Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Writer's Tale Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook.

This is a year in the life - told in emails between the two authors - of New Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies (who apparently shares the same first name as myself). This thick and weighty tome covers his time writing the fourth season of the show, from around early 2007 to early 2008 and even covers stuff like the most recent Christmas special "The Next Doctor" and onto Series 5.

For those interested in writing or Dr Who - or both - this is a great read. I got it as a Christmas present and it's nice to dip into it and read a chapter, although chapter breaks seem somewhat random. It's also full of snapshots from the show, doodles by RTD himself and behind the scenes stuff. Some of the things touched on about writing rings true (to me), although - of course - I don't have any experience writing a well-loved, award-winning TV show watched by millions.

Of course, whilst reading this book, you learn a number of things about RTD:

- He's much taller than he looks in interviews (he's 6'6")

- He's sex-mad, writing characters for attractive actors so that he might (though never does) cop off with them

- He insecure and always doubting what he's written

- He writes to "entertain" not necessarily to get things "right".

- He's very, very good at cartoony drawings.

- He's not quite as happy and nice as his on-screen persona appears

- He seems to do all his writing at night, usually well after midnight

- He smokes like a chimney

A few scripts are also included in this book (the Kylie-starring 'Voyage of the Damned' Christmas special and the spectacular end of season 4 two-partner, I think). These are shown piece-meal as Russell writes them and so changes are made as the book progresses. It's interesting to see that the end of season 4, with Rose back on the alternate Earth, changed a number of times. I personally don't think the end we finally got was actually the best of the revisions.

So, it's a fun book and very easy to read and recommended to all Dr Who fans. As RTD would say, "Marvellous!"

Grade: Very Fine.

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