Jac Rayner is an extremely prolific Doctor Who author who has penned some extremely popular novels and audios as well as overseeing the range of merchandise for a period whilst the show was off the air. Her work is well known for providing great laughs and plenty to think about but also some windingly emotional scenes.

As script editor for the Companion Chronicles, are there any you’ve worked on where you’ve thought, “I wish I’d written that!”? What do you feel is the secret of their success?
That’s not how I tend to think of things – it’s great when a play is a stunning example of its author’s work and I enjoy it for that rather than wishing I’d been behind it. Of course I wish I wrote as well as certain authors, but jealousy isn’t very productive so I try not to go in for it. I’m taking you far too literally, aren’t I? Sorry! There’s stuff I absolutely love, but I’m wary of saying it because I don’t want to seem to not love other plays! Recently, Peri and the Piscon Paradox by Nev Fountain and The Cold Equations by Simon Guerrier have been big favourites, though. The secret of their success – hmm. The opportunity to revisit popular companions, some darn good writing and being able to go deeper into characters than is sometimes possible in the wholly dramatised releases perhaps?
The Doctor in The Marian Conspiracy has a notably gentler edge to him than on television. Did you feel a responsibility to soften the Sixth Doctor’s character to appeal to a wider audience?
It wasn’t my decision; Colin Baker was keen to do something a bit more audience-friendly, and producer Gary Russell agreed, so I was handed the task. Not that I had a problem with it. I adored the Sixth Doctor on telly (which isn’t to say I didn’t have problems with some of the stories) and I loved the opportunity to try to get some more people to like him too. But for those who like the ‘new’ Sixth Doctor, all the credit has to go to Colin Baker. He plays those tender moments so beautifully.

How did you find writing Evelyn’s debut story? How much input did you have into her creation and are you happy with the reception she received at the time?
Again, all the notes came from Gary. I had a ‘shopping list’ of characteristics she should have, which you may spot if you listen to The Marian Conspiracy – I’ve shoehorned them in rather hideously at times - some of which were dropped and some of which were developed further by other writers. I’d met Maggie Stables before and so was able to keep her voice in mind while writing. And yes, I was thrilled that she was well received. A victory for companions who weren’t young and fit – now I am neither young nor fit I especially appreciate that development!

Does writing a script have as many challenges as a novel? How does a full cast audio compare to writing a Companion Chronicle? Are the plotting and thought processes similar or different and why?
Um. Er. Eek! I’m not good at questions about how I do things. I just, well, do them. I used to prefer scripts, now I *think* I prefer prose, so in many ways a Companion Chronicle is ideal for me with mainly prose and a tiny bit of dramatisation. But I approach all the various media in similar ways, I think. Come up with an idea, write it, and then find halfway through that I haven’t got nearly enough plot. That almost *always* happens... Then find a way of tying in something to something else and feel remarkably clever about it, until I realise that as the author I have the power to just change things anyway, so it’s not really clever at all.

Writers by their nature are never truly happy with their work, but which of your own stories are you most proud of? Are there still aspects of it that you’d like to change?
At last, an easy question! The story I’m most proud of is Doctor Who and the Pirates, by several million miles. Yes, it’s not perfect, and yes, I’d change things, but I was so thrilled at how it came together. It’s also very “me”. Possibly more so than I am now myself. That sounds nonsensical I know! But now I’m a parent, I don’t think I could have written Jem’s death, yet going into emotional territory is something that is part of my writing. That and silliness. A know that a lot of people find the silly/serious conjunctions jarring or just plain bad. But that’s part of my writing too, at least when it works. I tend to think that if people hate Pirates they’d hate me in real life as well, but if they like it then there is a reasonable chance we’d get along. I may be wrong about that, though, I don’t send out friendship questionnaire forms.

Which of your novels are you most proud of and why?
Oh, I’m dissatisfied with all of them. I like bits of them, but that’s all, and I’m also very bad at judging what other people might like. Things I think are terrible sometimes get great reactions, whereas bits I’m quite pleased with are met with stony silence or disdain. I think I’ll say Wolfsbane, because although it has masses of flaws, I adored writing for Sarah and Harry – Harry especially.

