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|Graham Dilley Saves the World|
|Main setting:||Edinburgh, 31 December 1999, Leeds, 1981|
|Writer:||Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett|
|Part of:||Short Trips: Past Tense|
|Short Trips short stories|
|Come Friendly Bombs...||Bide-a-Wee|
Graham Dilley Saves the World was the eighth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Past Tense. It was written by Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett. It featured the Fifth Doctor, Peri Brown, Erimem, Tegan Jovanka and Turlough.
The Doctor, Peri and Erimem barely make it back to the TARDIS. The Doctor had promised that Edinburgh would be a great place to celebrate the millennium, but instead they were captured, thrown in a dungeon and, upon escaping, shot at by angry men. Inside the TARDIS, Peri and Erimem take the Doctor to task, but he realises that somehow history has been changed. He uses the scanner to narrow down the source of the change: during the 1981 Ashes series, Graham Dilley, who was supposed to make a catch that kept the Ashes in England, instead gets distracted and drops the ball, allowing Australia the win. When the Doctor scans the crowd for the source of the distraction, he finds that it is...Tegan Jovanka.
The Doctor explains to the girls that he and his companions were at the match. He works out that when Dilley dropped the catch, riots broke out, and times were already tense. The riots led to the assassination of Queen Elizabeth II and several other heads of state. This is the world in which the Doctor and the girls found themselves.
The TARDIS materialises in the commentary box at the match, to the surprise of no one. The commentators, Brian and Digger, are used to the Doctor popping in and out of cricket matches. The Doctor gives Peri and Erimem the task of stopping Tegan; since an earlier version of him is already at the match, he cannot leave the box. Instead he will stay and watch the match.
Peri and Erimem head towards Tegan, but suddenly Peri pulls Erimem into hiding: she has seen Turlough, and he mustn't see her. The Doctor soon joins Turlough, and the girls have to find another way to Tegan. On the way, they (literally) run into a policeman, who intends to take them to the station, but changes his mind when they give him their full names.
When they reach Tegan, Erimem puts a hand on her shoulder, but suddenly can't think of anything to say. Peri blurts out, "Nice shoes?" and the three girls begin a conversation. However, they are interrupted by an irate man in the crowd and his pregnant wife, and the five are soon in a heated argument. Their argument attracts the attention of many, including Graham Dilley, who fails to notice the ball is heading his way. Peri and Erimem despair that they failed, but Tegan yells to Dilley, "Watch the ball, you muppet." Dilley catches the ball, England win, and history is restored.
The three girls head for a pub. Later, Peri and Erimem, very drunk, arrive back at the TARDIS. The Doctor scolds them, then suddenly remembers the last time he was at this match, Tegan was hungover the next morning.
The girls search for munchies, and some time later the Doctor finds them, fast asleep, in one of the TARDIS gardens. He decides he has a little time for some cricket practice.
- Fifth Doctor
- Peri Brown
- Tegan Jovanka
- Graham Dilley
- William Jenkins-Wells
- Pregnant woman
- Geoffrey Boycott's hundredth hundred is mentioned.
- Erimem likes haggis.
- The Doctor, Peri and Erimem briefly participate in a British equivalent to Abbot and Costello's famous "Who's on First?" routine, in which comic confusion ensues over double meanings inherent in cricketing terms. Amongst those terms mentioned are: third man, first slip, second slip, silly point, gulley and backward square leg.
- Digger and Brian offer the Doctor tea.
- Turlough is eating a burger.
- Peri tells the policeman that she is from Baltimore, Maryland. Erimem tells him that she is from Thebes in Egypt.
- At the pub, Tegan drinks vodka. Erimem and Peri drink cider.
- When Tegan realises that she gave the victory to England, she says, "Rabbits!", one of her favourite expressions.
- The pregnant woman's identity is revealed in PROSE: That Time I Nearly Destroyed the World Whilst Looking for a Dress, the last story in this volume.