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The Pip and Jane Chronicles

#1: Where Their Ideas Came From

By Chris Mander

Welcome to a new and very lengthy series of articles from the centre of the known universe of depreciation towards these dismal writers. It's the Pip & Jane Chronicles (! as they would say) with the emphasis firmly on the chronic.

I'm afraid I can never resist absolutely shredding something with fanatical satire when it really deserves it, and nothing I have seen before or after deserves to be shredded quite as much as the Doctor Who novelisations of Pip & Jane Baker (except perhaps Mel). Even Adric was never as bad as this, nowhere near as bad as this, and that's saying a lot. But Adric is already a dead topic to New Zealanders (in more ways than one...) and I'm hell-bent on P&J copping the flak they so richly deserve for daring to let such rubbish be published.

I can already hear the snivelling cries of New Zealand fandom leaping to the defense of these twits - well, before the finish of this series I'll have proved my point. I'm going to take these books apart in so many ways you'll wonder what ever held them together. If you don't agree, send me a letter and I'll take them to bits another way to refute your point. I'm in an absolute book-bashing frenzy, and I'll stop at nothing.

Right, I'm calm at the moment, so here's the first instalment. (And this'll give you a taste of just how deeply my research into the subject penetrates.)

Take a good moment out of any one of the stories. (Yes, I'm well aware that there aren't any but just for the sake of argument, bear with me for the moment...) I know! The bit with the bubbles from Time and the Rani. Alright, so they wrote it terribly in the book, there's nothing unusual there.

But it looked good on screen and it provided a moment of glorious hope for fandom because it nearly killed Mel. However, we all know it was due almost unreservedly to the art and skill of BBC special effects for pulling it off so well, making it look convincing... But Pip & Jane must have had the original idea? Yes?

According to my exhaustive research, no, not really. Way back in the mists of time, back as far as a dimly distant 1968 (which really was a completely brilliant year) the answer to our puzzle lies waiting down through the ages in the dusty pages of... The 1968 Rupert Daily Express Annual (!!!).

Horror! Shock! Scandal! Just when you thought that nothing worse could ever happen than "Hartnell's Body Found On Moon!", "Aliens Ate My Jacket! - McCoy", "Kylie Sings Who Theme Shocker!", "Elvis Was A Dalek!" and many, many more... it got worse. This discovery is thought to be even more shocking than the strong rumour that Pip & Jane are to re-write every Terrance Dicks novelisation at the rate of two a week.

Scarlet-faced BBC officials are desperate not to continue making the show in the light of these and other crippling investigations into the programme's corrupt history. Twenty-six years of television are to be swept under the mat in a cover-up rivalling that achievable by the British Government.

Are Pip and Jane really desperate enough to rip off poor old defenceless Rupert for inspiration? It would seem so. That uncorruptable bastion of innocence and purity, Rupert Bear - now horribly maligned and scarred for life, by getting recast and replaced by Bonnie Langford! What was JNT thinking of? Isn't Rupert's screaming exciting enough for Britain? It's just too awful to even think about.

Sorry, I got rather carried away there. I must have been reading too much viciously creative fiction cleverly disguised as tabloid trash, as opposed to Pip & Jane's trash disguised in no way whatsoever...

Anyway, it's quite surprising just how well Pip & Jane's passage of 'writing' in Time and the Rani matches up with what old Rupert had been up to all those years ago, but I'll let you make up your own mind.

Read on and cringe in mortification as Rupert Bear, 1968, meets Season Twenty-Four head on for the first time...

(P.S. Thanks to Jon for pointing out the left-over cast from The Mark of the Rani in the third frame... No, not the pig or the rabbit - the tree!)

[Rupert Meets The Rani]

Rupert Returns!

(The Pip and Jane Chronicles Part 1A)

a brief semi-sequel also by Chris Mander

Yahoo! Verification! Ascertainment! Justification! Validation! Clarification! Establishment! Demonstration! Certain Conclusion! Experimentum crucis! Mel!

(I paid Pip & Jane to edit this short addenda and they put all the exclamation marks in, after consulting their twenty-two volume 'Thesaurus Britannica'. Before that the first paragraph read "I believe I have found positive proof of the connection between Rupert Bear and Doctor Who." See how much more exciting it is now?!! Hey! Stop! putting! in! all! these !!!! marks! you! sods!! Stop! it!!! Stop it. Aaah - thankyou.)

Anyway, I was quite delighted just a very short time ago to stumble across something that hammers home quite definitively a previously tenuous association between these two institutions of British entertainment. (Phew.) It actually has very little to do with Pip & Jane (but they probably wrote it seeing it's a pantomime).

Yes. (Shudder - I almost put an exclamation mark in there - it was a very near thing indeed...) Sylvester McCoy and Rupert Bear appeared together in Babes in the Wood, a recent British pantomime kindly brought to my attention by DWB#87.

As seen hopefully somewhere near this article, Rupert and the Seventh Doctor must surely have a dark and mysterious past almost as complicated as that with Rassilon, Omega, Fenric, Davros and Cartmel.

Just how they persuaded Rupert's apparition to manifest itself live onstage remains a mystery (perhaps they held a seance) but a predominant theory involves heavy use of Disneylandisms.

Well, there you have it. Rupert Bear and Doctor Who - hand in paw they go together in deeply foreboding and secretive ways, while fans stumble blindly onwards, unaware of the turgid and enigmatic link! between! oh! help! they're! baaaack!!! I'm!! drowning!! in!! !!!! marks!!!!! Glurk.

[Babes in the Wood]

This item appeared in TSV 21 (February 1991).

Index nodes: The Pip and Jane Chronicles
Reprinted in: TSV: The Best of Issues 21-26