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A series of Gladstone bags were used by the First and later the Seventh and Eighth Doctors on several occasions. The bag included many objects which the Doctor used to escape specific situations.

Technology and functions Edit

Doctor Who 1996 Bag inside

The inside of the Seventh Doctor's Gladstone bag. (TV: Doctor Who)

The Doctor's Gladstone bag was a notable source for many objects for which the Doctor had use. (COMIC: Shark Bait, et al.) By one account, the Gladstone bag, much like the TARDIS, was bigger-on-the-inside, explaining how so many convenient items could be packed inside. However, this was revealed to be a dream being had by the Eighth Doctor, and although he also had one of the bags in his real TARDIS, it is hard to gauge how much of said account applied to the real Gladstone bag. (COMIC: The Land of Happy Endings) The Seventh Doctor's Gladstone bag seemed to have regular dimensions on the inside. (TV: Doctor Who) The Gladstone bag didn't always carry everything that the Doctor needed, as he once cursed himself for not packing it with water. (COMIC: Plague of the Black Scorpi)

History Edit

The earliest account of the First Doctor using one of these bags was on a sand planet, where the TARDIS sunk into an underground cave. In order to pass a watery area in the cave, the Doctor pulled several pairs of flippers in order to allow them to swim across. When his companion and grandchild John was attacked by a giant crab, the Doctor stopped it with an electroliser. The bag was left in the water, and the Doctor left the planet without retrieving it. (COMIC: Shark Bait)

Plague of the Black Scorpi Gladstone Bag

The Doctor checks his Gladstone bag. (COMIC: Plague of the Black Scorpi)

The Doctor brought another bag to Christmas-land, where he met Santa Claus. In order to help Santa Claus make toy TARDISes, he emerged a magic box which could shrink or enlarge objects. The Doctor again left the planet without the bag. (COMIC: A Christmas Story)

The Doctor then visited a desert planet with his grandchildren. He later cursed himself for not bringing water with them in the bag. Upon discovering a grouping of Coconut trees, the Doctor dropped the bag. He left the planet without retrieving it. (COMIC: Plague of the Black Scorpi)

The Seventh Doctor lost a Gladstone bag after fleeing from a swarm of prototype robots. (PROSE: Companion Piece)

Doctor Who TV Movie Bag

The Eighth Doctor pulls up his Gladstone bag. (TV: Doctor Who)

At the end of his life, the Seventh Doctor was using a Gladstone bag as a toolbox. He pulled the Sonic screwdriver from the bag, using it to seal the Master's remains. Later, the Eighth Doctor used the bag while trying to jump-start the TARDIS. (TV: Doctor Who)

The Eighth Doctor used the Gladstone bag to carry the tools he needed to arm the nuclear bomb inside Fatboy. (PROSE: Eater of Wasps)

The bag contained medical equipment including a stethoscope and healing ointment. (PROSE: Timeless)

It later contained Gobstoppers, Fizz Bombs, Jelly Babies, an Eagle comic from the 1950s, and a psionic beam locator. (PROSE: The Deadstone Memorial)

When dreaming of adventures with John and Gillian, the Eighth Doctor carried the bag. When he woke up, he found it under the console in the TARDIS. (COMIC: The Land of Happy Endings)

Behind the scenes Edit

Having first appeared in the TV Comic story Shark Bait, the Gladstone bag was invented by the writers of the comic as a "'catch all' saviour of all script dead ends". [1] In the days before such devices as the sonic screwdriver, the Gladstone bag allowed for quick resolutions to things in the way of the main characters, allowing for more to happen within the narrative.

While featuring in only three comic stories, the bag has since gone on to become a minor staple of the Doctor's accessories in other media, being used often in the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures. As noted above, a Gladstone bag was also used as the base for the Seventh Doctor's toolbox, although it's unclear if the connection was purposeful on the part of the production team.

It made a notable return to comics during the Doctor Who Magazine celebration of TV Comics in the story The Land of Happy Endings, where it was used by the Eighth Doctor. The comic revealed many secrets about the bag, such as that it was bigger on the inside, but the ultimate twist of the story was that most of the narrative shown (and possibly any story to feature John and Gillian) was a dream inside the Doctor's mind. However, the Gladstone bag apparently also existed within the "real" TARDIS, again confusing how much of the story had been true.

Footnotes Edit

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