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.



An Ordinary Life was the fourth and final story of the first series of The Early Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Matt Fitton, narrated by Peter Purves and Jean Marsh and featured the First Doctor, Steven Taylor and Sara Kingdom.

In this adventure, the Doctor, Steven, and Sara were on the run trying to prevent Daleks from getting back the Taranium that the Doctor managed to steal in the television story The Daleks' Master Plan to prevent a catastrophe. After their ordinary life in this adventure was over, however, the Doctor knew that he would have to return to Kembel after all, leading the TARDIS crew back into the events of Master Plan.

Publisher's summary[]

1950s London: newcomers arrive daily on British shores seeking a fresh start, new opportunities, or simply the chance of a different life. However, some are from much further afield than India or Jamaica...

After an emergency landing, the TARDIS crew must make the best of it, and look to their new neighbours for help. But the Newman family has more than the prejudices of the time to contend with. A sinister force grows in strength amid the pubs, docks and backstreets of London...

And without the Doctor, marooned in a time and place as alien as anything they've ever encountered, Steven and Sara may well face their greatest challenge yet. To live an ordinary life.


An Ordinary Life (1)[]

1950s London, winter. From the window of their house, Joseph Roberts, a Jamaican immigrant, and his nephew's wife, Audrey, watch the snow falling. Audrey and her husband, Michael, have just arrived in London with her new-born baby, Josetta. Audrey is worried about Michael: he seems to be much changed after his arrival. Joseph tries to comfort her, saying Michael is only having trouble to adjust to his new habitat. They hear a strange noise outside.

It is the TARDIS landing in the nearby park. Steven Taylor and Sara Kingdom come out, carrying the Doctor, confused and almost delirious after being attacked by something. At the same time he was attacked, the life support of the TARDIS system started to malfunction, thus forcing all of them out. Joseph sees them from the window and invites them in. Steven thanks Joseph, and the old man invites Steven to put the Doctor sleep in his bed: they have all the floor for themselves. As Sara and Audrey introduce themselves to each other, Audrey's husband, Michael, comes home. Audrey tells him what happened, but that seems to let Michael unfazed; he hurriedly says his wife good night and goes to bed, despite her attempts of having him stay. Joseph makes arrangements for the night: Sara and Audrey will sleep on the sofa, he and Steven on the chairs, and the Doctor will have the bed.

A window is smashed downstairs. Joseph orders Michael to come and take a look, but to no good. Steven goes and stumbles across three young men throwing snowballs. As they see him, the boys target him because he "mixed with that lot" and then run away; Steven tries to follow them but loses them. He manages yet to see something glowing in the nearby park, near to where they left the TARDIS.

Sara asks Joseph and Audrey what the trouble was with those people: they explain they are immigrants from Jamaica, and those boys represent people thinking they don't belong in England. Steven comes back and, while Joseph takes a hammer to fix the window, he tells Sara he checked on the TARDIS: it is still alive and working, but the keyhole for the key has vanished. As Sara goes to repair the window, Audrey asks Steven again what they were doing outside; he replies they "lost our home, and now we're locked out." Hearing that, Joseph says they could ask the next day to their landlord for a room.

The next morning, the inhabitants of the house are awakened by the landlord, Figgis, who after some relutance, agrees to rent a room to Steven and Sara. While Steven and Sara go to take a look at it, Joseph checks on the Doctor, only to find out that the bed is empty. He informs Steven and Sara, and they run to the TARDIS, thinking he would be here. But the TARDIS is gone too.

The Unalike (2)[]

Ten days passed, and Steven and Sara had to adapt to ordinary life in 1950s London. With the help of the Newmans, Steven found a job as a dock worker, and Michael even shared his salary with him until Steven was able to repay him. This, however, put Steven in a bad light with other workers, who disapprove of Steven’s friendship with the immigrants.

Meanwhile, Sara has befriended Audrey. The two women grew so much in confidence that Audrey tells Sara that Michael was different when she knew him, more light-hearted and jovial. She is worried that he is changed because now he is worried about providing for her and Josetta, and wonders whether they made a mistake coming here. Sara suggests Steven may talk to Michael, but Audrey refuses, saying that husband and wife must sort out their own troubles.

