Edge of Destruction is a classic Doctor Who story, the third story of the first series. It is set entirely on the TARDIS, using only the four principle cast members facing a crisis caused by the TARDIS apparently breaking down. It is regarded as a television masterpiece. The idea of a story based entirely in the TARDIS worked very well in February 1964, but it has not been tried again.
So I decided it was time to redress the balance. I had three characters this time. The Doctor, Rose and Wyn. The TARDIS is suddenly plunged into darkness. All power is off. They are trapped in the console room. And a real issue has to be addressed. The console room is a limited space. Air is limited. And as Wyn is able to point out, being from a mining community, air is not the issue, but carbon monoxide.
Now, carbon monoxide is something most people are aware of. We’ve seen plenty of horror stories in the newspapers about people dying in unventilated rooms with faulty gas heaters. Not long after this story went online the tragic death of two children on holiday in Corfu broke. And it is an all too common means of suicide. This isn’t a subject I had any intention of taking lightly. I tried to make the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning experienced by the two Human characters, and even The Doctor to a certain extent. His body works only a little differently.
I can’t remember where I first heard that Time Lords can be killed by aspirin. But it is something I have known as a ‘fact’ since the 1970s. And it provided an interesting bit of anguish for The Doctor.
The Null Point Phenomena – not Norway in Eurovision – was a simple, if just a little Deus ex Machina, resolution to the story, and a chance for a little light relief after the tension. I think it’s probable no worse a better resolution than the famous broken spring in Edge of Destruction.