The Doctor was feeling lonely. Most of the time, she could suppress those feelings and distract herself by saving a planet, averting a war, or emergency-deep-freezing Krynoid hatchlings. But not today. Today was different.
Today, she sat on the steps of the TARDIS console room, munching her last custard cream, watching the glowing control crystal rise and fall.
Rise and fall.
Rise and fall.
While her space/time machine was in Artron II Recharge Mode, the Doctor couldn’t allow anyone else on board, especially humans - the artron pulses played havoc with their DNA. She guiltily remembered that time with David Bowie, when his left pupil permanently dilated.
The Doctor sighed, savouring her final mouthful of biscuit. Her brain was still working thirteen million to the dozen, in the background, backing up like the biggest and best hard drive in the universe, but it felt dulled and distant. If mardy was an emotion, she was feeling it.
Then the TARDIS beeped. A friendly, quirky little sound she hadn’t heard before. It was like it knew what she was thinking (which of course, it secretly did). Curious, the Doctor scrambled to her feet, and in response a jet of steam hissed out of the console. Projected onto the steam was a line of old Gallifreyan text:
You have one unread message.
“What message??” the Doctor blurted out loud. “Since when did you start taking messages?”
Since ages ago,the TARDIS replied in a petulant series of hums and whistles.
“Well aren’t you chatty! Where were you last September when I ran out of monologues?”
Just read the message, the TARDIS seemed to say.
The Doctor jabbed a button on the console, then turned as a hologram fizzed into life. She felt a surge of emotion as she stared into the face before her.
The girl was in her mid-teens, with a shock of jet-black hair, a striped top and eyes twinkling with mischief. The sight of her cracked the Doctor’s dark mood like an egg.
“Hello Grandfather,” said the hologram.
The Doctor’s voice caught in her throat. “Hello Susan” she finally replied. This was clearly a recording made when her granddaughter was still a teenager. When they were travelling together, so many lifetimes ago.
Susan’s image crackled as she continued talking: “I’ve built a message bank and retrieval system into the TARDIS data core, for a rainy day. In case you need cheering up. I know what you’re like when you get bored, or lonely.”
“What am I like?” snapped the Doctor defensively.
“Grumpy,” Susan replied.
The Doctor clutched her braces and frowned.
“I know nothing lasts forever,” Susan continued, “and that eventually we’ll have to say goodbye. But when that day comes, I want to leave you with some memories of our time together.”
The Doctor’s eyes misted over. There was a lump in her throat.
“Not just of me, but of future friends. Future times and places. I’ve activated the TARDIS record mode, telepathically linked to your data extract. So if you’re ever feeling bored, or lonely, or sad, all you have to do is access the data bank, and retrieve a favourite memory. It’ll keep on recording until you tell it to stop. All your adventures, all your stories won’t go to waste. They’ll always be here, waiting for you, like an archive. Alive for eternity.”
Stunned, the Doctor watched a stream of text appearing on the screen. Old adventures, logged in a long list that seemingly scrolled forever.
“Some of the early ones might have gaps, sorry about that. You know what the TARDIS is like with integrating new systems.”
The TARDIS grumbled disapprovingly.
“Anyway, I’d better go or I’ll be late for school. I hope this message gets to you someday. When you need it most.”
With a final smile, Susan’s image flickered, then evaporated. The Doctor stared at the empty space for a very long time. Seconds, at least. Then she snapped into action, scrolling through the endless list of titles, unsure where to begin. ‘Crisis on Poosh,’ ‘Genesis Of The Daleks,’ ‘Attack Of The Postmen’, ‘The Timelash’, ‘100,000 BC aka An Unearthly Child aka The One In The Stone Age.’
“Intelligent labelling system’s a bit random,” thought the Doctor, her finger hovering over the activation button. Finally, she made her selection – and pressed PLAY.
The TARDIS console pinged again. Result! The custard creams had been replenished! The Doctor eagerly plucked one from the dispenser and settled back to watch hazy images form on the screen.
As she chewed, she decided she’d FaceTime Graham, Ryan and Yaz later, but for now she was happily distracted with the gift that Susan had left behind; an endless supply of stories; a comfort blanket of fond memories and old friends.
And a reminder.
That she was never, ever alone.
Reiver RE229 posted a photo:
Sorry its not good quality but ive been enjoying some classic Dr Who's lately and some are a real joy to watch compared to the crap today.
John Pertwee is in a London Oil Refinery with lots of views of lorries and rail tanks etc..
I must say that John Pertwee is in fine form in this episode 'Inferno' -oh yes and there are plenty of ladies in mini skirts too!
This was never meant to exist.
