This Time Round / Look Who's Talking

Storytime with the Master: Sequelitis
by V. Jewitt

(With apologies to Douglas B. Killings, who's already *done*
Cinderella. But not the bloodthirsty Grimm version with the birds...)

(or Simm's Grimm Cinderella)

(or - if it weren't blatant theft from Lauren Child - 'Who's Afraid of
the Big Bad Book?')

In which the newest Master gets addicted to story time at the
creche... (But not as funny as the last time).


The Master was contemplating choice of story as he made his by now
usual trip to the creche. Luckily, Izzy seemed too busy to have
worked out who her new regular storyteller was - or didn't mind, as
long as he kept those children quiet for half an hour or so.

The initial rush of sequels had gone down well:

The Seven Dwarfs go Shopping (aka Grumpy Gets Arrested at the
The Seven Dwarfs in an Even Worse Mining Disaster
The Seven Dwarfs go on Holiday (aka Dopey Goes Overboard)
The Seven Dwarfs Visit the Hospital (aka Happy has a Very Bad Day)
The Seven Dwarfs Visit the Dentist
The Seven Dwarfs go to the Zoo (aka Sleepy in the Lion's Cage)

And even 'The Seven Dwarfs Do Their Own Housework' (otherwise known as
'Terror of the Dust Monster') had its charms - not the least being the
opportunity to humiliate and harm Seven Doctors in their most hated
roles at every turn - but the Master had a feeling that there was a
point at which even a popular series ought to stop and he was
contemplating violent fairy tales again.

The most obvious that came to his mind was 'Cinderella'. The Grimm
version, obviously.

When he told the children, most of them started to look bored.

Adric glared. "We've *had* that one!"

Benny nodded. "Liked that story. Yours is prob'ly *silly*!"

The Master smiled at them all. "Ah, but did it have that pesky Fairy
Godmother in it instead of a lot of birds and people chopping bits off
their feet?"

He had their wide-eyed interest again. The Master knew better than to
believe people who thought children liked nice, *safe* stories...

He opened the fairy tale book. It was, he had noted, a very adaptable
tome. His Dwarf stories had rapidly squeezed themselves in at the end
of Snow White and now he saw the very version of Cinderella he was
after. He glanced at the cover, but warnings were as much an
enticement to the Master as to the children sitting around his feet.
Some of whom were getting much too close...

The Master kicked at little Ten. "Stop playing with my shoelaces,
Doctor. Susan, you can *let go* of my leg. And no, Peri, my shoes
don't need your grubby hands to polish them."

Peri burst into tears instantly, which caused little Six to scowl at
the storyteller.

"Nice expression," commented the Master. "Suits you. Stick with it
and we'll see if your face really does get fixed like that if the wind

Mel had a hand up. "I've got shoes!"

That was the signal for everyone to start.

"I've got *red* shoes!"

"I can do my laces up!"

"I've got a hamster -."

"I've got a dinosaur with shoes!"

The Master ignored them and began the story.


NARRATOR (The Master)
Once upon a time, there was a girl called Ella. Her mother had died
when she was just a baby -

[Looking a little surprised to be here, ROMANA II enters in a long
dress and immediately collapses on the floor with a squeak.]

Her father, deciding that his little child needed a mother, married
again, to a woman with two daughters of her own.

[The FOURTH DOCTOR wanders on and looks at ROMANA's dead body]

Hmm, dead wife. That's a shame. Better go and get another!

[He returns dragging ROMANA I with him]

Here she is. I'm sure she'll make a splendid mother, while I go and
die quietly off-screen. Cheerio!

[He leaves at a pace]

Wait a minute! I never said I would marry you, I don't have two ugly
daughters of my own, I'm not evil and shouldn't *I* be the first wife?

The *Evil Stepmother* lost no time in bullying Cinderella, who had to
do all the housework and had no friends but the birds she never forgot
to feed.

I suppose if one must, one must.

Cinderella, mend my dress! [Aside] How old is she at this point? Can
she handle a needle?

Just get out of the way. I need to introduce our annoying and feeble

[ROMANA I obliges swiftly]


Cinderella was sitting all alone in her cellar -

ROSE [sitting on an old wooden box and dressed in rags]
I'm Cinders? Really? I've never been in one of these before.

