The title is a reference to the G&S operetta Ruddigore. In that show, a good man is cursed to perform a bad deed every day or die in horrible agony at the hands of his ancestors' ghosts. When asked what bad deeds he has performed, the cursed man offers up some dubious examples, including disinheriting his nonexistent son. When questioned, he complains, "If I can't disinherit my own unborn son, whose unborn son can I disinherit?" The ghosts have trouble poking holes in his arguments, although one does note "Fallacy somewhere, I fancy!"
I began with Trial by Jury even though the first G&S collaboration was Thespis. But Thespis was rushed into production and doesn't exist anymore so it doesn't really count. And if you want to argue -- which I know you do, because G&S fans are even more argumentative than Doctor Who fans -- then I'll see your Thespis and raise you a Dimensions in Time. Ha! Beat that! And besides, if you discount Thespis then there are 13 G&S operettas, and in classic Who a Time Lord gets 12 regenerations which means 13 incarnations of the Doctor. Coincidence? I think not.
"Basingstoke" -- Another reference to Ruddigore. A mad character in that show asks her husband to help control her madness by saying "Basingstoke" to her, a word that "teems with hidden meaning."
"Cardiff" -- An in-joke for the Doctor Who fans.
"The words need to be in the right order" -- An in-joke for the G&S fans, especially the ones who have tried to memorize this song.
"Never / hardly ever" -- A reference to a song from the G&S operetta H.M.S. Pinafore. And now that song's in my head. "Give three cheers and one cheer more . . . "
"Complain about this to Gilbert / complain about this to Sullivan" — Despite their very successful collaborations, Gilbert and Sullivan were known for not getting along that well with each other.
The boat trip to New York to bring the first authorized production of H.M.S. Pinafore to the U.S. and premiere The Pirates of Penzance there in order to protect the copyright is a matter of historical fact. A further matter of historical fact is that upon arrival in New York, Sullivan wrote in a letter to his mother that he forgot to pack his notes for Act I of the new show and was thus forced to reconstruct it from memory. I offer here a different explanation for what happened to Act I.
"I am the very model of a Gallifreyan buccaneer" — A song from the Big Finish audio production "Doctor Who and the Pirates." The song is a parody of "I am the very model of a modern Major-General," which is from the G&S operetta The Pirates of Penzance.
"A policeman's lot is not a happy one" and "A paradox, a paradox, a most ingenious paradox" are references to two further songs from the G&S operetta The Pirates of Penzance.
"That song isn't even in the show" -- A particularly obscure G&S in-joke. When Joseph Papp did a revival of The Pirates of Penzance in the early 1980's (including a very successful Broadway run and an unsuccessful movie), he added in the song the Doctor references, which is actually from Ruddigore. There were several slight changes to the words to get the song to fit the different show, plus this new ending to one of the verses: "But at present I'm afraid I am as mad as any hatter so I'll sing a song from 'Ruddigore' it really doesn't matter."
"I've got a little list" -- A reference to a song from the G&S operetta The Mikado.
"Second trombone" -- Another reference to the G&S operetta The Mikado. In that show, the Mikado's son disguises himself as a second trombone player. When he confesses to his love that he is in fact no musician, she responds, "I was certain of it, directly I heard you play!"
And that's all my corroborative detail, intended to give an air of artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative. Thanks for reading all the way to the end!
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