“London, Saturday, July 13th, 1985,” The Doctor said triumphantly. “History is being made this weekend, Wyn. You up for it?”

“History? In 1985?” Wyn questioned. “My history teacher said history is 30 years ago.”

“Your history teacher is an idiot then. History happens every day. But sometimes there are days that stand out. At least they are supposed to. July 13th, 1985 means nothing to you?”

“No. Should it?”

“Come on,” he said, reaching out his hand and grinning that grin of his. Wyn grinned back and came with him.

“Oh!” she said as they looked around. “Wembley. The old one. Before they built the new, improved version.”

“Design classic,” The Doctor said.

“Seems a lot of people about already.” She wasn’t sure what time it was, exactly, but it had that feel of quite early in the morning. Even so, there were crowds gathering. Burger vans and hot dog stands were putting up their awnings and souvenir sellers and ticket touts were out in force. “Is there a match on then?”

“No. A concert. A big one. I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out yet. Bob will be so disappointed.”

“Bob who?”

“He’ll be gutted by that comment!” The Doctor grinned again and turned around, but then his smile faded. He stared at a woman who was standing outside one of the catering vans. She was staring at the TARDIS as if the sight of it was causing her physical pain. Slowly, The Doctor stepped towards her.

“It’s not real,” she murmured to herself. “No, it can’t be. Not after all this time. It’s not fair.”

“Dodo?” She turned and looked at him as if she hadn’t realised he was there until he spoke. Then she fainted.

He caught her as she fell and lifted her easily. He turned and carried her back to the TARDIS.

“Doctor?” Wyn followed him inside. “What’s going on? Who’s she? Is she all right?”

“I wish humans wouldn’t always ask multiple questions,” he said as he laid her gently on the deck of the TARDIS in the recovery position. “In reverse order, she has fainted from shock at seeing something she hasn’t seen for about twenty years. Her name is Dorothy Chaplet, fondly known to me as Dodo nine lives ago. As to what’s going on – well, not much yet. But the fun is in finding out.”

Dodo began to come around. She looked up at The Doctor who grinned disarmingly. “Hello, Dodo,” he said.

“Nobody has called me Dodo for… for a very long time. How do you know my name anyway?” She sat up and looked about. “Where am I?”

“In the TARDIS,” he said. “I know it's had a bit of a refit since you saw it last, but…”

“NO!” she shrieked and covered her face with her hands. “NO! There is no such thing as a TARDIS. No. Not after all this time. I thought all that was over. I thought….”

She stood up and ran for the door. The Doctor was quite surprised when it opened easily for her. It should have been locked. “You let me down, old girl,” he admonished the TARDIS, looking meaningfully at the console. The green light of the central column changed in intensity momentarily. “Ok, so you’re not making it easy for me.” He turned and followed her outside.

Dodo was standing a few feet away from the TARDIS looking at it. Then she walked all the way around it and came back. She stared at the open door where The Doctor patiently stood. Wyn came beside him. He touched her arm and indicated to her not to say anything for a moment.

“Ten years in a mental hospital,” Dodo said. “Electric shock treatment, padded cells, the works, while they tried to convince me that I was having psychotic delusions. Psychiatrists sitting by my bed telling me that it was impossible for something to be bigger on the inside than the outside, and that time travel was just a scientific theory.”

The Doctor stared at her. It WAS Dodo, no question. But somebody had broken her spirit. The girl he remembered from the 1960s was bright, bubbly, full of fun, willing to suspend her disbelief and take everything thrown at her.

“Ten years of my life…” she continued, and there were tears in her eyes. “When they let me out, it was 1977. I was 28. I’d missed the end of my teens, most of my twenties. I didn’t know any of the music. Television was in colour and none of the programmes I knew were on any more. I was a stranger to everyone. No family, no friends. No job and no qualifications. And for what? For a dream, a hallucination. They made me believe I had been ill, that it was all an elaborate fantasy of my mind, to escape from the problems of my life.”

“Dodo,” The Doctor began. “I’m sorry….”

“But it WASN’T a delusion. It WAS real. The Doctor really existed. This is HIS TARDIS. At least the outside of it is. I wasn’t mental. It HAPPENED. All of it.”

