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  02x08 - The Idiot's Lantern
 Posted: 05/11/13 08:11
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[Magpie's Electricals]

(It is a stormy night. The sole proprietor of the shop on the corner of Mafeking Terrace is doing his books, while an impressive array of cathode ray television sets on shelves have a woman announcer on them, in black and white.)

ANNOUNCER [OC]: Orchestrations were arranged by Sir Rodney Fenning, and Dame Eve English is a member of the Kings Lynn Players. So tune in again next week for more from the What's My Line team. And that brings us to the end of programming for today. So, from all of us here at Alexandra Palace, a very good night.

(The National Anthem plays.)

MAGPIE: Two hundred pounds overdrawn. I need a miracle.

[Living room]

(The family are listening to the wireless. Mother is using a sewing machine by the window. Gran is in an easy chair eating a toasted crumpet, while the son of the household reads a magazine.)

RITA: He's a caution, that one! He does make me laugh.

(The man of the house enters wearing suit and tie and a fair collection medals on his chest, although no more than any Tommy would have earned if he's actually seen combat.)

GRAN: Our lord and master.

EDDIE: Rita, I'm off out.


EDDIE: Oh, how many times, son? We'll see.

TOMMY: But everyone's getting a telly, dad. Even Mister Gallagher, and the Bells at number sixty seven.

EDDIE: Well, perhaps we'll get one for the Coronation. If you're lucky. We'll see. Don't wait up.

(Eddie leaves.)

GRAN: I heard they rot your brains. Rot them into soup, and your brain comes pouring out of your ears. That's what television does.

[Magpie's Electricals]

(Eddie walks past the shop in the pouring rain, and lightning strikes Magpie's television aerial. It glows red. Inside, Magpie has fallen asleep over his books. Suddenly the little dot on the television turns back into the image of the lady announcer.)

WIRE: Mister Magpie? Oh, Mister Magpie?


WIRE: Woo hoo! Can you hear me, Magpie?

MAGPIE: Yes. I must be dreaming

WIRE: Oh no, this isn't a dream.

MAGPIE: I'm going doolally, then.

WIRE : Not at all, sweetheart. Now, are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then we'll begin.

(Energy lances out from the woman on the television to Magpie's head, and his face is sucked towards her as she laughs.)


(A pair of pink high heels and layers of tulle step out of the Tardis. Rose is in full 50's mod chick gear.)

ROSE: I thought we'd be going for the Vegas era, you know the white flares and the, grr, chest hair.

(The Doctor has his hair in a Teddy boy quiff.)

DOCTOR: You are kidding, aren't you? You want to see Elvis, you go for the late fifties. The time before burgers. When they called him the Pelvis and he still had a waist. What's more, you see him in style.

(The Doctor rides a scooter out of the Tardis. He's wearing a white crash helmet and shades. He's a Mod, all right.)

DOCTOR: You going my way, doll?

ROSE: Is there any other way to go, daddy-o? Straight from the fridge, man.

DOCTOR: Hey, you speak the lingo.

ROSE: Oh well, me, mum, Cliff Richard movies every Bank Holiday Monday.

(She gets on the pillion and puts on a pink crash helmet.)

DOCTOR: Ah, Cliff. I knew your mother'd be a Cliff fan.

(They ride off down the street.)


ROSE: Where we off to?

DOCTOR: Ed Sullivan TV Studios. Elvis did Hound Dog on one of the shows. There were loads of complaints. Bit of luck, we'll just catch it.

ROSE: And that'll be TV studios in, what, New York?

DOCTOR: That's the one.

(A red London bus drives past the end of the street. The Doctor pulls up by a red post box and now we see lots of Union Flag bunting strung between the houses.)

ROSE: Ha! Digging that New York vibe.

DOCTOR: Well, this could still be New York. I mean, this looks very New York to me. Sort of Londony New York, mind.

ROSE: What are all the flags for?

[Living room]

(The new television has arrived. The family are sitting staring at it instead of getting on with useful things.)

ANNETTE MILLS [on TV]: (sings) We love Muffin, everybody sing. We want Muffin the Mule. Hello.

EDDIE: Smashing. Smashing, innit? You'd have thought they was in the room with you, eh? Fair do's Tommy, you had a point. New television. There, that should cheer you up a bit, Rita. Give us a smile, then, eh?

