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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 05:58 am:   

If you didn't come here via a link from there, then it's worth saying that www.stephengallagher.com is the official author site with a regularly-updated news page and all the career-related guff you get in such places. It carries some non-fiction pieces and a short story that I change every now and again.

This is intended as more of an informal forum. There are times when it's tempting to use the news page to sound off an opinion which doesn't really count as news, and which would subvert the purpose of the site… in future I'll just hop over here and sound off, and anyone who wants to follow and join in will be welcome.

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bidmead
Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 03:46 pm:   

Steve, your "Scripting Warriors' Gate" piece on your web site certainly accords with my own (very much less detailed) memory.

I haven't read Paul's "In Vision" contribution, so I can't comment on it, but I certainly recall the frenetic week that Paul and I spent hacking out over my 8-bit computer* what we hoped would be a set of four doable TV episodes from your warmly inspiring, but, as you point out, too novelish final draft.

Yes, in shaping it we changed a lot, as I recall. And there wasn't time in the rush to do proper justice to your inspiration. I can't even pretend that this was our prime objective -- what we needed in short order was a script that "worked".

I did smuggle in a few ideas of my own -- as I remember this was mostly to solve some structural problems -- but there wasn't much need for invention, as you'd already done all that hard stuff for us. Our job, as I recall, was just getting it all to come together as a limited budget Doctor Who story.

Yes, a three month production schedule and four times more money could have brought your vision more substantially to the screen. For what it's worth, I felt my own stories were somewhat bonzai-ed by the production process too, but I always reassured myself that I could, literally, get my own back in the subsequent novelisation.

I've just today read your interview on another Web page where you say that JNT put the kibosh on this for you, insisting that you novelise the Joyce/Bidmead** version rather than your own. Damn. John had immense flair and energy, and very valuable knowledge of how to manipulate the rusty BBC machinery on behalf of the show. But taste and judgement were hardly -- well, you remember those Hawaii shirts he insisted on wearing...

It may not be any consolation for your "In Vision" rough treatment by Paul, but I have a vivid memory towards the end of the production of Paul being reduced to tears by JNT -- if I'm remembering this correctly -- pulling him off the show and putting the production unit manager in charge to get it all in the can on time.

(*Can't recall if the Vector MZ System B was still a loan machine at the time of "Warriors' Gate". But I think it was actually bought and paid for by then.)

(**Completely without relevance, but weird now I see it on the page: Joyce Bidmead was my mother's name.)

--
Chris
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Srebren
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 02:18 am:   

Hello and greetings from Bosnia. I have read of the books of yours and in truth enjoyed. (Believe it so: my reading English is the superior of my written standard.) But now I seek a question of more pertinence. In the Dr Who accomplishments, which one for you stands at the wicket?
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 05:17 am:   

Hello Chris -- great to hear from you again after all these years!

For the record (and this is an answer to you, too, Sreben), I'm proud of how WARRIORS' GATE turned out and of everyone's involvement in it, Paul's included -- it simply wouldn't have been the same show without him and it seems to have a unique place as the kind of 'arthouse hit' of WHO fandom. If I could go back in time and engage with myself over the odd whiny early-days interview I'd point out how green I was going in and how much I'd learned when I came out, and just how much I've owed to the experience.

It was just that claim of actual authorship in the original magazine piece that set me off. Much as you and Paul had to do to make it work, I reckon I can still take credit for the raw material. But his experience was far worse than anything I went through, I can now see... I heard some rumours once, but I didn't realise he'd actually been removed before the end of the shoot! I know it was a struggle because I was there at the back of the box for the first 2 days of it and I could see JNT's mood as the schedule slipped. But I'm also now aware that a good sixty per cent of directing involves the choices you make before before you even start doing your setups and shots, so your personal stamp remains even if someone else comes in and finishes the job.

Paul seems to have made a niche for himself in arts documentaries now. I spot his name in the credits and saw a magazine interview which confirmed it's the same PJ. He's got a company (Lucida?)which seems to specialise in profile/interviews of filmmakers, mainly for C4.

