Rhododendron of the Dustbins
An alternate Programme Guide by
Just a short note here before the entry. Life is imitiating art, or art
is taking piss out of life...or something. Over the next few weeks I am
wrapping up my life in the USA and preparing for my move to England.
I really shouldn't have taken the time out to write this stuff below,
but I thought it would be nice to have a tie in between the series haitus
and my own little hiatus. I don't expect to have time to write any more
entries for the next few months. But hey, only 16 televised stories to
go...and then, before I know it...only 29 to go! I hope that I can still
finish off the original series before the end of Series 1 of the new
Doctor Who. We'll just have to see!
The One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Botany
Dedicated to Chris Rednour, without him this project would be
1/1000000th as fun and 1/1000000000000000th as interesting
Serial 6Z - Rhododendron of the Dustbins -
The Doctor takes his companions to what he promises to be a land
of infinite potential and imagination - Shropshire, 1987. The Doctor
tries to convince Sil and Peri to join him in an exploration of a
strange and mystical Tudor town, known only as -- Shrewsbury!
Sil and Peri are dragged listlessly through the streets like weary
children on a particularly dull field trip. To pass the time Sil
exposes the locals to toxins for a laugh.
Sil's victims are taken to the local funeral home, The Tranquil
Repose. The Doctor drags his companions along, insisting this will
be a fun opportunity to experience the wonders of embalming first
hand! When the three arrive at the funeral home they are greeted
by the wacky and wonderful Mister Balowski - slum lord and part
time DJ for the dead! When Peri asks how he got a job playing
music for the deceased, Balowski enters a strange trance and
explains that the job was offered to him by an inhuman disembodied
head and that he can keep the gig as long as he doesn't get any
Balowski offers the trio the full tour, and within moments he
points out the latest conversation piece in the place - a glass
Dustbin containing a grotesquely mutated human head -
"Oh look! It's Margaret Thatcher!" He explains with a smile.
Thatcher chants fascist Dustbin slogans to the amusement of all
concerned! With a smile they proceed further into the dominion
of - "THE GREAT CLEANER!"
Before reaching him though they meet up with Orinoco, the notorious
Womble assassin. Despite his great reputation as a killer he takes
little joy in his work and donates his fees to charities which
preserve vital forest habitat. Sil approaches Orinoco and explains
that he's heard "This Great Cleaner" has invented a high-protein
concentrate which has eliminated famine in this part of the galaxy.
If this true, then it will be incredibly bad for his eventual plans
to starve the human race into economic submission. He offers Orinoco
a bag of trash and a fiver to off the bastard. Orinoco leaps upon
the opportunity -- at last, a return to the glory days, a chance for
a true crusade against evil.
Meanwhile the Doctor is wandering around the attached cemetery,
mocking those people silly enough to die. To his shock and horror
he discovers his own tombstone! The Doctor immediately realises
that he's materialized in his own future, and he's dead -- without
ever having regenerated again. He becomes even MORE annoyed when,
after a careful investigation, he can't find Peri's tombstone.
This makes no sense! They will meet a situation in which *HE* WILL
DIE, while that stupid bimbo lives on! Where's the fairness in that?!
Before Peri can be insulted by the Doctor's outbursts, she witnesses
Doctor's tombstone tumble over onto the Doctor, crushing him...
"Killed by your own tombstone! Irony's a bitch!" She notes.
Sil insists that they move on and live happy lives - it's to late
to save The Doctor, and why cry over a little spilt blood?
She's appalled when he tries to take advantage of her grief to
nick her wallet.
The Doctor leaps up, explaining that luckily he's a cheap bastard
and didn't spend his cash on a marble tombstone - preferring the
much cheaper polystyrene model.
The Doctor insists that they have spent too much time mucking about
being silly - it's time to just cut the crap and find out what Lavros
is up to this time.
The Doctor attempts to confront Lavros, but the concealed disembodied
head demands that they read all the brochures about the funeral home
and it's unique DJ service before explaining, point by point, with
diagrams, his plan to dominate the universe. The Doctor sighs
and plays along. Peri seems delighted at the banter, Sil seems
thrilled by the macabre spectacle of the funeral home, and the Doctor
seems bored silly as he leafs through countless colour supplements.
As the trio wait, Orinoco stealthy approaches the kill zone.
Orinoco intends to use a scavenged AK-47 to assassinate Lavros.
As he approaches silently Orinoco senses something moving behind him
and reacts immediately, opening fire and destroying an approaching
Dustbin. Lavros detects this and realizes that the rumours he's heard
are correct; Wombles are out to kill him.
Peri, meanwhile, manages to slip away from the Doctor and Sil
and tracks down the DJ, Balowski, who confesses to being a shy
Englishman who just speaks with an accent to seem sophisticated
and pull birds. Balowski becomes enthusiastic when she reveals she's
from the States, as he mistaken believes all American girls are
prostitutes ---- it's a long story!
