(The Ringmaster enters to the cheers of the crowd,
and cracks his whip. Then he does a quick tap dance and starts his
RINGMASTER: Now welcome folks, I'm sure you'd like to know, we're at
the start of one big circus show. There are acts that are cool and acts
that amaze. Some acts are scary and some acts will daze. Acts of all
kinds, you can count on that, from folks that fly to disappearing acts.
There are lots of surprises for the family at the Greatest Show in the
Galaxy! So many strange surprises, I'm prepared to bet, whatever you've
seen before, you ain't seen nothing yet.
(The Doctor is practising juggling with three
cricket balls and the aid of a book called Juggling for the Complete
ACE [OC]: Professor?
(Some clothes get thrown through the interior door.)
ACE [OC]: Have you seen my Nitro Nine?
DOCTOR: Isn't it in your rucksack?
ACE [OC]: Yeah, but where's my rucksack?
DOCTOR: Interesting question.
(Ace emerges on her hands and knees with a long scarf around her neck.)
ACE: Things don't just vanish.
(One of the three balls up and doesn't come down again.)
(A landing platform by a large billboard
advertising the Psychic Circus - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy -
starts spouting smoke, then a three wheeled motorcycle appears, ridden
by a man with very large wings on his helmet. He drives it off the ramp
then opens a side pod and takes out a hot burger in a bun, then bites
into it with relish.)
(A curious six legged gizmo with two small solar
panels and an antenna on its head appears. The Doctor is on a step
ladder hunting for his ball in the console room ceiling.)
DOCTOR: What's that peculiar noise?
ACE: What peculiar noise? I don't hear any peculiar.
(They notice the gizmo.)
DOCTOR: How extraordinary.
(He comes down the ladder.)
DOCTOR: It materialised inside the Tardis. Just the kind of thing you'd
expect to see in this part of the galaxy.
(The gizmo trundles across the floor to the console.)
ACE: Is that just what you'd expect too, Professor?
DOCTOR: Not entirely, no.
(The gizmo then slaps a lead onto the console and the scanner starts up
with an advertisement.)
ADVERT: Yes, it's festival time at the Psychic Circus, the Greatest
Show in the Galaxy! So why not come along and have the time of your
life with the nonstop action of its glittering circus ring. There's big
ACE: No, I don't believe it. Junk mail. Used to get loads of this stuff
through the letterbox and now we're being bombarded with it inside the
DOCTOR: Yes, junk mail gets everywhere.
ADVERT: If you want to watch or you want to compete, there's a great
time for you on the planet Segonax. The planet has easy access via our
special polyportable landing bays.
(Ace disconnects the gizmo.)
DOCTOR: Oh, Ace, I thought you'd have been interested in the circus.
ACE: No, kid's stuff. I went once. Didn't even have any tigers. It was
naff and it was boring. Apart from the clowns, of course.
DOCTOR: What, you found them funny?
ACE: No, creepy.
DOCTOR: I think you're being very unfair. A lot of the acts in the
circus require a great deal of skill and courage. That's something you
should appreciate. Anyway, I rather fancy entering the Festival talent
(And starts to play a pair of salad spoons on his leg.)
ACE: Oh no, not the spoons again.
(The gizmo reattaches itself.)
ADVERT: Scared to come to the Psychic Circus?
ADVERT: Scared to take part?
ACE: No, course not.
ADVERT: Well, if you are, then go ahead, ignore me. I quite understand.
ACE: I don't believe it. Junk mail that talks back.
DOCTOR: Shall we just fling it away and forget about it? I mean, I'm
sure the Psychic Circus isn't scary at all. It's just a device to get
us to go.
ACE: Okay, you win, junk box. I'm not scared of anything.
(A young man and a girl run across the rough, dry
ground. He falls. He is wearing a yellow jacket with lots of frogging
on it, while she is in a lacy floral dress.)
FLOWERCHILD: Come on, we can't give up now.
BELLBOY: They'll catch us, I know it. They'll drag us back to the
FLOWERCHILD: Oh, Bellboy, please. You promised. You know it's down to
us now. We're the only ones left to fight. Come on.
(A Bentley hearse cruises along the skyline. It stops and the passenger
window winds down to reveal a white-faced clown in undertakers
clothing. He gets out and looks up at a pair of kites in the sky,
flying without the aid of strings. His companion adjusts a control in
the car and the kites swoop away. They follow.
Meanwhile, Bellboy and the Flowerchild arrive at the dunes. The kites
BELLBOY: Flowerchild, look. Your kites, your beautiful kites.
(The Tardis materialises on the rocky shore. The Doctor and Ace come
DOCTOR: So this is Segonax. Not quite the green
and pleasant land we'd been led to expect. Still, I've had good reports
of the friendliness of the natives.
ACE: Don't see these landing bays, Professor.
DOCTOR: Oh, I expect that's for those not fortunate enough to possess a
ACE: So now where?
DOCTOR: I'll ask for directions over there.
[By the snack stall]
(They head for a snack stall in the middle of
nowhere as the tricycle rider drives along a dusty track, throwing the
remains of his burger over his shoulder.)
DOCTOR: Good afternoon. I'm the Doctor, this is my friend Ace.
(The lady stallholder looks up from peeling a turnip. Everyone say Hi!
to the formidable Peggy
STALLHOLDER: What sort of costume do you call that?
DOCTOR: I don't understand.
STALLHOLDER: And her's is no better. We don't want your type around
(She pushes between Ace and the Doctor. His hand goes into something
gunky on the stall, possibly the Plaup from Vulpana at 30 epsy.)
DOCTOR: Ah, and what type might that be?
STALLHOLDER: Wierdos. You can tell them at a glance, you know.
ACE: Friendly natives, eh, Professor?
DOCTOR: Let's not be hasty.
(The Stallholder uses a sharp cleaver to chop a melon.)
FLOWERCHILD: There's no choice.
BELLBOY: No. The kites will track us forever.
FLOWERCHILD: One of us must get there.
(She kisses him, then takes off a large circular earring.)
FLOWERCHILD: I want you to have this.
BELLBOY: Thanks. Look, I'll wait here awhile and see if I can find a
longer route round. I shall draw them after me.
FLOWERCHILD: No silly risks, now.
BELLBOY: Go on. Go on.
(The kites hang motionless. The clown gets out of
CLOWN: They can't have lost them.
(The kites move.)
CLOWN: I thought not.
BELLBOY: Come on, kites. Find me.
[By the snack stall]
(Ace is digging her fingers into the soft innards
of a large fruit.)
ACE: Yuck. Do we really have to eat this muck?
DOCTOR: Elementary diplomacy, my dear Ace. She apparently thinks we're
a pair of undesirable intergalactic hippies. We must try and convince
her we're nice, clean-living people who eat up all our fresh fruit and
pay our way.
ACE: Paying good money for this muck is daylight robbery. Do I have to
DOCTOR: Every last bite. Besides, we want the charming lady to tell us
how to find the circus, don't we. Delicious, madam. Quite delicious.
(Bellboy shouts up at the kites.)
BELLBOY: Come on, then! It's me, Bellboy. It's who you're looking for,
isn't it? What are you waiting for? Come on!
(Flowerchild has got to a painted bus with a picture of Bellboy on it
and the slogan The Road is Open and the Rides are Free on it. Also Give
Some Money. She goes inside.)
[By the snack stall]
DOCTOR: Er, no. Delicious but extremely filling. I'm sure you will have
gathered by now, dear lady, we're not the kind of hobbledyhoys and
vagabonds you take such exception to. Indeed, as I said before, I'm known as
STALLHOLDER: Some people will call themselves anything.
DOCTOR: Yes, well, be that as it may, we would appreciate your help.
You see, we're looking for
(The noise of the tricycle cuts the air as it drives down the track.)
STALLHOLDER: Here comes another one of your lot.
ACE: Look at that ace bike, Professor.
(The bike pulls up in a series of backfires, and Ace runs over.)
ACE: Need a hand? I reckon it could be a stuck valve.
NORD: Get lost.
ACE: It's a great bike.
NORD: Go on, hop it, before I get angry.
ACE: Well, if you don't want to save yourself some time, then it's up
to you. Course, it could be a valve
NORD: I've told you, girl, get lost! Or I'll do something horrible to
ACE: Suit yourself. I hope your big end goes.
STALLHOLDER: He'll be going there. They all go there, you know.
DOCTOR: Go where?
STALLHOLDER: The Psychic Circus. All the riff-raff go there. All the
infernal extraterrestrials like him. Monopods from Lelex, Doctors.
DOCTOR: I don't understand. You say that he's going to the circus?
STALLHOLDER: Of course. Everyone of them who's up to no good goes
there. We locals wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
DOCTOR: Is it far, this appalling spectacle?
STALLHOLDER: Miles and miles. Why do you suppose he's got that noisy
monstrosity polluting the countryside? Here, you're not thinking of
going there, are you?
DOCTOR: No, no, the very idea, no. Just a moment, would you excuse me?
(The Doctor goes over to Ace and Nord.)
DOCTOR: Ace, any chance of a lift, do you think?
ACE: Worth a try, I suppose. He doesn't look after that bike, you know.
