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Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury
edited by Paul Cornell

Cover Blurb
Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury

Celebrate a Doctor Who Christmas with this luxury treasury of stories, poems, games and recipes for all the family.

Join the Doctor as he visits a Christmas truce in the trenches, gets caught up in an alien plot concerning the recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas? and even manages last-minute shopping in Oxford Street!

From heartwarming to heartbreaking, witty pastiches to chilling ghost stories, these tales are the perfect seasonal journey into time and space.

kris-mas n. : 1: the annual festival of Christ’s birth, usu. celebrated on 25 Dec. 2: the season in which this occurs.

‘And, incidentally, a happy Christmas to all of you at home!’ - Doctor Who: The Feast of Steven by Terry Nation

Christmas and Doctor Who are inextricably linked. From the moment the Daleks first appeared at yule-tide to the regular Annual under the tree, the spooky cosiness of the season has always chimed with the series’s own brand of comfortable thrill.

This collection covers every aspect of Doctor Who at Christmas, from the Fourth Doctor and Romana wisecracking their way through opening their presents to the Seventh Doctor encountering a dangerous something from Christmas past; from the Sixth Doctor running into another Christmas TV institution to the Eighth Doctor’s lonely vigil in a frozen landscape. The Fifth Doctor visits an old companion, the First Doctor lands in a house where Christmas doesn’t go as planned, while the Second Doctor finds he has to have a serious chat with Santa Claus. And Bernice Summerfield experiences Christmas on the Braxiatel Collection. Unfortunately.

There are hidden links between many of the stories, which are themselves arranged like a symmetrical snowflake. This being Christmas, alongside the tales, there are instructions for building your own Who adventure game, a monster party game (careful how you play it!), poems both nostalgic and jolly -- including one by accomplished poet Jo Fletcher -- and four delicious Christmas recipes with a Doctor Who makeover, making this a real stocking-filler of a compendium, the ideal gift for followers of the show, young and old.

  • This is the eleventh volume of short stories published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series.
  • Released: December 2004
    ISBN: 1 84435 112 2

Prologue by Paul Cornell n/a

A mood piece, written in the second person, setting the tone of Christmas as a magical time in which large things move across the face of the land and stories are told...

Last Christmas by Simon Guerrier 7th Doctor

Christmas, World War I. An Indian soldier named Samarjit, whom his British trenchmates mockingly call Smith, is assigned to escort the Doctor to a part of the trenches that recently collapsed after heavy shelling. The shelling has uncovered a chapel that’s been buried for nearly a thousand years; the Doctor has been here before, and determines that the chapel still contains an elixir of life that must not be allowed to fall into human hands. Smith is shot while helping the Doctor to fetch an unexploded shell from No Man’s Land, and to save his life, the Doctor gives him some of the elixir. The Doctor then blows up the chapel and vanishes, and Smith discovers that his injuries have miraculously healed. However, when he returns to England after the war, he contracts the Spanish flu -- and although his body dies of the disease, the elixir allows his spirit to live on as a ghost. The Doctor, feeling responsible, visits Smith every Christmas for the next 90 years, hoping to help him find peace; however, as Smith is no longer able to interact with the world, he has grown bitter and angry with the teeming masses who just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over in their miserable, pointless lives. As more time passes, however, Smith grows weary of his anger, and eventually, the Doctor convinces him to walk the streets at Christmas and see for himself whether people really are as miserable and petty as he wants to believe. If Smith can let go of his anger, he will no longer be bound to this state of existence. The next Christmas, to the Doctor’s quiet delight, Smith is no longer at the appointed place to meet him.

Time-Placement: arbitrary. The Doctor’s clothing appears to be the white safari suit that was introduced in White Darkness. There are no gaps in this era in which he was travelling without companions, so we’ve chosen a point at which he was travelling with only one companion and assumed, albeit with no supporting evidence, that she was off doing something else at the time.

UNIT Christmas Parties: First Christmas by Nick Wallace 3rd Doctor, Liz, UNIT

UNIT’s Christmas party is cancelled at the last minute due to a double-booking. While handing out Christmas cards, Liz stumbles across a blazing row between the Doctor and the Brigadier about the Doctor’s exorbitant electricity bills. Liz reminds the Brigadier that, while the Doctor can be frustrating, he is stuck on Earth with no family and friends. An alien spaceship is then detected approaching Earth, but the Doctor determines that it’s a harmless Bathesdan derelict -- and before programming it to return to its homeworld, he uses the TARDIS console to generate an interstitial vortex between UNIT and the ship, thus giving his friends a venue in which to throw their party after all. Seeing the Doctor in alien surroundings, Liz finally understands that this is truly his element. The Doctor apologises to the Brigadier for their disagreement, and, revealing to Liz that he overheard her earlier discussion, he leads her to the ship’s observation deck and shows her something that few humans have yet seen: sunrise from orbit, on Christmas Day.

