Russell T Davies and Doctor Who Magazine writer Benjamin Cook embarked on a correspondence during the early planning of season 4 of Doctor Who; originally meant to be for an article, they soon realised they had much more material and decided to make a book out of it. The Final Chapter is a revised version of the original book published which includes filming of the Specials and the end of David Tennant’s tenure as the 10th Doctor and Russell’s run as executive producer.
It’s a bit of a beast of a book, with just under 700 pages in the revised version, but it’s jam packed full of inside titbit’s, including personal emails Russell sent to other production team members, sections of original script and behind the scenes photos. It has taken me the best part of 3 months to finish this book, however that was more down to a hectic summer, rather than a boring read. For any fan of Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies’ other work or indeed if your just interested in becoming a writer then this book is certainly for you. What started as an innocent question eventually ended up covering two years of both men’s lives, covering key moments in the show’s history such as the casting of Catherine Tate, Russell and David’s decision to leave, and on-set problems that arose during filming. Interwoven between production emails, they discuss current affairs, the TV program Skins and Russell Tovey amongst other things.
The communications between the two of them are extremely honest and touch upon some deep, personal issues. It’s a fascinating insight into the life of a writer but also Davies’ life, which is nicely facilitated by Ben Cook. You can also see how perhaps the correspondence shaped some of the writer’s ultimate decisions, a detail that is quite fascinating.
For any Doctor Who fan – it’s a must read.
“I can see how annoying that looks. I can see how maddening it must be, for some people. Especially if you’re imposing really classical script structures and templates on that episode, even unconsciously. I must look like a vandal, a kid or an amateur… The simple fact is, all those things were planned. All of them were my choice. They’re not lazy, clumsy or desperate. They’re chosen.” (Russell T Davies, The Writer’s Tale)