Never has a script editor's reign coincided so completely
with that of "his" Doctor than during the Andrew Cartmel/Sylvester
McCoy era. Whereas David Whitaker was outstayed by William
Hartnell, and Terrance Dicks was already in place long before
Jon Pertwee arrived, Cartmel joined after the departure of
Colin Baker in 1986, and both he and McCoy stuck around until
the series' end in 1989. This book is Cartmel's memoir of
that turbulent period...
I have always thought it a shame that the old Doctor Who
series (now being referred to as the "classic" series - yuk!)
came to an end just when it was on the verge of regaining
true greatness. Though Season 24, Cartmel and McCoy's first,
was undeniably weak, there was an energy about it that hadn't
been there during the previous couple of years. The show then
went from strength to strength until it was producing challenging
works such as The
Curse of Fenric and Ghost
the production of such serials overlapped each other in real
life, Cartmel deals with each one separately, on a chapter-by-chapter
basis. His recollections of the first five stories are the
more in-depth, because following Remembrance of the Daleks
he chose to be less involved in the production of each show
once its script had been completed. His discussion of the
final seven stories contains more description of their plots
than in previous entries, which comes across as though he
is trying to pad out those last few chapters.
makes no bones about where he feels the serials failed due
to shortcomings on the part of writers (Pip and Jane Baker's
unwillingness to alter their script for Time and the Rani),
costume designers (who should have made the armour in Battlefield
look more futuristic), special effects personnel (Cartmel
likens the animatronic cat in Survival to Harry Hill's
glove puppet, Stufa!) and himself (for the tacked-on departure
of Mel in Dragonfire and an overlong speech in Battlefield).
However, he appears blind to the shortcomings of Paradise
Towers, never once acknowledging the ham acting of most
of its cast, in particular Richard Briers, or its lacklustre
action and effects sequences.
the book is never less than riveting. We can feel Cartmel's
shock and anger as producer John Nathan-Turner flies into
another one of his rages, and we sense his divided sexual
loyalties as he makes frequent references to his girlfriend
Kate before then remarking upon the numerous other attractive
women he encounters.
he entertains us with humorous recollections, the most memorable
of which concerns a pushy teenage fan who considers that he
should be the new Doctor. Not only does he swan in to the
audition clad in purple pantomime boots, purple breeches,
a purple velvet frock coat and a three-cornered hat decorated
with a long purple feather, but he leaves behind a folder
containing seven years' worth of storylines - complete with
cast lists - for his Doctor's era. That is scariness on a
par with the "mentalist" fan from I'm Alan Partridge!
However you feel about the television era that Andrew Cartmel
oversaw, Script Doctor, in common with much of his
writing, is both provocative and engaging.
this item online
compare prices online so you get the cheapest
deal! Click on the logo of the desired store
below to purchase this item.
All prices correct at time of going to press.