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.
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.