The Doctor - Joe Binks
Jenny - Amy Elisabeth
Pastor Daniel - Adrian Hudson
Rebecca - Kaite Boltain
Dr Joseph Winston - John Ainsworth
Samuel - Gary St John
Mr Raven - Gareth Preston
Inspector Crawford - Kevin Hiley
Londoner - Becky Bowler
Other parts played by members of the cast
Theme Music - Leatherbarrow
Incidental Music - Peter Dudley
Artwork by Bill Hollweg
Produced and Directed by Gareth Preston
Well we're back, my how you've all grown! I'm embaressed to admit that "The Chattath Factor" was actually recorded about three years ago. Doesn't feel that long at all. It only feels like a few weeks since I had a crowd of friends in my front room recording this tale, plus another day recording Amy and Gary at their house. Lots of laughs and some nice surprises as we went through the script. Since then I've approached this story in fits of energy. Then there was the scare when my hard disk crashed and I lost alot of work. Sadly the main casualties of that event were Matthew Kopelke's Doctor Who story "Eternal Night" and "Agents of Psyence".
"The Chattath Factor" was suggested by my friend Will Hadcroft, after we'd started meeting up regularly. Will has been a good supporter of Fine Line and is a long time Doctor Who fan. I really liked the story he outlined and asked him to expand it into a script. This is his first audio script and it's remarkably strong, especially in his understanding of how radio drama works and the depth of the ideas underneath all action. I had to do relatively little rewriting, mostly bits of character tweaking and making the odd line more natural sounding. The confrontation scene in episode one between the Doctor and Dr Winston required the most work, correcting some inaccuracies about "Origin of Species" and Darwin's theory. I must thank Lawrence Ahlemeyer for his trained eye. Since he wrote this story Will has gone on to be an excellent author of children's books. The root of the story also provided the origin for his novel "Anne Droyd and the House of Shadows".
This is in part a homage to the Hinchcliffe/Holmes era of the programme, a period myself and Will are very fond of. Probably the biggest challenge production-wise was getting the sound of the monsters right. Hope you like them. Weirdly at the time he recorded this story, Gary St John was also in rehearsals for the musical version of Jekyle and Hyde, a tale which has some parallels with this story. It was also marvellous to have John Ainsworth in the cast. Back in the eighties he had played recurring timelord villain Askran in the Audio Visuals, the fan audios which originally inspired me to create Fine Line. So I was delighted to have John and his cultured voice in one of my productions. Thanks to all the actors and Will for their talents and patience with me getting around to sharing their efforts with the rest of the world.
I have always been fascinated by script writing. I used to think that it would be easier to write a script than a novel because scripts don’t require descriptive narrative – they are mainly dialogue driven.
In 2002 I published my first children’s novel, Anne Droyd and Century Lodge, with a small press company, and was keen to continue writing thereafter. I wanted to add another string to my bow and so investigated the fan made Doctor Who audios I knew were being made in various countries.
I sampled the Doctor Who Audio Dramas made in America first, then looked at Australia’s BTR Productions, before finding Fine Line. I was thrilled to discover they were not only based in the United Kingdom, but practically on my doorstep!
As a youngster I made Doctor Who audio plays with a tape recorder, the BBC sound effects LPs and the theme music single record. (It frustrated me that the TARDIS take-off and landing weren’t on the Doctor Who Sound Effects album. What were they thinking of?!). I came up with the stories, got friends to play various parts, and if friends wouldn’t do it, played all the parts myself. I was in a world of my own.
But to write a sixty minute play which would be performed by highly experienced amateurs and one or two semi-professional actors, and by a company that had been going for ten years – well it was a daunting prospect. I didn’t want my Doctor Who story to be weak compared to the others or just a fan-boy run-a-round.
So I decided to approach the project in all seriousness. I watched the Reeltime Myth Makers videos interviewing Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks to remind myself how they went about putting a story together. Something that stood out was their insistence on having a theme, a thread running through the adventure. It wasn’t that the writer should lecture the viewer/listener about a moral point or some political issue, but rather choose a theme that served as a foundation to the story and stick to it.
Malcolm Hulke did it with Doctor Who and the Sliurians (and even more so with his novelisation Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters). Don Houghton did it with Inferno. Terry Nation’s preoccupation with fascism, Nazism and World War Two imagery bled through into his Dalek stories and was the backbone of Blake’s Seven.
So I settled on the theme of man’s dual nature, the saint and the sinner, Number Six and Number One, in the same person. I also wove in as a secondary theme my preoccupation with the spirituality versus reason debate, and had the two opposing views represented by Pastor Daniel Jacobs and Doctor Joseph Winston.