RITA: I can't. Nothing's the same any more, not with her

EDDIE: Stop going on about it.

RITA: But her face, Eddie. What happened to her? That awful face.

EDDIE: I said, stop it!

(Someone thumps on the ceiling.)

RITA: She's awake. I think she's hungry.

[Florizel Street]

(Another television set is delivered from the back of Magpie's van.)

MAGPIE: There you go, sir, all wired up for the great occasion.

DOCTOR: The great occasion? What do you mean?

MAGPIE: Where've you been living, out in the Colonies? Coronation, of course.

DOCTOR: What Coronation's that then?

MAGPIE: What do you mean? The Coronation.

ROSE: It's the Queen's. Queen Elizabeth.

DOCTOR: Oh! Is this 1953?

MAGPIE: Last time I looked. Time for a lovely bit of pomp and circumstance, what we do best.

ROSE: Look at all the TV aerials. Looks like everyone's got one. That's weird. My nan said tellies were so rare they all had to pile into one house.

MAGPIE: Not around here, love. Magpie's Marvellous Tellies, only five quid a pop.

DOCTOR: Oh, but this is a brilliant year. Classic! Technicolour, Everest climbed, everything off the ration. The nation throwing off the shadows of war and looking forward to a happier, brighter future.

MRS GALLAGHER: Someone help me, please! Ted!

(Two burly men in black suits bundle a person into the back of a car, with a blanket over his head.)

MRS GALLAGHER: Leave him alone! He's my husband! Please.

DOCTOR: What's going on?

(Tommy runs out of the house.)

TOMMY: Oi, what are you doing?

BISHOP: Police business. Now, get out of the way, sir.

ROSE: Who did they take? Do you know him?

TOMMY: Must be Mister Gallagher.

(The car drives away.)

TOMMY: It's happening all over the place. They're turning into monsters.

EDDIE: Tommy! Not one word! Get inside now!

TOMMY: Sorry. I'd better do as he says

(The Doctor and Rose get back on the moped.)

DOCTOR: All aboard!

[Police car]

BISHOP: Operation Market Stall, go, go, go!

(The car drives down an apparent dead end. A pair of gates with an Offices to Let on them open to let it in, then a couple of men push a vegetable barrow in front of it to block the way.)


DOCTOR: Lost them. How'd they get away from us?

ROSE: Surprised they didn't turn back and arrest you for reckless driving. Have you actually passed your test?

DOCTOR: Men in black? Vanishing police cars? This is Churchill's England, not Stalin's Russia.

ROSE: Monsters, that boy said. Maybe we should go and ask the neighbours.

DOCTOR: That's what I like about you. The domestic approach.

ROSE: Thank you. Hold on, was that an insult? Whoa!

(The Doctor zooms off again.)

[Magpie's Electricals]

(There is a very strange test card on the television sets.)

MAGPIE: I've finished it, as you instructed.

(A portable radio has been converted into a television.)

WIRE: That's awfully good of you, Mister Magpie.

MAGPIE: So you'll go soon? You'll leave me?

WIRE: Oh, we'll see. If you're a very good boy.

MAGPIE: Please, you're burning me, inside, behind my eyes. It hurts. Even my memories hurt. I just want things back like they used to be.

WIRE: Oh, but this world of your is busy, busy, busy, forging ahead into a brand new age. You can never go back. That's your tragedy. But now, the time is almost ripe, Magpie. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Or lady.

[Upstairs landing]

(The slow thumping has started again. Tommy goes to the door at the end of the landing with the key.)

TOMMY: Gran? Gran, it's me. It's Tommy. I'm going to come in, Gran. Stand back. Just don't. I'm sorry, but I've got to come in.

EDDIE: What do you think you're doing?

TOMMY: We've got to try and help her, dad.

EDDIE: Give me that key. I said give me that key, right now.

(Tommy gives the key to his father.)

EDDIE: Don't think I've finished with you.

[Living room]

EDDIE: All the warnings I've given you, and every time, every time, you disobey me.

TOMMY: We can't just lock her away.

EDDIE: Excuse me, sunshine. I am talking. You can forget that college nonsense. You're going to come and work alongside me. Get your hands dirty for once.


RITA: Oh lord, won't she ever stop?

