Somewhere just beyond the street the TARDIS comes into land, slotting perfectly between two large bins. The Doctor opens the door but realises he has materialised the wrong way round when he finds himself staring at the side of one of the bins. He steps back inside and the ship takes off again, reappearing moments later only this time facing the right way round.
The Doctor confidently steps outside and surveys the yard around him. As Rose looks at a series of posters displaying the ‘greatest hits’ of artists only recently discovered in her own time the Doctor confirms that they are in the near future. As they make their way into the street the Doctor points out the banner advertising the London 2012 Olympics. Rose chuckles and ponders why she didn’t think of visiting this time as the Doctor remembers the very first Olympics, the naked men throwing a discus before a giant crowd. He thinks for a moment then jokily points out that that was Club Med. He laughs and Rose looks slightly unnerved as they continue their walk.
The Doctor they are just in time for the opening ceremony and as he remembers the last one he visited in London, in 1948, Rose looks on as a father puts up ‘missing’ posters for a lost boy. She goes to look at it whilst the Doctor remembers being in 1948, including the cakes topped with edible ball bearings he had to eat. Rose interrupts him and points out the poster which he strolls up to and turns solemn, wondering why someone would snatch children from an ordinary street.
He wonders why it is so cold and then ponders if someone might be lowering the temperature. Rose meanwhile reads the poster and finds the missing boy disappeared in the current week, then asks why someone would do such a thing. The Doctor asks what makes her think it was a person before Rose notes it has the entire street scared to death, and indeed as she talks a young woman putting out the rubbish looks up then scurries away inside her home.
The young time traveller turns back to the Doctor but finds he has gone, dashing away down the street. He arrives in the garden where the boy disappeared and he out-stretches his hand, feeling a strange sensation surrounding it. As he glances from his hand to the lawn before him he crouches down and almost smiles.
Elsewhere in the street a moving car breaks down and a nearby council worker named Kel notes it is the fifth this week, an unnatural occurrence. He helps the driver push the dead vehicle and as Rose looks on she offers her help, before joining the young man in pushing the car, which suddenly springs to life and drives away. Kel explains the strange goings on all week and Rose notes it is the same time since the children have gone missing.
Still in the street the Doctor stares at his hand in delight as the owner of the house appears behind him and asks what his game is. The Doctor ponders that he is good at snakes and ladders as well as squash, before admitting he is being facetious.
Down the other end of the street Kel and Rose are walking together, the young man explaining the constant break-downs are maddening the council, as they have re-named it and re-tarmaced it. He explains the measures are because the Olympic torch is to be carried down at the end of the street so it must be made to look at its best, only things are amiss. Maeve joins them and explains that ‘it’ takes the children when they are playing but as she talks she is interrupted by the approaching Doctor.
Backing away from the man he has just met, the Time Lord stutters that he is a police officer. The man simply tells him he does not believe him and as the Doctor reaches for his psychic paper he tells them Rose is his colleague. He produces his fake identity card and the mother of the girl at the window, who has just joined them, asks what he is going to do. Maeve explains that the police have already been to the street and have found no leads or lines of investigation to follow. The father who followed the Doctor tells her that it must have been a kidnapper but Maeve argues that the last boy to be taken disappeared right in front of her.
The Doctor begins to talk but another mother and father begin accusing Kel, telling him he is taking far too long in the preparations for the Olympics. He begins to defend himself amidst the Doctor’s attempts to restore calm. Soon enough all of the residents around them are arguing with each other, accusing and defending each other whilst Maeve warns of the evil around them.
The Doctor yells out to them as if they were children, telling them all to put their fingers on their lips in order to be quiet. They all do so and the Doctor explains that the missing children have been snatched out of thin air. He allows Maeve to air her view and she tells them that it isn’t human, it can’t be. As she talks the young girl sitting at her window looks down on the gathering as the old woman begs for the Doctor and Rose to help. The mother of the young girl looks up to see her daughter watching them then goes back inside, leaving the others to continue.
