For years, fans have been clamouring to
hear news about Tom Baker returning to record some kind of new
adventure. That day finally came with the announcement of Doctor Who:
Hornets Nest. How does it feel to be part of the project that enticed
Tom Baker back, and what was it like hearing him read your words?
It’s been a delightful process. It started almost a year ago and, when I
was invited to pitch a story idea, I couldn’t believe it was actually
going to happen. It seemed too exciting to be true. But you have to get
on with it – and come up with ideas and hope that you get to develop
them. All through the autumn I was pitching various ideas back and forth
to my wonderful editor, Michael Stevens
– and round about Christmas time
I ended up being commissioned to write the whole run of stories for
For me, Doctor Who audio begins with Tom Baker
. I bought the cassette of
‘Genesis of the Daleks
’ soundtrack from the Blackpool Doctor Who
Exhibition, the first time I went. And, later, 'The Pescatons
' on vinyl! I
hope these new audio stories can evoke some of that excitement. With
that voice of his, Tom is THE perfect audio Doctor, of course.
I’m still in a blissful haze about it all. Writing was about five months
of very intensive work, getting those audio scripts perfect. It’s a very
long project – between five and six hours, in all. Then, eventually, in
June, I went to London for a few days of the earliest recording
sessions. Suddenly, when Tom breezed in, beaming, it all became very
real. I’d bought jelly babies from a shop in Covent Garden as a welcome
back present for him. He passed them around, grinning and started to
rehearse and it was all just perfect. Hilarious, nerve-wracking,
brilliant… and the stories started to come to life… creepy and surreal…
Are there any other familiar characters
from the Doctor Who universe we can expect to hear from in Doctor Who:
The series kicks off with Mike Yates replying to a strange advert in
classified ads page. It’s an advert that seems addressed to him
personally. It directs him to a reunion in Sussex with a friend he
hasn’t seen since his UNIT days, back in the Seventies. Mike Yates is a
marvelous character because we know he’s had problems and complications
in his life. He’s got demons of his own, still to conquer, has Mike.
Apart from those two main characters, everyone and everything is newly
created for this run of stories.
How did the project come about?
I believe Tom requested some new audio stories for his Doctor. He loved
doing the Target readings. When I listened to them, I took special note
of the tiny moment of improvisation at the start of ‘The Brain of Morbius
’ (‘ME’!) So I had an inkling he wanted to do more, and to do new
stuff. They were going to do talking books of new stories, linked in a
series. I think Michael and Tom between them developed the first
glimmerings of the menace the Doctor would face, and the general set-up.
When I was commissioned and in place as writer things took on a life of
their own. The whole thing got bigger and very ambitious. It became a
full cast drama, and wonderfully intricate… and, I think, very original.
There’s never quite been a Who series like it.
How long did it take you to write the
I’d say five months, altogether. With about the same beforehand,
drafting outlines and tinkering.
We know you are responsible for the
creation of a much-loved character from the extended universe of Doctor
Who; Iris Wildthyme – Do you have any more adventures planned for her?
Big Finish release the Christmas Special : ‘The Claws of Santa
December. And Obverse books will be releasing at about the same time,
their second hardback anthology of Iris short fiction, ‘The Panda Book
&’, edited by me and Stuart Douglas
– again, like ‘The Celestial
’, featuring some wonderful Iris tales by brilliant authors. Have
a look at
The best way of keeping up with what I’m doing – publications and
readings, appearances and workshops, etc – is by looking at my new
website and blog –
Many thanks! Hope you all enjoy ‘Doctor Who: Hornets’ Nest’
** If you would like to ask a Question to Paul Magrs, visit the