The Ambulatory

An alternate Programme Guide by Charles Daniels

The One Hundred and Thirty-Fifth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Serenity

Serial 6M - The Ambulatory -

 The Doctor takes Tegan to the village of Little Blewbury on Earth in
1984, to visit her crazed uncle, Father James O'Maley. They arrive
at the special time in the calendar of the simple village - the
Day of Armageddon.  Each year, on The Day of Armageddon, the villagers
toss large flaming barrels at each other as they dodge through the
streets carrying nothing but a sheep's bladder.  The first person
to successfully cross the length of the village carrying the sheep
bladder then becomes King For a Day.

 This Fool's King is then taken to the top of a very large wooden
tower, which the villagers have carefully constructed throughout
the year, and then sat upon a simple throne.  The villagers laugh,
sing, share bawdy tales, and then burn the base of the tower -
killing the king in a storm of fire.

 The Doctor comments how he loves "these quaint English traditions".

 The Doctor sets off to the local pub, Load of Mischief, where
the locals treat him with a psychotic air of suspicion.  In an
attempt to break the ice the Doctor asks about the giant wickerman
he saw next to a nearby church -- but this only seems to alienate
the villagers who are busily drawing pentagrams in chalk.

 Turlough and Tegan warn the Doctor that their lives might be in
grave danger.  The Doctor laughs their assertions off, explaining
that this is fairly typical behaviour, whilst finishing off a
second pint of goat's blood - a local specialty.

 The Doctor quickly feels acceptance from the villagers -- but
he seems to feel this in a total vacuum as this is not reflected
by reality in any fashion.  To further the Doctor's delusions, he
is thrilled when he hears that the villagers have announced that
Tegan will be the ceremony's Queen of the May.   Tegan asks the
Doctor what exactly her role will be as Queen of the May and he
assures it will require all most no effort on her part.

 This is somewhat accurate, but perhaps not overly helpful
information - as the Doctor skips out the minor detail that the
Queen of the May is a human sacrifice, expected to die along with
the King For a Day.

 After a relaxing third pint of Goat's Blood, the Doctor sets out
to thank the land lord personally for making himself and his friends
feel so at home.  The land lord is none other than an escaped alien
criminal named Malus.  Malus is your typical creature of unspeakable
evil trapped behind a stone wall.

 The Doctor feels a sense of kinship with Malus and, in order to
repay the village for it's kindness, the Doctor begins to break out
Malus from his place of imprisonment.

 Once freed Malus begins to possess villagers, using their bodies
as working machines.  Malus feeds on psychic energy - the paranoia
and distrust of the villagers.

 Meanwhile the villagers have decided to award the Doctor with the
role of King For a Day.  The strangers arrival was placed at an
eerily perfect time -- now none of the locals will have to die.
A few of the older locals are annoyed that the entire flaming
barrel and sheep bladder element has been dropped this year, but
everyone agrees that this year, for a change, strangers should die -
as at this rate, no one capable of playing professional football
could possibly survive life in the village.

 Turlough, who has realised the evil behind the games, makes plans
to rescue Tegan - but figures the Doctor can go stuff himself for
getting them into this mess.

 On the top of giant bonfire tower the Doctor and Tegan sit, King
and Queen.  Tegan is pleasantly surprised when her crazed uncle
James arrives at the festivities, sure that he will put a stop
to all this nonsense.  James approaches Tegan assures her -
"I always thought you'd be a great burner!  Still got some baby fat!"

 Tegan insists that the Doctor do something - but he refuses to
interfere in the long standing traditional lives of the people of
Little Blewbury.

 During the raucous party, in a act of protest, a local approaches
the Doctor, hands him a sheep's bladder, and then immediately
smashes the Doctor's over the head with a flaming barrel.
The Doctor is as impressed as he is concussed -- obviously
having the time of his life.

 When Turlough finally arrives Tegan explains her theory that the
psychic control of Malus is causing the villagers to act like
blood crazed, psychotic bastards.  Turlough reminds Tegan that
these traditions date back to pre-Christian times, and the locals
were more than a tad strange even when Malus was imprisoned -- in
fact if anything his overwhelming mind control has taken the edge
off things.

 Turlough and Tegan grab the barely conscious Doctor and drag
him down the tower as it begins to collapse in flames.  They
jaunt all the way to the TARDIS and breathe a sigh of relief
after the doors close.

