Mar 10 2010 by Kenny Smith, Rutherglen Reformer
RUTHERGLEN man Andrew Smith is to write his second Doctor Who story - 30 years after the first!
Andy, a former pupil of Stonelaw High School, wrote Full Circle in 1980, a story for fourth Doctor Tom Baker in his final year in the role.
And now, in 2010, he’s writing a second Doctor Who story, for audio production company Big Finish Productions.
Since 1999, Big Finish have been releasing monthly full cast audio adventures on CD, featuring Doctors from the classic TV series, starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann - as well as featuring David Tennant before he took on the role of the Doctor.
Andy, now working with the police in London, has been commissioned to write for the spin-off Companion Chronicles range, centred around the assistants of the various Doctors.
Unlike the monthly range, the Companion Chronicles essentially take the form of a talking book, with one main story teller, and a second actor provides another voice.
To be released in October, Invasion of E-Space will be performed by Lalla Ward, who played Romana alongside Tom Baker’s Doctor -and later married the actor. The story will feature the fourth Doctor, as well as Romana and fellow assistant Adric.
Producer David Richardson said: “I met Andrew at a convention in Glasgow last year.
“I was a fan of Full Circle, which was such a clever and inventive script, so I was delighted when he said he might be interesting in writing for Big Finish.
“It was an instant yes from me - and over the subsequent weeks we set about formulating ideas for a Companion Chronicle featuring the Fourth Doctor, Romana and Adric.”
Andy told the Reformer: “When they approached me to ask if I would be interested, I let it slip out of my mind until David got back in touch with me to ask if I would do a Companion Chronicle.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s brought a lot of memories flooding back, about the effort involved in writing.
“For example, you know where you want to go from, from point A to point C, but it’s a case of trying to sort out point B in between.
“I know where I wanted the characters to be towards the end, but I couldn’t carry on, and how they got to there, and it took me a day-and-a-half to work it out!”
Andy had previously worked on several further scripts for the BBC TV series in the 80s, writing The Torson Triumvirate for Peter Davison’s Doctor, and The First Sontarans for Colin Baker, but neither was developed for television
“It was nice to come back to professional writing again - it was fun because I was going to have a week off and do the bulk of the work then, but I remembered just how hard it was writing something like that -and it reminded me I’m not a morning person!
“I remember it’s not easy to write from nine to five, but once you are in the groove it’s difficult to stop because your brain is ticking over.
“I wanted the dialogue to sound naturalistic, as if it’s being spoken, not read off the page. You want it to sound like a normal conversation, not an unrealistic description of green and verdant hills, or whatever.
“I've done the first draft, and this is with (script editor) Jac Rayner now, while David at Big Finish is reading it. They will come back with notes and I'll do the next draft in the next two or three weeks. I've already for some suggestions for myself too!
“There's been contact with the BBC in Wales (where production of the TV series is based) who've looked over the story, and they've asked I take a couple of elements out, which is fine.
“The first draft came in a little over-long, as it’s around 12,500 words instead of 10,000, so I had to cut it down. It’s gone off at just over 10,000 words.
“I really have no idea how well it will go down, but I think it’s pretty good.”
Andy, a life-long Who fan, once made the show’s former head writer Russell T Davies jealous when he was commissioned to write Full Circle at the age of 18, with the ex-showrunner being around the same age at the time.
But he’s been a fan of Doctor Who on audio for years, having followed the Big Finish range when the show was off the air.
He said: “I’ve followed the monthly series fairly well, and I’d listened to one of the Companion Chronicles before, so I knew the format.
“I’ve been to the recording of another one, so I know how it all works, and I’m looking forward to getting back to the next draft.”
In Andy’s house, he’s not the only Doctor Who fan, as one of his daughters enjoys watching the show - especially with actress Lalla Ward as Romana, now married to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.
Andy added: “My seven-year-old daughter had seen Full Circle and liked it, and so we watched her in another story, The Armageddon Factor.
“She wanted to watch her in some more stories, so I put on two more, and by the end of it, she said she wanted to change her name to Romana!”
For more details on the audio adventures of Doctor Who, visit www.bigfinish.com.
l Andrew, and another former Rutherglen resident Hamish Wilson, will both be appearing at Doctor Who conventions later this year.
Andy will be at the Dimensions convention, which will be held at the Holiday Inn, Great North Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, include eighth Doctor Paul McGann, seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy, sixth Doctor Colin Baker.
The convention takes place from November 12 to 14.
Former West Coats Primary pupil Hamish Wilson will be appearing at the Invasion convention, at Barking Abbey Comprehensive School in Barking, London, on Saturday May 1.
Hamish temporarily took on the role of the Doctor’s companion James in 1968 story The Mind Robber.
Other guests include ex-Blue Peter star Peter Purves who assisted William Hartnell, Frazer Hines, who was the original James McCrimmon.