If you've seen the website then you'll know that I've yet to work out what my niche may be... I've got a CV that's all over the place.

Hope all's well with you. We've come a long way since those Vector days... but it was seeing what you could do with it that spurred me to get my first WP (one of those little green-screen Amstrads, I'm embarrassed to say)and put me in hock to the computer industry ever after!
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 05:30 am:   

Sreben --

my response to Chris should go some way towards answering your question, I hope. TERMINUS was an easier ride and the script got no more of a rewrite than any other TV script does as it passes through various hands, but WARRIORS' GATE is the one people remember. And rightly so, I think.

Although I did have the pleasure once of standing in an Eastercon bar and overhearing the bloke behind me, having no idea who I was, saying that TERMINUS was the most effective horror he'd ever seen on TV. So it must have something.

In truth, though, it was all a long time ago and a pretty small part of all our careers... each show represents a few weeks out of one's life more than two decades ago. It's only the phenomenon of WHO that keeps it all feeling present and 'alive' in people's minds. I've met fans of WARRIORS' GATE who weren't even born when it was made!
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Srebren
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 03:22 am:   

Stephen
Yes, but even so you may stroke your beard at that achivment. Finally another point: which of the pomp and pride of yourself do you belive might go far enough to make a recommendation? I ask only for the standard and not the fat answer.
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Chris Bidmead
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 11:33 pm:   

Steve wrote
> I heard some rumours once, but I didn't realise he'd
> actually been removed before the end of the shoot!

I've just been talking to Paul (for the first time since the days of WG -- this exchange here having enticed me to track him down) and he reminds me that the fit of pique on JNT's part only lasted a few minutes. Paul tells me he was reinstated to finish the final moments of shooting, and of course was there subsequently to put the whole show together in post-production.

I've given Paul this URL -- perhaps he can be persuaded to add a few notes of his own.

--
Chris
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Phil Craggs
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 08:58 am:   

Hi Steve,

I don't know if this forum is still active, but I thought i'd post this anyway.

You said that 'I've met fans of WARRIORS' GATE who weren't even born when it was made!' Well, we haven't met, but I'm very much a fan of both your DW stories, and I was born in the middle of Chris Bidmead's story 'Logopolis' which was only a couple of stories later (i'm also a huge fan of Chris Bidmead's DW work as writer and editor).

I noticed that you contributed to a non-profit charity anthology of Dr Who stories a little while back. Any chance of an official story or audio drama? And if they asked you to write for the new Dr Who series, would you do it?

Phil
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 09:40 am:   

Hi Phil

The forum's as active as anyone wants to make it... I try to check at least once a week in case anyone's happened across it for the first time and added something, as you did.

I know I've done the odd WHO-related charity thing in the past but the fact of it is, when I do that it's like I'm revisiting the party. I had my time at it and then left it to do other things, and that was quite some time ago. I don't think of myself as a present-day WHO writer. While it's fun to drop back in -- I went along to an event in Darwen a few weeks back and had a fun afternoon -- that's all I'm really doing, dropping in.

If I was asked, I'd wriggle out of it as politely as possible. It's a new-blood team and I think that's what the show needs.
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Phil Craggs
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 02:50 pm:   

Steve,

thanks for the reply. If the BBC were to ask you (assuming they haven't already) to be involved in the DVD releases of your stories (on a documentary or a commentary), would you be up for that?

Oh, and on a non-Who note, I remember watching 'Oktober' with my Dad - we had to watch it on the TV in my parent's room because my Mum and sister wouldn't let us watch it on the main telly. I've not seen it since, but I do remember parts of it vividly, which has got to be a sign of something good.

Phil
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 11:36 am:   

I'd be happy to contribute to a docu if they asked me, not so sure about a commentary... simply because I'm not sure I'd have enough to say about either of the shows on a scene-by-scene basis, not having been directly involved in the actual production.