EDDIE: There, there, Rita, my sweet. Business as usual. Now let's get these up all over the house in honour of her Majesty.

RITA: But Eddie, what if she's dying?

EDDIE: I am talking! That's better. A little bit of hush.

(The doorbell rings.)

[Front door]


EDDIE: Who are you, then?

DOCTOR: Let's see, then. Judging by the look of you, family man, nice house, decent wage, fought in the war, therefore I represent Queen and country.

(The Doctor holds up the psychic paper.)

DOCTOR: Just doing a little check of Her forthcoming Majesty's subjects before the great day. Don't mind if I come in? Nah, I didn't think you did. Thank you.

[Living room]

DOCTOR: Not bad. Very nice. Very well kept. I'd like to congratulate you, Mrs?

RITA: Connolly.

EDDIE: Now then, Rita. I can handle this. This gentleman's a proper representative. Don't mind the wife, she rattles on a bit.

DOCTOR: Well, maybe she should rattle on a bit more. I'm not convinced you're doing your patriotic duty. Nice flags. Why are they not flying?

EDDIE: There we are Rita, I told you, Get them up. Queen and country.

RITA: I'm sorry.

EDDIE: Get it done. Do it now.

DOCTOR: Hold on a minute.

EDDIE: Like the gentleman says.

DOCTOR: Hold on a minute. You've got hands, Mister Connolly. Two big hands. So why is that your wife's job?

EDDIE: Well, it's housework, innit?

DOCTOR: And that's a woman's job?

EDDIE: Of course it is.

DOCTOR: Mister Connolly, what gender is the Queen?

EDDIE: She's a female.

DOCTOR: And are you suggesting the Queen does the housework?

EDDIE: No. Not at all.

DOCTOR: Then get busy.

EDDIE: Right. Yes, sir. You'll be proud of us, sir. We'll have Union Jacks left, right and centre.

ROSE: Excuse me, Mister Connolly. Hang on a minute. Union Jacks?

EDDIE: Yes, that's right, isn't it?

ROSE: That's the Union Flag. It's the Union Jack only when it's flown at sea.

EDDIE: Oh. Oh, I'm sorry, I do apologise.

ROSE: Well, don't get it wrong again, there's a good man. Now get to it!

DOCTOR: Right then! Nice and comfy, at Her Majesty's leisure. Union Flag?

(The Doctor and Rose settle on the sofa.)

ROSE: Mum went out with a sailor.

DOCTOR: Oh ho ho ho. I bet she did. Anyway, I'm the Doctor and this is Rose, and you are?

TOMMY: Tommy.

DOCTOR: Well, sit yourself down, Tommy. Have a look at this. I love telly, don't you?

TOMMY: Yeah, I think it's brilliant.

DOCTOR: Good man!

(The man on the TV is showing the viewers the vertebra of an ichthyosaurus.)

DOCTOR: Keep working, Mister C! Now, why don't you tell me what's wrong?

RITA: Did you say you were a doctor?

DOCTOR: Yes, I am.

RITA: Can you help her? Oh please, can you help her, Doctor?

EDDIE: Now then, Rita. I don't think the gentleman needs to know

DOCTOR: No, the gentleman does.

ROSE: Tell us what's wrong, and we can help.

(Rita bursts into tears. Rose goes to comfort her.)

ROSE: I'm sorry. It's all right. Come here. It's okay.

EDDIE: Hold on a minute. Queen and country's one thing, but this is my house! What the?

(He throws the bunting down.)

EDDIE: What the hell am I doing? Now you listen here, Doctor. You may have fancy qualifications, but what goes on under my roof is my business.

DOCTOR: A lot of people are being bundled into

EDDIE: I am talking!

DOCTOR: And I'm not listening! Now you, Mister Connolly, you are staring into a deep, dark pit of trouble if you don't let me help. So I'm ordering you, sir! Tell me what's going on!

(Thump. Thump. Thump.)

EDDIE: She won't stop. She never stops.

TOMMY: We started hearing stories, all round the place. People who've changed. Families keeping it secret because they were scared. Then the police started finding out. We don't know how, no one does. They just turn up, come to the door and take them, any time of the day or night.

DOCTOR: Show me.

[Gran's room]

(It is dark.)

