Vengeance on Ventnor

An alternate Programme Guide by Charles Daniels

The One Hundred and Forty-Second Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Spithead

Serial 6V - Vengeance on Ventnor -

 The Doctor and Peri are busy at work getting the TARDIS they
found in the sewers back into working order.  The TARDIS from the
future has been badly damaged.  Cybercomponents litter the
floor, broken dials and cracked screens abound - obviously the
result of the Cybermen's desperate attempt to understand TARDIS
technology after winning it from a drunken future Doctor in one
of the most miscalculated bluffs in the history of the universe.
Worst of all, those components that DO WORK have all been retrofitted
and altered by Beep the Meep during his centuries long tenure in
the machine.

 After weeks of hard work the Doctor finally announces he has
perfected a new system of TARDIS navigation, which basically
amounts to flipping the yellow switches, crossing your fingers,
and praying that you aren't devoured by a mutant star goat.

 With a grand show of arrogance and self-assurance the Doctor
sets the co-ordinates to the planet Queeblo in the Nth Universe
and stands confident and proud as the central column begins to
rise and fall.

 Unfortunately, it rises once and then immediately falls -- to
the ground -- cracking in two.  The Doctor informs Peri that he
will need one of the rarest substances in the universe to repair
the TARDIS -- mercury!

 Peri seems unimpressed and offers to snap a thermometer in half
if that will help.  The Doctor seems totally embarrassed when he
realises he could have done the same thing this entire time and
re-fills the mercury fluid link without comment.

 In order to save some face, the Doctor also mentions that the
TARDIS could use some Zeiton-7, which is incredibly exotic and
rare, and that MUST have been what he meant to say -- because of
course he KNEW that mercury was common.

  Peri informs the Doctor that she's NEVER heard of Zeiton-7 and
doubts that it even exists -- suggesting that he's probably just
making it up.  The Doctor rebukes her claims, stating that Zeiton-7
does exist, and she hasn't heard of it because it's only available
at one place in the entire universe of space and time.  The Doctor
is once again confident in his superior knowledge and experience.

 Peri then asks the Doctor why the Time Lords would be so stupid
as to design a machine that required an exotic material only found
in one place in the vastness of the universe.  Obviously when a
TARDIS breaks down the odds of being ANYWHERE near the source are
laughably astronomic.  So aren't the time lords constantly getting
stranded throughout the universe unable to ever reach the mystical
energy source they stupidly devised their technology around?

  In response the Doctor huffs and puffs and changes the subject.

 The Doctor explains, that ACTUALLY they are just within range of
the one place in the entire universe where Zeiton-7 can be obtained.
Apparently it's rather easy to get there if you are in England in
the 20th Century, which is a regular haunt of the Doctor -- so
regular in fact that he receives notices from Inland Revenue
addressed -

20th Century

 The Doctor complains briefly for having to pay taxes on proceeds
gained while saving the world, and briefly considers NOT saving
it next time, just to help out his financial situation.

 After a moment of calculations the Doctor manages to use the
last of the residual power to take the ship to Ventnor, a small
village on the Isle of Wight, in the year 2000.   The Isle of Wight
has been made into the world's largest television studio.  The
entire island is surrounded by heavily-armed patrol boats, making
escape impossible.  The Head of the BBC, Grade Michaels, holds
ruthless power over the Isle of Wight and uses it to stage the
most gripping and popular shows of the year 2000 -- Violent
and Vulgar acts of inhumanity, packaged and referred to as
"Reality Television".

 The people of Britain are entertained by such shows as -

Extreme Survivors: 16 Friends From All Walks of Life are stranded
                   on the Isle of Wight without food.  Once a week
                   the team is allowed to vote one person off the
                   island -- and into the frying pan.  YUM!

The Ultimate Sacrifice: One lucky winner is given the chance in
                        lifetime deal - selling his vital organs
                        for money!  Starting with a kidney, it's
                        a wild ride from there!

Infidelity: Three married men are chosen to be taken to the
            "Pleasure Dome" in Cowes and are offered an endless
            parade of lust, drugs, and sheep.  The first to drive
            his spouse to suicide wins a free trip to Prague!

The Nice, Quiet Bachelor:  One man single man, 20 women.
                           What they don't know?
                           He's an escaped serial killer from America!
		           Mayhem ensues.

