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BLOG Doctor Who In Six Lines Of Java

Whilst we’re in Doctor Who limbo, waiting to find out who the next Doctor will be, how long the new season is, what John Hurt’s role is and the other members of the never ending Legion Of Questions, it’s easy to get bored. Admittedly things can’t get much worse than the “Paris Jackson is the new Doctor” story excreted last week, but they can get much more boring than they already are. Thankfully, the team at UsVsTh3m has put together an episode plot generator that, in six lines of Java, throws out some unnervingly plausible sounding episodes.

And it’s a wonderful time sink. Also, I’d like to personally throw my support behind the “David Bowie as the White Guardian” campaign now, following a particular great random plot it generated for me a few days ago.

Regardless of your thoughts on whether the Thin White Duke should be the Thin White Gallifreyan, it’s a fun toy and was how I found UsVsTh3m . There’s some great stuff on the site, much of it cheerfully sweary in an NSFW kind of way, and I talked to founder Martin Belam about it, and what their plans are.

Tell us a little about the site.

UsVsTh3m is our crack at being funny on the internet. Editorially it is lead by Rob Manuel, who founded B3ta , and the premise is that each day we make stuff we hope is funny; the rest of the internet makes some funny stuff; we publish both, and at tea-time send out an email announcing who has “won” that day according to our secret formula.”

What led to the decision to set it up?

“Trinity Mirror is funding it. It has a digital strategy that involves setting up some new sites and trying to reach new audiences, and it is also trying to be more experimental with its digital publishing. We had a workshop with a few people from the business and some of the editorial team, settled on the premise, and got it up and live within five weeks.”

You've got some wonderful geek humour up there, especially the magnificent Icefail. Is that something you're deliberately skewing towards or is it naturally evolving?

“In the long term, we’d aim to have a more mainstream audience, but in the short-term it seems wise to play to our strengths, which is being a bit geeky and poking fun at the media. I think our style will naturally evolve: the day we launched to the public was the first time that some of the writing team had ever met each other, let alone worked together.”

The Doctor Who plot generator is a thing of awful beauty, and terrifyingly convincing. What's your favorite episode it's generated so far?

“Someone posted a picture on Twitter of what could have been a pretty convincing plot-line for the 50th special. It actually started life as an attempt to generate fake spoilers for November, but then we just started adding sillier and sillier ideas into it. I feel a bit mean having delivered a bit of a slap to the current state of the show like that: there’s a long tradition of fans giving the team running it a hard time because it doesn’t fit with some mythical idea of how Doctor Who ‘ought’ to be. I love the cameos generated by the JavaScript though: it is essentially a wish list of who I’d like to see next year – Tom Baker as the voice of a villain, or David Bowie.”

What's next for the site?

“We’ve got enough money to run it for a couple of months as an experiment, and if it goes well I hope we’ll add more staff and start to publish more than 9-5, 5 days a week. We are also going to be running some comedy events alongside it, as a way of helping us come up with new content.”

• UsVsTh3m is off to a great start, hitting multiple different styles of comedy and subject matter with the same maniacal glee. Visit for the Doctor Who plot generator, stay for the jokes. It’s worth it.