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For [livejournal.com profile] belantana, a commentary on my Spooks Crossover, Anarchist Sprites.

Firstly, this story meant that [livejournal.com profile] belantana found and friended me here, which is definitely a Good Thing.

This was a shameless attempt to try and convince every DW reader to run off and watch Spooks. (And also because of a complicated TTR story called Plot and Loophole, but that’s the long explanation.)

The first question was which Doctor to use for the cross. Nine or Ten would have fitted, but DW and Spooks continuity part ways with Aliens of London and it’d have seemed odd somehow. Eight got the job because it would ensure maximum jealousy over Ruth for Harry (except that didn’t really fit in it in the end). I set it between 4.4 and 4.5 for Spooks because after 4.5 Ruth and Harry have moved a step forward and it leaves me with (one of) my favourite Spooks team(s). Plus, I got to write Charley for the first time and she’s lovely to do.

I’m surprised I didn’t get picked up by MI5 while I was writing it as I spent a lot of time looking up terrorist groups on Google, choosing anarchists, in the end, even though that’s a bit old-fashioned. (I wondered initially about some sort of intergalactic ‘green’ pressure group. Hmm.)

And I tried throughout to make it feel like a Spooks episode. Well, except for having DW style cliffhangers. Hence [Thames House] etc.

I loved writing it, although it took me ages and I was very glad when I reached the end. In fact it took me so long, Zaf was alive when I started it.

Part One:
I’m vaguely setting this in a run down version of the centre of Stratford. (The one in East London, obviously).

Part Two:
For those who read this without watching Spooks, Harry always meets people on the Embankment, where they sit on a bench by the river discussing national secrets.

Also Zaf wanting to die under his own name is from the show, but borrowed a bit more from Tom Quinn (who kept his life in boxes). But it’s a Spooks type of thing to worry about.

And Ruth-meets-the-Doctor! The only thing is, I can’t write Ruth as well as Howard Brenton and I don’t have Nicola Walker to act out the scenes for me and I can’t quite express the wonderfulness of Ruth on paper, though I tried. (She of course drops all her files because the Doctor mentions Harry).

And letting the Doctor dissolve Colin’s desk… Was I having too much fun?

Again, Harry’s “Ruth. My office. Now.” is a Spooks joke, because once you left that to Peter Firth and Nicola Walker, it’d be Harry/Ruth in some way. But a DW fan doesn’t have to know that.

Part Three:
Malcolm knows about UNIT because his S6 undercover op with the UFOlogists is supposed to be of long-standing and obviously a lot of paranoid UFO conspiracy theorists would be aware of UNIT.

Part Four:
(And to the person whose verdict on my anarchist aliens was ‘You’re making this up’: Yes, I was. Absolutely. It’s called fiction.)

And writing Harry-Juliet sarcasm – can I do that again some day?

As Harry put the phone down, Juliet turned. “It must be some kind of mass hallucination, or I’m going insane.”

“In that case, it’s extremely inconsiderate of you to take the rest of us with you,” commented Harry. “Ah, Ruth! Do we have any leads?”


and

Harry raised an eyebrow in her direction. “What did you say? Hysteria, mass panic and a field day for the Daily Mail.”

Part Five:
I’d like to proudly note that I set this in Parliament Square (where I had a training day relatively recently) and wrote it with my A-Z in one hand, so catch me out on the geography if you can. (I only note this because I’m usually woolly and any geograohy is non-existent, so if I’m actually in a real location, I have to tell everyone).

I also tried foolishly to write Spooks split screen effects with a few linked very short scenes bleeding ino each other. This isn’t sensible. I don’t think it came off.

For non-Spooks fans, the ‘threat of a visit to Tring’ is the psychiatric place they send Spooks when they crack up, as so many of them seem to.

And, as it got commented on, I should say is that Harry hopes not to see the Doctor again, because he’d prefer to fight terrestrial enemies and Ruth’s similar words to him are because she’s in love with both her job and her boss. But in a S4 style story you couldn’t spell that out. It’d be wrong.

Plus, I did a little Zaf/Charley moment, which seemed like a good idea, and also because Zaf is supposed to be such a flirt, but anyone actually remember him ever going out with anyone on screen or anything at all? It seemed about time he earned his reputation.

*

So, it was fun and, who knows, maybe someone will go off and watch Spooks because of it? The one thing that amuses me is that I’ve been told that it works as a DW story – no knowledge of Spooks required - and that it works as a Spooks story, no knowledge of DW required. However true that is, it’s nice to hear!
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