TOMMY: Gran? It's Tommy. It's all right, Gran. I've brought help.

(He turns the light on. The old woman is standing there with no eyes, nose or mouth. A black car pulls up outside.)

DOCTOR: Her face is completely gone.

(He uses the sonic screwdriver.)

DOCTOR: Scarcely an electrical impulse left. Almost complete neural shutdown. She's ticking over. It's like her brain has been wiped clean.

TOMMY: What're we going to do, Doctor? We can't even feed her.

(Someone breaks down the front door.)

ROSE: We've got company

RITA: It's them. They've come for her!

DOCTOR: Quickly. What was she doing before this happened? Where was she? Tell me. Quickly, think!

TOMMY: I can't think! She doesn't leave the house! She was just

(The burly men in black burst in.)

DOCTOR: Hold on a minute. There are three important, brilliant, and complicated reasons why you should listen to me. One

(The Doctor gets punched in the face.)

ROSE: Doctor!

(The men throw a blanket over Gran and bundle her out while Rose tries to wake the Doctor up.)

RITA: Leave her alone! No!

ROSE: Doctor!


RITA: Don't hurt her!

[Front door]

EDDIE: Back inside, Rita.

RITA: She's my mother.

EDDIE: Back inside now, I said.

(Gran is bundled into the car.)

[Gran's room]

(The Doctor suddenly sits up, nearly giving Rose a Glasgow kiss.)

DOCTOR: Ah, hell of a right hook. Have to watch out for that.

[Front door]

EDDIE: Don't fight it. Back inside.

DOCTOR: Rose, come on!

EDDIE: Get back inside!

(Rose stops at the living room door and sees red energy coming from the television set.)

TOMMY: But Dad, they took her!

EDDIE: Don't fight it, son. Don't fight it.

[Florizel Street]

DOCTOR: Rose, we're going to lose them again!

[Front door]

(The energy disappears.)

TOMMY: Dad, they took her! That was Gran and they took her!

EDDIE: Come on, back inside, now.

[Living room]

(The Doctor rides off. Rose turns the set around to see the last of the energy disappearing into the aerial connection. She sees the supplier's label, too.)

TOMMY: Anyway, how did they find her? Who told them?

EDDIE: You! Get the hell out of my house!

ROSE: I'm going. I'm done. Nice to meet you, Tommy, Mrs Connolly. And as for you, Mister Connolly, only an idiot hangs the Union Flag upside down. Shame on you!

[Outside the yard]

(This time the Doctor is quick enough to see the tail end of Operation Market Stall.)

DOCTOR: Oh, very good. Very good.

(He goes exploring, and uses the screwdriver to open a small door in the big gates.)

[Holding area]

(In the yard, he sees the two burly men padlock a wire door and walk off. The Doctor goes over and unlocks it. He goes into an area with large cages and opens one. It is full of blank people, who occasionally clench their fists. They turn towards the light of his torch, then someone switches on a pair of searchlights.)

BISHOP: Stay where you are.

[Magpie's Electricals]

(The weird test signal is on the sets. Rose enters.)

MAGPIE: Oh, I'm sorry, Miss. I'm afraid you're too late. I was just about to lock the door.

ROSE: Yeah? Well, I want to buy a telly.

MAGPIE: Come back tomorrow, please.

ROSE: You'll be closed, won't you?


ROSE: For the big day? The coronation.

MAGPIE: Yes, yes, of course. The big day. I'm sure you'll find somewhere to watch it. Please go.

ROSE: Seems to me half of London's got a television, since you're practically giving them away.

MAGPIE: I have my reasons.

ROSE: And what are they?

(A woman's face appears on just one screen.)

WIRE: Hungry! Hungry!

ROSE: What's that?

MAGPIE: It's just a television. One of these modern programmes. Now, I really do think you should leave. Right now!

ROSE: Not until you've answered my questions. How come's your televisions are so cheap?

MAGPIE: It's my patriotic duty. Seems only right that as many folk as possible get to watch the coronation. We may be losing the Empire but we can still be proud. Twenty million people they reckon'll be watching. Imagine that. And twenty million people can't be wrong, eh, so why don't you get yourself back home and get up, bright and early, for the big day.

ROSE: Nah, I'm not leaving till I've seen everything.

MAGPIE: I need to close.

