0 comments / Posted by Benjamin Schmid

When we read Rob’s “The Oracle”, we were immediately impressed by the fact that not only did he come up with an original plot, but he created new characters who were integral to the storyline. What was even more impressive was the way in which he utilized the component of the missing jacket! This, I am sure you will agree, is a very ingenious script! Congratulations, Rob on a job very well done! 

Doctor Who 
“THE ORACLE” 
–Rob Dennis

INT. THE GALLERY – MAIN HALL – EVENING.
LORRAINE LABRIE – 14, American, a long way from home – stands on the stage, nervous, bottom lip quivering. Baggy clothes, shopping bags, eyes straight ahead. She’s staring at THE ORACLE. An emaciated man. Withered; with grey skin, EARMUFFS, and a BLINDFOLD. Strapped upright to a bed.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
As one sense diminshes, another strengthens to take its place – and so, by shutting off all other senses, the Oracle is granted perfect sight.

A STAGE HAND comes on, dressed all in black, and starts to untie the Oracle’s blindfold. Lorraine glances away, past the 1,000 faces staring at her, snatching a look through the open foyer door.

A MAN, bow tie and braces, is arguing with the receptionist.

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – FOYER – EVENING.
The RECEPTIONIST is polite, gritting a stepford smile as she deals with her difficult client.

THE DOCTOR
Well check again!

RECEPTIONIST
I’m sorry, sir, but we’ve checked all over.

THE DOCTOR
Is there a VIP Cloakroom? The man said, he said we’ve got VIP tickets, he’ll just take our–

A round of applause from the next room. THE DOCTORS stares in, sees LORRAINE on stage. Their eyes meet, just briefly. Then he sees her shopping bags. He smacks himself on the head – stupid!

THE DOCTOR (CONT’D)
You don’t do VIP tickets, do you?

RECEPTIONIST
I’m afraid not, sir.

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – MAIN HALL – EVENING.
The STAGE HAND unfastens THE ORACLE’s blindfold. It falls to the ground, revealing PALE, WILD EYES.

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – LOBBY – EVENING.
THE DOCTOR gibbering, making connections, thinking at lightspeed –

THE DOCTOR
Course you don’t! A valet wouldn’t leave the girl with her bags. Which means – no! No. Unless!

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – MAIN HALL – EVENING.
THE ORACLE staring at LORRAINE; piercing, intense, mad. She shudders, and he SEES it, magnified, seismic, her whole body tremoring, tiny hairs on her arm standing to attention –

CUT TO:
INT. LORRAINE’S BEDROOM – NIGHT.
FLASHBACK – NINE-HUNDRED YEARS AGO, a BLUE BOX materialises in a teenager’s bedroom, with a sound like time ripping apart –

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – MAIN HALL – EVENING.
– and it’s like THE ORACLE’s seeing her past, reading her like an anthology –– his eyes roll around as he flits from chapter to chapter: a freckle on her nose, a grain of pollen on her jumper, a dent in her glasses –

CUT TO:
EXT. PICCADILLY CIRCUS – DAY.
FLASHBACK – EARLIER TODAY. THE TARDIS stands in an apocalyptic wasteland – the DOCTOR
leaps out, wearing a BREATHING MASK.

THE DOCTOR
Piccadilly circus!

Behind him, LORRAINE – wearing her own breathing mask, clinging to the doorframe.

(CONTINUED)
LORRAINE
What, Piccadilly circus London?

THE DOCTOR
No Lorraine, Piccadilly circus Monaco – yes, London! December 23rd, 4065.

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – MAIN HALL – EVENING.
– and THE ORACLE speaks, croaky, each word a chore.

THE ORACLE
Your name… Lorraine… from so long ago…

LORRAINE
How are you doing that?

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
The Oracle sees – every atom a deep, dark secret.

THE ORACLE
…So old, yet so young…

THE DOCTOR (O.O.V.)
Lorraine, we’re leaving!!

LORRAINE turns – THE DOCTOR’s walking up the aisle, furious, approaching the stage. Still no jacket. But the Oracle’s seen something. He’s locked onto Lorraine. Inspecting her, seeing every atom.

CUT TO FLASHBACK – THE TARDIS HURTLES DOWN THE TIME VORTEX.
The Oracle grins, crooked, seeing the truth –

THE ORACLE
Doc… tor.

THE DOCTOR
I’m sorry?

THE ORACLE
Doc… tor!

LORRAINE
What is he –

THE ORACLE
DOCTOR!

– and the Oracle slumps! As dead. The room goes quiet.

CUT TO TITLES.
EXT. PICCADILLY CIRCUS – DAY.
AS BEFORE, THE TARDIS stands in an apocalyptic wasteland – THE DOCTOR leaps out, wearing a BREATHING MASK.

