It's 2008! Character have been making Doctor Who figures for a few years but have JUST announced they're making Classic Doctors and monsters. I was OVERJOYED. This was the second story to use the new classic figures (the first was New Year's Eve featuring the 6th Doctor)
Without any companions to accompany him, the function of this story was to separate him from his TV companions and establish him travelling alone for the AFT - something he never did on TV.
In the original storyline, the Doctor was to lead the Werewolf fleet to several planets, dispatching werewolves as he goes. The first planet Quinnus 5 was mentioned in The Edge Of Destruction as somewhere the first Doctor and Susan nearly lost the TARDIS. The second planet was called Abydon.
In that early draft, the Doctor displaces the TARDIS early on and uses a tracking device to find it again, at one point dropping the device down a mountainside. He clambers down to retrieve it only to have it destroyed by the werewolves!
When the werewolves force the TARDIS back to Earth, the Doctor interferes with his co-ordinate selector to steer them to a black hole. The effect would leave him unable to navigate straight back to Little Hodcombe.
The ending would have seen the armada plunged into a black hole where it is crushed. This was contrary to the Doctor's pacifist nature so I changed it to a wormhole that simply sends them to another part of the galaxy. You'll also notice that he doesn't kill any of the werewolves chasing him.
The story went through several possible titles
Touchdown on Deneb (which I think was used in an annual?), The Deneb Diversion, The Deneb Decoy, Diversion To Deneb, Decoy To Deneb. Obviously, I picked the last one and changed the planet's name.
I shouldn't have bought the Werewolf figure. It's an amazing sculpt and wonderfully articulated but it's one of those I bought to be completist rather than because I wanted it - something I no longer do! I'm glad then that I got to use it in this story. It required a savage, brutal and unstoppable monster. I did consider using the Primeval Future Predators (they get PLENTY of use later!) but decided on the werewolf, here multiplied with the magic of photoshop. And armed with Rose Tyler's 'Girl In The Fireplace' fire extinguisher.
The Fifth Doctor figure is the Time Crash with celery version which was initially released as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive for Children In Need. I missed out on a set initially but a wonderful chum - Edmund Barnett Ward (I think I'm okay to say, 15 years later!!) sent me a set in return for a donation to CiN. I will always be grateful for his kindness.
The jungle setting for Denebola uses a variety of plastic foliage that would return over the years on AFT. There's a backdrop of a woodland background and the floor is a green "grass" sheet from a model shop. The woods near Little Hodcombe use the same backdrop and floor but the fishtank foliage is swapped out for paper tree trunks.
With few spaceships in my possession, the werewolf fleet bears a remarkable similarity to the Slitheen's Space Pig ship.
The signal device is from Spy Kids.