6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not for everybody - but perfect for those it's for,
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale (Hardcover)
First thing: If you're looking to buy a book for a younger Doctor Who fan, and you're thinking this looks like a nice glossy coffee table book for them to flick through - don't get this. It's really intended for older readers: there's a lot of prose here to wade through, the language and innuendo is quite adult, and it's really all about the nuts and bolts of the writing which may be a bit dull for anybody younger than, say, 14 or 15.
But for those who are interested in writing, and writing for television in particular, it's unputdownable. I wouldn't be surprised if in 10-15 years time there are young script writers who cite this book as a major influence in their career decision. Russell T Davies, whatever you think of him (and I finished the book thinking of him really quite fondly) really doesn't hold back in telling his co-author how he works - and indeed, a lot of the time how he doesn't work. He is nothing if not honest about himself and others, and he's frequently very funny.
Although RTD does take centre stage, credit is due to his co-author Ben Cook for his side of the correspondence, which keeps asking most of the questions you want to hear the answers too. I suspected on occasion he was actually not quite in full agreement with RTD, but he hid it well (did I detect a lack of enthusiasm about Catherine Tate?).
Credit also due to the book's designer(s), who have produced a book that is impeccably laid out and beautifully illustrated, not least with the cartoons by RTD which are deservedly praised in other reviews here.
I really can't remember when I've enjoyed a book more. If you're at all interested in writing for TV - get it.
One final thing: some of RTD's comments about online reviewers and the effect they can have on writers really gave me pause (around page 74-75, I think.) Particularly since one of the writers he mentions I've met, and who was personally very helpful to my own writing. I felt rather guilty about some of the cavalier negative comments about books and films that I've littered around cyberspace. I'll be more careful from now on. But for this book at least I can enjoy giving it a near-unconditional thumbs up.