Doom’s Day is finally here! Free short story Hour One busies itself with setting out the tone and structure of this year’s multimedia epic

Doom’s Day has begun! This year’s multimedia epic has kicked off on the official Doctor Who website with a free short story written by James Goss. Hour One does exactly what you’d expect. It sets out how Doom’s adventure begins during the first 60 minutes of the last day of her life. Along the way it gives us a little more of an idea of the format, and of the Doctor’s involvement.

James Goss, author of the City of Death novelisation and countless Big Finish productions, provides his familiar mix of whimsy and wry humour. However, the emphasis is on assembling Doom’s Day’s scaffolding, so there’s perhaps less space to squeeze in that many laughs. But there lots of great ideas introduced here, from the unique way time travelling assassins guild the Lesser Order of Oberon operates, to the Grosse Pointe Blank inspired way it’s administered. In fact, the shadow of that 90s dark comedy looms almost as large here as Death’s, with Doom a sparkling cocktail of Martin Blank, River Song and, of course, comedian Sooz Kempner, who’ll provide her face and voice in later instalments.


This first story sets out exactly how the hour-per-story format works while teasing the arc’s central mysteries

Doom is funny, scatty, easily frustrated, and not one to respect authority. Her professional demeanour as a contract killer, meanwhile, mixes a detached lack of sympathy for her victims, and a nervous energy of trying to keep assignments going from bad to worse.

She ignores the warnings of the Doctor (or ‘Magic Grandpa’ as she calls him) to abandon her most recent assignment. But obviously, he’s right. It’s a set up and now she’s marked for death by, well, Death. Literal skull-in-a-black-blanket Death.

Hour One does a great job establishing how Doom’s Day one-hour-per-story format works and why, as well as why Doom thinks the Doctor can help her. It also teases some of the mysteries the arc will explore. We don’t, for instance, see the trap springing, so who’s behind it all and why is still a mystery. While Doom’s plan to find the Doctor is such a preposterous long shot, it’s hard to believe there’s not more connecting the Time Lord to events than we yet know.


It’s early hours yet, but this first story hints at enough wit and imagination for Doom’s Day to be a fun ride

What the short story doesn’t really do yet is give us a reason to care about Doom’s fate. She’s fun, but then so are dozens of other Doctor Who villains. We may enjoy their time on screen, but we’re still happy for them to be fed into composting machines or to dry out and explode. Even the Doctor doesn’t try that hard to stop her making her fatal error.

But Doom is quite literally going on a journey over the next 24 hours. So perhaps she’ll go on a personal one too.

Hour One is really a mere aperitif for the adventure to come. It’s a shame it’s not longer as this is exactly the sort of witty world building at which Goss excels, and you can sense fun ideas about the planet New Venice being bundled out of sight by the word count. But the same imagination populates the rest of Doom’s Day, we should be in a fun summer.

You can read Doom’s Day: Hour One on the official Doctor Who site now.


Doctor Who; Doom's Day (c) BBC Studios Sooz Kempner Brian the Ood Missy
Doctor Who; Doom’s Day (c) BBC Studios

Doctor Who: Doom’s Day continues in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine 592 on the 22nd of June



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