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Essays and Writings:

(© Andrew O'Day)

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone

Gene Roddenberry’s  Star Trek

David Wickes’  Jack the Ripper and Telefantasy

‘David Wickes’ Jack the Ripper and Telefantasy EXPANDED VERSION

History and Fiction in Doctor Who

Re-reading Christopher H. Bidmead

Towards a definition of satire in Doctor Who

Robert Holmes' "Carnival of Monsters"

Surveillance and Space in Doctor Who

Peter Ling's "The Mind Robber"

Difficult Television

Difficult Television Part 2

Philip Martin’s “Vengeance on Varos”

Terrance Dicks’ “The Five Doctors”

Andrew's Interviews Page The Trip of a Lifetime

Verity Lambert and Barry Letts

Left:

Two of the most respected Producers of Doctor Who:

Verity Lambert (who produced the series right at the very start in 1963)

Barry Letts (who produced one of the most successful runs in Doctor Who's history).

Audio Interviews

Historically Speaking: Verity Lambert Interviewed - Click here (37mins 53 secs)

Circles and Archways: Barry Letts Interviewed    Part 1    Part 2    Part 3

(Part 1: 14 mins) (Part 2: 45 mins 28 secs) (Part 3: 19 mins 13 secs) All files for both interviews are in .wma format, 128kbps MONO

The above audio interview tracks are  © Copyright Andrew O’Day and were first posted to the internet Sunday 8th July 2012.

They were sound engineered / sharpened by Matthew R. Hale ( www.mrhale.co.uk )

Prior to the posting of these interviews to the internet only three people had heard them before. Each part of the Barry Letts interview represents one side of audio microcassette recording.

Text below written by Andrew O'Day

“I wrote elsewhere on this site that unfortunately there was no photographic record of my meetings with Verity Lambert and Barry Letts whom I interviewed in 2001 as part of my Doctoral research. But since I made that comment, we have found the interview tapes and the audio recordings are provided here, sharpened by sound engineer Matthew R. Hale. These interviews differ from the conventional type found in publications like Doctor Who Magazine and I hope are more rewarding because of that. Rather than asking questions relating to these two producers entire body of work for Doctor Who, I homed in on particular topics that I felt would be useful for my thesis. 

No one can say that I do not have a one track mind since most of my questions for Verity revolved around genre and the historical, while, with Barry, I had a fascination with archways. Unfortunately missing from the beginning of the Verity Lambert interview is her discussion of C.E. Webber’s idea of ‘the Magic Door’ and Sydney Newman’s command that there be no ‘BEM’s (‘Bug Eyed Monsters’). But thankfully that – and Newman’s fury when he saw the Daleks – has been well documented in other interviews. 

In the Barry Letts interview, I used the Doctor Who narrative ‘Carnival of Monsters’, which Letts produced and directed, as a springing board into a discussion of wider issues. For example, once we have cleared up the issue of whether ‘Carnival of Monsters’ was made on a limited budget, I use Vorg’s comment that the Drashigs are ‘great favourites with the children’ and the presence of an Ogron and Cyberman on the Scope’s screen, as well as Vorg’s statement that his ‘purpose is to amuse. Simply to amuse. Nothing serious. Nothing political’ as a launch to get Letts to discuss the popularity of monsters in Doctor Who and whether his era of the programme dealt with serious issues in a wide sense. We then proceed to discuss Letts’ direction of the narrative, an aspect which has been largely ignored in previous interviews with him. Indeed, in the study of Doctor Who more widely the director’s role has been largely ignored. Letts directed a number of Doctor Who’s (‘The Enemy of the World’, starring Patrick Troughton, some studio scenes from ‘Inferno’, as well as ‘Terror of the Autons’, and ‘Planet of the Spiders’ from his own era, and ‘The Android Invasion’ starring Tom Baker). However, ‘Carnival of Monsters’ acts as an appropriate springing board for Letts to discuss the notion of eavesdropping in television; whether television, and Doctor Who, is characteristically watched with a glance or with a gaze; of how the director acts as a co-author; and of whether television is art. We then use the narrative ‘Carnival of Monsters’ to discuss issues such as the importance of the episode ending and varieties of Doctor Who narrative and Letts concludes with discussion of how he and Terrance Dicks tried to resurrect the series prior to the Paul McGann TV Movie; why Doctor Who could not come back (amusing in retrospect); and his responsibilities as Executive Producer during the 1980-81 season of the programme. 

Interestingly enough, I did not end up using most of this material in my thesis. My readings often do not coincide with Verity Lambert’s and Barry Letts’ intent and another important purpose that the interviews serve is to highlight that we can make readings which were not necessarily in the ‘author’s’ mind. To give a couple of examples from the Barry Letts interview: he reveals that in ‘Carnival of Monsters’ shooting some of the scenes set within the Scope on film on location was not a deliberate attempt to provide the sense of these as inserts; and he does not think that Robert Holmes’ intention at the end of episode 2 of having Shirna say of the Doctor and Jo ‘They’ll never make it’ was meant to draw our attention to the way Doctor Who cliff-hangers are viewed. But these aspects can be read in the finished product, as in my piece ‘Doctor Who’s ‘Carnival of Monsters and the metafiction of play’ (www.hrvt.net/andrewoday/carnival.htm ). 

I hope that you enjoy this new look at some of Doctor Who and of television more widely.”


Links to Andrew's 1980s written / published interviews from 'Doctor Who Times' and 'SFT'.

Colin Baker     Patrick Troughton Page 1, 2, 3

John Leeson     David Banks     Matthew Robinson     Dick Mills     Deborah Watling Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Michael E. Briant Page 1, 2, 3     Janet Fielding Page 1, 2, 3


Text and audio © Andrew O'Day and used with his kind permission. This page was compiled by Tim Harris.

This page was first published to the internet Sunday 8th July 2012.