1.03. The Wrath of the Iceni
Behind the Scenes
This story takes place between The Talons of Weng-Chiang and Horror of Fang Rock.
WRITING WRATH OF THE ICENI
John Dorney on writing for Boudica
How did the story come about?
In the simplest way imaginable. Immediately after the recording of Energy of the Daleks I got the brief of 'Romans in Britain' for my Fourth Doctor and Leela script. There was no more specification than that - it could be a pure historical story, a pseudo-historical, whatever I wanted. But there was no rush to come up with an idea, so I could take my time.
That night I woke up at about three in the morning and the phrase 'Leela meets Boudica' just popped into my head. It was immediately and obviously a good idea. The next day Nick, David and I were all attending a convention, so I pitched that sentence to them both and got an instant yes both times.
The beauty of the concept was that the single sentence immediately provided all I needed to know - it had to be a pure historical, it had to be largely personality clashes between the Doctor and Leela and I knew the basic shape of the story already.
How did you go about researching the period?
There's a particularly extensive book about Boudica that I ordered off Amazon and read in detail. I also read through quite a few children's reference books because they're great at providing a broad historical sweep and the illustrations help you to visualise the location (which might seem an odd choice for an audio drama, but securing a good image of the location is surprisingly vital in creating a world). I watched historical documentaries, about half of a not especially good Alex Kingston TV drama from a decade or so back, and visited a replica Iceni village conveniently located near to my parent's house. Oh, and I drank a few ales from the Iceni brewery in Norfolk, just to feel totally authentic, and for no other reason. I then ran the script by someone who knew the period just to check out the detail.
The difficulty is that you never know when you've done enough research. There's always the possibility you've missed something. As it is, there's a few historical inaccuracies in there that I know of already, but they're all consciously chosen to help make the story work. Hopefully the only mistakes are ones I chose to make, in other words.
What was it like writing historical drama for Tom and Louise?
It's interesting because it's totally new territory. From my limited research I don't think anyone's ever done an historical story for Tom's Doctor before, and you only belatedly realise how unusual it is to explore how a different Doctor reacts to history. Because you're automatically taking a proactive character and not allowing them to do anything, not allowing them to interfere. It's particularly tricky with Tom's Doctor, I think, because you're taking a wildfire loose cannon and having to keep them within historical boundaries. He's not a Doctor to retreat.
Any favourite moments from the recording?
I think when Nia Roberts was delivering her speeches at the end of the day, playing them so very beautifully, at the precise point Tom was leaving and he boomed out 'Goodbye everyone' with a volume that could be heard in Scotland. Nia carried on for a few lines before pausing and saying 'shall I just start again?'. An utter pro.
Ella Kenion as Boudica
Ella Kenion and Louise
Tom and Ella
Tom and Nia Roberts
Daniel Hawksford and Michael Rouse