The Eraszer began as a challenge from my internet friend, Gail. We had been talking about Central Park in New York and decided we would both write a Doctor Who story set in it. It would feature, if possible, the carousel and the ice skating rinks. My first decision was which of the story arcs to feature. It would have worked equally well if I had brought Chrístõ and Julia from Theta Sigma or Davie and Brenda or Chris and Carya from New Lords of Time. It could even have been a Marion and Kristoph scenario.

I decided on it being the setting for Louise’s first visit to planet Earth, even though I fully intended for her to go to Paris quite soon into her relationship with the Tenth Doctor.

The first part of the story is deliberately and unashamedly romantic. The Tenth Doctor stories were always rather less romantic than the Ninth Doctor ones because I wanted them to be more traditional Doctor Who action adventures. Most of the companions I put with him were not romantically attached to him. Wyn was first a tomboy teenager and later a mid-thirties lesbian. Stella was a teenager who he regarded as a surrogate child. The same was true of Susan Rawlings. Jamin and Alec who travelled with him and Wyn were a couple. Donna, of course, was never going to be a romantic attachment. Only Dominique was The Doctor’s love interest in these stories. And she lived on her own planet. The stories set on Forêt were the only ones in which the romance came into it.

But Louise, also a child of Forêt, is travelling with The Doctor. They are newly weds, essentially, and he wants to show her the universe in all its glory. He wants her to enjoy being with him. And his visit to Central Park is a romantic one most of the way. He takes her to the zoo, to the carousel, and later, skating, just about the most romantic way of spending a day in the park.

One thing that was in the back of my mind as I wrote this story was the late 1980s TV series, Beauty and The Beast, much of which was set in Central Park, especially around the Carousel. When I was trying to find a place where the Eraszer would have hidden its victims, I was determined that we were not going to go wandering around any sewers or storm drains under the park.

It was Gail who thought of the reservoir, and after a quick bit of research I knew that was going to be the very place for the dénouement. Initially I was going to have a hidden space ship in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, but the nature of the creature I had described dictated that it wouldn’t have one. It moves through space as a disembodied, formless, semi-corporeal entity.

The idea of the Eraszer, which kidnaps people and erases their existence so there is no hue and cry for them, seemed like a good idea at the time. I didn’t go into a lot of detail about how it erases the existence of people while still keeping the people in a sort of bodily existence. I think that things like that might be left to the imagination of the reader. What mattered was that The Doctor remembered Louise because her existence was protected by the TARDIS. He finds her nightdress and the lace from it tied around his wrist serves to bind him to her when he goes out of the TARDIS in search of her. It’s not very scientific, but it IS very romantic.

I did have an idea of The Doctor and the last victim, the child, swimming in the reservoir, waiting to be rescued by the TARDIS, but that actually would be unrealistic. I can’t begin to imagine how cold that body of water would be in the middle of the night on January 1st. there is no way the child would have survived. So it had to be the TARDIS to the rescue before the Eraszer’s body shield completely collapsed on them.

What to do with the rescued people, once their memories, and their existence, had been recovered, was a problem until I recalled that this was New York, and it was only 2000, before the United Nations withdrew their association with that fine old military institution now knows as the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. The old Brigadier was still with U.N.I.T. Put him on secondment to the UN headquarters in New York and remember that he is a Scotsman and the story is set on New Years Eve and there is a nice, happy, Brady Bunch smile of an ending for the story.