Who On TV (1989)

written by Jennifer Adams, Mark Christensen, Jay Harber, Steve W Hill, Philip Kelley, Jeff Sparrow, Paul Vnuk, and Rob Warnock.
directed by Hypo Luna
A Federation Production 1989
Plot | Credits | Memories

Plot in Pictures

Basically, it's about two spuds named Scott and Wilsen who sit around all day watching tv and thinking that everything has to do with Doctor Who.

Scott and Wilsen play truant from school to watch tv.
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, boys....
Mel and Peri try to hide Buddy Holly in the TARDIS closet.
"Mel, I think you have some 'splaining to do!"
Perfect Pertwee vs. Terrible Tom.
Scott and Wilsen get a UPS package from...Tommy?
"Pat over there is enjoying one of our delicious wine coolers...."
Scott and Wilsen put clothes on but continue to watch tv until their girlfriend Trish comes over.
Come on down to Hartnell used cars....
Perpugilligan breaks the Skipper's demat circuit again
Turlough refuses to admit if he's supposed to be Mary Ann or Ginger
The Master complains about the horrible conditions on the island.
YOU will enjoy this talk show based on a guest character from "Shada"!
Skagra banters with his sidekick Ed McMahon before welcoming...
Michael Jackson...
Suzanne Sommers...
Sean Penn...
and a Giant Brain.
And in the end, Scott and Wilsen get Janet Fieldthing...or do they?


Written By:

Jennifer Adams
Mark Christensen
Jay Harber
Steve W Hill
Philip Kelley
Jeff Sparrow
Paul Vnuk
Rob Warnock

Directed By:

Hypo Luma

Edited By:

Steve Hill
with Rob Warnock

Camera By:

Hermes Pan

Incidental Music by:

Rob Warnock
Additional incidental by Steve Hill

"Scagra Theme" sung by

Jennifer Adams

Futile Attempts at Sound Editing by

Steve Hill

Rob Warnock portrayed

Wilsen Scott
voice of Gary Downie
Skipper (Doctor #5)
Radio Voice

Paul Vnuk portrayed

Pat (Doctor #2)
Crazy TV Troughton

Jeff Sparrow portrayed

Sylvester (Doctor #7)
Perfect Pertwee (Doctor #3)
The Master
Tom Brokow

Karyn Simmons portrayed

Suzanne Sommers
a nosy photographer

Philip Kelley portrayed 

Turlough/ Mary Ann

Steve Hill portrayed

Scott Wilsen
Mr. Turner
Colin/Fred (Doctor #6)
voice of John Nathan-Turner
Walter Cronkite
Ed McMahon
voice of Eric Hoffman

Jay Harber portrayed

Tommy/UPS Man (Doctor #4)
Terrible Tommy
voice of the Giant Brain

Mark Christensen portrayed

Bill (Doctor #1)
The 6,000,000 Pound Man
David Brinkley
Sean Penn

Jennifer Adams portrayed

Lady Abeline/Janet Fieldthing

The Federation is

a not-for-profit fan cooperative for Doctor Who/Blake's 7/Monty Python etc. fans established 1983

Produced by


1989 The Federation



Jennifer | Steve

Jennifer recalls....

We planned Who On TV as something to do to both get back into the groove of videomaking and to try out certain characterizations before using them in The Reign of Turner. It was also the first Doctor Who parody we did without Chris Brainerd-- and the last production we did with everyone participating in the writing process.

We filmed it in May 1988, over a weekend. Paul Vnuk didn't even come down from Wisconsin for it--his sequences were filmed at his place, with Mark (who also lived in Wisconsin) assisting. We hadn't really made a video since Time Lord From U.N.C.L.E. back in 1986--well, with the exception of Clue????? in 1987, which wasn't even remotely related to the good Doctor. With a grueling shooting schedule looming that summer for The Reign of Turner, we thought it was best to do something easy, to get back the "characterisations" and to get used to new roles. We had Jay Harber taking over the fourth Doctor role, and Jeff Sparrow introducing his version of the new (at the time) seventh Doctor. Steve Hill was taking over JNT, I was taking over Janet, and Rob was doing Mel for the first time.

