|The Fashion Police|
|Doctor:||Planet Skaro Doctor|
|Companions:||Rob McCow, Nick|
|Writer:||Michael G. Talks|
|Producer:||Planet Skaro Audios|
- Doctor Who
- The Choreographer – heavily accented evil dictator of the planet Whitebread. He is like some evil fusion of some over the top fashion designer, turner Michael Flatley, turned Adolf Hitler.
- Lévrier – French female head of the Secret Police. Ex-supermodel. The name is Greyhound in French*
- James – Very earnest “right on” rebel. Sees himself as a freedom fighter, but his acts of rebellion are limited to street theatre.
- Mimi – James girlfriend and fellow rebel. She has lost the power of speech, and thus has taken on the appearance of a mime. Yes a mime character on audio.
Opening scene a jazz version of “Happy days are here again” is sounding. There is the sound of many tap dancing feet. Suddenly an old man falls down, says he cannot get up and his dancing days are over. There is a sound of marching, and Secret Policeman Lévrier arrives with her cronies, bundling the man away as his wife screams after him.
The Doctor and companions are visiting the planet Whitebread, an agricultural world who developed a vast bakery empire, feeding half the Universe.
The Doctor is horrified to find though the bakeries are all closed, including the once famous cake shops down Battenburg Alley.
The people he meets on the streets seem emaciated and on the verge of starvation. However there is no famine. There are the odd greengrocers, otherwise the streets are filled with clothes shops. He meets someone on the street that claims to be a Government Welfare Officer, who tells the Doctor he needs to smoke more and eat less.
Rob and Nick meanwhile visit one of these clothes shops. A financial advisor tries to sort out a mortgage for them before they can view any clothes, suggesting they could look at repayments of say 30 years with their youth, although they should both think about losing some more weight if they’d like a better choice of clothes.
The Doctor comes into the shop and is verbally assaulted by the shopkeeper saying, “we don’t serve your kind”.
They come across James and Mimi, who are street artists. They are performing the Gingerbread Man. A Police whistle blows, and a score of Secret Police arrive led by Lévrier. The street artists escape. The Doctor says it seems a bit harsh as he’s seen worse drama.
At that moment a tanoy sounds and a jazz number starts and everyone in the street starts to tap-dance. The Doctor and co are somewhat bemused. During it all, Lévrier singles out a woman. "Your shoes comrade. Last season aren't they?". The woman complains she can't afford new ones, and she's just broken them in. But her pleas fall on deaf ears. Lévrier tells her she knows the punishment for breaking the Laws of Fashion, and a gun shot rings out.
"Oh my God she just killed her for wearing the wrong shoes" screams a shocked Rob. Lévrier sees the Doctor and his group and notices they're not dancing, ordering her men after them. James appears from a street corner and orders them to follow them if they value their life.
In their hideout, James introduces himself and Mimi as the planets underground resistance. They oppose the planets dictatorship through their street theatre. The Doctor is unconvinced this will ever work.
James explains that years ago everyone on the planet had a weight problem, until a mysterious man called the Choreographer arrived promising an easy weight loss regime. Everyone had implants to control their appetite and make them exercise daily. Alas the control was more far reaching than everyone first realised, with the Choreographer becoming dictator of the planet, controlling the population like puppets and making them exercise through tap routines several times a day.
James explains what is happening on planet Whitebread,
- Wearing out of date fashion is instantly punishable by death
- Smoking is encouraged by Government Health to make you slimmer.
- The Secret Police abducts those who are overweight or cannot dance any more.
- Carrying bread carries a death sentence.
James and Mimi have tried to disable their implants, with different degrees of success. James is clumsy as his sense of balance is damaged whilst Mimi has lost her ability to talk, and now speaks only through mime.
The Doctor asks James and Mimi to show him where the Choreographer is. He gets Rob and Nick to stay behind. The Doctor and James are caught by the Secret Police. Mimi escapes to find Rob and Nick, and through a game of Charades tells them what’s happened.
The Choreographer is revealed to be Jean Boulanger a famous fashion designer and genius. He has the Doctor brought in to him. Ironically Jean himself is a short obese man himself.
He rants about how on Whitebread before he arrived, “the fatties” had taken over, and no-one could buy his clothes. When the Doctor asks why he didn’t just design bigger clothes, Jean replies with disgust that “Jean Boulanger does not design for size 8’s!!!”.
He tried getting his fashion model Lévrier to introduce fitness videos to get them to slim down. But the people were lazy and weak. In the end he found a crashed alien ship, and exploited the technology to create the implants. People tried them because it was an easy way to diet, but in the end gave over their free will. With people exercising daily and starving themselves, the whole planet could then afford his (very expensive clothes) and even fit into them.
At this point, Nick, Rob and Mimi burst in, and seem to get the upper hand.
The Choreographer calls for his “Dance Troupe”, and there is a heavy metal thud-thud-thud as in march of the cybermen, which turns into a short burst of metal tap dancing as they are brought to attention.
The Choreographer reveals that there was more technology than just implants, techonology to replace all sorts of bodily parts. After all, all that tap dancing can cause knees to need replacing. Those too fat or injured were turned into cyborg slaves. His own personal army, which he is building to move throughout the galaxy, liberating world after world from "the grip of the fatties". The Doctor notes the technology seems to be copied from the Cybermen.
Another struggle, the Doctor damages the Choreographers control mechanism, and the cyborg Dance Troupe start frantically dancing tap. He persuades everyone to run for it, as the building starts to shake apart. Outside he explains due to resonance the cyborgs are dancing at such a frequency the building will rupture.
The Choreographer stays in the building lamenting the death of his vision. The control structure destroyed, the people of Whitebread are freed from their grip. Rob says after this, tap dancing will always have sinister overtones in future.
Mimi is finally able to talk again. All she says is "Goodbye", hers is not a good voice.
The idea behind this story was a sattire on body image, and various fashion themes such as staying in fashion regardless of all other considerations.
This treatment was originally written in April 2007. One of the themes was about how people are always trying to find easy solutions to staying fit and becoming thin. It's an obsession within the media. People can smoke and take drugs, but it's forgiveable if they're thin. So people buy up exercise machines, pills and faddy diets, in hope of making a breakthrough. A similar theme was explored later in Partners In Crime in 2008.
The subject of body image and people's weight was considered a difficult one to do without potentially seeming preachy.
The story relies heavily on tap dance - it's a major plot element, with the Choreographer eventually brought down by it. For people dancing in the street, it was hoped a possible sample of Roy Castles record breaking attempt might be used. However being able to pull off a sound effect for a squad of what are essentially Cybermen tap dancing was considered "technically challenging in the extreme".
Due to a lack of female actors within Planet Skaro, Mimi was written as a none-speaking part to up the number of female characters. Although a fun idea, again the technical challenge within script writing to have a mute character who speaks only through mime within an audio drama, was considered a bit too ambitious.All these issues led to a full audio script never being finalised. Never the less, the project remains as a fun, if eventually flawed idea.