The Red Lines Page

January 17, 2014

Talking to Big Finish

Big Finish Day 4Big Finish kindly invited me to participate in their event this weekend, Saturday 18th January, at the Copthorne Hotel Slough-Windsor. Guests include Paul McGann, Tom Chadbon, Simon Fisher-Becker, Pamela Salem, Andrew Smith, Michael Troughton, Peter Wyngarde, Julian Glover… ooh, there are lots of others, so check out the information about the event via this link.

The range discussions are about Counter Measures, The Avengers, and Sherlock Holmes, with other main discussions about acting for audio, sound design, and a main interview with Paul McGann and his son Jake.

I will be around with some of the other Big Finish writers to sign things, and talk to anyone who wants to ask questions or have a chat. So if you’re attending, I’ll be glad to say hello — and discuss any of the audios, short stories, or novels I’ve written for Big Finish. I’m not sure what, if anything, we’ll be saying on the day about the new full-cast Blake’s 7 audios.

All this reminds me that a while ago I did an interview with Kenny Smith as a contribution to his book The Big Finish Companion Volume 2. That was published in time for last year’s Big Finish Day, so now seems like a nice time to publish my version of the interview here — and encourage you to buy the book. Kenny was asking me about my audio The Four Doctors.

What was your original brief for The Four Doctors?

Big Finish originally asked me about doing a Doctor Who version of A Christmas Carol. The CD was coming out as a festive special for subscribers, and that was therefore quite a good proposal.

They were also quite keen that I kept the Doctors apart, and do something less obviously like previous multi-Doctor stories.

The other part of the brief was about a limit to the number of guest characters, and the amount of air time that we could afford for each of the four Doctors.

I enjoy a challenging brief, and sometimes what appear to be constraints actually turn out to inspire good ideas as you try to solve them.

Did the story have any working titles?

I liked the title “Reverse Engineering”. Looking back, I must have been bonkers to want to call it anything other than The Four Doctors, because that’s unambiguously what it’s about! Plus, it’s what will best advertise the audio. Plus, no-one had used the title before. So, what was I thinking?

Until quite late on, it was in four separate episodes. In fact, it was originally edited as four episodes, with each Doctor taking more of a lead in each. They combined it into one continuous narrative pretty much at the last minute. The episode titles were “Analysis, “Disassembly”, “Decompilation”, and “Reverse Engineering”.

What’s your first reaction when you’re given more than one Doctor to write about – delight, then horror?!

Definitely delight. I’d written an audio for Peter Davison (Key 2 Time 2: The Chaos Pool), but not for any of the other three Doctors. I’d done three novels for the Eighth Doctor, and short fiction featuring the Seventh. But this was my first chance to write anything for the Sixth.

How difficult was it to come up with a new spin on an old idea, by having a story with more than one Doctor, and also have to add in the Daleks?

Part of the brief was to keep them apart, for two reasons. One reason was the availability of the principal actors – you can record stuff separately and combine them later, but that’s a post-production complexity you may prefer to avoid. Another more important reason was to avoid retreading some of the sorts of “dandy/ clown/ fancypants/ scarecrow” dialogue. That’s quite amusing stuff, but it’s much more interesting to explore other things.The Four Doctors

My take on that was: don’t treat them as four separate people (who are really the same person) who interact with each other. Instead, treat them as the same person who interacts with another man, who has to work out that these four people are the same person. And then the fun for the audience is: we already know these four characters as the same person, and we can listen to the newcomer as he works that out.

In my script, the four Doctors work together over an extended period of time (from their perspective) because they are the same person, not because they happen to be in the same place at the same time. I had a variety of excuses about why the Doctor couldn’t meet himself in the story, with the crux being that distanced Fifth/Eighth conversation.

Having the Daleks is great. You can have lots of additional speaking parts for no extra cost, because the director is doing all the voices! I wanted the Daleks at the battle of Bajorika to have “old” voices, and my script suggested something closer to the voices from “Day of the Daleks”, albeit this ran the risk of giving Nick Briggs (a bit of a Dalek expert and purist) having an embolism.

Did you have any abortive ideas before settling on the final one?

After the Christmas Carol suggestion, I’d pondered doing something with the Doctor as Past, Present, and Future. And then I wondered about having the Doctor witness (but not interact with) the actions of his own past, present, and future – having a third party make the Doctor (as “Scrooge”) learning the error of his ways by witnessing his own actions. I also thought that was a bit Trial of a Time Lord.

But all that seemed a rather better fit for three rather than four Doctors. And so I chose the much better idea of having someone else travel through the Doctor’s time line… but in the reverse order to the way that he experienced it, because it’s a story about a Time Lord after all.

All of which turned out to be just as well because, subsequently, we learned that Steven Moffat’s first Christmas special for Matt Smith was inspired by A Christmas Carol. If we’d gone anywhere near that, the BBC would (quite understandably) have rejected the proposal.

I had a number of other ideas, especially for elements of the third section. But I’m going to keep those to myself, in case I can find a use for them in some other audio or novel!

How much fun did you have writing for each incarnation, and was it difficult to write the distinctive nuances for each incarnation?

I had the best time ever. Though it wasn’t straightforward.

I’d written for the Eighth Doctor before in three novels, and even provided a script for an audio story (Earth & Beyond: Bounty) that was Paul McGann’s first new performance as the Doctor after the TV Movie. So I thought I’d find his character would be easier to write for than he was.

Earth & BeyondThe novelists were able augment the TV Movie character through the BBC Books – at that stage, there was only that one story to go on. We had to think our way into how the character would have developed, without losing what made him recognisable from the TV Movie. And while the TV series was off the air, we could “steer” him a little ourselves. One of my favourite, albeit trivial, editorial notes when I wrote the novel Kursaal was from a copy editor asking whether the BBC was prepared to “commit to the idea” that the Doctor lost a tooth in the previous story and that it was slowly growing back.

Over a decade later, by the time I was writing The Four Doctors, the authentic voice of the Eighth Doctor was unambiguously the Big Finish version – honed through all of those other audios they’d done for him, plus Paul McGann’s performance of course.

As it was my first chance to write for Colin Baker, I think he was the most fun to do in The Four Doctors. Colin is a lovely chap – I’ve met him at a couple of conventions as a guest. He’s finally been done justice by the Big Finish audios, so I was especially pleased to be the latest contributor to that.

Fan geek question time. The Dalek Prime appeared in the John Peel novelisations and novels – is that the Black Dalek’s official designation in your mind?

I should hand in my Geek Card, I’m afraid. I had forgotten that Dalek Prime was in John’s books. I’d read them, of course, so perhaps it stuck in my mind. I’d intended it as a new designation, because the story is about the developmental stages of both the Daleks and the Jariden – and I’d incorporated the Special Weapons Dalek as an example of how the classic series had already done that. I couldn’t use something like the Supreme Dalek from the post-2005 series, because Big Finish doesn’t have a license for stuff from the post-2005 TV show. We even had a slightly surreal debate about whether we were allowed to have a Dalek saying “Elevate!” as it went up the stairs after the Doctor and Faraday, because that phrase was first used in Rob Shearman’s new series Dalek story.

And I admit that when Victory of the Daleks was broadcast, and featured the new Dalek Paradigm, I was a bit nervous that my story would be seen as too close to some of the elements of that.

Which one was the Black Dalek again? No here, look, I’ve torn my Geek Card in two. Take it.

The scene at the end is a nice touch – just when I thought we weren’t going to get them meeting up. Was this always planned, or did you ever consider not doing it, just to be different?

Vortex 57Thank you very much. I agree, it’s a nice touch, but it’s also a scene that I didn’t write. Either Nick Briggs or Alan Barnes inserted that  because they decided they wanted to have a “meet and greet” with the four Doctors after all. My version had some “across-the-timelines” parallel dialogue instead. I especially like the gag about the TARDIS decor, so perhaps I should pretend I wrote it after all. Yeah, I planned it all along! 

[Subsequently, Big Finish revealed in issue 57 of BF magazine “Vortex” that it was Nick. I think they lost confidence at the eleventh hour in their original idea that the Doctors should never meet.]

Any thoughts on the final play itself?

It sounds a bit immodest when you say how much you like stuff you’ve written. With an audio, the script is just the starting point – the foundations of the production. No matter how good an actor’s performance is, or how fine the music and sound effects, or how well it’s edited together by the director, a bad script will sink an audio. Yet without all those additional things, even a great script just remains text on a page – so I was really pleased with the end result.

I was a bit sorry that the final version wasn’t in four 15-minute episodes, as we’d originally planned. I’d quite like to have had the different theme tunes crashing in. And as a subscriber-only audio with short episodes it wouldn’t have needed cliffhanger reprises – instead, I had some cunning “Part One” reprises in “Part Four”. Nevertheless, you get well over an hour of adventure. Even those short episodes would have been about twenty minutes long, which is longer than some episodes of The Mind Robber.

There were sundry other changes that Big Finish made for the final version. For example, the Jariden were renamed – I’d called them the Jai-Gerbar, which I thought was a bit more unusual without being too hard to say. And Ulrik was originally called Vaterlaus, a name I thought would sound brutally good when the Daleks were shouting at him. But the Big Finish team are smart folk who know what will and won’t work on audio, so I am entirely phlegmatic about the changes, which were all in the service of a better audio play.

And that’s the nature of a collaborative project like this. For example, in the third section it was originally a Dalek that escorted Ulrik to his cell, and who was subsequently overpowered by him and escorted to the roof to meet the Doctor. Script editor Alan Barnes didn’t like that, because he thought it implausible that Daleks would set up a base where they had to go up-and-down stairs and open cellar doors. He thought I should set those scenes in a Dalek ship near the battle of Bajorika. I said I preferred the different “soundscape” of a mansion, and liked the literal encroachment of the Daleks onto Jariden property. Plus it meant I could place the Doctor up on the mansion roof observing the battle, which would be less plausible if he was sitting atop a Dalek saucer. So Alan said “why not change the Dalek into a Roboman escort”, and then developed that into “why not say the Roboman is Ulrik’s grandfather” (whose mansion I had already decided it was, and whose relationship I’d already established in “Part One”).

That was great, because then I could make the Roboman part of the Jariden’s reverse engineering of the Special Weapons Dalek technology – so that back on the Vault of Stellar Curios in “Part Four”, Ulrik realises that what he was pursuing back in “Part One” is actually the grandfather he was also disparaging in “Part One” but who he set free from the Daleks in “Part Three”. Plus, in “Part Four” after the Roboman says “Awaiting Orders, Colonel Ulrik”, there’s a very straightforward line of dialogue that David Bamber delivers beautifully as he sets the creature on his enemies: “Kill the Daleks, Grandfather. Kill them all.” And that all started from a discussion about whether Daleks could plausibly unbolt a cellar door.

When it comes down to it, how many people get a chance to write a Big Finish audio, let alone one with the Daleks in it, let alone one with four Doctors? It was a wonderful experience, and I’m very proud of the final version.

January 20, 2011

Built-in obsolescence

Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Mirror Signal Manoeuvre,writing — Peter A @ 12:16 am

This is another drabble that I wrote about twenty years ago and recently rediscovered. Now that I look at it, I note that it’s early evidence of how I would subsequently treat K-9 in my short story “Moving On” in the Doctor Who short story collection Decalog 3: Consequences.

It started as an in-joke about my then-job as a technical author, and by the time you know it I’m dismantling a robot dog in my Big Finish audio play Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre. See what you think.

Built-in obsolescence

Five months later, the novelty had worn off. A journalist knows the currency of a recent story, and the transience of human interest.

She should have guessed when the gears first started to crunch and the print-out was exhausted. Now, crouched by the side of the machine, so was she.

Brendan honked. “Again?”

She withered him with a glance. “The problem with self-diagnostics is what to do when they go wrong.”

“Sounds recursive.” Brendan munched, disinterested. “First year Psychology. Logic.” Crumbs bounced.

She slapped the side of the computer, piqued. “So typical of the Doctor to forget the instruction book.”

At the 1997 BBC Books launch party for their new Doctor Who range of novels, one of the other authors cornered me. I can’t remember who it was (I was new, it was dark, there was wine). It may have been Jim Mortimore or Lawrence Miles. Anyway, whoever it was said “Did you write that K-9 story?” I confessed that I did. “Well, you must write a novel,” he insisted. I thanked my mystery admirer for his enthusiasm, and promised I’d see what I could do. As I’d already been commissioned to write Kursaal at that stage, I felt confident enough this wasn’t too optimistic a thing to say at the time.

January 10, 2010

Thanks PLR

David Bishop’s splendid blog prompted me to check my Public Lending Rights (PLR) account. (David’s blog is itself worth checking, too.)

Authors registered with PLR can get an estimate of how popular their books were in British libraries over the year. To compensate for lost sales, PLR pays about sixpence for each time a book was borrowed.

As the PLR Newsletter reveals, more than 37,000 authors have registered, and 62% of us will get some form of payment this year. To ensure  that people like J K Rowling don’t scoop the entire pot, there’s a maximum payment of £6,600, paid out this year to 250 authors (well below 1% of all registered authors).

In order of popularity, my most read titles were:

1. Torchwood: Another Life

2. Torchwood: Pack Animals

3. Doctor Who: The Ancestor Cell

4. Doctor Who: Kursaal

5. Doctor Who: Frontier Worlds

My Torchwood books are more recent, and so it’s no surprise that they were borrowed much more than my older and out-of-print Doctor Who titles. I have to share my loot with Steve Cole for “The Ancestor Cell”; people still seem to be reading and, indeed, reviewing it. Steve himself lives in a world where dinosaurs fly spaceships and cows use a time machine. Try not to judge him too harshly.

Meanwhile, hurrah for the PLR. And thank you to the thousands of people who have borrowed my books from UK libraries.

April 18, 2009


Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 8:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

My first novel was published in January 1998 by BBC Worldwide (ISBN: 0-563-40578-3).Kursaal

When I heard that the BBC were planning to relaunch the original Doctor Who novels, I submitted an unsolicited proposal. The editor liked it enough to commission it, but requested that I incorporate the Doctor’s new travelling companion, Samantha Jones.

I wrote my original proposal for an 85,000-word novel in August 1996. It doesn’t feature Sam Jones at all – I had to incorporate her subsequently. You can work out for yourself how I managed this.

Compare the proposal to the scene-by-scene breakdown that I used when writing the novel. It’s a combination of physical, scenic and plot detail, with sections of dialogue and gags, plus suggestions for chapter endings. I used it as a guideline when writing, and developed ideas which are not in the outline as I did the writing and rewriting.

You can work out how the outline changed during the writing of the final book. For example, I hacked several thousand words off the opening chapter to kick-start the novel, and introduced a variety of subsidiary characters to make some of the transitions more interesting.

An example of how the book may have changed more substantially is in the revisions blog entry.

In-joke: I chose “Kursaal” as a title from a list of words meaning “place of leisure”. I subsequently discovered that it is also the name of several casinos in Europe, as well as a pier attraction in Southend-on Sea; the “Kursaal Flyer” is a train that runs to the Southend Kursaal, and this is where the one-hit wonder band got their name; so, naturally, I name-check them in the novel.

You can read a excerpt from novel, and also see my ideas for the Jax symbol And there’s a more detailed history of writing Kursaal that explains how the book was commissioned, written, and published.

The book was the seventh of the BBC’s Eighth Doctor novels, and there were lots of reviews, which I have summarised. There’s also a short interview from Doctor Who Magazine.

You can still buy the novel via the various worldwide Amazon sites, including the UK and the US.

