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When I first worked with Patrick Troughton in a TV studio, I was wearing an enormous wig.
Letts needs no introduction to Who fans; he was producer of the show for the entire Pertwee era, plus a story or two either side. Apart from the usual set of anecdotes of personalities (including quite a shrewd dissection of Jon Pertwee), He includes detailed accounts of how making a TV programme at the BBC in the 1960s and 1970s actually worked, linked with his own career progressions from actor to director to producer. His heart was clearly in directing, and it's there that we get the most vivid descriptions of what he was doing; in particular, it's surprising to read his low opinion of The Enemy of the World, the first Who story that he worked on - I have always found it interesting enough, and Philip Sandifer calls it "an absolute triumph". (I'll note that another story Letts feels particularly unhappy about was The Ambassadors of Death, also a David Whitaker script.) He also writes about his attachment to Zen Buddhism, managing to convey his deep personal commitment to it though not quite so much what it is all about.

Very sadly, this book is only half the story, taking us up to the end of Letts' second of five seasons as producer of Doctor Who. It looks rather as if there were no notes, and Letts reconstructed it from memories cross-referenced with other sources, so presumably there is little or no primary material for the second half of the story to be told. But it's good that he got the first half done.

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mcbadger
Oct. 6th, 2013 09:25 pm (UTC)
I came across this when the BBC broadcast Letts' own excellent reading of it about the time that he died.
Abridged, so I should get round to the full text sometime.

My feeling was that he disliked Enemy of the World because he couldn't see past his mistakes making it (things like picking the wrong method to try to film a scene with both Troughton's roles on-screen at the same time).
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