The Planet Pirates of Magrathea
An alternate Programme Guide by
One Hundred and First Entry in the Charles Daniels Unauthorized
Programme Guide O' Winston Smith
Serial 5B - The Planet Pirates of Magrathea -
The blue time-travelly box of rassilon heads for the planet Calufrax,
where the second most successful chicken restaurant in the cosmos,
Ed's Fried Dead Things In Batter, has reportedly captured the second
segment, therefore two of the almighty chicken seasonings that empower
the overlords of KFC to rule the cosmos. The Doctor and his companion
Romana have pledged to boldly and decisively take back the Key To
Chicken to provide order to the cosmos and more importantly to figure
out exactly what in the hell goes into the stuff in the first place.
Unfortunately the TARDIS is about as accurate as a clock with no
gears, no face, and no hands. So instead our brave heroes find
themselves on the planet Zanak.
Zanak is a special world because it starts with the letter "z".
In the galactic community of planets naming your planet with a
z in it whatsoever is seen as a pretty ballsy move, however starting
off your planet's name is the equivalent of saying "Right, fuck off
then!" The planet Zyzz for instance was inhabited by the most
offensive, annoying, and confrontational bastards in the history
of the entire universe and as such the endless ploys to introduce
Coca-Cola and fast food chicken restaurants to it makes for some
of the bloodiest, goriest, horrors imaginable - hence why the film
is so popular.
Zanak, needing to live up to it's reputation, decided to prove that
it was hard by entirely removing it's magnetic core and replacing it
with a top end ascii-text matter transporter, which is much faster
than binary transmissions. The upshot of all this is that they can
now materialise their world around other worlds..which is obviously
useful because...it's sounds very cool in a science fictiony kind
Romana is captured by guards, half chicken, half machine. These
creatures look as impressive as the description would imply. This
development causes the Doctor to believe that Calufrax is being
absorbed by Zanak, because that's just the sort of bad ass thing
'Z' planets like to do!
The Doctor is poised to reverse the flow of time itself and save
Calufrax from it's horrid fate when the Doctor is visited by
Colonel Sanders himself who explains that the time is right for
the demise of Calufrax and it's destruction must be allowed to
continue for the sake of creation itself. After a few probing
questions by the Doctor, Sanders admits he just wants to see
Ed's Fried Dead Things In Batter go out of business and thus
relieve him of competition.
In the time it takes the Doctor to wrestle the truth from
Sanders, Calufrax is destroyed entirely save for two tiny natives
both played by Eric Idle, which, as fate, and cheap plotting would
have it, are the two missing ingredients to the key to chicken!
The Eric Idles are forced to leave behind their tiny girlfriends
who sing out for the intervention of Mothra, to no avail. The
Doctor pokes the Erics and they transform into garlic and sage.
Romana asks the Doctor what they must do to stop the evil planet
pirates from consuming every world in the universe, to which he
replies by running into the TARDIS and summoning Ultraman, Defender
of the Universe.
The Doctor places the fate of Zanak in Ultraman's hands and decides
to seek the next two mystery ingredients. After the TARDIS' departure,
Ultraman is completely destroyed and the Zanak high commander, Zanakia,
pledges to seek out the Doctor and destroy him! This results in...
absolutely nothing as no one has ever bothered to write a sequel!
Book(s)/Other Related - Doctor Who & The Quantum Krikketmen of Time
Doctor Mysterio El Planterro Suckie Suckie
The Eleven Secret Herbs & Spices - OF DEATH!
Fluffs - Tom Baker's acting seemed poultry for most of this story
Fashion Victims - Why is it that super advanced alien intelligences
always dress like it's 1000 BC? How can I respect
alien overlords in togas?
Goofs - Colonel Sanders actually has 'powers that raise him above
the gods'. Does this mean that all that money I've spent
on original reciepe is actually dooming mankind to slavery
in the hands of southern gentlemen in white suits?
Technobabble - "I've used this old quantum-fluxiod-generator one to
many times. 47 more light years, and it will need
an oil change."
Links and References -
The Doctor is aggravated having to talk to the locals and asks
Romana why she doesn't just kill them on sight, like his old
pal Leela used to.
