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SYFY WIRE Doctor Who

Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat pens short story featuring the 13th Doctor

By James Comtois
Doctor Who season 12 roundup

Making good on Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall’s promise back in late March to offer new free goodies for Whovians while awaiting the series’ return in social exile, former showrunner Steven Moffat has written a new short story featuring the 13th Doctor that’s available to read for free on the BBC website.

This story, “The Terror Of The Umpty Ums,” is the first new story Moffat has written for Doctor Who since writing his and the 12th Doctor’s (Peter Capaldi) swan song Christmas episode, “Twice Upon a Time,” in 2017. It’s also the first full story he’s written for the 13th Doctor (played in the TV series by Jodie Whittaker). (Yes, Whittaker appeared in “Twice Upon a Time” during the regeneration scene at the end of the episode, but this is the first time Moffat’s written a Who story featuring Whittaker’s Doctor.) 

“The Terror Of The Umpty Ums” has The Doctor encountering a 12-year-old boy called David who’s not really a young boy but a DeathBorg 400 called Karpagnon who plans on wiping out the human race. Here’s a taste:

“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?’”

In late March, Chibnall published a short story called “Things She Thought While Falling” that filled fans in on what Whittaker’s Doctor was doing just before she appeared in the Season 11 premiere of Doctor Who, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.” He prefaced the story with a promise of “New treats, from the people who make Doctor Who” while people are stuck at home during this pandemic.

“With people staying home, and families stuck together, I thought maybe a few little presents from Doctor Who might help,” Chibnall wrote. “Something to read, together or alone.”

He added: “We’ll try and post things here once or twice a week.”

Sure enough, the very next day, former showrunner Russell T Davies published his short story, “Doctor Who and The Time War.” That day Davies also live-tweeted a 15th anniversary communal screening of the premiere episode, “Rose,” which resurrected the once moribund show.

Whittaker also posted a delightful video on the official Doctor Who Twitter page telling people to remain calm and tell jokes, even bad ones. So, the crew behind Who is really looking out for its fans during these uncertain times. Fantastic!

Doctor Who is scheduled to air "Revolution of the Daleks" over the holiday season.