The Rag & Bone Man's Story (short story)

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The Rag & Bone Man's Story was the third short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Repercussions. It was written by Colin Brake. It featured the First Doctor and Susan.


The Doctor and Susan, having just left the planet Tacunda, are travelling in the TARDIS. The Doctor has a crystal, called by the Tacunda people a "Blessing Star", which he fits into the console. He explains to Susan that the primitive Tacunda thought the crystal brought good luck, but in reality there is a microscopic empathic creature inside the crystal that responds to the desires of whoever is holding the crystal.

Unfortunately for the Doctor, the crystal does not provide navigational help, but instead burns out the navigational system and deposits the TARDIS on 20th century Earth.

Susan begins attending school, and at first the Blessing Star helps her fit in. She easily passes a history test and wins a card game. However, her good luck begins to bring her negative attention from her classmates, and she feels more of an outsider. She decides to get rid of the Blessing Star, and hides it among the junk in the junkyard.

Joseph Galloway, a rag and bone man, has taken a job from a man named Hawkins, who tells him that he had rented a junkyard to a man who has since disappeared. Hawkins wants Galloway to clear out the place.

Galloway, cleaning out the junkyard, finds the Blessing Star. It brings him luck immediately — some of the pieces in the junkyard are valuable. He wins a small bet, begins to receive better jobs, and gets married.

Four years later, Galloway and some friends are at his house, watching the World Cup. The Doctor arrives on Earth to take care of some matters of business. He goes to the junkyard, looking for the Blessing Star, but notices that the junkyard is cleared out. He traces the Star to Galloway.

At Galloway's home, England is winning their match against West Germany. The Doctor arrives at Galloway's door, and Galloway knows why he's here. He hesitates, and the creature inside the Star senses the desire of all football fans in England, allowing England to score a goal, but the strain is too much and the crystal explodes. The Doctor leaves.

Galloway goes on with his life, raising his family. However, as the Doctor knows that Galloway's son will invent a hideous weapon with Galloway's proceeds, the Doctor takes Galloway out of his time to preserve the Web of Time.




  • Each story in Short Trips: Repercussions includes a character or characters being taken out of their time by the Doctor to avoid harm to the Web of Time. In this story, it is Joseph Galloway.
  • This story takes place during the last episode of TV: The War Machines, after the Doctor defeats WOTAN and before he leaves in the TARDIS. The story contains flashbacks to the Doctor's arrival on Earth in 1963 and his and Susan's life at 76 Totter's Lane.
  • Galloway says that he found the Blessing Star in "Christmas of '62", but this must be an error since it is set after the Doctor disappeared.