Book review: Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch

I love non-fiction books. I have an unhealthy obsession with American politics dating back to lessons received through my school years. I love tragic real-life stories like the one of Bernie Madoff who stole $65 billion and almost single-handed started the worldwide recession we find our selves in as I write. But most of all I love a good conspiracy theory.

Now let me explain before you think I am one of those insane people that wants to fill your mind with ludicrous stories of aliens running the planet, I love a good conspiracy theory because I like the fact a ridiculous notion can have such an overwhelming effect on what you describe as normal everyday folk, and turn their irrational fears into a warped reality.

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Book Review- The Brilliant Book 2012

You may think that calling your book ‘brilliant’ would be a foolish boast, or overly optimistic, it leads to a lot of pun related jokes, if it is anything but brilliant. The Brilliant book, however, is brilliant and the boast is anything but foolish.

It’s more or less an encyclopaedia of series 6. You have a plethora of mini-synopsis on each episode, details on deleted scenes, an explanation about the missing pirate, the interview’s with the writers, cast and some of the directors.

This really is an intriguing book, packed with so much content that it’s impossible to read it all in one sitting. You’ll find yourself, going back again and again. There’s a list of every hat every Doctor has worn. There are scripts from deleted scenes, Charles Dickens Twitter feed, George’s school report and a look at the CGI and effects of the show. There are loads of little in-jokes and references; Henry Gordon Jago presents the section on Madame Vastra. My personal favourite piece was the history of the Corsair and the storyboard for the original opening of The Doctor’s Wife.

Doctor Who is a family show and this is a family book. Dad will love it, the kids will love it, and even mum will love it.

The Brilliant Book 2012 is out now.

Book Review-Elisabeth Sladen’s autobiography

I can’t be critical about this book. Lis was a lovely, affectionate person who touched the heart of everyone she met and, everyone she didn’t. I remember hearing that she was going to be in the series 2 episode, school reunion. Despite never having seen an episode with Sarah Jane in, I knew who she was. Sarah Jane is the definitive companion.

Sadly, Elisabeth died in April 2011. Even now, a few months away from the anniversary, it still feels fresh and somehow unreal. It isn’t just the older viewer who has lost someone; it’s also the millions of younger viewers that knew her from The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The role of Sarah-Jane Smith is arguably her most famous. The book charts her early life in Liverpool, as well as her career on the stage, her break into TV and radio, her marriage and motherhood, and her return to the Doctor Who family, in 2006. Every tale is recounted in glorious detail. It’s easy to see how children have always been spellbound by Lis.

She is also warm and praising about her Doctor’s, although Tom Baker comes across slightly better than Jon Pertwee. She then praises her later Doctor’s, David Tennant and Matt Smith, as well as the young cast of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
This is a brilliant book, with a lovely message from her daughter and a foreword by David Tennant.
Russell T Davis summed it up best when he said, “The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith; the world was lucky to have Lis.”

Elisabeth Sladen: the autobiography, is published by Aurum Press and costs £18.99

Listen to our review of the final series of The Sarah Jane Adventures