Anji, Benny, Sarah, Evelyn,’ve written successfully for a number of female companions. Do you have a favourite?
Out of those ones? Um. No! I feel the biggest connections to Benny and Evelyn, but I like them all. My favourite female companions of all time are Vicki, Donna and Sarah Jane.

You seem to enjoy writing a mix of comedy and tragedy – would that be a fair comment? Does every story need elements of both, if only in some small aspect, to be successful?
Ooh, hang on, I think I anticipated this one up there somewhere when talking about Pirates. Yes, I think that would be a very fair comment about me, although going on to your next point whether or not my stories can be considered successful very much depends on who you’re talking to. But on properly successful authors – well, Terry Pratchett is extremely funny but deals with some pretty serious themes within his books. I’m struggling more with the reverse – I read a fair amount of depressing stuff when I was younger and now all I can think of is how bleak bleak bleak it all was, no laughs spring to mind. But if we’re just talking about Doctor Who then I think that’s a reasonable point. The amazing Turn Left is bleak and beautiful – but there are still some funny moments, character moments, that underline its humanity. Love and Monsters is very funny – yet also enormously tragic. I’m not comparing my writing to either of those, I don’t come close – but I think they illustrate your point well.

Are there any Doctor/Companion teams that you’d still like to write for? What still attracts you to Doctor Who after so many years writing, editing and watching it? Has there ever been a point when you’ve thought, “Enough is enough!”?
There aren’t any I’m desperate to write for, no. Having written Vicki/Steven and Sarah/Harry I’m satisfied. Turlough might be fun, though, especially nasty Turlough. I adore Donna desperately, but don’t think I’m up to writing her, otherwise she’d be on the list. What still attracts me to Who? I’m not sure. Writing Who is a bit like a comfort  blanket because you know it so well, but I don’t particularly want to write it just for the sake of doing so. Having said that, I haven’t yet reached the Tegan ‘It’s stopped being fun, Doctor,’ point, and until I do, I hope I can at least dip in and out of Who writing as long as commissioners are happy for me to do so. I’d miss it.

Since you fulfilled the original mission statement of the Time Team, can you say why you decided not to continue with it? Was it a solo or group decision? Looking back over the entire Time Team experience what would you say were the five stories that surprised you the most?
There were a list of reasons for not continuing, but mainly because it would have felt too awkward. Reviewing stories by friends, ones I’d seen being filmed, ones I knew the script editors for – it was getting complicated. Especially as things occasionally got lost in translation between viewing and page. So I made the decision not to carry on – and it was a hard decision, as I loved being part of the thing and being with the other three – and the others considered their own positions too. In the end, editor Tom made the sensible decision to wipe the slate clean and start afresh with four new people.

What’s coming up next? Another Companion Chronicle? A main range audio?
I have a Benny play coming up – that’s already been recorded. A Companion Chronicle has been discussed and I hope that will happen – Companion Chronicles are where my heart is at the moment, audio wise! Couple of Who books too, I think one is out this year and one next.

What can we expect from Jacqueline Rayner in the future?
Goodness knows! While I have my children at home (I have four-year-old twin boys), I’ve been fairly cautious in the work I’ve taken on – but this year they start school. Will exciting things happen then? Well, it would be nice, but I don’t want to count my chickens just yet. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, though!