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor told Isaac Newton the theory of gravity at dinner
after sitting in his tree and dropping a 16 ton weight on
Dialogue Disasters -
Guard [Taking a riding crop from Romana]: This is a forbidden object.
Guard: That is a forbidden question. You are a stranger?
Romana: Well, yes.
Guard: Strangers are forbidden.
Guard: Because they lead to stilted dialogue such as this.
Dialogue Triumphs -
When asked about what he does for a living -
Doctor: I dodge taxes mostly.
Asked about this great leap of deduction -
Doctor: I just put 1.3947392 and 2.71603231 together!
Romana: And what did you come up with?
Doctor: Fuck all if I know..got a calculator!?
The Doctor: What is it you're really up to, eh? What do
you want? You don't want to take over the universe
with a chicken reciepe do you? No. You wouldn't know
what to do with it beyond eat it.
Doctor: Why have you done this to me?!
Captain: It's just a hobby really.
Doctor: Just a hobby...just a hobby! You commit mass destruction
and murder on a scale that's almost inconceivable and you
tell me it's only a hobby?!
Captain: Yeah..I mean I'm sorry I captured your pokemon, but it's
just a card game, relax! Geez, some people are really
too involved in this.
Doctor: Just because you happen to have made a brilliantly-conceived
toy out of the mummified remains of planets -
Captain: It is not just a toy, it's a way of life!
Doctor: Then what's it for? Huh? What are you doing? What could
possibly be worth all this?
Captain: At the end of my term of service, I get a free trip
Doctor: DISNEYLAND! HA!! I bet they don't even pay for your
accommodations once you're there!
Captain: Yes they do! I get free flight, accommodations, meals,
even a free car rental.
Captain: Oh yes, and I get to stay two weeks like that!
Doctor: I say..who were you working for again?
Dialogue Oddities -
The Doctor: Ultraman must help us restore peace to this
latest victim of those who would oppose righteousness.
Tom Baker: Ultraman is the only one who can fix this..because
I'm getting the hell out of here right now!
Viewers' Quotes -
"I'd like the complain about this robotic parrot!"
"Oh yeah, what's wrong with it?"
"It's quantum subfield matrix has ceased to operate! This
is a DEAD robotic parrot!"
"It's batteries are just low, buy some AA batteries, thank you!"
"Hold on! This robotic parrot was built with the pure mathematical
knowledge of the wisest and oldest civilization in the universe!
I doubt ordinary batteries are likely to help!"
"Buy 9 volt then, sir. Thank you!"
- The beginning of the absolute worst "Robotic Parrot Sketch"
ever performed by anyone at a Doctor Who Convention.
"This story was very good. I was hesitant upon hearing
such a young new writer would be contributing to the series,
but that proves me wrong. Douglas Adams is great, I'd like
to lick him." - Steve Woodward (1978)
"I was actually locked in a closet, refused any baths whatsoever,
and held at gun point by terrorists. That is how I was able to
turn in the script only very briefly after the final deadline."
- Douglas Adams (1981)
"Robotic parrots, planets swallowing each other, witty banter!
I'd like to wring the bastard's neck! Come here Dougie! The
good father James has an arse kicking for you!"
- Father James O' Maley (1978)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I can swallow a sun. It burns a bit, but it's a great way
to get women to get into my car. This is a good story...
wanna see my scar?"
Tom Baker Speaks!
"The Doctor was victorious again! My trusty companions Romana
and K-9 showed their gratitude to me for days after that harrowing
chapter...especially Romana...but you have to be over age sixteen
to buy that record."
- Tom Baker from the record "The Key To Chicken" (1979)
"Ah yes! I recall very vividly that this story was written by
a young fellow named Douglas Adams, poor Douglas, he was run
over by an ice cream truck in Denmark..or was that Adam Douglas?
You know, I just can't be bothered to keep up on the lives of
people who aren't Tom Baker, I mean there are a lot of them
about aren't there? If I had to remember EVERYONE, even if
their name didn't happen to be Tom Baker..well there wouldn't
be enough hours in the day...now Charles, yes, be a nice fellow
will you and untie me from this sofa."
"No, you have to watch all the clips, remember Tom?"
"Yes..yes..damn, well could you be a dear and pour another
pint of Murphy's down my throat? Yes....excellent."
