Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Ratings War written by Steve Lyons and directed by directed by Gary Russell

What’s it about: The Doctor takes on his old foe…Beep the Meep!

Softer Six: In an interview I posted on my Doctor Who novel blog Steve Lyons commented that he liked the sixth Doctor but didn’t think he was always handled properly on TV. Clearly he knows exactly what he wants to do with the character with this quirky piece because he makes him one step ahead at all times, blisteringly prescient with his criticisms of reality TV and outfoxing the Most High in the funniest of ways! Its another grand showing for Colin Baker who throws himself into the silliness with real gusto. The Doctor has been trying to see Mr Lowell for over a week to complain about the appalling downturn of his programmes! I could have kissed him when he started listing the shows he despises that have been clogging up the schedules; reality TV shows, documentary dramas, quiz shows for the intellectually challenged and soap operas! Beep says he has huge flesh hands and that he is a ridiculous sack of flesh! Unfortunately he cannot do the logical thing and stop Beep because he cannot bear to see animals suffer. The Doctor admits he has rarely heard anything as ghastly as the Beep the Meep song! I love how much of a devious bugger he is here, having already foiled Beeps plan before the story began and just keeping him talking until it’s too late! His line ‘that sweet little creature is a sadistic maniac!’ made me choke on my sandwich! Beep has had just about all he can take of the Doctor’s sickening altruism. He is the ultimate celebrity! The Doctor finds television limiting in its current state, he needs to be free to express himself, he needs a medium that allows him to be…louder!

Beep the Meep: ‘I will singe the repulsive skin from your face! No amount of Grundian blood dogs will be enough! I will run a spike through your tongue! I will tear off your ears and make you eat them! I will make your drink your own blood! I will chew on your dull grey brains! I will devastate this miserable world! Blood will run through your streets! I will poke out your dog’s eyes and rip of your cute rabbits head! Your little guinea pigs will taste so good when they’re revoltingly mashed into tiny pies! Your eyes will make a wonderful eggnog! I will scoop out the jubbly bits! Your heads will be evaporated and inverted! I will turn you inside out! I will make you blue and green and yellow and paint you with all forms of tasty morsels for sharks to eat! I will feed your cute animals to you most unpleasant animals! I will tie you to bears! I will suck out your brains and spray them over the air! Drown in water until you are utterly dead! All of you will feed my army of ants! Insects will take over this world, not you, you furry fleshy horrible blubbery nasty things with your disgusting faces and your horrible little eyebrows!’ Oh isn’t he just the cutest thing!

Standout Performance: The presenter is every Davina McColl, Dermot O’Leary and Bruce Forsyth rolled into one irritating lump of exuberance! However the most memorable performance goes to Toby Longworth who turns out a fabulous Beep the Meep, both weally cute and mentally vicious! He deserves a rematch for sure.

Sparkling Dialogue: ‘Television is useful when it’s used to inform, to educate, to entertain!’
‘You are the stars of most of our shows and you don’t cost us a bean!’
‘You see Doctor, I could never control you, that’s why I had to cancel you!’
‘You’ll be hearing more from me! I assure you!’

Great Ideas: Firstly can I just say what a fantastic idea these DWM Big Finish freebies are? It’s a thank you for your loyalty to both the magazine and the audios in a time when it is rare to get something for nothing. The fact that The Ratings War is such a delight only multiplies my good feeling towards these companies. The television event of the decade, the choice between Todd and Lucy to see who will get their own
docudrama! Argh! The latest revolting exploits on TV have been a blue hippopotamus reading the news, the exploits of the reality TV shows dominating the news and an upper age limit of 24 years for the soap opera staff! The latest horrors have been ‘Young Cops in Hospital’, ‘Whacky Domestic Mishaps’ and ‘Look! Cute animals!’ (isn’t that Saturday night on ITV?). Behind all this is the most psychotic, sadistic war criminal – Beep the Meep! I love Beep’s cute grovelling; he really goes for the icklewickle sweetness that I cannot resist! He has been exerting his evil influence for over six months, his form triggering every form of sentimentality. The Doctor states there is only so much bland, soulless entertainment the human race can stomach before they switch over but looking at last years highest rated shows I don’t think we have quite reached that level yet! Animals in Distress – is this the first time the Doctor has been held to ransom over animal torture? Beep plans to infuse the broadcast of ‘Beep and Friends’ with subliminal imagery, instantly transforming the largest recorded audience into his killing machines! Meep managed to escape from the film by appealing to the sweetness of a young lady who he then caused her brain tissue to seep from her nostrils because the impudent little wench dared to call the Most High a Snuggly Wuggly Woo! I love it when Beep turns up at the climatic moment when we are going to find out whether Lucy or Todd has won and he guns them both down – if The X Factor finales were that good I might even tune in!

You will never hear anything as irritatingly wonderful as the Beep the Meep song but I warn you…it will be in your head for days. You have been warned…

‘Oh we dance and we pray with joy we gush,
As our dreadful song turns your brain to mush,
Join the fun and you’ll see, soon you’ll agree you are Beeps friend after all!
Ask your neighbour round for a bite and a drink,
Then nibble off his face ‘til he’s raw and pink,
Enjoy his surprise as your suck out his eyes, you are Beeps friend smash them all!
Put your dog in a blender and close the lid,
Cut the fur from your hamster to feed your kid,
Slice the fur from your cat, deep-fry him in some fat, you are Beeps friend kill them all!
Grill them all! Grill them all! Kill them all! Kill them all! Killllll Themmm Alllllll!
La la la la la la la la la, La la la la la la la la la la la, La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la laaaaaaaaa

Let the streets run red spread our message of pain,
When they beg f or their lives use the pliers again,
No need to ask why, do it for the Most High, you are Beeps friend Conquer Alllllll!’

Audio Landscape: Lots of crowd scenes and cheering, Beeps hypno voice, dogs barking and cats meowing, blaster fire, smashing equipment…

Musical Cues: Fairytale tinkling as Beep uses his hypno voice. I love the dramatic choral music that suggest something much more serious is happening!

Standout Moment: The Doctor’s reaction to the song. Genius.

Result: Wonderful, a snapshot of the sixth Doctor’s colourful adventures in the comic strip with the mediums best villain. Whilst you are laughing your pants off at this fantastic satire it is also saying some very important points about the state of television at the moment. Colin Baker and Toby Longworth both shine and the Beep the Meep song is the most horrific and wonderful thing you will ever here in your lifetime. A gem of a freebie, and well worth seeking out: 8/10 

Artwork by Simon Hodges @ http://hisi79.deviantart.com/

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