Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

Yasmin had seen amazing places and incredible things travelling in the TARDIS. But she thought one of the oddest was The Doctor, an amazingly powerful Time Lord from a world light years from Earth, sampling every ride on Blackpool Pleasure Beach, whooping at the White knuckle thrills, laughing at the simple joy of the Alice in Wonderland ride with its tableaux that carefully avoided comparison with anything Disney had commissioned.

“You’ve ridden solar winds,” she said. “How can the Flyers amuse you?”

“I’m on holiday,” The Doctor replied.

Which was true enough. They all were. Yas, The Doctor and Dan had met up with Graham and Ryan, taking a whole floor of a small hotel on the south promenade and had been enjoying all of the sights. After the Pleasure Beach they were now walking up the promenade, enjoying the smell of the sea air, candy floss, hot rock just rolled and wrapped in front of the customer, fish and chips, cockles in vinegar and any number of unidentifiable but mostly agreeable scents.The sounds of coins rattling and fruit machines jangling, the nonstop call of the prize bingo and assorted hawkers of cheap seaside tat likewise filled their ears along with the rattle of trams, the occasional clip-clop of the horses pulling the famous Blackpool landaus and the constancy of more mundane road traffic.

“Anyway, it’s a perfect way to celebrate the Coronation weekend,” Graham commented. “After the pomp and ceremony yesterday with the big screen at the Tower Headland. Now a good old-fashioned English bank holiday with everything except the rain... That’s in London, apparently.”

Dan smiled widely. The big screen version was his second go at the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. First time round The Doctor had produced three genuine invitations to Westminster Abbey as sent out to UK citizens who had done service to the country. Dan wasn’t sure how The Doctor acquired them, but given that they had saved the UK, if not the whole planet, about fifteen times since he joined Team TARDIS they were certainly earned.

He was less sure about their places at the private banquet at Buckingham Palace where he had sat next to the new Duke of Edinburgh and told him and the duchess about his work in the soup kitchen and food bank back home in Liverpool, getting a promise from them both to pay a visit when their schedule allowed. He only hoped he wouldn’t miss it while he was knocking about the universe with The Doctor and Yas.

The happy band were heading towards the Tower to see the circus. To their right the mega-amusement arcade, Coral Island, was spilling its noise and lights out through multiple doors when the ordinary bank holiday Sunday turned extraordinary.

“What the hell did we just see?” Ryan asked. It had lasted for no more than a few seconds, but it stopped them all in their tracks.

“We SAW the old Central Railway Station,” Graham answered. “There was a picture of it at that museum we visited on Friday. Closed in the 1960s – you know, the old Beeching Axe.”

None of the under 30s DID know the old Beeching Axe but this probably wasn’t the time for a history lesson.

Not when even The Doctor couldn't quite explain why they had suddenly been walking past a building that was knocked down half a century ago.

Besides, their experience wasn’t the one that actually mattered.

The family dressed like extras from a 1950s themed cosy mystery afternoon tv series mattered - mother and daughter in cotton print dresses, mother holding a string bag with vacuum flask and wrapped sandwiches, father and son in Sunday best suits, the dad sporting a derby hat and the son his very own flat cap, attracted The Doctor’s attention about the same time that the girl started crying and huddling close to her mother who looked equally frightened by the noise and bustle of Blackpool promenade in 2023.

“Its all right,” The Doctor told them, immediately taking control of the situation. “I can help. Come on, let’s get off the front and find somewhere quiet for a cup of tea.”

Team TARDIS nodded knowingly at each other. The bewildered family didn’t know where they were or who The Doctor was, but she exuded authority and plain common sense as she ushered them all around the corner and around again into a marginally quieter street where a simple café that pre-dated all the fast food outlets of the promenade was just past its lunchtime rush and had two tables available side by side. The Doctor ordered fish, chips and peas and cups of tea for the grown-ups and fizzy orange for the children.

The ordinariness of it all calmed nerves, but the family were still puzzled.

“We ARE in Blackpool, aren’t we?” the father asked. “Only…. It looked different….”

“I’ll bet it did,” Dan remarked. “But don’t worry. The Doctor here will see you right. What are all your names?”

“I’m Joe Granger,” answered the father. “This is my wife, Polly, and these two are Freddy and Maggie. We came down on the train from Wigan for the bank holiday.”

“Pleased to meet you all,” Dan said and introduced himself and his friends. If they thought ‘Doctor’ was an odd name, the Grangers were too polite to say so.