Time-Placement: the TARDIS console has been removed from within the ship, as it was in The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno. Liz has been working with UNIT for “a few months,” and her complaints about her job here are similar to those that the Brigadier cites in Terror of the Autons as her reason for leaving. Also, Yates appears only in cameo, which suggests that this should take place before The Eye of the Giant, his “first” full appearance; his rank is not cited, so he may very well still be Sergeant.

Continuity: UNIT staff mentioned in the story, apart from the regulars, include Carol Bell (The Mind of Evil, among others); Munro (Spearhead from Space); and Zbregniev (Battlefield). The interstitial vortex may be a reference to The Time Monster and/or Battlefield. The music at the party includes: John Smith and the Common Men, the band heard in An Unearthly Child; and an Agoran opera, The March of the Cyborgs, a reference to Killing Ground. The Doctor serves Osirian curry, which is presumably eaten by the species introduced in Pyramids of Mars.

In the TARDIS: Christmas Day by Val Douglas 5th Doctor, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan

A parody of the poem In the Workhouse: Christmas Day. The Doctor tries to present his companions with a Christmas plum pudding, but it proves to be inedible after having spent decades in the cupboard. Adric creates a new pudding out of Block Transfer Computations, but gets into a fight with Tegan when he refuses to share it.

Time-Placement: the most convenient gap would seem to be between Black Orchid and Earthshock.

Water’s Edge by Peter Adamson 6th Doctor

A Maori university student named Matiu is haunted by the fate of his grandfather Hemi, who disappeared in the Tangiwai train crash of Christmas 1953. In Christmas 2004, Matiu calculates a mathematical formula that enables him to travel back in Time to the train before its crash. The Doctor tracks him down and warns him that his presence here is an anachronism, but Matiu refuses to return until he’s learned what happened to his grandfather. The train goes off a bridge that has been washed out by an unexpected surge of floodwaters, and the Doctor and Matiu survive the crash and try to help people get to safety. While doing so, Matiu meets Hemi and helps him to rescue a crippled girl from one of the carriages; however, Hemi is swept away by the river after pushing the girl into Matiu’s arms. The Doctor saves Matiu and the girl, and Matiu, having seen enough, accepts that the time has come for him to return home.

Time-Placement: the Doctor appears to be travelling alone, and is wearing the blue-on-blue suit introduced in Real Time; thus, we place this during his solo adventures after Evelyn’s departure.

Continuity: the method by which Matiu travels through Time is reminiscent of the equations used by the Doctor in Interference, which themselves may have been related to the “transmigration of object” ability he demonstrated in The Ambassadors of Death.

A Yuletide Tail: Part One by Dave Stone 7th Doctor, Ace

A starving cat named Poor Tom makes his way through a literally Dickensian London while aliens straight out of The War of the Worlds slaughter their way through the population -- a population that includes Fallen Women, poor little match girls, and a crowd of street urchins who have been taught the fine art of mugging by their leader, Uncle Bagel. Eventually, the cat finds its way to a totters’ yard, where the Doctor and Ace are sending a soldier named Sergeant Thackary on his way, having infected him with a cold virus that’s non-lethal to humans but deadly to the Slaarg who are attacking them. In fact, the Slaarg created this city, a theme park named Dickensworld, and are now demolishing it, without caring that the human simulacra populating it were created with genuine human DNA and are therefore suffering real pain and misery as the Slaarg wreak havoc. The plague, however, will force the Slaarg to abandon the planet and leave their creations in peace. Before leaving, the Doctor spots Poor Tom lurking nearby and gives him a bit of fish, so the cat has a happy Christmas, which, as far as it’s concerned, is the important thing.

Note: though this is a full synopsis of the story, it was published in two parts to maintain the collection’s symmetry (and possibly as an homage to the serial publication of Dickens’ novels).

Time-Placement: Ace appears to be carrying the silver baseball bat that was destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks.

Continuity: the Doctor claims to have got the idea of infecting the Slaargs with a “common cold” virus from an old companion. Since they resemble the aliens of The War of the Worlds, he’s probably referring to Herbert George Wells, who travelled with him briefly during Timelash. Referring to him as a “companion” seems to imply that Herbert travelled with the Doctor for more than that one story.

