Doctor Who Logo 'The Unicorn and the Wasp'
(Story Code 4.7)

by Gareth Roberts
The Doctor and Donna

“Agatha Christie! I was just talking about you the other day! I said ‘I bet she’s brilliant.’ I’m the Doctor, this is Donna. Oh! I love your stuff. What a mind. You fool me every time. Well… almost every time. Well… once or twice. Well… once – but it was a good once.” – The Doctor

The TARDIS transports the Doctor and Donna to England, 1926, materialising in the grounds of Eddington Hall, owned by the wealthy Lady Clemency Eddison. Meanwhile, Lady Eddison’s butler, Greeves, welcomes the arrival of two guests for his mistress’ cocktail party, Professor Peach and the Reverend Golightly. While the Reverend heads for his room, the Professor makes for the library, where his excitement at discovering a dark family secret is interrupted by the arrival of a giant wasp armed with a lead pipe… Out on the lawn, the Doctor and a suitably-dressed Donna gatecrash Lady Eddison’s cocktail party; using the Time Lord’s psychic paper to reassure their hostess that they were invited, the two time-travellers learn that Lady Eddison is concerned by ‘The Unicorn’, a mysterious jewel thief responsible for a recent spate of thefts amongst the rich and famous. The Doctor and Donna then meet the rest of the guests: Sir Hugh Curbishley, Lady Eddison’s wheelchair-bound husband; her son, Roger; beautiful socialite Robina Redmond; the Reverend Arnold Golightly, still shaken by a recent break-in at his church; and finally – to the Doctor and Donna’s amazement and excitement – the famous crime novelist, Agatha Christie. As the housekeeper, Miss Chandrakala goes in search of Professor Peach, the Doctor notices the date on a newspaper – today is the day that Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared; after discovering that her husband had been having an affair, Agatha vanished for ten days, eventually turning up at a hotel in Harrogate with no recollection of what had happened to her… When a distressed Miss Chandrakala returns with the news that the Professor has been murdered, the Doctor, Donna and Agatha rush off to investigate the body in the library. Announcing himself as Chief Inspector Smith of Scotland Yard, with Donna his plucky young assistant, the Doctor dismisses everyone from the crime scene; he then finds a trace of morphic residue on the floor – the murderer appears to have been an alien… After Donna inadvertently gives Agatha the idea for a new novel, the Doctor sends her upstairs with a magnifying glass to search for clues, while he and Agatha question the guests in the study. Unfortunately, all the guests can account for themselves: the Reverend was unpacking in his room; Roger was taking a “constitutional” in the garden (with Davenport the footman); Robina was preparing for the party (and checking a gun); the Colonel was in the study reading his “military memoirs” (and thinking of Can-Can girls); while Lady Eddison was in the Blue Room taking tea (with a drop of whiskey). While the Doctor and Agatha ponder their suspects’ lack of alibis, their talk of Hercule Poirot sends the Doctor reminiscing about his time in Belgium; he then reveals that he saw Agatha find a clue in the library’s fire: a scrap of burnt paper with the word “maiden” on it. Upstairs, Donna instructs Greeves to open a locked room that has been left undisturbed for forty years, ever since Lady Eddison returned from India and spent six months recovering from malaria. While looking around, Donna is suddenly attacked by an eight-foot tall wasp; narrowly avoiding the monster’s sting as it impales the door, Donna succeeds in scaring the creature off with sunlight refracted through her magnifying glass. Arriving on the scene with Agatha, the Doctor examines the broken sting and determines that the alien is a shape-shifter. Having overheard the staff gossiping in the kitchens, Miss Chandrakala makes a connection and rushes off to speak with Lady Eddison, but on the way she is struck down by a falling stone gargoyle that has been pushed off its ledge by the wasp. As the Doctor, Donna and Agatha rush to the dying woman’s aid, they hear her last words of a “poor little child”. Seeing the wasp, the Doctor and his friends pursue it into the house, where Donna stops another attack using her magnifying glass; the creature flies off and takes human form – at the exact moment that all the guests step from their rooms, much to the Doctor’s annoyance. Later, Donna joins Agatha in the garden, where the author is reflecting on the sorry state of her life. After Donna reassures her that her books will never be forgotten, Agatha spots a box in the flowerbed; showing it to the Doctor, they find it contains tools used by a thief. Having analysed the morphic residue, the Doctor reveals that the alien is a Vespiform – wasp-like creatures whose hives are located in the Silfrax Galaxy. While Donna gives away the idea for Miss Marple, the Doctor ponders why the Vespiform is behaving like a character in one of Agatha’s books; his ruminations are interrupted when he realises he has been poisoned – someone has put sparkling cyanide in his drink. The Doctor rushes for the kitchen, where Donna helps him concoct an antidote