Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

The Restored Novelisation

In 1981 I had a problem. After turning in my final revisions on Warriors’ Gate I’d dived straight into writing the novelisation for Target Books. I had some form as a novelist already, and with so much structured and written and with the ideas still fresh in my mind it made sense to keep up the momentum. I delivered the pages, editor Christine Donougher was happy, the publishing wheels were set in motion; then word came that producer John Nathan-Turner wouldn’t sign off on the book. It differed too much from the edited scripts.

So what followed was a frantic week of cutting, tippexing, retyping, gluing, renumbering, making paper labels to change character names… it was a scramble but I made the deadline and delivered a Frankenstein manuscript of rewrites, paste-ups, sellotape, and liquid paper which, once photocopied, gave Christine a presentable set of pages to work with.

The new work brought reluctant approval and it’s fair to say that much of my original still made it through, but over the following years word got around—mainly traceable back to me, I expect—that there was a ‘lost’ version of the novelisation. All I had was the Frankenstein creation and an A4 envelope of its discarded body parts. I also had the script draft on which I’d based the first version.

I theorised that a restoration might be possible, while taking care to dodge the actual work. But with the opportunity to see it realised in the form of a BBC Audiobook, I finally caved in and got my act together and now here we are. I couldn’t be more delighted with the way it’s all worked out. Performed by Jon Culshaw with John Leeson reprising the voice of K9, it’s feeling more like a resurrection than a reconstruction.

As for the material itself… whether it’s a glorious resurrection or the shambling, shroud-trailing kind, I’m in no position to judge. Take it for what it is; a different handling of a story you may or may not already know. Not necessarily better, nor more ‘legitimate’… just different.

Stephen Gallagher/John Lydecker