Guy Adams, a writer for Big Finish and a lad from Wakefield like myself, recently was kind enough to take some time out of his day to talk about writing, Doctor Who, Torchwood and his roots. Most recently he wrote Moving Target and his next work, Fiesta of The Damned is due out in August.
What was the first Doctor Who episode you ever watched?
It was The Keeper of Traken. Probably the first episode but I couldn’t swear to it as I was five at the time and notoriously forgetful at that age.
The image of the Melkur is what really stuck, a beautiful, surreal lump of calcified evil that fired up my mini-brain. I watched the show every week from that point on. Logopolis was the greatest thing ever, Kinda terrifying and then the Terileptils came along and gave me recurring nightmares for years.
Who is your Doctor?
I don’t really have one. I’ve never been one for favourites. Perhaps Doctor Who’s ever-changing actor is why? Peter Davison was the first Doctor I bonded with so in a sense he answers your question, but then Colin Baker came along and I adored him equally.
Also, each era of the show has it’s own flavour. Sometimes you want the brave ambition of the sixties, or the russet-brown warmth of the seventies, or the neon pop of the eighties or… (I’m being absurdly reductive but I’m sure you know what I mean).
Who is your favourite companion?
Oh dear, same problem… I can’t really pick one. I just can’t, don’t make me.
If you could have one trip in the TARDIS, where/when would you go and why?
*Waves goodbye to TARDIS and glances at stack of film cans containing every missing episode of Doctor Who. Looks up to see partner, dressed in Edwardian finery, all ready for our trip to meet Sigmund Freud. Senses an argument about to kick off.*
What’s your favourite Torchwood episode?
Ah, here I can play favourites, purely because Children of Earth is five of the greatest hours of TV we’ve ever been graced with. It just soars.
What’s the difference between writing for Big Finish and writing a novel?
An extra six weeks and a lot of crying.
Would you write an episode for the Doctor Who TV Series if offered, and do you have any ideas saved for such an occasion?
OF COURSE I WOULD. No ideas saved up though. Well, none in particular, I’m a writer we’re full of ideas, they’re low in calories and yet surprisingly nutritious.
What do you think it is that makes Whovians and Woodies so passionate and loyal?
I think it’s the weight of mythology. Some of us just love made-up worlds. Sometimes it’s for obvious reasons (we’re not overly enamoured of the one we’re in) sometimes it’s simply the joy of visiting a favourite holiday destination. That familiar place that can nonetheless continue to surprise you, both because it keeps offering new streets and alleyways and because you see it with eyes changed by experience.
It happens with all fictional universes. Star Trek, Marvel or DC comics, Albert Square… these ever-expanding geographies that we take to our hearts.
Sometimes we moan about the new building work that’s going on downtown. “I don’t like those arches,” we say, “arches don’t look right here, this is not a place where there should be arches.” Sometimes, often in fact, those new arches look just lovely the next we walk past.
They’re a home from home.
Is there more pressure when writing for a pre-established property like Doctor Who and Torchwood than your own original work?
Not really. I’ve written a lot of original novels and comics, each one is scary, each one comes with a weight of responsibility.
In some ways, writing for pre-established worlds is easier. You know the rules, you know the tone, in fact they’re probably second-nature to you. Plus, of course, you have other people who are there to catch you if you stumble.
What inspired you whilst writing Moving Target?
I suppose the riff on hunting is the most obvious. I loathe any form of hunting, killing something for pleasure is an inarguable indication of mental illness as far as I’m concerned. I find it utterly baffling that we can regard that sort of thing as, normal or sane. Killing something for fun. I just can’t begin to get my head around it.
If you had the chance to create your own companion to the Doctor or member of the Torchwood team, what qualities/ flaws would they have?
He would be a writer who bangs on about animal rights for a paragraph then dodges the next question entirely, because he’s too busy having sordid affairs with all of the companions ever. What? I see no point to my job at all unless I’m allowed to indulge in wish-fulfilment.
As a Wakefield lad yourself, how would you describe Wakey to someone who’s never been?
A lovely place to come from, but not necessarily a lovely place to go to.
Which is entirely unfair of course, because I never let reality get in the way of a joke. It’s a writer’s habit.
I’d like to thank Guy again for taking his time to answer these questions; be sure to follow him on Twitter @GuyAdamsAuthor