“Yes, it did.”

“They took my life away for nothing.”

“Yes, they did,” The Doctor stepped forward and put his arms around her. “And I am sorry for that, Dodo. It wasn’t fair. And if I’d known….”

She cried in his arms for a long, long time. He held her until she was done. Somebody had done her a great harm, he thought. Psychiatrists? What do they know? Freud? He’d told him a thing or two. Time Lords did NOT have neuroses. They might have split personalities after a couple of regenerations, but that was nothing they couldn’t handle.

“Who ARE you?” she asked when the tears ran out. “I… I feel as if I should know you. You feel…. I feel safe with you. But.…” She looked at the TARDIS again. “The Doctor. He was such an old man when I knew him. He must be…. Are you his grandson or something? Did you take over from him?”

“Something like that,” he said. She didn’t look as if she could cope with an explanation of regenerations right now. She had known him as an old man with white hair who walked with a stick. Here he was, looking younger than she did. She would be what…. 34, 35 by now? She looked older. The years had treated her rough. Her eyes looked tired. Her face had lines that shouldn’t have been there. Even her black hair had fine strands of silver.

Too young to be so old.

“Come on in,” he said with a smile. “You need a cup of tea.”

Wyn, bless her, had already thought of that. He brought her back into the console room and through to the rarely used drawing room. Tea in a china pot was on a table with a plate of biscuits. Dodo sat on a big, squashy old armchair that enveloped her small frame. She still looked as if her world was spinning faster than the 1,670 kilometres per hour it was supposed to be going at. He poured tea for all three of them. For a little while, sitting in the TARDIS drawing room with its fake window that was really a viewscreen looking out on Wembley stadium’s preparations for the afternoon’s big event, something like a peaceful normality reigned.

“So…” Dodo said after a while. “What is your name?”

“Well, Wyn calls me Ten,” he said.

“Ten?” she wrinkled her nose and smiled and he thought he could see, for a moment, a little of the old Dodo in there. “Funny name.”

“Long story. Tell you some other time. Are you feeling a bit better now?”

“I’m feeling….” She sighed. “What should I feel? I’ve lived twenty years of my life thinking I was barmy. Now it turns out I’m not. It turns out it's the universe that’s barmy.”

“I always thought so,” The Doctor agreed. “Universe, potty, totally off its head, one hundred per cent barmy.”

“I’d be really angry if it was me,” Wyn said. “Being treated that way. That was all totally unfair.”

“It was,” The Doctor agreed. “But Dodo, my dear….”

“You sounded like him then,” she said. “Like The Doctor. He used to call me that – my dear.” She looked at him. “Yes, I can sort of see the resemblance. You have his eyes.”

“The Doctor… The first Doctor had brown eyes?” Wyn asked. She had become used to Nine’s slate-grey eyes that could be hard as steel or soft as rainwater depending on his mood. She hadn’t really looked at Ten’s eyes as much. But they were nice. Kind eyes, she thought. And full of laughter and fun. Just looking at him made her want to smile. She tried to imagine those same eyes in the face of an old man, but she couldn’t.

“Got a picture somewhere,” The Doctor said and he turned and rummaged through the drawers of a sideboard. This room was one of those that existed only in potentia, of course. Neither he nor Wyn were drawing room people as such. But because on this occasion there was a need for soft, comforting armchairs, an illusion of gentility, the door that could have opened into just about anything, opened into this room.

And the dresser drawer opened to reveal a photograph album. He took it out and sat down again, giving the album to Dodo. She opened the album and smiled. The first picture was of herself, aged sixteen, a petite girl with short black hair and a mini dress of the 1960s fashion. An old man with a walking stick and white hair stood beside her. He had twinkling eyes and a warm smile. Behind them was a familiar blue box.

Other pages had pictures of her in different dresses, all of which made Wyn very glad she was born in the 1990s. HER legs were just not up to those short skirts.

“Who’s that?” she asked about one of the pictures that had a young man in it along with Dodo and The Doctor.

