Before I started on Invisible Man, I already had the opening scene of the follow up story, Secrets of Torchwood Two, which runs parallel to this one. Toshiko and Owen are in Scotland investigating the smaller operation up there while Gwen and Rhys are minding Etsuko. I then had the idea for the sweet little set up scene with them in the bedroom along with the baby and the dog. Jack suggested to Rhys that they should buy a dog in Seepage, several stories back. This is the follow up to that. The dog is called Abby because she was left in Abergavenny bus station. This is a homage to my dog that was left on Kirkby railway station in Merseyside.
The Invisible Man, of course, is another very familiar theme. We’ve had three in a row with vampires and werewolves in the previous episodes. It wasn’t deliberate, but putting a new spin on old ideas is something I think Torchwood lends itself to.
It wasn’t so much the HG Wells Invisible Man I had in mind with the naked man running around the city as the 1970s version played by David McCallum. Mainly because that version is the one I know better than the book or any of the filmed versions of the original. The principle is the same in both. An experiment in a lab goes wrong. In the HG Wells version it’s a chemical change. In the 1970s version it’s something to do with radiation and alarming looking machinery. I didn’t go into the details too much in this case, but I kept in the idea from Wells about the invisibility sending the man mad. I also introduced the nitric oxide which causes impotence, because it would contribute to the invisible man being a rather pathetic character. That on top of him being bitten where it hurts by the dog.
One thing I wanted to get into the story was the idea that Etsuko was at risk because of a leak, and Jack blaming Garrett for it. My original plan was to have him march into Cardiff MI5 Headquarters and lay into him. But even Jack would probably get into trouble for doing that, so the fight switched to Garrett’s flat. This had the effect of slowing down the action between Jack accusing him of the pillow talk and actually checking to find out where the leak did come from. I was able to add in a scene with Ianto and Alun doing the detective work.
Janice Thorne, incidentally, was named from an in joke from the Louise Jameson/Leela era of Doctor Who companions. Leela used to kill people within something called Janus thorns which some people pronounced as ‘janiss’. Somebody in the production crew said it sounded like an out of work actress. It sounded to me like an MI5 clerk with a hidden agenda.
How to capture the invisible man? At this point I should
mention that I wrote this story and Secrets of Torchwood Two before the
previous one, Beth and the Wolfman. Both this and Wolfman have the protagonist
actually walking into Torchwood of their own accord, and they follow on
from each other. In this case, Thorne is hidden in the car and intends
to get into Torchwood, but is ambushed by Ianto and Alun with the tar
and feathers. I had planned to have some sort of chase around the Hub
using infra-red to capture him, but this actually seemed a lot simpler
and neater. The story was about how and why he did what he did, not so
much catching him.