If only he'd let me have a go,
DOCTOR: Yes, yes, never mind, Ace. Let's concentrate on getting a lift
to the circus. Excuse me. If you're going to the circus, I wonder if
could possibly give
NORD: Do you want me to do something unpleasant to your face?
DOCTOR: No, not really, no.
NORD: No one rides with me! For I am Nord, Vandal of the roads.
(Flowerchild gets off the bus carrying a cash box,
and tries to open it. A dark clothed figures follows her out and grabs
her round the throat.)
CONDUCTOR: Hold tight please.
DOCTOR: Well, there's nothing like a nice walk in
ACE: And this is nothing like a nice walk in the countryside.
(The hearse comes down the track towards them.)
DOCTOR: Now, now, now, it could be worse. You could be carrying that
heavy rucksack of yours.
ACE: Yeah, what about my rucksack, Professor? What did you do with it?
(The hearse sounds its horn and the Doctor pushes Ace out of the way as
it drives straight between them without slowing.)
DOCTOR: They seem to be in rather a hurry. Looking for customers.
ACE: Well, I wouldn't be so chuffed if I kept getting visitors like
Nord the Vandal, I suppose.
DOCTOR: That's true. But then, how do they expect a hard case like him
to going to the circus anyway?
ACE: Maybe he got conned, like I was.
DOCTOR: Something evil's happened here, I can feel it.
ACE: To do with the circus?
DOCTOR: Who knows.
ACE: Doctor, look.
(Ace points over the ridge to a campsite.)
(A silver haired man in khaki and wearing a solar
topi is surveying the landscape with binoculars. Everyone say Hi! to
the wonderful T P
McKenna. His young female companion has green hair and is
examining a metal arm sticking out of the sand.)
CAPTAIN: I was probably the first person to visit the valley for
several millennia, at the very least. So something like this, which for
the ordinary dull old stop-at-home might seem quite extraordinary, is
just run of the mill as far as I'm concerned. Well, of course since
you've never been
DOCTOR: Greetings. I'm the Doctor and this is my friend Ace.
CAPTAIN: And I am Captain Cook, the eminent intergalactic explorer. You
happen to have heard of me, old boy?
MAGS: And I am Mags.
(Ace touches the arm and the hand snaps shut.)
[Outside the Circus]
(A clown is balancing one-footed on a wire when
Nord drives up.)
NORD: Oi, white-face. White-face! Where do I park for the gig at the
(The clown wobbles and sort of gestures thataway, so Nord drives
towards the Big Top. A large ringed moon hangs in the daylight sky.)
(Mags pours tea for the Captain and the Doctor.
The Captain has a china cup, the Doctor has a tin mug.)
CAPTAIN: Mmm, delicious. My own special blend, of course. I take it
everywhere. Bet you can't guess the blend, eh, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Well, I could be wrong, of course, but isn't it from the Groz
Valley of Melogothon?
CAPTAIN: Good. Very good.
ACE: (to Mags) I'll give you a hand.
DOCTOR: Oh, Ace, wait a minute.
CAPTAIN: Were you ever on Melogothon, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Well as a matter of fact, I was.
CAPTAIN: The frozen pits of Overod are worth seeing, of course, though
much overrated, I feel. All right for the trainee explorer. Old hands
like myself need something a bit more exotic.
DOCTOR: Why come here, then?
CAPTAIN: Sorry, old boy?
DOCTOR: I said, why bother to come here?
CAPTAIN: Well, I'm told the Psychic Circus is quite an interesting
little show, particularly at this time, when everybody turns up to
compete in the Festival. Yes, besides, she wanted to come.
DOCTOR: Do you often travel together?
CAPTAIN: Of late, yes. I found her on the planet Vulpana. Between you
and me, old boy, she's rather an unusual little specimen.
DOCTOR: Of what?
CAPTAIN: Ah, that would be telling, old boy. What about yours?
DOCTOR: I never think of Ace as a specimen of anything.
CAPTAIN: Keep your shirt on, Doctor. Everything's a specimen of
something. Take that robot over there, for example.
ACE: What do you reckon, Professor?
DOCTOR: I suppose it was buried for some good reason.
ACE: Well, maybe we'll find out what that reason was, eh, Professor?
(The now uncovered robot suddenly tilts upright, knocking Mags over and
grabbing her leg.)
ACE: Gordon Bennett!
(Laser's shoot from its eyes, hitting the camp stool and sending the
Doctor tumbling. He rushes to help free Mags.)
DOCTOR: Quick. Help, Captain.
(The Captain keeps sipping his tea.)
CAPTAIN: You don't often see one like that, do you.
DOCTOR: I've seen ones like this quite often enough, thank you very
ACE: Do something! I've got it.
(Ace picks up a shovel and hits the robot's head. It stops. The Doctor
helps Mags get out of range.)
CAPTAIN: Well, well. More tea, perhaps?
(There is a new arrival - a geeky lad in round
glasses on a mountain bike, at the landing bay.
Meanwhile the Conductor drags Flowerchild's body away, leaving behind
her other earring.
The hearse follows the kites.)
[By the snack stall]
(Bellboy staggers up.)
BELLBOY: Excuse me.
(And falls down.)
STALLHOLDER: You can't lie down there, you know.
(The hearse pulls up.)
BELLBOY: At last.
CLOWN: Where's the girl?
BELLBOY: She'll have reached there by now.
CLOWN: If she has, she'll regret it.
(The clown and his companion drag the Bellboy away.)
STALLHOLDER: Is there no end to you wierdos?
CAPTAIN: It's obviously some sort of shrine. I saw
one much like this on Dioscuros.
DOCTOR: A shrine or not, I can't help feeling something sinister
CAPTAIN: I wonder you manage to explore anything. Everything seems to
alarm you so.
DOCTOR: Not everything. I trust my instincts, and you may recall
they're not always wrong.
ACE: Oh, come on, Professor. Let's go and explore.
CAPTAIN: I agree with your young friend. Let's explore.
[On the bus]
ACE: Here, look at this.
CAPTAIN: I say. Well, well, well, it is quite something.
ACE: Wonder if it still goes.
DOCTOR: Ace, I wouldn't.
(As Ace settles herself behind the steering wheel, the robot conductor
comes through a curtain towards the back of the bus.)
CONDUCTOR: Any more fares, please? Any more fares, please? No standing
inside. Hold tight, please.
(The Conductor turns the handle of its ticket machine, and an energy
bolt zooms up to the sun roof.)
CAPTAIN: I say, steady on, old chap.
CONDUCTOR: Fares please. Hold on tight. Ding, ding.
CAPTAIN: No, no, no, you've got it wrong, old boy. He's paying the
fares, not me.
(The Captain disembarks rapidly.)
CONDUCTOR: Any more fares?
DOCTOR: I would like a ticket, actually. I'd like a there and back off
peak weekend break supersaver senior citizen bimonthly season with
optional added facilities a free cup of coffee in a plastic glass a
crocodile sandwich and make it snappy, you mechanic moron!
(The robot drops its head.)
DOCTOR: If I might take a look at that ticket machine of yours?
(The robot holds it up.)
DOCTOR: Ah, yes.
(The Doctor turns the handle and zaps the robot. Bang!)
DOCTOR: Just the ticket.
(The Ticket office is strictly speaking a small
caravan inside a tent housing various advertising boards of the
Circus's trip to various planets. It is linked to the Big Top by a
corridor with walls of billowing cloth. The clowns drop Bellboy at the
Fortune Teller's feet.)
MORGANA: What have you done?
CLOWN: Not nearly enough.
MORGANA: We need him.
CLOWN: He'll have to be punished, Morgana.
(The Clown removes his black clothes to reveal his silver costume.)
MORGANA: Where is she?
CLOWN: He still thinks she may have escaped.
MORGANA: Listen, Bellboy, I
CLOWN: Save your breath. Take him back in the ring. He knows what's
BELLBOY: No. No. No! No! No!
(Bellboy is dragged away by clowns.)
MORGANA: What if a visitor arrives now?
CLOWN: If they come, they come.
CAPTAIN: Letrepos, for example. Sights like this
are every day.
DOCTOR: Some people can't bear to be proved wrong.
ACE: He'd have let tinhead do you in.
DOCTOR: Oh, let's not bear a grudge. He can't help being a pompous,
selfish, self-satisfied meddler.
ACE: Hmm. Mags might be okay if he wasn't around.
DOCTOR: If a little odd.
(Ace finds Flowerchild's earring.)
ACE: Doctor, look.
DOCTOR: Do you like it?
DOCTOR: Well, if the keeper's not here, the finder has it.
(She pins it onto her jacket.)
ACE: What do you reckon happened here, Professor? Were the people in
this bus attacked on their way to the circus?
DOCTOR: Presumably. Whoever attacked them, destroyed them and wrecked
ACE: And the evil you felt, was that the bus conductor?
DOCTOR: Yes, I think so. Anyway, whoever left him here on guard's gone
now. Perhaps millennia ago.
ACE: Nothing to do with the circus being scary?
DOCTOR: I'm afraid I think not. No, that was all just good publicity.
ACE: Pity. It might have made it more interesting. Are we still going
DOCTOR: Yes. I feel just in the right mood. And after two brushes with
death in one day, I hope you might be.
