DWAD: Equilibrium (episode three)

29 08 2008

The continuing adventures…



The Unregenerate: On Making FANZ (part 2)

21 08 2008

Previously on ‘An Evening with FANZ’
    “I remember standing behind the door of Stuart’s house and pretending I was behind a window.”
    “Big stripey tank tops.”

If you missed the first half then you’d best go have a look. It has a proper introduction.

And now, the continuation…

[Be warned – there is some more bad language and sexual innuendo.]

>9. When you started in 2000 did you think you’d still be doing it in 2008?
STEVE: Personally, I probably didn’t think it’d last this long. I’m glad it has coz it’s a hell of a lot of fun. And every time you [Stuart] phone up and say, ‘oh we’ve got a new script’ I’m like ‘Yay’. Coz it is horrendously good fun. Season 27 lasted up until FANZ started, when I jumped ship. [laughs ] I had a better offer.
JAMES: If you’d have asked me back in 2000 whether I thought I’d be doing it in 2008. I’d have thought possibly we were, but might have hoped that we’d done a few more by now. [chuckles ] Yeah, well, post production does take a while.
STEVE: You never did finish that last Season 27 one did you.
JAMES: No. It’s true. I do still have all the master recordings for ‘Flesh of the Damned’.
STEVE: That’s what happened to Season 27!
JAMES: Yes, I just didn’t do it.
SAM: We had an insider.
DUNCAN: Take ‘em down James.
JAMES: Now you know the truth. Flesh of the Damned does exist. And it’s in my cupboard.
STEVE: Who’s been putting FANZ in it?
JAMES: There was actually a scene in Campaign of Fear that was going to use material recorded for Flesh of the Damned. Which had Steve as The Doctor, and Jeff would have been cut in to replace Monica, the companion. But that scene was dropped because there weren’t any gags in it, and it made the whole thing run too long.
SAM: I didn’t think it would because I don’t think that far ahead for a start. Also I think the original plan was we’ll do three a year. That obviously never happened, and here we are still doing it. But as everyone else has said, it has been great fun. We’ve got it down to a fine art now. We can do it in a few hours and then we just get pissed and have pizza.
MARTIN: I never thought it would go on for as long as it did as at the time there was a lot of fan related material out there.
JOHN: Hmm. We planned three seasons but I don’t think anyone realised how their lives would change and the amount of work that would be involved to the extent that any production schedule inevitably went out of the window. So I suppose the answer is no.

