The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Love In An Elevator


The Great Space Elevator, written back in February 2008, was an attempt to write the most Patrick Troughton-y story possible. Not as a pastiche or parody, more a homage. As The Rutles are to The Beatles. An attempt to recapture that white-heat optimism of the 1960’s, when Eagle comic would feature cutaway diagrams of colonies on the moon. It’s one of my favourite Doctor Who things I’ve done, it was written in a great swell of warmth and nostalgia and love, and I think the end result, the reading and the music, was terrific. I’m particularly pleased with the review it received from The Space Elevator Blog.

And it did turn out very Patrick Troughton-y. The main complaint being that it was too similar to certain TV stories, which is fair enough, though my reaction tends to be, ‘Oh, you thought it was too much like story a. So you missed all the bits where I was ripping off story b then... not to mention stories c, d and e...’

The story doesn’t really have a framing device as such. It did have one in the initial synopsis – something to do with Victoria dictating the story into a tape, so that a hundred years later, the tape would pass into the hands of a character from the story, who would then know what to do when the events described came to pass. A bit like Blink. Which might be why it didn’t come to pass.

Instead the story was simply Victoria attempting to preserve her memories on tape, as they were all she had left of her adventures. Kind of bittersweet. However, the final script was overlength, and the main cut, as far as I can tell, was to the intro, losing some references to Victoria’s televised adventures.

(CLICK. HOME TAPE RECORDING BEGINS)

VICTORIA:
It all seems so long ago. Like another life; as though it all happened to somebody else. Another girl called Victoria Waterfield. Sometimes it feels like it was a dream, or a story, like I was Alice, caught in the land through the looking-glass. But it wasn’t a story. It was real. It happened, every second of it. They were the most exciting days of my life, the most vivid, the most terrifying. Those adventures didn’t happen to another Victoria Waterfield. They happened to me.

That’s the secret I’ve kept, all my life. Because now, I am another Victoria. I’m a wife, a mother; a grandmother soon. I’ve created a new life for myself; a new family. And I’ve never told them, not once, about who I truly am. They’d never believe me, for a start! I wouldn’t believe me. And I’ve told them too many other stories - I made up a whole other history for myself… it’s too late to tell them the truth now. After all, they love the person they think is me.

Sometimes even I think it was a dream. Because nothing remains of those days. Nothing, except my memories, and they’re fading fast. The only links I have with my past are these tapes. If I can’t tell my stories to anyone else, I can at least tell them to myself. So that when I have forgotten, I can play them back, and imagine that the girl in those stories (was) -

(THE TAPE CUTS OUT. FAST-FORWARDS. EVOCATIVE TRIP-DOWN-MEMORY-LANE MUSIC FADES IN)

VICTORIA:
-(but) with darker skin, deep-set eyes, and his hair swept across to one side. He had an accent I couldn’t quite place – Spanish, perhaps, or (South) –

(THE TAPE CUTS OFF. IS EJECTED. A NEW TAPE IS PLAYED)

VICTORIA:
-(split) open, like a membrane of plastic, and these creatures emerged from their icy tombs… huge, lumbering men of steel, with blank faces (and) -

(TAPE IS STOPPED. REWOUND. PLAYED)

VICTORIA:
-(claws) scrabbling at the cave wall to reach us. Jamie stepped forward with his sword, but the Yeti wrenched it out of his hand (and) –

(TAPE IS EJECTED. A NEW TAPE IS PLAYED. MEMORY-LANE MUSIC GROWS SUSPENSEFUL)

VICTORIA:
-(is) a story I could never tell. Because this story concerns the future. The story of when the Doctor, Jamie and I visited the Great Space Elevator…

(THEME MUSIC. SCENE-SETTING MUSIC – TRANQUIL. EXOTIC BIRDS. A SEA LAPPING AT THE SHORE. THE TARDIS LANDS)

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