The origins of Identity Theft go back a very long way. About eight years in fact. I was sitting on a bus in Dublin that was getting nowhere fast in rush hour and looking at the faces of all the tired shoppers and workers on their way home. In a writer’s muse I got to thinking about what lay behind the tired faces. Who were these people and were any of them having a more interesting life than me? I half conceived a science fiction fantasy about what would happen if you could take over the lives of people just by thinking your way into their heads. I had the idea of one of them turning out to be a murderer and making them confess, another a battered wife who would be able to take her situation into her own hands.


By the time I got home from Dublin I had shelved the idea and never even put pen to paper. But I decided there were possibilities for a Torchwood story. The bus became a Cardiff one instead, and the first victim of the roving alien mind was Sian, the young lesbian law student who lives with her girlfriend, Louise, in Estelle’s old house - as previously introduced in "The Vabatheth".


Sian's story is rather a harrowing one. Jack agrees with her that it constitutes rape, since she was an unwilling participator in the sexual actions that the alien forced her into. Of course, rape evidence is not usually taken by a police officer, even a woman. It is usually done in a hospital by a nurse or doctor. But it is not unreasonable that Gwen would do it in this instance. She would understand the principles, and her caring nature makes her the most obvious person to do carry out the procedure.


I still intend to do a whole story involving Louise and Sian. But for now, they again play the opening scene and then drop out as another story unfolds. The second victim is the scenario I worked out on the Dublin bus, slightly reworked - a murderer who the alien forces to confess his crime. And then the alien picks on a policeman, PC Andy Davidson for choice, Gwen’s old friend. And the story becomes a car chase through the night.


 The A470 is a fascinating piece of road. From Cardiff to just past Merthyr Tydfil it is a well made, well lit, dual carriageway. Beyond there, all the way to Llandudno, it is an ordinary two lane road that wends through some fantastic Welsh countryside. One very beautiful spot is the Llwyn On reservoir which the dramatic last scene takes place around. The turn off to the reservoir from the A470 does involve a very tight left turn that would be difficult to do at speed. The plunge into the reservoir is inevitable.


The boxing in manoeuvre using the three cars is one that the police use a lot if some of the real life police programmes like Road Wars and Police, Camera Action are any indication. Almost every episode they use the technique to slow a stolen car and apprehend the thief. Usually on those programmes there is a long stretch of motorway without any turn offs for the miscreant to dodge down as there was in this story. There is an irony, too, in the fact that it is a police car that is being boxed in, not the other way around.


The cars driven by the team in this story were chosen to reflect their personalities and the needs of the storyline. Owen likes fast, sporty types so he had a Mazda MX 5. Alun, quiet but strong-hearted, had an Audi Quatro, a conservative looking car but four wheel drive, capable of surviving the off road part of the adventure, but distinctly different in appearance to the SUV, which is a custome build car based on a Range Rover/Land Rover.


Alun's Audi Quatro

Owen's Mazda

Ianto's Volvo!


Alun, Owen and Ianto had all had their cars wrecked in the course of previous stories. Alun’s was burnt in The Amazing Magred, Owen’s eaten by alien acid in Duplication, and Ianto’s totalled as he crashed through steel gates in Lazarus Legacy, so obviously they all have fairly new cars. The police car is a Peugeot, which is the make driven by Andy in the first episode of the Torchwood series. Ianto’s car didn’t feature in this story, but we picked a nice Volvo XC90. It might feature in another story some time.


This is a story in which Jack tests his immortality once again, of course. He comes close to death in order to kill the alien entity after it jumps into him.  I have been trying to minimise the number of times Jack’s death and resurrection is the resolution of the plot. But in this case it worked so well.