Doctor Who at Newton's laws of television


The Tenth Plaintiff

>by Matthew Newton


Episode Two: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'VE GOT RID OF EPISODE TITLES BY NOW?

THE STORY SO FAR: The creator of the Roadcones, Doctor Who's most popular monsters, is threatening to withdraw his copyright for them and launch them in their own exciting series in America, so the Doctor Who production team are desperately looking for a replacement monster to hype. After their first choices, the dynamic Monoids are taken out of action by a haircut plagiarism lawsuit by a well-known pop group, time is running out.

General Cutlery, the tough and uncompromising and Canadian head of the hush-hush secret base beneath the North Pole in that oh so futuristic date of 1986 that is an unbelievably long time in the future, waved his fist at the Doctor. "I wanna know what you're doing here," he drawled.

General Cutlery was so busy demanding to know various things from the Doctor he didn't notice the return of the non-speaking extras that he had sent out to investigate the strange blue box that had been spotted. However, these particular non-speaking extras were somewhat different to those who had left.

Everyone stared as the non-speaking extras removed their nice furry coats. People were staring not because the non-speaking extras all bore a startling resemblance to Lloyd Lamble, but because (wait for it) they were (here it come)... not human (gosh!). They all stood over twelve feet tall and were wearing large knee bandages over their faces with a strange litter-bin like structure a top their heads. They wore massive fruit-machine like structures on their chests and, most inhuman of all, they were all wearing identical painter and decorators' overalls.

"Stay where you are everybody," drawled one of the creatures in a strange metallic way. He then opened his mouth for a few seconds. The Doctor leapt to his feet, somewhat upset that the episode had been on five minutes and he hadn't said anything yet, and after all, the programme was named after him and he was leaving in three episodes time. But before he could say anything, General Cutlery had taken charge.

"And why should we?" he drawled in a tough and uncompromising and Canadian way. In response one of the creatures hit a non-speaking extra in a very painful place. "Ah," said the General.

"Perhaps you would be good enough to tell us about yourself, my boy...er... my strange creature," said the Doctor, happy now he had said something. "It would after all help the plot development, mmmm?

"Certainly" said the voice over artist of what was the leader of these strange creatures, who (according to the Radio Times at least) was called Kerrang. "We come from that strange planet that is causing the plot of this story. It is called the planet Monday."

"Monday, isn't that an old name for the Earth?" said Dr Barclaycard.

"No," replied the Doctor, so Dr Barclaycard shut up again.

Kerrang continued. "Once Monday was the twin planet of Earth, but we took a disliking to our neighbours so decided to do some sight-seeing in the Universe. We have been everywhere. We have seen all five corners of the Universe and John Nathan-Turner. But now we have returned."

"Yeah, but what are you?" asked Ben Jerkson, who up to now had been sat quietly in the corner showing off the particularly tasteless shirt that he had decided to wear for this episode.

"We are called Cyberlitterbins - yes that is correct - Cyberlitterbins. We were like you once, but our litterscientists realised that our lives were getting shorter due to the large amount of litter that was culminating on our planet which was producing many strange disease. So our doctors and scientists and refuse men devised spare parts for our bodies until we could be completely replaced by what you see. They even gave us these fruit machines for when we get bored." He indicated the fruit machine like structure on his chest. "They have also completely removed our emotions - we can now fight without distraction from such frivolities and find Jim Davison funny."

Everybody gasped.

Polly braced herself for her line. Previously, she had been sitting quietly in a corner looking devastating beautiful and avoiding Ben. Here it came! Her line! "But that means you're not like us - you're litterbins!"

Kerrang ignored this. He was busy conferring with his not-quite so important litterbins, Krail and Shav (I don't need to change those names to make them any more stupid). He then turned to his captive humans. "We will be using this set as our base for our plan to take over your planet and rid it of all of its rubbish and turn you all into Cyberlitterbins. You will obey us, or you will be eliminated tidily and carefully with no damage to the environment."

General Cutlery sidled over to the Doctor and Dr Barclaycard in a tough and uncompromising and Canadian way. "What are we going to do?" he drawled.

"Mmmm... I'm not sure, my dear Canadian. It looks like we're prisoners, mmm, yes, that's what we are. Most definitely," replied the Doctor.

"Well, I'm not going to sit around doing nothing," cried General Cutlery. "Especially as my son's up there in a rocket investigating that planet Monday of theirs and its about time for me to go paranoid and mad."

"Mmm? Well as long as you do it quietly, I'm trying to work out what could be used as a weapon against them... Gravity... No... What about emotions? No, too obvious. How about gold.. No Gerry hasn't thought of that one yet.... Jim Davison... No, he said they actually find him funny... Mmm, what a depraved race..."

"But what about their plan - to rid the world of its rubbish! It's hideous!" said Dr Barclaycard. "The world would never be the same ever again!"

"It is a curious plan, yes, it is indeed it is," muttered the Doctor. "Now didn't that nice Mr James Coburn fight something similar in one of those nice Derek Flint films? Mmm, I believe he did..."

Ben was not following this discussion, not being a connoisseur of those nice Derek Flint films. Polly was avoiding his advances as normal, so he decided to take things into his own hands and do something heroic, Ben-ish and downright stupid. After all he was a male Hartnell era companion, so what else could he do? He leapt up and leapt onto Kerrang. The attack was of course hopeless (well it would be too short a story otherwise) and Ben was thrown aside like... like.. well, like someone being thrown aside by a twelve foot litterbin.

"Clear him away," said Kerrang to a non-speaking Cyberlitterbin who probably had a really stupid name like Gern or something. "He is making this base look untidy." The non-speaking Cyberlitterbin picked up Ben and carted him off to a cell that would probably be very easy to escape from using a film projector or something.

Polly looked on, horrified but still incredibly pretty. Actually she didn't have much else to do as she hasn't got any more lines in this episode.

Across the room, Dr Barclaycard watched on as the Doctor muttered away to himself and General Cutlery started to go mad. Suddenly the Doctor looked at his watch. "Dearie me... It's almost time for my episode off," he muttered. With that he collapsed in a heap.

"Oh well," said Dr Barclaycard. "He's only got another couple of episodes left."

NOT TO BE CONTINUED ACTUALLY

Special Preview! Coming soon from America - `The Roadcones in an Exciting Adventure With Some More Roadcones!'

Originally published in Think Tank issue 23 (July 1991).



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