 The budgets for the shows and the prizes on offer have all been
made possible by the discovery of the rare ore, Zeiton-7, found only
in Bembridge.  Grade Michaels has been attempting to negotiate for
better prices for the Zeiton ore with Sil, the worm-like TV Producer
currently employed by the Galatron Mining Corporation and Channel 4.

 The Doctor and Peri arrive in the Punishment Dome, which is directly
NEXT to the Pleasure Dome but with fewer goats.   The Doctor and
Peri attempt to exit the Punishment Dome and reach the Pleasure
Dome.  The Doctor makes some half-hearted excuse that the Zeiton
Ore might be hidden there.

 Inside the Punishment Dome, our heroes encounter a lone rebel -
Mary Whitehouse.  Mrs. Whitehouse was an outspoken critic of
the violence of television, and was therefore the first thrown
into the punishment dome during it's Grand Opening celebration.
The Doctor ponders the moral dilemma of rescuing Mary Whitehouse --
perhaps she was RIGHT all this time.  After careful consideration
the Doctor hugs Mary Whitehouse warmly and assures her that he
has complete faith that she can make it out of the Punishment Dome
alive, on her own devices.  He then departs quickly leaving her
to certain death in the hands of nappy-wearing cannibals.

 Soon after this exchange the Doctor apparently dies when exposed
to a bad Color-Separation Overlay effect which makes him believe
that he can die of severe dehydration in a matter of seconds.

 Peri is captured by a mad scientist name Quillam, who turns her
into a bird in his transmogrifier machine -- umm...because, that's
just what mad scientists do.

 Meanwhile, if you haven't already guessed it, the Doctor recovers
fully from his imaginary injuries.  Soon after his revival he meets
two "guards".  In a blind fury he shoves the two men into a vat of
acid.  The men dissolve in a horrific and gory display as the Doctor
laughs maniacally at their suffering.

 As he watches the last of their remains, oozing into nothingness,
The Doctor is approached by a group of rebels.

"Have you seen our two leaders, Jondar and Kevin?"


"Jondar and Kevin are the head of the glorious resistance.
The last hope for human civilization!"

"Oh..ummm...No.  I don't think so.  Sorry.  Must dash!"

 The Doctor leaves the scene -- escaping into the hands of
ACTUAL guards who immediately capture him.

 The Doctor is taken to meet Sil.  The Doctor is deeply unsettled
by this meeting.  Not only is Sil a master villain of the first
class with no compunction for human life -- but also, his muscular
handlers are...incredibly sexy.

 As the Doctor attempts to resolve his conflicted emotions of extreme
disgust and arousal, Sil moves forward with his evil mechanisations.

 Sil contacts Channel 4 and casts the Doctor in the starring role
of an all new reality series - "Firing Squad At 3 Feet".  Sil
explains the premise behind the television show as such -

 "A contestant is taken before twelve men armed with machine guns.
A hood is placed over the contestants head and then the twelve men
fire repeatedly!  ONE LUCKY CONTESTANT WILL --- die."

 Sil admits he doesn't expect the programme to be a big ratings
grabber, but figures he can pull off a six episode series.

 Before the camera crew can be assembled the Doctor confronts
Grade Michaels - explaining that Sil is using his position at
Channel 4 to kill his enemies in violent programmes AND abusing
his position at Galatron Mining Corporation by underpaying the
BBC for the Zeiton Ore.  Grade Michaels smiles confidently at
the Doctor and explains he knows all of this already - all
the reality shows are set up in such a fashion, and he's been
taking personal kick backs from Sil for a percentage of the
money the BBC is being shortchanged.

 The Doctor is appalled.  England has been turned into a nation
of people entertained by cruel debauchery, his companion has been
turned into a bird lady, and worst of all this whole adventure
has left him mildly sexually frustrated.

 The Doctor escapes from the clutches of Grade Michaels and
rescues Peri.  The Doctor reverses the polarity of the genetic
flow, thus returning Peri to her former self.  After she is
completely human again, he explains that he has one more item
of business to clear up before leaving - and it involves Sil.

 Peri is sadistically excited, lusting for revenge.  She can't
wait to see the Doctor, her hero, give Sil what's coming to him,
and snuff the bastard.

 The Doctor approaches Sil, his keepers have been called away,
he is helpless.  As the Doctor approaches, Sil begs for his life,
even offering the Doctor an opportunity to host his own late night
comedy series.    Instead the Doctor picks up Sil and rushes him
inside of the TARDIS.  Slams the doors and takes off.

