THE CAST and crew who have brought Rutherglen man Andrew Smith’s lost Doctor Who script to life have spoken of their delight at working on the script.
Andy originally wrote the storyline for The First Sontarans in 1984, to feature actor Colin Baker, but it was dropped during development.
But in 2012, the outline has been developed into a full script by the former Stonelaw High pupil, and adapted for audio.
The play is released this week, and the actors who have performed Andy’s work are delighted with it.
Speaking exclusively to the Rutherglen Reformer, Sixth Doctor Colin Baker has revealed that he had a ball when recording the play for Big Finish Productions.
Colin said: "Every time I go into the studio to record a Big Finish story I know it is going to be both fun and exciting. The First Sontarans was no exception.
"Andrew Smith's name on a script guarantees a great story and beautifully written dialogue.
"This story was no exception - it was a clever and fast paced exploration of the origins of the Sontaran race and the fact that it took place in Victorian England added brilliantly to the drama. And alongside the Daleks and the Cybermen the Sontarans are in the premiership of alien enemies faced by the Doctor over his many regenerations.
"I am looking forward enormously to hearing the end result of our two days in the studio and look forward enormously to seeing another Andrew Smith script in my letterbox."
Also full of praise was his co- star Nicola Bryant, who plays Peri Brown.
Nicola said: "I’ve become good friends with Andrew, so to do The First Sontarans was just tremendous. I loved the Sontaran story we did on TV, but it’s a different look at them and it’s nice to come up against them again.
"It would have been great to have done The First Sontarans on TV - it’s a strong and very interesting story, and I really enjoyed recording it. It’s definitely one of my favourites. It’s right up there.
"I’m really looking forward to hearing the finished version when it comes out."
Playing the Sontarans is actor Dan Starkey, who has appeared in four episodes of the revived TV series, playing the diminutive war-like aliens.
He said: "It’s an interesting one - there’s never been an origin story for the Sontarans on television, and there was a lot of fan conjecture to see what it might be, so it’s interesting to see a script with a definitive take on it.
"It’s a good story, with understandable human emotion behind it, where people are sympathetic but down to difficult circumstances are trying to do the best thing they can in a war, and then it all goes horribly wrong.
"It’s an interesting one as it’s also got some good space opera with battles and people being electrocuted, it’s got a historical setting, and it is a pity it wasn’t produced for the TV - I think it would have gone down well.
"I would have been eight- years-old when it was supposed to have been produced originally!"
Dan relishes the task of playing the villainous Sontarans.
"They are quite unpleasant characters, so it’s a challenge, trying to be enjoyably unpleasant!
"It’s over a year since we recorded it, but we recorded it out of sequence, and although I remember the basics, I've forgotten the minutiae of the script, so I look forward to hearing it again."
The man who directed the play was experienced theatre director Ken Bentley.
Ken said: "When I read the script for the first time I remember it was quite unexpected. Yes, it delivers everything we expect from a Sontaran story, but it also manages to deliver so much more. There's an emotional heart to this story.
"Andrew's expanded on Sontaran mythology and written an often delicate and moving, but quite epic tale. And that's the really clever bit. To bounce so effortlessly and successfully between the scale of events necessary to drive a major story, and the personal impact necessary to engage an audience emotionally. That's not easy. This is an epic story, but with deeply felt, personal consequences for the characters."
Ken continued: "We had such a lovely cast working on this one, and I felt a real sense of working with an ensemble company, everybody having fun and pulling together in the right direction. It was a genuine pleasure to work on. I fully believe that spirit of camaraderie starts with the writing.
"If the writing is good, the cast are eager to perform, they're excited. I remember this was one of the few times the whole company went for a drink when we'd finished recording. That's always a good indication of how well things have gone!"
He added: "I'm very proud of The First Sontarans. Andrew's written a corker of a play. I think the cast have all delivered outstanding performances, and our sound designer, Jamie Robertson, has made it sound so exciting, and he's written a truly magnificent score. I couldn't be happier with the results. I just hope the listeners are as happy with it as I am!"
Producer David Richardson added: "I sit here with the finished production – I’m proud to declare it is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories ever.
"It has, I think, something for everyone."
l Courtesy of Big Finish Productions, the Reformer has three copies of Andrew Smith’s The First Sontarans to give away.
To win, simply tell us the name of Andrew’s first TV script for Doctor Who. Send your entries to email@example.com, with the subject line Doctor Who competition, remembering to include your name and postal address. Entries close on Wednesday, August 1.