“Which bank Holiday?” The Doctor asked. “What day is this?”

The parents were both surprised by the question, but again they were polite.

“Coronation Day, June 2nd…..”

“1953?” Yas finished for Mr Granger. She had heard that date a lot, recently. It stuck in her mind.

“Of course…..” he said, wondering why the coloured girl, nice as she seemed to be, didn’t know what year it was.

“That’s a coincidence,” Dan remarked, but a glance from The Doctor prevented him from saying that this was ANOTHER coronation holiday, seventy years later. It would be a bit of a culture shock for the Grangers, to say the least.

“Yeah,” Ryan added without looking at The Doctor for unspoken guidance. “Yesterday we coronated King Charles III.”

“I still don’t think coronated is a word,” Yasmin commented to fill the gap while the Granger family processed this news all at once instead of gradually as The Doctor had intended.

“What has happened to us?” Mr Granger asked, assuming the right to speak for his whole family while his wife clung to his hand tightly, a look of incomprehension on her face. The children were less upset. They had eaten fish, chips and peas, drunk orange pop and were now enjoying choc chip ice cream. The future for them tasted good. The confusion was for the grown-ups.

“You have been inexplicably caught up in a time fracture of some sort,” The Doctor told him. “You have been brought, I presume accidentally, to the year 2023. Before you get too worried, yes, you can get back to your time. We are going to look after you until that can be sorted out.”

The two adults were immediately relieved. The Doctor’s friends all smiled and simultaneously thought, as they always did, how amazing it was that The Doctor, with a few quiet words could make people trust her. It might be alien ‘magic’ or ‘superpower’ or just a sort of Time Lord hypnotism, or the sort of reassuring tone that a good nurse might have for a nervous patient.

The point is, it always worked.

“Usually, it is a good idea NOT to tell a displaced person too much about the future. It is a bit upsetting. But you must already have realised about the coronation from the bunting around the café. Blackpool isn’t usually this obviously pro-royal.”

“So…. Our Queen, God bless her, is dead,” Mrs Granger asked. “After….” You could see her do the maths in her had. “Goodness, seventy years.”

“Yes,” Graham answered. “She was a great lady all her life. She served the people of this country long after most folk had retired. She died peacefully with her eldest son and heir at her side. He was upset, of course, but took the burden of kingship upon himself from the first moment. The country, barring a few protesters, are proud of him and glad of this weekend of celebration.”

“That’s…. More or less…. how we felt when we watched the coronation at our Dennis’s house… on his new television,” Mrs Granger managed to say. “We were sad about the King, he got us all through the war. But Her Majesty looked so wonderful and royal and downright lovely. And…. Goodness… little Prince Charles was just a toddler up on the balcony at the palace. And now he’s…. It’s a lot to take in. I feel… like crying and laughing at the same time.”

“We’ve all felt a bit that way for a while,” Graham told her. “So go ahead and do either.”

Mrs Granger smiled at him and did neither, holding it in with the sort of reserve about public expressions of emotion British people were generally famous for.

“How did this happen to us,” Mr Granger asked. “How can you get us back? And… when?”

“I have time transport,” The Doctor said. “I can get you back to Central Station with your train still at the platform and no noisy, garish amusement arcade to bother you. But first, I need to find out how you got here and who or what caused it. Including the unlikely possibility that my own transport is at fault.” She waved Yas’s mobile phone vaguely, knowing full well that it was an alien object to the bewildered family from the ‘50s. “I’ve contacted some people who will help. I’ve told them to come in quietly and inconspicuously, which, unfortunately, may not be words in their dictionary. But I promise you it will be all right. Don’t let them scare you.”

Even The Doctor’s fellow travellers were a little unnerved by that last comment, but just as the children had finished their ice creams a man in a smart army captain’s uniform stepped into the café and immediately identified The Doctor. He saluted crisply and addressed her with all the deference of a man in the deeply stratified order of military rank in front of a superior.

“Good to have you with us on this, Ma’am,” he saId, ignoring The Doctor’s wince at both the salute and the ‘Ma’am’. “I’m Captain Francis Elliot, UNIT North-West division. Doctor Stewart sends her own compliments from central command, of course. She has authorised full access for you and your companions.”

The Doctor hesitated and glanced at the Grangers. She had a feeling they weren’t classed as her companions and certainly wouldn’t have ‘full access’.

She was right. Two discreet black SUVs had been sent: the Grangers were ensconced in one while Team TARDIS were in the other with Captain Elliot and a driver.