Some time later the Doctor paces the street sniffing for clues. Rose jokily asks if he wants a handkerchief before admitting there is a scent of metal in the air. She follows her friend as he walks down an alleyway as he explains one of the missing boys cycled down one end of the back-street but never came down from the other. He shows her the hairs on the back of his hand standing on end and she detects the smell of metal again. The Doctor tells her it is residual energy, left in the spots the children vanished from. He explains a lot of energy was needed to do such a thing then walks off.
Back in the street the young girl sits and watches a cat walking in her garden. She takes out the picture of the missing boy who disappeared in the garden playing football then continues to draw the animal standing next to him. Her mother enters and tells her she must come down some time. The young girl tells her she is bust as the mother points out from the dozens of pictures stuck to her wall that she must have used up half of a rainforest in paper. She leans forward and takes the picture of the boy and the half-drawn cat and asks why she drew the boy so sad. She admits she did not draw the boy looking that way, he mad himself sad so she will draw him a friend.
The mother leans forward and clicks a button on the girl’s laptop, bringing on a television report of the torchbearer making his way to the grand stadium. She points out it will pass down the end of their street. She asks her daughter if it makes her feel part of something big when there is the idea that the whole world will be watching London but she gets no reply. The girl continues her drawing and explains she is busy. Her mother points out she is tired and tells her she heard her calling out in the night. She tries to reason that the things she sees in her sleep are only nightmares but the girl tells her she is busy, unless she wants to be drawn by her. The mother decides to leave her to it as the young girl continues her drawing.
Outside Rose sees the cat and fusses it as the Doctor misplaces her baby talk as being aimed at him. He looks on in distaste at his friend’s rapport with the creature, before admitting he is not a cat person, particularly after being threatened by one wearing a nun’s wimple. He watches as the cat walks away into a discarded cardboard box. Rose follows it but when she looks into the box she finds the cat has gone. The Doctor whoops at the high levels of iron residue inside the box before he admits he is impressed by the vast amounts of energy the creature abducting things needs to carry out the deed. He points out they need to find the source of the energy then walks off, leaving Rose to it.
In her room the girl looks at her picture and talks to it, explaining she has given it friends but still it moans. She looks at the other pictures on the wall and tells them they are lucky, they have each other and do not know what it is like to be alone. She takes out another piece of paper then starts to draw again, but she makes a mistake and scribbles it out.
Rose makes her way to the far end of the street near a row of garages and flats. She hears a banging noise coming from one of the garages then moves to open the door. Amidst more bangs and crashes she slowly lifts open the sliding door and is attacked by a ball of wiry energy. She falls to the floor as the ball buzzes around her. The Doctor approaches and zaps it with the sonic screwdriver, shrinking it and letting it fall into Rose’s hands. As the Time Lord runs to help her they embrace and admits he has no idea what the object is but notes it is activated by energy.
Sometime later the two travellers stand in the TARDIS console room, where the scanner delivers a report on the structure of the object. The Doctor realises it is made of graphite and happily rubs part of it away with the sonic screwdriver. Rose ponders that she was attacked by a pencil scribble and the Doctor notes the object is stooped in residual energy, like the patches where the children and the cat disappeared. Whatever is taking things can create them as well.
Rose notes it is similar to the end result of a scribble on a child’s drawing when it goes wrong and comes to realise something. She remembers the girl sitting at her window earlier in the street and notes that even the girl’s mother looked scared of her.
A while later the travellers arrive at the girl’s house. Reluctantly the mother opens the door and tells them they cannot see her daughter. The Doctor welcomes her response and he and Rose prepare to walk away but the mother stops them and asks why they want to see her daughter, who is called Chloe. The Doctor explains that she might be able to help them understand the strange goings on in the street but then turns to leave again. The mother stops them again and uncomfortably asks if she can help her and the Doctor happily tells her that he can.