>10. What’s your most memorable or standout moment from the series? (either on or off ‘air’)
SAM: On air, I think my favourite one is shoving Duncan out in the porch. [breaks into giggles ]
STUART: You even forgot his name. That’s in the bloopers. You called him thing.
DUNCAN: I was new to the group.
SAM: And, I’m most impressed by Alistair Lock, when he came down.
STUART: You’re nicking my anecdote.
SAM: Sorry.
DUNCAN: You can have the same favourite moment.
SAM: I was just so awed and impressed by Alistair’s talent. It was unbelievable. All the different voices in one taking, almost. It was absolutely amazing.
STUART: We’ve got somebody with talent! Don’t let him out. Stick him in the shed.
SAM: And off air there’s just too many to mention. And most of them I can’t mention. One of my other favourite moments is, do you remember when we did the convention? And somebody said ‘can I take a photo of you’. So we all grouped up, but all of a sudden we had a crowd of people with cameras around, and within seconds it was like paparazzi everywhere.
STUART: That has got to be with Jason [Haigh Ellery] and Rob Shearman, and even today I still replay those scenes and think I can’t believe they did that. One of my favourite moments, which probably isn’t Duncans. We were recording Coach Potatoes. He’d come up with this strange new drink absinthe, and it involved burning sugar in a spoon, and we’d just had a new carpet, and it went horribly wrong. It dripped on the carpet and his hand was getting scolded because he couldn’t put this flaming spoon down, getting hotter and hotter by the second. I was on the floor laughing my tits off. We’d had this new carpet put down and he’d burnt it, and to add to that he’d said, ‘Oh My fingers! I’ve got a huge blister.’
JAMES: It’s the fact that he was complaining about his fingers, yet his crotch was on fire.
DUNCAN: I’d been making absinthe with beet sugar and Stuart had cane sugar, which burnt a lovely bright blue. And it started dripping onto this carpet. I’m stamping it with my sock, and it’s dripping on my trousers. It was my other hand that I’d washed the spoon with, because it was a blue flame I couldn’t feel anything. Martin was, ‘Duncan – your finger’s on fire.’ And it’s literally aflame like a British Gas symbol.
    On air, there’s a few favourite ones. From ‘Campaign’, when we were doing the anime stadium, and Steve was hilarious – “Hooow can this beeee!” It was the most mental thing, turned out even more mental in post production. It was just the most fun thing. Also, in one of the first scripts, adding the “Shada” thing from the Tom Baker video onto Kris’ demise.
    Off air, there’s quite a few. I remember staying round Stuart’s and Sam’s, going upstairs thinking Ebbsy [Paul Ebbs] had driven home, and opening the door to find a pair of blue Y-fronts on a fat arse staring at me. I had one where I was staying round, and he decided to come in while I was sleeping, turn the lights on in the middle of the night, and try to scare the bejeezers out of me. Going ‘Bah!’ and flashing his hands at me.
    Actually, my favourite moment has to be – we’d all had a fair bit to drunk [sic ], and our beloved leader had entered the room wearing a big shirt. [Stuart groans in the background ] And said, ‘Does anyone mind if I take my trousers off?’ Said ‘well, no?’ And he went, ‘Well I am.’ And just dropped them. And with a flourish likes of which a new romantic ‘There!’ A Byronic wave of hand. Fortunately for this long 18th century shirt covering his modesty. The style; if you’re gonna drop your trousers at least do it with panache, and I’ll give Robinson that.
JAMES: The bits I like are actually where we go beyond being a sketchy comedy show, and treat the characters as characters and give them something a bit more to do. There’s some very nice depth of character moments in it.
    In terms of memories, going up to Coventry was fun, and doing Battlefield and having a stall there.
DUNCAN: Oh yes, Coventry. Coming back from, I’d just gone to get a drink or something. Sylvester McCoy said how much he liked my artwork. I think that was one of the great things.
JAMES: There was a guy who turned up at the convention looking like Kris Krump, which was kind of scary. There was also a small boy who turned up looking like a whale.
DUNCAN: Crashed into the BBC.
JAMES: Yes. He had so much inertia he couldn’t help crashing into all the stands, as he ran around in excitement. I’m sure Bill Baggs took a little webcam shot of him and used him in ‘Have You Got A License?’ Not necessarily a head in a jar…
DUNCAN: An adipose. [laughing in mockery ]
JAMES: [unconvinced ] Yes, whale boy became an adipose.
    I remember Paul Ebbs being so heavy that when he stood on my mini disc recorder, he actually crushed the battery compartment to the extent that I can’t take the battery out. He’s a man mountain, and he crushed my equipment.
STEVE: My big over-riding one was the Christmas thing that we did. When we were pissed off our heads, and we were trying to do that improv. Well, it was scripted but we were kind of improvising. That was so much fun, I really want to do another one like that.
    The monkey, was it, Pablo?
DUNCAN: Yeah, the monkey that never came.
STEVE: Didn’t he ever?
DUNCAN: No. He never turned up.
STEVE: Ah, There was a little monkey and he [Duncan] did a lovely voice for it. It was bizarrely outrageous, but the character came out of something you were just improvising in the evening. He’s got a lovely spectrum to his voice.
JAMES: I do remember the recording of Coach Potatoes of Doom. Luke Curtis, our one time associate. His wife wanted to come to the recording, and she sat through the whole recording bless her. And she fell asleep. She sat there snoring and we had to prod her awake because it was carrying onto the mic. We record in Stuart’s household. We have to look out for all sorts of things like creaking floorboards, traffic, buzzsaws, vultures, trains, police raids, low flying aircraft. There was an alien abduction. There was rectal probing.
MARTIN: I think for me the scene with Cindy with me playing the evil Djinn, as it was nice to have minor character role that was a total departure from Gary.
JOHN: This one is difficult. Probably Steve again either the way he says the line “Used & dirty” in Couch Potatoes (not one of my lines) or the way he was Dancing with a former DWM editor at a convention. Through Fanz I have met some great people and have had many good times, I’m sad to see it go.

>11. There were plans for another series of FANZ. What happened? and what would have happened?
[Warning – there are spoilers in here]
STUART: We always said we would only do three series and that was it. So we mapped out three series, and I said at the end of series one I want to kill somebody. James, probably quite rightly, didn’t like this idea. He said, ‘every series I’ve seen where they’ve done something like that, it kills the series.’ We were kicking this around, and it might have been a while before that that we’d both read Campaign, and thought it was really good. We knew we wanted to do something based on Campaign. At that point I’d decided it was going to be Jeff because he was the least significant character. As I said earlier, he was the character we wheeled on and off again. That was the original plan anyway. It was gonna be Jeff. Let’s kill him off in the final story, and then at the start of series 2 we’ll take every major character comeback that’s been done. Do the whole thing – he wakes up he’s in the shower, parallel worlds, throw it all in. That was supposed to be series 2. What happened is basically people have lives. We could only turn around a certain amount of scripts.
DUNCAN: I was trying to work on a script, which sadly isn’t being made. I kind of like some of the things I did. I think I was going to end up being introduced as a character, which me and James wanted to be a Planet of the Apes monkey. His thing was to bug everyone from FANZ because he loved and thought the Peter Cushing movies were canon.
JAMES: Bernard Cribbins is canon now.
DUNCAN: He was supposed to be a student and I did try and learn some Latin American Spanish for this part I never played. It’s just a laugh. I did work on what was going to happen to Kris. He was going to get burnt in a fire so he ended up looking like The Master from Deadly Assassin. And he had this cat called Kronos. But that didn’t happen yet. Or will it?
DUNCAN: Or will it?
JAMES: Duncan’s referring to Pablo. The monkey boy character. He looked like the bloke from Supergrass. I dare say some of the concept art might end up on the website, along with edits of the script.
    I was inspired to write a script, which was FANZ doing Blakes7. Purely on the basis of Steve’s Paul Darrow impersonation. Stuart wasn’t keen on the idea.
    All the stories in series one end ‘of Doom’, all the stories in series two were gonna end ‘of Fear’. Then series three was going to be ‘of the Daleks’. Gareth Preston was writing a script for series two. A very interesting script, Zeitgeist of Fear, about a rival programme to Doctor Who. Had some lovely stuff where Kate and Gary had to pretend to be in a relationship for the benefit of Kate’s father. To be fair to Gareth, we didn’t get back to him for ages every time he sent a draft of it. But it was looking very funny.
    The climax of Anti-Climax was rewritten quite a bit. It would have had a lot more Kris stuff in it, and revealed that he was the main driving force behind a lot of series ones stories. We would have then done The Enemy Within of Fear, which would have been the climax of series 2. In which he plants a replica of Tom within the group to spread dissent, and they all start fighting each other, whilst he tried to get Tom on his side. This was discussed, no more than that. It would have ended with The Grapes blowing up, which is where the idea of the burnt Kris comes from for series three.
   We wanted to explore Kate’s daytime job as a vasectomy nurse. Balls of the Daleks or something. Also Jonathan temporarily becoming really alpha male and pulling. There was some idea as well, it’s hinted at in the Maltese Video, ‘You all have a great destiny ahead of you.’ At the end of it all, it would turn out that these geeky, horrible individuals turned out to be lords of the universe or something. There are all sorts of ideas planted in there that have not been realised.
    That’s what would have happened, and quite a lot of it might well have been rubbish.

