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The Siege of Big Ben was the sixth story of the eighth season of Big Finish Productions' Short Trips series.

Publisher's summary[]

Jackie Tyler has everything she's ever wanted: a loving husband and, two children. But a terrible, far-reaching plan is underway, and only Jackie and a single friend stands in the way of it.

But the Doctor isn't the man he was...


After scolding her four-year-old son Tony Tyler and telling him that he needed to pick up his room, Jackie Tyler answered the door at the Tyler Mansion to her friend Beryl Thompson. She invited Beryl in and took her into the kitchen to have a cup of tea but changed her mind to offer her a "cheeky vino" as it was Thursday. She told Beryl about how it seemed silly to chat in the kitchen when they had so much space compared to her flat in Jackie's original universe, but she liked it.

Jackie had a story to tell Beryl but was interrupted by a noise from upstairs. Tony was in his room working on a business plan and Jackie remarked how he took after his dad, Pete Tyler.

After some short tangents about the differences between this universe and the one she lived in before and her friendship with Veronica of Reykjavik, Jackie got to her news. She saved the world last Tuesday!

Jackie started to explain how she saved the world, but Beryl needed a reminder of what Jackie does in her day-to-day life. She was briefly confused as to why Beryl didn't remember that Jackie worked for a "top secret organisation" known as UNIT, but recalled that she'd told her about it at Sal's wedding when Beryl had been drinking at least in part due to the fact that she'd recently been left by her wife. So, Jackie explained again.

On Pete's World, she explained that there used to be various organisations that worked to defend the world from aliens and other threats- these groups having been the likes of the Preachers and Torchwood. President Harriet Jones combined these groups to form this version of UNIT with many people working for this new organisation. Jackie goes on to tell Beryl- reminding her that all of this is "top secret"- that while many may think that she is a "lady of leisure" she actually works for this organisation alongside Pete (who is a captain), Rose, and the Meta-Crisis Doctor. Jackie describes the Doctor as Rose's "fella" and "the one with the hair." He is also UNIT's scientific advisor.

Jackie hesitates when speaking about the Doctor and finds herself explaining who he is to Beryl who does not remember Jackie telling her about him before though she insists she has. After explaining briefly how the Meta-Crisis Doctor came to be, Jackie admits that she feels like this version of the Doctor isn't exactly the one she knew before.

Moving on with her story about how she saved the world last Tuesday, Jackie tells Beryl that she is the head of food distribution at UNIT. She takes great pride in being the person who feeds "the people who save the world", saying that they couldn't do so on an empty stomach after all.

Everyone but Jackie was out on a mission in Bridlington as an old Cybus factory had been found there. She was nearly done for the day at 2 o'clock, though she had to pause what she was doing to cover her ears as the hourly bells from Big Ben sounded. Shortly after, though, an alarm sounded throughout the building indicating that they were in "full red alert" and were being invaded by aliens. This also triggered a lockdown of the base.

Determined to not go down "without a fight", Jackie called Pete but got his voicemail. She left him a message asking him to send all the soldiers back except for him as she doesn't want him getting hurt. Jackie told him that she loves him, to tell Rose that she loves her, and reminded him that Tony has sports day tomorrow.

She heard a noise and thinks that it is aliens invading the base, but it turned out to be the Doctor. He was excited about being under attack, saying that it was "Wizard" how they were "literally a base under siege." Jackie asked him if he knew who was attacking, but the Doctor did not know. Interrupting his excitement about the entire situation, Jackie asked him to turn the alarm off as it was giving her a headache. She also reminded the Doctor that they both live in this universe, so he needed to take the situation seriously.

Still talking to Beryl, Jackie explained some more about the Doctor. He has all the same memories of the original Doctor- about travelling the universe and saving the day and then just continuing on with his life. She guessed that being stuck in one place with a home and a family wasn't something that he enjoyed. Jackie even assumed that the Doctor would leave Rose if given a chance to get away, though she would not tell her daughter that and even said that she may be wrong.

Back in Jackie's story, the Doctor already called Brigadier Krista Lateef and was told that she and the rest of the team were on their way back from Bridlington. Krista had told the Doctor to find a safe space and to hide until they got back, but Jackie correctly guessed that he was not going to take that advice despite it being the "sensible thing to do."

