Welcome to ‘Chieftain’s Caves’, the third and final story of ‘The Salvador Trilogy’ in ‘The Fifth Doctor by Tim Bradley’ series! This instalment is based on my summer holidays to Scotland with my parents!
‘Chieftain’s Caves’ is a story that takes its cue from the classic historical adventures of ‘Doctor Who’ from the William Hartnell era. Although there is a different slant on it, as the story is influenced by two certain Patrick Troughton TV stories and a certain Fifth Doctor TV story. I’ll let you guess which ones they are.
I wanted to do a story set in the Highlands of Scotland! I loved going on holiday to Scotland with my parents when I was in my teens. This was bolstered from my love and enjoyment of the BBC TV drama-comedy series, ‘Monarch of the Glen’, that starred Richard Briers and Alistair Mackenzie in it.
The TV series ‘Monarch of the Glen’ did influence my writing of the story from watching it. But I also wanted to read the original book, ‘The Monarch of the Glen’, by Sir Compton Mackenzie to help me with writing the story. ‘Chieftain’s Caves’ is what I’d claim a homage to Sir Compton’s original novel.
Initially, I had no ideas or story to work from. All what I wanted the story to be set inside some caves in Scotland. Originally the story was going to be called ‘The Caves of Gom’ and the main villain was going to be called Gom. Thankfully this changed during the writing process as Salvador became the main villain.
I had little time to prepare in terms of historical research compared to what I did with ‘The Austen Code’ beforehand. So what I did was read ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ book by Sir Compton Mackenzie and loosely base my story around the plot in that. It was an unusual approach to write the story, but I enjoyed it!
I knew what the central premise of the story was going to be about. It was to be about a set of caves that two clans of Scotland were going to fight over. It was from reading ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ book that I added juicier elements and developed the characters to make it exciting and unusual.
‘The Monarch of the Glen’ book is described as a comic farce about a Scottish laird of Glenbogle, which is what was depicted in the TV series of ‘Monarch of the Glen’ with Richard Briers as Hector MacDonald. It was a joy to read the book and experience that whilst writing ‘Chieftain’s Caves’ too.
To add to my research of the story, I also referred to books and web pages about Scotland as well as refer to souvenir booklets on Eilean Donan Castle and Cawdor Castle that I collected from my summer holidays. I also referred to a map of the Scottish Highlands to give the names to places.
I would like to thank my best mate Stephen Buckley, since he lent me his DVD copy of the film ‘Braveheart’, starring Mel Gibson. That gave me another boost of inspiration to write the story, as it helped with adding the historical context for William Wallace and his Scottish forces during the tale.
Like ‘The Austen Code’ and ‘Junglos 4198’ before it, ‘Chieftain’s Caves’ was an equally ambitious story full of epic proportions. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the theme of this trilogy have been about literature, since the books like ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ come into play.
The Doctor is no stranger to Scotland by the way! He’d visited Scotland before during the battle of Culloden in ‘The Highlanders’ and it was also where he met Jamie McCrimmon for the first time as the Second Doctor. By the way, I didn’t listen to ‘The Highlanders’ on audio when I wrote this tale. 😀
But don’t worry! There is a reference to ‘The Highlanders’ in this story somewhere. The Doctor also visited Scotland as the Fourth Doctor in ‘Terror of the Zygons’ and later as the Tenth Doctor in ‘Tooth and Claw’. There’s a nice nod to ‘Terror of the Zygons’ in this and a joke that I wanted to use for years.
The story sees Nyssa and Billy in a new stage of their relationship together, following the recent events of ‘Junglos 4198’, the previous story before this. This story was also a chance to give Billy his own adventure, since he gets separated from the Doctor and Nyssa and finds a way to reunite with them.
You may get confused with there being no dates established for the battles featured between the Scottish armies of the Middle-Age and Jacobean periods. But don’t worry! That is part of the story. You’ll have to read on to find out why. I assure you, it will astonish and intrigue you at the same time.
The truth of Salvador gets revealed at last in this final adventure of the eponymous trilogy. I can’t tell you how I finally came up with the answer of who Salvador is in the story. I’m sure you’ve noticed hints and have come up with your own theories about Salvador’s identity. I hope that it’s been worth it.
Writing ‘Chieftain’s Caves’ has been a challenge and a joy for me to write. I’m not sure I’ve done this story full justice in terms of the historical research I’ve put into it. But I hope you’ll take a step back and not be very critical about the historical accuracy, since that is rather the point of this adventure.
By the time you’ve finished ‘The Salvador Trilogy’, you’ll find Nyssa and Billy on a new path in their relationship together and still travelling with the Doctor in the TARDIS. But is Salvador still alive somewhere?!
Anyway! Enjoy the fun and adventure that is in ‘Chieftain’s Caves’!
TIM BRADLEY, March 2017
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