The Zoo Keeper of Traken
An alternate Programme Guide by
The One Hundred and Seventeenth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Sea World
Serial 5T - The Zoo Keeper of Traken -
The TARDIS emerges into N-Space near the Turk's Head Pub in
Exeter, England -- well, near in cosmic terms.
About 3,000,000,000 light years away from Earth, if you're
counting, but since the universe is infinite, distance is
largely an illusion anyway.
The Doctor has held his promise to Adric and taken him to
a place where they can find a bit of Welsh tart fun - to
the homeworld of the Traken Union, a society so tranquil and
peaceful that it is quite honestly one of the most relaxing
and dreadfully boring places in the entire universe. So pure
is Traken that evil calcifies and dies within its rarefied
atmosphere - so the Doctor explains to Adric that he can't
stay very long.
The TARDIS materializes on Traken within a stones throw
of a giant robot with red eyes. The Doctor insists that
the robot is no longer functional. Adric finds this hard
to believe as it is currently ripping people limb from limb
and screaming a bizarre and disturbing ecstasy. The Doctor
writes this off as a local custom, and asks Adric to stop
nagging him about trivia.
As soon as the Doctor and Adric exit stage right, the TARDIS
When the camera pans across we see that the Doctor and Adric
have been captured by armed guards and are being taken for
questioning. The Doctor asks the interrogating consuls why
they have so many armed guards around for a place that is
perfectly harminous. They ignore his comment and ask the
Doctor why he has come to Traken.
The Doctor tells the consuls that while in the boundary
between E-Space and N-Space he had a spiritual vision of
a great leader beckoning him through time to arrive at
the planet Traken. The Doctor explains that in this vision
the great figure presented him with the sacred knowledge
of Traken and the secrets of the universe. The Consuls
are suspicious. As they should be - because the Doctor is lying.
He just came there hoping to pick up a few Welsh ladies.
His reasons for not sharing this information with the
interrogation ministers is painfully obvious.
To the surprise of no one, the Consuls inform the
Doctor and Adric that there have been a recent spate
of vicious murders on Traken (planet of unending peace).
The Consuls find the sudden appearance of the pair alarming
especially after the series of recent homocides.
Due to these circumstances the Consuls can see only
one possible course of action -- to hand over the
investigation entirely to the Doctor and give him
whatever assistance he requires. (HOW IN THE HELL DO
GOVERNMENTS IN DOCTOR WHO WORK?!?!?!)
Adric suggests that perhaps the murders are in some
way connected to the robot he witnessed viciously
killing people. No one takes him seriously however.
The Doctor briefly explores the theory that he and
Adric are the killers, before deciding that avenue
to be slightly incriminating and not very rewarding.
Eventually the Doctor reports to the local government
that he believes the murders have been made possible
by some sort of undefined, unknown, semi-imaginary
beam weapon of some sort. Luckily, a member of the
government, Tremas, has just invented an
"Undefined, Unknown, Semi-Imaginary Beam Detector"
which he would be happy to use in this investigation.
Another consul, Kassia, insists that they just get
this over with and kill the Doctor and Adric before
they do anything else annoying. Tremas however is
happy to trust the aliens with their highly improbable
theories, and vows that, from this moment on, if they
commit any crimes *HE* will be personally responsible.
Our heros can't believe their luck. As Kassia would
love to see Tremas die for being such a clever self-righteous
git, and she agrees entirely with Tremas' proposal.
The Doctor and Adric accompany Tremas to his flat, where
the Doctor and Tremas test different beam weapons that
are just laying around the place. Adric sneaks into
Tremas' daughter's room - although it is not clear
if he is hoping to meet a young lady or simply wishes
to try on some of her clothes. In either case Adric
meets Tremas' daughter, Nyssa. Nyssa is happy to
show Adric various items of her lingerie; Adric is
favourably impressed, and somehow uses it to run an
analysis of the energy readings which Tremas had
taken before the Doctor and Adric arrived. Nyssa tells
Adric that she never knew anyone who could use women's
undergarments in complex physics calculations, the
poor lad simply turns red and claims to have lots
of experience in this arena.
