Over the course of my last three hypothetical series as showrunner, The Doctor, George and Nate have been through quite a lot. They’ve lost a friend in Elisabeth Watts who sacrifices herself to keep history on-track and that caused a huge rift between the remaining travellers. Series 3 saw the three friends finding common ground again and growing to really like one another again. Series 4, will see a return to a status-quo we are all familiar with, the Doctor and his companions fighting against the baddies the universe throws at them.
It will also feature baddies from the history of the show in every episode, much like Series 20 did in 1983. Series 4 won’t feature much of an over-arching storyline, though there will be threads that lead into the three-part finale that will wrap the series up. As usual, there will also be a Christmas Special. Series 4 will also feature a modern adaptation of a proposed story from the original series of the show. This episode will be, The Red Fort.
The Main Players
The Doctor: Following on from Series 3, the Doctor is now much more secure with his companions and his feelings. Elisabeth’s death hit him hard and as a result, he didn’t really let George or Nate out of his sight, causing a bit of tension between the trio. Now though, he is almost back to his old self, fun-loving and a little reckless. But he can sense something isn’t quite right and there is a being reaching back through time. This worry is something he keeps from George and Nate for as long as he can but realises that was a mistake when he discovers who the big-bad is when they arrive in Ancient Egypt…
George Atkins: George has seen both sides of time-travel over the course of the last three series. Series 1 saw him enjoying it a lot, though it could be dangerous, getting to meet historical figures he’s admired and seeing the future more than made up for the dangers involved. Series 2 saw his friend die in a horrible way and forced a wedge between him and the Doctor. Series 3 saw that wedge slowly gets removed and going into Series 4, George is much more like he was in the first series, fun-loving with a sense of adventure and a need to get away from the boring life he thought he had on Earth. However, he does keep forgetting that the Doctor is alien and sometimes doesn’t understand his actions or reasoning’s behind things.
And that will sometimes put him and the Doctor in different outlooks on the events unfolding around them.
Nate Wallis: Going into Series 4, Nate is beginning to question his place in the TARDIS. He originally only agreed to go because that’s where George was and he didn’t want to lose him. Over the last two series, Nate has grown to enjoy his travels and not be completely terrified by them, even if he isn’t still the most seasoned of time-travellers. It’s not a lifestyle that completely suits him and he is beginning to question whether he wants to stay or leave. But he knows if he leaves, George will stay. This is the happiest he’s ever seen George, and Nate doesn’t want to ruin that. For Nate, the running question through this series will be whether or not he wants to leave.
The Master: Having been trapped in the Land of Fiction for an undisclosed amount of time, the Doctor and his companions eventually manage to free him from that strange land. Escaping from the Land of Fiction, the Master finds himself propelled into a number of adventures with the Doctor, George and Nate, facing creatures like the Krell, Dominators, Meglos and the Doomwraiths, the Master gradually comes to find common ground with the Doctor once again, even beginning to like his companions.
Ultimately his loyalty to his old friend is tested when the Doctor is killed by Sutekh and George and Nate have to rely on their uneasy ally to help them save the day. This new incarnation of the Master will become a companion to the Doctor and will go into the next series in the same role, though he will leave at some point in Series 5.
1. Waters of Death
The TARDIS brings the Doctor, George and Nate to modern-day Earth. While George and Nate take the opportunity to go home and see their families, the Doctor finds himself working with UNIT once again as strange things have been happening at sea. UNIT suspect the Sea Devils to be behind the acts of vandalism on a new project looking at the mass advantages of hydropower.
Their fears come true when they learn that the excavations of the massive power complex disturbed a hidden Sea Devil base. When the Sea Devils attack the base, which is hidden under a massive dam at the bottom of the ocean, George and Nate find themselves trapped in rising waters and the Doctor and UNIT must try to make peace, this time properly between the human race and the Sea Devils.
2. The Red Fort
With George and Nate narrowly escaping death by drowning, the Doctor promises to take the pair somewhere nice and warm and the TARDIS brings them to India in 1803 at The Red Fort just before The Siege of Delhi. With the TARDIS captured by the fast-approaching English soldiers, The Doctor, George and Nate find themselves trapped as the Siege is about to begin.