“Steven,” Dodo sighed. “He was a space ship pilot.” A cloud passed over her face then. For a while she had almost seemed like the old Dodo. “Do you have any idea how long I spent in therapy being told that HE didn’t exist. That I was making up a romantic fantasy, a space pilot who would rescue me from my neuroses!”

“What happened to him?” Wyn asked.

“He became the leader of a civilisation on a planet the other side of the galaxy and about 300,000 years in the future from this present,” The Doctor said. “He did just fine as far as I know. I ought to have gone and seen how he was doing. But you know – so much universe, so little time.”

Dodo looked at him and her brow furrowed. How did The Doctor’s grandson know so much about things that must have happened before he was born or at least when he was only a child?

“Well, why don’t we go see him?” Wyn suggested.

“Might do that,” The Doctor answered her. “But not today. We’ve got a concert to go to.”

“Oooh!” Dodo looked agitated again. “I’m supposed to be setting up the van. I’m going to be in so much trouble.” She jumped up from the chair. Her tea cup arced into the air and would have smashed if The Doctor had not snatched it safely in mid-fall. She ran out of the room, down the corridor to the console room and out again. The Doctor, running after her, again glanced at the console and asked it why the TARDIS couldn’t keep hold of her.

He and Wyn reached the fast food van just in time to see Dodo get fired, loudly.

“You’re useless,” the man screamed at her. “If you think you’re going to be paid, you can forget it. The van should be open for business by now. I’m losing money while you’re slinking off on my time.”

“And who do you think is going to buy chips at 10.30 in the morning anyway?” The Doctor asked, breaking into his tirade. “Especially on the way to a concert for famine relief.”

“Who the &%£$”* are you?” the man demanded.

“I’m The Doctor,” he answered nonchalantly. “Defender of the universe, protector of the downtrodden.”

“You must come from the same nuthouse she was in,” the man growled. “She’s a retard, you know. Spent most of her life in a loony bin. She should be grateful to work at all.”

“Actually,” The Doctor said pulling his psychic paper wallet out of his pocket and waving it in front of the man. “I’m from the Department of Employment. Trading without a licence, non-payment of national insurance for Miss Chaplet, non-payment of VAT and working while claiming unemployment benefit. You’re looking at a stretch of institutional care yourself, chum!”

“&%£$”*,” the man said again and jumped into the driver’s seat of the chip-van. The Doctor stepped back sharply as he put the vehicle into gear and drove away. He didn’t get very far. When he clipped a police van coming in the opposite direction his troubles REALLY began. The van’s tax was out of date, and he would bet any money it didn’t have an MOT certificate.

“Ohhh!” Dodo moaned, although she had thoroughly enjoyed watching The Doctor put one over her former employer. “What will I do now?” she asked. “It was a rubbish job, but it WAS a job.”

“Don’t worry about it,” The Doctor told her. He put his arms around her and Wyn. “Let’s get in there and get up front for the greatest music event of the twentieth century and remember people who are a LOT worse off than us while we’re at it.”

Wyn suddenly realised what the concert was. And who the ‘Bob’ was who would be “gutted” that she didn’t remember it.

“Wow!” She said. “Cool!”

The concert was everything they expected. They enjoyed it thoroughly, and in a unique way. When the London section of the Live Aid concert was over at a little after ten o’clock in the evening, The Doctor took Wyn and Dodo back to the TARDIS and took them to the Philadelphia concert that continued for five more hours. Then, finally, in the dawn of the Sunday morning, they arrived back in London and dropped Dodo off at the end of her street.

“I had a good time,” she said. “Thank you.” She reached and kissed The Doctor on his cheek. “You’re as nice as your grandfather,” she said. “I just want you to know that.”

“Do you think you should have told her you ARE the same Doctor she knew?” Wyn asked him as he watched her walk away.

“It would have confused her too much,” he said. “Anyway….” He stopped talking and stared down the terraced street. “Something’s wrong.”

He began to run. Wyn ran after him. She saw him reach Dodo’s house just as a man ran out of it. He shouted and looked at the man and then turned and ran into the house.

“Oh, no!” Wyn cried when she got there. The Doctor was bending over Dodo as she lay on the floor. Her throat was cut. There was blood pouring out. And even The Doctor, as clever as he was, could do nothing to help her.

