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The Wickerwork Man was the thirteenth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Farewells. It was written by Paul Magrs. It featured the Eighth Doctor. There was no companion in this story.


Now that Peter's father is retired, he spends most of his time doing household projects. Peter and his mum go shopping and decide to buy some wicker garden furniture. Peter notices a strange man hanging around the furniture. The man, who calls himself the Doctor, says he is examining the furniture for sentience, then invites himself to a barbecue at Peter's house.

Peter's father has started to spend a lot of time sitting on one of the garden chairs, ignoring things like food and cold weather. His mother is worried.

Peter comes across the Doctor again in town, noting that he hangs around an old police box.

Saturday night, all the neighbours are invited to the barbecue. The Doctor shows up and warns Peter and his mother about Goomba, then leaves. Peter follows him to the police box, and when he is invited inside, the Doctor shows him a film of prehistoric China, where an alien tree god named Goomba found himself. He has been inhabiting a piece of bamboo ever since, and is now part of Peter's garden furniture.

The Doctor doesn't seem inclined to do anything about the danger, so Peter stomps home, only to find his father and guests building a huge figure out of wood. They seem to be possessed. When Peter tries to warn his mother, she at first dismisses his fears then becomes possessed herself.

Peter heads back to the police box, and the Doctor agrees to help. He has Peter get some milky tea, but Peter accidentally spills the tea on the console, causing the police box to materialise days later.

By this point, the wood figure is much larger. It is on fire, and there are several people waiting in line with pieces of wood to add to the figure. Inside the head is Peter's dad. The Doctor explains that the Goomba worshippers are no longer themselves, and they will be sacrificed to help Goomba leave Earth.

Peter tries to put out the fire with a hose, and it works for a bit until his mother turns off the tap. Some of the possessed turn on Peter, but the Doctor attracts their attention. He tells Peter to climb up Goomba and get his father out of the head, while the Doctor distracts Goomba. The Doctor taunts Goomba while Peter makes his way towards his father.

Inside the head, Peter's father recognises him. They climb down, and the figure stops moving. Peter's father collapses, and the spirit of Goomba leaves him. The neighbours and Peter's mother are freed.

Peter and his father are hospitalised, and they watch news reports about the barbecue where guests suffered smoke inhalation. Meanwhile, the Doctor takes Peter's mother shopping.



  • Seeing the crowd of people carrying wooden furniture, Peter likens it to an episode of Bargain Hunt.


Food and drink[]



  • The story is set primarily in Levenshulme, where Paul Magrs lives.