Inspector Smith’s Last Case actually came from an idea I had for a Torchwood story. That story is still unfinished in the Drabbles folder at the time of writing, and I’ll get around to it in the New Year. It will involve Ianto Jones trapped in a Dick Tracy style movie in the old Electro cinema where they had trouble once before. Or that’s the idea that’s in my head, anyway.

But a Tenth Doctor version of the same idea actually came out much easier to write at the time, so I concentrated on Inspector Smith’s Last Case.

I wanted to take The Doctor and Donna from the real world and put them into a black and white television world. In fact, that isn’t easy to do in text. It would come across much better if it was televised, especially with a good location and attention to period costume and all the small details of a 1950s town, before supermarkets and superstores and fast food. But I think I more or less managed to capture the idea that they weren’t in the real world.

The idea of scenes cutting from one to the other, of course, was used in the Doctor Who Fourth Series episode, Forest of the Dead, when Donna was in a virtual reality world and not real time. It was wonderfully and effectively portrayed there, and it was hard to do justice to the same idea.

What I especially wanted to get across, though, was the idea that Donna was sucked into her character and The Doctor kept drifting in and out of his. The fact that ‘Smith’ and ‘Elizabeth’ were lovers and the scenes where they kiss tended to jolt The Doctor out of character was for deliberate comedy effect, and allowed for Donna to restate her dislike of skinny aliens at the end.

The murder mystery, of course, is a lame one. Plots were not that sophisticated in the 1950s anyway, apart from Agatha Christies, which did tend to be a bit superior. But this was run of the mill ITV fare and the rather see through antics of the stock characters were about right.

The Doctor and Inspector Smith have a lot in common, of course. Inspector Smith is obviously a bit of a Human version of him, just as John Smith the teacher is in Human Nature. Smith is sympathetic to the ‘victims’ of the tragedy as is The Doctor. He is delightfully old-fashioned in his views of Elizabeth’s role in his life and work, though.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, is nothing like Donna. That was also deliberate. The Doctor had to be aware at all times that something wasn’t right with his companion.

Winding it up with Donna acting as shorthand secretary to Anthony Montgomery, the dying writer of the Inspector Smith series, ensuring his last wish for his final episode to be made, may seem just a bit sentimental, but I think it ties things up much better than The Doctor and Donna simply turning back to colour and getting in the TARDIS.

Oh, and the 1964 FA Cup Final – West Ham against Preston North End! That was a gift from History! I made The Doctor a Preston North End fan in the first Doctor Who story I wrote, in July 2005. Making Donna a West Ham fan, as mentioned in the 2008 series, meant that I just HAD to get that cup final into the dialogue SOMEWHERE.