Rutherglen writer Andrew Smith is playing his part in Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year.
The former Stonelaw pupil (50) wrote for the series’ 18th season back in 1980, aged just 18, and over the last couple of years has returned to the fold with a couple of audio plays based around the Time Lord.
With Doctor Who celebrating its 50th anniversary in November this year, the BBC’s audiobook division AudioGO are producing a special series of talking books, featuring many of the Doctor’s old friends from over the years.
Andrew has written a story, Vengeance of the Stones, which is being released in March, and is performed by former Emmerdale actor Richard Franklin, who played Captain Mike Yates alongside Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor in the early 70s.
The story was inspired by his own holidays in the north of Scotland, when he visited the Easter Aquhorthies stone circle in Aberdeenshire, and the fishing village of Portsoy.
Andrew - who now works for the police is London - was able to write the story during his summer break last year.
Andrew said: “There’s a mystery about the Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, and the other recumbent stone circles in North East Scotland.
“They’re thousands of years old and it’s not certain what the purpose of their recumbent stones was. That struck me as a good starting point for the story.
“I started work on the script while I was on holiday, writing the first scene when I was on the beach in Portsoy, writing about fighter jets flying past - then two flew over!
“I also wrote some on my iPad when we were at Easter Aquhorthies, and my wife took a picture of me at work!
“While I was at the stone circles I took some notes and descriptions of them, and I’ve worked those notes into the narrative.”
“I finished the rest of it once I came back from holiday, so all in, I spent about three weeks writing it. I actually did a longer, free-flowing draft than I’d normally do, which added to the time as I edited it.”
Over the last couple of years, Andrew has had a couple of other audio plays featuring the Doctor released by Big Finish Productions, with last summer seeing the release of The Last Sontarans, a story which he developed for TV but was later dropped.
Producer John Ainsworth has admitted that he’s delighted with Andrew’s latest play.
He said: “Although I hadn’t previously worked with Andrew Smith, I was well aware of his Doctor Who credentials.
“Not only had he written the excellent Full Circle for Tom Baker’s last season as the Doctor on television, but in more recent years Andrew had also penned some excellent scripts for Big Finish Production’s Doctor Who audio dramas.
“Perhaps it’s because he had experience of writing for television at a comparatively early age, but Andrew is a script editor’s dream in that he approaches his work with the utmost professionalism.
“He takes note of any specific story requirements, researches his subject matter and setting thoroughly, and delivers a highly polished script that requires only the minimum of editing.
“Vengeance of the Stones is a first class story that contains all the action, intrigue and excitement that you would expect of a good Doctor Who adventure.
“I am very pleased to have Andrew on board for the Destiny of the Doctor series to celebrate 50 years of the Doctor’s adventures.”
AudioGO’s commissioning editor Michael Stevens believes Andrew’s new play has all the classic ingredients needed for a Doctor Who tale.
He added: “The story is part of our brand new audio series Destiny of the Doctor, which launches in January and runs through to November, featuring one incarnation of the Doctor at a time.
“Andrew’s story features the Third Doctor, as played by Jon Pertwee, and will be published in March.
“It was the series producer, John Ainsworth, who commissioned Andrew to write a story for the series, which is being made by Big Finish Productions for AudioGO.
“I loved the script when I read it – it’s a very solid adventure story, with lots of drama and action – a perfect evocation of Jon Pertwee’s era!
“I also like the fact that it’s set in a real location, and that anyone can visit the stone circles mentioned in the story.
“That adds a feeling of reality to the adventure, which is performed by two actors: Richard Franklin, who played Mike Yates in the 1970s classic TV series and Trevor Littledale.”
The Destiny of the Doctor series will be available on CD or as digital downloads from www.audiogo.com/uk.