Meanwhile Lavros is taunting the Doctor and makes him confess that
he still has feelings for The Bastard. Lavros explains that the
Bastard once turned down his offers for immortality. When the
Doctor confronts Lavros on this point -- stating that it would
be eerily out of character for the Bastard to turn down never
ending life - Lavros admits to making up the whole story just to
Lavros laments to the Doctor that although he may be the creator
of the most evil race in cosmic history, and the most vile mutant
to have ever existed -- he's actually a bit shit with small talk
and often just says any old weird piece of crap that pops into mind.
Embarrassed, he turns his conversational assault skills onto Sil,
apparently fascinated by his water tank device.
The Doctor plans his own escape as Lavros explains to Sil that he
can now genetically engineer other species into Dustbins, and he
could build an army from the population of Shrewsbury -- if only
he could be bothered. Lavros is suffering from a long cycle of
depression and life has become so bleak that even acts of needless
genocide have become tainted. What Lavros really desires is a reason
to move on, a way to discover new found enthusiasm for galactic
empire. He points to this entire arrangement as an example of how
half-heartedly he is approaching the prospect these days.
During the self-obsessed rants of the mutant and his slug companion,
the Doctor meets up with the fabled Orinoco. Orinoco is about to
advise the Doctor not to follow him if he values his life -- but
upon getting a good look at his coat, he just assumes the Doctor
is ready to die.
The Doctor leads Orinoco to the hidden lair of Lavros, where he
can plant a bomb. Then, just to confuse things, a tour bus arrives
at the funeral home - packed with grey Dustbins!
These Dustbins aren't holiday makers, but a warring faction, desperate
to make Lavros answer for his crimes and return him to the control
of the Supreme Dustbin. The Doctor deduces that the gray dustbin
faction is ailing, and perhaps not sufficient in power to achieve
their aims. He explains this by pointing to three factors -
1) Inferior numbers on the scene
2) Outdated weaponry
3) Instead of a galactic hyper-battle cruiser, they arrived to
Shropshire in a chartered bus
These observations only serve to further annoy and depress
Lavros. His creations, once rulers of half the galaxy, are now
battling out in a desperate civil war in Shropshire.
Orinoco announces that he intends to use his bomb to destroy Lavros'
and the Dustbin army; the bomb has no timing device, and he's always
wanted an honourable death. Sil and the Doctor reach safety
just as Orinoco detonates his bomb. They however witness the
chartered bus ripping through town, full speed - Lavros has survived.
When the Doctor and Sil get to the TARDIS they realise that they've
LOST PERI! Certain that she died in the blast, the Doctor is
crestfallen. The Doctor praises her virginal beauty -- right up
until the moment when she, and Mr. Balowski stumble out the TARDIS
together. Mister Balowski adjusts his hat, and thanks Peri for a
good time. Peri smiles back and watches as he walks into the sunset.
The Doctor looks at Peri in astonishment, and then turns to face
both his companions - promising to take them to a land of fun,
relaxation, and amusement. Peri and Sil become immediately suspicious
and insist that if the Doctor is talking about Blackpool - they're
going to beat him.
Book(s)/Other Related -
Womble Holocaust - The Wombles Go To War
Peri The Prostitute, Chptr 16: Mr. Balowski and the Counterfeit Fiver
Lavros: The First Unauthorised Auto-Biography, 264 Pages Of Scandalous
Lies To Make Me Sound More Interesting
Lavros' dialogue is often audible.
Why does Lavros lure the Doctor across the galaxy to drop a
polystyrene tombstone full of fake blood onto him? I mean...
he can't be THAT bored?? Can he?
"My cyberloo uses a pendrake auto-filtering system, but your
tank seems to be using a pan-scram gigolo refresh mechanism!
I didn't know those had been perfected!"
Untelevised Misadventures -
Lavros taunts the Doctor, claiming that his current form is so
physically and mentally unattractive and his wardrobe so heinous
that is impossible for him to have it off with any sentient being.
The Doctor denies this, stating he had a one night stand with
some guy named Ken in Pembroke. Sil just shrugs his shoulders,
unaware of this affair.
(Missing story before Sil's introduction??? Probably Not.)
Groovy DVD Extras -
The missing "Peri and Mister Balowski have sex in the TARDIS harem
room" scene -- often described as "unintentionally hilarious".
I imagine this criticism has some merit as Alexei Sayle never
removes his trademark Mussolini hat.
Dialogue Disasters -
Lavros: Long ago Doctor, you poised a question to me. One that
has since haunted my every waking moment. I may never find
the answer -- but I have narrowed it down to the pine family.
Dialogue Triumphs -
Balowski: OH! You are American girl! YES?! OH! I will give you
a good money for hot sex! YES!!?!? Then we will drink
Coca-Cola and listen to your crazy American music, no?
I love your Michael Jackson, your DEVO! Wild crazy
American young people! You will give Jerzy good price,
no?!? You look absolutely lampshade!
Viewer Quotes -
"This story had some vague overtones of necrophilia. Something
I have always supported in science fiction."
