The Red Lines Page

November 29, 2009

Top Tennant

Filed under: Audios,drwho,Pest Control,press — Peter A @ 6:08 pm

Still on sale!APA logoNews just in… well, it was news to me, thanks to David Darlington, who sent me the December newsletter from the Audiobook Publishing Association.

The announcement actually happened two months ago at the Chiswick Book Festival. The competition was announced in July, as I may have mentioned. And there was also an article in The Independent about the nominations here.

Anyway, thanks to participating members of the public, Pest Control was voted in the Top Ten. Thank you voters! Fellow nominees who didn’t make the Top Ten were Cormack McCarthy, Julian Fellowes, Duncan Bannatyne, the late E M Forster, Barack Obama, and Paddington Bear.

There were three categories – fiction, non-fiction, and children’s. About four and a half thousand members of the public voted on a list of twenty titles that had been selected from over one hundred titles entered by audio publishers. The panel’s selections were based on excellence in several criteria: quality of literary content, abridgement, reading, production value and sound quality.

The winner of the fiction category was Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith, read by Adjoa Andoh (published by Hachette). Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (Bloomsbury) topped the children’s chart. And the overall winner was Dear Fatty, the audiobook of Dawn French’s autobiography, read by Liza Tarbuck and published by Random House.

Full results:

  • Dear Fatty by Dawn French read by Liza Tarbuck (Random House) – Overall Winner
  • The Graveyard Book written and read by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury) – Children’s Winner
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith read by Adjoa Andoh (Hachette Digital) – Fiction Winner
  • Doctor Who : Pest Control by Peter Anghelides read by David Tennant (BBC Audio)
  • Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks read by Jeremy Northam (Penguin)
  • A Room with a View by E M Forster read by Juliet Stevenson (CSA Word)
  • Slumdog Millionaire by Vikas Swarup read by Kerry Shale (Harper Collins)
  • The Last Fighting Tommy by Harry Patch read by Alan Howard (Hachette Digital)
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga read by Kerry Shale (Orion)
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy read by Rupert Degas (Naxos)

Before I get too excited, I should note that this inaugural award was initiated by Agile Marketing, and featured “the very best in audio publishing from January 2008 – March 2009”. But it’s always lovely to have recognition for something I’ve written, and I’m grateful therefore to my publishers for nominating me, the judging panel for shortlisting me, and the public for voting.

November 19, 2009

It’s a CiN 2009

Filed under: drwho — Peter A @ 11:08 pm

Donate to Childrenm in Need 2009Back in 2001, Justin Richards and I wrote a sketch for the  GallifreyOne Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles. As it’s Children in Need this week, I thought I’d share it via the blog. If you like it, why not make a donation to the BBC charity event. And if you don’t like it… er… make a donation anyway, you humourless oik.

So here is… the Insurance Sketch. (Non Doctor Who fans may look away.)

DRAX:       Good morning Mr Glitz.

GLITZ:     Good morning Mr Drax. (fx: phone rings) Hang on a second, I’ve just got to take this phone call.   

DRAX:       Where is that dizzy ginger receptionist when you need her?

GLITZ:     Never mind, I’ve got it.  (picks up phone) Hello, Glitz and Drax Intergalactic Insurance Company – we make it right for only five grotzits a day – can I help you? (covers phone). It’s Decider Dexeter from Planet Alzarius.

DRAX:       Here’s the Jurassic Era file. (passes it over)

GLITZ:     Yes, Decider Dexeter. We’ve investigated your claim throroughly. I’m afraid we have to reject your claim for the death of your boy Adric. (listens)  It was contributory negligence I’m afraid, on three counts.  (a) Driving a space vessel without insurance. (b) Driving while underage. And (c) Driving while wearing pyjamas. (listens)  Yes, pyjamas Decider Dexeter. The lad was clearly half asleep after just getting out of bed. No, I don’t care if Adric was half asleep most of the time anyway.

DRAX:       Give him to me. (takes phone). Hello, Decider Dexeter? It’s Mr Drax here. I think you should know that there’s a counter claim against you from a Mr Scaroth. Yes, he’s the last of the Jagaroth, apparently. (listens) The last, yes, and that seems to be the problem. Apparently your boy Adric crashed his ship and wiped out the whole Jagaroth race on primeval Earth. (listens) Yes, I know Mr Scaroth has an ocular disability. But he claims that your lad scattered Mr Scaroth across the entirety of history.  He’s in multiple fragments across Earth’s timeline.

GLITZ:     We’ve had 12 phone calls from him already today. 

DRAX:       And Mr Scaroth is going to call again yesterday, Decider Dexter. (listens) Yes, I know that Adric had a star for mathematical excellence, but that’s not an alibi, Decider. Well, perhaps you feel you’ve come to the end of the road with that claim You can always resubmit it. Goodbye. (hangs up)

GLITZ:     What did you tell him? 

