Who’s Next?, by Derrick Sherwin

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Now, with time on my hands, the relationship [with first wife Jane] blossomed as I worked hard at my career as an actor and supplemented my income by working as a stage hand with the London Festival Ballet, at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. With my knowledge of scenery I was put in charge of the 'flies' – the area directly above the stage where the backcloths and other scenery are stored on counter-weighted pulleys and lowered or raised as required. This was physically demanding but required little other than the discipline of following an ordered sequence. Changing sets from one ballet to another again required long nights of arduous work, but this was something I was used to from my years in weekly rep.

On paper, Derrick Sherwin was producer of Doctor Who for only two stories and 14 episodes, the shortest tenure of anyone in the old regime. In fact he was the man who rescued the programme from collapse in Seasons 5 and 6 (as script editor and de facto assistant producer), invented UNIT and the Time Lords, and successfully rebooted the show in colour with a new Doctor in 1970. He also wrote, uncredited, one of the best single episodes of the entire original run, the first part of The Mind Robber. This is his autobiography, written pretty blatantly with the intent of cashing in on the 50th anniversary of the programme, published by Fantom as one of their large biographical range with a Whovian bias.

Less than 30 pages of over 200 are about Doctor Who, which is not terribly surprising as it was just two years in the life of an author now in his late seventies. Sherwin is frank but also very sympathetic about the difficulties of Patrick Troughton's difficult relations with the BBC and the show, and frank but less sympathetic about some of his other colleagues. His career in television lasted only a few years after Doctor Who; after various failed experiments (and relationships) he moved to Thailand, and more than half of the book is taken up with the details of his efforts to make a decent expat living there, mainly catering to tourists through hospitality and bungee jumping.

To be honest, this book would have been well served with a bit more editorial input; there is a sense that it was rushed out for November 2013. The first part is rather over-supplied with exclamation marks, and the long Thai section could perhaps have cut down on the detail of every single failed project and relationship that Sherwin started over three decades. I was really shocked to find a blatantly anti-Semitic remark on page 81. I can't warmly recommend it as an example of the showbiz autobiographical genre, but Whovian completists like me will want it on the shelves.