|Breaking Bubbles and Other Stories
(LM Myles, Mark Ravenhill, Una McCormack & Nev Fountain)
The Sixth Doctor returns in July 2014, accompanied by Nicola Bryant as Peri, for an anthology release of four one-episode stories.
'The theme for this anthology is stories about perception', script editor Jonathan Morris has revealed, 'using unusual perspectives and fractured narratives, and features three writers new to Doctor Who on audio'.
The four stories are:
|"Breaking Bubbles" by LM Myles
|"Of Chaos Time The" by Mark Ravenhill
|"An Eye for Murder" by Una McCormack
|"The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time" by Nev Fountain
Directed by Nicholas Briggs these stories were recorded on the 9th and 10th January 2014.
The title story "Breaking Bubbles" is by LM Myles, co-editor of the Hugo-nominated book Chicks Unravel Time. "Breaking Bubbles" is a story about a deposed empress held captive in a prison. The Doctor and Peri find themselves in the palatial gardens of the deposed Empress Safira Valtris where nothing is ever quite what it seems. 'I wanted it to feel like a tiny corner of a space opera. Like one standalone chapter of a much bigger universe, without fitting it in anywhere specific'.
'I wanted to give Peri some good moments because I love what Nicola Bryant's done with her on audio and I felt that on television she often didn't get a chance to show off very much'. The standout character, however, is deposed empress Safira... 'She's basically Napoleon in space', LM Myles has revealed. 'The story started off in my head as being a space version of Napoleon's escape from Elba'.
"Of Chaos Time The" is the Doctor Who debut of playwright Mark Ravenhill. 'Jonathan offered me three different ideas, and one of them was a time clinic where everyone's suffering from a different kind of time disorder. I thought people would be suffering from illnesses that would mess up their chronology, and I thought the most interesting story would be to put The Doctor at the centre of that, suffering from the chronological sickness. If we see it from The Doctor's point of view, the events are going to be jumbled, and he's got to piece together a sense of what's happening. Unusually, the story lets us hear The Doctor's thoughts...'.
Highly-regarded playwright Mark Ravenhill has contributed "Of Chaos Time The", a story in which The Doctor becomes unstuck in his own time stream and has to piece together the sequence of events as they occur in a discontinuous jumble. Cast adrift in his own chronology, The Doctor must avert the consequences of a catastrophic experiment in using time as a weapon of war.
'Jonathan offered me three different ideas', Mark Ravenhill has revealed, 'and one of them was a time clinic where everyone's suffering from a different kind of time disorder. I thought people would be suffering from illnesses that would mess up their chronology, and I thought the most interesting story would be to put The Doctor at the centre of that, suffering from the chronological sickness. If we see it from The Doctor's point of view, the events are going to be jumbled, and he's got to piece together a sense of what's happening'.
Unusually, the story lets us hear The Doctor's thoughts. 'It's a slightly tricky one. There's always a danger of actually . undermining The Doctor if you can get inside his head - part of his status as hero, maybe, is that we don't know what he's thinking. But as it's all seen from his point of view, and he hasn't got anyone else going through the same experience as him, he has to sometimes question himself, so I just wanted to do a bit of that without going too much into it'.
New York Times bestselling author Una McCormack (who has written several Blake's 7 adventures for Big Finish Productions and a bestselling Star Trek novel) has written a Dorothy L Sayers-styled murder-mystery set in a women's college in the 1930s called "An Eye For Murder".
The year is 1939, and a case of poison pen letters at St Ursula's College threatens to change the course of the Second World War. Fortunately thriller writer Miss Sarah Perry is on hand to investigate...
"An Eye for Murder" twists the usual Doctor/companion dynamic. 'Mine's a pretty straightforward adventure story cos I'm a beginning-middle-and-end kind of girl, so I played more with: What if you turned up at a place and people just ignored The Doctor, and focused on Peri? The kind of place that would be a women's college. Peri would rock up, they'd mistake her for a previous student, and then look at The Doctor and go "Who the hell is he? He must be her secretary or something!". The character is so large, and so bombastic, and so full of himself, that to put him in a situation where someone goes "Yeah, we're all doctors" just immediately undercuts him. You imagine him just huffing; he'd be really annoyed about it! So you've immediately got that fun'.
Finally this collection closes with Nev Fountain's "The Curious Incident of The Doctor in the Night-Time", a very touching story told from the point of view of a teenage boy on the autistic spectrum, involving homicidal garden gnomes.
Michael is a young boy who likes to solve mysteries, such as the mystery of the missing gnome, the mystery of the absent father, and the mystery of the strange man in yellow trousers at the bottom of the garden.