ROSE: Mister Magpie, something's happening out there. Ordinary people are being struck down and changed, and the only new thing in the house is a television. Your television. What's going on?

MAGPIE: I knew this would happen. I knew I'd be found out.

(He locks the shop door.)

ROSE: All right, then, it's just you and me. You going to come clean, then? What's really in it for you?

MAGPIE: For me? Perhaps some peace.

ROSE: From what?

MAGPIE: From her.

ROSE: That's just a woman on the telly. That's just a programme.

WIRE: What a pretty little girl.

ROSE: Oh, my God. Are you talking to me?

WIRE: Yes I'm talking to you, little one. Unseasonably chilly for the time of year, don't you think?

ROSE: What are you?

WIRE: I'm the Wire, and I'm hungry!

(Energy lances out and grabs Rose's face.)

ROSE: Magpie, help me!

MAGPIE: Just think of that audience tomorrow, my dear, all settling down to watch the coronation. Twenty million people. Things will never be the same again. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

ROSE: Help me.

WIRE: Goodnight, children, everywhere.

[Bishop's office]

(In the derelict building, with broken windows.)

BISHOP: Start from the beginning. Tell me everything you know.

DOCTOR: Well, for starters, I know you can't wrap your hand around your elbow and make your fingers meet.

BISHOP: Don't get clever with me. You were there today at Florizel Street, and now breaking into this establishment. Now you're connected with this. Make no mistake.

DOCTOR: Well, the thing is, Detective Inspector Bishop.

BISHOP: How do you know my name?

DOCTOR: It's written inside your collar. Bless your mum. But I can't help thinking, Detective Inspector, you're not exactly doing much detective inspecting, are you?

BISHOP: I'm doing everything in my power.

DOCTOR: All you're doing is grabbing those faceless people and hiding them as fast as you can. Don't tell me orders from above, hmm? Coronation Day. The eyes of the world are on London Town so any sort of problem just gets swept out of sight.

BISHOP: The nation has an imagine to maintain.

DOCTOR: But doesn't it drive you mad, doing nothing? Don't you want to get out there and investigate?

BISHOP: Of course I do. But, with all the crowds expected, we haven't got the man power. Even if we did, this is beyond anything we've ever seen. I just don't know anymore. Twenty years on the force, I don't even know where to start. We haven't the faintest clue what's going on.

DOCTOR: Well, that could change.


DOCTOR: Start from the beginning. Tell me everything you know.

(Another person is delivered to the holding area.)

BISHOP: We started finding them about a month ago. Persons left sans visage. Heads just blank.

DOCTOR: Is there any sort of pattern?

BISHOP: Yes, spreading out from North London. All over the city. Men, women, kids, grannies. The only real lead is there's been quite a large number in

DOCTOR: Florizel Street.

CRABTREE: Found another one, sir.

BISHOP: Oh, er, good man, Crabtree. Here we are, Doctor. Take a good look. See what you can deduce.

(The pink shoes and skirt tell us even before Crabtree takes the blanket off.)


BISHOP: You know her?

DOCTOR: Know her? She

CRABTREE: They found her in the street, apparently, over by (something) Square, abandoned.

BISHOP: That's unusual. That's the first one out in the open. Heaven help us if something happens in public tomorrow for the big day. We'll have Torchwood on our backs then, make no mistake.

DOCTOR: They did what?

BISHOP: I'm sorry?

DOCTOR: They left her where?

BISHOP: Just in the street.

DOCTOR: In the street. They left her in the street. They took her face and just chucked her out and left her in the street. And as a result, that makes things simple. Very, very simple. Do you know why?


DOCTOR: Because now, Detective Inspector Bishop, there is no power on this Earth that can stop me. Come on!

[Outside the warehouse]

BISHOP: The big day dawns.

[Front passage]

(Guests are arriving.)

EDDIE: You've had your fun with your little Doctor, but now you're left with me, Rita. So you'll behave yourself and smile.

[Living room]

EDDIE: Here we go, everyone. Here we go. Grub's up, grub's up. Tuck in, everyone. Tuck in. Take a sandwich. Oh, here we go, here we go, it's started. Look, look. Take your places. Sit down, sit down. That's it. There we are.

(Eddie takes his comfy chair while the guests take the other seats and the floor.)

