That Time I Nearly Destroyed the World Whilst Looking for a Dress was the seventeenth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Past Tense. It was written by Joseph Lidster. It featured Polly Wright.
It is several years after Polly stopped travelling with the Doctor. She has been married and had a child. She got a job as PA for John Eliot Maurice, and took over the business when he died. She has become famous in the music industry.
In April of 1999, television presenter Jane Vapid is shot dead. Polly, as a celebrity, attends her funeral. Suddenly, white light explodes, and something in Polly's head snaps. She is approached by a being who claims to be God and that Polly is dead. She wants to act as Polly's fairy godmother, and decides to send her in search of the perfect dress.
Another flash of white light, and Polly wakes in a medieval cell. In it is a girl named Marian who is identical to Polly. Two people show up to rescue Marian — a girl named Susan and a man named Mr Chesterton, who according to Marian looks just like Robin Hood. Ian and Susan are captured by guards and taken away, and Polly and Marian discuss Robin. Robin appears and breaks down the door, but is confused by (apparently) two Marians. He approaches Polly, who knees him in the groin. When he doubles over in pain, he just misses being decapitated by a guard's sword — Polly has saved his life. The Sheriff of Nottingham appears, accompanied by his apothecary, whom Polly recognises as the Doctor. The Doctor is prepared to explain everything, but suddenly the room shimmers, and another Susan appears. Polly experiences another white flash and head snap.
Polly has turned up in a guest house in the 1930s. Once again she encounters the Doctor, before he met her. She thinks that two guests, Mr Prentice and Craig Atkins, are pulling a hoax on the Doctor, so she tells him that Craig is faking whooping cough. Mr Prentice becomes angry at being deceived, and uses his time reversal machine to send Susan back into the past — to the cell Polly was in earlier. Another flash and...
Polly ends up in a few more places before she finds herself at a cricket match in the 1980s. It looks familiar, and she realises she's been here before. She finds her younger, pregnant, self with her husband Simon involved in an argument with three young girls — Tegan, Peri and Erimem. Polly can't help herself and gets involved, defending her younger self. Peri and Erimem's Doctor arrives and is shocked to see Polly. He looks aside for a moment and yells to a cricket player to catch the ball. The player misses, then Tegan's Doctor shows up. The two Doctors get too close to each other, and Polly experiences another flash.
This time Polly is on a ship and has found a drinking partner named Benny. They tell stories, with Polly mentioning her son. Polly flashes away and finds herself home, where her son is.
She flashes again, and sees realities merging and centuries collapsing. She then finds someone to tell her story to. He tells her she has been manipulated into interfering with nexus points in Earth history, and they only have twenty-four hours to save the Earth, so he will send their best agent. When all is saved, Polly won't remember any of this, except as a dream.
Polly awakes at a kiss from Ben. The Doctor enters the room and smiles at her.
Polly, Ben, the Doctor and Jamie drink wine and tell stories. The Doctor and Jamie are now working for the Doctor's people. Ben runs a pub. The Doctor and Jamie head outside to look at stars, and Polly and Ben confess their love for each other.
- Second Doctor
- Polly Wright
- Ben Jackson
- Jamie McCrimmon
- First Doctor
- Susan Foreman
- Ian Chesterton
- Fifth Doctor
- Tegan Jovanka
- Peri Brown
- Robin Hood
- Maid Marian
- Mrs Hutchings
- Mr Prentice
- Craig Atkins
- Bernice Summerfield
- Polly and Simon have a son named Mikey.
- Polly finds a drinking partner in Bernice Summerfield.
- Polly time travels to Pompeii, the Galápagos Islands and Colditz.
- The Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie drink '66 Sauvignon.
- Several stories from Short Trips: Past Tense are referenced in this story while Polly is travelling through time. They are The Immortals, The Thief of Sherwood, Graham Dilley Saves the World, Bide-a-Wee and Of the Mermaid and Jupiter.
- Polly is still working for John Eliot Maurice. (PROSE: Curriculum Vitae)
- Jamie teaches the Doctor, Ben and Polly how to dance the Highland Fling. (TV: The Macra Terror)
- Some of the events in Earth's history that Polly changes are: