The Ribald Operation
An alternate Programme Guide by
ONE HUNDREDTH Entry in the Charles Daniels Unauthorized Programme Guide
O' I can't believe I've written 100 of these fucking things, and still no
mindless groupies, cheap sex, bad drugs, loud rock 'n roll, long endless
nights filled with gratuitous empty pleasure and eye candy distraction,
actually I'm not so much surprised but terribly pissed off that there
ARE all these things but SOMEONE ELSE SOMEWHERE ELSE has them!
Serial 5a - The Ribald Operation -
Torn entirely from the fabric of time and space by power beyond
the Doctor is called upon by Colonel Sanders, the embodiment of the
goodness which is fried chicken, to find the eleven secret herbs and
spices which provide balance to all of the cosmos and make his kentucky
fried chicken the best damn fast food in the universe. For the safety of
all, and to make sure his franchise has a one of a kind taste which no
can match, Colonel Sanders disguised these ingredients which he
collectively calls, the Key To Chicken, and scattered them throughout time
Colonel Sanders claims that the completion of this mission will allow
him to restore a 'faltering universal balance' but everyone suspects he's
just getting a bit old and has actually forgotten the recipe.
The Doctor is forced into the mission and Colonel Sanders chooses
a young, intelligent, but entirely dissatisfied employee from
one of the Gallifreyian KFCs, to be the Doctor's new companion.
Romanadvoratrelundar, with the longest name tag in KFC history,
hates her job frying up greasy slop for the most elite race in
all space-time and decides that working for a loony to save the
entire universe has to be a slightly better job than dropping chicken
in molten fat for minimum wage.
Together they are given a locator to help them find the ingredients
and a value big bucket to put them in.
The first two spices are tracked to the city of FurrShur on the
planet Ribald where a con man named Gawron and his assistant, Unstuffed,
are engaged in a scam to sell the entire planet to as many gullible
and greedy Americans as possible. No longer content with buying
bridges, palaces, and treasured national monuments, the wealthy
of the future are continuously duped into buying planets which
are not for sell. If they would only look in "UnReal Estate Monthly"
they would learn of the many cons currently operating around the
cosmos. The planet Artex has been sold on no less than 680,000
different occasions - always to the same, ever optimistic, man.
This con is not entirely baseless however, there was always
the famous story of how the owner of Saturn had a nervous breakdown
and sold the entire gas giant for a penny and smile. It was strange
stories like these in galactic history which the two con men were
hoping to capitalise on.
The Americans in this situation are particularly interested
in Ribald for it's apparently rich source of jethryk, a rare
and very silly sounding gem stone which no one ever takes
seriously due to it's rather unfortunate name. Their interests
are further piqued when they discover that jethryk, although
somewhat pretty and useful looking, can in NO WAY be used
as fuel, thus will not prove a threat to big oil interests
who somehow have managed to run an entire fleet of intergalactic
warships on premium unleaded petrol.
The Doctor's interest is having a bit of local colour and
enjoying the alien cuisine of this far distant outpost. Romana
and he discover that actually Italian food served by penguins
is the preferred dining experience on this world. Over a few
dozen bottles of gin that night the Doctor considers his mission
and trusts his confidence with a rather successful restauranteur
penguin. During this conversation The Doctor quickly realises
that the jethryk is of no importance whatsoever and discovers that
the lead con man, Gawron, is being played by the actor Michael Palin.
The Doctor breaks the fourth wall by suggesting to the
camera and his companion that they wouldn't cast Michael
Palin in this role unless he was damned important - and
thus he must be the first ingredient in the chicken.
This somewhat disgusts Romana who considers that this
means fully 1/11th of what she was frying the chicken in
all this time was an englishman from Sheffield. The Doctor
thankfully explains that Palin is just some sort of symbolic
link to the pure form of the actual ingredient.