12. Outside of FANZ what other creative credits or projects do you have to your name?
STUART: I’ve done some work for radio on the BBC. Parsons and Naylor and Dead Ringers, and a pilot for a show that didn’t actually get made called Revolver. And short stories – The Tainted, The All, and something else.
DUNCAN: We were talking about Battlefield. I had a chat with Bill Baggs, who asked me to do the cover for Richard Franklin’s The Killing Stone. It was a really fun project. I tried to draw it in the style of the Star Wars Animated series. Following that Bill asked me to do some sketches for a notebook in Zygon, which Alistair Lock managed to make look really nice. I did this, and didn’t ask Bill for anything coz I was well, I don’t know if he’s happy with them. Then I get a text from one of my mates going, ‘Is that your artwork on the back of DWM?’ And it was indeed, although I didn’t get any on screen credit. Very nice to have on there anyway. I didn’t care. Hurrah!
JAMES: Here we go. List all of my fanfic. Like Stuart, I contributed to the over familiar and infamous fan fiction anthology Tales of the Solar System. He did Mercury. I did Cassius, I think. It was the last one anyway. I did the second Doctor. He did the sixth. Following that I had stories in Missing Pieces, and the one by J Eales [Walking in Eternity], and The 13 Crimes of Doctor Who. Also Stuart and I wrote a couple of audio plays for the first two Stranger DVD releases by BBV. Little five / ten minute pieces supposed to compliment the existing storyline. Dare I say improve them. That was fun as well.
[calls from the back of ‘what about the acting?’ ]
JAMES: I started doing amateur theatrics in 2004. I’ve been in many plays since then, and been nominated for awards, and won awards, and I am very good. [Fails to maintain a serious voice. Bursts of laughter ]
STEVE: It all started a long time ago.
[The unruly unregenerates make wibbly wobbly dream noises ]
STEVE: I like that noise. It all started years and years ago when I was in a band with Ebbsy. Six years in a band called Carnival. Ebbsy being lyricist and vocalist, and me being bass player, keyboard player, and backing vocalist. Then we had a really shit gig, and that’s when we decided to kick off Season 27. With Ebbsy writing and me doing post production, and playing The Doctor. Too much like trying to do it like Colin Baker. Looking back I’d have done it differently now. But three good stories and one in post production. The eternity of post production. Through Season 27 I met Bill Baggs and initially designed the K-9 for his K-9 series, and ended up doing about 30 covers for him. Then Gary Russell asked me to do some covers for the McGann series. So I’m officially a BIG Finish Doctor Who artist. [everybody goes ‘ooooooo’ in mock admiration ] What else? Getting involved in some BBV audios – post production with ‘Punchline’, acting with ‘Race Memory’. I did the video effects on Cyberon and Do You Have a License to Save this Planet? Greatest Shop in the Galaxy, did the editing on that with a bit of touching up from Alistair Lock. Oh, and I’ve been on a couple of really shit TV shows.
SAM: Oh yeah, Bargain Hunt or something!
STEVE: [with a withering voice ] Bargain Hunt, Car Booty, and I still haven’t seen it. Stuffing meself with a hotdog, saying how great the Essex boot sale scene is.
JOHN: None at all. I enjoy acting, writing and other creative activities but am sadly rubbish at all of them. The only thing in my jeans are my legs.
MARTIN: Outside of Fanz I have only one short story written years ago and a couple small sketch like pieces for a fan magazine.

13. Is there no love for The Time Monster?
SAM: No.
JAMES: It’s not my favourite story. I’d probably rate it immediately above The Mutants, Colony in Space, The Monster of Peladon, Warriors of the Deep, and Four to Doomsday.
[a mini discussion about James’ choices breaks out ]
DUNCAN: Even Time Flight?!
JAMES: Time Flight is directly above The Time Monster.
STUART: Leave Time Flight alone.
JAMES: Stuart’s the only person I know who defends Time Flight. Bless him. Stuart likes Four to Doomsday as well. He finds it great to fall asleep to.
STEVE: I was watching a youtube clip of The Time Monster the other day, and thought I fancy watching that again. How long is it? [reply of six episodes ] Six? Can’t someone edit it down to 45 minutes?
DUNCAN: One of the perverse ironies about my character is I do actually have a perverse liking for The Time Monster. It’s just fun. It’s got The Master, a man in a white dressing gown flapping his arms wearing a papier mache hat, a woman with very nice breasts, and Benton in a nappy. What more could you want?
MARTIN: It’s an ok story but certainly not the best ever written.
JOHN: Pah Time-flight rules!!!!!!!!!!!