Jackie explained to Beryl that it only made sense that the Doctor would not just hide. The original Doctor certainly wouldn't and neither would Rose.

The Doctor explained to Jackie that he had come to find her and take her up to his lab, which was located in the very upper part of Big Ben. She was surprised because the Doctor was usually the only one allowed in his lab but followed after him anyways. However, he told her to wait outside once they got up to the lab because he didn't want her breaking anything.

Not wanting to be left alone with aliens invading the base, Jackie yelled at him, telling him that she would not be stopped from coming in his lab no matter what he was doing in there. Sufficiently scolded, the Doctor allowed her in.

Inside, Jackie saw the contents of the Doctor's lab. Three of the walls had shelves on them, all containing some combination of books, test tubes, and "loads of science stuff." The fourth wall had a plethora of computer and television monitors on it. In the middle of the room was the TARDIS coral that the original Doctor had given to the Meta-Crisis Doctor and Rose on Bad Wolf Bay.

Taken off guard by the sight of the growing TARDIS, Jackie scolded the Doctor again. Concerned that the Doctor was planning on leaving Rose behind and breaking her heart again, she told him that she would not allow it on her watch. She even told him that he was not to take Rose with him as she has a family here so if he took Rose, he would have to take her entire family. Though she also added that "Tony has sports day tomorrow so we're going nowhere." The Doctor just looked away from Jackie and mumbled that the TARDIS wasn't growing as fast as he'd thought it would, so it didn't matter anyways.

Choosing to focus on their more immediate problem of aliens invading, the Doctor walked over to one of the monitors in his lab and brought up live feeds from cameras around the UNIT base. Soon he found what Jackie described as "big purple aliens" with huge guns.

Jackie also broke from telling her main story again to tell Beryl how many aliens she'd seen since the Doctor first came into her life. She'd seen all sorts or as she described them, "Big ones, small ones, some as small as your head- green, red, you name it!" She also recalled some of the various alien incursions she had witnessed on her Earth such as the Sycorax, Autons, and Roboforms. Knowing that these events did not happen on her current Earth, Jackie explained to Beryl that Brigadier Krista had a theory that aliens had not come to this Earth in the same numbers before because of the technology that Cybus Industries wielded. Now without the company around, Pete's World experienced more incursions of its own.

When Krista had told Jackie this theory, Jackie told Krista that their Earth was lucky. However, Krista also shared that her daughter had been one of the many converted to Cyberform by Cybus and had subsequently died. Krista cited this why she had joined Torchwood and then become part of UNIT.

Jackie began to dwell on the fact that this was also what had happened to the Pete's World version of her and wondered what she had been like. She wondered why everyone can't "just be nice" and stop arguing, but then continued on with the story.

On the monitors, Jackie and the Doctor could see that the aliens were going through the base room by room, looking for them. Jackie found herself holding her breath and felt silly and when the Doctor noticed that she was holding her breath he smirked and told her that the aliens couldn't hear her. To this, Jackie tried to defend herself by saying that the aliens could be "telekinetic."

One of the aliens looked right at one of the base's cameras and began addressing the Doctor directly. The alien ordered the Doctor to surrender in five minutes or they will kill every human in the building. Jackie replied that they weren't there and then realised that she is the only human in the building with the rest of UNIT in Bridlington.

Cutting off what he considers Jackie's ramblings, the Doctor told her to "shut up" because the aliens were there for him and not her so he was the one who had to come up with a plan to stop them. Jackie recalled that that was how things had always been- that it had been because of the Doctor that Elton had taken an interest in her and why the Harvesters had targeted her. But while she's complaining that it was always about the Doctor, Jackie realises that these aliens would have no reason to know about the Doctor- not in this parallel.

Impressed with her questions, the Doctor smiled and told her that she was clever to think of that. Rather than try to solve that question himself, though, the Doctor switched on the base's intercom and asked the aliens themselves how they knew about him. They replied that they wanted access to his time machine- the TARDIS.

Jackie again questioned how they could know about something that few if any people knew about. She told the Doctor that even she hadn't known about him growing a TARDIS despite the fact that she thought she knew everything that went on in the base. So, she put the question to the aliens themselves who replied that it is not important how they know and that she and the Doctor must surrender, or she will be killed.

