The Nightmare of Eton
An alternate Programme Guide by
One Hundred and Ninth Entry in the Charles Daniels Unauthorized Programme
Guide O' Yodelling
Serial 5K - The Nightmare of Eton -
The TARDIS lands on, and crushes, a helpless Eton College student. Eton
College has mysteriously gotten lost in hyperspace. The Doctor and Romana
meet the strange scientist Tryst, who has with him a Sexual Event
Transmuter (SET) machine containing crystals on which are stored supposed
recordings of planets that he and his team have visited -- but in actually
hold just a few blue films starring random college students. Someone in
Eton College is smuggling the dangerous, addictive, fun-time drug crack
cocaine, and to complicate matters a race of strange, muppet-looking
aliens, named the Mandrels are fighting to be accepted
into the college. The monstrous Mandrels from the mud-swamps of Eton are
vicious and heartless killing machines that have also done very well on
their A Levels.
The Mandrels are eventually rejected from the college when it is
discovered that upon death they decompose into pure cocaine, the smugglers
are uncovered in a very witty and longwinded fashion, and the Doctor
returns Eton from hyperspace.
Against all logic, someone was actually paid to write this story.
Book(s)/Other Related - Doctor Who Versus Crack Cocaine
Denied: A Study Of Discrimation Against Mandrels
And Other Bloodlusting Beasts From Beyond Hyperspace
Fluffs - Tom Baker seemed bored for most of this story
Fashion Victims - The Mandrels would later appear in "The Muppets Take
Manhattan" as the comic relief characters
Goofs - In episode 2, whenever K-9 appears on the screen various legs
appear kicking the hell out of him (probably stage hands).
When the Mandrels make their first dramatic appearence, the
Doctor and Romana laugh so hard they begin crying.
Technobabble - The Doctor asks whether the SET features a spatial
integrator, a transmutation modulator, a hologistic
retention circuit or "any of that fancy woo-woo shit!"
Links and References -
The Doctor mentions that he and the Brigadier use to enjoy fine cocaine
when fighting Roger Moore. (Serial JJJ)
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor causally mentions he was brutually mauled by a bear.
Groovy DVD Extras -
CGI Mandrels which look, somehow, just as bad if not worse.
Dialogue Disasters -
Tryst: I am helping the students of Eton.
Doctor: By putting them in this machine?
Tryst: Oh yes.
Doctor: You've trapped them in there. Just in the same way a jam maker
Tyrst: What are you on about?
Doctor: I WANT SOME TOAST!
Romana: I don't think we should interfere.
Doctor: Interfere! Of course we should interfere. We've got to stretch
this 12 minute plot idea into 4 episodes!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Rigg: First hyperspace and now a monster roaming about the school
wanting to be accepted for the next term. Well it's totally
Doctor: Nothing's inexplicable.
Rigg: Then explain it.
Doctor: It's inexplicable!
K-9: I can explain it to within 99.99999813 percent accuracy Master.
Doctor: Oh shut up K-9!
(A stage hand kicks K-9 harshly)
Doctor: Thank you Tim.
Dialogue Oddities -
The Doctor: Let these abominations into Eton? They are cruel,
heartless, pitiless beasts!
Tom Baker: Well..they're only puppets. I mean, who cares?
Viewers' Quotes -
"There are two major problem areas in the production: And they're both Tom
Baker." - Derek Schmidt, alt.tom-baker.bitching (2000)
"The monsters, according to the Sun, were 'terrifying', I guess this
proves once and for all that people are basically morons."
- Ronald Sun (1982)
"Nightmare of Eton was ripe with faults. I'm sure to be quoted with that
last sentence! And it's safe to say, because it offers no actual
supporting detail or evidence."
- John Gegory, in a desperate attempt to be quoted in the TV Companion
"I have never met anyone who does not believe that this old series would
not be better if it featured breakdancing midgets."
- Terrance Fulton (1984)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"The muppets man! I was a muppet once. Hiding, waiting. I saw
this story and took vast amounts of LSD and was amazed by the Mandrels.
It was then that I admassed an army of Mandrel beasts to take over the
world in a violent holocaust of blood and chaos..but I sort of lost
them all, because I was on acid at the time. I think the Mandrels
are living with me Uncle Jamal now."
Tom Baker Speaks!
"Aww yes, you see I desperately wanted to be on the Muppet Show, but there
were some legal reasons, and law suits, and it was all VERY nasty. I never
touched that frog..but the pig, YES! Ms. Piggy was an entirely different
issue. Porcine love! Still, that wasn't very accepted, not even in the
Seventies. When will society advance? At any rate, the answer of course
was to bring the Muppet Show to Doctor Who, and we did
marvellously. People laugh, but I was always terrified of those
muppets, they had hearts of steel and were ready to kill at a moments
notice." - Tom Baker shares his weird ideas about Muppets
Rumors & Facts -
Nightmare of Eton is one of those stories that despite boasting an
imaginative and well written set of scripts - with a good plot, some
interesting ideas, crisp dialogue and a surprisingly adult drug-related
theme - somehow strives to that extra level and becomes geniune
crap. Admittedly, like every other story, it does have a few scarf wearing
bastards who claim to enjoy it and say that it is the best thing since
Room of the Cybermen.
"Nightmare of Eton stands out as one of the best Baker stories of all time
and certainly my favourite from season seventeen." said Robert Whitley at
Gallifrey One, before I took him in the back alley and beat him senseless
with a broken bottle.
"There were all the ingredients of a first class adventure - suspense,
intrigue and lots of action." He continued as I repeatedly kicked him in
the groinal region.
"Also, perhaps surprisingly, the humour had been toned down and most was
in fact relevant to the situation." Were his last gasping words before he
slipped into the welcoming hands of Thanatos.
In general, however, even those who have praised the story have usually
come to accept their grievous error after being beaten violently by myself
and my friends (thugs).
It is hard to deny that the monsters are a major problem. Even when the
Mandrels bother to attack people they do so with a kind of casual approach
that renders the whole thing ludicrous, often they don't even bother to
take the cigarette out of their mouth.
Tom Baker's overplaying of certain scenes - okay, let's face it ALL THE
SCENES - tends seriously to undermine any dramatic impact that the story
might otherwise have. For instance, the sequence in which the Mandrels are
viciously mauling the students, loses a great deal of impact when the
Doctor takes this opportunity to start a stunning rendition of
"It Ain't Easy Being Green".
Shortly after this story, Bob Baker and Dave Martin had a drunken knife
brawl in a local pub and decided to dissolve their decade-long writing
partnership. Although Martin would make no further efforts to write for
the programme, Baker continued to submit proposals to the production
office, most of which were rejected. Sadly we missed such possible
classics as "The Nightmare Of Evil", "The Planet of Doom", and the much
missed "The Noun of Death".
The unpleasant atmosphere on Nightmare Of Eton also apparently cemented
the decisions of Williams and Adams not to return to Doctor Who, and the
two entered a sacred pact to burn all the sets at the end of the season.