WARNING: this article is being written by an English Literature student. As such, expect poncy language and symbolism references.
This is nerve wracking. It's always stressful putting a piece of work out there into the world, for everyone to see. The dread of having finished it and nervously awaiting the reaction to it...it’s a bit like the lead up to exam results day. But unlike results day, this story, Mind the Gap, is something I'm actually rather proud of, which is unusual for me.
Series 6 of the Sarah Jane Adventures is all about journeys. We've seen already in the first two stories where the characters are emotionally, and that has so far been crafted beautifully. And where better to kick these characters’ emotional journeys into gear than at a train station. That was my rationale when dreaming up the concept for Mind the Gap (it totally wasn't “hey, train stations are cool, I could do a story about that”). After the past two stories, where we learn about Zoe, Beth, and Dan’s pasts, we suddenly start to lurch forward. This episode sets in motion a progressive arc for the main trio - which is realised beautifully throughout the series by the other talented writers whom I am lucky to call my colleagues.
But enough about them, and back to my vanity article. Ironically, one of the most pivotal scenes in this story to starting the emotional journey is the one set on a stationary train carriage. With the hectic lives these young teenagers all lead, it's important that they stop for a moment to realise where they are. Only then will they be able to move forward as people. You may notice that Sarah Jane plays a relatively minor role in this story, and this was intentional as well. It's important to realise that whilst Sarah Jane is of enormous benefit to her new gang, these kids are strong enough to get through it themselves. My aim in my presentation of Sarah Jane in this story was to really emphasise the Doctor-like influence she has on the kids. To do this, I tried to incorporate a few subtle parallels between her lines and the Doctor’s - keep an eye out for them. It was a little flourish to really show that Sarah Jane is to the kids what the Doctor is to her.
Mind the Gap is also the only story in the series to feature a completely new creation in terms of villain. The other writers have wonderfully brought back some fan favourites, and to marvellous effect. But I decided that I wouldn't be able to do any of the notorious SJA villains justice, and that this story needed a completely unknown threat. And thus, the Choosers were born. I can't tell you much about them (or else Zoe Lance will cut off my quiff - I can see her standing outside my window with the scissors now) but I will tell you that they seem to have a rather large appetite. The Choosers are pretty vague and ambiguous; you won't learn a lot about them in this story (who knows, they may make a return some day!), as they're very mysterious and beyond our reckoning. They are not the most sophisticated villains ever to grace the Whoniverse, but look on the bright side - at least they're not the dreaded Angie and Artie Maitland. That would've been too terrifying.
Now, because I'm nice (far nicer than all the other writers, and don't let that secretly psychopathic Peter Darwin tell you any different), I'll give you a few teasers:
And that's all I can say on the matter. If I told you any more I’d have to shoot you - or more likely, Zoe Lance would shoot me, in the face, with a paint gun. You never really know with Zoe.
So I guess all that's left is for me to sign off now. I hope you all enjoy reading my story - and even if you don't, I had tremendous fun writing it so I'm glad I did it. Farewell, till next week at least!
Writer of Mind the Gap