The next day The Americans are told by the incredibly intelligent
penguin that they are being deceived. The penguin provides the Americans
with documents of the con men's plan and with a delicious slice
of pizza which they enjoy thoroughly. For the penguins help
he demands a fee of $500 and leaves them to do as they please.
After the delicious cheese and pepperoni snack the Americans seek
out the vile con men to shoot them dead.
However, The con men have been tipped off by the exact same penguin
that their cover has been blown and that soon lots of armed loonies
will be out for their heads. To calm the con men's nerves the penguin
offers a tasty lasagna with freshly baked bread. For the penguin's
information he demands $500 from the and leaves them to escape as they
please. Eating the italian cuisine on the run the con men head for
the dark and mysterious catacombs under the city.
The Doctor has realised that he must keep the con men alive
and safe at least until he can reform Palin into his spicy
form. When the con men disappear entirely The Doctor is
terrified but his newly found penguin friend comes to his aid
and tells him that SOMEHOW the Americans realised they were being
conned but he made sure to tip off con men so they would be safe.
The Doctor is grateful that the previous night he decided to share
all the details with this fine gentlepenguin and enjoys a freshly
cooked calzone as he offers $500 in payment for the penguin's help
and advice in where he might find the escaping con men.
The Doctor, Romana, and K9 seek into the catacombs. The
Americans however are ahead and quickly capture Gawron and
Unstuff. However, before they can kill their captives,
the Ribald guards are informed by their caterer, the penguin,
that the most wanted people on the planet are beneath the city.
Sustaining the guards strength through a steady diet of meatballs
the Ribalds blow up the entrance to the catacombs to ensure
the death of the criminals -- and offer $500 to the penguin
for his information and services.
The destruction of several sandwhiches and packed lunches in the
ensuing rock fall drives the surviving Americans totally insane.
They storm into the darkness of falling dust and are killed by
an entirely gratuitous thermite bomb which had been accidentally
be dropped by a prop boy as he adjusted the overhead lighting.
The Doctor meanwhile reaches safety with Gawron and Unstuffed.
As soon as they are clear of danger the Doctor stabs Gawron
viciously with the locator and watches as the actor Michael
Palin transforms into a pepper shaker. Unstuffed then also is
stabbed in a daring fight scene, which relies heavily on cheap
body dummies being flailed about, and he forms a salt shaker.
With the first two segments of the Key To Chicken complete,
the Doctor muses if it's really worth getting up in the morning.
Book(s)/Other Related - Doctor Who The Key To Chicken Part 1 - The Larch
Doctor Mysterio Crispie KFC Originale!
Eat My Chicken Or Let The Universe Fall Into
Chaos, You Decide - By Colonel Sanders
Fluffs - Tom Baker seemed fried for most of this story
Fashion Victims - The people of the planet Ribald and their
ridiculous cod pieces
Goofs - Colonel Sanders, a Kentucky Colonel, founder of KFC...
has supreme power over time and space?? Is it that
groovy white suit or eating all the chicken which
provides his bizarre powers?
Romana is clearly seen wearing expensive jewelry
while wearing her KFC work uniform. How can she
afford *DIAMONDS* while working at KFC?
The Doctor first takes notice of Gawron/Palin when
he notices his english accent, and finds it bizarre
that someone would have an english accent on Ribald.
Obviously the Doctor doesn't account for himself, his
travelling companion, his dog, and the rest of the entire
population of the universe!
Technobabble - "You've used temporixocile energy to bring me here!
That's immoral, devious, criminal, and not to mention
Links and References -
The Doctor wonders if the eleven secret herbs and spices could
make a Snotaran palatable.
This is the first story to so heavily involve the nature of
Michael Palin since season one's story 'Michael Palin'.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor claims he was trained in sleight-of-hand via heavy
use of peyote
Dialogue Disasters -
Romana: I'm not going in those catacombs!
Doctor: What's the matter - Chicken?!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: Look, I'm sure there must be plenty of other weirdos who'd
Sanders: I have chosen you, Doctor. You were my one millionth customer.
