|"Our civilisation isn't dying. It's already dead. All that's left
is the rotting corpse."
The story for
May 2003 is titled "Creatures of Beauty" and was written
and directed by Nicholas Briggs. This story stars the
Doctor, played by Peter Davison, and Nyssa, played
by Sarah Sutton and was recorded on the 22nd and 24th
the regular time-team of Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton
is guest-star David Daker who has previously appeared
in Doctor Who playing the parts of Irongron, in
Time Warrior", and Captain Rigg in "The Nightmare
of Eden". Also staring are: Jemma Churchill, Nigel Hastings,
David Mallinson, Emma Manton, Michael Smiley, Philip Wolff
and Nicholas Briggs himself.
basis of this story follows on from an idea first used
in the television show of beauty not necessarily being
on the side of the good. The
First Doctor's "Galaxy
4" and the Fourth
of the Daleks" both used this
idea to great effect. As stated by Nicholas Briggs:
of Beauty" is about an race of aliens who have an unhealthy
obsession with physical appearance. It also explores a
favourite idea of mine that 'evil' is often a matter of
perspective and not always perpetrated by moustache-twirling
villains or death ray dealing monsters..."
Nicholas Briggs' own teaser
for this release "Where does the story begin, and where
does it end?" also sums up nicely its jigsaw-like
This story is
a straightforward in terms of what actually happens, but
because of the complex manner in which it is presented
it can be seen as something altogether more of a challenge.
Having the overall view being revealed one piece at a
time, it may require repeated listening for this offbeat
story to become more rewarding and for the discovery of
how all the perspectives fit together.
in breach of galactic law! Nyssa, under arrest! The TARDIS,
inoperable! The Doctor, facing interrogation! things could
not get any worse for the time travellers?
They can when the observation that Nyssa is 'a
beauty' is so dangerous.
behind the locals' responses to the strangers, and assumptions about their
links with the alien Koteem? What's the real story of the tragic ugliness on
Veln? The answers are far from straightforward for those involved especially
when it is not clear who is right and who is wrong, who is ugly and who is
beautiful? It is all a matter of perspective - but who's?
Veln has suffered an ecological disaster, leaving its people prone to an
incurable disfiguring genetic disease and in the hundred years since this
occurred, the subsequent generations have accepted their ugliness and to them
it is the norm.
The catastrophe was caused by an alien race, called the
Koteem, whose use of Dyestrial as their primary source of power meant the
disposal of highly toxic Dyestrial waste to unpopulated areas of the Solar
System. However, the illegal transportation near a populated planet and an
accident while the transport ship was in high orbit above the populated planet
Veln has resulted in the Koteem causing the potential genocide of the whole
population. However, despite admitting their fault the Koteem have found that
all their attempts to make reparations rebuffed by the Veln who want nothing to
do with them.
Then there are those in the Veln society who have turned to
cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance, and those who have undergone this
are now seen as 'beauties'. But this has resulted in them being despised by the
rest of the population for having the money to indulge their vanity.
make matters worse there is more to these three groups than there first appears
and The Doctor and Nyssa are just about to find out the worse case of visual
intolerance with those in power either having hidden agendas or driven by
hatred of the Koteem for what they have done - leading to paranoia and deep
suspicion of others.
It appears that Lady Forleon and her followers
have been working covertly with the Koteem to ensure the future of their race
by finding a way to defeat the debilitating disease that effects the whole Veln
race. Lady Forleon may have a solution to the Veln people's problem but is it
ethical and how far should one go to preserve the sanctity of life?
Influenced by the events around them certain
members of the population believe that they are doing what is right for the
Veln, by seeking out those that collaborate with the Koteem, and trying to stem
the tide of alien incursion for the good of the planet.
But how does
The Doctor and Nyssa fit in with the scheme of things? When the TARDIS suffers
some damage The Doctor is forced to land on Veln - of which he knows nothing
about. But he does detect the Dyestrial pollution in the atmosphere. Knowing
the harm it can cause he decides to set off to some nearby buildings so as to
warn the population of the harm that they are in, even though unbeknown to him
he is somewhat too late, leaving Nyssa to tend to the repairs to the damaged
TARDIS. However, she becomes distracted by sounds nearby and goes off to
investigate blissfully unaware of the dire peril she is heading into.
