Rescue was the ninth story in the Doctor Who: Redacted podcast series, produced by BBC Sounds. It was written by David K Barnes with additional writing by Juno Dawson and starred Charlie Craggs as Cleo Proctor, Lois Chimimba as Abby McPhail, Holly Quin-Ankrah as Shawna Thompson and Doon Mackichan as Madame Vastra.
It’s the end of the world. Terrifying static ghosts have taken over every major city on the planet. Cleo and Shawna are running for their lives, Abby is entangled with UNIT, and Madame Vastra wants them to meet her oracle – an individual with extensive knowledge of both space and time.
Cleo stands in bewilderment at Vastra's suggestion of jumping out of a tenth-storey window, but Vastra produces a rope ladder and, with the ghosts rapidly approaching, she and Shawna are left with no choice. Eventually, the two friends shakily make it down to the ground, followed swiftly by Vastra, who jumped from the window with no ill effects. As Vastra walks off, Cleo tries to question her about the Requiem Group, but the ghosts reappear and the group are forced to run.
On the street, Vastra promises to take them to a safe place as Cleo gets a call from Abby. Reluctantly, she answers and Abby reports on the ghosts as if they did not already know. However, even this is interrupted by Captain Chopra of UNIT in the background, demanding she hang up so they can mobilise. Before she is cut off, Abby adds that things are getting strange at UNIT, and hangs up before Cleo can explain what they have gone through. Cleo insists that they head to her flat instead of following Vastra's idea.
As Vastra points out how much danger they are being placed in, Cleo leaves a message for Jordan for if the world really is ending. As she does, she receives more old voicemails from her mother and Jordan. Outside, hundreds of ghosts gather, and Vastra explains that they are the missing people, not dead, but trapped between two planes of existence: "the now and the never-was." As they try to formulate a plan, Shawna notices that the ghosts have stopped and are looking up at them - they want to find the remaining survivors for help. Vastra tells Cleo and Shawna to run as she dives out the closed window, to Cleo's annoyance, so she can distract the ghosts.
Out on the main road, the few survivors are being attacked by the ghosts, leading to scenes of mass hysteria and destruction. Shawna decides to hide in the London Underground but as they run for it, they are cornered on all sides by ghosts. Believing their time has finally run out, Shawna tries to bargain with them as Cleo refuses to accept her fate. With seconds to spare, UNIT arrives on the scene, with Captain Chopra followed swiftly by Abby. Chopra orders them to the ground, covering their ears, as a deafening siren hits the ghosts, saving the girls' lives.
Abby reunites with her friends, explaining that the ghosts will follow the frequency of the noise for the time being. Although Cleo is happy to see her again, Shawna is much less enthused and decides to head back to the Tube. However, Cleo insists they should first find Vastra, whose voice appears from the sewers underground. With some convincing, the girls head down the manhole to find her and head to safety.
Vastra introduces herself to Abby, with Abby astonished that Silurians really exist. Vastra explains that the ghosts are merely one symptom of an illness that is spreading across the planet like a virus, as she was told by her oracle: a friend who has lived for millennia and knows much about space and time. They go to visit him, but not before Vastra makes clear her grudges towards UNIT known to Abby. Later, Abby reveals that her mum, Craig, and Osgood have all vanished and UNIT seem beaten. After a heart-to-heart, the three friends begin to make up.
Some time later, the girls enter Vastra's makeshift home in the sewers, complete with furnishings. Vastra reveals that she had been listening to The Blue Box Files and wanted to get in touch, hence her showing them her oracle: not the Doctor, but visibly an alien foetus in a jar, to Cleo's delight. He speaks via telepathy and has no individual or species name; due to living in "the psychic realm" between dimensions, Vastra nicknamed him the Floater.
He explains how his race has followed humanity for thousands of years and occasionally crosses into this universe. Once, one of his species met Vastra, teaching her how to sustain them. He states that his race was drawn to the Doctor due to them constantly visiting Earth, and they saw them make a great error, but he is interrupted by areas of London falling foul of the events, which Vastra names the Redaction. Supposedly, the entire world will collapse within hours, as will every world that the Doctor has ever visited; reality itself is unravelling on a never-before-seen scale. The Floater explains that Cleo, Abby, and Shawna's task is to use their unique connections to find the Doctor... and kill them. Although Vastra finds the concept hard to bear, she admits that there is no other way to save the universe, as the girls are some of the few left who understand the events but have not met the Doctor personally.
Cleo, Abby, and Shawna protest in the strongest terms against committing murder, but as Cleo turns to leave, she hears everyone else getting increasingly distorted and distant. She tries to call for help, but nobody answers, continuing their conversations unfazed. Eventually, she realises that the Redaction has finally got her too, as everything she knows fades away and Cleo is left alone in the darkness.
- Cleo Proctor - Charlie Craggs
- Abby McPhail - Lois Chimimba
- Shawna Thompson - Holly Quin-Ankrah
- Madame Vastra - Doon Mackichan
- The Floater - Alasdair Beckett-King
- Captain Chopra - Ambika Mod
- Jordan Proctor - Jacob Hawley
- Written by David K. Barnes
- Additional Writing by Juno Dawson
- Produced and Directed by Ella Watts
- Executive Producer: James Robinson
- Sound Engineer: Paul Clark
- Studio Assistant: Jacob Tombling
- Sound Design: David Thomas
- Additional Sound Design: Arlie Adlington
- Original Composition: David Devereux
- Production Co-ordinators: Sarah Sharpe and Sarah Nicholls
- Script Editor: Tasha Dhanraj
- Recorded at Sonica Studios, Clapham
- When Vastra suggests jumping out a high window, Cleo sarcastically calls her Spider-Man and later Medusa.
- After Cleo lands from the jump, Shawna wonders if she ever did her Duke of Edinburgh.
- Cleo and Shawna mention discussing "dinosaur people" in episode 4 of The Blue Box Files.
- Cleo likens the destruction of London to Mad Max and "every January sale come at once".
- Cleo jokes that the London Underground's Hammersmith & City line can barely run in a strong wind, let alone a ghost invasion.
- UNIT has files on Silurians.
- Abby's mother, Craig, and Osgood have disappeared.
- Vastra mentions her "late wife".
- Abby believes that activity from the Floater's species explains events at Area 51 and Roswell.
to be added
- Vastra mentions UNIT destroying a colony of her people as they slept. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
- Vastra used to own a house in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, et al.)
- Cleo finally meets an alien foetus in a jar. (AUDIO: SOS, et al.)
- Vastra has seen the Doctor stand up to whole armies of galaxies without a scratch. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)