Saturday 31 December 2022

The Uninvited Guest


Minimal cast for this one. The Doctor is from The Eleventh Hour set. Mary St Pride is the Gelth Zombie from The Unquiet Dead. The spiders are from Primeval.

This story was written back in 2008 when the classic figures were just about to come out. I had a story for the sixth Doctor and a story for the fifth Doctor but was really short of ideas for the fourth when this popped into my head. I'm not sure why it wasn't made back then.

When the 7th Doctor figure was announced in 2009 I considered switching him in but still it didn't get made.

It wasn't until 2013 with Matt Smith on his way out I decided to give him a final outing and The Uninvited Guest fitted the bill perfectly as a simple, relatively easy to shoot tale.

Filming took place on 8 October 2013 with a few pick-ups of the spiders done on 30 July 2014.
The sets are reused from a 2011 8th Doctor story, Play Time.

The story began editing in early 2014 but didn't get far into page one. Editing resumed in July 2014. Unfortunately due to a severe lack of time, the photoshopping is rushed and not as good as I'd like.

This story was originally posted on 31 July 2014.
2014, for me had been a very busy year so by July, I was ready to put the final stop on the AFT.
At the time, I lamented that the AFT wouldn't be there at the dawn of a new Doctor (Peter Capaldi).

It was reposted on 31 Dec 2022 - I chose this episode to celebrate the anniversary of Matt Smith's first appearance.

There's no mention of any other stories here so it could appear at any point in the 11th Doctor's run. He's still in his tweed outfit so it's sometime prior to The Snowmen

Saturday 24 December 2022

Let It Snow


So it has been a long time since I gave up the Action Figure Theatre (bar the 13th Doctor's lockdown adventure) for a proper career writing scripts for telly. But now 4 years on, the time felt right to have a little hobby again when downtime allows.

I must have been inspired by Power of the Doctor, because it was in the run up to that episode that I started to consider a Christmas AFT ep. Originally featuring the Doctor and Yaz, it was called Silent Night and featured, not surprisingly, the Silents.

But I had this creature. I'd made the model years back for a possible McGann series. Something about the shape of it kept coming to me in drawings and I finally made it in 3D. So looking again at this monster (later named the Shudder) I decided to use it.

The dark tone of the story I came up with then best suited the 7th Doctor and Ace. It may be a little bleak for a Christmas special but I hope the theme of hope does shine through. 

Irony Alert! As soon as I write "it doesn't snow at Christmas anymore", what does it go and do?

The cast is really minimal. The 7th Doctor (with serious head from the 11 Doctors set and smiley/ hat head from the TARDIS set). Ace from Silver Nemesis. And a Carl Grimes figure from The Walking Dead.
The Shudder has been made out of polymorph painted to look like bone and dressed in strips of black fabric.
Barely noticeable, the TARDIS outside the window is The Visitation, a colour scheme I prefer to the 7th Doctor TARDIS.
For the final shots, Liam uses a Primeval series 2 Connor.
The crowd consists of Primeval figures Cutter, Lester, Claudia, Abbi (series 2) and Jenny. Tosh from Torchwood and from Doctor Who Dr Constantine, The Master (series 3), Professor Braithwaite and Yaz.

The original storyline was completed on 18th October,  refined on the 19th and completed on 6 Nov. It was originally going to be a 2 parter, but there was far too much padding so I chopped it into 1 ep of 5 pages (rather than the usual 4)

All the house interior scenes were shot very quickly on 9th November using a stately home set I made during lockdown using card and coloured paper. Between lockdown and redecorating, my spare room/ studio is in disarray with lots of props and things temporarily inaccessible so it was very much a make-do-and-mend affair.

The remaining shots of older Liam giving his future lecture were shot on 21 Dec using some scenery I had in my box.

It can't really be seen in the finished comic strip, but on the Doctor's work bench is Ace's tapedeck from Silver Nemesis and the Doctor's tool kit, which I made years ago for my original 3.75" customs.

Editing started with page one (bar the opening frame) on 16th November using Pixlr X, a free photo editing web-based program that takes a bit of getting used to.
Everything stalled for a few weeks then as I became super busy. But in the meantime, I got a new whooshy laptop that could be capable of Photoshop. So! I bought the bullet and started a free trial. It's a little glitchy so we'll see how it goes.
The external shots use photos I've taken.
Page 1 was edited on 16 Nov with text added on 22 Dec.
Page 2 on 18 Dec.
Page 3 completely done on 19 Dec.
Page 4, 19 Dec.
Page 5, 20 Dec.
Text was added to the remaining pages on 22 Dec.

The episode was posted online as planned on Saturday 24th December. It is my hope that the AFT will now run EVERY SATURDAY reposting the original episodes from the site with perhaps a few new ones thrown in as we go.

I'm not entirely set on when but the brown coat 7th Doctor places this after The Greatest Show In The Galaxy. Decide for yourselves.