Shortly after leaving the TARDIS The Doctor hears in the
distance what sounds like Nyssa in distress. However, before he can go to her
assistance he is mistaken, by a guard, for an expected alien visitor and finds
himself escorted to a meeting with the Lady Forleon. However, during this
initial meeting The Doctor learns that Nyssa is in graver peril then he first
thought especially as it seems that she has been mistaken as one of the
'beauties' by those who despise the lack of ugliness.
becomes suspected of a murder, when infact she is the witness to a suicide by
one of those who has undergone Lady Forleon's procedure, she finds her self in
the hands of chief psychiatric interrogator Brodlik. It becomes clear that he
has an intense anger towards Nyssa when she professes her protestations of
blamelessness in the murder and lack of knowledge regarding the Koteem.
the story unfolds it becomes apparent that the emphasis is not on what is
happening but why.
Despite having no problem in leaving the planet it becomes
clear that they are unable to change anything except maybe to become
instruments to illuminate the morality of the groups involved on the
But could infact the original actions of The Doctor and the
TARDIS actually be the cause of the Koteem's accident and the plight of the
Veln race in the first place?
- Featuring the Fifth
Doctor and Nyssa.
- Serial Number: 6CF
- Number of Episodes: 4
- Cover Length: 100 minutes
- Episode Lengths: 1 = 26'21", 2 = 30'01", 3 =
24'40", 4 = 28'21"
- Total Story Length: 109'23"
- This story takes place between "Time-Flight"
of Infinity" and after "Spare
- Cover Illustration: Paul Burley
- Recorded: 22nd and 24th March 2003
- Recording Location: The Moat Studios
- Released: May 2003
- ISBN: 1-84435-026-6
|On the Back Cover:
ecological disaster! An incurable, disfiguring, genetic
disease... Aliens, in breach of galactic law!
under arrest! The TARDIS, inoperable! The Doctor, facing
situation of dire peril is unfolding for The Doctor and
his companion. However, what if it is not clear who is
right and who is wrong? Who is ugly and who is beautiful?
Where does the story begin,
and where does it end?
Sometimes, it is all a
matter of perspective.
|On the Inside Cover:
WHO DIED at the BBC's Television Centre, we've all got
to know it far more than some would say is healthy. But
I say 'Daleks!' to those who mock us. We're having fun,
aren't we? For now, our favourite thing lives on in hooks,
comic strips and CDs. We don't actually have to worry
about all its concepts being redesigned and made accessible
for a less committed, general audience. We know more or
less everything there is to know about Doctor Who...
which is why, when I came to write my last Doctor Who
script for the foreseeable future, I set out to write
for the real target audience: an audience that already
knows The Doctor and his girl aren't going to die, no
matter how perilous the situation. An audience that knows
The Doctor is always the cleverest person in any given
situation and that he will, by and large, work everything
out. How do you change that and still write something
that is recognisable as Doctor Who?
it's all a question of perspective. If you start to look
at something familiar from different viewpoints, you start
to look at it in a different way. So, Creatures of Beauty
doesn't change the essentials of Doctor Who. everything
you'd expect is here, but instead of the story chiefly
being told to reveal 'what' is happening, I'm more concerned
with 'why' and 'how' it is happening.
from different times, places and people, the familiarity
of Doctor Who may start to seem distinctly alien.
Briggs has been a fan of Doctor Who probably
since this photo was taken. After wiping the chocolate
off his face, he trained as an actor, signed on the dole,
worked in publishing, sat behind a desk at the Sci-Fi
Channel and finally ended up acting and directing in the
theatre. Big Finish has now largely taken over his life
- but in a good way!
original plotline for Creatures of Beauty was reasonably
close to the finished play - although there were some
subtle differences. One of these concerned Nyssa's attempts
to get out of trouble, and she utilised a quirky female
solicitor - a character now completely absent from the
story And the original protagonist was a female cosmetic
surgeon, Sabrique, who was the source of much negative
feeling from the inhabi-tants of Veln, as their belief
system decried the concept of vanity In a later draft,
Sabrique became a male industrialist who although appearing
to be a philanthropist, building space research stations
to help ease Veln's pollution problems, was in fact colluding
with the criminal underworld. Eventually the role evolved
into the Lady Forleon character of the final play.
| Full Cast List:
The Production Team:
|Gary Russell and
|Executive Producer for the BBC