Before I started work on the Strange Factories script, I knew I wanted to explore nostalgia and the stories that affected me so profoundly as a child. Their themes and the content of the dreams they instigated were so wondrous and deeply creepy.
Children's television for those of us born in the seventies in Britain, who grew of age in the eighties was deeply strange. For lots of reasons. It seems the layers between the truth of the fairytale and the power of the myths that haunt these isles were still close to the surface, calling to us from stone tapes and faces hidden in the wall.
The strongest current within children's television programming of this period for me as a young boy was the infusion of disquiet and unease amplified by the loss of my father, grandad and nan in quick succession.
I spent a great deal of time alone with only my imagination and gravestones for company. This overlapping nature of this architectural uncanniness helped open doorways that have never shut.
This was the genesis of Strange Factories.
The loss permeated the stories I watched, it was already there waiting for me.
As a child I was scared of everything, my mother was deeply religious and after losing my father she retreated to the safety of various forms of religion. The children's television of my childhood offered no safety. The characters never told me things would be ok or alright in the end, they showed me that only the weirdest had the skills to survive the onslaught of apparitions and shifting realities, that bathed a generation in the odd irradiance, creating tomorrow's people.
These threads showed us the day after, awful futures we didn't want to live in, fictional narratives that threatened to obliterate the real.
These stories sent my friends and I to bed with true horror in hearts, many a playtime was spent dissecting the apparent doom that grew closer every day, reaching out to us from the television screens. Nuclear Armageddon was such a real and profound fear, its poison seeped deep into the reservoirs of dreams our imaginations held, causing tides of toxic dreams.
Saphire and Steel is a programme that fills me full of dreadful wonder even today. It relentlessly refused to open its world completely to its audience, it treated us as equals, expecting you to interpret and investigate the cases just as its two agents.
No easy answers, no simple solutions. This journey must be endured, for it is in the experience of the geography of these narratives that we learn the shape of our own imaginations, reflected deep in the landscapes of their characters and worlds.
Televison of the 70's and 80's arrived wrapped in nostalgia, even as you watched it for the first time you felt a deep longing, that turned young eyes into old and vice versa.
Bagpuss, probably one of the most fondly remembered British children's television programmes was about forgotten and lost toys, left to experience fleeting moments of what once was.
Strange Factories, is born of a type of nostalgia. A longing that you can't verbalise, that connects the marrow in your bones to worlds that only exist when you dream of them.