Friday, October 03, 2008

We hold the line

Ah, bliss. A couple of nice days off really not doing very much. I'm almost all of the way through the extraordinary, compelling The Writer's Tale, a year-long interview with Doctor Who's re-animator, Russell T Davies.

It's packed with detail and insight about the process of writing: the crucial thinking stages, the desperate panic, the ruthless single mindedness (i.e. the collateral damage done to home life), the four-in-the-morning despair... We see when and how decisions were made, who suggested what bits and how the whole vast production team is constantly driven to Try And Make It Better. I am utterly in awe.

Benjamin Cook is an exceptional interviewer, continually challenging Russell on what he says, digging deep into the marrow of his brain. If brains had marrow in them. Their frame of reference is dizzying, taking in everything from Skins and Corrie to The Cherry Orchard and Six Characters In Search Of An Author (the new version of which, incidentally, discusses David Tennant as Doctor Who and Hamlet).

It's less an interview then, as a chance to eavesdrop a long-running conversation between two very smart people. They're such warm, good-humoured company it is a pleasure to nestle beside them. I have taken it with me to the shops and the pub, sneakily reading bits while no one is looking. Which isn't easy since it's a great heavy brick of 512 pages. And desperate as I am to get through it, I don't want it to ever end. Just 100 pages to go...

Meanwhile, work begins to whisper at me from the darkness. Off to discuss a documentary project this afternoon, then back at the freelance coal-face on Monday. And I've got 10 days to finish a thing as-yet-unannounced plus an outline for something else. Got a TV spec script thing to look over again, and a different script thing has nosed its way back into my thinking. And of course there is The Novel, which I promised myself I'd have a draft of by the end of the year.

Every fibre of my being shrieks, “Get on with it, man!” So I'm now going to watch a DVD.

1 comment:

Le Mc said...

I was thinking of going to the book signing in Cardiff for this.