Eventually Adric finds something quite disturbing, and
urges Nyssa to take him to the Doctor; he must be told
of this immediately.
Kassia reports to the giant robot of death (GROD) that
she has failed to kill the Doctor and Adric, but GROD
seems bored with life. After whining about his unfulfilling
life style for a few moments GROD gives Kassia new instructions.
Kassia returns to the sanctum and summons Sutra, Pelvic and
Tantric, to inform them that her husband has been keeping
information from them about the nature of kittens.
By keeping secrets about kittens from his fellow Consuls,
he has thus cast doubt upon his worthiness as Zoo Keeper-Nominate,
and must challenge the current Zoo Keeper to prove himself.
Tantric, however, admits that Tremas kept his kitten research
secret at his urging, and volunteers to challenge the Zoo Keeper
in Tremas' place. Kassia can't figure out what the hell to do
in this development, and thus seems to have failed GROD yet again.
But again, GROD doesn't seem to give a damn -- in fact, when
she speaks to him next, he gives her a necklace with skulls
and bones as a token of her obedience to him.
Nyssa takes Adric to the area where the Doctor was supposed to
be. The Doctor however has simply left a note behind reading
"Have discovered unique fermentation theory. Be Back Soon."
Adric follows the Doctor's footprints in the muddy earth, and
eventually finds him passed out in a drainage ditch.
Upon awaking the Doctor, Adric shows him various selections
of Nyssa's underwear, displayed in an elaborate pentagram
formation. The Doctor understands the significance immediately -
Whatever has invaded Traken, it has an energy pattern similar to
that of a TARDIS!
The Doctor, Tremas and Adric return to the catacombs, where
the Doctor uses Nyssa's knickers to build a device that will
summon back his own TARDIS. But as he does this he hears
an unearthly scream. Nearby, Tantric has been killed by
a vengeful Zoo Keeper.
The Doctor and Adric are captured. Then they escape.
I'm not writing three paragraphs about the details. Just
think of any capture/escape sequence you've enjoyed in
Doctor Who and imagine something similar.
Kassia goes to the Zoo Keeper and demands his power.
The Zoo Keeper is about to retire and is actually fairly
sick and disgusted by all the politics people have gone
to in order to secure his job - so he just decides to
give it away and get it over with. The Zoo Keeper
begins to input the employee authorization codes that
will make the promotion complete. At the last second
Kassia evaporates into a mist, and is replaced by
GROD sitting on a throne.
Somehow even the Doctor doesn't realize the true identity
of GROD who has just been declared THE ZOO KEEPER OF TRAKEN!
GROD seems strangely non-confrontational even as he
reminds Sutra and Pelvic that the Doctor is to be sentenced
to death. The Doctor warns Sutra and Pelvic that they will
be betrayed by GROD as they drag him to the Peaceful Dungeons
of Traken. The Doctor is beginning to believe he's met GROD
Adric and Nyssa return to the TARDIS, where Adric tests the
waters -- and finds that Nyssa is single, but not looking
for a committed relationship at the moment. Adric has never
been to earth, but is wondering if Nyssa isn't one of these
"easy Welsh girls" the Doctor has been raving about.
Adric explains to Nyssa that in order to save Traken, he's
probably going to have to kill countless people. Apparently
he thinks this will make him look macho, but Nyssa is appalled.
The Doctor and Tremas, locked up together in Tremas' quarters,
study the contracts of the Zoo, hoping for some contractual
loophole through which they can dispose the new zoo keeper.
Meanwhile, GROD is forcing his subjects to build weapons and
fleets with which to conquer all the zoos in the galaxy --
but first he intends to drain all knowledge from the Doctor's
mind, and become the master of Time as well...because, hey,
he's a really *original* guy.
Eventually GROD forces the Doctor to step into the Zoo Keeper's
office. Both GROD and the Doctor vanish. The Doctor finds himself
inside a TARDIS control room and finally comes face-to-face
with the real power behind GROD...the Bastard who, due to a life
of violence and crime, has mutated into the form of a sea lion.
