Interview questions with the writers of Time Shadows…
(Warning: minor spoilers ahead.)
What was the inspiration for your story?
Christopher Olsen: I was sitting on the sofa happily re-watching “Smith and Jones” (2007). All of a sudden, the Doctor made one of his many name-dropping references, this time to Benjamin Franklin. My head span back through the entire compendium of Doctor Who and I realized that no onscreen meeting had yet been depicted between Franklin and the Doctor. So, I set out to provide a prequel to this story.
Stuart Roth: I enjoyed the crusty relationship the First Doctor had with Ian and Barbara, particularly the way he acted in the unaired pilot. It seemed natural that Ian would try to take actions into his own hands and attempt to figure a way to fly the TARDIS. I also liked when the TARDIS was still mysterious and possessed hidden dangers.
Abel Diaz: Cheesy and cliche as it sounds, it was simply that one powerful image of a silver giant, bounding across the plains of the Old West, grabbed like Clint Eastwood in a poncho and wide brim hat. I’m a very visual thinker and just let my imagination’s eye carry me when writing.
John Peel: I thought it would be fun to write the story that takes place immediately before “The Night Of The Doctor”.
How did you settle on a choice of Doctor and/or companion for the protagonist?
CO: I’m 21 years old and for me, my favourite Doctor will always be the Tenth Doctor, with whom I grew up with from 2005 to 2010. As I realized that “The Storm Eaters” needed to be set before the events of “Smith and Jones”, I was restricted to using Rose Tyler as the companion. I was still delighted by this prospect, as Rose will always hold a place in my heart as my very first companion.
SR: The First Doctor is the only one who had that biting, arrogant personality. Tom Baker and the current Doctor have that a bit, but with them there is always a sense that it is tongue and cheek.
AD: I’m a big fan of Colin’s Sixth Doctor, especially in the superb Big Finish audios, and had been wanting to write something with the old blusterer for some time. And so with Six naturally came spunky American Peri, who in turn gave justification for the story’s Trans-Atlantic setting.
JP: It had been a while since I wrote an Eighth Doctor story, and I’d just run into Paul McGann at a convention.
Between the outline and first draft, did you add or remove any plot threads, characters, etc.? Any interesting reason why?
CO: Originally, the story included a former friend and rival scientist to Jeremy Deane, named George Stewart, who was conducting his own experiments. Rose would have instead been captured at Stewart’s house and made the discovery of the Hive’s plan from there. The exemplary editors of the anthology wisely pointed out to me that this was an unnecessary plot strand, and so I kept the action within Deane’s house and dispensed with the character of George Stewart.
SR: I wanted to use Susan more. She only gets a walk on bit of dialog. She was going to be the one who eventually helps Ian return to normal. But she had to get cut due to space limitations and for a tighter story.
AD: Not much, as I treat the first draft as the skeleton of the story, much like the outline. I feel it’s something you get out fast and not let yourself get bogged down in, as the beauty of rough drafts is you can make mistakes. It’s more in the second draft where I had to tighten up action scenes, patch up dialogue and really heighten tension in order to make the big robbery set piece feel like it had some weight.
JP: When you start to write them, characters grow. They sometimes change from what you had planned. I needed an alien, and I thought that so many aliens seem to be deadly serious (even the good ones), so I decided my alien would have a strong sense of humour. It made him much more fun to write.