Before I get to the main news just a couple of quick points. Thanks to the help of some of you folks out there I’ve gotten a bit more info on old audios. So I’ve moved them out of ‘Queries’. Best Fishes and Solos have gone into the main database. Sadly, Zindignite has gone to the Graveyard. I’ve also started adding links to the audio groups wiki pages on Doctor Who Expanded, so that it’s quicker to get more info if you want. Now on with the re-release..
As part of the continued effort to catalogue and make available all of Doctor Who fandoms creative audio efforts, I’ve been in touch with Jo3hn Karp, formerly of Australian group Dogma Audio Productions. He was very helpful in providing old material and wrote some honest insights to the time they spent making audio stories. They are without doubt some of the most bizarre Who based stories produced, or more accurately parodies. There are two notably odd records. Firstly, the most regenerations to occur in a single episode. Second, the shortest ever episode within a full length story – at just over 2 minutes, including the theme music.
All four stories are available to stream or download on the Theatre page. Along with a few extras in the form of unproduced scripts and out-takes. I asked Jo3hn to put together a few recollections and here’s what he had to say.
“Dogma was a project I started in high school. I wanted to be a writer so much, and Dogma let me do writing and Doctor Who and computer geekery all at once. Arpit Thomas, a school friend I turned on to Doctor Who, had recorded one or two videos of himself, and we thought we could take that idea and turn them into some short video stories. You should have seen these videos. They were so awful I was helpless with laughter. He had one called “The Wrath of Omega” where he wrapped himself in a doona, stuck a tea towel on his head and called himself Omega. He wanted his dad to write him a name tag, but he misheard and wrote “Amiga” instead. So wrong and so very right. That’s the kind of insanity you can’t invent, it just has to flow naturally from a genius.
So we’d decided to do some real videos from start to finish. We had no props, but figured we could digitally edit in a TARDIS or whatever. I wrote Extermination of the Daleks with Arpit’s input, but pretty soon we realised a video production was way too ambitious and switched to audio. The project became more and more driven by me, though I still depended heavily on my friends for input. I press ganged Chris Hay to pick the music and some friends to come over and record it.
Our other stories followed on from there. ‘Wrath of Omega II’ was a follow-on from Arpit’s original. ‘Revenge of Morgoth’ was written by Chris Hay, based heavily on the Dead Ringers sketches. The idea was to string them into one story, the less realistic the better. I helped him out with the hardcore Doctor Who stuff, but the sense of humour is his. ‘My Son the Timelord’ is the best story we ever did – best audio quality, best script, and fantastic actors. Everything came together. I’d heard that there was some new rubbish bit of continuity in the Virgin books where Irving Braxiatel (of the Braxiatel Collection in City of Death) turns out to be the Doctor’s brother. So I wrote My Son the Timelord with the aim of making the most ridiculous leaps of continuity I could. Everyone turns out to be related to the Doctor, including Sutekh and the characters I crossed-over from an Aussie sci-fi TV show called Spellbinder.
We all acted in our stories. Some actors had me cracking up, while others were pretty appalling. I’m afraid I was more likely to be one of the latter. A lot of my friends weren’t into Doctor Who, but I’d lay on pizza and DVDs of Black Books and Red Dwarf, so there was always something geeky to enjoy. We recorded the stories on really knocked-up old hardware – bits and pieces I’d found on the side of the road, old tape decks, a reel-to-reel player, poor-quality microphones… We used to put a tea towel over the microphone to stop plosives sounding too loud, which caused more problems than it fixed. You can hear me ranting about it in one of the outtakes. When it was done, I’d digitise it and edit it together with music. They sounded pretty awful, but it was a huge amount of fun. The sound quality got better and better but, just when I was getting happy with our technique, we stopped making them.
There were one or two stories that just never got finished. My friend Julian, who acted in some stories, had plans to write a story. I’ve got some draft scenes, but it’s nowhere near finished. Then we recorded *all* of Shada, but some parts of the recording are so quiet it was impossible to edit it into a finished story. It’s a shame because it took a million years to record the damn thing. I wrote and recorded Quest for the Anniversary Special, which is a great story but missing Fitz’s part [the companion]. Kind of a vital part, that. By this stage I knew it was time to end things. We were all in university and it was too hard to get people in one place. I wanted a trilogy of stories to end things, but I only ever wrote the first one. I had wanted to go out with a bang, but it just never happened.”
Ed – I asked about a catchy sample repeatedly played in one of the stories…
“As for the “Boot to the Head” clip, you clearly have good taste! That’s from a novelty song called “Ti Kwan Leep” by the Frantics. You can listen to the whole skit and song here. Earlier on in Dogma I used to do a lot of references and used to borrow a lot of jokes from other places. Towards the end, though, I made an effort to focus on my own jokes and tried to make the scripts better on their own merits. I didn’t stop referencing stuff, just stopped stealing their jokes.”
And on that bombshell… thank you Mr Karp. Everyone else – go listen to them now.