Atari Of the Cybermen

An alternate Programme Guide by Charles Daniels

The One Hundred and Forty-First Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Qbert
Special Thanks to Chris Rednour for the first image in the
final version.  Special thanks to me for the second image.

Serial 6T - Atari Of the Cybermen -

 Former Agent of the Dustbins, commander Lytton, has recruited
three more followers into the service of his true master -
Beep the Meep.  Lytton explains to his recruits that Beep the Meep
is merely the code name for a successful Italian diamond smuggler.
He does this not only to mislead the humans, but also to avoid
any personal embarrassment which might arise if they discovered
that his true master was nothing more than some cat's furball.

 Meanwhile, in the TARDIS, the Doctor has been frantic with
activity -- even attempting to repair the TARDIS' chameleon circuit
which he finally admits to breaking himself by accident on one
cold lonely night centuries before when he tried to force the
TARDIS to take the form of Felicity Kendall.

 The Doctor promises to take Peri somewhere she can relax...
and for some reason this means they arrive on Halley's Comet in
the year 1985. When Peri insists that the last thing she wants to
do is take a stroll and a picnic on a boiling iceball violently
ejecting gas into the surrounding cosmos - the Doctor gets huffy
and accuses Peri of being a killjoy.  Eventually the Doctor
is convinced that they should holiday somewhere with an atmosphere
and begrudgingly flies the TARDIS to London.  Unfortunately the
Doctor hasn't tried to fly the TARDIS around like some crazy
helicopter since he went to Luxor.    The Doctor crash lands
the TARDIS in a disused junkyard, Foreman's Yard, where the
TARDIS decides to take on the form of the great pyramid of Giza --
which rather stands out in Coal Hill.

 Peri asks the Doctor exactly how the chameleon circuit works -

"The TARDIS is a true marvel of temporal engineering.  Within
nanoseconds it scans the surrounding area, examines the planet's
cultural aesthetics, builds a complex architectural matrix from
an intergalactic standard template, carefully examines and
cross references the data it's collected, and then chucks it
all in the bin and takes whatever shape pleases it most.  It's
a mass achievement in free thought."

"But totally useless as a camouflage?"

"More or less."

 After hearing this explanation, Peri is worried about the Doctor's
mental stability.  The Doctor insists that he's all right -- but
keeps calling Peri "Jamie" and asking her if it's Tuesday.

 Peri grasps the Doctor's arm and asks if they can't pop off
to California or Mexico.  The Doctor looks deeply into Peri's
eyes and smiles -

"So you can feel it too!!  The foreboding. The fear.  The sense...
gnawing at the collective soul.  You can feel the wrongness.
The creepy, otherworldliness which surrounds us!"

 "No Doctor, it's just rainy and fucking cold in London.
I want to go somewhere that isn't pissing down if you don't mind."

 Reluctantly the Doctor agrees to leave London with Peri and
they return to the TARDIS.  The Doctor begins to set a flight
plan to LA when Peri insists that she'd rather brave the horrors
of the time vortex than the Doctor's driving skills.  The Doctor
agrees and asks which street she'd like to arrive on in LA.
Knowing that the Doctor is trying to show off she humours him
and asks if they could land on top of the Hollywood sign.
The Doctor sets the co-ordinates, smiles, and before they notice
they have already landed.  When they exit the TARDIS they discover
they have travelled all of about 3 miles and the TARDIS has now
taken the form of broken lamp post.  The Doctor insists that this
is NOT his fault when the two are unexpectedly attacked by insane
policemen.  Peri fly kicks one of the officers while the Doctor
sucker punches the other - they escape the policemen and run into
some nearby sewers - conveniently placed for an escape.

 The Doctor and Peri are unaware that the sewers are actually
the secret base of the evil Cybermen.  Wandering into these sewers
would SURE to offer certain death - but luckily, Lytton and his
new recruits entered the sewers five minutes previously - by some
odd coincidence - thus they will prove to be the canaries.
A Cyberman emerges from the shadows and molests three of the men
with a specialized hydraulic valve.   The scene is gruesome, but
Lytton calculatingly joins forces with the Cybermen.

