the Forest of the Night
Original Airdate: 25 Oct 2014
(A schoolgirl runs through the dappled light of a forest until she finds an incongruous blue Police Box. She knocks on the door and it is opened by a tall man who has to look down to see her.)
MAEBH: I'm lost. Please, can you help me?
DOCTOR: It's that way.
(He shuts the door then opens it again and stares at the forest.)
DOCTOR: Are those trees?
MAEBH: I need the Doctor. Are you the Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes. Do you have an appointment? You need an appointment to see the Doctor.
MAEBH: Please. Something's chasing me.
(He lets her inside and she gasps. The Doctor does the explanation with hand gestures.)
DOCTOR: When you drink a glass of Coke, it's only this big, but it's actually got this much sugar in it. It works a bit like that.
MAEBH: What does?
DOCTOR: The Tardis. It's bigger on the inside than the outside, or did you not notice?
(She follows him up to the gallery, where he picks up and unfolds a street map of London.)
MAEBH: I just thought it was supposed to be bigger on the inside, so I didn't say anything.
DOCTOR: Well, of course it's supposed to be bigger. Most people are confused by that.
MAEBH: I find everything confusing, nearly. So, I don't say anything. That's how come I'm in the woods. I thought Miss Oswald told me to find the Doctor. But it wasn't her.
It was just in my head.
DOCTOR: Miss Oswald? Dark hair? Highly unpredictable? Surprisingly round face?
MAEBH: Everyone says she's in love with Mister Pink.
DOCTOR: The PE teacher.
MAEBH: Maths. I really like him. I was in his group.
DOCTOR: Mister Pink was looking after you? Well, that explains why you're lost.
(He discards the map and they go back down to the console.)
DOCTOR: It doesn't surprise you that I know all about your school?
MAEBH: Everyone seems to know everything about everything, apart from me.
DOCTOR: That's not quite true. I, for instance, have no idea why, when the terrestrial navigation
(Maebh is about to touch a control, so he thumps the console.)
DOCTOR: The terrestrial navigation starts up, it closes down all the other systems.
MAEBH: You should ask somebody who knows.
DOCTOR: Hmm. That's another of the drawbacks of being the last of your species. No one to ask when your Tardis won't start.
(He sets the time rotor going. It stops after a few seconds. The terrestrial navigation lady speaks.)
TER-NAV: You have reached your destination.
DOCTOR: No, we haven't. We're supposed to be in the middle of London.
TER-NAV: You have reached your destination.
DOCTOR: Oh, stop saying that!
MAEBH: She's only saying it because it's true. We are in the middle of London.
DOCTOR: We are in the middle of a forest.
MAEBH: Come and see.
(She takes his hand and leads him outside.)
MAEBH: Nelson's Column. Do you like it?
DOCTOR: Do I. Sorry, what?
MAEBH: Do you like the forest being in Trafalgar Square? I think it's lovely.
(They look up, past one of Landseer's bronze lions to a tall Corinthian column with ivy growing up it, which is topped by a 5 1/2 metre sandstone statue of a famous one-armed Admiral of the Royal Navy, gazing southwards over a lush green forest amongst the buildings of central London.)
[London Zoological Museum]
(A display of stuffed wolves look down on the children in their sleeping bags. A bright light shines across them then homes in on a dark-skinned boy, who wakes up.)
SAMSON: Bradley! Sir! Tell him, sir! He's blinding me.
DANNY: Give me that, Bradley.
BRADLEY: I'm allowed a torch, sir. I've got a note. I'm darkness phobic.
SAMSON: Just because he's scared of the dark, sir, is he allowed to blind me?
DANNY: You're allowed a torch, Bradley, not a pocket supernova. Okay, listen up. A few things to run through before we head home. Put your phone away, Bradley. Thank you.
First, collect any rubbish you may have generated through midnight feasts or whatever
(A little later, dressed in their school uniforms, the children follow their teachers into the main foyer where a stuffed tiger is on display.)
DANNY: Hello? Hello?
(One chubby girl with pigtails stops at a display of a section cut through a large tree trunk.)
RUBY: Look at this. Why is this one so fat, miss?
CLARA: Because it was alive so long.
RUBY: This ring, though. All the other rings are thin, but this one's fat and red, see?
CLARA: Must have been a good year to be a tree.
(The elderly night watchman turns up.)
GEORGE: I should have been relieved, you know.
DANNY: Oh, Coal Hill School. Sleepover.
GEORGE: Shush, shush!
(He takes the bar off the main entrance then enters numbers on a code pad very slowly and carefully. The boys sigh. It unlocks, but refuses to open.)
GEORGE: Hang on. There's a knack to this.
(He returns to the code pad.)
DANNY: No, no, no, no, no. It moved. It moved. It's jammed, it's not locked. Come on, team.
BRADLEY: What team?
(Teachers and pupils all push at the doors until they open.)
SAMSON: Wow! Sir, where are we?
DANNY: What do you mean, where are we?
[Outside the museum]
(A red double decker bus is stranded amongst the trees.)
