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'The Maltese Penguin'

CD only audio adventure released July 2002, 1 episode.

Writer: Rob Shearman
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: Film Noir and pulp detective novellas, particularly The Maltese Falcon, To Have and Have Not ('You know how to quack, don't you.'), The Big Sleep (femme fatale) plus Double Indemnity, Farewell My Lovely, (hardboiled detective voiceover), Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (voiceover as spoof), Kiss Me Deadly (the 'deadly box' subplot)and The Lady in the Lake. Casablanca. Pulp Fiction (The unknown Something). Chandler is named after Raymond Chandler, his voice based (as Frobisher guesses) on Peter Lorre's, while Dogbolter's voice is based on that of Sydney Greenstreet. Taxi Driver ('Are you looking at me?') The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ('He looked almost entirely unlike...'). Dogbolter has paintings by Van Gough, Brueghel, and John Ridgeway. The Austin Powers movies (Chandler seem to be Dr. Evil at points.) Lost in Space movie (device/bomb burns into hand). Frobisher compares Mulholland to Blackpool rock ('if she had been a stick of candy rock you could have snapped her in half and seen the word 'classy' written through her') Raiders of the Lost Ark. Frobisher refers to the Good Samaritan, the Ellery Queen series.

Intertextuality: See The Holy Terror. Dogbolter originated in the Steve Parkhouse DWM strip 'The Moderator'. Mazumas are the currency in these strips. According to the BF site this story takes place between the Marvel comic strip 'The World Shapers' and the 'The Holy Terror'.

Goofs: The mazuma Dogbolter throws at Elgar's feet clatters and scrapes on the floor, despite it being carpeted.

Double Entendres: 'I need to know if I can still do it.'

'Now, may I assume you'll rethink your position?'

Dialogue Triumphs: Most of the dialogue between Mulholland and Frobisher.

'I dived out of sight into an alley way gracefully.' (followed by the sound of rubbish cans knocking about and a cat yowling)

'I might wreak murder, I might just wreak grievous bodily harm; I'll see how the fancy takes me'

'If there's anywhere you can find that's tidy, it'll be there.'

'Imaging is unprofitable. At least without a feasibility study.'

Continuity: Josiah W Dogbolter is part human, part giant frog, his origins being the subject of rumour. He is wealthy enough to hide his name, and control planets. Famous men of the time include Elias Thinsbrock, Ulgar Zeus III and Ronald McDonald. His plastic chairs (made on Metazula Beta) are typical of everything made by his company, from warheads to milk bottle tops - not the highest quality. The planet on which this story is set doesn't make anything, which is the point of its operation.

The mazuma is the currency of the day, coming in denominations of one and twenty mazuma coins. Frobisher charges 12 Mazumas a day, plus expenses. Both Dogbolter and Frobisher drink bourbon.

Frobisher knows of Casablanca (he completes the quote and compares Chandler to Peter Lorre). Francine (another Whifferdill) was his partner and lover and wife, but left him because she was a better detective. Frobisher was a penguin to remind him of her (he really liked her as a penguin). He has trouble with the humanoid form, too many weird appendages. A previous case before this, The Case of the Absconded Feline, involved Frobisher finding a cat (which he did, eventually). Frobisher went to Private Investigator College and got his Private Investigator diploma. Second Class, the tutor had something against avian species. He got into the PI racket so he could say 'follow that cab!' He's been knocked unconscious often, and now enjoys it as a chance to get some sleep. His office is above ground level, and doesn't have a back door. He refers to having a gun, but never seems to have it with him.

The Doctor dropped Frobisher off three weeks earlier, but got lonely without him. Frobisher claims that he employed the Doctor from time to time.

6714342 is the number for the Laundry.

Location: Frobisher's (or Dogbolter's - possibly Venus?) home world, the 82nd century.

Unseen Adventures: The Doctor claims to have been to a planet, helped the rebels overthrow the corrupt tyrants, then popped forwards 100 years and overthrew the corrupt rebels. He's foiled three invasions of Earth, saved the Universe twice, then added another time during this adventure.

Links: 'The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.' (The Doctor doesn't get junk mail!)

Bottom Line: 'Do you know where the something is?'

Oh lovely! Another gem from Robert Shearman. Hearing Colin Baker impersonate Robert Jezek impersonating Frobisher impersonating the Doctor with faux bad American film noir accent is wonderful! What's not to enjoy? The closing tune is possibly the best alternative version of the main theme ever.


The Doctor and Frobisher have encountered Dogbolter before. In 'The Moderator' (DWM 84/86-87), the fifth Doctor and then companion Angus 'Gus' Goodman foil a plan by Dogbolter, resulting in Dogbolter having Gus assassinated and the Doctor flee distraught. Later, in his next incarnation the Doctor meets Frobisher (then using his real name Avan Tarklu) when in 'The Shape Shifter' (DWM 88-89) the Whifferdill tracks him down to claim the bounty of 250,000 mazumas placed on his head by none other than Dogbolter himself. Working together (in a plan which involves Frobisher taking the Doctor's form!), the two dupe the mogul out of his money and flee in the TARDIS.

Dogbolter is the richest 'man' in existence at this time. Included in his sizeable portfolio are Warworld Investments, Martian Munitions, Cybernetics International and of course his largest company IntraVenus Inc. Among the planets he owns are Mars, Jupiter and Venus (his base of operations in 'The Shape Shifter' is Greenback Bay on that planet).

As seen in 'The Shape Shifter', Frobisher in his natural state is humanoid, around three to four feet tall, has a round featureless head with no nose or mouth and wears large spectacles. On the wall of his office he has a 'Diploma of Merit'. This may conflict with the history of 'Penguin', which suggests he was in avian form during his 'schooling', and used the name Frobisher before meeting the Doctor.

There is one last problem however, in the absence of Dogbolter recognising 'the Doctor'. For it to work in the context of the comic strip, we ought to assume that 'Penguin' predates 'Shape-Shifter', allowing the villain to depart the scene with an even bigger grudge and a new reference to the Time Lord's appearance. That does rather jar with Big Finish's suggestion that 'Penguin' follow 'The World Shapers' though. It's a conundrum big enough to rattle the greatest seamus...

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