Kursaal: Interview

Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 7:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

KursaalI answered a few questions for Doctor Who Magazine for the “Talking Books” item that accompanied their review of Kursaal. They wrote this up into a short article, illustrated with a photograph of my 1970s comedy hero Basil Brush. Some people subsequently suggested that this was the standard of special effect that the BBC would have achieved had they ever created the Jax for a TV version of Kursaal.

Talking Books

The author of Kursaal on putting together that difficult first novel…

“A number of my friends had written books already—Andy Lane, Gary Russell, Justin Richards, Craig Hinton—and at one point Craig, Justin and I had adjacent desks at the computer company where we all worked. Some of these authors were flatteringly kind enough to ask me to read their early drafts and make rude comments.

“So as well as my thoughts on published Doctor Who books I’d read and critiqued, I also had some insight into the writing process. When Andy and Justin subsequently asked me to submit proposals for short fiction in their Virgin [Publishing] Decalog books, I came up with several ideas, including a handful which would be more suited to novels.

“Justin and I wrote a Doctor Who story outline called ‘Vrolak Wakes’ in about 1989. Although the story is now quite different, the seeds of Kursaal are in that outline.

“If I’m honest, there are a couple of other reasons for writing Kursaal. Being paid for my hobby is a good one. Another is the chance to use all my favourite dreadful old jokes, some mine, some by other people. BBC editor Steve Cole made me take out the worst examples, including one he recognized from a 1975 Basil Brush Show!”

Kursaal: Reviews

Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 6:51 pm
Tags: , , ,

KursaalI found a variety of reviews when my first novel was published. Here are the contemporary ones I spotted in newsstand magazines, online book stores, and other internet review sites.

Newsstand reviews

Doctor Who magazine

“Sombre shading makes Kursaal more than just a mindless runaround,” said the headline of Doctor Who Magazine’s assessment. Reviewer Dave Owen was reminded of some elements from Virgin Publishing’s Bernice Summerfield books (female archaeologist excavates alien culture for industralist), as well as TV’s Earthshock (vital signs vanish from remote displays, an underground bomb). He also noted that it was interesting and more upbeat than my previous fiction.

And although he commented that “the mind behind [the novel] is more a skilled assembly-editor than a driven visionary”, Dave also
said “I would certainly trust Peter Anghelides to create a new series of Doctor Who on television.” He summarised the book thus: “perfectly paced, balanced between action and insight, and thus well-composed to appeal to what Doctor Who readers like.”

In the annual Doctor Who Magazine poll for eighth Doctor novels, Kursaal came sixth out of 11, with an average rating of 69.2%.


“A fast-paced Doctor Who tale, with all the requisite twists and turns,” wrote Paul Simpson in DreamWatch, rating it 9/10. This reviewer had not enjoyed my previous short fiction: “However, here he has come up trumps.” He said that the book featured strong supporting characters, and liked the way some scenes were portrayed from more than one point of view.

“Humour is not neglected,” Paul noted, “although there are some incredibly bad (and old) jokes.” For him, “it is in the use of the werewolf legends […] that Peter scores highest.” He concluded his review: “One of the most enjoyable books in the range to date.” Indeed, in his DreamWatch review of my subsequent novel Frontier Worlds the following year, Paul would comment that Kursaal was “still one of the best recreations of Doctor Who in print form.”


John Binns in TVZone was less impressed, giving the book 6/10. “As subtle as a brick, and just as sophisticated,” he concluded. “a simple story with running around and monsters.” Apart from the Doctor and Sam (“some nice dialogue between them”) he thought that Kadijk was the only memorable character, with the rest “ciphers or clichés” who apparently had silly names (HALF), barely disguised names (Cocaine, Sergeant Saturday) or rude ones (Huan Qua).

Nevertheless, John noted a “creditable attempt” to make Sam interesting. And he liked the “familiarity” and “nostalgia” of a traditional tale, with the twist of the unexpected two-part story. This he felt helped make it “very fast-paced” and “pretty competently written”.


“A damn good, old-fashioned Who story,” said Starburst’s Simon Lydiard, rating it B. He summarised it thus: “Great fun, told with
a wicked sense of humour, a plot as fast as a silver bullet, and a climax to match.


When the book was published, I was still a member of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, so I also saw their review of the book. “Kursaal might be my choice of story to become the second Eighth Doctor film,” wrote Mark Fuentes in the society’s monthly newsletter. “The story has action, debate, spectacular scenery, and excellent characters […] Anghelides can inject craziness and pathos into his situations and characters with equal skill.”

Mark said that the word “Kursaal” can be translated as “‘playroom’, with its slightly sinister overtones […] reminding the reader of
the thoughtlessness and cruelty of childhood.” He also thought that “Anghelides uses [Sam’s] full potential in this story.”

Online bookstores

“No surprises,” said “christopher30” from Maryland on, “but one cool things gets three stars [out of five].” The cool thing was the way that Sam and the Doctor “left the planet without resolving the problem. Now that was different.” He thought I was trying to outdo Jon Blum and Kate Orman by doing werewolves to their vampires (in Vampire Science). But he thought the story was “terribly predictable” and “slow-moving”. (Subsequently, “christopher30” became Chris Dudley, one of’s regular

Pamala Ritchie from Houston, Texas “liked portions of this book better than others,” noting in particular some of Sam’s conversations with the Doctor; the Doctor’s flight through a wall of water and his escape from the hospital into a parade; the creepy wolves. Parts of this book are funny, parts are sad and parts are predictable,” she said, but “don’t get too attached to any of the characters in this book—it isn’t a happy ending for most of them.” Pamala rated the book 3/5.

“Loved Sam, not the gore!” said Avraham Mattes of Chicago, Illinois, scoring the book 4/5. He “enjoyed the idea, but Doctor Who is not a horror movie.” On the other hand, “I love how Mr Anghelides wrote Sam. Bravo! I’m glad you took a risk in this story and I enjoyed it.”

Jason Jones from Macon, GA thought it was an “original take on a classic concept […] Anghelides somehow makes the whole idea of ‘wolfmen’ seem fresh.” Jason rated the book 3/5, and especially liked the way the Doctor and Sam “got the heck out of there as soon as they could and returned to the planet 15 years later when they thought the heat was off.” He thought the Doctor and Sam were “clumsy and undeveloped”, but concluded: “overall this was a good read.”

“Not the best novel ever written,” said A readerfrom Camarillo, CA, rating it 1/5. “I liked the book in some ways,” this reviewer said. “Anghelides has a very creative imagination in the gizmos he invents.” But this reader was less impressed with the fact that the book was written in England “so some of the words and phrases are hard to understand”, and those that were understandable were “long and boring situations.” There was evident disappointment that this was one book in a whole series. The review concluded: “Words are hard to understand if you are not English or if you don’t know what they mean,” which I concede is difficult to dispute.

Fortunately, Merlin Melchizedek from San Diego, CA thinks Kursaal is “one of the better eighth Doctor and Sam books; very fun reading.” He rated the book 4/5. He didn’t think it a classic, but thought “the relationship between the Doctor and Sam is well-explored […] you’ll fly through this one with a smile.”

Thomas O’Sullivan judged the book “a let down” and rated it 2/5. He thought the early BBC Doctor Who novels “really fail to
capture the imagination or the attention of the reader”, and suggested Kursaal was a principal offender for over-familiar elements from the TV series. He found the logic of the Jax infection confusing, disliked the number of deaths, and thought there were “no surprises here”. In short, despite a few moments of interest, the book was “Dull […] Kursaal is a true blue Doctor Who adventure in the classical sense… limited in scope and limited in budget.” On the other hand, he still suggest it was worth buying: “these early adventures
are becoming harder and harder to find, I do recommend picking it up if only for the collectors value.”

On, an unnamed reviewer from London wrote that the story “had some interesting and original ideas which unfortunately were not put across in an interesting or original way. A werewolf-type tale could have been made really great and the potential is there but the story is just too dull and rambling for too long, and nothing really stands out, not the characters, not the planet, not the action, what little there is.” This reviewer liked the concept of the Jax virus, but wanted more explanation and background. For this reviewer, the book was an odd combination of “thrilling and entertaining” and “dull and tedious”. Rating: 3/5.
Conclusion: “Still worth a read.”

Maxwell Andrews from Kent disagreed: “An excellent Doctor Who book following a slow-moving start.” Maxwell also noted the two-part structure thus: “first part was laying the foundations for the second part of the book. The first part was mainly characterization, while the second was a roller coaster ride.” He didn’t like the way that the characters he liked died violently, nor the high body count. He wanted more depth to the Doctor’s characterisation, but “Sam was perfectly portrayed.” Rating: 4/5.


Jeremy Harrison rated the book 7/10 on alphabetstreet (site now defunct). He thought it was a bit of a let-down after the preceding book, (Lawrence Miles’s Alien Bodies). “It really isn’t that bad […] Kursaal is a competent novel which is mostly enjoyable to read, but doesn’t soar to any great heights.” The book succeeded in the “Hinchcliffe horror style of the early Tom Baker years”, though wasn’t an original concept. He thought there were only a few good characters, and that a lot of the jokes throughout the book weren’t particularly funny.

On the same site, Niall Crotty scored the book 6/10. “A well-written and competently structured book […] quite laid back, events happen but there’s no real excitement throughout most of them. Not every entry in a series can be noteworthy or excellent […] Kursaal serves it’s purpose.”

Mark Phippen rated it 8/10. “A very visual tale, and one that you could imagine being made into a movie.” he noted the split, saying that it recalled the William Hartnell-era story “The Ark”.

Paul Holgate gave it full marks. “An excellent Doctor Who novel which like many of the best Doctor Who stories is firmly rooted in Gothic horror […] The story pulls out all the stops and, in the grand tradition of the best Doctor Who, features claustrophobic environments, malevolent alien menaces and authority figures who won’t trust the Doctor.” He concludes: “This is one of the best novels in the 8th Doctor range, and if a series had ever been produced using scripts of this quality, McGann would have been a surefire hit.”


Ratings Guide

On the Ratings Guide site, Michael Hickerson thought the book started well, but went downhill after the Doctor and Sam get involved in “the standard Who elements […] The novels are supposed to be adventures that take the usual Who conventions and take them to the next level. Kursaal never does that.” He liked some of the characterisations, but thinks that “the biggest failing of the novel is the complete lack of characterization in the eighth Doctor.”

Tom Wilton, meanwhile, was relieved to find werewolves in the Doctor Who books rather than more vampires. However he thought it “inevitable” that the book following Alien Bodies would be a let-down: “Kursaal is still an enjoyable adventure, not a glorious achievement, but not a failure by any measure.” It was a book that fell between the “child” audience of The Eight Doctors and the “adult” audience of Alien Bodies.

For Tom, two things stood out in Kursaal. The first was Sam’s characterisation (both her actions in the novel and the backstory it introduces). The second was the way the novel came in two parts (he also recalls Hartnell story “The Ark”), believing it an underused device: “It allows us to see the consequences of the Doctor’s actions, something the authors sometimes forget.” The thing that annoyed him was the use of quotations as chapter titles: “I often get to the end of a chapter and realise that the quote used has drifted by and then feel duty bound to search back through the chapter I’ve just read to find the quote. Not the best example of time management.”

Elsewhere on the same site, Mike Morris puzzlingly describes Kursaal as “The Book Where POV Changed In Mid-Paragraph”. I wonder where this was, and how it slipped through my scenes summary?

And in the Top Ten section of the site, Joe Ford lists Kursaal joint ninth (with Trevor Baxendale’s The Janus Conjunction) in his Top Ten Eighth Doctor Novels: “Anghelides and Baxendale know their Doctor Who and don’t let their stories get cluttered by continuity or complexity. Both are pleasantly simple, feature a strong role for both the Doctor and Sam and both have a satisfying conclusion. They aren’t absolute masterpieces but in the end they are both enjoyable, fun reads.”

Happy Guy

On his review page Happy Guy, Sean Gaffney revealed that Kursaal was the first BBC Eighth Doctor novel he read, and he rated it 8/10. “It’s rather surprising that Who hasn’t done a werewolf story yet, and this one just clips along. The whole pace of the book reminded me of the TV Movie—rather quick and more action-oriented than the NAs […] the book was really well-written.” He liked the Doctor, and thought it cool that the Doctor could be “refreshingly stupid […] just occasionally flat-out unthinking.

He surprised himself by liking Sam too: “refreshingly normal. She acted like a teenager, which was nice. I’ll admit that I didn’t really buy into her ‘evil’ persona, but I did like the idea of the Jax preying on her buried feelings for the Doctor”. Sean thought the subsidiary characters (Gray, Amy, Cockaigne, and especially Kadijk) were done very well, but noted that a lot of the others were there just to die. His summary: “Not a groundbreakingly original novel […] just very good […] Excellent intro to the 8th Doctor and Sam.”


Robert Smith’s review on GallifreyOne sums Kursaal up as “boring, forgettable and somewhat tedious […] a book whose only overriding description is ‘mediocrity’, and a let-down after the previous month’s Alien Bodies. The novel is “trying to rise above its own material […] it seems very forced [and] is trying oh-so-hard to be a Hinchcliffe horror novel that it isn’t funny.” Speaking of not funny, he also found painful the “string of completely unfunny and forced jokes that Anghelides insisted characters repeat […] I don’t think I spotted a single one I hadn’t heard before”, a situation which he described as “rather tragic”.

There were some things that Robert liked: “The Doctor and Sam work well enough” (except for the contradictory backstory); the Doctor and Sam change of time zones; Kadijk’s refusal to take the Doctor at face value; the true nature of the Jax ; “the dual natured plot (even if a great deal of the first half did go nowhere)”; and “the fact that I only spotted two typesetting errors”.

But for the most part it was obviously a great disappointment: “most of the characters are plot functions […] the all-action finale would probably look great on a big budget, but is a tad boring on the page […] the chapter titles are a bit unfortunate…”

Finn Clark announced on GallifreyOne reviews that “I’ve decided that Peter Anghelides is an underrated writer”. Coming to Kursaal a little later than most reviewers, he discovered: “It’s well written. The prose and characterisation have some texture to them, while the Eighth Doctor and Sam are well crafted and likeable. I was particularly impressed with their relationship, which is about a million times better than anything else in the 8Das [Eighth Doctor Adventures] around then. All things considered, the 8DAs would have been better off had Kursaal been the defining Sam Jones book. […]He’s not afraid to portray her as admirable but neither knowing it all nor being an airbrushed poster child for teenage activism.”

Indeed, Finn thought all the characterisations were stronger than the plot (a “formulaic monster movie”). Other things that he disliked were the physical appearance of the monsters (though he thought the explanation “ingenious”) and the “strange running non-gag of lame expletives”.

“At the end of the day, it’s terminally unambitious,” he concluded, “I blame the commissioning editor.” Which, I must myself observe here, is rather unfair—not least because Finn thought “this was the start of the Steve Cole era”. It was not: the first book that Steve commissioned was the predecessor to this novel, Alien Bodies. So Finn ought to have blamed me when he asserted that the novel “does everything humanly possible to squash down its author’s talent into mediocrity.” Perhaps I’m not so underrated after all then, alas.

Gary Rothkopf “had heard that Peter Anghelides was a very humorous person, who also wrote a good short story”. Unfortunately, he was disappointed with Kursaal, as he only gave it 5 out of 10. Indeed, it was so “blasé” that he wished he’d saved his money and bought Alien Bodies instead (did I mention that Steve Cole commissioned that?). The saving grace for Garyseemed to be that my grammar was good, which is always good for any writer to hear.

