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"The Last Word from the Top Companion",
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This review is from: Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I'm pleased to say that this is a great read. To be honest, if I hadn't enjoyed it, then I probably wouldn't have bothered with a review. I would have felt bad writing a negative one but fortunately I don't have to consider that.
Like all good autobiographies, it's got a good conversational style which the afterword by her family comfirms very much has her turn of phrase etc to it. It's the kind of book best enjoyed on train & bus journeys to & from work, when you can pretend your having a chat with her.
Dr Who is covered in some detail but that doesn't mean the rest is not interesting.
The early portion on her family history suggests enough material existed for a good "Who do you think you are. & similarly the period on her early life (find how she came to vommit on Edwina Currie)& a fascinating and varied stage career will easily prevent you skipping onto the Who section. She clearly loved acting and mixing with people such as actor Robert Morley & playwright Alan Ayckbourn but that's not to say it's a luvvie's bore of a book. Where there were famous names she had problems with she explains why she thought badly of them and in hindsight whether she was right.
Naturally the Who section is of prime interest & even though there will be anecdotes & stories heard before in interviews, commentaries & so on, she still does the fans proud. We learn who were the directors who were difficult to work with were ( some names there will surprise you) and best of all what it was like to work with Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker & more recently David Tennant.
She found Pertwee initially difficult to work with because their styles & approaches clashed but does acknowledge that some of his apparently insensitive acts were just the opposite e.g. he thought it was supportive to watch her film her 1st scene & to introduce her to fans who had at that point no idea who she was. He had no idea that it made her feel more daunted. The 2 worked better toward the end of his time and later became good friends.
She clearly hit it off and gelled with Tom Baker from the off & found he was happy to listen to her, was full of mad ideas himself & quick to champion her suggestions. She jokes that she didn't want to watch him with other companions likening it to seeing your husband with another woman.
There are in this section and (in the rest of the book but I noticed them here most) some great insights. She believes when he had resigned because the Beeb refused to give him a raise (this has been questioned more recently but she seem certain it's true) Jon Pertwee regretted his decision. He didn't really want to leave the show but it had only hit him once it was too late to stop. She believes this and a form of jealousy over Tom's apparently greater success & longer tenure in the role, coloured the bad relationship between the 2.
Her account of the making of the 5 Doctors is similarly interesting e.g. all Doctors going off with their own cliques at breaks.
She recalls her initial reluctance to return to Sarah Jane Smith, the false start with K9 and Company all leading to a triumphant return in "School Reunion" and then her own show "The Sarah Jane Adventures." She speaks about the role attending conventions with Jon Pertwee played i bringing her back to Who & her affection for her fans shines through.
Acting jobs between Who are covered well too as is her decision to retire from acting(fortunately temporarily).
There's plenty of humour e.g. she jokes that Yasmin Page who left Sarah Jane Adventures early on to avoid typecasting will probably manage her career better than she did & compares acting opposite Alpha Centauri to playing Shakespeare with a tellytubby! She's also very amused most papers etc. knocked 2 years of her date of birth.
Whatever work her family and co-author Jeff Hudson did to get the book ready for publication, I commend them because it does not read as rushed or unfinished.
There's an introduction from David Tennant and some material form her husband & daughter.
A fine tribute to Elisabeth Sladen which I recommend to anyone who enjoyed her work.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2011 13:46:39 GMT
Mr. R. G. Prizeman says:
Bought this after reading your review and it is excellent thanks for such a true full review which instead of one which just says its great because of the person . thanks
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2011 12:41:42 GMT
Thanks for your verty kind comments, I'm glad people seem to have enjoyed the review. It's a really good read and I have to say the insights into the world of DR Who make it. I'm looking for ward to teh patrick Troughton Biography too as his son David who wrote it, did some articles about his memories of his father's time on teh show for Dr Who Magazine and they were really good. here's hpoing a parade to print start s and Sylvester McCoy (from an interview he gave a year ago, his life's as fascinating as Tom Baker's) Colin Baker and many other do biogs.
Posted on 17 Dec 2011 05:51:46 GMT
Texas Trace says:
Thanks for the detailed review. My 14 year old loves Dr. Who and Sarah Jane Adventures. Is this autobiography appropriate for a young teenager?
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Dec 2011 12:19:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Dec 2011 12:20:02 GMT
Yes I think so, I can think of nothing in it that you wouldn't want a girl of that age to read. She might not get some of the tone when talking about frustrations etc. or know who people such as Robert Morley are but I think the high spots of it about Who & Sarah Jane Adventures would be enjoyable for her.
Thanks for the kind comments.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2012 11:12:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Feb 2012 11:14:10 GMT
bob, have you read matthew waterhouse's 'boy in the blue box' - similarly refreshing look at the makings of two Doctor's respective eras - I'd thoroughly recommend it - and I'd hated his character in the day!
In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2012 12:31:25 GMT
No I've avoided it because I did not like his acting and up until a few of his more recent contributions to the DVD's had found him arrogant, but so many have told me how good it is, maybe I will , cheers
Posted on 15 Apr 2012 11:35:44 BDT
Mr. M. S. Krumstets says:
A very good review . Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2012 12:08:50 BDT
My pleasure thanks for the kind comments
Posted on 6 Oct 2014 23:10:39 BDT
Excellent review Bob, heartfelt & wonderfully written & deserving of high praise mate.
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2014 12:18:25 GMT
Thanks yet again for your kindness
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