Yes, but what is he doing here?

[MICKEY is also sitting in the cellar with CINDERS]

Um, he must be Buttons. Buttons, yeah, that'd be it.

Great. Buttons. That's me.

I know you lot never take this seriously, but this is NOT a panto and
there is no Buttons.

The Master snaps the book shut and shrugs at the children. "Let's try
it again."


So, Cinders was sitting all *alone* in her -

SARAH [pointing at HARRY]
I'm not alone. Is this one of those story things?

Is that what happened? One minute I'm bringing the Doctor a
celebratory ginger beer - something about getting rid of two wives in
one evening - and then we're here.

This is the Grimm Cinderella and he's not supposed to be here.

But he's obviously Buttons. [Hides a laugh]

Am I? I say, that explains the outfit.

The Master closes the book carefully this time, takes a deep breath
and tries again.

Nyssa and Tegan, sitting close together, have started fidgeting and
they aren't the only ones.


So, Cinderella - so called because she was forced to sleep among the
cinders for warmth - was sitting alone, all by herself, one her
lonesome ownsome in her cellar.

Oh no! I finally get out of the Round and I've got to do all the

I give up. What is he doing here?

Is he talking about me? Why shouldn't I be here?

Don't you see? It's the story! I'm Cinderella and Ben is Buttons.

Buttons? Bloomin' 'eck. Do I have to? Sit here like a chump and let
Polly run off with some posh bloke?

He isn't in this version!

POLLY [thinking it over carefully]
He might not be mentioned, but that doesn't mean he isn't here.

So I'm beginning to see. Oh, well, let's get on with it. Cinderella
remembered that she had forgotten to go and feed the birds.

Oh, dear, I haven't given those poor birds their stale breadcrumbs.
The poor things will be starving.

Just leave it, this once. They're only a lot of feathered pests.

Oh, no, I can't. [She runs out with a bowl and throws breadcrumbs off

Just then she heard her sisters calling... [To himself] I try my best,
but what do I have to work with? If there's any cross-dressing in
this, I'm going to complain...

[JAMIE and ZOE arrive, Zoe in a dress and Jamie in his usual kilt and

NARRATOR [to the book]
You're being difficult today, aren't you? Neither of them is
particularly ugly and one of them isn't even female!

ZOE [brightly]
Perhaps it's because Jamie always wears a skirt?

SKIRT? Are you talking about my kilt? All right, that does it, come
here, you wee -.

STEPMOTHER / ROMANA I [marching in]
Gertrude; Griselda! Girls, are you arguing again? [Pauses a moment
to take in Jamie] Are you a boy or a girl?

What's the matter with everyone? I'm no girl!

You are now. You're Griselda.

Has everyone gone mad? Zoe, tell them I'm not a girl.

I'm afraid I couldn't possibly ruin the story.

Never mind the identity crisis. Come here and look at this invitation
from the palace!

What does it say?

ZOE [jumping up and down]
Oh, how exciting. There's a going to be a ball. They've invited all
the eligible girls in the land so the prince can choose a bride.

And I've decided it will be one of you two. We don't have very much
money. If one of you marries the prince, we can have as many outfits
as we like and hundreds of servants, instead of that useless
Cinderella. Oh, and whatever his name is.

It had better not be me. [Spotting ROMANA's glare and manages to take
the hint] Ah, that is - I hope he chooses me! Aye, yes! [Nods

He would never look at someone with legs as hairy as you. Once he
sees how clever I am, he will be certain to marry me.


Tegan tugged at the Master's trouser leg. "Why's it all gone black
an' white?" she asked loudly.

He stared back at her. "Has it?"


Can we leave the monochrome behind us, everyone?

[There is a brief fluster of activity; too many characters to be named
with paintbrushes, rushing in and doing their best to brighten up the
story and the backdrops]

That's better. After all, we want all the blood at the end to be

Where were we? Ah, yes, the King and Queen had been discussing their
only son and heir...

[IAN and BARBARA are sitting on thrones in a now colourful palace]

Well, what do you think we should do about our son? It is about time
he settled down. After all, if anything happened to him, we'd have no
heir to the throne.

