Christmas Future brought several ideas together that had kicked about for a while. First of all, a way to use that wall in the basement of the house at ground zero of the Cardiff Rift. Second, I wanted to bring Jack and Gwen together in a sexual encounter that would be appropriate, relevant to the plot, and at the same time, not have any knock on effect in their working relationship.

I had also toyed, for some time, with a more detailed description of what happened to Cardiff in the Dalek invasion.  

So, logically, a story in which Gwen and possibly one other member of the team was flung forward in time to the middle of the Dalek invasion would work. I put Toshiko with her, as well as baby Etsuko, simply because that made it much more emotive. The crucial difference between Gwen and Toshiko is that Tosh has the one person who matters to her – the baby – with her, whereas Gwen has left Rhys and all her loved ones.

I don’t know for certain that Toshiko IS alone in the world. She spoke of her parents in some episodes of Torchwood, but they were never seen except in the ‘ghost’ that appeared to Toshiko in the End of Days episode. The impression seemed to be that her mother WAS dead. She lives alone in a house that looks as if it could have been inherited from her parents. I’ve gone with that idea. If proved otherwise, then ok. But I’m sticking with it for now.

Jack still running Torchwood in 2163 is perfectly plausible. He can’t die. So what else would he do? He KNOWS the war is coming. He comes from the future and would know the history of Earth. Of course he would be *there to help people hang on in there until help arrived in the form of a stranger who would help the London resistance to destroy the Daleks. He knows who the stranger is, of course. But he also knows he can’t help him. In Cardiff he can fight his own war against humanity’s greatest enemy.

Jack as a man mourning the loss of a lover was a late addition to the story, I wanted a way to make it more personal to him. And it seemed to me that Jack actually having a twenty year steady relationship with a Torchwood operative called Niall might be believable. And having lost his lover, he would become even more driven and determined, and even more emotionally attached to Gwen and Toshiko when he found them.

Cardiff half destroyed was a difficult one. I tried to picture the Plas with all those fine, beautiful buildings destroyed. The Millennium Centre split down the middle, with the English part of its fašade gone was one image I could fix in my head. And the debris filled crevice where the metal fountain should have been. But it was actually quite disturbing to imagine a city of thriving, living people, destroyed like that, so I didn’t dwell too much on the imagery. Rather, I got the scene shifted as quickly as possible to the big nuclear bunker under Torchwood where everyone was living a communal life.

Those scenes have come in for particular praise for accurately evoking the reality of civilian life in bomb shelters in the war. For me, World War II is something I learnt about in history. I have no personal experience to draw on, but I did hope that I captured some of the atmosphere. The Dalek Invasion of Earth, in 1964, was broadcast within the living memory of people who had lived through the war. It had a huge impact on them as a view of what England might have been like if the Germans HAD invaded. Last of The Time Lords in 2007 had a slight echo of it in the Master's machinations. But the Dalek Invasion one way or another is Doctor Who's best Nazi invasion allegory.

The Christmas party was the contrast to the terror above. The people making the best of it, celebrating together with the food rescued from a warehouse many months ago, carols, dancing, happiness, isn’t so strange. As Gwen reflects in the story, people DO celebrate in the midst of wars. The examples she thinks of prove it. This is just an extension of the same indomitable Human spirit.

Gwen and Jack making love, just slid easily into place. She would go to him. He would be hesitant at first, but then realise there was no reason for either of them to hold back. It would be good for both of them.

MEANWHILE, Toshiko would discover the secret spy in their camp. Rachel, who had seemed to be so loyal and friendly. In Dalek Invasion of Earth, there were people who betrayed, like the two slightly mad women in the forest who turned in Barbara and Jenny. There were people who made a profit out of the misery, like Ashton, the black marketer. Here, Rachel is a traitor out of an understandable motive. She wants her brother to be free. But there is no freedom from being turned into a Roboman. It is a form of living death, and her betrayal was for nothing.

Except, that it allowed for history to be changed. And once they had a way of getting back, Gwen had a very simple way of making it change. All she had to do was tell the Jack of her own time who the traitor was going to be. She didn’t even have to give any detail. He would remember it when the time came.

And history changed. Niall was alive. The Hub had never been destroyed. Gwen never slept with Jack. Although she and Toshiko and the Jack of the future retained the memory that she DID.

But if it didn’t happen, she wouldn’t have to feel guilty.