RUBY: We can't have been asleep for that long, can we?
(Souvenir photographs of the forest are taken on mobile phones. Danny goes up to the roof to survey the terrain. Only the taller buildings and landmarks are visible above the canopy. We are then treated to a view of a very green Earth, then various news reports from around the world.)
JENNY HILL: (BBC on a railway track) Well, you've heard of leaves on the line. This is going to be slightly harder to clear
ACCRA REPORTER: (In front of an overgrown goal.) In three hours' time, the Ghana Black Stars are due to play Sierra Leone in the African Cup of Nations.
PARIS REPORTER: Est-ce que c'est bien le Bois de Boulogne? Non, c'est le centre-ville.
ACCRA REPORTER: It does not look like the pitch will be ready.
(Clara makes a phone call from a bus stop. The woodpeckers are having a wonderful time in the trees. So where are all the pigeons?)
CLARA: You're always showing me amazing things. Well, I, Doctor, have finally got something amazing to show you.
DOCTOR: Yes, well, there are some things I've never seen, but that's usually because I've chosen not to see them. Even my incredibly long life is too short for Les Miserables.
CLARA [OC]: Oh, Doctor.
CLARA: You're going to love this.
DOCTOR [OC]: Well, when you come to collect this child, you can tell me then.
CLARA: Huh? What child?
DOCTOR: Young female human. Standard defenceless little girl. Your friend Mister Pink was supposed to be looking after her.
CLARA: She probably has a name.
DOCTOR: Good point. You. Have you got a name at all?
MAEBH: Maebh. (pronounced May-v, because it is Welsh.) My name's Maebh.
CLARA: What? Maebh?
CLARA [OC]: Where are you?
DOCTOR [OC]: Square.I found her wandering around the
DOCTOR: Brand new forest.
CLARA: Brand new forest?
DOCTOR [OC]: Yes. It's like the
DOCTOR: New Forest, except even newer.
CLARA: Is that the forest that's covering London?
DOCTOR [OC]: Was that the amazing thing you were going to show me?'
DOCTOR: It is amazing, but I saw it first.
CLARA: Look, is she all right? Will you bring her over?
DOCTOR: No, I can't
DOCTOR: Bring her over. I'm a Time Lord, not a childminder.
CLARA [OC]: You've got a spaceship.
CLARA: All we've got are Oyster cards.
DOCTOR [OC]: And
DOCTOR: I've got a global rapid afforestation crisis to deal with.
[London Zoological Museum]
(Clara goes back inside.)
DANNY: What did they say?
DANNY: The school. Parents. You were just on the phone.
CLARA: Oh, yeah. Rang school and parents. Yes, of course. Thought that was the priority.
CLARA: And I couldn't get through. Left messages. I'll try again.
DANNY: You didn't call the school. You called him.
CLARA: No, he called me, actually. I can't stop him calling me, can I?
DANNY: I thought you weren't in contact.
CLARA: London has just been taken over by a gigantic forest. Who do you want to talk to, Monty Don?
DANNY: I want to do my job, which is looking after these kids.
CLARA: Oh, really? How many kids?
CLARA: Where's Maebh Arden?
(Arden as in Forest of Arden? Danny looks around.)
CLARA: She's with the Doctor.
DANNY: What? No, no, no, no, no. Maebh is a vulnerable kid. She's on medication. She's had an emotional trauma. He. Has he even been CRB checked?
CLARA: He didn't abduct her. She was lost. He found her.
BRADLEY: I thought you said they were in love. Why are they shouting at each other?
RUBY: That's what people do when they're in love. Don't you know anything?
(A tree has grown up through a bicycle, lifting it high into the air. More buses and taxis are stranded.)
SAMSON: Where are we actually going? Where is he taking us?
(They stop by an Underground station sign.)
DANNY: Who wants to be a navigator?
(Lots of hands go up.)
CHILDREN: Me, me, me!
(Danny selects Bradley by handing him something.)
DANNY: Good lad. Let's do this.
BRADLEY: (to Samson) What's an avigator?
DANNY: We'll follow the lamp posts. That will keep us on Cromwell Road. We'll be able to orientate ourselves.
RUBY: I thought we were getting a coach. Where's the coach?
DANNY: Well, Ruby, it seems there are a lot of trees in the way.
RUBY: Why can't we just wait here until they've gone?
DANNY: Because trees don't just disappear, Ruby.
RUBY: They just came. Why wouldn't they just go?
(Outside the Natural History Museum, according to the sign.)
CLARA: The question is, how did they get here? Can a forest grow overnight, or have we been asleep for years, like Sleeping Beauty?
DANNY: No, the question is, how are we going to get these kids home?
CLARA: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. That is the big question.
DANNY: Okay, team. It's crucial we stick together. If you start to fall behind, don't. Bradley, we're going to head north east first to collect Maebh from Trafalgar Square, then we're going south to the river. Come on, keep up!
RUBY: What's he talking about? Where are we going?