 The Doctor and Peri hear the squelching and screaming, and stumble
across a body while rushing to investigate.

  Sewer workers -- and the two policemen which attacked our heroes --
are being molested by the Cybermen. Lytton talks his way out of the
same procedure, explaining that he is an alien pimp who will gladly
bring more victims to the Cybermen. The Cyber Leader accepts the
logic of his argument and a floppy disk filled with pornographic
text adventure games.  Lytton is hired as a CyberAgent.

 On Telos, a work party of prisoners are playing a variety of
silly games with a Cyberhelmet they found.  They run along
with the Cyberhead chanting and singing joyful songs, when one
of them finally realises they could attempt to use the head as
a prop in an escape attempt.

 On Earth, the Doctor has decided that discovering dead bodies
in sewers isn't as fun as it once seemed, and decides that Peri
and him should leg it back to the TARDIS and maybe investigate
something different for a change -- something like...Disneyland.
When they arrive at the TARDIS they discover the Cybermen are
there, waiting for them.

 The Doctor warns the Cybermen that he could kill them all with
the subtlest pressure from his thumb -- not surprisingly they
don't believe him.  MORE not surprisingly, they decide to tell
the Doctor their entire plan.

 The Cybermen explain to the Doctor that they plan to insure
the destruction of the human race in 1985, therefore assuring
the success of their 1986 invasion of the earth - which previously
had lead to the destruction of their homeworld.  The Cybermen
plan to turn Halley's Comet into a mega-bomb, and force it to
impact with the earth.  They will do all of this utilizing the
power of their CyberControl Computer.

 The Doctor is skeptical.  He knows that Cybertechnology isn't
actually all that far in advance of human technology in all areas.
He asks to personally inspect the CyberControl Computer.
The Cybermen immediately agree and begin to brag about their
accomplishments.  It turns out the CyberControl Computer is,
in actuality, an Atari 800xl!

"AN ATARI 800 XL!!!  You MUST be joking!"

"On the contrary Doctor.  The Atari 800xl has 64k of onboard
memory and a clockspeed of One-Point-Seven-Nine Megahertz!"

"And you plan to use this to re-direct Halley's Comet, which
you've somehow made into a superbomb, into 1985 earth, so your
1986 invasion will now succeed??"


 The Doctor is appalled.  He reminds the Cybermen that the
humans of 1985 are capable of space flight and have nuclear
technology - and could therefore divert the comet at the last
possible moment.  He immediately suggests to the Cybermen
that they travel back in time to 1910, a time when the human
race has no space technology and when Halley's Comet actually
made a closer approach to earth!  This way it will take less
energy to redirect the comet at a totally hapless human race
and will WIPE out all human civilization - "Giving the earth
76 years to recover!  How is the CyberBattle Fleet going to cope
with an Earth which has just been hit by a comet less than a year

 Peri is appalled that the Doctor is giving the Cybermen new
and better ideas.  The Doctor huffily explains -

"I'm going to fix and enhance their plans!  I've spent 700 years
saving the universe.  Wasted all those centuries defeating
half-arsed invasions!  This time will be different!  This time
I'm going to overcome an actually COMPETENT attack -- even
if I have to hand it to them!"

 When the Cybermen explain that their time travel technology is
not functioning properly, it was by luck that they arrived safely
in 1985, and therefore they can't risk another trip in the machine
to actually follow his excellent advice - the Doctor goes into
a rage and forces all of the Cybermen and their allies into the
TARDIS, offering them a free ride to 1910.

 Aboard the TARDIS the Cyberfleet, Lytton, Doctor and Peri are
travelling back through the decades -- when the other shoe drops.
The Cybermen, deeply embarrassed, admit that their plan won't work
anyway -- they forgot to pack the comet diverting equipment and
left it behind on the prison planet Telos.  They thank the Doctor
for all his trouble and begin to apologise but the Doctor is as
red as a demon -

"FINE!! FINE!  We'll stop off on Telos!!  I'm not letting you
out of this so easy Cyberleader!"

