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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2013
I'll be honest: I always hated Adric. His period on the programme coincided with the beginning of John Nathan-Turner's era as a producer (it seems Adric was his idea, but he was originally supposed to have been 'a cosmic Artful Dodger'), a time when many fans deserted the programme (myself included), leading to its eventual cancellation. With its successful resurrection in 2005, and the recent announcement that Peter Capaldi was to be the new Doctor, I thought it was time to let bygones be bygone and give this book - which had come highly recommended - a chance. I had just become involved in Doctor Who fandom again with the reboot of the fanzine Cygnus Alpha after thirty years in hibernation and this seemed like an appropriate way to reach out to the past.

And great fun it is, too. Matthew's decision to write about himself in the third person is perhaps a way of distancing himself from the person he once was (and, hand on heart, the technique rather annoyed George, who wished he'd knock it off) but, if you can get over that, the revelations come thick and fast. In a sense, Matthew lived the dream, coming from nowhere to play the Doctor's companion - and a bloody awful dream it turned out to be, by all accounts. If we, the viewers, suffered watching those dreadful stories on our tellies, this was nothing compared to taking part in the programme at the time, it seems. A happy ship? More like the Titanic!

Even better are the reminiscences about growing up a fan...Target books, Weetabix figures and all. I am about the same age as Matthew and it sparked some wonderful memories.

So there we go. This book has achieved the near-impossible: it has made me forgive John Nathan-Turner and Matthew for ruining my favourite programme. I no longer hate Adric!

The only thing he omits to mention is how...er...excited he felt when filming Castrovalva (a subject of much fan debate). For that, you have to go to Richard Marson's book 'J N-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner', in which Matthew is interviewed extensively.

Thanks for this one, Matthew and no...er...hard feelings.

We're all in the gutter, but some of us are wearing stitched-on stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2013
Bizarrely written in the third person this book isn't anywhere near the 5 star level of the new JNT book, but it does have its charm. Matthew does have an unfortunate habit of unflattering descriptions of people he meets and skirts over important events. As a result the book is not very revealing and the high points come from a selection of low rent showbiz anecdotes that are slightly bitchy but very enjoyable.

Not a must read but at least different from various other Who autobiographies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2014
Matthew Waterhouse, one of the people I'd most like to meet in the world, played the part of Adric, my favourite ever "Doctor Who" companion. He writes brilliantly about his Doctors - Tom Baker and Peter Davison - and other Doctors he's met (e.g. Jon Pertwee).

He gives a more detailed account than any other "Who" actor of what it was actually like doing each and every story. In your mind's eye you can see John Nathan-Turner smiling as he suggests that Matthew is the inventor of alcohol, you can hear Michael Robbins talking about his "fer nuthing"s, you cringe as you witness Dudley Simpson's being taken out to dinner by the show's producer and saying how lovely it is that he's finally been recognised for his work... only to find out that the dinner is a way of Nathan-Turner's telling him he's sacked!

He also covers issues like racism, being a young gay man in the 1980s and feelings of loss.

It's a really well-written account which is both funny and poignant - I'd recommend it to anybody.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2010
The central protagonist of the story is Waterhouse himself - the boy lost in the blue box. Matthew confirms what we all suspected - that he really WAS a Tom Baker fan who had wondered onto the set and looked lost. His occasional « Bakerisms » and Tom Baker style humour are those of an honest fan for whom Dr who was an important source of identification. No wonder he had trouble dealing with reality inside the blue box, and the deception that the great Tom Baker was not in reality the even greater Doctor Who - but just a very human mortal going through a tough time.

Nicely drawn, Waterhouse's description of rehearsals is gossipy, and his writing an easy read and difficult to put down style... Waterhouse himself allows us to see something of his immaturity and to experience at first hand certain episodes of his life relived in detail like the traumas they must have been. His own human qualities and failings are all laid bare.