I'm a bit concerned about your mum and sister. Was there some girlie crap on another channel?

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Phil Craggs
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 03:39 pm:   

'I'm a bit concerned about your mum and sister. Was there some girlie crap on another channel?'

Was 'Oktober' running against 'London's Burning'? It might have been that. But to be fair, it was partly my Mum lending me her Arthur C. Clarke books when I was younger that got me into sci-fi (as well as letting me watch 'Dr Who' which meant she missed Corrie), so I can't complain too much.

Phil
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 08:42 am:   

OK, she's off the hook.

For now.
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Philip Craggs
Posted on Wednesday, July 07, 2004 - 02:17 pm:   

Hi Steve,

I'm teaching a 10 week course in writing science fiction (prose) next year, and I wondered; what is the most important piece of advice you think could be given to someone trying to write science fiction?

Phil
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 02:13 am:   

Hi Phil

Off the top of my head I'd say that a great idea doesn't make a great story on its own -- it's the human repercussions of it that are the story's real concern.

The great thing about science fiction is the way that its ideas and subjects can generate challenges, environments and dilemmas that test and expose the human character in new and unique ways. You can dream up a spaceship that eats planets and excretes energy, but until you find a viewpoint that's endangered by it and a narrative that develops the viewpoint to some outcome, there's no story.

Any use?
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Philip Craggs
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 02:02 pm:   

Steve,

that's great, thanks a lot. I think that sometimes characterisation and the human element can get lost in the big ideas of sci-fi, and it never helps (I dislike Stephen Baxter because, as impressive as his techno-babble is, I didn't come across a believable person in anything of his I read). Can I quote that?

Phil
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 12:43 pm:   

Absolutely.
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Philip Craggs
Posted on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 02:30 pm:   

Great, thanks a lot. It's always good to have the word of an expert to fall back on :-)

Phil
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Neil Every
Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2005 - 01:20 pm:   

Hi there Steve,

It's been a very long time since we last communicated! I was doing a massive spring clean last week and stumbled across a letter from you (dated December 1992!) and it got me wondering where you were at etc. and I found this site.

Anyway, to refresh your memory, I was the passionate kid who lived in Jersey in the Channel Islands and I interviewed you at the EasterCon "Contrivance" for a Doctor Who Fanzine I was editing. Following that we corresponded for a couple of years. Last time we spoke I was boroadening my horizons away from Doctor Who and more towards filmmaking in general (thank christ, I was almost cursed to walk the earth as a major geek!). Well, I ended up leaving Jersey to attend film school in Vancouver, Canada (back in '94) and have been here ever since.

Vancouver has been very good to me. I stumbled into working in the camera department for a number of years (working on everything from Outer Limits to X-Files and Dark Angel) and while I was doing that began working on my own stuff.

Since then I've completed 12 short films (a couple of which have won national awards) and in the last year and a half have become a full-time writer/director. Last year my first feature script was produced (a horror film starring Luis Guzman) and I now have an agent and am attached to direct a psychological horror piece called "Mappers" as well as being halfway through my next script. I also work as a story editor and as a part time instructor at the Vancouver Film School.

Vancouver has for the last few years been gradually becoming the city of choice for many many genre films and tv - you should check out the scene here some time (if you haven't already!).

Well, I hope you get this message, I hope you and your family are well and hopefully we can talk again some time soon. If you feel like cntacting me directly feel free to drop me a line at mythmaker1972@yahoo.ca
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Stephen Gallagher
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 12:25 pm:   

Hi Neil, brilliant story! Glad to hear that things have worked out so well for you. There's no better feeling than that of making a living at that which you'd happily do for nothing.

Unfortunately when the BBC find that out, nothing is what they do their best to pay you...

Which is why at the moment I'm working mostly for ITV!

I was back in Jersey a couple of years back... new con, same place (Hotel de France). Another brilliant time, I have to say.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 - 09:01 pm:   

Steve,
did you get the email I sent you Friday evening?

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