Inside the house, as the television shows the journey of the Olympic torchbearer the mother admits that Chloe spends a lot of time in her room and does not speak, only asks to be left alone. Rose asks about the girl’s father but the woman explains he is dead and after Rose apologises she tells him she wouldn’t be so sorry if she had met him.
The Doctor tries to lighten the tone by suggesting they go and meet Chloe but the mother tells her she might be asleep. The Doctor sees through her disguise and asks why she is afraid of her own daughter. She replies by telling him that before they meet him they must understand that she is really a very good child. Rose cuts in and asks if she may use the bathroom and as she leave to ascend the stairs the mother, called Trish, tells the Doctor again what a good girl Chloe is, admitting that at the moment she is not herself.
Rose arrives upstairs and sees Chloe about to leave her room. She hides in the airing cupboard as the girl goes downstairs and them makes her way into her room. She looks at the dozens of drawings lining the walls then jumps at the rattling of the wardrobe doors. Upturning a pot of pencils she bends to pick them up but when she returns them to the desk she finds the expressions on one of the drawn people has changed.
Downstairs the Doctor finds Chloe in the kitchen. He introduces himself but she explains she is busy, she is making something. Trish cuts in and tells him she has not been sleeping. The Doctor turns to Chloe and notes she has been drawing, and goes onto say how he cannot draw very well but he can do the Mr Spock salute. He does so and asks Chloe if she can but all she tells him is that ‘they’ don’t stop moaning, no matter what she does. Her mother turns to hug her but she tells her not to touch her. The Doctor looks on whilst upstairs the wardrobe continues to rattle. Rose slowly opens the doors and inside, amidst the hanging clothes is a giant drawing of an angry man with his fists clenched.
Downstairs the Doctor begs to know Chloe is making upstairs but is cut off when Rose calls for help. He runs past Chloe and dashes upstairs where Rose stands transfixed at the massive drawing before her. The Time Lord dashes in and slams the door closed then inspects the drawings on Chloe’s desk. Rose stops Trish from reopening the door again and Chloe admits it is a drawing of her father. Trish frantically asks why she still remembers the man they had left behind and after telling her she has nightmare’s about him Chloe explains they must stick together.
Trish agrees that they do but Chloe tells her that she is not included. The Doctor looks over as she explains they must stick together then everything will be all right. Rose asks Trish if she knows what Chloe’s drawings can do but she tells her they are only drawings and should get out of the house. Rose continues and explains the drawing in the wardrobe actually spoke to her and theorises that Chloe has a power, capable of taking the missing children.
Again Trish tells her to get out and Rose asks if she has even seen the drawings move. She denies that she has but the Doctor knows she is lying; she has but only out of the corner of her eye but dismisses it and gets angry when someone talks of it. He explains that he is the only one who will believe her and when she asks who he is he tells her that he is help.
Some time later the Doctor, Rose and Trish stand downstairs. The Doctor plucks a jar of jam and proceeds to stick his finger in it and lick it clean but stops at a disparaging look from Rose. He puts down the jar and Rose asks him to explain how it is that the pictures are alive. The Doctor explains that Chloe is harnessing ionic energy to take the children and put them in a holding pen made of ionic power. Rose then asks about the picture of Chloe’s father in the wardrobe and despite Trish’s affirmation that he is dead the Doctor tells them that if living things can become drawings then maybe drawings can become living things.
He pauses and shivers then explains that although Chloe’s real dad is dead the drawing is a short step away from breaking into the real world. Rose asks how a twelve year-old girl is able to do this and he decides to go and find out. Arriving in her room they find her sitting on her bed alone amidst her pictures. She raises her hand and completes the Spock salute and after the Doctor congratulates her he reaches forward and touches the lobes of her head. Her eyes roll back in their sockets and as he closes his own eyes he pushes her back to lie on her bed.
