I had a vague idea about a story on the lines of School Days when I was writing Mysteries of Pendle. Mostly because I was thinking about my old boarding school which was in Pendle. In the end I decided the location of the school wouldn’t come into it much, but I would concentrate on what went on in the school. The name of the school stayed in amended form. Whitacre became Whiteacres. The name of the headmistress, Miss Vickers, is a variation of Miss Parsons – vicar/parson – ok. But Miss Vickers is quite a nice person actually. The same could not be said of Miss Parsons – who was the reason I missed quite a few seasons of Doctor Who in the late 1970s. She considered it unsuitable for a girl.

Watching Top of The Pops was the one thing everyone HAD to do on a Thursday night at school. So detentions were Thursday night, to make them that much more of a punishment. Personally, I did prefer the extra uninterrupted bath time.

The story does seem to split into two halves. The Doctor spends most of the first half assuming Miss Vickers is the problem, and then when he founds out otherwise Miss Morgan comes into focus. There is a clue early on, of course, in the fight Stella had with the other girl about the myth of the unbaptised baby cemetery. That apparently throwaway idea turned out to be the key to the story.

Incidentally, I am well aware that Wicca is a legitimate religion for many people. It is a bit unfair to paint them in what is an unfavourable light, with Miss Morgan misusing Wicca as well as the students. She is not, as far as I know, representative of Wicca.

The Tenth Doctor has been a teacher twice in the TV series, in School Reunion, when he posed as a physics teacher in a comprehensive school, and in Human Nature/Family of Blood in which he was a history master in a boys’ public school. In the timeline of these stories the events of Human Nature didn’t take place. He crossed to the alternative university after the events of Runaway Bride. But somehow the role of teacher seems to suit him.

Putting him in charge of a class of girls was a bit cruel to him. But believe me, we said more embarrassing things to the three male teachers at my school!