Potential was the fourth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: How the Doctor Changed My Life. It was written by Stephen Dunn. It featured the Third Doctor.


At Bowman's Grammar School, one student witnesses a fight. The bully, Thompson, accosts Scott for his appearance. The watching pupils is reluctant to become involved. However, he then sees a strange teacher appear who seems to pay the fight no heed. The student directs his attention towards the altercation, to which the teacher merely responds: "

"Don't look at him as he is now. Look at him as he has the potential to be."

The man then enters a room and vanishes without a trace. The student digests the experience and summons the courage to tell the headmaster, Mr Barraclough, about the bullying. It eventually stops, although the student suffers some retribution.

In his later life, the former pupil continues to look back on this snapshot of his life. He never found out what became of Thompson or Scott but feels the important part is that he tried to make a difference. In that time, he considers that the mysterious teacher's words were not about Thompson or Scott but about him.




  • The story's main character remains unidentified.