Way back, maybe early 2013, Tom Spilsbury, the editor of Doctor Who Magazine, asked me if I wanted to contribute to DWM’s great 50th special. Maybe addressing that huge gap in Doctor Who lore, how did the Eighth Doctor regenerate into the Ninth?
I said well, yeah, no, but, isn’t that best left to the imagination? If I write a script, it would be too real, too fixed, too canonical. But Tom’s never one to give up. He said okay, what if you wrote, say, the final pages of a Target novel? About the last days of the Time War. The Doctor’s final moments. And we could present it like a surviving fragment of the Novel That Never Was, so it exists in that half-real space of the spin-offs, possible but not factual, just slightly canon, if you so choose. Okay, Tom. You temptress. I’m in.
So I wrote this. It even starts mid-sentence, as if you’ve just turned to the last pages. Lee Binding created a beautiful cover. We were excited! And then Tom said, I’d better run this past Steven Moffat, just in case…
Oh, said Steven. Oh. How could we have known? That the Day of the Doctor would have an extra Doctor, a War Doctor? And Steven didn’t even tell us about Night of the Doctor, he kept that regeneration a complete surprise! He just said, sorry, can you lay off that whole area? I agreed, harrumphed, went to bed and told him he was sleeping on the settee that night.
So the idea was snuffed a-borning. Until 2020. When a science fiction-shaped virus came along to change our lives (honestly, I’ve written the end of the world 100 times, but I never imagined everyone just sitting at home). Emily Cook of DWM created the livestream Day of the Doctor, then turned to Rose, and asked me if I had anything to offer..? At exactly the same time, Chris Chibnall emailed me, saying we need the Doctor more than ever these days, and could I think of any material?
By some miracle this file still existed. Lee still had his illustration (naturally, because he was under a Binding contract, oh I’m so funny). And strangely, looking back, it’s funny how things fit; the Moment is described here as oak and brass, which isn’t far from the final idea (I don’t mean Billie). I wonder; I suspect, without realising, if Steven and I were both riffing off Eighth Doctor-style designs, maybe..? More importantly, the idea has come of age. This chapter only died because it became, continuity-wise, incorrect. But now, the Thirteenth Doctor has shown us Doctors galore, with infinite possibilities.
All Doctors exist. All stories are true. So come with me now, to the distant reefs of a terrible war, as the Doctor takes the Moment and changes both the universe and themselves forever…
but the Daleks and the Time Lords scream in vain, too far away to stop him now. And so the Doctor stands alone.
He looks out from his eyrie, across the wreckage of a thousand worlds. Below him, fragments of the Time War, broken reefs of Gallifrey and Skaro washed up into this backwater, to rot. His creaking wooden platform shivers with ice, a mile high, atop fragments of Morbius’s Red Capitol, its vile towers fused into the black, friable spires of Yarvelling’s Church. And yet the Doctor can see glimpses of Earth. The planet had been replicated a million times, to become the bullets fired into the Nightmare Child’s skull, and now splinters of human society have gouged themselves into the wasteland below - relics of Mumbai, shards of Manhattan, a satire of Old London Town. Remnants of better days.
The Doctor looks down. Her skeleton lies at his feet. The bones relax into dust, and she is gone. The Doctor looks up.
In front of him, at the edge of the platform, a brass handle, mounted in a simple oak casement; the only remaining extrusion of the Moment into this world, the rest of its vast bulk hidden, chained to an N-form, churning behind the dimensional wall. Screaming to be used.
He steps forward. He grips the handle. He wonders what his last words should be. He decides that last words are useless. He pulls the handle down, flat.
The Moment happens.
The universe sings.
The war ends.
Surrounded by brightness, the Doctor sees the sky above parting to reveal, just as Bettan and the Deathsmiths of Goth had predicted, the final event.
Gallifrey Original convulses and rolls into flame. Its concentric rings of Dalek warships become silhouettes, then ashes, and then –
The Doctor falls. Every atom around him is sucked upwards, towards the fire, but he alone is capable of falling, saved – or damned – by the Moment’s shadow. Above him, he feels the Time Lock solidify, sealing off the war from reality, and as his body tumbles out of existence, into plasmaspace, then foulspace, then beyond, the Doctor leans into the fall, head first, arms wide, diving into infinity.
A whirl of blue. That faithful blue. Then a rectangle of white, widening, a doorway, coming closer, towards him, and as the grind of ancient engines reaches a crescendo, he thinks: I’m going home.
The Doctor lies on the Tardis floor. His bones broken from the fall, his hearts hollowed by his loss. Around him, the console room buckles, warps, shudders, still suffering from the High Council’s resurrection of the Master, long ago. It aches for a new shape. “Me too,” mutters the Doctor with a grim smile, though he knows regeneration is impossible. The Moment has fixed his existence, and this life is his last.
