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The Song of Megaptera was the seventh story in the first series of The Lost Stories, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was adapted by Pat Mills, from his original script, and featured Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown.

Publisher's summary[]

Deep space in the distant future, and Captain Greeg and his crew are hunting mile-long Space Whales on a vast harvesting ship. By pure accident, they also capture the TARDIS.

The Doctor and Peri must use all their wits to survive. But what is the creature running loose in the ship's bowels? And can the Doctor save Megaptera before its song is extinguished forever?


Part one[]

Answering a distress call, the TARDIS materialises in deep space and the Doctor and Peri see a whale-like Galeen which seems to have come to answer the call. However, they find that the distress call is a trick emitted by a factory ship which uses a tractor beam to capture the Galeen. The Doctor manages to free the Galeen by breaking the beam, causing the TARDIS to be captured despite reversing the temporal motors and subjected to the production line intended to process Galeens.

At long last, the Doctor is able to dematerialise the TARDIS and rematerialise at the end of the termination bay, leaving Peri inside whilst he goes to examine the damage. He is taken to Captain Greeg by security guards Carl and Dave and claims to be an inspector with the Wild Interstellar Life Federation come to inspect the methods by which SS Orcus kills Galeens. Peri escapes the security guards when they find her outside the TARDIS and falls down a pipe where she finds Manus's fungus-covered body and is attacked as Chief Engineer Volan listens over the radio.

The ship detects the Galeen once more as, despite appearing healthy, it has not used its time core to deep dive through time and escape the area. Captain Greeg orders the ship to fire, but the computer, infected with a virus by the Doctor, refuses to do so as it now wishes to protect the Galeens. Angry, Captain Greeg shoots the Doctor and tells him that he is extinct.

Part two[]

Peri tries to use Manus's gun on her fungoid attacker, a Touthon, before spraying it in the eyes with a spray can. Leaving the hatch with a scratched arm, she is taken to the medbay by Carl and Dave and diagnosed by the Auto-Doc with fungal contamination. The Doctor, returning to consciousness after being stunned by Captain Greeg to be dumped on a desert planet, visits her whilst Stennar removes his virus from the computer and uses his sonic lance to cure her through selective cell modification, regenerating her.

Volan explains that Touthons are whale-hunters which were once used to track Galeens and drives out the one aboard, a Caller, by filling the pipes with scalding steam. Before it can be killed, Stennar points out that company policy dictates that it be kept alive so that its DNA might be exploited for profit and Captain Greeg instead has it imprisoned. The Doctor, detained with Peri, deduces that the Galeen was captured because the TARDIS's interference with its signals has prevented it from being deep diving.

The Doctor uses the sonic lance to incapacitate Carl and Dave and he and Peri escape to the TARDIS, which Captain Greeg has impounded. As the Orcus and its crew prepare to kill the Galeen with neural torpedoes, the Doctor dematerialises in space, unable to time travel because of the Galeen's interference with the time sensory amplification field, and tells Peri that they will have to rematerialise inside the Galeen so that he can align its time core and allow it to escape.

Part three[]

Materialising between the Orcus and the Galeen, the Doctor taunts Captain Greeg about the desk job he is being given on-planet into hitting the TARDIS with a neural torpedo, cutting out the time amplification field and allowing the Galeen to dive to safety. He pilots the TARDIS to the Galeen's pearl-like time core and he and Peri meet Stafel, Axel and Chanel, members of a framily of castaways who have been inside the Galeen, whom they call Megaptera, for thousands of years thanks to the time core.

Captain Greeg decides to use the Caller, restrained by electro-shackles, to track down Megaptera and has the computer supply the Caller with everything he needs. The Caller tracks it through tachyons and Captain Greeg releases dark matter depth charges to force it to surface from the Time Vortex.

