The Red Lady was the second story of Doom Coalition 1.
It introduced Hattie Morahan as new companion Helen Sinclair, a character inspired by Verity Lambert, as well as 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[edit | edit source]
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.
Plot[edit | edit source]
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.
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.
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.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Liv Chenka - Nicola Walker
- Helen Sinclair - Hattie Morahan
- The Red Lady / Rachel - Caroline Langrishe
- Walter Pritchett - David Yelland
- Albert Kennedy / Professor - John Voce
References[edit | edit source]
- Professor Pritchett mentions John Dickson Carr.
- Liv misquotes "discretion might be the better part of valour", which the Doctor says is a line from Shakespeare.
- Musicians such as Billy Fury, Tommy Steele and Tom Jones are popular in this period.
- A man speaking to Helen says the New Wave is becoming less popular, citing This Sporting Life as a film he dislikes. He prefers From Russia with Love.
- The Doctor refers to Steve Jobs as an individual who devised a way of recording things on "a tablet".
- The Doctor tells Liv that he was one of Sir Robert's first peelers.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- 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".
- 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.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- Liv remembers Martin Donaldson. (AUDIO: A Life in the Day)
- The Doctor reminds Liv that she has previously visited London in the 1920s and 1970s. (AUDIO: A Life in the Day, Eyes of the Master)
- The Doctor says he has lived in 1963 several times before. (TV: An Unearthly Child, PROSE: Time and Relative; AUDIO: 1963: The Assassination Games) In this particular incarnation he spent a period of time trapped on Earth in the 20th century, and would have lived through 1963. (PROSE: Casualties of War, The Turing Test, Endgame, Father Time)
- The Doctor and Liv return to the Doctor's house at 107 Baker Street. (AUDIO: The Haunting of Thomas Brewster, Fugitives, The White Room, Eyes of the Master)
- Although the Doctor and Liv never discover this, the Red Lady is eventually revealed to be Caleera. (AUDIO: Stop the Clock)
- The Doctor and Liv visit the National Museum. (TV: The Big Bang)