Previous: Doctor Who series 11
Next: Doctor Who series 12
The Rightful Number One Written by MarthaJonesFan
Stretching out and yawning, Martin Talbot was tired after a long day at work. The Official Charts Company was making the final preparations on Thursday night for the next singles chart. It was a hectic week all round. The date was 27th December, two days after Christmas Day, and boy, had the British public been streaming their hearts out of Christmas tracks. No matter what the OCC did to try and prevent them, they seemed to do better and better each year thanks to streaming services. Mariah Carey was number one in the most recent update, too, with a healthy four-thousand copies lead. It would have been a travesty if she made the top spot with “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, and Martin knew he had to do everything he could to try and block it. The clock inched further towards midnight. The first sets of data reports would be coming in straight away.
“Is everything okay, Mr. Talbot? Would you like a cup of tea?” a posh, timid voice came from next to him.
“No thank you Bray. The masters wouldn’t approve at such a crucial time” Martin replied, shooing the lad away. He was only working there short-term and quite often got in the way of important conferences with the masters, who ultimately had the final say on the official chart. Not that anybody else knew that. The clock hand moved to midnight, and almost instantaneously, an email pinged through. Tesco’s data. Helpful for the album chart but not the singles chart. It was going to be a long night, and Martin knew he wouldn’t get any sleep if the masters had their say.
“New Year! I love New Year, everything’s fresh and new, the gorgeous smell of gym memberships and diets” the Doctor thought aloud. She always did, and she couldn’t quite help herself most of the time. There was so much going on inside her mind, she simply had to share it. Lucky for her, she had three very willing listeners. Yaz, Ryan and Graham had become her best friends over the past few months. The Doctor knew she’d be lost without their input.
“Yeah but, which New Year?” Ryan questioned.
“Ah, an intelligent question! Well done Ryan, I’ll make a time traveller out of you yet. We might as well go back to yours, how does 2019 sound?” the Doctor decided.
“Pretty terrifying, I was barely used to 2018” Yaz laughed.
“I don’t see
why not, Doc” Graham concurred.
“There we have it, let’s go” the Doctor twisted the dial on the TARDIS console, setting the co-ordinates. The technology looked tacky to the naked eye, but she knew it was vitally important in steering the ship she called home. As much as she loved whisking her new little family off to planets all over the universe, being a tour guide of sorts, she knew they missed home. It was a good thing the Doctor loved Earth.
Arriving at work for another day, Bray was pretty tired. He was being forced to work early starts and late finishes by Mr. Talbot, all because of some new masters at the OCC that he had never met. He found it tedious anyway; the OCC was nowhere near as fun as he had expected. That said, today was the big day. The final chart of 2018. It was bound to be interesting with so many Christmas songs. Yet, for some reason, Mr. Talbot hated them. Bray couldn’t tell if that were his opinion, or that of the masters, but Bray certainly couldn’t resist a spot of The Pogues at Christmas time. First job of the day: make a cup of tea. This was the only time Mr. Talbot seemed to put aside for a cuppa. The masters never arrived in the morning, apparently, not that Bray ever saw them.
“No!” he heard Mr. Talbot shout from inside his office. His door was shut, but he had one of those voices that carried through doors and walls. He seemed permanently stressed. These so-called masters didn’t seem very easy going. What a pretentious title, too. However, Mr. Talbot seemed to insist on it. Bray knew he would be out of there before long anyway, he just had to grin and bear it for two more weeks. All of a sudden, he felt a draught. He looked behind as wind blew his long locks behind him. Bray couldn’t believe his eyes. Right in front of him, a blue box faded into existence. An old-school telephone box. He was dreaming, he had to be. A woman stepped out, with a blonde bob haircut, rainbow scarf and long, beige overcoat.
“Sorry, couldn’t get a parking spot outside, hope you don’t mind” she said, as three others followed her out of the box. How was it big enough for all four of them? It certainly didn’t look it.
“Wh…who are you?” Bray struggled to get his words out.
“Just visitors” the woman replied, “I’m the Doctor, these are my friends Yaz, Ryan and Graham. And you?”
“Bray” he replied sheepishly.
“Nice to meet you Bray. Could you do me a favour please, Bray? Let me know what the date is” the Doctor questioned.
“The date? Okay” Bray froze. Then it came to him, “28th of December 2018”
“We’re a little bit early, why are we early?” the Doctor turned around to the group of people behind her. Bray was getting increasingly confused.
Taking in her new surroundings, Yaz was taking note of what she could see. It was a reception area in what looked like quite a nice office block. It was busy outside, she could hear the cars, so they were in the city. It was definitely Earth, too. The confused lad, Bray, in the lobby area seemed to have as much idea about everything as she did. Yaz glanced at Ryan; he was just as baffled.
“Maybe you got the co-ordinates wrong, Doc” Graham suggested.
