The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Poetry In Motion

About seven or eight years ago, when I was doing very dull temping jobs, I'd sometimes pass the time by writing poetry. Well, limericks. About Doctor Who. Unfortunately many of them are too cheeky for public consumption but the following should give you the general idea. Apologies in advance for all the poor scansion.


There once was a writer called Terry
Who thought up some monsters quite scary
Yes, his 'DAL' to 'LEK'
Brought a royalty cheque
That made him a wealthy man (very)

Terry sat at his typewriter, bored
Then he thought - yes! The Alien Voord!
But the plot needed tightening
As they weren't quite as frightening
As the actress called Carole Ann Ford

Terry would get quite annoyed
At the failure of his Mechanoid
Although rather stern
They couldn't quite turn
So they were not hard to avoid

There once was a designer called Ray
Who'd do nothing but moan every day
'Til the BBC
Paid an ex-gratia fee
For his design work on Miss Eileen Way

There once was a writer called Peter
Who thought he'd thought up a world-beater
But fat men in tights
As the Sensorites
Proved as thrilling as stale old Ryvita

There once was a writer called David
Who over his stories he slave-ed
But all his hard work
Was then wiped by some berk
So I've only 'The Rescue' on a vid

There once was a writer called Dennis
Who with Terry played cliffhanger tennis
And I don't want to trouble you
But I think his big 'W'
Created the suspenseful menace

There once was a writer called Gerry
Who wanted to make children wary
Of men cybernetic
He was apopletic
That he didn't get paid loads like Terry

There once was a writer called Kit
Whose science, quite frankly, was shit
Mondas, on inspection
Was our Earth's reflection!
Go on then, explain that, you tit

There once was a writer called Brian
Whose stories were frequently tryin'
Are we any the wiser
'Bout the Ioniser?
If I said that I cared I'd be lyin'

There once was a writer called Mac
Whose stories were frequently cack
The ones set 'in space'
Were lacking in pace
God knows why they'd then ask him back

There once were two writers, Bob and Dave
Who loved down near Wookey Hole cave
But then Baker and Martin
Said 'Our ways must be partin'
So Bob went and wrote 'A Close Shave'

2012 note: I do NOT think Malcolm Hulke is a cack writer. He is awesome.


There once was a writer called Mark
Who liked maggots, in caves, in the dark
And with hush-ed breath,
He'd admit 'The Green Death'
Was his main inspirational spark

There once was a writer called Rob
Who sat at bus stops for his job
But later at night
Great lines would he write
To make you laugh, terrified or just sob.

There once was a writer called Steven
Who wrote 'Press Gang' and 'Coupling' and even
A series called 'Chalk'
Of which we won't talk
Because, for that show, he's still grievin'

There once was a writer called Paul
The NA's? He started them all
'Timewyrm: Revelation'
Gave us inspiration
And a camp talking church-thing called Saul

There once was a writer called Russell
In TV-Land he wields lots of muscle
So what does he do?
He brings back 'Doctor Who'!
To the undying gratitude of us all


2012 note - written long before the series was broadcast!

First up is the show 'Smith and Jones'
Which contains a large cast of unknowns
Some people would rather
Have Rose over Martha
But I think that I'd still jump her bones

Next up we have 'The Shakespeare Code'
About the bard, working hard, on an ode
But alas! He is pissed
And so breaks his wrist
In two places (in iambic mode)

We return to New Earth for show three
(The trailer looked quite good to me)
And then we will know
The last words of Boe
He will shout out, 'I am a lay-dee!'

Next up, the Daleks! Manhattan!
Seek! Locate! Destroy! And then flatten!
I'd get quite a thrill
If we saw Morton Dill
Or maybe met Grandpa Van Statten

The next one should be a good show
'cos the cast includes Thelma Barlow
She plays Lady Thaw
But I wouldn't be sure
If she'll say 'Well, I don't really know'

Chris Chibnall's is called 'Forty-Two'
It's the age of the show, Doctor Who
Hang on! You may shout
You've got it two out
And (in real time) I'd say that was true

The next should be more than okay
It's Cornell! Hip hip hip hooray!
Will the good Doc prove keen
On a girl who's called Jean?
Or will he turn out this time to be gay?

