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INTERVIEW: Ian Manning

October 15, 2017

Our on-going interviews with the authors of Season 41 continues today with Ian Manning, the author of The Web of Insanity.

How and when did you get interested in writing?
I became interested in writing from a young age, from 7/8 onwards. I wasn’t that much good at drawing my favourite TV show and book characters no matter how hard I tried, so I started writing my own stories about them. Making new stories about things I knew was great, but then I started writing about a fictional version of myself, who I eventually chopped and changed into various original characters. I’m still getting new ideas about anything I see, watch or read, which I am very thankful for.

How did you get involved with The Doctor Who Project?
A friend who knew I was interested in Doctor Who saw that TDWP had an open submissions window and sent me a link. I sent my story idea, but it was too related to the current TV show. With encouragement from the staff, I tried again with another idea and I got a slot in season 41! I couldn’t have been happier.

Where did you get the inspiration for your story?
I like to give every character and creature in my stories a decent spotlight, and I thought the Eight Legs were a fantastic monster that had only been used once in the classic tv series. I’m also a fan of the supernatural, which the alien spiders are indirectly linked to. Exploring an astral plane seemed like something the Eight Legs would do. The rest just came to me as I wrote.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your story?
My greatest challenge was finding the Doctor’s and Hannah’s voices, their personalities. I have never read a TDWP story, so I was writing my own story blind, which was both freeing and terrifying. If I got it wrong, I’d have to change my entire script. Luckily, with the information provided on the writer’s forum and a forgiving editor, I pulled through.

What has your overall experience been writing for the Doctor Who Project? Would you contribute again?
My experience with TDWP has been a bit hot and cold, to be honest. The encouragement I received to come up with another idea after my initial submission failed was heartening, and the wealth of information available about previous stories for fresh writers is easy to find and understand. Editing and story suggestions about my first draft were very well laid-out, and they were things that I could understand, and not the work of a controlling grindstone.  My experience has been mostly positive, so I would contribute to TDWP again. I enjoy writing about alternate realities and Doctor Who, so this project is right up my street.

The Web of Insanity is now available to download.


NOW OUT: The Web of Insanity

October 14, 2017

 photo Web of Insanity - Titles - Tom Denham - Medium_zpsx4mmua3b.jpg

The fifth story of Season 41 is now available to download.

In The Web of Insanity by Ian Manning with J.E. Remy, the Mercury Mining Company is an unwelcome resident of the planet Pearl. Since mining for the crystals of Pearl began, the avian Keer have been forced to endure storms, earthquakes, and the mysterious Shades. When the Doctor and Hannah arrive for the first geology conference of the Eight Galaxies, they are soon drawn into the political frustrations between the MMC and the indigenous people.

While a hidden hand seems to help guide the Doctor and Hannah in the right direction, an old enemy is clawing its way back into the physical realm. The last time the Doctor faced the Eight-Legs, it cost him his life. Will he have to lose his life again, if he is to defeat them once more?

The Web of Insanity is available to download free in PDF format which can be read on PCs, e-Readers and tablets.


Season 41 Continues October 14 with Story 4

October 10, 2017


by Ian Manning with J.E. Remy

The Doctor Who Project’s Season 41 continues this Saturday, October 14, with the release of The Web of Insanity.

In this story, the Doctor is determined to help Hannah consider her aspirations of being a geologist in her future, and chooses to do so by bringing her to the future of geology. They arrive at the first geology conference of the Eight Galaxies, on the 26th century Pearl. The crystals of Pearl have psychotropic properties, which has drawn the attention of the Mercury Mining Company. Unfortunately for the indigenous species of Pearl—the avian Keer—who have experienced storms and earthquakes since the mining started, not to mention the Shades….

Hannah and the Doctor soon have the opportunity to see one of the blue crystals of Pearl… crystals that look suspiciously familiar to the Doctor. While the Doctor investigates the mining operations on the planet, Hannah joins the natives in a shamanistic ritual. She is nearly possessed by the shade of an eight-legged creature. The Eight-Legs have returned, and Pearl offers them the opportunity to return to physical realm.

The Doctor must face his fear, in order to prevent the ghost of the Great One from overtaking the physical plane. With Hannah’s help, he may be able to overcome his fears, but it will take more than their combined efforts to stop the Eight-Legs’ plan. It will require manipulating the timeline in a way the Doctor never expected. The last time they battled, it cost him his life. Will he have to lose his life again, if he is to defeat them once more?

The Web of Insanity will available to download free from The Doctor Who Project website in PDF format which can be read on your PC, e-Reader and/or tablet.

Just Released: Palimpsest

October 7, 2017

Season 41 continues today with the third story of the season, Palimpsest by Hamish Crawford.

In 1919 New Orleans, the Doctor and Hannah visit ‘Mr. Oldfield’, a retired Time Lord who is married and content to live out his remaining centuries in a haunted house in Tremé. When Hannah discovers Oldfield’s wife Collette is tormented by visions of a violent man who somehow is and is not her husband, a nightmarish apparition roams the house after dark, and a strange woman stalks their every step, it becomes clear that Oldfield is here to escape his past. The Doctor must explore his friend’s memories to uncover the truth.

Palimpsest is available to download free in PDF format which can be read on PCs, e-Readers and tablets.

INTERVIEW: Hamish Crawford

October 6, 2017

Our Season 41 author interviews continues today with our chat with Hamish Crawford, author of “Palimpsest”…

How and when did you get interested in writing?