He re-opens his eyes and announces that now they can talk. Chloe speaks to him but with a harsh whispered voice, announcing she wants Chloe Webber. The Doctor asks who she is and as she persists to ask for Chloe, Trish looks on in shock and Rose asks what is going on. The Doctor continues and tells them he is addressing the entity residing in Chloe’s body. He requests parlay in conjunction with the Shadow Proclamation but the ghostly voice tells him it does not car about shadows or paralysis’s. He asks what it does care about and it tells him it wants its friends.
The Doctor asks the voice to identify itself and it explains that it is one of many; it travels with its brothers and sisters on an endless journey that takes a thousand human lifetimes but now it is alone ad it hates it. The Doctor demands the creature names itself and it replies: Isolus. The Doctor realises what this means, almost dismissing it as elementary as Chloe begins to frantically draw again as the voice tells him its journey began so long ago in the deep realms when they were a family.
Trish asks what her daughter is drawing and the Doctor explains it is the Isolus Mother, drifting in deep space. She jettisons millions of children in the form of spores and when the intensely-emotional empathic beings are cast off by their mother their need for each other keeps them going, they should never be alone.
As Chloe draws a detailed picture of a flower-like creature the voice tells the others their journey is long and the Doctor explains each Isolus child travels in a small pod, on the waves of solar tides; it takes thousands of years for them to grow up. Rose asks how they manage to stay sane in that time and the voice tells them that they play. The Doctor explains that whilst they travel the Isolus use their ionic energy to create entire world in which to play in order to keep themselves happy and feed off of each other’s love.
He asks the voice why it came to Earth and after finishing the drawing of the Isolus mother Chloe begins to make a rough likeness of the sun. The Doctor realises a wave of solar energy must have scattered the Isolus pods and sure enough the voice tells him that its brothers and sisters are still in space where it cannot reach them, it is so alone. The Doctor asks where the creature’s pod is and the voice explains it was drawn to a source of heat and itself was drawn to Chloe Webber, who like the Isolus was alone. The creature tells him it wants its family as the Doctor explains he understands but it cannot stay inside Chloe’s body, it is wrong to do so.
Suddenly the wardrobe doors rattle and the voice of the drawing within begins to grumble. Chloe’s body begins to twitch in spasm and the Doctor calls for Trish to calm her as she does when her daughter has a nightmare. She does so and starts singing the Kookaburra song. Immediately Chloe stops twitching and the voice fades, leaving the wardrobe doors to settle. Trish comforts her daughter as she remarks how the creature only came to Chloe because she was alone.
Later on Trish walks about the house confiscating all of the drawing pencils Chloe might get her hands on whilst she explains that her daughter always got the brunt of her father’s anger when he had had a drink. She had hoped they were free of him when he crashed his car and died. Rose asks if she ever talked to her daughter about it but the woman admits she never did because she didn’t want to. The young traveller points out that maybe that is why Chloe feels alone, because she wants to tell her mother about having nightmares concerning her father but doesn’t feel she can. As Trish continues to collect up all of the pencils the Doctor explains the Isolus is desperate t be loved, it is used to being in a family of around four billion, and as Rose notes it will not stop pulling children in in order to find new friends.
Upstairs Chloe watches the report on the Olympics via her laptop and observes the stadium full of people then gets up to watch the Doctor and Rose walk outside determined to find the pod. The Time Lord explains the reason for the low temperatures in the street is that the pod is drawing in all of the heat and as such should be in a fit state to launch.
Inside the house Trish phones a Doctor and asks him to come and see Chloe who she says is running a temperature whilst behind her Chloe sneaks outside. Elsewhere the Doctor and Rose return to the TARDIS and the Time Lord tells his friend they can scan for the same trace as picked up by the scribble creature but will need to widen the field. He takes out his key and they walk inside the ship as Chloe appears behind them, watching them go.
