Chris Chibnall releases Doctor Who short story – and it solves an old plot hole

Just what was Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor thinking when she fell to Earth? And how did she survive the experience? The series boss reveals all

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who: The Woman who fell to Earth (BBC, HF)

It’s fair to say that the team behind Doctor Who have rallied together amidst the coronavirus crisis with the cast, crew and former production staff releasing new sketches, behind-the-scenes tweet-alongs and special messages to help cheer up fans stuck in self-isolation.

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And now series showrunner Chris Chibnall has unveiled his new contribution – a short story starring Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, set during her first ever episode in 2018, recalling her thoughts as she plummets to Earth (specifically Sheffield) from an exploding TARDIS.

“With people staying home, and families stuck together, I thought maybe a few little presents from Doctor Who might help,” Chibnall wrote by way of introduction.

“Something to read, together or alone. New treats, from the people who make Doctor Who.”

And to start off, we have Chibnall’s story ‘Things She Thought While Falling’.

“She was cold,” the story begins.

“The Doctor was cold.

“The ragged clothes weren’t helping. She was cold, and in someone else’s ragged clothes.

“She felt a little peeved that the ragged clothes did not include a built-in parachute. That felt like an error.

“Wait, she thought. Why would I want a parachute? Oh yes, that’s right. She remembered.

“She was falling.”

Obviously we won’t post the full story here – you can read it at your leisure on the BBC website – but we will say it’s full of fun one-liners and callbacks to the series, while also solving a bit of a plot hole from Whittaker’s first episode.

Remember how she made her entrance, crashing through the roof of a train? Remember how some fans were confused as to how she was completely uninjured by that experience? Well, this story finally confirms how exactly the Doctor was so fighting-fit, using past examples from the series.

Jodie Whittaker, Sharon D Clarke and Bradley Walsh in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC, HF)

“With a bit of luck any injuries would be taken care of by the still fizzing regeneration process,” the short story reads.

“Like those injuries the Doctor had got after he’d crashed through the roof at Naismith manor. Or the hand he’d managed to grow back after the Sycorax had lopped one off.

“Watch out Doctor, she thought, your personal pronouns are drifting.”

Yes, it’s that handy regeneration energy again, healing the Thirteenth Doctor just as it did David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor back in 2010’s The End of Time. Even in morale-boosting short stories, the Doctor Who team can’t help filling in some gaps…

Going forward, Chibnall says we have a lot more Who material coming our way, including from former show-makers who have since departed.

“We’ll try and post things here once or twice a week. Later this week, we’ll have a never-before-published treat written by Russell T Davies.”

In other words, watch this space! Even as we’re all stuck at home, there’s still a good chance of a visit from the Doctor.

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Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021