 The villagers feel cheated by the visitors' escape, and begin
preparations for the next year's tower even as the current
one burns around them.

 Tegan is deeply disturbed, she is concerned over the fact that
they left Malus in charge of the village -- her companions assure
her that no one will be able to tell the difference.

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who & The Quaint Villagers Of Death
The Wicker Man 2: Wicked Man
The Customs of Britain and How To Avoid Them

Goofs -
The "goat's blood" the Doctor consumes is OBVIOUSLY cow's blood --
umm...don't ask how I know that.  Just trust me.

Fashion Victims -
The Wicker Man in question is horribly marred by 80s fashion.
I mean..who would construct a wicker man complete with woven thread
friendship bracelets?   Not to mention those leopard Keds.

Technobabble -

Doctor: Psychic projections...the endless echoing of evil...where
        have I seen this before?  The Horror Dome on Cahluir IV?
        The Zaxorn Virtual Worlds of the Nth Continuum?   No...
        Not quite.....OH YES!!  Sapphire and Steel!

Links and References -
The Doctor mentions he hasn't seen such an impressive wicker man
since the Kraap invasion (Serial 4J)

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor mentions that his second incarnation once landed in
a village where it was traditional on Saint Leonard's day to
toss a large sperm whale through a hoop and then declare the
first person squashed by the beast "The Unlucky Pope".
When asked what all this was about, he confesses to not having
a clue.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The legendary "original ending" in which the Doctor, Tegan, and
Turlough are trapped in the tower while Father James O'Maley
laughs maniacally.

Dialogue Disasters -


Turlough: We're running out of places to run!
   Tegan: Yeah, these sound stages are too damned small!


O'Maley: You speak nonsense!
Doctor : Fluently.


Dialogue Triumphs -



James O'Maley: Madness is often mistaken for insight.
        Tegan: Not in your case.


(Standing before the wooden tower)
James O'Maley: Now, comes the time to pray....ONLY KIDDING!
               Who's got a torch to set this baby off?


Viewer Quotes -

"From start to finish it positively reeked of cheese."
          - Insane Reviewer Monthly (1984)

"I used to live in a village like this.  This was Doctor Who
showing some unusual gritty realism and accuracy.  A classic."
          - Marcus Dodson (1995)

"This story isn't realistic at all.  I've lived in a village
like that -- the alien influence was completely superfluous.
Stuff like that is just the order of the day."
          - Adrian Stewart (1995)

"Come to Little Blewbury - AS SEEN IN DOCTOR WHO (but with less
ceremonial murder*)"

"* except on November 5th, when there's actually just as much."

          - Tourist Brochure, (1984)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Man, I wish I lived in some tiny village where you can commit
the occasional atrocity.  It's great to do that stuff in the open.
Makes for a really relaxed and polite society.   My lifestyle is
just too stressful here.  Sure, I have a little fun snuffing a
causal drifter -- but then the stress AFTERWARDS!  Man, it does
your head in."

Peter Davison Speaks!
"Not a night passes when I don't wake up sweating, screaming at
the memories of what happened in that little village.  It's
definitely a memorable place.
And a word to the wise -- avoid the tea."

Rumors & Facts -

 In 1983 a certain Father James O'Maley came to the attention of
John Satan-Turner.  Father James O'Maley had been working in his
Doctor Who observations into sermons for years - often with highly
bizarre results.  For instance the often told tale of a young lad,
David Greenway, who was so moved by Father O'Maley's words that
he hijacked a train in an ill-fated attempt to escape to Cuba.

 JST was moved by the exciting and expressive language employed by
James O'Maley and by his radical views on..well, just everything...

 JST approached James with the idea of writing a Doctor Who script
that would illustrate his beliefs to the nation at large - as
JST had come to the conclusion that what Doctor Who needed was
Pagan Rock Opera with lots of glittery costumes.  At first
O'Maley was reluctant but agreed after he was assured that his
script would remain set in stone and would face no editorial

 James O'Maley feverishly went to work and penned a two-part serial
entitled - "Love, Death, God, And A Fully Loaded Shotgun".
Due to budget constraints this script had to be abandoned but
it would later influence such films as Reservoir Dogs and
Irish Death Orgy 15: Buckets of Blood.

 JST encouraged James O'Maley to write another script which didn't
call for so many schools to explode.

