What can I say? These things seem to come all at once.

TTR/LWT: Storytime! Rapunzel
By V Jewitt

In which the Simm Master finally makes good his threat to tell the
Grimm fairytale, Rapunzel. With obligatory evil witch, sappy princess
and more than one unexpected pregnancy.

Izzy flung herself halfway across the Round, onto a bar stool and
banged her head on the bar itself.

"It's been that kind of day, hasn't it?" agreed Adric, who had his arm
in a sling.

She sighed heavily. "It's *always* that kind of a day. Why can't
someone tell a simple children's story?"

"Did I hear someone mention my name?" The newest Master was instantly
at her side, putting on his best 'earnest' face. "You want a
reliable, dedicated, child-friendly storyteller. You must have been
talking about me!"

Izzy raised her head slowly to look at him. Odd as it was, compared
to Gwen, Barbara, Isobel, Jamie and Zoe, her best bet seemed to be the
Master and Doctor Watson. What *that* said about the state of
unreality lately, she didn't know. She took a deep breath. "Okay.
But a suitable, short, non-violent children's story."

"Scout's honour," said the Master and ran off gleefully.

Adric and Izzy looked at each other.

"What's a scout?" asked Adric.

"Something he *never* was," shot back Izzy and ran for the creche
before anything worse happened.

When she got there, the Master was reaching for the Book.

"I told you - I need to know exactly what it is you're planning!"

He raised his eyebrows. "But that would spoil the surprise!"

"I don't like surprises," said Izzy. "Not any more."

The Master opened the volume, which seemed to have grown fatter than
ever. Sometimes Izzy wondered if there was something sinisterly alive
about the Book, but then she realised that given the nature of the
Round it could hardly be otherwise. "Well, suffice it to say that it
won't be any more supposedly 'female empowered' stories. Unless, of
course, you'd care for Roald Dahl's Cinderella?"

"No," she snapped, knowing full well how many people lost their heads
at the end of that.

He coughed and began. "Topsy and Tim -."

"What?" screamed Izzy. "You're not going to sit here and read 'Topsy
and Tim meet the Ambulance Men' to this lot?"

He passed her the book. "Of course not."

Izzy read the title in front of her in disbelief. "Topsy and Tim get
taken into - WHAT?"

"Or, of course, Thomas Goes Off the Rails, or -."

She hit him with the book.

He laughed up at her from on the floor. "Izzy, just my little joke!
You know I what I want! Please, pretty please, with sugar on top, and
those little multicoloured sweetie things may I read Rapunzel?"

Izzy opened the door to the other room, where the toddlers were
gathering around the story corner. "Any actual casualties and you're
out of here forever."

Once upon a time -.

Mel had her hand up. "Ith thith a thtory of female empowerment?"

"Yes," said the Master. "The two male characters are exceptionally
useless and our heroine gets to throw the interfering prince from the
top of a tower. Even the soppy princess gets to cut her hair and go
out looking for a life."

"I like fairy stories," sniffed Victoria. "What's wrong with fairy

Once upon a time there lived a witch. She was a shy sort, keeping to
herself in her posh house with a big garden. She was very fond of
gardening and grew all sorts of herbs -."

Peri had her hand up now. "What sort, miss?"

"I don't know, do I?" he said, crouching down to make a scary face at
her. "I'm not a gardener - and *don't* call me miss!"

Peri burst into tears.

Right, so there was this witch with a big garden, never at a loss for
a salad.

ROMANA I / WITCH [standing in a large garden outside a big house,
wearing a white outfit]
This isn't one of those story things again, is it?

The witch had a sickeningly romantic married couple for neighbours,
living in the little cottage at the end of her garden.

Witch? Why am I getting typecast as evil?

Evil? You're just much maligned. Now, where was I? The next-door

[ROMANA II and the FOURTH DOCTOR are sitting together in a ramshackle
cottage that once belonged to seven dwarfs.]

I'm very happy, dear but I do wish we could have children.

FOUR / HUSBAND [looking wildly alarmed]

After a while, it turned out that her wish had been granted.

[FOUR quickly passes ROMANA II a cushion. She turns around, pushes it
under her dress and turns back with a pleased smile.]

The trouble was, she had nothing to do but sit at home and look at the
witch's garden.

ROMANA II [staring out the window]
Gosh! Look at that gorgeous rampion she's got growing there. I
really fancy some of that.

When her husband came home, she told him about this.

I must have some of that glorious rampion or rapunzel to eat, or I
shall die!

And what did the couple do? Did they go next door with some homespun
gift for the witch and a polite request for a bit of rampion? No,
they decided to steal some.