Yes, I see what you mean. But he never seems to find anyone he likes
at our state dances and I wouldn't want him to be unhappy.

Of course not, my dear. Perhaps we should summon our advisor and see
what he thinks?

[The PALACE ADVISOR comes hurrying in after he's called for]

PALACE ADVISOR / FIRST DOCTOR [surveying his companions]
So who made you king and queen, hmm? You're looking very regal, if I
do say so myself! [Chuckles to himself] Now what can I do for you?

I never said *anything* about a palace advisor. I really shouldn't
have risked this story, should I? Well, get on with it if you must!

If you'll take the advice of a humble servant of the crown, perhaps a
ball might be in order?

BARBARA [after stifling her laughter at the Doctor's performance]
It's always the same people and he gets so bored of the whole thing.
Of course, I shouldn't say so, but I can't entirely blame him.

What if you were to invite every eligible girl in the kingdom? He'd
have to be a very choosy young man not to find somebody suitable
there, wouldn't he now?

IAN / KING [coughing]
I'd say so!

QUEEN / BARBARA [thoughtfully]
I've wondered if there already is someone he likes; he's so awkward
about it all.

Stop improvising.


Anyway, the invitations were sent out to every eligible girl in the
kingdom, causing great excitement at the home of Cinderella, as we
have seen...

Look, Mama, there's an invitation here for Cinderella as well. How

Cinderella! Cinderella! COME HERE!

[CINDERS comes running with BUTTONS a few steps behind her]

CINDERELLA / POLLY [trying to sound cheerful]
What do you want now, Mother?

We've had an invitation for you to join us at the prince's ball.

Oh, a party! Please say I can go!

STEPMOTHER [laughing at her]

Look, can you put a bit of effort into being evil?

But I'm not evil. Why should I be evil?

Why should I be a girl?

And I'm not ugly, am I?

Look, don't try to tell me you don't know *this* story. Get on with

What story? Are we in a story?

ZOE [to a puzzled JAMIE]
Shh, I'll explain everything later. Just be mean to Polly and pretend
to be a girl.

JAMIE [in a loud whisper]
I get it! Is this some clever plan of the Doctor's?

ZOE [losing the will to go on]
Something like that...

Cinderella, you don't imagine for one moment, that this invitation is
anything other than a mistake, do you? You have no suitable clothes
to wear and I'm not about to be shown up by a stepdaughter in rags,
nothing more than a *servant*!

I can make my own clothes! I promise I wouldn't show you up, if you
will only let me go to the party.

Yeah, let her go and stop being mean to her, you 'orrible lot.

No. That is final, Cinderella, so don't speak to me about it again.
Now, I want you to sew us some wonderful dresses instead. When the
prince marries Gertrude or Griselda -

BUTTONS / BEN [under his breath]
He'd get a bit of shock if he married Griselda here...

- We won't forget you. Now, go!


Later, after all that hard work, Cinderella cried alone in her
cellar. Another feeble heroine. What do Earth people see in these

Oh, Be-Buttons, I do so want to go to that party!

NARRATOR [annoyed]
I did say alone, didn't I? You're all supposed to do what I say!

I'm just popping in to cheer her up. Look, P - Cinders, you don't
want to go to a daft party, trying to impress some stuck up prince.

CINDERS [crying]
But I do! I love parties!

When they're out, we'll have a party down here by ourselves. We could
invite those feathered friends of yours. I can't go to the ball, but
am I snivelling?

CINDERS [drying her eyes immediately]
Ben! I mean, Buttons! I'm not snivelling. I'm just so tired and I
would *love* to wear a big dress and go to a ball just this once.


Meanwhile, back at the palace, the King and Queen have a little chat
with their son about his future and prospects.

Anyone know who our 'son' is? [Notices NARRATOR's cough] Oh, are we
back on again?

Ian, don't think me very foolish, but do I really look old enough to
have such a grown up son?

Do I?

BARBARA [laughing]
No, of course not. I shouldn't have taken this personally.

PRINCE [outside the door]
Can I come in?

[STEVEN strides in]

KING [after a pause, hiding irritation that STEVEN is supposed to be
his son]
What's this about you refusing to come to the ball?

