Imperfect Arcadia began, simply, with some photographs I took in the park. This is the same park that was the setting for several other stories. In Unfinished Business, it was the park where The Doctor and Rose bough Tammy. In New Lords of Time they return there in Ghost Train. In Theta Sigma Perfect Day was written entirely in the park on a very nice summer day. But these pictures showed a part of the park where the grass hadn’t been attended to for a while and the steps up to the top of the slope were in extremely bad condition, and it seemed like a place that had been abandoned for a long time.

That was an idea completely apart from what followed, which was a little expedition into horror and the concept of zombies. I’ve done the horrific ‘don’t let them bite you or I’ll have to kill you so you don’t turn’ kind of zombies before in the Unfinished Business story Mount Lœng House, but that’s a pretty well covered genre. From Night of the Living Dead to 28 Days Later its been done. But Shaun of the Dead had been out for a while when I wrote this, proving that a sort of dark humour can go with Zombies.

This was a lighter kind of humour. A zombie driving a lawn mower, badly, and The Doctor’s fight to get him to stop mowing while he examined him was meant to indicate that things weren’t quite Night of The Living Dead after all. The zombie butler obviously had to bring to mind The Addams Family even before Wyn christened him Lurch.

But the moral of this story, if there is one, is this. The horror isn’t always the thing that looks horrible and frightening. Sometimes it is inside something that looks outwardly pretty, like the family sitting in their drawing room having cocktails. The horror is in the people who believed, not only that they deserved to survive the plague that struck the planet just because they were rich, but that the poor, even when dead, should continue to serve them, brought back to a sort of ‘life’ with the chips in their heads driving them. But that was obvious, wasn’t it? I don’t need to hammer that point.

The Doctor is not one who takes a life without qualms. And Jasmin quoting the Hippocratic oath is a reminder to him of the responsibility. But for the re-animated dead he knows just what to do. He helps them die, finally, and be at rest. Again, the moral doesn’t need pointing out, perhaps.

Reanimated zombies with chips in their heads is not, of course, completely off the wall. It was done in the 2005 episodes The Long Game on Satellite Five. Although I didn’t actually COPY that idea as such, the comparison does indicate that these stories are on the same wavelength as the TV series.