It is the first single part story included with a three part story and the first solo Sixth Doctor story that was part of the monthly series since Davros in 2003. This story began a story arc which concluded two years later, in Patient Zero. On 27 May 2013, it was released for free on Big Finish's Sound Cloud page.
In an attempt to call her mother for advice, a deeply concerned Lauren Hudson ends up phoning a man who calls himself the Doctor. He informs her that she has the wrong number, but assuming that he is a doctor of medicine, Lauren informs him of her concerns; the one which intrigues the Doctor being that the skin around her fingernails is broken and bleeding. He insists that she is seen to at a hospital straight away and be as persistent as possible to get a check up, specifically on her neck. Lauren agrees with his advice and hangs up.
A couple of weeks later, Lauren is at her job as a telephone operator and ends up calling the Doctor again by another wrong number. She tells her story; after insisting that she got seen to at the hospital (even putting on a show of crying), she was attended by doctors who increased in numbers as they noted something strange about her neck. After being quarantined for a couple of hours, an Army Official and a specialist doctor attended her, the latter of whom informed her that he was going to operate on her. After the operation, he showed her what they had found - a 6 inch-long parasitical metal worm that had been clinging onto her spine, which would have killed her within a day had she not had the operation. The Army Official had made her sign the Official Secrets Act to declare that she would not tell anyone of this event, but this had made her feel isolated in the weeks since and thus she was incredibly satisfied to finally be telling someone about it. She asks the Doctor how he knew what was wrong with her just from the information about the fingernails, to which he replies "Experience". She also asks if it was alien, which the Doctor confirms. Lauren explains how she thought about thanking him so often and how glad she is to get the opportunity to finally do so, although the Doctor notes how suspiciously coincidental it was that she managed to reach him through a wrong number twice. An abrupt disturbance on his end of the line results in him having to rush a goodbye, which Lauren is disheartened at.
When trying to ring her friend Connie, Lauren once again gets in contact with the Doctor again through yet another wrong number. The Doctor explains how this is not merely a coincidence; the first time she had called him she was desperately seeking medical advice, and the second time she had been thinking about thanking him. It is in actual fact a virus, a theory he was able to confirm when he noted that he got wrong numbers after each time he tried to call someone after his previous conversations with Lauren, yet the people he ended up calling become very useful in helping to defeat other not-so-lucky people who had died from the worm parasite which Lauren had and turned into slug creatures. The virus in the phone causes people to make subconscious mistakes when they next use a telephone, yet the person which they end up calling is someone they can help or vise versa who then gets the virus and passes it on until it reaches the end of its lifespan. Lauren asks how this supposedly alien virus ended up on Earth to which the Doctor says he's working it out and hoping that it only ended up here by accident. He asks a favour of her; to make a note of every wrong number she makes from now on and who they are - this will be helpful in tracking the virus back to its original source. Lauren asks if he wants her number, to which the Doctor assures her that, thanks to the virus, they may certainly talk again.
The next time, it is the Doctor calling Lauren at work in the Telephone Exchange, which is not a good sign. She was able to assist her last wrong number in naming a tune that had got stuck in her head. Then she tells off the Doctor for not making small talk. He quotes Thomas Jefferson to her - I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. She makes her 'wrong number' call after he rings off, and get through to the competition line of a brand new radio station - County 6371. The prize of an all-inclusive holiday to Marbella is up for grabs to the first person who can say who said...
The Doctor calls Connie Pickerill's number, where she and Lauren are having a pre-holiday celebration party. He's been arrested for trespassing and needs a solicitor. Lauren is happy to help.
Their next contact is Lauren calling the Doctor after receiving a wrong number from a long-lost school friend. She muses that maybe the virus is a good thing and should't be stopped, but the Doctor points out that most technology starts out with military applications which are never truly good. Also, it isn't satisfying when everything just gets dropped into your lap without any effort on your part.
Lauren gets a wrong number call, so rings the first number that comes into her head, hoping that it will be the Doctor. Instead it is Connie, whose number she did actually dial. Realising that the virus has gone, she writes a letter to the Doctor instead. Not knowing his address, she'll just drop it in a letter box. Who knows, he might get it.
- The Doctor - Colin Baker
- Lauren Hudson - Kate Brown
- DJ - David Dobson
- Connie Pickerill - Kerry Skinner
- The Doctor is jailed on a charge of trespass at Green Street Police Station under the name of Dr John Smith.
- Lauren signs the Official Secrets Act.
- The virus is transmittable through telephone conversations.
- The DJ plays "Blue Starlight" by Steve Silver.
- Urgent Calls is only one episode long. The other three episodes on the discs are of the story I.D..
- This story is part of the "Virus Strain" arc.
- It is implied that the "army man" and doctor who visit Lauren in hospital are with UNIT. The Doctor asks Lauren if the latter was "a tall chap with white hair and rather flamboyant clothes". However, the doctor Lauren saw is described as short and bald.
- The Doctor quotes Thomas Jefferson. (TV: The Lazarus Experiment)
- The bio-engineered telephone virus was one of the millions of viruses which were accidentally released from the Amethyst Viral Containment Station in the far future and spread throughout time and space. (AUDIO: Patient Zero)
- Official Urgent Calls page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for Urgent Calls at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide