Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

Twinkle, Twinkle, K9 Killer

Looking through some old stuff I found this short piece that I wrote on request for Starburst magazine in 2005. Even if you read it back then, I’m sure you’ll have forgotten it by now.

I know I had…

Somewhere in the cuttings files they’ve got me tagged as “the man who killed K9”, and it’s a handle that resurfaces every now and again. For the record, I didn’t do it. The character – or whatever you’d call him – didn’t even die. When I got the commission for Warriors’ Gate, Chris Bidmead and John Nathan-Turner gave me certain continuity baggage that I had to include. The story had to start in E-Space and end with the Doctor getting out of it. Romana had to leave the show at the end of the story. And, one way or another, K9 had to go.

It didn’t feel right to kill him. That would have been like taking a bazooka to Tinkerbell. Not that I felt much attachment to K9 – I thought he was a juvenile inclusion in a show that had earned success by serving young viewers with the values of grown-up drama. I believe I stole my solution from a favourite comic of my childhood. Just as Superboy saved his faux-brother Mon-El by sending him into the Phantom Zone at the point of death, I had the Doctor give up K9 to a place where damage wrought by the Time Winds would be reversed.

Will I welcome him back? For the sake of the delightful John Leeson, who went out of his way to make me feel at ease on the set all those years ago, yes. But with the proviso that some pretty heavyweight re-imagining goes on. The last thing we want to see is the revamped show brought down by a toe-curling cute sidekick. What next? The return of Muffy the Daggit to Battlestar Galactica? Ye gods.