"Doctor Who": Pete McTighe Short Story "Reunites" The Doctor, Susan

Doctor Who fans aren't the kind of folks to let self-quarantining and social distancing keep them from showing their love and appreciation for the series. What's really added to that sense of "global community" is how the writers, producers, actors, and others have joined in on the festivities – from live-tweet rewatches with the likes of Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, and Karen Gillan to original short stories from Russell T. Davies.

That creative momentum continued this week, with writer Pete McTighe ("Kerblam!", "Praxeus") releasing a new short story that "reunites" Jodie Whittaker's Doctor with her grandaughter Susan (portrayed by Carole Ann Ford in the series' original run).

Well, at least a holographic version of Susan.

Over the course of the story, we find out that Susan activated the TARDIS's recording mode before she left ("The Dalek Invasion of Earth") to give the Doctor the opportunity to reflect upon her life. Pay special attention to the way McTighe handles the matter of "missing episode" and retitling the early stories.

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Doctor Who – "Press Play" by Pete McTighe

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.

"Doctor Who": Pete McTighe Short Story "Reunites" The Doctor, Susan

Of course there's more to the story – out of respect for the recently-wrapped season of Doctor Who, we thought it only fitting to leave you with a cliffhanger worthy of Series 12. That said, you're not going to have to wait until 2021 to see how this story ends: all you have to do is just click the link here – and make sure to bring some tissues because the ending is a funny, touching hard-kick to "The Feels".

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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