Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

September Books 15) Who and Me, by Barry Letts

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.
Tags: bookblog 2013, doctor who, doctor who: 02, doctor who: 03, writer: barry letts
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