Unconvinced by their promise to not kill her if the Doctor surrenders, Jackie told the aliens that she knows their sort who come in with "all guns blazing." Latching onto the phrase "all guns blazing," the Doctor pushed Jackie away from the intercom in his excitement at realising that because it was just him and Jackie in the base that there was no reason why the aliens couldn't just blast their way into his lab and force them to do what they want. Because they haven't done this yet, the Doctor said that it must be a bluff.

Thinking that this must mean they would have time to come up with a plan to escape, Jackie was happy that the Doctor realised this. However, she was shocked when instead the Doctor got back on the intercom and informed the aliens that they were in his lab and challenged them to come up and get them. Jackie recalled to Beryl that while the original Doctor could be reckless and impulsive at times, that this Doctor was on another level. "I'll be honest with you Beryl," she said. "I don't really know what a Meta-Crisis is, but it's flippin' hard work. It's like he's got a death wish!"

Back in her story, Jackie related how the aliens replied to the Doctor's challenge. The aliens revealed that they did not just plan to kill Jackie if they did not surrender but were also holding hostage the zeppelin full of UNIT operatives returning from Bridlington. Worried by this new information, Jackie asked if Rose was on board which the aliens confirmed- along with telling her that Pete was on board, too.

With that much more at stake, Jackie told the aliens that they surrendered and that they could have anything they wanted if they let the zeppelin go, but the Doctor told her that they couldn't do that. He asked where her "fighting spirit" was and, at her rope's end, Jackie slapped him. She felt that his reaction was wrong and that it indicated that he didn't care about Rose. Though she told Beryl that she does think that the Doctor cares for her daughter and does "love her in his way."

With one minute left before the aliens said that they would make good on their threats, the Doctor told Jackie that there was "only one thing for it." She thought that he meant that they would surrender, but instead he told her that he would have to blow up Big Ben. The Doctor explained that the aliens would then have to let the zeppelin go and that he simply couldn't allow aliens to have his TARDIS so in his mind it was the best path he could take.

Speechless within her story, Jackie explained what was going through her head at the time to Beryl. She told Beryl that she would've let the aliens shoot her there and then if it had meant the rest of her family would be safe. She also mentioned that they still didn't know what the aliens had wanted at that time- something that stood out to her as she remembered that the original Doctor was always trying to figure out what someone wanted when faced with a challenge like this one so that he would be able to find a peaceful solution. But, like he did with the Daleks on the Cruciform, this Doctor according to Jackie "just wants to blow us up!"

After realising that she was the only one who could stop the Doctor and save everyone, Jackie told him to listen to her. She quickly realised that she didn't have any more ideas but pressed on regardless. She told him that while she didn't know what to say, that blowing themselves up was not the answer and should never be the answer. Jackie reminded the Doctor that she had a son that's waiting for her to come home.

She pleaded with the Doctor to think back on what he'd been like before the Meta-Crisis, to remember how he always found a way to solve things without resorting to options like blowing up a building to keep aliens from using his TARDIS. Jackie broke it down for him- telling the Doctor that they needed to find out how the aliens knew about him and his time machine and to find out what the aliens really wanted. Demonstrating this for him, she told the Doctor how she was only thinking like this because she had learned it from him and Rose who had also learned from him. She told the Doctor how she used to resent him for taking her daughter away, but she had come to realise that he had helped make Rose an even better person.

This had the intended effect- the Doctor stopped what he was doing and began thinking about those questions again. He even added one of his own- wondering how the aliens would know to attack on this day when everyone but him and Jackie were not on base. Jackie hugged him, glad that he was "being the Doctor" again. He continued on, saying that there was no way to even know if the aliens had the zeppelin. Jackie tried to call Rose to confirm what the status of the zeppelin was, but the aliens blocked the cell signal.

While the aliens began to insist on an answer, Jackie recalled the time when the Cybermen invaded their original parallel. She reminded the Doctor of how they first appeared to be ghosts of their dead loved ones and tricked the human race into helping them materialise and asked him if it was possible that this was a similar situation, even though she wasn't totally confident that that was the case. She even points out that how the aliens talked didn't seem quite right so maybe they weren't real. As she told Beryl, she would have said anything to keep the Doctor from going back to his plan to blow up the UNIT base.

Spurred on by Jackie's suggestions, the Doctor ran a scan for life signs inside Big Ben. To his and Jackie's surprise, no alien life signs registered. The only life signs that were picked up were his, Jackie's, and one other person. "And that, Beryl," said Jackie, "is when the door opened. Dun, dun, duuuuuuun!"

