Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Talkback: The Sixties (The Unofficial And Unauthorised Doctor Who Interview Book)

Edited by: Stephen James Walker

Published by: Telos Publishing, 2006

In a nutshell: Gathering the best (and in most cases the only) interviews from unlikely ‘behind the scenes’ people from fan magazines, this book showcases around twenty different peoples thoughts and memories between 1963-1969 of Doctor Who.

Review: This is, quite possibly, the best Doctor Who book I’ve ever read and I’m not trying to exaggerate! The 1960s is my favourite era of the show and this book really appreciates that, you can tell Stephen James Walker (SJW) has crafted this book out of love and really cares for the show. He’s compiled a set of unrelated interviews (the majority of which are carried out by himself) by people associated with the show whom you’ve never read an interview with (most of the time)! He talks to (amongst others) Bill Strutton, Brian Hayles, John Lucarotti, Derek Martinus as well as including a letter written by William Hartnell himself!

Obviously some sections have to be better than others (I was a bit let down by the Terence Dicks interview) but I think every one is good for some reason. I’ll have to make this review a very short one, as I don’t really have anything to add other than how good this is. It’s brilliant to read the only (known) interview with Bill Strutton, as personally I hate (his only story) ‘The Web Planet’ but reading this gives you a much greater appreciation for it. There are contradictions between people who don’t remember things correctly or argue over certain things but that all adds to the excitement of reading this.

Once I began reading I literally couldn’t put this down, I had to have it prised from my hands after I’d read three quarters of it, wanting to savour some of it for a later date. This book is very highly recommended for people who love Doctor Who, particularly the 1960s, but I wouldn’t recommend it for people who have just found their way into the universe and aren’t too ‘well-up’ on their early Who, as it’s definitely specialist material and it’s so much better to read if you’ve seen the stories discussed, so you can agree, criticise or just enjoy reading peoples (usually) fond memories of the show itself.

I have two criticisms of the book myself, the first is that it only come sin at just under 200 pages and the other is that it informed me Sydney Newman was writing his memoirs before he passed away, sadly they were never finished. I would’ve loved to read that book!

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