CLARA: You are enjoying this just a little bit too much. Come on. Are you not even a little bit curious about how? Who? Why? When?
DANNY: I am curious. I am bewildered. I am, in fact, enchanted. But I'm not the priority. The kids are.
CLARA: You see, now, that attitude is (sotto) actually very attractive.
MINISTER [on TV} The Government emergency committee, COBRA, has formulated an action plan. We will create pathways through the trees using carefully controlled fires. This will facilitate the movement of essential services.
(The Doctor is standing on the lion's plinth scanning the trees while Maebh watches the broadcast on her phone.)
MINISTER [on phone]: We are therefore asking you to stay in your homes. Fill your baths, sinks, and any buckets with fresh water.
DOCTOR: Why would there be no reading? Because they are actually made of wood. No circuits. No mechanism. Wood.
(He jumps down to the ground. The National Gallery is in the background.)
MAEBH: What's this for?
DOCTOR: This is a sonic screwdriver. It interacts with any form of communication you care to mention. Sadly, trees have no moving parts and don't communicate.
MAEBH: They communicate a bit, though.
MAEBH: Otherwise they wouldn't all grow at the same time, would they.
DOCTOR: So, what, do you think that's how spring begins? With a group message on Tree Facebook? Do you think they send texts to each other?
MAEBH: You don't need a phone to communicate, do you. I haven't phoned home, and I know my mum is worried about me.
(On the phone.)
MAEBH'S MUM: You said you'd collect Maebh. It's all right, I'm collecting her. Soon as I find my car keys. I can't see a thing. Next door have planted bloody Hydrangeas and they've gone mental! I've had words with her about it before. She's
(Then she opens the front door.)
MAEBH'S MUM: Oh. I'll call you back.
(Passing shop windows.)
RUBY: Miss, in the museum, right, I was reading about reproduction
CLARA: Oh, Ruby, this really isn't the right moment
RUBY: And that said that trees have blossom, and then that turns into fruit or seeds or nuts. Right?
CLARA: Right, Ruby.
RUBY: These trees have got blossom and nuts.
CLARA: Oh, yeah. That is strange.
(They reach Knightsbridge Underground Station.)
SAMSON: Nuts. That's unfortunate for you, isn't it, Bradley? You have an allergy, don't you? What if one of them falls on your head? Do you die, or swell up like a massive melon?
BRADLEY: Shut it!
[Outside the Arden home]
(Their neighbour, a black woman, is also not pleased with the all the extra greenery in their street.)
NEIGHBOUR: I think we should have been consulted. What's it in aid of, even?
MAEBH'S MUM: How far does this go? I need to collect Maebh.
(The school outing arrives at the lion.)
DANNY: Trafalgar Square. Well done, Bradley. Excellent navigation skills.
(Clara sees the Tardis.)
CLARA: Ah ha! There it is. All sorted now. Come on.
BRADLEY: Can we take a picture with the lion, sir? Please?
DANNY: Er, stay together, but okay.
(The selfies don't show much of the lion.)
CLARA: I cannot believe Bradley just said please.
CLARA: Yeah. He usually prefers other means of persuasion.
[Memory - English classroom]
BRADLEY: Give it! Give it! Miss! He won't lend me his dictionary.
(Clara doesn't look up from her marking.)
CLARA: You could try saying please, Bradley.
(The crash makes Clara look up from her marking. A desk has been overturned. Bradley is sent out of the classroom.)
CLARA: And Ruby
[Memory - Maths classroom]
(Danny draws a right angled triangle then marks the topmost angle with an X.)
DANNY: And how do we find X? Ruby?
RUBY: It's there, sir. At the top.
DANNY: No, how do we find
RUBY: It's not lost. It's there at the top, Look!
DANNY: No, how do we find the value of X?
RUBY: Why are you asking me all the questions? Give someone else a go.
CLARA: You bring out the best in them.
(There is a rumble, and Nelson's column sways a little. Ruby slides down from the pedestal holding a piece of broken branch.)
RUBY: Ow! Look, sir. No rings. Trees usually have rings to tell you how old they are. This one's got no rings. Why's that then, sir?
DOCTOR: The rings mark the years of growth. One ring for each year. This grew up overnight. That whole tree is the result of just one night's growth, and they're still growing.
CLARA: Everyone, this is the Doctor, and he's going to sort everything out. Isn't that right, Doctor? It's what he does.
DOCTOR: Well, having looked at things, I think, probably, the answer to that is no.
CLARA: He always says that. He's really clever.
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, I am. Very clever. But what use is clever against trees? They don't listen to reason. You can't plead with them. You can't lie to them. They have no moving parts, no circuits. This is a natural event.
DANNY: How can it be natural for a tree to grow in one night?
DOCTOR: Exactly what they said about the Ice Age. How can whole glaciers just pop up out of nowhere? Well, they just did. That's how this planet grows - a series of catastrophes. Farewell to the Ice Age. Welcome to the Tree Age. Possibly. When the Ice Age was here, you lot managed to cook mammoth. Now there's a forest, you'll just have to eat nuts.
