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Black and White was the one hundred and sixty-third story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Matt Fitton and featured Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace, Philip Olivier as Hex, Amy Pemberton as Sally Morgan and Maggie O'Neill as Lysandra Aristedes.

Publisher's summary[]

The TARDIS arrives in the land of the Danes, where a young warrior seeks to rid the kingdom of Hrothgar from a cruel and terrifying demon. The brave young warrior is Beowulf; the monster is Grendel ... or so his name will one day be written.

But what's written down in black and white is sometimes very far from the truth — as the Doctor knows, and his companions are about to discover.


Part one[]

Lysandra Aristedes claims that she is no longer working for the Forge and that she and Sally Morgan are travelling with the Doctor. Hex believes that Lysandra and Sally are from the Doctor's personal future. However, Ace does not agree with this assessment as The Tale of Beowulf is still on the console room's armchair, as it was the last time that she saw him.

According to Lysandra, the Doctor spends several hours a week training her how to operate the black TARDIS. Lysandra tells Ace that she, the Doctor and Sally have been on several missions in which they have defeated members of the Elder Gods.

As Sally is attempting to comfort Hex, who believes that the Doctor is manipulating them all once again, the white TARDIS materialises around the black TARDIS. On the black TARDIS' scanner, Ace sees her jacket on the hatstand, confirming that it is the white TARDIS. Upon entering it, Hex finds his boots in the console room.

While Ace and Lysandra use the black TARDIS' fast return switch to return to the Doctor's previous location, Hex and Sally remain in the white TARDIS. However, the white TARDIS immediately encounters turbulence in the Time Vortex. Its Cloister Bell sounds and it begins to dematerialise.

Part two[]

The white TARDIS is caught in the black TARDIS' slipstream and is dragged through the Vortex. This results in the white TARDIS losing all power.

While Ace and Hex were sleeping, the Doctor began to grow the black TARDIS in the cloisters of the white TARDIS, which it refers to as its mother.

Shortly before the materialisation of the black TARDIS in Denmark in the 5th century, the warrior Beowulf arrived in the kingdom of Hrothgar, where he hopes to defeat the monster Grendel. He is introduced to Hrothgar's court by Weohstan.

At Lysandra's suggestion, she and Ace hide the black TARDIS using nearby bear skins. Having detected an anachronistic alloy, Lysandra believes that an alien vessel may have crashed in the area.

Shortly after Hex and Sally leave the white TARDIS to investigate, it gradually becomes transparent. They soon discover that the white TARDIS likewise materialised in Hrothgar's court.

Beowulf tells Weohstan that he is suspicious of Unferth, who has King Hrothgar's ear and appears to be wary of him. After dropping his mutton on the ground, Beowulf discovers that Ace is hiding under the banquet table. He initially mistakes for a boy. When she tells him that she is a girl, he refers to her as a "wench" and makes advances towards her. She responds by throwing a large chicken at him.

In a swamp outside the castle, Lysandra discovers not only an advanced robot but an alien named Garundel, who proceeds to point his gun at her. He tells her that the robot is a Xybrox warbot remote drone designed for hand-to-hand combat. It is apparently Grade-A technology, but is malfunctioning, and can only walk around in circles, hitting itself.

Having saved the king's life, Hex and Sally are welcome in his court, which has been under attack by a dragon for the previous five days. Hrothgar believes that Sally is a Valkyrie while Hex is her herald. However, they soon realise that Hex is mortal, as he is wearing a bandage on his hand. When the King mentions that he had met another Valkyrie named Asa many years earlier while in the court of King Hrothgar of the Danes, Sally realises that he is Beowulf. His scribe Wiglaf tells them that his father Weohstan travelled with the younger Beowulf across the sea to the kingdom of the Danes.

When the younger Beowulf saw the black TARDIS materialising, he believed that its doors were the gates of Valhalla and ran away in shame. As Ace mentions Grendel by name, Weohstan believes that she is the creature's mother as she could not have otherwise known his name and draws his sword with the intention of slaying her.

In his court many years later, the elder Beowulf tells Hex and Sally that he chopped off Grendel's arm which he keeps as a trophy in his throne room. It is in fact the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. He then claims that he returned the next day and decapitated the monster. The head is stored in a chest under Beowulf's throne.

