Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Long Game, by Paul Hayes

Loved this deep dive into how exactly Doctor Who came back to TV in 2005, talking to many of those involved including Julie Gardner, Jane Tranter and Lorraine Heggessey. It's a story I thought I knew pretty well but Hayes has covered all sorts of stuff that was completely new to me - not least the key role played by my old friend Daniel Judd in sorting out the issue of rights.

I especially like where Hayes presents conflicting published accounts of what happened to the people involved in an effort to get at the truth - and his acknowledgment that sometimes people remember the same events differently. He's also very good at placing Doctor Who in the wider context - of changing BBC politics, of BBC and British television more generally, and of imported drama from the US such as The X-Files and Buffy. The result is a sense of myriad separate forces all pulling in similar directions - Doctor Who was always going to come back in some form, none of the other options quite as good as what we got. There are no villains and yet it's thrilling to relive the sensation as the stars gradually align...

As Hayes says, the book seems especially timely what with the recent announcement that Gardner, Tranter and Russell T Davies are taking over Doctor Who once more. But how brilliant, how satisfying, to find an original story to tell and make the familiar new.

Oh, and joy of joys, a small-press book with an index. This is definitely a book I'll be coming back to... 

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