Writer's Commentary

Four: The UNIT Dossier

There's a term for authors who reuse TV continuity as back story material in their books: 'fanwank'. This chapter probably has the highest level of fanwank per page in any Doctor Who novel. It only occupied twelve pages in the published version of Who Killed Kennedy, but managed to reference nearly a dozen different TV stories. Playing this dot-to-dot game of linking all these adventures together was great fun but required many, many hours of research. Eyes down for a full house...

The Intrusion Counter Measures Group picks up a reference to Remembrance of the Daleks in the 1991 Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special, UNIT Exposed, that suggested the ICMG led to the creation of UNIT. Group Captain Ian 'Chunky' Gilmore's first name comes from Ben Aaronovitch's novelisation. Who Killed Kennedy mentions Professor Rachel Jansen having worked with the codebreaker Alan Turing. He later turned up as a central character in Paul Leonard's wonderful EDA The Turing Test and in my own EDA, The Domino Effect (which had a working title of The Turing Shroud).

'The Shoreditch Incident' covers events seen in the very first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child. This section also alludes to Ian and Barbara's experiences during The Aztecs and suggests the pair got married after returning home in The Chase. There's also more references to Remembrance and the development of Steven's theory of the 'Doctor syndrome', the journalist's attempt to explain how the same man can turn up with different faces at different time periods, always in the middle of some crisis or disaster.

'The C-Day fiasco' is Stevens' interpretation of events seen in The War Machines.

'The Doctor syndrome: other examples' notes the appearance of the Seventh Doctor and Ace in Northumbria during World War II (The Curse of Fenric) - some twenty years before the Shoreditch Incident. The same Doctor was also seen at a holiday camp in South Wales (Delta and the Bannermen). Stevens notes the sighting of a man he calls the Gatwick Doctor (actually the Second Doctor, as seen in The Faceless Ones) on the same day the First Doctor was coping with The War Machines elsewhere in Greater London.

The journalist traces the formation of UNIT to another appearance of the Gatwick Doctor, when Central London was evacuated due to a deadly fog (The Web of Fear).

'First blood' refers to the events of The Invasion and suggests the Gatwick Doctor had some involvement in the death of Tobias Vaughn. Stevens suggests the Doctor is a codename used by various agents provocateur, the only credible way he can explain the presence of all of these Doctors across so many decades.

One of the earliest tasks I set myself during the development of Who Killed Kennedy was to trace all of the 20th Century appearances of the Doctor on Earth, to see how they could be incorporated into the book. There proved to be only a handful from before the Second World War and none that were helpful to the narrative. I saw no point in trying to squeeze in a gratuitous reference to Horror of Fang Rock, especially since only the TARDIS crew survived to bear witness to what had happened. Unsurprisingly, most of the Doctor's adventures on Earth are contemporary to when the show was being made, so they are predominantly clustered between 1963 and 1989.

(I also contemplated incorporating all the New Adventures that fit this period as well, before deciding against that. A few references to the NAs crept in, but I think leaving them out was the right decision in retrospect. Keeping to the core of Doctor Who, the original TV tales, kept the fanwank elements purer rather than puerile.)

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