Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I'm Back Baby

'I know a race made of sentient gas who throw fireballs as a friendly wave. I know another race with sixty four stomachs who talk to each other by disembowelling.'

- The Doctor, Flatline.

Yes, I am back writing for Doctor Who. As evidenced by the accompanying photo which I call 'Power Stance while Protecting Groin'.

In honour of my third year on the show I can reveal that when I wrote the above quote for the good Doctor, I was actually making a back reference to a piece of my own work. A sketch that I only I knew about, from a pilot that was never made. An easter egg I'm frankly surprised no-one picked up on.

Want to read the sketch? Of course you do!

Enjoy:


INT. OFFICE -DAY

A desk and two chairs in a sparse militaristic office. MR. KINSEY, an authoritative General type in a short sleeve shirt and tie sits reading from a buff folder while smoking. Two suited bodyguards with earpieces and sunglasses stand in the corners of the room. They both touch their earpieces simultaneously.

The door opens, DR. JACKSON enters, bespectacled and bookish, clutching a brown leather bag to himself protectively. MR. KINSEY stands and they shake hands. They are both American.

MR. KINSEY
Dr. Jackson, thank you for coming.

DR. JACKSON
Well it’s not like I had a lot of choice. Look, can we just get on with this?

MR. KINSEY
Very well. I take it you’ve read the file? On the flight?

DR. JACKSON
I read it. I didn’t believe it but I read it.

MR. KINSEY
Oh it’s all true. The aliens are very real. They’re here and they want to talk.

DR. JACKSON
Well, it’s incredible, I’ll give you that, but I fail to see what it has to do with me.

MR. KINSEY
You’re a linguist.

DR. JACKSON
Granted. But I’m hardly the top of my field. I could name you twenty far more versatile -

MR. KINSEY
This isn’t about language in the traditional sense. You see the aliens do not speak as we understand it, it’s more a kind of, sign language.

DR. JACKSON
Again, I must ask, why me?

MR. KINSEY opens the buff folder.

MR. KINSEY
In 1989 you worked for a summer as an assistant at a slaughterhouse, did you not?

DR. JACKSON
Yes I did.

MR. KINSEY
It is this skill set which we hope to utilise. To put it bluntly, the aliens communicate, by disembowelment.

A beat.

DR. JACKSON
Disembowelment?

MR. KINSEY
Gutting.

DR. JACKSON
I know what it means.

MR. KINSEY hands over another folder and begins pointing out details.

MR. KINSEY
We’ve managed to isolate a few basic words and phrases - it all seems to depend on the angle that the knife enters and the order that the organs are removed.

DR. JACKSON
So they talk by gutting?

MR. KINSEY
Yes.

DR. JACKSON
So who exactly gets gutted?

MR. KINSEY
Well, the aliens gut one another and well, up until now, we’ve been pretty quiet.

DR. JACKSON
So we haven’t said anything to them yet?

MR. KINSEY
Well, we gutted a volunteer just to say hello and make sure we were barking up the right tree.

DR. JACKSON
I see.

MR. KINSEY
But given the importance of this alliance, the president has sanctioned the use of death row prisoners in the negotiations.

DR JACKSON looks appalled.

DR. JACKSON
Well, that makes sense.

MR. KINSEY
Dr. Jackson, I’m sensing some resistance here. I realise we’re asking a lot but the advances in technology and medicine that they offer us are breathtaking.

DR. JACKSON
I see.

MR. KINSEY
Look, you’ll be fully trained up and the prisoners you’ll be gutting will all be the lowest of the low.

DR. JACKSON
Can they be dead already?

MR. KINSEY
Er, no. It screws up the verbs.

DR. JACKSON
Well, fully anaesthetised then.

MR. KINSEY
Erm, no, tied up yes, knocked out, no. Apparently the screaming acts as punctuation.

DR. JACKSON
Oh God.

MR. KINSEY
Look, they’ve offered us cures for every disease known to man and an end to world hunger. You weigh that up against gutting a few deadbeats, it’s really no choice at all.

DR. JACKSON composes himself.

DR. JACKSON
Your right, of course. When do we start?

MR. KINSEY
That’s my boy.

FADE TO:

INT. OFFICE -DAY
Same office, same guards in attendance. DR. JACKSON and MR. KINSEY enter. DR. JACKSON has on a full length butcher’s apron, wellies and from his chest down he is dripping with blood. In one hand he is holding a gutting hook dripping with gore.

