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The Man Who Wouldn't Give Up was the thirteenth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Past Tense. It was written by Nev Fountain. It featured the Sixth Doctor and Mel.


The Sixth Doctor visits King Alfred, ostensibly to encourage him. Alfred is disguised as a harpist, staying in a swineherd's hut, so that he can spy on the Vikings. He is ready to give up, convinced that his rival, King Guthrum, is a godless heathen with no Christian honour. The Doctor, pretending to be a wizard from the future, convinces Alfred that he will prevail, and that Guthrum will one day kneel and join him in prayer. When the king's back is turned, the Doctor slips out.

The swineherd's wife enters, and not knowing he is the king, scolds him for the missing cakes. He accuses the wizard, but thinks the better of it and admits to letting them burn by accident.

In the TARDIS, Mel wonders what the Doctor has been doing on these secret missions of his. When she leaves the console room, he hurriedly stuffs the cakes he stole into his mouth.

The TARDIS materialises in the middle of a kingly feast. The Doctor exits, and invites himself to the feast.



  • At the feast, the Doctor enjoys fish, wine, bread and olives.
  • The Doctor claims to be a wizard from the kingdom of Hernia, referencing the king's medical condition.


  • Alfred states that he became king after the deaths of "five good men". The Doctor became who he is after the deaths of five good men.