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audio stub

Dumb Waiter was the second story in The Second Doctor: Volume Two.

Publisher's summary[]

The Doctor and Victoria attend a civilised garden party. But their genial hostess, Mrs De Winter, is convinced that the garden conceals a secret; something about Carlos the head waiter who never speaks.

The hidden truth can be glimpsed by people less accustomed to the mask of politeness and cake. People like Jamie. And people like Leela, the mysterious “warrior of the Seventeen"...


Episode One

Early in their travels, the Fourth Doctor sends Leela back in time, to experience a past adventure of which he has inconsistent memories ...

In an earlier version of the TARDIS, Leela accompanies the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria as they attend a strange garden party held in a clearing, in the middle of a tangled forest. Their host, Mrs De Winter, seems perturbed by the nature of the party's head waiter, Carlos, and at times the garden party itself. Leela, distrusting of the TARDIS crew, identifies the forest as Janus-like and extracts a thorn to use as defence.

Jamie and Leela can see the garden party is an illusion - people in fine dress milling around a putrid expanse of stones, rock and filth, eating from troughs, at the centre of which is a podium tower topped with an aerial apparatus.

As the illusion begins to falter, the party guests transform into writhing monsters, roiling masses of barbed, slashing tentacles. Believing him to be an impostor and behind their predicament, Leela plunges the Janus thorn into the Doctor ...

Episode Two

Jamie and Leela engage in a fierce knife fight, and the monsters morph back into people again. The Doctor survives, this variety of Janus thorn being non-lethal. It does, however, contain a toxin that encourages the illusion around them.

De Winter realises "Carlos" is really a transmitter, a mast on wheels, controlling the garden party illusion. Ascending to the top of the podium tower with Jamie and Victoria, she disables the transmitter, destroying the illusion completely.

Evading the creatures, the Doctor and Leela join the others on the tower, escaping through a passageway, at the end of which they find an imprisoned, gigantic version of the tentacled creatures outside - identified by De Winter as a Wraith.

De Winter's true identity is revealed - she too is a Wraith, here to release her imprisoned mate. The creatures outside are its guards - not really Wraiths themselves, but psychically pliable entities, so malleable no one knows their true form.

The garden party was an illusory setting the jailers could use if they ever needed safe access to the prisoner. The De Winter Wraith had initially used Carlos to activate the garden party scenario - but caught herself on a thorn and became caught up in the illusion.

The Doctor repairs the transmitter and Victoria drives it, at speed, towards the absconding Wraiths, impaling them on thorns, rendering them both prone to the garden party illusion again.

The Doctor sends Leela back to her future, armed with an accurate version of events to relate to his future self.



  • The Fourth Doctor sends Leela to the Second Doctor's TARDIS via a Time Ring.



  • The Fourth Doctor remains behind in his TARDIS when he sends Leela into his past, allowing him to avoid encountering the Second Doctor and his companions. The Fourth Doctor would have two later adventures connected to the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria, where he also avoided encountering his past incarnation and companions. (PROSE: Heart of TARDIS, AUDIO: Return to Telos)

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