Spookasem by Peter Anghelides 7th Doctor

A Year Six girl named Melissa accompanies her parents, Jason and Sandra, to the WendiWorld theme park for her half-birthday; since her real birth date is on Christmas, they celebrate it a second time halfway through the year. Her parents have gone through a bitter divorce, and as they argue, the bored and angry Melissa amuses herself by imagining the stuffed and animatronic animals coming to life throughout the park. Though it’s only in her imagination, other visitors to the park see it happen as well. The frustrated Melissa eventually runs and hides in the hedge maze, but she can still hear her parents arguing -- and just as her anger is about to boil over, the Doctor finds her and warns her that she’s channelling the power of an alien sprite that’s been buried beneath this site for centuries. If she doesn’t control herself, the sprite will be reincarnated and will wreak deadly havoc across the south of England. Melissa sees the Serpent Ride roller coaster come to life and rear up over the park, preparing to strike down her father as he tries to rescue her from the maze. Melissa rejects the serpent, which shatters into fireworks, and her parents stop arguing for the rest of their stay at the park.

Time-Placement: arbitrary, with the same reasoning as Last Christmas.

Continuity: the description of the alien as a sprite and the manifestation of its powers is reminiscent of the Tregannon from The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, but there’s no real evidence to suggest that they’re connected in any way.

Christmas Special by Marc Platt 6th Doctor

While preventing the alien Ordrulfi from invading Earth at Christmas, the Doctor spots an interesting antique TV set, but decides not to purchase it; however, he subsequently finds it outside the TARDIS, and takes it inside with him. He then nods off while watching holiday specials, and finds himself a guest celebrity on Eric and Ern’s Christmas Show, a light entertainment Christmas special. To his surprise, the hosts present him with an award to celebrate his retirement, and force him to join the other celebrity guests, all actors and politicians past their prime who are being forced to embarrass themselves in undignified skits and sketches. When the Doctor refuses to help send up his own genre for the titillation of those ignorant of its subtleties, the monstrous Controller appears in the sky and forces the Doctor to dance to his tune. However, the Prime Minister then steps in and reveals that the Controller is in fact the antique shop owner, who’s hated the Doctor ever since his parents forced him to watch the Doctor’s adventures rather than Buck Rogers. The Prime Minister reminds the Controller that his charter mandates broadcasting for the people, not just himself, and the Controller reluctantly allows the Doctor to return to the air -- but places him on opposite Coronation Street. The Doctor awakens back in the TARDIS, and, furious, he boots the television out the door and doesn’t look back.

Time-Placement: the Doctor appears to be travelling alone. As this is a parody of real-life events surrounding Doctor Who’s hiatus in 1985-86, we have chosen to place this just after the similarly-themed The Ratings War.

Never Seen Cairo by Darren Sellars 5th Doctor

The Doctor is separated from Peri during World War I, but finds his way to the English trenches, where he hears that she’s been picked up safely and that a transport is on its way to reunite them. The fighting then comes to a temporary halt; it is Christmas, and the soldiers on both sides of the trenches have declared an informal truce. The Doctor chats with a soldier named Edward Woodbourne as the English and German soldiers play football in No Man’s Land, and Edward finds himself confessing his hopes and dreams -- and his regret that he’s unlikely ever to visit Cairo and see the ancient Egyptian tombs. The Doctor asks Edward if he’d leave the trenches tonight if he could, but Edward decides that he’d rather stay and fight for the sake of his wife and son. The Doctor’s transport then arrives, and as he leaves, the English officers order their soldiers back into the trenches and the temporary truce collapses. Nevertheless, Edward has regained his sense of hope, and he writes a letter to his wife, Mary, to let her know how he feels. He is killed in action, but a year later, the Seventh Doctor delivers Edward’s letter, and Mary is able to mourn him and come to terms with his loss.

Time-Placement: the Fifth Doctor appears to be travelling with Peri only. This is more his story than the Seventh Doctor’s, who appears only in cameo.

Continuity: the Seventh Doctor obliquely claims to have lost someone in the war -- and to have kept someone else in it for too long. He is most likely referring to Roz and Chris respectively, which would mean this takes place towards the end of his life; if it occurs around the same era as Bullet Time, he may also be referring to Sarah. The First Doctor witnessed the same football match in The Little Drummer Boy, and the Tenth Doctor attends it in Deep and Dreamless Sleep.