Keen to make my Doctor Who story a good one, I pondered on what tended to work best in the TV series. Adventures set in the Middle Ages, the 19th century or the war years always hit the spot. The Talons of Weng-Chiang, Horror of Fang Rock, The Visitation, and The Curse of Fenric were all highly regarded. So I set my story in the 19th century.
I wanted the sounds in the story to add some flavour. Clip-clop hooves on cobbled streets and a bit of Old English dialogue sprinkled here and there would work well on audio, I thought. To get the sense of how best to write the dialogue I watched The Talons of Weng-Chiang and the David Wickes TV movie of Jekyll & Hyde starring Michael Cane. To get the history details right, I paid a visit to the library and read a kiddies book on the industrial revolution (I needed to know about the invention of sewers and water treatment in particular).
Armed to the teeth with all this, I wrote a story treatment and a first draft Episode One. I called the adventure The Monsters of Hydesville, again relying on the classic series usage of ‘The X of the Y’ type titles.
I am willing to admit that I approached Gareth Preston blithely thinking he would snap up my submission simply because I was a published author and I was somebody from outside his established company. When he replied with notes on the general idea and suggested changes to the script, I was taken aback. But it taught me an important lesson about approaching any kind of project: take nothing for granted and deliver the best that you can do.
Scriptwriting was not easier than producing a novel; it was merely a different discipline. I got to work on writing Episodes Two and Three through the spring of 2003.
Character names are quite important to me. In the Bible, Abraham’s grandson Jacob was renamed Israel, and his family was the foundation for the Jewish people and later Christianity. So I gave the pastor in my script two Old Testament names, Daniel (after the OT prophet) and Jacobs (after Jacob). Originally I named the scientist Charles Winston (after Charles Darwin and Professor Robert Winston, who was on television a lot when I was writing the scripts), but then decided it was too obvious a signpost, and changed his first name to Joseph. The name Crawford came directly from David Wickes’ Jekyll & Hyde.
Gareth asked me to think of a less clichéd title for the adventure. As I had done some research into the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) language words for ‘sin’, I was keen to have the story title revolve around one of those. The Hebrew ‘Chattath’ (the vowel pointing in the encyclopaedia I used suggesting the ‘Ch’ should be pronounced ‘K’ and the rest ‘at-aith’) and the Greek ‘Hamatia’ (‘Har-ma-tia’) prompted The Chattath Factor or The Hamatia Syndrome. I settled for The Chattath Factor and put a line in one of the episodes pointing up the phrase.
In the first draft of Episode One I had the Doctor wrong-footing Winston by highlighting apparent holes in the evolution theory. Gareth didn’t care for this at all and rightly stated that the Doctor would always take the rationalist approach. I attempted a rewrite of that section, but still favoured cynicism towards the evolution concept. In the end, Gareth took his script editor scissors to it and completely rewrote it. Listening to the finished version, I can tell that I didn’t write those lines.
Thanks to the Myth Makers videos and other interviews, I knew when I approached this project I mustn’t get precious about lines and scenes being dropped, as, unlike penning a novel, an audio drama (and indeed a TV drama) is a collaborative process. So I took most of the recommended changes on the chin.
The only time I moaned was when Gareth wanted to drop Jacobs’ reading from Romans chapter 7. He felt it didn’t need to be there to progress the story, and from a script editor’s point of view he was absolutely right. However, from the author perspective, the scene where Jacobs reads the portion about man’s internal war to an empty church summed up what the piece was about. I had been inspired by the sequence in The Curse of Fenric where Wainright reads about love, and knew something similar would be effective on audio.
And so, just as Terrance Dicks put ‘Five rounds rapid’ back into The Daemons after Barry Letts sulked about its removal, so Gareth Preston reinstated my little speech about man’s dual nature.
Gareth and I treated the project the way Barry and Terrence used to handle the TV series: the writer does three rewrites, and then if it still isn’t up to scratch, the script editor tidies it up.
A cast was assembled in 2006, and Gareth and I were thrilled when John Ainsworth agreed to play Winston. The regular Fine Line players were excellent.
Post-production duties on a number of other things meant that The Chattath Factor wasn’t mixed until 2009. After that, I’m afraid it was me who held it up, as I wanted to try a composer who said he might be able to mimic the style of Dudley Simpson and compose by the scene (rather than produce stock music for Gareth to drop in here and there).
I’m really pleased with the final version. I think it was worth the wait.
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