 Everyone seems reluctant until The Doctor threatens to destroy the
TARDIS unless the Cyber Leader agrees to collect the equipment off
of Telos.

 Lytton approaches the Doctor and tells him that the Cybermen
haven't developed their own theories of Time travel; they simply
won the ship in a heated game of poker from one of the Doctor's
future selves.  When the Doctor asks Lytton why he is revealing
this - Lytton knees him violently in the groin --- so a rather odd
exchange overall.

 The TARDIS (in the form of a wall with a mural painting depicting
the bloody and final death of Adric - a scene which, for some reason,
is deeply enjoyed by Cybermen Artists) materializes in the prisons
of Telos -- a logical place to store comet diverting technology.
The Doctor notices that Lytton is acting strangely and realizes that
he knows more about what's going on than he's saying.

 As the Cybermen are distracted, loading heavy equipment into
the TARDIS, Lytton slips away and opens up a nearby locked cell.
Out of the cell emerges a cute little creature, which Peri
instinctively wants to hug.

   Lytton admits that's he's been working for Beep the Meep all along.
And on Beep the Meep's behalf he intends to steal the TARDIS from the

 The Doctor becomes deeply annoyed.  He desperately wants to help
the Cybermen set up a worthwhile invasion of earth circa 1910.
However, the presence of the infamous criminal, Beep the Meep,
has thrown a wrench into this as Beep the Meep desperately wants
to take revenge on the Cybermen.  The Doctor finally gets Lytton
and Beep the Meep to agree to a free trip back to 1985, where
he can drop them off -- allowing them to take possession of the
future TARDIS, and STILL allow him to use his current TARDIS
to take the Cybermen back to 1910.  At this point, even the Doctor
becomes confused and has to write out on the plan on a piece of
scrap paper.

 The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, sets the co-ordinates
to earth in 1985, and explains his plans to everyone.  Once
everyone is agreed the Doctor smiles and the TARDIS sets off.
A few seconds later, Beep the Meep wipes out a classic
Kill-O-Zap gun and mows down the Cybermen in salivating revenge.

 The Doctor is horrified!  This completely ruins his plans!!
The Cybermen, now dead, can not hope to wipe out the human race
in the early 20th century!  His dreams of defeating a competent
menace seem crushed.  As the Doctor lays in the fetal position
and cries in frustration, he feels the sharp business end
of a Kill-O-Zap Ray Gun pressed into his back.
A brief smile crosses his face.

 After landing on Earth, Beep the Meep forces the Doctor
and Peri off the TARDIS.  Once they leave, the doors slam
shut behind them and the TARDIS dematerializes.

 "DOCTOR!! The Cute Little Creature HAS STOLEN THE TARDIS!

 The Doctor laughs slightly, and then gets a serious look on his
face.  The two venture into the streets of London, time passes.

 Some hours later the Doctor and Peri find themselves in the
now abandoned Cyberlair, deep in the sewers.  Behind a wall
of rats and old condoms, they find a conspicuous, blue, metropolitan
police box.

"Beep the Meep has a TARDIS with a working chameleon circuit...
but at least we have this one."

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who - Revenge of the Starbeast
Bleep The Meep - When Cute Monsters Swear
Low Rider Magazine - Scantily Clad Women Laying on Time Machines

Goofs -
How did Beep the Meep end up on Telos?  Why does he hate the
Cybermen?  And why is he so damned cute???

Fashion Victims -
Beep the Meep's robotic mobility device looks rather like an
infant's high chair

Links and References -
Lytton, the infamous double agent, is back (last seen in
Erection of the Dustbins) this time offering his assistance
to the Cybermen and kneeing the Doctor in the groinal area.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor mentions that he testified before the Wrarth Justice
Council to ask for a state of perpetual imprisonment for Beep
the Meep.  The Council apparently showed some leniency and
only gave him 627 years - one year for each count of genocide.
"It was of course his first offence!" Explains the Doctor.