The Man Who (Nearly) Killed Christmas by Mark Michalowski 2nd Doctor

A teacher named Miss Bennett allows a friend of her friend Miss Wright to tell a Christmas story to her class of eight-year-olds. The little man tells the story of how the time-traveller known as the Doctor kidnaps Santa Claus one Christmas Eve and asks him to stop delivering presents. In order to deliver gifts to all the children in the world over a single night, Santa has been using a wormhole generator to send clones of himself through time loops. However, the Doctor points out that his workload will continue to grow as humanity expands into space, and uses his TARDIS to show Santa a terrible future in which his workshop consists of over 2,000 planets’ worth of brutal mechanical sweatshops and his wormholes are tearing apart the fabric of time and space. The Doctor offers to take over Santa’s task himself, but his first visit ends disastrously; the children complain when he gives them weird alien technology instead of toys, and their father wakes up, finds a stranger in his home, and tries to call the police. Santa shows up in the nick of time, rescues the Doctor and gives the children proper presents. Santa and the sheepish Doctor then depart to build a fleet of robot Santas and calculate equations that will stabilise Santa’s wormholes so that they no longer damage the fabric of the Universe.

Time-Placement and Continuity: the story-within-a-story takes place within the TV Comic continuity, as the Doctor refers to his previous encounter with Santa in A Christmas Story. Miss Bennett’s friend, “Miss Wright,” may be either Barbara or Polly; we prefer Polly, since “Miss Wright” is not identified as a fellow teacher, Barbara may be Mrs Chesterton at this point, and The Face of the Enemy implies that a later-era Ian and Barbara are unaware of the Doctor’s ability to regenerate. The framing story presumably takes place later in TV Comic continuity, while the Second Doctor is on Earth, hiding out from the Time Lords. Alternatively, those who wish to believe that the comics take place in a separate continuity may theorise that the Doctor is visiting present-day Earth at some other point, perhaps during Season 6b.

Last Minute Shopping by Neil Perryman 5th Doctor, Tegan, Turlough

The Doctor touches down in early 21st-century London on Christmas Eve, and he and his companions split up to shop for presents. Tegan buys a pair of socks for Turlough, and then spots a bizarre but beautiful fob watch in an antique store. When she tries to buy it, the store owner reveals that the cash she’s carrying has been out of circulation since the 1980s. The desperate Tegan impulsively shoplifts the watch, and is pursued from the shop by an undercover policeman. Meanwhile, Turlough is shanghaied aboard a themed pub crawl with a group of office workers who have dressed up as public school children. He confesses to one of the office girls that he’s having trouble finding a present for his female friend, and the tipsy woman directs him to a lingerie shop, where Turlough, uncertain of the protocol, buys some stunningly inappropriate attire. Elsewhere, the Doctor tries to buy a book for Tegan, but finds the clerks unhelpful and the books uninspiring -- and when he decides to go back in Time and place a pre-order for a particular title, the order fails to appear, which implies that some future event is going to prevent him from placing the order. As the Doctor and Turlough return to the TARDIS, Tegan arrives with the police in hot pursuit, and the three friends rush back to the ship and depart. There, the irritated Tegan gives the Doctor his present -- but it isn’t actually a watch, and the hands suddenly begin to spin wildly about its face as the TARDIS cloister bell begins to sound...

Time-Placement: the end of the story appears to lead directly into Resurrection of the Daleks, which could explain why the Doctor doesn’t subsequently bother to place a book order for Tegan.

Every Day by Stephen Fewell 1st Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Vicki

The TARDIS materialises in a suburban attic on Christmas 2004, and the Doctor and his companions are greeted warmly by George Smythe, his wife Patricia, and the children, Josie and Mark. The travellers spend an enjoyable Christmas with the family, but then find themselves waking up in the attic with no memory of having fallen asleep. The TARDIS doors refuse to open, and the travellers find that it is once again Christmas Day. The Smythe family is trapped in a time loop, forced to relive the same day over and over again, and the travellers are now trapped with them as well. The Doctor eventually deduces from George’s behaviour that he knows what’s really going on, and George is forced to admit that his wife left him for another man on Christmas Day and took the children with her. Beneath the tree is a present from Patricia’s new man, and the Doctor convinces George that the time has come to open it; he does so, breaking the time loop. The Doctor and his companions return to the TARDIS and depart, theorising that the Ship slipped them into the dimension of George’s imagination, where he was obsessively reliving the last Christmas he’d spent with his family.

Time-Placement: Ian recalls the events of The Space Museum, and the Doctor is still working on the Time-Space Visualiser he picked up in that story.