“I typed them perfectly thanks Graham” the Doctor hit back, “The TARDIS can be a bit dodgy. Although she always takes me where I need to go.” Yaz looked up to the TARDIS. It still confused her. How could something so massive fit inside that police box? The Doctor had explained – it was “dimensionally transcendental” – but that was still gibberish to Yaz.
“Why would we need to come here? Wherever here is” Yaz queried. There was no signage indicating exactly where she is.
Yaz, where are we?” the Doctor queried to Bray.
“The Official Charts Company headquarters” Bray replied.
“And who’s in charge?” the Doctor wondered.
“Mr. Talbot, although he’s kinda busy right now. Last chart of the year later, and all that” Bray sounded like he wasn’t giving much information away. However, almost on cue, a man that Yaz assumed was Mr. Talbot walked through the door to their left.
“Bray, can you please send me that spreadsheet…” he tailed off, “Oh, I didn’t realise we had any visitors coming, you could have warned me.”
“Sir, this is
the Doctor” Bray introduced.
“Doctor who?” Mr. Talbot questioned. This still bothered Yaz slightly – she didn’t actually know the Doctor’s name. Surely she couldn’t have been christened “the Doctor”?
“Just the Doctor, and you’re Mr. Talbot I assume” the Doctor led the way once again.
“That would be
right. Sorry Doctor, I’m going to have to leave you in the hands of Bray, I’m
very busy” Mr. Talbot tried to head back to his office.
“Wait one second, did you say the final chart of the year? In 2018?” the Doctor seemed shocked, “Nobody seems to know what the number one was that week. This is why the TARDIS brought us here. If you don’t mind, I’ll take a look inside your office.” Before Mr. Talbot could protest, the Doctor stormed in. Yaz knew better than to argue, and led Graham and Ryan inside too. This could be a spot of fun.
Mr. Talbot’s office was remarkably tidy. Almost too tidy, in fact, for the Doctor’s liking. When an office was that tidy, it meant there was something to hide. She had seem enough cover-ups in her time. Without a care in the world, she started to look through his desk draws, but found nothing beyond unexciting paperwork and a shedload of stationery.
“Excuse me, I could have you arrested” Mr. Talbot threatened.
“Go on then, although I expect if you were going to, you’d be on the phone now instead of making empty threats” the Doctor casually replied. She wasn’t in the mood for time-wasters. Then she found the biggest clue to date. Buried deeply at the bottom of the final draw in the desk was the only clue she needed. It was shaped like a bauble, as if it had come off a Christmas tree, but she had seen enough of them to know better. In fact, every single one she saw sent a huge shiver of dread through her entire body.
“What is it, Doctor?” Ryan asked her, stood by her side.
“You need to get back to the TARDIS, right now. All three of you” the Doctor warned.
“We’re not doing that” Graham replied nonchalantly. She knew that was going to be their answer, but she had to try and save them.
“What’s the matter?” Yaz questioned.
“Whatever it is, we can sort it, right? We’ve sorted lots of stuff before” Ryan added.
“I’m not so sure, Ryan. This is something I’ve sorted so many times before, and it always finds a way to un-sort itself” the Doctor ranted. She was furious. Not here. Not now. She turned to Mr. Talbot, “Who do you work for?” She held the bauble up.
“That’s a Christmas decoration” Mr. Talbot lied.
“Don’t play games with me, Talbot” the Doctor spoke harshly, “I know Dalekanium when I see it.”
“Dalekanium?” Yaz wondered.
“It’s a part of the casing that holds the deadliest creature in the universe, Yaz” the Doctor explained, “And we’ve walked right into its trap.”
“Halt, you will all remain still” a familiar, gut-wrenching robot-like voice filled the Doctor’s ears. She looked at the doorway. Sure enough, there it was. Her hearts began beating like crazy at the sight of a Dalek, “Doctor, you will surrender your sonic screwdriver immediately.”
“No way” Ryan tried to stick up for her, but the Doctor knew what was best.
“It’s alright Ryan, just do what it says” she warned, putting the sonic screwdriver on the desk, “This is called a Dalek. I suppose it’s fair to say we’ve got a lot of history.”
“Your survival interrupts our plans. You must be exterminated” the Dalek barked.
“Wait, you can’t kill us, I wouldn’t be able to cope in the afterlife without knowing why you’re here” the Doctor pleaded. Although the Daleks were deadly and capable of shooting her dead on the spot, she also knew they were easy to distract. Revealing their plan should be easy.
“I was dispatched here by the Dalek parliament to stop the creation of something that will devastate the entire Dalek empire” the Dalek revealed.
“And what’s that when it’s at home?” the Doctor kept chirpy, putting on a front.
“Mariah Carey” the Dalek replied.
