The Joker is actually a prequel to a story “Alternative Life” which I completed some weeks before. I decided that the character of The Joker who was the troublemaker in that story needed some further explanation. Besides, having created a creepy alien menace, I wanted more than one story out of him.


The Lunch Box, scene of the first encounter with the Joker appears by special request of the place where I buy coffee when I go to the park with the dogs. I was talking about writing these stories with the manager of the stall and she suggested that The Lunch Box could feature in a story. I said it would have to be relocated in Cardiff! A whole story surrounding a mobile café wasn’t very likely, of course. But it made a good start. The trick with the salt in the coffee does bear a slight resemblance to a similar scene in one of the Dirty Harry films of the early 1980s. That’s a coincidence. Forget it.

Lunch Box, Preston


The two restaurants mentioned in this story are real places in Cardiff. The Strada really is a stone’s throw from the Hub. It was the perfect place. As far as I know, their food is never poisoned. That should certainly be made clear. Giovanni’s is in The Hayes, which is a short walk from Castle Street, where I put the After Dark Club. I decided that there would be no incidents there. It was simply scene setting.


The majority of readers have enjoyed the After Dark Club and Davina, the vampiress who runs it for Human and Vampire clientele. The consensus is that it makes a good background for a story. That being so, it is probably not going to feature again for a little while. It will undoubtedly pop up again, though.


The various means by which Jack gets murdered by The Joker once he has him in his clutches weren’t strictly necessary. He could, of course, have just shot him every time. But I think a bit of variety was needed.


I always intended that the Joker and Jack would both be shot by the Torchwood team plus Garrett. I made one quite late change to the scene, though. Originally Garrett shouts out ‘I love you, Jack’ before shooting him. I was never entirely happy with that, though. It didn’t seem like the sort of thing an MI5 agent would say, even if it was true. But I couldn’t think of a better line until right at the very last minute when I posted the story online, and it occurred to me that Garrett should actually be the one who orders them to shoot both Jack and the shapeshifting Joker so that they would know which was the real Jack when they were both dead. The scene in which Jack admonishes everyone for shooting him actually makes a good contrast with the starkness of the order later.


Most readers enjoyed this story. There was a minor dissenting voice that thought it was time to move on from Jack and Garrett’s ongoing story. Future stories will do that, but not just yet. The Joker story arc still needs to be played out.