Writer's Commentary

Thirteen: January-March 1971

Stevens continues his investigations into the workings of UNIT, as preparation for writing an expose in book form. He meets with a source within the intelligence community called Cassandra, a character inspired by the infamous Washington source Deep Throat who helped reporter Bob Woodward investigate the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s.

Stevens uses the alias Whiti for his dealings with Cassandra. Whiti was a Maori nickname I acquired while on a journalism course at ATI (now the Auckland University of Technology). Since Stevens was effectively my alter ego in the novel, he got to share my nickname.

Who Killed Kennedy did its best to blend fiction with reality, attributing the troubles of the 1970s Heath Government in Britain to the consequences of TV tales like The Mind of Evil. The novel required research into the television continuity as well as real life contemporary events, a lot of extra effort.

It was hard to resist the temptation to include extraneous facts simply because I had spent the time uncovering them during research.

Cassandra tells Stevens about the fate of Whitehall buffoon Horatio Chinn - exactly the sort of thing the TV series never mentioned. Who Killed Kennedy was as much about the consequences and ripples caused by the actions of the Doctor and UNIT as it was about those actions.

In late February Stevens decides to stop researching and start writing his tome. Research can be one of the most interesting aspects of a novel, but it can easily overwhelm the story. There comes a time when you have to bite the bullet and start telling your own tale.

The journalist's flat is burgled by unknown intruders but they fail to find the bulk of his notes, hidden in a floor-safe. Stevens acquired the safe from an old pawnbroker called Saul, a character named after a mysterious accountant I used in the early 1990s. Saul would never meet a client face to face, he only dealt with people by phone or post, but he saved me thousands of pounds so I was willing to forgive this behavioural quirk. I wonder what happened to Saul?

Stevens meets Professor Elizabeth Shaw and recognises her as the woman with Lethbridge-Stewart during Spearhead from Space (see Who Killed Kennedy Chapter One). Shaw smokes a pipe, a habit introduced in BBV's unofficial videos like The Zero Imperative. The pipe was suggested by Caroline John, the actress who played Liz Shaw in Season Seven on television.

The journalist is subsequently accosted by a blond man, a character borrowed from Gary Russell's novel The Scales of Injustice.

Stevens falls in love with Dodo, a relationship with tragic consequences. He also makes the first mention of Victor Magister - an alias used by the Master in The Dæmons. That story features in the next chapter.

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