Things picked up for him in the second half, “coming close to actually being somewhat enjoyable”. He concluded: “Kursaal wasn’t a bad book. Anghelides should’ve used his excellent wit in writing this, and spare us from a totally unriveting, forgettable yawn.” Darn, I  knew I’d missed something.

Unit News

Martin Russell Hoscik is more positive on the Unit News site (now defunct). “Kursaal is a well written and competently structured book. The story is of the old Doctor Who standby “a terrible secret needs to be uncovered” ilk but is none the worse for it.” he thinks the
Doctor and Sam and well-portrayed, though the supporting cast disappointed him, being “the bland big company agents that feature in the likes of ‘Colony In Space’ etc.”

Ultimate Eighth

Oliver Thornton had a different comparison in mind on the Ultimate Eighth site. (defunct since 2006) “This novel was a simple and inferior copy of the plot of Vampire Science,” he wrote. “The storyline is formulaic and is reminiscent of the worst elements of the UNIT days. None of the supporting characters are properly fleshed out, and the companion, Sam, has been relegated to the status of pawn for the manipulation of the Doctor’s actions and the implementation of the baddies’ plans.” The Doctor’s character, he goes on to say, is inconsistent, and the
book is a real let-down after the previous BBC novels.


“Finxy” disagreed in a review on this personal site (defunct since 2004). “I’m still waiting for a truly outstanding Eighth Doctor tale in this range and Kursaal isn’t it, but it’s better than much of the competition to date.” “Finxy” thought the book was a “fairly enjoyable romp that somehow manages to maintain a dark and dangerous mood alongside the usual frivolous antics of this Doctor.” The characterisation of Kadijk and Sam was enjoyable, and the Jax put “a new slant on the old werewolf legend”.

Michael Lee

Michael Lee rated Kursaal 9/10 in a review on his own site (subsequently replaced with a blog). He also pointed out that it had two firsts. One was that it was “the first 8th Doctor book [without] a returning character or alien from the Original Series […] reassuring to see this Doctor and companion stand in a story where there aren’t all of the elements from the past being used to support the story.” Another was that it was the first BBC Eighth Doctor book with a price in US dollars: “I’m sure there will be quite a few Americans who will pick this up as their first BBC Book. Fortunately, this is an ideal book for the job.”

He added: “Both the Eighth Doctor and Sam have never been portrayed better in print, and the story is classic Doctor Who story.” He liked the supporting characters, particularly Kadijk. “Definitely a good place to start with the BBC Books.”

Terminus reviews

“An impressive, if somewhat flawed, debut,” said Andrew Vogel on the Terminus Reviews site (defunct since 2005). For Andrew, the flaws included: the Doctor’s inability to see what was happening sooner; “the whole werewolf aspect of the novel just makes me cringe”; Sam’s inability to remember what happened at the end of the novel.

Andrew emphasised this last flaw because he really liked Sam’s possession. Other things that impressed him were the characters. He liked the strong and interesting characters, especially the “very memorable” Amy and Gray; “Kadijk was a real treat, too”. And “the regulars are put across very well”, with Sam’s background fleshed out and interesting (“seeks to show Sam as a real teenage girl [and she] manages to come off a fair sight more believably than she has been so far”). He concluded by expressing the hope that a sequel would be written.


Not everyone agreed. At his own review site (now defunct), “Koschei” said that the novel had done nothing to convince him that the BBC Books were going to be as good as their Virgin predecessors: “nothing in Kursaal caught me in any way”. He disliked the characters (“they have none”); the Doctor “only seems to stand out as the Eighth when he’s overexaggerating some tiny mannerism we’ve seen before”; the companion Sam “was every bit as flat as I’d expected”; the subsidiary characters were all “stereotypical”, as were the Jax. His conclusion: “There aren’t glaring plot holes, poor prose, or cardboard settings, but it all leaves me asking ‘So what?’” Which, coincidentally, was my reaction to Koschei’s review.

Roger’s Online Dr Who Site

“Wow!” said the eponymous owner of Roger’s Online Dr Who Site (now defunct), “This is brilliant. I sat and read it in one go—it is truly un-put-downable”. He thought the characterisations of the Doctor and Sam were “excellent” and the other characters “well drawn out”. As for the Jax: “They are genuinely scary. A great story.”

Paradise Towers

“Without a doubt, it’s a winner,” said Donald Craggs at the Paradise Towers site (now defunct), rating 8.5/10. “As frequently happened in the Virgin range, a first-timer provides the range with a much needed jolt.” He liked the characterisation of the Doctor and, particularly, Sam: “This is easily her best novel to date […] Anghelides writes for a 17 year old girl as though he has actually met one, unlike some of the authors who have written for her.” He could easily imagine Paul McGann in the saying the dialogue.

Donald did feel that the other characters were somewhat stereotypical. Nevertheless, “the novel is intensely atmospheric, and it invites [favourable] comparisons with Blade Runner, and 1984” The novel also reminded Donald of “The Ark” and Jurassic Park. “The pace of the novel is fast […] tightly written and maintains a brisk pace all the way through. A definite thumbs up.”

Kursaal: Jax symbol

Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 6:02 pm
Tags: , , ,

KursaalI hoped to have a frontispiece in the published novel featuring the Jax symbol (below). However, BBC Books thought this was too expensive, and I agreed it wasn’t essential. I had thought this was a tremendously original idea, a sort of harking back to the helpful (if poorly drawn) illustrations in the original Target novelisations. Subsequently I discovered that Martin Day and Keith Topping had asked for line art in Devil Goblins from Neptune, and Jim Mortimore had requested it for Eye of Heaven, and they were turned down too. Imagine how I’d have sulked if they’d got it but I hadn’t.

Here it is anyway, meticulously hand-crafted by me in about ninety seconds in Lotus Freelance. (Is there no start to my talents?)
Jax symbol

From the novel:

Cockaigne hefted it in his palm in the light of his torch, the sash hanging down between his fingers. On the face of the medallion he counted thirteen bright stones in a crescent shape, which bounced the light back like reflectors. They seemed to wink at him. He thought of how Amy winked at him when she was teasing him about something, telegraphing the obvious.

“Look, Claire,” he said, pushing his hand towards her. “This talisman. It’s the Jax symbol.”

And then suddenly, it was light.

Cockaigne and Johnson put down their torches and lanterns carefully, and stared around them. The cathedral was bigger than Cockaigne could have imagined, even after hearing Amy’s ardent portrayal of her discovery. He tried to think of religious temples he had seen on other worlds, palaces, sports arenas. None of them compared for size, or if they did they were not as stark and simple and beautiful in execution. The walls arched up in fluid curves, so that where he had thought before the walls were flat they were actually the starting point for gentle arcs which extended to a point hundreds of metres above him. Even the bricks in the corners knitted together seamlessly.

To either side, side alcoves remained dark and unlit. The nearest wall was crazed with cracks, and a dark split flashed across the corner join of the next. But the sight that stirred Cockaigne most was the mural on the wall. Tens of metres high, it showed the outline of a wolf-headed humanoid standing upright, the Jax symbol displayed in outline in the centre of its chest. Below this, dwarfed by the scale, was a slight, green-coated figure. “Well,” said the Doctor, “I seem to have found the light switch.”

“This is…” Cockaigne couldn’t find the words. He fumbled for the photorecorder, but could not stop staring slack-jawed all around himself. He glimpsed Johnson, and realised that her eyes too were filling with tears of joy and disbelief.

The Doctor laughed, his voice bouncing off the walls. He indicated the rows of hieroglyphs which stretched in wide columns from floor to ceiling. “Look at this wonderful visual history. And some of the symbols seem to be controls, too. Ah, this looks promising.” He placed his palm onto one of the shapes near to the base of a column next to him. A wide section of brickwork two metres above him melted and became translucent, like the viewscreen in the police transport. “A visual information system,” he breathed. “Not bad for a pack of dogs, eh?”

“But this indicates an astonishingly intelligent civilisation,” said Cockaigne. “One to rival our own. What can we learn from these records? Whatever happened to them thousands of years ago? What catastrophe drove them to extinction?

The Doctor nudged him, and pointed to the corner of the cathedral. The decaying husk leered at them in the bright new light. “Who said anything about extinction?”

© Peter Anghelides, 1997

Kursaal: Excerpt

Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 5:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

KursaalThis is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of the novel. Compare it with the proposal and the scene-by-scene breakdown.

Chapter 3: “Sorry about the language”

‘I wish I’d brought my umbrella,’ said the Doctor. ‘I remember I used to have one.’

Sam stopped walking. The Doctor must have heard her feet scuffing behind him, because he turned back to see what she was doing. She was dripping. Big fats blobs of water ran through her short blonde hair, over her shoulder, down the sodden arms of her shirt and onto the dry earth of the tunnel. Sam studied the growing pool of water at her favourite pair of Caterpillar boots in the sharp light from her thick black torch. ‘I hope you’re kidding,’ she said slowly. Then she leaned against the wall so that she could pull off one boot, which she emptied theatrically in front of him. A dribble of dark water poured from the heel and onto the ground. ‘When we were leaving the TARDIS, you said we wouldn’t need an umbrella. And when I saw the clouds, you said they were alto sopranos which — ’

‘Altocumulus,’ stressed the Doctor, ‘and the nimbostratus was blowing high in quite the opposite direction.’ He grinned at her like a dog expecting a bone.

Sam dropped her boot to the ground, and wiggled her wet sock back into it. She examined the hand she had propped on the wall with studied distaste, and brushed the dirt off on her trousers. Where it stuck. ‘Doctor, you have an excuse for everything. And that’s the worst excuse for forgetting your umbrella since excuses were invented. Well, you can go on making excuses until you’re blue in the face… Oh great, you’re making me sound like my mum.’

The Doctor had come back down the tunnel towards her. ‘Well,’ he said solemnly, his face level with hers, ‘for that, I apologise most sincerely.’

Sam looked at his eager expression, lit from below by his torch. His dark curls were plastered down over his forehead, his ears were sticking out, and his jutting chin and angular nose threw huge shadows up over his long face. She thought of Halloween lanterns, and had to laugh.

The Doctor smiled at once, and blew a drop of water from the end of his nose. Then he straightened up and spun on his heel. ‘It was very strange the way those clouds seemed to change direction so suddenly,’ his voice filtered back to her as he strode off again. ‘I wonder if they have rudimentary climate control here. Cloud control, eh?’

‘The only clouds,’ muttered Sam as she squelched after him, ‘are in your memory. You promised me a leisure break, not a hike in a force ten gale through a ploughed field.’ The tunnel was narrowing, and she was watching her footing on the uneven ground and so bumped straight into the back of his green velvet coat. His wet, green velvet coat, which seemed to be steaming slightly in the torch light.

‘Where’s your spirit of adventure?’ he demanded brightly.

‘In its box alongside your umbrella.’

‘Well, at least let’s explore this archaeological excavation until the weather turns, eh?’

Sam fixed him with her special glare, the one she practised in front of the bathroom mirror. ‘You promised me leisure, luxury. All the Lindt chocolate I could eat. You showed me the brochure: Kursaal, the Pleasure Planet of a Thousand Worlds. “You deserve a break,” you said. “I know just the place,” you said, “imagine Disneyland meets Babylon 5”. ‘ She looked around with ill-concealed contempt. ‘You’re going to tell me this is the Alice in Wonderland ride, I suppose.’

Uh-oh. He was giving her the half-smile that he reserved for when he was trying to cajole her into something. His estate agent look. Yes, his lips were pursed as he tried to find the right sales pitch. ‘Well… we have definitely arrived at Kursaal.’

‘What is this, the off-season?’ she snapped. ‘I hope you booked a return flight.’

‘We’re just a bit early.’

She stared. ‘How early?’

‘Couple of years. Er, maybe five?’ He looked forlorn.

Sam brushed past him, muttering back at him as she moved further down the tunnel. ‘I am wet through and fed up. We’re at least thirty minutes from the TARDIS, I refuse to walk another step in that downpour, and I don’t intend to stand here in the damp and dark until my boobs freeze.’

‘Sam,’ he called after her in a hurt tone.

‘Let’s find your archaeologists and get some dry clothes from them. Maybe air our pants over their open fire while singing “Kumbaya”.’

‘I think you may have taken a chill already,’ said the Doctor as he hurried to catch up.

* * *

Sam followed the passageways which led down. At a couple of junctions she chose the route which seemed to have the sharpest descent. The tunnel walls narrowed to less than a metre at times, and she could feel sharper rocks in the floor pushing into the soles of her boots. Her feet were killing her.

She couldn’t remember when she’d last had a good sulk. Probably the time her mum had thrown away the Greenpeace magazine clippings at the bottom of her knickers drawer, perhaps, and replaced them with wallpaper off cuts — ‘so much nicer as a drawer lining dear, don’t you think?’ Now she knew she was once again enjoying being miserable. Well, she owed it to herself once in a while.

The Doctor seemed content to trail after her contritely. On the few occasions she looked back, he gave her brief smiles which were probably supposed to encourage her. Then she’d feel the damp material of her shirt and bra against her skin, and stamp ahead faster, shivering.

After ten more minutes, the Doctor had caught up with her and placed his jacket around her. She had tried to shrug it off irritably, but he had held it gently and firmly on her shoulders, and she had relented with ill-grace. ‘I’m still seriously fed up with you, you know that?’ she said. The Doctor nodded. ‘So where are we really? And what’s that dreadful smell?’ She sniffed at his coat on her shoulders, and he threw her a pretend insulted look.

‘I thought we might have landed in one of the Discovery Theme areas,’ he confessed. ‘But the state of the entrance, the lack of nearby transport facilities, and the complete lack of, erm, predictable climate control suggests that this is a real archaeological dig. Started at the same time that they were building Kursaal. Did you notice the striations in the mud and rock outside the tunnel entrances?’

Sam shone her torch straight at him, but relented when he squinted sideways. ‘Those huge grooves, the ones running parallel to the line where the fir trees started further up the mountain?’

‘Yes, they look to me like the markings of an excavator.’

Sam whistled. ‘Big digger. Each of those was the width of my house.’

‘Put three of them together, and you have some idea of the size of the excavator scoop,’ said the Doctor. ‘They’re not building sand castles here.’

‘I learn something new every day with you, Doctor,’ she replied sweetly, trying not to sound too impressed.

The Doctor made a grand gesture, which looked odd in the narrow space. His torch flared wildly over the tunnel roof. He was obviously off on one again. ‘See the universe, discover alien cultures, learn other languages.’ He sounded like the prospectus for the sort of school her dad approved of. ‘You couldn’t pay for this kind of education.’

‘In your case,’ she retorted, ‘you’d need to guarantee full refunds if not satisfied. And travel insurance.’

‘I was once told that you can’t teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it within himself.’

Sam started back down the tunnel again. ‘Now you sound like my mum. After she gets back from one of her evening classes. My dad just rolls his eyes, and says it’s all pre-war Freudian mumbo-jumbo.’

‘Well, early seventeenth century mumbo-jumbo, at any rate,’ said the Doctor, sniffing. ‘Galileo.’

‘You met the guy who discovered America?’ said Sam, wide-eyed.

The Doctor looked up with a reproving look, and saw her grinning wickedly in the light of her own torch. ‘Now you’re just teasing me.’ He sniffed the air again. ‘I’m rather afraid it could be some sort of wild animal. Perhaps we should take our chances in the rain after all.’

