GINA IVY L SNOWDOLL
(edited by Robert Hammond)
The following piece originally appeared in the final issue of Robert Hammond's anarchicDoctor Who fanzine Auton (#18, April 1997). Auton was rather unusual for a Who-zine in that, rather than celebrate the cult TV show, it went out of its way to totally rip the piss out of it, and has been variously described as being sick, puerile, childish, vitriolic, and uproariously funny! Imagine Doctor Who crossed with Viz and you might get the idea.
But light has recently been shed on the fact that a lot of this surviving evidence has been falsified. Script books and novelisations of these lost stories have been tampered with and altered in an attempt to hide the fact that the stories, so greedily guzzled by the licking flames, were deliberately burnt to disguise the fact that they were a pile of complete shit. And as this is our last issue and we need no longer fear about repercussions, the truth can at last be told.
One perfect example of such tampering is the 1967 Patrick Troughton era tale erroneously known to us as The Macra Terror. This story was sent up in smoke precisely for the reason outlined above.
“In retrospect, it just seemed like a good idea at the time,” commented writer Ian Stuart Black years later, hanging his head in shame and asking to be punched in the guts. The BBC and all involved in the making of the story were so acutely embarrassed by it that the whole cast and production crew had a huge fight involving butcher's knives when it came to the decision as to who should actually have the honour of burning the damn thing. In the end, to avoid further bloodshed, producer John Davies cut the film up into small strips of equal length so that each member of personnel could have the satisfaction of burning a section of the unspeakable show with their own matches and lighters. Eyewitnesses state that Patrick Troughton supplied his own blowtorch and kerosene.
But why was it so bad? Well, the title was the first thing to be tampered with. In an early experiment of programme sponsorship and in a bid to be hip in the swinging Sixites, the Beeb approached Mary Quant to finance the whole of Season Four if, in return, several key stories were to feature an inordinate amount of Mary Quant cosmetics. After a bumpy start with The Powder of the Daleks (in which the use of cosmetics were overshadowed by Patrick Troughton’s debut and the Quant range was down-graded to mere product placement), The Mascara Terror proved a greater advert for the lipsticks and nail polish. The Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie all land in a holiday camp. They are immediately pounced upon by the camp staff and given a courtesy make-over and some new trendy new clothes. Jamie, particularly, is left speechless when his tartan kilt is replaced with a trendy plastic miniskirt with a large pink flower design on the front. So ashamed is he that he crawls into a convenient and dark mine for the rest of the story where no-one can see him.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is left fighting off giant crabs wielding mascara brushes and eyeliner pencils. Ben and Polly, so traumatised by the experience, asked to be written out halfway through the next yarn, The Facepack Ones.
The Quant phase was short-lived, although some of the “camp” elements resurfaced later in The Nice Warriors, where the green Martians minced about breathing heavily and fiddling with their sonic cannons.
[Other tales you should be glad they fried: The Underwear Menace (Troughton in nothing but wee-dripping knickers), Furry from the Deep (the story co-starring Sooty & Sweep) and Easel of the Daleks (the Daleks invade Paris and get into water colours, landscapes and stupid accents in a big way).]
Gina is a keen net-user and can be visited at her
and can also be contacted by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.