This is the wrap-up part of my imagined new direction for Doctor Who, a response to Andrew Hickey’s tag game of reworking established characters. It has been held over till now in classic cliffhanger style. To take it from the top, click here.
Finally the Doctor is ‘rescued’ by UNIT, who it seems have been looking for him all along, and separated from Isobel. He’s taken to their head, at which point his sonic screwdriver starts beeping. The Doctor firmly states this identifies him as “trouble.” But he takes the screwdriver, correctly identifies it, and explains you can reset its dampener field and range. He sets it at short range, holds it near himself and it beeps again. He then holds it near the Doctor – again it beeps.
He explains that they are both Time Lords and he is in fact the Doctor’s brother. He won’t tell the Doctor his name, he’s sure in time his memory will return and he will then remember it. As superior beings, their task is to intervene, improve and correct history. Have not the Doctor’s own adventures showed him how poorly the humans handle their destiny? But to offer this guiding hand they need their Tardis. He has managed to find it, but only the Doctor has the key.
They step into the Tardis. The Doctor comments it’s bigger on the inside. The head asks him to go out to get the sonic screwdriver, which he claims to be a necessary component, and then locks him out. He explains himself to the Doctor over the monitor, but has the speaker turned down so he can only see the Doctor mouthing back at him.
He reveals himself to be the Doctor’s old adversary - The Monk. He scorns the Doctor for believing they might be brothers, and contemptuously explains they were enemies. Abandoned on Earth from 1066 to the present day, he has spent all this time working himself into positions of power and trying to track down another Tardis. But in all this intervening time he has become embittered against the Earth, no longer the gamer of history, and he now wants to use the Tardis’ power to press humankind into servitude – he’s no longer meddling, but megalomaniac. The feeling of his boot upon the Earth’s neck is the only thing which can satisfy him now. He will return with the Tardis made an arsenal of every deadly space weapon he can get his hands on. He only regrets that he could not have fought again with the Doctor as he was then – a worthy adversary, not this simpleton, barely more than one of the humans he once took as pets.
The Doctor finally just waves at him, like a child saying bye-bye. He laughs disdainfully at this, cries “now it’s me who’s in the driving seat” and triumphantly presses the big red button...
...but this sequence then just repeats over and over again.
Cut to oustide the Tardis. The Doctor and Isboel are now both there, the Monk’s phrase repeating over the speaker. The Doctor raises the sonic screwdriver to switch it off. The Doctor had grown to suspect him, particularly the way he kept the Doctor away from Isobel in order to tempt him the easier. So the Doctor had already secretly entered the Tardis, regained his memories and constructed a time loop to trap him in, set to trigger when he pressed dematerialise. If a thousand years wasn’t long enough for him to learn the error of his ways, time was no benefit to him and he may as well live the same few seconds over and over. He’ll be happy that way, forever at the very moment of his triumph. Let him have what he wanted.
The Doctor explains to Isobel that the whole affair had the opposite effect upon him to the Monk. Before he would flash past places like a tourist, hurtling from one grand event to the next, always looking up, never around. This time he has lived among humans. He’s been to Gallifrey and Metebilis 3, but his favourite place of all was a service station just out of Auchterlounie.If you want to find the extra-ordinary then the place you need to look is in the ordinary.
Isobel asks if he can now fly the Tardis, and he replies suitably evasively – it will probably all come back to him. He assumes she’ll be entering the Tardis with him, but she refuses - insisting that he’s the Doctor again, and no longer needs a Nurse. Besides, she has a ticket to Thailand, for which she isn’t entitled to a refund. Laughing, he tries to tell her the Tardis could take them there without any queueing, not even aything to carbon offset. But she explains she had been putting back the date of her flight, always by a few months at a time, but for the past few years. There was always some reason why she couldn’t go just yet. Now she will go - she needed all this just to walk through the same passport control that thousands do every day. The Doctor becomes more desperate to persuade her, boasting that the Tardis is bigger on the inside, a plane isn’t bigger on the inside. She replies “aren’t we all?”. As she leaves she comments it’s a shame she already got the ticket, as she’s thinking of changing her name. After she’s gone, he silently enters the Tardis and it dematerialises.
Postscript:After reading Andrew’s take I sent him a mail pointing out that the amnesiac old man was part of an early draft for Doctor Who, that he was taking the show so far back to its roots he’d reached a point before it even sprouted. Though Andrew replied this was at most unconscious, he seems such a fan of the early show it must surely be an influence. (His New Doctor is an old man, like the First, for example.) But while Andrew won’t even watch New Who, my impetus was very much to fix what-has-seemed-broken about the show recently. (Though I was also inspired by the way films such as Resident Evil used amnesia to throw you straight into events and then teasingly drip-feed backstory. You can also see some of The Thirty Nine Steps in there if you stare for long enough.) It’s probably too much of a departure to ever stand a prayer of being made, though I would also insist it contains some of the back-to-basics approach as well.