They turned and started to make their way back upwards, Sam grumbling that she used to think the Doctor was indecisive, but now she wasn’t so sure. Then they came to the fork in the tunnel. Sam couldn’t remember seeing it, it must have been a branch which doubled back and up beside the tunnel they had originally taken. ‘Suggestions?’ There was a rustling sound, which she realised was the Doctor shaking his head. ‘I thought you never forgot a route that you committed to memory,’ she grumbled.

‘That assumes that I remember to commit it to memory in the first place,’ he said glumly from behind her.

She mentally tossed a coin, and indicated the left-hand route with a confidence she did not feel.

The tunnel had a sharp rise, but soon narrowed considerably, and she began to remember that their route down had not been so claustrophobic. The roof dipped lower a couple of times and scraped her wet head painfully, so she focused her torch upwards, and slid her feet along the ground to avoid tripping on protruding rocks, feeling for them with the toe of her boots. The Doctor said something about Wilson, Kepple and Betty, who she assumed had once been his travelling companions.

Ahead, Sam could see that they were coming to a narrow gap in the tunnel, no more than a few inches wide. There was no way they would get through there. She half turned to tell the Doctor.

Just before she fell over the body.

She twisted, landing heavily on her bum, her legs still stretched behind her over the soft form. Her jeans pressed against her calves, and she could feel they were still wet through. Behind her, the Doctor hunkered down and lowered his torch light to see her. ‘Oh dear,’ he said softly. Too softly.

She looked, the light from her torch wavering.

It had been a man, late teens, maybe early twenties, the shadows made it difficult to judge. His light brown eyes were staring at her in mute accusation, startling her. She thought at first he was wearing a red turtleneck. Then she saw the shreds of flesh below the chin, the sticky pool of red that had seeped into the dirt of the tunnel floor. It was on her trousers now, too.

‘Gordon Christ,’ she shouted, and pulled her legs away. For a dreadful moment, she thought the dead man was moving his hand to grab her, pull her back, and she gave a sharp cry. But it was just her foot dragging his arm across his body. It was almost severed at the shoulder. It had a watch on it, with a wristband made of interleaved gold and silver links.

Still seated, she pushed herself away, hugging her knees to her chest. The musky animal smell was stronger here on the ground, she realised, and then she could smell the blood on her trousers. With a little noise of disgust, she straightened her legs, pushing herself further back from the body, pressing herself against the wall, pressing hard. ‘Gordon Christ!’

The Doctor picked up his coat from where it had fallen. ‘Are you hurt?’ When she shook her head tentatively, he placed the coat over Sam’s legs.

‘The blood…’ she said. He waved her objection away, and tucked the sleeves in under her knees. Then he turned back, putting himself between her and the body. ‘I’m sorry about the language, Doctor…’ She didn’t know what else to say. She wanted words to tumble out, to fill the terrible silence in which she could think only about blood on the ground, on her legs, on the young man’s tunic, on his throat… on his neck. She put her hand up to her own neck. She was taking short gasps of air, as though she was shivering, so she tried to breathe deeper, more steadily.

She stared at the Doctor’s back. She could see his shoulders moving, and studied his long hair, still sodden and plastered to the stained silk on the back of his waistcoat. The sleeves of his shirt were scraped with mud from the tunnel walls. When he spoke, his words died in the air. ‘Sit still, Sam, you’ve had a bot of a shick. I mean, a bit of a shock.’ He laughed. ‘Words are tricky, aren’t they?’

‘The worst thing I ever heard my dad say was “oh cripes”,’ she said eventually. ‘I never even heard him say “bastard”. Except in Latin, y’know: nil illegitimi carborundum when people were getting at me. I don’t suppose he had the same provocation. But I doubt he’s ever seen that much blood spilled all in one go. Even when he was with the Blood Transfusion Service. One of the few things I did that I remember him approving of was when I went down the community centre and gave blood, without being asked nicely first.’ She could hear a quavering note in her own voice, so she tried a half-hearted laugh. ‘Melissa Donoghue fainted when she first gave blood. Fell off the couch, and dragged the bag onto the floor. It squirted all over the lino. And dad said “oh cripes”.’

The Doctor’s shoulders moved again as his hands worked beyond her line of sight. ‘What’s the word you find most difficult to spell?’ he said in a light tone.

She closed her eyes, and smiled, leaning her head back against the cold tunnel wall. She recognised his technique. ‘Haemoglobin,’ she said provokingly.

‘Hah!’ snorted the Doctor as he realised she wasn’t going to play his game. Now he turned back to her, smiling a tight smile and blinking in the light of her torch. Just as she lowered it out of his eyes, she noticed that they weren’t smiling too. He reached out and grasped her shoulders gently, looking her full in the face. His tone was calm, conversational, with that lilting intonation he used when patiently explaining things to people. ‘Sam, it looks like this poor fellow was killed by an animal. He had a name tag. He was called Osram.’ He paused, thinking briefly. ‘Rigor mortis has not yet set in, and so we must assume that the animal that did this could still be nearby. Can you stand?’ She nodded mutely, colder than ever. ‘We should get out of these tunnels.’

© Peter Anghelides 1998

Kursaal: Scenes

Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 5:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

KursaalThis is the scene-by-scene breakdown that I used when writing my BBC novel Kursaal.

Chapter 1


Amy’s POV. Late afternoon. Amy Saraband breaks into the Jax Palace with a struggle, and is taken aback at what she sees. She sees heiroglyphics, two talismans- yin and yang? male and female? – near the “birthing” altar, and the “skylight” to the surface – though which they she can see the waxing moon.

She can hardly take it in, and decides to call Olivier (Amy imagines Olivier’s physical reactions to the find – cocking his head on one side quizzically like a dog, etc). But she gets through to Maximilian Gray, who has the communicator. This pocket communications link – which bleeps and blinks to show where he and the others are located. We learn here that Gray isn’t a welcome member of the expedition, but that they have him along because he brought her onto the Kursaal project – and he’s accompanied her on this dig for PR reasons.

Gray joins her, away from the others now – struggling through an awkward, high crack in the wall. Gray: “I’m trying for controlled confidence, but it’s coming across as just bossy.” (Something here when she first sees him about his dull grey eyes.) He puts away his comunicator, having traced her with it – she is partway up a wall. Gray explains that her colleagues want to pack up and go home for the night, especially as a storm is brewing (climate control not online yet). Hint here about the previous media murders – they’re worried about HALF.

One talisman is missing, and Gray takes the second with him. Amy has persuaded him to come to the site so as not to destroy it in his building work – he is not so convinced yet.

Amy is clearly scornful about the HALF threats. Besides, they are self-sufficient, and can communicate with each other via their comms devices which don’t rely on clear skies and satellite access and not being deep underground, because of some technobabble. And at the moment, Amy has stumbled across an amazing scene… They are taking it all in, when they hear terrible screams from outside as Olivier, Sharstone, and Jon are attacked by something. They go to investigate.


Amy’s POV – late afternoon. Amy is surprised to find Gray is armed. They find a couple of dead bodies, horribly wounded. Suddenly Amy is knocked aside, her arm broken. She is taken by surprise – the animal comes in from bright to dark, and its green eyes adjust faster than her human eyes. Gray struggles with the creature – he manages to wound it, and it scuttles off into the dark crack in the wall. Amy gets off an emergency message, then the pain renders her unconscious and she collapses.

Chapter 2


Waiter’s POV. Early evening. Kadijk is having a beef dinner, obviously unhappy about having been given a tie to wear in the restaurant – he is not in uniform. “Whack off its horns, wipe its arse, and stick it on a plate.” “Rare sir?” “Like a Sin City virgin.” He is also studying case notes: path lab reports about a murder suspect; drug-running infiltration of the new police force; the accidental deaths in suspicious circumstances earlier in the day of a media crew. He is interrupted by an (offworld) news report: it’s about the a Greenpeace-style direct action campaign against Gray Corp by HALF (Helping All Alien Lifeforms), which has successfully disrupted work all over the planet so that the project is running well behind. The latest attack is on a digging site for the new Aqua World. Some background on HALF: an ecological pressure group rumoured to be funded by a shadowy billionaire and led by the charismatic Bernard Cockaigne. And tomorrow, an exclusive report from our on-planet media crew. “They have a surprise coming.”

“We have a 24-hour service.” “I can’t wait that long.”

Kadijk is then interruted by his dumb sidekick Zaterday. (Flashback to Gray appointing him. “He couldn’t find his own backside if you let him use both hands.”) There’s been another attack, and this time Gray seems to be involved. His boss, who he warned about being involved in such madcap archaeology schemes and that mad xenobiologist.! They rush off.


Kadijk’s POV. Dark. He remembers Zaterday as the dullard that Gray forced on him. Zaterday chatters away, but Kadijk puts him straight. Amy had been brought in to the Kursaal project by Maximilian Gray, Chief Executive Officer of Gray Corporation. This is one of two ways that the wily Gray approached the HALF problem: in a PR scoop, he’s employing the famous xenobiologist Amy Saraband to research the Jax, and to devise ways of incorporating them into the finished Kursaal project – and he’s accompanied her on this dig for PR reasons too.

Secondly, however, Gray has beefed up his on-site Security Team, including Commander Paul Kadijk. Since his arrival, Kadijk has been having much more success halting the HALF activity, though he left his wife back on their home planet – “Go and marry bloody Gray, why don’t you. You see more of him than of me.” “And I’ve been blessed with a lot of new staff.” “Like me, sir,” says Zaterday. Kadijk grits his teeth.

Kadijk wants to link it to HALF (HALFwits). “I’ll have ‘em” etc.


Kadijk POV. Filthy weather, dark. Zaterday and Kadijk on the way. Other vehicles are on their way, but it seems the rest of the local force are away investigating a previous killing of the media crew. Kadijk can see the buildings behind him as they travel (establish the “official” area of the planet). In the middle distance, we can see Gray Corp HQ, with a section poking out at a jaunty angle – this is where Gray would usually be sat, surveying his planet taking shape.

Discussing the paperwork he’s been reading – gives it to Zaterday. “Tell Garrick we’ve receive the path lab report on the blood found at the scene of crime. Tell him we’ve got good news and bad news for him. The bad news is that it that the results show it’s Garrick’s blood on the victim and all round the murder scene. The good news? His cholesterol level is low.”

Zaterday is driving, because Kadijk has been drinking. (He hands over his car ident card to Zaterday. Doesn’t it have an isomorphic response built in, so that only Kadijk can use it? “You can’t believe everything you read in the sales literature,” says Kadijk. “I try to be open-minded,” says Zaterday. “Yeah, but not so much that your brain falls out.”

We get some insight into Kadijk’s background – the garrulous Zaterday can fill us in on the other media murder stuff. He tells Zaterday that he talks too much – sometimes you can learn a lot just by listening, allowing someone to fill the uncomfortable silence with their own words, volunteering information despite themselves.Kadijk is furious about the new report – how did the information get off-planet if the media crew were murdered? At least they’ve managed to hush up the deaths of the on-planet media crew so far – first reporting the news, and now making it – in a suspicious accident. Recently a number of small bombs have destroyed key Gray locations on the planet – the communications network, the spaceport, several gigantic earth movers. The only reason the crew didn’t get the report of their own deaths on air was that their local comms network had been sabotaged previously.

Chapter 3


Sam’s POV. The Doctor and Sam are making their way through poorly-lit caves. They are hiding from the terrible storm that’s blown up. Sam isn’t impressed – they were supposed to come to the pleasure world, Kursaal, a kind of “Disneyland meets Babylon 5”. But the Tardis seems to have landed in a muddy field. The Doctor insists that they must have landed in a theme area, and reminds her about the archaeological vehicle they saw on the way in – besides, they’d get drenched going back to the Tardis through the storm, and they may as well take shelter here. Her Nike trainers are ruined.

Then they come across the first body (Bill). Sam: “Cripes!” (or “Gordon Christ!”) – explanation about her father’s views on language (she’s babbling to keep her mind off the death) and also explaining that it looks like an animal attack (her school project on sheep worrying – she rather upset her teacher and class with her detailed shots of animals attacked by dogs and feral animals,, but it’s a bit more distressing when it’s real life and real people). The Doctor’s reaction. They explore further, and just as they find Pat and John they hear security people arriving.

It’s Kadijk and Zaterday, who have arrived first. Kadijk’s furious – even if the police squads were elsewhere on the planet, surely the police surgeon could have got there in time, he had already finished at the media murders scene. Staffed by incompetents, this planet’s never going to be finished in time! They also overhear him complaining about being dragged away from his dinner – “steak in loganberry sauce”.

Where are Sam and Amy going to hide? They don’t want to be found with these dead bodies – they don’t have the right paperwork, and they can’t pretend to be tourists… they get around Kadijk and Zaterday, and are making their way out of the crime scene when they run straight into an arriving police squad.

Sam stopped, her Nike trainers scuffing the powdery soil underfoot. The Doctor would have carried on, but she tugged at the sleeve of his coat.”Er… Doctor…” He looking at her, and brushing her hand away with his fingers. So she nodded in the opposite direction, beyond him.

The Doctor turned, and then stared at the oncoming troopers. “Cripes!” he said.

Click here to see how Chapter 3 appeared in the published novel.

Chapter 4


Kadijk’s POV. The Doctor and Sam stride in ahead of the police squad, and the Doctor pretends to be the pathologist, Sam his “intern” assistant, and takes charge (using the info that Sam provided above!) – victims of savage attack by wild animals, etc as they go towards the bodies.

Doctor explains that Pathologist Pete has been trapped by the storm, so he’s been sent. They don’t appear to have any medical equipment. The Doctor is vague – doesn’t need them to diagnose a wild animal attack etc. etc. Kadijk: don’t seem to need to have examined them either? Clothes – not medical? Doctor says he was called away – isn’t that why Kadijk’s wearing a lounge suit? And isn’t that gravy down his tie – beef gravy? With maybe evidence of loganberry sauce? Zaterday gives away the name of the hospital, and the Doctor agrees.
Amy and Gray are found near to a strange portal. A paramedic team from the hospital arrives, and the Doctor gives a few meaningful medical comments to them.

Policeman asks if they shouldn’t track down the wild animal. No need, says Kadijk, the dig will be declared unsafe, and buried. Shouldn’t you try to capture it for study – it may be an indigenous species, says Sam, showing off her environmentalist credentials (Doctor shushes her). Kadijk gives her a funny look. Isn’t that what got the team killed in the first place? Now, they’re needed at the hospital to carry out the post mortem, and to get Amy and Gray to safety. Just as they are going, he asks the Doctor when he got the call to come to the dig. The Doctor distracts him, pointing at another spot on his shirt: “Is that pea soup?”

Kadijk asks one of the police about the pathologist. “We bumped into them on the way in. She called him “doctor”.” Kadijk puts in a call to the hospital – is there an intern program? There is lots of interference on the wrist device – reception because of the caves and the storm is terrible, and the comms satellite is rather fragile at the moment (not properly tested) so he has to record a message – “I’m sorry, I’m not here to take your call at the moment.”

Kadijk brushes at the stains on his shirt and tie as Zaterday looks on. “How could he tell that was roast beef and pea soup?” asks Zaterday. “Don’t you know the difference between the two?” says Kadijk sarcastically. “I mean, any fool can roast beef.”


Sam’s POV. Night, howling gale. The whole dig is being cordoned off. The Doctor and Sam are chaperoned into the waiting ambulance to the hospital morgue – unable to escape from the scene as they are shuffled into the ambulance by police escorts. (The Doctor explains to Sam he hates hospitals. “Midwife dropped you on your head as a baby,” says Sam, “that would explain a lot.” “Not exactly,” says the Doctor. “But I suppose you could call it a birth trauma.”)