ACE: If you say so, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Ah, so, Doctor. You can remember.
[Outside the circus]
(The Captain's jeep drives past a man on stilts.)
CAPTAIN: On one of my trips to Neogorgon there was a whole planet with electronic dogs' heads submerged in mud.
[By the snack stall]
(The geek on the bike pedals up.)
STALLHOLDER: Hello, young man. Just arrived from the landing port?
WHIZZKID: That's right.
STALLHOLDER: Oh, you've no idea what a relief for me it is to see such
a nice, clean, respectable young man, after the riff-raff I usually
have to deal with. Can I help you at all?
WHIZZKID: Yes, please. Could you tell me the way to the Psychic Circus?
(The Stallholder's smile fades away.)
CLOWN: The show is about to start.
MORGANA: I've seen enough already.
CAPTAIN: Greetings, my good woman. This is the Psychic Circus, isn't
(Morgana puts on a Transylvanian accent.)
MORGANA: Why yes, that's right.
CAPTAIN: Ah, sounds like things are going well. Come along, Mags.
MORGANA: But er
CAPTAIN: But what?
MORGANA: You can't go in just now. There is a speciality act being
CAPTAIN: All the better, my dear.
MORGANA: No, you don't understand.
(The Clown appears, laughs, and gestures for the Captain and Mags to
CAPTAIN: Thank you, my good fellow. Thank you.
[Outside the Circus]
(The Doctor and Ace walk past a clown on a tall
DOCTOR: Not as far as we feared. Look.
ACE: I still think clowns are creepy.
(The Ringmaster enters the Big Top and cracks his whip as the Captain
and Mags come in. The funeral clowns drop Bellboy into the ring. We
watch Mags' face as a flickering light starts up and Bellboy groans.
Outside we can only hear the Entry of the Gladiators music and
DOCTOR: Listen, they're having a good time in there.
ACE: Don't you hear it?
DOCTOR: Hear what?
ACE: That screaming.
(The Ringmaster uses a white sound device to mask Mags' scream.)
DOCTOR: I can't hear anything.
ACE: I was sure I heard
DOCTOR: Oh, you're just making excuses because you don't like circuses.
ACE: No. No, it's not that.
DOCTOR: Well, are we going in or aren't we?
(The clown comes out and waves to the Doctor and
Ace, then goes back inside.)
CLOWN: Two more.
[Outside the Circus]
ACE: I did hear it, that screaming.
DOCTOR: But not now.
(Ace shakes her head.)
DOCTOR: So we can go in?
ACE: Yeah, okay.
DOCTOR: Your enthusiasm's overwhelming.
MORGANA: Welcome one and all to the Psychic
(Ace turns to leave but the Doctor pulls her back.)
DOCTOR: Ace, you promised. (to Morgana) I'm the Doctor and this is Ace.
I must apologise for my young friend.
MORGANA: Oh, it is no problem. All of us around here believe in letting
our feelings hang out. I mean, there is no point in getting uptight,
now is there?
(Ace sees the clown watching and becomes tense.)
ACE: I don't believe this.
MORGANA: That is why we got into circuses in the first place.
MORGANA: The founder members of the Psychic Circus.
DOCTOR: Ah, I see.
MORGANA: We were really into personal expression and the Circus gave us
a chance to develop ourselves by expressing our individual skills.
(The Doctor sees three kites with eyes painted on them.)
DOCTOR: I wonder if you've a special skill, if I might enquire.
MORGANA: Fortune telling. Would you like to see the future?
(Morgana turns over the top card on her Tarot pack. It is the Hanged
Man, symbol of major change. The Doctor does not turn round to look at
DOCTOR: Not just yet.
(The funeral clowns carry the robot bus conductor backstage on a
DOCTOR: The Psychic Circus has grown into quite a sizeable operation,
by the looks of it.
MORGANA: The greatest show in the galaxy.
(The Doctor looks around their collection of advertising posters.)
DOCTOR: Quite so, yes. My, you have travelled, haven't you? The planet
Othris, the Boriatic Wastes, Marpesia and the Grand Pagoda of Cinethon.
MORGANA: Yes, we used to have a great time in the old days, going from
planet to planet. But we've really got settled in here since
MORGANA: Well, you have to hang up your travelling shoes and stop
wandering sooner or later, don't you?
DOCTOR: So I've been told. Personally, I just keep on wandering.
RINGMASTER [OC]: Will you please take your seats, thank you.
ACE: Yes, Professor?
DOCTOR: Well, are we going in or aren't we?
MORGANA: You're sure you want to go in?
DOCTOR: Yes, that's why we came here in the first place.
MORGANA: Look, I don't know how to put this, but
(The clown comes out.)
MORGANA: Of course, go right in. Do your own thing. Enjoy yourselves.
DOCTOR: Thank you. Oh, tickets. We forgot to buy some tickets.
DOCTOR: To go in.
CLOWN: Ha ha! You're in already.
(Noises of a massive crowd cheering.)
DOCTOR: Oh. Sounds as if you're doing really good business.
CLOWN: This way, please.
(The clown sees Flowerchild's earring on Ace's jacket as she passes
(It is dark and quiet as the Doctor and Ace enter.
They whisper to each other.)
ACE: I can't see a thing.
DOCTOR: Neither can I.
ACE: And the cheering's stopped.
DOCTOR: Perhaps we're between performances. Let's see if we can find a
(The Doctor feels his way to the stands and climbs the steps. He stubs
ACE: Found somewhere to sit, Professor?
DOCTOR: That's one way of looking at it, if we could see. Over here.
DOCTOR: I said, over here.
(They settle down.)
DOCTOR: In a moment our eyes'll get used to the darkness.
ACE: Assuming there's anything worth seeing.
(There is a rustling noise nearby.)
(On the row above them sits a 1950's family, Father, Mother and a
little girl between them. They are eating a noisy snack.)
GIRL: Daddy. Daddy.
GIRL: I want an ice cream.
DAD: You've already had one.
GIRL: But Daddy.
DAD: I told you once and I'm not going to tell you again. Now shut up
and eat your popcorn.
DOCTOR: We're not alone.
ACE: Yeah, but it looks like it's just us and them. What a con. I mean,
where's Mags and the Captain?
DOCTOR: Perhaps they haven't arrived yet. Who knows? Anyway, I'm going
to have an ice cream.
MUM: They should be starting up again soon. Have a crisp, Father.
DOCTOR: Greetings. Not many in today, are there. Are you regulars or is
this your first visit, too? Let me introduce myself. I'm
(The Mother holds out the bag of crisps.)
DOCTOR: Oh, thank you very much. Delicious.
(The circus music starts and the lights come up.)
ACE: Professor. Professor, it's starting.
DOCTOR: Well, it's been a pleasure.
(The Doctor returns to sit with Ace as the ring fills with tumbling and
ACE: If you like this sort of thing.
DOCTOR: No, no, I mean the memorial stones. Do you see them? Look.
(Placed at intervals around the ring are old carved stones. The
Ringmaster enters and the clowns freeze.)
RINGMASTER: Now welcome folks, I mean that from the heart, because the
Greatest Show is about to start. It's happening right here before your
very eyes and one thing's for sure, you're in for quite a surprise. But
then, nothing's quite as it seems to be at the Greatest Show in the
(The Ringmaster adjusts the controls in the back of one clown and it
does a somersault.)
RINGMASTER: Now welcome folks, we've got a brand new act. He's a real
find and no doubt that's a fact. He'll entertain you, he'll make you
stare, and our great new act is seated over there!
(The spotlight falls on the Doctor.)
DOCTOR: Oh, thank you, but
RINGMASTER: Come on, Doctor. Don't be shy.
DOCTOR: Well, I'm not really sure that I should.
RINGMASTER: Oh, no false modesty. We know you're good.
DOCTOR: Well, this is most unexpected. Are you sure you want me?
RINGMASTER: There's no mistake, Doc. Come on in. Feel free.
ACE: Don't go, Professor.
DOCTOR: Why, what harm could it do?
RINGMASTER: Exactly. But the decision's up to you.
(Wearing a big grin, the Doctor pushes past Ace and hurries down the
ring, to canned applause.)
ACE: No, Doctor!
(The Doctor has barely got into the ring when the clowns start throwing
their clubs past him, front and back.)
DOCTOR: Well, you certainly didn't waste any time. I had expected to
see what the opposition was up to before I put myself forward for the
(Ace tries to run out of the Big Top but is surrounded by clowns behind
the seating where the Doctor cannot see.)
DOCTOR: But since you insist.
RINGMASTER: Oh, we do, but no doubt you'd like to get yourself prepared
DOCTOR: Well, yes, I
RINGMASTER: Let me show you and your charming assistant to your
DOCTOR: Oh, thank you very much. Ace!
CLOWN: Where did you find that earring?
ACE: Are you a robot too?
CLOWN: So tell me where you found it.
(Ace gets away.)
CLOWN: After her.
RINGMASTER: Right this way, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Thank you very much, but where's Ace? I don't think she
RINGMASTER: Oh, she'll be coming.
CAPTAIN [OC]: Iniphitus, where the Galvanic Catastrophods are not what
(The Doctor looks through to where the Captain is drinking tea and
talking at a bored Nord while Mags is staring at nothing.)