Brigadier Krista walked into the room, carrying a huge gun from UNIT's stores of alien weaponry. While Jackie was confused about this turn of events, the Doctor was simply furious at Krista. Trying to diffuse the situation, Jackie told the Doctor to be quiet and then asked Krista to explain what was going on. Breaking away from her story again, Jackie asked Beryl if she knew what was going on, telling her that she'd given her a clue earlier.

Krista explained to Jackie and the Doctor that this was all about her daughter. When she had realised that the Doctor was trying to re-grow his time machine, she had gotten an idea to have him take her back so that she could save her daughter. However, during the time that they had worked together, Krista had come to realise that the Doctor would not do this willingly. So, she had sent the rest of UNIT on a wild goose chase so that she could force him to take her back.

Back talking to Beryl, Jackie admitted that she would've done the same thing if it had been Rose. But she conceded that because she knew the Doctor and had learned from him what could and could not be done with time travel, she knew that it would be impossible to change what had happened. She knew that the Doctor would not help Krista, and she knew that Krista was not going to give up.

Jackie simply sat down between the two of them, telling Beryl that she often did something similar when Tony was throwing a tantrum. She supposed that it was a sort of signal that she didn't want to fight or have the two of them continue to fight.

Sitting in front of her, she told Krista flat out that the Doctor would not help her with this. Jackie even told Krista about the time Rose tried to save Pete from his fate in their home parallel and how badly it went when she had tried to change her own personal history. The Doctor's past was brought up too as Jackie explained to Krista about how he'd told her about the Time War and how, even if he wanted to, he would not be able to go back and save even a single person.

Jackie went on to explain how much the Doctor had changed her life, even though she hadn't chosen any of this for herself. She loves that she's gotten a second chance with Pete and enjoys living in her new home with her family but expressed that she felt as if the Doctor had taken her away from her own life back on her Earth. She apologised to him for saying that, conceding that it wasn't fully his fault but that it was true that she'd not been allowed to choose any of what her new life was and missed her old life. Her point: That she could not go back and see those that she missed so dearly, and she could not go back and change any of it, no matter how much she might want to as well. Jackie tried to help Krista to focus on the positives, to realise that both good and bad things happen and that all can be done is to do the best one can to move on.

Moved by Jackie's words, Krista put the gun down. Jackie wasn't sure if Krista had given up because of her speech, Krista's heart not being in it, or if it was because she was scared of the Doctor, but she was glad that she'd gotten her to stop. The Doctor calmed down too and held out a hand to Krista to make peace. He even told her that he understood what she was going through and he and Jackie both promised not to say anything to anyone else about what had happened (though Jackie conceded that she is telling Beryl but that didn't count).

Krista finally released the gun from her grip and started to cry. Wanting to be there for her friend, Jackie ran over to give her a hug. She went to smile at the Doctor, but it faltered when from the corner of her eye, she saw the Doctor going towards another one of the screens in his lab.

On the video monitor was Pete Tyler. The Doctor, despite his earlier promise, told Pete everything that had happened and that when they got back they needed to arrest Krista as she was a threat to UNIT- even telling Pete that Krista had nearly killed them.

Jackie told Beryl that she didn't believe that Krista would have gone through with it, insisting that Krista had just had a moment of bad judgement and needed to be given the chance to fix her mistake. "No second chances", she told Beryl, echoing the Doctor's explanation.

Still trying to figure out her feelings about what happened a few days ago, Jackie admitted that she just has to accept that the Doctor has changed and that he's not the exact same person that she used to know. She even told Beryl that she's not sure she liked him now, especially after what he did to Krista.

Jackie went on to explain that the reason she was telling Beryl this story was, in part, because she'd realised that she'd changed too. She apologised for being cruel to Beryl sometimes, telling her that she had known and been friends with another Beryl Thompson in her own parallel and that she realised that the reason why she was sometimes mean to this Beryl was that she wasn't the same person. She recognised that this was not fair to this Beryl and promised to do better in the future, apologising for her past behaviour.

Offering Beryl a cup of tea now and telling her that she could tell her everything going on in her own life, Jackie also told her that she would have to talk to the Doctor soon, perhaps tomorrow. She admitted to missing him. "I miss him being my friend."





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