From overheard conversations, we learn about Gray Corp being a multiplanetary company, and that this is Saturnia Regna in the Cronus system.

Their chaperones speculate on what could have caused the deaths. The Doctor won’t be drawn. The chaperones chat together – probably that monster Cockaigne, head of the ecological pressure group rumoured to be funded by a shadowy billionaire, which has run a Greenpeace-style direct action campaign against Gray Corp. He’s a monster – supposed to have murdered dozens with his bare hands. “Bear hands, more like – he’s a huge, gorilla like man…”


Sam’s POV, night. They travel on to the hospital, observing what’s happening outside – the planet has part-completed facilities all over it for transport, accommodation, residential, infrastructure, entertainment, and the usual paraphernalia of a theme park writ large. The construction work is also more radical than a Barratt Homes site: the diggers are the size of office buildings, the cranes are like rocket gantries, and the blasting equipment is on an H-bomb scale. Much of this is explained to Sam by one of the paramedics, because she’s “new” to the planet as an incoming intern.

As they drive through the cordon, the Doctor and Sam realise that the Tardis is the other side of it.

Chapter 5


Sam’s POV. Middle of night. The Doctor and Sam are in the hospital morgue. They’ve been carrying out a post mortem on Olivier, Sharstone, and Jon.

Pathology labs: Chemistry/Toxicology, DNA analysis (Garrick’s blood match), Forearms/Tools, Hairs/fibres, Explosives, Photography, Polygraph, Latent fingerprints, Materials analysis, Biological analysis. Stereomicroscope.

Like the restaurant, this is a temporary facility for the current staff until the official stuff is opened up on the moon. “What are you a doctor of?” “Oh, lots of useful things.” (Compared by Sam with home economics, history, and Latin – her least favourite subjects). Latin usages: “dead language”. “For dead people.” “We can learn a lot from dead races,” says the Doctor. “You sound like Mr Phillips,” says Sam, “he’s got an answer for everything too. Time travelling must make ‘dead races’ a relative thing.” “Well, if we bump into any, you’ll be equipped to greet them,” says the Doctor. “I presume you’ve learned the vocative. Did you know that ‘alien’ comes from Latin – alius means ‘other’.” He paused thoughtfully. “ “I can greet their furniture too,” says Sam. “Mensa – table, oh table! The headmaster caught us talking to the school desks, and told us that education was wasted on today’s youth.” She used to think she was his blue-eyed girl, head prefect material. Well, I suppose he was right about the blue eyes bit. She fluttered them prettily at the Doctor.

All this punctuates the Doctor’s study of the corpses – comparing the media crew with the attack victims, he’s surprised that there is no rigor mortis – stiffness of joints caused by depletion of ATP in the tissues – in the latter. “Rigor mortis – The rigidity of death,” says Sam. “Who says education’s wasted on the youth of today?” Mind you, her schooldays seem a lifetime ago. ATP = adenosine triphosphate, a nucleotide found in the mitocondria of all plant and aminal cells, the major source of energy for cellular reactions, released during its conversion to ADP – adenosine diphosphate (liberation of energy used in performance of muscular work (perhaps Sam should have paid more attention during biology”. “Only during sex education, to watch James Watford’s ears going pink with embarrassment). The Doctor seems to know a lot about human biology. He’s just showing off his medical qualifications. When did he get a medical degree? Several lifetimes ago.

Learning from the Doctor in their trips in the Tardis? “See the universe, learn about alien cultures, learn another language – you couldn’t pay for this kind of education.” “Doctor, you’d need to guarantee full refunds if not satisfied. And travel insurance.”

The Doctor checks the levels of ATP with scanner equipment – they are actually abnormally high!(Of course, this is because it’s building for their conversion into werewolf Jax!) Sam: “I thought we were going to do the minimum possible, and then find a way back to the Tardis before we’re rumbled.” Doctor: “But this is baffling, I need to know more.” (Getting engrossed in a mystery.) He notices that the hair, which grows after death, has started sprouting on the face, there is distortion to the limbs, and the nails seem to be deforming.

Amy is shown in, accompanied by police guard. She has been brought (very unwillingly) to the morgue to identify the bodies of her colleagues. The Doctor is intrigued by the deaths, and wants to know more about how they happened. Amy says that it’s almost a shame that they died and Gray survived… they were the most alive people she’d ever known, while he was a cold fish… with an accountant’s mind, and cold accountant’s eyes. Sam remembers one of her dad’s accountant friends like that – his eyes matched his suit, calculator grey. Amy is baffled that there are only five bodies: Olivier, the first man killed in the attack, is not there. They check the gurneys – five were occupied, but now only four.

Doctor sends police guard away, significantly. Nurse Sam will accompany Amy until she leaves the building (hospital policy).

The Doctor wants to examine Amy, but she’s very keen to leave. She survived the attack on the dig team apart from her broken arm, which has been crudely repaired and is now in a setting sling (will be OK in two days – that’s how crude!). Doctor explains that the bodies are not decomposing, and there is something very wrong… he will go to check on Gray, insisting that Sam “stay with Amy” – he thinks there is something suspicious about the xenobiologist.
Amy decides to leave the hospital in a hurry, and Sam follows her.


Sam’s POV. Night. Making conversation, Sam asks about the huge planetary works they saw – doesn’t the government have a say in all of this, controlling it? Amy is amazed: the whole planet, aturnian Regna, is in the Cronus system, and the Gray Corporation owns all of it. Gray Corp is a development conglomerate on a galactic scale, and in a series of massive building projects is turning the planet into Kursaal. Sam is horrified – aren’t people upset, or opposed to this? Amy looks at her in a new light.

On the way out, they see the real pathologist turn up and check in. Sam feels very awkward, and Amy realises this – Sam confesses to Amy that she’s not an intern at all, which doesn’t now surprise Amy, who suggests that they get away from the hospital together. Sam is torn – should she follow Amy, or warn the Doctor… she decides to follow Amy (remembering the Doctor’s advice).

The pathologist enters the hospital, and the Doctor’s cover story is about to be rumbled.


Kadijk’s POV – night. Doctor sees that Gray is being treated for wounds he sustained during the attack – they appear to be like Amy’s from being thrown aside by the attacking animal as it fled. Doctor finds out information from Kadijk about his recent successes against HALF. Lazy scroungers from the system worlds with nothing better to do than prevent the creation of millions of new jobs. “I’m not known for my tolerance, as my ex-wife will testify. In fact, as my ex-wife did testify. When I’m asked by the media team how many people are working in HALF, I say “about half of them”. Not that I get asked anything by the media team any more. The irony is, they might even have reported live on their own deaths, except that the satellite system was disrupted since HALF bombed the comms network. The Doctor points out this would have been a pretty dumb move by the HALF terrorists – cutting off their publicity – why would they do that? Kadijk’s motivation again: beating HALF, and now he’s closer than ever.

Gray has not come round since the attack, and vital signs are fading. The Doctor seems strangely interested in Gray’s case notes – something doesn’t smell right. Kadijk gets a call on the room communicator – Doctor Webber is waiting to see him in reception.


Kadijk’s POV: night. Kadijk travels through the corridors, and when he sees a video screen playing he remembers to stop off briefly to pick up his video messages: the first is a reply to his question about the intern program – there isn’t one on Saturnia Regna. The second tells him that three of the five bodies have been stolen from the morgue – including Olivier and Sharstone. He dispatches a couple of people to find out what’s happening, and then tries to contact the Doctor on the same wrist communicator, but the thing cuts out suddenly.

At reception, he half notices that a nearby video screen has gone blank too. Kadijk is expecting to meet a medical doctor, but discovers that Webber is actually the real pathologist – he can smell the mortuary disinfectant on his skin, even thought he’s not been to work today. “Something doesn’t smell right,” he realises. The Doctor doesn’t smell like a pathologist! So if this is pathologist Webber, who is messing around in Gray’s room? I just called through to check you were on your way, explains Webber, and I explained who I was to your man there. He said he was the doctor in charge.

Kadijk hares all the way back to Gray’s room. Gray is still as he was, but despite the guard on the door, the Doctor has vanished. Where’s Sam? She was seen leaving the building with Amy Saraband. Kadijk thinks they must all be in it together – the Doctor, Sam, and Amy.

Gray wakes up, sitting bolt upright in bed suddenly. Something about his eyes being green and alive.

Chapter 6


Sam’s POV: night. The storm has cleared up. Amy and Sam flee to one of the completed areas of Kursaal, a group of areas each a dozen acres across and themed on different cultures from the Cronus system: an ice world, a technological city block, a desert world full of nomadic dwellings, a sea world, etc. Amy steers carefully with her bad arm still healing. Their way is well lit by the full moon.

Where are they going? To Amy’s home base (but why isn’t this near to all the other accommodation near Gray HQ?). Sam wants to have a go, so Amy allows her to have a try (not too bad, reminds her of driving her dad’s beaten-up second-hand car). “They’re supposed to be idiot-proof,” says Amy. “Cheers,” says Sam, “very flattering.” “OK, crash-proof.” “Like the Titanic?” Amy looks baffled. Flying: five hours of boredom followed by five minutes of terror.

Later in the conversation, Amy seems to suggest that she may as well give up on the preservation, take the money, and allow Gray Corp to destroy the planet by redeveloping it. This offends Sam’s conservationist sentiments, and she argues with Amy – until she realises that Amy has been testing her beliefs.

The transport delivers them to a Wild West-style rancher town.


Sam’s POV – night. A small, nervous, bearded man lets them into an underground service system, and through to a set of cramped officeds hidden in the Wild West town. Amy explains as they go that she too wants to preserve the true archaeological sites, not just document them before they are redeveloped, and certainly not to redevelop them as these fakes. Sam is increasingly respectful and unquestioning about Amy’s methods and motivations, and asks Amy why is working for Gray Corp – and isn’t she worried that the HALF terrorists will kill her in their violent attacks, as they have with the media crew? She would hate to meet Bernard Cockaigne, the monster who runs HALF. “You can’t believe everything you hear,” says the bearded man, Amy is not worried about being harmed by HALF. Why not? Because she and the rest of the dig team were secretly working for HALF. Welcome to our hideaway – and by the way, meet Bernard Cockaigne.


Kadijk’s POV – night. Kadijk is talking to Gray who is making a completely unexpected recovery. He lies there, awake but quiet, though he seems more alert when Kadijk flicks idly through some of Gray’s belongings in the beside cabinet – and finds two interesting items. One is the Jax talisman – which Kadijk doesn’t recognise as important, but Gray takes from him and clutches to his chest. The other is a communications device, which is still bleeping away. Kadijk puts it down. Gray is reluctant to explain too much about the archaeological dig, and seems strangely detached – studying his hands, looking around himself warily. He doesn’t ask anything about the others, and doesn’t seem interested when Kadijk explains some of this to him.

One of Kadijk’s men, Porlock, rushes in with an urgent message. Kadijk wants to know why he didn’t just call. Porlock explains that he couldn’t – HALF have just destroyed a ground transmitter station, and the explosive pulse has knocked out the whole area’s comms satellite – the datapulse outran the destruction of the explosion by a millisecond. Kadijk studies his wrist communicator – dead, no longer bleeping. Kadijk is furious, but realises that the comms device is still working because of some technobabble. He is about to hurl it across the room in a temper – no use for communicating with his men – when Porlock stops him..


Sam’s POV – night. They go into the HQ. Cockaigne explains to Amy that they knocked out the comms satellite. It has blinded the HALF HQ, of course, but that’s not a problem since this whole quadrant of Saturnia Regna will now be in disarray. Amy explains something about the attack, and Cockaigne is saddened – he knew Sharstone very well, they had worked together for many years.


Sam’s POV – later in the night. Amy has been checking some HALF records with Sam, and is furious with what she’s found. She tells Sam that the financial backers are pressuring Gray Corp to complete ahead of schedule, but HALF are holding up the completion – Sam is curious as to why this information should be in the HALF records, but Amy is evasive, asking instead why Sam travels with the Doctor. Sam explains about her school teacher – “like him but didn’t like like him. A mentor.” Australian, exotic, different, not dishy, only eight years older than her – but that’s half a lifetime. (Mrs Chesterton was head teacher?) (Women exchanging troubles for troubles.)

Does she miss her family? A bit. Amy explains how hospitals remind her of her father. She had an accident when she was about Sam’s age, and was taken to hospital. She and her father rarely spoke of how they felt, they were just there. In hospital, she couldn’t find a way to explain or apologise. She knew that he wouldn’t go until she was settled, so pretended to go to sleep. She could feel her father sitting next to her on the bedclothes. Then she could hear him crying softly, kissed her on am unmarked part of her face, and left. (Sam sees Amy as vulnerable too.)


Sam’s POV – morning. The night goes by, and Sam gets some sleep. She worries about the Doctor, but knows she can’t go back to find him yet, since he’s asked her to stick with Amy – and she’s finding out so much! Early the next morning, she spends some time learning about the history of Saturnia Regna with Cockaigne, examining some of the artefacts that HALF have discovered. She checks out some of the HALF information – Cockaigne shows her how to use the equipment. (“I’m hopeless at computing. When I bought a mouse mat for my dad, I asked the guy in the shop if it was Macintosh or Windows.” (Blank look from Cockaigne.) She learns Saturnia Regna is also supposed to be the last part of the Cronus system inhabited by the Jax, a humanoid race which died out thousands of years ago. So the planet is considered to be a kind of “heritage site” by HALF (Helping All Life Forms), an ecological pressure group. Sam says she heard they were funded by a shadowy billionaire. Gray asks how reliable this was – what had they said about him? (A gorilla.)”I expected you to be… taller,” says Sam.

Cockaigne explains that HALF has run a Greenpeace-style direct action campaign against Gray Corp, and successfully disrupted work all over the planet so that the project is running well behind. This is a bit awkward, since the financial backers are pressuring Gray Corp to complete ahead of schedule. How does he know this, wonder Sam, but she doesn’t have time to ask. Saturating a world with alien toxins, changing it and destroying an environment that they want to manage and control. “Past races talk to us softly down the ages, but we’re not listening, and their voice pass us by. Dead whispers unheard.” “Like Sooty,” muses Sam (bafflingly). Cockaigne says that the leisure facilities are “humanoidist” in design.

Suddenly, the Gray Corp security forces, led by Kadijk, attack the HALF base, and now start to break up the base, brutally subduing the activists. They are digging up the whole area with two huge excavation machines the size of office buildings (from a nearby area).

Sam tries to find Amy, but Cockaigne and two other activists (Denis Lambton and Claire Johnson) drag her away to safety.


Kadijk’s POV – morning. The security team has located HALF using Gray’s comms device which sits bleeping prettily on the dashboard. They are attacking in the small hours, because that’s when HALF will be most vulnerable – and they seem to have no detection radar. Zaterday, unsurprisingly perhaps, didn’t turn up in time for the raid. “He wrote the book on being stupid. Needless to say, it’s a picture book.” Porlock is with Kadijk. At last he’s tracked down the HALF miscreants. Now they can go in and destroy their facility. “I want them alive.” The huge digging machinery moves in…


Sam’s POV – morning. In the street of the Wild West Town, Sam, Cockaigne, Lambton and Johnson are cornered by a security vehicle…

Chapter 7


Sam’s POV – morning. The Doctor is driving the security vehicle! He followed the Gray Corp team, knowing they would lead him to Sam. He tells them to get aboard, he wants to go back to the archaeological dig where Gray was attacked – because there is something very wrong about the victims of the original attack, and he suspects that the corpses at the morgue are not what they seem. But Sam insists they have to rescue Amy first and, despite the Doctor’s protests, jumps out of the vehicle and goes back into the base with Lambton.