>14. Obligatory question – favourite Doctor and why?
SAM: After various different likings of different Doctors, I would have to say David Tennant. He’s just fabulous.
STUART: I don’t think it’s fair to compare the new series Doctors to the old series Doctors. So I’m gonna cut mine in two. Favourite new series Doctor. Up until the start of 2008 I would have said Eccleston, but now I have to say Tennant. Old series, I have two really.
STEVE: Oh for goodness sake, you can’t mention all of them.
STUART: Shut Up. There’s a Doctor you grew up with and I think it would be churlish to throw that Doctor away. So I’m gonna say Patrick Troughton and Peter Davison.
DUNCAN: Favourite Doctor is a tough one. I kind of became a Doctor Who fan proper in the wilderness years, and not really watching anything past Dav-O. Baker and Dav-O, Tom Baker used to be, but hmmmmm [deep thought ]. It’s a close call between Tom Baker and David Tennant. I might cop out and do a Stuart. They’re both really good in similar but different ways. Tom Baker I like the fact that he had a different range in the early part of his era to the later. The Hinchcliffe era and the Douglas Adams influence, the mad, weird, over the top ad-libbing, which I do like.
JAMES: I’ve come to the conclusion that I like all of them. I certainly don’t dislike any of them. Including Peter Cushing.
DUNCAN: I though we had to choose one.
JAMES: Well, as a kid my favourite was always Colin Baker. [uproar from the others ] That’s my era. When I was young it was Dav-O, and I wasn’t actually old enough to appreciate what he did. But growing up my Doctor was Colin Baker, and there was a lot of stuff about his character that I really liked. And when I used to write fanfic he was the Doctor I always liked writing for most. Him and Peri is the companion and Doctor combination that I grew up with, from the point when I really understood what was going on.
STUART: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
JAMES: I pretty much like them all equally. Pertwee’s Doctor doesn’t do a great deal for me, but there’s moments where he’s really good. My favourite Pertwee moment is in Day of the Daleks, when he flips that guy and then calmly has a sip of wine. It’s sheer class. You can say what you like about Pertwee, but that bit’s brilliant. They all have moments. Hartnell in The Crusade is utterly brilliant. He’s great at put downs, and being morally angry, which no other Doctor, not even Eccleston comes close to.
STEVE: As much as I loved Tom Baker when I was growing up, I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about Doctor Who as I am now. So I have to say David Tennant all the way. He has become my favourite Doctor. To start with I was like, ‘he’s good but Tom Baker’s still better’, but [now] he is out and out my favourite. I love everything about the new series. That is why I was so shocked last week [referring to the broadcast of The Stolen Earth ]. I was so traumatized.
MARTIN: Tom Baker and because he was mainly my Doctor when I was young plus his portrayal was the most interesting as he seemed to play it more as an alien with alien values.
JOHN: Fifth! Odd for my age(43) but Peter Davison was The Doctor when I got into Fandom. I wanted to hide from reality at that time as well, who needs girls! and I have a thing for Sarah Sutton.

>15. What’s next for The Unregenerate and it’s members? More audio plays, something else, early retirement?
SAM: I work in a shop until Friday, and then I’m leaving work. I’m going to be a lady who lunches. I’m going to grow vegetables and make my craft things. My mates have already started calling me Barbara, as in off The Good Life, because I wander around in my wellies.
STUART: I’ve got no idea. More audio plays? Unless anybody else has any ideas, doubtful. FANZ is moving to a more professional footing, so that’s no longer an Unregenerate production. Probably just dying on it’s arse. I mean, what more do you want? We brought Doctor Who back. Job done. QED.
DUNCAN: Who knows. When I joined the group back in ’99. It was about three times the size of what it is now. I’m not really the creative drive. I’m just the guy who rides on the coat tails of other people’s talent. So if Stuart goes ‘we’ve got this great idea about making Jon Pertwee’s face out of jam’ or something like that. As for The Unregenerate we shall continue to meet down the pub and have a good laugh.
JAMES: As has already been pointed out, there’s probably not much in the future, apart from still getting together and discussing latest Doctor Who episodes way into the future. I’ve written a few projects with Stuart that we’ve tried to get made in a more professional capacity. There may be more of that. I’ve no idea. It depends whether he sobers up.
MARTIN: Only time will tell on that one.
JOHN: Who knows I hear you say. Given our average age will soon be over forty, early retirement is a possibility, or put out to stud. More likely a one way visit to the glue factory. I know that Stuart has found a way to make his unique idea mainstream and I fully expect to tune into a sitcom one day with the credit written and created by Stuart Robinson. James has more talents than are fair and will go far, perhaps Brisbane. Duncan is a multi talented enigma and Martin well that’s a whole other story but I think I mentioned that, but he’s also a good bloke. Sam is the groups substitute mother and held in high regard by us all having something in common with the favourite in the 3.10 at Chepstow in a non equine sense that is. Steve is someone who I hold in high regard but that may have a lot to do with one night in Coventry. Carol frightens me but that’s probably the blurring between fact and fiction. All of these are fine people and I am very fond of them. I am proud to have been involved with Fanz & it is privilege to know them.
STEVE: So, being a member of The Unregenerate now, I think there’s gonna be two movies by 2010, world distribution, and then I shall be buying a small Mediterranean island, and I’m going to go in search of Pablo.