THE DOCTOR
Piccadilly circus!

Behind him, LORRAINE – wearing her own breathing mask, clinging to the doorframe.

LORRAINE
What, Piccadilly circus London?

THE DOCTOR
No Lorraine, Piccadilly circus Monaco – yes, London! December 23rd, 4065.

CUT TO:
INT. PICCADILLY CAVES – DAY.
A busy high street, full of shoppers and tourists and Christmas decorations, has been transplanted into an underground cave.

THE DOCTOR and LORRAINE fighting through the crowd – no breathing masks, Lorraine holding a shopping bag.

THE DOCTOR
All the pollution goes up, see, and rather than fix it, you just move down. An entire species, living underground.

LORRAINE
That’s mad.

THE DOCTOR
More common than you might think. Small price to pay, never to worry about greenhouse gases again.

LORRAINE
Seems wrong to me.

CUT TO:
INT. PICCADILLY CAVES – SHAFTESBURY AVENUE – DAY.
LORRAINE has four shopping bags now, striding way in front.

LORRAINE
So you do this every day.

THE DOCTOR
Pretty much!

LORRAINE
And you can go anywhere you like.

THE DOCTOR
With whoever I like.

She stops. Turns around.

LORRAINE
Then why me?

THE DOCTOR
Lorraine LaBrie –

CASSANDRA (O.O.V.)
Excuse me!

They look around – a WOMAN is barging through the crowd, cutting a line towards them. She’s harried, exhausted.

CASSANDRA (CONT’D)
Sorry, you don’t know me – I just saw you, a few minutes ago, and I thought to myself, they look okay, and basically, would either of you be interested in going to this thing?  And she holds up TWO TICKETS: “THE ORACLE, THE GALLERY, 7PM.”

CUT TO:
INT. POLICE STATION – EVENING.
D.I. MARKHAM – 51, burly, red-faced – sits behind his desk, king of his empire.

MARKHAM
And then you went to the show, someone nicked your jacket, you charged down the aisle, and the Oracle just… collapsed?

Opposite, LORRAINE and THE DOCTOR are in handcuffs.

THE DOCTOR
Basically, yes.

MARKHAM
Right. Well if you’ve got no ID we’ll have to take your names.

LORRAINE
I’m Lorraine LaBrie, and this is the Janitor.

The Doctor’s admiring her, liking her taking control.

MARKHAM
Very funny. You’re not helping your defence, here.

LORRAINE
What? What’s wrong with Lorraine LaBrie?

THE DOCTOR
Ah – sorry inspector, Lorraine’s her nickname. This is, er, Rose. Rose LaBrie.

MARKHAM
Rose LaBrie?

LORRAINE
Rose LaBrie?

THE DOCTOR
What? Don’t believe me?

MARKHAM
She doesn’t seem to herself, sir.

The Doctor smiles, tries to mask his impatience.

MARKHAM (CONT’D)
What’s so important about this jacket, anyway?

LORRAINE / THE DOCTOR
It’s very expensive. / It’s bigger on the inside.

THE DOCTOR
I mean, what Lorraine said. Claire, even! Ignore my one. That’d be silly.

Silence. Markham doesn’t know what to make of him.

THE DOCTOR (CONT’D)
Very silly.

Markham closes a file.

CUT TO:
INT. POLICE STATION – CELLS – NIGHT.
THE DOOR SLAMS – THE DOCTOR and LORRAINE locked in.

THE DOCTOR
You’re making a mistake!!

But nobody hears. He joins Lorraine on the bench.

LORRAINE
This is awful.

THE DOCTOR
Oh, now now! I’ve been in worse scrapes. Do wish I had my sonic screwdriver…

LORRAINE
No, I mean this! Everyone living underground. It’s wrong!

The Doctor’s mouth twitches. Secretly ecstatic.

THE DOCTOR
I see. Interesting. I don’t suppose you’d have any better ideas to deal with the gases, do you?

LORRAINE
Alright, maybe not. But there must be something.

THE DOCTOR
Well keep at it.

LORRAINE
Like it’d make a difference.

THE DOCTOR
You never know! Right idea at the right –

Click!

THE DOCTOR (CONT’D)
Sorry, did you hear that?

LORRAINE
What?

THE DOCTOR
Sounded like – no, it couldn’t!

He gets up, excited, runs to the cell door! Presses his ear up against it.

LORRAINE
Sounded like?!

(CONTINUED)
THE DOCTOR
Aha!

HE PRODS THE DOOR – it swings open, effortless. Lorraine scrambles up.

THE DOCTOR (CONT’D)
Tumblers. In a lock. Someone out there likes us. And they’re standing in the doorway. Side by side. Free.