DR. JACKSON
They were very chatty, weren’t they?

He passes out cold.
.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Dad, The Doctor

We were walking Biscuit when we found the sunglasses.

The air was cold enough to sting a little when you breathed it in, coming out in clouds of steam that made us all look like dragons. I was busy breaking icy puddles with my new wellies when I heard Dad laugh.

The sunglasses were sitting in a blackened crater just outside the wood. Dad said they looked as if they had fallen like a meteor, but obviously someone had just made a campfire. It was still funny though.

He crouched down to pick them up. I thought he was going to pass them to me, but as soon as he touched them he looked distant. Then he put them on, looked at me and said ‘Well, my eyes appear to be working at any rate.’

Only now his accent was Scottish.

It was a bit like his Shrek voice. I giggled because I loved it when he did voices. That usually meant fun.

Then he turned and walked straight into a tree, a real head butt. He fell over onto his back but his arms were still swinging and his legs were still striding, as if he didn’t realise he wasn’t walking anymore. I roared with laughter and lay down beside him and tried to copy him, the frosty leaves crunching under us. Biscuit jumped around us and over us, barking and licking our faces.

Dad used to do this all the time. Well, not exactly this, but games where he wasn’t Dad. He was a vampire or a troll or a robot or a giant. He would chase me or carry me or I would chase him. Doing voices, pulling faces.

The games had stopped for good when Mum left. And that was months ago. I was so happy to see them back it hurt my heart. (The note from Mum just said she needed a Bit of Space, but then Mrs Dunwoody had seen her at the bus stop with Another Man. And she never came back.)

Dad finally stopped moving his legs and looked up at the tree.

Not as easy operating this body as I’d hoped. The interface is a little glitchy. You’re going to have to help me. Lead me that-a-way. And try not to walk me into any more trees.’

He held out an elbow and I started leading him through the wood. Biscuit seemed entirely happy with this new direction and I was just happy to be holding onto Dad, even if it was only his elbow.

On the way Dad told me a story, which went like this:

He wasn’t really Dad anymore. When Dad touched the sunglasses he activated something called a ‘Telepathic Emergency Beacon’ which basically meant that someone else was now controlling Dad. An alien called ‘The Doctor’ whose real body was currently in orbit in a broken spaceship which was going to explode. We had to find something that had fallen from the spaceship and bring it to The Doctor.

I loved the story. I loved the fact that Dad was making things up again. Stories were another thing which left with Mum, so getting a game and a story in the same day was like Christmas. I didn’t want our walk through the wood to ever end.

After a while he stopped and said ‘And here we are.’

In the middle of the wood was a battered old blue box, half buried. It had the words POLICE BOX written on it. Of course, if you squinted, you could imagine it was half buried because it had fallen from the sky, but you could also imagine that it had been here for years. Dad stood in front of it clicking his fingers and arguing with it.

Come on. Open up. I know I don’t look like me. But it’s me up here. Surely that’s what counts. I mean honestly, the amount of faces I’ve had you’d think you’d make an exception.’

I was laughing until the door opened and he climbed inside.

After a moment I followed him.

I thought I’d hit my head because we were suddenly somewhere else: a big boiler room full of lights with a tall machine that reminded me of a church organ. Dad was skipping around it, pressing buttons, pulling levers and whistling. I gasped and Biscuit barked.

The story was true. All true. This wasn’t my Dad anymore. This was an alien called The Doctor. So where was my Dad? Trapped in his own head?

Then the room began to groan and shudder. I thought about running, just leaving him. But whoever was in his head, it was still my Dad’s body. I had to look after it (even though he hadn’t - he’d put on three stone since Mum left.)

All of that was scary and horrible, but the idea that made me really sad was that Dad hadn’t really played a game with me or told me a story.

My Dad, The Doctor, turned to me and smiled happily.

Well thanks for your help. Oh, and tell your Dad thanks for the loan of his body.’ Then he took off the sunglasses and threw them across the room.

They were caught by a thin man with grey hair who was just entering the room. Behind him, through the door, I could see something that didn’t make sense: a room of metal on fire, then the door closed. The thin man put the sunglasses in his pocket and carried on talking in the Doctor’s voice as he moved over to the church organ machine. He was The Doctor. Of course he was.

