>> Sunday, 4 January 2009

“Mum!” Beth gasped, running towards her mother who was digging up a dead flower in her garden.
Sarah raised her head and sprung straight up to hug her. The Doctor watched on, a smile on his face. Sarah eyed him carefully.
“Where’ve you been?” she asked, when they finally pulled apart.
“I told you, travelling,” Beth said, glancing at the floor.
Sarah looked the Doctor up and down, “This is him, then…”
The Doctor smiled, expecting a slap or a rant coming his way. However, Sarah seemed to smile.
“He seems nice,” she whispered, smoothing back her hair.
“Mum!” Beth said, blushing, “God, you’re worse than me!”There was silence for a moment, and then Sarah said, “Let’s go inside then, we’ll freeze in this weather!”

The Doctor and Beth settled down on the coach and Beth flicked on the TV, knowing exactly which channel she wanted. A repeat of You’ve Been Framed was showing and Beth half-heartedly laughed at the people making fools of themselves. Sarah walked into the room and laid some tea on the table, while the Doctor kept his eyes fixed on the screen. Beth watched as he reached for his glasses, keeping his eyes glued in the same position.
“Here we go, Custard Creams alright? I didn’t know you were coming so didn’t get anything in…” Sarah said.
Beth mumbled a “yes” and Sarah sat down next to the Doctor, who didn’t acknowledge her presence.
“So…” she said, “Where’ve you been going together?”
“Just… places,” Beth said.
“Yeah, but where?” Sarah persisted.
Beth sighed, “I dunno… places!”
Sarah frowned at her daughter, “Why are you being like this?”
“What do you mean? I’m just trying to watch TV and you’re nattering away in my ear!”
“So you didn’t come to visit me, you came to watch TV!?”
“No, it’s just I happen to find this particular programme very interesting!”“What, You’ve Been Framed? You said you couldn’t stick it before! You said that it’s all a fix and people make it up to get the 250 quid!”
“Does this really matter right now?”
“What’s that? Where’s the remote?” the Doctor suddenly said.
“What?” Beth asked.
“Where’s your remote?” he repeated and Beth handed it to him. He rewound the programme back and played the clip again. He watched the clip closely with his nose nearly touching the screen. “There!” he said and paused the programme.
“Oh my God…” Beth said, “Is it…”
“An alien,” the Doctor said, looking closely at the specimen, “It looks like…”
The Doctor suddenly stopped and stood up to face Sarah, who had a look of surprise on her face, “Um, we’re just joking…” the Doctor said, “It’s... erm…”
“Don’t worry, I am aware aliens exist you know,” she glanced at Beth and raised her eyebrow, “Carry on.”
The Doctor eyed her suspiciously then sighed, leaning in closer to the television screen. “I need to investigate this. C’mon Beth.”They got up and went to leave the room before Sarah said, “Beth? Can I speak to you before you go?”
Beth glanced at the Doctor who nodded.
The Doctor walked outside and Beth quickly sat on the sofa.
“What is it? Does he need us?” Beth asked, checking the Doctor couldn’t hear.
“Nearly, it’s so close now! But this is all part of it so go along with it and don’t worry,” Sarah answered, “And keep an eye on your watch.”
Beth got up slowly and walked out of the room, turning around once more to face her mother, who she would see again when all this was over.

“Are we going to meet Harry Hill?” Beth asked, laughing.
“Hopefully,” the Doctor grinned, “I’ve got shirts like his in the TARDIS wardrobe, one day I’ll wear them. I should make a pact to do so.” He smiled to himself for a moment then shook his head, “No, being serious now, we need to do something about it… maybe we can talk to the executive producers and ask for the person’s address, then we can see if the alien’s still there…”“They’re not just gonna hand out people’s addresses,” Beth said, “Confidentiality and all that business.”
“Yes, well, I’ve got this,” he waved his psychic paper about and Beth smiled.
“A gadget for every occasion.”
“Oh yes!”

“Er, where exactly are we going?” Beth frowned as she and the Doctor stopped walking.
“Um, any idea where the studio is?” the Doctor asked.
“How should I know? I’m more of a BBC girl than ITV. All the best shows are on BBC,” she replied.
The Doctor smiled, “Hang on, I’ll try and track it with the TARDIS,” he said and ran off in a different direction.
“Now that sounds like a plan,” Beth smiled, following.

They managed to find the ITV studios, after 4 hours setting the TARDIS co-ordinates.
“It wasn’t my fault!” the Doctor claimed innocently.
“Well I wasn’t the one flying it!” Beth replied.
The Doctor muttered something under his breath as they walked through the doors. The security guard eyed them carefully.
The Doctor flashed his psychic paper and the guard nodded, letting them through.
“Hello,” the Doctor said to what looked like a receptionist, “Can you please show me where You’ve Been Framed is produced?”
The woman smiled, “This way, sir.”
The Doctor grinned back and Beth nudged him.
“And you say I flirt?” she said.
“That wasn’t flirting, blimey, if you want flirting, have Captain Jack on your speed dial!” he replied.
“Here we are,” the woman said to the Doctor, “Just through this door.”“Thank you,” the Doctor smiled and the woman turned away, grimacing at Beth.
The Doctor walked through and met a man who was staring frantically at a screen.
“Hello,” the Doctor beamed, “I’m John Smith and I’m here as an inspector,” he flashed his psychic paper once more and the man groaned. “This isn’t a good time,” he rubbed his eyes, “I’ve got an episode to get out by tomorrow and everything’s going wrong!”
“We won’t be here for long, just need some information about a clip showed on tonight’s episode… can you help me?” the Doctor asked.
“I’m sorry sir, it’ll have to be another day,” he said.
“But please, it’s important,” Beth said, appearing from behind the Doctor.
The man smiled then said, “Well, if it’s important…”