 O'Maley, whipped into a fever of his own imagination, sent in
two further scripts.  The first was entitled "The Dustbins Conquer
Known Space" and the second "War God".   After carefully counting
the number of educational institutions destroyed in each script,
it was decided to pursue War God, as it was at least doable.

 At this stage, O'Maley began to realise that his idea -
a priest laughs insanely as things explode around him -
might not have sufficient incident to sustain four installments.
Nonetheless, he was commissioned to write the script for the first
episode on September 1st and asked to reduce the number of
prostitutes and robots proposed in his outline.

 By the end of 1983, War God had been rechristened The Choir of Hell,
(and may have been called 'Village of the Damned' at some point).
Saward and producer John Satan-Turner had also come to the realisation
that the story did not merit four episodes, and so O'Maley was asked
to condense it down - remove even MORE robots, prostitutes, and
if possible edit down scenes which featured the Devil eating a kabob.

 Saward was still not satisfied with O'Maley's modifications, however,
and was particularly concerned that it wouldn't seem plausible to
have robots in a typical English village.  O'Maley was upset that
the repeated requests for cuts had rendered his script almost robot
and prostitute free.  O'Maley asked permission to preserve some of
these scenes by cutting out other characters - such as Tegan and
Doctor, but this was met with heavy resistance.

 In a moment of compromise Saward suggested changing the GENERIC
robots in the script into Kamelion.  O'Maley was heavily skeptical
about this change, but was assured that the Kamelion prop could
run through a raging fire, leap off a tall building, scramble
around dramatically for a moment before flying kicking an unexpecting
ninja.  After repeated promises by Saward, O'Maley altered all the
robot sequences into scenes featuring the new companion.
Sadly, none of these sequences were shot due to the logistical
problems involved in operating the prop.  Because these scenes
were unfilmed, other scenes had to be hastily improvised during
production to fill the time.  For instance, the time allotted in
the script for Kamelion to roll into a ball, tumble down a hill,
then snap up with a fully loaded gun in each hand, and then begin
to take out his robotic rage against all humans -- was replaced
with a scene in which Turlough and the Doctor reminiscence about
their love for English tea.

 O'Maley was not particularly pleased with Saward's rewrites,
believing they made the story banal and much like other BBC fare of
the time.  O'Maley was particularly hurt that the only ninja in
the story was removed solely because he'd been lied to about
the capabilities of the Kamelion prop -- whom did not even appear
in the serial.

 Saward and O'Maley developed a special relationship - in which
O'Maley would come up with bizarre, borderline insane, concepts
and then Saward would attempt to tone down or ruin them.  In one
meeting between the two Saward admitted to O'Maley that as it
currently stood - with the budget, access to incendiary devices,
etc - O'Maley had actually scripted roughly 10 minutes of usable
material.  Eventually O'Maley conceded and began to think of a plot.
Two weeks later he returned with "The Ambulatory", a story which
he claimed featured all that was good and noble about English life.
Again, he was politely asked to reduce the number of android
prostitutes in the piece, but Saward was so thrilled to see a
logical plot buried in the story that he pretty much accepted it
as is.

 The only serious problem came when it was realised that the scripts
called for the death of the Doctor and all companions, in a fiery
blaze.  Saward was appalled by the problems this would cause -
if he shot a weak death sequence and gave the characters a cheap
escape in the next story the audience would feel cheated, but if he
made the death sequence TOO realistic, then the audience would feel
cheated when the characters returned.

 JST reminded Saward of their original agreement to follow the
scripts of O'Maley unchanged, and suggested that perhaps they should
leave this ONE THING untouched.  So the sequence was shot but it was
later seen as too depressing and strange for the bubble gum audiences
of 1984.  So an alternative ending was shot in which everyone hugs
each other and life is left happily ever after...

Father James O'Maley Speaks!

"The Ambulatory actually wasn't that bad of a writing experience.
You should have been there when I was fighting with George Lucas.
Do you know how hard I had to fight to keep those robots in
Star Wars??   George wanted it to be Ewoks in all 3 films!
R2D2 was going to be a damned ewok named Wicket for Christ's sake!
So yeah, in comparison to that, Doctor Who was a field day.
And, this usually goes unmentioned, but I donated all my pay from
Doctor Who to my favorite charity, the Ford Motor Corporation -
And all I asked back from them in return was a brand new 1984 Ford
Bronco Pick-Up Truck with 4 wheel drive and all leather interior."