The Writer’s Tale, by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook

Review by Stephen Theaker This is an absolutely brilliant book. Doctor Who's been blessed with a wonderful range of non-fiction works over the years, not least among them co-author Benjamin Cook's book on the audio adventures, but this tops them all. (Apart, of course, from those co-authored by the BFS's own former chair David Howe!)

Russell at the helmHere you get to see what goes through the mind of the man presiding over what’s arguably the greatest triumph of modern British television.

There are dozens of surprises in here. Sometimes it’s how early some things happened (Steven Moffat had written the first pages of episode 5.1 – to be broadcast in 2010 – by 13 January 2008), and sometimes how late they were left (Russell Davies is still writing 4.13 on 18 February 2008 – only a few months before broadcast). You learn about scenes that weren’t filmed, scenes that were but went unused, companions who missed their chance, and all sorts of other things.

Don’t show your face on Outpost Gallifrey without having read this from cover to cover: you’ll seem hopelessly uninformed.

And once you’ve read it, hopefully you won’t post on there without also thinking about the effect that a needlessly cruel and personal comment can have on the people putting in sixteen-hour days to make this programme.