They watched the clips through and the Doctor paused the screen.
“There,” he said, “I need the address for where this clip was sent from.”
The man eyed him carefully, “Why? You’re just an inspector.”
“We’re testing your… databanks, seeing how well you keep the information stored,” the Doctor said.
The man frowned and got up, “One moment.”
He returned with some paperwork. “Here.”He handed it to them and the Doctor smiled, “Well, that’s it from us now, thanks for your time, bye!”They began to walk off and the man protested, “Oi, we need that information back!”“I’ll return it in the post!” the Doctor called as they ran out of the doors.

“Right,” the Doctor said as they, once again, stepped out of the TARDIS, “Here’s the place.”“OK, what’s the plan though, are we just gonna go in there and tell them there’s an alien in their garden?” Beth asked as they walked through the gates.
“Well… I haven’t really thought about it yet, but I usually make up things brilliantly as I go along,” he smiled.
Beth smiled back as the Doctor rang the doorbell. After a few seconds, an old man in glasses and a jumper answered.
“What do you want? Are you selling me anything? If so, I’m not interested!” the man moaned and went to shut the door. However, the Doctor caught it with his foot.
“No, we’re here to help you,” he smiled.
The man frowned, “What do you mean?”
“I think you know,” the Doctor said, eyeing him carefully.
The man looked at the floor for a moment then said, “You’d better come in.”
“The strange thing is,” the Doctor said, pacing around the room, “In your You’ve Been Framed clip, you were a young man in his 30s, and now, no offence, you’re an old man… You said you’ve lived here all your life… what happened?”
“You’ve seen it then?” the man laughed, “Those were the good times, last year it was, my whole family laughing around in the garden,” his face turned to stone, “Until they were killed…”
Beth felt his pain, “I’m sorry to hear that.”The man looked at her and sighed, “How did you know?”
“We noticed it in the clip,” the Doctor said, “Was it the creature that killed them?”
“Yes,” the man nodded and a tear began to trail down his cheek, “And it did this to me, turned me into an old, decrepit man!” He slumped onto his chair, “It happened so quickly, one moment everything was fine, the next, my wife and children were dead and I was being changed into this useless lump!”
“You’re not useless,” Beth said, sitting by his side, “Don’t worry, we can change you back,” she looked at the Doctor, “Can’t we?”
The Doctor said nothing.
“You can’t bring back my family though, can you?” he sighed.
Beth looked at the floor then joined the Doctor.
“Shall we look outside?” the Doctor suggested.

The garden was small but consisted of a shed, a few hedges and a swing. Beth remembered it vividly from the video. The garden looked dull and dreary; dead, almost.
The Doctor immediately began scanning the area.
“Don’t worry,” Beth said to the man, “The Doctor’s an expert in all this, you can trust us.”
“I already do,” the man replied.
Beth smiled half-heartedly and watched as the Doctor frowned, “It’s definitely not out here. Perhaps it got in the house?”
The man frowned, “Do you think so?”
“Hmm,” he said, “Lets take a look.”

They walked through the doors and the man locked the door behind them. The man put out his hand.
“Look wherever you like,” the man said, gesturing for the Doctor to leave.
The Doctor did so. Once he had gone, the man closed the kitchen door to talk to Beth.
“Don’t worry about what I’m about to do,” he winked at Beth, “It’s all under his orders.”Beth’s eyes widened and she whispered, “But I thought he wasn’t ready?”
“Yes, he is,” the man smiled, “It’s happening!”
Beth’s arms shook nervously, “But he can’t be!”The man looked shocked, “Don’t say you’re backing out now? He said you may get attached to the Doctor and give up… Well you don’t want what happened to your father to happen to you, do you?”
Beth slowed her breathing then shook her head, “OK, what are you gonna do?”

The Doctor scanned the room and, to his surprise, nothing was there. He frowned and suddenly his ears were filled with the sound of Beth’s scream. He leapt out of the door at lightening speed and shot into the kitchen. He saw the man grabbing Beth by the neck.
“Beth, don’t worry, keep calm,” the Doctor said, “Now listen, you let her go or I’ll have to force you.”
The man laughed, “But can you stop me?”
He shuddered and suddenly, the creature that was on the video appeared from out of him. The man had now turned back to what he looked like on the video and had collapsed onto the floor.
The Doctor gasped, “You were inside him all along, what, feeding on him? And that made him age somehow…”
The creature seemed to snarl as, behind him, the man rose with an evil smile across his face.
“Stay back,” the Doctor said, “You’ll be safe, I promise.”“Oh I have no worries, Doctor,” the man said, stroking the small creature now, “This is my pet.”
“What?” the Doctor frowned, “Has it messed with your mind?”
“Oh no,” the man laughed, “But it will mess with yours!”
The creature was small and like a dog. It had beady yellow eyes and red teeth. The Doctor winced as it leapt up and latched onto his leg.
“Get off!” he shouted, shaking around trying to dismantle it. Its grip was like a robot.
Beth stood still, not knowing what to do.
“Now, we leave!” the man said facing Beth, he grabbed her watch and fiddled with it. He muttered, “Use the teleport.”
Beth did so and suddenly they all disappeared, heading towards their doom.