Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Elisabeth Sladen the Autobiography audiobook review

It is difficult to review this Audiogo audiobook as ‘just’ a book.
From the beginning, with the genuinely moving forward written and read by David Tennant, to the after word, written by Liz’s husband and daughter Brian and Sadie Miller, which is nothing short of heart breaking, this is a book that is nigh on impossible to listen to without constantly thinking about Liz and her sudden death.
Another former Who assistant,Caroline John, has the unenviable task of reading the book, although to be totally fair, she does so brilliantly.
But what of the book itself?
Obviously, the bulk of the book is taken up with memories of her time on Who, and this makes for some interesting listening.
Sladen paints a vivid picture of the BBC in the early 70s, and while things sometime slide close to the ‘luvvie’, with many people being ‘wonderful’, she is pleasingly direct when talking about those who were less than wonderful.
This is one of a few things in the book that I found surprising. I suppose the image of Sarah Jane and her all round niceness as a character. And it’s not just directors, Liz is honest about Third Doctor Jon Pertwee. While she clearly loved him dearly, she is honest enough to recognise him for his faults, but still making him come across as a thoroughly nice man.
Outside Who, there are some equally interesting tales told. Her stories of her early life and family are fascinating, and I wish that she had spent more time on them. Likewise, stories of early theatre jobs and her fledgling acting career are great.
The final section of the book, dealing with her ‘renaissance’ as an actor as she came out of retirement for School Reunion and then The Sarah Jane Adventures, seems disappointingly slight after the detail of the Who years. I’d liked to have heard more about the Sarah Jane tales and perhaps the Big Finish adventures and the like.
Still, apart from these minor quibbles, I can say that this is a very good memoir, and one that any Who fan will want on their shelf.
Still can’t believe she’s gone though…

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