Sam’s POV – morning. The HQ is in ruins – huge earth movers have dug up the Wild West town, revealing the underground service passages beneath it. The security forces have moved on.

Sam finds Amy scrabbling around amid some Gray Corp records, cursing Gray and shoving a sheaf of papers at Sam. Her only pleasure is that the fakery of the Wild West town has been dug up and destroyed, to get at the HALF activists like digging up an anthill.

Sam and Lambton drag Amy out of the building, but another security vehicle has come between them and the Doctor’s vehicle. Sam is forcing Amy out of the building when Amy stumbles beneath the wheels of a security vehicle. Her bad arm hampers her – she reaches back to recover a data cube, and then has to pass it to Sam before reaching out to take her hand for rescue… by the time Sam turns back and reaches out to rescue Amy, Amy has been accidentally crushed to death beneath the wheels.

Sam is mortified, and believes she is responsible – but she and Lambton are seized and bundled into the other vehicle. Kadijk orders that all the HALF vehicles be confiscated.


Cockaigne’s POV, morning. The Doctor, Cockaigne, and Johnson flee in their security vehicle. First they shoot up into the lower atmosphere, but the vehicle can’t take it, and the Doctor decides to skim the surface of the planet through several areas – from high up, they can see the planet has part-completed facilities all over it for transport, accommodation, residential, infrastructure, entertainment, and the usual paraphernalia of a theme park writ large. The construction work is also more radical than a Barratt Homes site: the diggers are the size of office buildings, the cranes are like rocket gantries, and the blasting equipment is on an H-bomb scale.

They are pursued in an exciting chase through the neighbouring fake areas – wheat fields, dive into water, through a “glass” wall into an industrial landscape – eventually escaping by hiding out in the planet’s partially-built zoo. (This is the Doctor’s “draw a circle and a triangle with your hands” bit while Cockaigne is talking to him and he’s steering the ship, overriding the crash control, and deactivating the forcefield.)


Cockaigne’s POV, day. In a quiet moment while they hide, Cockaigne explains to the Doctor about the history and artefacts that he had shown Sam – including what they have learned about the Jax, a vulpine, perhaps lupine race which appears to have died out on the planet a thousand years ago. The Doctor becomes very worried, and decides they must carry on to the archaeological dig instead of trying to rescue Sam – she should be safe enough in custody.

Chapter 8


Sam’s POV – day. Sam has been taken for interrogation by Kadijk. Kadijk finds the data cube, and says that Gray will be very interested to learn more – they are clearly smear tactics by HALF, since they suggest that Gray Corp is funding HALF, and that the share price of the Gray Corporation has been nosediving as the delays in building Kursaal continue. Zaterday comes in, and points out that Gray has discharged himself from the hospital. Sam warns Kadijk not to let anyone near the corpses in the morgue. Kadijk is incredulous – he thinks that HALF have been stealing the corpses, since two are missing.

He takes Sam off to the hospital morgue to show her. (He harangues Zaterday for his absence at the raid. Where was he? Chasing the trail of dope. “The trail stops right in this office, Zaterday. I know where the only dope in this building is, and I’m looking at him right now.”) While this is happening, Sam palms the data cube, like the Doctor showed her once. She can’t help but notice the crafty look that Zaterday gives Kadijk. “If he worked really hard for the rest of his career, he might make his way up to moron.”

Zaterday has spent the whole day doing “paperwork” on the computer and wandering around with cups of coffee. “Why?” “We’re out of tea.”


Cockaigne’s POV, day. The Doctor, Cockaigne and Johnson have reached the archaeological dig, which is strangely deserted – though there has been extensive new excavation nearby. This isn’t the painstaking archaeological excavation of the original team, though, but the crude earth-moving of the huge development diggers. Cockaigne is appalled – the site is being destroyed forever. They go into the caves.


Cockaigne’s POV, day. They break through the remains of the police investigation.Near the site of the attack on the archaeological team, they find the husk of a wolf-like humanoid. This was the creature which attacked the archaeology party, wearing a talisman around its neck. They find a deep narrow industrial excavation, like a bore hole in the rock, which has accidentally connected via a crack in the side to an enormous buried chamber.


Cockaigne’s POV – day. Inside, they find the origin of the wolf-like creature in the remnants of the Jax vulpine culture, a cavernous underground palace abandoned a thousand years ago. It seems that at least one of the wolf creatures survived, and attacked the archaeology team. As they investigate, there’s a fall of earth – it has tumbled down the “skylight”, which was part covered by the recent excavations. Then the Doctor investigates further to see if there are more survivors.


Sam’s POV – afternoon. Sam and Kadijk enter the hospital and make their way towards the morgue, talking about the Doctor’s concerns they find that the security guards posted there have been brutally murdered. They go in to the morgue to see the four corpses – which alarmingly come to life from under the sheets – they are half-man, half wolf monstrosities, and they are moving to attack them.

Chapter 9


Cockaigne’s POV – afternoon. The Doctor continues to search the site, and discovers from heiroglyphics how to start up a hidden information system. Consternation from Cockaigne – he thought they were just animals. We’re all just animals, says the Doctor.

The information reveals that the Jax were a race like werewolves which went up an evolutionary dead-end and could only reproduce by infecting other humanoid life forms. When they ran out of the limited number of humanoids a thousand years ago, they died out and this is their last memorial. (They look again at the “rebirth” area, the altar with the “skylight” to the surface in it.)

Cockaigne makes a worrying discovery further down the bore hole – it seems to be wired with explosives – he recognises the type, because HALF stole similar equipment from Gray Corp to use for their campaigns. He and the Doctor start to make their way out of the palace to escape the coming explosion, but when they reach the exit they discover Johnson is dead, and there are three animated corpses standing over her body – wolves, but still with recognisable elements (like the eyes or a puzzled look or a quizzical head gesture) of Olivier and Sharstone. The crazed corpses try to kill them in a frenzied attack! The Doctor explains about the corpses in the morgue, and how they must have been slowly metamorphosing. Cockaigne manages to slice the head off Olivier with a shovel, but the other knocks him down. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to frighten the other two wolves, and Cockaigne struggles free – but the wolves have become wise to the trick, and close in for the kill again.

The Doctor and Cockaigne struggle back into the Jax Palace, and block themselves in. Now they are trapped in the Palace, and there’s a bomb ticking away down the bore hole. It’s designed to excavate that area, not this, explains the Doctor. Yes, but it will bury us forever in here, explains Cockaigne.


Sam’s POV – afternoon. Kadijk’s security staff arrive to help Sam and Kadijk fight off the animated corpses in the morgue – shooting them down with projectile weapons. The drones are thrown against the mortuary walls.
Sam explains to Kadijk the Doctor’s warning, and that there may be similar dangers at the excavation site where they were originally attacked. Kadijk says that the original attack site will not be a problem much longer, as Gray Corp plans to build a huge recycling plant on the archaeological site – it has therefore been evacuated for an enormous explosive excavation which will collapse the cave system and level the area. Sam is horrified, and explains that the Doctor and Cockaigne planned to go there. Kadijk plans to set off immediately – as the comms network is not working. He tells Porlock to return Sam to custody.

As Porlock is about to do this, the Jax drones suddenly rear up again – they’re not dead! While Porlock is killed, Sam flees the scene, and hides in a records office.


Sam’s POV – afternoon. Sam is at a loss – she can’t reach the Doctor before Kadijk – who can rescue the Doctor, even if he arrests him. She thinks about Amy’s death, and how she couldn’t save her. This reminds her of the data cube. She slots it into a records system, and looks at the Gray Corp information that Amy gave her at HALF HQ.
Amy was going to confront Gray with this information – she feels that she should now do this, and decides she must go to Gray Corp.


Cockaigne’s POV – late afternoon. The Doctor and Cockaigne have retreat from their attackers, and scramble into the palace, blocking the narrow route in with some furniture. (Note that it isn’t the same as before because of all the excavations.) The Doctor explains to Cockaigne that the two corpses have been reanimated by the Jax infection. The Jax could only reproduce as intelligent life by infecting live hosts. These are only mindless Jax drones, since the infection was only able to reanimate a dead body – they are operating solely on instinct to return to their palace and defend it. “So this wasn’t a good place to retreat to,” says Cockaigne, “I thought you were the expert on the Jax.” “I thought you were the expert on the Jax” retorts the Doctor. The Jax drones howl outside, and scramble to get in.

35. (still) JAX PALACE

Cockaigne’s POV – early evening. The Doctor is hunting through all the Jax technology in the palace to see what he can use for an escape – there seems to be an extensive amount of Jax technology deeper underground.

Meanwhile, Cockaigne is worrying about the bomb. He is a bit put out to discover that the culture he wanted to preserve wants to destroy him – either the Jax drones will break in and kill him, or they’ll trap him in the palace until the excavation bomb goes off. There is a renewed set of howls from the doorway, and suddenly their makeshift block is blown away explosively into the room. They turn to look.

Chapter 10

36. (Still) JAX PALACE

Cockaigne’s POV – evening. Kadijk’s group have arrived, and blew the Jax drones aside to rescue the Doctor and Cockaigne. In the excavation outside, the Jax drones lie in a crumpled heap. The Doctor is able to defuse the bomb just before the drones lurch back into life again. Kadijk explains that they have delayed too long, and that the other bomb was set to go off at the same time. “The other bomb?” asks the Doctor.

As they flee the site, Cockaigne notices that the Doctor is looking at a corpse – it is Olivier, his head crudely severed from his shoulders, and rapidly decomposing. Kadijk: “And this is no time for a post mortem, Doctor.”
They all flee the site in a security shuttle.


Cockaigne’s POV, evening, getting darker. By the light of the full moon, they can see the excavation site laid out. The bombs go off and they see the site collapse into the ground from a distance.

Confrontation between the Doctor and Kadijk. He has the him at last, the HALF troublemaker! They Doctor dismisses all this – he explains about the cadaverous wolf husk they found in the Palace – the Jax drone wolves revert back to their human selves, but that was something different – the leader. And now they have crudely buried the remnants of the dead Jax race beneath the surface. Kadijk is not impressed – more HALF nonsense, putting animals ahead of human beings. He says their morality is screwed up, since they will kill people to save animals – and they will swing for the murders of the media crew, the bombings of the facilities… and now that the HALF HQ has been destroyed, and unfortunately one woman died in the attack on the HQ – all the rest were locked up. The Doctor asks about Sam – no, she’s under lock and key at the police station, says Kadijk. They haven’t yet identified the ringleader, Cockaigne.

Cockaigne says to Kadijk that his reputation has been built up – and rumours of his death have been just as greatly exaggerated. He disputes that they killed the media crew – they never put people in danger. Kadijk argues that putting out the comms satellite put people at danger in the hospital, emergency services, vital communications. It’s not as simple as “people” or “property”. It’s all collateral damage.

Cockaigne: this planet (he never calls it Kursaal) is the property of the Jax and the people, not Gray Corp. Kadijk is dismissive – the Jax who were killing people, and turning them into walking corpses. Cockaigne says that the Jax must be instinctive, they cannot help themselves – like any predator. The Doctor interjects – they’ve seen from the technoloy they just buried far underground that the Jax were a sentient race, and that Gray appears to have killed the last one. Cockaigne regreats that the dead archaeologists became drones. Kadijk also says that Gray was lucky – if his wounds from that final Jax had been any worse, he’d have gone the same way. The Doctor is horrified, as he thought that Gray had not been injured during the original attack. He survived the attack – but he was infected, so he could now be very dangerous indeed. Kadijk: what makes you think I’m not just going to throw you into jail? The Doctor: we’re the only people on the planet who have seen the Jax technology, and have any idea what to expect. “No deals, Doctor.” They have to confront Gray.

The vessel turns back towards Gray HQ, the moonlight glinting though the viewscreen.


Sam’s POV – night. Sam has got into the building using Amy’s security clearance in the data cube, and confronts Gray in his office. Preamble: She’s not used to the huge buildings, like mountains. The towers in London, the rolling hills – the same kind of difference she noticed when she went to France on a school trip, and the mountains always seemed close enough to touch, and got impossibly large as you approached them.

She accuses Gray of betrayal: he hired Amy for purely political reasons, but what she worked out for herself at HALF just before she died was that HALF receive their funding from the same bank route – in other words, Gray is also funding HALF to work against him. It seems that Gray wanted to destroy the Kursaal project from within.

(They can see across the dark surrounding countryside from Gray’s little eyrie in the sky, jutting out from the main building.) It’s a financial scam to bankrupt the project; it can then be picked up at a bargain price by another of Gray’s companies which would complete the work and make a huge profit unencumbered by its crippling previous debts. What’s more, he seems to know more about these dangerous werewolves than he’s letting on.

What did she hope to achieve by confronting him – a confession? (Sam nervously fiddles with the data cube that she’s carrying.) Gray is surprisingly open, talking at some length, spinning things out while waiting for something. He tries to engage Sam in conversation, suggesting that her heroine Amy would have tried to money out of her discoveries – share options in the purchasing company, perhaps? (All the time, Gray is toying with his talisman.)
Sam is about to leave, but Gray keeps her there by asking whether she’d like to hear more – how and why he arranged the deaths of the media crew. (Sam feels she can’t miss recording this bit.) The media crew were getting too interested in his financial arrangements in – and it was just convenient to blame HALF. He arranged for an explosion in the media crew’s comms network to prevent them filing some of their incriminating evidence. What’s more, he personally killed the security guards who had carried out that contract – they were the same ones guarding the hospital morgue.

Sam is baffled: weren’t the guards killed by the Jax, by those drones? Yes and no, says Gray, and the plan for Kursaal has changed. Sam finally attempts to leave, but Gray indicates that the lower floors are now protected by Jax drones – the former archaeology team members, plus the dead security guards – she can see them on Gray’s security monitors. And she won’t be wanting that incriminating data cube, will she? He snatches it and crushes it, scratching her arm. She throws some things which break. He complains about the mess: in the current financial climate on Kursaal, good help is so difficult to find. “Ah…”

Sam has been detained just long enough… The full moon finally appears from behind a cloud, visible through Gray’s fiftieth floor office window, which slides open at the touch of a button. This is the moment for which Gray has been delaying her: before Sam’s eyes, Gray metamorphoses into a full Jax wolf. (Because his human body survived the original Jax attack, the infection has metamorphosed him into a rational, thinking Jax creature and not just a drone. Gray has provided a strong new body for the Jax pack leader instead of the thousand-year-old one which it shrugged off as a husk-like cast at the dig site. Hard to convey this in the text, just bear it in mind!) In between groans, he can talk about how he thought he was ill in hospital, but then after his body relaxed under sedation and the infection took hold, he realised he needn’t fight it, he was being reborn, stronger… his destiny.

As the Gray/werewolf transformation completes (bone china white of his eyes, like a newborn child), he stands before her. “Grrr. I’m trying for terrifying, but I worry that it may just come across as petulant.” Gray howls and lunges for Sam – and she impales him on his letter opener, just beside the talisman around his neck. He howls. Deep in the building, the Jax drones howl back and start to make their way up to the fiftieth floor. Sam tries to judge the escape routes – the door, behind Gray? the personal lift (code locked)? the window?

Gray staggers, howls and flings himself at Sam.


