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Short Trips: The History of Christmas
edited by Simon Guerrier

Cover Blurb
Short Trips: The Story of Christmas

Christmas is a time for many things. For family and old acquaintances. For giving, for receiving, for feasts and celebration. For huddling round the warmth of the fire, sheltered from the dark and the cold outside.

And the monsters.

It's also the busiest time of year for the mysterious Doctor, whether he's caught-up in the violence of ancient Rome, taking Leonardo da Vinci on a day-trip to the stars, or popping in on the very first Christmas on the moon.

Spend Christmas with the Doctor. If you dare.

  • This is the fifteenth volume of short stories published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series.
  • Released: December 2005
    ISBN: 1 84435 149 1

The Lampblack Wars by Matthew Sweet 3rd Doctor and Sarah

The TARDIS lands in Covent Garden, December 1861. The Doctor takes Sarah to the Drury Lane Theatre to watch a typical Victorian show. The illustrations in their theatre programme begin to move and fight with each other, so the Doctor and Sarah proceed to the premises of Goodall and Son, the printers of the programme. The printers are hard at work, not least because they have an inexhaustible supply of ink at a time when it is in very short supply across the rest of London. Mary Prout enters during their conversation and informs them that Prince Albert has just died. She is being pursued by even more of the malevolent illustrations. She leads the Doctor to Anak, a giant who is performing in a freak show. It turns out that she stole the ink from him and that he originates from the Rock Belt between Hextacosulous Blue and Hextacosulous Green, two worlds that fought a 10,000 year war until all that was left of their people was a black puddle. Anak's father collected some of this puddle and realised that it was made up of microbes that were still at war. Anak eventually stole the vial of black liquid and fled the Rock Belt to make his fortune in the Universe, eventually landing in London where Mary stole the bottle and sold its everlasting contents. As Anak tells this story another army of illustrations attack them. Anak tells Mary to drink the contents of the bottle. Instead of dying she finds that the microbes have formed a tattoo of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on her body. The Doctor, Sarah and Anak join her in getting very drunk and later she becomes 'Mary Parota, marvel of the Tattooist art' in the freak show.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary, bearing in mind that An Overture Too Early comes immediately before Planet of the Spiders.

Home Fires by Jonathan Blum 6th Doctor

The Doctor arrives on Christmas Eve in an Australian suburb threatened by bush fires. He enlists the help of a cynical and bitter man, disillusioned for a number of reasons: his house has just been burnt to the ground by the approaching fire; his wife, Sarah, has recently left him; he is at the home of Sarah's sister Lucy and her husband Jim with whom he has fallen out. The Doctor contrives to build a complicated machine, powered by the TARDIS, which puts out the fire as Christmas Day dawns. Most of the water comes from the leaky TARDIS swimming pool. As he builds the machine the Doctor seems preoccupied with helping reconcile his helper with his in-laws, but more than this with his own people who allowed a firestorm to destroy a whole world. After the Doctor mysteriously vanishes it transpires that no one knew who he was or where he came from.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary. In Paradise Towers, Mel recalls the Doctor jettisoning the leaking swimming pool from the TARDIS; perhaps she never actually saw it and he just explained to her that he’d once had to do so, but we assume here that she’s travelling with him and is off elsewhere.

The Feast by Stewart Sheargold 2nd Doctor, Ben and Polly

The Doctor and his companions arrive in London during the rule of the Puritan Oliver Cromwell. They are arrested in the White Rabbit Inn for trying to celebrate the season and are imprisoned by the Lord Mayor who tells them that they are suspected of being pagans trying to restore the celebration of Christmas. He remarks that some other 'pagans' have vanished, possibly to avoid detection. Meanwhile, a ghoulish creature is breaking into local houses and abducting the inhabitants. The Doctor, Ben and Polly are immediately rescued when the Landlord of the White Rabbit blows down the walls of their prison. He takes the Doctor to the cellar of his tavern and shows him a construction made from glass and mistletoe with which he and his fellows have conjured 'Saint Nick' in order to revive Christmas. Ben and Polly are upstairs in the tavern when 'Saint Nick' enters and attacks them. The Doctor races upstairs and recognises it for what it is: an alien entity. In the cellar the alien shows the Doctor the frozen, kidnapped pagans it is going to use to make its return journey to the home from which it was conjured. It intends to use their belief in Christmas as its power source. The Doctor offers to take the alien home in the TARDIS but the alien decides to do it in his own way. The Doctor's attempts to prevent the alien launch are interrupted by the Lord Mayor and his men who kill 'Saint Nick'. The Doctor persuades the mayor that he had been working for Cromwell all along before leaving with Ben and Polly.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary.

