BBC Short Trips

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The BBC Short Trips books were a series of short story anthologies published by BBC Books based on the television series Doctor Who, following a pattern established by Virgin Publishing's Decalog collections. Three volumes were published between March 1998 and March 2000, before the BBC decided to stop publishing the books. The Short Trips name was later adopted for hardback collections published by Big Finish Productions and licensed from the BBC.

The books[edit]

Short Trips[edit]

The first volume of stories published was Short Trips (BBC Books, 1998), edited by Stephen Cole. It contained the following stories:

Title Plot Featuring Author
Model Train Set A group of toy engineers inhabit the Doctor's train set that he has been building throughout his past eight lives - and destroy it. Eighth Doctor Jonathan Blum
Old Flames In 18th century England, The Doctor and Sarah Jane encounter a flying double decker bus from the 20th century, a manor house owned by a giant cat, a wedding that stretches across time - and a special face from the Doctor's past. Fourth Doctor, Sarah Paul Magrs
War Crimes On the homeworld of the Aelcluk, the Doctor discovers his battles with the Time Lords and War Lords are far from over, and they could haunt him, and the universe, for years to come. Second Doctor, Jamie & Zoe Simon Bucher-Jones
The Last Days When he and Barbara are separated from the Doctor and Susan in Rome, Ian finds himself the only hope for a rebel leader who is plotting to take his own life. First Doctor, Susan, Ian & Barbara Evan Pritchard (Rebecca Levene)
Stop the Pigeon When plants come to life and attack Croyden, The Doctor discovers his arch-enemy, the Master, will stop at nothing to rid himself of the Cheetah infection, whilst Ace finds herself drifting through time with a talking pigeon. Seventh Doctor, Ace, the Master and the Krynoids Mike Tucker and Robert Perry
Freedom When the Master escapes from prison again, the Doctor and UNIT begin to investigate the "Freedom Corporation", which is dedicated to cracking the codes of time travel. But when the Doctor and Jo infiltrate the Corporation, they find themselves in a prison beyond the universe itself. To save his friends, the Brigadier must -quite literally - make a deal with the devil. Third Doctor, Jo, UNIT
Glass In Cambridge, The Doctor and Romana befriend a woman who is haunted by visions of a little boy... and an alien that is using her mind as a gateway to Earth. Fourth Doctor, Romana II Tara Samms (Stephen Cole)
Mondas Passing After leaving the Doctor in 1966, Ben and Polly went their separate ways and didn't have any contact. But in 1980s London, memories of their trip to Mondas and their battle with Cybermen draw the former time-travellers together again. Ben & Polly Paul Grice
There are Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden The Doctor's darker side is unearthed like never before after an encounter with a group of fairy-like creatures. First Doctor, Dodo Sam Lester
Mother's Little Helper Nanci Cruz, an American teenager, befriends the Doctor after discovering her boyfriend is cheating on her. But she is soon caught up in his search for an old woman and an alien teenager, both troubled souls. Second Doctor Matthew Jones
The Parliament of Rats The Doctor and Nyssa meet Constantine, the navigator of a ship named "The Lung of Heaven". But the ship collides with legendary lost ship "The Parliament of Rats" and Nyssa is taken hostage by the ship's inhabitants - the White Gods. But as the Doctor attempts to save her, he is pitted against a crazed priest who wishes to destroy every god in existence... including Time Lords. Fifth Doctor, Nyssa Daniel O'Mahony
Rights On Farrash, The Doctor and Sarah are separated during a protest, and whilst Sarah Jane leads a campaign against sanctioning abortions, the Doctor must prevent a deadly experiment by the villainous "Leader", save the doomed population from their fate and convince Earth delegates not to abandon the planet and its population. Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Paul Grice
Wish You Were Here The Doctor and a security agent called Janis Carma investigate the disappearance of a number of holidaymakers on the leisure complex on Nestra. But they discover the Thetrans, a species who have spent five thousand years on Nestra, have vanished and been replaced by security drones. Sixth Doctor Guy Clapperton
Ace of Hearts Now working as an entertainer, the Doctor uses the opportunity to make amends with a very special friend who has faced a number of traumatic experiences whilst travelling with him. Seventh Doctor Mike Tucker and Robert Perry
The People's Temple The Doctor takes Sam to Stonehenge before the construction of the monument, and the TARDIS travellers discover Coyn, a crazed king, who has reduced many tribes to slavery in order to build the biggest temple in existence to make himself a god of the afterlife. As Sam befriends a young tribal leader, the Doctor discovers Coyn's defeat may lie within his closest ally. Eighth Doctor, Sam Paul Leonard

