RUTHERGLEN man Andrew Smith is counting down the days until the release of 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 written his second Doctor Who story, for audio production company Big Finish Productions, due for release in early October.
Andy, now working with the police in London, was commissioned to write for the spin-off Companion Chronicles range, centred around the assistants of the various Doctors.
Companion Chronicles are talking books, with one main story teller and a second actor providing another voice.
The 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’s synopsis reads: “Trapped within E-Space, the Doctor, Romana and Adric are searching for a Charged Vacuum Emboitment – the gateway back to our universe. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack...
“By pure chance, a brand new CVE rips into being. Its makers are The Farrian, a warlike race who possess the technology to break into E-Space. But they have come to invade and plunder this new territory, and the riches of the planet Ballustra are their first target…”
Andy told the Reformer: “I wrote the first draft, sent it off, and I didn’t hear back for a little while. I was getting really paranoid as I had no idea how it had gone down, but I was quite relieved when they got back to me and said they loved it.
“The first draft came in a little over-long, as it was around 12,500 words instead of 10,000, so I had to cut it down.
“In the end, all I had to do was lose another 500 words because it was running over, and apart from that, it was pretty easy. All I did was take out a bit where something happens to the TARDIS.”
Andy was present at the Moat Studios in London when the story was recorded on May 20, by Lalla Ward, and the story’s guest star Suanne Braun, who plays Marni Tellis.
He had been present when Full Circle was recorded at BBC TV Centre in 1980.
Andy said: “It was just like a day at the office, but it was nice to step back into that environment again, seeing and hearing your words being brought to life, and realising how different it can sound in your head to how the actors bring it to life.
“Lalla did a really good job, and I must admit I didn’t know Suanne Braun beforehand, but she’d been in (American TV series) Stargate, so it was nice to chat with her about that. She did a really good job as well, with a nice twist on it.
“We started about 10am, and finished between three and four in the afternoon, so it was quite a quick process for a play that’s an hour or so long.
“It was a fairly straight-forward recording, which they did in story order, rather than out of sequence.”
Andy also had a chance to get involved in the recording himself, with wildtracks needed by director Lisa Bowerman for background noise.
He said: “We all took part in the recording of the wildtracks, so I’m in there in the background hubbub.
“We recorded some people getting killed, and I’m one of them, and I also got to be a monster growling.
“It’s going to be fun to put on for the kids and tell them I was one of the monsters!”
Actress Lalla Ward, who reads the story in character as Romana, is now married to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, and appeared in Andy’s original TV story.
But Andy said: “We didn’t actually discuss it, to be honest, but we talked about a variety of things, accents being one.
“People have commented when I come back to Scotland my accent strengthens a little bit by the time I go back down south again.”
Andy added: “I’m really looking forward to hearing the finished version. I’ve listened to the trailer a few times, and the background sound is really good. I hope it goes down well.”
To hear the trailer for the story, visit www.bigfinish.com/504-Doctor-Who-The-Companion-Chronicles-The-Invasion-of-E-Space.
l Andy will be appearing at a Doctor Who conventions later this year. He will be at the Dimensions convention – November 12 to 14 – at the Holiday Inn, Great North Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, which includes ex-Doctors Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker.