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A Weird Little Lost Piece of NZ Fandom

By Chris Mander

Humorous Essay Competition
In 500 words or less write an essay entitled: "I think the Doctor's next companion(s) should be _____ because _______". Prizes will be awarded to the most amusing and original entries. It is not necessary that entries be typewritten, but it helps. Illegible entries will be returned to the author advising more legible rewriting.

The above reprinted statement represents the only tangible proof remaining to this day of a competition that flew mysteriously into the Bermuda triangle of NZDWFC Christchurch administration - and it hasn't ever come out...

I dashed off a quick entry to the WhoCon 'humorous essay competition' as I didn't have time to attempt the infinitely superior fiction competition. A 500 word limit was appealing, so I shot down about that many of them to Christchurch.

The Con happened. Silence. A year passes. Well, almost. I come across a dusty file buried deep in the recesses of my floppy disks... Yes! I have a copy and it deserves to see the illuminating magnificence of a pearly white TSV page.

I chose Phil Goff as the next companion, and correctly predicted his defeat (by Gilbert M!!) in the General Election. The whole thing is a deeply viciously satirical (snarl, snarl) account of the University student politics of the time - don't be alarmed if you don't even notice half the jokes, let alone understand them.

But it's here for you to see for yourselves. Like Gilbert Myles himself, now being unrepentantly militant in parliament, it just won't lie down and die, sacrifice itself to corruption, get lost underneath a bed...

What of the original? Perhaps to this day it lurks... somewhere beyond reality, in that alternate dimension known only as... the Twilight Zone Christchurch.

Yet, still more important questions remain to be asked - did anybody win? Did anybody else enter? Does anyone know? Did I imagine the whole thing? Does anybody else's progress report mention humorous essays - or is that area strangely blank??? Who are those men in white coats walking up my driveway...?

Aaah, thank goodness. My mind has been set at rest. I actually utilized my warped penchant for counting things and counted the words in the essay. There are 505 of them (which strangely is the same number as my flight down to WhoCon, and a very infamous hotel room at Abby's, and a number of other related things...). But that doesn't matter right now! The mystery is solved.

Obviously, I was disqualified.

Here's the essay...


I think the Doctor's next companion should be Phil Goff because he's really, really going to be desperate for a new job soon and no-one else would be stupid enough to employ him. BBC1, however, is well known to be one of the most stupid organizations on the planet. (Second only to the BBC Archives. And BBC Enterprises. And the down-undercover branch of the BBC called TVNZ.) Doctor Who will have to move really quick before ITV snap him up for a new game show like University Challenge ("we make it next to impossible to stay there!").

Phil Goff as the Doctor's companion will make us all realize that Adric was really a nice well-mannered civilized young gentleman; that Mel's screaming reflected a delicately artistic trend in light opera and that Peri only ever let out an unpretentious, charismatic little whine now and then. And that the Doctor strangling a companion is really a terribly generous, courteous thing to do and a much-appreciated service. And that Paul Darrow is really an actor of outstanding subtlety, sensitivity and diversity...

Phil is well qualified for the job because he already lives in a world of fantasy far removed from what the general public wants to see on television, and he is used to reading nonsensical scripts hastily improvised for him by teams of imaginative and cunning writers.

Possibilities for character development include tentative storylines such as Doctor Who and the Labour Government where Phil is tortured by the agonies of conflicting loyalties when faced with a choice between the Doctor and the insectoid hive-dwelling 'members' of his own race. The revelation that Phil will stab anybody at all in the back quite happily comes as a major surprise at the climax of the story. The planned sequel, titled simply Doctor Who - October:27 has Phil meeting his arch enemy, Gilbert M, in a battle for power.

Phil has yet another surprising qualification for Doctor Who in terms of continuity. One of the subjects he is most familiar with is called Victoria, who screams whenever he asks for money.

Perhaps the only drawback of the selection of Phil Goff for the next TARDIS companionship would be the automatic reduction in the programme's annual budget coupled with an increase in license fees for those who intend to watch the episodes. However it is likely that this would lead to much higher levels of fan activity in this country, with a new type of outdoor convention becoming prominent. These noisy affairs would be held in seven major centres such as Queen Street in Auckland and outside Parliament Buildings in Wellington, although the really important ones would probably all be in Canterbury.

To summarise, Phil Goff's tenure (no, not ten-year, no-one could stand that much) as a Doctor Who companion would make everyone realize just how far they were taking everything for granted before he arrived, and to get on and stop complaining when things could very easily get a hell of a lot worse...

This item appeared in TSV 24 (August 1991).