Mortlake was the tenth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Past Tense. It was written by Mark Wright. It featured the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe.


The Doctor and Evelyn are in Mortlake in 1568. The Doctor wants to meet the famous scientist John Dee, though Evelyn can't quite figure out what's so great about him.

They find Dee in his laboratory. He thinks they are emissaries from the queen, come to see his work. He enthusiastically shows the Doctor his copy of The Steganographia, a work which contains words that summon spirits that allow for instantaneous communication. The Doctor, after looking through the book, tries to convince Dee not to use it, but Dee won't listen. The Doctor and Evelyn stay to protect Dee.

Dee intones the words from the book, and a cloud of sparkling light appears in front of him. It turns into a vortex with tendrils of energy. A creature forms out of the vortex, eight feet tall and covered with scales. Dee speaks to it, calling it Padiel, but the creature roars at him and Dee faints dead away.

The creature looks around and sees the Doctor. It smiles and runs over to the Doctor for a hug. The Doctor introduces Padiel to Evelyn, and explains that Padiel is an avatar created by the people of Sintra using psionic energy and their telepathic powers. They use the avatars to open sub-space for instantaneous communication. The Doctor sends Padiel back home.

When Dee awakens, the Doctor is forced to tell him that he failed. Evelyn is saddened by Dee's obvious disappointment.

The Doctor and Evelyn travel to 2004. The Doctor has swapped out The Steganographia for a harmless book. Evelyn is still sad that Dee, a genius ahead of his time, did not know he had succeeded. The Doctor shows her the book The Merlin of Mortlake: The Life and Talents of Dr John Dee, and she is shocked to see the author's name - Evelyn Smythe. The Doctor explains that one day she will write the truth about Dee. He asks her to sign the book for him but refuses to let her take a peek at it.




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