And that just leaves me the task of thanking everyone for giving their time to answer these questions and bathe their egos for an evening. May all your Sontars be HA!

The Unregenerate: On Making FANZ

18 08 2008

A line has been drawn. The end of an era. The end of FANZ as we know it. They recently released the last in the series. So, a good time for a retrospective from members of The Unregenerate. Summing up their years of producing the comedy series. And they weren’t shy about answering questions. So much so, I’ve decided to split the interview in two, to be more digestible. Rather than edit too much out. Afterall, we wouldn’t want to miss out on Paul Ebbs’ pants.

The main interview was recorded by the The Unregenerate last month. The questions were also emailed on to two other members, and their answers appended to the transcription.

Those present at the recording were:
Stuart Robinson: Series Creator / Script Editor / Writer / Actor
James Potter: Writer / Actor / Post Prod
Samantha Robinson: Actor
Duncan Wilson: Actor / Designer / Artist
Steve Johnson: Actor

Those who emailed:
Martin Robinson: Actor
John Claydon: Actor / Writer

You can visit the FANZ website for downloads of all their stories here:

Introductions over… on with the questions.
(Be warned – there is some bad language and sexual innuendo.)

>1. Firstly, to ease you in, could you all briefly introduce yourselves, what parts you play and crew positions?
SAM: I play Cindy. The blonde trollop, stupid girl.
STUART: I play Tom, and write loads of stuff, and annoy James – that’s my primary job on FANZ. It’s not something that’s really that black and white because everybody on FANZ actually plays loads of the bit parts as well, which I don’t think should go unrecognised. Especially Duncan [giggles ], he’s been dumped on so many times.
    In the early days we decided that myself and James would do the majority of the writing and the post production. We’d be the techy guys behind it, but, as it turned out I…
SAM: Didn’t know what the fuck you were doing.
STUART: Okay. I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. It kinda worked out in some areas but not others, because we’ve all found certain things we’re good at, and not good at in my case, while we’ve been doing this. It’s been quite revealing like that.
DUNCAN: I primarily play the part of Kris Krump, the nemesis of the Camford United Telefantasy Society. I’m sort of like the straight Kenneth Wiliams of FANZ. Voice of the week, and mostly happy with most of the voices I do. Obviously with Stuart’s sketch format of coming up with gags and then jamming them somewhere in the structure of a story, I usually end up playing the part of taxi driver, monk passing by, gentlewoman stroking ferret, and Johnny-cum-lightly – the flamboyant berry boy of Bermondsey.
    I also ended up doing the covers, primarily from The Coach Potatoes of Doom. I can’t remember how it started. I think I did the logo for the first one, and then people realised I could do some stuff.
JAMES: I play Jonathan, and I’ve written some of them, and I do the majority of the post production work, and all the techy stuff. Generally it’s left to me to rescue anything that we can’t be bothered to redo during the recording. Oh, and get annoyed by Stuart.
STEVE: I’m Steve, and I am Graham. Okay, I’ve taken on the role of Graham, and I like Graham as a character. Graham likes men, I like men, and so there’s a marriage between the two.
MARTIN: I played Gary Tapp.
JOHN: Hello I’m Jeff……. Well John Claydon who for the last seven years have been playing Jeff badly. I was also asked to be one of the writers and as such co wrote The Couch Potatoes of Doom, badly.

