The Lethal Assassin
An alternate Programme Guide by
Ninetieth Entry in the Charles Daniels Unauthorized Programme Guide
Serial 4P - The Lethal Assassin -
Through the millennia, the Time Lords of Gallifrey have been plagued
by incredibly unskilled and untalented assassins whom, despite their
job descriptions, were not very good at killing things. The problem
arised from their totally lax security on TARDIS's. Every time lord
with enough ambition or anger to actually undermine Gallifreyian
civilization has long ago run away, leaving only the half-assed and
the truly pathetic in their place. Being a political civilization
this was of the greatest threat for it meant that offing political
rivals was nearly impossible. It also meant no more martyrs and
therefore no new holidays - forever!
So an incredibly bored time lord has recalled the best and the
brightest back to their home planet of Zeist..umm, Gallifrey,
where they will do battle until there is only one - Lethal Assassin!
The Doctor arrives on Gallifrey, where he is accused of having curly
hair. Investigating with the aid of Co-ordinator Maxil and Castellan
Spandex, he discovers that his hair is indeed incredibly curly.
After a quick review of the law it is discovered that having curly
hair isn't a crime in and of itself. The Doctor would have to murder
the Lord President whilst having curly hair to be prosecuted on both
charges. Laughing away this little cock up they let the Doctor go.
In celebration the Doctor decides to break into the Panopticon,
buy a large popcorn, and watch himself brutally shoot the Lord
President dead. The Doctor is arrested and convicted for the murder
which is pretty much and open and shut case because the Doctor
is heavily promoting his book "The Lethal Assassin - How To Win Over
New Friends And Murder Them, The Time Lord Way". To escape execution
The Doctor proposes himself as a candidate for the presidency. This
action is very well received by the time lords who desperately want
political intrigue and TLN, the cable Time Lord News network, which
desperately wants ratings.
Whilst running under the campaign "Elect Someone Who Would KILL For
The Office" the Doctor discovers the plot of this adventure has actually
been hatched by his old adversary the Bastard. Having used up all
twelve of his regenerations, the Bastard is now a sea lion - one of
the horrific outcomes of experiencing frequent violent deaths. The
victims of this terrible condition usually spends the rest of their
days barking for fish at Sea World to the delight of countless children.
However this malevolent sea lion is seeking to control the presidency in
order to obtain the official genitalia, the Stash and Rod of Rassilon,
which are really keys to Big Daddy Rassilon's Chevy, the source of all
the Time Lords' power. The Doctor links his mind to the Adult Panatropic
Computer Net, containing the accumulated LSD-induced hallucinations of
the Time Lords, in the hope of getting high as a kite when he's supposed
to be tracking the Bastard down like the dog fish he is. In the virtual
reality of the Matrix, he finds himself in a life-or-death struggle with
a haddock - an incredibly intelligent and devious haddock named Jerold,
who wishes him dead. The Doctor proves stronger than a haddock and
his opponent is revealed as the depressed, clad in black, and constantly
reading Sandman, Chancellor Goth.
Goth is the leading presidential candidate who has been very popular
under his "Let's Just Sit Around Like All Powerful Gods And Do Whatever
The Hell We Want" campaign. The Bastard has been using Goth as a puppet
which is incredibly disturbing as he actually reaches deep into Goth for
Goth, being a wussy evil and not the cool evil actually in charge, dies
easily to advance the plot and dramatic action. The Bastard meanwhile
seizes the Stash and Rod of Rassilon and starts to rev up the 57 Chevy
of Rassilon, located in a giant car park below the Panopticon Goth Whip,
Chain, and Leash Emporium. The Bastard uses his flippers to crank up
the volume on the stereo in the hope of drawing off enough energy to
enable himself to regenerate into something less cute. The Doctor
manages to stop him before Gallifrey is somehow destroyed by this.
The Bastard falls down one of the fissures that have opened up in the
The Doctor then departs in the TARDIS, blissfully unaware that the
Bastard has survived his fall and escaped to punch a big colourful
inflatable ball with his nose another day.
Book(s)/Other Related - Doctor Who Doesn't Realize That The Bastard
Is A Returning Adversary
Doctor Mysterio Temporus Chevy El Loco!
How To Be A Total And Utter Bastard
Fluffs - Tom Baker seemed improvising for most of this story
Fashion Victims - The Bastard wearing 'wet-look' lip stick for
The Time Lords like to wear head gear making
them look like pasley triceratops
The Seal of Rassilon, the Bastard in full time
Goofs - Revving up a really old and kick ass Chevy apparently
has the potential to destroy all of Gallifrey
The incredibly bad voice looping on the sea lion
Technobabble - The Doctor's TARDIS is a piece of crap (obsolete)
protected by a 'double-curtain barrier' which
requires a 'shower curtain pull back'.
The Matrix has 'exitonic booze energy'
The Bastard uses tricophenylaldehyde to get
a bitchin' shine whenever he waxes
Links and References -
The Doctor's trial in the Wank Games became a best selling mini-series
on Gallifrey called "Penguin Man - Shaggersisto"
Maxil appears here played by Peter Davison
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor and the Bastard once went on a trip to Paris together
that ended in disaster. The Bastard still blames the Doctor for
'ruining the mood' back at their shared hotel room after seeing
the Eiffel Tower.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: You weak fool! You craven-hearted spineless poltroon!