DRAX:       I told Dexeter we’ve come full circle. If he calls again, tell him that British Airways also want to counterclaim against the loss of two Speedbird Concorde aircraft which were trashed in the late Jurassic period.

GLITZ:     Well don’t worry, because Richard Branson says he can still fly them at a profit.

DRAX:       Any other calls today?

GLITZ:     There’s a Mr Omega waiting for you in reception.

DRAX:       Is he alone?

GLITZ:     Well, he’s brought no body with him. 

DRAX:       Tell him I can’t see him today. He’s only trying it on, you know. He wanted to sue the Time Lords for unreasonably holding back his career.

GLITZ:     Oh yes, “I should have been a God”. And what about that skin condition he claimed for last time?

DRAX:       Turned out he’d just glued Rice Krispies on his face.

GLITZ:     Oh, that other Time Lord called, too. Mr Morbius. I asked him why he wanted to insure the lungs of a birostrop, and he got a bit angry. I could hear him knocking things over in his laboratory.

DRAX:       Did you tell him he’d need some new clause on his contract?

GLITZ:     Yes, but he thought I’d said he needed a new claw.

DRAX:       I’ve got a good mind to cancel Mr Morbius’s policy.

GLITZ:     Don’t talk to Mr Morbius about having a good mind, please. Besides, he rang off when I told him we’d already canceled Dr Solon’s medical cover.

DRAX:       (checks notes) Did President Borusa get back to you, by the way?

GLITZ:     Yes, turns out that he decided against taking out life insurance.

DRAX:       Was that because you asked him what happened to his previous body? He seems to have run through quite a few in quick succession.

GLITZ:     No, he was harping on about how he wouldn’t need life cover any more. He’s got some deal with Rassilon Insurance.

DRAX:       Call on line one for you. Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart? (picks up phone and hands it over)

GLITZ:     (Fake sincerity) Alistair! (he obviously gets an earful) Ah, yes, hello Brigadier. Mmm. Bad news for you on your  Devil’s End claim, I’m afraid. Yes, the jeep and the helicopter. Well, as far as superheated domes of air are concerned, we have to treat that as…

DRAX:       An Act of God.

GLITZ:     An Act of God, yes. Particularly with it being so close to the church. Mm. Yes, I’m aware that the church was razed to the ground. But Mr Magister is in custody, as I understand it, and will be unable to submit his claim form within the legal timeframe. Anything else I can help you with Brigadier? Oh yes… third party fire and theft for a car. What make of car? (listens) I’m afraid you’ll need to be a bit more specific. (listens, then sighs) All right then, that’s a “sprightly yellow roadster”…

DRAX:       Is it customized?

GLITZ:     Any modifications to the vehicle? Hmm. Yes, well I’m afraid I don’t have inertial dampeners on my database here, Brigadier. Sorry, goodbye. (hangs up)

DRAX:       Next time, tell him that he can’t get extended work insurance for his whole platoon. I mean, how many other serving British officers have lost seven men to the Daleks, four men to blobs of jelly from another dimension, and three to a tyrannosaurus rex? Not to mention blowing up the entire earth?

GLITZ:     Be fair, that was a parallel reality.

DRAX:       Yeah, and that’s what I said when I turned down his claim.

(they giggle)

GLITZ:     And bear in mind that the Brigadier never seems to have more than twelve men in his platoon.

DRAX:       With that kind of fatality rate, are you surprised?

GLITZ:     Hang on, we’ve had a couple of claims come in on the fax here, Mr Drax. There’s that teacher in London whose car was stolen. (studies fax) Does that look like “Chesterfield” to you?

DRAX:       No, it’s, Mr Chesterton. Does it say say how long his vehicle had been left parked in Totter’s Lane?

GLITZ:     Four years.

DRAX:       Tell him to forget it. And there’s also this medical claim from a Miss Nyssa, for an outbreak of Lazzar’s disease.

GLITZ:     Did she explain the medical basis for the claim?

DRAX:       Yeah, but I was able to confuse her with technobabble. Turns out she knows very little about telebiogenesis. Now, what’s this note on the file for Mr Sutekh?

GLITZ:     He was looking for travel insurance for his long-awaited journey to Mars. And we wanted to know how long he’d been at his current address.

DRAX:       And…?

GLITZ:     Seven thousand years, apparently.

DRAX:       Sounds like a safe enough risk. What’s this one?

GLITZ:     Life insurance claim. Interesting, it’s a guy who’s missing presumed dead.

DRAX:       Oh, yes. Mrs Earthling – she called earlier about her husand, called…. (checks list) Mr Earthling. She last saw him catching a bus to Zolpha Thura. You know, on the phone she sounded quite spikey.

GLITZ:     No, turn it down, he’ll probably be back in time for tea.

DRAX:       What if she tries to renegotiate the terms of the insurance?