Mariah Carey?” Yaz laughed. It did sound ridiculous, but the Doctor knew better
than to laugh in the face of a Dalek.
“The sound waves made from the vocal chords of Mariah Carey have destroyed entire Dalek ships” the Dalek continued, “She must be stopped from getting a number one single. Eradicate!”
“I can’t let that happen” the Doctor affirmed.
“Then you will be exterminated” the Dalek primed its weapon.
“Hey, look, Mariah just arrived” Graham yelled, pointing at the doorway. The Dalek looked, swivelling its eyestalk around while leaving its gun pointed at the Doctor. Graham, Yaz and Ryan all made a run for it. The Doctor tried to pick up her sonic and join them, but she couldn’t find it.
“You’re not going anywhere” Mr. Talbot threatened. He and Bray now blocked the doorway, and the Dalek was facing its attention back on her.
“They are disposable” the Dalek decided. Little did it know that Graham, Ryan and Yaz were amazing. They could easily help her, “Talbot, exterminate them.”
stopped running when they were around the corner. Nobody seemed to be following,
and he had at the very least got Ryan and Yaz away from danger. However, the Doctor
seemed to be stuck behind. That was a worry, but he knew she was more than
capable of looking after herself.
“We’ve got to go back for the Doctor” Ryan was adamant.
“No, you heard what the Doc said. That thing is the deadliest creature in the universe” Graham reminded.
“So she needs our back-up” Yaz noted.
“What can we do? Whack it around the head with a chair? Come on, we need to be more imaginative than that” Graham reminded.
“I think I’ve got an idea, but it’s not going to be easy” Yaz thought.
“We’re all ears” Graham was intrigued. Any idea would be better than what he had to offer, which was a grand total of nothing.
“Have either of you learnt anything from the Doctor about piloting the TARDIS?” Yaz queried. Graham shook his head, and he saw Ryan doing the same in the corner of his eye, “Looks like we’ll be improvising then.” Yaz led the way back to the TARDIS and rushed straight up to the console. She looked baffled; a sentiment Graham shared. There were so many buttons and knobs to press. Why couldn’t it be simple?
“Wait, the Doctor said the TARDIS was alive. It’s a living thing. Maybe we can communicate with it?” Ryan suggested.
“What, ask nicely?” Graham wasn’t convinced. It was a spaceship, it couldn’t have been alive, could it?
“Have you got any better ideas?” Ryan interrogated.
“I suppose it’s worth a shot” Graham conceded. He noticed a section of one of the control panel with what looked like handle bars, “Here, look, what if you held onto these, Yaz?”
“You might just have it, nice one Graham” Yaz smiled, wrapping her hands around the metal railings. She closed her eyes, to concentrate. Slam! Her eyes jolted open as the TARDIS door slammed shut. Graham spun around. It was Talbot and Bray, holding a weapon each that was similar to what that Dalek creature had attached to itself.
“Stand down and surrender” Talbot ordered. All of a sudden, before they had a chance to figure an escape, the TARDIS jolted sideways. It was in flight; Yaz was steering it. Her eyes were shut again and she was steering it with her mind. It was listening to her. Now they just had to hope they were going to the right place.
Alone with a Dalek. Not her favourite place in the world, but the Doctor knew she would be able to style it out. She normally did. She was good at talking; it was her strong point. However, Daleks didn’t always listen to reason. Besides, they were killing machines, and they were scared of Mariah Carey? That was a new one.
“Come on then Dalek, how do you plan to stop Mariah Carey?” the Doctor tried to distract it again. The longer she kept it talking, the longer she had to formulate a plan in her mind.
“Christmas music streaming ratios will be halved” the Dalek explained, “According to calculations, Mariah Carey will be 152 combined sales behind the human known as Ava Max.”
“You can’t do this, Mariah deserves that number one. Everyone knows Mariah’s the Queen of Christmas, surely even Daleks have heard that?” the Doctor reasoned.
“Daleks have no concept of Christmas” the Dalek hit back. It extended its sucker arm to the computer. The Doctor noticed the screen changing; it was up to something.
“What about the
Pogues? Do you hate them too?” the Doctor questioned.
“Daleks do not enjoy the soundwaves identified as music” Dalek answered, “Pogues are not harmful to Dalek units.”
“What about Talbot? What’s the deal with him?” the Doctor thought aloud.
“Talbot expresses hatred for Christmas” the Dalek added, “He is necessary.”
“Probably the best compliment you can get from a Dalek” the Doctor sighed. She trusted her friends to get her out, but she had to keep thinking of her own plan too. If only she could grab the sonic without the Dalek noticing…
The shaking stopped; the TARDIS had landed. Yaz released her hands from the metal bars. Had the TARDIS taken her to where they needed to go? The Doctor said it usually did. Hopefully she was right this time. She usually was. She led the way to the door.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Talbot rudely queried. He and Bray were still pointing their weapons at her, Graham and Ryan.