>2. When, and more importantly how, did The Unregenerate first form and give birth to FANZ?
SAM: The Unregenerate, as a group, formed way back when, what, 11 years ago now. That was because Stuart was a lonely Doctor Who fan and wanted some friends [stirs up plenty of cruel laughter from everyone ]. So we made a group and put some posters up, and we went to the pub, and some people came.
    As for FANZ, that came quite a few years later, when James was also a member of the group by that time. And Stuart had been into writing and wanted to do some comedy stuff. Came up with the FANZ idea, and then they went off into the sunset holding hands.
STUART: The Unregenerate came about because [gives a somewhat embarrassed giggle ], oh Jesus, this really is sad. The real version of why The Unregenerate came about is a lot sadder than the one you just heard. 1996, we have the TV movie. That’s not exactly what we all wanted. Some people were happy, some people weren’t. But you know, it was in the right ball park. And I think it was late ’96 they had the Beeb’s aunty’s awards for drama, and Eastenders was up against Doctor Who. Now, by this point Doctor Who hasn’t been on the television for what, 7, 8 years, and yet Doctor Who was in there. So they obviously just chucked in there for a laugh. But of course Doctor Who won [he says with a great deal of satisfaction ]
    So I was sitting there outraged going, ‘Grrrrr, Doctor Who should be back on the telly. I’m going to form a group and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to write letters and stuff and things.’ And in 2005 Doctor who is back on telly. Job done. Thank you fandom. [laughs and cheers all round ]
    So anyway, that’s how it was born, and various people turned up and went away, and came back. Like any other fan group. Then we’d reached the point where we were all just turning up there talking bollocks, and it was a bit boring really.
SAM: We needed a focus.
STUART: Yeah, we needed something to direct attention. I thought ‘why don’t we do an audio’, but there’s a million and one audios out there that are Doctor Who fan fiction. Thought there’s no way we can compete with that. Season 27 had just come out. They had, sort of, raised the bar for everybody. What else should we do? The old writer’s maxim was ‘write about what you know’. We know all about how to be Doctor Who fans. And I thought we’ll do it as a comedy coz if we do it as a drama we’ll probably fuck up.
DUNCAN: I joined Unregenerate about 98/99 because some bloke who used to come into the shop I worked in, bought DWM and he’d seen a poster for The Unregenerate, which I think had a picture of Richard E Grant on it. So I turned up with this mate, whose name eludes me other than we called him Squeeky Dave. I stand around being generally quite quiet, and Stuart Robinson is a great guy who listens to one of my jokes, forgets about it for about three months, and writes it in one of his scripts, and goes, ‘This is mine.’
STUART: I never knew you noticed.
DUNCAN: I might look stupid, but I’m not that stupid. Anyway, I was a new fan, and they said ‘we’ve got this website. You must go to this website.’ So I typed in The Unregenerate and got these religious sites. Then I found it and there’s all this stuff about magazines and video nights. ‘I’ve not seen this! What do you guys do?’ Then Stuart said do the audio plays, which I was up for. It just sounded like a lot of fun, and the quality of the scripts were very good – as Colin Baker would say.
JAMES: I can’t really add a lot to that. I joined in ’98 because I’d been at uni in Wales and seen some adverts on UKGold. On teletext for The Unregenerate [there’s uproar and surprise from the rest of the group ]. Yeah, on their Doctor Who pages. I heard they were meeting up in Colchester, which wasn’t far from where I lived, and so I went along. I had to ask at the bar where the Doctor Who fans were. The woman pointed in the corner and said, ‘They’re all over there’ with a disdainful look and a down turned mouth.
STUART: Before it was back in cool.
JAMES: Definitely. It was a very large group and everybody seemed to have a real laugh. And there were two fanzines being produced. I was writing lots of fan fiction at this time, and it was an output for that. Then he had this idea for FANZ.
STEVE: When Paul [Paul Ebbs] and I finished doing Season 27, The Profit of Doom, we decided to peddle our wares in this little fan group based in Colchester. Got some rave reviews from the guys in the group, and then we…
[Stuart calls out as to where these rave reviews came from ]
STEVE: You actually Stuart. [getting back on topic ] And that was it really. We just kept coming back for more. And at a BBQ I remember sneaking upstairs to audition for Graham. It came out very Tim Curry at the time.
MARTIN: I saw an advert at a convention I was attending at the time, and got in touch with Stuart and everything went from there really. As for the inception of Fanz, I had nothing to do with that.
JOHN: I saw an add on a fanzine in 1997, wrote in, turned up and they still haven’t got rid of me. Having been asked to be on the original writing team from day one sitting in huddled secret meetings chipping in the odd thing or two but mostly sitting back and admiring Stuart & James’ brilliance.

>3. Imagine this scenario… I’m a 32 year old brick layer, never been to a convention, and my favourite Doctor is Colin Baker. Give me the hard sell on FANZ.
SAM: [in a deep sultry voice ] Come on over here big boy. Try it, you might like it.
STUART: [in a somewhat less sultry voice ] If you didn’t like her – try me. [pauses ] You’re a sad fucker with no sense of humour, you wouldn’t like it. Comedy.
DUNCAN: Charmer! I just think it’s a very funny series. If you don’t like it, take the CD out, and the cover, and put something else in you’ve downloaded.
JAMES: Please buy it and save my ego.
STEVE: [in Graham’s most provocative voice ] I’ll show you how to lay a brick darling.
JOHN: A brick layer hmmmm. Fanz is a unique series of Audio Comedy dramas following the off the wall adventures of The C.U.T.S. Situations that any fan can identify with taken that one step beyond. It’s brilliant so listen to it. P.S. don’t tell Mr Baker about the couch gag!

