Review: Doctor Who: The Reunion (Radio 4)

DWTitle1aApril 7, repeated April 12, 2013

Some of the guiding forces behind the early days of Doctor Who are reunited for a special documentary.

Fans of Doctor Who and the general audience are going to take away two very different sets of thoughts about this Radio 4 documentary. There are enough errors or near-errors in the script that Sue MacGregor reads – Who is this “Terry” Dicks who is quoted? Since when was Peter Purves in the first episode of Doctor Who? What part did Waris Hussein play in the creation of the second serial? – to give a very odd view of the series to those who aren’t versed in its history. However, fans can ignore all of that and the way it wipes the McGann movie from history, and concentrate on the round table discussion for some interesting viewpoints on the show both in the 1960s and today.

Much has been made in the tabloid press of Hussein’s comments about the version of the show today, but William Russell and Peter Purves have equally trenchant opinions. There are some well-worn anecdotes, but also some less regularly aired ones – particularly Hussein talking about a stand-off with Verity Lambert over the noise used for crushing a skull. And there are some nicely chosen clips from outside the show – the one to illustrate the assassination of John F. Kennedy is a great choice for radio – to accompany the archive segments from some of those no longer around to celebrate the anniversary including Lambert, Sydney Newman, Raymond Cusick.

Verdict: Turn off the nitpicking part of your fan brain, and enjoy this celebration and the evident pleasure of those who were part of the Hartnell era to be asked for their input today.  7/10

Paul Simpson


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