More Short Trips[edit]

The next volume was More Short Trips (BBC Books, 1999), again edited by Stephen Cole. It contained the stories:

Title Plot Featuring Author
Totem Seeking redemption for a number of crimes, the Doctor begins working on a Portuguese farm owned by Senora Panstedas, a widower, and the pair become great friends. Unknown Doctor Tara Samms (Stephen Cole)
Scientific Adviser When a movie featuring the Cybermen goes into production in London, the Doctor is sent undercover by UNIT to ensure the organisation's many secrets aren't exposed. But he soon discovers his old enemies have returned to Earth - and the destruction of UNIT is imminent. Second Doctor Ian Atkins
Missing, Part One: Business as Usual After years of travelling with the Doctor, Mel Bush has finally returned home to Brighton, where she meets DI Bob Lines. Mel Gary Russell
Moon Graffiti The Doctor and Peri become caught up in one of humanity's final fights for survival in the far future, battling against the all consuming power of the pararachnids... and the mysterious Wibbly-Wee explorers. Sixth Doctor, Peri Dave Stone
One Bad Apple On a cyber-frontier world, the Doctor and Leela battle to save the emotions of a gang of half-converted humans before they become "pure" Cybermen. Fourth Doctor, Leela Simon A. Forward
64 Carlysle Street At 64 Carlysie Street, an alien criminal from the planet Qunnis in the Fourth Dimension is hiding. But when a new servant called Dodo arrives at the house, and an eccentric old man calling himself "the Doctor" befriends the owner, Greystone, all hell breaks loose, hell that threatens to consume the Earth, Humanity - and the fabric of time itself. First Doctor, Steven, Dodo Gary Russell
The Eternity Contract The Doctor and Nyssa find themselves trapped in a gothic castle called Carnon Manor, where they encounter six lost souls and uncover the game-playing of a madman who has struck a deal with death itself. The Doctor finds a way to save the six souls lost at the heart of the castle. But he may pay a very high price indeed... Fifth Doctor, Nyssa Steve Lyons
The Sow in Rut On holiday in the Lake District, Sarah Jane Smith becomes caught up in the murder of lonely travellers, killed by the owners of the local pub when a mysterious women approaches her - and suggests that a swinish intelligence was the culprit. Sarah and K-9 Mike Tucker and Robert Perry
Special Weapons The Doctor and Mel find themselves trapped in an English village called Pax Lucis during World War 11. The village is occupied by Nazis, and whilst Mel joins forces with a man trying to avenge his girlfriend's murder, the Doctor discovers the Nazis have an alien weapon that would not only mean the end of the war - But the end of the world. Seventh Doctor, Mel Paul Leonard
Honest Living When Jo is kidnapped, the Doctor discovers he is being lured into a trap by Tuala and Krashen, two freedom fighters from a future Earth which is ruled by Daleks. With their time machine creating paradoxes in both the present and the future, they need the Doctor's help. If the Doctor helps them, he will be responsible for endangering the lives of billions across time and space. If he doesn't, he will lose a close friend. Third Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier Jason Loborik
Dead Time Trapped in a dying TARDIS in a black void, the Doctor is alone, powerless and desperate as the remains of insane Time Lords try to overpower his mind. With Charley trapped in a temporal stasis field, the Doctor must fight for his mind. If he doesn't fight, his past, present, future and very soul will be unravelled... with the most deadliest consequences to the causal nexus! Eighth Doctor, Sam Andrew Miller
Romans Cutaway When the TARDIS falls off a cliff, the Doctor and his companions take up residency in a Roman villa after the previous owner dies. Unfortunately, there is a rogue lion lurking nearby. Having killed the previous owner, the lion begins hunting for new prey - and finds it in an injured Barbara and Ian. Can the Doctor save his two companions and kill the lion? or has his reckless travels finally led to their demise? First Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Vicki David A. McIntee
Return of the Spiders When the TARDIS takes him and Romana to a surberban housing estate, the Doctor expects a normal day. But it proves to be anything but when he discovers an old enemy is lurking in the darkness with vengeance on their mind... an enemy who once killed him! Fourth Doctor, Romana II, K-9 Gareth Roberts
Hot Ice The Doctor tracks down a missing alien thief and lands himself and Peri in trouble with two Ventrosian priests, who accuse them of conspiring to steal the sacred Eye of Gaar. As the Doctor tries to save himself, another criminal sets off on a path of destruction... Fifth Doctor, Peri Christopher Bulis
uPVC In his second incarnation, the Doctor purchases a window that grants him a piece of his past. Five incarnations later, the Doctor is reminded of his childhood - and a past he can never have. Second & Seventh Doctors, Jamie, Zoe, Ace Paul Farnsworth
Good Companions An old women called Tegan once had an imaginary friend called the Doctor, who she had adventures with. After suffering a breakdown and with the loss of her husband, Tegan's life is unravelling. One uneventful day, she meets Doctor Smith and a housekeeper called Anna, and finds herself thrown into a terrifying new world - maybe her imaginary friend can save the day! (a Future Doctor) Peter Anghelides
Missing, Part Two: Message in a Bottle With a crisis on her hands, a powerless Mel goes to extreme lengths to seek out an old friend. It's been years since she last saw the Doctor. But now, she is going to find him again, wherever he may be. Mel Mike Tucker and Robert Perry
Femme Fatale The Doctor and Sam pose as secret agents to investigate a book which chronicles their adventures. Someone has been selling the Doctor's story - a Time Lord associate. With a life to rewrite and an mischievous old flame to deal with, the Doctor has his hands full when he becomes sidetracked by a shooting that is fixed in time. Eighth Doctor, Sam Paul Magrs

