Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
AUSTRALIAN author Chris Thomas had never heard of swine flu a year ago – but his Doctor Who short story published in April 2008 does have one or two similarities.

His time-travelling tale One Step Forward, Two Steps Back was featured in Short Trips: Defining Patterns, published by Big Finish, a UK company licensed to produce Doctor Who audio adventures and short story anthologies.

Thomas’ story features the Doctor trying to cure a disease on an alien planet but an unexpected mutation causes widespread death across the population.

The current swine flu is a new strain of the H1N1 respiratory disease commonly affecting pigs, mixing the human and animal versions of the influenza virus.

“In my story, there are two versions of the Doctor,” Thomas said. “His fifth incarnation is in the planet’s past, trying to cure the disease, while his second incarnation lands the TARDIS in the same planet’s future, unaware of what his future self is doing.

“Each time the fifth Doctor makes progress on curing the population, the future keeps drastically changing for the second Doctor and he doesn’t understand why because what’s happening in the past is actually his personal future.”

For those unfamiliar with Doctor Who, the central character is a Time Lord called the Doctor who can change his body when the old one dies, neatly explaining the change of lead actor. To date, there have been 10 Doctors on television.

Thomas said the disease in his story was simply a way to trigger an exploration of the cause-and-effect theme he had been given.

“When I first heard the swine flu was a result of viruses crossing with each other, I thought it sounded a little familiar,” Thomas said.

“Especially with all the talk of a possible pandemic spreading the infectious disease across large regions, that’s kind of what happens in my story because it affects the whole planet.

“Although my twist is the cure itself mutates and causes further problems, rather than the original disease.

“It’s obviously just a coincidence – but science-fiction programs like Doctor Who have always taken current possibilities and extrapolated them further.”

Based in Perth, Western Australia, Chris Thomas is the author of Journo’s Diary and the plays Which One?, Reality Matters, Appetite for Destruction, The Bonza Land of Oz, Who’s Your Daddy?, King Bling and SMS Mess.

Short Trips: Defining Patterns, featuring Thomas’ short story, is available at

For more information on Chris Thomas, go to and


christhomas-doctorwho.jpg: A Doctor Who short story by Australian author Chris Thomas has some similarities with the current swine flu crisis.

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Chris Thomas/Doctor Who

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Chris Thomas is a writer, actor, journalist and broadcaster who has developed diverse experience in these areas over several years.

He has many eclectic acting credits to his name and broad journalistic experience, working for mainstream newspapers, independent publications and freelancing for numerous titles, as well as extensive work in media relations and flexing his dulcet tones as a radio announcer.

Chris Thomas is also the author of the novel Journo's Diary, the Doctor Who short story One Step Forward, Two Steps Back and the plays Which One?, Reality Matters, Appetite for Destruction, The Bonza Land of Oz, King Bling and SMS Mess.
Chris Thomas
P: 0430374250


A Doctor Who short story by Australian author has plot elements similar to swine flu.


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