He wonders what age he’s finally reached. The Time War used years as ammunition; at the Battle of Rodan’s Wedding alone, he’d aged to five million and then regressed to a mewling babe, merely from shrapnel. Now, the ache in his bones feels… one thousand years old? Well. Call it nine hundred. Sounds better.
Darkness swills through his mind and he forces a smile, ready and yet never ready for the end. Still, no final words.
Can it be..?
He feels it once more.
That old, deep stirring in every bone and muscle and thought. The joy. The terror. The change, the impossible change!
Amazed, he lifts up his hand. Stares, fascinated, as the skin ripples with a curious new gold.
Of course. She tricked him, right at the end. Her final kiss was not a goodbye; she imprinted the Restoration within him. His lifecycle has been reset, the new man lurching outwards to be born. So this is the meaning of her final song: a whole new body to expiate the guilt. He might even pass the Restoration to another, one day.
Suddenly, they come, in a rush, his final words. He says them aloud, but there is no one to hear, allowing them to be imagined and imagined again for ever.
Then his nuclei turn into stars. Every pore blazes with light. A volcano of thick, viscous energy cannons from his neck, his hands, his feet, his guts, his hearts, his soul - It stops.
The Doctor sits up. The new Doctor, next Doctor, now Doctor. He lifts up his new fingers to touch his new head. His new chin. His new nose. His new ears. He takes a deep breath into his new, dry, wide lungs. He says his first word.
Hello! We’re living through some strange times right now.
With people staying home, and families stuck together, I thought maybe a few little presents from Doctor Who might help. Something to read, together or alone. New treats, from the people who make Doctor Who.
We’ll try and post things here once or twice a week. Later this week, we’ll have a never-before-published treat written by Russell T Davies.
To start us off, I’ve written a few words about what went through the Thirteenth Doctor’s head, immediately after she regenerated and was thrown out her TARDIS.
She was cold.
The Doctor was cold.
The ragged clothes weren’t helping. She was cold, and in someone else’s ragged clothes.
She felt a little peeved that the ragged clothes did not include a built-in parachute. That felt like an error.
Wait, she thought. Why would I want a parachute? Oh yes, that’s right. She remembered.
She was falling.
Air was rushing past her. Or more accurately, she was rushing past air. Tumbling through the cold night sky.
Also, she was fizzing.
Remnants of regeneration particles were still skittering off her. The process was still… in process. Her newness still in train.
The Doctor looked up, mid-plummet. Oh dear, she thought.
Far above her, the TARDIS was exploding.
That is very unhelpful, she thought.
No, wait, not just exploding. Now the TARDIS was dematerializing – while it exploded. Dematerialexploding, thought the Doctor. That’s not a word, chided the Doctor. Alright, replied the Doctor, I’m only a few minutes in here - you’re lucky I’ve got any words at all. Will you two stop arguing, chimed in the Doctor. Only if you stop sub-dividing us, replied the Doctor, this is all the same brain. Don’t confuse matters.
As the blue box vanished, leaving the Doctor looking up at a starry black sky, the Doctor wondered if she’d ever see her TARDIS again. No time to feel sorry for yourself, she told herself. Too much going on!
Yes, she thought. There was a lot going on. A large dark painful ground mass was rapidly approaching, and inside the Doctor’s body her cells continued to burn and reshape and reform.
Well, thought the Doctor. All of her. This is a conundrum.
Her newly minted mind had already had three thousand and seven thoughts over the course of three seconds. She knew because she counted, and she only realised she’d counted once she’d finished counting, and then she wondered whether the counting made three thousand and eight thoughts and then she realised that the ground was another second closer, and a plan would probably be in order.
She saw the ground and calculated her own velocity. Ooh, this is going to hurt, she thought. Even with a soft landing. And it probably won’t be a soft landing. She crossed her fingers and hoped she was heading for an open air trampoline factory.
Like that planet, what was it called, Fintleborxtug! Fun fact about Fintleborxtug, she told herself, the creature that named it did so when it was hiccuping and just before it was sick. Nobody knows if it was really the name or just the sound it made.
You don’t have to tell me that, thought the Doctor tetchily to herself, I know! I know the planetary surface of Fintleborxtug is as soft and bouncy as a trampoline, because I went for a long bounce there once among the mountains, and the purple sky. I’d just had ice cream sundaes. That was a mistake. Can you please concentrate, the Doctor thought to herself again!