Short Trips and Sidesteps[edit]

The final Short Trips collection was called Short Trips and Sidesteps (BBC Books, 2000), and was joint edited by Jacqueline Rayner and Stephen Cole. It was intended to show a variety of stories of Doctors and companions that had not necessarily existed in the prime continuity of Doctor Who. Several of the stories were written under pseudonyms, including Tara Samms (Stephen Cole), David Agnew and Norman Ashby.[citation needed] Lawrence Miles wrote two pieces for the collection, one under his own name and one under a pseudonym.[citation needed] It contained the following stories:

Title Plot Featuring Author
The Longest Story in the World First Doctor, Susan Paul Magrs
A Town Called Eternity (2 Parts) Fifth Doctor, Peri Lance Parkin and Mark Clapham
Special Occasions 1: The Not So Sinister Sponge Fourth Doctor, Romana II, K-9 Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman
Nothing at the End of the Lane (3 Parts) First Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Susan Daniel O'Mahony
Countdown to TV Action Third Doctor Gary Russell
The Queen of Eros Eighth Doctor, Sam Trevor Baxendale
The Android Maker of Calderon IV Fourth Doctor, Sarah Miche Doherty
Revenants (a future Doctor) Peter Anghelides
Please Shut the Gate Second Doctor, Jamie, Zoe Stephen Lock
Turnabout is Fair Play Sixth Doctor, Peri Graeme Burk
Special Occasions 2: Do You Love Anyone Enough? Fourth Doctor, Romana II Norman Ashby
The House on Oldark Moor "Dr. Who" from the Dalek films Justin Richards
Gone Too Soon Sixth Doctor Christopher M. Wadley
Reunion Second Doctor Jason Loborik
Planet of the Bunnoids First Doctor, Steven, Vicki Harriet Green
Monsters Seventh Doctor, Ace Tara Samms
Special Occasions 3: Better Take Care Fourth Doctor, Romana II Steve Burford
Face Value Sixth Doctor, Crystal, Jason & Zog Steve Lyons
Storm in a Tikka Seventh Doctor, Ace, K-9 Mike Tucker and Robert Perry
Special Occasions 4: Playing with Toys Fourth Doctor, Romana II David Agnew
Vrs (None) Lawrence Miles

Following the publication of this book, the BBC announced that they were no longer going to produce volumes of short stories, due to the cost and amount of work involved in producing them.

Audio books[edit]

In 1998, the original Short Trips book was also released on a double cassette as an audio book, featuring five stories from the book (Freedom, Model Train Set, Glass, Stop the Pigeon and Old Flames) read by Sophie Aldred and Nicholas Courtney. An additional story (Degrees of Truth by David A. McIntee, featuring the Third Doctor and the Brigadier) was also on the release. Model Train Set was also released on CD as a BBC AudioCard.[1]

Two further audio book short story collections were released later that year: Earth and Beyond, read by Paul McGann, featuring Dead Time from More Short Trips, The Peoples' Temple from Short Trips and original story Bounty; and Out of the Darkness, read by Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, featuring Moon Graffiti from More Short Trips, Wish You Were Here from Short Trips and original story Vigil. Earth and Beyond was released on double cassette, whilst Out of the Darkness was released on CD.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blum, Jonathan (1998). Doctor Who: Short Trips - Model Train Set. BBC. 

External links[edit]

Fan reviews