An alternate Programme Guide by
The One Hundred and Thirteenth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' SITFUSO http://listen.to/sitfuso
Serial 5Q - Meg Lost -
The Doctor is summoned to the planet Tigella to do battle with
the most deadly enemy anyone in the universe has ever encountered --
a catcus. Not just any catcus, but a bad ass catcus with an
attitude. The Al Capone of the Cactus Kingdom if you will.
The leader of Tigella, Zastor Smith, who has become concerned
about disputes between his people's two opposing factions -
The Punks and the Hippies. Neither of the factions is particularly
employable on Tigella, a planet filled with factories and
manufactured goods. For cheap laughs the Punks tend to smash the
expensive machinery that runs Tigella's economy - While the Hippies
seem to just sit around, smoke a lot of dope, and run all the
machines at a very laidback pace. Zastor has attempted to give
lots of free dope to the punks and has subjected the hippies to
some inspiring heavy metal songs primarily concerned with Satan
worship, but to no avail. The hippies have formed a very loose
union and the punks have simply taken to smashing things more
Somewhere, in the grey areas, in the border of this conflict,
is a catcus. It's actual importance to the plot is never
fully explained or explored and to be frank probably never
existed in the first place -- but the Doctor is convinced that
a random catcus, who he has taken to calling Jerrold, is somehow
responsible for this whole mess.
The Doctor and Romana manage to interrogate the catcus and
come to the conclusion that Pink Floyd are, were, and will be the
best band ever devised by sentient creatures. The catcus
seemingly has no say in this -- but the scene seems only loosely
connected to the larger picture of the story anyway.
The Doctor returns to the main city of Tigella, which is,
for some reason called San Francisco. At a small book store
the Doctor discovers the "device" which he claims gives the
catcus it's horrific potential -- a mysterious dodecahedron.
The Doctor affronts a store clerk asking him how he came to
possess such a powerful and ancient artifact. The store
clerk seems unaware of the true horror of the dodecahedron.
The Doctor explains that in the right hands a dungeon master
could calculate a Dwarf's weight in coins, make rolls against
a saving throw, and even calculate the damage inflicted by
a magical attack. The Doctor is escorted out of the Roleplaying
section of the book store - but not before he pockets the
The Doctor, although hindered by his complete lack of sanity,
is able to use the dodecahedron di he shoplifted to formulate
an understanding of the situation at hand. After explaining
his theory to Zastor Smith, he is politely invited to leave
In a shocking twist, at the end of the episode, ex-companion
Barbara Wright emerges from behind the catcus and says -
"The Doctor is gone. Now my plan can continue!" and bursts
into insane fits of maniacal laughter.
What the hell this means, and why she seems to be talking
to a catcus, is never explained. And even if it was -- I
turned off the video at this point and started watching
Book(s)/Other Related - FASA's Doctor Who Roleplaying Adventure Book
Catci Of Science Fiction, Volume 2
Dungeons & Dragons - Revenge of the Minotaur
Fluffs - Tom Baker seemed prickly for most of this story
Goofs - The Doctor roles an 8 and reports that he has made
his saving throw -- is he unaware that this is NOT
correct for his character? Or is he just LYING to
In episode one the Doctor says he's never seen a 12 sided
di before, but in episode three he recounts that he and
Gary Gygax came up with Dungeons and Dragons one pot-filled
afternoon in 1973.
I just can't leave this section without mentioning this -
The enemy of this serial - WAS A CATCUS!!!
The Doctor: Now, to calculate the total, let's start from the
sum of all possible throws of 4 dice, without the
minimal die removed.
This sum is equal to 6^4 * 14 = 18144. Then, let's
remove 6^4 = 1296 because of the first point removed,
5^4 because of the second point etc. Eventually we get:
6^4 * 14 - 6^4 - 5^4 - 4^4 - 3^4 - 2^4 - 1^4 = 15869
Romana: Okay, but can my Elf pick up the sword,
or am I too encumbered?
Doctor: Umm...oh yes, I forgot what we were doing. What did
you roll again?
Romana: A five, two threes, and a seven.
Doctor: Oh, yes, well, in THIS universe, yes your elf can pick up
Links and References -
The Doctor assures the audience DIRECTLY that the catcus in
question isn't the stupidest villain he's ever faced, and reminds
everyone of Q-tip (Serial 4G)
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor says he can't be SURE what Jesus thought about
Doungeons and Dragons, but says he seemed to like GURPS.