They must use all their wits and guile to get back to the TARDIS and escape a gruesome fate at the hands of the English soldiers, though George and Nate hope to try and find a way of making peace. But the Doctor knows that sometimes, you just can’t rewrite history. Not a single line. It’s time for his companions to really learn the hard way…
3. The Land of Fiction – Part 1
When something seems to seriously go wrong with the TARDIS, the Doctor, George and Nate find themselves trapped in a mysterious land. The Doctor knows they are stuck in the Land of Fiction, though he doesn’t know why. When the TARDIS team get separated, George and Nate find themselves meeting a number of fictional characters while the Doctor comes face to face with the Master of the Land of Fiction.
It’s there he learns that the Master of the Land of Fiction is dying and he’s selected the Doctor to take over. Trapped in the clutches of this land the Doctor has no choice but to take his new role and finds himself as the new Master of the Land of Fiction. Now he has to escape before the land warps his mind beyond all recognition.
4. The Doctor’s Angels – Part 2
“Once upon a time, there were three little companions who each lead very boring lives,
Two were from 2020 and one was from 1911,
But I took them away from all that and now they work for me.
My name is the Doctor…”
5. Escape from the Land of Fiction – Part 3
With the Doctor now the new Master of the Land of Fiction, he’s saved his friends from certain death by putting them in a story. He’s also managed to find a way out, but they aren’t the only ones trapped in this strange new world. The Master is stuck here too. Unlike the Doctor, the Master is free to move around the different locations but he needs the Doctor’s help to escape.
He’s put in touch with the John Smith Detective Agency. Luckily for him, the Doctor’s Angels want to take the case. But can they all escape?
6. Date Night
With the fake Elisabeth having sacrificed herself once again, allowing the Doctor, George, Nate and the Master to escape the Land of Fiction, the Doctor takes George and Nate back to Earth for a date-night. While his companions are away, he plans to take the Master away from Earth. But the TARDIS won’t leave.
Having booked a table at an exclusive restaurant, George and Nate find things are a little strange. In between, they discover a number of the diners are aliens, before starters and after the main course, the other diners come from different time periods. This is a place where all times and places meet. A safe place, where no violence is allowed.
But the Krill have set their sights on the restaurant, the Doctor and the Master can’t take off because of all the time paradoxes. Will George and Nate survive to enjoy their dessert?
7. The Sands of Zolfa Thura
Narrowly escaping destruction after closing the restaurant down in the previous adventure, the TARDIS is ejected from those paradoxes and crashes on a dusty planet. Its a boring place, a desert landscape, the only thing of interest here is the mysterious screens.
With the Doctor and the Master forced into an uneasy alliance for the time being, perhaps now isn’t the best time for the Doctor’s old foe, Meglos to raise his prickly head. But with two Time-Lords around this time, has Meglos bitten off more than he chew or with the Doctor and the Master at each other’s throats, will he finally win this time and claim the title of the Doctor’s deadliest foe?
8. The Conquest of Planet 28
Having left Zolfa Thura, the Doctor and the Master have slowly come to respect each other over the last three adventures together. Arriving on Planet 28, the Doctor, Master, George and Nate find themselves amongst an archaeological dig, where the archaeologists have found the remains of an ancient spaceship.
The Doctor and the Master are interested and the group join the initial journey into the ruined ship. What is inside worries the Doctor though, and the robots that George and Nate think are quite a cute turn out to be the deadly Quarks. This is a Dominator ship, a weapon of mass destruction. The presence of aliens has awoken the ship and the Dominators are waking from their hibernation.
As the archaeologists are killed off, the Doctor and his friends find themselves facing the fact that this time, the Dominators might actually win.
9. The Doomwraiths
There is an ancient Gallifreyan legend about the Doomwraiths. They were some of the first Time Lords involved in Omega’s exploration into time-travel. They were pulled apart by the time-winds and now haunt the time-vortex forever doomed to see everything that has happened, will happen and could happen, driven mad by it all.
When the TARDIS brings the Doctor, Master, George and Nate to long-abandoned space-station and it doesn’t take them long to discover its an old Time Lord observation platform. Recognising the Time Lord DNA in the Doctor and the Master, the platform begins to wake up and slowly allows them access the Time Lord records.
The Doctor and his friends learn that the missing Time Lords were investigating the mythical Doomwraiths, but were they just a myth? What happened to the Time Lords on the platform and why to ghosts consumed by madness wander through the corridors?