I had other plans for that evening. [Tugging at his tunic] These
costumes are uncomfortable, aren't they?


Now, listen, dear. We don't want to make you unhappy, but you have a
responsibility to the kingdom to find someone to marry at this ball.

I've got to dance with *every girl in the land*? How *long* is this
ball going to take?

[At this CINDERS pokes her head round the scenery.]

Three nights! I get a different dress for each one.

No! Not the three nights version. I'm telling this story and these
toddlers wouldn't stand it if we had to wait that long until we got to
the bloodthirsty bits. And get off stage when you're not in it. You
characters are nothing but trouble!

[CINDERS retreats, pouting to no avail]

I suppose it could be interesting. All right then. But I'm only
marrying someone if I really like them.

Of course.


And so on the day of the ball - the one and only day of the ball -
Cinderella had to help her sisters get into their dresses. Not as
easy a task as you might think.

JAMIE [running away from ZOE, ROMANA, POLLY and BEN]
I am not wearing a dress! Look at all the frills on it - and it's
pink. I'd look a right idiot in that!

ZOE [with hands on hips]
No change there then.

I was led to believe that you wanted to go to the ball and marry the

JAMIE / GRISELDA [looking round for sanity from someone and finding
But you can't mean to make me wear -. [Through gritted teeth] Aye. I
do. Pass me yon pretty dress and I'll try it on. Pink's my favourite

It doesn't look half as well on you as mine does on me.

Well, what d'you expect? I mean, um, I'm far more beautiful than you
and don't you forget it, my girl!

You look stunning, Griselda. The prince is bound to be after you.

STEPMOTHER / ROMANA [stepping out from behind the dressing screen in
an outfit far more outrageous and gorgeous than either of her
daughters'. In white, of course.]

Cinderella, I'm not sure about the stitching at the back. Come here,
you lazy girl and sort it out! [To the NARRATOR] How am I doing with
the evil thing?

You're improving, but much as I hate to say it, Mel was better than

ROMANA / STEPMOTHER [her expression hardening]
Right, step to it you ungrateful brat and clean the entire house
before we leave! Go! NOW!


They left for the ball, leaving an exhausted Cinderella, alone in her
cellar once more. And probably in tears again.

You know, Snow White had more get up and go than this one...

CINDERELLA [sobbing]
Oh, Be- Buttons, it's not fair! I'm so tired and I look a mess and I
can't go the ball!

I said alone, but then I'm only the one telling this story. Why not
just ignore me?

Look, don't cry, Pol - Cinders. I said we'd have some fun. Let's
invite those precious birds of yours in -

[BUTTONS opens the door and a flock of birds fly in, twittering
loudly. They're a bit of mix, being pretty much any bird caught on
camera or mentioned in a book during the whole run of Doctor Who.
There seem to be a lot of chickens. They are carrying a gold and
silver dress with them.]

So no transport in this version?

Look at the dress! That's amazing! [She runs off to put it on]

BUTTONS [shooing the birds out again glumly]
Interfering chickens. You do know that's the end of my chances, don't

Considering you're not supposed to be here, I don't think you're doing
too badly. And chickens! It's supposed to be doves and pigeons, up
some precious tree of hers, but considering we've got chickens, we'll
forget the tree.

CINDERS [returning in her new gold and silver ball gown]
How do I look?

BUTTONS [gaping and lost for words]
Um, not bad.

Now I'd better run for it. Really, if I'm not in the version with the
fairy godmother and the pumpkin, I should have three chances to go to
the ball!

Don't push your luck. I'm telling this nauseatingly sentimental story
for one reason and one reason only.


Cinderella arrived at the ball. She looked so beautiful in her dress
that even her ugly sisters and stepmother didn't recognise her. And
once the prince saw her -

[The PRINCE is staring vacantly out of the nearest window]

NARRATOR [irritated]
I said *once the prince saw her*!

Oh. Okay, who's that girl? Must have a dance with her! [He runs off
to be introduced]

QUEEN [to the king]
Look, he's found someone nice.

Well, thank heaven for that.

PRINCE [dancing with CINDERS]
Won't you tell me who you are?

[She shakes her head]

Some foreign princess?

