TARDIS Index File

A Big Hand for the Doctor (short story)

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A Big Hand for the Doctor
A Big Hand for the Doctor
Doctor: First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan
Main enemy: Soul Pirates
Main setting: London, 1900
Key crew
Publisher: Puffin Books
Writer: Eoin Colfer
Read by: Nicholas Briggs
Release details
Release number: 1
Release date: 23 January 2013
Format: E-book, 41 pages
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Eoin Colfer Doctor Who eBook - A Big Hand for the Doctor03:09

Eoin Colfer Doctor Who eBook - A Big Hand for the Doctor

A Big Hand for the Doctor was the first Puffin eshort released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. It was later published in a collected volume 11 Doctors, 11 Stories.

Publisher's summary Edit

London, 1900. The First Doctor is missing both his hand and his granddaughter, Susan. Faced with the search for Susan, a strange beam of soporific light, and a host of marauding Soul Pirates intent on harvesting human limbs, the Doctor is promised a dangerous journey into a land he may never forget...

Plot Edit

The Doctor is visiting Aldridge, a Xing surgeon, at his practice in London, England in the year 1900. He negotiates getting a hand replacement, after having lost his previous one in a fight with Soul Pirates twenty years earlier. Aldridge agrees to do the Doctor a favour, but only if he becomes the surgeon's assistant for a number of days, to which the Time Lord agrees.

As the Doctor exits the practice, he walks from the Strand and takes a cab to escape the collective fumes. Before he can give his granddaughter Susan a call, he receives a number of messages from her through his wrist communicator. Although he is at first confused by the multiple messages, he recalls Aldridge's jamming dishes. Listening to Susan's pleas for help, the Doctor redirects the cab to Kensington Gardens. At the destination, the Doctor enters the almost unoccupied house of three children Susan befriended. Upstairs, through a window, Susan, the children and their guardian are mesmerised. The Doctor almost takes his granddaughter's hand, but is careful not to enter the enemy Soul Pirates' deadly anti-gravity beam. The Doctor climbed around the beam on to the roof where a Soul Pirate, Igby, is standing watch. Igby promptly knocks the Time Lord's cane to the side, but he catches the Pirate's sword with his prosthetic hand. The hand tears, and Igby falls backwards. As the Soul Pirates' ship's beam retreats with its occupants, the Doctor jumps in to it to follow.

As the beam takes the six members up, the Doctor hallucinates of his mother on Gallifrey. He snaps out of it, and they enter the ship, which is well above the clouds. The Soul Pirates shoot them with water, to wake them up. Gomb, one of the Pirates, discovers that among them is a Time Lord. Susan wakes up and asks her grandfather what to do, but he requests she rest until needed. Gomb picks up two of the children, laying them out. As he returns for Susan, the Doctor pulls the release switch on the hose in the Pirate's belt, and gives them time to group as Gomb is blasted away. He directs Susan to get the others to the centre of the space gates. The six of them all connect in a "circuit". Following yelling from a close corridor, the Captain enters the room, welcoming the Doctor back to their ship. The Doctor is further annoyed when he spots his shrunken hand around his neck. The doors of the space gates open, and the group of six fall down to Earth. The Captain of the Soul Pirates is at first confused, and checks the computers. The anti-gravity beam powers up and the space gates close, causing the ship to explode. Pulses from the explosion reach the band and slows their fall to Earth.

Some time later, Aldridge is discussing the ordeal with Susan, and is mildly surprised. Susan plays with several of Aldridge's things, to which he tells her off, and they exchange conversation while waiting for the Doctor, who is in the back room, post-operation. They hear noises, and go to see him. Aldridge admits to the Time Lord that he almost regenerated twice during his hand operation, but it seemed to be successful. Susan comments on how her grandfather's new hand looks slightly big for him.

In an epilogue, it is mentioned that a man, who was sitting in Kensington Gardens, saw a large part of the fight between the Doctor and the Soul Pirates. Being an author, and having little success in his profession, he was stunned by the occurrence, forever unsure as to if the event actually happened. The man began writing with haste his piece of literature that would attain him "literary immortality" in the future to come.

