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iko ([personal profile] iko) wrote2010-04-28 09:40 pm
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My Transcript Project: S5E2 "The Beast Below", Act 1

I spent an hour and a half this evening on a new project. I've decided, this series, to try my hand transcribing episodes. Ever since "The Eleventh Hour", I've been mildly obsessed with the dialogue. I wrote this at 2:40am on April 4th:

"You know you have a Doctor Who problem when you need to resist the temptation at *checks the clocks* 2:40 in the morning to transcribe the latest episode of Doctor Who. Because you really like the dialogue and want to enjoy it even more."

I read a call out a couple of evenings ago for volunteers to try transcribing the new series and decided to volunteer. I'm actually going to be just one contributor of... I'm not sure how many there are of us, to be honest, but I'm thinking of doing all of them anyway because the each transcriber's "voice" and choices are different and I find that rather fascinating.

I thought I'd share my work this evening. It's only 'the first Act' (the first 10 minutes) of S5E2 and it took me an hour and half, so I expect each episode to take me two or three evenings to get each episode done. I used a set of subtitles already available on the Internet as the basis for the transcript. I then corrected the mistakes in the transcript (a number of missing words, mostly in the Doctor's dialogue which were probably intentionally removed because meaning is still preserved without them), added action and scene descriptions, along with character tone indicators and other incidental sounds they make.

I welcome any constructive criticism, what I should do differently or tweak to make it better.

ETA: Oh, and I'd love to know if you think the Doctor says "Deck 27" or "Deck 207".

A large floating island in space, with a faded Union Jack. Tall buildings tightly packed crowd the center of the island with names of major cities. Yorkshire. Surrey. Kent. Essex. Devon. Walkways criss-cross the skyline as the camera sinks between the buildings.

A school bell rings.

A classroom. A group of young students are in line, with one student sitting nervously at his desk, not joining the line. This is Timmy.

Well done, Mabel. Well done, Alfie. Good girl, Tabitha.

Mandy, the last student in line, gestures to the sitting student.

Very well done, Ranjit.

Timmy get up to join the end of the line.

Good girl, Chloe. Well done, Ben.

Mandy looks back at Timmy with a concerned look. Timmy looks worried. Mandy is now at the front of the queue in front of a booth with a mechanical creature with a smiling face: this is a Happy Smiler.

Well done, Mandy.

Mandy leaves, leaving Timmy in front of the smiler. Mandy looks back at Timmy as he looks to her. She looks at the Smiler and turns towards the Vators.

Bad boy, Timmy.

The Smiler's head rotates 180 degrees in the booth, revealing an Angry face.

CLASSROOM SMILER (With a lower-pitched voice.)

Timmy backs away from the Angry Smiler. He walks to the Vators where the kids are shuffling into it. Mandy pauses outside of the Vator and turns to Timmy.

You got a zero, didn't you?

Yeah. So?

You'll have to walk home, then.

Walk to London? That's 20 decks!

Students shuffle past Mandy and Timmy into the Vator.

You can't ride a Vator with a zero. You know what happens.

Timmy looks down.

You'll get sent below.

She enters the Vator. Timmy tries to enter but stops when he sees a hooded Winder looking down at him. Timmy backs up.

I'll wait for you.

The Vator dings and the doors close, leaving Timmy alone in the Vator bank with two Vators. He turns back to the Smiler and the Happy Smiler turns its face to an Angry Smiler. Timmy walks to the other Vator as it dings and the doors open. He takes one last look at the Angry Smiler and steps into the empty Vator.

Welcome to Vator Verse, sponsored by McLintock's Candy Burgers.

L-London, please.

A panel on the wall to Timmy's right contains a video of young girl, reciting a poem.

A horse and a man, above, below,
One has a plan, but both must go.
Mile after mile, above, beneath,
One has a smile, and one has teeth.

The Smiler in the Vator rotates its head to become an Angry Smiler.

Though the man above might say hello,
Expect no love from the beast below.

The Vator shakes. The floor number indicator is decreasing rapidly. Timmy moves to the front of the Vator and pounds his fists against a metal number plate and yells into the plate's audio receiver.