She concentrated. She confirmed she was still falling. Disappointing, but not that much of a surprise given her circumstances hadn’t changed in the second since she last checked.
She wondered where exactly she was. Which sky she was falling through. Which ground she was heading for. She stuck her tongue out. It was buffeted by the air. Tickled. Ah. That tasted like Earth. Northern Europe. Britain. Wood smoke, diesel, grass, fast approaching concrete, lot of moisture and attitude in the air. Yorkshire. Possibly South Yorkshire.
She snuck another look down. A train track. A stationary train. She tried to recognise the livery on the outside of the train, so she could absolutely nail precisely where she was but it was distant and dark and regeneration had once again failed to deliver the super powered, see in the dark, X Ray vision she had always craved. Ah well, she thought, maybe next time.
Now, the train below was insisting on getting even closer. The train, or the tracks, were where she was going to land. She pondered her limited choices - tracks would hurt. Mouth full of gravel and two big metal lines all the way down her new body. Ouch. Train might be better - the roof, if she could crash through it, would soften her landing a bit (though smashing through was most likely going to hurt a lot).
With a bit of luck any injuries would be taken care of by the still fizzing regeneration process. Like those injuries the Doctor had got after he’d crashed through the roof at Naismith manor. Or the hand he’d managed to grow back after the Sycorax had lopped one off. Watch out Doctor, she thought, your personal pronouns are drifting.
That roof was super close now. She flapped her arms a bit to make sure her trajectory was bang on. As she did so, she saw that the train lights were out. She saw sparks of a light flashing in one carriage towards the back of the train. Something was wrong. And if something was wrong, she was the man to sort it out.
You’re assuming you’re going to make it through this fall alive, she reminded herself. Now, don’t be gloomy, she chided back. Things will be alright. Right now, they’re not ideal. But I can muddle through. Probably.
That’s interesting, she thought. I seem to be an optimist. With a hint of enthusiasm. And what’s that warm feeling in my stomach? Ah, I’m kind! Brilliant.
This was going to be fun, thought the Doctor, as she crashed through the roof of a train, on the outskirts of Sheffield, not far from Grindleford.
Then, having hit the floor of the train, and felt extra little regenerative energy particles heal where things had scratched and broken and hurt -- newness, in train, on a train -- she thought to herself: this is going to be a very interesting night!
The Doctor jumped up, zapped a creature she couldn’t quite understand and immediately made new friends.
StarRunn posted a photo:
This advertisement appeared in a British comic dated March 25, 1972.
With the fate of the Doctor seemingly hanging in the balance following the climactic ending to Series 12, Doctor Who will next return to screens for a special in the upcoming festive season in an episode entitled: “Revolution of the Daleks”.
Following the latest series, which was packed full of shocking twists, turns and surprises, the one off special will see the return of one of the Doctor’s biggest and most feared enemies – the Daleks.
Showrunner Chris Chibnall said:
“We can’t leave the Doctor there! On that cliffhanger! Well, we did. But rest assured, the Doctor and her friends will be back for a one-off extended Special around Christmas and New Year. (I don’t know when they’re going to put it on yet, otherwise we’d tell you!). There will be Daleks. There will be exterminations. Thrills, laughter, tears. You know. The usual. See you at the end of the year.”
Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content says:
"I can't wait for the Doctor to go into battle with the ultimate enemy in this year's Daleks festive special."
The Doctor is played by Jodie Whittaker, Ryan by Tosin Cole, Graham by Bradley Walsh and Yaz by Mandip Gill. All will be starring in the upcoming festive episode.
With new Cybermen, plenty of mystery and secrets to be revealed in the Series 12 finale, showrunner Chris Chibnall talks all about Series 12 so far, and beyond…
Cybermen - lots of Cybermen. And more than one variant of Cyberman. It’s an epic space-opera story set in the far future on a distant planet where the last human refugees are being hunted down by a particularly zealous Cyberman and his soldiers. It’s set in the aftermath of the great Cyber War, so there’s a lot at stake for humanity in their quest to survive. As they’re being hunted down by the Cybermen, enter the Doctor, Yaz, Graham and Ryan.
The story comes first really. Because Cybermen are built out of humans, what I was interested in was a story far, far, far into the future where they come to hate the very thing that has made them and they’ve been at war with humanity. Out of that comes the design of the Cyberman who’s hunting them down and then also you begin to think ‘what else can we do with them?’. It wasn’t a re-design for the sake of it, we’ve got some classic Cybermen in there, but you always want to have more than one Cyberman in a big, epic Cyberman two-parter. We’ve had a lot of fun with it and the new versions are particularly relentless and ruthless and in true Cyberman fashion, they will stop at nothing. Obviously for our gang, who are made up of at least three humans, they’re in particular jeopardy.
