Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



The Red Lady was the second story of Doom Coalition 1, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by John Dorney and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, Nicola Walker as Liv Chenka and introduced Hattie Morahan as the new companion Helen Sinclair.

New companion Helen Sinclair was a character inspired by Verity Lambert. Also introduced here was the Red Lady whose identity and true nature would not be discovered until Stop the Clock. This would be the last story in which the Eighth Doctor and Liv Chenka travelled alone until Their Finest Hour.

Publisher's summary[]

An anomaly in time brings the Doctor and Liv to London in the 1960s, where they meet a young lady named Helen Sinclair - desperately trying to make a name for herself in the face of sexism and prejudice.

Whilst the Doctor tried to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artefact, a far deadlier mystery awaits Liv and Helen in the collection of a recently deceased antiquarian.

Because that's where they find the Red Lady. Because if you do, you might not like what you see.


Albert Kennedy shows Professor Pritchett the collection left behind by Dr McCallum, comprising a diverse range of antiquities depicting a woman in a red mask. Professor Pritchett believes that the woman looks "wrong" somehow, but that she is entrancing.

The Doctor and Liv arrive in 1963 London, detecting the temporal anomaly in the hopes of locating the Eleven.

Helen Sinclair confronts Professor Garland about him giving a post to an ineffectual colleague, which he explains was due to the temperament of women and that she would soon be starting a family. She slams the door on her way out.

The Doctor uses a beeping device which leads him and Liv to the National Museum, which she almost remembers from her day with Martin Donaldson. The Doctor says that it might be caused by temporal radiation from the anomaly.

Helen tells Professor Pritchett that she did not get the promotion, for which he is sorry, and is given some of Dr McCallum's collection to work on deciphering. The Doctor and Liv identify a tablet in her office as the temporal anomaly and realise that its text is not translated by the translation circuit. When Helen finds them, she calls security and they leave.

The Doctor tells Liv how worried he is about the tablet and that they will soon be breaking into the museum to steal it. Liv insists on seeing it in situ and they instead go to 107 Baker Street.

Professor Pritchett receives a phone call from Kennedy, who hurriedly tells him to destroy the collection before dying. He hears a woman breathing before the phone is put down, after which he calls the police.

Liv talks to the Doctor about how different London is compared to the 1940s and asks about famous people's professional aliases, making the Doctor realise what the writing on the tablet really is.

At a party, Helen receives a call from Professor Pritchett, who tells her about what he has heard over the phone. She rushes to see him and learns that Kennedy died in his study holding a child's drawing and he shows her the Red Lady in a tapestry, which Helen is barely able to see. She keeps him from destroying it and says that she will lock it away the following day.

The next day, Ralph tells Helen that two people are waiting for her in her office. She finds the Doctor and Liv, who tell her that the text is an Ancient Greek record and, as a gesture of good faith, use the translation circuit to translate all of the other McCallum pieces. The Doctor uses a pattern analyser to translate the tablet.

Liv notices the Red Lady in all of the written pieces, leading Helen to tell her about the recurring image and Kennedy's death. Liv and Helen go to the collection where they find Professor Pritchett, who has become obsessed with the Red Lady and insists that she is moving closer. They take him to the Doctor and tell him about the Red Lady. The Doctor and Liv look back at the first documents they read that mentioned her and find that they have changed, now saying that she is closer. Helen, however, has not looked at any pieces that nobody else has.

On the way home with Helen, Professor Pritchett runs off upon seeing the Red Lady in a shop window. The Doctor has posed as a policeman and learnt that Kennedy died holding a child's drawing and that he is survived by a cousin. At the museum, Helen hears Professor Pritchett being killed as she tries to knock down the locked door to the collection.

The Doctor and Liv meet Dr McCallum's cousin, Rachel, who tells them that he was blind and that the works had never been looked upon since they were made. The Doctor, Liv and Helen find that the Red Lady has disappeared from the tapestry that Professor Pritchett had looked at and that the documents the Doctor and Liv had looked at had her even closer. They realise that the Red Lady had killed McCallum's mother and father.

Liv picks up the parchment and, entranced, says that she can see the Red Lady's eyes. The Doctor looks at his own parchment and, realising that Dr McCallum must have blinded himself, Helen covers their eyes with their scarves. Despite this, they still sense her presence. The Doctor determines that the artists had trapped the Red Lady with their art and draws a stick figure of her whilst Liv writes a poem, saving them.

Helen tells Professor Garland that she cannot explain how Dr McCallum's collection has vanished and is fired. She returns home, where the Doctor and Helen wait for her, having hidden the art away. He uses the pattern analyser to play the tablet, which is a message for the Doctor from Galileo Galilei in 1639, and invites Helen, soon to be arrested for art theft, to join them in the TARDIS. She accepts, saying that she thinks she might be making a huge mistake.




  • This story was recorded at The Moat Studios.
  • The story won the 2016 Scribe Award for the best tie-in fiction in the category "Audio".[1]
  • In the behind the scenes extras, producer David Richardson cites Verity Lambert as a source of inspiration for the character of Helen Sinclair, something acknowledged in the setting of the story being 1963.
  • The Doctor says that Helen's door reads "Helen Sinclair, language scholar, British Museum", which she does not deny. However, she works at the National Museum.


External links[]