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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who at the BBC
A Legend Reborn


Presenter: Elisabeth Sladen
BBC Audio
RRP: £13.99
ISBN: 978 1 4084 2661 6
Available 21 January 2010

In 2005, after 16 years off-air, Doctor Who returned to BBC Television - and soon became more popular than ever. In this anthology of clips and interviews, featuring newly released material, Elisabeth Sladen journeys back to the recent past to delve into the show’s success. With the help of extracts from radio programmes as diverse as Go 4 It, Jo Whiley, PM, Newsbeat and The Now Show, she explores the run-up to the launch of Series 1 and follows the show’s progress up to 2009, with the impending departure of David Tennant. Featuring the voices of David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Christopher Eccleston, Freema Agyeman, Kylie Minogue, Russell T Davies and many others, this is an absorbing retrospective look at how Doctor Who returned to our screens to capture the hearts of millions...

The latest round-up of audio snippets in the Doctor Who at the BBC series focuses entirely upon the new series, starring Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant.

The earliest clips in this largely chronological collection come from March 2005, with Eccleston being interviewed on Radio 1’s Oneclick and Jo Whiley shows, while the latest comes from April 2009, when Tennant made a return visit to the Jo Whiley studio. In between, we hear Freema Agyeman enthusing to Radio 5 Live’s Simon Mayo about her new role as Martha Jones (March 2007), Tennant interviewing Kylie Minogue in Radio 2’s Re-X-amining Kylie (December 2007) and Catherine Tate interviewing Tennant in Radio 4’s Chain Reaction (February 2008), among others.

It’s interesting to compare and contrast the public personas of Eccleston and Tennant, and in this regard the soundbites from the Jo Whiley show are the most revealing. Eccleston was never a huge fan of Doctor Who, and so he fails miserably at Whiley’s “name that monster” challenge. Conversely, Tennant, who was and is a devoted fan, fares a lot better. (Interestingly, we have subsequently come full circle, because the new Doctor, Matt Smith, had very little knowledge of the show before he joined it.) We also witness Whiley’s own burgeoning fandom in clips from 2005, 2006 and 2009.

As with previous volumes in this series, it would have been nice to hear some of the programmes in full, especially Chain Reaction. There would certainly have been room for the latter, as the running time of this double CD is unusually short (95 minutes). Material from BBC Radio’s copious Christmas 2009 coverage is also conspicuous by its absence, no doubt precluded by this product’s release date.

Nevertheless, there’s plenty here to entertain followers of the legend.


Richard McGinlay

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