No 6: The War Machines
Each week, Miles Hamer will be getting shit-faced in the name of Doctor Who. Why not join in his fun?
The task: Watch randomly-chosen adventures from the show's history whilst observing the rules set out below.
Take a gulp when:
The TARDIS takes off/lands
Doctor and/or crew's identity queried
Psychic paper used
Sonic Screwdriver used
Historical figure introduced
Catchphrase (eg. Exterminate)
Self-sacrifice saves the day
Title of the adventure is mentioned
The Doctor uses a pithy putdown
Oops! Continuity, prop or dialogue malfunction
Soliloquy of the villainy
Mention of Gallifrey and/or Doctor's family (except Susan)
Finish your drink when:
The baddies are defeated
A companion is introduced
A companion leaves/dies
The Doctor regenerates
Ooh, fancy titles.
TARDIS lands. That's my first mouthful of delicious beer.
Hartnell says "my dear." Is that a catchphrase? No, don't be silly; it's just some words.
Blimey, Hartnell's reading this like he's never read English before. Bless his little vampire tooth, they should have let him go for a re-take. On the other hand, it does mean I get to take a swig, so screw him, yeah?
Hey, it's Polly! Shit, I've got to down a pint already? Hang on, I'm pausing this.
Oh god, that was horrible. Stupid, disgusting beer.
All the world's computers are about to be linked togther? Yeah, right. As if that'll ever happen.
The Doctor's testing the computer by trying out some fancy sums.
"Can I have a go?" asks Dodo. Oh, must she? She'll only ask if you really can see the Great Wall of China from space, or something.
Blimey, WOTAN's a Who fan! Wonder if it posts deliberately provocative statements on Gallifrey Base about the Cartmel Masterplan or the "gay agenda" or whatever.
Ooh, The Inferno. To be fair, this place does look vaguely cool. Hell, it was the sixties, everything looked cool.
Oh, you're effing kidding me? Ben's here and I've only just opened my second drink. Right, down in one then…
Oh, fisticuffs. I'm still frantically guzzling this second pint so there's not much I can do about it.
A WOTAN meeting. Can't concentrate on anything but the dolly birds in the background and the fact that I'm two pints down in under 12 minutes.
Professor Bowtie is being menaced by a Spectrum loading screen. It's both an attack and technobullshit so gets two gulps.
Moustache Man clamps his fists to his head like he's wearing a pair of potatoes. I call this "the spud".
"I understand". What do they understand – the principle of mash?
Now Dodo understands. It's more than I do. Think I need more beer. Come on, can someone please get killed all deaded up and that?
Bowtie is making a speech on behalf of WOTAN. Drinking to that ('cause it's in the rules, it's not like I agree or anything).
It's the Spectrum loading screen again. Someone's going to have a hell of a game of Horace Goes Skiiing on in a bit. More drink drunked.
That reminds me – "salopettes". Ha. Skiers wear salopettes. Christ, I'm getting smashed here.
Someone's doing the spud again. I chug back some more. Wonder if they do the spud down The Inferno?
Shit, I keep accidentally drawing on my curtains with my biro.
2 x "Duchess." Two swigs for Ben's ribbing of Polly.
I said "ribbing", ok?
"He looks like that DJ," says the barwoman of The Doctor. By which I guess she means cigar-chomping, Mother-loving, daisy-pushing fix-it specialist Jimmy Saville, rather than say, Tim Westwood.
"Doctor Who is required." Guzzle for the Timelord's name. Part One's done in already and so am I...
"War Machines must be built." An episode title mention gets a mouthful.
If WOTAN's so good, why is Professor Bowtie his mouthpiece? It should at least be an overseas call centre.
Three lots of "Doctor Who," which means three more gobfuls of lager down. I honestly feel like puking.
They're going to call the hospitals in case Dodo's had an accident. What – pissed herself?
Oh, she's back. Hasn't pissed herself. I don't think.
The constant transition between film and video footage is giving me a headache. Well, that and the three pints I've already sunk.
This group persecution of the tramp is a bit sinister. I really feel for the poor fucker.
Yay, he's dead – more beer!
The tramp's murder in the press? Eh? I'm not drunk enough not to note that: It's published the same morning of his death. A publicity photo of a homeless guy? Where'd they get that – "What Hobo Magazine?" I'm sorry but frankly, which paper would give a stuff to report this? I know the Metro's desperately thin for news sometimes but even so…
Ooh, The Doctor's doing the spud! Must've picked it up in The Inferno. Along with an aggressive yeast infection, the dirty so-and-so.