The Eight Doctors of Christmas by Matthew Griffiths n/a

A parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas, using the structure of that poem to retell certain events in the Doctor’s life.

Continuity: the poem recaps the events of The War Games, The Three Doctors, Revenge of the Cybermen, The Invasion of Time, Four to Doomsday, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors, The Trial of a Time Lord, The Happiness Patrol, and the TV-movie.

The Little Things by Paul Beardsley 4th Doctor, Romana II, K9

The TARDIS alerts the Doctor to a problem in the shell room, where it stores the plasmic shells generated by the chameleon circuit. When the Doctor and Romana investigate, they discover the reason that the circuit has been malfunctioning for so long; before the TARDIS became a police box, it took the form of a 1990s post box, and someone tried to use it to mail a letter to one Helen Thompson, causing the circuit to jam. The letter is now 400 years old and undelivered -- and the Doctor, recalling that Helen Thompson became a famous paediatrician in the 21st century, decides that the relatively insignificant family news in the letter may be the trigger that causes her to launch her internationally acclaimed career. He and Romana create a facsimile, but are unable to make out the date on the letter; however, the Doctor recalls hearing people talking about a comet that had recently passed by the Earth, and thus sets course for the year 1996, when Comet Hyakutake passed by the Earth. Unfortunately, after he and Romana post the letter, the Doctor’s chronohistorical stress gauge reveals that history has gone further off course -- and K9 reveals that Comet Hale-Bopp passed the Earth in 1997, meaning that the Doctor just posted the letter a year before it was written. He and Romana break back into the post box, steal the letter, skip ahead a year and re-post it. Only afterwards does the Doctor remember that the famous paediatrician was named Helen Thomson, without the “p”. The letter’s recipient is in fact an old woman who lives alone and looks forward to each year’s Christmas letter from her friend Jennifer; this year, her last Christmas alive, she is not disappointed.

Time-Placement: arbitrary; we have chosen to place it here on the assumption that the Doctor’s experience inspires him to visit the Brigadier’s home in Better Take Care.

Beep the Meep’s Grundian Egg Nog & The Brig’s Brandy Butter by Paul Condon n/a

Recipes with a Doctor Who twist; one is the work of Beep the Meep from The Star Beast, and the other is a recipe provided by the Brigadier at UNIT reunions.

The Game of Rassilon by Lawrence Miles n/a

Instructions for a war game set in Gallifrey’s Death Zone, using characters and monsters from classic Doctor Who stories.

UNIT Christmas Parties: Christmas Truce by Terrance Dicks 3rd Doctor, Brigadier, Benton, Yates, Jo

A scientist from Geneva, Dr Fischer, visits UNIT for the Christmas party and wins everyone over with his wit and charm. The Doctor initially avoids the party, but eventually makes a token appearance -- and realises that Fischer is in fact the Master in disguise. The Master invites the Doctor out onto the terrace for a drink, and admits that, as he too is effectively exiled to Earth, he only wanted to share some companionship on this holiday. He and the Doctor share a drink, and the Master departs and releases the real Fischer, who is alive and well, if somewhat confused. The Doctor then scours UNIT HQ and finds that the Master has planted surveillance devices and tiny thermonuclear bombs throughout the building; however, Jo suspects that the Master always knew that the Doctor would go looking for them, and that he was telling the truth when he claimed that he just wanted to spend the holiday with the closest thing he has to friends.

Time-Placement: the Master refers to the events of Deadly Reunion.

Continuity: the Master does not try to recover his dematerialisation circuit, which the Doctor stole in Terror of the Autons; presumably the Doctor is keeping it either in his lab or in the TARDIS, and the Master chose not to disturb him there.

Animus, Zarbi, Menoptra by Jim Sangster n/a

Instructions for a party game based on “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, but involving multiple guests miming the inhabitants of the planet Vortis.

Camilla’s O-Negative Mulled Wine & Mrs Baddeley’s Mini Christmas Pudding Truffles by Paul Condon n/a

Further recipes with a Doctor Who twist; one is the work of Camilla from State of Decay, and the other is provided by Mrs Baddeley from The Chimes of Midnight.

