REVIEW: "The DWB Interview File" Book

by Zepo
26 September 1999

_The DWB Interview File: The Best of the First 100 Issues_, Gary Leigh
(ed.), (Brighton: Dream Watch, 1994).

[Image of Book]

RATING: 9 (of 10)


     There are not many Doctor Who related publications that one can buy
that concentrate on describing the experiences and opinions of the program
from the viewpoint of those involved in its production.  The 182 page book,
_The DWB Interview File_, is one of those rare offerings that should not be
passed up if only because the views of the production members are quite
eclectic.
     In the mid-1980s DWB was one of the top Doctor Who oriented independent
fan magazines in print.  Originally named "Doctor Who Bulletin" for its
first sixty-one issues, and then "Dream Watch Bulletin," the 'zine's run
feature many interviews usually with production staff that, at that time,
"Doctor Who Magazine" was as yet unprepared to feature.  This offering,
edited by Gary Leigh, DWB's editor and publisher, compiles the best
interviews that were featured in DWB's first 100 issues.
    Starting the whole file off is the interview of Doctor Who 'creator'
Sydney Newman.  To describe just a hair of the interesting revelations in
this tome, Newman reveals that overall he was not too proud of the Doctor
Who series (instead he seems to prefer his other creation--"The Avengers"),
that he preferred Patrick Troughton to William Hartnell in the role of the
Doctor, that he wrote a letter to the production team demanding that his
name be included in the credits of Doctor Who as the shows creator, and that
he intended to contact Michael Grade in 1986 (the time of this interview)
and give him some ideas of how the show should now be developed (including a
change for the exterior of the TARDIS!).  Very interesting reading to say
the least.  
     Sydney Newman's interrogation is but one of a total of thirty-nine full
length interviews included in the book, and this does not include a small
three page section near the end that gives interesting excerpts of a number
of others.  All but six of these interviews are Doctor Who related, and even
a few of the other six are cross over interviews.
     The negative attitude towards the Doctor Who production team that DWB
had during the time these interviews were made is for the most part absent,
though occasionally it seems to seep through the text a bit.  DWB gained the
followership of many of the hardcore fans of the period, especially on the
strength of interviews such as these, detailed written forays into the
show's history, and the magazine's willingness to cover rumor and
speculation about the upcoming series.  Some writers, however, insist it was
the magazine's anti-production team attitude that contributed to negative
press towards the show within BBC circles.  After all, if even a show's fans
do not like it, perhaps it is not a successful or worthwhile show.  DWB's
spotted history (depending on your opinion) should not impact one's
enjoyment of this offering.  To say that this book is an interesting and
worthwhile read is an understatement.  The interviews are lively and
revealing and often the actors and production staff recall in a most vivid
and lively manner their interesting experiences on the show. 
     DWB underwent a final name change to simply "Dreamwatch Magazine" that
continues its run to this day.  Sadly it has lost its Doctor Who focus and
become yet another of the over-glossy UK sci-fi mags.  Perhaps this offering
might just be the magazine's swan song.  Only time will tell.

(c) Copyright Zepo, 1999.


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