The Red Lines Page

July 31, 2011

Interview: Ferril’s Folly

Filed under: Audios,Ferril's Folly,writing — Peter A @ 7:25 pm

Dan Tostevin interviewed me for Doctor Who Magazine’s preview of my audio “Ferril’s Folly”. Now that’s been out for a while, here’s the original interview.

Q: Why has there been such a long delay between Ferril’s Folly being announced and actually released?

A: I forget when it was first mentioned in DWM, but I seem to recall that Big Finish originally approached me at end of 2007. They liked my proposal, which was set slap bang in the middle of the Key to Time season. Then they asked me to write the conclusion to their “Key 2 Time” trilogy [The Chaos Pool], plus I was already busy with my Torchwood novel “Pack Animals”. So I asked them which they wanted more, and they chose The Chaos Pool, and I ended up writing for the other Romana.

I think doing a Key to Time story so close to their sequel trilogy would have been a bit too similar anyway, and as a result they commissioned Nigel Robinson to do Mary Tamm’s first Romana Companion Chronicle, and set it between Seasons 16 and 17.

Q: Did the story change significantly in the years between the original commission and the final recording?

I’m one of those writers who will cheerfully reuse or cannibalise stuff rather than waste it. I suggested the story as part of something else Big Finish were doing, and I also pitched it as an idea when I was one of the authors BBC Audio was considering for the Hornet’s Nest Tom Baker audios (then rather splendidly codenamed “Felt Hat”, I seem to recall). That was reworked to foreground the Doctor, of course.

But BBC Audio went a different way on that, and the other thing with Big Finish didn’t happen. I asked them if they still wanted it as a Companion Chronicle, and they said “yes” in a tone that suggested they’d never doubted it. The only significant change over three years was that I removed a chase sequence where pylons stalked the Doctor across the landscape, because in the meantime Steve Cole had also thought of that and used it in his BBC Audio Ring of Steel.

Q: Anything you’re willing to say about the character of Lady Ferril herself?

I thought it would be good to have a strong female villain, like Vivien Fey from that era of the programme. And to more strongly differentiate her from Romana’s cut-glass English accent, I made her American. I’m not always convinced by some of the “American” accents we’ve heard on Doctor Who over the years, but Madeleine Potter is the genuine article in Ferril’s Folly. She’s brilliant.

July 4, 2011

Seventh heaven

Filed under: Audios,Blake's 7,Counterfeit — Peter A @ 7:38 pm

Big Finish have announced (or in some cases unexpectedly leaked) some Blake’s 7 news today. What I can confirm at the moment is that I’m writing one of the first set of new “enhanced audiobooks”, along with Simon Guerrier and Nigel Fairs.  The script editor is Justin Richards and the producer is David Richardson. David doesn’t have a blog or a website to which I can link, so here is a lovely interview photo of him instead.

I wasn’t expecting the authors to be announced yet, but it seems that if you dig deep enough on this page you can find out who we are.  My story is called “Counterfeit”.

As well as the audiobooks, there will be a series of new original novels published.  And the audio versions of the Trevor Hoyle novels The Way Back (read by Gareth Thomas) and Cygnus Alpha (read by Paul Darrow) are also available (originally released in 2009). No sign of “Project Avalon” or “Scorpio Attack”, alas.

I am of course delighted to be involved in the launch of this series of new stories. Along with Doctor Who, Blake’s 7 has been one of my abiding passions, going back to when my friends and I published a fanzine called “Frontier Worlds” that coincided with the first transmission of the show in 1978/9.  I even wrote a fan novelisation of the final TV episode “Blake” in the 1980s (post transmission, obviously), after my pals and I had the great good fortune to see that episode being recorded at BBC Television Centre.

Come to think of it, our fanzine even published some fiction by a young Blake’s 7 enthusiast called David Richardson. Whatever happened to him?

A note for pedants: the first three audios are set between “Project Avalon” and “Breakdown” in the first series. But as any fule kno, the first series was called “Series A” and not “Series 1”. So perhaps they will have the “production codes” A9.1, A9.2, and A9.3.

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