The Bastard prepares to use the powers of the Keepership to
merge with the Doctor's body, granting himself a new lease on life
that doesn't involve eating fish and punching inflatable beach
balls with his nose -- but then, thanks to a legal loophole --
the Doctor informs the Bastard that the Zoo Keeper isn't allowed
to be a MEMBER of the Zoo. Due to the racist hiring practices of
Traken, animals can not run zoos. The Zoo Keeper must be human.
The Doctor flees as the control room begins to explode, and
the Bastard struggles to reach a classic Chevy on the other side
of the burning room.
The Doctor reappears next to Adric and explains that he's
made a horrible miscalculation. The Welsh tart colonists
he so desperately wanted to meet won't arrive on Traken for
another million years. The Doctor bids Tremas an abrupt goodbye
and returns to the TARDIS with Adric, musing that it's time he
gave the TARDIS a complete overhaul.
All seems well now that the Doctor has left. But at the
last moment Tremas notices a fantastic vintage Chevy sitting
in an alcove nearby. As he examines it he is frozen in place,
and a sea lion emerges from the driver's seat.
With the last remnants of the Zoo Keepership lingering, he
merges with Tremas' body, which grows young and strong again.
The new, youthful Bastard steps into his Chevy and dematerializes,
as Nyssa returns to the sanctum, looking vainly about for her
Book(s)/Other Related - Dr Who & The Sea Mammals of Death
We Come In Peace: Shoot To Kill
Sea Lions of Sci-Fi: Volume B
Fluffs - Tom Baker seemed fishy for most of this story
The fish "eaten" by the Bastard are obviously plastic
The invisible TARDIS is discovered by a
binary induction system (Nyssa's bra).
We also have a recursive integrator and
gamma-mode encryption (various underthings).
Links and References -
The Doctor admits to the Consuls that he
has in fact indulged in vulgar acts with
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor is unsure if he has actually MET
easy Welsh girls on Traken, or if that was
just a letter he read in Playbeing Magazine.
In either case he seems to believe this story
Groovy DVD Extras -
3 more minutes of seeing a sea lion trying to
operate TARDIS controls with his flippers.
Dialogue Disasters -
Doctor: If I knew everything that was going to happen,
where would the fun be?
Director: Yes, but you ARE Supposed to read the script Tom.
Bastard: Feed me another fish and you will DIE Doctor!
I will not be humiliated!
(The Doctor throws the Bastard a fish, which
he instinctively eats and then claps)
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: They say the atmosphere there was so full of goodness
that evil just shrivelled up and died.
Adric: Is that true?
Doctor: Oh no, but it makes a great travel brochure.
Doctor: A whole empire held together...by people just
being terribly nice to each other.
Adric: How long did the Traken Empire last?
Doctor: About 3 minutes.
Dialogue Oddities -
The Doctor: Traken, home of the philosopher kings. Abode
of the great old ones. Truly, World of awe
Tom Baker: Traken, home of the philosopher kings. Abode
of the great old ones. Truly, World of awe
inspiring prosperity...and the girls will do
anything Adric. And I mean anything. Look at
this illustration. (Points to video monitor on console)
Viewer Quotes -
"This was the best Tom Baker story for many a long year, and
one of the most pleasing stories I have ever seen in the series.
Everything gelled - the lingerie, the sea lion, the impossibly
convoluted plot - a virtually flawless show." - Shawn Deel (1981)
"Apart from one model shot of the TARDIS in part one,
the production was horrible - but then, I only watch
Doctor Who for the TARDIS model shots." - Dale Krimby (1983)
"The final scene, where the sea lion snuffs that guy.
Awesome!" - Jack, http://www.ionlyreviewthefinalscene.com (2002)
"Okay, what I want to know is how the hell the Sea Lion
regenerated the clothes? Is the Bastard outfit PART of
the regeneration?" - Charles Daniels (2003)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I was a Zoo Keeper once. I kept the souls of the damned
in a jar in my closet. I tried to open it up for tourists,
but I didn't want to bother with a business license. So
I just released the souls of the damned for a laugh.