They went a very short way along the streets that ran parallel to Blackpool Promenade – much less exciting and in some parts a bit dingy.

Dingy was a fair description of the building above the discreet underground car park they were driven into. The Doctor and team were directed into a lift but she was well aware that the Grangers hadn’t joined them, even though the lift – according to the usual safety notice - had an eighteen persons capacity.

It was Dan who noted that they were going down rather than up.

“This is the old Bonny Street police station,” he said. “I’ve seen it when I was a kid on seaside trips. Makes me feel old to think its moved on. But I didn’t know it had so much downstairs to it that I’m still talking and the doors haven’t opened.”

“UNIT love their secret underground headquarters,” The Doctor said unperturbed by the idea, but still thinking about the Grangers and what the military arm of all things odd on planet Earth might be doing with them. Mind probes weren’t really a thing since she, herself, as scientific advisor, had given up those sorts of experiments in the 1970s, but what else might they be up to?

When the doors finally opened they were taken to a very nice waiting room with plush chairs and pictures of Blackpool, now and in past times, adorning the windowless walls. Graham pointed out the view of the old Central Station that stood, until the 1960s, exactly on the footprint of the Coral Island amusement arcade. It was a complete coincidence. It went with pictures of the old outdoor lido, now replaced by the Sandcastle with its wave machines and ambient temperatures for swimming all year round and one of Bloomfield Road football stadium long before a lot of money was spent on expansion.

Captain Elliot came in along with a lieutenant introduced as Doyle and sat opposite The Doctor. Elliot shuffled a file before speaking.

“This has been very sudden, and a bit inconvenient. A lot of our personnel are on leave for the bank holiday, much like the rest of the country. Your expertise is something of a lifeline.”

“You weren’t anticipating alien invasions for the coronation weekend?” Graham asked with a faint smile. “That IS what UNIT do, I believe.”

“It is unlikely that this is alien intervention,” The Doctor said. “Shifting people in time…. Not their thing.”

“You have any theories, then?” Lieutenant Doyle asked eagerly. The Doctor had a strong suspicion the subaltern was there to look at ‘the legend' of The Doctor. It was one of the petty annoyances of working with UNIT along with the saluting and – in this incarnation – the ma’aming.

“I do,” she replied. “But I want to see the Granger family first. Where have you put them?”

The answer disturbed The Doctor. She jumped up from her comfy chair and demanded to see the ‘prisoners’ at once.

“They’re not prisoners, ma’am,” Captain Elliot insisted. “We’re looking after them. But we thought it would be better if they remained here… where they would be safe.”

“But not like THAT,” The Doctor insisted. “Come on… before it’s too late.”

The Doctor stormed out into the corridor, followed by the UNIT officers calling out which way to go, before her companions came along behind, almost forgotten in the heat of The Doctor’s ire.

They came presently to a much larger but no less luxuriously appointed room with several sofas and easy chairs, a long table spread with food and drink, even a television corner where the Granger children sat amongst a group of youngsters, watching Thunderbirds streamed on Netflix.

“The Grangers don't even know about colour television,” Graham commented. “And Thunderbirds didn’t come on the telly at all till the late. Sixties. That’s a... what do you call it, Boss… an anachronism.”

“Something like that,” The Doctor answered. “But that’s the least of the trouble.”

She looked around the room. Not including the children she reckoned there were at least forty people, all completely bewildered by their surroundings, some coping better than others. Some of them were talking to each other. Some were sitting in small groups, staring around at the room, at the military personnel who had taken charge of them, at The Doctor and her civilian companions with their own mark of authority and at their fellow detainees, not knowing what to make of it all.

Just by their clothes it was obvious that they came from at least four different time periods. Early Edwardian – or at least late Victorian, to a style from maybe a decade into the twentieth century, distinguishable from the first by the lack of bustles and a new way of wearing hats and then 1930s and 1950s Sunday best suits and dresses.

Most of them looked working class or upper working class aspiring to lower middle. Again, there were subtle differences – hats, gloves, shoes, all betrayed actual or aspirational class amongst the men as well as the women and children.

Those sticking quietly to their own family units and their own ‘era’ weren’t the problem. It was the ones who WERE mingling that worried The Doctor.

Dan identified one of the problems.

“The Granger lad,” he reported. “He’s got bored with Thunderbirds and he’s over there talking to a young man called Adam Daniels who came to the seaside for the bank holiday on a cheap day return. He said he was still a bit fed up because his footie team – Preston North End – lost the FA cup final the week before – that was 1937. They got slaughtered 3-1 by Sunderland.”

