click on images to enlarge
Although Jackson Lake has never travelled in the TARDIS himself, he nevertheless has a strong bond with The Doctor, as he was given a unique opportunity to experience The Doctor’s life from a first-hand perspective before he ever met the Time Lord.
A professor of mathematics in the Victorian era, Jackson Lake moved to London in December 1851 with his family, but they received a shock when they discovered that their new house was the base for a squadron of Cybermen, the Cybermen having escaped the Void where they were trapped after their last battle with The Doctor (“Army of Ghosts/Doomsday”) during the upheaval caused by Davros’s attempt to destroy reality (“The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End”). Although the Cybermen killed Jackson’s wife Caroline and abducted his son Frederick, Jackson was able to grab an info-stamp – a small device capable of storing and projecting information about various topics, the Cybermen having accessed the Dalek databases in the void and forced to rely on infostamps due to their own lack of resources – and use it as a weapon against the Cybermen, somehow breaking the seal of its energy core and using it to overload the attacking Cybermen.
However, the damaged info-stamp had a unique effect on Jackson Lake’s mind; already traumatised by the death of his wife and the abduction of his son, when the infostamp Jackson was holding backfired on him, he absorbed all of the facts and information stored on it… and, since he had coincidentally picked up an infostamp about The Doctor, Lake therefore became convinced that he was The Doctor, suffering from post-regenerative amnesia after an encounter with the Cybermen. Although his knowledge had some gaps in it – such as him developing a ‘TARDIS’ that was really a hot-air balloon, naming it ‘Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style’, and his ‘sonic screwdriver’ just being an ordinary screwdriver -, Lake nevertheless quickly settled into his perceived role as The Doctor, resolving to thwart the Cybermen despite his confusion.
Collecting the luggage of the ‘missing’ Jackson Lake to try and determine what had happened to him, ‘The Doctor’ began to track the Cybermen, even acquiring a companion in the form of a young woman called Rosita after he saved her from a Cyberman attack. Tracking the abductions of various children across London, ‘The Doctor’ and Rosita discovered information about the strange murder of Reverend Fairchild, a known advocate for childrens’ charities; Fairchild had been found with suspicious burn marks on his head and neck. As he prepared to investigate Fairchild’s house, ‘The Doctor’ and Rosita were joined by the Tenth Doctor, visiting London at Christmas for a brief holiday and responding to Rosita’s calls for help when she was attacked by a Cybershade (A primitive version of Cyberman, apparently the result of them converting an animal).
Although The Doctor initially assumed that Lake was indeed his future self suffering from a particularly intense form of post-regenerative amnesia, he became suspicious during their subsequent investigation of Fairchild’s house, his theory being confirmed when he established that ‘The Doctor’ only had one heart and witnessed Jackson’s TARDIS, a confrontation with the Cybermen ending when Jackson repeated his ‘ruptured energy core’ trick to drive them off. Although Jackson was briefly shaken at the revelation that his life was a lie and his wife was dead – although he initially had trouble remembering his son -, he swiftly rallied himself in time to save The Doctor and Rosita from another Cyberman attack, using salvaged infostamps to destroy the Cybermen that had been about to execute The Doctor. Learning that the Cybermen had taken control of the local workhouse owners to use the children as a labour force to construct the Cyber-King, a massive Cyberman robot, The Doctor and Jackson broke into the facility via the basement of Jackson’s house to rescue the children, simultaneously recovering Jackson’s son into the bargain.
With The Doctor having defeated the Cyber-King by using Jackson’s ‘TARDIS’ and a Dalek vortex generator that the Cybermen had used to escape the Void to banish the Cyber-King into the Time Vortex, Jackson lead the people of London in cheering for The Doctor as thanks for what he had done, later meeting The Doctor after the crisis was resolved. Although he naturally had no interest in travelling in the TARDIS now that his family was restored – reflecting that he would hire Rosita as Frederick’s nurse, unwilling to abandon his ‘companion’ now that he had his old life back and recognising that his son couldn’t have a better guardian -, Jackson nevertheless enjoyed his brief chance to see inside the TARDIS, subsequently inviting The Doctor to share Christmas dinner with him, Rosita and Frederick. As the two walked off to Jackson’s house for Christmas dinner, The Doctor assured Jackson that he had been a fine Doctor during the time when he had believed himself to be the Time Lord, commenting that he was glad Jackson was The Doctor if anyone else was going to be him. Although the Eleventh Doctor later speculated that the Cyber-King’s attack had been erased from history due to the cracks in reality (“The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone”) caused by the TARDIS exploding (“The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang”), it is unclear whether this means that Jackson’s role in events still took place or not, given that his contact with The Doctor’s knowledge may have granted him some immunity to the subsequent distortions in reality.