Translations started out with a completely different beginning in which The Doctor, Ben and Donna park the TARDIS on Westminster Bridge and walk away, only to notice a woman going up to it and touching it. At which point The Doctor introduces his old friend, Tegan Jovanka and invites her to join them at 10 Downing Street. I had got as far as having tea with Harriet when I realised that there were far too many characters in the story. By the time I had added Colonel Mace and the Foreign Secretary, it was getting cumbersome. Ensemble stories are the hardest to write because there isn’t enough dialogue for everyone.

So I went back and wrote Tegan out of it, but keeping her in mind for a future story, possibly one set in Australia, which, in any case, would be a better place to meet her.

Meanwhile, The Doctor sets to work on his translation. And here, of course, a lot of readers were expecting a double cross a bit like The Gelth – claiming to be innocent refugees but actually turning out to be something sinister. For a while I was going down that road, but it HAS been done before. So I went with the genuine refugees, but with an added dose of jeopardy when the refrigeration system was sabotaged.

I kept the significance of that list of nations as a reveal near the end when The Doctor came to the meeting on the Valiant. It was a much larger list than I expected. I knew Britain, Argentina and Australia had an interest in Antarctica, but I really didn’t know so many countries wanted a slice. It actually made me more determined to end the story with the aliens becoming citizens of Antarctica. It would take something like that to make all those with selfish interests think again.

Originally, I had an idea that Donna and Ben would part company with The Doctor in this story. I was thinking of Harriet Jones offering them both jobs as some sort of civilian liaison taskforce between U.N.I.T., Torchwood and the government, with their experience of life with The Doctor standing as qualifications for the job. It would have worked, I think. But I had actually come up with a couple more ideas for stories involving Donna and Ben, so I held it over, intending to have another story featuring Harriet. In the end, I thought of a completely different exit for the two of them, one that I think readers will like even better. But more of that another time.

Incidentally, the President of Ireland IS a very smart lady with a law degree. She and The Doctor would get on very well. So, I think, would Harriet.

http://www.number10.gov.uk/history-and-tour
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Treaty_System
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Antarctic_Territory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_Land