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 And so in conclusion there is only one thing of which we can be absolutely certain: the spaceship was already blowing up when I got there.

Imagine Doctor Who starring an underfunded Obstructive Bureaucrat, and you have Nebulous: a BBC Radio 4 After the End comedy series which parodies much of British Science Fiction, in particular Quatermass and the aforementioned Doctor Who. Nebulous follows the adventures of Professor Nebulous, leader of K.E.N.T.: the Key Environmental Non-judgemental Taskforce, which just happens to be based in a London launderette. K.E.N.T. is tasked with picking up the pieces after an environmental disaster known as "The Withering": a Cosy Catastrophe that has led to the extinction of vegetarians, tarts and white dog-doings. The series exists almost solely to subvert Speculative Fiction Tropes, and many episodes are Affectionate Parodies of other shows.

This show provides examples of:

 Nebulous: The Withered Zone itself poses no threat, sir. It is merely a sterile wasteland. To the untrained eye, it might as well be a quarry.

  • Big Word Shout - Harry loves these and has probably done just about every sub-trope, too.

 Guy: Excuse me, would you like to sign up for the University Dramatics Society?\


  • Black Helicopter - L.O.U.G.H.B.O.R.O.U.G.H. maintain a fleet of them.
  • Brown Note - the colour "Garrow" causes all who look at it to go crazy.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The Withering.
  • Catch Phrase -
    • Sir Ronald Rowland: "I'd like to do what I can, but I'm afraid I can't."
    • Rory: "Bollocks ... Sir."
    • Nebulous: "I'm drifting."
    • General catch phrase: "K.E.N.T. can do."
  • Chaste Hero - Nebulous remains oblivious to his assistant Paula's obvious and blatant attraction to him
  • Casanova Wannabe - Rory claims to be the team's ladies' man. There is absolutely no evidence for this.
  • Creator Provincialism - Parodied, when one of the villains claims that there are so many alien invasions of the UK "for tax reasons".
  • Flash Back Back Back - Nebulous has frequent flashbacks to his childhood, triggered by variants of the word "Clown".
  • For Science! - Nebulous has shown a lack of foresight regarding some of his inventions.

 Nebulous: You're looking at the man who invented basers, as a recycling tool for cutting up scrap metal. The baser: a hyper-caustic acid beam housed in a handy gun shaped dispenser. How could I have possibly known that the military would turn it into a weapon?

  • Fun with Acronyms - K.E.N.T.'s biggest rival is L.O.U.G.H.B.O.R.O.U.G.H. - the Legitimate Organisation Undertaking General Humanitarian Business Operations Requiring Optimum Unconditional Global Harmony. Apparently, people from K.E.N.T. have always hated people from L.O.U.G.H.B.O.R.O.U.G.H..
  • Future Food Is Artificial - parodied, as no-one has any issues with cannibalism, but the idea of eating soya-based Soylent Beige makes people retch in horror.
  • Istanbul Not Constantinople - The Withering means that the Empire of Luxembourg is now a superpower, while The Midlands is now an exotic sounding old name for The Withered Zone.
  • Just Between You and Me - Wonderfully parodied in the final episode of Season 1, where Nebulous is held at gunpoint by his arch-nemesis.

 Nebulous: Surely you're going to outline your brilliant plan?

Dr. Klench: Why should I? The information's no use to you.

Nebulous: To...satisfy my curiosity?

Dr. Klench: It's irrelevant. Any minute now you're going to be a dead body.

  • Kids Are Cruel - "Nobulous".
  • Lost Technology - parodied, since the lost technologies include the vacuum cleaner and fire (although luckily, that one came back pretty quickly).
  • Missing Episode - Parodied in the liner notes for the first series, which claims that there were at least 11 series of Nebulous, but almost all the episodes were lost. Many of the examples given are spoofs of famous Doctor Who episodes - many of which are themselves missing.
  • Metaphorgotten - a Running Gag is that Professor Nebulous frequently takes metaphors too far until they break:

 Nebulous: These people have had their brains washed, rinsed, conditioned, and then put through some kind of mangle, then ironed, and folded, and then put in some kind of airing cupboard: an airing cupboard of the mind, I'm drifting.

  • Monster Clown - sort of, Nebulous has terrifying (to him) flashbacks about being a clown.
    • Because both his parents were clowns, and being clowns was the family business. He bucked the trend by becoming an underpaid scientist.
  • My Greatest Failure - Nebulous blew up the Isle of Wight while trying to move it to the left a bit. It ruined his career, his subsequent attempt to avert the disaster failed, and nobody lets him forget it.
  • Parody Episode - many episodes are fairly close parodies of classic sci-fi series.
  • Perky Female Minion - The aptly-named Paula Breeze, who takes perkiness to the point of mental illness.
  • Shout-Out - While The Doctor is known as "The Oncoming Storm", Nebulous is merely "The Oncoming Drizzle".
  • Sick Episode - Third series episode "Us and Phlegm". Rory, Paula, Harry and ninety-nine percent of the nation's workforce come down with every serious illness in the world, one after another. Eventually Nebulous discovers that aliens were behind it.
  • Whole-Plot Reference - the episode "The Lovely Invasion" is a very close parody of the Doctor Who story The Claws of Axos.
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