on 12 March 2014
Ray Cusick as is well known designed the Daleks, surely the greatest icon of Dr Who. A book showcasing the photographs he took during his time on the show ( some in colour) can only be a winner.
Except, it isn't.
The main problem is the book's size, between A4 and A5 and a slim book at that; meaning that the photos are not shown to their best advantage. There is a good selection, among the familiar shots are some less well know ones such as, candid rehearsal shots. These include Hartnell sans wig, Sensorites without masks (if you're old enough to remember Crackerjack then you will pick out Peter Glaze) and other such moments.
There are some great colour shots too, most especially from The Keys of Marinus. The interest in these is that during the period when the Police Box Show was shot in black and white: colours for sets, costumes etc. were worked out on the grey scale; basically what looked good in monochrome. So in some cases when they are seen in colour, the range of colours used is sometimes garish and bizarre. A case in point being Barbara's purple dress from the City of Morphoton and the Court room in the city of Millennium.
If the book was bigger then great enjoyment could be had poring over these shots and marvelling at what unusual clour schemes were in play. As it is the actors etc. are too small to appreciate it.
Naturally the Daleks feature prominently, there being plenty of shots of them and Cusick's soundbites detail why he asked not to work on Who again and what the Daleks had to do with it.
There are a few soundbites from old interviews by Mr Cusick himself (how something was achieved, where his original vision was compromised etc.) and in a better quality book they would have been sufficient.
There are also some sketches and an nicely written intro about his work in general but bad as I feel to diss the book the quality of the production of it just doesn't reach that of the photos themselves. If you want a better book about his time on Who then I recommend tracking down a copy of Jeremy Bentham's Dr Who the Early Years, if you can.
This probably would have worked a lot better as a coffe table format lavish tome like The Vault. Yes that would have pushed costs up and the price but as it is the book is worth about half what it cost me and this is probably a specialist interest book anyway.
Sorry but the book does not do the photos justice and I really can't recommend it.