The Red Lines Page

May 3, 2009

Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre

This audio was first published by Big Finish Productions in November 2002. Production code: SJ05Sarah Jane Smith: Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre

These blog posts provide information about the commissioning, writing, and recording of my first audio play. They therefore contain a number of spoilers if you haven’t heard the play yet. In particular, you can get a big clue by looking at the revised cover in the interviews post; that cover, unlike the one on this page, features the villain!

Elsewhere, you can read my original proposal and my scenes breakdown before I wrote the final script.

As to how the audio came about… I was invited to visit Newcastle in November 2001, to be part of a BBC Books Writers panel discussion at the “Dimensions on Tyne” convention. While I was there, I met Elisabeth Sladen—who was a guest at the convention. I was very flattered when she told me that she knew about my previous Doctor Who writing, and that she would like me to consider submitting an idea for Big Finish Productions’ forthcoming Sarah Jane Smith audio series.

Well, how could I refuse? Sarah Jane is my favourite Doctor Who companion, and to be asked by the actress who starred in the role… So I took the opportunity to discuss the series with Big Finish Producer Gary Russell (who was also at the convention).

Shortly after the convention, Elisabeth Sladen sent me a copy of an interview she had recently given, in which she discussed how she thought Sarah Jane Smith would have changed over the years, what her attitudes would be today, the sort of person she might have become. (You can hear this interview for yourself by ordering MJTV’s audio CD The Actor Speaks Volume II.)

In December, Gary sent me the series outline for consideration. Based on this, I wrote a proposal for a 60-minute script, and sent it off over Christmas. By the end of January 2002, Big Finish and Elisabeth Sladen had decided which were the five scripts they wanted to do—and mine was chosen as the final of the five adventures. The others are written by Terrance Dicks, Barry Letts, David Bishop, and Rupert Laight.

The audio was recorded on 26 February 2002, and I was able to go to the studio session in London and meet the cast:

Sarah Jane Smith Elisabeth Sladen
Josh Jeremy James
Natalie Sadie Miller
Harris Robin Bowerman
Wendy Jennings Louise Falkner
Brandt Peter Miles
Taxi drivers Toby Longworth

Mark Donovan

Directed by Gary Russell
Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery

Gary Russell

Executive producer for BBC Jacqueline Rayner


  1. […] of all, I got to meet her in person again at the recording day for Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre  in February 2002. I arrived just in time to hear her perform the speech from the opening play […]

    Pingback by Elisabeth Sladen « The Red Lines Page — April 25, 2011 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

  2. […] studios for the recording of that first series of audios, on the day when the majority of my audio (Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre) was […]

    Pingback by BF tribute « The Red Lines Page — May 4, 2011 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

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