One comes away from the book feeling slightly changed... The writer's disappointment with the absence of real magic in the blue box is palpable, and there is therapeutic value in the book - for reader and writer alike. When one considers the paltry fee he was paid for the episodes it is sickening. Did one of the production team pay the restaurant bill on his behalf - in the episode he recounts - perhaps, rather than the credit card « just not working » as he suspects... There might have been more compassion around him than he relates. Humanly, one would hope so.

This is an honest, surprising, gossipy stream of consciousness testament of a book. An easy read about a curiously cast « artful Dodger » of a young man who is in reality more of an Oliver Twist turned undergraduate around whom stories and the world « happen » in an occasionnally alarming, sometimes disappointing and often frighteningly incomprehensible way. Certainly worth a read for any fans of Who in the eighties, this book has the magical appeal of being geared to the hard-core fan of fandom - as it is written by one. And there's a very endearing aspect to the book - because Matthew holds a mirror up to the teenage fan of the eighties and lets his pen run wild. Recommended reading for adult fans of the classic 80's series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2013
I'm only half way through this book and I am really enjoying it. I grew up with Doctor Who and it's lovely to read a book by someone who shares so many similar memories. The book keeps making me laugh when I think "yep, I thought that too!" Matthew doesn't take himself too seriously either.
When I read that Matthew's home suffered a power cut that prevented him from seeing an episode of Doctor Who my 8 year old self shuddered - that was the worst thing I could have imagined at that age! (lucky me)
If you grew up with "Who" wishing you could be part of it - I think you will like this book. Even if you hated Adric - cos, come on, you hated him because you were jealous right?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2010
I bought this book primarily for the cover art that jackets the hardback edition (not the cover design shown here). I was also intrigued by the idea of an autobiography from the early 1980's period of Doctor Who.

What I wasn't so sure about was an autobiography written in the third person. I mean, wouldn't that come across as a trifle pretentious?

I need not have worried. The third person narrative works extremely well, enabling the reader to distance himself from the author and `see' the memories the way one imagines characters when reading a novel. It is a refreshing approach.

Not only is this the life story of an actor who starred in Doctor Who for two years of his life, but it's the story of a Doctor Who fan.

Matthew Waterhouse spills the beans on what it felt like to suddenly find himself working on his favourite boyhood show. His descriptions of various cast members and his thoughts on each of the stories he appeared in absorb the reader.

But Waterhouse is balanced. He says Tom Baker's moods dictated what kind of day his fellow actors would have, but he also shows the actor to be calmer and almost fatherly once he knows his time as the Doctor is coming to an end.

The author's views on fandom, on what became of Doctor Who towards the end of its original run, and the 21st century revival are riveting. In addition, Matthew sheds light on some of the rumours that have been told about him over the last twenty odd years.

If you grew up watching the show in the Eighties, you won't be able to leave this book alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2013
Excellent memoir by Matthew. The third person narrative jars at first but swiftly becomes eminently readable - Waterhouse paints a droll insider's picture of Doctor Who behind the scenes at its best. Well worth reading.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2013
This is a very different sort of autobiography, and you realise that from the very beginning.

The author writes about himself in the 3rd person, which takes a bit of getting used to. So rather than writing "I was excited about the audition"; we get "Matthew was excited about the audition" and so on.

It's an unusual approach and one that I found rubbing off on me. Stephen was almost tempted to write this review in the 3rd person about Matthew's book. Stephen's mate Andrew got him Matthew's book as a birthday present and Andrew had to go to great lengths to get it, which is a story in itself. Argh! It's recursive occlusion, I'll stop.

So that tells you from the off that Matthew Waterhouse is not one for convention (conventions, maybe). His writing style is both personal, and removed at the same time. And he is very, very honest.

I have to say, I found his whole approach to his Doctor Who life refreshing and very readable. His recollections of his time on the show, and afterwards, don't hold back. Sometimes they go off at odd tangents, but that's fine. At the same time that you learn some funny or insightful stuff about the acting profession, the BBC in general, or what Matthew thinks of particular actors, you also get a feel for the type of person Matthew is.