 And so, Sil begins his travels in the TARDIS.

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who & The BBC Controller of Death
The Hostile Takeover Colouring Book
Adventures in Slime and Space, The Complete Adventures of Sil

Goofs -
Why do the Time Lords create time machines dependant on a substance
that can only be found on the Isle of Wight?????

Fashion Victims -
Sil's fishtank is just tacky.  He should have gotten a deluxe
tank like those found in better Pet Supplies Stores.

Links and References -
This story follows on directly from Atari of Cybermen, judging
by the damage still suffered by the TARDIS and the copious
amounts of robot pornography littering the floor.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor tells Peri that he's been to earth in the year 2000
before.  He describes the year 2000 as - "An era of flying cars,
computerized music, and constant fear of Mandroids."

Groovy DVD Extras -
The DVD includes a special, never, aired episode of The Young
Ones in which Sil and Vyvyan form a punk metal band, Mike forces
Rik to become a male prostitute to pay the gas bill, and Neil
is abducted by crazed Oompa Loompas and turned into a life-sized
chocolate hippie.

Dialogue Disasters -


Doctor: Luckily, we are in range of the one location in all of time
        space where Zeiton-7 can be found!

Peri: And where's that?

Doctor: The Isle of Wight, in the year 2000.

Peri: Wait a minute!  You said this TARDIS could travel anywhere
      in time and space?  Didn't you?

Doctor: Oh yes!  Backways, and Upways, Forways, Downways, Sideways,
        and Noways!

Peri: That's what you say.  But look - You picked me up on Lanzarote,
      right?  Then we went to that Sarn place...and I didn't want
      to say anything -- but that looked EXACTLY like Lanzarote.
      Then we went to Sarn, which just looked like some random
      muddy hell hole, which could have been any where in the
      Mediterranean...then we went to "Titan III" which looked just
      like a disused rock quarry.  THEN we went to
      to get the rarest mineral in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, we just
      have to pop down to the Isle of Wight!

Doctor: What are you getting at?

Peri: Well, maybe it's just me being suspicious.  But it seems like
      this TARDIS of yours can go to anywhere in the universe, IF
      it happens to be in Western Europe, and especially if
      it's Southern England.
      I guess I was hoping to see something REALLY alien.  You know.
      Insanely, rip my own eyeballs out in the shock of it all, alien?

Doctor: Well, you've seen ME!




Dialogue Triumphs -


Sil: I admit my idea isn't entirely original, but a lot of innocents
     WILL die.

Michael Grade: Fabulous.  Sounds ideal for Channel 5.


Doctor: Welcome aboard the TARDIS, Sil.  I'm the conductor, this is
        my assistant -- speaking of assistant, make sure Sil has lots
        of water, Peri eh?

Peri: Ouch!  Please tell me that wasn't a cheap pun.

Doctor: Of course not!  It was a masterful pun!


Viewer Quotes -

"This show was simply too over the top and unrealistic.  Really!
Television shows based on sticking people on remote desert islands,
watching them backstab each other for money.  Shows in which gold
digging women try to seduce a rich-looking man, debasing themselves
in front of millions.  It's absurd.  That would never get on
television."         - Derek Jansen (1985)

"Violence!  Depravity!  A hell hole of sin and degradation!  Thank
God I got it on video!"  - Father James O' Maley (1985)

"Sil is my favorite companion.  In many ways this story was nothing
more than a spring board to introduce this fabulous character to the
audience.  Sil is a real testimony to the idea that power corrupts,
absolutely, even if you are just a slug thing."
             - alt.fetish.monsters, MorlockLover (1996)

"This story was REALLY surreal.  I mean, the Doctor has never gone off
and abducted a monster to be friends with.  Not on screen anyway.
I guess we'll have no way of knowing if the 4th Doctor didn't abduct
some hapless Macra and travel through time and space with it before
meeting Leela."   - Ron Timor (1999)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Channel 4 is controlled by the Masons.  And the Masons are controlled
by the Illuminati.  Now the Illuminati are controlled by the space
alien Greys. And the space alien Greys are controlled by Mr. T.  AND
Mr. T, well Mr. T ain't controlled by no one."

Nabil Shaban Speaks!