WILMOT [OC]: The East front of the palace on which all eyes are

BETTY: Rita, love. Just look at that telly box then. Ee, innit marvellous. The picture's so clear.

EDDIE: Here, Bet. I says to Rita, I says, you didn't need to get your hair done special, love. The Queen won't be able to see you!

BETTY: Where's your old mum, then? She can't go missing it.

RITA: Sorry. Er, mum can't make it down.

BETTY: Oh, bless her. Maybe we could pop up and see her later.

TOMMY: Maybe you could. It's a good idea. What do you think, dad? Maybe Aunty Betty can go and see Gran later?

EDDIE: Oh, he loves his Gran, this one. Proper little mummy's boy all round.

BETTY: Oh, you know what they say about them. Eddie, you want to beat that out of him.

EDDIE: That's exactly what I'm going to do.

(The doorbell rings.)

TOMMY: I'll get it.

WILMOT [OC]: Will first appear in about ten minutes time riding in the Gold Coach of State.

[Front door]

DOCTOR: Tommy, talk to me. I need to know exactly what happened inside your house.

EDDIE: What the blazes do you think you're doing?

TOMMY: I want to help, dad.

DOCTOR: Mister Connolly

EDDIE: Shut your face, you, whoever you are. We can handle this ourselves. Listen, you little twerp. You're hardly out of the blooming' cradle, so I don't expect you to understand. But I've got a position to maintain. People round here respect me. It matters what people think.

TOMMY: Is that why you did it, dad?

EDDIE: What do you mean? Did what?

TOMMY: You ratted on Gran. How else would the police know where to look, unless some coward told them

EDDIE: How dare you! Do you think I fought a war just so a mouthy little scum like you could call me a coward?

TOMMY: You don't get it, do you? You fought against fascism, remember? People telling you how to live, who you could be friends with, who you could fall in love with, who could live and who had to die. Don't you get it? You were fighting so that little twerps like me could do what we want, say what we want. Now you've become just like them. You've been informing on everyone, haven't you? Even Gran. All to protect your precious reputation.

RITA: Eddie is that true?

EDDIE: I did it for us, Rita. She was filthy. A filthy, disgusting thing!

RITA: She's my mother. All the others you informed on, all the people in our street, our friends.

EDDIE: I had to. I, I did the right thing.

RITA: The right thing for us or for you, Eddie? You go, Tommy. Go with the Doctor and do some good. Get away from this house, it's poison. We had a ruddy monster under this roof, all right, but it weren't my mother!

(Rita slams the door shut on Eddie.)

EDDIE: Rita!

DOCTOR: Tommy?

[Living room]

BETTY: What was all that, then?

RITA: That was, that was the sound of something ending. And about time too. Everyone all right? Smashing. Nothing's going to spoil our big day, is it?

[Florizel Street]

(Trestle tables are being laid for the street party.)

DOCTOR: Tommy, tell me about that night. The night she changed.

TOMMY: She was just watching the telly.

DOCTOR: Rose said it. She guessed it straight away. Of course she did. All these aerials in one little street. How come?

TOMMY: Bloke up the road, Mister Magpie, he's selling them cheap.

BISHOP: Is he, now?

DOCTOR: Come on!

[Magpie's Electricals]

(The Doctor breaks in.)

BISHOP [OC]: Here, you can't do that

DOCTOR: Shop! If you're here, come out and talk to me! Magpie!

TOMMY: Maybe he's out.

DOCTOR: Looks like it

(The Doctor searches the drawers of the counter and finds the portable television.)

DOCTOR: Oh, hello. This isn't right. This is very much not right. Tastes like iron. Bakelite. Put together with human hands, yes, but the design itself. Oh, beautiful work. That is so simple.

BISHOP: That's incredible. It's like a television, but portable. A portable television.

(The Doctor raises his sonic screwdriver.)

DOCTOR: It's not the only power source in this room.

(The television screens each light up with a different face mouthing help me.)

TOMMY: Gran?

(Rose is mouthing Doctor.)

DOCTOR: I'm on my way.

(Magpie comes in from the back.)

MAGPIE: What do you think you're doing?

DOCTOR: I want my friend restored, and I think that's beyond a little backstreet electrician, so tell me, who's really in charge here?

WIRE: Yoo hoo! I think that must be me. Ooh, this one's smart as paint.

