Saturday, February 23, 2008

Special Gallifreyan Edition: The Lost Museum

Bad Redo: Not getting to do a story before Gallifrey.

Good Redo: Managing to get a full Time Team together at Gallifrey.

This is where my ego should pop in a say, "Yes! I'm the Mac Daddy!" (Who the hell am I kidding? I spent all Saturday doing that.) What started off a side comment to Paul Cornell Thursday night became a reality Saturday evening as the full team got together to do The Lost Museum. All fifteen of you that read this might notice that we were jumping ahead in the Benny range. This was because I didn't have Birthright on my MP3 player and we had a few guests to join us. Namely Simon Guerrier and Lisa Bowerman.

See? Look at the pictures taken by Tim.

With Simon and Lisa on board we made the decision to jump ahead to let Simon comment on the first Benny audio he wrote. And really, how crass would it have been to go"I want you to do commentary on Jubilee"? Since we were in a dead zone in the wifi department we didn't do this "live" so the general format won't be chock full of direct quotes like it normally is. I promise that next time we'll be a bit more prepared, like not being in a dead zone and external speakers. And yes, there will be a next time.

Without spoiling too much for the corresponding chapter in The Inside Story, which Jason Haigh-Ellery promises will be out in a timely fashion shortly, Simon got the idea for this story while watching a documentary on the alleged looting of the Baghdad Museum. Initially everyone believed the American troops had done it, but slowly it was discovered that actually the museum staff were hiding the various artifacts to keep them from being destroyed. A rant by his wife on the museum and stories from a mate who had returned from serving a tour in Iraq also aid in the formation of the overall story.

He had wanted to do an expansive story to show how horrible the war that Benny and Jason end up in the middle of is. Gary Russell said he could do the story, but he was limited to only a cast of four. This lead to the translator portion of the story, realizing that Big Finish had never done such a story before. This allowed him to get around the cast limit by having a world full of aliens but all speaking in the voice of Jason Kane.

As we huddled around the laptop trying to listen to the audio we got a new fan in the form of Bill, who is the gentleman with the goatee in the photos. While we weren't making this a super secret we weren't actively promoting it either. For one I wasn't sure if everything would fall into place and second I didn't want to actively counter program against Ed and Jenny's wedding at the convention. Saturday evening was really the only time that worked for all parties involved. But we enjoyed having Bill, who was a fan relatively new to the world of Who thanks to airing of the first series on his local PBS station. Simon and Lisa gave Bill a crash course in Benny overall and how the third series two-parter Human Nature/Family of Blood was based on the New Adventure book Human Nature that featured Benny.

Eventually we get to the montage sequence where through various Jason Kane voiced translations we learn just how bad a time these aliens have been having since the war started. I note it's a beautifully done montage and ask Simon why he went the route that he did. He explained that he wanted to convey just how horrific and complicated the whole affair was. He goes on to explain that the Baghdad Museum was dedicated to showcasing "extinct" cultures, the ones that the Saddam regime tried to eradicate.

Benny's in the tub and Jason refuses an invitation to join her. I note this might be the only time Jason refuses such an offer. The museum guide, an acquisition probably from her time with the Doctor, is stolen and the chase is on with Benny hopping from rooftop to rooftop in nothing but a towel and her trainers.

Simon: Can I point out that we're got a visual gag on audio?

The visual/audio gag is followed up by a wonderful bit of rude dialog involving a chicken and its various uses. This joke is cemented by once again it being all told in the Jason Kane Hawking style voices.

Madcap hilarity segues to action which segues to angst as Markwood saves Benny and Jason. In the process Benny loses an arm and we get a lovely moment were Benny bemoans the fact that she can't put her arms around Jason. Simon notes that this was another attempt to tie things back to The Collection and remind listeners that she and Jason are in a relationship.

We slowly continue to discover the extent to which things are not as they seem within the museum.

Tim: This part reminds me of Douglas Adams.

Lisa: I was thinking the same thing.

Another sequence of gunfire ensues and Lisa teases Simon about padding the script. I note that even with one arm Benny is still able to control the situation. We also get more linking material back to The Collection as Jason tells Markwood about his family.

The battle rages on and we learn which alien screams are Simon's favorite and how to tell the difference between him and his brother, who are doing all the native alien voices. We get a variation on the theme of Jason Kane being Baldrick as a cunning plan involving a canister of anesthetic gas ala Jaws goes horribly wrong. The twist comes when in fact Jason does manage to save the day proudly exclaiming, "What have I been telling you? I'm bloody brilliant me!"

With Jason actually saving the day for once we begin to discuss the sometimes less than far treatment the character has received in the past. Simon notes that more often than not Jason was written as either a bit of a dick or pure comic relief. It's when he's allowed to be clever that we see Jason as a decent human being. Lisa points out that he's rather heroic in The End of the World and I chime in with that he's also incredibly heroic in Death and the Daleks.

We hit the final couple of scenes in the audio after the day has been saved.

Simon: These two scenes show how things are still complicated.

Tim: And is usually left behind in a Doctor Who story.

The audio finishes and the discussion continues as we debate whether the first season of Benny's was better than the first batch of Doctor Who audios. Eventually we heeded the siren's cry of food and adjourn to the lobby. For those of you keeping tabs of the booze and food we consume at our meetings there was no food but Sam Adams and margaritas were drank.

I'd like to thank some obvious and some not so obvious people for making this happen. The obvious ones are Simon Guerrier and Lisa Bowerman. While we thanked them profusely the rest of the convention it would be incredibly impolite not to do so here. I managed to throw this together haphazardly at the last minute, hence all of us huddling around a laptop with no external speakers. They could've told me to sod off, but they didn't, instead giving us a few hours of their evening. Thanks you.

The not so obvious ones are Shaun Lyons and Tom Wilk. Again, both guys could've told me to sod off as I tried to make this happen. Shaun allowed us to have a room that had no current programing and Tom allowed me to use his laptop. Without them this wouldn't have happened. Thanks guys.

Tune back tomorrow for a regular Time Team installment with the final two parts of the Time Ring Trilogy.
Now playing: Keane - A Bad Dream
via FoxyTunes


Dave Doty said...

Awesome! Wish I could have gone. Maybe someday.

Rob Stickler said...

Cool, it's Celebrity Audio Time Team!

Who will be your next guest?

The Audio Time Team said...

I've no real clue. We tried to get Paul to join us but it didn't work out. In theory I'd like to do Death and The Daleks with him at next year's Gallifrey.