No, I was never in Turin.
I know it best from watching The Italian Job. But Google is a wonderful
tool. Yes, there is a fountain of the Naiads and Tritons in the I Giardini
Reali – Royal Gardens. Yes,
that is the legend about it. And what a sweet legend it is. The little
subplot there fitting in nicely before they all went off to their next
I went to boarding school in Pendle. It is a fascinating
region of East Lancashire with a rich history. It
is most famous for the Pendle Witches of the early seventeenth century.
But thinking about it, although I have read several novels about the witches
I have no idea what the TRUE story is. The subject of who did what to
whom is very confused. In any case, I wasn’t really interested in doing
another story about the witches. It doesn’t EXACTLY fit into the Doctor
Who genre. What does interest me is the fact that Pendle, in common with
much of Lancashire, was a place where Papism remained
strong in the sixteenth and seventeenth century despite purges and persecutions.
This seemed a more interesting theme to explore than the lurid witchcraft
The other motive for this story was a simple one. I wanted
to be able to portray Doctor #9 in Elizabethan costume. Because we all
know how sensational Christopher Eccleston looked in Elizabeth.
But getting back to those persecutions of Papists. The
most famous of those in Lancashire is without doubt
Saint John Southworth who was executed for being a Catholic priest in
Protestant England in 1654. Since he was born in 1592 he is a little too
late to be the priest of this story, set in 1598, but the unnamed seminary
is based on him, and the picture used in the HTML version of the story
is based on Southworth.
This is the first real ‘adventure’ the twins have shared
with The Doctor apart from Davie’s
kidnapping on SangC’lune. It is a sort of rite of passage for them. The
first time they take an active part in the action when they use their
own powers of telekinesis to outwit the guards on the seminary’s cell.
That crucifix Chris was given by the priest will come up
again in later stories, incidentally. Remember it.