The Innocent (audio story)

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The Innocent was the first story in the audio anthology Only the Monstrous, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Nicholas Briggs and featured John Hurt as the War Doctor and introduced Lucy Briggs-Owen as Rejoice, Beth Chalmers as Veklin and Jacqueline Pearce as Cardinal Ollistra.

It was notable for being the first story exclusively produced by Big Finish story to explicitly utilise an incarnation of the Doctor introduced in the BBC Wales series, although their collaboration with AudioGO, Destiny of the Doctor, had previously allowed them to do so, and 2006's The Kingmaker featured a cameo from the Ninth Doctor, the legal issue of his inclusion solved by only identifying him as "a northern chap with big ears".

Publisher's summary[[edit]]

As the Daleks mass their time fleet for a final assault on Gallifrey, something ancient is waiting for them at Omega One. And a sacrifice must be made.

Arch-manipulator and Time Lord strategist, Cardinal Ollistra receives shock news of the Doctor's death.

Meanwhile, on the planet Keska, a parochial war has returned to plague a peaceful civilisation after decades of tranquillity. But how can such a war have any connection with the great Time War which, at any one moment in the whole of eternity, could threaten to tear the universe apart?

If only the Doctor were still alive.


The Daleks are massing for what they plan to be the final assault on Gallifrey. Massed in nearby space, they have brought their largest force yet: an entire fleet of time ships, accompanied by stealth ships. However, the Time Lords - under the command at the moment of the manipulative Cardinal Ollistra - are ready for them. Secretly, they have established an installation in space, and armed it with a devastating piece of equipment, ironically stolen from the Daleks themselves: a Time Destructor. Due to the Daleks' previous plan on Kembel, its effects are known: it will age the Daleks and their equipment to the point of death and destruction by advancing local time. Unfortunately, it’s a suicide mission; the two Time Lords on the installation, Arverton and Bennus, must activate it manually, but that means it will kill them as well. Ollistra is then shocked when the victory is announced by Arverton and Bennus, in person.

According to the soldiers, they were interrupted just before activation by an incoming TARDIS. The man who was once known as the Doctor - but has now forsworn that name - met them, and volunteered to take their place. Sending them away in their own TARDIS, he stayed to activate the destructor himself and seemingly died in the process. Ollistra castigates them for this occurrence, telling them the Doctor is worth a hundred of them.

The Doctor, though, is not dead. Caught in the destructor’s field, he managed to enter his TARDIS and escape; his previous experience on Kembel had shown him that a Time Lord can survive it for a time, though they are harmed in the process. He lands on the strange, sunny world of Keska and finds himself in the care of a young woman named Rejoice; he, however, refuses to identify himself. He immediately passes out, sleeps for about fifty days, before awakening again. Rejoice is alarmed by his lengthy sleep, but it appears to be an induced coma which will help him recover from the effect of the time destructor.

Rejoice tells him that she knows nothing of the Time War as it hasn’t touched Keska, something which the Doctor struggles to believe. However, Keska has its own war against a race called the Taalyens. The Doctor tries to return to the TARDIS, but passes out again and again sleeps for another fifty days. While unconscious, he dreams of his recent encounters in the war.

When he awakens, the building is under attack, being bombarded by the Taalyens. Rejoice escorts him into the basement; he is still unclear on the nature of the war and mentions the Daleks, but she has never heard of them. She explains more; Rejoice’s people, the Keskans and the Taalyens both originate on a world called Traan, but Rejoice’s people fled oppression and came to Keska. Now the Taalyens have tracked them here, adopting rocket technology left behind on Traan to create ships and weapons.

To Rejoice’s amazement, the TARDIS is unharmed when she had believed it destroyed. The Doctor intends to leave and return to his own war, leaving the Keskans and the Taalyens to sort out their own problems. However, he overhears a communication between Rejoice and her father, Thran, which indicates that the Keskans are woefully unprepared to fight the Taalyens; they have been a peaceful people until now. Afterward, the Doctor chooses to stay and help. He takes Rejoice via TARDIS to the governmental citadel, where the Keskan Collective, the governing body of which Rejoice’s father is the chairman, are meeting. They debate non-violent options, which include surrender and the concealing of a core group of survivors, until the Doctor interrupts.

