The Useful Pile was a Brief Encounter short story published in Doctor Who Magazine 188. Written by Kate Orman, it dealt with an aspect of regeneration which hadn't been contemplated by professional Doctor Who fiction — what the Doctor did with the clothes of his former incarnation.

Aside from breaking new narrative ground, the story was also somewhat notable for its illustration, which directly referenced the then-in-production Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although references to Star Trek are not without precedent in the DWU, a visual reference to TNG specifically is unusual.

Summary[edit | edit source]

In the aftermath of his inaugural adventure, the newly-regenerated Seventh Doctor is bemoaning the loss of several articles of clothing on Lakertya. He's only just regenerated and he's already down a tartan scarf and his rainbow-coloured umbrella. Still, the TARDIS wardrobe has provided him with replacements: a new paisley scarf and a different umbrella.

The problem now is what to do about his old patchwork coat.

It sits there in the wardrobe, full of the contents of lifetimes, waiting to be cleaned out. The new Doctor sits down, empties his pockets and starts putting the contents into two piles: Useful and well, Not. As he moves his way through the piles, he considers the consequences of regeneration and tries to assess whether he's going to like his new body.

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