Inside the ship the Doctor sets about constructing something whilst Rose points out how, back at the house, he knew the Isolus was lonely before it said so and he responds to her by explaining he knows what it is like to travel a long way on your own. As he instructs her to pass him different components she notes he seems to be on the creature’s side, despite the pain it has caused people. The Doctor explains he sympathises with it and that it is only a confused, mixed-up child.
Rose tells him it seemed to her more like a temper tantrum and after the Doctor reasons that she was a child once she tells him that she knows that children can be right little terrors.
In her room Chloe runs to lay on her bed. She reaches for a Barbie doll and rips off the head, revealed a series of colouring pencils stuffed in the hollow neck. She removes them and begins to draw another picture.
The Doctor takes Rose’s chewing gum and uses it as part of his new contraption as his companion explains that as part of a family it is right that children should learn they cannot always have their own way. The Doctor enquires as to what to do in order to understand them and Rose replies that that is easy for him to say, as he hasn’t had children. He points out that he was a dad once but fails to say anymore despite his friend’s requests.
Having finished his new device he stands up and explains that they are dealing with a lonely child, and points out some of the most heinous crimes committed have been by people lonely as a child. He tells her that deep space travel not only requires the technical ability and know-how but foremost a hand to hold. Rose points out that the scanner has located the lost pod, it is indeed in the street. The two travellers prepare to leave as in her room, Chloe’s picture begins to take shape…it is the TARDIS.
As they leave the ship the Doctor describes the pod to Rose in order for her to help find it and as they walk Chloe continues to draw frantically and begins to depict the Doctor…
In the yard beside the street Rose walks on; asking if all the pod needs is heat. From behind her comes a smashing sound and she turns to see the Doctor’s special device broken on the floor, but the Time Lord and the TARDIS are gone. She calls out for him and almost immediately she is back at Chloe’s house, storming upstairs despite Trish’s claims she has taken all of the colouring pencils away.
Rose arrives in Chloe’s room and picks up the picture of the Doctor and the TARDIS. The Isolus speaks through Chloe telling the traveller to leave it alone because it wants to be with the young girl. Rose almost explodes in anger, telling Chloe that she doesn’t realise what she has done, she has taken away the one person who could help her. Again the creature tells her to leave it alone with Chloe and Rose turns to the picture of the Doctor, promising to get him out once she has found the pod. She walks out leaving Trish and Chloe alone whilst the news report details the journey of the approaching Olympic torch.
Rose arrives in the street reminding herself of how the pod travels using heat whilst Kel marvels at the smoothness of the tarmac he has just laid. She asks him if there has been anything in the street over the past few days that has been giving off a lot of heat but the young man continues to admire his handiwork, pondering why the other patch he has put down still has a lump in it.
Rose asks him to think back six days and he remembers filling in the pothole before them for the first time. As he natters on about the secret council recipe for tar as Rose realises the heat of the fresh substance could have attracted the lost pod. Despite the protests of the young Kel she runs to his van and takes out a pickaxe. She runs to the tarred patch and begins digging up the ground until she finds the small pod.
Inside her room Chloe rushes around, taking a chair and placing it under the door handle thus locking herself inside. She looks on at the news report about the Olympics stadium and frantically begins drawing all of the people there. Rose arrives downstairs and finds Trish in the living room despite her warnings not to leave Chloe alone. As she protests and Kel arrives to scold her for her behaviour outside she glances at the news report, where the stadium has been emptied of people. The commentator struggles to find something to say but is speckles. Rose realises even the entire stadium is not enough, the Isolus has four billion brothers and sisters.
Upstairs Chloe looks at her picture of the stadium crowd and claims it is not enough. She runs to the bookcase and plucks out an atlas before setting it down on her table with a picture of the Earth staring up at her. The voice of the Isolus tells its host that she will no longer be alone and as Rose arrives outside claiming she has found the ship Chloe strips one of the room walls of posters then prepares to draw.
