When you open a book concerning an actor from Doctor Who the last thing you’d expect to see is a foreword from comedy duo The Krankies. But here it is in black and white at the start of this solid autobiography from Jamie McCrimmon himself Frazer Hines. Bizarre as it might be it actually sets the tone for the intro is as heartfelt and good natured as the book itself which is peppered with hundreds of anecdotes that will entertain, amuse and move even the most hard to please fan.
This is a revised and re-edited edition of Hines’s book, Films, Farms and Fillies from Boxtree in 1996 and the fine fellow has had the pleasure of respected author and poet Sam Stone as his editor. Sam has done a sterling job helping Frazer pull together some memorable moments from his acting career as well as his personal life. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Frazer in person will know what a likeable person he is and this book reflects his warm and charming personality.
Filled with colourful anecdotes about working with the likes of Charlie Chaplin (honestly THE Charlie Chaplin!), Peggy Ashcroft and the innocent joys of young love the book starts as a nostalgic rush of a time that, even though not that long ago, is lost forever.
Fraser loves to drop in names and there’s plenty here, from Michael Caine to Richard Burton, hey, I’m sure I’d do exactly the same. His meetings with these legends are told with style, obviously Frazer has said these many times before to friends and family meaning we get very polished versions.
By the time Frazer talks about Doctor Who he has fleshed out his road to stardom and how he paid his dues in theatre and adverts. Hines obviously loved his time on the show and its reflected in his warm comments about it throwing up information that is sure to be new to even hardcore fans. Hey, did you know Patrick Troughton wore the same pair of Hush Puppies during his reign as the Second Doctor? Sadly, during his time with the Time Lord his father died and this leads to one of the book’s most moving sections. The loss of a parent is always one of life’s cruellest lessons and Frazer describes this awful event with an open heart.
I was surprised that only a few pages are given to Doctor Who but you’ll understand why when Frazer gets talking Emmerdale Farm. This is a far more exciting theme and a real eye-opener at times. We learn a lot about the politics behind such drama shows, I won’t spoil it for you but it’s not the glamorous job I perceived it to be.
The book comes into its own when Frazer covers broken relationships and marriages. Obviously writing honestly he delivers accounts of failed associations with respect for all concerned. It’s mature, considered and above everything else honest.
Hines Sight is a great book about one of Britain’s most interesting and charming actors. Just don’t read about his hand injury whilst eating!
Available for Â£25.00 (plus p&p), signed copies of Hines Sight can be purchased from www.frazerhines.co.uk.