Rome by Marcus Flavin 5th Doctor, Tegan and Turlough

Felix runs a bar in ancient Rome, selling wine. He has only one customer this afternoon: Thrasyllus, an astrologer who is also the friend and advisor of Tiberius the stepson of Augustus Caesar. Felix is worried that Thrasyllus might be a magician - a capital offence - and also that the bar is being watched. The Doctor enters and buys a cup of wine. Something about his manner causes Felix to serve him with the best he has rather than the usual rotgut. Elsewhere Tegan and Turlough are lost in the back streets of Rome. They find it cramped, smelly and pervaded by a sense of fear. They have been up all night trying to find their way back to the TARDIS. The Doctor falls into conversation with Thrasyllus and is astonished by the accuracy of the astrologer's calculations. Thrasyllus tells him he was originally taught by a man he met in Babylon and later by that man's master in Egypt. He explains that the Doctor reminds him a little of this second man. He goes on to say that his observations of the stars have told him that change is coming and there will be war in Rome so he has advised Tiberius that morning to resign his position so as to be ready to take control of the mob when they rise up against Augustus. He will rule forever with Thrasyllus by his side. Tegan becomes very excited when she hears talk on the streets of Tiberius's resignation and how the common people expect him to emerge as the real leader. She joins in the conversation despite Turlough's attempts to stop her and unwittingly adds to the growing unrest. They are spoken to by a wealthy man whose sedan chair they have seen a number of times that day. He calls himself Sextus Cornelius - in this place and time - and seems to have recognised them for what they really are. He has also heard of the Doctor and tells them the Doctor is in a bar, one which he has been keeping an eye on for reasons of his own. He asks the two companions their business and when they refuse to answer he and his men take them prisoner. Meanwhile the Doctor has asked a street urchin outside the bar to look out for his friends and so has forewarning of their imminent arrival. When Sextus enters the bar with Turlough Thrasyllus recognises him as his teacher in Egypt. Sextus tells the Doctor that he has been nurturing the old man as a scientist in order to help him calculate his escape. After forty years on Earth Thrasyllus, a savant capable of rapid complex mental calculations, was his only hope of navigating his way off the planet. Thrasyllus's closeness to Tiberius offered new possibilities; a way of speeding up history. Sextus also tells the Doctor that his help will be required as a repair man. Outside the bar the street urchin has incapacitated Sextus's men with wine mixed with olive oil. He then enters the bar and throws a jug at Sextus's head which is enough to let Turlough escape his clutches and the Doctor knock him out. They bind him and carry him away to somewhere more appropriate. News comes that Tiberius has sailed to Greece, his plans apparently in tatters, and Thrasyllus leaves to join him. The Doctor tells the bar owner that the future is not written in the stars and that a better future can only be achieved by ordinary people working together. Felix says he is going to give the homeless urchin a place to live. A starburst, a nova, appears in the eastern sky. This was what Thrasyllus thought would signal a great change. Felix remarks on its meaninglessness. The Doctor contemplates its beauty, smiling to himself, before making his way to the TARDIS.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary.

Set in Stone by Charles Auchterlonie & John Isles 1st Doctor, Ian and Barbara

The Doctor takes Ian and Barbara to Kilmartin in Scotland. The year is 1950. The Doctor is still grieving over the departure of Susan and is much preoccupied. The other two are making a life for themselves in the village and Ian is considering settling down because this is the nearest the Doctor has managed to get them to their own time and place. However, the Doctor takes them on a lengthy journey by van to London on Christmas Eve. They visit Westminster Abbey for Midnight Mass and then hide in the abbey until it is deserted. They sneak out from hiding and steal the Stone of Scone. This stone of destiny was used for centuries in the crowning of Scottish kings from the ninth century onwards until it was removed to England. The Doctor recognised it in a photograph as being a life form from the planet Micah. He explains it as a sort of psychic rock able to pick up and transmit the thoughts of people who sit on it. Although mostly harmless he thinks it would be safer in the TARDIS. He has created a lifting device using energy beams to carry the stone without the need to touch it. On the drive north the van's tyre bursts. It is snowing and Ian has to take the stone and hide in some bushes while two policemen help Barbara fix the tyre. After returning to Scotland they resume their previous lives, Ian and Barbara working in the local school and the Doctor lost in some project of his own. Four months later the Doctor summons Ian and Barbara to the TARDIS where they see the stone. This time they transport it to Arbroath Abbey but as they lift it onto the altar the energy beams fail and the stone falls and breaks in two. Barbara remembers that she once learned that the stone was stolen by Scottish nationalists and accidentally broken by them. The Doctor takes them back to the TARDIS and shows them the real stone in the cloister. He had spent four months creating the replica which they dropped. Barbara asks if they are taking the real stone home but the Doctor tells them it is content in the TARDIS, as are the three of them sitting in the cloister, feeling at home together.

Time-Placement: Soon after Susan’s departure; however, Venusian Lullaby and The Book of Shadows both follow on directly from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

The Thousand Years of Christmas by Simon Bucher-Jones 3rd Doctor and Jo

The Rift Pioneers, human martyrs who joined the Milky Way to the Magellanic Clouds, celebrated Christmas Eve on Estringokl every year with a great festival. The Doctor has discovered he is able to take the TARDIS briefly away from the Earth and decides to take Jo with him to visit the festival. Unfortunately, on stepping out of the TARDIS they discover that the world is a frozen wasteland and the Doctor barely drags Jo back into the ship in time to stop her freezing to death. However, he feels a trace memory calling him back out onto the planet's surface. He puts on a makeshift environmental suit and trudges across the ice, having persuaded Jo to wait for him in the safety of the TARDIS. He arrives at the site of a strange tree. And remembers. The settlers had planted a genetically engineered Redwood Pine in order to represent their hopes and traditions brought from Earth. One day it would grow to be a thousand years old and be the giant centrepiece of their festival. Early in its life it had been stalled in its growth by a calamity which had frozen the planet and the pioneers and even the robots created to tend the tree. On a visit during that time the Doctor had promised a dying robot that he would continue their work, returning every year to dress the tree. That memory, now reawakened, had been taken from him by the Time Lords. Four times he sets out from the TARDIS to achieve this, making his lonely way across the ice then returning to jump the TARDIS forward a year. Six more times her makes the journey with Jo at his side after she refused to be left behind. On the eleventh occasion the sun burst into life again and the pioneers awake from the concentric circles of ice pillars, their cryonic suspension, that surrounded the tree. Each remembered their time of suspension as one long Christmas. To historians this is plainly nonsense, for to make it true someone would have had to visit and dress the tree for a thousand consecutive years.

Time-Placement: After The Claws of Axos. The Doctor has recently discovered that although he could get his TARDIS to work, he would inevitably be drawn back to Earth.

