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BOOK
Doctor Who
Talkback
Volume 3 - The Eighties

Editor: Stephen James Walker
Telos
RRP: 12.99, US $24.95, Cdn $29.95
ISBN: 978 1 84573 014 4
Available 20 August 2007


Telos has been an independent publisher that, for some time now, has produced some of the best books about the British television science fiction scene, as well as some cracking good original novels. Their most recent foray into the world of
Doctor Who is a set of interviews with actors and creators of Doctor Who in the eighties...

Talkback: Volume Three - The Eighties contains interviews with a plethora of creative talents, from graphic, costume and make-up designers, actors and actresses, though oddly there is an under representation of writers and directors. Obviously all the big names are represented, including Doctors Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy - though the last Doctor turns up in the body of a Bonus Feature, rather than having his own stand alone interview.

It's an odd collection, in that being a collection of previously published interviews and articles it's a bit like having a snapshot of a particular era. Personally, I think that this just adds to the book's charm. In many cases the informed reader can use hindsight to view how hopes were dashed and careers ended. This is especially true of Tom Baker's enthusiasm for his Scratchman film that never did get off the ground and poor old Matthew Waterhouse's interview that made me cringe with embarrassment. At one point he is asked how he thought his character of Adric would develop, little knowing that, rightly or not, he would end up as one or the most vocally reviled companions ever.

The book contains eighteen interviews that are pretty much fifty percent question and answer format and fifty percent constructed more like an article. Each is prefaced with a piece that puts the interview in its historical context or gives a little more information about the person being interviewed. If that wasn't enough for you there are also eight bonus features covering different aspects of the show.

Many of these pieces would be difficult, if not impossible, to find in their original form, making their publication here all the more welcome. Even if you know little about this period of the show's existence, it still stands as a fascinating slice of history and a more than worthy addition to any real Who fan's collection.

Charles Packer

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