Simon Guerrier came to write a Past Doctor Adventure not long before the range came to an end but it was extremely popular and since then has gone on to write for Big Finish's Bernice Summerfield range and contribute a wealth of exceptional audios.
Is there a different appeal in short stories that isn't in a novel? Do you find it harder to write one than the other, since both present challenges - one obviously needs to be more succinct, the other more elaborate. Which is the two holds the greater challenge for you? Do you have a favourite that you have written?
I think you tailor the story to fit the medium – whether it’s a play or a short story or a novel. Finding the right story is the key thing, and I’m happy writing in different media. I like the variety, rather than a specific form.
I also think you try to be succinct whatever the form. You want things to be punchy and exciting without any waffle. So even though a novel is longer than a short story, it’s still using the same discipline. A novel is probably harder because it’s longer and more work, and so there’s more plates to keep spinning, and generally more that can go wrong.
As for favourites, I don’t know how to choose. The wife thinks The Pirate Loop is the one that’s most me, so I’ll go for that one.

You came to write The Time Travellers just as BBC Books was bringing its Past Doctor Range to an end. Was it daunting to have to write a full-length novel? How do you begin plotting a story as dense as this? Do you enjoy writing for the first Doctor?
It was daunting because I knew the series was coming back on TV, and there was me writing a book that depended on readers spotting references to stories from the 1960s. I found the writing quite hard – 85,000 words is a hell of a lot to keep the pace and excitement up through, and I think the books really benefited from being stripped back.
I guess plotting starts with coming up with basic ideas, scribbling them in my notebook, thinking them through, deciding they don’t work, coming up with something else…
I then try and write an outline, without looking at my notes – so that I’m concentrating on telling the story rather than squeezing in all my ideas. I go back to my notes after I’ve got a full outline to check I’ve not left out anything vital.
Once I had plotted the novel out as a chapter by chapter outline, and sent it to a few friends who made good suggestions. I think Jonny Morris said I needed a third act, which is why they all go back in time in the last bit (thanks Jonny!). 
And yes, I chose the First Doctor and the first team because I really liked them. I’ve written quite a lot for the First Doctor since, but generally because I’ve been asked to.