You want to eat rabbit food like that?

Yes, I do. So you had better go and get me some, or I shall die on
the spot. [Poises ready to faint]

Hmm, that would be a nuisance. I'd have to find another wife and that
only ever leads to trouble. I suppose I'd better climb over the wall
and get some for you. I am quite a dab hand at that sort of thing...

So, he climbed over the wall and helped himself to a bunch of rampion
or rapunzel and took it back to his wife.

[FOUR returns with some plastic daffodils]

Lovely. I'll rustle up a quick salad.

However, that wasn't enough for her. She enjoyed it so much that she
was desperate for more. So her husband went to steal some more.

ROMANA II [sighing]
I shall die if I don't have some more of that rapunzel stuff. I want
it three times as much as did yesterday.

FOURTH DOCTOR / HUSBAND [thinking about this]
Three times? I suppose I'd better go and get you some more.

So again, what did the ungrateful idiot do? Did he rush round with a
box of chocolates and try to sweet-talk the witch into handing over
some rampion or rapunzel? No, it was back over the wall at the dead
of night. If you ask me, he deserved all he got!

[HUSBAND climbs over the wall, landing on his feet and reaching for
some reeds this time when he notices the WITCH / ROMANA I watching him
with her hands on her hips]

Aargh! Do you mind, you made me jump...

WITCH [enjoying herself now]
You despicable thief! I shall have to kill you!

Well, I say, that's not fair! For a handful of reeds and plastic

WITCH [even more annoyed]
You stole my daffodils as well?

What is it with fairytale characters stealing plants?

Peri had her hand up again. "Some plants are worth *lots* of money!"

"Ooh," said the Master. "Really? I'll have to look into that
sometime. Thanks for the tip."

Izzy rolled her eyes.

Oh, do get on with the story! Do I get to kill him?

Unfortunately, not.

That's disappointing.


The shameless horticultural criminal then begged for his life.

I do?

Yes, you do. Just get on with it, can't you?

Oh, all right, but I usually come up with a terribly clever plan

Or you just talk your adversaries into an early grave; I know, Doctor,
but can you get on your knees and beg the nice witch not to kill you?

HUSBAND [waving his hat about wildly, but refusing to kneel]
Look, I did this because I have a pregnant wife who told me she would
die if she didn't get some of that splendid rapunzel stuff growing in
your garden. So I went and got it for her and she seemed to like it
awfully. So she needed some more. What else could I do, eh?

Well, in that case you can have as much rampion as you choose. Um,
Narrator, what exactly is this plant called?

Rampion-or-rapunzel, apparently.

Good! That sounds fair enough to me.

The witch had not finished, as the foolish man soon found out.

You can have as much rampion-or-rapunzel as you choose, on one
condition: you must give me the child your wife will bring into the
world. I shall treat it well and be like a mother to it.

That sounds fair enough.

What his wife said when he got home with the rapunzel, the story
doesn't say, but I can't imagine she was that pleased.

What? You think I *told* her? Don't be stupid, man!

ROMANA II / WIFE [suspiciously, but slightly preoccupied with keeping
the cushion from falling out]
What didn't you tell me?

As soon as the child was born, the witch appeared in the cottage and
stole the baby girl away.

ROMANA II [holding a doll and looking pleased with herself]
Look at my lovely baby dau -. Aargh!

[ROMANA I / WITCH appears in the room and snatches the doll away and
then disappears again]

Oh, I think I may have forgotten to mention that the witch made a
condition about us having that rapunzel from her garden.

That's it - I want a divorce! You thought *giving our child away* was
an acceptable solution? To a *witch*?

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time - she was going to kill

Oh, well, I suppose if she was going to kill you that's fair enough

That's what I said.

The witch called the child Rapunzel and took her away to a tower,
where she locked her up to protect her from the world. Apparently she
didn't think a door would be useful and just got the girl to grow her
hair really long, hang the plait out of the window and climbed up it
every time she wanted to visit. I know I said that the witch was
misunderstood, but I fear that long years of isolation and vegetation
theft had left her a little unbalanced by this time.

WITCH / ROMANA I [standing at the bottom of a tall tower]
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!

[A long blonde plait snakes its way down the tower and she climbs up]

Now, one day, the king's son was riding through the forest and heard
Rapunzel singing. He followed the sound until he came to the tower,
but he could find no way up.

TENTH DOCTOR / PRINCE [walking through the forest when the sound of
some really corny pop music starts blasting through the trees]
What's that noise? I'd say that was sound pollution - think of the
wildlife. I'm off to complain to whoever's behind it.