I don't think we cared much who wrote what, just so long as everyone who wanted to write something could. Perhaps the "We" (Rob, Steve, and I) were trying to compensate for the fact that the RoT script was ours and ours alone. The "YOU!" talk show was all Jay Harber's idea; Perpugilligan's Island was Philip Kelley's. I don't remember who wrote what else, although I do remember that there was a bit with "Downtown Peri Brown" that simply didn't work and, although taped, never made it into the production.

Although we filmed it in 1988, it didn't get edited until 1989, mostly because we were too busy trying to get RoT onto tape. I'm pretty sure it was a two-deck editing job, judging by the quality of the cuts and the horrible background noise in all the voice-overs.

The story (such as it were) centers around Scott and Wilsen, two uberspuddy Doctor Who fans who are so obsessed with the show that they start seeing DW characters pop up in other shows. We spoofed Mister Roger's Neighborhood, The $6,000,000 Man, Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, wrestling, commercials, and talk shows in it. 

There actually is a real "Scott Wilson", who Scott and Wilsen came from. The real Scott was a high school student who was a total Doctor Who geek and was for a short time in the Federation. He hosted a meeting once and ended up talking to his girlfriend Trish on the phone for part of it. He also was touted by Chris as the new Federation Fifth Doctor (unless of course Rob was to get a "normal" haircut....). Based on his personality and the one tidbit, we created a whole world for "Scott WilsEn," including his girlfriend Trish Grundig (named after the brand of PAL equipment we had), his best friend Wilsen Scott (who was just as stupid as he was), his mom Gertrude, and his Uncle Moe. It was all pretty sad, but it kept us amused for awhile.

Steve recalls....

Oh, wow, I can actually write memories for something! :)

Here are a few random thoughts on Who On TV. It was the first time I used spirit gum and the tacky fake JNT beard, therefore it was the first time that the tacky fake JNT beard came off during shooting. If this had been edited with any quality, you'd probably have seen the beard and moustache jumping around on my face. You'll also notice that when I put "the sweater" on, I discover quickly that it doesn't fit, so I give up trying to button it. Well, the slippers didn't fit either, but I wasn't wearing them when my feet weren't in the shot.

"YOU!" was indeed Jay Harber's idea and script, but it was based on our group fixation of one simple line of dialogue from SHADA when Skagra commands the attention of the school guy by saying "YOU!" in a deep booming voice which was completely at odds with his simply super white suit. To make the connection we get a tiny clip of the moment inserted during the "YOU!" talk show opening theme. Of course this was from a terrible quality PAL conversion of the SHADA rough cut, so it's almost unrecognizable in Who On TV.

I remember shooting the wrestling match between Perfect Pertwee and Terrible Tommy, and making a hell of a racket. It was shot in an office unit of a strip mall, and I think we got a noise complaint from the neighboring mall store (said store - Laser A/V - happily taking thousands of dollars from Steve, Rob and Dennis when they all got laserdisc players and heartily embraced the concept of 'disposable income').

I remember looping the dialogue for the Perpugilliam's Island segment (okay, not looping, just audio-dubbing) because it was so windy we had nothing to work with. I also remember trying (and failing) to get a noisy crowd effect for the wrestling match by recording live reaction on a four track, mixing down, recording more, mixing down, etcetera until we had something like 16 different voices. If you listen carefully you can pick out some of the things we were saying, and you might be amused.

I remember planning the climactic scene when Scott and Wilsen's heads explode. We had two buckets of tomato sauce, Rob and I were lying on the ground, and Jennifer's feet are out of the shot as she takes her shoes off so they don't get destroyed (you can tell she's doing so on camera). The sound for the head explosion was made from several sounds including one sampled from The Incredible Shrinking Man - the water dripping on Grant Williams' matchbox home (a huge splash noise). Alas, the sound isn't mixed loud enough in the final cut.

I think my favorite bit is The Six Million Dollar Man... the music especially makes it work nicely and Mark performed the part beautifully even though he had no dialogue. The clip of the building being destroyed was taken from the Godfrey Reggio film Koyaanisqatsi.

Editing was badly done by me from Beta to Beta, and I think the voice-overs were done with a microphone directly connected to the Beta deck (no mixer). A mix of sources actually makes the VHS footage (Mark and Paul's material) look better than the Beta stuff.

Ah, thank goodness those primitive days are over.