Doctor Who: Adventures in Lockdown presents an eclectic collection of short stories from Doctor Who writers past and present, now being published in aid of BBC Children in Need
Doctor Who has long been a source of inspiration and positivity for fans of all ages, this year more so than ever before. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, fans, along with actors, writers, and other creatives from across the show’s history have found solace in Doctor Who‘s hopeful message.
Earlier this year, the official Doctor Who website played host to a number of short stories produced by current showrunner Chris Chibnall, along with former showrunners Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies, plus previous guest writers Joy Wilkinson, Pete McTighe, and Paul Cornell.
Elsewhere, Doctor Who Magazine‘s Emily Cook organised and produced Doctor Who: Lockdown!, a series of watch-alongs of fan-favourite episodes from the show’s modern era. Each watch-along was accompanied by special bonus content produced by Doctor Who stars and writers past and present, including prose, poetry, animation, and scripted scenes.
Doctor Who: Adventures in Lockdown sees many of the short stories, poetry, and scripts produced as part of both of these projects over the course of this year now published in physical form in aid of BBC Children in Need. As well as featuring contributions from the past and present showrunners and guest writers mentioned above, Adventures in Lockdown also includes previously unpublished works by Neil Gaiman, Vinay Patel, and Mark Gatiss.
BBC Books Publishing Director Albert DePetrillo has said:
“Since I first mentioned the idea for this collection to the Doctor Who and BBC Children in Need teams, the response has been amazing. We’ve gathered a truly stellar list of writers and illustrators, who have contributed their time and creativity for a wonderful cause. Doctor Who and BBC Children in Need are a powerful combination, and Adventures in Lockdown is a book that celebrates the best of the Whoniverse – which is to say, the best in all of us.”
The contents of Adventures of Lockdown are as follows:
- A Message from the Doctor
- Things She Thought While Falling by Chris Chibnall
- The Terror of the Umpty Ums by Steven Moffat
- Doctor Who and the Time War by Russell T Davies
- Revenge of the Nestene by Russell T Davies
- Rory’s Story by Neil Gaiman
- One Virtue, and a Thousand Crimes by Neil Gaiman
- The Simple Things by Joy Wilkinson
- The Tourist by Vinay Patel
- Fellow Traveller by Mark Gatiss
- The Shadow Passes by Paul Cornell
- Shadow of a Doubt by Paul Cornell
- The Shadow in the Mirror by Paul Cornell
- Press Play by Pete McTighe
- Listen by Steven Moffat
- The Secret of Novice Hame by Russell T Davies
Each of these tales are accompanied by brand-new work from numerous artists well-known among Doctor Who fans, including:
- Lee Binding
- Mike Collins
- Sophie Cowdrey
- Sonia Leong
- Valentina Mozzo
- Chris Riddell
- Adrian Salon
- David Wardle
- Richard Wells
Adventures In Lockdown Conveys Heartfelt Messages From All Corners of the Doctor Who Universe
Adventures In Lockdown brings together a rather eclectic array of stories from many different corners of the Doctor Who universe. Russell T Davies‘ satirical Auton story ‘Rose: The Sequel’, for example, sits alongside Steven Moffat‘s unsettling poem ‘Listen’.
Some play more heavily on the concept of ‘lockdown’ than others, touching on themes of isolation and loneliness. ‘A Message From The Doctor’ comprises a transcript of the message recorded by Jodie Whittaker in character as the Doctor which was posted to the official Doctor Who social media channels back in March.
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) March 25, 2020
Similarly, Paul Cornell‘s ‘The Shadow Passes’ follows the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions having to amuse themselves whilst unexpectedly stuck indoors for three weeks on an alien planet, whilst Pete McTighe‘s ‘Press Play’ sees a lonely and dejected Thirteenth Doctor reminiscing about happier times after receiving a message from an old friend.
Elsewhere, many of the stories featured in Adventures In Lockdown evoke a strong sense of nostalgia, as they revisit or reference well-loved characters and serials from across the show’s history. Whilst a large portion of the works feature the current Doctor and her companions, readers can also expect appearances from Rory Williams and Novice Hame, as well as allusions to television stories such as Remembrance of the Daleks and Human Nature/The Family of Blood. This overall nostalgic quality makes this anthology a fun as well as comforting read, as it allows readers to tap into that sense of enjoyable escapism Doctor Who so often provides.
Although most of the prose, scripts, and poetry collated in this collection have previously been published online in various formats, Adventures in Lockdown nevertheless makes for a worthwhile memento of a unique and unexpected moment in Doctor Who (and indeed the world)’s history. It’s very satisfying to have much of the content produced or unearthed as part of both Emily Cook and Doctor Who‘s lockdown-inspired projects together in one volume, particularly Paul Cornell‘s ‘trilogy’ of stories reflecting on the fate of the Family of Blood’s Daughter of Mine. As well as this, the inclusion of Neil Gaiman‘s script for ‘Rory’s Story’, which Arthur Darvill performed solo in his own home for YouTube allows for an extra, unseen insight into the process behind its creation.
As such, it is a shame that little context is given for most of the stories, as some notes regarding which of Emily Cook‘s watch-alongs some of them were created or first published as part of, for example, would have made this anthology an even better souvenir of these lockdown projects in the years to come.
Patel, Gatiss and Gaiman’s New Stories Make Adventures in Lockdown Essential Reading
Nevertheless, the exclusive, brand-new works created by Vinay Patel, Mark Gatiss, and Neil Gaiman especially for Adventures in Lockdown serve to cement this collection as a very worthwhile purchase. Gatiss‘ heartfelt story, ‘Fellow Traveller’, is one of the book’s stand-out pieces, which will surely tug at the heartstrings of any Doctor Who fan as the Doctor helps an old woman to find closure and solace in the midst of a bleak situation.
Neil Gaiman‘s new story, ‘One Virtue, and a Thousand Crimes’ similarly stands out, but for rather different reasons. It follows the Time Lord known as the Corsair, who Gaiman first introduced in his debut television Doctor Who story, The Doctor’s Wife. Although this character has never appeared on-screen, the Corsair has recently been brought to life in Titan Comics‘ Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor series, as part of which Thirteenth Doctor and her companions team up with a female incarnation of the Corsair who took on the persona of a swashbuckling pirate, complete with a sailing ship-shaped TARDIS. ‘One Virtue, and a Thousand Crimes’ once again demonstrates how fascinating and engaging a character the Corsair is, and who’s relationship with the Doctor and own adventures are always exciting to explore in more depth.
Similarly, the brand-new artwork produced especially for Adventures in Lockdown only enhances the stories’ enjoyability, with cover artist Sophie Cowdrey, as well as Chris Riddell, Mike Collins, and Valentina Mozzo providing some of the book’s most impressive illustrations.
Adventures in Lockdown Provides a Much-Needed Sense of Nostalgia and Reassurance
This collection of stories acts not only as a wonderful memento of the official Doctor Who lockdown initiative, as well as Emily Cook‘s Doctor Who: Lockdown! project, but also as the type of Doctor Who literature many fans will likely need as the pandemic situation continues. Adventures in Lockdown is grounded in a sense of reassuring nostalgia, as it revisits familiar faces and events from the show’s history, and highlight’s the Doctor’s enduring ability to help others facing difficult situations.