10. The Dust of Ages – Part 1
When the TARDIS arrives in ancient Egypt, the Doctor, Master, George and Nate find themselves thrown into a war of gods. The Osirans are waging war against each other. On one side, Horus leads a troop of gods against Sutekh and his wife, Nephthys. The Doctor knows Sutekh of old and knows how thoroughly evil he is. But this is a long time before he originally pitted his wits against the god, would he change history if he defeated him here.
As the TARDIS team try to get back to the TARDIS, the war wages on around them and the Egyptians hope that a sacrifice will please their gods, fearing they have done something to upset them. Thankfully four strangers have just arrived and they have no qualms about putting them under the sacrificial blade. But are they playing into Sutekh’s hand?
11. The Reign of Sutekh – Part 2
With Sutekh having won the War of the Gods, the River Nile has run red with the blood of his enemies. Now ruling over Ancient Egypt and with access to the TARDIS and all its functions, Sutekh is setting his sights on the future and on other planets. He’s already sent his emissaries of death into the future to spread his law. History has been damaged almost beyond repair and it seems Sutekh has finally won.
The Master having escaped the sacrificial blade in the previous adventure now has to prove how much he’s changed, with a band of rebels by his side, of whom George and Nate are members, will he try to defeat a god or will he ultimately betray them all?
12. Abandon All Hope – Part 3
Having gained access to the TARDIS, the Master plans to escape from Earth and spread the news that Sutekh has conquered the planet around the galaxy, giving warnings to all the races he comes across. But he’s haunted by the ghost of the Doctor, who is compelling him to do the right thing, to stick around and fight.
Abandoned by the Master, George and Nate find themselves in the clutches of the Sutekh as the timeline of Earth continues to shatter around them. The Master has stolen the TARDIS and fled, the Doctor is dead. What chance to do humans really stand?
13. The Great Pyramid – Part 4
Having built a Great Pyramid from which Sutekh plans to rule the galaxy, bending everything to his way of thinking. Death and destruction lay in his wake. George and Nate are one of only a handful of humans kept as servants to the ancient gods. But hope comes in the form of the Master who takes them to the planet Osiris, just long after Sutekh was born into being.
George and Nate know what needs to be done but they don’t have the conscience to do it. They can’t kill baby-Sutekh. It’s lucky then that the Master doesn’t have the same moral values as them, but he’s still haunted by the ghost of the Doctor. Its a race against time to prevent the Great Pyramid from being completed, and history only has a matter of hours left before the time-line shatters completely. Can the Master, George and Nate stop Sutekh or will they all ultimately fail this time?
Dead Christmas – Christmas Special
The TARDIS, now functioning properly once again after being used by Sutekh and the Master, brings the Doctor, Master, George and Nate back into proper time and George and Nate get a chance to go home. Having arrived a few days before Christmas, George’s Mum invites them all to Christmas Dinner but something isn’t right. People are being pulled up chimneys by a mysterious force, a creature with hooves for feet and horns on its head.
Christmas means many different things for different people, for the Master though, this is the first time he’s been treated really nicely, he’s even slowly coming to call The Doctor, George and Nate his friends. He isn’t happy though that his first Christmas is going to be ruined by the Krampus, an alien being who eats naughty children. But it isn’t stopping at just children, it is going on a killing rampage. And it looks like its up to the Doctor and his friends to stop him.
That’s an outline for Series 4 of Doctor Who if I were the producer of the series. With plenty of returning villains, we’ve also got the Krell coming back from the previous series, and we’re also introducing the Doomwraiths, twisted ghostly forms of ancient Time Lords who took part in Omega’s first experiments with time-travel.
The inclusion of the Master comes from the fact that I really liked the redemption arc that Missy got alongside Capaldi’s Doctor. But I decided to take that one step further and actually give the Master a taste of the Doctor’s life and finds that he actually rather likes it. Of course, being the Master there will always be a question of whether the Doctor, George and Nate can actually trust him but here, the Master will be given plenty of time to betray them all and he decides against it.
As well as Missy, the animated Scream of the Shalka did something similar to Derek Jacobi’s version of the Master seeming to be a companion to the Doctor. I think its something we’ve not seen before and will add a different light to the character.
As for George and Nate, the next series will be their last as long-running companions, simply because after my planned six series, I think I’d hand the reigns of the show to someone else. The Sutekh story at the end of this series will see Nate finally deciding that he does, in fact, wish to leave, but is only staying around for George, but all that will change in a new way in the next series, with Nate asking George one question…