Friday, August 29, 2008

Dalek I Loved You: A Memoir - Nick Griffiths

Another book review! It'll surely snow!! Mind you, this one's Doctor Who related, so maybe it'll only be a light snowfall rather than a full out blizzard?

I decided, before plunging into a re-read of Hamlet in preparation for seeing it live next week, to read Nick Griffiths' Dalek I Loved You: A Memoir.

I found this book laugh out loud funny, in places, which will doubtless please Nick Griffiths, who likes the idea of making people laugh. I found it warm, witty and wry. Sometimes it was even genuinely moving: he talks of interviewing Jon Pertwee for the Radio Times 16-page Doctor Who supplement in honour of the TV Movie only a short while before Pertwee's death at the age of 76 had me choking back tears (the Third Doctor was Griffiths' first Doctor), even though it's described in a very understated (ie typically British) way.

I suspect this book will appeal most to British readers between the ages of 35 and 45 who grew up watching Doctor Who at the same time that Griffiths did, and who will therefore understand the many pop culture references scattered throughout the book. It was definitely a nostalgia trip for me, and one I enjoyed taking.

He talks mostly of the classic series (New Who was part way through its second season as he was finishing writing the book), giving handy little summaries of particular episodes he's talking about (prefaced with the episode's title and "for the unfamiliar").

He lists his Top Ten Doctor Who Episodes Ever (The Deadly Assassin, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, Pyramids of Mars, The Robots of Death, The Daemons, Horror of Fang Rock, Terror of the Autons, Genesis of the Daleks, The Android Invasion, The Mind Robber with honourable mentions to The Sea Devils and State of Decay - if you were wondering). Actually, he likes lists quite a lot - listing favourite music, things he loves, things he hates, some things that have embarrassed him, etc. (He hates Adric, loves making people laugh, adores David Bowie).

I recommend the book, with the proviso that it might not appeal if you're not a Brit of a certain age.

Clearly the book's proved popular, because there's a sequel coming out in late October: Who Goes There, which is (according to Amazon's blurb) a travel book with "Doctor Who" at its core. Nick travels England and Wales, seeking locations used in the show, both Classic and New. Being an odd kind of show, its locations too are odd. This is no glamorous trip. Dungeness Nuclear Power Station, anyone? A flooded china clay pit in Cornwall? As he travels, so Nick discovers another side to our well-trodden country, which is no less evocative. Then he goes to the pub. As in "Dalek I Loved You", the travel writing is backed up by Nick's childhood reminiscences and contemporary musings."Who Goes There" isn't just for Who fans - it's for anyone who fancies a trip off the beaten path. And a very funny book.

X-posted to my Live Journal.

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