Groovy DVD Extras -
Seamless branching DVD!!  Watch the version with it's classical
1985 special effects OR turn on the special CGI sequences and
enjoy the new computer enhanced Beep the Meep!  Also chose between
the original 1985 incidental music or sounds of scratches against
a blackboard as Colin Baker reads actual fan mail from BELGIUM!
I choose the latter option EVERYTIME!

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: The TARDIS, when drunk, is capable of many amazing things.
        Not unlike myself.


Peri: What is that terrible smell?

Lytton: Death.

Peri: What do you mean, death?

Lytton: The sour, rank odour of death is unmistakable.

Doctor: Umm..actually, it's just my aftershave lotion.


Dialogue Triumphs -


Peri (Pulling down a bra strap slowly down her shoulder):
     Hey, Doctor.  You've been working on the TARDIS for
     a long time now.  How about working on something else
     for awhile?

Doctor: Hmm?  Oh yes!  After I finish work on the chameleon
        circuit I plan to work on the thermostat..sorry
        for any discomfort.

Peri (slowly lifts her top completely off):
     I'm just so very hot Doctor.

Doctor: What?  YES!  Like I said, I'll get to it just
        after I fuse this trans-chameleonic relay!!
        Only a moment.

Peri (sighs): DAMMIT DOCTOR!  I've been trying to get your
              attention all damned afternoon!  Put down those
              tools and let's get to it!

Doctor: YES!  I'll get to it!  Like I where
        did I put that soldering iron?

Peri: DOCTOR!  I'm half naked here!  Why are you ignoring me?
      It's like you're not even interested!

Doctor: Oh please Peri!  Isn't it obvious?  The overly colorful coat,
        the kitty cat lapel buttons??  -- I'M GAY!

Peri: Gay?   Well, why didn't you mention this before?

Doctor: I wasn't aware of it before.

Peri: How long have you known about this Doctor?

Doctor: I'd like to say since childhood.  But honestly,
        since about 6 o'clock this morning, after breakfast.

Peri: But then how can you be so sure?

Doctor: Regeneration does strange things to a man Peri -
        and now I want to.


Viewer Quotes -

"I don't know what they were thinking!  The Star Beast comic
serial only ever won one award to the best of my knowledge -
Most Flammable."  - Darren McCairns (1994)

"This is really a pathetic outing for a classic enemy.
I remember back when I was a kid, the Cybermen were TERRIFYING!
They rogerred poor Billy Hartnell to death and gave Patrick
a hell of a time!  And now...they are just a bunch of bumbling
losers who..let's face it, need the help of specialized hydraulic
equipment to perform the most basic of sexual acts."
                - Andrew Daniels, Cyberfetish Monthly (1985)

"What's amazing is that not only did they tackle SO MUCH continuity -
The Cyberinvasions of 1986, the Lytton mission, the Beep the Meep
imprisonment, the TARDIS chameleon circuit - but that they got it
WRONG on EVERY COUNT!  I mean, by blind chance you'd think they'd
get one right!"  - Thomas York (1999)

"I still tear up whenever I see Beep the Meep in this story.
He looks so young, so vibrant.  He's at the top of his game in
this story, before he ruined his career in that incident with
the MP and the Dutch prostitute."  - Zimbo Jimmy Electric (2002)

"It's very sad how this story really marks the end of Beep
the Meep's career.  He was one of the great, promising, Meep
actors of an era, and now he's only remembered on eBay as an
"Uncommon" in the Doctor Who Collectible card game."
                               - Charles Daniels (2003)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Beep the Meep is my spiritual adviser.  He says my karma is
SO GOOD now that the next three drifters I take out won't count
against me.  Want some tea?"

