Viewers might think they've seen every photograph, read every
interview, know every fact about the latest incarnation of
BBC TV's Doctor Who, but this book sets out to show
them just how much they've missed. With pre-production drawings
and paintings, countless behind-the-scenes candid shots, comments
and opinions from everyone involved in the making of this
exciting, award-winning programme, The Inside Story
offers exactly that - an insider's scoop on the how, why,
who and where of all things Doctor Who...
it's called The Inside Story and is billed as an insider's
scoop, don't expect much in the way of controversy or critical
analysis in this glossy hardback reference guide. This is
a fully authorised piece of Who merchandise, endorsed
and published by the BBC, and written by a man who has recently
become a member of the script-writing team on Who and
The Beeb's poor handling of the leak surrounding the departure
of Ninth Doctor actor Christopher Eccleston is glossed over
in a few brief lines. The nearest we get to any juicy insider
gossip or behind-the-scenes scandal is the fleeting mention
of a creative difference between production designer Edward
Thomas and producer Phil Collinson over the set dressing of
Floor 500 in The
Long Game and the admission that, in retrospect,
the Slitheen should have been entirely CGI rather than men
in costumes. The rest of the time, author Gary Russell has
nothing but glowing (though I would not go as far as to say
fawning) praise for everyone involved in the making of this
undisputed TV hit.
Russell (or perhaps I should call him Gary, since he is on
first-name terms with all the people he interviews and describes)
does get some good quotes, especially from head writer/executive
producer Russell T Davies. The ebullient Russell (by which
I mean Davies - we're on first-name terms here, remember...
hmmm, this could get confusing) is always good for a witty
yet incisive quote, isn't he? The book is also richly illustrated
with full-colour images, including many rarely seen or previously
unseen backstage photographs and examples of concept art.
Inside Story is at its most enlightening during its "Behind
the Scenes" chapter, which examines the input of script editors,
costume designers, make-up artists, special-effects creators
and musician Murray Gold, among others. This is where the
bulk of those rarely glimpsed design drawings are to be found.
Other chapters retrace the steps that led to the show's re-commissioning
and re-launch, its pre-production development, and the casting
of its principle actors. The back end of the book focuses,
episode by episode, on the production of the two series that
have been broadcast to date, followed by a brief sneak peek
(without spoilers) of things to come in the 2006 Christmas
special and the 2007 series.
book didn't tell me much that I didn't already know about
the new version of Who - or at least, not as much as
the synopsis would have had me believe. Nevertheless, this
is a high-quality publication (about a high-quality programme),
handsomely illustrated and with a very reasonable price tag.
It's worth a look or, alternatively, could be the ideal stocking-filler
for the Doctor Who fan in your life.