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22 October 2014

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On a bleak Scottish moor, a group of bedraggled Highlanders drag their injured Laird to safety. The air is filled with bursts of gunfire and the sound of braying horses.

On the brow of a hill, a lone redcoat levels his rifle at the group. One of the Highlanders breaks away to tackle the soldier.

The two men scuffle in the bracken, and the Highlander raises his shield to defend himself from the Englishman's bayonet.

The Highlander drives his claymore deep into the soldier, who lets out an agonised scream before falling to the ground.

The Scotsman contemplates the kill for a brief moment before turning away from the body and moving to rejoin his comrades.

The group support their stricken Laird as they prepare to continue their journey.

The Highlanders stumble across Culloden Moor as the sounds of battle recede in the distance.

The year is 1746, and the Highlanders know that the Battle of Culloden is lost.

The relative peace of a wooded hollow is broken by the grating noise of the TARDIS materialising.

Ben and Polly are the first to emerge, closely followed by the Doctor.

Ben is optimistic that they have finally returned home, but Polly remains cynical. 'Look out!' she shouts as there is an explosion, followed by a high-pitch whistle.

The Doctor's cautious investigation reveals that they have narrowly missed being hit by a ten-pound cannon ball. 'That does it,' he says, heading back to the TARDIS. Ben wants to investigate, however, so Polly follows him. The Doctor shrugs and tags along.

The Highlanders have arrived at a nearby cottage, where the Laird, Colin McLaren, is able to rest.

The feverish Laird asks for water. He is helped by his daughter, Kirsty, and another young Highlander - Jamie McCrimmon. Jamie gives the Laird his last remaining water.

'The battle, the battle...' asks the Laird. 'It's done,' replies his son, Alexander. 'The clans are broken - shot to pieces by the English guns.' The despondent Laird asks about Prince Charles Edward. 'He was the first to leave the field,' scowls Alexander.

'The English troops are butchering all their wounded and hanging all their prisoners,' says Alexander. Jamie is alarmed. 'They cannae hang us all, can they?' he asks. 'They'll ne'er hang me, piper,' says Alexander. 'You may be sure of that.'

There is a noise outside, and Alexander and Jamie leave the cottage to investigate.

The Doctor, Ben and Polly find an abandoned cannon. 'This must be where that cannon ball came from,' surmises Ben. 'Unlikely,' says the Doctor, examining the barrel. 'It's been spiked.'

'How did you know?' asks Ben, but the Doctor ignores him. He picks up a discarded Tam O'Shanter, proclaiming, 'I would like a hat like this!' The Doctor hands the hat to Polly, who notices an inscription inside.

Polly reads: 'With Charles our brave and merciful Prince Royal, we'll greatly fall or nobly save our country.' The Doctor is unimpressed, dismissing the inscription as 'romantic piffle.' He throws the hat to the ground.

Alexander has been observing the Doctor, and is incensed by his actions. 'You'll pick it up,' he commands, pressing his sword to the Doctor's throat. The Doctor complies, before he, Ben and Polly are escorted to the cottage.

At the cottage, Alexander tells his father that he saw the stranger throw down Bonnie Prince Charlie's cockade. 'They're no Scots,' he declares.

'You wish to pray before you die?' asks the Laird, oblivious to Polly's protests. Jamie raises his dirk to the Doctor's throat, saying, 'You English troopers gave no quarter to men, women and bairns.'

Kirsty hears Polly address her companion as 'Doctor' and begs Alexander to let him help the Laird. While Alexander and Kirsty argue, Ben spots a pistol lying by the Laird's side and grabs it.

Ben forces Alexander and Jamie to hand their weapons to Polly while the Doctor examines the Laird.

'I'm going to need some clean water to bathe the wound,' says the Doctor, looking up at Kirsty.

Kirsty refuses to leave the Laird, while Jamie and Alexander watch suspiciously from the other side of the room. The Doctor asks Polly to accompany Kirsty to the stream, and Alexander hands Kirsty the Laird's spyglass before they leave.

The Doctor tells Ben to put the gun away and asks Alexander and Jamie: 'Will you both give us your word that you'll not molest us? We're only trying to save your Laird from bleeding to death.' The two men give their word and Ben reluctantly discards the gun.

Gun Trouble

As Ben puts the gun on the table it accidentally goes off. 'You fool!' says Alexander, alarmed by the noise. 'You'll have every English soldier within miles!' Jamie rushes to the window. 'Redcoats!' he says. 'There's about six of them!'

Lieutenant Algernon Ffinch orders his sergeant to accompany a trooper to the rear of the cottage while he leads an assault on the front. 'Tell them to shoot first and take no risks. Remember these rebels will be desperate by now.'

'Advance in battle order!' says the Lieutenant. Meanwhile, Alexander leaves the cottage in a brave attempt to draw their fire. 'Creag an tuire!' he cries, brandishing his claymore. The English troops gun him down with ease.