From an early age I knew I wanted to write. Doctor Who was obviously a big part of that–along with Star Trek and Ninja Turtles, I would fill exercise books with stories (I came across one not long ago that seems to be a child-scrambled composite of Destiny of the Daleks and City of Death). My single biggest inspiration, I have to say, was seeing that Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis had written the script for ‘Ghostbusters’ as well as starring in it–if you can write parts for yourself, I thought, this writing thing could lead anywhere!

My father is an accountant and I have a vivid childhood memory of him saying how little a writer makes, so I had better be sure I wanted to do it. He wasn’t wrong–in fact, I still haven’t quite made the minimum salary he predicted in the early 1990s, but I’m ambitious enough to think I might one day!

How did you get involved with The Doctor Who Project?

Having contributed to The Temporal Logbook, I may have been asked if I wanted to send something in, or they may have had an open submission policy at the time. Having Mark Gatiss’ fear of being a ‘William Emms’, one-story wonder, I jumped at the chance.

What was the inspiration for your story?

I initially submitted ‘Palimpsest’ to Declan May’s ‘Seasons of War’ anthology, featuring the War Doctor. Therefore, a lot of the story arose from that particular incarnation of the Doctor, and the ways in which the Time Lords themselves might turn monstrous. For example, an ambiguous Time Lord (rather than a straight-out villain) is somewhat rare in Doctor Who, which I thought paired well with a morally ambiguous Doctor. As it turned out that got knocked back, but luckily it fitted well enough with the Doctor Who Project’s Doctor (who is somewhat conflicted himself).

What was your biggest challenge in writing the story?

I don’t know, but it certainly was challenging! I think there were a couple of incompatible tones I tried to juggle. I wanted to capture the fervid, sweltering flavour of New Orleans, and portray a more sensual story than the theme-park ‘celebrity historical’ of the BBC Wales series. And I also wanted to get a contained ghost story. So while the character of Hank is somewhat redundant, I think he’s a very valuable link to the outside world and the setting. The editors were very patient in working with me, and if I didn’t quite succeed in my juggling act, it’s my fault and definitely in spite of their warnings and advice throughout!

A second challenge was capturing the TDWP Doctor. It’s when you read and write an entirely original version that you realize how much an actor contributes to the interpretation. I found him very hard to latch on to, but did my best through the editing and giving him challenges and surprising angles (when I was told he dressed casually in printed shirts, I got a mental image of a more louche, Kramer-esque Doctor). A similar moment in my Temporal Logbook story had the Eccleston Doctor break his sonic screwdriver and running around waving an axe–when you write the Doctor doing something that surprises you, I think you’ve got something good!

What has your overall experience been like writing for TDWP?  Any plans on contributing to future seasons?

Extremely positive–like I say, I was always given suggestions that enhanced the texture of the story, and was free to take them or ignore them. I also enjoyed the Doctor and Hannah’s characters and the free rein to explore a more unconventional type of story.

I’ll be honest–when I proposed Palimpsest for ‘Seasons of War’ and when I submitted my ‘Temporal Logbook’ idea (‘Mud and Metal’), I had become a little disillusioned with the series’ direction. Quite frankly, I’d turned in my sonic screwdriver. And Bob Furnell’s work on this reminded me of the great not-TV incarnations like Steve Parkhouse’s comics, or the New Adventures, or Michael Moorcock’s ‘The Coming of the Terraphiles’, and reinvigorated in me how big Doctor Who is and how much more to it there can be than just the vision of one guy running the TV series. So, for reminding me of that I’m eternally grateful to Bob and the other writers.

I have really loved writing this story, so I’d be thrilled to contribute another one. This season of TV Doctor Who is definitely much improved, but there are many stories they stubbornly refuse to deal with. I’d really enjoy trying a purely historical story on a morally equivocal issue (like, say, the English Civil War). Or something in space, or if they were doing another comic (‘Blossom Core’ is quite beautiful) …

Palimpsest is available Saturday October 7 to download free in PDF format from The Doctor Who Project.

Interview copyright 2017

Special Peladon Story Cover

October 5, 2017

Special wraparound cover version for our tow Peladon stories – The Throne of Peladon & The Secret of Peladon now available from our blog .


Season 41: Story 3: Palimpsest

October 5, 2017


by Hamish Crawford

The Doctor takes Hannah to 1919 New Orleans, and not just to enjoy an oyster loaf. He is checking up on ‘Mr. Oldfield’, a retired Time Lord living in married seclusion in Tremé. Oldfield is a picture of carefree bonhomie, but his wife Collette’s barely concealed dread betrays that all is not as it seems.

The locals fear that the Oldfields’ house is haunted—and Hannah soon comes to believe it when a zombie-like travesty, seemingly incarnated from Collette’s nightmares, pursues them in the night. The Doctor, meanwhile, is dogged by a mysterious woman from another time, who has heard rumours of a devastating weapon hidden in this time period. These occurrences are all somehow connected to the seemingly benign Oldfield.

To uncover the truth, the Doctor must explore Oldfield’s memories, which expose the terrible price he paid for his present happiness—and the impossibility of escaping his past.

Palimpsest will available to download free from The Doctor Who Project website in PDF format which can be read on your PC, e-Reader and/or tablet.

Cover by Rob Pollock