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Robert Holmes: a Life in Words
on 10 April 2014
Robert Holmes (or Bob as he apparently preferred to be called) is a very familiar name to me from Doctor Who and Blake’s 7. His other work I am not so familiar with. But this book is a brilliant opportunity to get to meet the man behind some absolutely fantastic tv serial stories, and I leaped at the chance to read it.
Bob Holmes was obviously a man who lived a simple life, yet who was filled with the power to imagine and create for the tv screen in a way few can. The imagination required to create the worlds and creatures of stories such as, among others, The Krotons, Spearhead from Space (the Autons!), The Ark in Space, Pyramids of Mars (one of my top five all-time Doctor Who stories), The Brain of Morbius (another favourite), The Caves of Androzani (another favourite), as well as the amazing blend of Victoriana and Asian culture that is The Talons of Weng-Chiang is a winner in my book. Besides all the Doctor Who scripts that he was involved with, he also worked on Blake’s 7, Bergerac. Some of his other work I am not familiar with (being in New Zealand and not having seen them) such as Emergency Ward 10. But clearly Mr Holmes was a man that producers and directors knew, respected and trusted to bring the goods to whatever situation he was required to write for.
As well as his writing skills, Bob lived a full life, being in the Army and the Police Force, and having a loving family. It may seem that his name is not as well-known as his work would merit, but I would say that those who have watched episodes or stories written by Bob Holmes both know, remember and cherish his memory and his work, and will do so for a very long time hereafter. This book is a wonderful memorial to Bob’s life and work, and is clearly written by someone who wanted the opportunity to showcase all aspects of Bob’s life and work for future generations, and for those of us who remember with affection those classic episodes, especially Doctor Who. Some photos would have been nice in this book, but perhaps there were copyright or logistical issues; I don’t know. But just would have been nice to have a visual dimension to the book, as well.