Presence by Peter Anghelides 7th Doctor, Ace and Hex

Christmas Eve 1975. Half an hour after space ships appear over New York the Doctor follows a tramp to Times Square. The alien ships have already attacked London, Tokyo and Washington. The Doctor appears to use the tramps name, Henry, and then pretends to have said, 'Hungry?' He buys him coffee and sandwiches before admitting that he knows the tramp is Henry Bergson and that he saw him looking at a chemistry set in a shop window half an hour earlier. Bergson recalls a time years earlier, as a child, when his father refused to buy him a similar chemistry set because he couldn't afford it. Really, Henry knows, it was because his father did not believe in his son's dream of becoming a scientist. He did not let him go on visits to science museums either. As the alien attack on New York begins Bergson comments that he thought the city had already changed out of all recognition and the Doctor says that Bergson has too before vanishing. The story shifts to two months earlier. In this alternate time line Bergson is being interviewed by a journalist in his capacity as leader of a security team dealing with humanity's first contact with a race called the Kellenians. Bergson has the position of Head of New York Port Authority Security because of his scientific qualifications. He has expertise in the Kellenians' biological weaknesses. He tells the reporter that he became a scientist due to the gift of a chemistry set from a mysterious and anonymous Scottish doctor. Later in life he went to University after falling in love with a chemistry sophomore, an English girl called McShane. She left after one term and broke his heart. When it looked likely he would flunk his course he met a man called Hex who, coincidentally, knew McShane and said she left because she was dying. He said that NYU would only find a cure if people like Bergson worked for it. Bergson's interview is terminated when the Doctor, unrecognised by this Bergson, interrupts it and he goes off to prepare for the impending Kellenian assault. On Christmas Eve 2005 Hex and McShane are asking the Doctor why he didn't stop the Kellenians himself instead of messing around with Bergson. The Doctor tells them that it was his gift to the people of Earth, training them to look after themselves. He then presents his companions with the costumes they will need to wear on their next trip to nineteenth century Russia.

Time-Placement: Arvitrary, in release order.

Danse Macabre by Joff Brown 3rd Doctor

After finding, down the back of a sofa in the TARDIS, a 'borrowed' power source that will give him one chance at an illegal launch the Doctor sets the controls for any nearby massive power source and pulls the lever. He blacks out and wakes up clutching the bosom of Minerva, Greek goddess of wisdom. He soon realises that he is at a masked ball in Naples during the Napoleonic wars and Minerva is, in fact, Emma Hamilton. He tells her that there is a massive power source nearby and, misunderstanding him, she introduces him to Horatio Nelson. The Doctor asks if there has been any unusual activity recently: earthquakes, lights in the sky. Nelson becomes peeved at the Doctor's insolent manner and the two enter a bragging contest about who has travelled further. As Nelson stalks off the Doctor realises that the room has been invaded by aliens whose feathers, claws and pulsating skin at first appeared to be exotic costumes. As they close in on Emma the Doctor orders everyone to leave but Nelson gathers his men, ready to fight, and has the Doctor tied up. Nelson's men hold their own in the close quarters combat and the Doctor is untied by Lord Hamilton, Emma's husband. He quickly reconfigures the TARDIS's circuits and the humans and aliens find that they can understand each other's speech. The aliens are repulsed by the primitive humans and the fact that they clothe themselves in the skins of dead animals but most of all by the way they can take their faces off. Griz Ressin Duccar Tayn, the apparent leader of the aliens introduces them as Freemen of the House of Kark, of the sixth Troupe of the Caressers of the Second Sun, and announces that their purpose is to reacquire the ruby Emma Hamilton is wearing. It is the Star of Tarris, the source of their power, and without it they have been marooned in the galaxy, unable to get home. It slipped through time and space in an accident. Although Nelson is prepared to fight to keep it Lord Hamilton, the true earthly owner of the ruby, tells his wife to give it back. The King of Naples enters abruptly and orders the aliens massacred but Nelson refuses, now standing side by side with the alien leader. The King's men defer to the British admiral rather than their own ruler and the Doctor knocks out the King with a blow to the neck and the aliens depart in peace. Later the Doctor explains that the events of that night have all but drained the TARDIS and he has only enough power to return home but promises to return one day and take Nelson on a trip. He leaves the scene shuddering, like the aliens, at the paranoia, deception and violence of the humans.

Time-Placement: The Doctor currently has no travelling companion. Here he meets Lord Nelson, whom he refers to as a personal friend by the time of The Sea-Devils.

The Church of Saint Sebastian by Robert Smith 5th Doctor and Nyssa

It is Christmas Eve, 1199. The Doctor and Nyssa are with a band of gypsies trying to gain entry to a Lebanese village church. Ionna, a gypsy girl, wishes to see the ghost of her dead mother. She recounts to Nyssa that the night before Christmas at the end of every century the dead appear in the church to those who were responsible for their deaths. The villagers are refusing entry to the pagan gypsies. The Doctor speculates that the cause of the visions might be an alien life form, crashed in the desert centuries earlier, feeding the guilt, or perceived guilt, of visitors. The Doctor creates a diversion at the gates of the village while Nyssa and Ionna creep into the church. The rest of the gypsies are turned back by Zick, the villagers' leader but begin to fight to get in, to the Doctor's apparent satisfaction. Inside the church of St. Sebastian Ionna sees her mother's shape materialise and Nyssa sees her own dead father. In the ongoing brawl outside the Doctor is pushed into the church by Zick. Suddenly there are many more apparitions inside the church, no longer merely human in shape. Some are androids, aliens and monsters. All of them are calling the Doctor's name. The Doctor is shocked by what he can see and hear: the dead calling for him to account for their deaths. The villagers and gypsies turn on the Doctor but Nyssa helps him to escape while the gypsies try to burn the church to the ground. In the TARDIS Nyssa tells the Doctor that if he was right about the alien presence in the church feeding off the grief of the bereaved then its effects on history were negligible. According to the TARDIS records the whole village is missing from history. She also expresses a belief that the Doctor should not be sorry for the deaths he caused — they were either evil creatures or innocennts who died for the greater good. The Doctor replies that the alien intelligence did not just show him the deaths he caused in the past but those who were going to die because of him in the future. They included every single villager and gypsy.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary, in release order.