BISHOP: Is she talking to us?

MAGPIE: I'm sorry, gentlemen, I'm afraid you've brought this on yourselves. May I introduce you to my new friend.

WIRE: Jolly nice to meet you.

BISHOP: Oh my God, it's her, that woman off the telly.

DOCTOR: No, it's just using her image.

TOMMY: What? What are you?

WIRE: I'm the Wire, and I will gobble you up, pretty boy. Every last morsel. And when I have feasted, I shall regain the corporeal body, which my fellow kind denied me.

(The black and white image transforms.)

BISHOP: Good Lord. Colour television!

DOCTOR: So your own people tried to stop you?

WIRE: They executed me. But I escaped in this form and fled across the stars.

DOCTOR: And now you're trapped in the television.

WIRE: Not for much longer.

TOMMY: Doctor, is this what got my Gran?

DOCTOR: Yes, Tommy. It feeds off the electrical activity of the brain, but it gorges itself like a great overfed pig, taking people's faces, their essences. It stuffs itself.

BISHOP: And you let her do it, Magpie.

MAGPIE: I had to. She allowed me my face. She's promised to release me at the time of manifestation.

TOMMY: What does that mean?

WIRE: The appointed time. My crowning glory.

BISHOP: Doctor, the coronation!

DOCTOR: For the first time in history, millions gathered around a television set. But you're not strong enough yet, are you? You can't do it all from here. That's why you need this. You need something more powerful! This will turn a big transmitter into a big receiver.

WIRE: What a clever thing you are! But why fret about it? Why not just relax? Kick off your shoes and enjoy the Coronation. Believe me, you'll be glued to the screen.

(Energy lances out at them.)

BISHOP: Doctor!

WIRE: Hungry! Hungry! The Wire is hungry! Ah, this one is tasty. Oh, I'll have lashings of him! Delicious!

(The Doctor starts to finger the sonic screwdriver.)

WIRE: Ah! Armed. He's armed and clever. Withdraw! Withdraw!

(The three men collapse.)

WIRE: The box, Magpie! The box!

(Bishop's face is blank. Magpie grabs the portable.)

WIRE: Hold tight.

(The Wire zaps herself into the portable television.)

WIRE: Conduct me to my victory, Magpie.


WIRE: Hungry! Hungry! Feed me!

[Living room]

BETTY: Oh, she's so lovely.

RITA: Beautiful. Makes you forget all your troubles. Everyone alright for pop?

[Magpie's Electricals]

(The Doctor wakes, and sees the blank policeman.)

DOCTOR: Tommy, wake up. Tommy, come on!

TOMMY: What happened?

DOCTOR: Where's Magpie?

[Outside the shop]

TOMMY: We don't even know where to start looking. It's too late.

DOCTOR: It's never too late, as a wise person once said. Kylie, I think. The Wire's got big plans. It'll need. Yes, yes, yes, it's got to harvest half the population. Millions and millions of people and where are we?

TOMMY: Muswell Hill.

DOCTOR: Muswell Hill. Muswell Hill! Which means Alexandra Palace, biggest TV transmitter in North London. Oh, that's why it chose this place. Tommy?

TOMMY: What are you going to do?

DOCTOR: We're going shopping.

[Magpie's Electricals]

(Tommy finds a big valve.)

TOMMY: Is this what you want?

DOCTOR: Perfect! Right, I need one more thing.

(He gives Tommy the collection of parts and runs outside.)

[Outside the Tardis]

DOCTOR: Got it. Let's go.

[Alexandra Palace]

(As Princess Elizabeth arrives at the Abbey, Magpie makes his way up the transmitter mast. The Doctor is building a contraption while he and Tommy run through the streets.)

MAGPIE: I cant do this! Please, please don't make me!

WIRE: The time is at hand. Feed me! Feed me!

TOMMY: There!

DOCTOR: Come on!

GUARD: Wait, wait, wait! Where do you think

(The Doctor shows him the psychic paper.)

OFFICIAL: Oh! I'm very sorry, sir. Shouldn't you be at the Coronation?

DOCTOR: They're saving me a seat.

TOMMY: Who did he think you were?

DOCTOR: King of Belgium, apparently.

(The Princess enters the Abbey.)

