Review: “A Weekend with Waterhouse”

My copy of the new Doctor Who: Season 18 Blu-Ray arrived mid-morning yesterday (that’s Tom Baker: Season 7 in the U.S.) Perfect timing! I’m on vacation this week, so there was time to rip into the package and get started right away. Instead of launching “The Leisure Hive,” which was the very first Doctor Who story I saw as a kid, I did what I think a lot Who fans did, and went straight for the extras.

Now this set is massive and it’s going to take me months to make my way through the whole collection, but I wanted to get a taste of some of the new documentaries, especially after seeing some of the clips producer/director Chris Chapman shared with us during his Kaffeeklatsch last month at Gallifrey One.

“A Weekend with Waterhouse” (a supplement on Disc 3) follows comedian and Doctor Who fanatic Toby Hadoke on a visit to the seaside town of Hastings, where we drop in on Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), whose character was first introduced in Season 18’s “Full Circle,” and was originally conceived as a sort of E-Space Artful Dodger. Instead of a dull studio interview, we follow along as Matthew invites Toby into his apartment and into his life, sharing his book collection (he loves Graham Greene), his Batman and Prisoner DVDs, his love of jazz, and introducing us to his American husband Tim. We also take in Matthew’s childhood home, meet his sister, and visit some of his favorite haunts, stopping for dinner at a favorite Thai restaurant and taking in a jazz show at a wine bar down the road. All the while, the conversation flows, touching upon everything that you’d want to know about Matthew’s take on Adric, his role in the crowded TARDIS, what it was like to work with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward, and his life before and after Doctor Who.

What I love about “A Weekend with Waterhouse” is that we get an intimate glimpse of Matthew Waterhouse as a person–kind, creative, witty, and literate–with a full life outside of this TV show that we all happen to love. We break away from the narrow focus of behind the scenes anecdotes, and come away with a deeper understanding of Matthew’s contribution to the show and his life in 2019.

I really enjoyed keeping these two company. The banter was perfect and I often found myself smiling as I watched. But when there is a good rapport like this, sometimes conversations lead to confidences. As Toby and Matthew walk through Hastings, considering Matthew’s past and present, there are some unexpected turns in the conversation, and we learn about some of the tragedies in Matthew’s past, including the devastating loss of a brother when he was a teenager.

Then we’re back in the here and now with Matthew happily married for twenty years, now an author as well as an actor. All in all, there is a wonderful candor and openness about this documentary that makes us feel as though we’re in the same room with Toby and Matthew and that we’re a part of this conversation.

Director Chris Chapman and Executive Producer Russell Minton are really setting a new standard of excellence with these Classic Who Blu-Ray seasons. This is just one feature on an 8-disc Blu-Ray set! I can’t wait to see what else is tucked away on this set, but I’ll savor it, like I said, and take it slowly, so that it lasts me until the next release.