Does any Doctor or companion hold more or less appeal for you? Was Sara Kingdom, for example, someone you'd always wanted to broaden the story of, or did you take your cue from David Richardson? How was it developing and writing for a new companion within the First Doctor's existing timeline? Were there elements that were important and/or more necessary to include than if it were an existing companion? Tell us something about new companion Oliver Harper and the journey he is going to go on in the companion chronicles? The Perpetual Bond seems to be very well liked, not least the inclusion of Oliver Harper. His character has a trilogy of his own already in place, but are there any plans to continue using him after the final story is released, or will there be a definite conclusion to it?
I don’t often get to choose which Doctor or companions I write for. That’s half the fun – it’s my job to find something new to say about whoever I’m given. (I think that’s also an important distinction between what I do and fan fiction where, if I understand it right, a lot of the fun is in picking who you’re writing about or teaming up.)
Sara Kingdom came about when I first met David Richardson to discuss what became the Key 2 Time series. He also said he was after writers for the Companion Chronicles and we chatted about how they worked. At the time, the pattern was that you had two stories in one: a story with the Doctor, and the framing thing of where the ex-companion had got to since then. David said it didn’t work for all companions, and cited Sara as an example. And off the cuff I suggested how it could be made to work for Sara. And David asked for an outline.
So I watched the existing bits of The Daleks’ Masterplan and listened to the rest, and also reread Eddie Robson’s brilliant short story, The Little Drummer Boy, and looked for where Sara showed particular character traits or a worldview, and built the story up around that.
I think it’s important to get the characters right, to show something new about them but to make sure they’re still the same person we know. And we learn so little about the early companions on screen – their lives, their families, their view of the world – that there’s plenty of space to fill that in.
Oliver was different because David Richardson pretty much handed me him fully formed. He suggested I base it on a character in a particular film (which I won’t name because it spoils what his secret is), so I watched that and some other bits and pieces, just to get the voice in my head. I came up with the plots for stories two and three, which David and I knocked back and forth between us a bit. It was always meant to be a trilogy with a definite end to the story, but whether there’s more adventures with Oliver is up to David. I just do what I’m told, guv.
How did you come to produce the Bernice Summerfield range for a year? Did you try and make the series more arc based to reward listeners? What is the continuing appeal of the range? Which stories are particular favourites of yours?
It was a bit accidental, really. Gary Russell took me on as a script editor to help him get the Benny series back on schedule, and then when he got his job with the BBC in Cardiff I was just in the right place at the right time.
Gary and I had talked about resolving a lot of the plot threads he’d set up over the years, and we agreed a two-year plan to properly do that justice. So I think I got the producer job because that was already in hand, and I just needed to see it through. I was also meant to get more people listening to Benny, so I tried to create some excitement around the range, putting in lots of foreshadowing of things that were coming up and big eventful plot stuff. I also went to conventions, talked to fans online and generally made a lot of noise.
Benny’s a great character, clearly, having lasted so long and had so many adventures. She’s not got super powers – she’s not even an especially good academic – so even her madder, sillier adventures are grounded. I think Benny is at her best in audios like Just War, Death and the Dalek, The Grel Escape or Absence (none of which I worked on). And all the ones I worked on are clearly brilliant, too.
You have dipped your wick into many of the spin of ranges - UNIT, Sapphire and Steel, Iris Wildthyme. Was it nice to have a break from writing Doctor Who and adopt the very different styles of these ranges?
Yes, it was nice. As I said, I like the variety.
You have edited 8 anthologies now - how do you begin to assemble a running story with chapters written by different authors? Have you always written the intervening material to bind the book together and provide the conclusion?
I had to write a brief, and the trick is not to give the authors too much to shoehorn in, so they’ve space to create their own stories. For Time Signature, I copied the format of Russell T Davies’s outline for the 2005 series of Doctor Who, where he had a paragraph on each story. I did that, with a couple of sentences for each beat of the arc, and then invited authors I liked working with to get involved. They divided that document up between them and I just had to write a finale. I think on something like that you have to write an ending to tie it all together. But on the Benny novellas, I wrote briefs for the authors so I wouldn’t have to do linking material, just to save me some time.
Was it exciting to have a stab at writing for the new series of Doctor Who. The Pirate Loop in particular has gone down very well. Can you tell us something about writing your two novels from the NSA range?
Yes, very exciting – though not very different from writing for any other, past Doctors, really. The Pirate Loop was really good fun. I’d just finished my huge history of Bernice Summerfield, which involved a lot of interviews, research and fact-checking, so just to be able to pour out merry nonsense was a great pleasure. I think you can see I was enjoying myself.
Again, the thing I worried most about was getting the Doctor and Martha’s characters right, so I watched and rewatched the episodes, got notes from Gary Russell at the BBC and Joe Lidster (who wrote Martha’s blog for the BBC website), and pinched the description of the Tenth Doctor from Terrance Dicks’ Made of Steel.
What can we expect from you in the future?
My current projects are writing a second series of Graceless, my spin-off series for Big Finish. I’m doing some more DVD extras for the Doctor Who DVDs, but that’s all just been commissioned so there’s not a lot yet to say. I’ve written a short film, Cleaning Up, about a hitman played by Mark Gatiss. That’s in post-production at the moment and will be doing the film festival circuit when it’s finished. And then there’s a novel of my own that I got stuck on a year ago which I’ve just worked out how to fix…

