Carey Fleiner [co-editor ‘Doctor Who & History’] on Matthew Waterhouse, Author – or Life after Wiping out the Dinosaurs
After the many slo-mo alternate angles of death of the Doctor’s companion in ‘Face the Raven’, I remarked to ‘im indoors, ‘You know, at least Adric went out with a bit of a quip and a sad little shot of him clutching his brother’s belt before spectacularly blowing up and wiping out the dinosaurs and even got a quiet set of rolling credits over a black screen.’ Well, actually, I didn’t say that; what I did say about Clara really isn’t family friendly, but it was short and to the point, so let’s move quickly on.
That said, I have been revisiting Adric in a way these past few weeks, as a rummage through my book collection yielded up three of Matthew Waterhouse’s books – Blue Box Boy, his memoir of his years on Doctor Who and musings on its aftermath, and two of his novels, Vanitas and Fates, Flowers. It’s been a few years since I’ve read them, and they are as charming as I remembered. Blue Box Boy is written in the third person, but it’s so charming and coloured by a gentle if not sly wit, one can’t help but get caught up in the adventures of a boy who got to play at Doctor Who for real.
Whatever shenanigans were going on behind the scenes and might be found elsewhere, are covered with a light touch here – if anything, Waterhouse has a sense of humour about himself, and acknowledges that if Adric was an awkward teen, that’s because Matthew was an awkward teen. Weren’t we all. It’s a sweet and lovely memoir, and highly recommended if for nothing else reading about Matthew’s disappointment that he was stuck in those yellow pyjamas so much of the time (and thrilled when he got to wear other costumes), and a nod and a wink to his preference for dressing on the left as any viewer of Castrovalva is well aware.
I’ll be revisiting the two novels over the Christmas break, but I recall them as being strongly plotted (their stories are interwoven, but they stand up fine on their own) and witty. They’ll be joined by a third, as I’m pleased to see that Waterhouse has since published a third novel since I’ve read the other two. Other nutty books in the pipeline include Tom Baker’s dark little fairytale about a very naughty boy and a soft-porn novel written by an author so smitten by Paul McGann that whole scenes and lines from Withnail and I and The Doctor Who Movie appear thinly disguised in this one-for-the-ladies bouche-amusante.