CAPTAIN: No, but they're still worth a look if you're doing a tour of
the southern nebula and have an eon or two to spare. You. Well, well.
DOCTOR: Captain Cook, I presume. So you had arrived after all.
CAPTAIN: But of course. Come and join us, Doctor. It's one big happy
family here, eh, Nord?
NORD: Except when you're gassing on.
DOCTOR: Well, I don't really think I
CAPTAIN: Nonsense, we're having a ball here.
DOCTOR: Very well then. Mags. Do sit down, Doctor.
(Mags give up her seat next to the Captain and pours out some tea.)
DOCTOR: Thank you very much.
CAPTAIN: Yes, there we are. Comfy?
CAPTAIN: That's the spirit.
(Bars slide down over the entrance, then the curtains are all pulled
back to reveal that the quartet are actually in a - )
CAPTAIN: Anything the matter, old chap?
DOCTOR: It's a trap! I've fallen into a trap! I've fallen for it.
CAPTAIN: Yes, I know, old boy. Never mind. Have some tea. A very
similar thing happened to me once, you know.
(Ace uses the pin of the earring to slash the billowing fabric of the
backstage corridors and hide from the pursuing clowns.)
CAPTAIN: Why what?
DOCTOR: Why let me be trapped? It's so pointless. I could have saved
you, Nord and Mags.
CAPTAIN: I wouldn't be too sure about that, Doctor. These circus
chappies are pretty smart customers for all their let it all hang out
MAGS: Maybe we could have escaped if we'd made a break for it there and
then. If only you'd
CAPTAIN: Now, now, Mags. No use in getting upset, and that's an order.
DOCTOR: What about you? I mean, why didn't you speak up?
(Nord growls. The Doctor growls back.)
DOCTOR: What kind of answer's that?
CAPTAIN: Save your energy, Doctor. You'll soon see why. Anyway, all of
us in here have developed a survival philosophy, which is why we
welcomed you in.
DOCTOR: What is all this, then? I thought there was a talent contest
CAPTAIN: Well, yes, but in a way it's more like a survival of the
(A man in a suede jacket pushes a broom round the outside of the cage.)
CAPTAIN: Oh, that's Deadbeat. Yes, he does odd jobs about the place,
makes the tea for me, things like that. Don't bother too much about
him, though. Fellow's mind's completely gone.
DEADBEAT: Gone. Gone. Oh really gone. All really gone down the road
(Ace sneaks out and hides behind the kites while
Morgana lays out Tarot cards. The Ringmaster comes up to her.)
MORGANA: We have to talk.
(Nord tries to grab the chuckling Deadbeat.)
NORD: Get out of it! I hate your sort, cos I'm Nord, see? The toughest
infernal extraterrestrial there is.
DOCTOR: What a fool I've been.
CAPTAIN: Frankly, old chap, I have to agree.
DOCTOR: I should have listened to Ace.
CAPTAIN: Number one rule of the intergalactic explorer, Doctor. If you
hear somebody talking about good vibes and letting it all hang out, run
MAGS: We didn't.
CAPTAIN: That's beside the point.
DOCTOR: What happens in there?
CAPTAIN: In where?
DOCTOR: In the ring, during the talent contest.
CAPTAIN: Something pretty nasty.
RINGMASTER [OC}: Next contestant ready, please.
CAPTAIN: Oh, here, Nord.
CAPTAIN: Remember our agreement?
NORD: Eh? Oh, yeah, course.
CAPTAIN: Well, heads, heads or tails?
(The Captain holds out his clenched fists to Nord.)
(The Captain slaps a coin onto his left fist.)
CAPTAIN: You're on next.
(Nord grabs the Captain by the throat.)
NORD: I ain't going on next!
CAPTAIN: But we all agreed, didn't we, Mags?
(Mags leaps on Nord's back and he lets go of the Captain.)
CAPTAIN: Good girl.
(The clown enters.)
CAPTAIN: He's next, I believe.
CLOWN: Get him ready.
(Two robot clowns fetch Nord.)
DOCTOR: You were lucky, Captain.
CAPTAIN: Not really. I got a whole set of these silly little nick-nacks
from some bug-eyed monster when I was on the planet Leophantos.
(Two heads on one and two tails on the other.)
CAPTAIN: Like I said, Doctor. Every man for himself here.
(The clown gives the Doctor three juggling clubs before he leaves with
DOCTOR: What am I supposed to do with these?
CAPTAIN: Practise juggling, I suppose. Your chances of survival in the
ring are better, of course, if you keep them entertained.
DOCTOR: Why, do they let you out again?
CAPTAIN: No, but you last longer.
(The Doctor drops the clubs.)
[Outside the Circus]
(Whizzkid pedals up to the stilt-walker.)
WHIZZKID: All right?
(They wave at each other.)
(Ace is eavesdropping.)
MORGANA: Just think of all those tickets we've sold. Does that make you
feel good? It wasn't always like this, was it. Not before we came to
this dreadful place. We used to have fun. We were free spirits then.
RINGMASTER: We are now.
MORGANA: You think so? It feels more like we're part of a machine.
RINGMASTER: Look, we're not leaving, if that's what you mean.
MORGANA: We must!
RINGMASTER: You keep saying that, but you haven't gone, have you?
MORGANA: I tried, but
RINGMASTER: Listen, just as long as they keep on coming, and they will,
no doubt of that, we are a success. Don't you understand? An
intergalactic success. Now, the others, they couldn't take the pace,
that's all. Bellboy, Deadbeat, Flowerchild, the rest. Don't you
understand? They wanted to live in the past, the old lazy way. Not us.
We'll make the Psychic Circus known everywhere.
MORGANA: Known for what?
(The clown enters.)
CLOWN: That new pair worry me. The girl that escaped had one of
RINGMASTER: Have they found the girl?
CLOWN: Not yet, but she can't have gone far. I'll search for her
RINGMASTER: Yeah, you do that. Make sure you find her.
(The Ringmaster leaves.)
MORGANA: And Bellboy?
CLOWN: Let's hope he's learned his lesson, shall we? We'd better get
him back to work. Bellboy made them all. Bellboy can repair them.
MORGANA: But will he ever be able to
(Ace touches a kite, which starts chiming. She knocks it over trying to
shut it up and runs round the ticket office with the clowns in pursuit.
Then Whizzkid comes in.)
WHIZZKID: Hello. This is the Psychic Circus, isn't it?
MORGANA: Yes, that's right.
WHIZZKID: Oh great! I've come halfway across the southern nebula to be
here. I want to enter the talent contest. I know all about the Psychic
Circus, you see. In fact, I'm your greatest fan.
(Ace runs through the tented corridors until she enters a room where
Bellboy is tied to a workbench.)
(Nord has been dressed in a strongman's leopard
skin costume over his biker leathers.)
NORD: I'll show you. Easy. Easy!
(The clowns take Nord out.)
DOCTOR: It frightens you, doesn't it, Mags?
MAGS: Oh, he'll be fine. Just like the other one was.
DOCTOR: You saw what happened in there?
DOCTOR: Aren't you going to tell me about it?
MAGS: See for yourself!
CAPTAIN: Don't bother Mags, Doctor, will you? You have to be careful
with these rare specimens.
DOCTOR: What do you mean?
CAPTAIN: You'll see.
ACE: Look, I'm trying to help you, but you're not
making it very easy. Can't you at least tell me what
(Heavy footsteps outside.)
ACE: Great. Don't tell them, will you?
(Ace hides behind the workbench and the clown enters. Bellboy recoils
CLOWN: Learnt your lesson, eh, Bellboy? No more running away now. Good,
because I've got some important repair work for you to do. The
Conductor's been damaged. That girl must be somewhere.
(Nord enters and does a good snatch and grab on a
barbell. The family lift score cards - three 9s.)
RINGMASTER: A man of might is Nord. And now he'll go for broke by
making all you laugh with his most favourite joke.
NORD: Eh? What, do a gag? Like a joke? Yeah, well, I'm coming down like
on the Psychic Circus tonight on the way
(The scorecards are three zeros and the canned crowd boos.)
(The zapping noise can be heard and the strobing
DOCTOR: Is this what you saw before?
MAGS: Not exactly, but just as bad.
(There is a peal of thunder then a big flash, and smoke. The Ringmaster
picks up a piece of charred leather from the middle of the ring to
DOCTOR: Would you let something like that happen to you?
MAGS: Would you?
WHIZZKID: It must be awfully exciting working for
the Psychic Circus, Morgana. Particularly when you did your tour of the
Boreatic Wastes. I think that most of your admirers would agree with me
that that was one of your finest ever gigs. Well, in so far as you can
tell from the posters
MORGANA: Would you like to be getting along inside?
WHIZZKID: You mean I can go in, just like that?
MORGANA: Yes. Go right now, please.
WHIZZKID: Oh wow!
(The Doctor is practising his juggling with Mags.)
CAPTAIN: It's not going to work. I remember when I was on the baleful
plains of Grolon, I
MAGS: I don't care.
(Mags and the Doctor go to the cage door, where a pair robot clowns
DOCTOR: I believe I'm on first.
MAGS: No, I'm ahead of you.
