Sunday, July 11, 2021

Master Switches - An Interview with Iain McLaughlin

Iain McLaughlin, prolific writer and creator of the popular Big Finish/Thebes Publishing character Erimem, talks to Altrix about his continuity-bending Master Switches story 'Re-Genesis of the Daleks'... 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I've been a writer since 1985, and writing Doctor Who related stuff since about 2000 when Gary Russell at Big Finish gave me a chance. Since then I've written a pile of stuff in the Who universe - for the Doctor themselves and for various spin-offs. It’s a lovely big universe with lots of scope and potential.

What made you want to write for Master Switches?

Roger Delgado. My favourite Master, the best Master. I wanted to write for his Master.

How did you decide which Master/Doctor combo to go with?

Once I had decided on Roger Delgado it had to be a pre-Deadly Assassin Tom Baker. I loved Delgado’s interaction with Jon Pertwee but we'd seen that, and we never saw him with the mighty Tom... and we never heard what he thought of the Fourth Doctor.

Can you describe your story in a nutshell?

Why is the Master on Skaro during Genesis of the Daleks?

How did you find the writing process?

I was incredibly busy with a pile of work and kept putting this off. I wound up writing it in a couple of hours on a Sunday, while listening to football on the radio. I had a limited amount of time, so it had to be done in that time. The story was worked out for the pitch months earlier, and was thankfully one that had come very quickly and arrived fully formed. So, it was a case of sitting down to turn that pitch into a story. It was a case of sitting down and not getting up till it was finished.

What aspect of your story are you most proud of?

I really liked the chance to follow the story from the Master's point of view, to get into his head a bit. He's charming but he's convinced he's utterly superior and he has disdain for almost everyone. That can be very funny without dragging the Master into the territory of being mad or a comedy figure. I like the Master to be, well… not mad.

What's your favourite line from the story?

There's a bit about Gallifrey I really like but a single line from that would be nonsense. I do like Ossian's first line in the story. It means nothing out of context, but in place in the story… I do like it.

‘Pretty sure it would ruin mine more than yours,’ a young female voice replied.


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