“It was the guy who fired her this morning,” Wyn said. “I recognised him.”

“So did I,” he said. “Oh, Dodo, my poor child.”

She was dead. The Doctor stood up and looked at Wyn as she cried openly. His face was ashen and he was obviously holding back his own tears.

“It’s not fair,” she said. “Poor Dodo. She had such a rotten life and we had one great day with her… and now this.”

“At least she had that one great day. And she knew, after all, that she wasn’t crazy.”

“But she’s still…”

“We’d better get out of here before we get arrested for her murder,” The Doctor said. “Don’t want to explain that to your mum.”

“We’re just going to leave her?”

The Doctor put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. He used it to pick up the telephone receiver and dial 999. He laid the receiver down next to Dodo’s body. “The call centre will trace the number. Somebody will be here soon.”

Wyn was still crying when they got back to the TARDIS. He told her to go to bed. She nodded and turned away. He called her back.

“Hey,” he said. “I’m sorry for what happened. But you do understand there’s nothing I can do? There are ‘rules’. I can’t go back and make it happen differently.”

“I know,” she said. “It's just not fair.”

“The universe isn’t fair,” he sighed. “I’ve spent enough time in it to know that.” She nodded and smiled weakly and then went to her room. He put the TARDIS into temporal orbit and then he wandered away into the drawing room where they had sat so happily earlier. He picked up the photo album and sat in a chair, idly looking through the memories of a long, long life. After a while, he fell asleep.

“Doctor!” He woke with a stiff neck from sleeping in an armchair and looked up at Wyn as she shook him. “Doctor, something funny is going on. Come look.”

He followed her through to the console room. The first thing he noticed was that they had landed. That was odd as he had not programmed a co-ordinate.

Then he looked up at the viewscreen and knew Wyn’s assessment of the situation was correct. Something funny WAS going on.

They appeared to be back in the same place and time they were yesterday.

He checked the destination panel to confirm it, and realised there was something else that was odd.

“This isn’t a repeat journey,” he said. “We haven’t accidentally returned to the same place we were yesterday. The TARDIS thinks this is the first time we were there - as if all that happened yesterday didn’t happen.”

“Well, GOOD,” Wyn said. “Then Dodo is still alive and we can do something to stop her being hurt.”

The Doctor looked at her and seemed on the point of replying. Then he looked again at his database.

And he couldn’t think of a single reason why she was not right. According to the TARDIS records they had never been to this time and place before. He checked it twice more to be sure.

“Yes, we can,” The Doctor said. “I don’t know WHY, but we’ve been given a second chance.”

They did everything the same way; there was no need to change anything much about the day up to a point. They met Dodo, they helped her discover that she had not been hallucinating when she met The Doctor for the first time. They took her to the Live Aid concert in both London and Philadelphia. But this time The Doctor and Wyn walked with her to her front door.

“I would invite you in,” she said. “But I really should get to bed. It’s almost morning already, and I have work…. Oh. I don’t! I was fired. But… Oh, well. I had better get to the Job Centre first thing, anyway.”

“Take care,” The Doctor said, kissing her on the cheek.

“You’re as nice as your grandfather,” she told him and went into the house, shutting the door behind her.

The Doctor waited. He heard Dodo scream. He kicked the door in and rushed inside.

“You stupid retard!” the man shouted as Dodo ran from him and tried to defend herself by putting the living room sofa between her and him. “I’ve had my van impounded and I’m being prosecuted by the DSS because of your nosy friend. I’m going to take my losses out on your hide.”

“You’ll do nothing of the sort, you coward,” The Doctor said. “If you want a fight, then fight me.”

“I’ll kill you!” he snarled, lunging at The Doctor, a long carving knife held like a dagger.

“No!” Dodo screamed and ran in front of The Doctor. She gave a soft cry as the knife plunged into her heart and fell back into his arms. The man pulled the knife from her body and turned and snarled at Wyn as she tried to block the door.

“Wyn!” The Doctor cried out. “Let him go. He’s killed once. He won’t think twice about killing again.”