[CINDERS only smiles mysteriously]

The Stepmother and sisters were not too pleased about this

Oh no! I'm sure he was going to dance with me next and now he won't
leave that silly girl!

You can think yourself lucky he didn't. I had to and he kept glaring
at me.

That was probably because you stepped on his feet in those clumpy
boots of yours. You should be wearing slippers!

Look, it's bad enough wearing this pink frock without silly shoes as
well. I've got to draw the line somewhere!

Drat! I'm going to be stuck with you two at home forever!

ZOE / GERTRUDE [cheerfully]
Oh, the prince isn't the only fish in the sea.

Don't worry. After this, I'm leaving home, I promise you!

At midnight, Cinderella decides to slip away before the prince can
follow her home and see that she's only a servant. However, she loses
a shoe and has to hobble all the way home over the cobbles.

Well, it's not the first time... Hello, Buttons. Are you still up?

Just making sure you got home safely. How was it?

Well, it was a bit hot and that Prince Steven insisted I kept dancing
when I really wanted some supper and -

Ahem, ahem!

I mean, it was wonderful, Ben -

*Buttons*. Who shouldn't be here.

CINDERS [beginning to sound cross]
It was wonderful, Buttons. And the prince danced with nobody else and
of course he was handsome. And I love this dress!

BUTTONS [flatly]
Great. I'm so pleased for you.

I'd better get changed and hide this outfit or I'll be in trouble...


Back at the palace, the King and Queen had another little talk with
their son about his future.

So? Who are you going to marry?

Shouldn't that be 'whom'?

It might be, but that isn't the point.

PRINCE [carrying the dainty glass slipper with him]
I'm only marrying the girl who fits this shoe!

That's fine, dear, but where is she?

I haven't got the slightest clue. She ran off and this was all she
left behind her.

KING [laughing]
What are you going to do? Get every girl in the country to try it on?

Well, yes, actually...


"It isn't very violent," Benny told the Master. "The other one was
more 'citing than this! I liked that one."

The Master smiled insincerely back at her. "So you told me. And will
you all keep back? No more playing with my shoes, my laces, my
trousers or anything else, or that'll be the end of the story!"

Peri and Susan started to whimper.

"We'll get to the violent bit soon," the Master promised.

Little Victoria looked more worried than ever. "But I don't like
scary stories," she whispered to Jamie.

"Oh, I'll look after you," he promised and then crawled forward to
join little Two and Ben heedlessly.


The next morning, the stepmother and her ugly daughters could talk of
nothing but the mysterious princess. And that was even before they
heard about the newest proclamation from the palace.

CINDERS [taking armfuls of fancy clothing to be mended and washed]
How was the party?

Don't stand there talking, girl! Get on and do your work.

It was good fun. I danced with lots of people.

[Everyone glares at her]

But the prince wouldn't look at either of us. He was obsessed with
this strange girl who came in late.

You know, she looked a lot like you, Poll - Cinders...

STEPMOTHER [interrupting hastily]
What, that princess look like our ragged Cinders? Don't be
ridiculous, Griselda!

But it was her, wasn't it? Why am I not supposed to say that?

Oh, come off it, Jamie, everyone knows the story of Cinderella!

Oh, aye. Cinderella. [To ZOE] Who's Cinderella?

Oh *Jamie*! Look, just copy me and you'll be all right.

NARRATOR [before the plot gets entirely lost and he never reaches the
interesting bit]
Soon, it is the turn of the Stepmother's household to try on the
shoe. Everyone but Cinderella is very excited.

[CINDERS is hiding in the cellar again]

BUTTONS [poking his head through the door]
Why don't you put the dress on and go up there? He'll recognise you,
shoe or no shoe and that'll be an end of it.

He won't want to marry a servant.

Well, apparently he's pretty determined to marry you. Any man who
wanders round the whole kingdom getting hysterical women to try on a
flimsy shoe has got to be mad about you. Or else just plain mad, of

They'd never let me. Besides -

[Both look upstairs as screams of excitement float down towards them.]

I think they're here, so don't be silly. Go get your dress and the
other shoe!

But -


Upstairs, it's Griselda's turn to try on the shoe.