TIMMY (Yelling.)
Help! Help me!

The Vator stops moving at floor 000. The floor of the Vator opens to reveal a red-lit shaft. He yells as the red light spills into the room from the floor. The Vator's head rotates again, revealing a demonic face, baring teeth with red eyes: this is a Malevolent Smiler. Timmy falls down into the shaft.

[Opening Credits]
Matt Smith
Karen Gillan

The Beast Below
by Steven Moffat

The TARDIS is floating in space, the top light flashing, doors open with the Doctor standing in the doorway holding onto Amy's ankle as she drifts outside of the TARDIS. Her hair flows away from her.

My name is Amy Pond. When I was seven, I had an imaginary friend.

The Doctor laughs. Amy smiles.

Last night was the night before my wedding...

Come on, Pond.

The Doctor pulls Amy back into the TARDIS.

.. and my imaginary friend came back.

The Doctor and Amy stand in the doorway, laughing and holding each other.

Now do you believe me?

Ok, your box is a spaceship. It's really, really, a spaceship. (She yells out into space.) We are in space! Whoo! (She laughs. She takes a deep breath and looks concerned.) What we breathing?

I've extended the air shell - we're fine.

The Doctor looks down, spots something, and crouches. Amy crouches down with him.

Now, that's interesting. (He gets up and runs to the TARDIS console.) 29th Century. Solar flares roast the earth, (He begins fiddling with the console.) and the entire human race packs its bags and moves out till the weather improves. Whole nations...


THE DOCTOR (Ignoring.)
... migrating to the stars.


THE DOCTOR (Still ignoring.)
Isn't that amazing?


The Doctor looks up and around, confused. Amy is floating outside of the TARDIS, holding on to its top and door frame. She is nervously panting as the Doctor opens the TARDIS doors.

THE DOCTOR (Seemingly unconcerned about Amy)
Well, come on. I've found us a spaceship.

The floating island is displaying on the TARDIS' large circular screen.

This is the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland, all of it, bolted together and floating in the sky.

Amy gasps in amazement.

Starship UK. It's Britain, but metal. That's not just a ship, that's an idea. That's a whole country, living and laughing and... shopping.

Amy chuckles.

Searching the stars for a new home.

AMY (Eagerly)
Can we go out and see?

Course we can, but first, there's a thing.

A thing?

An important thing. In fact, thing one: (He looks at Amy through a magnifying glass.) we are observers only. That's the one rule I've always stuck to in all my travels. I never get involved in the affairs of other peoples or planets. (He turns to the console monitor.) Ooh! That's interesting.

So we're like a wildlife documentary, yeah? 'Cause if they see a wounded little cub or something, they can't just save it, they've got to keep filming and let it die.

Mandy is sitting in a chair, crying, on the console monitor.

That's got to be hard. I don't think I could do that. Don't you find that hard, being all, like, detached and cold?

The Doctor appears next to Mandy on the console monitor. He touches her shoulder. Amy leans back from the screen, gasping. Mandy gets up and runs off the console monitor screen.


The Doctor looks out from the console monitor, gesturing for Amy. She turns to look at the TARDIS doors. She looks back at the console, smiles, then runs out of the TARDIS. She opens the door and steps out.


Welcome to London Market. You are being monitored.

AMY (Looking around.)
I'm in the future. Like hundreds of years in the future. I've been dead for centuries!

Oh, lovely. You're a cheery one. Never mind dead, look at this place. Isn't it wrong?

(Gasps.) What's wrong?

The Doctor and Amy begin walking through the market, Amy looking around in amazement.

Come on, use your eyes, notice everything. What's wrong with this picture?

A girl sits in front of a bicycle-powered transport.

AMY (Gesturing)
Is it... the bicycles? Bit unusual on a spaceship, bicycles.

Says the girl in the nightie.

Oh, my God, I'm in my nightie!

(Chuckles.) Now, come on, look around you. Actually look.

London Market is a crime-free zone.

Life on a giant starship: back to basics. Bicycles, washing lines, wind-up street lamps. But, look closer. Secrets and shadows. Lives led in fear. Society bent out of shape, on the brink of collapse. A police state. Excuse me.

