It was a completely lovely three and a half hours and, unlike so many of these memoirs, doesn’t consist of a book of his whole life from birth with a single chapter on his time in Doctor Who sandwiched somewhere in the middle. I’d estimate that around two-thirds of it is directly Who-related and the remaining third revolves mostly around the practicalities of climbing the ladder from actor to director and producer. There are also some interesting accounts of his work acting on early live TV.
The curse of some audiobooks is the narrator who’s chosen. An overly bland or hammy voice can kill a story. But in this case it’s a triumph as Barry’s warm and friendly voice coupled with a curiously old-fashioned turn of phrase in his writing, far from being an obstacle to enjoying the book, makes it even more entertaining and quite endearing at times. It’s almost like listening to the avuncular, comfy tones of Oliver Postgate.
There are some fascinating reminiscences of his time with Pat Troughton (including acting with him in pre-Who times), some remarkably frank but affectionate comments on working with Jon Pertwee and a clear warmth and respect for his old partner in crime, Terrance Dicks.
Barry doesn’t go for any false modesty over his successes but it never comes across as ego and is more than balanced out by some very self-critical stuff on what he sees as his own shortcomings.
Whether you’re looking for some history of an important era of Who from a man at the centre of things and the development of TV directing and producing or just a good story well told and well read, this is a very entertaining audiobook. There’s also a real poignancy at the end as he closes this volume of his memoirs at the close of Pertwee’s second season with some teases as to what awaits us in the now never to be written next volume.