As you have learned by now, if you keep up with all my postings, I’m a Doctor Who fan. Actually, I’m a huge Doctor Who fan. I was wary of the new Doctor Who series (launched in 2005) but after giving it a chance was a fan again and this time with more gusto. I do have my favorite Doctors; Tom Baker and David Tennant with Matt Smith Growing on me. Nothing at all against the other Doctors, I just have my favorites, as does just about every Doctor Who fan I know.
I got the chance to listen to this audiobook that promises some behind the scenes looks at the series and I pretty much jumped on it. Barry Letts, the author of this memoir was the producer of Doctor How from 1970 to 1974 and executive producer in 1980. He was present for the change between Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker Doctors and also worked for the BBC as anctor, and directer before landing the Doctor Who Gig. This book is the first volume of memoirs from Letts and with him doing the reading as well, it’s as though you have the chance to sit down with your grandfather and hear about the days of old. That is if your grandfather was a producer for the BBC and had to deal with actors and budget limits in order to kee a television series running. His voice is very pleasant to hear and when telling the tales you can tell whether it was rough times or smooth sailing, he looked back on these years fondly.
One of the things that cemented my wanting to hear this audiobook was while is was recently re-watching the Doctor Who Special from 2009, “The Waters of Mars,” the show was dedicated to Letts, having aired just after his death in 2009. So I knew that I had to listen. Synchronicity was pointing the direction I needed to steer toward.
It’s funny, I was never a huge fan of the Jon Pertwee portrayal of the Doctor, my opinion was Pertwee was a bit stuffy, but with the stories told here I can see he was a bit fun and that he often edited his own story with Jon coming out on top. Letts tells the stories that don’t seem to match up with some of Pertwee’s tellings but Letts says, why let the truth get in the way of a good story, right?
“Who and Me” recounts the journey he took from struggling actor to successful producer, and the ups and downs of working on ‘Doctor Who’ during the Jon Pertwee years. Along the way he describes the personalities he worked with during that time, from his script editor Terrance Dicks and the stars of the series to the senior management, of the BBC with whom he had encounters some good and some bad.
Letts tells the stories of budgets, learning the ways of live television and then relearning how to film for pre-recorded episodes of Doctor Who. It was all a learning process and after hearing these memoirs from Barry Letts it sounded like a fun process.