Beast of Glasgow started as a germ of an idea while heading from one platform to another through the subway tunnels underneath Preston Railway Station. The parts that the public use if they have pushchairs, wheelchairs, heavy luggage or just don’t feel like using the bridges, are reasonably clean, well-lit and freshly whitewashed. Even so, there is a rather creepy atmosphere with the sounds of trains passing over echoing down, and on one occasion there were doors left open into the staff only section where the walls weren’t whitewashed and it all looked even darker and creepier. I know there is a whole warren of tunnels down there, one long since closed off that used to lead to a Victorian hotel and others going to platforms now long lost beneath the nearby shopping centre.
I have only been to Glasgow Central a couple of times, but it dates from the same era and almost certainly has the same hidden history beneath. Obviously, it wouldn’t be as extensive as I’ve implied here. It is only because I put the Torchwood headquarters near the station that gave the idea so much mileage.
The urban legend of a ‘Beast of Glasgow’ is made up. I got the idea from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere which referred to the Great Bear of Berlin and the Beast of London as creatures of the underworld of those cities. Glasgow is old enough and has enough hidden parts even beneath the modern gentrification of the city centre to have such a legend.
They do seem to do an awful lot of wandering around in corridors trying to work out what’s going on, don’t they! First Darius on his own, then with Munroe, then finally with Dougal along with them. It isn’t just padding, honestly. It was building up the mystery, adding first of all another Human to confirm what Darius had found out, then a team prepared to get to the bottom of it all.
The snakeman creature that they discover in the hidden room beneath the station was inspired by a film I saw very late at night many years ago, scenes of which stuck in my mind. It was not a very good film, being something of a 1970s b-movie shock-horror type of thing but I remember looking for something else to watch before going to sleep because I was so creeped out by it, and finding nothing else on but a documentary about snakes! (This WAS a long time ago, before satellite TV and before we owned a video recorder) The wonder of Google narrowed it down to a 1973 film called “SSSSSSS” or “SSSSSnake” in the UK. Both titles are a bit silly, but at least the second does what it says on the tin. If I tell you that somebody gets turned into a snake through injections of snake DNA then you’ll see what I was aiming at.
In the film, nearly everyone ended up dead. In this story, quite obviously, the father who had been murdering people to feed his mutated son had to die. It is a little over-melodramatic, perhaps, but no worse than some Torchwood denouements that made it onto TV.