JAMIE / GRISELDA [relieved and getting ready to put his boot back on]
Well, look at that. It doesn't fit. Here, Zoe, you try.

ZOE / GERTRUDE [hissing]

What? Who's Gertrude? I'm Griselda! I mean, I am Griselda, aren't

[ZOE shakes her head.]


Once the stepmother saw that the shoe was too small for her daughter
Griselda, she took him - I mean *her* - to one side and cut off his
toes so that the shoe would fit.

GRISELDA [leaping back at least a metre]

What? Did you say I cut off his toes?

That's what happens. Now get on with it.

[The STEPMOTHER, ZOE and JAMIE have a quick consultation. GRISELDA /
JAMIE slips the shoe onto the front of his foot while ROMANA squirts
tomato sauce into the glass slipper]

JAMIE [less than enthusiastic]
Will you look at that? It fits like a glove.

Certainly more like a glove than a shoe... The prince had agreed to
marry the girl whose foot fit the shoe, so he began the journey back
to the palace with Griselda.

PRINCE [horrified]
But he - I mean she - looks *nothing* like -

Will you lot stop arguing and just do it?

PRINCE [getting down on one knee with huge reluctance]
Griselda, will you marry me?

GRISELDA [looking to ZOE for advice]
Aye. I think so. Is that the end?

No, you imbecile.


However, on the way back, the birds flew past, crying at the prince to
look at Griselda's shoe, where the blood was trickling out.

[The unlikely flock of birds reappears, with the chickens pecking at
GRISELDA's shoe.]

I think they like tomato sauce... Get off!

You've cut your toes off! You're an impostor. And probably some
insane sadist and cross dresser by the looks of things.

I'm not. Look, I didn't ask to be in this. Call me names again and
I'll punch you, your highness!


The Prince returned to the house and allowed Gertrude to try on the
shoe. Again it was too small and this time the stepmother cut off her

It's actually too *big*, but never mind. Where's the tomato sauce?

Again, the prince set off with his prospective bride -

Look, I'm not this stupid. She's much shorter than the girl I danced
with and her hair's the wrong length -

Any more of this arguing and we'll have a large earthquake and put an
end to all of you!

Again, the birds called out to the prince to notice that her feet were
bleeding and they all returned to the house.


This is the last house I've come to. The girl has got to be here, so
come on, cough up.

STEPMOTHER [with fake laugh]
Oh, there's only one other female here, your highness, and she's
merely a dirty little serving maid. You won't be interested in *her*.

[Stares up to address the invisible NARRATOR]
And by the way, can you tell that fugitive husband of mine, that I've
found a copy of the story and he doesn't die. He's not a great deal
of use, true, but there's no excuse for him, dragging me into this and
then pretending to die.

It's too late to resurrect a useless father. Besides, I left the
lentils out as well and nobody's complaining about that.

[BUTTONS appears, dragging a reluctant CINDERS up the steps. A
chicken follows with a 'SAVE THE LENTILS' sign in its beak.]

Very funny, I don't think.

Here she is. Try on the shoe, Cinders!

Ugh, no. It's got tomato sauce all over it! And think how many
people have had their feet in it.

Oh, come on, Pol. We've all had enough of this. Put the shoe on and
we can all go home!

Only if someone washes the sauce off it first.

NARRATOR [getting irritated]
Before the prince could tell them to stop wasting his time, the birds
flew in with the dress and the other shoe for Cinderella.

CINDERS [bending down to take the things from the chickens]
Thank you, birdies.

Right. I've found you. Let's get back to the palace, get married and
get out of here!

Gosh, how romantic. [Glances around but BUTTONS has gone]. Well, I
suppose we should try for a happy ending.


So the prince took Cinderella back the palace. Some time later, the
day of their wedding dawned and the kind Cinders had even remembered
to invite her horrible stepfamily.

[The scene is now a large church, filled with hundreds of faceless
extras. CINDERS is at the top with the PRINCE, the KING and QUEEN and
a PRIEST. The UGLY STEPSISTERS are bridesmaids and the EVIL
STEPMOTHER is watching from nearby.]


Ooh, I love a happy ending. Now, Cinderella, are you sure you want to
marry this prince? [Winks at her]

I never said go into this much detail -

I object!

Oh, dear.