The Doctor describes the likely battle plan of the Taalyens and concludes that it will end in genocide. Rejoice suggests that he is only doing this to persuade them to join his larger war; he doesn’t deny that possibility, but also says that he is offering because they didn’t try to force him to help. He then reveals that he can use the communication satellites in orbit to save them. Thran says that any decision taken must be made by the collective and the Doctor chastises him for waiting. He then enters the satellite control centre and begins to work but then passes out again.

This time, he is out for a hundred days or more. He reprograms the satellites to create a defensive shield around the planet, but he refuses to press the button to activate it; he insists that it must be the Keskans’ decision. Then he passes out again, and has another flashback to the time destructor station. He is only out for a few seconds this time, but Thran has still not pressed the button; his indecision and usual reliance on the collective have stayed his hand and he refuses to do it. Impulsively, Rejoice presses the button, activating the shield.

Thran thanks the Doctor and offers to repay him. He offers to celebrate and make the Doctor the guest of honour. The Doctor declines and tells him not to celebrate; the Doctor also refuses to give his name, which he has never given them until now. He then goes to rest.

Elsewhere, a high-ranked Time Lord named Seratrix contacts Ollistra from his TARDIS, stating he is returning to Gallifrey. She bids him a safe journey. As soon as the communication ends, he and his aide are interrupted by a Dalek ship in the vortex - not a time ship, but a real-space ship which has only momentarily jumped into the vortex. In that moment, it attacks, and knocks Seratrix’s TARDIS out of the vortex to coordinates unknown.

The Doctor remains on Keska for 134 more days, during which Rejoice visits him several times (seventeen, in fact). His recovery is proceeding well, though he thinks he is not strong enough yet to leave. Rejoice takes pity on him for the war and for his nightmares, but he becomes angry about it.

Veklin, a servant of Cardinal Ollistra, arrives on Kaska looking for the Doctor and informs him that she has come to bring him back; he responds badly, especially when she calls him 'the Doctor'. He rejects her orders to return and goes out in a boat with Rejoice to get away from Veklin.

Rejoice asks him about his refusal to be called 'the Doctor', and why he won’t return. He dodges the first question but then says that he wants to help, but only on his own terms; he doesn’t take orders. He mentions his past mission to prevent the creation of the Daleks, and admits that it may have led to the Time War. In return, Rejoice recounts some history of the Taalyen war, but admits that she had not been born yet and doesn’t know much. The Doctor blames himself, calls himself a monster to Rejoice’s horror. “War is very simple, and all you have to do to wage it is become a monster. That’s what I am.” Rejoice refuses to concede to this claim when he loses his temper and knocks Rejoice from the boat. She handles it calmly, but the Doctor instantly regrets his action. Rejoice, seeing the Doctor's need to be alone for a time, begins swimming ashore, leaving him in the boat by himself.

The Time Lords, on hearing of the Doctor's abstinence, intervene, trying to extract him back to Gallifrey. They start a storm which forces the Doctor and Rejoice to head back to shore. Rejoice insists on going with him against his orders, insisting that he needs someone to help him. He and Rejoice make it into the TARDIS, but it is not enough; Ollistra authorises use of extra power from the Eye of Harmony and the TARDIS is forcefully pulled back to Gallifrey. The Doctor speculates that this indicates some desperation on the part of Ollistra as diverting power from the Eye would weaken Gallifrey’s defences. Rejoice is discarded by Ollistra, and safely returned to Keska; the Doctor assures her she will be safe, and apologises to her. As she vanishes, she assures him he is not a monster, but he still doesn't believe her. Ollistra callously remarks on Rejoice’s faith in him, and welcomes him home. “Home,” he says with disgust. “You’re welcome to it...”




  • This story was recorded at The Moat Studios on 27 September 2015.
  • This story was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra on 17 December 2022.[1] It was later edited into two parts which were first broadcast on 22 and 23 November 2023.[2][3] The first part ends after the Doctor attempts to explain why the Keskans should press the shields button.
  • This story incorporates a new theme tune composed by Howard Carter, reflecting a more militaristic Doctor.
  • The TARDIS materialisation sound effect has been distorted, in keeping with the War Doctor's battle-worn ship.


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