His stories about Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, John Nathan Turner et al never come across like hackneyed anecdotes. I found the stories hilarious, although a lot of them probably didn't feel like it at the time.

Any book that describes working with Tom Baker is always going to be a page turner. I just found myself lapping it up, anecdote after anecdote. And hearing Matthew's honest opinions is a unique insight into the making of the show and the relationships between cast and crew.

I have to be honest, I never liked the character of Adric. I was 7 when he joined the show and I thought he was a bad character. Also, I think I must have heard stories about Matthew Waterhouse in various interviews or publications (none of which I can recall with any precision) which made me think I wouldn't necessarily like him. I'm glad to say the prejudice was unfounded.

This was one of the most enjoyable autobiographies that I have read, by any celebrity, and I felt sad when I reached the end. My next book had better be this enjoyable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2014
Naive teenager meets actors on his path to enlightenment. Actors lacking in tolerance of their own kin. Insight into how some of our tv heroes think and behaved yester year..
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2014
Tim Bradley has decided to write this review in the third person, since this was how Matthew Waterhouse wrote his memoirs of `Doctor Who' in this book.

Tim really enjoyed this book by Matthew Waterhouse who played Adric in the series. He bought the book at a convention in Swansea, 2011 where he first met Matthew. Tim asked if he could buy the book from him. Matthew said yes. He signed the book for him as well. Tim enjoyed meeting Matthew at that convention and eventually had a photo shoot with him. He chatted with Matthew about his book and enjoying all his adventures from the series from 'Full Circle' to 'Earthshock'. Tim also asked Matthew about doing some Big Finish audios in `Doctor Who' with Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding. Matthew is now doing 'The Fifth Doctor Box Set' with Peter, Sarah and Janet, to which Tim is happy is about and thinks he's partly responsible for changing his mind over the years.

Adric is a character in `Doctor Who' who is not well-liked by fans. Tim has sympathy for Adric since he enjoyed watching his adventures in the series and felt he was badly treated by writers. Tim became aware of this autobiography by Matthew on his experiences in `Doctor Who' that he was intrigued to have read of them. He was glad when he met Matthew, he was able to buy the book and get it signed by him at the same time.

It took a while for Tim to read Matthew's book. But eventually Tim read it during the middle part of 2013 where he had a chance to read each episode of the book over some months. He found it an engaging and interesting read.

Published in 2010, Matthew has written this book in four episodic parts. This matches with the four-episode structure done by `Doctor Who' stories in the classic days which is really nice. The episode titles are:
1. An Unearthly Child
2. Technocothaca!
3. Forth To Doomsday
4. Survival

Matthew covers his experiences of `Doctor Who' from working with both Tom Baker and Peter Davison in the series. Interestingly and rather strangely, Matthew has written this book in the third person. One wonders why he didn't write it in the first person. Writing it in third person, makes him rather detached as if he's not part of the story personally. Must have been challenging for him to write all of the book by simply referring to himself as Matthew. Tim has trouble writing in the third person for this review apparently. Matthew has written a number of novels for Hirst Books in the USA, so he has a knack of writing such prose in that style already. But it's an interesting approach.

The four episodes of this autobiography was well structured by Matthew. Firstly there's a prologue sequence where we have Matthew auditioning for Adric and producer John Nathan-Turner telling him with a friendly wink he'll let him know soon enough. This is an interesting way to start the book to hook the audience into Matthew's world.

1. An Unearthly Child
In the first episode, Matthew depicts his early years as `Doctor Who' fan to becoming cast as Adric in the series. Tim found this part of the book very interesting and enjoyable. Matthew fondly recounts how he became a fan of the series at an early age, reading the first three Target novels of `Doctor Who' including `Dr Who and the Crusaders'; `Dr Who and the Daleks' and `Dr Who and the Zarbi'. He goes onto talking about his school days and how he collected merchandise such as cereal toys; music records and chocolate bars with cards inside telling a `Doctor Who' story. He also talks about reading 'Doctor Who' comics and how he created his own comics called 'Kroton Comics'. Tim has tried to find these comics online, but sadly they're out of print, ha, ha. He also goes into talking about his love of music and Kate Bush. Towards the end of the episode, he recounts getting an office job at the BBC before getting cast in the public school boys' serial `To Serve All My Days'. Tim especially felt he could relate to Matthew in this episode and having fond memories being a young fan. This is the more friendly-part of the book for Tim.