David Richardson holds the title of producer for Big Finish’s enormously popular range of Doctor Who audio adventures. He also has creative responsibility over the spin series’ The Companion Chronicles, The Lost Stories and Jago & Litefoot.
Thank you for agreeing to participate, David.
Can you tell us how you came to be involved in Big Finish?
I was working as a magazine editor for a publishing company and Nick Briggs, who I’d known since the 1980s, called me up and offered me the job, completely out of the blue. After I’d got over the shock, I really didn’t have to think about it, and said yes pretty much immediately. It proved to be a life-changing move. The great thing about Big Finish is that Nick and Jason encourage people to develop their skills and work to their strengths. It’s all about what you can do, not what you can’t.
Does your role of producer mean that you oversee the entire companies creative output? Do you ever have to step in correct elements of stories that you are unhappy with?
I’m just in creative control of the spin-offs I work on. The monthly range is the creative baby of Nick and Alan Barnes. Though having said that I did run The Key 2 Time and Klein trilogies for them, as they were tied up on the Eighth Doctor series. And I’ve been in creative control of one of the main range stories for 2012 – but it’s way too early to reveal what that is.
Part of the job is looking out for ways in which stories can be made better, in league with the script editor. Or suggesting core ideas or storylines that can be developed.
The Companion Chronicles began as a four part series, was that a conscious decision to test the waters of their popularity?
The Companion Chronicles were Nick’s idea, and I think it was a brilliant concept. I suspect the plan was just to do four a year, but they actually became very popular very quickly.
Given that the last three series have all had twelve instalments can we assume that this series has really taken off?
Actually, series three was planned to be eight stories, but I had too many ideas! So I went back to Nick and Jason and asked for more, and they let me go monthly with them. I still have too many ideas for the Chronicles. But better too many than too few.
Do you have any favourites amongst this series?
Far too many. I love The Suffering because it’s a brilliant script by Jac Raynor and Maureen O’Brien and Peter Purves are astonishing in it. When I heard the climactic scene for the first time, it brought me to tears. I love Solitaire, because that was John Dorney proving, in his first Doctor Who script, that he is a force to be reckoned with. I adore Find and Replace because it’s so moving. The Mahogany Murderers, of course, because it was my first encounter with the wonderful Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter, who are the highlight of every single day that I work with them. And my absolute favourites are probably the Sara Kingdom trilogy, because they take old 1960s Doctor Who and move it on…
Jago & Litefoot and Sara Kingdom slightly stretch the limits of the term companion but given these stories are the moist acclaimed can we expect some more peripheral Doctor Who characters to make an appearance in the range?
Actually there are no current plans for peripheral characters. I’m a bit focused on the TV companions at the moment.
You have taken the intriguing step to introduce a new first Doctor companion to the range, Oliver Harper. What can you tell us about his character?
Oliver is a trader at a city bank in the 1960s. From the moment we meet him, we know that he’s not quite what he appears. That’s all I’ll say for now, other than that I’ve heard the finished edits of The Perpetual Bond and I’m really pleased with it.
The Jago & Litefoot series has proven to be an instant hit. Are we right in thinking that The Mahogany Murderers was the best selling Companion Chronicle?
Do you know… I’m not sure about that. It certainly did very well and got extraordinary feedback. The first pressing sold out within three months, which remains a record.
What do you think makes this series so appealing?
I’m not sure that’s for me to say… I can tell you what the ongoing appeal is for me, and that is it gives me the opportunity to continually find new ways to tell stories. Be it the two-hander approach of Solitaire, or – as previously mentioned – the idea of taking an old era and making it new again (as we do with the Oliver Harper stories).
I think when I run out of ideas, it’ll be time for me to hand over to somebody else – but I’ve still got plenty of ideas left so I’m not letting go any time soon!
Can you give us a taster of upcoming seasons?
Well we’ve announced the upcoming Tales from the Vault, which guest stars Daphne Ashrbook and Yee Jee Tso as new characters, and features a host of companions. I’m really pleased with that story – it’s Jonny Morris at his witty and inventive best. John Dorney has written a story for Ian Chesterton called The Rocket Men which is lovely – I think it’ll be a favourite for many. We’ve got The Memory Cheats, another story for Zoe which forms the second part of a trilogy that began in Echoes of Grey. And, I can exclusively reveal, we have recorded another ‘full cast style’ Chronicle, but that won’t be out till early 2012!