Doctor: I was afraid you might say that, I knew I should have gone for
lunch just a little bit later than I did....Ah! You want me to
volunteer, is that it? Well what do I get for lunch?
Doctor: You mean if I help you I won't get anything for expenses?
Sanders: Nothing. Ever.
Doctor: You're a bit of a cheap boss!
Doctor: We have been selected to save the entire universe!
Romana: Will that be all for you today, sir?
Doctor: What?? Oh no! A KFC Zombie! You must snap out of the
brain washing! YOU MUST BE FREEE!! FREEEEEE!
Romana: Yes...buy one value family bucket and get a side order
of french fries FREE.
Doctor: No! You must be FREE!
Romana: It's 9.99, on special!
Doctor: I'll call you Romana, it's what's in the script.
Romana: I don't like Romana.
Doctor: It's either Romana or Bitch.
Romana: All right, call me Bitch.
Con Men: Why are you doing this for us?
Penguin: 500 Dollars.
Binro: Have you ever looked up at the sky at night and seen those little
Unstuffed: I live in a big city, we don't get those, too many artificial
lights in the big city.
Binro: The little lights in the sky you know...They are not ice crystals!
I believe they are casinos, casinos in the sky, just like our own
casino in town, and perhaps each casino has other games of its own,
just as Ribald as the entirely unpopular game of "Repeated Blow To
The Head". I have made measurements of those little casinos, and
of our own casino, and I can prove that Ribald moves; travelling
far away and returning, like daddy on Saturday night...
Unstuffed: That's the scringe stone! You hangs a bit over your
neck and you won't ever suffer from the scringes no
matter 'ow cold it be!
Gawron: What if I kicked you in the testicles to shut you up a bit?
Unstuffed: Oh, I imagine there'd be a bit of scringing then!
Doctor: Money isn't everything you know.
Unstuffed: Yes it is!
Doctor: Oh! Right! Well then off you go!
Doctor: (to Romana) Do you recognise this hyperthermal quorn
Dialogue Oddities -
The Doctor: I must work ALONE! I do my best work solo. I'm sure
some people work very well with collaboration but I'm
a lone operator.
Tom Baker: If I'm going to do this job for you..can't you at least
provide me with a tart on the side?
Viewers' Quotes -
"Colonel Sanders himself is one of those marvellous ideas in the series.
Instead of an awe-inspiring being we see someone calmly sitting in a
chair chatting about the end of order in cooking chicken. Come to
think of it though, that was probably all done for budget reasons.
So it's a bit crap isn't it?" - Arthur Reed (1980)
"Why can't we have a great god-like presence laying waste to
all of creation, striking down the fearful and wicked? A great
beaming light of righteous power slicing through the masses
and purifying the world through fire? That's what I'm all about!"
- Father James O'Maley (1978)
"If Binro was right, Ribald and the surrounding galaxy would
make for a great vacation spot! I wouldn't mind gambling in
a space casino!" - Astronomy Monthly (December 1978)
"Tom Baker is a total loony. The brooding alien of Pinchcliffe has
warped into a vibrant overgrown schoolboy, gleefully revelling in
his adventures. From the moment he hears Michael Palin's Sheffield
accent his curiosity is piqued, and he follows wherever that
curiosity leads, including that rather disturbing scene at the
bath house. At this stage, his flippancy and clowning is still a
defence mechanism, a cushion against the horrors around him, often
used to get him out of trouble with the local fathers and parental
figures. This is one facet of a complex man, and when death crowds
"Aren't you frightened?" Romana asks, as their dawn execution approaches.
"Yes," says the Doctor with utter sincerity. "Terrified.
My underwear is starting to bunch up on me." - Phil Munro (1981)
"A while ago I asked if there was any magic left in Doctor Who, well,
The Ribald Operation answered that with a resounding 'Fuck No'."
- Price-Zkirud-Jimbo-Jones (1979)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"My neighbor tastes like chicken and I didn't need ANY secret herbs
or spices! This story is stupid. Hey, want some liver?"
