The helpful young lady in Bedford shopping centre is heavily modelled on Emma Fee, my dear friend, erstwhile editor of Quantum Quarterly and recent committee member of the Leap Back 2009 Convention, who has had the honour of interviewing Scott Bakula on a number of occasions.
Constance "Connie" Blackman is, for the most part, my mother, who is a genuine Cockney born within the sound of Bow bells, but doesn't really have such a strong accent, unless she chooses to 'put it on'. Her car and house are both as they were in 1988, in every detail but the houseguests (my dear friends Sue J and Mikey have slept in "Sam's bed" and Mum reckons she could make a fortune turning her house into a QL fans' B & B!).
The Yorkshire woman walking her dog, Scamp, is my good friend Jenny Ginn, whom I used to work with.
There have been a few changes to road layouts and such like, but it is still possible to follow Sam's route in this story very much as he did it at the time.
The cinema, as Al comments, was sadly knocked down before a preservation order could be obtained, and is now a supermarket, with nothing but a plaque to mark its passing. Other landmarks and plaques can still be seen, though Cardington hangers now fly little more than weather balloons, and are mostly used by film companies and pop stars as huge adaptable sets.
I guess if this were a "Virtual Seasons" episode, (which it cannot be because this series of stories is firmly pre-MI) I could be confident that MJ would have the integrity to keep all the 'period' music intact. If – however – it were classed as an 'official' episode, the whole scene in the car between London and Bedford would be made a nonsense on the DVD, since Universal would substitute all the songs with crappy musak! (Just kidding guys, I couldn't resist the dig.)
Written long before the wonderful exploration of the effects on ex-leapees in the Virtual Seasons stories, this one also takes a look at one leapee who is troubled by 'lapses in memory' and 'missing time'.
The sequel to this story – "Snake in the Grass" – deals with more adult themes.