from ginger beer, walnuts and anchovies; hearing that the Doctor needs a shock to stimulate his body’s reaction, Donna promptly kisses him, allowing the Time Lord to detox his body and expel the poison from his mouth as gas. That night, as a storm rages outside, the Doctor and Donna join Lady Eddison and her guests for dinner. In an attempt to expose the Vespiform, the Doctor puts pepper in the soup - its main ingredient, piperine, is also used in insecticide. As the lights go out the wasp appears and sends the Doctor, Donna, Agatha and Greeves fleeing from the room. When they eventually return the wasp has vanished, Lady Edison’s valuable Indian ‘Firestone’ necklace has been stolen – while Roger lies dead with a knife in his back. The Doctor immediately calls everyone to the library, where he encourages Agatha to deduce the identity of the murderer. Agatha’s her first act is to expose Robina as an impostor: she is in fact the Unicorn, having taken the real Robina’s place so that she could steal the Firestone; however, as the Unicorn returns the gem to Lady Eddison, she insists that she is not the killer. Turning to the Colonel, Agatha is about to confirm his innocence when he misinterprets her intentions, and reveals that he only pretends to be an invalid to keep his wife’s affections. Agatha’s next suspect is Lady Eddison, whose secret is soon revealed: while in India forty years ago, Lady Eddison became pregnant; unmarried, she was forced to keep her situation quiet to prevent a scandal. When the Doctor opines that it was no ordinary pregnancy, Lady Eddison confesses that the child’s father, Christopher, was an alien who had come to Earth to learn about mankind; the two became lovers, but then Christopher tragically died during a terrible monsoon. Keeping his gift of the Firestone necklace close to her, Lady Eddison returned to England with Miss Chandrakala, where she had the child in secret and had it sent to an orphanage. Deducing that Professor Peach discovered Lady Eddison’s secret from maiden name, but was killed before he could tell anyone, the Doctor once again remarks how events are unfolding like a murder mystery. Learning that, as one of Agatha Christie’s greatest fans, Lady Eddison was reading her latest novel, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’, on the same night as the break-in at the church, the Doctor realises that the forty-year old Reverend Golightly is in fact Lady Eddison’s son – the shock of confronting the thieves broke his genetic lock, transforming him into his true wasp form. Golightly’s memory was restored via the Firestone – in reality a Vespiform Telephathic Recorder; however, the Firestone didn’t just transmit his true alien identity, it also incorporated elements of the novel that Lady Eddison was reading at the time. Exposed as the murderer, Golightly transforms into his Vespiform before everyone’s astonished eyes and prepares to attack. Seizing the Firestone, Agatha rushes from the house and drives off in her car, drawing the giant wasp after her. Jumping into another vehicle, the Doctor and Donna set off in pursuit, following the wasp as it flies after Agatha as she heads for the nearby lake, Silent Pool. Arriving at the waterside, Agatha bravely calls out to the Vespiform, hoping that if the creature kills her it too will die, through its link with her mind’s template. But just as the wasp flies in for the kill, Donna snatches the Firestone and hurls it into the lake – the Vespiform dives in after the jewel, where it starts to drown in the watery depths. As the wasp dies its link with Agatha causes her to collapse in pain, but at the last moment, the Vespiform severs the link, saving Agatha’s life and leaving her with a mild case of amnesia. Realising that these events explain Agatha’s disappearance, the Doctor and Donna take the woman to the TARDIS and transport her ten days in the future; after leaving the bewildered novelist at the Harrogate Hotel, the Doctor tells Donna that none of Lady Eddison’s guests will ever speak of the shameful events they experienced, while Agatha will go on to remarry, travel the world, and continue to write the brilliant books for which she is justifiably famous, incorporating some of her recent experiences, which managed to filter through into her subconscious. Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor digs out an facsimile edition of one of Agatha’s novels, ‘Death in the Clouds’ – which Donna is astonished to see was printed in the year Five Billion…

David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Fenella Woolgar (Agatha Christie), Felicity Kendal (Lady Clemency Eddison), Tom Goodman-Hill (Reverend Golightly), Christopher Benjamin (Colonel Hugh Curbishley), Felicity Jones (Robina Redmond), Adam Rayner (Roger Curbishley), David Quilter (Greeves), Daniel King (Davenport), Ian Barritt (Professor Peach), Leena Dhingra (Miss Chandrakala), Charlotte Eaton (Mrs Hart)

Directed by Graeme Harper
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive Producers Russell T. Davies, Phil Collinson and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production

17th May 2008 @ 7.00 pm

*Featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna