Doctor Who: "When I Say Runs, RUNS!!!"

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Christopher Morley steps up to the crease to celebrate the Fifth Doctor's love of cricket.


The sound of bat on ball during a game of cricket has to be one of the most English around! Little wonder the Fifth Doctor had a love for the sport, being both the most human & quintessentially suited to it of all the Time Lord's incarnations.



Now then, to paraphrase a great man, indeed one of those who came before the then newest-of-the-Doctors, when I say runs, RUNS!!!!!



It won't have escaped your notice that the Doctor's love of the game becomes apparent fairly quickly post-regeneration, as he picks up a bat & somehow conveniently stumbles into what looks like the TARDIS' answer to a standard county clubroom.



His costume is a variation on the sort of kit worn by Edwardian exponents of cricket, & a ball is among the contents of his pockets! When asked to empty them in Arc Of Infinity, the handy round red thing is present, & indeed the use of one saves his very life in Four To Doomsday.



Not forgetting of course his chance to actually play a little in Black Orchid! Not bad when he doesn't even know he'll be taking part to begin with-
NYSSA: Where are we?
ADRIC: Earth again.
TEGAN: I did say I wanted to stay with the crew for a while. You can stop trying to get me back to Heathrow.
DOCTOR: I have.
TEGAN: You certainly know how to fly this crate, don't you?
DOCTOR: What's the matter, old girl? Why this compulsion for planet Earth?
It's clear that the machine he's too buttoned-up to call 'Sexy' has brought him here for a reason, & a very good one at that. A car awaits for he & his companions this fine June day in 1925, & Charles Cranleigh's team are a man short.
TANNER: Good afternoon, sir. I'm Tanner, Lord Cranleigh's chauffeur.
DOCTOR: Lord Cranleigh?
TANNER: Yes, sir.
DOCTOR: We're expected?
TANNER: Oh yes, sir. You are the Doctor?
DOCTOR: Indeed.
NYSSA: May I ask what you're staring at?
TANNER: I'm sorry, miss. Please, sir, if you don't mind. The game's already started. His Lordship won the toss and decided to bat first to give you time to get here. That train's always late.
DOCTOR: That's very thoughtful of his Lordship.
TANNER: Er, yes, sir. But I do think we should hurry. His Lordship is a first class bat, but I'm not quite sure how strong his support is this year.
DOCTOR: Come on, you lot.
Anyone who listens religiously to Test Match Special will no doubt admire the man in the entirely appropriate gear's reply to Tegan's question as to why exactly they're heading to the match. ''Why not? ''. Why not indeed, as surely our summers were made for games like this? The Doctor certainly thinks so. And once their last player takes to the field of play he'll inspire them to take victory from the jaws of defeat with some fine skill!


But the Fifth was not the first to encounter this sport of Kings (and Time Lords), he learnt about the game during his First incarnation materialised at the Oval during an Ashes match in part of the Volcano episode of The Daleks' Master Plan .
DOCTOR: Yes, it's definitely some sporting occasion.
SARA: Oh, I hardly think so, Doctor.
STEVEN: Was it on Earth, do you think?
DOCTOR: Oh, possibly, my dear fellow, possibly.
If the First, Steven & Sara had stayed to watch the game it would almost inevitably have ended in defeat or a draw for England, as they failed to win any of the four Ashes series played during the 1960s! Incidentally the broadcast of Hidden Danger , Episode Three of The Sensorites, was delayed by BBC coverage of an over-running Test match against Australia at Headingley, home to Yorkshire on July 4th 1964.


The Doctor's later self would throw himself wholeheartedly into the business of watching some of history's greatest matches - in Nekromanteia he manages to persuade an Olympics committee of the far future to recognise cricket as one of the sports of the Games, & The Emerald Tiger sees the TARDIS arrive in Calcutta on December 31,1926. Not insignificantly its the date of the Second Unofficial Test, as All India take on the MCC, which the Marylebone Cricket Club - to use their full name/title-side - win by four wickets.

When he wasn't watching or playing cricket the Doctor was evidently a contributor to Wisden, the Cricketers Almanack now on its 152nd edition having been published every year without fail since 1864. A piece named "By Lord Cranleigh's Invitation, Seventy Years of Charity Elevens" by a certain famous Gallifreyan author appears in one of them, with several letters disputing the Doctor's memories of the events/matches covered going by the novel Goth Opera! A copy of the venerable batsman's Bible is also kept in the TARDIS library according to Fear Of The Dark.



And then there's Graham Dilley Saves The World from the Short Trips- Past Tense anthology. The scene is Headingley, during the Ashes series of 1981. Noticing a time disturbance, the Doctor, Peri & Erimem discover that its source is the match itself. The aforementioned Dilley is supposed to make a catch that will win England the game against the Aussies. Only, he's distracted & drops the ball- which changes history! And the source of his distraction is none other than Tegan, who's supporting her countrymen. And who's with her? The Doctor, at an earlier point in his current self's own time-line! To avoid meeting himself he watches proceedings from an executive box as his newest companions try to stop his old one from causing the disturbance in the first place, which she does following an argument in the stands- "Watch the ball, you muppet."

Graham does so, & the normal flow of time is saved! Well played, sir!

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