Ever since then, they've been running the country. I'm
proud of the little guys."
Tom Baker Speaks!
"Ahh yes! Slappy. It was such a joy to work with Slappy
again. He was the best, whatever the hell he was, I ever
worked with. I saw him perform Richard III once in a small
community production - absolutely fabulous. His flippers
really got across the withered arm of the tyrant king.
I really wanted this story to say something about issues
that are important to aspiring marine mammal actors.
I'm not sure how we aimed to get that across, or if
it was ever referred to in the dialogue or plot. But
I have to believe that out there, a young dolphin,
a hesitant penguin, a talented walrus, or what have you,
looked at this story and said to themselves 'I could
get on Doctor Who. I don't have to live in this mucky
ocean eating krill for the rest of my life.' I haven't
received any letters from octopi or anything like that,
but I believe on Doctor Who we touched the lives of the
fans, and the animals, and random passerbys who were
just walking by the sets. As the Doctor I wanted to
change the world, to make it a better world for Tom Baker.
And if that helped some whales get jobs in the process --
fine by me."
Rumors & Facts -
For years, Tom Baker had dropped hints about leaving Doctor Who.
Every time, though, he was bluffing to get more money, control
of the programme, and of course -- liquor. By 1980 he was the
show's longest-running star, beating out William Hartnell for
total episodes, Jon Pertwee for the most seasons, and Patrick
Troughton for naughty on-screen sexual acts.
But by the autumn of 1980, well...to put it nicely -
The Shit Hit the Fan. John Satan-Turner had a meeting with
Tom Baker about his vision for season 19. John Satan-Turner
wanted to make radical changes to the format of the programme
and the presentation of the characters. In short Satan-Turner
insisted that Tom Baker ditch his iconic garb and instead
dress up as a giant question mark for Season 19.
Tom Baker was shown a red-orange full sized question mark
fancy dress costume at the BBC Costumes Department three
weeks before the filming of The Zoo Keeper of Traken.
Baker flatly REFUSED to wear the costume.
Satan-Turner was somewhat disappointed, but partially
relieved as -
A) He hated Tom Baker and
B) Tom Baker was too established. A new actor in the role
would be easier to control and dress like a monkey
Due to this conflict, Baker would be leaving Doctor Who
at the end of Season Eighteen, after seven seasons and 180
episodes (counting the incomplete Shagged'er).
Satan-Turner and Bidmead decided that the last two stories
should be tied together in some vague way, as this was a
particular fetish of theres (see E-Space Trilogy).
The common element between these stories would be a new
incarnation of the Bastard, the Doctor's Time Lord archnemesis
who had been a key figure during the Pertwee era. An effort
by the former production team of Philip Pinchcliffe and
Sherlock Holmes to reintroduce the Bastard as a sea lion,
in 1976's The Lethal Assassin. had never been followed up on
(Maybe with some good reason). Satan-Turner wanted to bring
back the essence of the Bastard's original appearance and
ditch the sea lion thing as soon as possible.
Consequently, it was decided that The Zoo Keeper Of Traken
would chronicle the Bastard's transformation from his
sea mammal look.
Cast to play the new Master was Anthony Ainley, whom Satan-Turner
liked because his name was the first on the alphabetical list
of candidates. Ainley was keen to inject humour into the
character; however, this was vetoed by Satan-Turner, who wanted
the new Bastard to be..well..a bastard.
Around the same time, Satan-Turner and Bidmead were working on a
new female companion to be introduced in the season's final
serial. However, one of characters in this serial - Tremas'
daughter, Nyssa - had caught their eye, in particular the wide
variety of her undergarments and the strength this provided to
her relationship with Adric. It was felt that Nyssa might make
another useful addition to the programme - at least until they
found someone more scantily clad -- to help ease the transition
to the new Doctor. The actress chosen to play Nyssa was Sarah
Sutton, who had starred in a pornographic adaptation of
Alice In Wonderland.
The stage was set for the final Tom Baker epic.
PS: Slappy later went on to win an Oscar for his moving rendition