BRADLEY: I can't eat nuts. I've got an allergy.
CLARA: Don't worry. It's a thing he does. He pretends he's not interested and then he has an idea. He's playing for time.
DOCTOR: Time. Interesting.
CLARA: See? Clever kicking in.
DOCTOR: A tree is a time machine. You plant a little acorn in 1795, and in the year 2016, there's an oak tree, there, in the same spot, with a tiny little bit of 1795 still alive inside of it. You can't create an overnight forest with extra special fertiliser. You have to mess with the fabric of time. And communicate with trees.
(He runs into the Tardis, and Clara follows.)
(Then Danny and the children.)
CLARA: So you're saying it's an act of aggression?
DOCTOR: By trees?
RUBY: Er, trees clean the air.
CLARA: Exactly. Well done, Ruby. Someone or something who's trying to scrub the atmosphere before colonising or invading. Ah, yes, Doctor. Ahem. This is Coal Hill Year Eight Gifted and Talented Group.
SAMSON: What are the round bits for?
DOCTOR: Ask your teacher. Come on! Down from there! Hey! Away from the console. Come on. That's an antique. Get away from there! Don't touch that!
(The children are playing with the controls.)
DOCTOR: Haven't any of you been struck by the fact that it's, look, it's bigger on the inside?
RUBY: There wasn't a forest. Then there was a forest. Nothing surprises us any more.
DOCTOR: These trees all appeared at once. That wasn't a coincidence. There's no such thing as an arboreal coincidence. Something, someone has coordinated this. To coordinate, you need to communicate. Every communication channel on the Tardis is open, and nothing.
(Danny sees a pile of school exercise books and picks the top ones up. He looks at someone's drawings of an angry sun sending zig zags towards tree tops.)
DOCTOR: Except. Let me see that.
DANNY: Homework books. Why are these here?
(They look at the name on the front.)
DOCTOR: Maebh Arden. Maebh Arden. Which one is Maebh Arden? Which one's Maebh? Maebh? Maebh? Maebh? Maebh? Maebh? Maebh? Maebh? Maebh?
(The Doctor looks at each child in turn whilst saying the name.)
RUBY: Oh, my God. Maebh's gone. Maebh's lost in the forest. Maebh's going to die!
CLARA: Ruby, that's enough! Doctor?
DOCTOR: We've got to find her!
CLARA: Yes, I know that we have to find her. Doctor, listen to me. Her sister went missing last year. She's on medication. The child is barely functioning. She hears voices. She's very vulnerable.
DOCTOR: What do the voices say?
CLARA: I don't know. She takes tablets and they stop.
DOCTOR: You people. You never learn. If a child is speaking, listen to it.
DANNY: Oh, like you listened to her?
(The Doctor turns on the scanner, and it shows a large solar prominence flaring off.)
DOCTOR: He's right. She was trying to tell me something and I ignored her. Maebh Arden is tuned to a different channel. She can lead us to the source, to the heart of the forest. We have to listen to her. We have to find her.
CLARA: Not everything can be fixed with a screwdriver. It's not a magic wand.
DOCTOR: Does she have a phone?
CLARA: Well, yes, she does.
DOCTOR: Have you got the number?
CLARA: Er, yep.
(The Doctor sonicks Clara's phone. )
DOCTOR: Maebh Arden. Five hundred yards south east of here. I'll go get her.
DANNY: I'll go with him.
CLARA: Oh, I can go. You can
DANNY: You haven't seen him for months?
(The Doctor leaves.)
CLARA: Something like that.
DANNY: You didn't even say hello. You just sprung straight into action. Special unit.
RUBY: This is so cool.
(The Doctor rushes back in. The children are taking photographs.)
DOCTOR: Hey! Do not. Touch. Anything. Anything. H-h-okay?
CLARA: See? Someone needs to go. Child protection.
DOCTOR: Gifted and talented? Really?
(They pass a stranded taxi.)
CLARA: Furious, fearful, tongue-tied. They're all superpowers if you use them properly. Are they going to be all right?
(The nearby traffic lights go out. Presumably the growing tree roots are disrupting the cables.)
DOCTOR: They're in the Tardis, the safest place on the planet.
(Another rumble, and they look up to see Horatio falling towards them. They throw themselves forward and the statue just misses.)
DOCTOR: If this is an invasion
DOCTOR: It's over. They're here, they've won. What do they want?
(The children come out of the Tardis, coughing in the stone dust.)
RUBY: I'm not just going to stand here and let her die.
RUBY: Miss. You let her go off with some randomer into the forest. You're supposed to be madly in love with her.
DANNY: I'm? Who said that?
SAMSON: She's probably dead now anyway. Crushed by Nelson.
RUBY: What if the trees collapse on her, and kill her?
DANNY: You're worrying too much.
RUBY: Yeah, but what if the wild animals come out and eat her?
DANNY: Ruby, you're letting your imagination run away with you.