The Clanging Chimes of Doom by Jonathan Morris 4th Doctor, Romana II, K9

The Doctor decides to take up autograph collecting as a hobby, and thus visits the studio recording of Do They Know It’s Christmastime? However, he fails to recognise one of the singers, a thin man with pink hair, and when he confronts the stranger afterwards, he learns that this is Prince Tarvick, exiled from the planet Frentos after a republican revolution. He was accidentally cast back in Time to Earth while escaping his persecutors, and is trying to send a message back home; radio signals from Earth will reach Frentos in 120 years’ time, and this particular video will be so widely played that nobody on Frentos will be able to miss it. Indeed, time-travellers from the future arrive to rescue Tarvick, claiming that there has been a counter-revolution -- but then another set of time-travellers arrive from the second republic, which arose from the counter-counter-revolution, and attempt to execute him. Before they can do so, they are confronted by a third set of time-travellers from the subsequent counter-counter-counter-revolution, who are confronted by a fourth set of time-travellers from the Third Republic, who are confronted by a fifth set of time-travellers from the era after that republic’s fall. The Doctor resolves the fraught situation by offering to take Tarvick back to Frentos himself -- in an era in which the population is unaware of his identity and he can live in peace.

Time-Placement: at some point after The Little Things, as the Doctor is still using the chrono-historical stress gauge.

On Being Five by Jo Fletcher n/a

A poem on the experience of watching Doctor Who at the age of five.

Perfect Present by Andy Campbell 7th Doctor

An elderly scholar tells his students a ghost story about his friend, the Doctor, who once defeated an alien entity at great cost with the help of the Montague family. Ever since that day, the Doctor has visited Beeton Court at intervals to see how his friends are getting on. On a certain Christmas in the early 1900s, 100 years to the day after the entity’s defeat, Lord Herbert Montague tells the Doctor that the manor seems to be haunted by a ghost; strange alien footprints have appeared in the maze, and other bizarre events have taken place within the house. The Doctor realises that the bizarre omens are related to his recent solo adventures, and concludes that the ghost is the spirit of Klaus, a servant who died helping the Doctor defeat the alien evil 100 years ago. Klaus should have survived and become the Doctor’s companion, but instead, he has become a discorporate spirit consumed by bitterness over his lost opportunities. The spirit of Klaus manifests itself as the rotting corpse of Father Christmas and emerges from the fireplace, but the Doctor joins his mind to that of the spirit and offers up his own memories to the ghost, giving up the memories of his recent adventures and putting the spirit at peace.

Time-Placement: the Doctor has apparently been travelling alone for some time following his previous, unrecorded visit to Beeton Court.

Continuity: one of Klaus’s manifestations involves pruning the Christmas tree into the form of “an aggressive vegetable species” that the Doctor claims humanity will encounter at a later date; he may be referring to the Krynoid, which attacked Earth in The Seeds of Doom.

Present Tense by Ian Potter 4th Doctor, Romana II, K9

The Doctor engineers a peaceful revolution on Pseudolonica VII in order to create a holiday during which the fabled Great Crystal Choir Crown of the High Sanctogull Ministers will remain untouched for two days, just so that he can “borrow” it for a day in order to give it to Romana as a Christmas present. However, when he presents it to her, she reveals that he already did this last year. The Doctor is crestfallen, but is moved when Romana reveals that she’s reconfigured the Zero Room into a time-looped fragment of the rose garden from 1913 that he likes so much; for Christmas, she has literally given the Doctor a moment’s peace.

Time-Placement: the chrono-historical stress gauge and the Doctor’s autograph book are both mentioned, placing this at some point after The Clanging Chimes of Doom.

Continuity: the rose garden mentioned may be the same garden from which the First Doctor was Timescooped in The Five Doctors.

Goodwill Toward Men by J. Shaun Lyon 2nd Doctor, Jamie, Zoe

The Doctor and his companions barely escape from the hostile inhabitants of a squalid little planet in the Acteon Galaxy. Zoe, disturbed by the impoverished colonists’ anger and the futility of their lives, vows that unlike them, she’d have made an effort to change things if she’d been born into such a world. The Doctor thus takes her and Jamie to the L.A. Midnight Mission, on a Christmas Eve in the late 20th century, to volunteer their services. Zoe is horrified to learn that even a country like the United States can’t afford to feed and house all of its citizens. A desperate homeless man named Charlie tries to rob the mission in order to give his son Joe a proper Christmas celebration, but the Doctor manages to talk him out of it and convinces Carl, the handyman, not to call in the police. Charlie and Joe join the other volunteers to help out, and the Doctor and his companions work through the night, donating their time and effort. Zoe leaves with a better understanding of the desperate circumstances in which people can find themselves and just how difficult -- but necessary -- it is to work to change things.

Time-Placement: arbitrary.