Outside Rose tells Trish to watch out and raises her pickaxe. As Chloe begins to hurriedly draw a massive picture of the globe the young time traveller swings the axe at the door and starts to break it down. She reaches inside and pulls the chair from the handle as the wardrobe doors begin to rattle. Chloe tells her that if she attempts to stop her she will let the picture of her father, which is slowly becoming a reality, out of the cupboard. She continues her drawing as Rose shows her the pod. She explains it is dead; it needs more than the heat it has absorbed. Kel points out one of the drawings has just moved and when Rose turns to look at the picture of the Doctor she finds he himself has drawn a picture of the Olympic torch.
She points out that the pod needs more than the heat of the torch but as she speaks the news report detailing the journey of the flame explains that it is not only a beacon of light but of love. She realises how to charge up the pod and as Chloe continues to draw the picture of the Earth she runs outside to where the torch is about to pass by.
She arrives and fights her way through the crowd of people but a police officer prevents her from getting closer. In Chloe’s room Trish descends into despair as the wardrobe doors rattle and her dead husband prepares to rise again.
Outside the torch passes and the pod glows. Rose throws the stone-like object into the air and it flies towards the flame, landing in the midst of the fire. In Chloe’s room the possessed girl stops drawing the nearly completed picture and the voice of the Isolus announces it can go home. It says goodbye to Chloe and tells her it loves her before flying from her mouth and out through the window, leaving the restored Chloe to embrace her mother.
Rose cheers at her victory and hugs Kel as all across the street the work of the Isolus is undone; children appear as if from nowhere but Rose is left alone, the Doctor unable to be seen. Maeve approaches and thanks Rose before walking off to join in the celebrations leaving the traveller to ponder why the Doctor has not returned.
Her attention is turned however when a glowing red light emits from Chloe’s bedroom; the picture of her father has fully formed. She runs back to the house where Chloe and her mother are descending the stairs but finds the creature has locked the family inside. They struggle to open it as Rose arrives and warns Chloe the creature upstairs is not real and she can get rid of him.
Chloe protests that she can’t and falls to the floor in panic. Trish joins her and tells her she is not alone, she will never be alone again. Rose calls for them to sing and together they nervously sing the Kookaburra song. As they do the red light atop the stairs fades and the voice calling for the young girl fades as the picture of her father fades.
Outside Rose falls to the floor and as Kel approaches she asks who will hold the Doctor’s hand now he is gone. She goes inside to see the news report explaining the people in the stadium have returned. She wonders why, out of eighty thousand people, the Doctor has not returned but her question is answered when the torchbearer, who is nearly at the stadium, begins to stumble. He falls to the floor and amidst the hubbub a strange man takes the fallen torch and runs for the stadium; it is the Doctor.
He enters the stadium and continues up the grand staircase to the giant torch. He woops with joy then lights the Olympic flame, before telling the Isolus to go and join its siblings, they will be waiting. Sure enough the pod ascends from the fire and speeds towards the sky, leaving the planet Earth behind.
The Doctor returns to the street some time later where Rose presents him with a small fairy cake, topped with the small edible ball-bearings he was talking about when they arrived. He joyously takes it and eats it, savouring its taste and the gimmick of edible ball-bearings. He embraces Rose and she admits she though she had lost him but he tells her that it could never happen on a night like this, it is a night for lost things being found.
As they begin to walk away Rose tries to get the Doctor to tell her more about the upcoming Olympic games, and he tells her that Papua New Guinea surprise everyone in the shot-put. Rose asks if he is serious and he tells her to wait and see, as the fireworks of celebration explode in the sky.
Rose laments that things keep separating the two travellers but they never ever will succeed. The Doctor tells her to never say never ever but she insists they will always be all right together. The Doctor remains silent, simply looking to the sky and the display above them. She asks him if he feels the same but he simply replies that there is something in the air, something is coming. She asks what it is and he tells her that a storm is approaching…