Cockaigne’s POV – night. The Doctor, Kadijk, and Cockaigne arrive at the Gray HQ to hear the howling going on from the building. They are just in time to see a body hurled through a fiftieth floor window – recognisably Gray’s suite, as it sticks out of the building at a jaunty angle.


Kadijk’s POV – night. The Doctor, Kadijk, and two officers rush up to the office to find Sam in the room, with the Jax drones cowering in a corner. They are still infectious, but no longer seem motivated. Kadijk calls for zoo staff to come and take the drones into captivity.

The Doctor is astonished to see Sam – she should be locked up. “Thanks Doctor.” “No, I mean, I was told you’d been locked up.” Kadijk is furious – he harangues the absent Porlock, who was supposed to lock her up. “The number of prisoners and bodies that have gone missing, we may as well just provide an answering service saying Sorry, there’s noone here at the moment.” The Doctor takes Sam aside, and explains about the destruction of the Jax palace which is now buried again. Kadijk is a bit sneery about HALF’s failure to save the Jax or the Palace. Sam howls tearfully for the archaeological loss. This makes the Jax drones restless, and Kadijk and his policemen move warily, retreating until they calm down again. It is only later that Kadijk will realise that the Doctor and Sam sneaked out at this point.


Kadijk’s POV – night. Floodlights have been turned on to illuminate the front of the building. Kadijk is going to get into his vehicle (the one from the opening sequences), when he realises he hasn’t got his ident card. Where’s the Doctor? Damnit, get after him!

Cockaigne is examining the broken body on the street. He is surprised to find that it is the husk of a man-sized wolf, just like the one they found at the archaeological dig. Except, of course, that one was carrying a talisman, wasn’t it?


Sam’s POV – night. The Doctor throws Kadijk’s ident card on the driver seat, and then he and Sam wade the last few muddy steps to the Tardis. Sam has been very quiet during the whole journey, consciously not being her chatty self, he mind whirling, her arm itching.

The Doctor offers to take Sam somewhere. Sam wants to go back and prevent the destruction of the palace. The Doctor says he can’t take her to her own past, nor save Amy and the dig team from the original attack. Sam asks whether he can take her to her future instead. She scratches her arm – which itches. The Tardis doors are opened, and light streams out, brighter than the stars and the moon. As they go in, we find out Sam is carrying the Jax talisman – reflected in its silvery surface, she can see her eyes are green.

Chapter 11


Doctor’s POV/third person? – day. The Doctor and Sam are travelling in a packed short-range space shuttle. An unexpected power fault kills the shuttle pilot, and the Doctor and Sam rush forward to take the controls in an effort to save themselves and their fellow passengers from a fiery death on planetary reentry. They are all thrown around the cabin. Despite the Doctor’s best efforts, the shuttle burns up explosively in the planet’s atmosphere – we see the heat shield flaring up on the screen.

They’re OK, of course, because actually they’re participants in a theme park ride. (The Doctor is very cross, because he thinks the ride is rigged to fail no matter what you do – why isn’t there an escape pod, for example? Because you couldn’t fit all forty people on the ride into it, points out Sam reasonably.)


Doctor’s POV/third person? – day. Sam has persuaded the Doctor to take them fifteen years ahead to see the finished Kursaal and to sample some of the fun. To her apparent chagrin, the Doctor has taken her rather literally at her word. They are in the Adventure Rides part of Kursaal. The Doctor is aware that Sam seems unwell, but she shrugs it off – she wants to seem strong, though we see a few symptoms. “I can tell you’re unwell – I can see your eyes starting to glaze.” “It must be listening to you going on about my health.” When he persists, she says she didn’t sleep well – a nightmare. What about? Well, you can never remember properly when you wake up, can you? She thinks it was about her pet dog, which she had when she was a little girl, getting rabies!

The Doctor can provide a few details of what’s happened – he’s read it in the Tardis data banks. What does he know about her future, having read this Online History of the Everything Ever, she wonders – doesn’t cover everything, explains the Doctor, I could only afford the abridged version. (Full of useless information – example here of irrelevance against necessity?)

Kursaal was completed, and struggled through its first few years encumbered with huge development debts. Nevertheless, its spectacular combination of white-knuckle spacerides, themed leisure holidays and fake exotic locations slowly established it as the major attraction for Cronus and surrounding systems. (They’ve seen some of this since arriving, we are told in narrative.)

As the Doctor is explaining all this, they are crossing the road and a police vehicle explodes. Sam and the Doctor are thrown aside by the explosion.


Doctor’s POV/3rd person – day. The Doctor comes round, and finds he is being appraised by emergency services. Police are there too. He overhears snatches – a terror group working for a drugs cartel is responsible. He has his hand pressed against a scanner, to check for his recorded medical records. Sam is being loaded into an ambulance shuttle, destined for the hospital.

He is about to get into the ambulance, as he is uninjured, when the police stop him – he’s been recognised from his hand scan as one of HALF’s former “eco-warriors”, and he is hauled off to a police vehicle on suspicion – the Commander will want to talk to him. Sam’s ambulance leaves without him.

A familiar loud voice is haranguing his staff (in the middle distance): “It’ll take more than a few car bombs from these drug barons to put me off the case.” “Not a whole lot more,” mutters the Doctor’s police guard. “And besides, it isn’t him who has to walk home.” “I’d be more afraid of telling my girlfriend that I’d lost her car,” says another. “Ah, the Commander will see you now…”

The Doctor looks across to where they are indicating the Commander – he is surprised to see (from a distance) that, fifteen years later, a familiar figure is in charge of Kursaal’s security company. It is Kadijk

Suddenly the Doctor clutches at his chest – “my hearts!” and collapses.

Chapter 12


Police inspector’s POV – day. “Tell me again how it happened.” He is interviewing the ambulance paramedic. The paramedic expains that the patient (the Doctor) had been causing them no end of worry. He looked human, and so they took him to the human part of the hospital, but his heart appeared to be arhythmic, his temperature was low, and they were not sure he could survive. As they wheeled him into the hospital, under guard, the Doctor flatlined. So they shooed the police guards away and rushed him into the crash room, calling for support.

They got him in there, but just before the team arrived, the patient sat up and said: “I’m feeling a great deal better now, thank you.” The crash team crashed into the room. The chief medic, Brandt, was not very pleased at this, and harangued the paramedic – they have enough difficulties with the bomb outrages, the number of drug overdoses, the flaky communications systems run on a shoestring by Kursaal Corp. They are understaffed, under-resourced, and most of their junior staff are only allowed to live on the dark side of the moon in crummy conditions and have to travel huge distances in antiquated short-range shuttles to get to work. Brandt says can do without practical jokes, thank you. Then he swepts out, trailing his crash team with him like chicks following a fussy hen.

The paramedic immediately got another bleep to attend another call, and was about to turn back to give the patient a piece of his mind – but discovered that the patient had slipped out of the room.


Doctor’s POV, late afternoon. Sam seems to have vanished. The Doctor has posed as a concerned relative, but she is not where the reception people said she would be. He has found his way to a consultant’s office (Brandt’s), and tried to access the medical records. He tries to remember which bugs are current in computer systems about now. He decides he’ll have to hack in directly, and feels in his pockets for the sonic screwdriver – and finds Kadijk’s security card. The accesses will have been revoked, but the personal details will still be valid. He fiddles with it, and uses it to access the police files on the drug barons.

He find several files private to Kadijk. One is about the drug running in the new Kursaal, and the fight between several barons (hence the bombing campaign). Kursaal is seen as an ideal site – the report says that instead of having to spread their drugs all round the Cronus system, the barons can have their customers come to them – and take it with them. One of the drug barons is Zaterday, who spied on the set-up of security on the planet. They had to revamp their security system after they discovered this, and they have been suffering from a poor redesign ever since.

Another file reveals that the planet has been infested by the Jax drones, several of which escaped from captivity into the wild, though this fact is kept secret from the tourists. Kadijk is now secretly working with Cockaigne (of HALF) to hunt down the Jax drones. (Kadijk got Cockaigne’s cooperation by offering him remission on his prison sentence after his capture.)

The “Jax Palace” file is empty. The Doctor tries to recreate it, but comes up against a brick wall.There are several other files private to Cockaigne – the Doctor cannot access them. One says “Maximilian Gray – deceased”, other say “Doctor ? – whereabouts unknown” and “Samantha Jones – danger”.

The Doctor wants to know more, so he videophones Cockaigne from the office. Cockaigne thinks it is Kadijk, and is amazed to see the Doctor.

Cockaigne: is this a secure line?

Doctor: he accessed it via Kadijk’s personal details. Wants to find Sam, and Cockaigne has a file on her.

Cockaigne: why should I believe you.

Doctor: as proof, he explains what he’s seen in the files – that Gray Corp is under new management, headed by a group of hoodlum businessmen who want to make Kursaal the centre of a drugs processing and distribution network “I imagine a privately-owned planet is ideal, since it has financial and transport links to all parts of the Cronus system.”

Cockaigne: Quiet, the line may not be secure! The criminals who made money while the complex was being built are now integrated into the planet’s society as an informal parts of the various security forces.

Doctor: So if they’re turning Kursaal into the drugs centre of Cronus, arrest them.

Cockaigne: Kursaal apparently untouchable – people have invested too much in the project to risk doing anything which might cause it to fail. I shouldn’t be discussing this with you like this.

Doctor: You’re talking about several planetary governments.

(At this point, there’s a trace started on the computer system – and the Doctor realises that someone has spotted his illegal access, and is trying to hunt him down. Cockaigne also realises.)

Cockaigne: Refuses to say more over an open line. He will discuss it in person.

Doctor: suspects a trap – but he has to find Sam, she may be injured, or lost, or looking for him.

Cockaigne: All the more reason to meet in person – he knows where Sam will be going, but refuses to say more over an insecure line.

Doctor: How can the Doctor find him then?

Cockaigne: If he really has access to Kadijk’s files, then he’ll find the address there. Best be quick before the Doctor’s location is traced. (Cuts connection.)


Kadijk’s POV – late afternoon. The alert on his system came through fifteen minutes ago, and he’s been tracing the details. He recognises several key things from the access – an old system – and remembers who stole his card all that time ago. “So, you are back, Doctor. Show me where you are.” He identifies where – the hospital. His sidekick Bandros says that the daily costume parade is about to start, and many officers are staffing that. Kadijk says they are therefore near to the hospital – get across there. He looks at a computer-aged picture of the Doctor. “It’s been a long time, Doctor.” He wants this out on all security channels, if the satellite is still up. “Mobilise the troops. And I want him alive.”


Doctor’s POV – late afternoon. He is hunting through the files. New ones are popping up with intriguing titles. “Jax history”, “Gray Corp financial”, “Doctor and Samantha Jones”. The Doctor has to break into each of them, but they are empty. “Oh, very clever,” he says. “You’re trying to delay me.” He locates Cockaigne’s address, but the screen suddenly flashes up an emergency message – it’s the picture of himself, head and shoulders, aged by fifteen years. As the screen clears, the Doctor realises that someone else is tracing him – and from the computer next door in the secretary’s office. He goes through – to see the secretary has been horribly killed, and the screen is showing Cockaigne’s address file. The door is swinging closed.

The Doctor rushes out of the room – the police are coming towards him – and go right past him. He walks more nonchalantly towards the exit. As he goes out of the ward, he faces Kadijk – who is the only one to stop, as he has had a terrible shock. He recognises the Doctor – impossibly unaged.

Chapter 13


Kadijk’s POV – late afternoon. Kadijk issues a new description, and troops start coming up the stairs. The Doctor flees for the roof. Kadijk pursues the Doctor up to the roof, and the Doctor escapes via an old-fashioned emergency ladder which he drops down clankingly all the way to the ground.

Kadijk and Bandros meet in the grounds. Bandros asks how it’s possible that the Doctor has not aged. It could be something to do with the Jax infection, explains Kadijk. Or he could have had a face lift, says Bandros. After 15 years, he might need two or three, says Kadijk.
They see the Doctor at a distance, but the Doctor eludes them in the big carnival parade which is passing by the hospital (people getting into costumes ready to march through the main tourist areas). When they call for backup, the comms satellite starts playing up again – climate control isn’t working, and the weather is causing interference.
Kadijk dialogue: “What is wrong with this picture?”


Cockaigne’s POV – early evening. Cockaigne is now hiding in service quarters near the Theme Park. He’s been waiting fifteen years for this, and must tread cautiously. The doorbell rings, and bwhen he goes to it, it is kicked in by two Jax drones. Through the gap between them steps Sam!

Cockaigne despairs. How did she find him? Sam (not herself at all) explains that she spied on the Doctor getting information from the police database, and got here first.

She wants information from Cockaigne. Her two Jax drones loom over him. “Don’t worry, I won’t let them kill you. But I might let them hurt you a great deal.” She gets the two pieces of information she wants from him: that the Jax Palace was incorporated into a tacky Jax theme ride; and that the Jax which HALF have recaptured are at the Zoo. (He gets these details in hardcopy form – so much more difficult to hack than on a computer.)

“You’ve served your purpose,” she tells him, and she and the Jax drones loom over him again.

“You said you wouldn’t let them kill me,” he whimpers.

“That’s right,” says Sam. “I want to do that myself.”


Doctor’s POV – evening. The Doctor hears the scream as he enters the building, and rushes in – past a woman shouting up the stairs to keep the racket down. The lift is stuck at the top, so he launches himself up the stairs. The lift goes down the stairwell as he runs up. When he reaches the apartment, the door is smashed open, and Cockaigne is dead.

He scrutinises the blood-spattered documents – they reveal the location of the Jax Palace, hidden below the Theme Park. He realises the killer must have just left. He peers out of the apartment window, and sees Sam being escorted by two dark shapes – the killers must have kidnapped Sam! He can’t open the window, he smashes it – but they have gone around the corner.

Cockaigne’s neighbour has arrived, having heard the noise – “I asked you to keep the racket down.”. She sees the broken window, the scattered belongings, and the Doctor – then says “I’m calling the police.”

The Doctor races out and down the stairs, madly chasing to try and catch up with Sam. He sees them across the street, using Cockaigne’s identity card – it opens up a flyer, and they hop in. The Doctor watches it take off. He looks at the bunch of papers he picked up from Cockaigne’s apartment – they show where the Jax Palace is, and he knows that’s where they’ll be taking Sam.

From the apartment above, through the broken window, he hears the neighbour scream – she must have found the body. The Doctor studies his map – he has to reach the Jax ride, and by foot (or public transport).

Chapter 14


Kadijk’s POV – evening. When Kadijk heard a report that a man had been killed in the service areas, and his flyer stolen, he investigated it himself – knew it would be Cockaigne. He is distressed. “I always believed this planet had potential, even back in the days before the first major buildings went up, before weather control. You know, back at the start there were powerful ice storms here, right here where we’re standing. The meteorologists used to describe them in terms of velocity, direction, timing. We used to describe them by how long you’d survive outside the hut. ‘What is the weather today? Oh, about two minutes.’ That was back then. Before I got so involved. Before I got in too deep…”

The neighbour/cleaner comes in and interrupts, and Assistant Bandros dispenses with her. “What will I do now?” “Well, you’ll need to shampoo the carpet.”

To try and cheer Kadijk, Bandros reports news that the bust of the Zaterday drug operation – planned over the last six months – is a success, and Zaterday is in custody. He was surprised that Kadijk hadn’t wanted to be in on it. He sees Kadijk is preoccupiedBandros also says (as though it’s a trivial matter) that a there’s been a break-in at the zoo; the stores have been broken into, and the wolves have escaped. Kadijk is unexpectedly violent – smashing a piece of furniture. Anger bloomed in him like a flower, tended and watered. He despairs: “it’s starting.” Out to the waiting car.