RUBY: I'm not, though, am I, because I haven't got an imagination. You can ask Miss Oswald.
DANNY: Okay, then. Come on, team, let's do this.
SAMSON: We will, if you stop calling us a team.
(Riding a bicycle along a track.)
MAEBH'S MUM: Maebh!
CLARA: Doctor? Look behind us. The path we just walked down. It's overgrown already.
(The Doctor picks up a pink phone.)
CLARA: Why would she put her phone down?
DOCTOR: Doesn't want to be followed? Lost a hold of it in a struggle? Left it as a clue, so we would know where she was going? Trail of breadcrumbs. Hansel and Gretel.
CLARA: I'm actually frightened. I never get frightened. Why am I frightened?
DOCTOR: You just lost a little girl.
CLARA: Yes, that is a worry, but I know you'll find her. No, no, no. This is not a worry, this is a dread. Maebh!
DOCTOR: You're pursuing a little lost girl through a mysterious forest. The path has disappeared. You find yourself with a strangely compelling masculine figure. Maebh!
CLARA: Any minute now we're going to find a gingerbread cottage with a cannibal witch inside. Maebh!
DOCTOR: Exactly. The forest. It's in all the stories that kept you awake at night. The forest is mankind's nightmare.
(Maebh is running and waving her hands to waft away the invisible midges. She stops to put her bright red school pencil case on the ground then runs on until she sees a group of people in hazmat suits at an Underground station. She runs away, waving her hands in the air again, pausing only to put down her pink lunch box.)
DOCTOR: Clara. Is it hers?
(The pencil case. Note - are those Converse All Star trainers that Clara is wearing, like David Tennant used to?)
CLARA: Yes. Clever girl.
(She strides past a bus stop, pushes aside a branch and is confronted by a hazmat suit. These must be the Emergency Service Officers on the cast list.)
MAN: Get back! We're burning here. Stay back.
CLARA: We're looking for a little girl.
MAN: Stay back. We're about to burn.
(The flame thrower is set to work on a small tree.)
MAN: Good job!
(But without the flame thrower feeding them, the flames slowly go out.)
MAN: What's going on? Trees aren't responding to flame-thrower. I mean, they don't catch fire. They just don't catch. It's like they're flame proof or something.
(The Doctor and Clara walk on.)
DOCTOR: Trees control the oxygen on this planet. They withhold it, they smother the fire. What sort of forest is clever? What sort of forest has its own in-built fire extinguisher?
CLARA: What do they want?
DOCTOR: Why now?
CLARA: What do you mean, why now?
DOCTOR: The whole natural order is turning against this planet. But why? Why now?
CLARA: Well, what else?
(The Doctor takes Maebh's homework book from his pocket and shows Clara the drawings.)
DOCTOR: How did she know this?
CLARA: What is it?
DOCTOR: This is a massive solar flare headed for Earth, like the one that destroyed the Bank of Karabraxos. I've got an entire Tardis and I didn't notice this. But she knew. How?
CLARA: This is Maebh's. Where did you get this?
DOCTOR: You left your marking in the Tardis.
CLARA: Oh, great, right, well, that's just brilliant, isn't it. You don't think Danny saw this, do you?
DOCTOR: I've just informed you that a solar flare is going to wipe out your planet. You're worried about a row with your boyfriend. How did she know this? She even put the date on it!
CLARA: I always make them date their homework.
DOCTOR: It's today's date.
CLARA: Well, there must be a way?
DOCTOR: They want something. They're saying something. If there is a way, the way is Maebh Arden.
CLARA: Okay, you know they're not really gifted and talented, don't you? I just tell them that to make them feel good.
DOCTOR: She's lost someone. People who've lost someone, they're always listening, always looking, always hoping. So, they notice more. They hear more.
(A wolf howls.)
CLARA: Was that a howl?
(A second animal replies.)
CLARA: Was that a wolf? No. That is impossible. We're in London.
DOCTOR: Would that be the London with the zoo? The zoo with the pack of wolves? The zoo whose barriers and gates have probably been mangled by the trees? No, wolves are not impossible. Stick to the path, Red Riding Hood.
CLARA: There is no path.
(The pack howls.)
DOCTOR: Then we're lunch.
(Maebh is still running and waving her hands. She stops as something growls nearby. A pair of eyes glitter in the foliage behind her. She turns, sees the wolf and screams. The Doctor and Clara hear her.)
(Maebh runs. The wolf gives chase. The Doctor and Clara run. Maebh arrives at a wrought iron fence. The pack is behind her. Suddenly, Clara is on the other side of the fence.)
CLARA: Maebh! Doctor, give me a boost so I can pull her over. Maebh? Maebh!
(Maebh runs to the nearby gate and goes through.)
DOCTOR: Maebh. You came looking for me. You didn't
(Maebh starts waving her hands around again, trying to swat away midges.)
DOCTOR: Maebh, Maebh, you didn't just stumble into the Tardis. Tell me what you know.
DOCTOR: This is important.
CLARA: Yes. Can we please deal with the wolves first?