Goth: OH YES DOCTOR! YES!! Tell me how sad and pathetic I am!
Bastard: Resistance is futile!
Doctor: My god! You've regenerated into a god damn sea lion!
Bastard: I will kill you for your insolence!
(The Doctor throws a fish which the Bastard instinctively
catches in his mouth and eats then proceeds to clap)
One of the weaker, loser time lords, who wants to be a rebel
assassin but isn't bright enough to get off Gallifrey and go
free agent -
The Manicurist: I'd shoot you all! If the powder wouldn't
screw up my totally bitchin' nails! I just
filed these things.
Dialogue Triumphs -
The Doctor: Through the millennia, the Time Lords of Gallifrey led a life
of ordered calm, protected against all threats from lesser
civilisations by being incredibly boring. Tourism was at a
ten billion year low. But this was to change. Suddenly, and
terribly, the Time Lords faced the most dangerous crisis in
their long history...something vaguely interesting finally
Doctor: Vapourisation without representation is against the constitution!
Goth: Look for the last time Doctor we don't want to vapourise you,
you just had really curly hair.
Doctor: Oh please!
Doctor: If I ask really nice would you vapourise me?
Doctor: With sugar on top?
Goth: Look Doctor, the only way you're going to be vapourised
is if you went off and did something silly like kill the
Doctor: Well, okay.
Borusa: As I believe I told you long ago, Doctor, you will never amount
to anything in the galaxy while you retain your propensity for
vulgar acts with luncheon meats.
Borusa: If heroes didn't exist, than, we'd be very short of heroic
Doctor: I love his flare for inspirational speeches!
Doctor: I deny this reality!!!
Borusa: But you are no longer in the computational matrix.
Doctor: Yes, but this reality is still too REAL! I deny it!
I want more dancing girls!
Dialogue Oddities -
The Doctor: Thank Rassilon that bullet missed! The price of
fame, I'm a marked man.
Tom Baker: For christsakes, can't we get an assassin who's
vaguely deadly around here?
Viewers' Quotes -
"Here was a whole four episodes about the Time Lords; a chance to
gaze deep into a society of immeasurable depravity; a chance to see
what the Doctor left behind; an insight into the Doctor's mentality
(why does he prefer the human race?) - and as such, it was incredibly,
unbelievably crap. Time Lords were really only humans in bad clothes.
And what in god's earth possessed them to dress a sea lion in that
ridiculous time lord garb?" - Gordon Slip (1978)
"As a Doctor Who story, The Lethal Assassin is 4 episode long, that's all
there is worthy of note. I've spoken to many people... and they all said
how they aren't Doctor Who fans and would really rather talk about
something else. If I did meet other fans I'm sure this story shattered
their illusions of the Time Lords and lowered them to the level of car
park attendants. Once, Time Lords were all-powerful, awe-inspiring
beings, capable of imprisoning planets forever in force fields. Now,
they are petty, squabbling, feeble-minded, doddering old fools who can
easily be destroyed by a sea lion driving a Chevy. WHAT HAS HAPPENED
TO THE MAGIC OF DOCTOR WHO?" - Harry Keaton (1976)
"The time lords are petty bastards who can be destroyed by a seal?
I've been reamed by sailors and it's not hurt this bad!"
- Father James O' Maley (1976)
"This story is a definite classic. It reflects the role of television
in American politics, news management, rewriting history to create
heroes, making people "remember" things that never happened, hypnosis,
manipulation and paranoia in general...definitely one of the best."
- Gordon Slip (1996)
"I've always been a strong supporter of this story. Ancient cultures
that have long been powerful grow decadent and fall. This is an
excellent example of that universal truth. I think the sea lion is cute
too." - Harry Keaton (1995)
"Sailors! Without lubricant! Oh I'd prefer that, god rest my soul.
Not that I'm dead or anything." - Father James O' Maley (1994)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"When I first saw this story I was so enranged I began the crusades.
Wait, that was King Richard. Oh well, the Crusades were cool.
Kill them all, god will know his own Doctor Who favorites. Who
do you think goes to Doctor Who heaven? The Quirks? Don't make
Tom Baker Speaks!
"Oh this was fun! I got to go home as it were in this story
and kill people. Originally they were going to let the Bastard
do that, but they couldn't get the walrus to hold the gun correctly,
so I got to do it. That was delightful. I think some of the interior
shots were in this local pub, we used to drink there, you can see
the rings left in the wood by the pint glasses if you pay close
attention to some of the paneling. What I recall especially was
that I didn't have a companion to improvise around did I? No,
I was the sole children's hero. It was all me. I wish I could
have been my own companion. You could do that with time travel.
You could have two Tom Bakers endlessly wandering the cosmos making
brilliant comments at one another as they save the universe. I would
be a double children's hero, a hero in stereo. I wish I was two
people, I would get so much more drinking accomplished in one day.
