I'm not sure what happened. I read Kate Crackernuts and this turned
TTR / LWT: Storytime: A Wright Production of Scenes from Pride and
Petulance (starring the UNIT family and sundry other Unfortunates).
(Yeah, I blame it on the Master, too...)
In which Izzy seeks sensible help for storytime at the creche and ends
up with Pride and Prejudice starring 70s Doctor Who characters. And
all she really wanted was Winnie the Pooh...
Izzy had been racking her brains over what to do when she was too busy
for storytime or wanted a day off. She couldn't have any more of
these hit and run storytellers, with their gory stories and personal
So she found the most sensible person she could think of.
"Tell them something *nice*," Izzy suggested to Barbara Wright. "One
of the classics, maybe? I'm not sure you should go near the Book at
the moment, though. And take no notice if they complain. Once the
story starts, they'll all get into it. Well, except for Davros, but
he's never out of the naughty corner."
Barbara looked concerned, but she was never one to let anyone down and
so she nodded. "Don't worry, Izzy. I'll think of something."
The classics? Barbara was also puzzled. Most of the classics she
could think of weren't exactly *nice*, when you came down to it. In
fact, to her mind, there seemed to be only one solution.
She should have known better.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in
possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife," Barbara
began, although she planned to tell the rest as if it was a fairy
tale. Izzy couldn't possibly have meant her to read a whole book.
Jamie had fallen asleep halfway through the first sentence, but Zoe
had her hand up.
Barbara looked back at her. "It's called irony, Zoe. Now, this was
certainly the view of Mrs Bennet, who was married to Mr Bennet and had
five daughters and no son -."
"Why did they want a boy?" asked Ace. "Girls are better!"
Adric kicked her. Nyssa thumped him.
Barbara explained kindly, "Because they lived in a big house in the
country, but only a boy could inherit it. Once Mr Bennet died, they
would all have to leave and they didn't like that much. Now, one day,
Mrs Bennet heard that a rich young man had moved in next door..."
[The five Bennet girls are sitting around, sewing, embroidering and
playing the piano - not all at once - JANE, ELIZABETH, MARY, KITTY and
LIZZY / SARAH JANE
Am I *Elizabeth Bennet*? [Looks at her sisters] Okay, Liz is Jane,
Zoe must be Mary and I take it Jo is Lydia, but who does he think he
JANE / LIZ
KITTY / JAMIE
Oh no. Not again! Someone had better tell yon book that I'm not a
MARY / ZOE [giggling]
You told me you got to marry Rose the other day. It must be confused.
[Off-stage, there's the sound of a struggle and MR BENNET is pushed
through the door, followed by MRS BENNET).
MR BENNET / THIRD DOCTOR
I must say, my dear chap, there's no need to shove! [Shakes his
head] I wish he'd stop pushing his roles onto other people!
MRS BENNET / NANCY (from 'The Green Death') [getting back on track]
Well, my dear, I hear that Netherfield Park is let at last, to a Mr
Bingley. I hope that you're going to call on him, so he can marry one
of our daughters.
Marry them? Why should I want him to marry one of them? Who is this
Unless you're planning to do some work around here and bring in more
money to put fungi on the table, they're going to need to make their
fortune that way. Of course, you could always kill me off and marry a
younger woman, but there's no guarantee you wouldn't end up with ten
Dear me. All right, then.
Have either of you two read 'Pride and Prejudice'? Mrs Bennet, if you
could react a little more as if a maggot's got in the kitchen and Mr
Bennet should be - well, Mr Bennet.
I'm afraid it wasn't supposed to be me, but I shall do my best.
[Coughs] I shall whimsically insist that I won't go and see the fellow
and then, when you've given up hope, I'll inform you that he's coming
As it turned out, the first chance the Bennet girls got to see their
new neighbour was at an assembly.
Rose was confused. "What were they all doing in assembly? I thought
they were grown up."
Barbara smiled at the little blonde girl. "Very true, Rose. They are
grown up and this is a very different kind of assembly to the sort you
have at school. It's basically a dance in some public rooms in the
nearest town or village."
[The BENNET family are standing together, watching the doors.]
The Netherfield party seem to be a long time coming. I'm getting
worried. Who is going to be Mr Darcy?
It is hard to think of anyone in the Round who might be right for that
[Indeed, as the time drags on, people begin to wonder if whatever
magic is at work behind storytime has failed to find anyone
appropriate to cast in the role.]
I'm sure that's what we all want to know, but could you stay in
Oh, um, yes. What a trying affair this looks set to be, Jane - hardly
a suitable partner in sight. Where is that Mr Bingley? Doesn't he
know that half the neighbourhood have come to see him? How very
disobliging of him!
I see what you mean! Oh, um, I'm sure you're being too hard on
everyone as usual, Lizzie! Mr Bingley cannot know of the interest -
[The Netherfield party come through the door at that point and
THE BRIGADIER [in full Regency dress. He is at least the younger TV
What's all this? What am I doing in this ridiculous get-up?
Sullivan, what's going on?
I say, someone's swiped your moustache as well, sir.
All right, who's the practical joker?
NARRATOR [swiftly stepping in, after she recovers from her own
Brigadier, it's storytime. It's Pride and Prejudice and you're - um -
one of the characters.
LIZZY [in shock]
It can't be. That's just - I can't do this!
Well, I'm about to fall hopelessly in love with someone who doesn't
even have a brain.
LIZZIE [hitting JANE]
I won't have people being unkind to Harry! *Mr Bingley* doesn't have
much in the way of brains, I know, but Harry may be old-fashioned, but
he does have a medical degree. Of some kind. I think...
MR BINGLEY / HARRY
Sir, I think I'm Mr Bingley and you're Mr Darcy.