"We'd rehearsed the original ending and I thought got it down
fairly well.  The Doctor arrives in my private chambers, and
finds Grade Michaels and myself -- umm...engaged.  Luckily the
Doctor has a polaroid camera on hand.  Takes pictures and
promises to discredit us both if we don't radically reform the
television industry.
 I think Colin found that ending a bit too cute.  A little too
clean.  In the real world, we'd just have security gun him down
for good.
 So, when the moment came, and the cameras were rolling -- it
was spontaneous and wonderful, he just whisked me into the TARDIS.
Nicola, Ron, Eric..they were ALL FURIOUS!  This wasn't in the script!
But I just sat there, smiling, giving off my evil laugh, trying to
look REALLY like a horrifying villain.  I recognised immediately
that this could mean a steady stretch of work!"

Colin Baker Speaks!
"Vengeance on Ventnor was very dark, gloomy - now I'm sure that
MOST of that was just due to the weather, but it gave the story
the sort of downbeat edge that set it apart.  This story was
heavily criticized for being an anti-social video nasty.  That's
why I LOVE it so much."

Rumors & Facts -

 Philip Martin turned his hand to writing in the early 60s.  He
started watching Doctor Who in 1963 with his seven-year old daughter
Hilary, who was a fan of the show, and this inspired him to submit
ideas to the programme's production office.  Eventually Martin
was commissioned to pen a scene breakdown for a storyline entitled
The Betans, it was hoped that the serial could form part of season
three.  When this did not pan out it was delayed to season four.
This meant that Martin had to frequently adjust his scripts to
account for the changing regular cast, The Betans having started
out as an adventure for the First Doctor, Barbara, Ian and Susan.
Eventually, it became clear that the serial -- retitled The Telly
of Death -- would be held over until Season Five.  Philip Martin
was asked to re-pen the story to reflect the now fully established
character of the Second Doctor and his travelling companions
Ben, Polly, and Jamie.  However before the end of season 4 he
has to re-draft the story AGAIN to drop out Polly and Ben, and
include Victoria in their places.  Funding eventually fell through
for the next two seasons and it wasn't until some time later that
Martin received a letter with some good news and bad news -

 The good news - his adventure, by now entitled "Space Telly" -
was being considered for season 7.  The bad news was that season 7
would be entirely earth bound.   Martin was asked to change the
location of the story from Thoros-Beta to earth, perhaps with aliens
on earth.  Philip Martin eventually agreed to these changes, but
the radical re-writes required meant the serial wouldn't be complete
until after the deadline to submit stories for season 8!!

 Eventually the earth bound version was approved, however due to
a clerk's mis-filing, the script was apparently lost for quite
some time.  In fact when the approved version finally came back to
their attention, the third Doctor had relieved from his exile by
the Time Lords.  Martin was asked if he could change the setting
from earth to the much more interesting sounding alien planet
Thoros-Beta and also include the Bastard in the story as an evil
television executive.

 Luckily, Martin was a fan of the Bastard character and therefore was
happy to alter his scripts to add the character to the story.
Not so luckily, various unforeseen set backs occurred which
disallowed the Bastard character from appearing in any slot available
to this story.

 From here...things get a little hazy.  Apparently, at some point
in the Tom Baker era, a version of the script was used for the series.
However Tom Baker adlibbed so much of the dialogue and story
exposition that it simply became IMPOSSIBLE to recognise the story.
Fan myth points to the story "The Fun Makers" but it could have
just as easily been "The Creature From Pittsburgh" or any number
of stories in which Tom Baker took dictatorial control of the

 Even if no one else could tell, through the surreal acting of
Tom Baker, Philip Martin could and he wasn't happy at all with
the massive changes.  So a strange series of threatening letters
and unconvincing denials were passed between the BBC and Martin
until the end of the Tom Baker era.

 When Peter Davison joined the cast of Doctor Who he eventually
heard tales of the script, which by that point had evolved into
something of an urban legend.  When Davison eventually discovered
this incredibly tale was true he begged Philip Martin and JST
to resurrect the story and do it properly.

 Martin re-wrote the script to include The Fifth Doctor, Tegan,
and Turlough.  Unfortunately this version couldn't be fit in
before Janet Fielding's departure story.

 Showing his now super legendary patience Martin agreed to
re-write the script for the 22nd Season, the 6th Doctor,
write out the Bastard, re-set the story on Earth, and totally
re-format his scripts, changing them from four twenty-five minute
episodes to two forty-five minute installments.

