The winning entry of the Short Trip Memorial Opportunity 2022 is The World Tree by Nick Slawicz, released on 29th December to celebrate the late Paul Spragg’s birthday.
Here’s the synopsis:
Nora Wicker is forgetful. Not big things – not yet, anyway. She remembers her address and where the shops are. She remembers people when they come to visit, no matter how rare that is.
But she doesn’t remember where the bush with the red leaves in her garden came from – and she definitely doesn’t remember asking for a house call from the Eleventh Doctor.
Narrator Lisa Bowerman says:
“It’s such a lovely story and it was an absolute pleasure to be back having a read of a Short Trip. Nora is a very sympathetic and well-delineated character. I found Nora’s voice when I was reading – it just seemed to fall naturally.”
From the judging panel, Nicholas Briggs says:
“What struck me about this story is how very moving it was. It’s a sensitive subject, handled very deftly. And during the judging session, it just kept floating to the top of our lists. We all loved it.”
Former Doctor Who Brand Editorial Manager, Gabby De Matteis adds:
“There’s such a strong warmth to The World Tree. Even on a first read, I could feel Nick’s writing squeezing at my heart from the off! Nora Wicker feels like a real, living person and I totally believed in her story, her marriage and her memories.
“Nick’s writing is so assured, too. His approach to the Doctor Who universe is a thoughtful and tender one, and he’s depicted the Eleventh Doctor beautifully. Smart, empathetic and a little sentimental which are, in my view, all of the best qualities that a Doctor Who story can have.”
Alfie Shaw agrees:
“There’s always something special about bringing a new writer into the world of Doctor Who, and that’s why the Paul Spragg Opportunity is an annual delight.
“It’s very refreshing for my involvement to end once the judging process is over, and to experience the final piece like the rest of the listeners. Nick’s pitch was very strong and I love the Eleventh Doctor, so I can’t wait to hear The World Tree.”
And Peter Anghelides concludes:
“I’ve enjoyed working with Nick as he completed the story. He understands what makes a good Short Trip which, I think, is a character piece that illuminates the Doctor and their world. He’s captured the Eleventh Doctor very well.
“I think any Doctor Who fan will enjoy this but those who especially love the Eleventh Doctor will also note nuances that illuminate the era. It’s a very worthy 2022 winner and our congratulations and thanks to Nick Slawicz for writing The World Tree.”
The World Tree is now available to download for free from Big Finish. The download also comes with the studio script and original submission in PDF, plus interviews and a music suite.
If you’re thinking of entering in 2023, you can also check out this Q&A with Nick Slawicz and listen to the previous winning Short Trips.
- 2016: Forever Fallen by Joshua Wanisko
- 2017: Landbound by Selim Ulug
- 2018: The Last Day at Work by Harry Draper
- 2019: The Best-Laid Plans by Ben Tedds
- 2020: Free Speech by Eugenie Pusenjak
- 2021: The Lichyrwick Abomination by Joe Vevers
UPDATE: Nick has posted a “Bonus Commentary” thread on Twitter, which is definitely worth checking out.