Behind the Sofa
© Steve Berry
It takes a determined person to devote four years compiling a book, in which all of the royalties, proceeds and net profit will be donated to Alzheimer's Research UK. Steve Berry is such a person and in meeting, albeit briefly, at a small convention it’s easy to see how this most affable chap managed to convince more than 100 celebrities to provide their own recollection of Doctor Who.
With so many contributors, there’s bound to be some repetition and a common thread begins to emerge, especially from those whose memories came from a childhood fascination with the show: The now defunct Blackpool Exhibition, which I attended, screamed through, was rushed out off, then wanted to go through the whole experience again. That holiday induced missed episode, long before recording and catch-up, and scrambled memories of nightmarish moments, once seen - never forgotten.
There are some real gems in here: Chris Tarrant’s recollection of a madcap Sylvester McCoy, Katy Manning’s footloose painting session with Jon Pertwee and Clayton Hickman’s account of a down to earth Elisabeth Sladen. Most, if not all of the writers, actors and production staff who have worked on Doctor Who and contributed here share some nugget of interest from the show. Even those that don’t reveal any hidden secrets have some lovely stories to tell, Chris Chibnall’s being a particular favourite of mine.
For all the obstacles that needed to be overcome, and there were some, Steve Berry and his small team should be rightly proud of this book. A special mention goes to Ben Morris; previous illustrator for the ‘Production Notes’ section of Doctor Who Magazine, whose notable illustrations throughout this book really provide the finishing touch.
Not only a worthy cause, any Doctor Who fan would be happy to have this book on their shelf…