CUT TO:
INT. PICCADILLY CAVES – NIGHT.
Empty streets, way past closing time. Still lit up by Christmas lights.  THE DOCTOR and LORRAINE stride along, galvanised, ready to attack.

THE DOCTOR
So! We’re fugitives, accused of harming a beloved – if slightly creepy – local celebrity.

LORRAINE
Do we know why he went all slumpy?

THE DOCTOR
No, good point. Put that on the list. But above that, someone’s nicked my jacket. Why would someone
want my jacket?

LORRAINE
Maybe they want your sonic thingy.

THE DOCTOR
Screwdriver. And no. Villengard’s not running yet, they wouldn’t know what they were looking at. Stupid
crime.

LORRAINE
What, you think they genuinely just fancy a jacket?

THE DOCTOR
Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?

CUT TO:
INT. PICCADILLY CAVES – THE GALLERY – NIGHT.
They reach a handsome building, THE GALLERY at night. THE DOCTOR starts to inspect the building, looking for ways in.

THE DOCTOR
Oh I bet it’s locked, isn’t it. Why is everything always locked?

LORRAINE
I don’t know, to keep burglars out perhaps?

THE DOCTOR
Like that’ll work, just means you’ve got to buy a new window. Locks only work on well meaning snoops. And nice people who’ve lost their keys.

LORRAINE
He’s not actually psychic, is he, the Oracle?

THE DOCTOR
What? No. Not at all. Why?

LORRAINE
How did he know all that stuff about me?

THE DOCTOR
You’re not seriously worried about that are you?

LORRAINE
No.

She is.

THE DOCTOR
Cold reading. Old, old art, Oracle’s just gone overboard. A decent performer can look at a subject and make a few educated guesses. The Oracle goes one further, deprives himself of all other senses to strengthen his sight – gets more visual information, better guesses – AHH!! Eureka!!

He does a little dance – he’s worked it out!

LORRAINE
What? What?!

But the Doctor’s in his own world. Clenches his fist, steels himself – – AND SMASHES THE WINDOW!

LORRAINE (CONT’D)
What the heck are you doing?!

An alarm goes off inside. He clambers onto the window ledge –

THE DOCTOR
The Oracle wears a blindfold!

– and drops himself in!

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – BACKSTAGE – NIGHT.
Lights out. THE ORACLE is strapped to his bed, asleep. Snoring. BLINDFOLD and EARMUFFS on. TWO SILHOUETTES enter – LORRAINE and THE DOCTOR, creeping across the floor. They speak in hushed whispers. Lorraine flicks the light on, and sees it. Draped over a GAS TANK: THE DOCTOR’S JACKET! The Doctor’s already plunging his entire arm into its pocket.

LORRAINE
The Oracle stole your jacket?

THE DOCTOR
Or arranged for it.

LORRAINE
Why would he do that?

THE DOCTOR
‘Cos the Oracle doesn’t just see!

CU the Doctor – very smug.

CUT TO:
EXT. PICCADILLY CIRCUS – MORNING.
FLASHBACK – THE TARDIS PHASES IN.

THE DOCTOR (V.O.)
When the TARDIS lands, it makes a lot of noise. Not many people hear it, ‘cos it’s got a perception
filter, but the Oracle doesn’t just see.

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – BACKSTAGE – MORNING.
THE ORACLE blindfolded, but alert. Not wearing earmuffs, and he can hear so many things. Conversations, footsteps – everything that’s happening in a five mile radius.

THE DOCTOR (V.O.)
The Oracle mutes a sense to enhance his others – so what’s he enhancing when he’s got his blindfold on?
The Oracle hears something, locks in on it:

THE GRINDING OF ANCIENT ENGINES!
THE DOCTOR (V.O.)
Piccadilly Circus!

The Oracle grins.

LORRAINE (V.O.)
He heard the TARDIS?

CUT TO:
INT. THE GALLERY – BACKSTAGE – NIGHT.
THE DOCTOR still rummaging, ALARM still sounding –

THE DOCTOR
Well! He heard time ripping apart. Probably wouldn’t know it as a TARDIS, but he’s a cold reader. Filling in the blanks is kind of his thing.

LORRAINE
So what, the jacket was just a ransom?

THE DOCTOR
Presumably! Which will be why it’s connected to this.

He takes his hand out of the pocket. Starts to inspect the GAS TANK.

LORRAINE
What is it?

THE DOCTOR
Bad, bad news. Gas tank. Connected, I’d wager, to the Earth’s mantle. And it’s fit to burst. Take off the jacket, and the gases vent into the room. We’ll be killed.

LORRAINE
Is there nothing we can do?

THE DOCTOR
Not without the sonic screwdriver. Which isn’t in the pockets.

LORRAINE
Why not?

THE DOCTOR
I don’t know!!