DOCTOR: No, you're not.
MAGS: No, I am.
DOCTOR: I insist on going out first.
MAGS: Oh no, you don't.
DOCTOR: Oh yes, I do!
(The Ringmaster enters.)
RINGMASTER: Now listen folks, we have a great new act. He's a real
find, there's no doubt that's a fact. He'll entertain you, he'll make
you stare, and our great new act is seated over there!
(The spotlight finds Whizzkid.)
MUM: I hope he's better than the last one.
DAD: Couldn't be much worse.
GIRL: Mum, Mum.
MUM: Shut up and eat your popcorn.
DOCTOR: Look, I insist in going on first.
MAGS: I told you, I am.
DOCTOR: I am!
(The clowns come over and the door slides up. The Doctor and Mags knock
them out with the clubs.)
DOCTOR: Join the club. Captain?
CAPTAIN: No thanks, old boy. I'll sit this one out. Goodbye, Mags.
MAGS: Bye, Captain.
[Outside the workshop]
CLOWN: That'll do. Take it back to the bus.
(Ace watches them leave. Deadbeat comes up behind her and won't let her
past. Then the clown grabs her.)
CLOWN: Let me entertain you.
WHIZZKID: Well, I have to say it's a real thrill
for me to be here at the Psychic Circus. I've collected all your
posters, you know.
RINGMASTER: Have you now?
WHIZZKID: From all your venues. And also I've got some very interesting
(They see the clowns lying on the floor. The Captain smiles at the
RINGMASTER [OC]: Oh Doctor, oh Doctor, have no
fear. Calling the Doctor. There's no escape. Repeat, there is no
MAGS: Won't they take no for an answer?
DOCTOR: No. Oh, we should have made straight away for the open air, I
(They are by a large stone structure.)
DOCTOR: How extraordinary. They're just like the stones in the Big Top.
Fascinating. I wonder how long they've been here?
MAGS: Maybe they were always here.
DOCTOR: That thought had occurred to me. Let's investigate.
MAGS: Oh! Can you see it?
DOCTOR: See what?
MAGS: That moon sign.
(Mags turns away from the twin crescents in the stone lintel.)
DOCTOR: The moon? Why does it frighten you? Tell me.
MAGS: Don't ask. Just lets get out of here.
(The clown manhandles Ace inside a sturdy trailer
with Psychic Circus etched into the glass in the door.)
ACE: Pasty face.
CLOWN: Don't like clowns, eh? After some time in here, you'll tell me
what I want to know.
(The clown leaves, locking the door. Ace is trapped with a load of
apparently deactivated robot clowns.)
ACE: Is any one there? Come on, you don't scare me.
(A hand grabs at her arm. She gets away from it, but behind her back
another robot starts to move.)
MAGS: It's weird. I don't understand.
(They come to the edge of a deep well.)
DOCTOR: Oh, nasty little booby trap, that. That is, if it is a booby
trap. Still, there's certainly no way forward.
MAGS: Is it a well?
DOCTOR: One way to find out.
(He drops the club he is carrying into the pit. It swirls downwards
then a bright eye appears at the bottom.)
DOCTOR: That eye, I've seen it before. Of course, it was on the kites
at the entrance hall. Fascinating. Somehow, somewhere down there is the
answer to all that's going on at the Psychic Circus.
(Captain Cook appears behind the Doctor and Mags with a phalanx of
CAPTAIN: Ahem. Awfully sorry to butt in like this, old boy, but I'm
afraid you're wanted. You're the next one due on in the ring.
MAGS: Why did you bring them here?
CAPTAIN: Survival of the fittest, old girl. Don't tell me you never
came across that on the planet Vulpana?
DOCTOR: But we were on the edge of discovering the secret of the
Psychic Circus. Doesn't that interest you at all?
CAPTAIN: Frankly, no, old chap. Anyway, what's going on seems pretty
clear to me. Anybody dumb enough to get into the ring gets killed.
(Two robots are slowly advancing on Ace as she
struggles with the door knob.)
ACE: Just because I said I don't like them, doesn't mean I'm scared of
clowns, okay? Got that, tinhead? I said, got that, tinhead?
(Ace backs up against the far wall, then grabs at one robots hand. The
whole arm comes off. She's just about to use it as a club when the
robots stagger and stop. She pushes one over. Bellboy is cowering in a
BELLBOY: Oh, I'm sorry. That shouldn't have happened. I must have
ACE: We've met before. Don't you remember me?
[Outside the stone chamber]
(The Doctor and Mags are escorted out. Mags turns
to see that the stone over the moon symbol has moved, and now the
crescent is nearly full. Mags snarls. The clowns all turn their
attention to her.)
CAPTAIN: Mags, now please. Not now. Not yet!
(The Doctor takes the opportunity to run.)
MUM: I don't think much of this, Father.
DAD: Nothing's happening, is it.
MUM: Not that I can see.
GIRL: Mum, Mum!
MUM: What is it?
GIRL: I'm bored.
DAD: There's no point in going on, dear. We're all bored. Something has
to happen soon.
(The Captain and Mags are under escort.)
CAPTAIN: After all I've done for you, the Doctor gets away and you and
I are going back to the guardroom.
MAGS: You were lucky.
CAPTAIN: Yes, I suppose you're right. I'm still in one piece. You would
have given us the full works. Still, the old team of Mags and the
Captain stuck together as usual. As a matter of fact, it reminded me of
that time of Fagiros, when the Architrave of Batgeld was showing me his
early collection of Ganglion pottery
(The Doctor takes another look at the kites with
their eye marking.)
DOCTOR: Of course, of course.
(He steps inside the little caravan cum ticket office and gazed into
Morgana's crystal ball. It turns red and that same eye stares back at
DOCTOR: Things are beginning to get out of control quicker than I
(He hides under the counter as Deadbeat comes out of the Big Top. He
goes to the crystal ball, clutching a large pendant with the same eye
DEADBEAT: No, no.
(And runs away again. The Doctor moves to follow him, pausing at a
DOCTOR: Fun for all the family? I don't know how they've got the nerve.
(Bellboy takes Flowerchild's earring from Ace.)
BELLBOY: Oh, my Flowerchild. They murdered you with a robot I made.
ACE: You're sure that's what happened?
BELLBOY: There can be no doubt. Every robot, every clown in the circus
I made and maintained, for this. And even now they won't let me die.
They need me.
ACE: You mean you're the only one who knows how?
BELLBOY: Each of us, each of us in the circus, we all had one circus
skill we learned, and mine was this.
ACE: This control unit's brill.
BELLBOY: Have it.
BELLBOY: Yes. It controls that, and the full scale version I made.
(A model of the robot Ace and Mags dug out of the sand. Ace makes it
move its arm.)
BELLBOY: Careful. That activates the laser eyes. It was to have been my
masterpiece, but like everything else it was, it was abused and went
wrong. We had such high ideals when we started. We shared everything
and we enjoyed making people happy. If we had a problem we'd all just
sit round and talk it through. Oh, we were so happy. At least, I think
DOCTOR: Hello, Deadbeat. Fancy meeting you here. Small world, isn't it.
It frightened you to see that eye, didn't it. It means the powers
behind it are on the move again. Something happened to you here. You
haven't always been like this. Did you try and find something out? Were
you punished? Can you understand anything I'm saying? Well, there's one
thing I do know, Deadbeat. You're not going to give me away to the
others. Are you?
(Deadbeat shakes his head.)
DEADBEAT: I wouldn't. I wouldn't.
DOCTOR: Lead on, Deadbeat.
(The family have finished their packets of crisps
and are now holding chocolate ice lollies.)
DAD: You know, I could get quite cross about this.
WHIZZKID: Oh wow, is that Captain Cook, the famous
intergalactic explorer and
CLOWN: Quiet. Where's the Doctor?
CAPTAIN: He gave us the slip.
CLOWN: He did what?
CAPTAIN: He gave us the slip. A similar thing happened to me in the Bay
of Paranoia on Golobus.
CLOWN: I don't care what happened on Golobus.
CAPTAIN: Your loss, old boy. Anyway, it was all her fault.
MAGS: Hang on a minute.
CAPTAIN: I imagine you'll have to put her into the ring next as some
sort of punishment.
CAPTAIN: Oh, found someone else, have you?
CAPTAIN: Really. May I enquire who?
WHIZZKID: Excuse me, but you are Captain Cook the famous intergalactic
explorer. I've got maps at home showing all your journeys and a piece
of one of your old shoes I bought in a souvenir shop
CAPTAIN: Will you leave me alone!
(Morgana is staring into her crystal ball when the
RINGMASTER: Hey, hey, Morgana, Morgana. Hey, baby, you were long gone.
MORGANA: Look. It's here, now.
RINGMASTER: What do you mean?
MORGANA: What we found. What we serve. It'll always be here now,
waiting for us to
RINGMASTER: Don't come with all that now.
MORGANA: Don't pretend you don't see it!
RINGMASTER: Look, I've got an empty circus tent in there right now. I
don't want to talk about anything else.
MORGANA: Well, send in another act.
RINGMASTER: I will, baby, just as soon as I can.
(The clown enters.)
CLOWN: The Doctor's escaped. Your idiot of a Captain failed us.