“Yes, I know,” The Doctor admitted. “I never wanted to let on, you being a Liverpool supporter, but I’ve followed Preston from since they were founded. They come back and win in 1938. They beat Huddersfield Town 1-0.”

“Yeah… and the Granger lad just told Daniels all about it. You know what that means, don’t you, Doctor… like in Back to the Future when young Griff gets hold of the book and puts bets on….”

“One punt at the FA cup may not cause quite so much damage,” The Doctor conceded. “But that’s exactly the sort of thing that’s worrying me. They all should have been kept apart.”

But that was the other thing that had worried The Doctor – that the Gangers, the nice, harmless family plucked out of time through no fault of theirs, would be shut in a room by themselves, fretting about what was going to happen to them. This mis-matched group of refugees in time was all wrong in one way, but in another, there was almost certainly less fear and hysteria because they were together.

“Bank holiday – May 1937 – just after North End’s trouncing – that would be a huge coincidence,” The Doctor said.

“Why?” Dan asked.

“Because that bank holiday was for the Coronation of George VI – father of the late Queen, grandad to your new King. The one with a stutter worthy of its own Oscar winning film.”

“That IS a coincidence,” Dan agreed. “Or not. What are the chances of some kind of time wobble getting people on Coronation Holidays just randomly?”

“Very unlikely,” The Doctor said and looked around as Graham and Yas joined them. Ryan was with the children, saying unhelpfully anachronistic things about Thunderbirds such as ‘Oh, yeah, that’s a classic. Seen that on CITV when I was a kid”, but the other two had mingled and asked carefully thought-out questions.

“That woman in the long purple dress and hat you could use to float a migrant family in from Calais,” Yas pointed out. “She’s Angelina Barclay of the Oldham Barclays, who is a secret suffragette planning to meet up with two lady friends in Blackpool to plan a campaign of civil disobedience. The date she set out was 22 June 1911, a bank holiday on account of….”

“The Coronation of George V,” The Doctor finished. “The one played by Michael Gambon in the film. Very grumpy. Not an ideal parent but a decent king – saw Britain through the Great War.”

All quite irrelevant, of course, but it filled a few seconds while Dan explained to the others about Mr Daniels and Preston North End and they all agreed it was too much of a coincidence to BE a coincidence.

“And that couple over there….” Yasmin added, pointing to a man and woman of modest means from the very, VERY late Victorian era. They caught the train from Bolton on 9 August 1902. Guess the reason for the bank holiday.”

“The Coronation of Edward VII, eldest son of Queen Victoria – a wayward youth, broke his father’s heart with his doings, only got to be king for nine years after his mum hogging the throne since 1837.”

Yes…” Yas interrupted before The Doctor shared any anecdotes about tea with Victoria and Albert. “But listen…. Mr and Mrs Parry - they were really put out by the noise of Coral Island, but escaped across the road, past the trams, to the promenade. They walked up towards the Metropole hotel, where they were meant to be staying for three days. On the way they saw Blackpool’s war memorial. It has the years 1914-18 and 1939–45 – the sort of thing we take for granted. But Mrs Parry’s two brothers were killed in the Boer War a year and a bit before the coronation and seeing proof of two huge wars to come – one at least in their lifetime, overwhelmed them. Somebody alerted the police to their distress. They brought them to this UNIT lot. But Mrs Parry is still upset about the flower of Britain’s youth being slaughtered twice over and all that.”

“I’m not surprised,” The Doctor said with a sigh. “I don’t think she’d like to hear about Iraq, Afghanistan, or Russia’s current destruction of Ukraine. Humans have always struggled with the concept of peace. But the problem is all of this. People knowing in advance what football team to bet on, what shares will still be good after the Wall Street Crash, when to move out of Pompeii…. For better or worse people shouldn’t know these things. It’s too late for this lot. At best we might still be able to limit the damage.”

“What do you need, boss?” Graham asked.

“I need full details from everyone – names, addresses, dates of birth, what date they set out. See if they DID all go out on coronation day holidays, and which one. We need data. I’m going to find the Captain and get more info from him. Somebody tell Ryan not to let the kids see the 1966 Thunderbirds are Go film. The Cliff Richard puppet cameo is just too embarrassing.”

With that, she swept out of the room. Graham looked at Dan and Yas and then went after her.