Colin Baker Speaks!
"The problem with Peri is that the writers were under the severe
mental delusion that they were producing scripts with perfectly
authentic American english.  So you'd get lines like -

"How many kilometers to the Chemist?  Don't let's be late as
I need some condoms and gardening tools before the wild indians
attack my flat."

 And poor Nicola had no way of knowing what she was saying, or
what it meant, or if an American would say things that way.  I'm
pretty sure she was learning American english from re-runs of
Dukes of Hazzard."

Rumors & Facts -

 The opening story for this season was originally "The Opera of Doom"
featuring the Bastard, Omigod, Romana, Borusa, Rassilon, K-9, Leela,
and for some reason - The Quirks.  The Opera of Doom got very far
along the production process even though behind the scenes the story
was criticized openly due to it's inherent stupidity, needless
complexity, and impossible logistical demands.  Remarkably, the
producer seemed to overlook these concerns and the fact that it
would be the ultimate continuity-masturbation story ever produced
only made JST love it more.

 However, just before the arrangements were finalized, JST became
obsessed with the Styx song "Mr. Roboto" and insisted that a
Doctor Who story, involving the Cybermen, be written based
loosely on it's lyrics.

 Eric Saward, a shameless fan of the Cybermen joined forces
with unofficial fan adviser Ian Levine, and set out to produce
another story, buried in fanwank, that would connect plot threads
from Room of the Cybermen, The Evasion, The Tense Planet, and the
often forgotten Doctor Who Annual Short Story - "The Cyberladies".
The script they crafted had the working title "The Cybermen Planet
Evasion of Time".  In this first draft the Cybermen are fleeing
from a planet sized comet which has been chasing their starship
across the galaxy for decades.

 JST informed Saward that he could not be credited for the serial
as it was improper for a Script Editor to commission himself for
the story, and that they couldn't possibly credit Ian Levine because
they needed to retain some plausible deniability.

 As a result, Saward turned to an ex-girlfriend, whom he was still
on good terms with, a friendly Dutch girl named Anna Soutendijk,
whom he trusted implicitly and whom charged by the hour.

"It was great!  He came over, and asked me to write a Doctor Who
script for money.  I was really surprised, Most guys just want a
blow job!  It was the easiest 2 and a half hours of my life."

 Years later, the scandal that would emerge during a routine BBC
investigation of these events would lead to public inquiry,
political turmoil, and the eventual destruction of Beep the Meep's
acting career.

 The fact that the script was written, by all accounts, in roughly
250 minutes by a woman who apparently had never seen Doctor Who
and whom in fact spoke little English at the time, might account
for much that happens in this story.  Ian Levine and Eric Saward
undoubtedly explained their concept to Anna, and may have let her
read the "The Cybermen Planet Evasion of Time" before sitting her
down at a typewriter, but there is no direct evidence of this.

 Anna's draft obviously went through script editing and review.
The most notable changes being insisted upon by JST.  JST was
worried that the story which tried to glue together Room of the
Cybermen, the Evasion, The Tense Planet, and Mr. Roboto by the
Styx -- simply didn't include enough continuity or homage to the
history of the show as he would have liked.  To this end he
insisted that the script be altered to include Lytton as a
double agent, this time for the Cybermen, and also advance the
story arc of the Beep the Meep character.  Also if at all possible,
Saward and Levine should pay special attention to the passage -

"I'm not a robot without emotions - I'm not what you see
I've come to help you with your problems, so we can be free
I'm not a hero, I'm not a saviour, forget what you know
I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control"

 As it held special meaning for him.

  The question has to be asked: what the hell were they thinking?!
One has to wonder what motivated John Satan-Turner and Saward to
commission such a story - a season opener featuring the return of
the Cybermen, the return of Lytton, the return of an obscure
comic book villain, a TARDIS with a strange chameleon circuit,
a homosexual Doctor, all somehow magically linked to Halley's Comet!
And all of this to be scripted by a part-time hooker who openly
bragged that she had finished her final-and-only draft in less
than a lazy afternoon.

 Is there any wonder that this is my favorite story of all time?!