I'm kidding, of course. The sight of William Hartnell getting a throb-on is too much to contemplate.
Unfortunately, I daresay you're doing exactly that right now. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Billy fluff."
Speaking of which, his performance is fittingly hypnotic.
Dodo has to stare at The Doctor's ring. God, hasn't she been through enough?
Battersea Power Station! My sister and I had to leave a room there once 'cos we were openly laughing our tits off at an exhibition. Philistines or crap art? Your call.
A willing victim buys it from a War Machine. More booze for these Choc-a-Bloc bastards.
A War Machine totals a balsa wood table. Not really "war", is it? Send it to Afghanistan to sort out the Taliban and it might shit up their chances of resting a cuppa and the TV remote but that's pretty much it.
Ben's cornered. Roll credits...
That's three episode title mentions. Look guys, stop saying that. I'm a bit wrecked and they're not even War Machines, they're Big Traks with anger management issues.
Boom mic shadow means more drinkage.
Two more mentions of "War Machines." Jesus! Just call them frigging Keith or something. I am spinning and four pints down in less than one hour.
Hartnell's lapel-clutching is the best I've ever seen. It's like he started the 1990's Chicken Tonite craze.
Hmm, I do feel like chicken tonight.
Or at the very least, a wank. I'm easy. Notes illegible for the next few minutes. NB: this does not mean that I was wanking. God, I hope I wasn't.
Loads of soldiers, amongst whom is Mike "Frank Butcher" Reid, apparently. Too drunk to play "spot the dead EastEnder."
A War Machine fires smoke and nonchalantly pushes through a small stack of apple crates.
Gunfire! Smoke! Alcohol! Jet Set Willy!
There's so much smoke I'm having trouble seeing what's going on. It's like being sat in a 1980's social club in Rotherham.
EVEN MORE SMOKE. I keep expecting to see Bonnie Tyler come on and bellow out a power ballad.
Fisticuffs! Knocking them back as they're knocking each other out.
Constantly necking back my can to keep up with the action. I'm proper pissed, yeah?
Bastard war machine knocks over another crate of apples. What's WOTAN's beef with apples?
Hmm, beef with apples – that might just work.
No, that's a shit idea.
Hartnell is wordlessly brilliant just standing there. Well, to be honest he probably had a massive speech scripted but forgot to say any of it. The silence works just fine.
News reports and reaction – this is brilliant in showing the small-scale domestic end results of a global plan.
That's a remarkably lucid thought process from me, given that I can barely operate my eyelids at the moment.
A War Machine picks a fight with a phone box. Must be as drunk as I am.
The news reports are calling them "War Machines." How do they know what they're called? And why am I still drinking?
Mike Reid! If you're ever unlucky enough to watch his comedy routine, the punchline to the "kid's birthday" joke is confusion over the line "Dad, Tosser's off!"
You should be thanking me, that joke's set-up is about a month long.
I'm talking a big month too, like March or December. Not one of those pussy months, like September or February.
They're trapping a War Machine in a skipping rope? Oh whatever man, I'm too…I'm like. Aren't I?
"Wasted". That's the word. I'm wasted.
WOTAN and some other geezer have bought it. Down drink, which is thankfully near the end. I'm flaking badly.
Matey with the bowtie does the spud again. Good for him.
Another episode title mention. Oh good, because what I really need right now is more fucking beer.
They haven't killed off Dodo? Missed a trick there.
Oh, sod off. Just realised that means I've got to down this drink that I've barely even sipped. This is going to do more damage than any bloody War Machine could.
TARDIS disappears. My vision's on its way out, too. Help.
*this is genuinely how my notes spell it.
U.N.I.Ts consumed: 13.2
Verdict: A deeply silly boy's own b-movie yarn with a strong paranoid backbone, The War Machines is pure pulp. Due to the dearth of any decent characterisation and the credulity-stretching plot holes, though, it's a difficult story in which to be fully invested. There is, however, much enjoyment to be gleaned from all the muscular action and fanciful, hyper-real 1960's London. Consequently, drinking to it can be a lot of fun, and thanks to the "companion leaves/joins" rules, will leave many viewers reaching for the medicine cabinet come next morning. So, unlike similarly booze-soaked Parting of the Ways, The War Machine garners little to no emotional involvement, but throws enough schlocky nonsense at the viewer to compensate. It may not make an impression on your heart, but will certainly give your liver something to think about. Recommended.
Disclaimer: We here at The Fan Can recommend only moderate consumption of alcohol and do not endorse binge drinking. Basically, Matthew Waterhouse will never convince, no matter how pissed you get.
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