18 January 2009 | matthew-58
One of the best Doctor Who documentaries ever made
Philip Hinchcliffe produced the three most popular seasons of Doctor Who, a period when scripts and production values hit a peak and the viewership hit an all time high, so this documentary is a welcome and revealing examination of the time when Doctor Who was at its very best.
Hinchcliffe himself takes the lead and comes over as a very intelligent man with a very good grasp of the demands of the programme. It is also good to see him pay tribute to his predecessor Barry Letts and explain in detail how he worked with his script editor, the legendary Robert Holmes, with whom he obviously had a very good working relationship.
Ed Stradling deserves credit for creating a flawless documentary and finding interviewees who all have useful contributions to make, which isn't always the case with documentaries that rely almost completely on talking heads. It is good to hear the thoughts of someone such as Robert Banks Stewart, who wrote two adventures for Hinchcliffe, and David Maloney, who directed more serials for Hinchcliffe than anyone else. We also get short but welcome contributions from designers Roger Murray-Leach and Christine Ruscoe, as well as actress Elisabeth Sladen. The documentary flows well from one contributor to another and clips from the programme are chosen well. It is also good to see that the documentary doesn't shy away from addressing the levels of horror and violence that attracted so much criticism at the time, and it's interesting to see that, in retrospect, both Banks Stewart and Maloney are prepared to admit that they think it went a bit too far.
My only regret is that the late, great Robert Holmes never lived long enough to offer his thoughts, although his huge input is certainly not forgotten. Otherwise this is an excellent look at an equally excellent period of the series and should be of interest to any fan.