BUTTONS [fighting his way out of the crowd]
I object, too!

What about you?

I object if she objects. Besides, is a shoe size any way to choose a

[An UNKNOWN GIRL walks up the aisle]

I object as well!

Oh, come off it. Nearly home and dry and you lot try to turn things
into a romantic comedy! I know you're all objectionable, but get on
with it!

CINDERS [cross now]

Hello, I'm Rapunzel -

Really? Where's all your hair?

I'm at the end of my story and it's been cut off. [To the PRINCE] I've
been looking for you everywhere. Somebody told me you were wandering
arounded blinded, with amnesia. Well, you look all right to me and I
want to know what you've been up to! [Glares]

[Before the startled PRINCE has chance to answer, DODO also runs out
of the crowd]

That can't be right! Me sister, Snow White - not *that* one - has
been at home with me Mum crying for ages because he never came back
and that bad tempered dwarf had us evicted. I said I'd come and find
him and make him finish the story! And I want to know what his
brother looks like.

What's going on? I don't have a brother! [To the KING and QUEEN]
Unless you two have something you'd like to tell me?

QUEEN / BARBARA [getting angry]
Certainly not, Steven! Ian and I are not in the habit of abandoning
children at some cottager's place, even if this is a fairy story.
Now, just get on and marry whichever one of them you prefer!

Well, that's a bit of a swizz. I'm supposed to marry your brother.
If you don't have one, what am I supposed to do? Marry the evil

If you want to, why not?

I suppose next you'll be claiming you didn't worm your way into our
cottage, disguised as a bear, telling us some sob story about being
under a curse.

I didn't. Sounds an unlikely story, if you ask me.

Well, I suppose it is possible that you *do* have amnesia. Maybe you
just don't remember?

I think I might remember being a bear.

CINDERS [slapping the PRINCE]
Ooh! And you had the nerve to propose to me as well? Come on,
Buttons - let's get out of here!

[As BUTTONS and CINDERS race out of the church hand in hand, the
NARRATOR suddenly finds he seems to be a part of the wedding crowd]

Over here, young man!

What's going on? I'm telling the story - I shouldn't be in it.

ADVISOR [chuckling]
Well, it's the end and everyone seems to be getting what they
deserve. Look, the chickens have turned up on cue, although I don't
think they'll have much luck pecking the stepsisters' eyes out.

[NARRATOR looks and sees what he means, but JAMIE and ZOE are running
for their lives anyway, presumably just to get out of the story]

But why am I here?

ADVISOR [drawing himself up and eying the MASTER sternly]
That young man, is because you've been taking advantage of the book!

Well, I know it's in interesting sort of book, but I don't see -

ADVISOR [sharply]
All those dwarf stories! I suppose you thought they were amusing,

They were. You didn't see your faces...

You've been adding your own stories - putting ideas into the book's
head. It's unruly enough at the best of times, but you've started it
thinking it can move characters around, change stories without even
being told -

It was fun and I don't regret it. But how do I get out again?

Finish the story!

Since Buttons has just run off with the bride, that could be

Dear me, you are a slow-witted young fellow, aren't you? The prince
marries a princess and that's an end to it. And there are two here to
choose from - wait, no - *four* here to choose from.

out of the crowd, looking as annoyed as RAPUNZEL and ROSE RED. The
QUEEN is giving the PRINCE a steely look.]

Perhaps, Steven, *you* would like to explain *this*?

PRINCE [looking panicked]
I can't! All right, I *did* nip off to see Rapunzel a couple of
times, but this is ridiculous!

This man married me and then deserted me - left me to be burnt at the
stake! If it hadn't been for my seven brothers [putting out the fire
with the draft from their wings -

Your brothers have *wings*?

My wicked stepmother turned them into swans. But it would be all
right if the man I married hadn't run off and left me. I demand a

With pleasure. [To the PRIEST] Can you do those as well?

[SLEEPING BEAUTY merely sobs]

Now, son, you really must take responsibility for -

I said I *have* been wandering into Rapunzel's story. But the others
must have confused me with somebody else!

RAPUNZEL [folding her arms]
That's what they all say.


