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prose stub

Toil and Trouble was the fourth short story in Tales of Terror, featuring the Fourth Doctor.


Sarah Jane Smith appears to be drowning due to the Carrionites putting a doll of her in what resembles a witch's cauldron full of a liquid that is the colour of dried blood. When she tries to call for help, the Carrionites silence her by gagging the doll with a piece of cloth.

Meanwhile, the Fourth Doctor is piloting the TARDIS while assuring Harry that they just went through a little turbulence. The Doctor believes that they crossed a tempestuous time node or another TARDIS has passed close enough to cause a bit of backwash. Almost immediately, the TARDIS is attacked by Reapers that have most likely been attracted by a time paradox.

The Reapers are unable to enter the TARDIS while it's in flight, but if they land, the Reapers will be able to break into the TARDIS. Harry wonders if the Reapers are after him and Sarah, but the Doctor assures him that neither of them are significant enough to draw their attention, then tells him to inform Sarah of their situation.

The Carrionites are trying to find the Doctor's real name in Sarah Jane's mind so they can kill him and free themselves from the Eternals' curse so their sisters can be freed from the Deep Darkness. Unfortunately for the Carrionites, they are unable to find the Doctor's real name, but Lilith tells her mothers that there are other ways to kill their enemy. They soon notice a crack in the crystal wall that imprisons them due to Lilith translating their prison dimension from the TARDIS to its own past shadow. As the crystal continues to crack, the Carrionites decide to try and devour Sarah Jane.

Harry uses his sports jacket to bundle up the crystal ball holding the Carrionites, but then he drops it, releasing them. The trio of witches leave Harry alone and approach the Doctor, but before they can kill him, the tracer locks on. Warning Harry to hang on, the Doctor throws a lever to land the TARDIS, allowing the Reapers to enter the TARDIS and devour the Carrionites. Once all 3 of the wicked hags are dead, the Reapers leave and return to the Time Vortex.

The TARDIS soon lands in Scotland, 1975, where the Brigadier is waiting for the Doctor and his companions to arrive. The Doctor puts on a tam-o'-shanter as Sarah admires the Scottish Moors, saying they make her think of Macbeth, the Scottish play that Harry did at school. The Doctor then leaves the TARDIS followed by his companions.



to be added


  • In regards to the UNIT dating controversy, this story ends in 1975.
  • The end of the story leads onto Terror of the Zygons while heavily implying that the Brigadier's message came immediately after the events of Revenge of the Cybermen. There are however several novels and short stories that take place in this interval, leading to a slight discontinuity unless the TARDIS returned to Nerva station or they ignored or didn't see the message for some time.