The Lost Stories were an intriguing glimpse into what we might have watched had the original season 23 been produced. Did you deliberately try and echo the feel of the eighties stories or take the basic plots and turn them into something more modern and punchy?
Well both really. In the cases where stories were fully scripted then I felt it was our duty to make minimal changes. So The Nightmare Fair, Mission to Magnus and The Hollows of Time are pretty much how they would have appeared on TV in the 1980s, with music and sound effects of the era. With Paradise 5 and Point of Entry, for example, which were either partly scripted or just storylined, we had more freedom to develop them. I think I prefer the latter approach, although I think we were exactly right in taking the former approach in specific cases.
You’ll find that the upcoming Season 27 stories are pure 1980s Sylvester. They feel like they could have been broadcast the day after Survival.
What was the overall response to the Colin Baker season?
Very positive. So positive, in fact, that we commissioned two more seasons of The Lost Stories off the back of it.
Which stories do you think turned out especially well?
Oooh… Leviathan – a lovely discovery, that wasn’t in the running originally until it turned up out of the blue. All the cast loved it, and so did the audience. Andy Lane did a great job at adapting Paradise 5 from PJ Hammond’s original paperwork. I thought Point of Entry was splendid, wonderfully dark and the cast – especially Matt Addis – was brilliant. And I was very happy with The Song of Megaptera too, which was worth the 30-year wait! I must also mention The First Doctor Box Set, which seemed to hit a chord with everyone. I think everyone involved did brilliant work on that.
Will this series run until you have dramatised all of the unused scripts throughout Doctor Who’s run?
Ha ha – not all of them. But just when I think we’ve done all we can (as I did when we finished working on series two), suddenly new and irresistible discoveries are made. There are some fantastic and really exciting stories in series three – one of which will be revealed in the next DWM.
Have you ever been tempted to write or direct a story yourself?
I’ve been tempted, but then came to my senses and realized I’d be doing it out of sheer vanity. Actually I have directed, but only for the free Short Trips readings we do for subscribers.
You know, I look around me and I see people who can do it much better. Why should I write a script when Jonathan Morris or Jac Raynor would do a superior job? Why should I direct when Ken Bentley would deliver a better production than I would? I’m not being self-deprecating, just realistic.
I truly believe that being a good producer is about surrounding yourself with people who are much cleverer than you are. Script editors like Jac, Justin Richards (on Jago and Litefoot) or John Dorney (on Lost Stories 3), and directors like Ken or Lisa Bowerman… They turn in polished productions and I look good. Surely it’s the best deal in the world?
What exciting projects are on the horizon for Big Finish?
Well I’ve recently taken on two new lines, neither of which I can talk about yet, but I’m really thrilled to get my hands on them! (As an aside, I’m writing this in the control room of the studio while we are recording Jago and Litefoot series 4, and the scene being played out right now is breaking my heart. Oh corks…)
But, you know, it’s all exciting. Thing is, I keep trying to imagine what my 14-year-old self would think if he knew what I was doing now… Young David would probably have thought it was too fantastic to believe. ========================================================================
Lisa Bowerman is best known in Doctor Who circles for her unforgettable portrayal of Professor Bernice Summerfield, a role she has successfully played for eleven incredible seasons of drama. A hugely popular character, Lisa managed to capture the voice of the character beautifully and play both the humorous and the serious angles of her life with panache. Bernice has been through much since Big Finish took on her character, falling for her ex husband again, having a baby in prison, trapped on the Braxiatel Collection under occupation, reunited with her father, coping with motherhood and discovering her mentor has been working against her! And that’s just on weekends! Proving her verisimilitude Lisa has played other roles in Big Finish audios unrecognisable as Benny; villainous Beth Purnell, Ruby in the Sapphire and Steel series and Ellie in the recently acclaimed Jago & Litefoot. Not one to rest on her laurels Lisa has also branched off into directing audios, in both the main range and the spin offs. Her direction of the Companion Chronicles, talking books that capture the magic of their era, has been nothing short of sublime. Thank you for agreeing to take part Lisa. How did you come to be involved with Big Finish Productions? Looking back at all your work with the company how would you describe the experience?
