Craig Hinton was one of the bedrocks of Doctor Who fandom, and knew the behind the scenes gossip on every era of Who all the way up to the BBC Books era. He was always enormous fun to talk to online, and it came as a shock in December 2006 to hear that he had died. Everybody who had known him was keen for there to be an appropriate tribute, and Adrian Middleton stepped up to say he would edit a charity collection in memory of Craig.
The call went out for Doctor Who stories that had some connection to Craig – whether that was inspired by his work, or linked in some more personal ways. I very much wanted this collection to happen, and I knew I had the perfect story for it. In 2004, I’d decided to stop trying to get another Doctor Who book published, and had written a proposal to get all my lingering Who ideas out of my head. The pitch was simple: to commemorate the forthcoming anniversary of Robert Holmes’ death, I would write an Eighth Doctor novel featuring Jago and Litefoot, and a character from every Who story Holmes wrote. As this was the era of the Doctor Who books being unwilling to use old monsters, I knew it had no chance: the idea nagged at me, though, and I knew the only way to get rid of it was to write it down.
As Craig was the king of reusing Doctor Who continuity – “fanwank” was the term he coined for it – I asked him if he wouldn’t mind reading it. He did, and gave me his thoughts on it: he also told me that Justin Richards, the editor of Doctor Who Books, was a massive Robert Holmes fan and that I might as well send it in to him. I did, and it was rejected pretty instantly.
It was the only thing I could possibly submit.