>4. What were your major influences and inspirations? Also with regards to the characters themselves.
SAM: Well, nothing exciting really. I just played myself. [Howls of laughter from everyone else ] I’ll rephrase that then. I used my own voice and read Stuart’s lines. I got into the part. It was easy to play.
DUNCAN: In terms of humour I’m a big fan of Peter Sellars, which is possibly where the voice characteristic stuff comes in. Also a big fan of Morcambe & Wise, Mighty Boosh, and Reeves & Mortimer. As for the art, I love Rolf Harris and Tony Hart. Who are legends. The scripts… I kind of find the character within those. Kris would go towards The Master. I also wanted, although my voice isn’t that good, to make him sound like Christopher Lee. So I had to drink lots and smoke cigars before recording, to make my voice deep and gravelly. Javilian Smyke was fun because that was really high campery.
JAMES: I am Jonathan. Jonathan is me. He’s pathetic, unloved, terrible with women, and obsesses about nothing but Doctor Who. [There are plenty of agreeing chuckles from the others ] It hasn’t occurred to you before, I know. Jonathan started off sounding a bit new labour. He wasn’t supposed to be especially young or weedy. Just very sort of ‘Yar’, that sort of voice. It changed from there [James slips into character ] and now he’s sounding rather pathetic, and, and, won’t someone please love me. Sometime. I wish I had a lady chum. [snaps out of it ] That sort of thing, which has a lovely sort of pathos to it. So it was rather enjoyable to play it that way. Yes, it’s exactly like me.
    You’ll find that most of the FANZ characters have some sort of facets based around the people who play them. Stuart really is that boring. Duncan really is that scary. Stuart wears tank tops. Big stripey tank tops. And you’ve already heard Steve for himself.
STEVE: Basically any night you see me in Soho is probably where Graham comes from. I remember something happening at G-A-Y bar as well, but I’m not gonna mention that. [letting out his distinctive wicked laugh ]
SAM: Shut up!
STUART: Graham’s based on your life. We get that.
STEVE: Well, it’s not just my life is it. [more raucous laughing ] We stop there.
STUART: Anyway, moving on from the G-A-Y bar. I play Tom, and it is drawing on my own experiences. Whereby I’m completely indecisive. I do tend to wear an awful lot of tank tops. It is based on the guy Chris Langham was playing in ‘People Like Us’, and George in ‘Drop The Dead Donkey’. For most of the characters they were basically drawn from people we encountered.
    You had, at the time, the fan who hated everything and you wondered why they were a fan. You had the so called ‘rad’ fan, in Jonathan, who was ‘everything is fabulous’. Everything is Doctor Who. Every little poxy book. Cindy – it’s difficult to see why a girl would be hanging out with that group. So we had her there because she had the hots for somebody, and it was a very safe environment for Cindy to be. Cindy’s quite, on the face of it, a shallow character, but she is quite complex. She won’t go for a relationship she thinks is going to lead anywhere, because that’s too scary. She thinks she’ll fuck it up. So she goes for relationships that are going to go nowhere and collapse. Kate on the other hand. There were an awful lot of girls at the time in Doctor Who fandom who were, ‘women are great, men are bastards.’ You couldn’t say ‘what would you like to drink?’ without getting you’re arse kicked. Graham, well, speaks for itself really. Jeff was initially thought of just to wheel him in every now or then, and say something obscure for a cheap laugh. But as you all know he became a bit more important than that.
    There were things like ‘Drop The Dead Donkey’ which were gang shows. Which as far as I’m concerned, they’re master classes in comedy. How do you get seven or eight actors in one place and give them each space to do something?
MARTIN: I basically saw Gary as a very angry individual who believed the world was against him and he deserved a bit of a break, but underneath I think his heart was in the right [place] even if his brain wasn’t.
JOHN: Having no acting ability it evolved from me trying to sound Jeff’s age, as well as a mentally damaged drug addled ex hippy. This was awful and so Stuart suggested just using my own voice.

>5. Why the Camford United Tele-Fantasy Society?
SAM: Erm, because you [Stuart] wanted to use the word c*** but then couldn’t. So you changed it slightly.
STUART: It was a one joke thing. So, er…
JOHN: Originally it would have been Colchester United Tele-Fantasy Society after the town where The Unregenerate is based but I said this sounded like the local football team. Suggesting instead Camford as the opposite halves of Oxbridge and to the best of my knowledge a totally fictional name.

>6. In the beginning, did anyone have experience making audio plays? How did the first recording session go?
SAM: No, and badly. It took us absolutely hours and hours. It took us weeks. And the next morning. And it was hot. It just took ages and ages, and now we’ve got it down to like two hours.
STUART: No absolutely not. I think James was probably the only one who did have experience doing something.
DUNCAN: I did not have any audio experience. I remember lots of different stuff about it because I’d had a car accident, and I had to have some Vaseline because my steering column had gone into my kneecap. I had a blood soaked copy of the script that had been signed by Paul Cornell. I remember us having the microphone dangling from the light. I think we had a stocking tied round the top. I was still trying for the part of Kris. Martin wanted to be Kris and played it like Peter Miles.
    The first recording session was just fun. I remember standing behind the door of Stuart’s house and pretending I was behind a window.
JAMES: Because we couldn’t do post production.
DUNCAN: I actually had to stand behind glass.
STUART: We put you in the porch.
JAMES: I had done post production and radio work at university, so I did have some sort of idea of what I was doing. With the equipment we had – one single microphone hanging from the ceiling, which is why there’s a high amount of hiss. I wince now every time I listen to it. We had to rotate, so that everybody stood under the mic and said their bit, then stood back when it was somebody else. It did go on for a very long time. And yes, we did things like shutting Duncan in the porch, which was very entertaining. There’s some of that on the bloopers I think.
STEVE: As part of another group that was drafted in. [jeering from the back of ‘you would say that’ ‘what experience have you got’ ] I was part of FANZ from the beginning. Don’t you give me that load of old bollocks. Season 27 were honorary members of The Unregenerate. So piss off. So yes, plenty of audio experience at the time. Was I in the first one? I remember. I missed the first day and I came for the second day. I just remember getting terribly drunk; probably being horrendously embarrassing.
    It’s a load of fun. It didn’t matter how much experience anyone had. It wasn’t about coming to the table and saying ‘we know we’re doing a top notch professional job.’ It’s just gonna make everyone laugh. We’re gonna have a lot of fun doing it.
MARTIN: This was my first venture into audio acting, the only acting experience I had was on the stage in am/dram productions. For me it went well but as it was our first most of us were pretty nervous.
JOHN: Steve Johnson had been fulfilling everyone’s dream of playing The Doctor for Season 27 with Paul Ebbs and performing many of the other aspects producing their excellent plays. Otherwise I think we were audio virgins. It took all of an afternoon and evening and went relatively slowly considering the pace developed for the later recordings.