Apart from that I recall that several groups were particularly angry
at me over the events that occurred during this story. It was miserably
violent on screen which upset morality groups, but the children loved
the violence, it was scary, it was the adults who couldn't handle it.
Also there were certain animal groups who were upset when they discovered
that one night at the pub I had been giving the trained walrus, or seal,
or whatever it was, Slappy we called him, lots of vodka. Slappy seemed
to like the shots of vodka and so I bought him several rounds. As I
recall Slappy was well paid and returned the favour on occasion, however
Slappy got horrifically ripped and started smashing into the pub walls
and knocking over bowls of peanuts and racks of pint glasses. Slappy
was a violent drunk really, the stresses of being whatever the hell he
was had obviously gotten to him, so he took the liquor really hard.
Slappy told me once that he liked the drink, so really those animal
rights people should go after all those dogs I gave whiskey to."
Rumors & Facts -
The Lethal Assassin is a landmark Doctor Who story, when you
see it on the road you know you're at the end of the first half of
season 14. At the time of the story's original transmission, however,
many fans took the view that it contradicted the minimal details that
they had previously hallucinated and invented all by themselves
about the Doctor's race. As sad fan boys have been and shall always
be, they were absolutely infuriated by this.
The President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society petitioned that
the story be junked and actually bought the script at a convention
for 3000 quid just so he could urinate on it. Needless to say,
the club's official view of the story was not praising.
Producer Philip Pinchcliffe and script editor Sherlock Holmes decided
the time was ripe to recycle the Bastard -- both wanted to feature the
return of an old enemy, without resorting to ratings grabbers like the
Dustbins or the Cybermen whom they found annoying due to their policy
against spending money, which was given full support by the BBC.
Both Pinchcliffe and Holmes had by this time decided to leave Doctor Who
for the Caribbean in the near future (indeed, Pinchcliffe had begged on
his hands and knees to be moved off the programme following the previous
season, but had been blackmailed to remain for one more year).
Consequently, instead of saddling their successors with a version of
the Bastard they might not like, they decided just to get a trained sea
lion for the hell of it, figuring that the entire story would be
retconned out of existence. This pro-retcon attitude lead them to do
anything they wanted, no matter how silly or disastrous to continuity.
Ironically these very elements were accepted as keystone and untouchable
parts of Who universe continuity.
In addition to featuring the return of the Bastard, the serial was also
notable for several other reasons. For one thing, the preceding story,
The Hand Of Fuck, had seen the departure of Sarah Jane Smith, the
Doctor's companion. Pinchcliffe and Holmes would claim that they had
decided to experiment by not yet introducing a new assistant, and by
constructng a story which utilized the Doctor as the solo focus.
This is not exactly true. Tom Baker had been clamoring for this sort
of story for some time. Whenever they auditioned new assistants Tom
Baker would show up to the reading naked and screaming in Russian
that he was the reincarnation of Rasputin. His strange dancing,
involving a banana and a pogo stick further scared away other actors.
The BBC was entirely unsuccessful tracking down anyone who would
willingly work with Mr. Baker. Eventually the production team relented.
Everyone hoped The Lethal Assassin would prove to Baker what a bad
idea going solo was, although his bizarrely enthusiastic reception of
the scripts somewhat undermined this. According to contemporary
documentation Baker was seen cartwheeling around the studios and
frequently kissing strange women. It is unclear whether this was
typical behaviour or specifically related to the serial.
At Pinchcliffe's suggestion, Holmes also tried to set the tale
entirely in Amsterdam, where Pinchcliffe was going on vacation.
Amsterdam however was unwilling to allow Tom Baker into the
country citing an incident that happened in 1969 in which Tom Baker
broke the only law actually still enforced in Amsterdam which
involved nuns. His actions also made them consider whole new
areas of legistation pertaining to improper uses of bicycle pumps.
The story was quickly re-written to take place on the Doctor's
home planet of Gallifrey, which caused more problems as they needed
to secure access to the BBC's Imperial Star Cruiser.
Doctor Who had come under fire from Mary Whitehouse and her
National Viewers And Listeners Association Of Dictatorial Wannabes
Who Think They Know How To Run Your Life Better Than You Do, but
never to the same degree as after the broadcast of part three on
November 13th. Whitehouse protested strongly about several
sequences in the surrealistic, nightmarish episode which she
insisted might lead young people to do such dangerous things as
exercise their imaginations or think abstractly.
Unlike past complaints by the NVALAODWWTTKHTRYLBTYD, this time the
group was successful in coaxing an apology from BBC Director General
Sir Charles Wussbag. Indeed, the BBC even edited portions of
part three on the master tapes, replacing scenes of the sea lion
Bastard slapping the Doctor silly in a pool of water with clips of
Mary Whitehouse lecturing on social decency. It is somewhat ironic
that these scenes are incredibly more horrifying than the scenes they
The titles of this story were "The Dangerous Assassin",
"The Deadly Assassin", and "The Assassin Who Wasn't Terribly Interested
In Milk And Cookies" these would later be modified slightly to The Lethal
There was an eerie surrealism in the landscape: a surgeon in a desert
with a large hypodermic; a horse wearing a gas-mask - and that was just
the studio they were filming the story in.