Aliens of Pagwell

To Norman Hunter and Jon Pertwee - the world is less funny without them.

The Doctor and his inventionStrange noises were coming from the Doctor's laboratory. Sizzles and squeaks. Wheezes and groans. Enough snaps, crackles and pops for a billion boxes of breakfast cereal, with a cut-out-and-keep TARDIS on the back if you were lucky. And not only noises. Purple smoke. Green sparks. Smells of frying sausages and wet dogs.

But Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, the Doctor's best friend, didn't care a jot or a whoop for any of this. Partly because he was simply most frightfully brave, but mostly because he was used to the Doctor by now. He threw open the laboratory door in his military manner and his military boots.

"Morning, Doctor!"

"Ah, Brigadier! You're just in time for a demonstration of my latest invention," said the Doctor, scrambling into his velvet smoking-jacket.

The Doctor had five velvet smoking-jackets. One for driving, one for laboratory work, one for Venusian aikido, one he wore in bed in case he had to get up and be dashing in the middle of the night, and a spare for when one of the others had been lost on an alien planet or torn in a scuffle with his deadly enemy, the Master.

The Doctor pointed to a big black machine covered in levers, buttons and labels, including one that said 'BAD WOLF' and had been stuck on by mistake.

The Brigadier didn't care terribly much for inventions. He preferred guns, because you knew where you were with guns. Dead, if you were the enemy, or victorious, if you were the Brigadier. Besides, the Doctor's explanations of his inventions always made the Brigadier's head go round and round.

"You see, Brigadier, I have routed the transdimensional forcefield through the vortex manipulator, thus aligning the flux capacitor with the dilithium crystal maze via the quantum leap accelerator and coupling the negative feedback in with the push-pull input/output. Thus any alien life forms attempting to enter Earth's atmosphere will be, er, repelled."

"All very interesting, what?" said Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, whose head was going round and round like anything. "But, my dear fellow, you've forgotten our meeting at the Ministry of Defence! Hurry along, now, or we'll be late."

They didn't quite manage to hurry along because the Doctor couldn't decide which of his velvet smoking-jackets would be best for meeting Ministers in, and then the Brigadier dropped his cap into the Doctor's patented machine for ironing ruffled shirt-fronts and had to fish it out with a spare piece of Dalek.

But at last they set off, the Brigadier hoping that the Doctor wouldn't say anything rude to the Prime Minister and the Doctor hoping that the Ministry of Defence did a good line in sandwiches.

Jo Grant, the Doctor's assistant, came in shortly afterwards with cups of tea for everyone, only everyone wasn't there.

"Well! I do think it's mean of him to go off without telling me!" she said, and put the Doctor's mug down rather sloshily so she could walk out again in a huff.

But oh dear! The sloshy tea was dribbling drippily down the laboratory bench and into the workings of the Doctor's alien-repelling machine!

No invention of the Doctor’s was going to stand for that. The machine glowed like a rather poor sort of special effect from a 1970s science fiction series and promptly went up in a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

"Oo-er!" Jo Grant might have said if she had been there. But she had gone off to invite Captain Yates to a folk club, so she wasn't and she didn't.

Very much oo and quite a lot of er! Instead of keeping aliens away, the machine had reversed itself and started attracting aliens as fast as it could. Hostile species were popping up all over the Pagwells in little puffs of smoke. Yeti in Tooting Pagwell. Ice Warriors in Pagwell North. Daemons in Ottery St. Pagwell. Autons in Pagwell Village, but luckily they couldn't escape.

Panic in the Pagwells! Dr. Mumpzanmeasle was rushed off his feet because people kept thinking they were seeing things. Splashmidoo-on-Sea called out the Home Guard, which didn't do any good because they had been disbanded for years.

The Doctor and the Brigadier came rattle-a-bang back in Bessie, the Doctor's car, to find Sergeant Benton trying to talk into four telephones at once. Jo Grant ran in all of a dither, or most of a one anyway, to say there was a Drashig in the Doctor's wardrobe building a nest in his shirts.

"Dear me!" exclaimed the Doctor, and he ran off to his laboratory. When he saw the machine and the tea he realised at once what had happened.

"You silly girl! You've reversed the polarity of the neutron flow!" he said, getting so excited that he had to take his velvet smoking-jacket off. He started taking the machine apart and would probably have turned it into a device for doing something else entirely if a Dalek hadn't poked its eyestalk through the laboratory window.

"No time for that, what?" roared the Brigadier. "Charge, hurrah, five rounds rapid!" He drew his pistol, but the Doctor had replaced it with a water one because he didn't approve of guns.

The Doctor reached for his sonic screwdriver, then remembered he had taken it apart to try and turn it into sonic curling tongs.

Sontaran supping Souchong.Crash! came the Drashig out of the wardrobe.

"EXTERMINATE!" came the Dalek through the window.

Stomp! came the Sontarans along the corridor.

The Brigadier threw the alien-repelling machine at the Drashig, but missed and caught the Doctor rather a wallop instead.

Crash! Slither! "EXTERMINATE!" Stomp! "Greyhound to Trap One!"

Jo Grant came back in with a fresh pot of tea and a plate of Walnut Whips.

"Not now, thank you, Jo," said the Doctor, shaking two Cybermats off his dress shoes.

"I WOULD CARE FOR TEA," the Dalek said.

"There is simply nothing like a good cup of tea," agreed an Axon.

"If that isn't just what I always say!" exclaimed Jo Grant.

"Really, Jo, if it isn't what you always say, then what is what you always say, and what did you just say instead?" asked the Doctor, making the Brigadier's head go round and round again.

The aliens, who were getting rather tired of trying to take over the universe what with the Doctor always foiling them, put down their bazookoids, photometric annihilators, atomisers, agonisers and other assorted weaponry and stopped for a cup of tea, those of them who had little fingers sticking them out politely.

They soon found they enjoyed not killing everyone all the time so much they decided to settle down in Great Pagwell.

They agreed to appear and be scary, but not so scary it put anyone off their cake, at Ye Olde Bun Shoppe in return for all the tea they could drink, which was rather a lot.

And you can come and see them do it any day except Wednesday, which is their day off.