The Prodigal Sun by Matthew Griffiths 4th Doctor and Leela

Cunovellasus the druid goes to the abandoned Roman fort to prepare for the winter solstice. Calagundus, an eleven year old boy, follows him He is afraid that the fort is still defended by the ghosts of dead legionaries. In the fort the druid shows the boy a carving of the sun god - a deity stolen from their clan by the Romans. The TARDIS lands in the temple of the sun god causing it to collapse just as the Doctor and Leela emerge. Suddenly a bright star in the sky erupts into light and an army of shadows begin to approach the temple, burning all obstacles as they make their way up the hillside. Calagundus is worried that the clan's village lies in the path of the shadows who he assumes are the Roman ghosts. The Doctor tells him that they are not, but they are searching for a relic that the Romans left in the temple, a homing device which the Doctor found and promptly lost. He tells Calagundus that he must crawl under the ruins of the temple, locate the relic (which resembles the sun god carving), find the buried TARDIS and throw the relic into the ship's interior. He ties his lengthy scarf around the boy. Calagundus achieves his mission but the temple floor collapses further and the boy is only saved by the scarf which is used to drag him out of the wreckage. The shadow army and the light in the sky vanish. The Doctor says that they have gone back into orbit, scanning for traces of their enemies - the old civilisation - to destroy. The druid tells the Doctor and Leela that they can celebrate the solstice with the clan whose lives they helped save and in return they will dig the TARDIS from the ruins.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary.

Be Good For Goodness's Sake by Samantha Baker 8th Doctor and Charley

It is Christmas Eve 1987, Illinois. David Gilligan is a burglar who has been casing a house in the suburbs. He knows that the family will be away for the night. He watches them leave and breaks into the house, then goes from room to room gathering their valuables. His plans go awry when heavy snow forces the family to abandon their trip and return, trapping him in the house. He hides in one of the bedrooms. The family bring the Doctor with them. From their conversation Gilligan hears that they picked the Doctor up after they saw him walking alone down the highway. The Doctor claims that he is waiting for his friend, Charley, who has gone to a disco. He is the only one to realise that there is a burglar upstairs. David is discovered by the family's children who are frightened by his presence. As he tries to escape through the front door the Doctor accosts him and greets him as his friend Charley. He explains to the family that 'Charley' must have followed him on to the house. Privately the Doctor tells Gilligan to return everything he has stolen before the family notices it is missing. Gilligan decides to play along and not to make a run for it, mainly due to the Doctor's attitude: he seems so sure of himself. Instead he joins them all for a meal, observing how the Doctor fits easily into his surroundings. Gilligan becomes aware, as he observes their happiness that it was this that he was trying to steal, and perceives how willing they are to share it.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary.

Ode to Joy by Jonathan Clements 4th Doctor

The Doctor lands in a forest at night. Before he remembers that he is alone ('she' is no longer with him) he speaks aloud and is answered by a taling nine-tailed fox. She explains that he is in The Garden and that she is one of The Divine. She leads him to the edge of the garden and he remarks that it seems larger on the inside than it appears from outside. He also realises that he has visited this place before. He is in the grounds of the Shogun's palace, though the Shogun has long departed (a thousand moons ago). It is Tokyo, circa 1990. They look out at the city lights and the fox is delighted that they can speak to each other. She is also delighted by his gift of jelly babies. She transforms herself to look like a woman and is hurt when he tells her that her fashions are seventy years out of date. He informs her that he has met The Divine before, on the Silver Worlds, and he knows that she has not really transformed, merely played a trick on his eyes. He tells her that it is Christmas Eve and that a young couple that they can see nearby are secreting themselves so that the boy can propose to the girl. The fox is disappointed when she learns that the proposal does not involve ritual murder and suicide. Their talk turns to the economics of Japan and the Doctor tells her that the Emperor's garden would be worth more than California if it were sold. They hear Beethoven's Ninth being played, a familiar tune to the fox as its performance is a Christmas Eve ritual in Japan, but this time the fox will understand the words because, the Doctor explains, it is the gift of the TARDIS to translate the German words. She is enraptured, particularly by the line 'Beyond the stars lie his pavilions' and wonders how barbarians can know this ("How do they know? Who told them?"). She tells him she has enjoyed his visit and his edible babies. He gives her his last one.

Time-Placement: After Ghost Ship: the Doctor is travelling alone, and still feels melancholy following “her” departure.

Nobody's Gift by Kate Orman 7th Doctor

Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire, 1480. The Doctor visits a feather shop owned by Tochtli the merchant. Tochtli invites the Doctor to his home but is unsure whether he must kill him. On the way they encounter four warriors who taunt the pair. Tochtli shrinks from them in fear while the Doctor persuades them that there is no need for violence and the two carry on their journey. At the merchant's house there is a brief conversation. His father died before Tochtli was born, killed by the 'bonepuppets', an alien race that were planting the seeds of a weed that would have covered half the Earth and driven out the human race. Tochtli's (pregnant) mother helped the Doctor (in a previous incarnation) to destroy the weed and then he delivered her child. She had a psychic gift, an ability to read people's intentions from any object that they had touched. She had previously used this gift to keep her husband alive in dangerous times, and aided him in some spying for the Emperor. For the Doctor she had 'read' a piece of discarded bonepuppet plastic and understood the true nature of the weed. In return the Doctor had buried her son's umbilical cord on a battlefield, as his mother requested, in order to allow him to achieve the status of warrior. The Doctor chose a muddy battlefield on the other side of the galaxy. Tochtli is aggrieved. He blames the Doctor for delivering him a month early on a Nothing Day (one of five days in the Aztec calendar that do not belong to a specific month). Because of this he has become a merchant like his father. The Doctor gives him an object to hold. It looks like a jewel but Tochtli 'reads' it as a seed. At first it seems benign but then he detects a lie in the intentions of the bonepuppets who made it, it is another weapon to be used to kill another world. As soon as he has imparted this knowledge the merchant tries to kill the Doctor but loses the fight. The Doctor says that he knows the merchant has inherited his mother's psychic gift and is using it to spy for the Emperor, his life always in danger but with none of the honour accorded to soldiers. Tochtli reads the Doctor's intentions and sees that he is no threat. The Doctor tells Tochtli that he is not merely a merchant but a warrior in his own way, and that his actions that night will have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands on another world.

Time-Placement: The Doctor is described as wearing a Paisley tie and a white hat, yet appears to be travelling alone.