Characters Edit

References Edit

The Doctor Edit

  • The Doctor is given a bio-hybrid hand with only two fingers. After promising to work with Aldridge for four days, Aldridge gives him a temporary replacement, which is in fact a rather large girl's hand.
  • The Doctor complains about humans and buttons, and makes remarks about Velcro.
  • The Doctor recalls "the Inscrutable Doppelgänger fiasco", and the two litres of TL-positive blood he'd had to part with.
  • The Doctor's costume has been chosen by a computer so that he may blend in "with the locals".
  • There has been a great deal of death in the Doctor's life.
  • The Doctor has parked the TARDIS in Hyde Park.
  • The Doctor references the school Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series, noting that no one would appreciate his reference for almost a century.
  • The Doctor's real hand was cut off by Soul Pirates. The Soul Pirates capture people in the night and make off with their body parts, not wasting a piece; thus derives their name, "the Soul Pirates".
  • There are numerous things that do not make the Doctor happy, including "chit-chat, answering questions in times of emergency, answering questions in times of complete calm, the paintings of Gallifreyan Subjunctivists..., the Earth spread known as Marmite, the human TV show Blake's 7, which was patently ludicrous, and the clammy, pungent squeeze of a Victorian London crowd." Susan Foreman is listed as one of the few things that could make him happy.
  • The Doctor has been hunting the Soul Pirates across time and space. The group that had cut off his hand were the last left on Earth, and had not seen him for 20 years. The Soul Pirates had a strong shielding case, making them undetectable. One piece of their shield had fallen off for a few minutes, giving the TARDIS time to find them.
  • The Doctor has a communicator watch.
  • The Doctor had been eaten twice before, on the same holiday, by blarph whales in Lake Rhonda who found it hilarious to swallow bathers and then pop them back out through their blow-holes.
  • The Doctor has a flashback to Gallifrey where his mother asked him to tell her about his adventures.
  • The Doctor screams "D'Arvit!" as a curse. - A reference to the Artemis Fowl series by the same author, Eoin Colfer.
  • The Doctor tricks the computer into using its own anti-gravity ray on the ship itself, thus "ending" the ship.
  • The Doctor receives a new hand, indistinguishable from being fake, except for a small pink line around the Doctor's wrist and, as Susan notes, it being "a little too big". As this story takes place prior to TV: An Unearthly Child, this retroactively means the First Doctor sports this replacement hand in all televised stories and most other spin-off media (except where he is depicted prior to An Unearthly Child). The only televised story, therefore, to actually show the First Doctor with his natural hand is TV: The Name of the Doctor.

Susan Edit

  • Susan Foreman follows after two children into the beam to try and save them.
  • Susan believes that she is going to see "mummy", and invites the Doctor to go with her.
  • Susan, in Aldrige's office, flicks her fingers against what looks like a tiny TARDIS. Aldrige claims that an octo-shark is inside it.

Aldridge Edit

  • Aldridge closed his practice on Gallifrey because he found the Time Lords pompous, particularly in calling themselves "Time Lords".
  • Aldridge has a group of "amphibi-men" waiting for tail extensions in "the back".
  • Aldridge can shoots poisonous bristles out of his chin to knock out strangers. The police had taken to calling these adventures 'Stork Babies'.
  • Aldridge notes a time when the Doctor had laughed, when he was attacked by homicidal worms. The Doctor notes that the worms released nitrous oxide, and so he had laughed against his will.
  • Aldridge is a Xing surgeon.
  • Aldridge jokingly suggests that the Doctor regenerate, and that maybe the next one will have a better sense of humour, as well as a sense of fashion.
  • Aldridge offers to give the Doctor a less 'pronounced' nose.
  • Aldridge's middle name is "clumsy".
  • People believe that the children went missing because of "the curse".
  • The Soul Pirates have a tractor beam that uses a soporific agent to make whoever is in it to hallucinate.
  • Aldridge uses a sonic scalpel.

Igby Edit

  • Igby talks in the third person and calls the Doctor "white hair".
  • Igby has orange skin, reminding the Doctor "of the pungent, toxic goo twenty-first-century ladies chose to slather on their skin in the name of tan."
  • The Soul Pirates' motto is "We Never Land".
  • Igby's signature attack is to split his enemies heads with a blade. He marks on his arm the amount of times that he has done this attack. When he does it to the Doctor, the Doctor catches the blade in his hands.

Species Edit

  • A Time Lord on Gallifrey called The Interior Designer once suggested that the "Time Lords" call themselves "Temperors" (A mix of "Emperors" and "Temporal") and was thus nicknamed the "Bad Temporer" for the rest of his quantum days.
  • Time Lord brains are worth a lot of money.

Miscellaneous Edit

  • The Captain kept the Doctor's hand around his neck as a souvenir.
  • The epilogue reveals that the events of the book, from the children being trapped in the anti-gravity beam to the Doctor fighting off the captain, was being watched by J. M. Barrie, who would later write Peter Pan.

Notes Edit

  • The writer of this short story Eoin Colfer, peppers the story with references to the novel Peter Pan written by J. M. Barrie who appears to have been inspired whilst watching events at the end of the tale. References include the Soul-Pirates motto "We Never Land", children flying through the sky in a blaze of stars in a euphoric state, second star to the right, pirates wielding swords and hands that aren't hands. Kensington Gardens was also the stories location for the second appearance of Peter Pan that appeared in 1904 following an earlier mention in 1902 only two years after the Doctor and Susan's encounter with the Soul-Pirates.
  • An audiobook of the story was read by Nicholas Briggs.

Continuity Edit

External links Edit

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