[Control room]

DOCTOR: Keep this switched on. Don't let anyone stop you, Tommy. Everything depends on it. You understand?

(The Doctor takes a coil of copper wire.)

[Alexandra Palace]

(The Doctor runs to the transmitter as the Princess processes down the aisle.)

OFFICIAL: You'll get yourself killed up there! Your Majesty!


(Magpie reaches the top of the mast and attaches the portable television.)

WIRE: Feed me!

(He plugs her in and red energy fills the little screen then streams out from the top of the mast to all the nearby aerials. It starts to suck off the happy faces of the viewers in the Connelly household.)

WIRE: Oh. Feast. Feasting The Wire is feasting.

(The Doctor reaches the top of the transmitter mast.)

MAGPIE: It's too late! It's too late for all of us!

WIRE: I shall consume you, Doctor.

DOCTOR: I won't let you do this, Magpie!

MAGPIE: Help me, Doctor. It burns. It took my face, my soul.

WIRE: You cannot stop the Wire. Soon I shall become manifest.

MAGPIE: No more of this. You promised me peace!

WIRE: And peace you shall have.

(Magpie is zapped into atoms.)

DOCTOR: Been burning the candle at both ends? You've overextended yourself, Missis. You shouldn't have had a crack at poor old Magpie there.

(The Doctor manages to get hold of the portable television without being electrocuted.)

DOCTOR: Rubber soles, swear by them!

(He plugs in his cable, and valves blow down in the control room.)

WIRE: Oh dear. Has our little plan gone horribly wrong, Doctor?

(Tommy gets a replacement valve from the store.)

DIMBLEBY [OC]: Or coat of Chivalry of Cloth of Gold, lined with crimson satin.

(Tommy plugs the contraption back in.)

ARCHBISHOP [OC]: Are you willing to do the same?

(The red energy retreats back to the mast, and into the portable television.)


(The people still have their faces.)

DOCTOR: It's close down, I'm afraid, and no epilogue.

(The Wire screams, then the screen goes blank. In the holding area, everyone has been restored to normal.)

[Control room]

(The National Anthem is playing.)

DOCTOR: What have I missed?

TOMMY: Doctor! What happened?

DOCTOR: Sorted. Electrical creature, TV technology, clever alien life form. That's me by the way. I turned the receiver back into a transmitter and I trapped the Wire in here.

(His contraption turns out to be a VCR).

DOCTOR: I just invented the home video thirty years early. Betamax. Oh, look. God save the Queen, eh?

(Queen Elizabeth the Second waves at the crowd from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.)


GRAN: Oh, it's my grandson, Oh, son!

(Gran and Tommy embrace. The Doctor hugs Rose.)

[Living room]

(Rita is holding a suitcase.)

RITA: This was never your house. It's in my mother's name. And on her behalf I'm telling you, out.

(Rita puts down the suitcase. Eddie picks it up and leaves.)

[Florizel Street]

(The street party is in full swing.)

ROSE: We could go down the Mall, join in with the crowds.

DOCTOR: Nah, that's just pomp and circumstance. This is history right here.

ROSE: The domestic approach.

DOCTOR: Exactly.

ROSE: Will it, that thing, is it trapped for good on video?

DOCTOR: Hope so. Just to be on the safe side though, I'll use my unrivalled knowledge of transtemporal extirpation methods to neutralise the residual electronic pattern.

ROSE: You what?

DOCTOR: I'm going to tape over it.

ROSE: Just leave it to me. I'm always doing that.

DOCTOR: Tell you what, Tommy, you can have the scooter. Little present. Best, er, keep it in the garage for a few years though, eh?

(Eddie leaves the house in his overcoat.)

TOMMY: Good riddance.

(Rita and her mother hug as Eddie walks off.)

DOCTOR: Is that it, then, Tommy? New monarch, new age, new world. No room for a man like Eddie Connelly.

TOMMY: That's right. He deserves it.

ROSE: Tommy, go after him.

TOMMY: What for?

ROSE: He's your dad.

TOMMY: He's an idiot.

ROSE: Of course he is. Like I said, he's your dad. But you're clever. Clever enough to save the world, so don't stop there. Go on.

(Eddie runs over to his father and carries his suitcase for him. The Doctor hands Rose a glass of orange and they drink a toast.)

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