RINGMASTER: All right, send him in the ring.
CLOWN: It's arranged already, but I'm more worried about the Doctor.
RINGMASTER: Well, let's go find him, then.
CLOWN: I'll go find him. You get back in the ring.
RINGMASTER: Hey, just a minute, man
MORGANA: Quiet, both of you! Look, it's showing him to us.
(The crystal ball shows the Doctor following Deadbeat through the
curtained backstage passageways.)
RINGMASTER: But he's with Deadbeat.
CLOWN: Then he must be stopped at once.
BELLBOY: Oh, the kites she made, beautiful kites,
every colour of the rainbow. All different shapes and sizes. And they
use them to watch us and trap us and keep us here. So they destroyed
her work and then they destroyed her.
ACE: It'll be all right, Bellboy. I'll get you out of here.
BELLBOY: Why should I want to get out of here? It's gone. The fun,
freedom of being what you want to be, all of it. Don't you understand?
ACE: Yes. Look, I'm sorry. We can't stay here forever, can we. I've got
to find the Doctor for a start.
BELLBOY: They took everything that was bright and good about what we
had, and buried it where it will never be found again.
ACE: I don't understand. Who's they?
BELLBOY: The ones who run the circus. The ones you've met. There wasn't
just them, there was some. There was.
(Bellboy pins Flowerchild's earring back onto Ace's jacket.)
BELLBOY: Flowerchild and, and Peacepipe, and Juniperberry, and, and
Deadbeat. No, he wasn't Deadbeat then, he was er, he was, he was. It's
(The clown leads four robots backstage. A shadow appears at the glass
door and rattles the door knob.)
ACE: They're coming to take me to the ring, Bellboy. They may need you
to repair the robots, but I'm just trouble. Making a bit of a mess of
opening the door, aren't they? It can't be that difficult.
BELLBOY: Oh, maybe, maybe it is the end after all.
(The door opens, and Deadbeat and the Doctor enter.)
DOCTOR: Deadbeat, I take it all back. (to Ace) You're absolutely right.
Clowns can be creepy.
DEADBEAT: Sift the dreams in your mind.
DEADBEAT: You'll be amazed
BELLBOY: Kingpin! That was your name. Kingpin.
CAPTAIN: So you've always been interested in the
Psychic Circus, have you? Sit down.
WHIZZKID: Oh yes, of course.
(The Captain pours the tea.)
WHIZZKID: I've never been able to visit it before now, but I've got all
sorts of souvenirs. Copies of all the advertising satellites that have
ever been sent out. All the posters. I had a long correspondence with
one of the founder members too, soon after it started. Although I never
got to see the early days, I know it's not as good as it used to be but
I'm still terribly interested.
RINGMASTER: Two minutes, Captain.
CAPTAIN: Thank you, Ringmaster. No doubt you dream of having the
ultimate Psychic Circus experience as soon as possible.
CAPTAIN: You ache for the moment when you can do your own act within
that sawdust covered magic circle.
WHIZZKID: Oh, yes, of course. I mean, there's no real danger, is there,
CAPTAIN: Only for those without resource or imagination or panache. I'm
sure you have all those qualities.
WHIZZKID: Well, I really don't know.
CAPTAIN: Come, come, dear boy, don't be so absurdly modest.
MAGS: Don't listen to him.
WHIZZKID: But this is one of my heroes, Captain Cook, the intergalactic
CAPTAIN: Exactly. And shall I tell you what I'm prepared to do for you
as a special favour?
CAPTAIN: Postpone my brief moment of glory in the ring so that you may
enjoy the unforgettable experience before me, far beyond the bouncing
Upas trees of Boromeo or the singing squids of Anagonia.
WHIZZKID: Are you sure you can bear to let me go in first?
CAPTAIN: It is a sacrifice I am prepared to make.
DEADBEAT: The dreams. Sift the dreams. When the
mind's divided the body screams.
BELLBOY: Yes, some of it's coming back now. Not all of it. He was
Kingpin. He was the one who persuaded us to come here. There was
something he wanted, something he knew about. And we all trusted him,
DOCTOR: Something went wrong?
BELLBOY: Yes. Something went very wrong. It's this place, you see. It
does things to you.
DOCTOR: And a friendly hippy circus was turned into a trap for killing
BELLBOY: Yes. Even our own kind. That was after Kingpin was no longer
Kingpin. Something went. Something went with him and
DOCTOR: And the well?
BELLBOY: What well?
DOCTOR: You don't know anything about a well with an eye peering out
ACE: An eye, like the one of Flowerchild's, like the ones on the kites.
BELLBOY: No, not any more.
DEADBEAT: Don't look in the well. The eye gives you promises of heaven
ACE: He's off, he's gone. I knew people like him in Perivale.
DOCTOR: Listen, Ace.
ACE: What to?
DOCTOR: The answers. You know what happened, don't you, Deadbeat?
(The clowns tumble into the ring.)
MUM: At last.
RINGMASTER: Now welcome, folks. I'm sure you'd like to know we've got a
brand new act for your circus show. Now welcome please with all the
warmth you can, the Psychic Circus' greatest fan!
(Whizzkid enters to canned applause.)
WHIZZKID: This is the most exciting day of my life. My dream come true.
I'm standing in the ring of the Psychic Circus.
MAGS: You've sent that poor boy out to his death.
CAPTAIN: Nonsense. He may be a great success.
(The family give him a score of three zeros.)
CAPTAIN: So it just goes to show you never can be certain.
(Whizzkid screams, and the thunder and lightning crash.)
CAPTAIN: As I said, survival of the fittest.
(The Ringmaster picks up the bent and cracked remains of Whizzkid's
spectacles to wild canned applause.)
DOCTOR: Deadbeat, if we take you to the well, can
you show us what it did?
ACE: How do you know it's not all a con, Professor?
DOCTOR: Well, he brought me here to you and Bellboy. He must have done
that for a purpose.
ACE: Not if your brains are that scrambled.
DOCTOR: Ah, now there's something there, Ace. I saw it when he looked
into the crystal ball.
ACE: You're just an aging hippy, Professor.
DOCTOR: There might be something in that, yes. Anyway, we'd better be
BELLBOY: Er, no.
ACE: Come on, Bellboy.
BELLBOY: No, I think the chief clown will be here after you and I could
delay him for a while. I'd be pleased to make myself useful.
ACE: But Bellboy?
BELLBOY: You still don't understand, do you. Everything I loved has
gone. There's no point in living on to do work I hate.
DOCTOR: So be it, then, Bellboy. Come on, Deadbeat. Or should I call
you Kingpin? We've got work to do.
ACE: Bye now, Bellboy. All the best. Oh, and er, thanks for this.
(The robot remote control.)
[Outside the Workshop]
BELLBOY: Bye, Ace. Goodbye, Kingpin, Doctor.
(Morgana speaks to the eye in the crystal ball.)
MORGANA: The acts will keep on coming now, we promise, and no one will
ever go near the bus again. Those who remain are your servants to do
with as you wish. No, I never wanted to resist your power.
CLOWN: Where are they?
BELLBOY: I don't know. I don't care. It's all destroyed, you know that.
Oh, you were a wonderful clown once. Funny, inventive.
(The clown slaps Bellboy.)
BELLBOY: I'm not helping you any more, you see.
(Bellboy uses a clown remote control to activate all those in the
CLOWN: Take care, Bellboy.
BELLBOY: Come on. Come on. Deal with me as you dealt with Flowerchild.
CLOWN: You're crazy.
BELLBOY: Come on. Come on! Come on!
(Deadbeat gets to the well with the eye first.)
DEADBEAT: No. I can't do it.
ACE: Come on, Kingpin. Nearly there. Hold on, please.
DOCTOR: Now, Kingpin, show us what you did when you first saw the eye.
(Deadbeat holds out the amulet and shuts his eyes. Then he collapses.)
ACE: Great stuff, Kingpin.
DOCTOR: He must have used that medallion to summon the powers that lurk
ACE: And it did this to him.
ACE: I wish I had some Nitro Nine to lob down there. Hang about. The
mirror here, it's an eye.
DOCTOR: Yes, that eye seems to plague us everywhere, only with the
eyeball removed by someone or something.
ACE: And hidden.
DOCTOR: In the bus.
ACE: Where Flowerchild died trying to get it.
DEADBEAT: Shall be free. We shall be free. We shall be free. We shall
CAPTAIN: Calm down, Mags. There'll be some more
contestants along soon. We're doing very well.
MAGS: That poor boy.
CAPTAIN: Us or him, Mags. And before you get too high and mighty,
remember where you'd be without me. Dead with a bullet in you on the
planet Vulpana. A silver bullet.
MAGS: I know that, Captain, but you didn't do it for me, you did it for
yourself. I only wish I knew what you were after.
CAPTAIN: All in good time, Mags. All in good time.
DOCTOR: It's so tantalising. I'm so close to
understanding it all and yet so far.
ACE: So we'll have to get hold of that other bit of mirror.
DOCTOR: Exactly. Now, you take Kingpin back to the bus and find it, but
ACE: Hang on a bit, Professor. This is all going a bit too fast for me.
I'll fetch it, no problem, but what about you?
DOCTOR: I'm going back to the ring.