Somebody might have to protect those military types from her wrath.

He found The Doctor in what he immediately labelled as an operations room. Computer monitors lit it in flickering colours and a buzz from the CPUs was audible beneath the voices of operators communicating with each other.

“Look….” Captain Elliot was explaining to The Doctor. “Knowing the future doesn’t usually come into it. You’re the only person we know who can go BACK in time. For them… any other time… it’s a one way trip.”

“What do you mean by ‘usually’ and ‘any other time’?” Graham asked, pre-empting The Doctor who was on the point of asking the same question.

“This has happened before?” she asked instead. “People thrust out of their time.”

“We get one, maybe two a year, USUALLY,” Elliot answered. “Always the same spot… around Coral Island…. The site of the old railway station. We have rooms set up with videos and leaflets to help them live in the twenty-first century. We show them how to use a chip-and-pin card, how to shop on Amazon, bring them up to speed on history, and… social changes like women’s rights, equal marriage, cultural diversity – and help set them up with new homes, jobs… we’ve got it covered fairly well by now. But….”

“One or two a year…..”

“So far today, its forty-eight, including three families with children. We’re very nearly overwhelmed. We’ve still got spotters on the prom and we’re watching for the fluctuations that signal another incident.”

He indicated a bank of monitors with two different schematic maps of the central promenade and three cctv views of the area. Lieutenant Doyle was one of those watching the screens.

“We missed the last lot because you whisked them off to lunch so swiftly,” Elliot continued.

“The Granger family,” Graham corrected him. “Not ‘the last lot’. These are people in distress through no fault of their own. Don’t lose sight of that.”

Elliot took his point and apologised.

“It’s not my fault, either,” The Doctor said. “I thought it might have been. I’ve been to all of those days they came from. You should see my collection of commemorative mugs. I thought the TARDIS might have somehow dragged them here. But it looks more like a temporal instability centred on that spot. They happen from time to time. There are at least three in Cardiff. I let that Torchwood lot sort those out. Here… first the station… years and years of excited people getting on and off trains. Then a big amusement arcade slapped on the spot. Again, excitement – the bingo, the slot machines, the push-a-penny. Is it still a penny, or has inflation hit the arcades?”

Nobody bothered to answer that question. The Doctor’s theory as to why that spot was affected did interest everyone, though.

“You never asked WHY it happened?” she asked them. “Places where there are high emotions all the time are always temporal soft spots. Hospitals, especially old ones, the London Stock Exchange. But as you noted, only a few people fall through most of the time. This IS unusual. Besides….”

The Doctor stopped talking. There was high emotion around the monitoring bank. Lieutenant Doyle pointed at a figure on one of the ccTV feeds. A girl, maybe sixteen or seventeen, wearing a pinafore dress straight out of a remake of The Railway Children had stepped out of Coral Island and was looking around in confusion. As she did so, two people approached her. Neither was wearing any sort of uniform, but the Edwardian girl was, nevertheless, panic-stricken and resisted them all the way to the car that swung up to the kerb.

“That was ham-fisted,” Graham said with an accusing look at the Captain. “Poor kid was terrified.”

The Doctor probably agreed with his assessment, but she was leaning over the technicians and pressing buttons that rolled back the screens.

“There,” she said. “That’s the moment. That flash. It appears on all the monitors.”

“Yes… we know,” Elliot confirmed. “But….”

“But it’s NOT natural,” The Doctor continued. “At least, the soft spot IS. But somebody is making it happen. There’s a pulse of energy. I’m betting something like Huon particles. No, you’ve never heard of them. On this planet, you might find the likes of Brian Cox and the CERN lot have a vague idea about them. But they’re not operating in Blackpool.”

“So, it IS alien interference.”

“No,” The Doctor insisted. “It’s all too daft for aliens. What you’re looking for is a human with a brain like Brian Cox but the common sense of a Cox’s apple. I’ll lay odds that you’re looking for a ‘nerd’ doing temporal experiments from his - or her, must remember about equal opportunities in sciences - own kitchen…. And they live not more than a quarter mile from Coral Island.”

“There isn’t much in the way of private accommodation around there,” Elliot said. “We should be able to trace the source…. Now we know what we’re looking for.”

“Jump to it,” The Doctor told him. “Meanwhile, send some of your people to the Lightworks depot in Squires Gate. The place where they keep the illuminations in winter. I left the TARDIS there for the weekend. I’m going to need it to take all these people back home, later.”