The Innocents by Marc Platt Unbound Doctor

The Doctor steps out into a Bethlehem alley to block a drunken soldier entering a stable. The soldier asks him where the children are and the Doctor tells him they are gone. He is contradicted by a child's cry from inside. As the soldier pushes past him brandishing a sword he is knocked down by a donkey which bursts out of the stable followed by a woman. As the soldier gets to his feet he is knocked senseless by a heavy pot wielded by Leonardo da Vinci. The Doctor thanks him and asks Leonardo if he found what he was looking for in town. The answer is noncommittal. The woman and donkey enter the over-bright stable. followed by the Doctor and Leonardo. More soldiers come along the alley and are bewildered when the stable dematerialises. Inside the TARDIS Susan is trying to keep track of Mrs Simeon's children (there are four) and the donkey which keeps making a mess on the floor. The Doctor reminds Susan that she should be used to children because she is a grandmother herself. She is aware that she is suppressing memories of Gallifrey. The Doctor complains that the TARDIS manual is missing and is worried that Leonardo has borrowed it. He is concerned that Leonardo is filling his notebook with too many ideas from his travels in time and space. He reminds Susan that Leonardo must not find out about his own future (he is still a young man) but Leonardo is behind him returning the TARDIS manual, slightly the worse for wear after the donkey has chewed it. Leonardo complains that the scene he witnessed in Bethlehem was less inspirational than he had hoped or history had led him to believe. The Doctor agrees that this is often the case and suggests he use his imagination to fulfil the painting of the altarpiece he has under commission. The TARDIS lands in Regents Park and takes on the shape of a Christmas tree. The children and their mother go out to a nearby playground and the donkey is allowed onto the grass. The Doctor tests the swings and slide for 'scientific' purposes. It is an unseasonably warm December morning but Leonardo complains that it is too dark to sketch. The Doctor and Leonardo go off to feed the ducks. The Doctor regrets that he could not rescue more children from the massacre but says he will return the family to their own home some months after the fuss has died down. He praises Susan for persuading him to leave their home planet and embark on a career changing the future for the better. A park keeper arrives and remonstrates after the donkey eats the flowerbeds. A crowd gathers to watch so the Doctor ushers the family back into the TARDIS but Leonardo steals the park keeper's bicycle and rides off. The Doctor sends Susan after him warning her again not to let him find out anything about himself. She catches up with him after he crashes the bike but he talks her into letting him explore London. He is delighted by an escalator in a shopping centre, perplexed by the simplicity of the graphics on some computers and horrified when some piped carol music makes him think the shop is a church. He runs away in disgust but finds his way to the National Gallery. The Doctor finds him there looking at his painting 'The Virgin of the Rocks'. He is taken aback by the fact that it is a painting he has yet to start and also by the date of his death, a reminder of his own mortality. The Doctor leads him back across a modern London of sleek cars, mobile phones, punk fashions and giant electronic screens to Trafalgar Square where Susan has landed the TARDIS (still a Christmas tree). Mrs Simeon, her children and the donkey are among a throng of shoppers and carol singersSusan reminds the Doctor that it is very different to the last time they were there with the Thaleks (who just wanted to feed the pigeons). The Doctor is delighted when she points out that the donkey has eaten Leonardo's notebook and he looks around him and tells Leonardo that all is well, the future is safe and that 1961 has turned out exactly as it was meant to be.

Time-Placement: Between Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels. It features the Geoffrey Bayldon Doctor and his grand-daughter Susan travelling with Leonardo da Vinci, as it was said they did in A Storm of Angels.

Comforts of Home by Pete Kempshall 5th Doctor and Turlough

It is 23 December 1861. A group of deserters from the American Civil War are attacking a farmhouse near the Potomac. They have killed William Watkins, the farmer, but his daughter is alone in the farmhouse. She has killed at least one attacker due to the rifle skills she was taught by her husband who is fighting alongside General Stuart in Centreville. While defending the back of the house she shoots another man who emerges from the darkness. It is Turlough, and he is wounded in the leg. The Doctor appears too and implores her not to shoot. He calls her by her name, Mrs Elkins, and tells her she must leave the farm. He adds that he has been sent by her husband, Samuel. Charlotte refuses and the Doctor and Turlough return to the TARDIS. Turlough is keen to leave her to her fate but the Doctor insists that they have made a promise to her husband. Lucius Casler, the leader of the attackers, orders his men to roll a burning cart into the farmhouse. When one of his men objects, thinking they have come to loot the house, Casler shoots him dead. Before Casler has time to carry out his attack Samuel Elkins appears and Casler stumbles into the flaming cart. His uniform catches fire and he is killed when his cartridge belt explodes. The rest of his men disappear into the night. Later, Turlough and the Doctor watch the reunion between Samuel and Charlotte. Turlough suggests that the Doctor ought to take Elkins back but the Doctor admits that any damage has already been done when he took Elkins out of his own time and he says that he will give the couple a night together as an early Christmas present. The next morning the Doctor, Turlough and Elkins leave after placing Watkins and the three dead deserters ready for the undertaker. Charlotte is not initially alarmed when the undertaker arrives with a single coffin. Four days earlier Casler murders Elkins on the battlefield and takes a photograph of Charlotte from the dying officer. As Casler looks at the portrait — his Christmas gift, he thinks — he sees, but doesoes not heed, the Doctor emerging onto the battlefield and listening to the last words of the dying Elkins.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary, in release order.