Will Moffat's have lesbian spanking?
It will no doubt come top in the ranking
Or will it come last
Due to lack of main cast
That's the danger with show double-banking

Next up we have the tale Utopia
Can this show get even more soapia?
Let's hope it looks dearer
Than the one they called 'Fear Her'
Let's face it, it couldn't look ropia

And then who should return? Captain Jack!
Who can tell who else they will bring back?
You may think it's funny
But I've bet all my money
On the Graff Vynda-Ka (and Sholakh!)


So farewell then Anthony Ainley
You were known as the Master, well, mainly
With disguises erratic
And anagrammatic
You'd often laugh your head off insanely

You slipped into the role with some ease
Though the script was a real waste of trees
Could it get much worse
Than 'Peoples of the universe
Can I have your attention please?'

The scenery you tried to eat
As the universe ran out of heat
On the heath of death
Tom breathed his last breath
And Tom, who was beat, became Pete

But you had a plan up your sleeve
You had 'Castrovalva' to weave
So at this moment solemn
In your ionic* column
You did, surreptitiously, leave

Your disguises are quite rightly feared
As you donned some false eyebrows and beard
To look rather hairy
And almost as scary
As the acting of - guess! - Michael Sheard

You became next a Chinese in-valid
Whose name was not Dalek but Kalid
And as this old fella
You kidnapped An-gela
And turned her a colour quite pallid

Your plan was to steal the Concorde
And unleash the Xeraphin horde
In a time quite Jurassic
It proved not a classic
It left viewers, quite frankly, bored

'The King's Demons' - a story so slight
That it caused one reviewer to write
That he did not approve
Of your line about proof
Though your accent, I must say, was shite

Yes, your planning was accident-prone
As you placed Kamelion on the throne
But your role I admire
Was in 'Planet Of Fire'
'Won't you even have mercy on your own-!'

For Numismaton gas you did seek
It was found at Logar mountain's peak
And then you were fried
Yes you definitely died
But again you turned up the next week

'The Five Doctors' was a complete mess
Like crossing that board built for chess
Please tell me why
It's as 'easy as pi'
It's caused me no end of distress

It was all like some terrible dream
Remember Liz Shaw's 'stop him!' scream?
But it wasn't all bad
'Cos the Castellan had
A power-boosted open-ended transmat beam

Next up, it was the Rani's Mark
Where the good guys became made of bark
But I think we all knew,
That 'The tree won't hurt you.'
So it's safe to return to the park.

This story was set down t'pits
About miners and their luddite fits
And in this privation
What was your motivation?
To get on Kate O'Mara's tits

The Trial Of, yes, A Time Lord
Was unlikely to win an award
Its plot was quite dense
And made bugger-all sense
It was the least that the Beeb could afford

You turned up at the end, just for kicks
For shenanigans in the matrix
Like some hound of hell
You deceived poor Mel
The worst of all your evil tricks

Alone in a tent you were sat
With yellow eyes and a cravat
Although looking neater
You were half a cheetah
Well, I wasn't expecting that!

And that was the Master's swan-song
Until Paul McGann came along
And although not the first
You were far from the worst
In fact, you could do no wrong

When you were the Master we said
That we'd rather have Roger instead
But you were commendable
And never expendable
After all, "you would be useless to us, dead.'

* Yes, I am aware the Master's TARDIS was, in fact, a corinthian column.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Yes, he’s been quiet again. What are the excuses? Busyness, mainly. I’ve had a great deal of stuff to write over the past few weeks and it’s been fairly non-stop, broken up only by a couple of days in a recording studio, I’ve said too much already, popping into the Big Finish office to record a couple of podcasts – I have never sounded more hesitant, which is odd because normally talking about myself and my writing is one of my favourite subjects – and nipping down to Tunbridge Wells to guest at a Doctor Who convention, Big Blue Box, alongside Simon Guerrier and John Dorney.