It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow by Martin Day 4th Doctor, Leela

On Christmas Eve, 1940, a Home Guard regiment beds down in an old workhouse named Charnage House, which is reputed to be haunted. Volunteer Richard Charlesworth, who grew up in the area, is unnerved by his surroundings and despairs that Britain will lose the war with Germany. Late that night, Charlesworth hears a strange noise from the house, and when the regiment investigates, they find the Doctor, who claims that his friend Leela has wandered off in the grounds. The other soldiers are suspicious of the new arrival, but when the Doctor fixes Charlesworth’s torch with his sonic screwdriver, the amazed Charlesworth concludes that he must be a British secret agent. Leela finds that the Doctor has been taken prisoner and holds a knife to Charlesworth’s throat, forcing the soldiers to let her and the Doctor back to the TARDIS -- which disappears into thin air once they have entered. Charlesworth, convinced that these were British secret agents with access to classified military technology, is no longer despairing -- and is confident that, with technology like this on their side, the war will be won by 1941.

Time-Placement: arbitrary; Leela still shows particularly violent tendencies.

All Our Christmases by Steve Lyons Unbound Doctor?

A 40-something writer named Richard chats with a fellow writer at a lodge on Christmas Eve. Richard used to work on the fanzine of a popular sci-fi show, and as a lark, the magazine’s editors ran a competition asking the readers what one thing they would change about the series if they could. They took the winning suggestion to their contact in the Bureau of Time Travel, who was a fan of the programme, and changed history to edit out one of the series’ most notorious bloopers, in which a crew member’s hand appeared on screen, holding down a cushion. However, when they returned to the present, they found that since history had been changed, nobody remembered that the blooper had occurred in the first place. The next Christmas, the magazine ran the same competition, and this time the travellers left their names in the past as proof that they’d been there and made the change. Suddenly everyone was writing in with suggestions, and the scientists at the Bureau allowed them to go ahead, keen to observe the effects. But slowly Richard began to develop a sense of unease; some of the changes had unexpected knock-on effects, people began to fear that the government was changing history around them without their knowing it, and terrible events were still occurring in history, suggesting either that they were being allowed to happen -- or that they were happening because other things had been prevented. Finally, Richard changed some dialogue in the very first episode in order to make the show’s lead less mysterious and give him more of a detailed background -- and when he returned to the present, he found that the TV show no longer existed as he’d known it, since the lack of mystery failed to capture people’s imaginations. Worse, the series had inspired people to think and research and imagine, and as the series had now never existed, there was no longer a Bureau of Time Travel, and no way for Richard to go back and fix what he’d done. Richard is now haunted by the knowledge that something beautiful was taken out of the world, and that he bears responsibility for it. The old man shows no apparent sympathy, but when Richard wakes, the old man is gone as if he’d never been there, and Richard feels strangely lightened by telling his story, ready to let go of the mistakes of the past and look forward to the future.

Time-Placement: the old man claims that he’d been a writer, or dreamed of writing; considering that Richard now appears to work for a Juliet Bravo fanzine, this is probably set in the same world as Deadline.

Continuity: the first thing that the time-travellers change is the famous blooper from Pyramids of Mars, in which a stagehand’s hand appears on screen holding down the pillow on Sutekh’s throne.

Lily by Jackie Marshall 5th Doctor, Sarah

The Doctor visits his old companion Sarah on Christmas, while she’s putting up her autistic grand-daughter Lily. Sarah’s daughter Lauren and her husband Will are having marital troubles, largely due to their inability to handle Lily; they have only lasted this long because Sarah occasionally takes care of Lily to take the strain off. The Doctor helps Sarah to see that, despite her frustration, she’s doing all that she can for the young girl. Tonight, as Lily dances in the snow, Sarah sees that Lily is genuinely happy in her own way, and acknowledges that she has accomplished this.

Time-Placement: arbitrary; there is no mention of any of the Fifth Doctor’s companions, who are presumably off doing something else. We theorise that the Doctor visits Sarah to catch up after seeing her in The Five Doctors.

Continuity: the existence of Sarah’s daughter Lauren hasn’t been mentioned in any of her other appearances, and seems to be explicitly contradicted by the new series episode School Reunion. However, Sarah’s history is subject to flux, given the events of Bullet Time and Sometime Never...

A Yuletide Tale: Part Two by Dave Stone 7th Doctor, Ace

The second part of A Yuletide Tale appeared at this point in the collection.