Christmas on the Moon by Simon Guerrier 6th Doctor and Evelyn

14 December 1972. An alien chases across the surface of the moon, following tyre tracks back to Apollo 17. It stops, thinking the spaceship is a metal creature. By the time it recognises that this is a craft like many it has seen across the galaxy and there are men inside its charge is too late and the ship has launched. Years later, December 24. All the previous moon astronauts are long dead thinks Varani, on of three inhabitants of the moon base. A clinking noise alerts her and she wakes Jackson. They realise the noise is coming from the airlock. As they reach it a great dust storm sweeps over the moonbase. Gire is woken up too as the outer airlock opens. The inner door opens too and dust sweeps in. Terrible shapes emerge and grapple Jackson to the floor. when Varani wakes up she is being offered tea by an old lady. It turns out to be orange juice and the woman introduces herself as Evelyn. The Doctor introduces himself too and says they have come to offer their help. The astronauts are perplexed by the arrival of two unscheduled visitors on the moon's surface and by the fact that their space suits resemble lightweight plastic rain hoods. Despite the fact that the Doctor tells them they offer no threat Jackson attacks him with a pole and forces them to turn out their pockets. evelyn produces a coin from the future. This makes sense to Varani but Jackson accuses them of using the dust storm to attack the base. At this point another storm hurtles towards them. The hungry alien outside can almost taste what is inside. The Doctor wrenches the pole from Jackson and declares it useless against a dust storm. As the dust hits the astronauts are overwhelmed by its psychic force but the doctor drives it off with a command, though it is even hungrier when it senses his power. The Doctor tells the astronauts that the dust storm is the physical manifestation of a creature composed of pure thought. He says it will return and a physical barrier needs to be built to keep it out. To find out what equipment they have he asks them to give him details of their work: searching for water, helium 3 and metals. They are impressed by his incisive questions. Varani goes off to be alone. She reflects on the visitors' comment that they came to solve a mystery. She thinks it is the mystery of how the astronauts died and then notices her Christmas stocking is full. Later the doctor admits it was him who filled it and the astronauts seem to warm to him. The dust storm's next assault involves throwing things, including the lunar rover, at the moonbase as well as another mental attack. The Doctor puts on his plastic overalls and steps outside as the TARDIS comes flying towards him. He asks the dust storm what it wants and it forms itself into a human shape made of dust: it says, 'I saw a light on.' Back in the moonbase the Doctor explains that the creature is merely hungry for ideas and mental stimulation. He suggests they invite it in for Christmas dinner. Gire names the creature Dusty and the dinner is a huge success. Dusty describes his civilisation of entities made of thought spread across a hundred worlds. The Doctor produces a Christmas pudding and a bottle of brandy. The only negative is Gire's belief that the crew are all going to die but the Doctor refuses to disclose any information. A camera is produced and photographs are taken. When the crew wake up in the morning Gire and Jackson are a couple and the Doctor, Evelyn and Dusty are gone, having tidied up and taken all trace of their visit except for one photograph. The photograph is left behind when the crew leave and not found for more than a century. Shortly after it is found Evelyn is at an auction on the moon, reflecting how well the crew of the moonbase succeeded, after their return to earth, in science, the arts, politics. The photograph comes up for sale and the Doctor points out that, from the angle, it must have been taken by someone other than the three astronauts in the picture. There is even a shadow of someone out of shot. When Evelyn asks who it might have been the Doctor suggests that they go and find out for themselves.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary, in release order.

The Anchorite's Echo by Scott Andrews 7th Doctor and Ace

Paul is an anchorite, walled up in a cell in the back of a church in Little Brockton. He is meant to look after the lives of the parishioners but within a year they have all died of the plague. Since then he has spent three hundred years in silence as the times have changed: the village repopulated; Catholicism replaced by Protestantism. He feels only unworthiness and guilt. One Christmas day a 'demon' arrives in the church — an alien, the last survivor of an invading army. The demon kills the priest but is interrupted from further mayhem by the arrival of the Doctor who explains to him that he is in a holy place and that the one god of this planet is more powerful than the alien's pantheon of cruel gods. The demon does not believe him and takes the Doctor by the throat. For the first time in 300 years the anchorite finds the power of speech and orders the demon to release the Doctor, perhaps impersonating the voice of God. As the invader looks for the source of the voice Ace creeps up on it and knocks it unconscious with a heavy censer. The Doctor tells the anchorite that without his intervention the Doctor, the village and, perhaps, the whole world would have died. Now the anchorite can find rest.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary.

The Revolutionaries by John S. Drew 2nd Doctor and Jamie

The Doctor takes Jamie for a Christmas holiday in Trenton, New Jersey. Unfortunately they step out onto a snowy panorama and are soon arrested by German soldiers. The place is right but they are in the eighteenth century. In the holding cells they meet Edward and Stephanie, two school teachers from the thirtieth century who have been misdirected by their Time Brokers. They are meant to be researching eighteenth century England. When George Washington is brought into the cells, a prisoner of the Germans, the Doctor knows that the course of history has been changed by the teachers' presence: his daring raid on the Hessian fort where he is now imprisoned, along with his men, has been foiled. Edward and Stephanie know this too and will not leave for their own time until the matter is sorted. The Doctor tells the guards he has some important information for their commander and is taken away. All except Jamie think he is a traitor but when he returns he tells them the 'information' was merely that Washington had no reinforcements and there is no further threat. While the Germans set about celebrating Christmas and their victory the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to escape the cell. Jamie deals with the guards and Edward creates a diversion by bringing down a water tower while the Doctor sets Washington's men free. They soon overpower the smaller German forces. Time is restored to its proper order though Stephanie is worried that their involvement might have changed something and that Washington should have lost all along. The Doctor reassures her that time travel is full of such complications. The visitors from the future leave and Jamie and the Doctor join the American soldiers in their celebrations.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary, in release order.

