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Speech Day (short story)

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RealWorld
Speech Day
Main character(s): The Master
Key crew
Release details
Printed in: The Doctor Who Stories
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Doctor Who Files
Disappearing Act none
Speech Day was a story published in The Doctor Who Stories.

Summary Edit

Mr Tandry, the Headmaster of Mildfields School, excitingly announces to the staff that Harry Saxon, former pupil and now Secretary of State, and tipped-to-be the next Prime Minister, will be returning to the school for the Commemoration Speech in this, the school's centenary year. The thing is none of the other staff can remember him ever being at the school. James Curtis, the Deputy Head, Mark Higson, Head of Maths, and even the school secretary of the last 27 years Miss Newkins have no memory of a young Harold. As the displays of old photos and bound anthologies of the school magazine Mildfields Memories are displayed, the teachers all look for something to jog their memories but are unsuccessful. When Harold Saxon arrives at the school for the speech, he makes a passing comment to Mr Curtis: "I remember you, Mr Curtis", and makes a point of how he had bored him with Shakespeare and missed the point of Hamlet, posing the question, "You still think he can't kill his uncle because he's not sure of his facts? Well, you live and learn", before taking to the stage.

The Headmaster gives his address first, a boring rehash of last year's speech. As Harry Saxon takes the stage, he supposedly turns his phone "off", to avoid interruptions; at the same time, Curtis begins to hear a faint buzzing in his ear, a rhythmic beat of white noise which inclines Curtis to turn his hearing aid off and lip-read instead. Curtis must have dozed off because he is alerted by the movement of people around him cheering and clapping loudly. To the sound of wild applause, Harold Saxon waves and takes to his seat before the hall is emptied and people proceed to the buffet that had been laid on. Curtis, having turned his hearing aid back on, is amazed to find the whole room talking about Saxon's achievements at the school which included the way he demolished the College opposition in a debate and how he was cross country champion for three years in a row — unheard of then and unequalled since. Even Miss Newkins and Higgins seem to have been bought into the memories, both fondly recalling the same two achievements — word for word, even though Higson hadn't started at the school at the time; they were even able to identify Saxon in the school photos. When asked about the details of the debate, the answer Curtis gets is fuzzy and can't be recalled what Harold Saxon had actually said that demolished the opposition. When Curtis catches Saxon's eye he sees the smile drop for a moment and suddenly feels afraid. Going into his private office, Curtis makes a phone call to an old friend, Vivien Rook, voicing his concerns. She agrees to look into it a bit more for him and he hangs up to find Harold Saxon in the room with him, fingers drumming on the desk. From his pocket, he pulls a laser screwdriver, a device based on something he used as a boy scout for getting stones out of horses' hooves and for implanting memories into "silly old men who don't respond to the Archangel sonic wave".

Some time later, when Vivien Rook rings James Curtis back after doing some background research that hasn't turned up anything, Curtis is very apologetic, and puts it all down to a senior moment. He relates the debate demolition and the three times cross champion achievements of Harold Saxon. His voice sounds somehow different to Vivien, especially when he ends with the words, "Who could forget Harry Saxon?"

Characters Edit

References Edit

to be added

Notes Edit

  • This original short prose story is considered part of the Doctor Who Files series, but it was not published in any of the fourteen volumes of that book series, but rather as an exclusive in the 2009 omnibus collection, The Doctor Who Stories.
  • The Doctor does not appear in the story. This makes Speech Day one of the few Doctor Who-branded BBC-licensed stories not to feature the character.

Continuity Edit

ProseStub

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