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Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale ("Doctor Who") (Doctor Who (BBC Paperback)) Paperback – January 14, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Doctor Who (BBC Paperback) (Book 78)
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK (January 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184607861X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846078613
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This book is a treasury of wit, of truthfulness, and of good sound storytelling sense, and well worth stealing from,The Doctor Who Annual for adults,You can douse all the other books about Who in lighter fuel and spark up your Zippo - this is all you need

About the Author

Russell T Davies is one of the UK's foremost writers of television drama, creating groundbreaking shows such as Queer As Folk, Bob & Rose, and The Second Coming. He has been Head Writer and Executive Producer of Doctor Who since it returned to the BBC in 2005 and has written many of the new series' most memorable episodes. He was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to drama. He divides his time between Cardiff and Manchester. Benjamin Cook is a journalist and regular contributor to Radio Times and Doctor Who Magazine. He has also been published in TV Zone, Cult Times and The Stage and is the author of Doctor Who: The New Audio Adventures - The Inside Story. He lives in London.

More About the Author

Russell T. Davies is one of the UK's foremost writers of television drama, creating groundbreaking shows such as Queer As Folk, Bob & Rose, and The Second Coming. He has been Head Writer and Executive Producer of Doctor Who since it returned to the BBC in 2005 and has written many of the new series' most memorable episodes. He was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to drama. He divides his time between Cardiff and Manchester. Benjamin Cook is a journalist and regular contributor to Radio Times and Doctor Who Magazine. He has also been published in TV Zone, Cult Times and The Stage and is the author of Doctor Who: The New Audio Adventures - The Inside Story. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Read this book if you are a writer.
Holly
All of this is told in the wonderfully humorous and un-pompous words of Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook.
Emilie Thornton
I'm a big Doctor Who fan who enjoys 'behind-the-scenes' books and shows like Doctor Who Confidential.
Dean Robb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Nesbit on January 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you think the description of what this book is about lets you know what you're getting into, you're wrong. Well, half wrong. You do get to understand what a head writer/show runner has to deal with day to day. You even get to read a few of Russell T. Davies' first drafts of the episodes for series 4 of Doctor Who. All Through Emails.
But - You also get to hear his inner most thoughts of procrastination, stress, the absolute passion he has for his characters, (every one of them that he has created) and the passion he has for writing. He talks of writing as if his head never turns off, and he even admits he would be writing whether or not he had a job on a tv show. He brings you into his passion and his excitement when he decides to kill off a character, or when he discusses why it all is for the good of the story.
The other half of the emails are by Benjamin Cook. He asks all the right questions at all the right times. I was almost surprised that when I asked something in my head, he would be right there asking the question and sometimes even asking a better one.
Russell doesn't want it to be a "how you should write" book, but he does teach you that the way you write is just wonderful and the love you have for writing and creating is the most important thing. There was so much advice in this book that I'm sure Russell didn't think he was giving but I'm glad he gave.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the author of a book on writing myself (The Musical Theatre Writer's Survival Guide), and as a fellow very hard on books about writing (I don't think they're worth much unless they're by people who actually do the kind of writing they're expounding on for a living), I promise you, this one is worthwhile. For anyone who tells or wants to tell stories in any print or performance medium.

Though the book collects the seemingly unedited, largely unexpurgated email dialogue between Russell T Davies and journalist Benjamin Cook -- and as such may instill the apprehension that it will be a long-winded ramble (the print is small and it is a BIG, THICK book, and a coffee-table edition at that) -- it turns out to be a breathless and often un-put-downable read, akin to any of the classical philosophical exchanges of literature between mentor and student. Davies, despite being a telly populist at heart, is among the brightest, most articulate dramatists in the English speaking world, with a staggering analytical perception I'd liken only to a very few (such as Sondheim and Stoppard) and his thoughts and observations are passionate, funny, touching, instructive and provocative throughout. He makes it clear that he doesn't mean for his process to be regarded as any kind of template for everybody's process, but as with any great writer, the acquaintance is still well worth making. And there are full scripts represented too. Not only that, but among the profuse illustrations are many by Davies himself, who seems to be as gifted a cartoonist as he is a wordsmith.

Caveats? One, and it may be a big one.
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tony C. Hsieh on December 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This textbook-sized tome (512 page of 2 column printed in some relatively small font) contains correspondence (emails) between Russell and Benjamin (the author) as the development of season 4 begins.

These e-mails radiate personality and huge insights into where the seeds of ideas germinated into the final product and some seeds just withered (i.e. Season 4's companion called "Penny").

Though I shouldn't be, I am amazed by the volume of Russell's text and how he seems so fearless and, at the same time, racked with doubt. You do feel the power of his love for television medium and his completely driven nature.

The writing process is something that cannot be described with a few pages or even a book but this book feels like it pushes around the edges so completely, you feel like you getting a glimmer of the forces that defines the product of the writing process.

Now, I agree that you should really be versed with Doctor Who TV lore and the universe created within the last 4 years - and more than a passing understanding of English colloquialisms. Just like the TV show, you will feel more impact if you understand the body of work that leads up to the present.

It is just great fun to peek into Russell's mind to see how he created one of the most enjoyable shows on TV (for me at least).

Now, I _wish_ they had also done this with Joss Whedon while he was doing Buffy, Angel and/or Firefly.

*sigh* Meanwhile, I'll be sated with this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Wertz on July 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As many other reviewers have told us, this is a great book, especially for fans of "Doctor Who" and/or Russell T. Davies. Davies is one of the best writers in any medium and it's fascinating to have a behind-the-scenes tour of his creation of 2+ seasons of "Doctor Who" scripts (with a little "Torchwood" on the side.)

However, Amazon's listing is a bit confusing. The current listing makes it appear that there are two editions (hardcover and paperback) of the same book, which is not the case. The hardcover edition (THE WRITER'S TALE, published in 2008) is the beginning of the correspondence between Davies and Cook, dated between the winter of 2007 and the summer of 2008, and includes samples of scripts which were attached to that correspondence. The paperback (THE WRITER'S TALE: THE FINAL CHAPTER, published in 2010) includes all of the correspondence from the hardcover edition but eliminates the script samples. (They are moved to their website [..].) It picks up where the correspondence left off in the hardcover edition and continues till the summer of 2009. The illustrations overlap to a certain extent but not entirely. Oddly enough, Amazon's UK site makes this distinction perfectly clear.

Personally, I'm glad I have both editions, though I could wish that THE FINAL CHAPTER was also available in hardcover to make a nice pair. And what I would REALLY like is for Mr. Davies to dig into his memory and tell us about what happened before the books, all the way back to when he first started work on the resurrection (or is it regeneration) of "Doctor Who."
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