.

Iain McLaughlin

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No Place Like Home

Big Finish audio play

Whilst showing his latest companion, Erimem, around her new home, the Doctor discovers that the TARDIS seems remarkably keen to be as unhelpful as possible. Almost as if it wants rid of its occupants...

written by Iain McLaughlin
directed by Gary Russell

Notes

A one episode story set entirely within the TARDIS, this CD was given away with DWM 326 in January 2003.

There's no honour in praising your own work, I know, but I really like this little story. 

I knew it was coming out in January of 2003, and so could be the first new story anyone listened to in the 40th anniversary years, That meant I wanted it to be something that touched the past of the show. Thankfully, Gary Russell's commission came with a shopping list:
  • The Doctor
  • Erimem
  • No Peri
  • One other performer
  • Something to do with DWM
  • Maybe something set inside the TARDIS

So, I kind of knew the vibe I wanted, and I had Gary's list of things. The big thing with a list that comes with a commission is that you can either view it as something that's limiting your creativity or take it as a positive thing that sparks ideas in your head. I show a cynical and jaded face to the world - because a) I'm Scottish and b) it gets a laugh but I'm actually very positive in outlook. As a writer I think I need to be. Writers have to be positive to go chasing work and that should carry over into the work we do write - just don't expect me to stop appearing cynical and jaded. It's my schtick. It's what I do.

So what did I want in the story? I wanted something to do with the show's past. I wanted a lot of character stuff for the Doctor and Erimem. I wanted the Doctor to have fun. Peter Davison is a really talented comedy actor but his era of Doctor Who on TV didn't let that shine. So I wanted some laughs

But what about the comics? DWM's Davison-era comic strips were epic things. The Tides of Time, The Stockbridge Terror, Stars Fell on Stockbridge... they were all vast stories told on a grand scale. I had thirty minutes to tell a story... so I was going to struggle to build anything on that scale. So... what if I went in the other direction? What if I made the threat very small but gave it ideas above its station? What would be small? And what would fit in with the Fifth Doctor and Erimem? Well, Erimem had a cat... so, maybe a mouse... a megalomaniac mouse... that would require treatment on the voice so I was able to maybe have two characters instead of just one... and I still didn't have anything tying to the DWM comics. What character from the comic strips could work? The answer was obvious - Shayde stood out as the obvious choice. Once I had all of that... the story fell into place pretty well.

I had a lot of nods to the past in the script. At one point I even had silent cameos from the Second Doctor and Jamie but it didn't quite work and it was really there because I wanted to write for Patrick Troughton's Doctor, even if he was silent.

I wasn't at the recording of this story but I'm told that it was recorded almost as live, stopping only if there was a problem or someone really needed a retake. I was told it was recorded in about three quarters of an hour. If that's accurate then I am in awe of director Gary Russell and the cast, who all gave terrific performances. I'd love to have written lots more with just the Doctor and Erimem. There's a reason Peter Davison has been on TV constantly for 40 years - he's just really, really good at his job. He's a terrific actor. As for Caroline Morris... she absolutely nailed Erimem from the first scene she recorded... and they worked really well together. The scene they had together in The Eye of the Scorpion when they sat around the camp fire telling stories... they played it beautifully. Good actors take words off the page and make it so much better. I was lucky to get this cast.

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