[He reaches the tower]

Weird. There doesn't seem to be a way in. Wonder who walls
themselves into a tower in the middle of a forest and then plays loud

He was so charmed by the singing that he returned every day until he
finally saw the witch visiting.

I'm going to get to the bottom of this - or do I mean the top? - if it
kills me!

WITCH / ROMANA I [walking out from behind a tree]
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!

PRINCE [watching from the bushes]
Aha! So that's how you get in!

Once the witch had left, the prince hurried across to the tower and
tried the magic formula for himself..

PRINCE [shouting upwards]
Rapunzel, Rapunzel - let down your hair! And turn that racket down
while you're at it!

The long plait slid down the tower and the young prince climbed up.

PRINCE [pulling at the plait to test its strength]
I don't know why I'm doing this. I know what this is about - the
Master's doing Storytime and he wants to throw me into a thorn bush
and blind me. I must be a mug.

How well you know me, Doctor!

I knew it! Oh well, let's see who's behind the hair...

[Almost at the top, DONNA / RAPUNZEL leans out]

Is that my Prince Charming?

PRINCE [stopping abruptly and hiding under the window ledge]
No! It's the - er - postman! Yep, that's it! I've got a parcel for
a Rumpelstiltskin. That doesn't sound like your name, so I'll just
climb back down -.

If you're just some postman pulling my hair -

No way is this your hair!

Well, of course it isn't. But, as I was saying, if you're just some
postman than I should throw you off this tower now, as you're not
meant to be part of the story. Come on, Doctor - it's really boring
up here!

Oh, well, here goes! [He hauls himself over the ledge with some help
from RAPUNZEL.] Look, first of all, stop that terrible noise!

Noise? Oh, you mean this. I'm stuck up here, on my own day after day
- I like to listen to my CDs to pass the time.

Well, you could keep the volume down. I haven't seen a bird's nest
within ten miles of this tower.

RAPUNZEL / DONNA [sulkily]
I'm supposed to be really pleased you came. If you're just going to
tell me off, that's going to be difficult.

Oh, I'm sorry. What are you doing up here? Why didn't the builder
put a door into the tower? And I'd have thought a lift would have
been a good idea. Some stairs at the very least!

I don't know what you mean. My godmother, Dame Gothel, built this
place for me and she comes to see me at least once a week. I don't
know anything different.

But this is terrible! She can't be allowed to get away with locking
you up here. We'll have to think of something. I know, if you take
the wig off, you can climb back down with me.

RAPUNZEL / DONNA [through gritted teeth]
It's not a wig in the story!

Ah. I'll have to think of something else, then.

No, you won't. I told you the males in this story were useless.
Rapunzel came up with the idea of him bringing skeins of silk that she
could weave into a ladder. Silk, eh? Talk about high maintenance!

RAPUNZEL[folding her arms and glaring]
If everyone's just going to sarcastic, I'm not doing this. I never
asked to be some soppy princess stuck up a tower, offering to weave
silk into a ladder. Like I know how to do weaving anyway!

I bet Romana knows, if you ask her nicely.

Look, can people try to keep in character for two seconds together?
Leave the ladder to me and just go, can't you?

Right. I'm off to find a crash mat for later.

So life continued, with the witch and the prince both visiting
Rapunzel. The prince brought with him silk skeins on each visit and
Rapunzel kept herself so busy with weaving she no longer needed to
play her noisy CDs. Until, one day when the witch came to visit.

ROMANA I / WITCH [climbing up the tower with a real effort. Long
white dresses, feathered cloaks and high heels are just not suitable
for this sort of thing]

I wish you wouldn't pull so much - it hurts! The Prince is much
lighter - no trouble at all!

Prince!!! What prince?

PRINCE [hiding down below in the bushes]
Look, I'm *not* skinny, all right! Can people stop with the personal
comments, thanks?

There! You wicked, ungrateful girl! You've been seeing some prince
behind my back, after all the trouble I went to, locking you in this
tower and keeping you safe from unpleasant things like men? Right,
that's it! I've had enough of you!

The witch was so angry that she pulled out a pair of scissors and cut
off Rapunzel's long plait, attached it to the window and made the girl
climb down and cast her out into the wilderness, where she probably
wandered around crying like these useless heroines tend to do.

ROMANA / WITCH [pulling out a big pair of scissors]
It's about time we cut your hair. I've been meaning to do it for
years, but I never got around to it...

I promise I'll never do it again!


Then the witch waited for the prince to arrive. Oh, I love this bit!
Come on, Doctor! It's time for you to get what you deserve.