The framily take the Doctor and Peri to their shanty town built from spacewreck debris and it is immediately apparent that they are suffering from time narcosis. They decide that the travellers will not fit in and prepare to expose them to the full power of the time core to kill them just as they have done to a group of Sontarans and others who did not believe in the divinity of Megaptera. When Megaptera dives deeper to avoid the depth charges, the Doctor and Peri start to disappear.

Part four[]

The Doctor and Peri reappear as Megaptera is forced to the surface, unsure as to the long-term effects that their exposure to time radiation may have. The stunned Megaptera is captured by the Orcus and they contact Captain Greeg from the TARDIS to tell him about the castaways, but he is unconcerned and is willing to begin the termination process until Stennar discloses that he has contacted the company for directions. The Caller enters Megaptera through its air hole and kills Stafel before going after the time core, only for Axel to kill him with a meson gun.

Axel leads the Doctor, Peri and the other castaways outside of Megaptera through its air hole. Greeg charges the group with trespass and threatens the Doctor with a chain harpoon gun, but Greeg begins to lose control of the situation when the Doctor accuses him of releasing the Caller to steal the time core and take it back with him to Ziphius to attract other Galeens, thereby keeping them away from the company and damaging the company's business as revenge. Volan kills Greeg when he attempts to shoot the Doctor and Peri and Megaptera begins to stir.

The Doctor gets Volan to release Megaptera, but not before the Orcus is badly damaged. Peri helps get everybody into life pods, she and the Doctor convincing Axel that she and the castaways can build a new framily by choice rather than necessity, and then goes back inside Megaptera with the Doctor to recover the TARDIS. They materialise outside of Megaptera and watch as it joins a thousand other Galeens, wandering through space and time together.




  • The Doctor is unable to synchronise the TARDIS's time sensory amplification field.
  • "Dark matter" as a term is used for the unknown.
  • The Galeen have solar scales which absorb energy from suns.
  • The Doctor nearly lost the TARDIS playing a card game with leprechauns.
  • The Doctor reverses the TARDIS's temporal motors.
  • Peri promises to eat sprouts for the rest of her life if she survives the production line.
  • Peri says that the production line has put her off roller coasters.
  • Glycerides smell.
  • The TARDIS has a blue transdimensional finish.
  • The Star Guardian is a newspaper.
  • Stennar is production controller.
  • The security guards are Dave and Carl. Dave has the deeper voice.
  • The Auto-Doc fills Peri with anti-fungoids and painkillers.
  • The Touthons come from Ziphius.
  • The Doctor claims that chivalry died during the Hundred Years' War in the 14th century.
  • Peri is wearing sneakers.
  • The Doctor once met Jonah.
  • The Doctor says that he graduated from the University of Gallifrey.
  • The temporal buffers create a soothing environment to help the Doctor and Peri with any Post TARDIS-Explosion Stress Disorder.
  • The Caller is put in electro-shackles.
  • Time narcosis is a sickness.
  • The castaways refer to themselves as a framily.
  • Sontaran weapons are used.
  • Peri has a younger cousin called Pete.
  • Volan is hyperstitious.
  • Volan makes an entry in her vidlog.
  • The Doctor refers to the dimensional adjudicator and the dimensional walls of the TARDIS.


Song of the Mep interior CD art

Interior CD art illustrating events in the story.

  • This story was initially written for a Fourth Doctor story, then was reworked as a Fifth Doctor story, starring Tegan Jovanka and introducing Vislor Turlough, written by Pat Mills and John Wagner. It was replaced with Mawdryn Undead. The introduction of Turlough was added at a late stage and he was to have been one of the travellers within the space whale.[1] The final version was written under the name of Song of the Space Whale for Season 22.
  • Much of the reprogrammed Ship's Computer language takes cues from leetspeak. A written dialect of English popularised in the computer gaming and hacking communities. The Computer's suggested strategy of a "zerg rush", adopted by Captain Greeg, originated in the real-time strategy video game, Starcraft.
  • This audio drama was recorded on 23 and 24 September 2009 at the Moat Studios.
  • This story is set between Revelation of the Daleks and The Trial of a Time Lord.


External links[]