“Out here. Like the Doctor said, stop making empty threats” Yaz scolded. She had no time to waste. Casually, she walked out of the TARDIS. Sure enough, no gunfire. They were cowards. She wasn’t much different herself, but at least Yaz didn’t make pointless threats that she couldn’t follow through with. The TARDIS had arrived in a glamorous mansion, with posh ornaments and platinum record discs everywhere.
“Wait… is this….?” Ryan tailed off as Yaz heard a familiar, iconic voice.
“Eooowww, what’s good? Is that the Doctor? I’ve been counting down the days since you took me to meet, what’s her name again?” Yaz watched as Cardi B emerged from upstairs.
“Rita Ora?” Yaz filled in.
“Oh yeah, her. She’s not big but she’s so talented. Where’s the Doctor?” Cardi queried, noticing her absence.
trouble, Cardi. You don’t know me, but I’m Yaz, this is Ryan, and that’s Graham.
We’re the Doctor’s friends, and we need you to help her” Yaz explained.
“What can I do? You want me to practice my ASMR and send the Daleks to sleep? You know I can do that” Cardi began whispering sensually, “Okurrr, okurr…”
“Maybe later” Yaz interrupted.
“That’s quite good actually” Graham commented.
“We need to save the Queen of Christmas” Ryan noted.
“Oh, Mariah? What
are we waiting for?” Cardi rushed straight into the TARDIS. Yaz looked at Ryan’s
gobsmacked face and laughed.
“Why did you come here of all places?” Ryan wondered.
mentioned Cardi before, they’re good friends” Yaz replied casually.
“Cardi who?” Graham queried. Yaz laughed and led the way back into the TARDIS. Now they had to win.
hand further and further towards the sonic, the Doctor kept talking to the
“How many of you are there? Feels like ages since I last saw a Dalek. Not that I’m complaining. I suppose it was a whole lifetime ago” she babbled purposely.
“There are four-thousand Dalek battleships” the Dalek responded, not taking its eye off the computer screen. The sucker arm was interacting with the computer, programming it, telling it what to do.
“And you’re the only one they sent here? Blimey, that’s a bit of a sore deal. You deal with a list of songs while the rest of the Dalek empire wipes out entire species” the Doctor continued. She managed to grab the sonic, and quietly she tucked it up her sleeve, out of sight. All of a sudden, the door burst open again.
“You better surrender, Dalek, you can’t mess with me if you wanted to” Cardi yelled, holding the gun that the Doctor saw Talbot and Bray leaving with.
“Cardi!” the Doctor exclaimed, very surprised to see her, “Nice work guys.” She smiled at the rest of the group. Ryan held the other gun. She just hoped he remembered her lessons on gun use.
“What is the meaning of this?” the Dalek furiously questioned, “You will be exterminated.”
“You ain’t gon’ exterminate me. Have I stabbed you? No, so why you gon’ exterminate me?” Cardi reasoned.
“Sorry Dalek, but all I want for Christmas” the Doctor pointed her sonic at the computer, “Is a Mariah number one.” She pressed the button, and immediately, Mariah Carey’s "Emotions" began playing. Specifically, the whistle-note section. The Dalek began to rumble, as if it were unstable.
“Everybody out” the Doctor commanded, ushering the whole group out of the room and shutting the door behind her. A loud bang ensued, bits of the Dalekanium casing splattering against the wall. The job was done.
“Thanks all of you. Good to see you, Cardi” the Doctor smiled.
“I gotta make sure my girl Mariah gets her number one” Cardi replied.
“Oh yes, we’ve got to reverse the changes the Dalek made, quick gang, everybody back in here” the Doctor ordered, “Oh, and what did you do with Talbot and Bray?”
“I tied them up” Cardi answered, “They ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
“Your brand-new official number one belongs to…Mariah Carey” Scott Mills announced on Radio 1’s official chart show. The Doctor was delighted. Her Christmas classic had finally made it to the top after 24 years, and there was nothing Talbot could do any longer. She switched the radio off.
“Do you think Mariah will ever find out?” Ryan questioned.
“It’s funny you should ask that, Ryan” the Doctor smiled. She pressed the monitor’s on-switch, and Mariah Carey popped up on screen.
“To the Doctor, Ryan, Yaz, Graham, and my dear friend Cardi B. Thank you all, my darlings, for saving my number one. I will be eternally grateful to you, the highest ranked members of my Lambily” she said in the message.
“Okay, I think I’ve fallen in love with her all over again” Yaz smiled.
“I better get home, my babysitter’s gonna be wondering where I’m at. See you soon, Doctor. Stay in school kids, listen to your mom” Cardi advised as she left the TARDIS. The Doctor had a lot of time for her. She set the TARDIS into flight again. Next stop, who knows?