Whilst Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor has become must see television on Saturday evenings a series of audio adventures have also been continuing this year. Written by George Mann and Cavan Scott, the ‘Lost’ series follows The Doctor prior to ‘The Pilot’ and his meeting with Bill.
Doctor Who – The Lost Angel is the first in new series of Doctor Who audio books written by George Mann and Cavan Scott and starring the Twelfth Doctor as portrayed by Peter Capaldi. Rickman, a sleepy upstate New York town where nothing happens. But the Doctor has found something that shouldn’t be – a timey-wimey anomaly that he is following through the town with the help of his trusty sonic screwdriver. While in search of the source of the disruption, he encounters reporter and photojournalist Alex Yow, her brother Brandon, and a familiar old enemy – a Weeping Angel. But what does have to do with Charles Haughton’s new mall and Jane’s New Beginnings charity?
You’ll just have to listen to this new tale to find out.
BlogtorWho: This is the first audio book in a new series with the Twelfth Doctor and two new companions. What can you tell us about the Lost Angel?
George Mann: Well, it’s set in the period when the Doctor’s alone – Clara has gone, and he hasn’t yet met Bill. So for this series Cav and I felt it would be interesting to give him some new, temporary companions – people whose lives are touched by the Doctor passing through, but in turn, help him when he’s in need of that outside, human perspective. The Doctor always works best when he’s got someone to reflect back to him, I think. Also, we haven’t seen a brother and sister team on the TARDIS since Gillian and John! So this story sets up the loose arc for the series, as well as introducing Alex and Brandon. And, of course, we do something a bit different with a Weeping Angel…
BlogtorWho: The description of the Weeping Angels was very compelling. With brilliant writing and Kerry Shale’s dictation the monster completely worked. But what made you pick such a visual monster for an audio book?
George Mann: We wanted to open the series with an iconic returning monster, but felt we had to have a good idea to make it work. We didn’t want it to be a cameo or a story that just retread old ground. When we hit upon the idea of really exploring the notion of the ‘lonely assassin’, having someone enslave a Weeping Angel and use it to carry out targeted attacks – we felt we had that angle, and the story pretty much unlocked from there.
Cavan Scott: Also, being prose, we thought this was a great opportunity to get inside an Angel’s head for once…
BlogtorWho: One nit-pick. I believe I heard Jane – An American Character – refer to the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver as Torch not the American flashlight.
George Mann: I think you might have caught us out there!
Cavan Scott: Perhaps she worked in London for a few years and picked up the lingo?
George Mann: That could be it! But in all seriousness, the Doctor is evolving. He is now a Worldwide character that appeals to a larger audience. He has a set of American companions in this series. How do you keep the “Britishness” of this alien from Gallifrey while appealing to the world audience? I think a large part of his appeal is his innate ‘Britishness’, and it’s fun to juxtapose that with other cultures, be they alien or closer to home. But with Brandon and Alex we really wanted to bring in some companions with a different cultural heritage and background.
BlogtorWho: Can you give us some context into these stories and when they are set? It seems it must be around the time of the Doctor’s encounter with the “Ghost” either as a child or an adult? And following on that note we do have a very important completely critical question to ask. What superhero is on Alex’s t-shirt? Perhaps an emblem of The Ghost? There’s money riding on amongst our bloggers.
George Mann: Ha! Yeah, I think this is coming after the events of the Christmas special, and before the start of the new series. And yes, of *course* it’s the Ghost’s emblem on Alex’s T-shirt!
Cavan Scott: In my mind, it was absolutely the Ghost! Or maybe the Karkus!
BlogtorWho: Looking ahead from ‘The Lost Angel’, any teasers of the stories that follow?
Cavan Scott: George’s next story – ‘The Lost Planet’, which is out now – takes place in a previously unseen part of the TARDIS. In ‘The Lost Magic’ I send the Doctor back to the time of the Spanish Armada where someone is playing with forces they don’t understand to protect Queen and Country. And then we come back together for ‘The Lost Flame’ which wraps the arc up and features a certain Sisterhood from the Doctor’s past.
BlogtorWho: This is a collaborative effort of two highly inventive and prolific science-fiction/fantasy authors. How did the partnership work? Did you both contribute to the plots and the characters?