You’ve both been very helpful, it could be argued, against your will. So as a reward, I’m prepared to offer you one free trip, anywhere in time and space.”

My Dad was blinking, confused as he looked around himself, but he heard that. He looked from me to the Doctor and back again.

Anywhere?’

Mrs Dunwoody was just driving past the bus stop when she saw my mum talking to the Strange Man. But he wasn’t. He was just my Dad, three stone heavier. Even Mum didn’t recognise him.

I can give you space.’ said my Dad.

Over his shoulder, the blue box waited…
.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cut Scene From Mummy On The Orient Express


This is a scene from a fairly early draft and is set just after Captain Quell cuffs the Doctor and before he has a change of heart, which in the final draft was about thirty seconds!

There was a whole other plotline involving the Doctor in the cab of the train that didn't really move the plot forward, which is ultimately true of this entire scene.

But more Perkins is always fun!

Enjoy!



INT. CELL - DAY

Clang as a cell door closes, THE DOCTOR inside. The cell has straw on the floor and a couple of empty crates. CAPTAIN QUELL and the GUARDS face him through the bars.

THE DOCTOR
You will get marked down for this.

CAPTAIN QUELL
For the last time: you are not a
mystery shopper.

CAPTAIN QUELL leaves. The DOCTOR attempts to regain levity, shouting after them.

THE DOCTOR
And seriously, who has prison cells on a luxury train? That’s real mixed signals you’re sending there!

But they’ve gone. The DOCTOR begins to inspect his cell.

PERKINS (O.S.)
They’re not cells. They’re cages.

The DOCTOR cranes his neck to look down the carriage, where he finds PERKINS oiling the bars with an old fashioned oil can.

THE DOCTOR
Perkins! Good to see you.

PERKINS
We use them to carry livestock every now and again. That whole back wall turns into a ramp. Makes it easier to hose it down.

THE DOCTOR
Come to spring me have you?

PERKINS sits on a crate facing the cell.

PERKINS
More than my jobs worth, sir.

THE DOCTOR
That seems to be the motto of this train. There will be more deaths. You can be sure of that.

PERKINS
That’s as maybe. From an enemy we can’t see that no-one believes in.

THE DOCTOR
I’ve got some ideas about that. But I need to get to the driver’s cab. Is there nothing you can do to help me?

PERKINS
Well, even if I was to let you out of that cell, you’d still have get past all those security cameras. Then there’s the guards, with orders to arrest you on sight.

THE DOCTOR
I’ll think of something. Probably.

PERKINS smiles. A thought strikes him.

PERKINS
Did you know this train actually runs on steam? Well technically the steam’s powering a quantum storm drive but you can’t have everything.

THE DOCTOR frowns. This is relevant how?

THE DOCTOR
That’s very interesting.

PERKINS
Ridiculous really. They just wanted authentic looking smoke. But then they found that smoke really looks wrong in space. Do you know how they fixed it in the end?

THE DOCTOR
Enlighten me.

PERKINS
Permanent air corridor. Around the whole train. Held there by force fields. Thirty to forty foot high on the roof. But it’s still there on the sides. Seven foot or so out. The window cleaners use it. Quite a sight.

THE DOCTOR’s eyes narrow. The hint of a smile.

THE DOCTOR
Because they don’t use harnesses do they?

PERKINS
They don’t need them sir. You can always trust the train beneath your feet.

THE DOCTOR is smiling now. He stands and considers the wall behind him.

THE DOCTOR
And I don’t suppose that this ramp door thing has a broken latch by any chance?

PERKINS
Very perceptive sir. Someone should report it.

THE DOCTOR grins. He gets it. He nods.

THE DOCTOR
Thank you, Perkins.

PERKINS keeps his face carefully blank.

PERKINS
I don’t know what you mean, sir.

We stay on the mock innocent face of PERKINS as we hear a blast of air, as if someone has opened the window on a plane. The noise cuts out.

Wide on the empty cell.

PERKINS
Good luck, sir.

CUT TO:

EXT. TRAIN - DAY

Close on the train, roaring through space, about to enter a hyperspace portal. We move past it’s smokestack and over the roof, then zoom down the side to discover -

THE DOCTOR walking impossibly on the side of the train! Gravity is obviously set to make any surface ‘down’. Dynamic hero shot as he strides toward the engine. A man on a mission.
.