He steps back, stressed, looking at the gas tank, trying to improvise a solution.

THE DOCTOR (CONT’D)
He must’ve taken it out. He’s a forward planner. Had a hunch we might make it this far. Aggh!

He kicks the wall, head spinning! But then, stops. Looks at Lorraine. Like he’s willing her on.

LORRAINE
It’s either die, or leave it behind?

THE DOCTOR
We can’t get back to the TARDIS without the sonic screwdriver. No ID, can’t reach the surface. It’s either die now, or get imprisoned for identity fraud. Unless you’ve got an idea.

And it’s obvious. He’s got an idea. But he’s pretending not to. Wants her to work it out herself. So she looks at the gas tank, thinks, tries to work out what it is she’s missed. And then, it hits. She speaks slowly. Revelation.

LORRAINE
Greenhouse gases. It’s not right.

THE DOCTOR
I’m sorry?

LORRAINE
You say that tank’s connected to the earth’s mantle, yes?

THE DOCTOR
Well, yes, but –

LORRAINE
Well, that means the gases can escape one of two ways.

THE DOCTOR
Noooo, ’cause it’s got to vent upwards.

LORRAINE
Or – downwards! That’s the solution!

THE DOCTOR
I don’t follow.

He’s grinning. He follows, really. But she indulges him.

LORRAINE
If we can vent the gases down, everyone above will be spared!

THE DOCTOR
No, but gases rise. That’ll take a lot more energy than letting it escape.

LORRAINE
Price worth paying, to stay alive.

THE DOCTOR
By jove, I think you’ve got it.

And so he runs over to the gas tank. PRESSING BUTTONS, TWISTING DIALS, making it look so easy. Fssssst! The GAS TANK disengages – the gases siphoning down into the ground. Lorraine smiles. Proud. Inspired.

THE DOCTOR (CONT’D)
There – empty! Which means…

He takes his JACKET off the GAS TANK, puts it on. Whole again.

THE DOCTOR (CONT’D)
Okay, I need you to head back into Piccadilly. Don’t worry, I’ll be with you in a sec – just need to…finish something up.

She nods, and darts out of the room. The Doctor waits for her to leave, then takes his SONIC SCREWDRIVER out of his TROUSER pocket. He presses a button – the ALARM stops. Then, from another pocket, takes out a £50 note. He slips it into the ORACLE’s pocket.

THE DOCTOR
Cheers, mate. You’ve just rewritten history in your sleep.

And he DARTS OUT, full speed.

CUT TO:
INT. PICCADILLY CAVES – NIGHT.
THE DOCTOR and LORRAINE holding hands, running through the empty streets. They pass a FOUNTAIN, but they’re dashing, hectic, too fast to read the inscription. “DONATED BY PRESIDENT LORRAINE LABRIE: MARCH 16th 3177.”

CUT TO:
EXT. PICCADILLY CIRCUS – NIGHT.
THE TARDIS stands in the middle of a VERDANT MEADOW. THE DOCTOR unlocks the door, LORRAINE behind.

LORRAINE
What happened here? This was toxic! I had a breathing mask and everything.

THE DOCTOR
But then you had an idea.

LORRAINE
Excuse me?

THE DOCTOR
The right idea at the right time can make all the difference. And if someone had thought to vent the gases downwards as early as 900 years ago…

LORRAINE
Oh my god. So this is all –

The Doctor walks into the TARDIS.

THE DOCTOR
Your ride awaits, Miss President.

CUT TO:
INT. LORRAINE’S BEDROOM – NIGHT.
LORRAINE’s fast asleep in bed – dead to the world. Can’t see or hear the TARDIS, dematerialising.

LORRAINE (V.O.)
When I woke up the next morning, I knew the Doctor was real. I told my mom, my brother about my adventure. They didn’t believe me, thought it was just a stupid dream, but I knew I was right.

CUT TO:
EXT. LORRAINE’S HOUSE – NIGHT.
A lonely house in the middle of the countryside – midwinter, it’s all but snowed under.

LORRAINE (V.O.)
As the years wore on, though, I began to lose my faith. Stopped believing in the Doctor. He just became one of those silly imaginary friends, like you have when you’re young. But I never lost my faith in myself.

EXT. WHITE HOUSE – DAY.
LORRAINE, now 54, addresses the nation. Her inaugural speech.

LORRAINE (CONT’D)
Dreams matter. The right idea at the right time can change entire civilisations, and just ’cause something never happened, doesn’t mean that it never will.

She looks down at her script, then into the audience. A thousand Americans, holding onto her every word.


Then, she glitches. Notices someone. At the back, a MAN. Curious looking, dressed in a jacket and
bow tie. He waves. No. It can’t be. She clears her throat, shuffles her papers. And smiles.

END CREDITS.

Comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing