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The Switching was the seventh short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Zodiac. It was written by Simon Guerrier. It featured the Third Doctor, Jo Grant, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, the Master and Captain Mike Yates.


The Doctor wakes up in a strange place. He seems to be in a cell. He finds a device constructed out of spare parts and a bunch of library books in the cell. He speaks out loud and notices his voice sounds funny. He starts to rub his chin and realises he has a beard. He uses a shiny book cover as a mirror, and sees that he is in the Master's body.

Meanwhile, the Master wakes in the Doctor's laboratory. He searches for the TARDIS key but can't find it. Jo comes in and scolds him for his rudeness towards Mike Yates. He admits he may have been rude. He asks Jo if she knows where his TARDIS key is, to which she replies that it is around his neck. After she leaves, he enters the TARDIS, and is surprised at its condition. It appears that the Doctor has taken parts of it apart to try to fix it. He tries to work the controls but since he is in the Doctor's body, and the Time Lords have locked the TARDIS controls from the Doctor, he can't use them.

The Doctor lures his guards into his room and attacks them, but is eventually restrained and locked up again. The Master, acting as the Doctor, goes to see the Brigadier and asks that he have the Master removed to a place where there is a view. The Brigadier tells him about the "Master"'s attempted escape. The Master heads back to the laboratory but is stopped by a soldier and then Sergeant Benton. Benton seems suspicious of him at first, but lets him go.

The Master has realised his escape plan won't work. He knows he will be back in his cell soon. He thinks about leaving a trap in the Doctor's laboratory, but decides not leaving one will confound the Doctor.

Back in his own body, the Master apologises to the guards "he" hurt in his escape attempt. He is later transferred to another facility on the coast.

Mike visits Jo in her room. They discuss the Doctor, who has been acting strangely all day. He has seemed angry at everyone, calling them "blind". Mike tells Jo that before the Doctor became so angry he apologised to him. She is thrilled.



  • The Master drinks his tea black, surprising the Brigadier, who knows the Doctor takes milk and sugar.
  • The Doctor has been using the time rotor casing of the TARDIS as a waste bin.


The Switching

Short Trip Rarities cover art

  • The stories in Short Trips: Zodiac are inspired by the signs of the zodiac. This story's theme is Libra.
  • A reading of the story by Duncan Wisbey was released free to subscribers whose subscription included Legend of the Cybermen in June 2010.
  • On 29 September 2017, this story was made available for general release as part of the Short Trips Rarities range, with a new cover by Tom Saunders. The audiobook version was subsequently re-released as part of the Masterful box set to commemorate the Master's 50th anniversary.
  • There is a contradiction of continuity: Mike asks Jo out, implying this takes place before The Curse of Peladon, but the TARDIS control room in that story is not in the style the Master changes it to in this short story, placing it afterwards.