Part three[]

Lysandra awakens to find herself bound in Garundel's ship. He claims that Urodelians have the ability to grow back limbs and that the Doctor is in stasis in the ship's regenerative pod. He was attacked by the Xybrox warbot remote drone. After having her thrown into the dungeon, Weohstan tells Ace that he and Garundel have been orchestrating the attacks on Hrothgar's kingdom for the previous month.

Garundel is a mercenary but prefers the term "speculator." He has a wager with his swamp brothers to the effect that whichever of them earns the most money with the fewest number of deaths will be given the keys to the mothership. He tells Lysandra that Weohstan dragged him from his ship after it crash-landed in the swamp. He requires inert metals such as gold to repair his ship and has entered into a deal with Weohstan to stage the attacks in exchange for ten kilogrammes of gold.

The head which the elder Beowulf has stored under his throne belongs to the Xybrox war-bot remote drone. Sally believes that if they are able to reactivate either the head or the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor will be able to detect the anachronistic technology and locate them.

After discovering the white TARDIS, the elder Beowulf recalls seeing the black TARDIS in Hrothgar's castle many years earlier. She leads him to believe that Hex and Sally are not gods but demons. Although Wiglaf seeks to test their supposed immortality, the elder Beowulf orders him to bind them until they have defeated the dragon. Ace refers to Garundel as "Kermit" and "Frog Features" whereas Garundel advises her to get a make-over.

Part four[]

Before the bound Hex and Sally can be attacked by the supposed dragon in the elder Beowulf's throne room, the black TARDIS materialises around them as well as the white TARDIS, which is still transparent. The "dragon" was in actuality one of Xybrox, a race of cybernetic alien insects, who are tracking Garundel.

Following the arrival of Ace and Lysandra in the elder Beowulf's throne room, the King tells them after he soon found Garundel hiding in a cave and decapitated him. However, he did not claim his head as a trophy. Lysandra tells him that Weohstan plotted with Garundel to orchestrate the attacks on Hrothgar's kingdom in order to make Beowulf a hero. Using the neutron harpoon supplied to Ace by Lysandra, the elder Beowulf kills the Xybrox, which falls over a cliff into the sea. Although he survives by hanging onto the cliff's edge, he is gravely wounded and dies soon afterwards.

After decapitating Garundel, Beowulf claimed the regenerative pod as a trophy and brought it with him back to his castle. As Lysandra believes that the Doctor has been using her and Sally as shields to protect Ace and Hex, she opens the pod to find Garundel. However, he is soon decapitated once again by Wiglaf, though his head remains conscious. He tells Ace and Lysandra that it was Weohstan, who had been possessed by one of the Elder Gods. It was he who removed the Doctor from the regenerative pod. In return, they place Garundel back in the regenerative pod and send him into space in the home that he will be picked up by his mothership.

Having placed the boss from Wiglaf's shield on the black TARDIS' console, it activates a recording of the Doctor's voice, who tells them that they are in the wrong TARDIS as the black one will be destroyed in the trip back to the dawn of time. Per the Doctor's instructions, they seek refuge in his original TARDIS, which has once again assumed its normal colour. After they enter it, however, the recording continues and the Doctor warns his four companions that if he has not already told them what he is planning, something has gone terribly wrong.


A dummy cover to the story, produced to disguise the appearance of the black and white TARDIS, Lysandra Aristedes and Sally Morgan.


  • This story marks the first appearance of Fenric in an audio drama.
  • The final scene of this story marks the first time that the TARDIS has been its traditional blue colour in a Seventh Doctor audio drama since The Angel of Scutari in June 2009.
  • As with Protect and Survive, the Doctor only appears in this audio drama in flashbacks.
  • This audio drama was recorded on 12 and 13 January 2012 at The Moat Studios.
  • This story is set after Survival.
  • This story was originally released on CD and download.


  • Ace studied The Tale of Beowulf at school.
  • From the age of nine, Sally was raised by her grandfather, who had served as a colonel in the Iraq War.
  • The Doctor, Sally and Lysandra defeated the Sons of Kai.
  • When Sally's parents came home on leave, they always made piña coladas. They were killed when their convoy was ambushed in the Middle East.
  • Sally's grandfather was still alive in 2020.
  • While attempting to free both himself and Sally from their bindings in the elder Beowulf's throne room, Hex refers to the American escapologist Harry Houdini.


External links[]