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Behind The Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who
Behind The Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who
by Steve Berry
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories of Doctor Who; timeless and time lord; though regenerated, always the same, 12 Nov. 2012
If you've never picked up a Doctor Who book before, and you decide to one day, `Behind the Sofa - Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who', would be the one! From the first moment the book laid on the palms of my hands, to the moment it was finally closed at page 200, every word, moment and design, even smell was savoured.

Decked in a glossy hardcover black finish, the font in bold purple, grey and white, with beautiful illustrations of Doctor Who aliens in little circles, sixteen of them, which formed sort of a right angle depicting that of a sofa, the cover was gorgeous. I opened the book gingerly and the first illustration that greets me is that of the first Doctor. And, of course, there was also that `new book' print smell. From the first word "A", in the Foreword, I was hooked.

Every memory was like a trip down memory lane. I literally saw what was described in the book. It was akin to being told a glorious anecdote by a friend, in a pub, or a café, among other friends, on a beautiful weekend in London.

And, I learnt and discovered many things from the book. Being born in the 1985, I am, as someone aptly puts it in the book, `part of a lost generation'. Try as I might, I find it difficult to remember any distinct memories of Doctor Who as a kid. I must have liked it. My mum says I did and that the Daleks and their `Exterminate' voice used to scare me when I was three. Yet, any image I try to picture feels like an overexposed strip of photo negatives.

And so, the book was godsend. From it, I've learnt that Sylvester McCoy is rather a funny guy, in real life. I've learnt that Weetabix used to have Doctor Who characters as cardboard cut-outs for kids to collect. I've learnt that, unlike today, where a missed episode, could be easily recovered, the following day, any episode missed in the past, was really an episode missed! And, lastly, I've discovered how big a fan Russell T Davies is and how many adored him and his talent. Not that I didn't know this before, but it was nice to read about it. And it makes me wonder what RTD's memory of Doctor Who would have been...

Of course, there were the memories that make me smile. Especially, the ones of childhood and friendship. There were the ones of kids who met the `Doctor' but were too scared to say hi; that one kid who ran and hid when the Doctor walked up to him, and another who burst into tears upon finally seeing him. There were others of frightened kids, who adored Doctor Who to the ends of the universe, despite the programme giving them nightmares sometimes. There was one story of someone, who, as a kid, had wanted to visit the Doctor Who Exhibition in Blackpool for ages. But when he was finally there with his family, was terrified to go down the stairs when he heard the distinctive voice of the `Dalek' below, so much so, that his family went down and saw the exhibition without him, leaving him at the top of the stairs. The daleks! They were probably the most feared and beloved creature in Doctor Who. Kids pretended to be them. Milk bottles with bent straws that became daleks. Egg whisks to the foreheads and going "Exterminate"! These were wonderful memories. And then, there were ones of people who met other great and wonderful people, because of Doctor Who. And ones, who introduced Doctor Who to their kids. All of them, like kindred spirits across all of time and space.

But, my favourite memories were the ones of filming Doctor Who. I've always been interested in film and television; my mum once told me that, at age three, I could operate the VCR to help to record commercials and programmes for her work; she was traffic officer in the world of advertising. I had loved the technicalities of editing and I guess that fascination never wavered. So, reading memories of Doctor Who, in a Doctor Who Confidential style format, was brilliant. I smiled at the one of the artistes feet painting in the rehearsal room. I laughed at the `Cyberman' who sneezed behind his mask and another who almost threw up after being spun on a roundabout too fast. I laughed again at the `Carrionite' who scared a woman at a bus stop. I smiled at the advice of Matt Smith who memorises his lines like it was music; literally annotating the script like a musical score as if he was singing it. I giggled at the actress who got to hug David Tennant and Kylie Minogue in a scene for `Voyage of the Damned', in her head thinking, "Oh my god, David Tennant! I'm hugging David Tennant! I'm hugging Kylie!" I read in horror at the artiste who got covered in plaster of Paris and had straws stuck up her nose and mouth. And I smiled again at the story of how the rights to Doctor Who was released and that Russell T Davies got the call to bring it back...

Produced as a charity book by Steve Berry, in aid of Alzheimer's Research UK, with beautiful illustrations by Ben Morris, `Behind the Sofa' is indeed the most heartfelt book for any Whovian. For the Whovian inside anyone who has watched an episode of Doctor Who. For the Whovian who collects TARDISes and daleks. For the Whovian who goes to Comic Cons and cosplays. For the Whovian who has met the Doctor and for those who have not. For the Whovian who has acted in Doctor Who. For the Whovian who writes or has written an episode of Doctor Who, a Doctor Who book or Doctor Who music. And lastly, for the Whovian who hid behind the sofa as a kid.

On a personal note; I may not remember being scared of the daleks when I was three. And due to some wibbly wobbly timey wimey screening of Doctor Who episodes where I live (I'm currently based in Singapore), I vaguely remember my first reintroduction episode of the new series. I reckon it was either `The Lazarus Experiment' or `Rise of the Cyberman', because I have this image of David Tennant in a tuxedo. Perhaps, my early most memorable episode and scene was in `Rose', when the Doctor was describing the turn of the earth to her. That, and `The End of the World', when Rose describes planet Earth dying and no one noticing it, and later the Doctor saying the same of Gallifrey. I guess I fell in love with RTD's concept of the lonely time lord. To date, there are other memories I've had of, as I like to affectionately call, 'Doctor Ooo', that I will treasure like a fob watch of `memories'. The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular. Doomsday. Twitter. The Doctor Who Fan Orchestra. The AbsoluteDTfangirls and the Christmas project. The tears and smiles. And the many friends I've met along the way.

They're like this book. Timeless and time lord; though regenerated, always the same.


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