It started with a simple idea: Ben Cook approached Russell T Davies and asked if he’d like to write about his creative process: how he plans a series of Doctor Who, how he writes the scripts, how key decisions are made, how he works on a daily basis to create the show that millions of us watch on Saturday evenings. Russell was keen, and soon they were sending each other several emails a day, Ben asking questions and Russell fleshing out ideas for characters and plots and sharing scripts in various drafts. A year later, they had exchanged hundreds of emails and amassed hundreds of thousands of words documenting the story of Series 4 (the one with Catherine Tate) and sharing ideas and opinions on what makes great writing, great drama, and great television. It makes for addictive reading.
It’s also choc-a-bloc with photos from the set, many of them supplied by the cast and crew themselves, and Russell – who, before he turned to writing was a cartoonist – drew over three dozen original illustrations exclusively for the book. Put all of these wonderful bits together, and you have the ultimate gift book for the dedicated Doctor Who fan. (And I should stress the ‘dedicated’ part: this is not really an impulse buy for your young teen. We also have one of those coming out this Christmas, though, don’t worry).
The subtitle of The Writer’s Tale is ‘The Untold Story of the BBC Series’, which may sound boastful, but also happens to be true – as it turns out, despite the millions of words written about Doctor Who since the show returned in 2005, there are still many new, exciting, scary, hilarious and outright bizarre stories to be told. Especially if Russell T Davies is the one doing the telling.
Albert - Editorial Director