The beginning of ‘The Caretaker’ gives us a whirlwind tour of Clara’s life, dashing around in the TARDIS between dates with Danny Pink. We are only given glimpses of these adventures but is enough to develop adventures around, if you wanted to run a 12th Doctor adventure that takes place during this period or simply use them as inspiration.
The Doctor and Clara are chained to two ornate posts on a desert world, three impressive rock formations in the background and two orange suns in the sky. Bones lie nearby, either that of an animal that has died in the desert or evidence of previous sacrifices.
We can assume that there is some alien race that constructed these posts and that chained the time travellers. The lack of any buildings in the vicinity either indicates this race live some distance from this region or they could be a nomadic or live below ground.
Clara believes that the situation is dire, that they will die on this unnamed world. The Doctor asks for vibro-cutters presumably to cut through the chains. Since Clara has left them in her other jacket at home this indicates that this isn’t the first time those tools have come in useful during an adventure.
As Clara points out even if she had the vibro-cutters she wouldn’t be able to pass them to the Doctor because her hands are also chained. She suggests that they will starve to death (although dehydration would seem to be the more immediate concern) while the Doctor explains that the sand piranhas will get them long before that. This suggests that the Doctor is more familiar with this planet than Clara. It also indicates that Clara is unaware of the intentions of those who left them to die.
We never see how the Doctor and Clara escape this situation but it seems clear that sand piranhas were about to attack them. Is it possible that the sand piranhas could be tricked in eating through the chains. Once freed the duo could escape before they were devoured.
Later the Doctor makes reference to Clara losing a limb. Is it possible that a piranha eat a leg or arm, allowing her to slip free and help the Doctor. Once back at the TARDIS or with access to advanced technology the missing limb could have been replaced or regenerated
From the situation they find themselves in we can assume that the time travellers got on the wrong side of the locals. Was this a random trip or did the Doctor come here with a purpose? Once they escaped from their bonds did they leave or was there still more to do?
It could be that the locals were being used by someone else. It could be this malign influence (maybe posing as a god) that order the sacrifice of the strangers. The design of the pillars could indicate that this was once a highly advanced society, with lost treasures just waiting beneath the sand.
Just as Clara is about to meet Danny the Doctor invites her to come and see Fish People. We only see the aftermath of this adventure, with Clara soaked and seaweed in her hair. This leaves us a lot to speculate on.
The key to this might be that the Doctor is inviting Clara to meet the Fish People, this suggest they might be on friendly terms. Certainly his demeanour would indicate that they’ll be opposing them.
The Doctor might be referring to Sea Devils, although they are more reptilian than fish like. They are also usually portrayed as being hostile but in recent years it has shown that the Doctor is doing more to establish friendly relationships with the Silurians so it might now be time to extend the olive branch of peace to their underwater cousins.
He could instead be referring to the Fish People from ‘The Underwater Menace’. The Doctor could be trying to impress Clara by letting her met survivors of Atlantis, as well as checking up on them. This could be a fun avenue to explore, with the 12th Doctor revisiting events that occurred to him 11 incarnations ago.
I HATE SOLDIERS
Next the time travellers are pursued down futuristic corridors, laser beams flashing after them. The Doctor indicates that these are soldiers, reinforcing his hatred of the profession. We never get a clear view of the soldiers so they could be human or a militaristic race like the Sontarans.
They are heading for the TARDIS, so their intention is probably to escape this location. The Doctor seems uncertain of its location which is either because of the confusing layout of the corridors or because it has been moved.
The soldiers seem to be very inaccurate with his laser fire, with the time travellers stopping at one point to talk and the beams still missing them. It could be that this is deliberate and the unknown soldiers want the time travellers to lead them to the TARDIS.
There are plenty of gaps to be filled here. Who are the soldiers? What do they want? Where is this scene set? The swaying of the camera could indicate that this is on board a spaceship.
This could be an occasion in which the Doctor needed Clara’s help with a difficult situation, as he did in ‘Into The Dalek’, or he could have been trying to take her somewhere to impress her.
Since this would seem to be the end of the adventure the Doctor doesn’t feel the need to stop the soldiers. It could be that he was working with them but took an action that resolved the problem but angered the soldiers.
Knowing that Danny is onboard the TARDIS the Doctor tests Clara by suggesting they go and see a frost fair on the Thames. These occurred between the 17th and 19th century, giving time travellers lots of different periods to explore while also experiencing the rare delights on the frozen river.
While they never do go in the episode Clara might take the Doctor up on his offer later.
The Doctor might have taken the opportunity to visit Elizabeth I, who took the ice frequently in 1564 just 2 years after the events of ‘Day Of The Doctor’. What would she make of her dear husband in this new form?
Similarly they might collect River Song and Stevie Wonder to visit the 1814 frost fair, dropping his wife back at the Storm Cage to meet Rory in ‘A Good Man Goes To War’.