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Fibremen of Spong

By Murray Cramp

NOTE: This is a revised version, incorporating additional material that came to light after the article was originally published, including the missing middle segment, which was transcribed by Jonathan Park and first published in Telos, issue 11, January 1996.

The New Zealand comedy programme Issues featured a Doctor Who send-up, broadcast 14 July 1992 on TV3. It was broadcast in two parts, with each segment approximately three minutes in duration. A third, middle segment was recorded but dropped from the programme. The sequence was played in black and white and was obviously based on the 1960's style Doctor Who. For those of you who missed it, here's a transcript of the sketch:

Cast: Mark Wright (Dustin L'Autrec); Rawiri Paratene (Doctor Who); Alison Wall (Coriander); Liz Mullane (Juliet); Willy de Wit, Jon Gadsby (Fibremen)

PART ONE

Interior: Studio

(Dustin L'Autrec is seated in a large blobby sofa, reading a book. Behind him is a pile of film cans.)

Dustin: (looking up, to camera) Good Evening and Kia Ora. There has been a long tradition of Polynesian Doctors on New Zealand television. Series like Country GP and Shortland Street spring to mind. But while rummaging through my drawers I discovered what is probably the first Maori Doctor to grace our screens. It is a classic televisual tohunga. Sit back and enjoy this previously unseen and very unusual clip...

(Doctor Who type opening sequence, complete with Pertwee era logo, but with William Hartnell music. The face of the Doctor, with a goofy look, appears.)

DOCTOR WHO
Starring
WIREMU ROPATA
as Doctor Who

'Fibremen Of Spong'
'EPISODE 666'

Interior: TARDIS

(The walls are made of plastic sheeting with circular patterns. In the centre is the console, complete with rotor and flashing knobs. Coriander, dressed in a fab/groovy plastic miniskirt, sporting a beehive hair-do, false eyelashes and ball-room earrings, stands at the console. Juliet, in plastic hot pants and similar hairstyle as Coriander, walks over to the console. On the floor near the base of the console is a smoking rubbery blob. Both girls speak with Liverpudlian accents.)

Juliet: Coriander, what's wrong with the Doctor?

Coriander: (Obviously reading her dialogue off the console!) Well, I can't be sure, but according to the overhead transponder he was working on the quark drive when he reversed its polarity. And then he tried to bypass the influx warp with a teflon ring and instantaneously got turned into a black sticky substance not unlike molasses.

Juliet: But what does that mean?

Coriander: I think the Doctor's dead.

Juliet: (Looking down at blob) It certainly looks like it. (She screams hysterically.)

Coriander: Juliet, don't worry, I'm here.

Juliet: Oh, what will we do without the Doctor? Even though I've got a PhD in astro-physics and you're from another planet many thousands of years more advanced than ours, we're still only women stuck in a Sixties TV show, and can therefore only scream and shout. And the Fibremen are going to attack any second.

Coriander: I think you're right.

(They both scream, pathetically)

Coriander: (Pointing to the blob) Look! It's bubbling and boiling, undergoing DNA reconstitution.

Juliet: But what does that mean?

Coriander: Well, I can't be sure, but I think when the quark drive hyperventilated itself, the remix granules were dispersed, causing a gordian shift in the space/time continuum, allowing another Doctor to re-shape himself. Mind you, I'm only guessing...

Juliet: Look. You're right!

(The blob 'wiggles' by special effects and the shape of the Doctor takes form - he is wearing a checkered shirt with the sleeves ripped off, black rugby shorts, and a construction helmet; and is chewing gum)

Coriander: Doctor Who, is that you?

Doctor: Doctor Who, eh? Foo yeah, wait till the boys find out about my signing on for this...

End of Part One

PART TWO [untelevised]

(Repeat of the opening graphics, but without title captions.)

Doctor: So, yeah, you know, there I was one minute, nailing up Gib board and them Whaaa! Next minute here I am with you. Is it fate or what? I mean what other explanation can there be?

Coriander: It's scence fiction, Doctor. We don't have to explain anything if we don't want to.

Juliet: Doctor, Doctor! It's the fibremen. They're attacking the TARDIS!

(The Doctor and Coriander look at each other with shocked expressions and run to the console)

Coriander: It's the colidian force field. They've broken through it, but how?

Doctor: Well, was it turned on?

(Coriander and Juliet look at the Doctor with blank expressions)

Doctor: Don't look at me!

Juliet: Oh Doctor, you've got to fix the TARDIS so we can take off!

Doctor: Oh, sweet as! What's the problem?

Coriander: Well, it's the transverse drive interface with the storex memory gigabase. It's fluxing with the mergatron!

Doctor: (Tapping the console) Head gasket!

Juliet: Well, can you fix it, Doctor?

Doctor: Hey, you're talking to a fella who's done a re-bore on a Morris Thou'. How hard can a pan-dimensional time and space travelling police box be?

(The Doctor pulls out a huge bunch of wires)

Doctor: Ahh... Got a manual?

(The girls let out a sigh and roll their eyes)

End of Part Two

PART THREE

(Repeat of the opening graphics, but without title captions.).

Interior: TARDIS

(The Doctor leans against the console reading a thick book titled TARDIS MARK IV REPAIR MANUAL. The console has been pulled apart, and the console room is filled with smoke.)

Coriander: (Screams) Doctor, Doctor! The Fibremen! The Fibremen!

Doctor: (Still reading, he sticks his finger in his ear) Shoosh, please.

Coriander: Quickly, Doctor. Do something before we're all turned into dietary fibre!

(Two Fibremen appear - they are large rectangular monsters, with large comic faces, arms sticking out the sides, and knobbly legs)

Fibremen: (Chanting continuously) Kill... Digest... Kill... Digest... Kill... Digest... Kill...

Doctor: Hey. Call these Fibremen? Looks like a Weet-Bix with legs to me.

Fibremen: Kill... Digest... Kill... Digest...

Doctor: Then digest this, pal. (He punches one of the Fibremen)

Fibreman: Oh, shoot!

(The Doctor punches the other one)

Fibreman: Ahh, gee!! (Both Fibremen fall over)

Juliet: Ah, Doctor. You're so brave.

Doctor: (He puts arms around both girls) Hey - either of you girls fancy a bit of... ah... (He slaps Coriander's bottom)

Coriander: Oooh!

Doctor: (Continued) ...brown bread for a change?

The End

The sketch writer, Aucklander James Griffin, appears to have had some basic knowledge of the series; with phrases like 'reversed its polarity' being almost similar to the series' 'reverse the polarity of the neutron flow', while Juliet's occupation of astro-physicist appears to parallel the Second Doctor's companion Zoe.

In any case, it's the closest we are likely to get to any new Doctor Who for some time...

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).

Related articles: Behind the Scenes