The Doctor runs to a nearby table, takes a glass of water from one of the two surprised people at the table.

What are you doing?

The Doctor places the glass on the floor. Amy looks at the Doctor, puzzled. The glass and the water in it are perfectly still. The Doctor looks up at the two people seated at table.


The Doctor places the glass back on the table.

Checking all the water in this area. There's an escaped fish. (He touches a finger to his nose and turns back to Amy.) Where was I?

Why did you just do that with the water?

Don't know. I think a lot. It's hard to keep track. Now, police state, do you see it yet?

AMY (Looking around.)

THE DOCTOR (Gesturing.)

Mandy is sitting at a bench, crying. People walk past her and other children play, not noticing. A hooded Winder looks at Amy and the Doctor. This is Peter.

A hand picks up a ringing telephone. On a screen is the Doctor. An older man with white hair and glasses has the phone to his ear. This is Hawthorne.

Are you sure?

Saw it myself. Are you going to tell her?

We're under orders to tell her. Well done. Keep tabs on him.

Peter hangs up the phone. Hawthorne continues to watch the Doctor on the monitor. Hawthorne dials a number on the phone.

The phone rings in a sumptuously carpeted room where a mysterious figure in a long red velvet cape is sitting in front of an unlit fireplace. In front of the figure is a lit chandelier and a group of glasses filled with water on the floor. Next to the figure is a white porcelain mask and an electronic device. This is Liz Ten. She picks up the electronic device and it stops ringing.

Sorry to interrupt. There's been a sighting. London block, Oxford Street. A man.

Did he do the thing?


I'll have a look on the monitors.

Liz Ten picks up the mask and gets up.

The Doctor and Amy are sitting on another bench observing Mandy crying.

One little girl crying. So?

Crying silently. I mean, children cry 'cause they want attention, 'cause they're hurt or afraid. When they cry silently, it's 'cause they just can't stop. Any parent knows that.

Are you a parent?

THE DOCTOR (After a pause.)
Hundreds of parents walking past this spot and not one of them's asking her what's wrong, which means they already know, and it's something they don't talk about. Secrets. They're not helping her, so it's something they're afraid of.

A Happy Smiler is by the benches, watching.

Shadows - whatever they're afraid of - it's nowhere to be seen...

The Vator dings. Mandy gets up from the bench. The Happy Smiler turns its face to watch her leave.

… which means it's everywhere. Police state.

Where'd she go?

Deck 27, Apple Sesame block, dwelling 54A. You're looking for Mandy Tanner. Oh, uh, (He pulls out a colorful wallet from his jacket pocket.) this fell out of her pocket when I accidentally bumped into her. (Amy takes the wallet from him.) Took me four goes. Ask her about those things: the smiling fellows in the booths. They're everywhere.

AMY (Confused.)
But they're just things.

They're clean. Everything else here is battered and filthy - look at this place. But no one's laid a finger on those booths. Not a footprint within two feet of any of them. Look, ask Mandy, "Why are people scared of the things in the booths?"

AMY (Protesting.)
No. Hang on. What do I do? I don't know what I'm doing here and I'm not even dressed!

It's this or Leadworth. What do you think? Let's see. (He leans in closer to Amy.) What will Amy Pond choose?

Amy looks indignant, but flinches, sitting back and turning away from the Doctor. Amy looks annoyed.

THE DOCTOR (Pleased.)
Ha ha, gotcha! (He looks at his watch.) Meet me back here in half an hour.

AMY (Annoyed.)
What are you going to do?

THE DOCTOR (Imitating Amy.)
What I always do: stay out of trouble. (He gets up and turns around.) Badly.

The Doctor jumps over the bench. Amy quickly gets up and turns to the departing Doctor.

So is this how it works, Doctor?

The Doctor turns to face Amy.

You never interfere in the affairs of other peoples or planets... unless there's children crying?

THE DOCTOR (Smiling.)

The Doctor and Amy share a smile. Amy turns away from the Doctor, who is walking away, and looks around her. A Happy Smiler is in the booth.