Doctor Who Invades the Multiverse: The Young Ones

Continuing our posts where Doctor Who has managed to sneak its way into other fictional properties, either as a TV show in those worlds, or with concepts from the show existing as real things in those realities, we come to The Young Ones.

(Daily Doctor Who #160)

The Young Ones was a British comedy show that ran for two seasons, one in 1982 and one in 1984. It was written by Ben Elton, Lise Mayer and Rik Mayall (additional material by Alexie Sayle), and was ostensibly about four housemates who were all university students. More often than not, however, that was just an excuse for a series of skits, gags, and nutty concepts that were all loosely strung together into bizarre half-hour fever dream of comedy. There was even a musical guest each episode, which helped to give the whole thing a tightly-packed variety show feel.

The four leads were played by Mayall, Adrian Admonson, Nigel Planer and Christopher Ryan. The fifth regular cast member was Alexie Sayle, who would play the boys’ landlord Jerzei Balowski and various other members of his family (and later, just completely unrelated characters), who usually showed up for an extended sequence in the middle at some point to deliver a thinly-veiled monologue of his own material.

During the first season, the third episode was called Boring, and in it Sayle played Jerzie’s brother Billy, apparently a taxi driver from Brazil who shows up with a message from his brother which ends up not saying anything but warning the boys not to let Billy near the goldfish bowl (which they don’t read until he has already drunk the water from it, including the goldfish (but don’t worry, the show assures us, it’s a stunt goldfish)) (this sentence is sort of the grammatical equivalent of the way the show worked)…

Anyway, in his mad ranting,Billy starts messing around with a tallish cactus that the boys have in their home, and at one point says, “Come on everybody, let’s play Daleks!”

Then he straps it somehow to his chest so it’s pointing out and starts running around in circles yelling, “Exterminate! Exterminate!”

Now, interestingly, this episode aired on November 23, 1982, which is precisely the 19th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who. This means that it came out about six months after Time-Flight finished off Season 19, and a couple of months before Ark of Infinity kicked off Season 20. I assume that the date didn’t factor into the Dalek-moment, but it is a funny coincidence.

The last time the Daleks had appeared on the series prior to that was in Season 17’s Destiny of the Daleks back in September 1979, so it had been over three years, but still the mechanized monsters were in the pop consciousness of English audiences.

Interestingly, Alexie Sayle was actually in an episode of Doctor Who a few years later, in Season Twenty-Three’s Revelation of the Daleks in 1985.

There he played a space-DJ, and he blew up a couple of Daleks with concentrated sound blasts before he was exterminated himself in one of the show’s most over-dramatic death scenes.

And that’s it until next time…where will Doctor Who show up in the multiverse next?!

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