With episode watchalongs, newly-released online scenes and short stories from key writers, Doctor Who fans are really being spoiled with extra material at the moment – and now, ex-series showrunner Steven Moffat has unveiled his latest contribution to the cause, penning a short story that stars Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor.
Called The Terror of the Umpty Ums, the story introduces us to an unusual little boy called David – unusual, because he’s actually a DeathBorg 400 called Karpagnon with plans to destroy the human race – whose reign of terror is cut short when the Doctor begins giving him advice.
Here’s a short extract:
“New protocol, replied the Tactical Monitor. Cruelty and cowardice to be avoided. Destruction of humans within this installation now designated as cruel and cowardly.
“‘What new protocol?’ demanded Karpagnon.
“‘Oops, sorry that was probably me.’ It was the voice again – the untagged data stream. But where was it coming from? ‘I got bored, you see,’ the voice continued, ‘Thought I do a bit of housekeeping, long as I’m here. Love a bit of rewiring, me, and I get bored when I’m asleep. I can’t be doing with all that sleeping, there’s too many planets. What if you sleep and miss a whole planet. Nightmare, yeah?’”
We won’t print the story here, of course – you can check it out at this link – but suffice to say it’s full of callbacks, mini Easter Eggs (and not the chocolate variety) and gags that tie Whittaker’s Doctor to Moffat’s own time in charge of Doctor Who, and it’s a very sweet little entry into the Doctor’s world.
It marks Moffat’s first time writing for the Thirteenth Doctor – he exited as showrunner at the end of the Peter Capaldi era, handing the reins over to Chris Chibnall (who scripted Whittaker’s first scene at the close of Twice Upon a Time).
By the end of this surprisingly meta story, not everything is as it seems, with passages written by Moffat that play to the emotional power of Doctor Who and which might hit home particularly hard during the current period of lockdown and enforced isolation.
Again, we don’t want to spoil anything – go and read the story if you want more information – but it’s good to know that as more and more changes in the world, Doctor Who fans can still count on the Doctor to help them.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021