The Doctor introduces himself to the soldiers as Doctor von Wer. 'Doctor who?' asks the Sergeant. 'That's what I said,' mutters the Doctor, before explaining that he is from Hanover, 'Where your good King George comes from.'

The Lieutenant seems more interested in the injured man. Jamie explains that this is, 'Colin McLaren, the Laird, and I'm his piper.' The Sergeant is unimpressed: 'They're a poor lot, sir. We'll get no pickings here. Let's hang 'em and have done.'

Behind British lines, Solicitor Grey observes the battle through his spyglass. He turns to his clerk. 'Not a very inspiring battle, would you say, Perkins?' Grey's stout companion is unsure what to say. 'I don't really know, sir. I've never seen one before.'

'This one was over in a brief hour,' says Grey. 'Never have I seen such brave fellows so poorly led.'

'And now Cumberland's troops are butchering the wounded. It's such a waste of manpower. A little wine, Perkins?'

'All these fine sturdy Highlanders. Used to hard work and little food. Think what a price they'd fetch in Jamaica or Barbados, Perkins.'

'A pretty penny, no doubt, sir,' says Perkins. Grey continues: 'And I'll have them, Perkins. I did not give up a thriving legal practise just for the honour of serving King George as his Commissioner of Prisons.'

Perkins nods enthusiastically as Grey continues: 'With Mr Trask and his ship at our service, we may expect to clear some measure of profit out of this rebellion. Depending, of course, on how many of the wretched rebels we can deliver from his Majesty's over zealous soldiers.'

Polly and Kirsty return from the stream to discover that the cottage is being occupied by soldiers.

'Who are those men?' asks Polly, looking through the spyglass. 'Don't pretend you can't recognise English redcoats when you see them,' says Kirsty.

'English?' says Polly. 'Well that's all right then. We're safe.' Kirsty can't believe what she's hearing. 'Do you want to get us both killed? Tortured? Look, they're going to hang our men.'

'It's horrible,' says a stunned Polly. 'They've got to be stopped.' Kirsty starts sobbing in despair. 'Crying's no good,' says Polly, figuring that the hanging won't go ahead if the officer's away. 'Come on - we're going to create a diversion.'

Ffinch and the Sergeant see a stone fall nearby and spot the two girls in the distance. The Sergeant tells his Lieutenant that he's heard a rumour the Prince may try to escape dressed as a woman.

Ffinch takes two men up the hill, in pursuit of the two girls. Leaving their water behind, Polly and Kirsty hurry away.

The Doctor tells the Sergeant that the Lieutenant shows a great devotion to duty. 'Devotion to duty? Devotion to a £30,000 reward, that's all,' sniffs the Sergeant, who orders the hanging to proceed in Ffinch's absence.

The Doctor, Ben, Jamie and the Laird have their heads placed in nooses and a drum roll begins. At that point Solicitor Grey marches up to the Sergeant with Perkins in tow. Grey announces himself as, 'His Majesty's Commissioner for the disposal of rebel prisoners.'

He orders the soldiers to release the prisoners from their nooses but the Sergeant refuses. 'I admit your prior claim,' Grey tells the Sergeant, 'but I think you are a reasonable man.' Perkins counts a number of coins into the Sergeant's outstretched palm.

Ben thanks Solicitor Grey as he is cut down. 'A trifle, I assure you,' says Grey. 'Strong ruffians like you, and this other young rebel here, are needed in His Majesty's service.'

Grey initially suggests leaving the Doctor and the Laird to hang, but he decides that the Doctor may prove useful. He leaves the wounded Laird in the Doctor's care. 'First, you go to Inverness,' Grey tells the prisoners, 'and then perhaps a sea voyage.'

Kirsty takes Polly to a nearby cave that is a familiar hideout for members of the McLaren family.

Kirsty lights a candle and then crosses to a nearby chest.

She is dismayed to discover that the only food it contains is one biscuit.

She offers it to Polly, who declines when she's told it was left three some three months before. Kirsty tells Polly that the redcoats probably took their prisoners to the jail at Inverness.

Kirsty starts to sob again, but Polly is determined to stage a rescue. She tells Kirsty they will need money for food - and to bribe the guards at the jail. Polly suggests she can sell her bracelet, and then spots Kirsty's gold ring.

'It's my father's,' says a defensive Kirsty, showing Polly the ring. Polly tries to persuade Kirsty to sell it but she angrily refuses, claiming her father would kill her if she ever parted with it. 'Give it to me!' insists Polly, unable to understand Kirsty's attitude.

Kirsty threatens Polly with a knife, glaring at her. 'Please yourself,' says Polly. 'You're just a stupid peasant. I'm off to help my friends. You can stay here and guard your precious ring.'

'Mind your step,' warns Kirsty. 'It'll be dark soon. You'll get lost!'

Polly ignores Kirsty and strides out onto the moor.

Disoriented in the darkness, Polly begins to think that someone is following her.

She puts another step forward and falls into a deep trap.

Looking up from the bottom of the pit, she sees someone approaching with a dagger...

NEXT WEEK: Can Polly escape her would-be attacker?

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