I had always wanted to try my hand at scriptwriting. After the publication of Anne Droyd and Century Lodge in 2002, I approached Gareth Preston, who ran an amateur dramatics group called Fine Line. Over a ten year period, Gareth's little company of amateur and semi-professional actors had produced a series of Doctor Who audio plays and put them online for free download.
Of the adventures already produced, I enjoyed Present Infinite by Lawrence Ahlemeyer, Trick of the Light by Gareth Preston and Second Chance by Adrian Hudson. The last adventure of that 'season', Final Frame by Lawrence Ahlemeyer, saw the Doctor (Joe Binks) parted from his male companion, the mysterious Raman (prn Rah-man).
Gareth secured actress Amy Elizabeth to play female companion Jenny in a second season of adventures, which meant the next batch of stories would feel more like 'proper' Doctor Who.
Jenny is introduced in Walkabout by Adrian Hudson (a good jumping on point if you're new to these fan tributes). The second story is Madhouse by Zoltan Dery, and the third in line is The Chattath Factor by yours truly.
Concerned that my play would be weak compared to those that preceded it, I deliberately endeavoured to mimic the best of the classic TV series. I set it in the 19th century and indulged in my preoccupation with man's dual nature and the spirituality-versus-reason debate. So if my dialogue turned out to be awful, the play could at least fall back on the sounds of clip-clop horses' hooves, a posh clergyman and a nutcase scientist.
I completed the three 20-minute episodes in 2003, but it wasn't until 2006 that Gareth Preston assembled a cast and recorded it. Both he and I were thrilled when John Ainsworth agreed to play Dr Joseph Winston.
My only bugbear with the stories that preceded mine was that they were at times a little too light on background music. This was because the composers were producing the music free of charge in their own time and would supply Gareth with stock tracks (fast paced, slow paced, eerie, gentle, etc) for him to drop in. The trouble with this method was certain themes repeated a bit too much, and, on occasion, a scene that needed music to underscore an emotion was left bereft.
So, for my story, I asked if we could try Peter Dudley, who thought he might be able to write to the drama scene by scene and mimic the style of the classic series incidental scores.
It is the music that has held up the story's release for the last year, as Peter has had to take longer than usual to consider each scene.
Thankfully, Episode One is now available to download. I think it sounds terrific. Episode Two will follow in a month or so.
To hear Episode One, go here: www.westlakefilms.co.uk/fineline
A full write-up of the story's production is there to read too.
The above artwork was produced by Bill Hollweg. Doesn't it look stunning?