THE DOCTORS: THIRTY YEARS OF TIME TRAVEL AND BEYOND
Adrian Rigelsford’s book The Doctors: Thirty Years of Time Travel was easily one of the worst books ever to be released on the subject of Doctor Who. Sloppily researched and containing numerous factual errors as well as much material of unconfirmed origin, if ever there was a book not to use as the basis for a video, then this was it. Unfortunately Rigelsford’s agent also happens to be involved in a video company …
The video version of Rigelsford’s book is a poorly constructed affair which completely fails to effectively cover the history of Doctor Who by speaking to a mere 23 people. Of these, the inclusion of some is a complete mystery (Brian Blessed, Don Henderson (who says nothing), Sally Faulkner (who can’t remember anything), Pip and Jane Baker, Kevin Davies (who is credited as ‘The Dark Dimension’ but no explanation is forthcoming as to what his involvement was or who he is)), some have nothing of interest to say having covered it all previously for their Reeltime Pictures’ Myth Makers interviews (Wendy Padbury, Caroline John, Louise Jameson) and some simply retread old ground.
The camerawork for all the interviews is simply dreadful, with much shaking and juddering and microphones intruding at every opportunity. The direction too is pedestrian with little or no attempt made to make the locations and interviewees interesting to watch. There are occasional questions and comments fired off-camera from persons unknown and the apparent absence of anyone on the production who actually knows anything about Doctor Who results in valuable time spent by the interviewees pondering on whether memories and events are true or not and in which adventure they occurred. The locations seem ill-chosen and at least two of them (a wood apparently from 'Mawdryn Undead' and a wood from 'Mark of the Rani') appear identical so what was the point? There are also numerous background noises while the subjects are speaking (including cars, planes and clinking cutlery) and the whole effect is of a hastily and cheaply put together amateur effort.
There are numerous photographs from Doctor Who included on the tape, most of them very poorly reproduced and, despite the fact that this is an unlicensed product, some of BBC origin (some are shown back to front as well). It is nice to see some of the home movie-footage from 'The Smugglers', 'The Abominable Snowmen' and 'The Dæmons' but these very short sequences have captions running over them and do not really make up for the sheer awfulness of this naff product.
If you want to see interviews with the stars of Doctor Who then any of Reeltime Pictures’ Myth Makers series of video interviews (and there are over 30 individual titles to choose from) are better made, better presented and more interesting than this shoddy piece of rip-off merchandise. Don’t waste your money on it.
David J Howe