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the writers

Friday 5th July 2002

David Clarke and Ashley Nealfuller concocted this tale over many years. Like topsy the story grew and with final plot turns has had a necessary complexity (a bit like that sentence). The idea is that it can be enjoyed on several levels. Firstly it can be seen as a good old-fashioned romp - some switching through historical periods followed by a good ol' shoot 'em up with the daleks. Secondly we hope that people can spot the changing roles of the cast and think why they are behaving as they do, and thirdly we hope people can work out the reasons for the various events and the motivations accordingly. They'll also notice the changing hair of some of the cast as they've aged during the production - this being an integral part of the storyline .... luckily.

We hope that we can do justice to the story in terms of the acting (which is always difficult for an amateur effort such as this). We also hope that the denouement works - i.e. we are worried that we end up with a cop-out or trite ending. The skill will be in the filming and editing of the final episodes - if we tell the tale properly there then we get the impact we want at the end.

Even if you already know that the Halfway Doctor meets his future self and regenerates into the Third Doctor - knowing this will not detract from the enjoyment of the story we hope - you cannot infer our Doctor's success or failure in his endeavours from knowing he will regenerate at the end.

This is the first writing partnership between Ashley and David - if Devious hadn't taken quite so long to produce then who can say whether there would be more output from them. As always there are script revisions usually just before filming commences on a scene - often whole sections are rewritten to keep the material fresh.

photograph from the Brighton Evening Argus at the time of the Comic Relief video release

The story evolved over a few years from it's original premise. We were certain from the start it would concern the two-and-a-halfth Doctor, since Tony Garner, our actor, seemed to look so much like a cross between the two actors who played nos 2 and 3. We were fascinated by the idea of the Doctor being taken out of time midway through a regeneration - being an incomplete incarnation he would find everything new - new situations, new companions, a new history.

It was always intended that Tony's Doctor would meet his intended future self - i.e the Third Doctor. Technically the last time he acted as The Doctor on camera Jon was able to create for the first time the moments before he first emerges from the tardis at the start of the BBC's Spearhead from Space, after a unique regeneration scene.

As the project has taken us many years, chiefly because we've all had other lives away from the occasional weekend filming sessions, we've had to write around a few strange things to enable the story to progress. Noticing we were all ageing at different rates, we decided to play up the time-ripple line to the tale. As our players (the Doctor and his companions, and the "Rescue Party") get closer to the centre of the scientific complex with its mysterious time weapon, they all feel the effects of the device.

Similarly, we've had changes of personnel. At the outset, the main trio in the project were Ashley, David and Barry. After a year or two, Steve came in after Barry had decided we'd all still be doing this years later! How right he was. However, we're grateful for his help and expertise over the start of the project, especially the "Imberhorne" sessions where we simulated the Scottish Highlands right here in gentle, undulating Sussex. Blimey those fake mountains were heavy!

We've also had to change our cast. Whilst Lynette had only turned up for one day's filming, she was soon drafted in as an assistant, whilst Karl had to leave us after the Imberhorne session, and so a rewrite led to us drafting in Anthony to play Phillip, whilst Karl's character was renamed Luxulyan, and left behind in the Highlands. And yes, before you all mention it, Ashley likes to name characters after Scottish islands, or Cornish villages. If anyone tells us via email where Imberhorne is then they can feel very clever and smug - for we don't have enough spare funds for prizes!!!