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These Doctor Who Short Stories Should Always Be a Thing, Pandemic or Otherwise

Her adventures may not be on TV right now, but that doesn’t mean the Doctor hasn’t stopped running.
Her adventures may not be on TV right now, but that doesn’t mean the Doctor hasn’t stopped running.
Image: BBC

As the world slows down and people shut themselves indoors to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the cast and crew of Doctor Who are just one of many production teams that have risen to the task of both comforting and entertaining people in these trying times. But one thing they’ve been doing is so great, it should just become Who tradition.


In the past few weeks, writers from across the revived era of Doctor Who’s history have been sharing short fiction from all over the Doctor’s adventures in Time and Space on the show’s official website. Some of them have been tied into the social-media lead rewatch initiatives that so far have seen viewers live-tweet their way through “The Day of the Doctor, “Rose, and “Vincent and the Doctor” with cast and crew.


Some gave us fun moments of insight, like what the newly-regenerated 13th Doctor was thinking as she fell to Earth in her debut episode. Others have just been great little pieces of short Doctor Who storytelling like today’s “Press Play, from “Kerblam” and “Praxeus” scribe Pete McTighe. They’re light little reads that have space for clever ideas or moments that wouldn’t necessarily work in a Doctor Who episode or are too small to stand alone as a story on TV. But they help keep Doctor Who feeling alive when it isn’t on our screens, and it gives us an opportunity to check in not just with our current incarnation of everyone’s favorite Time Lord, but past iterations too.

But above all, they’re! In an ideal world where we weren’t all shutting ourselves in and fearing the spread of a dangerous disease, this sort of thing would be a cute way to keep Doctor Who going in the long lulls between seasons of the show. Maybe it wouldn’t be as often as it is right now when these otherwise very busy scriptwriters would have, well, work to do. But a new Doctor Who short story a month would be a nice thing to tide us over until the TARDIS returns to TV.

You can head on over to the official BBC website to read “Press Play,” which focuses on the 13th Doctor alone on the TARDIS with nothing to do while it recharges artron energy...until she gets a very curious message from the past.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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“Press Play” is lovely and exactly the sort of thing I would love to see as a short, five-minute webisode (like they used to do with the Eleventh Doctor).

I also wouldn’t mind a book of Doctor Who short fiction — it’s been a while since one of them has come out, hasn’t it? I think the last one was 12 Doctors, 12 Stories, but having an annual short fiction anthology would be great.