The Doctor and Graham returned to the ‘reception room’ in time to greet the latest victim of the time anomaly. The combined efforts of Team TARDIS convinced her that she was not under arrest, and certainly not for travelling from Manchester without a train ticket.

“I ran away,” Alice Dewhurst confessed to Dan and Yas as she hungrily devoured a plate of food Graham had brought from the buffet. “The mistress of the house was too busy preparing a big dinner party for her friends… for the Coronation.”

“The coronation of Edward VII?” Yas confirmed and made a note on the list she and Dan had compiled.

“I slipped away without Cook or Mr Branley… the butler…seeing me. I got on a train and hid when the man was asking for tickets. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I thought maybe I could work in a hotel in Blackpool… for a few months, anyway. Once it was showing….”

Dan and Yas exchanged glances. They didn’t bother to ask what would be showing.

“It was the young master. He told me he’d look after me… but I knew he wouldn’t. And the mistress… she’s nasty enough at the best of times.”

“You’re all right, now, Alice,” Yas assured her. “Nobody cares about the ticket and you won’t be sent back to them if we have any say in the matter.”

“And we certainly WILL have a say,” Dan promised. “Meanwhile, this place must have a medic. We’ll get you and the baby checked out.”

The Doctor was right. The human culprit in the whole drama turned out to be one Martin Howard who lived in a rented flat in the street just behind where The Doctor had treated the Grangers to fish and chips. After only five minutes in a room far less nicely furnished than those Team TARDIS had seen so far, he confessed.

“I’ve been experimenting ever since I discovered the anomaly. I found out how to take myself back in time. At first only a few hours. Then a day. Then… it was the coronation that gave me the idea… to visit all the coronations of the past century, you see. And I did it. All the way back to 1902. It was amazing. It was….”

“It was bloody stupid,” The Doctor told him. “First of all because each of your trips dragged innocent people from the past back with you. And second, because you did it with less protection than HG Wells’ time traveller on his exercise bike. Your body is probably irradiated with Huon particles. You are very likely one trip short of a terminal brain aneurysm. You need to book yourself an MRi scan as soon as possible.”

That terrified him into a firm promise never to try anything so stupid again. The Doctor left it to UNIT to decide whether to inflict any further punishment.

Meanwhile, she put the situation to the people whose day trips to Blackpool had been so disrupted.

“I can get you back to your own time two minutes after you left – ten, maybe. To be sure the anomalies have dissipated. That is… if you want to go. Anybody who wants to stay here… the UNIT people really do know how to help you settle in.”

The Granger family wanted to go home. So did Mr Daniels of Preston. After careful thought most agreed that 2023 wasn’t their year.

“Well, I bally well don’t want to go back,” said Angelina Barclay of the Oldham Barclays. “Women have the vote. You’ve even had three prime ministers….”

“Well, number three wasn’t much cop,” Graham told her. “And the first one still makes some of us throw things at her statue. But you’ve got a point.”

“No way is Alice going back,” Dan insisted.

“I’ll look after Alice,” Captain Elliot said. “My wife is expecting. She can stay with us and they can go baby shopping together. Afterwards, we’ll see what’s best for her and the child. But an unmarried mother is nothing to worry about these days. She’ll be fine.”

“Not such a bone-headed military mind, after all,” The Doctor commented. “Adam Daniels, I want a word with you about the dangers of gambling before we go. And Mr and Mrs Parry… if knowing about wars to come is going to upset you, I CAN do something to close off that memory for you. Not erase it total,y, but at least make it less disturbing. As for everything else, I’ll trust all of you not to write any books about time travel or set up as fortune tellers. And when you get in my time machine, don’t go trying to memorise how it works. Just put it down to the excitement of the day.”

The repatriations were not difficult with the important information about everyone readily to hand. The Doctor and Yas managed without the men.

“Dan has taken Angelina and Alice for a Coronation landau ride on the prom,” Graham reported when they got back an hour later. “You know, the horse drawn carriages, all decked out in bunting and flags. He figured they both deserved a treat.”

“We all do,” The Doctor confirmed. “When he gets back, we’ll tear Ryan away from Thunderbirds and go for a slap up tea at Pablos on South Shore and then an evening at the Tower Circus. Tomorrow we’re having a cup of tea at Preston Bus Station and then see who wants to go off with me in the TARDIS again and who would rather go home on Graham’s bus.”

She was fairly confident somebody would choose the former, but she wasn’t sure who.

That was for the future.