- Programme Guide Exclusive (2001)
Rumors & Facts -
In 1976, a young psychopath named Douglas Adams submitted two
story ideas to Sherlock Holmes. The first of these, The Krikketmen,
was a sprawling comical adventure about robots who sought to liberate
their planet, trapped in Slow Time, by collecting the pieces of an
artifact shaped like enormous cricket stumps. (Nothing is known
of Adams' other submission, except that it was entitled "Revenge
Of the Mutant Jelly Sandwhiches From Dimension 3") Holmes rejected
The Krikketmen (which Adams' would later cut and paste to release
as his third novel, Life, The Universe And Everything) but encouraged
Adams to stuff his head in a freezer and die.
Consequently, when Marc Antony replaced Holmes, Adams was amongst
the writers he had under consideration for extermination and removal
from the planet.
Marc didn't agree with Holmes' dismissal of Adams, as Marc believed
that it would be much better if Adam's shoved his head in an oven and
died. In a moment of desperation however it was decided to approach
Adams about writing a story rather than pursue their only other
available script "The Weird Thing That Happened Across The Street
When I Was Asleep, But Mrs. Jones (She's My Neighbor) Told Me All
About It And It Sounded Quite Amusing".
The story Adams was asked to work on was a combination of three
disparate concepts, one by producer Graham Williams and the others
by strange elves that lived in the drama department of the BBC at
the time. Williams' was simply a desire to have a "space pirate"
adventure. The strange elves that lived in the drama department
wanted something a bit less hokey and predictable though - THANK GOD!
It was at first assumed that the elves had wanted a drug allegory,
about a company which preys on people who fear death by using machines
to slow time down for them. However it was later discovered that
the elves actually wanted DRUGS themselves and couldn't give a
toss about allegories - they were just on drugs when they dreamed
up the whole slow time process machine thing - in fact they were
sitting around a coffee machine smoking ganja and playing jacks.
Not surprisingly none of these concepts were felt to be able to support
a story by themselves. In fact none of the elves were able to support
Writing on the story proceeded slowly, mostly because Douglas Adams
was writing it. It quickly became obvious to Antony that the script
would need a lot of work on his part, because Adams had little idea
of what could be accomplished on Doctor Who budget. Antony spent
fifteen weeks trying to convince Adams that they simply could not
create a rampaging robot holocaust scene right before an entire
planet exploded and formed a great black holes which began to suck
up the entire cosmos - when in fact just a few weeks previously
the TARDIS model had to be replaced with a cheese sandwhich for
To make matters worse, Sir Edmund Chapman of the Drama Department
was very negative about The Planet Pirates of Magrathea, suggesting
to Marc in a memo on March 14th that the serial should be abandoned,
the writers and elves involved would be murdered, and the whole story
replaced by an exciting documentary about Lighthouses. In particular,
Sir Chapman disapproved of the extremely humorous nature of the scripts,
something he thought might be a communist plot to make free people
of the world helpless with laughter as the red menace invaded Surrey.
This was somewhat ironic, given that it was a directive from BBC
management that had led the series away from the more violent and
horrific serials of his predecessor, Pinchcliffe. In order to show
off his stance he offered to replace the story with a script he
recieved entitled "Doctor Who Blows The Frickin' Heads Offa Space
Virgins". After the reading of this script, they were allowed
to continue on as they had been.
Disaster struck on June 4th - the Polyphase Avitron prop was stolen and
found hidden in Tom Baker's trousers the next morning. Adding to the
strangeness, actress Vi Delmar demanded to be paid entirely in penguins
before she would agree to call Ultraman to see if he was available.
One script change made during recording was the Doctor's fall against
the TARDIS console, injuring his lip. This was to explain away Tom
Baker's insane moonlighting job wrestling corgis professionally.
Continuing a trend of increasing silliness in Tom Baker's portrayal
of the Doctor, here we see him amongst other things talking directly
to camera; sticking a half-eaten sausage into the open zipper of his
trousers and calling himself Le Hot Dog; and randomly disco dancing
around his vile enemies. This more flippant approach to the character
would flourish over the next couple of years, especially after Douglas
Adams assassinated Marc Antony and succeeded him as script editor
for season seventeen, but The Planet Pirates of Magrathea is arguably
the story in which it really all went to hell.