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Talkback, Volume Two: The Seventies by…

Talkback, Volume Two: The Seventies

by Stephen James Walker

Other authors: James Acheson (Interviewee), Chris Achilleos (Interviewee), Douglas Adams (Interviewee), Paul Allen (Interviewee), Bob Baker (Interviewee)41 more, Tom Baker (Interviewee), Christopher Barry (Interviewee), Bobi Bartlett (Interviewee), Jeremy Bentham (Contributor), Douglas Camfield (Interviewee), Stephen Collins (Contributor), Robert Davis (Interviewer), Terrance Dicks (Interviewee), Tim Dollin (Contributor), Sandra Exelby (Interviewee), Jeremy Ferguson (Contributor), Michael Ferguson (Interviewee), Brian Hayles (Interviewee), Philip Hinchcliffe (Interviewee), Robert Holmes (Contributor), Gary Hopkins (Contributor), Antony Howe (Contributor), David J Howe (Contributor), Rosemary Howe (Contributor), Malcolm Hulke (Interviewee), Sylvia James (Interviewee), Geraint Jones (Contributor), Linda King (Contributor), Robert Landen (Contributor), Barry Letts (Interviewee), Bernard Lodge (Interviewee), Katy Manning (Interviewee), Barry Newbery (Interviewee), Jon Pertwee (Interviewee), Christine Rawlins (Interviewee), Anthony Read (Interviewee), Pennant Roberts (Interviewee), Tim Robins (Contributor), Paul Scoones (Contributor), Derrick Sherwin (Interviewee), Elisabeth Sladen (Interviewee), Mark Stammers (Interviewer), Robert Banks Stewart (Interviewee), Mary Tamm (Interviewee), Owen Tudor (Contributor), Graham Williams (Interviewee)

Series: Talkback: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Doctor Who Interview Book (2)

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There are definitely interviews here with some old standbys: Terrance Dicks (script editor, 1968-74), Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who, 1970-74), Barry Letts (producer, 1970-74), Tom Baker (Doctor Who, 1974-81), and Philip Hinchcliffe (producer, 1974-77). Each interview, however, manages to be informative and interesting: I enjoyed reading about Pertwee's appearance on This Is Your Life, for example, and the Tom Baker one is somehow able to have anecdotes I hadn't heard before.

But it's also good to hear from folks who weren't/aren't often interviewed, especially the trio of late 1970s script editors: Robert Holmes (1974-78), Anthony Read (1978-79), and Douglas Adams (1979-80). Holmes has gone on to be quite lauded as both a script editor and a writer, but he died in 1986, meaning few interviews with him exist. Anthony Read I can't recall ever reading anything about at all before. And obviously Douglas Adams is quite famous, but this interview was done back in 1978, before any story he'd script-edited had even gone out, and before Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had gone further than a few episodes on the radio. All three provide great insight into the day-to-day script-writing of their era, which tended to lurch from crisis to crisis but produce excellence regardless. (Holmes, especially, was always rewriting failed scripts and producing greatness as a result.)

I was also surprisingly interested by the interviews with Pennant Roberts (who directed several serials from 1977 to 1985) and Peter Logan (visual effects on various serials from 1977 to 1982). Roberts's provides a detailed look into the making of The Sun Makers and The Pirate Planet in particular, explaining how he makes the production choices he makes, while Logan's is a detailed dissection of the effects of Destiny of the Daleks. One learns where to find a Plutonian dystopia in Bristol, why the flying spanner in Pirate Planet looks rubbish but couldn't look otherwise, and how Dalek props were loaned out to basically anyone between episodes and ended up in terrible shape as a result. The Roberts interview, especially, is a candid look into the decisions that result in what you see on screen. I don't rate Roberts very highly as a director, but he was clearly a thoughtful guy.

A solid collection of interesting anecdotes. Who knew that Jon Pertwee encouraged the creation of a rival Doctor Who fan club because he felt the official one too focused on Patrick Troughton? Or that Tom Baker personally paid for the postage of the Doctor Who Fan Club when the BBC refused to do so anymore!
  Stevil2001 | Sep 22, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen James Walkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Acheson, JamesIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Achilleos, ChrisIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, DouglasIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allen, PaulIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, BobIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, TomIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barry, ChristopherIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, BobiIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bentham, JeremyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Camfield, DouglasIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, RobertInterviewersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dicks, TerranceIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dollin, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Exelby, SandraIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, JeremyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, MichaelIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hayles, BrianIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hinchcliffe, PhilipIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holmes, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hopkins, GaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, AntonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, David JContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howe, RosemaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hulke, MalcolmIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, SylviaIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, GeraintContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, LindaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Landen, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Letts, BarryIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lodge, BernardIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manning, KatyIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Newbery, BarryIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pertwee, JonIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rawlins, ChristineIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Read, AnthonyIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberts, PennantIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robins, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scoones, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sherwin, DerrickIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sladen, ElisabethIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stammers, MarkInterviewersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stewart, Robert BanksIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tamm, MaryIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tudor, OwenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, GrahamIntervieweesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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