Groovy DVD Extras -
If you go to the "Cut X-Rated Material" menu under the Special
Features menu, and click to the left of "Nude Tom Baker Pics"
you will find the stats for Nyssa from Goth Opera -- this
character sheet can be used with any version of Vampire: The
Dialogue Disasters -
Romana: Doctor, it's just a catcus.
Doctor: No Romana, this..is the CATCUS OF DEATH!!!
Dialogue Triumphs -
Zastor: Some fifty years ago I knew a man who solved the
insoluble by the strangest means. He sees the threads
that join the universe together and mends them when
they break -- but Dirk Gently isn't available, so I
asked this wanker in the silly scarf.
Dialogue Oddities -
The Doctor: There are warring factions on this planet, poised
for total destruction.
Tom Baker: Tell me Zastor...do you trust catci?
Viewer Quotes -
"Meg Lost was the sort of story that you should just take behind
the barn and blown away." - Over Reacting SF Fan Magazine, May 1981
"If you take into account that this is a story about a cactus
that APPARENTLY wants to take over the entire universe...it
wasn't TOO BAD for that sort of story."
- Apologist FanBoy Magazine, June 1981
"This story presented a basic division between two ways of
looking at things - Those people who see the world in terms
of social conflict between different classes of people.
And those people who blindly blame cacti for world affairs."
- Political Science Journal, "How The Green Bastards Ruin Everything"
"What a load of crap!" - Father James O' Maley (1980)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Ever been in the desert, hiding a body? Hiding from the cops?
Its time that those evil desert plants get exposed. Its time
to show them for what they are -- sexy."
Tom Baker Speaks!
"Ah yes, this story was a personal favourite of mine. We shot this
episode in a small village which actually had a small pub, one of
the few pubs in England at that time, from which I had not been
completely barred from. That was a good four or five minutes,
I truly enjoyed myself. And after they kicked me out, I stole
all their metal barrels with the red and green stripes, right out
of the back of the place, and dragged it all back to my hotel
room. Some may frown on petty thievery, but when I was a poor
miserable child living in the slums, I would slit your throat
as soon as look at you, I would. Those were the best days of my
Rumors & Facts -
When Christopher H Bidmead became Doctor Who's script editor at the
start of 1980, he discovered that his predecessor, Douglas Adams,
had burnt almost all the sets and smashed most the studios cameras
and electrical equipment.
Douglas also left him with few workable scripts and little
information on what writers to contact. Bidmead was desperate
to safe guard whatever material he still had intact, or at least
not overly scorched. Bidmead trusted an assistant named Meg to
safe guard all scripts and planning documents. The second serial
of season 18 needed to be completed quickly and without a hitch
for the series to keep on schedule. Sadly on the day they were
due to start rehearsing, the cast and crew were given a short
hastily written note with the words "Meg Lost!!!" in frantic
and nervous letters. The scripts had been left in the back of
a double decker bus in central London and had not been seen since.
In the noble spirit of the BBC and following the actor's creed
that the show must go on - the process continued. This sadly
left the actors to their own devices to create a rough and loose
story as they went along. Tragically the person with the most
influence on the development of the plot was Tom Baker. Against
the advice of the director, the technical crew, his co-actors,
and members of the public simply passing by, Tom Baker decided
that the villian for this piece should be his catcus, Jerrold,
which he had been growing in his flat for 5 years in the hopes
that it would yield potent peyote.
Driven insane by his circumstances, Bidmead turned to an actor
he knew named Andrew McCulloch, who with colleague John Flanagan
had begun pursuing mafioso hit opportunities. Enthusiastic about
the possible commission, Flanagan and McCulloch put together a
plan to assassinate Tom Baker. Producer John Satan-Turner was
enourmously impressed by the scheme - but it all fell through
when they discovered that BBC policy insisted that they use
an official BBC gun when killing BBC employees - however all
of their guns were deeply defective as they hadn't been cleaned
since 1862. They abandoned the plot as quickly as Tom Baker.
"Looking back on it, it probably would have been better if
we had given the catcus some lines." - Chris Bidmead (1987)