Children of the Beacon is the end result of a lot of thinking about a storyline. The first idea was that The Doctor and friends would arrive on a boat or train, possibly a plane, in which people seemed to be happy and well, but none of them had lifesigns and it turned out they were all dead and their journey and echo of their lives. I might still run that story one day, but I had done a train not far back, and Voyage of the Damned on TV did the doomed ship more or less thoroughly. A plane is a bit too much ‘Final Destination’. So I decided to leave it.

I settled on a space station full of bodies. Originally, they were going to be desiccated bodies, having been infected by something that drew out all the moisture from them. Then I saw a film – I think it was one of the “spy kids” films, or something lightweight and a bit silly anyway, that had water that dehydrated rather than hydrated the body. Now, I am a bit annoyed that we didn’t have that idea in either Doctor Who or Torchwood as I think it would have been done better, but it actually felt like another idea had been done already. So I left the bodies as they should look after fifteen hours or so, and got down to The Doctor and company investigating what happened.

Jamie using his vortex manipulator to try to change what happened was an idea from the beginning. Originally he was going to bring the doctor who had euthanized everyone aboard forward in time to show him the error of his ways, but then I thought it would be more dramatic to have Jamie and the errant doctor in the airlock, running out of air.

Of course, Doctor Kitanna had to die again, because his existence in the present was something of a paradox after The Doctor had already buried his body in space with the others. But it also presented a way in which The Doctor could go back and right the wrongs, breaking the Laws of Time, with a clear conscious. He was acting on the ‘geis’ of a dying man’s request.

This is a slight misinterpretation of the word ‘geis’. The dictionary definition of it is “something strictly forbidden or obliged for someone, till birth to death, stronger than honour or faith.” This usually means something like being bound to abstain from doing something, rather than a commitment TO do something. It also has some very complicated meanings that make Greek and Celtic mythology very colourful and aided Shakespeare in his plotlines, too. But it is stretching things only a little to make it something The Doctor had to do. And in fact, if we consider that the Laws of Time are a geis under which he has lived his life, then this other geis which contradicts that geis is actually a classic conundrum from Celtic mythology. The Doctor doesn’t actually worry too much about it. He seizes the excuse to break the rules and sorts it all out. He does so, after all, very simply, with just four words. “You can cure them.” It is in keeping with the tradition of Doctor Who, in which six words brought down Harriet Jones.