Pangomiss Paradox was inspired by watching the Bollywood style play within the movie of Moulin Rouge. I’ve never actually seen a full length Bollywood film, still less a live play in that style, but I have seen enough to understand the concept that it should be bright, visually stunning, with lots of easy to read symbolism and bold gestures. The reason for this, as I understand it, is that India has so many regional dialects and language variations that for a film to be understood everywhere it needs to keep the dialogue to the minimum and practically tell its story in mime. At least that was the original idea. I wonder if modern media communication has managed to eradicate regional differences in India the way it has everywhere else? Certainly if it hasn’t yet it probably will in another fifty years or so.

Anyway, the idea came to me of The Doctor and companions watching a play in which they and the TARDIS were the stars, with a papier mache TARDIS and actors capturing the essence of them.

Initially this was just going to be a very short introduction to the story before I got into the real action. The alien invasion that rendered everyone unconscious was going to happen during the night after they were feted by the Pangomissians. But then I realised that it would make a far more original story if the main part of it WAS the play about something The Doctor did for the Pangomissians in the past but which he was yet to do in his own personal timeline. The nature of the play, stylised and mostly told in mime and music, meant that The Doctor only had the very vaguest clues as to what he was going to do. It wasn’t exactly like having a documentary history of events put in front of him. The part where Donna listens to him listing possible causes of a catatonic state while watching the actors on stage is significant. The Doctor is already on the case, preparing himself for what he knows he will do very soon.

It is a paradox, of course. And as a rule The Doctor would avoid such things. But in this instance it is the key to the whole thing. When The Doctor, Ben and Donna go back in time and find the aliens attempting to kidnap the people of Pangomiss, the readers already know what the outcome is going to be. But it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a whodunit mystery. If anything, it is more like a science fiction version of Columbo. Everyone knows what’s happened. The fun is watching The Doctor sort it all out.

One reader drew a comparison between what was about to happen to the Pangomissians and the attempt to kidnap the Ba'ku and transplant them to another planet in the film Star Trek Insurrection. Yes, I can see the similarity but it’s a complete coincidence. I wasn’t even thinking of that. I just wanted a plausible reason to render a whole community insensible.