DOCTOR: These are zoo wolves. They're not even used to hunting.
(The three wolves show their teeth.)
DOCTOR: All right, okay. We've just got to look as if we're too much bother to eat, right? So, stay still. Stay together. Look big. Look big like a big three-headed, six-legged scary thing!
(The wolves jump over the fence and run away, whining.)
DOCTOR: Ha ha! Told you they were rubbish. Those wolves are terrified.
CLARA: What are wolves frightened of?
(A deep throaty growl answers the question. It is a large cat with the sort of stripes that make it almost invisible in dense woodland. It walks up to the fence and roars, showing off its magnificent canine teeth.)
DOCTOR: There are very good solid scientific reasons for being really quite frightened just now.
(A bright light is shone in the tiger's face. It doesn't like it, and retreats. It is Danny with Bradley's torch, and the rest of the children are behind him. They all cheer.)
CLARA: Mister Pink! Why, thank you very much.
DANNY: Ah, no problem. Just decided it was best not to leave you alone with him. They've worked well together. Noticeable increase in confidence and energy levels.
(Maebh is waving her arms again, and the Doctor is looking at her curiously.)
CLARA: Well done. And for saving us from a tiger, too.
DANNY: Er, has she had her medication yet?
CLARA: Oh. No, I
DOCTOR: No, no. Not her medication. We don't want to shut her up. We want to know what she knows. Maebh, what's the. Maebh, what is this? What is this?
(The Doctor imitates Maebh's hand waving.)
DANNY: Apart from being almost savaged by a tiger and abducted by a Scotsman, she's allowed any nervous tics she likes, okay?
DOCTOR: This is not a nervous tic. This is react
RUBY: Please! Just give her her tablets. She's been in a state since her sister went missing.
(Maebh runs off.)
DANNY: Maebh! Maebh! Maebh!
(Danny and the other children go through the gate and run after her.)
RUBY: You won't find your sister out there.
(Maebh arrives at cobweb festooned small trees surrounding a circular open area, with two deckchairs and a Union Flag in the background. The low sun through the trees is beautiful. They catch up to her.)
RUBY: Miss? What is it, miss?
MAEBH: It's coming. It's coming for everyone, and I can't unthink it.
DOCTOR: Maebh. Maebh, this forest is communicating. With you. Nobody else. No technology can hear what it's saying, but you can. Tell us what it wants. Where it came from. Just tell me who did this.
MAEBH: It was me. I did this. I did these trees.
DOCTOR: No, Maebh. You didn't make a global forest appear overnight. How could you do that?
MAEBH: Thoughts come to me. Ever since Annabel went missing, I look for her everywhere. I don't find her, but I find thoughts. The big forest was one. I thought everyone would love it. The thoughts! The thoughts! They go so fast.
BRADLEY: This is stressing me now. When I get stressed, I forget my anger management.
CLARA: Maebh, can you see something that we can't see?
MAEBH: Nearly. Too fast. Everywhere.
DOCTOR: Everything's subject to gravity. If I can create a little local increase
(The Doctor brandishes his sonic screwdriver.)
DANNY: No. You're not experimenting on
(Golden dancing points of light appear around Maebh's head. These are the invisible midges she was trying to bat away with her hands.)
MAEBH: They're lovely! They don't like it when you're holding them. They want you to let them go.
DOCTOR: Who are they?
MAEBH + HERE: We are Here. Here, always, since the beginning and until the end.
DOCTOR: Here? That's it?
(The Here have a very deep voice that drowns out Maebh's higher pitched one.)
HERE: We are the green shoots that grow between the cracks, the grass that grows over the mass graves. After your wars are over, we will still be Here. We are the life that prevails.
DOCTOR: Why now? Why are you here now?
HERE: We hear the call and we come, as we came before to the great North Forest, where we lie still in a great circle. As we came to the vast Southern Forest.
DOCTOR: Who is calling you now?
HERE: The sun that creates. The sun that destroys. You are hurting us. Let us go.
DOCTOR: You sent for me. The girl came looking for me. Why? Why me?
HERE: We did not send. Pain. Did not send for you. We don't know you. We were here before you and will be here after you.
(The Doctor turns off the screwdriver.)
SAMSON: That was actually quite cool.
(Maebh falls to her knees. Danny and the Doctor go to her.)
DOCTOR: Maebh, you came looking for the Doctor. Think. Who sent you for the Doctor?
MAEBH: It was just a thought. It was just a thought that came. I think it came from Miss.
(Danny looks at Clara.)
MAEBH: They've gone. Why does everything have to go?
(The Doctor walks to the edge of the circle, and Clara goes to him.)
CLARA: This really is going to happen, isn't it?
DOCTOR: Stars implode. Planets grow cold. Catastrophe is the metabolism of the universe. I can fight monsters. I can't fight physics.
CLARA: Why would trees want to kill us? We love trees.
DOCTOR: You've been chopping them down for furniture for centuries. If that's love, no wonder they're calling down fire from the heavens.
