Doctor Who at the BBC
The Tenth Doctor

Presenter: Elisabeth Sladen
BBC Audio
RRP: £13.99
ISBN: 978 1 405 67693 9
Available 03 September 2007

Travel behind the scenes in the company of David Tennant, Elisabeth Sladen, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Catherine Tate, Sarah Parish, Jessica Hynes, Thomas Sangster and many other stars of Series Two and Three of the new Doctor Who. Learn more about how the show is made from Russell T Davies, Susie Liggat and Edward Thomas, and eavesdrop on an unusual phone call to Executive Producer Julie Gardner! Along the way, enjoy many fascinating Who-related items from Blue Peter, Breakfast, Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Front Row and Jo Whiley Meets Doctor Who, plus a host of extracts from BBC Radio Wales’s very own Doctor Who: Back in Time series...

For this volume of audio interviews and behind-the-scenes excerpts from BBC radio and television, Elisabeth Sladen (alias Sarah Jane Smith) deals exclusively with the tenure of Doctor number ten, David Tennant. Despite his having been in the role for less than three years at the time of writing, there’s no shortage of material to choose from.

Indeed, only edited highlights are presented from Radio Wales’s regular Back in Time series and from the three-hour Christmas 2006 Radio 1 special Jo Whiley Meets Doctor Who. Clips from the 2005 Radio 2 documentary Regeneration are conspicuous by their absence. I would have thought that this volume was the perfect vehicle for presenting that documentary in full. Perhaps a complete release of that programme is to come - let’s hope so.

Not that this two-hour double CD is short on entertainment value - far from it. The Jo Whiley excerpts are full of genuine excitement and enthusiasm on the part of both the presenter and the interviewees, as are the clips from Back in Time, hosted by Julian Carey (not Julian Clary, as I initially misread on the inlay listing!). Disc 2 also includes a complete instalment of the Radio Wales show, from Christmas Eve 2006, in which Julie Gardner receives a phone call from a very scary-sounding enthusiast! In the same programme, Catherine Tate predicts the future as she expresses her desire to become a regular companion. And talking of companions, we also hear a post-Rose Billie Piper on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (20 October 2006), expressing light-hearted but, in part, genuine jealousy regarding her successor Freema Agyeman.

Some clips work better than others. A few snippets from television shows sound a little odd in audio only, including Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones saying that he’d better take socks off Elisabeth Sladen. He means, of course, the eighth Blue Peter cat, Socks! The Christmas 2005 clip from Dead Ringers, featuring multiple incarnations of the Doctor, is also rather confusing without the visuals to help us tell who is who (or do I mean Who?).

I would have happily sat through three or four discs of unedited material from Back in Time, Jo Whiley Meets Doctor Who and, indeed, Regeneration. Please, BBC, can I have some more...?

Richard McGinlay

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