Whilst at the convention, I saw Simon’s short film, Cleaning Up, which is terrific, I praise the writing, acting and direction equally lavishly, and Louise Jameson’s play (written by Helen Goldwyn, who has occasionally turned up in things I wrote in thankless parts) Pulling Faces which was also rather extraordinary, a real showcase for Louise’s versatility and range.

But the real reason why I’m putting finger to keyboard is that this week saw the release of my latest original Doctor Who audio adventure, The Curse Of Davros. I say original because, of course, my last one was an adaptation of a storyline by Philip Hinchcliffe (and he phoned the Big Finish office to tell them how much he’d enjoyed it! Can you believe that? I can’t.).

The Curse Of Davros features Colin Baker and Terry Molloy as the sixth Doctor and Davros, and introduces – or rather, re-introduces – Lisa Greenwood as new companion Philippa ‘Flip’ Jackson, and also stars Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the Daleks (he also directed it). It starts off in present-day Thamesmead and then leaps back to the Battle of Waterloo, which as I’m sure you know took place in Belgium on the 18th June 1815. As such, it features appearances by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Duke Of Wellington, Marshal Ney plus myriad other French and English soldiers. It’s intended to be a big, bold, ‘season opener’ type story, an action-packed blockbuster with incident, comedy, scary bits and mad ideas. And if you like, there’s even a little bit of moral stuff in there about the nature of evil.

It was an absurd, overwhelming honour to be asked to write for Davros and the Daleks – I remember when Joe Lidster was writing Terra Firma sitting in our front room searching the internet for songs that were out of copyright to use in a party scene – and I pulled out all the stops and put in all the late nights I could in writing it. I even visited the Napoleon museum in Paris for research (as well as reading a couple of books on Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo). To give you some idea of how much effort I was putting in, the first draft of the final episode came to 9,500 words (the optimum length of an audio episode being 5,000 words). So all those scenes on St Helena with the two Napoleons had to go, alas, along with innumerable scenes of French people being blown up.

I may talk about some aspects of the story later – if I can remember – as it’s already thrown up a couple of interesting discussions in various fora. But for now suffice it to say I think it’s the best thing I’ve done (so far), the performances are incredible, the direction and sound design are spot on, the cover artwork is stunning, and I couldn’t be happier with it*. If I had to choose only one Doctor Who audio I’ve written as an example of my work, this would be the one.

It can be ordered here.

* Though I wanted the theme tune to part four to start with the Marseillais a la All You Need Is Love. Oh well, you can’t have everything!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Valley Of No Return

Hello, happy new year, and welcome back. Lots of writing to do so I’ll be brief.

Monday this week saw the (download) release of the Doctor Who: Lost Stories box set which includes the story The Valley Of Death, written by yours truly, based on a storyline by Philip Hinchcliffe, and starring Tom Baker as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as his companion Leela. I’ve written about it previously, but have now heard the finished production. Which is utterly fabulous. Tom is on great form, the sound design and music are magnificent, and it all feels fresh and funny whilst also having that authentic ‘1977’ feel.

It’s not quite as serious as the other story in the box-set, The Foe From The Future (by John Dorney, based on a storyline by Robert Banks Stewart, and with yours truly as script editor) and is a lighter, blockbuster-y romp, more in the vein of tales like The Android Invasion and The Hand Of Fear. The physical version of the box-set will no doubt be materializing shortly.

Out today is the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, which includes a 9 (!) page article by yours truly, a ‘Fact Of Fiction’ on the 2006 story Love & Monsters. The story is a particular favourite of mine, which is why I volunteered to research it, and I think I found a few new and interesting things to say about it – not least because the story’s author, Russell T Davies, very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about it. It’s the first time an author has been interviewed for a ‘Fact Of Fiction’, so kudos to Russell for breaking new ground.

Out soon is the latest issue of the Doctor Who fanzine Nothing At The End Of The Lane, a magazine focussing on the old series which comes out roughly once every six years. I have made a very small contribution to it – some thoughts on a rejected Brian Hayles story outline – and am lucky enough to have been sent an advance copy of the fanzine. It includes all sorts of wonders for fans of the show, including new off-screen photos from missing episodes and various other surprises. An essential purchase for fans of the original show, you will soon be able to order it from this website.