The Gift by Robert Dick 1st Doctor and Susan

General Lethbridge-Stewart (retired) has waited until his wife Doris has gone out of the house on some last minute shopping before he takes his boat out on the lake. It is his Christmas present from Doris, bought against her wishes, and he is using it without her knowledge one day early. Suddenly he sees a young woman in the water and pulls her out. When he takes her home and puts her to bed Doris is keen to call the emergency services. Lethbridge-Stewart refuses, wanting to deal with it himself, but before their argument is concluded they are interrupted by the arrival of the Doctor looking for his granddaughter. Lethbridge-Stewart recognises him immediately, even though he has not met this incarnation before, but does not let on because the Doctors he did meet warned him about inadvertently telling someone about their own future. Initially the Doctor is very concerned about Susan, particularly when he finds she was in the middle of the lake and was rescued by a boat. Doris complains about the boat, saying she wishes that she had not bought it. She says that her husband is seventy years old and has led a life of adventure, he does not need to create artificial excitement with a speedboat. Lethbridge-Stewart is surprised and shocked by his wife's fear. The Doctor quickly forgets about Susan and tells Lethbridge-Stewart to sell the boat if it frightens his wife that much. Lethbridge-Stewart refuses and storms off. Left alone, Doris tells the Doctor that she knows he recognised Lethbridge-Stewart. The Doctor agrees, saying that Lethbridge-Stewart is his oldest friend and it doesn't matter that he has yet to meet him for him to know this. In a flash of insight Doris realises that part of the Doctor's business is with the boat. She asks how Lethbridge-Stewart will die but the Doctor merely replies that all of his incarnations will be present at the funeral and will behave themselves (though some will argue at the wake). Doris asks him to take the boat when he leaves but the Doctor tells her he cannot make her choices for her; his gift is telling her that there are choices, which is more than he should really do. By the time Lethbridge-Stewart returns the Doctor and Susan have gone and he sits long into the night holding Doris's hand.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary, while the Doctor and Susan are travelling alone and after they have made contact with humanity.

Callahuanca by Richard Salter 4th Doctor

Ana Maria, a little girl, sneaks out of her village to the nearby graveyard on Christmas morning, accompanied by her donkey. She is fulfilling her promise to her father: visiting his grave. She is surprised to see an old woman also attending the grave and assumes that she is an estranged grandmother. The old woman is in the company of a man - a gringo - and Ana Maria is frightened when the couple enter a strange blue tomb which vanishes noisily. The following year the scene is repeated, but this time the old lady does not seem quite so old and she talks to the girl. The Doctor (the gringo) offers her a jelly baby. These brief annual meetings continue for the next decade until Ana Maria is a student, home for Christmas from University in Lima. This time the Doctor is alone in the graveyard and puzzled that the girl seems to know him. He also has no idea where her 'grandmother' is but accepts her offer to join her family at the feast. At this pint the cemetery is destroyed by an earthquake and Ana Maria and her donkey save the Doctor's life. She is distraught that she will no longer be able to keep her promise to her father every year but the doctor says he will help her, though not every year. He will pick her up in forty years time (when she is sixty). Ana Maria realises that it was not her grandmother who she met every year at the cemetery.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary.

Not in My Back Yard by Eddie Robson 8th Doctor

The Doctor arrives in Cheldon Bonniface on Christmas Eve 2017. He is accompanied by Ayfai, a tall green humanoid, who he is planning to leave at the Offworld Asylum and Settlement Centre which he was instrumental in founding. Unfortunately he first encounters Goilin, a large alien warrior who is also a postman, who tells him that the centre has been closed. A world recession led to Michael Hallinan becoming prime minister and he has stirred up a tabloid frenzy against aliens and their impact on the British economy which allowed the centre to be shut down with little protest. To rectify matters somewhat the Doctor arranges for many of the aliens still resident in the centre to meet for a drink in the village pub, the Black Swan, along with some of the more supportive villagers (including Ishtar Hutchings) and General Lethbridge-Stewart and his wife. The evening begins slowly but soon turns into a success. Local MP Richard Grayson and his supporters are meeting simultaneously across the village in the Time in a Bottle. The Doctor leads his party to the church, St Christopher's, for the Christmas service which outrages Grayson. Grayson concocts a plan whereby Philip Galt, the local council representative, accuses Goilin of stealing a gift voucher from his mail and there is a brief fight outside the church, witnessed by Kelly Moore the local journalist. Although the Doctor breaks up the fight the damage has been done and he retreats to his room at Mrs Higgins's guest house to watch 'Gone with the Wind'. Ayfai joins him and he promises he will find her somewhere else to live where her Arklan executioners will not find her. The film is interrupted by a newsflash showing the arrival of a hundred Chelbil spaceships over the Earth. They are a rogue race of droids who steal anything that takes their fancy. The Doctor and Ayfai get to the TARDIS just after the Chelbil have discovered it and apparently put a heat barrier around it. The Doctor notices Ishtar nearby and she explains that she is the source of the barrier. The Doctor asks her to find Goilin and she points him out, drunk, under a nearby bench. The Doctor borrows a video camera from Maria Owen, the pub landlady and links it to the TARDIS so the Chelbil can hear Goilin. They recognise him immediately as the great warrior general he was before his government exiled him to Earth. He tells the Chelbil he is now the ruler of Earth and warns them to leave. The Chelbil, already perturbed by the presence of the TARDIS and the fact that an inhabitant of the planet can create a heat barrier at will decide to look for easier pickings elsewhere. The media arrive the next day and Goilin is treated like a hero. Modestly all he asks is that the centre be allowed to reopen. Ayfai decides to settle on Earth. All is wrapped up easily. The Doctor is suddenly approached by his previous incarnation who explains that he set the whole thing up when he saw the Chelbil arriving and trapped them in a fold in hyperspace until the appropriate moment would allow Goilin his glory. He tells the eighth Doctor he won't remember having done this, sympathises with the hard time he is having and leaves so that the newer Doctor can enjoy the party in the village.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary, but close to the Virgin New Adventures.