George Mann: Very much so! I’ve not written as much collaboratively as Cav has, but it turned out to be a great experience. We spent a lot of time on Skype, talking it all through in depth, writing a detailed outline as we went, and then divided up the writing duties for the first draft. Then we swapped and rewrote each other, until the point where it’s pretty much impossible for us to tell who wrote what bit now!
Cavan Scott: Having a strong outline was key. It meant that both of us knew what the other was up to and then, if changes had to be made as the story progressed, we just had to keep in touch, talking through the consequences to the rest of the narrative.
BlogtorWho: Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has evolved significantly over his three years. The character and Capaldi have found their rhythm. You have both written the Twelfth Doctor before. How has your Twelfth Doctor changed?
George Mann: I think he’s mellowed, and grown used to having companions around him again. He’s found his mojo. He can still snap at people on occasion – especially if he’s in a hurry or they’re being slow on the uptake – but generally, he’s warmed up, and I’ve enjoyed writing for him during that transition.
Cavan Scott: Absolutely. He’s more comfortable in his own skin. I’ve been lucky enough to read the scripts for season 10, having just written one of the new Twelfth Doctor novels – The Shining Man – and he’s in a very different place than when we last saw him. I think the Twelfth Doctor has gone through a bigger story arc than any of the Doctors, other than perhaps the First. They’re very similar in a lot of ways, which is appropriate seeing that they’re both the beginnings of new regenerative cycles.
BlogtorWho: You have both played in a multitude of media – novels, reference books, audio books, full cast audio dramas and comic books just to name a few. What works for one media doesn’t necessarily work for another. How do you adapt your storytelling?
George Mann: I think it’s key to really think about the form you’re writing in. For an audio, you need to consider what’s going to sound good to the listener. For a comic, you’re thinking in a visual medium, for a novel, you have the luxury of delving inside people’s heads, lingering over scenes, weaving in sub-plots. The challenge – and the fun – is in trying to maximise the opportunities presented by each format.
BlogtorWho: You have also both written stories for various Doctors. Do you find it easier to write stories for one of the Doctors over the others? Or is the core of the character so similar that the differences are just quirks?
George Mann: For me, at his heart(s), the Doctor is the Doctor, but each incarnation definitely has his idiosyncrasies and personality traits that makes him distinctive. I guess at the moment, I’ve written so much for the Twelfth Doctor recently that I feel like I can slip back into his voice reasonably easily, but it never takes me that long to switch. For me, the key is going back to the original source material – the TV show – and watching the performance of those wonderful actors. That’s what it all stems from.
Cavan Scott: Yeah, I think the Doctor is pretty much the same whichever incarnation you’re writing. It’s just the ‘desktop pattern’ that has changed. I start with ‘what would the Doctor do’ and then look at the incarnation and see if it would skew that decision one way or another. It was interesting writing something like ‘Supremacy of the Cybermen’ in that we were telling a story with four different Doctors, all of which have to cope with the same problem, but go about it in very different ways. The biggest difference is speech patterns I guess. I love writing for the Eleventh Doctor, who regularly has arguments with himself; so different to say the Ninth Doctor whose speech patterns are more abrupt and fragmented.
BlogtorWho: When did you first encounter the Doctor? What is your first memory? And what did the Doctor mean to the child (assuming you were a child) you once were?
Cavan Scott: It was City of Death. The reveal of Scarroth’s face at the end of Part One scared me silly. For years, I was convinced that the worms around his eye were squirming. I was quite disappointed when I next saw the scene and realised that they were just static plastic. I also remember the 20th Anniversary as being really influential. So many of the stories I wrote as a child featured Time Lords and Cybermen stomping around quarries because of that. Above all I was obsessed with the Daleks. I still am now.
George Mann: My first encounter with the Doctor was Peter Davison playing the Fifth, but I can’t remember which story. I very clearly remember watching through the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy eras, and picking up Target books of past adventures from the library. I think what turned me from a casual fan into a lifelong fan, though, was discovering all the Tom Baker serials running on Saturday and Sunday mornings on UK Gold. As a teenager, that was brain food. I lapped it up, and I’ve never looked back since.
BlogtorWho: The Doctor is a part of your work as an adult. What do you hope that the children that encounter your Doctors learn and see?
George Mann: I hope they learn kindness, and tolerance, and a sense of adventure. That anything is possible, and your imagination is your only real limit!
Cavan Scott: That it’s OK to be scared as long as you don’t let that fear control you and that you stand up for what’s right, never shrugging and saying ‘that’s just the way it is’.