As revealed by Nev Fountain, 'we follow an autistic boy as he investigates a mystery, with us knowing more about the mystery than the boy, because he has autism and he doesn't make connections like we do. In "The Curious Incident of the Doctor", it is an autistic boy seeing connections which don't necessarily scan, because it's through his perception. His understanding is different from ours, and we get different things out of the story than he does. I wanted him to be the engine of the plot. I wanted a series of events to come into being caused by Michael. I wanted to make it like the story started with him, and the alien stuff was just swirling around him - The Doctor's quite peripheral, and the gnomes are a bit peripheral'. Why alien garden gnomes? 'They're quite sinister. I did have a line in there somewhere to hint that they're distant cousins of the Weeping Angels, but that didn't quite fit...'.
These stories star: Jemma Churchill, Andy Secombe, Allison McKenzie, Janet Henfrey, Jessica Knappett, Paul Panting, Anjella Mackintosh, Phil Mulryne, Johnny Gibbon and Toby Fountain.
- Featuring the Sixth
Doctor and Peri.
- Number of Episodes – "Breaking Bubbles": 1, "Of Chaos Time The": 1, "An Eye for Murder": 1 and "The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time": 1
- Cover Length: 120 minutes
- Story Lengths: "Breaking Bubbles": 28'31", "Of Chaos Time The": 26'20", "An Eye for Murder": 31'13", "The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time": 29'12"
- Total Length: 115'16"
- Also features 35 minutes of trailers, music
and special behind-the-scenes interviews with
cast and producers.
- Cover Illustration: Anthony Lamb
- Recorded: 9th and 10th January 2014
- Recording Location: Moat Studios
- Released: July 2014
- ISBN: 978-1-78178-329-0
On the Back Cover:
Breaking Bubbles by LM Myles
The Doctor and Peri find themselves in the palatial gardens of the deposed Empress Safira Valtris where nothing is ever quite what it seems.
Of Chaos Time The by Mark Ravenhill
Cast adrift in his own chronology, the Doctor must avert the consequences of a catastrophic experiment in using time as a weapon of war.
An Eye For Murder by Una McCormack
The year is 1939, and a case of poison pen letters at St Ursula’s College threatens to change the course of the Second World War. Fortunately thriller writer Miss Sarah Perry is on hand to investigate...
The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time by Nev Fountain
Michael is a young boy who likes to solve mysteries, such as the mystery of the extra gnome, the mystery of the absent father, and the mystery of the strange man in yellow trousers at the bottom of the garden.
|On the Inside Cover:
Everything is more awesome in space. Which is why I might, on occasion, get a smidgen tetchy at those who mock the notion of 'space medicine'. It's medicine, but more awesome! Sadly, this story doesn't have any space medicine in it. There is, however, a space empress, space ship, space politics... various space-y type things. "Wouldn't Napoleon's escape from Elba have been so much cooler if it had been in space?" I thought, shortly before writing this story. Of course it would. Breaking Bubbles is nothing like that escape, but I am indebted both to the machinations of Bonaparte and the intrinsically neat nature of space for inspiration.
Nowadays, I spend my life working on scripts. But the first script I ever saw was in 1973 when I used my pocket money to buy The Making of Doctor Who. I was fascinated to learn that I saw on television - the Doctor and Jo being chased by a Sea Devil - began with words, a script, a writer. For the first time I saw character names, dialogue, descriptions of action and the workings of a director to make a camera script. Amazing. And it was just as thrilling writing this story. To think that your words are actually going to be spoken by the Doctor himself is a dream come true.
MARK RAVEN HILL
Reversing the familiar initial encounter between Doctor and companion and guest characters seemed a fun way of filling the brief of different perceptions of the same reality. But where would Peri come to the fore while the Doctor got pushed aside? In an all-female environment, of course.
This took me to Dorothy L Sayers' detective novel, Gaudy Night, set in an Oxford women's college. I switched to Cambridge (don't want to be too obvious), and pushed the date slightly on to 1939 and Europe on the brink of war (the differing ideologies of communism and fascism provide the conflict propelling the story). Peri became my Harriet Vane, and the Doctor became - well, not Lord Peter Wimsey, not exactly, but a good companion, I think.
The narrative hinges on Chamberlain's declaration of war, when the world changed in a blink. And there's an alien eye. You can't go wrong with an alien eye.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is a novel by Mark Haddon about a boy who is an outsider because he suffers from high functioning autism. This condition is characterised by an obsessive behaviour and a fixation on certain narrow topics.
I saw the play, and was wowed by Johnny Gibbon's performance as the main character. And I didn't get to the interval before I started thinking about how interesting a boy like that would be if he met Doctor Who.
Cue flashing sign saying 'irony'.
I'm delighted that I got a chance to write this story, because it's very personal to me. But the bit I'm most delighted with is Big Finish getting Johnny Gibbon to play Michael. This journey started and ended with me watching him do a heart-breaking performance of a boy who never has a chance of completely growing up. A bit like the chap in the shed with the yellow trousers.
There goes that 'irony' sign again.
| Full Cast List:
|Safira Valtris/Dr Maria Backhouse
|Tondra/Dr Joan Dalton
|Dr Ruth Horwitz
The Production Team:
|LM Myles, Mark Ravenhill, Una McCormack & Nev Fountain
|Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery