Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



A Big Hand for the Doctor was the first Puffin eshort released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. It featured the First Doctor and Susan Foreman.

It was later published in the short stories anthologies 11 Doctors, 11 Stories, 12 Doctors, 12 Stories and Thirteen Doctors, 13 Stories.

Publisher's summary[]

London, 1900. The First Doctor is missing both his hand and his granddaughter, Susan. Faced with the search for Susan, a strange beam of soporific light, and a host of marauding Soul Pirates intent on harvesting human limbs, the Doctor is promised a dangerous journey into a land he may never forget...


The Doctor is visiting Aldridge, a Xing surgeon, at his practice in London, England in the year 1900. He negotiates getting a hand replacement, after having lost his previous one in a fight with Soul Pirates twenty years earlier. Aldridge agrees to do the Doctor a favour, but only if he becomes the surgeon's assistant for a number of days, to which the Time Lord agrees.

As the Doctor exits the practice, he walks from the Strand and takes a cab to escape the collective fumes. Before he can give his granddaughter Susan a call, he receives a number of messages from her through his wrist communicator. Although he is at first confused by the multiple messages, he recalls Aldridge's jamming dishes. Listening to Susan's pleas for help, the Doctor redirects the cab to Kensington Gardens. At the destination, the Doctor enters the almost unoccupied house of three children Susan befriended. Upstairs, through a window, Susan, the children and their guardian are mesmerised. The Doctor almost takes his granddaughter's hand, but is careful not to enter the enemy Soul Pirates' deadly anti-gravity beam. The Doctor climbed around the beam on to the roof where a Soul Pirate, Igby, is standing watch. Igby promptly knocks the Time Lord's cane to the side, but he catches the Pirate's sword with his prosthetic hand. The hand tears, and Igby falls backwards. As the Soul Pirates' ship's beam retreats with its occupants, the Doctor jumps in to it to follow.

As the beam takes the six members up, the Doctor hallucinates of his mother on Gallifrey. He snaps out of it, and they enter the ship, which is well above the clouds. The Soul Pirates shoot them with water, to wake them up. Gomb, one of the Pirates, discovers that among them is a Time Lord. Susan wakes up and asks her grandfather what to do, but he requests she rest until needed. Gomb picks up two of the children, laying them out. As he returns for Susan, the Doctor pulls the release switch on the hose in the Pirate's belt, and gives them time to group as Gomb is blasted away. He directs Susan to get the others to the centre of the space gates. The six of them all connect in a "circuit". Following yelling from a close corridor, the Captain enters the room, welcoming the Doctor back to their ship. The Doctor is further annoyed when he spots his shrunken hand around his neck. The doors of the space gates open, and the group of six fall down to Earth. The Captain of the Soul Pirates is at first confused, and checks the computers. The anti-gravity beam powers up and the space gates close, causing the ship to explode. Pulses from the explosion reach the band and slows their fall to Earth.

Some time later, Aldridge is discussing the ordeal with Susan, and is mildly surprised. Susan plays with several of Aldridge's things, to which he tells her off, and they exchange conversation while waiting for the Doctor, who is in the back room, post-operation. They hear noises, and go to see him. Aldridge admits to the Time Lord that he almost regenerated twice during his hand operation, but it seemed to be successful. Susan comments on how her grandfather's new hand looks slightly big for him.

In an epilogue, it is mentioned that a man, who was sitting in Kensington Gardens, saw a large part of the fight between the Doctor and the Soul Pirates. Being an author, and having little success in his profession, he was stunned by the occurrence, forever unsure as to if the event actually happened. The man began writing with haste his piece of literature that would attain him "literary immortality" in the future to come.



The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor complains about humans and buttons, and makes remarks about Velcro.
  • The Doctor recalls "the Inscrutable Doppelgänger fiasco", and the two litres of TL-positive blood he had to part with.
  • The Doctor has parked the TARDIS in Hyde Park.
  • The Doctor references the school Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series, noting that no one would appreciate his reference for almost a century.
  • The Doctor's real left hand was cut off by the captain of the Soul Pirates.
  • There are numerous things that do not make the Doctor happy, including the paintings of Gallifreyan Subjunctivists, Marmite, Blake's 7, and "the clammy, pungent squeeze of a Victorian London crowd". Susan Foreman is listed as one of the few things that could make him happy.
  • The Doctor had been eaten twice before, on the same holiday, by blarph whales in Lake Rhonda.
  • The Doctor sees his mother in an hallucination.


  • Susan, in Aldrige's office, flicks her fingers against what looks like a tiny TARDIS. Aldrige claims that an octo-shark is inside it.


  • Aldridge is a Xing surgeon.
  • Aldridge closed his practice on Gallifrey because he found the Time Lords pompous, particularly in calling themselves "Time Lords".
  • Aldridge has a group of "amphibi-men" waiting for tail extensions in "the back".
  • Aldridge jokingly suggests that the Doctor regenerate, and that maybe the next one will have a better sense of humour, as well as a sense of fashion.
  • Aldridge uses a sonic scalpel.



  • The Soul Pirates have a tractor beam that uses a soporific agent to make whoever is in it to hallucinate.


  • The writer of this short story, Eoin Colfer, peppers the story with references to the novel Peter Pan written by J. M. Barrie, who appears to have been inspired whilst watching events at the end of the tale. References include the Soul-Pirates motto "We Never Land", children flying through the sky in a blaze of stars in a euphoric state, the second star to the right, pirates wielding swords and hands that aren't hands.
  • An audiobook of the story was read by Nicholas Briggs.
  • The epilogue reveals that the events of the book, from the children being trapped in the anti-gravity beam to the Doctor fighting off the captain, was being watched by J. M. Barrie, who would later write Peter Pan.


External links[]