>7. In The Five Directors of Doom there are a number of notable guest stars (not least the inimitable Rupert Booth). How did that come about? Were they happy with their very colourful new personas?
STUART: That came about in an interesting way. We were trying to get some sort of advertising space in DWM, and the editor at the time, Clayton Hickman, met him down the Fitzroy Tavern, and he said, although subsequently I found out he was lying. He said ‘yes absolutely, if you can get some sort of Doctor Who connection in there.’ So as time went on, scripts went on, we devised the Five Directors. It was originally supposed to be about all of them trying to direct this fan film.
    By the time we got Dancing Queens and Maltese Video out, when we went to the Fitzroy Tavern talking to people about it. They were all saying ‘yeah. I’ve heard that. That’s really good.’ And so, with an ear to what Clayton had said about a Doctor Who connection, I started saying to people, ‘Well, okay, how would you like to be in one?’ The one that sticks in my mind is Jason Haigh Ellery. Me and Steve were in the Fitz, we were talking to Jason, and Steve said ‘by the way did you know Stuart does FANZ’, because I’m very backward about coming forward – or was in those days. Jason said, ‘oh that’s fabulous’ So I just went, ‘would you like to be in one? We’ve got one coming up which has a space for you.’ And he said ‘Yes. Absolutely no worries’ And me and Steve walked outside in a very controlled way, casually walking out chatting. Got outside, and screamed like girls. Could not believe that. Rob Shearman went much the same way. Alistair Lock. Rupert… he’s just a fag hag basically. If you give him a packet of fags he’ll do anything. [laughs] And you can print me on that.
DUNCAN: We were very lucky to have Marky D.
STUART: Oh yes. Mark Donovan, who was most recently seen in the cinema in ‘In Bruges’.
DUNCAN: What I remember about it – being jealous.
STUART: We couldn’t believe our luck. These people were coming down to do stuff in one of our plays. We still had microphones hanging from ceilings with stockings over the front as spit guards. And we couldn’t get everybody down on the same day. It was regrettable.
JOHN: With the exception of Mark Donovan all of them recorded separately to regular cast recordings. The severe case of the highly contagious but ultra rare Riboflavin Virus may have put them off or perhaps it’s just that even Big Finish don’t work on Sunday’s.
JAMES: Five Directors was also the first play where we really started pushing out with the hardware. We used Steve’s mixing desk, and we had at least two mics. At the very least we weren’t going to be embarrassed by asking these people to talk into a sock wrapped round a microphone.
[Call from the back of – ‘I think Rob would have liked that’.]
JAMES: Rob would have liked anything. Rob was great. Alistair Lock was great. And Jason Haigh Ellery, bless him, really did do his best, and was very good.
STUART: [I was] very conscious writing the script that these people really don’t have to do this, and it’s very easy to upset people because you’re doing this larger than life depiction of them. So each day I sent them their scenes, and asked ‘are you happy with this?’, and they didn’t care. If you’ve listened to Five Directors, Jason Haigh Ellery’s bits really do take the piss out of Jason Haigh Ellery, and he was absolutely fine with it. I can’t believe what we did to him and Rob Shearman.

>8. Samantha, how about a rendition of that peasant/servant accent you do so well?
(click to play)

And on that saucy cliffhanger we call a close to the first half of the interview. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of this interview coming soon. Featuring – whale-boy, Sylvester McCoy, and the alternate universes of FANZ.

Planet Skaro: The Paradise Machine (episode two)

16 08 2008

It’s up. Although the mp3 part for section1 appears to be missing. WMA version is fine though.

It’s also worth highlighting this recent comment too:
“Remember, we’re selling a 2-CD version of this story to raise money for the UK childrens charity Barnardos. The two discs include the 2-part version, an extended 4-part version with newly added scenes and an exclusive 25-minute documentary called “Creating Paradise” produced by Phillip Madeley and presented by The Baron Of Boralis himself. The show is packed with entertaining interviews with the writer, cast members and production people, and is rounded off with an hilarious out-takes compilation. £3 for production costs & postage, then whatever you’d like to give to Barnardos – dig deep! :)” – Phillip Madeley

Paradise Machine Webpage Here

DWAD: Equilibrium (episode two)

15 08 2008

What’s lurking about in 18th Century Sydney?


BrokenSea: Lesser Evils (part 2)

14 08 2008

What fate awaits the Draconian race? What are the Thals up to? And what will George turn into next? The story continues.


Planet Skaro: The Paradise Machine (episode one)

13 08 2008

Space stations and deadly robots are this weeks fun and games. They’ve been having a few difficulties, but the audio parts for episode one are all available. So go check it out.