GLITZ:     Tell her that would be the ultimate impossibility.  Now, what did you tell this one?

DRAX:       King Midas? I pointed out that this was at least the third time that he’d claimed for the complete and utter destruction of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. He got one of his guys to call in yesterday.

GLITZ:     That would be Professor Zaroff?

DRAX:       Yes, he thought that nuzzink in ze vurld could stop them claiming now. Oops, call coming in  on line seven (picks up phone and listens) It’s the Master. Hello Mister Master. Yes, I’ve got some rotten news for you about the Castrovalva claim. Well, you have no claim. (listens) Yes, I know, you have no Castrovalva either. (listens) Yes, I’m aware that the entire place was obliterated when it was reduced to a singularity, don’t you hate it when that happens? But as the place never really existed in the first place… We will refund the premium, of course. No…  Yes?   Mmm. Yes?

GLITZ:     What’s he saying?

DRAX:       He’s saying “I am the Master, and you will obey me… you WILL obey ME…”

GLITZ:     That old trick, eh?

DRAX:       Thank you, Mr Master. Yes, the cheque’s in the vortex. Goodbye.  (hangs up) Now look here, Mr Glitz, a pile of small claims from San Francisco in 1999. 

GLITZ:     Ah yes … an ambulance… some sort of cardiovascular intra-arterial device stolen from the hospital… broken fire hose at the local scientific institute…. And a chip taken from a beryllium clock.

DRAX:       This one’s from the Cyberleader. He wants to make a claim for the validium-based destruction of his entire war fleet.

GLITZ:     Yeah, tell him we’ll pay it directly into his credit account…  (together) So long as it’s on his gold card!

DRAX:       (together) So long as it’s on his gold card!  (alone) Nice one, Mr Glitz. Now, what about this application from Eldrad of Kastria?

GLITZ:     Show me the application form. What’s this, male or female?

DRAX:       Er… both.

GLITZ:     O…kay. Any phobias? Afraid of heights. Family history of illness: all wiped out millennia ago. It’s not looking good for him is it? For her, I mean.

DRAX:       Well, we could insure just the hand I suppose.

GLITZ:     That would do it. Ooh, call coming in on line four hundred. It’s the future President of Gallifrey. (hands over phone)

DRAX:       President Romanadvoratrelundar, lovely to hear from you. I understand you’ve spent a couple of decades away in E-space, was that a pleasant break? (listens) There’s a problem with your insurance, President Romanadvoratrelundar. (pause) Well, we can’t fit your full name into the little boxes on the application form. We wondered if we could just put you down as President Romana. (pause) OK, how about President Fred? (pause) President Romana it is, then. (listens)  Yes, I can do you a discount for multiple Gallifreys. Yes. Yes. And specific buildings insurance?  Well, how many sides does this Panopticon building have? Four, I see. Didn’t it have six when we spoke about it last week? OK. And you’re aware of the exclusion that applies in the event of War?  Hello?  Hello? Hmm, the line’s gone dead. (hangs up)

GLITZ:     Oh bloody hell! Look at this from the Doctor, again. The guy’s a pharmacologist’s nightmare.

DRAX:       What, has he got fatal poisoning again?

GLITZ:     Yeah. Claim number was for death by blue crystal poisoning. Number five was spectrox toxaemia. And number six was a severe allergic reaction to carrot juice.

DRAX:       Carrot juice?

GLITZ:     Carrot juice!

DRAX:       What was it last week? Number seven: shot by hoodlums in Vancouver? Number four: had a bit of a fall? He’s taking the piss. He’ll be saying that he just got a bit dizzy next. Why can’t he just die of old age any more?

GLITZ:     His latest claim says that he’s feeling a bit flat after turning  back into a mirror-licking psychotic.

DRAX:       Is there any evidence he actually regenerated?

GLITZ:     No.

DRAX:       Well tell him to sod off then.

GLITZ:    (shrieks) Oh noooooo! Here’s one we really can’t get out of, Mr Drax. The Monitor of Logopolis just wrote to us (holds up big sheet of paper full of holes). Policy 4242, with the Block Transfer Computation loophole. Seems like they had a few loopholes of their own, and now I’m afraid they can claim for the destruction of the planet Traken.

DRAX:       The planet Traken? Hang on… (checks) My database doesn’t show it any more! I can’t even see Metulla Orionsis. Oh, you idiot, Mr Glitz!

GLITZ:     We are beyond recriminations, Mr Drax. Beyond… everything.

DRAX:       We’re beyond our credit limit, Mr Glitz. That’s for sure. Let’s scarper before the SSS catch up with us. That Sara Kingdom’s had it in for us ever since we turned down that life insurance claim on her brother Bret Vyon.

GLITZ:     After you, Mr Drax.

DRAX:       That’s right, after me, Mr Glitz!

(They flee the stage)

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