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Who is Michael E. Briant?: A Memoir by the Doctor Who Director Paperback – 4 May 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Classic TV press (4 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956100066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956100061
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 856,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael E. Briant (born in Bournemouth, Hampshire, England on 14 February 1942) is best known as a British television director, but is also a producer, actor, writer and sailor.

When Michael was 21 he joined the BBC as an assistant floor manager in the drama department and a year later became a Production Assistant.

In 1966 he took a Directors Course and he subsequently directed series such as Z-Cars, Doctor Who and Warship, Emmerdale, Treasure Island.

During his time on Doctor Who, he directed six serials, including The Sea Devils, The Green Death and his personal favourite The Robots of Death, which was also his last involvement with the series. He directed several episodes of the first series of Blake's Seven including episode one and won an Emmy for his production of Tale of Two Cities.

He is most proud of his subsequent direction of the BBC drama series Secret Army for which he directed episodes between 1978 and 1979. He later directed four of the six episodes of its sequel, Kessler and the thriller series Blood Money in which he cast many of the actors from Secret Army, before moving to the Netherlands to direct many television productions and winning the 'best drama award' for a sit com!

In the 1980s he went onto working directing episodes of the soap opera EastEnders, One by One, Hideaway, Howard's Way which he also created the original concept.

He completed a circumnavigation in his 36ft Moody 'Bambola Quatre' before moving to La Rochelle on the west coast of France for many years and currently lives in Spain where he indulges his passion for sailing.

He has recently been involved on DVD releases of his Doctor Who episodes, appearing on various documentaries and commentary tracks and has found a new career as an writer hoping shortly to publish his first novel.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

"I am sure you will enjoy reading his memoirs as much as I have."
Christopher Barry, Doctor Who director

About the Author

After a career as a child actor, Michael E. Briant joined the BBC in the Sixties, working on many different drama series including several early Hartnell and Troughton Doctor Who stories. In 1969 he cut his directorial teeth on shows such as The Newcomers and Z Cars. On the strength of his direction of the six-part Jon Pertwee Doctor Who adventure Colony in Space, Barry Letts invited Briant back to Who every subsequent season during his tenure as producer. Two of his stand-out stories of this period include The Sea Devils and the much-loved Jo Grant swansong The Green Death. Work on popular dramas Sutherland's Law and Dixon of Dock Green followed, as well as two more Who stories with Tom Baker as the Doctor, including the highly-regarded Robots of Death. Although Robots turned out to be his last Who, Briant was in at the start of another science fiction drama, Terry Nation's Blake's 7. Briant's love of the sea and sailing was indulged by work on naval drama Warship, classic serial Treasure Island and The Onedin Line. More popular drama followed including Secret Army, episodes of which he considers to be amongst his finest work, and the Emmy award-winning Dickens serial A Tale of Two Cities which he also adapted. After a brief sojourn heading up a video film company, Briant directed popular zoo vet series One By One and sailing drama Howards' Way. Briant subsequently brought British drama and comedy production techniques to the Netherlands, winning many awards in the process. In the mid-Nineties, Briant decided to fulfil his lifelong sailing ambitions and had many adventures on the high seas during his circumnavigation of the world, making two sailing series en route and writing several books. Michael now lives in Spain.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Good Doctor B on 8 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Although primarily known as a television director, Michael E. Briant has had quite the varied life. In this memoir, he recounts this life - his early days as a child actor and seller of soap, his time spent at the BBC as an Assistant Floor Manager on shows such as Compact and Moonfleet, then as the director of Doctor Who, Blake's Seven, the Secret Army spin-off Kessler, Warship and Blood Money amongst many others, his time as an independent producer, and finally a slightly surreal sojourn in Dutch television - where every other comedy show appears to be a rebrand of a British original. Along the way, we find out about his love of sailing (which indirectly gave rise to Howard's Way,) and the ups and downs of life as a HGV driver...

As might be expected from the book's title, the primary focus is on Doctor Who. Briant is a colourful and often amusing raconteur, and his behind-the-scenes knowledge of the shows that he has directed is both entertaining and insightful - especially when discussing the classic The Robots of Death and The Green Death, from which the review quote is taken. In summary, this is an interesting book with many insights into the production and direction of television shows; I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in classic Doctor Who and Blake's Seven.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Le Quin on 28 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who is Michael E Briant? To me one of the best Doctor Who directors we had. Some people question how important a director is. Well you only have to look at a badly directed story (The Horns of Nimon) to realise that poor direction can ruin the product.

The fact that this book exists is almost an automatic ticket to five stars. The reason why The Robots of Death is one of the top ten stories is because of the top notch talents of a man who is able to project manage and execute his vision. The Sea Devils too has many noteworthy scenes realised by Briant.

I have read some chapters with great enjoyment not only because of the very honest stories given, but because it is more confirmation of facts from my favourite eras of Doctor Who Pertwee-Baker. I look forward to dipping into the rest, which from a non-reader of books is quite an accolade.

Michael E Briant helped make the golden era of television golden. There are far less capable directors out there that are bigger names.

A personal thank you Michael, for directing many of my favourite stories. As one can infer from what you write, it must have been an absolute nightmare, and you did it with professionalism and determination.

I sense this book could have been published before, but is so much better for having the lovely cover of all those Character Option figures from his stories.

The book itself is a small neat paperback. Ideal size for the modern collector who surely cannot have the space for these huge hardbacks that the more mainstream publishers yield.

A very welcome product indeed. There are just too many Doctor Who books now, that I have lost the will to read any, and this is the first factual one in many years that I have progressed beyond one chapter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beckett Reviews on 1 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Michael E Briant takes us on an engaging journey behind the scenes as Director of some of the finest Dr Who Stories ever made. His style is informal and entertaining and full of new information that only a director could know. This book is an easy read and accessible to all not just committed Who fans, the information about other series he has directed was equally fsacinating and personally revealing. I could easily have read this book in one sitting! A great read and one I'm happy to recommend - thankyou Michael!
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