ADVISOR [continuing to talk to THE MASTER]
Yes, well, hmm. Where were we? Couldn't you tell that the book's
been a little temperamental all day? You must have noticed that the
Prince and Cinderella both seemed more interested in other people. Or
are you too slow even for that?

They're only made up characters. In fact, they're only useless
Round's people pretending to be made up characters.

Then the Prince's idea to try to the shoe on to find his bride wasn't
just a clever ploy to avoid marrying the strange girl? How likely was
he to find only *one* person who fitted that shoe? Poor Steven isn't
terribly well-informed when it comes to fairy tales, it seems. And
Cinderella was very reluctant to leave her cellar. Dear me, how
foolish people can be!

They're supposed to do what they're told.

Hmm, yes indeed. But if you mess around with things and cause
trouble, you had best put it right again. Now, hurry up and end the
story before we have chaos in here and all the characters have swapped
stories. You've already got the prince covering several stories at
once - goodness knows where the rest of them have got to -

But the story's never quite the same, so I don't see why I'm supposed
to have -. Ha! You just don't want to be a dwarf again.

Much as I hate being a dwarf and people calling me Doc, that has
*nothing* to do with it. The facts are indsputable! It all depends
on the storyteller. Everyone adapts the stories a little, but you've
been adding extra adventures for the dwarfs. I told you, it's given
the book ideas. You're not paying attention, young man!

[The PRIEST comes over to join them]

Go away! One Doctor is always more than infuriating enough. I don't
need another.

I'd better marry Steven to somebody, hadn't I? It looks as though
there's more book trouble here. I thought I'd left all that behind

NARRATOR [with a deep breath and bad-temperedly taking the Doctor's
So the Prince married his princess -

Sleeping Beauty

Snow White.

- his Princess Rapunzel and they all lived happily ever after, aside
from those birds catching up with the ugly stepsisters and *pecking
their eyes out*, leaving them blind.

[He's sure he can hear RAPUNZEL protesting, but it's drowned out by
another sound, this time from outside the book]


Izzy had arrived and snatched the book from her guest. "I don't tell
them that version! Now, look, you've made poor Victoria cry!"

The Master rose with dignity. "The rest of them liked it."

Ace nodded eagerly. "The evil stepmuvver chopped people's feets off."

Izzy turned to the Master. "The evil stepmother did *what*? What
sort of stories have you been telling these children?"

"It was only the Grimm version - and it wasn't all bad," he found
himself protesting. He didn't want to be banned from storytime when
there was always the possibility of humiliating the Doctor(s) and his
friends in future. "Cinderella married Buttons and lived happily ever

She gave him a look. "I thought you were telling them the Grimm
version. Buttons isn't in that!"

"Try telling *him* that," muttered the Master.

Izzy folded her arms. "I try not to encourage their violent

"Really?" he said. "What a shame!"

She took a deep breath. "So, Mr Saxon -."

The Master smiled and shhed her. "You'll wake little First Doctor and
none of us want that." He reached for the book. "Can I have that

Izzy gave in, but warily.

He flicked through the pages, curious about something else now. If
he'd kept to his original cast -

There was a small illustration on the page, or there would be once
everyone had got into position, racing to form a tableau as he glanced
down at it. A worried Rose was about to marry a beaming Captain Jack.

The Master closed it hastily, considering he'd had a narrow escape
after all. What a Cinderella with Captain Jack in search of a partner
would have been like, he didn't want to imagine.

He tried again. The illustration now showed the ballroom with
hundreds of dead bodies lying about.

"How-? What-?" wondered the Master aloud and then shrugged and handed
the book back to Izzy. "I won't do it again," he lied, looking as
innocent as possible.

She paused, on the brink of barring him from the creche, but the
children had enjoyed the other stories and that book could be a
liability in itself. Izzy wavered. She couldn't always be there to
tell stories. And nobody else was queuing up for the job...

"You'd better not!" she said and told him to go before it was bedtime.

The Master smiled brightly and then left at a run.

And after all, he reasoned, one or two dwarf stories here and there
probably wouldn't cause any more trouble...


MORAL: Too many sequels inevitably leads to a cliched wedding crisis.


This Time Round was created by Tyler Dion
All characters are copyright of the BBC & BBC Wales.