Tim didn't know Matthew very well as much as he knew Sarah Sutton. So it came as a surprise to Tim when reading this book that Matthew was gay. He initially assumed Matthew wasn't gay which goes to show how naïve Tim is. He had to adjust to this new revelation as he ploughed on reading the book. But it was an interesting side of Matthew for Tim to discover.

2. Technocothaca!
The second episode chronicles Matthew's experiences of working with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward in the series. This is probably bound to be the episode that will arouse readers' interests. Matthew goes into length about how he considered Tom to be his hero when watching the series and how his preconceptions of Tom were shattered when he worked with him. Matthew depicts his naivety and how uncomfortable he felt when Tom was in foul moods and having arguments with Lalla during the making of the series. Tim felt from reading this book that Matthew should have left things unsaid such as Tom's tantrums and being drunk from going to the pub. Matthew also reveals his discomfort with Lalla and sometimes there being friction between them. But at least Matthew is being honest in his memoirs and does give a balanced view on both actors.

N.B. This book does contain strong language where it concerns Tom or anyone else in this story, including the author.

3. Forth To Doomsday
The third episode has Matthew depicting his experiences working with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton. Tim likes how Matthew illustrates the comfort of working with Peter compared to his rough experiences with Tom. Matthew does go on about being intimated by Janet during the series and mentions on her smoking habits. But at least Matthew says nice things about Sarah, especially later on in `Episode 4' about her sitting in the garden and drinking a glass of white wine which Tim can imagine Sarah doing. Tim liked it when Matthew tells the story of when Peter, Sarah, Janet and he drove in a brand-new car and took a ride in the country, as an example of camaraderie between the four of them. Matthew does share his working experiences with actors such as Phillip Locke, Michael Robbins, Richard Todd and Simon Rouse. He also gives his account of his drinking too much incident during the location filming of 'Castrovalva'.

4. Survival
The last episode of this episode has Matthew recounting what life was like after working on `Doctor Who'. He talks about the conventions he went to and doing karaoke and cabaret with Jon Pertwee in the late 80s/early 90s. He also talks about doing the audio commentaries with Peter, Sarah and Janet on the stories he did. What was most fascinating for Tim reading this episode was how Matthew continued watching `Doctor Who' till the end of its classic run in 1989, but didn't watch it when the new series came back. He did watch the new series when chancing upon an episode called `Planet of the Dead' with David Tennant. Tim asked Matthew if he was still a fan of the series when he first met him in Swansea. He said he still was. There's not much talked about any further work Matthew did such as theatre, or if there was Tim couldn't spot it. Matthew does talk about writing novels in the USA which was interesting for Tim to read.

The book ends on an `epilogue' where Matthew takes a photograph of a family outside a police box somewhere in England, which was a very interesting way to end his memoirs.

Tim has enjoyed reading these memoirs of `Doctor Who' by Matthew Waterhouse in four episodes. `Blue Box Boy' is an insightful and intriguing read. It's full of nostalgia and memories by Matthew recollecting his time on the show. Sometimes Matthew does reveal things that should have been left unsaid. But Tim enjoyed learning more about this young boy fan who wanted to be in the show he loved so much. Tim wonders since Matthew wrote these memoirs in four episodes, whether he hopes to turn his book into TV serial depicting Matthew's life. Something on the lines of 'An Adventure in Space and Time' perhaps. A great read chronicling Matthew's life as Blue Box Boy.

Tim now wants to read an autobiography by Sarah Sutton on her acting career and time on 'Doctor Who' someday.
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