Sick TARDIS Syndrome came from a very simple source. A poster in the Doctor Who Adventures comic, which I buy for the free gifts. The grown up one, Doctor Who Monthly, isn’t as generous. This poster showed the TARDIS console room as a very small part of a beautiful globe with the real workings of the TARDIS beneath its floor.

And of course, the imagination went into overdrive. I just knew I could get a story out of it. A story in which The Doctor had to go down there and fix something or search for something.

So, the TARDIS is sick, infected with something. They can’t go anywhere else until it’s made better. The Doctor and Stella go down, because Stella is the smallest and most agile of the crew and, perhaps, just a little because she’s a bit of a favourite with The Doctor.

Calling the little nasties they find down there Nargles was a bit of a cheek, of course. But it is true that portkeys are a lot like time rings, and that Time Lords invented things that are bigger on the inside long before the wizards. So I think a bit of sharing of ideas is more than acceptable.

The Doctor’s hand being eaten by the Nargles harks back to a lurid horror story, possibly Stephen King, possibly not, that I remember reading at school, in a book that went right around the dorm eventually. In it, a man working in a sewer had his hand eaten off by rats before he could free himself from a grating he got himself trapped in. The underbelly of the console isn’t exactly a sewer, but the idea worked.

Getting K9 to cauterise the wound so that The Doctor didn’t bleed to death was, of course, simply for K9 to have something to do. It really is hard to write a good part for K9. I am getting to the point where I will be glad when Wyn takes him home. It really was the reason the original TV scriptwriters were glad to be rid of him, too, adorable as he is.

The Doctor referred to an attic in the TARDIS in the episode Shakespeare Code. Ever since, speculation about where the attic is has littered the internet. When I saw this picture is seemed obvious. And it DOES look a lot like a lighthouse, too. That it might also double as a ‘liferaft’ and serve the purpose in this story as a self-contained unit of the TARDIS came to mind as the story progressed.

Huon particles, which formed the solution, were first mentioned by The Doctor in The Runaway Bride. Donna Noble was infused with them. The Doctor said that his people got rid of them. But the TARDIS still had some, which is why Donna was pulled into the TARDIS. Huon particles did puzzle long-standing Doctor Who fans, because we thought the TARDIS used Artron energy. I managed to marry the two, making Huons a part of the production of Artron energy. Problem solved.

And in the end, with The Doctor wounded, needing a few weeks R&R to grow a new hand, the story gives a great excuse to revisit the Groot Karoo.