That evening, while eating fish and chips after an unsuccessful attempt at cooking, Steven and Sara discuss their situation. Steven too noticed that Michael, hard-working as he is, still seems to be somewhat distracted. They think the Doctor left because he felt he had better chances alone against the Daleks. Steven then asks Sara whether she ever thought of stopping somewhere, living a quiet, ordinary life in time. He personally is somewhat intrigued by the idea; Sara instead wishes she could do something useful.

Some days later, Steven witnesses some of his co-workers, led by Billy Flint, attacking Michael to nail it into a crane. Steven intervenes and stops them, but the ensuing fight results in him and Michael being fired because of it. Since someone needs to work, Sara takes her chance to enlist as an agent to the local police station. When the constables try to dismiss her, she forcefully insists, to the point that she ends up attacking the entire force at the station, just to prove them she is capable. Eventually, however, she is subdued and locked in a detention cell for a night.

That night, as the Newmans have dinner, the three teenagers who threw snowballs at their house come back together with Billy Flint (the brother of one of them) and start touting them. After reproaching Michael for not doing anything, Joseph comes out to face them. He is joined by Steven, who heard the noise, and finally, Michael, who for all evening, kept repeating: “They are coming.” Steven arrives just in time to help Joseph as he is the victim of a heart attack, and to see Michael coming out of the house, pointing at a crowd advancing towards them. To their amazement, Billy Flint and the other attackers see that the new arrivals are identical to them. They tried to run, but they are stopped and attacked by their doubles. Michael tells Steven that soon it will be his turn, as the twins surround him and Joseph while repeating: “We are coming. We are here.”

The Sleeping Army (3)[]

By hearing the sound of an ambulance coming, Michael and the crowd of doubles depart, bringing with them the assailants. Steven leaves Joseph to Audrey's care and follows them; he sees the doubles carry their captives to a wagon belonging to the company Steven and Michael used to work for. He almost loses it but manages to grab the rope for opening the gates and is dragged away as a result.

Meanwhile, Sara, released from prison, comes home just in time to see Michael driving the wagon away and Joseph being taken away in the ambulance. She comforts a distraught Audrey and manages to calm her down. Audrey tells her that the wagon Sara saw belonged to the dockyard, and that is probably where the men are going. Sara moves to reach the dock. Still, Audrey stops her, insisting that she must go: Michael is her husband, and therefore her responsibility. In the meantime, she asks Sara to look after Josetta. Sara is reluctant but eventually agrees, on the promise that Audrey will not put herself in danger. Audrey promises and leaves for the dock.

At the dock, Steven successfully hides as the wagon reaches the dock's gate and is then able to track them down to a warehouse, where the doubles take down their unconscious prisoners. He accidentally stumbles across a crowbar, apparently without consequences. After ensuring that nobody is in sight, he makes a run for the warehouse, intending to enter and investigate.

In the warehouse, Steven sees crates, on top of which stands what looks like a vast amount of mould. Michael greets him: he heard the noise of the crowbar, and now he wants to show Steven everything. He leads Steven to the far end of the warehouse. As they go on, the masses of mould become larger, more fluid, and lighter, resembling a red jelly. Steven is even able to see that, inside them, there are bodies identical to people he knew during his time in 1950s England, as Billy Flint or the owner of the dockyard. They are alive, Michael assures him: they have no use for the dead. At the end of the warehouse, a gigantic pale of jelly covers a form which Steven, to his horror, recognizes as the TARDIS; the Doctor also is here, unconscious and prisoner of a jelly form. Steven confronts Michael about all of this. He finally understands that the person he is talking to is not Michael Newman.

At the Newmans' house Sara, exasperated by Josetta's constant cries, decides to take her out for a walk in her pram. Her road leads them back to the police station, in time for Sara to see another lorry from the dockyard arrive. Unseen by its occupants, Sara witnesses two of the doubles kidnap the sergeant who locked her up, and one of them (identical to him) take his place. She decides then to head back home.