 At this point in the script's life cycle the story was entitled
"Yarmouth of Fire".   When it was noted that the serial's title was
very similar to the Season Twenty-One tale Mammaries Of Fire, Martin
rechristened it "Vengeance On Ventnor".

 Further rewrites were requested from the writer in early 1984, when
it decided that Martin did not have an acceptable grasp on the
characters of the Sixth Doctor and Peri. These changes were made only
reluctantly by Martin, who politely informed Eric Saward and
John Satan-Turner that he had begun to grow weary of Vengeance On
Ventnor's long gestation period.

 In the end, it was due to continued problems with another
long-developing set of scripts -- David Bowie Versus The Space Whale
by Pat Mills -- that Ventnor at last earned its spot in the schedule.

 David Bowie versus the Space Whale, which had first been offered to
the Doctor Who production office shortly after the release of
"Space Oddity", had been planned as the second story of Season
Seven, but Saward and Mills finally concluded that the differences
between them were too great and in either case, they probably
couldn't get David Bowie to agree to do it anyway.  David Bowie
Versus the Space Whale was abandoned (although it was not officially
rejected until July 1995).   In fact the letter of rejection for
Space Whale is probably the most unique rejection letter in history -

"To Pat Mills;

  The Doctor Who office regrets to inform you that we can not
pursue your script submission, "David Bowie Versus the Space Whale",
at this time.  The first factor in our decision was the prohibitive
cost of attaining the interest of David Bowie for the production,
as his fees are in the range that is usually associated with
performers of his stature.  We did investigate several professional
impersonators of Mr. Bowie, however the only one within what we
would consider a reasonable fee area for our needs was one Hiromi
Tsuru, a native of Kyoto, Japan.  Unfortunately Mr. Tsuru exclusively
focuses on the Ziggy Stardust period of Mr. Bowie's career and Doctor
Who has had an unfortunate history of criticism when the programme
has pushed the boundaries of what some members of the public would
consider "good taste".  Also an executive decision ruled that the
appearance of Mr. Tsuru as Ziggy Stardust would be gratuitously
frightening and overly stress young children in the audience.

   The second, and largest, factor in deciding to reject your
submission, at this time is as follows -

   It could hardly have escaped your attention that the show has
officially been on hiatus for 6 years.  This single factor ALONE
has made it virtually impossible to continue any work towards your

   Thank you for your interest in Doctor Who.  If the series does
return to television, (which trust me isn't going to happen for AT
LEAST A DECADE), we hope we can count on your continued support.
Perhaps in that future time attitudes towards Ziggy Stardust will

 				John Satan-Turner
  				July 1995"

 Back in 1984, the Doctor Who production staff finally began
working on Vengeance on Ventnor.   The director Ron Jones
had the an unusually big task ahead of him - casting an actor to
play the diminutive Sil. Martin had originally envisioned the
character as floating in a tank of water, but after a few trial
runs of this the concept was abandoned when the actors kept
drowning.   Nabil, cleverly only agreed to take the role once
they had solved this problem.  The concept was revised such that Sil
would actually sit on a platform above his water tank.

 This change made Sil possible to achieve on the screen - but
is also made him PORTABLE.  Easily Portable.  TOO EASILY PORTABLE.
So easily portable that Colin Baker, in an act of brazen mutiny
grabbed Sil and forced him into the TARDIS on the day the final
scene was shot.   This was not planned and, frankly angered a lot
of people, who would later retcon their memories and claim they
were behind it the entire time.  For example, these quotes from
Eric Saward -

"There was a real ENERGY.  As soon as Colin and Nabil were on
the camera together, there was this amazing chemistry.
I know that there were a lot of threats to fire Colin at the time,
but deep down, we all saw it coming and KNEW it was the right move."

 Sil was indeed a magical, unusual, and amusing companion.  The
character was brought to life by the extraordinary Nabil Shaban.
Sil won over the hearts of children everywhere with his bizarre
Thoros-Betan accent, excitable manner and skin-crawling laugh.
Soon the lovable villain was made into key chains, appearing on
posters, and in some children's bedrooms had replaced their long
beloved stuffed teddy bears.  The ultimate moment of acceptance
for the character came when with the introduction of the Sil
lunchbox.  Lunchboxes being the early 80s equivalent of having
a star on Hollywood's walk of fame.

 On a last note, Philip Martin's daughter Hilary was 29 years old
when this story finally aired -- and by that point, she was no longer
a fan of Doctor Who and thought her dad was "a bit loopy actually."