling at 1970s Cambridge and setting up lots of cruel, Candid Camera-style pranks "for the common good". However, Charley catches up with them and screws everything over.

The Doctor tries to distort history to save his sorry arse, and as a side effect C'Rizz is fatally poisoned. After a fifteen minute staring competition with Charley, the Doctor shacks up with Alison Cheney in the Singapore Hilton and live happily and immorally ever after.

This, Gay Russell agreed, was a good story. A great story.

Unfortunately, thanks to a previous disastrous choice made by himself, the characters of the Eighth Doctor, Charley Pollard and C'Rizz were dead. They were definitely deceased. They were bleeding demised. They had passed on. They were no more. They had ceased to be. These were late main characters. Stiffs! Bereft of live, they rest in peace! They're pushing up the daisies! They have rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-DOCTOR/COMPANION-COMBO!!!

Thus, The Revenge of Charley Pollard was not a suitable story for Big Finish to pursue.

Instead, Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellory decided to make the next Eighth Doctor story (where he was originally to be alive and reclaiming his TARDIS) set in the Afterlife.

They also wanted this spooky divergent universe to be, well, spooky and divergent, populated by strange unfathomable beings. Not merely hideous blob creatures with eight arms, no concept of space or time and the ability to suck peoples' minds out through their ears, but something far weirder.

The Welsh.

As the new series of Doctor Who seemed condemned to be filmed in and around Cardiff until the crack of doom, Big Finish decided to brace listeners by making sure there was an inordinate amount of Welsh people in their plays from now on.

Thus, Rose was ordered to start a story from scratch showing the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C'Rizz facing off against the Kro'ka in the Afterlife in a story called 'Caerdroia' – a old Welsh word which, roughly translated means "Buy This Audio Adventure Or We Send Colin Baker Around To Break Your Legs – After All, It's Cheaper Than A Funeral". However, no one could pronounce said name, and after a few minutes of the story being dubbed 'Corduroy', the title was scrapped.

An early idea to reveal that the Kro'ka was merely Charlotte Church in disguise is another one of those 'Thank GOD It's Just A Rumor' moments. As is the original cover art showing C'Rizz prancing wildly while in the nude, pretending to be a teapot when Charley spikes his drink.

Russell wanted the story that would stretch Paul McGann and give him something to do, a feat no writer had managed since The Actual Mystery of Beer where McGann had leapt into the role of a violent alcoholic dole bludger with such gusto. Rose initially thought playing the Doctor as he was dead was good enough for her.

The story, now entitled Cardiff, revolved around the Doctor not QUITE dying because this split continuity with the books and comics. Thus, there would be three Eighth Doctors – the comic one, like a stoned Marwood; and the book one, the slightly cranky for no apparent or even vaguely fathomable reason Lieutenant Bush.

Rose suggested the record the 'normal' Doctor's scenes before Paul went to the pub, the 'comic' Doctor's scenes on the way back from the pub, and the 'book' Doctor's scenes the morning after. Unfortunately, this would mean that, for the duration of Cardiff, Paul McGann would receive three pay-checks, and they couldn't have that, could they?

Instead, Russell decided they should waste next year's budget for Doctor Who Unsoiled stories and get two alternate versions of the Eighth Doctor. Richard Griffiths, John Satan-Turner's original choice for the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors was easy to locate and capture. Edward Peel-Smith, "the fan's Eighth Doctor", proved more difficult, as he didn't actually exist.

Luckily, David Troughton was passing and was quickly chloroformed and dragged into the recording studio for the recording of , and recording was carried out in around fifteen minutes.

This was because the studio burnt down after Paul McGann's self-made 'Transit of Venus' Esclipe' device – a giant magnifying glass – suspiciously malfunctioned just at the moment the cheques were being written and managed to steal thirty pounds off Big Finish and the rest of the cast before anyone involved in knew what the hell was happening.

Russell decided to cut costs and, instead of nudging Clayton Hickman and getting him to cough up another photoshop cover, they would use some torn out Doctor Who annual pages instead.

This had the bizarre side effect of renaming Cardiff The Terror Trail, Computer Capture, Escape from Xenos, Escape from the Green Volcano, The Secret Steps, Prisoners of the Prefusions, Journey Through Time, The Centrovian Problem, the Plasmoid Jungle and Monsters And Ropes until JHE had the bright idea of scribbling 'Cardiff' over the top.

Fans were up in arms at the terrible images – clearly cut-and-pasted (in the old fashioned way, too) from the covers of The Actual Mystery of Beer, The Doctor Who Technobabble Manual and The Mind Shagger. The fan retailer Tense Planet even went so far as to create their own cover for Cardiff:

It consisted of C'Rizz sitting on the Doctor's knee and stroking his hair in a very intimate manner. The Doctor wears a bright orange wig, and is sitting in a bath which is festooned in disco rope lighting and sitting in the middle of the South American jungle which is in fact inside a hollow planet. Blocking the trapdoor exit of the hollow world is an animated demon idol guarding the Castle of Doom wherein lies the King of Doom, the Royal Cabbage of Doom and the TARDIS dangling on strings. The strings are about to be severed by a hedge trimmer wielded by a haddock high on meteorite weed. Struggling to stop the weed are alien balls of fiery energy that spell out the words CHARLEY IS IN THE CENTRE OF A LABYRINTH AND THE WHOLE IDEA OF A LABYRINTH IS THAT YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FIND THE CENTRE.

This cover has nothing to do with the events or characters of Cardiff but BY GOD it looks cool!

By some bizarre twist of fate, every released copy of Cardiff features the original cover but the altered back one.

And thus, the stage was set for the season finale – in the sense that this was merely a foretaste of the indescribably awful disappointment that was imminent...