Project: Twilight began in a discussion in a Las Vegas bar, originally featured the Seventh Doctor and Ace, a dodgy cop and a vampire cat.

The original pitch, Blood Money, was sent to Gary Russell in mid 2000 and authors Cavan Scott and Mark Wright were told to work up a full synopsis to go head to head with seven other vampire pitches. The synopsis was duly sent off, and then rejected.

Then, six months later Gary picked up the proposal again and saw something in it he had missed the last time. The commission arrived with one note – the name would have to be changed to avoid confusion with Jonathan Morris’ Blood Tide.

Project: Twilight was born.

Read on to discover a few more of the changes along the way…

The original concepts for Project: Twilight came from notes for a short story made by Cavan Scott following a conversation with his colleague Rob Mead during a business trip to Las Vegas.

Three main ideas were transferred from the notes to Blood Money, the original pitch made to producer Gary Russell. The first was the idea of a casino run by Vampires and the second a young Japanese student forced into a life of stripping to pay for her university bills. The final was the location itself, the Las Vegas theme hotel, the Brittania.

In a final nod to the story’s origins, Rob Mead lent his name to club owner Reggie the Gent Mead.

The first draft of Blood Money featured two East-end coppers, Inspector Hawthorn and Detective Rosewood, both named after the woods traditionally used to stake potential vampires.

Hawthorne first meets the Doctor when he comes home after a long shift to find the Time Lord sitting in his lounge while Ace busies herself making bacon sarnies in the kitchen. The Inspector is suitably disturbed to learn that the Doctor is investigating disappearances at a local nightclub, especially as he is in the pocket of Reggie, the owner of the very same nightspot.

In the original draft the Doctor soon fell in with the policemen, using the station as his base and handing out garlic sandwiches to unsuspecting coppers.

Both officers were cut from the second draft although Inspector Hawthorne does receive a name-check at the beginning of Episode One of Project: Twilight.

Blood Money still had a Japanese student as its central character. However unlike Cassie – the character she eventually became – the young girl did a lot more than wait on tables.

In fact, Deeks, the first victim of the Dusk that we hear originally met his end during a little private dance from Kara, a fellow stripper. Eventually Cassie’s honour was preserved when Gary Russell decreed that stripteases would be difficult to, er, pull off on audio.

Earlier drafts of Project: Twilight featured various four-legged friends. In Blood Money Camilla, the character who eventually was renamed Amelia, owned a vampire cat with a passion for lapping up saucers of blood.

An earlier draft of Project: Twilight also had Reggie taking out his anger on his pack of fighting dogs. Gary Russell asked for the dogs to be taken out to help the post-production boys from the nightmare of creating the effect of dogs being tortured.

Recording Project: Twilight on 24th June 2001. (From left) Mark Wright, Maggie Stable, Colin Baker, Cavan Scott
The original art for the ‘Coming Up’ preview strip by Lee Sullivan that appeared in Doctor Who Magazine issue 307 (August 2001)