Bandros wants to know more – Kadijk is looking a bit crushed. He explains things to Bandros in a resigned air. We learn that Kadijk knows a lot about the Jax, and he knows Sam is infected.

He shows Bandros previously unreleased evidence from fifteen years ago: the pathologist recognised the husk of Gray’s body on the pavement outside Gray HQ, and when they checked the security camera in Gray’s office they discovered that Sam had not defeated Gray, she had been injured and possessed by him! So ironically, Kadijk is actually trying to capture the Doctor to save him from Sam.

Bandros wants to know why this evidence hasn’t been brought forward sooner. Kadijk says it was suppressed, so as not to scare off investors and tourists. The mindless Jax drones, all finally metamorphosed into wolves, were rounded up and put into the zoo complex, and Sam and the Doctor seemed to have vanished into thin air, so the danger seemed to have passed – and he had secretly seconded Cockaigne to keep an eye on the Jax in case the situation changed.

Bandros listens, and doesn’t interrupt. Kadijk recognises the technique, but doesn’t care now. When the new owners of Gray Corp had offered Kadijk the security job, and substantial share interest in Kursaal, he decided it was in his interests to play along – and not to depress the stock and lose everything in a Corporate takeover – whether legitimate or drug-based.

Now, he’s realised the birds are coming home to roost. (Or the wolf is returning to its lair?) He thinks that people like himself, who hide the truth in the name of authority, are just as bad as those like Zaterday and the drug runners, who also work illegally within the system for their own ends.

A call comes in, and says they have traced Cockaigne’s flyer – it is at the Jax ride.<Must come up with a suitably naff title for this ride.> Kadijk says that he wants his official police shuttle prepared. Bandros says they can get there faster in this police flyer. Kadijk insists on going back to the station for his own.


Doctor’s POV – evening. The Doctor has been watching the Jax ride, and watches a crowd of customers scared away by a snarling half-woman, half-wolf – it is the dead secretary from the hospital! Then he sees Sam entering the Jax ride with two Jax half-wolf drones, who are discarding the remnants of their tattered clothing. He follows her in, and pulls her aside from them – trying to rescue her by dragging her away.

But a shot from behind them takes her in the shoulder, and throws her down on the ground. She snarls up in a bestial fashion at the Doctor – who backs away into Kadijk and Bandros. Kadijk and Bandros fire shots at the two wolf-men. Kadijk is about to shoot Sam again, but the Doctor knocks his gun aside – and Sam flees into the tunnels, pursued by the wolf-men.

Kadijk explains that they arrived in his police shuttle. Communications are failing underground, or is it the satellite? So Kadijk sends Bandros back – to use the shuttle to get reinforcements and to evacuate the area. Bandros leaves.

Kadijk explains to the Doctor what has happened – and confesses that he and Cockaigne had been unable to properly contain all the Jax drones left behind after Gray’s death and Sam’s disappearance with the Doctor fifteen years ago. Whenever new ones turn up, they put them in the zoo – at the last count, there were more than sixty. (Too difficult to explain that, when you kill them, they revert back into human beings again. But it’s easier than explaining the deaths of people who go missing.) The Doctor speculates that some of the Jax drones infected visitors to Kursaal, spreading their infection in a limited, mindless way around the galaxy – and perhaps this is where the werewolf legends of so many worlds arise. Now however there is a more profound danger: Sam is metamorphosing into the Jax leader, and may unleash a more dangerous, sentient Jax lifeform on the Cronus system. They try to track her.


Bandros’ POV – night. Bandros is about to leave the ride when he sees a pack of wolves scurrying towards the ride. He backs away, and to avoid them he hops into one of the ride carriages to hide. He fumbles for his communicator, to call for the reinforcements as the wolves move past. But he realises, too late, that the previous occupants have been eaten – and that there’s a wolf in the carriage behind him.


Kadijk’s POV – night. Kadijk and the Doctor are moving further into the Jax ride when the Jax wolves rush past them in a pack.

In a spooky sequence in which they never quite know which are models/actors in the ride, and which are the real Jax drones, they follow them. Eventually, they see the wolves scrabbling in the dirt while Sam watches – and the entrance to the Jax Palace is revealed.

The Doctor and Kadijk are suddenly surrounded by Jax drones . “Things are getting ugly.” “These things started out ugly.” They are shuffled forwards into Sam’s presence. She holds back the wolves – don’t kill these two, bring them in.


Kadijk’s POV – night. Sam talks, in a mockery of confidentiality, to the Doctor and Kadijk. The Jax wolf-drones are willing, but not very bright. But good help is so difficult to get these days, isn’t it, she says. She freed the wolves from the zoo, and others are slowly making their way towards her as the full moon approaches this evening. They’ve travelled a long way, and they’re hungry, but she has other plans for the Doctor and Kadijk than to make them into Pedigree Chunks.

She is about to be reborn as the Jax leader using dormant Jax technology in the Jax Palace, which is why she has brought them here. The Doctor: How does she know all this? Sam: She doesn’t know it, she just understands it – something she knows from her dreams, a race instinct bone-deep. She knows too that the Jax are not dead – the dormant last-generation Jax they have merely been hibernating for over a thousand years below the surface. Kursaal will provide new hosts and drones, visitors from all over the Cronus system – instead of travelling all over the system themselves, people from all over Cronus will come to them! The Doctor and Kadijk can be the first.

Chapter 15

60. (Still) THE JAX PALACE

Kadijk’s POV – night. Sam activates a device which will start to revive the dormant Jax. It all seems to come instinctively, she says – if only learning things at school had been that easy! The moon will be coming up, shining through the fakery of the Jax ride, bringing the moment when Sam will start to metamorphose into a fully-fledged Jax – and she activates a control which opens the “skylight” to the surface.

Unfortunately, the “skylight” to the moon has been buried by all the excavation and building work, and she is disoriented by a rush of earth from it – it piles up by the entrance, and the Doctor and Kadijk are able to escape as the Jax are temporarily blocked in.


Kadijk’s POV – night. The Doctor and Kadijk can hear Sam’s screams of bestial rage from inside.Kadijk wants to leave her there, but the Doctor insists on getting her out: she didn’t die when Gray attacked her, so – unlike the animated Jax drone-corpses – her mind and body can still be helped to fight off the infection, so long as she is not exposed to moonlight. No moonlight no metamorphosis yet.

They have scurried around a corner, near to where the ride-track still carries empty carriages. The Doctor is worrying about how to get Sam out of the palace, but Kadijk spots a carriage coming towards them with someone in it. And sees that it’s the mutilated remains of Bandros.

Kadijk will have none of this “saving Sam” routine, and explains to the Doctor that he will use his contingency plan. He knows about this place from 15 years ago – and that the huge, long-buried second excavation bomb is still in the undergound bore hole. And he plans to activate it from his shuttle, which (since Bandros never reached it) will still be parked outside.

The Doctor wants to stop him, but Kadijk won’t listen. At least clear the area, begs the Doctor. No communications down here, says Kadijk. The Doctor takes Kadijk’s communicator, and lashes it up with his sonic screwdriver to create the kind of communicator that Gray and Amy used in the opening. Using this, he patches a warning message to the Kursaal emergency services – pretending to be his notorious alter ego, the HALF eco-terrorist, and threatening to bomb the Jax ride, so that the emergency services will immediately evacuate the public and staff from the vicinity.

They hear a scrabbling from the Jax palace nearby, and run for it. But they get penned in by more Jax drones arriving through the ride. They hide out for fifteen minutes, eventually making their way out of the ride – which has been evacuated, along with much of the rest of the park. The sky is cloudy – no moon visible.

A couple of wolves are prowling round the ship, but the Doctor and Kadijk (who is out of ammunition) sneak in and slam the door after a quick sprint.


Kadijk’s POV – night. Kadijk and the Doctor enter the shuttle, and Kadijk zooms the ship off directly up to get away from the bomb area – toasting the wolves as he does so. The Doctor attempts to defuse the bomb activation device – he wants to save Sam. Kadijk argues that the Jax have had their time – they came to an evolutionary dead end, but now they would spread and consume the whole Cronus system, and beyond, if they came back from the dead. Kadijk doesn’t give the Doctor chance to argue further – he breaks his fingers, knocks him aside, and the Doctor sprawls unconscious on the floor.

Kadijk returns to his steering, but Sam springs in from another part of the ship. Kadijk says she’s defeated – no moon, and soon no Palace. But the clouds part behind his head on the viewscreen, and Sam stares at it beatifically. “No,” shouts Kadijk, turning to see. Sam attacks Kadijk at the controls before he can hit the activation button, and he falls into the controls which explode in a shower of sparks.


Doctor’s POV – night. He sees what is happening. Sam is standing before the screen, puzzled. He says: “It’s a view screen, a projection.It’s not direct light from the moon.” Sam snarls round at him. When she leaps for him, he ducks and she falls into the escape pod, which he locks shut from the outside. He peers in – she is dazed in the corner. Then he checks the controls – the shuttle is racing up into the lower atmosphere.

As in the fairground ride earlier (scene 43?), the Doctor has to struggle to control the ship’s reentry – his broken fingers causing great pain. At the last minute, he locks the controls and abandons ship via the escape pod .


Doctor’s POV – the ship goes down in a fiery ball into the remains of the Jax Palace ride, setting off the excavation bomb which wipes out the entire Jax underground complex in an explosion which rocks the escape pod.

There’s a tense moment in the escape pod as the Doctor confronts the Jax-Sam… until Sam comes round from her daze, her link to the Jax technology and the rest of the dormant Jax race finally cut off.

Chapter 16


Sam’s POV – day. A month later, the Doctor and Sam take a final ride on a Kursaal event, a more relaxing and leisurely river cruise now that Sam has properly recovered from the infection. Then as night starts to fall, and the full moon becomes visible, they decide to go back to the Tardis and leave.


Unknown observer’s POV – day. The Doctor and Sam enter the Tardis and it dematerialised. The queue which had formed around it disperses, disgruntled. A couple argue about where they should go next. A straggler at the end of the queue looks at his Kursaal Guide myopically. From the darkness, the observer follows him. All the observer understands is an instinct to survive, and hunger – always hunger. He doesn’t know where he wants to be – that feeling has long gone – and he doesn’t even know that he was once called… Cockaigne! Licking its thin lips, the wolf moves swiftly after the tourist…

The End

© Peter Anghelides 1996, 1998, 2009

Kursaal: Revisions

Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 5:30 pm

KursaalI submitted my proposal for Kursaal to BBC Books in August 1996. Commissioning editor Nuala Buffini wrote back to me in late September to say that she liked it—but had some reservations about the way the story “split” in the middle.

I e-mailed her in early October with suggestions about how this could be addressed in a number of ways. She subsequently sent this on to her successor, Steve Cole—who wasn’t so worried about the split in the middle.

Here’s the text of my e-mail to Nuala, so you can see how I might have revised Kursaal had the need arisen.

DATE: 10-02-96 TIME: 23:51

SUBJECT: Re: Kursaal: DW novel proposal

Hello Nuala.

Thank you for your encouraging letter and kind words about my proposal, “Kursaal” I understand your reservations about the split between Part One and Part Two. Originally, I wrote it as one long narrative, but then decided to emphasise that it had two parts. The first is darker, more exploratory, with the gloomy and somber building site setting the tone for scenes and characterization. The second part is brighter, faster-paced, more action-oriented—which reflects the theme park setting and the (literal) race towards the climactic scene.

I had hoped to use the time gap to counterpoint the changes between the two eras: the aspirations of the first are not fully realized in the second (despite its brash appearance). Kadijk and HALF are thrown together in ways they could not have anticipated. And, ironically, the one character who should not have changed (she is the same age in both) is Amy, yet she is revealed to have changed the most—and changed literally. Only the Doctor, a catalyst for much of what happens, seems unaffected.

The scene intended to bring this out was the part 2 confrontation between Kadijk and the Doctor. This is not the stand-off and resolution that the reader expects, but the revelation that Amy was the villain al aong and the start of the narrative gallop to the finale.

On the assumption that can’t persuade you, however, here are a couple of options for playing down (mabe removing) the distincion between the two parts. I may have some further thoughts over the weekend, but do you have a preference so far?

1. Remove the Time Travel

Saturnia Regna is supposed to be a big lace, s we could have half of it completed and open for business while the other half is being built and looking like a building site.

(a) Just link the two parts.

The Doctor and Amy go off to see the theme park after the confrontation with Gray. We’d need to have two jax sites: the first is where Amy’s expedition was first attacked (and Gray infected), and the second is the Jax Palace in the theme park.

(b) Interweave scenes in the building site and the completed theme park.

Start with the Doctor in the theme park, and involved in an accident at the Jax ride (where Gray has become infected). The medical facilities are on the moon, so the Doctor accompanies Gray there. Here he meets up with Amy (caught in the crossfire which killed the media crew who were filming the building work on the other side of the planet). This gets the Doctor and Amy back to the building site, and much of the first part of the book. HALF’s hideout is in the theme park, so there’s a link throughout the book between the key scenes of old-part-one and those of old-part-two.

After the Amy/Gray confrontation of old-part-one, she is hospitalized (shock? Apparently-minor injuries?). The Doctor thinks Kadijk still wants to imprison him, and flees the scene—trying to get back to his Tardis in the theme park. Kadijk has discovered that Amy is infected, and that she’s escaped from the moon-hospital, so he pursues the Doctor to get to him before she does. And so into old-part-two.

GOOD POINTS: combines the two parts, and retains some of the build-up. Avoids using the tardis (it need never actually appear in the book). No substantial new characters and subplots. Starts and ends in the same location and time period.

DISADVANTAGES: not clear about the link between Amy and the Doctor in new-second-part (why does she need to tag along with the Doctor? Why does Kadijk need to chase him?). Not enough time for the drones to build to a substantial number for the final confrontation? How does the excavation bomb get into the Jax Palace? (using the Jax equipment to destroy the Palace might be a bit deus ex machina.) And there could be quite a lot of implausible planet-hopping between the finished and unfinished sections.

2. Make the two parts still more distinct, and split them completely into two novels with different authors.

Each novel would need further subplots: the first could take ray’s financial finagling further, and extend the “murder mystery” elements. He second could play up the drug cartel aspects, with the fight between rival gangs obstructing the pursuit of the Jax drones.

GOOD POINTS: two novels which stand alone, but which can be read together with benefit. Several TV stories do this without becoming a complex Continuity Fest like, say, “The Five Doctors”. You could have the seventh Doctor (a darker characterization) meet Amy in the first novel, and leaving the planet with her. Then the eighth Doctor could collect her from wherever his predecessor left her (Amy “persuades” him to return her to Kursaal).

Or you could introduce Amy as an eighth-Doctor companion for several novels (he seems to like bright professional women), and then kill her off (shock horror) in the second werewolf novel. The TV series did something similar in the fifth Doctor stories “Kinda” and “Snakedance”, but didn’t kill off the companion, tegan.

DISADVANTAGES: a much more substantial rewrite. You’ve said you’re not keen on linked novels.

Well, those are just a handful of thoughts off the top of my head this afternoon. If you have a preference, or other thoughts/suggestions, do please drop me an e-mail. I’ll revise the proposal (in whatever form) next week.

Thanks again for your interest. I understand that recently you’ve taken charge of other BBC-DW releases, such as videos—so good luck with that, too.

Best wishes,

Peter Anghelides

© Peter Anghelides 1996, 1998, 2009

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at