I set up the idea that Jo and Cliff were in South Africa many stories back, when Wyn and Stella chose to spend the year with The Doctor. Now, seemed the right time to catch up with the two of them and find out what they’re up to.

This story isn’t an action one. It is about the landscape as much as anything. I searched for a good location to set the South African WholeWheal enterprise and found the most fantastic descriptions of this place called the Groot Karoo – or Great Karoo. The idea of it being a former inland sea, a swamp in prehistoric times, lush grasslands, and now semi-desert, a wonderful natural progression, just fascinated me. Then I found a beautiful description of how big the sky was both day and night, and I just thought that The Doctor would love it. The redness of the place just seemed to match all the images of Gallifrey that existed, and there, at night, he would be able to see Sagittarius, and think of home.

So it had to be the Groot Karoo. But since I have never been there, I didn’t want to risk getting involved too much in actual towns and cities there. So I placed WholeWheal out in the middle of nowhere. This makes perfect sense given the kind of place it is, anyway. The solar powered, renewable resources of the factory would, I think, please the Cliff we first got to know in Green Death all those years ago.

Wyn considering whether to accept her father’s offer and stay there, running the place, was an idea I wish I had thought of before, because obviously it doesn’t tie in with The Doctor’s later meeting with her in Llanfairfach. I might well find a way around that at some point. Wyn’s future may, in fact, lie in the Dry, Thirsty Land. We shall have to see.

The problem with the mushrooms was going to be a more central part of the story, but actually there isn’t a HUGE scope for that storyline. It became a small problem to solve towards the end of the story, purely to set up the idea of Jo and Cliff staying there longer. I’m not sure how scientific my explanation about the giant mushrooms is, but if it isn’t accurate, it is no worse than the usual Doctor Who technobabble.

It was a story about relationships. Wyn and her dad, Wyn and Jamie, Stella and her mum, The Doctor and Jo, The Doctor and Wyn etc. Most of those relationships grew from the experience. Wyn and Jamie are a problem. They were always going to be. But they’re for another story, yet.

The receptionist, Kamisoa Dupré, was originally going to have a larger part in the story. It went a slightly different way in the end. But I am probably going to do one more story set here in the Karoo, so she may yet have her day.

http://www.south-africa-tours.com/karoo.html
http://www.thegreatkaroo.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karoo