I think it's been well documented that my first contact with Big Finish was indirectly through Mike Tucker (the Special FX Designer - who I'd got to know during the filming of 'Survival') who informed me that Gary Russell (who I'd met briefly when I took part in a video called 'I Was A Doctor Who Monster') was interested in using me for an audio series called 'The Adventures of Bernice Summerfield'. I subsequently auditioned for it in front of Nick Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery and Gary - got the job...and the rest is history!
Looking back at my work, I'm just incredibly grateful to have been given so many opportunities.
Were you a fan of Doctor Who before you joined and have you explored the Whoniverse since becoming a part of it? 
No, I can't say I was a fan as such. Of course I knew the show well, I'd been brought up with it. I knew who all the Doctors were and a few of the iconic monsters - but that was about it. As it happened my brother had extra'd in The Talons of Weng Chiang (as he's been an actor at the Royal Theatre Northampton when they were filming it) - so he kindly got me Tom Baker's autograph!!
Since I've been more closely involved with the production side of Big Finish - I now find myself knowing more than I politely should do about the 'Whoniverse' - purely through osmosis I should add!
Bernice is such popular character, were you aware of this when you began playing the role and did you have any trepidation about getting it right?
I only realised what an icon she was until Stephen Fewell (who subsequently played Jason Kane) exclaimed as much, when he found out I was going to be auditioning for the part! Turns out he was a big fan of the New Adventure Books.
As an actor you just approach the part as you see it. It was probably better I didn't know too much about her. The scripts were very clear with what kind of character she was - so I just used my instincts and hope for the best!
If you had to describe Bernice Summerfield in one sentence what would it be?
She is her own woman, knows the difference between good and bad and always makes sure she has a trowel on her.
I remember you saying that you really enjoyed the intensity of Just War from season one: what have been your highlights through the eleven seasons of the Bernice Summerfield range? 
I've said it many times before - but Benny only really works when she isn't over written. Yes - she banters, but only when her back's against the wall. The real pleasure in the series is that you can turn comedy into tragedy on the turn of a sixpence without losing the seriousness of the situation.
I do have my favourites. Just War of course, but also The Dance of The Dead, Death and the Daleks, Timeless Passages (which I love) - but there are moments I love in a great many more.
How long do you envisage playing the character for?
As long as people want to listen to her. If I ever feel the whole thing's run out of steam I really would say something... but I'm just incredibly grateful to everyone at Big Finish who's shown the series such commitment. It really is a labour of love and there's a real loyalty to the character.
What other avenues would you like to explore with Bernice?
Watch this space! Working with Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter on the Jago & Litefoot series must be a genuine hoot! Can you tell our readers something about the series and what it has been like bringing Victorian London to life on audio? 
I love, LOVE doing this series. When David Richardson gave me the opportunity to direct The Mahogany Murderers I leapt at it. I'd actually worked with Trevor before on a theatre tour some years ago, and I've always been a fan of Chris's work - so I was genuinely excited. Andy Lane's script was great, the characters just leapt off the page...and as it turned out - leapt out of the microphone! Both Trevor and Chris are a joy and quite a double act now! I suspect most of your readers know that their characters Jago and Litefoot first appeared in 1976 in The Talons of Weng Chiang - a storyline with Tom Baker.
I've hear that there were rumblings of a possible spin-off TV series with them - but it never happened. Now we had the opportunity to do just that. The response to the Companion Chronicle was overwhelmingly positive, and David took the bull by the horns and proposed the idea of a boxed set to Jason - who had the good forethought to say yes!
The series is set in Victorian London of the 1890's - and I suppose is in the Steam Punk genre (You see? I wouldn't have known a phrase like that a few years ago!!) Henry Gordon Jago is a theatrical impresario and Professor Litefoot is a pathologist... and they are 'Investigators of Infernal Incidents'  We're just about to go into production on our 4th series - so as you can see things are ticking along very well.
As a footnote, I actually cast my brother in the very first episode - so you could say he was part of the original cast of Talons as well! The Companion Chronicle series has been a massive hit and you are the most prolific director from the series. Do you have any particular favourites?