I always feel that the Doctor and the Cybermen, and this is what I’ve brought to the story and Jodie’s Doctor’s reaction to meeting them, is that there is quite a lot of baggage there. The Doctor has experienced casualties at the hands of the Cybermen - Bill Potts was turned into a Cyberman. Also, as a kid who was 12 in 1982 when the character of Adric died at the hands of the Cybermen under Peter Davison’s Doctor, I’m not sure I’ve ever fully recovered from the trauma of that and I’m not sure the Doctor has either! So I think she’s worried and she realises as the story goes on how much risk and danger she’s put her friends into and she’s brought them into harm's way. You always feel with these returning monsters, you always want to dig into the Doctor’s emotional relationship - they’re not just arch enemies that don’t feel anything about one another. This Doctor feels things deeply, so just like her relationship with Sacha Dawan’s Master is complex, so is her relationship with the Cybermen. She knows what they’re capable of, she’s seen it, she’s felt it. I wanted to bring that out. It’s personal.
The mystery of the ‘Timeless Child’ along with the questions around Jo’s Doctor from episode five… you would hope that we would be getting some answers in the finale. I think viewers would be right to hope for that. Obviously it goes back to episodes one and two with Sacha Dhawan’s Master telling the Doctor that everything she knows is a lie. As we come into the final two parter we will learn much more about what that means for the Doctor.
Her character is called Ravio and she is one of the human refugees. She’s part of the group that’s on the run from the Cybermen. The brilliant thing about Julie is, if you are a human on the run from the Cybermen, Julie Graham is one of the people you would want alongside you to try and keep you alive! She’s completely brilliant. Ravio is a no-nonsense action hero, but this group is also very ordinary - they’re teachers and mechanics, they’re not soldiers. They’re the last vestiges of humanity. The thing about Julie is she has the ability to make you love a character and make you understand their toughness, their warmth, their pain, their humour.
Probably the big moments for the viewers. Bringing back the Master and the reveal and cliffhanger with the plane going down, that felt exciting. Sacha’s performance as the Master is extraordinary and putting him together with Jodie’s Doctor is a real acting tour-de-force.
Bringing Captain Jack back and the Judoon and the reveal that there is another Doctor - to see that go out and the explosion of response around that was incredible. The way Jo Martin has been welcomed into the Doctor Who family by viewers, fans and audiences around the world has been thrilling.
Then on another level, some of the themes this year like the environmental one and also the emotional response to ‘Can You Hear Me?’ in terms of mental health issues and brilliant performances by Mandip, Bradley and Tosin were amazing.
But, to be honest, I’m really looking forward to watching the final two parts go out because we’ve still got something up our sleeves!
I felt that what John Barrowman’s Captain Jack brings is an incredible energy, he brings an incredible sense of fun. If you’re thinking who you can bring back who can just burst onto the screen and claim the narrative in just three or four scenes, he’s your guy. And I’ve missed him from Doctor Who, he hasn’t been in the show for a decade so I felt it was time to check in with Jack. We can only hope that he meets the Thirteenth Doctor one day…
I would really love to bring back Sarah-Jane. People working on the show now worked with Lis Sladen and everybody still remembers her so fondly and talks about her a lot. I would love to see her with the Thirteenth Doctor.
I would love to have brought back Harry Sullivan too, played by the wonderful Ian Marter from Tom Baker’s first season. I would have loved to see Sarah and Harry nowadays to check in with them. It’s a credit to those actors, they are indelible in my life and memories and those of many others. It’s so sad that they’re not with us anymore.
To be honest, the canon of Doctor Who is filled with amazing characters: I’d love to see Ace back, I’d love to see Tegan back, I’d love to see Amy and Rory… the list goes on.
As I’m writing they creep into the dialogue. With the Master as I was writing the reveal on the plane, I thought ‘Oh, he could have a tissue compression eliminator and have little dolls in his pocket of the people he’s killed’. So it’s a call back for people who know what it is but also for people who don’t know then it’ll feel like a new thing. If you don’t know it, it shouldn’t spoil anything and if you do know it, it should feel like a lovely golden thread throughout the decades. And also a tribute to all the people who’ve put their creativity into Doctor Who. There’s some really deep-dive easter eggs for fans as we head into the finale as well as big emotional moments for audiences!
The two episodes we’ve got to go, I’m really excited about. The adrenaline levels they will take you to… and I don’t say that lightly! I’m so fascinated to see how they go out into the world.
Tune into the first part of the epic series finale, Ascension of the Cybermen, coming this Sunday 23rd February at 7:10pm on BBC One.