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The Scripts: Ghost Light

by Marc Platt

Book review by Felicity Scoones

[Ghost Light]

This book consists of three sections. 'Background' details the writing and production of the story. Next comes the script itself, and finally there is an article by Marc Platt, the author of Ghost Light. Also included are an introduction, cast and production crew lists, technical details and some scenes that were cut from the final script.

Among other things, the Background, written by Stephen James Walker, explains how Platt viewed the character Light as 'more a presence than a being' and 'some thing which was incredibly awesome and frightening'. Details on the production crew's efforts to achieve this effect are given. I don't think that Light came across as particularly ethereal on screen, but knowing how we were meant to view him adds credibility to the plot. Other points detailed in the Background include a description of the sets, information on Platt's earlier involvement with Doctor Who, brief profiles of some of the actors, special effects, and a description of the music used in the production.

The script is as it finally appeared on screen - so perhaps the only comment that I can make on this section of the book is that it is clearly laid out.

I consider the article by Platt entitled 'Creating Ghost Light' to be the most interesting part of the book. Platt explains how the idea of a gothic-flavoured Victorian mystery evolved. We also see how Platt viewed the story and the significances he saw in various points that many of the audience probably did not think twice about. An example of this is his statement that in Victorian England, Control and Josiah 'personify Blake's concepts of Innocence and Experience'. Also included in this section are several segments of script that were cut from the finished product. Along the lines of 'director's cuts', Platt refers to these as the 'author's missing bits'. On the whole, these add to the gothic mood of the story, and frequently include moments of humour:
ACE How does Light move so fast?
THE DOCTOR He can travel at the speed of thought.
ACE Wouldn't get some people I know very far.

However the absence of these segments in the final version does not detract from the plot. More than just a script, the Ghost Light script book provides an interesting insight into writing and producing.

This item appeared in TSV 35 (September 1993).

Index nodes: Ghost Light