She Won't Be Home by Joseph Lidster 6th Doctor

Linda Grainger has been dumped by her boyfriend and is spending a miserable Christmas Eve with her friends and colleagues in the White Rabbit pub in London. She is miserable about being alone and that she will be missing out on her family's Christmas, which she has elected to avoid. The Doctor is in the bar of a Festulasion space station the day before Celebration Day, upset about being alone once more. While he looks about him for a likely new companion he is offered a bowl of snacks by the robotic barman and is shocked to discover that they are human toes. Looking out from the viewscreen he realises that they are orbiting the Earth. Linda is picked up by a taxi but instead of being taken home she is driven to the taxi rank on the pretext that there are more passengers there who are going the same way as her. The driver has checked to see if anyone would miss her. On the pavement one man seems to notice her driving by and looks directly at her. She stares back, feeling the world change. In the taxi rank, later, the homeward bound revellers stop their fighting, talking and kissing when the Doctor arrives in his strange multi-coloured clothing. As Linda enters behind him he tells her to go home but she pushes past him. The Doctor is attacked by the taxi driver who demands everyone's toes before transforming into a grey scaly alien with claws. He lets the Doctor go while telling him that collecting toes is his job and it is double-pay night. The woman behind the counter transforms into a grey lizard and the Doctor explains to Linda that they are Festulasion and that he is an alien, too. He instructs the majority of people in the room to escape, but some are trapped with him and herded into a back room. The Doctor and Linda help the others to escape while also finding out that the aliens are called Agar and Hoyt. In the confusion some glass is broken and Agar's toe is chopped off, but another one immediately grows back in its place. Agar and Hoyt recognise the Doctor's astonishment at this regenerative capability and then are horrified to realise that human toes do not grow back in a similar fashion. The Doctor gives the embarrassed Festulasions a lift back to their ship then returns to Linda and offers her the chance to be his new companion. She turns him down. On Christmas Day, in her family home, she is happy and says, 'Thanks, Doctor.'

Time-Placement: The Doctor is melancholy following the recent departure of a companion, presumably Evelyn.

Saint Nicholas's Bones by Xanna Eve Chown 2nd Doctor, Jamie and Victoria

The Doctor is in the port of Myra reminiscing about his friendship with Saint Nicholas whose bones lie in a nearby church. Victoria is worried thast his conversation is too loud, as is his recorder playing, and that he will annoy the drinkers in the inn. Even as he speaks some sailors enter. They are part of the crew of a ship from Bari and even at that moment their captain and some others are smashing the sarcophagus in the church to steal St. Nicholas's remains. The Doctor buys the sailors enough drinks for them to tell him where their ship is docked and then hurries to it with Victoria. They find the bones unguarded in a casket on deck and Victoria takes them to the TARDIS. The Doctor is discovered replacing them with some plastic bones from a school science lab but escapes when the replicas seem to send one of the sailors into a trance. The time travellers set off in the TARDIS to bury the real bones safely at the North Pole.

Time-Placement: Arbitrary.

The Long Midwinter by Philip Purser-Hallard 8th Doctor, Gemma and Samson Griffin

On the brown giant Yesod the inhabitants are preparing for the Festival of Midwinter. They are a curious looking species, with metallic skins to withstand the heat and pressure of the upper, gassy layers of their planet. They dwell in floating houses and hover through the air, communicating via the halos which circle their heads. The younger have only one or two limbs, but more limbs grow as they age until they have seven. At the Festival the entire population of the planet gather together for the creation of the World-Tree. It is into this gathering that the TARDIS arrives, materialising on the balcony of one of the shell houses, and is first noticed by the two-limbed Kebalau. When the Doctor and his companions, Gemma and Samson Griffin, emerge the locals are at first suspicious that they are there to hurt the children. The Doctor pacifies them and when he learns it is the planet's Midwinter he presents a huge diamond to Kebalau as a Christmas present (it is the only possession he has on him that will withstand the planer's pressure). The visitors are thus allowed to pass among the Yesodites peacefully. Kebalau takes the Doctor to listen to Butavo, the story-caster, telling the history of the Festival. He hears that Yesod was once much hotter and brighter but is now cooling down. It circles the red giant Tiphereth (which is old and weak) and the white star Kether. Every five generations Yesod reaches its furthest point from Kether and the Long Midwinter begins. As the planet continues to cool the Long Midwinters are growing colder and harsher. Butavo tells how the ancestors recognised this and those who were about to die fused themselves together to become the World-Tree, a structure so vast that it reached beyond Yesod's atmosphere and caught the warmth of Tiphereth, conducting it down to warm the world below where the younger Yesodites celebrated with a Festival. Ever since then the population has come together at Treehaven at the onset of the Long Midwinter, the eldest joining the tree and the others mourning and celebrating together. The World-Tree is also the mind of the world, a great repository of wisdom. As the Doctor listens to this history his young companions are getting into trouble. Gemma Griffin is keen to explore the world around her and to experience its strangeness. Her brother is more circumspect, thinking nostalgically of his summer job at Folkestone Library. Gemma has borrowed a glider for each of them and they have been swooping around the air. Having landed on a 'tree' their gliders have deserted them. The Doctor borrows a flying creature, a welter-wing, and tracks Gemma and Samson down. At first they think that he is being overly sensitive to the Yesodite's annoyance: the siblings may have disturbed the great sage Heskiu in his final meditation before he joins the World-Tree. Gemma thinks the tree she is sitting in belongs to Heskiu until she realises that the 'tree' is actually the sage himself. He has aged far beyond the seven-limbed phase of his life and is fantastically old and huge. The Doctor uses this opportunity to have a conversation with him. He surmises that the Yesodites are not native to the world and Heskiu agrees with him, saying he has heard stories that his people came from another world and wiped out the original inhabitants and their punishment is the cooling down of their planet which will ultimately make them extinct. The Doctor knows he has brought Gemma and Sam billions of years into their future. he points out the humanoid features of the Yesodites and suggests that they are humans, biologically engineered to adapt to the planet. If the ancestors could further adapt to become the single mind of the World-Tree he thinks the current generation could use their biosphere as a tool kit to evolve themselves to survive on the cooling world. Heskiu angrily tells him that the original adaptations are irreversible. The Doctor has a more positive outlook. He thinks that the Yesodites were a dying species of humanity from the nearby satellite world of Malkuth who changed their biology and moved to Yesod as the next phase of a journey that would see them go on to colonise the red giant Tiphereth and then, in the far future, the white star Kether, and possibly any other star in the universe. Heskiu deliberates on this for a while and says he will take the matter to the Tree. The Doctor accepts his thanks and both he and his companions depart before the Tree makes the atmosphere too hot for even their environmental suits to tolerate. Kebalau watches as the older Yesodites gather on the Tree to extend it into space where its crown appears to touch the star Tiphereth.

Time-Placement: Features Samson and Gemma Griffin, thus set before Storm Warning.

Source: Mark Senior

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