“Killed!” Wyn stepped aside as the man ran for it. “She’s dead?”

“Yes,” he sighed and hugged her close to him. “Poor Dodo. I’m sorry.”

He did the same as last night, leaving the phone off the hook on a 999 call and they walked sadly back to the TARDIS. The second time around it felt even more gut-wrenchingly futile. He sent Wyn to bed and sat on the battered old leather chair in the console room and stared at the green glow it emitted from deep within.

He meant to stay awake, but he drifted off for a few minutes. No more than that, he was sure. He didn’t even remember taking his eyes off the console. He must have dreamt he was still awake.

But the next thing he knew, Wyn was shaking him.

“It’s Groundhog Day again,” she said grimly. He looked up at the viewscreen and sighed.

“What can we do differently?” Wyn asked.

“This time I’m going into the house, no matter how tired she is. I’m going to tuck her up in bed if I have to.”

“He’s going to be waiting in the house. With a knife.”

“I’ll be ready for him.”

“Doctor…be careful.”

He was. This time he was careful to leave Wyn in the TARDIS as he walked Dodo to her home. At the door, he put his arms around her romantically, kissed her on the lips, and suggested coffee. She looked surprised and pleased. In a life that had been filled with too many disappointments, suddenly there was a good looking man who wanted to come in for coffee. She clung to his hand as she opened the door. She was too afraid he might change his mind and go.

Even if all he really wanted WAS coffee, she thought. It would be nice. If it was…

Too much to hope for. Coffee would do.

She led him to the kitchen and it was there her life began to unravel again. She stared at the broken window pane and the back door that swung open. And when she turned he was standing there in the shadows with the knife. She screamed as he ran at her. She screamed again as The Doctor stepped in front of her and HE took the length of the carving knife in his stomach and fell. The last thing her brain registered before the knife sliced through the air a second time, slashing her neck, was that The Doctor’s blood seemed a strange colour.

The Doctor woke with a start and found himself lying on the console room floor. He stood up and looked at Wyn as she waited by the life support console. He didn’t even bother to look at the viewscreen.


She nodded.

The problem, they reasoned, was that the man was going to break into the house and kill her in revenge for what happened in the morning outside Wembley.

“If she doesn’t meet us, she won’t lose her job,” The Doctor decided. And he pressed keys on the drive control and pulled the lever. They felt the TARDIS groan and whoosh briefly and looked up to see that it had moved fifty yards or so down Wembley Way and was concealed by a big advertising hoarding for the Live Aid concert.

They mingled with the crowds who wanted to eat burgers and chips before going to a concert in aid of people who had never even heard of burgers and chips and were dying for lack of even more basic foodstuffs. The irony of it seemed obvious to The Doctor and Wyn. They wondered if it had occurred to anyone else.

Dodo was hard at work all day. People with their hands stamped with ultra-violet markers to show they had tickets came almost continuously for food. She looked absolutely exhausted at three o’clock when The Doctor sent Wyn to buy a couple of burgers and check up on her.

“I wouldn’t eat that, actually,” she said to The Doctor. “I had a peak around the back. He’s got the meat in an open container with flies hovering around it.”

The Doctor tossed the still wrapped burger into a bin some ten metres away. Wyn said it was a fluke but he did the same with the second one before taking her by the arm and suggesting they eat somewhere nicer. Dodo would be ok for a few hours - as long as the customers kept coming and she didn’t eat any of the food herself.

She WAS all right, although The Doctor wondered how long a shift she was expected to work. She was still serving burgers and chips from the van when the crowds surged out of the stadium after ten o’clock. And it was nearly an hour later before she was able to shut down and tidy up. Her slave-driver of a boss had gone to the pub meanwhile and returned looking the worse for the wear about 11.30.

“What are you standing around idle for?” he demanded with a slurred voice. “Lazy retard.” She tried to argue that she had packed up the van and had nothing else to do but he wasn’t listening. He grabbed her by the hair and started to drag her into the van.