ACE: Are you off your head?
DOCTOR: The Psychic Circus needs acts. If they've got me then perhaps
they won't worry about you two for the moment.
ACE: Sometimes I think it's you that's crazy, not Deadbeat here.
DOCTOR: Anybody remotely interesting is mad in someway or another.
DAD: I don't know where they find these acts, do
MUM: Never seem to get any better, do they, Father?
(The Doctor walks past a robot clown.)
DOCTOR: I believe you've been looking for me. I'm wanted backstage.
DOCTOR: Greetings, Captain Cook. Mags. You will be
pleased to hear that the greatest act in the galaxy has returned to the
CAPTAIN: Jolly good show, Doctor.
MAGS: But Doctor, I helped you to escape.
DOCTOR: I know, Mags, and I haven't wasted the time you bought me. And
I have returned with an idea. I suggest that this time we all three
DOCTOR: Up to now all the people in the cage have been played off
against each other, and of course some people are cleverer at
preserving themselves than others.
CAPTAIN: Luck of the draw, old boy.
DOCTOR: Not entirely. What I'm proposing is that we all three go into
the ring. Three for one and one for three. That should throw a very big
hammer into the works.
MAGS: I'm with you, Doctor. And so's he.
CAPTAIN: Now just a moment, Mags.
MAGS: Aren't you, Captain.
(Ace helps Deadbeat crawl out from under the tent and run away from the
RINGMASTER: Now welcome, folks, not one act but
three, to the Greatest Show in the Galaxy, the Galaxy, the Galaxy.
(The Doctor, Mags and the Captain enter the ring. The Captain whispers
to the Ringmaster.)
CAPTAIN: Sorry, everyone. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, but before
we start I would like to make one small request from stage management.
A special lighting effect.
CAPTAIN: Could you perhaps give us that old devil moon effect.
(A crescent moon shines down on the ring.)
MAGS: No! No!
(Mags falls to her knees and begins to snarl. The Doctor backs away.)
CAPTAIN: You really were extremely stupid this time, Doctor. I told you
she was an unusual specimen. The growling, the snarling, reaction to
the moon. Surely you should have guessed?
(Mags' eyes are yellow, and her teeth and nails are large and sharp.
Even the Ringmaster and the robot clowns have got outside the ring.)
(He throws his whip over to the Captain, who uses it.)
CAPTAIN: I hate it when this happens. She can't control herself, of
course, and like all her kind she'll destroy whatever comes in her
path. Which, I'm afraid, in this case has to be you.
(The family give this act a score of three nines.)
CAPTAIN: This circus is only the half of it, you see, old chap. These
hippy fellows weren't quite so dumb as they look. Did you come here
just for the fun of it? Well, some of them did, but they're all dead.
(The little girl's eyes glow green.)
(A pair of robot clowns deliver the repaired bus
CONDUCTOR: Could I see your tickets, please.
CAPTAIN: We experienced explorers know all about
making the most of our discoveries. The powers here can be harnessed by
those intrepid enough to grasp the opportunities. Myself, for instance.
DOCTOR: Those powers destroyed Deadbeat.
CAPTAIN: Yes, but he was like you, Doctor, none too bright in the old
(The Doctor dodges Mags' attack, and the Captain uses the whip to keep
her away from himself.)
CAPTAIN: Stop it, Mags. This werewolf is extremely dangerous.
DOCTOR: You're meddling with things you don't understand.
CAPTAIN: No, Doctor, you are. Once you're out of the way, I shall make
my deal with the powers that be, whoever they may be.
(The clown and Morgana are using the crystal
MORGANA: She's taking Deadbeat to the bus.
CLOWN: In that case, they're also taken care of.
CAPTAIN: I remember once visiting the gold mines
DOCTOR: Captain Cook!
DOCTOR: You're not only a scoundrel and a meddling fool, but you're
also a crushing bore.
CAPTAIN: I'm afraid you've really done it this time, old boy. Mags!
(In true Errol Flynn style, the Doctor climbs some scaffolding then
swings across the ring on a rope to get away from Mags.)
DEADBEAT: Search, search, search for the truth.
Search it out, search it now.
[In the bus]
(Ace is searching around the drivers seat until
she finds a switch behind a pedal that opens a compartment containing
ACE: This must be it.
DEADBEAT: Search it now.
(Ace bangs on the window from the inside.)
ACE: Kingpin, I've found it!
(The Conductor looks out from his curtained off compartment at the back
of the bus.)
(The Doctor is up on a catwalk around the ring and
so is Mags.)
DOCTOR: Mags! Mags! Do you hear me? Mags!
(The Captain keeps cracking the whip as the clown and Morgana enter.
Mags reaches the Doctor and goes for his throat.)
DOCTOR: Mags, when you're like this, this isn't in your nature, you
have to destroy everything that crosses your path. I don't believe
(The Doctor uses the rope to swing back across the ring to where the
family are sitting. They all stand up and their eyes glow green. A high
pitched sound makes the Doctor tumble backwards down the seating and
into the ring, where Mags is waiting.)
DOCTOR: Mags! Mags! Wait, wait. I need your mercy, but you don't have
(Mags turns to the Captain.)
CAPTAIN: Come on, Mags. You can trust me. You know that, don't you?
Once he's out of the way we can split the proceeds. Do it for me, do it
for your old pal the Captain. You know you'll enjoy it. I order you to.
I order you to!
(Mags leaps on the Captain.)
DOCTOR: No, Mags! No!
(Ace comes out of the bus with the cash box.)
DEADBEAT: Search, search, search for the truth. Search, search, search
ACE: You've got to try and help me, Kingpin. I can't get it open.
DEADBEAT: Search, search, search for the truth.
ACE: What I'd give for my chemistry set now.
(The Conductor comes out of the bus behind Ace's back.)
DEADBEAT: Search, search, search for the truth.
ACE: Come on, Kingpin. Do try and concentrate a bit.
(Deadbeat laughs as the Conductor grabs Ace's head and pulls her up.
She drops the box.)
CONDUCTOR: Tickets, please. Tickets, please.
(The Conductor's foot steps on the box, and it opens.)
CONDUCTOR: Tickets, please.
(Ace struggles to get the robot remote control out of her jacket
pocket, and the Conductor knocks it out of her hand.)
CONDUCTOR: Tickets, please.
ACE: Kingpin! Please!
(While Ace bruises her elbow trying to hit the Conductor, Deadbeat
takes a small blue eye from the box and puts it on his medallion.)
ACE: Kingpin, do something!
DEADBEAT: I remember now! It's beneath the cap.
(The Conductor throws Deadbeat to the ground.)
DEADBEAT: Knock its cap off!
ACE: Now what?
DEADBEAT: Bellboy put a button that said Request Stop. Press it!
DEADBEAT: Press the button!
(Ace struggles to reach the Conductor's head, and hits it. It lets her
go and starts flailing around. There is a high-pitched noise.)
DEADBEAT: Now stand back.
DEADBEAT: Stand back, quick.
(Ace crawls away then goes back for the robot remote by its feet.)
DEADBEAT: No! Get away! Quick!
(KaBOOM goes the bus Conductor.)
ACE: Now we're getting somewhere. You really are Kingpin, aren't you.
DEADBEAT: Yes, thankfully. But no one's safe until we get this (the
medallion) back to the Doctor.
(Mags has returned to normal and the Captain is
carried out of the ring on a stretcher, pith helmet on his chest.)
DOCTOR: Come on, Mags. We've got to run away, now.
(The clown and Morgana try to block their path, but Mags snarls at them
and they move aside quickly.)
DAD: We want more.
(They dive through the slit in the cloth that Ace made with
Flowerchild's earring all that time ago.)
RINGMASTER: Er, another act's coming soon, folks. You can believe me.
(The little girl speaks with a very deep voice.)
GIRL: Another act now.
DAD: We want more.
MUM: (deep voice) We need more.
MORGANA: You haven't played fair with me.
RINGMASTER: Listen, we've done everything we're supposed to do, right?
(The clown sneaks to the entrance.)
MORGANA: I had my doubts, but I came through in the end.
RINGMASTER: There are going to be other visitors.
GIRL: We need more.
DAD: You have no one left to give.
MUM: Except yourselves.
(The clowns wheel on a pair of laundry baskets.)
MORGANA: Please, more acts are on the way, I promise you.
(The clowns push the Ringmaster and Morgana into the baskets. There is
a high-pitched whine then the baskets are opened up again. Only the
Ringmaster's top hat remains.)
DOCTOR: Something dreadful's happening in the
ring. Things are getting out of control quicker than I expected.
DAD [OC]: Calling the Doctor. Calling the Doctor.
DOCTOR: Nothing will satisfy them but my presence.
MAGS: I'm coming back in there with you.
DOCTOR: No. You must run and get Ace and Deadbeat.
(Mags runs off.)
DOCTOR: I must prepare for my entrance. Never keep your audience
(The clowns chase Mags outside, then they head for the hearse. Down in
the well, the eye gets bigger.)
(A wind starts to blow.)
DOCTOR: I'm coming. Open a pathway for me. Once small step for mankind,
one great leap, or words to that effect.