Again, I've been very lucky in that David Richardson has trusted me with directing a lot of these. I enjoy the detail of directing a small cast.
We've had some lovely ones. Jac Rayner's The Suffering was excellent, of course I've also mentioned The Mahogany Murderers, and the Sara Kingdom trilogy by Simon Guerrier. I'm also very fond of the scripts by Marc Platt and John Dorney.
Have you ever read a script and thought ‘how on Earth am I going to realise that?’
Not really - and I have to say the sound designers do all the hard work on that. Their imagination when it comes to audio interpretation of what's required is amazing... giant clocks, giant monsters, giant anything really. I particularly enjoy the historicals though - evoking different eras and environments...great fun. I'm pedantic as hell  about anachronisms though, both in writing and sound FX. I once got an edit back from a story set in the 60's with a modern police siren on it - and more recently a bell that didn't sound right on a London Routemaster bus! As well as taking out 'OK's' in the Jago and Litefoots! What a funny way to earn a living!
Working with numerous older companions, what has been your favourite experience so far?
I haven't any particular favourites - it's just been such a privilege to get to know and work with the actors you've been brought up with. I mean - William Russell (or rather Russell Enoch!) - I've been a fan of his work (and not just Doctor Who) for years, I never thought in a million years I'd ever get to direct him!
Is it easy to slip your directors hat on and give notes to actors that you work alongside? Does being an actor yourself make it easier or more difficult to direct other performers?
I suppose being an actor, you have a sort of short hand with other actors when it comes to directing... and as long as the script is in place, it's just a matter of interpretation, and getting the story telling right. I think being an actor might be an advantage. I don't actually get intimidated by other actors and am happy to give notes to whoever is in the booth (however famous they are!) - I admit I am picky, and I hope that I make myself as clear as I can when it comes to notes. A very famous actor once said - quite rightly - that sometimes you just have to say 'faster or slower'. There certainly are two types of actor, the ones who need context, and the ones who just need the 'faster and slower' approach!
The one thing I DO have to be careful with now, is when I'm on the other side of the mic acting. I just have to take my director's hat off. There have been times when I've wanted to make a suggestion to another performer - but you just have to defer to whoever is directing and bite your tongue!
Having directed in both the main range and the spin offs which do you is more of a challenge?
The only real difference in the challenge is managing a larger cast and they're availability. Also working within the budget you have. Sometimes it's like juggling teapots. The actual process of directing is pretty much the same.
Do you have to – or feel the need to – dip into the era (within Doctor Who) of the play you’re directing to get a feel for each story? If not, what helps you realise the story in such a way as to be authentic to its era?
To be honest I'm less interested in genre, and more interested in good drama. I trust the producer and the script editor to have got the final script in place. Occasionally if there are characters that have appeared in previous TV episodes I'll dip into YouTube, and also, if there are references I don't understand, I'll ask the guys around me who are all experts. Generally we have the authors with us on the day as well. David Richardson who sits in -  has been invaluable on that front!
Of course I remember a lot of the old episodes anyway - and most of the evocation of the era is put into place at the post production stage. I might request the sort of style of music I want, but more often than not the sound designers are well up on the historical context anyway. Could you take us through the steps of directing a Doctor Who audio from the very moment you receive a new script to the finished result? 
In a nutshell?!!!
I get the script, I do the casting myself...with discussions with the producer who might also have suggestions - I work out a recording schedule, make notes in the script (with any queries or questions, or suggestions for tweeking).
Go into studio, tell people what to do, have a lovely lunch and go home.
A few weeks or months later I get an initial edit though from the sound designer (I usually do my first notes at the FX stage... without any scoring) - I then go through it and make notes (with their time codes to help guide the sound designers to the particular point that needs addressing) This might include notes on timing of dialogue, volume levels of dialogue and FX, and specific sound FX that might, or might not work - they then send me a second edit to approve, then a third with the music underscoring - I might make more notes - then they'll send me a final edit -and I'll finally sign it off! What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Again - watch this space! Lisa, thank you very much for your time.