Doctor Who’s ongoing short story series is one of the most lovely things to come out of this otherwise pretty grim period of social isolation we all find ourselves in right now. It’s giving us beautiful little snippets, and samples of things we’d never thought we’d actually get—like former showrunner Steven Moffat taking on a 13th Doctor tale.
Posted to the official Doctor Who website today, “The Terror Of The Umpty Ums” sees the Doctor face a killer cyborg disguised as a young boy in a children’s home, eager to wreak bloodthirsty vengeance upon humanity. Sort of.
It’s very Steven Moffat—who had just written another Who short last week, to go along with the Twitter re-watch of “The Eleventh Hour”—even if this is the first time he’s getting his hands on Whittaker’s incarnation of the Doctor. Operating on the fringes of the story, she is suitably clever (even quoting a few of her former incarnations, specifically ones Moffat helped bring to life across his tenure on the show), and there’s a lot of dealing with things that are not what they seem in reality, as well as, of course, a twist or two. It’s about the power of stories, and how they help us in trying times, befitting the current moment.
Oh, and about the dread sound of the Umpty Ums, of course.
Like I said: very Steven Moffat, and how much that works for you is probably predicated on how much you enjoyed his time as showrunner on the series. But whether or not you were the Moff’s biggest fan, it’s great to continue to see these stories coming out—some big, some revelatory, some just earnestly sweet and brief, a breeze of Doctor Who in a world that could desperately use the Doctor on our screens again. As we’ve said before, we would not mind these kinds of initiatives sticking around long after we’ve overcome the current pandemic lockdown.