Based on the BBC television serial by John Nathan Turner and David Rodan
The producer of Dimensions in Time was John Nathan Turner
The director was Stuart McDonald
The Doctors were played by Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Jon Pertwee and Peter Davison
Escape to Danger
Through the shadows of the city stretched the shadow of a man. Tall and gaunt, he had the look of a hunted fox evading a pack of blood-thirsty hounds. Hiding in a darkened alleyway, he ran his fingers through his tangle of curly brown hair – and sighed. Where his familiar locks should have been, his hand touched a close crop. He looked into a puddle on the floor and gasped as a stranger looked back at him with wide, staring eyes.
Though the man was timeless, most days he had the outward appearance of someone in his mid-forties, but not today. The loose-fitting, vaguely Bohemian clothes were all in place, including his infamously long scarf that seemed to engulf him. But the man in the reflection looked ancient. He stroked his face and the skin of his cheeks felt rough and hard. He looked at his hands. The fingers were gnarled and twisted, like oak twigs. The skin on the back of his hands was blotched with brown spots. He was old. Even for a timeless Time Lord – he looked every day of his seven hundred and fifty years. Time spillage – something nearby was affecting him, pulling him through time.
Something… or someone…
He closed his eyes and tried to focus.
At last, he knew where he was and what he needed to do. He pulled a short and slim metallic rod from his pocket and turned it slowly at its middle. His trusty sonic screwdriver, a tool of many varied and amazing abilities – and his link to his other selves.
The man was the traveller in time and space known as the Doctor. Thanks to an amazing machine called the TARDIS, he was able to visit all of the universe, everywhere and anywhen. On the outside, it bore a resemblance to a Twentieth-Century police public call box, a tall cabinet with blue panels and a light on top. Inside, it was an impossibly large, dimensionally improbable space and time machine. But he was a long way away from the TARDIS. He would have to find another way to escape. He fumbled with the latch on a nearby gate and silently slipped into the yard at the rear of a house.
Once a member of the mysterious race known as the Time Lords, the man possessed a gift – in times of crisis, he could cheat death and completely replace every cell in his body, turning him literally into a new man. Through his life, he’d had many forms. Despite his rather chaotic and dangerous lifestyle, he dearly hoped he’d have many more and that all of them would be blessed with the one, constant companion – the sonic screwdriver! He twisted the device, finely tuning it until he found the precise setting that he needed. He cleared his throat – and found himself inside a vortex of colourful lights, a back door into the astral plane. Holding his sonic screwdriver tightly in front of him, he pushed his mind outwards, like fingers splayed on glass, reaching out to his other selves.
‘Mayday, mayday!’ he began. ‘This is an urgent message for all the Doctors. It’s vitally important that you listen to me for once. Our whole existence is being threatened by that renegade known only as the Rani!’ He paused, trying to remember what had happened.
‘She wants to put us out of action. Lock us away in a dreary backwater of London’s East End. Trapped in a time-loop in perpetuity and her evil is all around us. I can hear the heartbeats of a killer. She’s out there somewhere. We must be on our guard and we must stop her before she destroys all of our other selves.’ A sudden jolt of pain made the Doctor grimace. He could feel something pulling him back to reality.
‘Good luck, my dears,’ he sighed, as the lights of the astral plane faded and he slumped into unconsciousness.
Mark Fowler stood at the threshold of his house, staring at the old man asleep in his yard. He might not have spotted him, but for his snoring. At first, Mark thought the old man might have been a bag of washing from his Mum’s laundrette, but he was much too big. Mark went inside the house and returned from the kitchen with a long-handled brush from the kitchen. Stretching out, he prodded the old man with the end of the handle.
Mark edged closer. The old man was still breathing, so he wasn’t dead. And he didn’t smell of beer, so he probably wasn’t drunk either. Standing out of the light from the kitchen door, Mark could see that the old man was well dressed, a long brown coat, nice boots like a pirate and a big, long woolly scarf. He didn’t look like a tramp.
‘Good luck, my dears,’ muttered the man, drowsily. Somehow, Mark felt safe. His Mummy and Daddy always warned him not to talk to strangers, but he was very nearly six years old and he knew that he was in no danger.
‘Mark, are you outside?’
His Mummy was calling him. He knew that if she saw the man, she’d try to throw him out. Carefully, Mark pulled one of the bins across the yard to obscure the stranger from view. Maybe when the man woke up in the morning, he’d be able to let himself out. Until then, Mark decided to let him rest. He’d clearly come a long way and was very tired. Mark went back into the kitchen, brushed his feet on the mat and closed the door.
Just as he was about to switch the kitchen light off, he noticed that nobody had changed the date on the calendar that hung on the wall. Mark’s Mummy was probably too busy looking after his baby sister, Michelle. Mark stepped up onto a chair, stretched up to the calendar and tore the date from the calendar. He crumpled the piece of paper and was about to throw it into the bin, but then he changed his mind. He decided to keep the page, so that he would never forget the night he found a strange old man in his yard. Carefully, he smoothed out the paper and quietly read to himself: ‘The twenty second of November, Nineteen Seventy Three.’
Folding the sheet in half, he popped it into the pocket of his shorts and ran off to find his Mummy.
In the yard outside, the old man slowly faded from view as if he had never existed. If the dreaded Rani got her way, he never would!