Image Description: Alexander Armstrong, one of the incarnations of the mysterious C:Prompt
By Sam Sheppard
A previously unknown draft of Spyfall, with acknowledgements to Ryan Bradley, from whose ur-text some of the best jokes were stolen before his story was hidden in northern Nigeria to be discovered in forty years time by Philip Morris
The Doctor and chums are summoned to see C:Prompt, the head of MI6, who has a special mission for the Doctor. It is revealed that spies all over the world are being killed by a mysterious alien force, and replaced with identical duplicates. Before C:Prompt can explain further, however, Graham leaps at him, exclaiming: “My old foe! For you, the chase is over!”
“So you finally worked it out, did you?” chuckles C:Prompt as they battle.
“Game show hosts shouldn’t fight, not like this,” sniffs Yaz, who is crying in a way that could probably be used as trailer bait.
However, the battle is rudely interrupted by a laser bolt that kills C:Prompt.
“I’ll always remember when the game show host was me,” he whispers before regenerating into Sandi Toksvig. Several more laser bolts fly through the window, causing him to regenerate into Dara O’Briain, Rob Brydon, Greg Davies and Alexander Armstrong (in that order) before he finally dies.
“Looks like this one’s too big for us, fam!” the Doctor gasps. “We need to recruit help!”
Graham nods sagely, before swiping the laser speedos which C:Prompt had proffered not moments ago.
Thinking quickly, the good Doctor assembles a powerful device made entirely from discarded Hard Sun DVDs. With it, she brings together every incarnation of the notorious Time Lord known only as James Bond. This includes the War Bond, who is David Niven from the weird comedy version of Casino Royale. The Bonds immediately start fighting, declaring the War Bond to be “non-canonical” and “disrespectful to Fleming’s vision”.
“Bonds shouldn’t fight, not like this,” Yaz says, crying again.
Suddenly the Fifth Bond (Timothy Dalton) breaks loose.
“This will get us nowhere, Doctor!” he exclaims. “We must work together for the greater good!”
“The Greater Good,” the fam chants.
“Shut up!” shouts the Doctor.
“Get on with it!” shouts Tim Shaw.
“What?” asks the Doctor.
“Oops – you’re not supposed to know I’m returning this season!” the tooth-faced monster cries, before returning to his villainous lair, which is actually just a villa in Center Parcs that he shares with Krasko and the bits of old toilet paper from Desolation.
Meanwhile, the gang decides to split up in order to solve the mystery more quickly.
Yaz and Ryan are sent to interview the wealthy technocrat Daniel Barton, and they devise a plan to gather information from his office. They are forced to hide in the room as he confers with the mysterious alien intelligence, which is represented only by two rings of glowing light. When they disappear, Barton whispers to himself.
“At last, it’s all coming together. I shall be the one to create the Timeless Hotel. And when everything is premier except the price… nothing will be!”
He departs and the aliens get hold of Yaz. This seems like it would be a serious crisis, except that she’s basically fine ten minutes later.
In Australia, the Doctor, Graham, and the Fifth Bond visit O, who is supposedly a great friend of the Doctor despite the fact that we have literally never seen or heard of them before. And no, An Adventure in Space and Time doesn’t count.
“Looks like the chase is on, Doc!” cries Graham.
This results in him being tackled by the most cunning and elite agents that ITV can muster.
“Caught up with you at last, Walsh! Your contract specifically forbids you from saying ‘the chase is on’ in a non-ITV programme – you should know that!” they laugh, stuffing him in a burlap sack. They drag him back to Fortress ITV, where he will be forced to participate in their dark and gritty reboot of Downton Abbey (I heard Maggie Smith will look more industrial and be covered in rivets). This seems like the sort of thing that will eventually lead into a plot arc, but won’t be acknowledged for another year or two, thus leading the viewer to wonder about the point of mentioning it so early on.
Left to cope alone, O, the Doctor and the Fifth Bond pass a tense night, striving to ward off the mysterious alien. Unfortunately for them, the Fifth Bond is killed by a strange man who dresses all in black and seems to have missed about three weeks’ worth of sleep.
In the morning, O and the Doctor reunite with Yaz and Ryan. They infiltrate Daniel Barton’s silent disco and proceed to pursue him to an airport because of his reasons. Consequently, they must board his aeroplane as it takes off. Unbeknownst to them, the power of awkward writing enables Daniel Barton to disappear at some indeterminate point.
“Hang on, though, fam,” the Doctor says. “I read O’s file off-screen, which has allowed me to cleverly conclude that you are not who you seem!”
“All right, got me. I was the Master all along! And if you want to know what’s going on – take a look out of the window!”
Yaz and Ryan look out of the windows to see Cloudbase, where Colonel White is giving a speech.
“Well, Captain Scarlet, you’ve triumphed once again. Thanks to your heroic actions, the Mysterons’ five year plan is no more.”
“Yes, it was shocking how they replaced Neil Cross, author of The Rings of Akhaten, with an incompetent hack,” Captain Scarlet says.
“That sure was a tough one,” Captain Blue agrees.
“Unfortunately, gentlemen, we have reason to believe the Mysterons are preparing another attack.”
In the aeroplane, the Master is gloating over his triumph.
“I killed O on his first day at work and took his place! Tissue compression – it’s a classic!”
He takes out the shrunken body of O and throws it away, only for it to bounce back and hit him in the face.
“Ow! That almost went up my nose… er, anyway, Doctor, do you remember when I called myself ‘Missy’? Well, that was ACTUALLY short for… ‘Mysterons’!”
For the Master has indeed teamed up with the Mysterons, sworn enemies of Earth, possessing the ability to… well, I’m sure you get it.
Meanwhile, Captain Magenta is staring at a big screen. The heading reads simply: HARD SUN VIEWING FIGURES.
“I’m still trying to count them all, Colonel! That’s one, er… one, er… one, two, three… oh! One of them’s just switched off…”
Back on the aeroplane, the Master laughs at his triumph.
“The Mysterons will destroy you all! And so you see, Doctor, I’ve finally won!”
Unfortunately for him, he fails to actually teleport away before the bomb in the cockpit explodes, and this forces him to regenerate into Jessica Raine.
To be continued in THE SPYFALL WHO LOVED ME PART TWO: SPYAMONDS ARE SPY-EVER
“What a crappy title,” a fan sobs. “Damn you! You’ve ruined our series, Chibnall!”
“See if I care, nerd!” sneers Chris Chibnall, spitting out a ball of chewing gum as he jumps onto his preferred mode of transport: a tandem bicycle, which has two seats and could therefore be regarded as a hybrid of two one-seat bicycles. Sitting on the back is… Tim Shaw.
The double issue of Tides 45/46 is, at time of publication, available to buy through this link