- You may be looking for the distress call.
SOS was the first story in the Doctor Who: Redacted podcast series, produced by BBC Sounds. It was written by Juno Dawson, it introduced and starred Charlie Craggs as Cleo Proctor, Lois Chimimba as Abby McPhail, Holly Quin-Ankrah as Shawna Thompson.
Cleo, Abby and Shawna make The Blue Box Files – a podcast about their favourite conspiracy theory: is this one random blue box actually a spaceship? This week they discuss shady pharmaceutical company Adipose Industries. But things get a bit real when they start hearing about a mysterious figure called 'the Doctor'.
In 2022, three women in their twenties named Cleo Proctor, Abby McPhail, and Shawna Thompson start recording a new episode of The Blue Box Files, a podcast analysing the mysterious appearances of a certain large blue box throughout history and how they connect to supernatural occurrences. Shawna, despite declaring herself as the "voice of reason" compared to Abby, declares this week's podcast topic as "nuts", but Cleo quickly turns the conversation off-topic as the three friends begin to chat about Cleo's job as a theatre usher instead.
Abby returns to their topic of the week: how in 2008, the blue box was found in London during a major incident involving the loss of life caused by weight-loss pills made by Adipose Industries. Cleo states that she has heard about this, listening to a woman called Elaine on the Powell Estate ranting about "fat babies" while drunk, although this was never mentioned in the official records of the event. Abby adds that the blue box was spotted at least five times in the area and no company members were ever seen again, supposedly tied to reports of lights in the sky. Shawna tries to rein her in but is told to look up the Blue Cube Forum, run by other conspiracy theorists, as proof. However, she is disturbed by a horrible static disturbance coming from the website which she attributes to a pop-up or hacking and they decide to stop the recording while they sort it. As Abby decides to contact the website's owner, she decides to send Cleo to meet and interview their next special guest, as she is the only one living in London, despite being by far the least interested of the three. She eventually agrees to meet Penny Carter from The Observer in Soho the next day with a prepared set of questions.
The next day, Cleo is met at home by her brother Jordan who is nursing a hangover after a night out. She asks if he should be at his job as a builder but explains that their foreman, Tony, has recently disappeared. She chats to him about the podcast, explaining that she knows Abby and Shawna from the three months they shared at university together before dropping out. Ever since, she has been sleeping on Jordan's sofa bed, calling herself a loser. As she prepares to have a shower, Jordan receives a text which stuns him into silence.
From inside a café, Abby catches a TV news report asking for information on the whereabouts of Graham O'Brien and Ryan Sinclair, stating they recently went missing from their home in Sheffield after coming into contact with a figure called the Doctor. Abby's interest is piqued at this and she phones Shawna, on the train into college, to share the news. They wonder if "the Doctor" is a gang leader and, believing they are connected to the blue box, Shawna decides to look into it. Shawna asks why Abby is not with her boyfriend of nine years, Craig, and she replies that he is fed up with her being too busy as a full-time carer for her mother. Shawna begs her to give up on him as she needs somebody that appreciates her for who she is now. The two friends admit that they need each other at times like this.
Cleo walks towards her meeting as Jordan tails her, pleading with her to talk about their mother who has asked if they could visit for Sunday lunch. Cleo immediately rejects this, insisting that their mother was the reason their father vanished one day and never returned, and his disappearance was key to her being thrown out of the house when she started her transition. Jordan asks her to move on as it has been ten years but she refuses, even when Jordan surprises her by saying that their mother is a fan of The Blue Box Files. Cleo leaves.
Elsewhere, Cleo's phone goes to voicemail and the Doctor leaves her a message. She explains how, after the podcast has been tracking her movements, she is tracking theirs as her friends may be in grave danger. She asks to access Cleo's data urgently to prevent her from meeting the same fate and hangs up. As Cleo travels on the bus to Soho, she goes to listen to the Doctor's message but it dissolves into a horrible noise and she deletes it immediately.
Later, Cleo meets Penny in a pub. They get a drink and move to a quieter room to start their interview. Penny makes Cleo promise to keep her anonymous, as her claims that the Adipose Industries incident was extraterrestrial in nature have led many to think she is crazy. Cleo continues to listen as Penny explains her experience watching the fat creatures appearing, still being convinced that they were aliens. She adds that there was a man in a blue box who interfered, which catches Cleo's attention, but curiously, Penny cannot remember any details about him aside from the fact he was a doctor. She is frustrated, knowing that she normally has a perfect memory, but feels like her memories of him have been clouded somehow.
Returning home from the interview, Cleo picks up a call from Shawna and tells the story of the mysterious man. Shawna connects this to Abby's discovery of the Doctor being mentioned on the news and Cleo is sure that something has happened to Penny's memories of him as if they have been redacted somehow.
Later, at home, Abby goes to talk to her mum but finds her asleep. She is distracted by some strangely late post, reading "I said I'd be in touch. I didn't want to get too close, I may be contagious," sent from the Doctor. She is shocked and immediately phones Cleo, now on her way to work, but as Abby begins to explain, she stops and admits she has no idea why she is calling. Cleo laughs it off and tells Abby to phone her back when she remembers, as she has another call to take.
Cleo this time picks up the phone to Jordan. She apologises for getting angry, but he interrupts and says that their mother is sick with a suspected stroke, which is why she has asked to see them, but Cleo refuses to believe her. This disgusts Jordan but Cleo continues to wish to have no part in the meeting. She hangs up as she gets to the theatre, but her phone immediately rings yet again. However, this time it is Rani Chandra on the other end. Rani explains that she knows of Cleo and has connected her to the Doctor. She adds that she needed to let Cleo know immediately that the Doctor is killing them.
- Cleo Proctor - Charlie Craggs
- Abby McPhail - Lois Chimimba
- Shawna Thompson - Holly Quin-Ankrah
- The Doctor - Jodie Whittaker
- Rani Chandra - Anjli Mohindra
- Jordan Proctor - Jacob Hawley
- Penny Carter - Siena Kelly
- Additional Voices - Ambika Mod, Pip Gladwin
- Written by Juno Dawson
- Produced by Ella Watts
- Directed by Ella Watts and James Robinson
- 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
- Recorded at Sonica Studios, Clapham
- Cleo states that that the year is 2022.
- Cleo and Jordan mention Tony, who's disappeared.
- Cleo heard about the Adipose pills from a woman on the Powell Estate who she thought was drunk.
- Cleo claims that Tony likes cryptocurrency and Mrs. Brown's Boys.
- Cleo sarcastically remarks that she should call Mulder and Scully about her father's disappearance.
- Cleo's father loved Star Wars and Star Trek and believed in aliens.
- In another development to the Aliens of London dating controversy, this story dates the events of Partners in Crime to 2008, the year of its broadcast, with Penny also recalling that it was "almost fifteen years ago". Indeed, Cleo states that it is currently 2022, the year in which Redacted was released.
- This is the first audio drama to feature the Thirteenth Doctor.
- Sheffield residents Graham O'Brien and Ryan Sinclair have been reported as missing. (TV: Revolution of the Daleks)
- The TARDIS was sighted near Adipose Industries. Penny talks to Cleo about the incident. (TV: Partners in Crime)
- Shawna mentions LINDA. (TV: Tardisode 10, Love & Monsters)
- The group previously interviewed someone involved in the Yeti incident. (TV: The Web of Fear)