“Leave her alone,” The Doctor yelled, deciding that non-intervention could only go so far. He stalked towards the man and pulled Dodo away from him at the same time as he floored him with a right hook he had learned from the famous Victorian boxer, J. L Sullivan many lives ago. He took the bewildered woman by the hand and led her away but before he had reached the safety of the TARDIS Wyn screamed a terrified warning. He turned too late to avoid the van ploughing into all three of them. He felt his bones crack on impact and knew that Dodo’s hand was wrenched from his as she was dragged under the wheel.

He yelled as he opened his eyes and found himself lying on the floor of the console room. Wyn was standing above him. She looked wretched.

“THAT one hurt,” she said.

“Yes,” he agreed. “It did.” He stood up and walked to the console. He stared at the same old time and space co-ordinates. “What do we have to do to get away from here?” he asked himself out loud.

“Stop her from being killed,” Wyn said. “But it looks as if, whichever way it happens, she is MEANT to die today. That man wants to kill her.”

“Poor child,” The Doctor mused. “She’s had no kind of life as it is. All those years locked up in an institution for nothing, doubting her own memories because some damn fool with a degree in psychiatry told her I couldn’t possibly exist.”

“Well, you ARE quite a phenomenon,” Wyn said. “I thought you were a made up character that my mum invented until I actually met you.”

“You never thought your mum was mad, though, did you?” he said with a smile. “It's just not fair. She left me because she had some terrifying experiences and needed an ordinary life to recover from it all. But she never GOT that ordinary life. Her life was wasted. And now it seems she is fated to die one way or another on this day.”

“But fate seems to want us to figure out a way of stopping it,” Wyn reminded him. “That’s why we’re stuck in this loop, trying different ways of making it right.”

“I don’t think we’re EVER going to get it right this way,” The Doctor said. “We’re looking at this wrong. Even if we do stop that bloody maniac from hurting her, what does she have here in 1985?”

“The dole office in the morning, and maybe another dead end job.” Wyn said with a grimace.

“That’s not a life. That’s not the life she should have had. You don’t know what she was like when I knew her. She was a terrific kid, lively, full of fun, game for anything. A lot like you are in that respect.”

Wyn smiled. It was nice of him to say that.

“I shouldn’t have assumed that she’d be ok by herself after she left. I should have gone back and made sure she was ok.”

“You’re not to blame for her life going wrong,” Wyn told him.

“Morally… I think I am,” he said. “And I think I know how to put it right.”

First, they had to go through the day the same as before. At the point where he was sitting with Dodo in the TARDIS drawing room drinking coffee, though, he asked her a lot more questions about that difficult time of her life after he had left her.

“What was the name of the institution where you were sent when they sectioned you, Dodo?” he asked.

“It was called Brockley Hall,” she said. “In Sussex. It was an old mansion. It had really pretty gardens, but you were only allowed out there with the permission of the senior consultant. Or when visitors came. But I never had any visitors. And the consultant – His name was Doctor Warner - he hardly ever let me go out.”

“You never had any family, did you, Dodo,” The Doctor said with a sigh.

“The Doctor and Steven were the best family I ever had,” she said. “I loved the time I was with them. Even though some of it was really scary.”

“Oh, I know about that,” Wyn said. “I’ve met some creepy stuff with The Doctor.”

“The worst wasn’t a monster though,” Dodo told them. “It was a computer designed by a Human being on Earth. That was the most terrifying thing. Monsters on other planets… where they belong… that was ok. But monsters that are ordinary people… here in London…”

“Sometimes ordinary people ARE monsters,” The Doctor said darkly, thinking of the thug who had killed her over and over again for no reason he could think of but petty vindictiveness. “But don’t worry about it. And don’t worry about working for that no good ruffian with his salmonella infested burgers. I think the wardrobe might be in a slightly different place than you remember. It’s bigger than it used to be, anyway. Wyn, why don’t you take her and both of you find something nice to wear to the concert.”

This time they didn’t do the Philadelphia section. They took Dodo home right after the London concert. Because, The Doctor reasoned, that maniac who wanted to kill her was still serving his rotten burgers until nearly midnight and she would be safe until then. It made no logical sense, but he didn’t think he could do what he wanted to do unless he left her alive in London. Something would not let him leave until then.