PRINCE / TEN [reluctantly deciding that the only thing to do is to get
on with it]
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!

[The long plait slides down the bricks of the tower]

You know, this tower is quite high... Perhaps she could throw me off
when I'm only halfway up?

In your dreams, Doctor

Izzy glared at her storyteller. "I told you that I'm not having
people use Story time for their own ends!"

"Look," said the Master, widening his eyes in unbelievable innocence,
"what happens in the story?"

Izzy sighed. "The prince gets thrown off the top of the tower into a
thorn bush and blinded. All right. Hang on, what was the story about
Topsy and Tim?"

When the prince reached the top, instead of his darling Rapunzel, he
saw the witch waiting for him. She flung the plait out of the window
and with it the prince. Who would have died, had he not landed right
in a thorn bush. But the thorns scratched his eyes and he was left
blinded and lost.

PRINCE /TEN [arriving at the top to find the WITCH waiting]
Hi! You must be this Dame Gothel Rapunzel was always talking about.
Can I say that you don't look anything like the stereotypical
fairytale witch and that outfit is just stunning?

Sorry, but I'm still throwing you out of the window. If you'd left
Rapunzel alone, this would never have happened! She is lost to you
and you will never see her again!

[The WITCH drops the plait she's holding and it and the PRINCE fall
from the top of the tower, onto the carefully placed crash mat]

Phew. Now, I'll just need a bandage and some tomato sauce...

"No!" said Izzy. "Can't people please leave the tomato sauce alone?
Tegan only eats her fish fingers with tomato sauce, Two will only ever
eat brussel sprouts with tomato sauce on... Are you getting the picture
here? It has too many other uses to be wasted in story time!"

The Master grinned. "So we should try for some *real* blood? Izzy,
you're coming around to my way of thinking!"

"Fine," she said in defeat. "Tomato sauce it is, then."

The prince wandered around, blind and lost, until he came to the
wilderness where Rapunzel was living with - wait a minute! - her twin
children. Twins!? So, that was a very innocent relationship you two
were having at the top of the tower...

DONNA / RAPUNZEL [looking down at two baby dolls in her arms]
I have to say that bit came as a shock to me, too.

I've just decided I'm deaf as well as blind. Possibly dead while I'm
at it...

The prince came to the wilderness where Rapunzel was living with her
twins and heard a familiar voice.

[RAPUNZEL / DONNA spies the wounded PRINCE / TEN]

RAPUNZEL [slapping him hard]
You pig!

Ow! Hey, I know that voice. And do you know what, you've hit me so
hard, I think my eyesight has come back! [Pulls off the bandage]
Rapunzel - it is you!

Well, how many other women did you leave pregnant with twins in the
desert? [Pauses] On second thoughts, don't answer that!

PRINCE / TEN [aggrieved]
Since all I did was bring you a few parcels of silk skeins, I think
it's me that should be having words with you. You told me you were a
complete innocent, sheltered from the world by that witch. Hah!

What can I say? Trust me, I have *no* idea how this happened!

PRINCE / TEN [dropping to his knees]
Well, what do you say we let bygones be bygones, I marry you and we'll
be king and queen and live in a palace instead of some poky tower or
the middle of a desert?

Sounds good to me, Doctor. I thought you'd never ask! It's like a
nightmare - I'm a penniless single mother! With *twins*.

PRINCE [getting back to his feet and dusting himself down]
This whole illegitimacy thing is going to play havoc with the heir to
the throne business, though. You do know how many battles that's
likely to lead to?

This is fairytale land, right? How about we farm them out to some
childless couple?

Good thinking, Rapunzel!

I mean, like I said, I've got *no* idea where they came from...

[The FOURTH DOCTOR / HUSBAND opens the door to his cottage to find two
baby dolls sitting outside it. He slams the door hastily and leans
against it in horror.]

And they all lived happily ever after.

Izzy snatched the book from the Master. "Where does it say that she
had twins?" She flicked through the pages. "Oh. Well, in that case,
can you stop telling *Grimm* fairy tales? What's wrong with Perrault
and Andersen?"

"How about Rumpelstiltskin?" he offered innocently.

It took all Izzy's self-restraint not to throw the book at his head

"Tut, tut," said the Master. "You're not going to be violent in front
of the children, are you?"

Izzy forced a smile. "Children, thank the kind man for telling you a
nice story."

Then she left him to his fate.


TTR was created by Tyler Dion; LWT by Imran Inayat and Storytime by B
K Willis.
Doctor Who is copyright of the BBC and BBC Wales.
The Master's addiction to Storytime! is my problem.