MR DARCY [in equal shock]
How did *that* happen?
I don't know, but smile nicely as we're introduced to people.
Smile nicely? I'm supposed to be *his* sister, in love with *him* and
wearing something no member of the Scientific Reform Society should be
seen dead in!
[MR DARCY and MR BINGLEY both leap back in shock at finding that MISS
BINGLEY is MISS HILDA WINTERS]
MR BINGLEY and MR DARCY
MR HURST / SERGEANT BENTON [trying to hide a grin]
Sir, I think we need to play along with the story. Everyone's staring
Damn it, Benton, this is ridiculous! They can't expect us to do
this! And who's that?
MR HURST [the grin fading]
Mrs Hurst, I think.
MRS HURST / MISS HAWTHORNE
I say, this is fun, isn't it? Am I supposed to be *married* to you,
I think so.
Well, let's get on with it, then, shall we? What happens next?
I refuse! I'm going on strike. I'm sorry, Brig, but this is just
going too far.
Don't worry, Miss Smith, I couldn't agree with you more!
MR BENNET [beginning to recover the power of speech]
And so do I. Who's in charge around here? This simply won't do!
I'm fed up with being a girl!
And this is a frivolous waste of one's time, when one could be working
on a plot to take over the world and run it rationally.
Barbara smiled at the children. "Excuse me one moment."
NARRATOR [in steely schoolmistress mode]
Can I make something clear? I promised Izzy I would do this, so we
are going to continue. I want you all to remember that this is only
*pretend*. No one is expecting anyone to actually marry anyone and
it's Austen, so there won't even be any kissing. The next person who
complains, hits somebody or tries to go on strike will be staying
behind with lines!
EVERYONE ELSE [reluctantly]
Thank you. Now, soon everyone was talking about the amiable Mr
Bingley but even more so about his even richer [the NARRATOR's voice
sounds suspiciously unsteady] friend with his "fine, tall person,
handsome features, noble mien..." and so on. However, the Bennets soon
had reason to take a dislike to him, due to his arrogant bearing...
Come, sir - I mean, Darcy - I must have you dance -. [Falters at a
glare from the Brig.] Well, it's only polite, sir! [Quickly, before
the Brig can sack him for it] I won't have you standing about in this
stupid manner. You had much better dance.
MR DARCY [after a pause and seeing that he can hardly let everyone
down by not playing his part]
Aside from your excellent sisters [nearly choking on the words] who
are otherwise engaged, there isn't another woman in the room it would
not be a punishment to stand up with.
[LIZZY overhearing, raises an eyebrow]
I wouldn't be as fussy as you for a kingdom.
Well, you're dancing with the only good-looking girl in the room.
MR BINGLEY [miserably]
She keeps asking me scientific questions. I mean, why?
In character, please, Mr Bingley.
Oh, um, I suppose I should say she's an angel or something. But,
look, there's one of her sisters and she's very pretty. I'm sure my
partner would introduce you.
All right, then. Don't want to be thought disobliging.
No, sir, you refuse - you're too proud and arrogant to dance with her.
Well, that's a relief. What's the line?
Sir, you have read this book, haven't you?
If people don't want to end up in detention... "She's tolerable, I
Right! Well, she's tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me!
[LIZZY marches off in a huff to discover that CHARLOTTE LUCAS is the
PRESIDENT OF EARTH (from 'Frontier in Space'). But she seems prepared
to be friendly.]
Horrible man! Well, he needn't worry, because I certainly shan't ever
dance with him.
[Behind her, MR BINGLEY punches MR DARCY]
MR DARCY [nursing his nose]
Sullivan! How dare you!
I'm sorry, sir, but that was a cruel thing to say to anyone, let alone
Mr Bingley, you will now be staying behind for ten minutes after
everyone else. Any further behaviour like that and it'll be half an
hour and a hundred extra lines.
Look, I can't stand this tedious dance in this backwater. Let's go,
S- Bingley. We need to have a word or two about discipline!
There were more meetings between the Netherfield party and their
neighbours, but these did little to alter their first impressions of
It wasn't long however, before the Lucases held a ball. And in the
meantime, the _th Regiment arrived in Meryton.
[A corner of the ballroom is abruptly crowded with UNIT troops].
SIR WILLIAM LUCAS / MR CHINN (or interchangeably any of those 70s
Why not hold a ball? Splendid idea...
LIZZY [sitting with CHARLOTTE LUCAS]
[Whispering] So, you're President of Earth? That'll show certain
people around here... [Falling back into character] Oops. What does
that objectionable Mr Darcy mean by watching me and eavesdropping on
my conversation with Colonel Forster?
I don't know. I do hope he confesses before we have to resort to the
This is the early 19th Century! Or the late 18th, depending which
reading you go for. No mind probes, thanks.
Sorry. I've never done anything like this before.
I'll try the old-fashioned approach and go and ask him.
And after, some teazing on her part, an embarrassing attempt by Sir
William Lucas to get Lizzy and Mr Darcy to dance, Miss Bingley went to
ask him a question as well.
I'm sure I can guess what you are thinking.
MR DARCY [looking worried]
Nobody's threatening mind probes again, are they?
Of course not! As if I'd be interested anyway. You're thinking what
a tedious waste of time this is.
As a matter of fact, I *was* just thinking that there's an awful lot
of things I should be -. Ah, um [coughs] no, I was reflecting on the
pleasure a pair of fine eyes can give.
That's a bit soppy, isn't it? And whose eyes are we talking about
MR DARCY [after a glum pause]
Miss Elizabeth Bennet's.
Oh, really! That pathetic little journalist? I wonder at you, Mr
Darcy, for your incredible lack of taste. [Marches off]
MR DARCY [sighing]
And I'm just wondering what I'm doing here.
Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six