It worked. He looked at the new co-ordinate. It seemed so long since he had seen anything but the co-ordinate for Wembley, July 13th, 1985 that it was strange to see something else on the navigation display. He flicked on the viewscreen and looked at the garden of Brockley Hall Mental Hospital in August, 1967. Two days after Dodo had been admitted to it for treatment.

“This shouldn’t be possible,” he told Wyn. “But then the Groundhog Day scenario we’ve been stuck in shouldn’t have been possible, either. I think the laws of causality are going to let us get away with an infringement just this once.”

“I still don’t get it,” Wyn answered him. “But let’s get on with it. I’m not going to wear this dorky outfit for long.”

“You make a very demure personal secretary.” He smiled at the skirt, blouse and jacket that made her look five years older than she was. It was about the only persona he could think of to explain her being with him. And she wasn’t having the ‘stay here in the TARDIS’ routine. Why should she? Nobody before her had ever put up with that.

He left the TARDIS nestled under a weeping willow tree that almost, but not quite, concealed it and walked up to the entrance to the hospital. At the reception he identified himself as Doctor John Smythe, a non-de-plume he occasionally adopted. The psychic paper seemed to be used to that name, anyway.

“I am here at the invitation of your senior man, Doctor Warner, to examine a patient of his. He thought my experience with patients with delusional fantasies might throw some light on her condition.”

Wyn wondered if even that quite convincing cover story would have worked if The Doctor didn’t also seem to hypnotise everyone he met. He did it in a subtle way. He spoke very calmly, and quietly, and he looked straight into their eyes. They were putty in his hands. It seemed amazingly easy to get through to the section of the hospital where Dorothy Chaplet was being “treated” for her mental afflictions.

“Come along, Dorothy,” the nurse said to her in the kind of voice that would grate on the ear of a two year old, let alone a grown woman. “This nice doctor wants to talk to you for a little while.”

The teenage Dodo stood up from her seat in the recreation room. It was by the barred window. She had been looking out at the garden. She came quietly and stood in front of the ‘nice’ doctor, saying nothing, expecting nothing from him but another uncomfortable session of analysis of her psychoses.

“Come along, Dodo,” he said to her. Her eyes flickered. Nobody in the hospital called her that. He held out his hand and she hesitantly reached for it.

“We’re going to take a walk in the garden,” he told the head nurse. She seemed on the point of objecting when one of The Doctor’s stares hit her full on. She burbled something about being back in time for tea and thought of something else she should have been doing.

“Let’s not waste any time,” The Doctor said, walking quickly towards the stairwell to the ground floor. “As soon as the influence wears off on one of them and they realise I have no business being here, the game’s up.”

“What game?” Dodo looked at him with a puzzled and slightly frightened expression. “Are you… You ARE a doctor aren’t you?”

“Oh yes,” he said. “Though not in psychiatry - a dubious science if there ever was one. There aren’t many problems people have that couldn’t be solved with a cup of tea and somebody actually listening to them. Nobody has been listening to you for the past year, have they, Dodo.”

“They think I’m having delusions. They said I had a nervous breakdown and dreamt up a fantasy world to escape from my real problems.”

They emerged into the garden. Dodo breathed deeply in the fresh air and smiled.

“It’s so nice out here. Thank you for bringing me out here to talk, doctor.”

“It’s going to be all right, Dodo,” he said. “You’re not delusional. You were hypnotised by the WOTAN computer. So were a lot of people. And some dreadful things happened because of it. And that frightened you. But you’re not delusional. You didn’t do anything wrong. And nothing that you remember about the time you spent in the TARDIS was a fantasy, Dodo. It WAS real and you’re as sane as I am.”

“Who are you?” she asked, staring at him. There was something familiar about his eyes, but she wasn’t sure what.

“Who am I?” he smiled widely. “I’m The Doctor.”

“The Doctor?”

“THE Doctor,” he repeated. “The definitive article.” He stopped by the weeping willow tree and pulled back its overhanging branches. “YOUR Doctor, Dodo. And I’m here to take you away from this place and its barbaric ideas of how to treat those whose minds don’t conform to some concept of ‘normal’.”

