Interesting Specimens was written for one simple reason. To break up the ‘romantic’ stories where not much happened except learning a bit more about The Doctor’s background. Of course, filling in those blank pages of his life was the main reason I started writing these stories. But many readers also enjoy the action stories so I feel compelled to make sure there is a mix of stories.
Having decided to fit in such an ‘action’ story, I thought of the idea of The Doctor settling once and for all what the whole alien abduction thing is about, and the ‘grey’ aliens that saw such an upsurge in the 1990s with The X-Files. So after that the story was easy enough to put together.
Alien experiments! The X-Files went into a lot of detail about experiments with Human fertility, but that didn’t fit with my remit for Unfinished Business. But I did have a flash of inspiration from another old TV science fiction source. A scrap of a plot I remembered from the 1970s series, Space 1999, in which an alien had hold of the two central characters, Commander Koenig and Dr Helena Russell, who had the sort of unspoken relationship that was seen in the X-Files between Mulder and Scully, and in Stargate SG1 between Jack O’Neill and Dr Sam Carter, for example. The alien tested their emotional reactions by threatening to kill one unless the other sacrificed themselves. I have completely forgotten what happened in the original, and I certainly couldn’t remember what episode it was, but the idea was certainly ready for a reworking. And this was the result.
The mountie who helps Rose out with the crowd control problem is based on a Salford DCI I met on a late night train from Manchester once who did something very similar to a bunch of very noisy clubbers who were making life uncomfortable for those of us who were just sober and tired and wanting to get home.