Doctor Who new story brings back a classic character – and reveals why early episodes are missing

The BBC's junking of vintage stories finally has an in-universe explanation.


The TV series might not be on air but right now is still a pretty great time to be a Doctor Who fan, with communal watchalongs, bonus scenes and new short stories keeping Whovians entertained through a trying period.


The latest treat comes courtesy of writer Pete McTighe, who wrote Kerblam! and Praxeus for television and has now produced a new short story featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.

‘Press Play’ sees the Doctor reunited with a classic character – or at least a holographic version – as her grandaughter Susan (played by Carole Ann Ford on TV between 1963-64) appears in the TARDIS control room.

Doctor Who – Susan (Carole Ann Ford)
Doctor Who – Susan (Carole Ann Ford)

The story reveals that, before her departure (in The Dalek Invasion of Earth), Susan “activated the TARDIS record mode”, allowing the Doctor to revisit all of her past adventures.

“So if you’re ever feeling bored, or lonely, or sad, all you have to do is access the data bank, and retrieve a favourite memory,” Susan says. “It’ll keep on recording until you tell it to stop. All your adventures, all your stories won’t go to waste. They’ll always be here, waiting for you, like an archive. Alive for eternity.”

‘Press Play’ even provides an in-universe explanation for why certain early Doctor Who stories have missing episodes (“Some of the early ones might have gaps, sorry about that,” Susan says. “You know what the TARDIS is like with integrating new systems.”).

Plus, there’s a fun gag about the endless fan debates as to what those early stories should be recalled (since, back then, Doctor Who episodes had individual titles, with no overall on-screen name given for multi-part stories).


You can read the story in full on the DoctorWho.TV site and discover how the Doctor, like us, takes great comfort in revisiting her past adventures at times when she might otherwise be feeling lonely. As ‘Press Play’ suggests, with the Doctor at you’re side, you’re “never, never alone”.

Doctor Who returns to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021 – check out what else is on with our TV Guide