Reviews selected from TV Zone #133

Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10)
The League of Gentlemen arrive in your local DVD retailer
SM:TV make Friends (sorry, Chums) on Saturday mornings
• Spike and Dru in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel
• and - finally emerging - Doctor Who's Regeneration

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In Association with

Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0 7434 00461
Written by Christopher Golden, Out now
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Reviewed by
David Miller
No tea for you!

Spike & DruIf you were never taken by sinewy charms of Spike, and you thought that his wheedling Drusilla needed nothing than a damn good slap, then your blood may not race at the thought of a book devoted to the pair of them. This adventure is set in 1940, as Spike determines to get a special present for Drusilla's 80th anniversary of her becoming a vampire. He will steal for her a trinket called Freya's Strand - a necklace that enables the wearer to shape-shift. They travel to the fjords of Norway, hitching a ride on a German U-boat and vampirizing the crew on the way, to meet the ice-demon Skrymir who knows the whereabouts of the Strand.

The forces of good - such as they are - are the thinly sketched Sophie Carstensen, the Forties-era Slayer, and her Watcher Yanna. Skrymir's grandiose plan to eliminate them and all of the Watchers-in-waiting, pales into insignificance next to the constant bickering of Spike and Dru.

Christopher Golden's story rattles along, but the undistinguished prose suggests nothing more than a run-of-the mill children's book peppered with a few saucy details - the vampires 'make love in a brutal frenzy', apparently. Buffy's scripts aren't exactly literary masterpieces but you'd expect better than this. "Dru, you're the cream in my tea," says Spike. Quite.

selected from TV Zone #133
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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Andrew Pixley
Harper Collins Entertainment
ISBN: 0 00 710591 6
Written by Philip Segal with Gary Russell, Out Now
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Rating: 10
RegenerationPower up the crystals, Cardinal!

The 1996 Doctor Who tv movie was one of those 'love it' or 'hate it' products for the show's followers, but even those who opted for 'hate it' would probably find this book a) fascinating in learning how this attempt to kick-start one of the longest running tv dramas ever took so long and b) a confirmation that if earlier abandoned notions had been used, they could have ended up with something far, far worse.

Although credited predominantly to Philip Segal, one of the tv movie's executive producers and the driving force behind apparently getting the show taken off and then bringing it back, his bold and rather over-enthusiastic text which appears on a fair slice of the pages in this lavish volume is overshadowed by the lighter print and tone of Doctor Who novelist Gary Russell. Russell ties together all the loose ends of what went on between 1989 and 1996 in a jaunty, chatty, by-the-fans-for-the-fans style. And this is a book for the fans. Never has the show been charted in such depth or complexity and the resulting tome displays a dazzling level of detail, far removed from the lightweight and pappy 'making of' books that clogs Waterstones shelves.

Many of the myths from the dark days of the 1990s are finally cleared up, including why Doctor Who was never renewed, what Verity Lambert's role in getting her old show back on the road was, and which lead actors trumpeted by the tabloids really were and weren't considered by the production team. Documents and storylines with their rewrites are extensively quoted, including a proposed second episode, Don't Shoot, I'm the Doctor. All the actors considered and auditioned for the Doctor are identified (with screen grabs from test footage) and an appendix even lists every music cue in the finished film, along with a shooting schedule.

The illustrations are gorgeous (even if some of the captioning is a little rushed) with many new photos, lots of design sketches and a host of behind-!the-scenes goodies. Although the chapter groupings jumps about, chronologically speaking, even the most dedicated follower of Doctor Who during this troubled period will have their eyes well and truly opened as to what was really happening on both sides of the Atlantic. A landmark work on the show which answers so many questions.

selected from TV Zone #133
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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