AUDIO BOOK
Doctor Who at the BBC
Volume 2

Presenter: Elisabeth Sladen
BBC Audio
RRP 13.99
ISBN 0 563 52485 5
Available 06 September 2004


Elisabeth Sladen presents another time-travelling journey through the history of
Doctor Who on BBC radio and television. Once again, all manner of vintage programmes yield Who-themed features, from drama and comedy to interviews and behind-the-scenes items, from Matthew Waterhouse to The Mary Whitehouse Experience...

This eclectic mixture offers something for every fan, as it features archive material from as early as 1967, with the Cybermen's creator Kit Pedlar defending the show's violent content on BBC1's Talkback, to 2003, as John Lyttle and Clayton Hickman discuss the new series of Doctor Who on Radio 4's Today programme.

There are interviews with all of the television Doctors bar William Hartnell and Christopher Eccleston. Probably the most enjoyable interview is Siobhan Synnot's discussion with Paul McGann on Movies and Shakers, a BBC Radio Scotland programme from 1996. This actor is notorious for rarely giving interviews, but he is extremely frank and witty here. Extracts featuring Tom Baker demonstrate how moody he can be - and how much he hates Kojak! He is very chatty with Sue MacGregor on an edition of Woman's Hour from 1977, but is far less communicative when he and Louise (Leela) Jameson are interviewed by Bob Welling on Nationwide from a year earlier. Perhaps some of his hostility towards the idea of the savage character of Leela is showing through.

Lighter moments are provided by comedy clips from the likes of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, The Mary Whitehouse Experience and Dead Ringers. The latter comprises the ultimate telephonic encounter between Jon Culshaw's version of Tom Baker and the real one. Baker provides some excellent repartee, and proves that Culshaw's eccentric portrayal isn't that far from the truth! The Mary Whitehouse clip, starring Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, goes beyond the usual old jokes about cheap, wobbly sets - which is more than can be said of Injury Time, featuring Jimmy Mulville.

The one annoying characteristic of this double CD release is that it seems to be afraid that too long an item might risk losing the listener's attention. I doubt that this would actually have been the case had the amiable Terry Wogan's interview with Liz Sladen and Sue MacGregor's chat with Tom Baker not been chopped into more "manageable" size pieces.

However, that is my only real criticism of this enjoyable compilation of often extremely rare material.

Richard McGinlay

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