CLARA: But we saw the future. Lots of futures. Earth's futures.
DOCTOR: They're about to be erased.
CLARA: If you can't save them all, save who you can. The Tardis. It's a lifeboat, isn't it? Not everybody has to die.
(The big solar flare forms. Meanwhile, Danny leads his team back to Trafalgar Square, singing like American GIs.)
DANNY: Everywhere we go-o-o!
CHILDREN: Everywhere we go-o-o!
DANNY: People wanna kno-o-ow!
CHILDREN: People wanna kno-o-ow!
DANNY: Who we a-a-re.
CHILDREN: Who we a-a-re.
DANNY: We are the Coal Hill Gifted and Talented
(Maebh's mother hears the voices and stops pedalling for a moment.)
CHILDREN: We are the Coal Hill Gifted and Talented.
(The Tardis is disappearing underneath ivy.)
DANNY: Right, come on, team.
(They pull at the greenery.)
CLARA: When they're done, you need to get in your box and go.
DOCTOR: We're all going. We're taking the kids.
CLARA: Taking them where? What are you going do with them? Leave them on an asteroid? Find a space academy for the gifted and talented? They just want their mums and dads, and they're never going to stop wanting them.
DOCTOR: I can save you and Danny.
CLARA: Danny Pink will never leave those kids so long as he is breathing.
(The door is uncovered. The children cheer.)
DANNY: Come on, team.
BRADLEY: Can we take another selfie, sir?
DANNY: Of course. Come on, then.
DOCTOR: I can save you.
CLARA: I don't want you to.
DOCTOR: What, you don't want to live?
CLARA: Of course I want to live. I just
CLARA: Don't make me say it.
DOCTOR: Say what?
CLARA: I don't want to be the last of my kind.
DOCTOR: Then why did you bring us all here?
CLARA: Because it's the only way to get you back to the Tardis, make you think you're saving someone. Well, you know what, Doctor? This time, the human race is saving you.
(Clara unlocks the Tardis door.)
CLARA: Make it worthwhile.
DOCTOR: This is my world, too. I walk your earth, I breathe your air.
CLARA: And on behalf of this world, you're very welcome. Now, go. Save the next one.
DOCTOR: Maebh! I'm sorry that I couldn't help you.
MAEBH: You helped me loads. I thought it was all my fault. I feel much better now. Are you going to get rid of the forest?
CLARA: Hard to get rid of a flame-proof forest, Maebh, eh? Come on.
(Clara and Maebh join Danny and the boys at the lion. The Doctor goes into the Tardis while Samson tries to read the news headlines on his phone.)
SAMSON: Government crews have been deployed with the latest defo, deefoo
(Danny takes his phone and reads.)
DANNY: Defoliant agents, Samson. They're used to take the leaves off the trees so they're easier to burn.
BRADLEY: That's harsh.
(The Tardis engines start.)
BRADLEY: Where's he going?
CLARA: Home. He's going home. Which is exactly where we're going.
(The Doctor looks at the growing solar flare on the scanner.)
DOCTOR: Flame-proof forest. Flame-proof forest. A thousand atom bombs and no one hurt. I am Doctor Idiot!
(Not many trees in this part.)
DOCTOR [OC]: Clara! Come back here! Come back!
DANNY: He's calling you.
CLARA: Yes. Let him call. This is more important.
(The Doctor comes running.)
DOCTOR: Clara! Mister Pink! Maebh! All of you! Quick, quick! Come back. Come back. Come on.
(The children turn and run back to him.)
DOCTOR: Maebh, quick. Good girl, good girl. Come on.
(Teachers and pupils are sitting on the steps to the gallery while the Doctor gives his lesson on the solar flare.)
DOCTOR: It's there on the screen, look. Big solar flare headed this way. A thousand kilometres a second. Coronal mass ejection. Geomagnetic storm. It's huge. It's brewing up a solar wind
big enough to blow this whole planet away.
DOCTOR: I assumed your teachers have mentioned this?
CLARA: I thought it would spoil an otherwise enjoyable walk.
DOCTOR: Okay. Okay. Well, this is the bad news. The good news is, it's happened before. And you're still here. The Tunguska Blast, 1908. That should have blown the whole planet off its axis, but it didn't. It knocked a few trees over. Well, a few tens of thousands of trees over. CuruÁŠ in Brazil. Same story. Earth should have been smashed, but it wasn't. What do these things have in common?
RUBY: They're really, really scaring us?
DOCTOR: Trees. Whenever there's a planet-threatening, extra-terrestrial impact, trees. Massive forest, filling the atmosphere with oxygen. Pumping it up like a massive, highly inflammable airbag, so that when trouble hits
SAMSON: Everyone dies.
DOCTOR: No. The impact burns off the excess oxygen. You have some fairly hectic weather for a few days and some fairly trippy looking sunsets, but apart from that, you will be all right. I was wrong. The trees are not your enemy. They're your shield. They've been saving you since for ever. Protecting you from everything that space can throw at you.