“The Doctor?” She stared at the TARDIS hidden beneath the tree. “But…. But The Doctor is an old man. You’re….”

“He’s his grandson,” Wyn told her. “Carrying on the family business. He’s done some remodelling of the inside since you were here last, but I think you’ll like it.” She reached out and took Dodo’s hand as The Doctor took his key from his pocket.

They heard the sound of running feet and a panicked shout of ‘Dorothy!” as they stepped inside. The Doctor was right. The game was up! But they had won it.

“But what now?” Wyn asked as Dodo sat on the old leather chair and drank tea while The Doctor programmed a new co-ordinate into the console.

“Dodo gets her life back. She gets her teenage years, her 20s and 30s. She gets to make her own choices. I’m taking her to a place where somebody will help her make those choices.”

“And Wembley, 1985?”

“Dodo won’t be there. She will never have spent 10 years in an institution and come out with no qualifications to take whatever dead end job she could get. We’ve broken the cycle.”

“You hope.”

“I’m sure of it,” he said. He initialised a landing and smiled as the viewscreen resolved into a view of Lake Coniston in Cumbria. He took both of the teenage girls hand in hand as he brought them to a bright looking, rambling old house in a garden that led right down to the lakeside. There was a sign halfway up the path that read “Coniston View Home for Girls, Headmistress, Mrs. Dorothy Weir.”

They hadn’t even reached the door when a dark haired woman in her mid-40s ran out and met them halfway there.

“Ace!” The Doctor cried gleefully. “My favourite juvenile delinquent.”

“I heard the sound….” Dorothy Weir, formerly known as Ace, looked at him curiously. “I heard the TARDIS. Nothing in the world makes that kind of noise. But…”

“It’s me, Ace,” he assured her. “I’ve changed since you knew me. Time Lords can do that. I don’t know if I ever told you. When our bodies get old and worn out, we can change them. But I still remember you.”


“Yes!” He hugged her tightly, another old acquaintance renewed. Wyn grinned to see them. Dodo looked at him curiously.

“Changes his appearance when his body gets old and worn out….” Wyn looked at her and saw her eyes brighten as she worked it out. “Oh… he’s not… not his grandson at all is he? He IS The Doctor.”

“Yes, Dodo,” he said looking around at her and reaching out his hand to her. “I’m sorry. The lie seemed easier for you to take in. But yes, I am YOUR Doctor. I WAS an old man with a stick. For Ace I was a professor with an umbrella. And Wyn has known me as…. I don’t know, what would you say I was before I was this devilishly handsome chap you see before you?”

“You’re just fantastic,” Wyn told him. “But don’t let that go to your head, because we’re all pretty fantastic too - for putting up with you.”

“That you are, Wyn,” he laughed. “Ace, before this conversation gets too crazy, I want you to meet another Dorothy who isn’t keen on being called that. This is Dodo. She’s homeless right now, and could use a good friend who has a nice garden. I thought she might be able to help you out here until she gets on her feet.” He explained to Dodo that the one time juvenile delinquent, now Mrs Dorothy Weir, ran a boarding school for girls with what was euphemistically called ‘behavioural problems’.

“I think we could find a place for you,” Ace said to her. “You’re one of The Doctor’s friends are you? I suppose he’s scared you half to death, too.”

“Not him. He looked after me. But I couldn’t go on travelling in the TARDIS. And I’ve nothing to go back to.”

“Then you’ll just have to go forwards. That’s what everyone here is doing. Putting the past behind them and going forwards. You’ll fit in just fine.”

They stayed to tea. How could they do otherwise. But then The Doctor and Wyn said goodbye.

“Not for good,” Ace made him promise. “Come and see us some time. Promise me you’ll do that.”

“I promise,” he said.

“Where next?” he asked Wyn. “I suppose you’ve seen enough of Wembley in 1985.”

“NEVER again,” she answered. “If you’re in the mood for concerts though, you could take me to see the Manic Street Preachers in Cardiff on Millennium night. It was a totally cool concert. The biggest thing in Wales. My brothers went. But I wasn’t old enough.”

“Sounds good to me,” he said. “The last time I did the millennium I was in San Francisco. Cardiff? Why not!”