(The Doctor pulls apart the canvas entrance to the Circus and steps
into a kaleidoscope world of noise and colour. He fights his way
through with gritted teeth to -)
(A semi-circular sand floor, grey stone walls with
one grilled doorway, and three large figures sitting on thrones looking
DOCTOR: And here we all are at last. I'm surprised you brought me here.
It must be very difficult for you, trying to exist concurrently in two
different time spaces. I know the problem myself. No wonder those
memorial stones looked familiar. The Gods of Ragnarok, I presume.
[By the snack stall]
(The stallholder has hitched the stall to her
horse and is manoeuvring it to turn round. Mags jumps over the hitch
and keeps running.)
STALLHOLDER: Don't you frighten my horse like that, you hippie weirdo.
(The hearse has to stop and sound its horn.)
STALLHOLDER: Shut up, circus riff-raff. You don't own this planet, you
DOCTOR: How many people have you destroyed, I
wonder, before Kingpin was lured down here. Poor Kingpin. That's what
you like, isn't it. Taking someone with a touch of individuality and
imagination, and wearing them down to nothingness in your service.
MUM: You have said enough.
DOCTOR: Enough? I've hardly started. I have fought the Gods of Ragnarok
all through time.
(The Doctor looks at his watch.)
DAD: You are in our true time space now, Doctor. There is no appeal
beyond its confines to any other.
DOCTOR: Don't tell me what you want me to do. Let me guess. Now let me
see. You want me to
DAD: Entertain us.
MUM: Entertain us.
DAD: Or die. So long as you entertain us, you may live.
MUM: When you no longer entertain us, you die.
DOCTOR: Predictable as ever, Gods of Ragnarok. As I think it's been
said before, or was it after? Anyway, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
(The Doctor leans and swings round at a remarkable angle.)
(Ace and Deadbeat meet Mags.)
ACE: Hey, Mags! Where's the Doctor?
MAGS: Back at the circus.
ACE: So you're on your own now?
MAGS: Not exactly. Look.
(Here comes the hearse. Mags sees the completed medallion.)
MAGS: That's what they're after.
DEADBEAT: Oh, I might have guessed.
ACE: So how do we get it back to the Doctor? Oh, dumbo! Not you two,
me. I've got an idea. Come on!
MAGS: Wrong way!
ACE: Not for this. Come on, Kingpin!
(The Doctor has a table in front of him, with a
large pan and its cover.)
DOCTOR: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for that
overwhelming reception. And now, I would like to begin like life, at
the beginning. But how did life begin? Was it with a chicken or was it
(The Doctor produces an egg from his mouth and puts it in the pan. Then
a second one which goes into his hand and disappears.)
MUM: Don't try our patience.
(She throws a lightning bolt near the Doctor.)
DAD: Don't play games.
DOCTOR: You're not interested in beginnings. You're only interested in
MAGS: Oh no, not that thing again. Come on.
DEADBEAT: Dumbo. Bellboy's robot.
ACE: Dead right, Kingpin.
(The three hide behind the robot as the hearse pulls up and the clowns
CLOWN: Bellboy's greatest mistake. What a place to choose. You may have
the Eye again, Deadbeat, but you won't use it. You know that. You're
not strong enough! You weren't before.
DEADBEAT: At least I tried. You just gave in.
CLOWN: Yes, and I shall get my reward. Last chance, Deadbeat. We really
believed in all that talk of peace and love
ACE: This thing had better work, or I'll kick its head in.
(Ace jabs at the remote control. After a few moments, the robot lasers
one of the robot clowns, then the other three. Finally it kills the
clown himself and keeps firing as Ace keeps pushing buttons. Then it
MAGS: For a moment I thought you weren't going to be able to make it
ACE: Funny you should say that.
DEADBEAT: He used to be a great clown.
ACE: I've never liked clowns.
(To the strains of Narcissus being played on a
violin, the Doctor produces a length of rope and ties the ends
DOCTOR: What, no complaints? No arguments? No thunderbolts?
(The rope falls into a single length with the knot still in it.)
DAD: No, Doctor.
MUM: We're not concerned that you're playing for time.
(The Doctor has untied the knot and is now fastening the two pieces of
rope together. Then he stands on a loose end and pulls it into a single
piece of rope again.)
DAD: We have a saying.
DOCTOR: Let me guess. Give yourself enough rope and you hang yourself.
(The Doctor looks at his watch again.)
DEADBEAT: I only hope we make it in time. The Doctor's stronger than I
ever was, but even he can't hold out against them forever.
(Mags, Ace and Deadbeat get into the hearse.)
ACE: He'll have a good stab at it, though.
DAD: You are nearing the end, Doctor.
DOCTOR: A piece of rope has two ends, Father Ragnarok.
(The Doctor coils the rope into the pan. Then he produces a long candle
from his handkerchief and lights it with a flame apparently from his
palm. He puts the lit candle to the pan with bursts into flames,
briefly puts the cover over it to extinguish them and removes a snake
from it. Mum throws a thunderbolt.)
MUM: Feel the rain, Doctor.
DAD: Feel the chill in your bones.
(The Doctor turns around and the snake turns into his umbrella. He puts
it up just before the downpour starts.)
[By the Ticket Office]
(The wind is still howling. Ace stops to look at
the crystal ball.)
DEADBEAT: Ace, quick! Come on!
(The Doctor is attempting to escape from a
strait-jacket whilst hanging by his ankles from a rope.)
DAD: You are trifling with us.
DOCTOR: Really? I thought I was entertaining you.
(He gets the strait-jacket off.)
DAD: You are on the brink of destruction, Doctor. We want something
bigger, something better.
DOCTOR: Do you now?
(Deadbeat, Mags and Ace run into the deserted
ACE: The Doctor must be here somewhere.
DEADBEAT: Well, he may already be in the Dark Circus with the Gods. If
so, there's only one way we can reach him.
MAGS: The stone chamber.
ACE: And the medallion?
DEADBEAT: Yeah. We must be careful. They're bound to sense its
(The Doctor is back on his feet.)
DOCTOR: Do I have your full attention?
(He checks his wrist watch.)
DEADBEAT: You do realise that they'll try anything
to stop us?
ACE: Yes. Let's go.
(Behind the advertising boards, the Captain sits up from the stretcher
and puts on his pith helmet.)
DOCTOR: The climax of my act, Gods of Ragnarok,
requires something you do not possess in great abundance. That is,
imagination. And it starts with a piece of metal. This piece of metal
once belonged to a sword, and that sword belonged to a gladiator.
(The Doctor throws the piece of metal into the air, where it transforms
into a gladius, and then a long sword drops into his hand.)
DOCTOR: And that gladiator fought and died in this ring to entertain
(Deadbeat stops at the well.)
ACE: Go for it, Kingpin.
(But the Eye is staring back up at him. He backs away.)
MAGS: Kingpin, please.
ACE: Well, one of us had better try.
(Deadbeat holds out the medallion and shuts his eyes. The Captain hits
him in the kidneys and catches the medallion as he falls.)
CAPTAIN: Perhaps I might relieve you of that.
MAGS: Captain, I thought you were dead.
CAPTAIN: I am, my dear. I am.
DOCTOR: I have fed you enough, Gods of Ragnarok,
and you found what I have to offer indigestible. So I have taken myself
off the menu. La comedia e finita.
DAD: We command you.
MUM: You cannot stop.
DOCTOR: I already have.
DAD: Then you will die.
DOCTOR: Probably not. It's all a matter of timing, don't you know.
(The Doctor points the sword to the ground.)
ACE: Oi, sarcophagus face!
(The Captain turns and Mags kicks the medallion out of his hand and
into the well. It lands on the sword and the Doctor uses it to reflect
the Gods' laser bolts back at them.
The Eye in the well grows.)
CAPTAIN: You know, when I was on the planet Periboea, I met someone who
walks around when he was already dead. I must say, as an experience I'd
say it was very overrated.
(The Captain falls into the well.)
DEADBEAT: Look. Get down!
(The crystal ball explodes.
In the arena, the Gods stop firing laser bolts at the Doctor and slump
in their seats. The walls crack and buckle. The Doctor throws the sword
and medallion at them then raises his hat as the whole place falls
The Big Top crumples as the arena disintegrates. The Doctor walks out
and doesn't flinch as an explosion occurs just behind him.)
(A huge red pillar of smoke climbs to the sky. The
Stallholder speaks to her horse.)
STALLHOLDER: It's what I've always said. No consideration for those of
us that live here.
[Outside the Circus]
DOCTOR: Enjoying the show, Ace?
ACE: Yeah. It was your show all along, wasn't it?
MAGS: The Captain really is finished now, isn't he?
DOCTOR: Yes. But you're just about to start.
DEADBEAT: Doctor, I've been thinking.
DOCTOR: What better way for a circus to begin than with a wonderful
ACE: Yeah, weird and wonderful. Nice one, Professor. You'll knock them
MAGS: That's just what I'm afraid of. What if I can't control it?
DOCTOR: Oh, you can, Mags. You already have.
DEADBEAT: What about it, Doctor? You and Ace. Join Kingpin's new circus
and travel the galaxy with us.
DOCTOR: Thank you, Kingpin, but I'm afraid we've got other galaxies to
travel. And besides, I find circuses a little sinister.