CLARA: The wide ring. The red ring. In the museum, Ruby saw a cross-section of a tree. One of the rings was wider than the others, and red.
DOCTOR: Atmospheric dust, captured by the trees. The fingerprint of an asteroid. Happy Red Ring Day.
RUBY: I don't get it. If they're good, then why are we chopping them down?
DANNY: The Government are sending out defoliating teams. They're dropping chemicals on them right now.
DOCTOR: What is it with you people? You hear voices, you want to shut them up. The trees come to save you, you want to chop them down.
CLARA: Or you think you need to save the world when it's already saving itself.
DOCTOR: I did admit that I was wrong. Excellent. Mobile networks are still operative. Right. We are going to call everyone on Earth and tell them to leave the trees alone.
MAEBH: Can I do it? I started it. I should finish it.
DOCTOR: Okay. Okay. Class project. Save the Earth.
(So the children sprawl on the floor by the console, making suggestions while Maebh writes her script.)
MAEBH: Okay. And I think that's it.
(The Doctor flicks a switch, and everyone's mobile phone rings inside the Tardis and around the good green world.
(Including that of Maebh's mother, who has just arrived. She answers it.)
MAEBH [OC]: Essential services have been disrupted due to an unexpected forest.
MAEBH'S MUM: Maebh? Where are you?
MAEBH: We'd like to reassure you that the situation will be rectified very soon. Please don't be scared. And please don't chop, spray or harm the trees. They're here to help. Be less scared. Be more trusting. Oh, and Annabel Arden, please come home.
(The Doctor ends the transmission.)
DOCTOR: Okay, who would like to witness a once in a billion years solar event at close quarters?
(Maebh looks at the scanner.)
MAEBH: Mum! There's my mum!
(A joyful reunion.)
MAEBH'S MUM: I thought I'd lost you too.
MAEBH: Never. Not ever.
CLARA: So, trip to space, anyone?
RUBY: I want my mum.
SAMSON: I slightly want my mum, too.
CLARA: Tell them, Mister Pink, what an educational opportunity
DANNY: You, you go. This. This is enough for me.
CLARA: What? Coronal ejections, geomagnetic storms. How often do you get a playlist like that?
DANNY: I was a soldier. I put myself at risk. I didn't try too hard to survive, but somehow, here I am. And now I can see what I nearly lost. And it's enough. I don't want to see more things. I want to see the things in front of me more clearly. There are wonders here, Clara Oswald. Bradley saying please, that's a wonder. One person is more amazing, harder to understand, but more amazing than universes.
CLARA: Really? What person is that, then?
(Danny and Clara kiss. The children cheer and applaud.)
RUBY: I told you. I said so, didn't I?
(Heading back to Cromwell Road, passing Knightsbridge tube.)
CLARA: We could have a picnic.
DANNY: You can't. You've got marking.
CLARA: Oh. Well, no, no, no. That was, er, from ages ago. You see, what happened was
DANNY: They always write the date neatly at the top of the page.
CLARA: Yeah, they do, don't they?
DANNY: Last Friday. You were on the Tardis last Friday. Today, you thought the world was going to end. You still didn't tell me the truth.
CLARA: I tried. He interrupted.
DANNY: I just want to know the truth. I don't care what it is. I just want to know it. Like Maebh said. Like the forest. Fear a little bit less, trust a bit more.
CLARA: Okay. Well
DANNY: No, not now. Go home and do your marking. Think about it, then tell me. I saved you from a tiger today. I deserve at least that.
CLARA: Yes, you did. And yes, you do.
(Clara and the Doctor are looking out of the Tardis doorway.)
DOCTOR: I hope I'm right. It would be slightly awkward if the world was destroyed at this point.
(The solar flare reaches Earth's atmosphere, igniting the surplus oxygen as it flows around.)
DOCTOR: There goes the planet-sized airbag. That's the trees, harvesting the solar fire.
(Someone else is watching it on their computer screen.)
MISSY: Now, that was surprising. And I love surprises.
(But she doesn't look as if she means it.)
(The Tardis is parked in the living room. As the Doctor and Clara watch, the forest disappears in a succession of golden sparkles, revealing the hidden buildings and roads.)
CLARA: That is amazing. How will they explain this tomorrow?
DOCTOR: You'll all forget it ever happened.
CLARA: We are not going to forget an overnight forest.
DOCTOR: You forgot the last time. You remembered the fear and you put it into fairy stories. It's a human superpower, forgetting. If you remembered how things felt, you'd have stopped having wars. And stopped having babies.
(The golden glow spreads over the planet and vanishes, leaving behind the familiar blue oceans and brown dry land. Shame. The reforestation of the Sahara might have been useful.)
[Outside the Arden home]
(Mother and daughter walk home, and Maebh spots a pair of eyes looking out from an overgrown Hydrangea in their neighbour's front garden. The bush disappears in a mass of golden sparkles and a girl stands up.)
MAEBH'S MUM: Annabel! My Annabel!
MAEBH:I knew you'd be here. The thought of you came to me.
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