...Be Forgot by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright Bernice Summerfield, with the 8th Doctor

It’s Christmas on the Braxiatel Collection, but Bernice is unable to celebrate, as she can think about nothing but the friends who died during the recent Occupation by the Fifth Axis. She makes her excuses and leaves the party early, only to find that Jason has left her a note sending her on a sort of scavenger hunt across the Collection. The trail leads her to the Garden of Remembrances, where she finds the Doctor waiting for her. She lashes out at him for failing to help during the Occupation, but he tells her that it was already over by the time he found out about it, and that he couldn’t go back and change things afterwards. As Benny cries, she realises that she’s really blaming herself for her failure to save those who died. But the Doctor is there for her now, and he leads her back to the party.

Time-Placement: the Eighth Doctor remembers Benny, looks just like he did the last time she saw him, and appears to be travelling alone. For Benny, this takes place soon after the Occupation by the Fifth Axis in Death and the Daleks, and after the arrival of Hass, the Martian gardener introduced in A Life Worth Living.

Continuity: the Galactic Gold TV channel broadcasts a programme called Only Fools and Vervoids, a reference to Terror of the Vervoids. Presumably the Doctor didn’t commit complete genocide after all, which rather reinforces this story’s theme of hope in the face of tragedy.

The Feast of Seven... Eight (and Nine) by Vanessa Bishop n/a

A poem in which the First Doctor throws a Christmas party for his future incarnations, and wearily anticipates the arrival of yet another one next year...

Time-Placement: yes, of course it’s outside continuity, but let’s play anyway. It’s suggested in The Witch Hunters that Rassilon granted the First Doctor some extra time towards the end of his life to tie up loose ends after The Five Doctors, and since he’s the host, there seems no better place to put this story than during that time.

Continuity: the Fifth Doctor is teased for starting the Great Fire of London in The Visitation; the Eighth remembers Puccini again, as he did in the TV-movie; and the Seventh, while playing Scrabble, spells ‘Ragnarok’ with ten Rs, which is pretty much how he pronounced it in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.

UNIT Christmas Parties: Ships That Pass by Karen Dunn 4th Doctor, Sarah, Harry, UNIT

A Voddod ship is hit by enemy fire and crashes on Earth, demolishing the west wing of UNIT HQ and burying Sarah and Harry beneath the rubble during the UNIT Christmas party. The Doctor tries to move the ship, but finds that it’s genetically coded to respond only to its pilot, who ejected before the crash and is presumably somewhere in the nearby woods. UNIT troops soon locate the angry and frightened young alien warrior, Brac, and before anyone can start shooting, the Doctor introduces himself as a Time Lord and offers to take the alien back to its war -- on condition that it move its ship so he can rescue his friends. Brac reluctantly agrees to the deal, and Sarah and Harry are rescued just as their air begins to run out.

Time-Placement: takes place at some point after Harry’s travels with the Doctor have ended, but presumably while Sarah is still travelling with him. The Doctor was trying to return to UNIT HQ at the beginning of Pyramids of Mars.

Evergreen by Stephen Cole 8th Doctor

An amnesiac stranger named John spends Christmas with a widow named Connie Bryde, who is regarded with suspicion by her fellow villagers for her refusal to hang decorations. Traditionally, the person who dressed the church for Christmas must take down the decorations by Candlemas or tragedy will strike, but last year, Connie’s husband fell ill with a fever, and she was too busy tending him to do her duty at the church; the villagers eventually dragged her out to the church on Candlemas itself, and although she had all the decorations down by midnight, her husband died while she was away. Despite her bitterness, she allows John to hang his own decorations in the stable. One of the more shrewish gossips of the village, Meg Bledlow, is then found dead after Connie dreams of her murder, and an amnesiac young woman is found in the woods. John begins to spend time with the woman, and Connie is surprised to find herself feeling jealous. Soon afterwards, she dreams that John is calling her and sleepwalks out to the woods in response -- but John wakes her and reveals that he’s killed the young woman, a vampire who was attacking Tom, Meg’s husband. The vampire intended to kill John as well and lure Connie out here so the villagers would place the blame on her. Satisfied that Tom will survive, John departs rather than answer awkward questions, which the villagers decide not to ask after the young woman’s body crumbles to dust. Connie returns home, removes John’s decorations from the stable, and puts them up in her own house.

Time-Placement: takes place while the amnesiac Eighth Doctor is marooned on Earth, after The Burning. The date is not specified, but given the superstitions of the villagers, it’s presumably early in the 20th century. One would hope.

Epilogue by Paul Cornell n/a

A book-end for the prologue; the bells ring for Christmas and the watcher, looking at the snow, understands the fragility and importance of life.

Source: Cameron Dixon

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