Tom Baker Speaks!
"I am the Lord of the Chicken! The Chicken Master! Yes!
To assemble the ingredients, I, the Doctor, was called upon
from the dark depths of time and space, to see what horrors
I could face in my mission to save THE UNIVERSE! In this mission
my trusty assistants Romana and K9 would battle the unknown and
most devious forces in the galaxy!"
- Tom Baker from the record "The Key To Chicken" (1979)
"Romana! Yes she was a sexy one wasn't she? She looks so gorgeous.
I saw her at an airport not so long ago. She looked so young, and
desirable, I thought she was a prostitute. That's a beautiful story."
"Another interesting behind the scenes detail was that back in the
late 70s I used to wrestle corgis. I recall being very successful
and I won most the matches, but on this occassion a corgi had gotten
the best of me and tried to rip my face clean off. I thought I was
going to have to spend the rest of my career playing zombies. You
can see my lip in not at all good shape after the corgi wrestling in
- Tom Baker, Programme Guide Exclusive
Rumors & Facts -
The sixteenth season - often referred to simply as the Key to
Chicken season - gets off to an excellent start with a smashing
jolly good set of scripts from Sherlock Holmes which really are just
the dog's bollocks. The opening scene, setting up the season's
over-arching plot, was actually the work not of Holmes but of
the owners of Kentucky Fried Chicken in co-operation with Marc
Antony. It is no less well written, however, and successfully
establishes the importance of KFC to the cause of integalactic peace.
KFC representing a previously unknown power above the Time Lords
The other particularly strange aspect of The Ribald Operation is
its introduction of Romana. With the creation of Romana the production
team went to the extreme of giving the Doctor a companion of vastly
superior intelligence to himself, whom was incredibly pissed off and
tortured by her experiences working in a fast food chain. The writers
soon realised that there were things that the two Time Lords would
really have no need to discuss between themselves - such as the
mechanics of temporal eddies, the limitations of infinite cloning,
the TRUE purpose of those little white plastic things you get in boxes
of pizza, and so on - which the viewer at home would be clueless about!
The writers decided that instead of contriving reasons for the characters
to discuss and explain these things for the viewer's convenience, they
would just have the characters act as they naturally would and screw the
ignorant audience at home! So there are many confusing things in the
series between them for those who don't happen to have a degree in physics
from the Tribracitron University of Total Knowledge in the third galaxy
"Antony we've got a bit of a problem, do you think the audience
is going to understand this?"
"Well if the audience can't understand the internal complexities
of a time eddie, it's their own bloody problem!"
"Don't you think we should contrive some reason for the characters
to have to explain the situation?"
"Fuck no, it would slow down the whole process!"
When he became Doctor Who's producer, one of Graham Williams' first
initiatives was to try to organise a season in which all the stories
were linked by chicken recipes. Williams was leery of the coin flipping
and drunken time piloting upon which Doctor Who depended.
They chose Mary Tamm out of about three thousand applicants for the
role of Romana, all of the others were too flat. Williams and Antony
went out to seek a supporting actress licence for Tamm to discover
not only was there no such thing as a supporting actress licence
but that the BBC had been conned into buying a lead actor licence
for Tom Baker. It is true that you need a licence if your going to
have a Tom Baker, but not specifically if he is going to act.
There were some minor difficulties and delays with the shooting of
this serial, for instance, during the initial studio session,
the fire officer and a pyromaniac squabbled over who should be
responsible for lighting the torches, resulting in an hour's
delay. A more serious problem arose during the second studio session.
when the pyromaniac used the torches to burn down the studio.
It was this event, amoungst many others, that made the BBC question
it's policy of employing pyromaniacs whatsoever.
The last major headache occurred the night before the final day of
recording, when Tom Baker had an unsuccessful wrestling bout with a
corgi tag team.
This story takes place before The Womb of Vladimir.