At the warehouse, Steven sees the real Michael Newman trapped and unconscious in gelatin, while the fake Michael explains that the bodies are needed to create a psychic link between the original and its copy. Michael Newman awoke them as they slept at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, and they used his dreams of a new life to start their invasion. The creatures want to live on mainland; still, to do that, they need the power to keep their ability to morph, and they want to use the TARDIS as a source of energy. That's why they created a mental link to it, forcing it to crash-land, also sending the Doctor into a coma as a result of the psychic connection between him and the ship. Steven is then attacked by his double and copied in his turn, as Audrey reaches the warehouse, to succumb to the same fate.

Back at the house, Sara is confronted by the double of Audrey. By hearing Josetta cry at the sight of the double, Sara understands that it is not Audrey. The twins of Steven and Michael also appear, slowly advancing towards Sara, inviting her to join them. Sara takes out her gun and, even though they told her that any harm done to them would be inflicted on the originals, she fires.

The Enemy Without (4)[]

With her shot, Sara breaks a window and jumps out in the yard of the house, still holding Josetta. As she is running away, a hothouse opens, and the Doctor appears from inside, signalling her to reach him. Sara takes his advice and hides with him, thus escaping her pursuers. They then head for a nearby pub, so that the Doctor can explain to Sara what is going on in relative safety.

At the pub, the Doctor tells Sara how the anemone-like changeling were accidentally awoken by Michael on his journey to England, when he fished out their knot-heart and, mistaking it for a precious stone, decided to present it to his wife as a gift. Since he had latent psychic powers, the knot-heart connected with his mind and drew enough energy to copy him; then, once in London, they kept using him as an energy source. When they felt the TARDIS approach, they recognized its psychic energy and locked onto it, thus sending the Doctor into a coma and activating the defence systems of the ship. However, the Doctor’s mind was still awake: he was then able to resist their influence and gather information while at the same time hiding his presence. Steven’s arrival at the dock woke him up, and the Doctor then set out to search for Sara.

At this point, the Doctor invites Sara to look around: there are many people in the pub, of all races and class, all sitting together, in a way that is not natural for the 1950s, where class and race divisions are still active. Sara understands they are surrounded by copies. The Doctor closes his eyes and uses his mental energies to shield himself and Sara, but he can’t hold for long: he then sends Sara away to the dock, to disrupt the knot-heart (which is the brain and the heart of the changelings). Sara leaves Josetta with him and goes off.

Sara reaches the dock, enters the storehouse and reaches the real Michael, still trapped in the jelly with the knot-heart placed on his chest. She manages to wake him up, and Michael steps out from the gelatin and takes the heart away from his chest. Sara grabs it as they are attacked by Audrey and Steven’s doubles, as the knot tries to connect with Sara’s mind. Michael, who, like the Doctor, had been awake all the time in his mind and knows everything his doppelganger knew, tells Sara to send it back into the water. He then fends off the assault of the doubles, while Sara runs to a nearby jerry, throws the heart in the air and shots at it, tearing it apart in little pieces which fall into the water. As a result, she breaks the link between the copies and the originals, destroying the ones and releasing the others, included Steven. The Doctor reaches them and explains that, while the main changeling is not dead, still, without a mind to link into, he has no way to be technically alive. As for its victims, they will probably forget everything or remember it in a perplexed way.

Some days later, the Doctor visits the Newmans at the hospital where Joseph is being cured. He thanks the old man for his help and compliments Michael for how he resisted to the changelings and protected everyone. He says the Newmans their life will be extraordinary: they are often going to confront people as Billy Flint, but in the end, their presence will enrich England. Outside, Steven and Sara fondly remember their time here, but Steven has trouble doing it as a consequence of being copied. Sara promises she won’t let him forget what happened, and the two subconsciously intertwine their hands, just before the Doctor comes out and urges them on to the TARDIS.



  • Steven says that the only thing he knew of the 1950s were the great historical events: the Korean War, the Suez crisis, the GP in Switzerland.

Textless cover art



External links[]