- Some fan who I ran away screaming from (1994)
"This story was basically plagiarized from the novella 'School
Girl Ninja Squad', and while most people look at this as a bad,
and illegal, thing -- I think it shows the flexibility of the
Doctor Who format. People tend to think - 'Oh yes! Doctor Who
can easily rip off ideas from cult science fiction classics like
Flesh Gordon, or the soft-core pornographic version of Quatermass
and the Pit. But RoTD shows that Doctor Who can seamlessly
lift entire plotlines from obscure Japanese bondage manga!
That is one versatile programme!" - Kevin McGrady (1997)
"There are a lot of criticisms you could try to level against this
serial if you REALLY wanted to. Sure, you could say that it's
slow paced, that it's lacking in action, that it only had a
minimal role for the regular characters, and you could even
say that it basically boils down to a few people having a
conversation and then escaping from a pointless bomb, BUT ---
oh wait, I think I just talked MYSELF out of liking the serial,
I'm sure that's not what I meant to do!"
- Charles Daniels (2004)
"Lavros is like herpes -- he just keeps coming back!"
- Father James O'Maley (1985)
Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I used to do an elaborate DJ act for corpses....that is, until
the government found out about it."
Colin Baker Speaks!
"I had some problems with this serial, from an acting standpoint.
I would go up and make subtle suggestions in regards to the scripts,
things like - 'I think my Doctor would act this way' or 'I don't
think the Doctor would shoot an alien in the head at point blank
range with a Luger', but whenever I attempted that the crew would
start having violent flashbacks to Tom Baker."
Alexei Sayle Speaks!
"Well I wouldn't say I was such a great fan of Doctor Who, but I
was a really enthusiastic fan of getting paycheques sent to me in
the mail from the BBC. Ever since production on The Young Ones
stopped, I'd noticed a sharp reduction of the tiny slips of paper
with ridiculously tiny numbers printed on them -- but I had by
that point grown incredibly fond of collecting them, and sharing
that collection with the Midland Bank. So after three months of
showing up to the lot, hoping to be named Chairman of the BBC,
I just gave up and took the first crap job someone offered.
Nicola Bryant Speaks!
"You know most people think that whole prostitution nonsense was
in the script -- I only wished that it was. The truth is, trying
to live on my BBC paycheques, well...the fiver from Alexei really
helped. And it wasn't bad at all -- That man is a sex machine!"
Rumors & Facts -
Season Twenty-Two had begun with a Cyberman story written --
theoretically -- by a Dutch prostitute. It was decided to repeat
the success of that serial by again teaming up Eric Saward and
Anna Soutendijk. The two decided to base the story loosely on
X-Rated Japanese Manga which they apparently just had lying around.
The translation was pretty straight forward; The Doctor took over
the role of The Evil Professor Kaga, Peri was his attractive teenage
daughter and part-time demon hunter Akani, and Sil's dialogue was
roughly taken from their pet psychic cat Jingoro. To spice the
story up, they added in the Wombles and made a nod of appreciation
to Anna by including scenes which hinted at Peri's prostitution
Several attempts were made to film this story, at least in part,
at Wimbledon Common -- it usually went fairly well, until they
mentioned they were going to be shooting Doctor Who there. Their
reputation, and the vicious rumours that compromised it, had
obviously proceeded them.
It was during the production of this story when the cast and crew
first started seeing signs that something was very wrong....well
actually they'd been seeing signs of THAT since the old Hartnell
days...but they started receiving a sort of sixth sense that their
jobs were in danger!
The first alarm bell was when Saward and JST each received a phone
call from the BBC Props department inquiring how much money they
thought the TARDIS console would fetch at a Bring And Buy Sale.
Further alarms were raised when Jon Powell, Head of Series and
Serials, casually asked JST if he'd be terribly disappointed if
he had to live on the dole for awhile.
Eventually the truth was uncovered. Doctor Who was not being
cancelled, but Season Twenty-Three was being postponed for a year.
In the ensuing weeks, BBC1 Controller Michael Grade would offer a
number of reasons for the Hiatus; my best guess is that he felt
an inexplicable attraction to Colin Baker and was haunted by his
own homophobia. I can't back that up. But it's fun to imagine.
What might have made this decision incredibly easy, is the fanatical
hatred of Doctor Who shared universally between BBC Administrators.
The story of a drug addicted, sex fiend, time traveller and his
young female companions had for some reason grated on their nerves
Fans were quick to campaign for the good Doctor and set out to look
like the biggest twonks imaginable! They went so far as to record
a single of protest - "Doctor In Distress". Elton John even composed
a moving tribute to the series -- but umm it was so crap I can't
track down the title, or any information about it, much less a copy.
The Village People showed their solidarity by performing shows dressed
as the Doctors. All of this could have only cemented Grade's mind
Michael Grade slashed the number of episodes from 26 to 14 and
insisted that the installments be 20 minutes shorter. Apparently
Grade was unaware of the change to 45 minute duration episodes,
and had intended this demand to reduce each episode to 5 minutes
Facing this overpowering opposition, JST and Eric Saward decided
that this was a PERFECT time to piss Michael Grade off. It was
this working theory that would be utilized in the planning of